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Steve Heatherly left his position as CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital on Oct. 7 to pursue another opportunity. 

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The Haywood County Arts Council’s “Small Works” exhibit will run through Dec. 30 at the HCAC Gallery & Gifts showroom in downtown Waynesville. 

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This year’s Big Sweep event in Haywood County removed a whopping 3,100 pounds of trash from county streams with the help of a record 62 volunteers. 

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Fossilized footprints found in New Mexico’ White Sands National Park have revealed evidence of human occupation there beginning 23,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

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Marshall native and country music performer Ricky Gunter walked away from the Country Tonite Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Sept. 17, with two big awards. 

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When the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (HART) in Waynesville needed a custom-painted portrait of an actor with his six-foot invisible rabbit friend, local painter Barbara Brook hopped to the task. 

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To the Editor:

One can find treasures in the most improbable places. For me, the Letters to the Editor captures the flavor, thought, and concern of local residents. Whatever the tenor, whether amusing, strident, or irreverent, the letters offer the spectrum of current concerns. There is seldom universal agreement, but the crux of the matter is that opinions are not just possible, they are encouraged.

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To the Editor:

Republicans keep claiming that Democrats are destroying the country. They use emotionally laden words like “socialism” and “communism” in ways that are ridiculous and silly.

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To the Editor:

The anti-abortion law enacted by Texas appears strong and worrisome. But, is it really strong? This major question lingers: where will the “bounty money” come from?

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Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are taking a stand against breast cancer. All women — mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends — should know their risk, recognize the signs and symptoms and understand the importance of self-checks and early detection. 

By Allison Johnson • MD, Surgeon, Haywood Breast Center | According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., behind only skin cancers. In fact, the ACS puts the average risk as a one in eight chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

Municipal elections in Western North Carolina will be held in some jurisdictions on Tuesday, November 2, but in-person early voting will take place beginning Thursday, Oct. 14.

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Macon County Public Health will delay plans to begin giving COVID-19 boosters to eligible persons due to a number of COVID-19 positive staff. 

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Fall is an exciting, beautiful season in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Below is a roundup of some of the big events going on in the region. 

Two Haywood County water treatment plants were among the 13 North Carolina facilities recognized with the Gold Star honor for systems that have surpassed federal and state drinking water standards for 10 consecutive years. 

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Help celebrate the grand re-opening of the Haywood Community College disc golf course with a two-round tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in Clyde. 

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To the Editor:

I fear for my country. The cause of my anxiety is the judgment that our nation has regressed beyond the point of no return. A number of events has led to that conclusion, and chief among them is America’s acceptance of Donald Trump’s neutralizing our collective ability to determine right from wrong.

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To the Editor:

In November 2020, millions of voters like me went to the polls and cast a ballot for Joe Biden. 

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Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 321 new cases of COVID-19 in the last week. 

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Homeowners and renters in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who had uninsured losses from Tropical Storm Fred may be eligible for federal disaster assistance from FEMA. 

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A mysterious outbreak that has been affecting songbirds since May 2020 appears to be subsiding, and thanks to diligent reporting from North Carolina residents it seems to not be much affecting birds in the state, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced last week. 

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UPDATE: Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the Sept. 25 event has been postponed until next spring. A full weekend of fun over April 23-24, 2022, is now planned to coincide with Earth Day. 

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By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | Two heart-rending articles occupied the front page of the Florida newspaper that I was reading online two Sundays ago. 

One told the stories of people who had survived the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago. The other followed a nurse through a 12-hour shift in a hospital’s intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients. Three had died the day before. More will this day. Most of her patients, including a 36-year-old mother of two, are not expected to live. An older woman codes seven times before her suffering ends. The one patient who is recovering is the only one in the ward who was vaccinated.

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To the Editor:

Cops threatening to quit over vaccine mandates is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform police departments. Let them go.

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To the Editor:

After reading guest columnist Patrick Gleason’s column in the September 7 issue of The Smoky Mountain News, I felt so relieved. CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT REAL! THE SKY IS NOT FALLING! Wow, now I don’t have to worry about that anymore! 

