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To the Editor:

Why do we do it? Why do stand out in the rain, wind, snow, and hot sun for eight hours (sometimes more)? Who are we?

Comment

To the Editor:

While lawmakers at the federal level stall on a $15 per hour minimum wage, let’s remember that we don’t have to wait. We can do what 29 other states have done and raise our state minimum wage. We just need the political will to do it.  

Comment

Western North Carolina teenager Evy Leibfarth will represent the United States in the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo this year after placing first in two Olympic Team Trials competitions last week. 

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Despite a continued pause on distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and flagging demand for appointments, the past week saw continued progress on local vaccination rates and a reversal of the upward trend in confirmed cases.

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Mountain Heritage Day, the festival of cultural traditions presented by Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, is again being planned as a live, in-person event on Saturday, Sept. 25.

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Leigh Forrester, who served as executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) for four years has announced her retirement, effective May 31. 

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Q: Are there herbal teas that I could drink that will help with weight gain during pre-menopause or menopause?

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year is extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.  It is estimated that one in five people have unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) monies available to them, that can only be accessed through filing taxes.

Comment

District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Franklin man will spend 70 to 96 months in prison for his role in a two-state distribution of large quantities illegal drugs.

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FRANKLIN – For the first time in its five-year history, the national veteran and Gold Star organization Special Liberty Project, which expanded here in September, completed an onsite Vitality Retreat on its own property. 

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For up-to-date info on local brewery and restaurant shows, be sure to check the A&E section of the SMN Calendar regularly. Here is a list of upcoming shows, and venues that are open for live music.

Women have made slow progress in attaining corporate executive roles, but once reaching that level, their pay is typically less than men in similar leadership positions, a new study reports. 

The road to financial security, like many long journeys toward important goals, can be filled with ups and downs. The financial markets can be volatile, shaking up your short-term investment results, and illness or downsizing may temporarily disrupt your career – and your earnings. In fact, just 46% of adults feel financially stable, according to a survey by Morning Consult and Edward Jones. Still, there’s much you can do to gain stability – and you can chart your progress by marking three important milestones:

An online public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, will take input on terms of a proposed wastewater permit for Blue Ridge Paper in Canton. 

Comment

Equinox Ranch will welcome combat veterans to its inaugural program this June. 

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A 91-acre area known as the Roan Mountain Gateway is now in U.S. Forest Service ownership after the Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy recently transferred it to public ownership. 

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An outdoor sculpture showcase now up in the N.C. Arboretum’s gardens will showcase the work of 17 local and national artists through Sept. 26. 

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WaysSouth, a regional nonprofit organization working to protect the unique heritage and environment of the Southern Appalachians by promoting sustainable transportation practices, commends the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the final proposal put forward for the Corridor K highway expansion project.

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To the Editor:

President Joe Biden has recently made very appropriate reference to the need for strengthened gun control legislation.

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To the Editor:

I read the March 30 article “Senator Corbin again leads health care push.” The article makes clear that North Carolina needs elected officials to support actual Medicaid expansion that would provide health care insurance to people who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for a marketplace subsidy. That is about 600,000 North Carolinians. The N.C. General Assembly has voted multiple times against Medicaid expansion. 

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To the Editor:

Although I am not a resident of your area, I am very grateful for your articles on the proposed Catawba Casino in Cleveland County. Contrary to the perception given by our local media, there are a number of people in our county opposed to this casino.

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To the Editor:

Calling Ken Burns! Calling Ken Burns! We need you to get busy on a new documentary. It should cover two current movements in America. 

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To the Editor:

I’m a citizen and voter from Sylva, and we all know it’s time to put an end to the filibuster, a Jim Crow relic that was created to undermine our voice as voters and slow progress on critical issues. Historically, it’s a loophole to block civil rights legislation and now means that 60 out of 100 senators have to vote for almost all legislation.

Comment

Staff caring for patients at Swain Community Hospital have won the Blue-Ribbon Award presented to departments receiving the highest scores on patient satisfaction surveys. The patient surveys are part of the National Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems measurement administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

Comment

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest award the state of North Carolina can bestow upon an individual. It is awarded to individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state.

Comment

Do you think a low or no carbohydrate diet is safe?

Haywood County Health and Human Services have received notice of another COVID-19 death, bringing the total number now to 95.

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A Franklin man admitted in Macon County Superior Court to forcing his way into a woman’s house and sexually assaulting her, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said this week.