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To the Editor:

The SMN does not have any comics, but some of the letters to the editor are a good substitute. The recent guest columnist (http://smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/32092) is a great example. I suppose that Mr. Gleason also believes that the earth is flat.

Clark Pearson

Sylva

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To the Editor:

Our forefathers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that we have certain inalienable rights, those being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

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To the Editor:

In his editorial, Patrick Gleason claimed that Dr. Curry’s editorial on climate change was not based on reality and that climate change was not that serious. In reality, it is Gleason who is divorced from reality.

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To the Editor:

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” was a popular statement in George Bush’s presidency during protests against the Iraq war. Hillary and other Democrats were fond of it and the press gladly quoted them. 

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Residents of Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania counties who were affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred from Aug. 16 – 18 may apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

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Many smaller, private bridges were damaged in Tropical Storm Fred, and homeowners are understandably anxious to get them replaced. 

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A federal jury in Asheville convicted Shane McKinley Swimmer, 21, of Cherokee, of second degree murder last week, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

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The Western Carolina University (WCU) Fine Art Museum in Cullowhee is currently presenting the “Contemporary Clay 2021” exhibit, which will be on view through Dec. 10.

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Presented by Balsam Range, United Way of Haywood County, Town of Canton, Clyde Lions Club, Canton Lions Club and The Smoky Mountain News, “Grit & Grace: A Flood Relief Benefit for Haywood County” will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at Sorrells Street Park in downtown Canton.

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By Scott Hinkle • Guest Columnist | Twenty years ago on September 14, I was one of only two passengers on a U.S. Airways flight from North Carolina to LaGuardia Airport in New York City to volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team, assisting families with processing the deaths of their loved ones. As part of the initial team to develop a rapid death certificate response, we met in Brooklyn and planned our program for completing the official certificates of death for grieving families. 

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By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | The place — Canton; the time — 7 a.m.; the date — September 9, 2004. 

Mayor Pat Smathers and I walked down Park Street in disbelief. Colonial Theater, Canton Medical Office, police and city offices had all flooded with up to seven feet of water from the Pigeon River. Hurricanes Ivan and Frances hit within a week and left a grim mark on Haywood County. That was 2004.

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Western Carolina University officials are waiving admission application fees for both undergraduate and graduate programs for students wanting to enter the university during spring 2022, summer 2022 and fall 2022 academic semesters.

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A man who sped in a stolen vehicle through Franklin last year in a botched attempt to evade law enforcement will spend 51 to 74 months in the N.C. Division of Adult Correction, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

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How do you have safe communication during relational conversations where defenses and triggers happen because of past hurts? How do you effectively communicate core issues instead of their symptoms?

Two men died while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last weekend, one due to drowning and another resulting from a motorcycle accident. 

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A Haywood Community College student earned the 2021 U.S. Rookie Champion title at the recent STIHL Timbersports U.S. Championships in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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As floodwaters recede and cleanup continues, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urges farmers and homeowners to evaluate pesticides and other chemical storage areas. Disposal assistance is available.

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By Milton Ready • Guest Columnist | Psst! Have you heard that remnants of Tropical Storm Fred passed over Western North Carolina last week causing extensive power outages, flash floods, several deaths, and, yes, even tornadoes. And no, it’s not just about global warming. Now which area do you think suffers more flooding, the Outer Banks, eastern North Carolina, or the mountainous area of the French Broad River Basin? 

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By Patrick Gleason • Guest Columnist | The alarmist rhetoric and proclamations found in Mary Jane Curry’s recent column published in The Mountaineer, “A Life Or Death Matter,” (Aug. 15) are certainly worrisome. The good news is that they are completely detached from reality.

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To the Editor:

Pay close attention to the following names: Darin Hoover, Rosario Pichardo, Nicole Gee, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Humberto Sanchez, David Espinoza, Jared Schmitz, Rylee McCollum, Dylan Merola, Kareem Nikoui, Maxton Soviak and Ryan Knauss.

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To the Editor:

The opinion pages of the August 18 edition of your excellent paper should be required reading. 

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To the Editor:

In the Aug. 11 edition, a letter from a Franklin man was posted in both print and electronic editions of The Smoky Mountain News. In addition to false information, the writer wants to absolve the unvaccinated from any accountability about the current pandemic.

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