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Franklin man admitted this week in court to sexually abusing a child. He will serve at least nine years in prison.

Comment

Dear anyone that has owned a pet — As you walk into your house, screaming at the top of your lungs, grunting and cursing the world — your pet greets you with its tail wagging so hard she literally piddles on herself (and the floor) as she jumps on you like you are the best thing since raw meat.

Man or woman’s best friend, as cheeky as your pup might be, they’ll never let you down when it counts and they’re the one creature who is always overjoyed to see you. So don’t you think you owe them a birthday celebration that will have them jumping up and down and round and round?

The WNC Historical Association's 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Ann Miller Woodford for her work preserving and promoting the history of African American people in far western North Carolina at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 18 via Zoom.

Often we hear that different vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements may help with everything from our skin elasticity to gut health and from joint pain  to the symptoms of the cold or flu.

The N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will resume offering guided trail walks this spring, with groups setting off at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays April 10 through Oct. 30. 

Comment

A targeted law enforcement effort aiming to combat litter resulted in 37 stops including 25 verbal warnings and 13 citations on the northbound Spur of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park March 28-29.

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By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | A political party that stakes its future on allowing fewer people to vote does not deserve a future. A democracy that accommodates such a party will not have a future.

That is our nation’s present crisis, 234 years after the Constitutional Convention created a government with no prescribed role for political parties.

Comment

To the Editor:

Sylva is a beautiful small town. It is its small-town charm and beautiful surroundings that brings people to Sylva and it is what keeps them here. As a 22-plus year resident of Sylva, it is my passionate belief that the four-story, 84-apartment building project that is being proposed at 710 Skyland Drive does not fit with the statement in the 2040 Land Use Plan (2020) Overview that “Sylva is poised to take advantage of and build upon these assets by planning for and promoting growth while maintaining its small-town form and character.”

Comment

A Buncombe County man pleaded guilty April 6 to two counts of first-degree statutory sexual offense and four counts of indecent liberties with a child, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

Comment

More than 16 months after animal cruelty allegations were filed against Haywood resident James Lunsford, justice has finally been served. 

Comment

Students enrolled in Haywood County Schools’ exceptional children’s program will soon have a new home at no taxpayer expense. 

Comment

By Theresa Ramsey • Guest writer | The Women’s History Trail project of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County adopted an activity in 2018 that continues each March as a part of Women’s History Month. 

This annual celebratory event honors a special “WHT Macon Matriarch” and her role as trailblazer to help shape a better future for Macon County.

Comment

Western Carolina University’s regional COVID-19 vaccine clinic will deliver its 10,000th vaccine to a student around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7. 

Comment

Western Carolina University’s Special and Digital Collections at Hunter Library has digitized a collection of interviews conducted between 1986-1989 with Black residents from Western North Carolina, all of whom were older than 69 at the time. 

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“To date, over 18,000 people in Haywood County are at least partially vaccinated. Mass vaccination efforts have been running smoothly, despite challenges with weather, location changes, and the sheer volume of the task. From the moment of the first vaccine arrival in Haywood County to now, the goal has always been to vaccinate everyone that wants to be in a timely and efficient way. To that end, we are constantly refining the process and this week we are pleased to announce a change that we believe will make appointment scheduling even easier moving forward,” said Haywood County Vaccine Coordinator Garron Bradish.

In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the user experience Haywood County will transition from its current COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system to a system by which citizens can self-schedule for available vaccine appointments beginning April 14.

 

Transition to self-scheduling —

What’s New:

  • Beginning April 14 citizens visiting the existing pre-registration portal (https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine) will now be able to schedule their own vaccine appointment from available dates and times. No more registering and waiting for a phone call.

  • During the transition period, a limited amount of self-schedule appointment times will be available. That number will steadily increase as we finish vaccinating people who were pre-registered prior to the new system implementation.

What stays the same:

  • The website address for vaccine appointments will remain the same as it has been: https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine  Visitors to this link will see the new portal instead of the pre-registration form beginning April 14, until that date, citizens can still use the existing form to pre-register.

  • Haywood County will continue to prioritize appointments for those on the existing pre-registration list, based on registration date until that list is completed.

  • Those needing assistance with scheduling their vaccine appointment or follow-up questions about vaccine appointments are encouraged to call the Haywood County COVID Vaccine hotline at 828-356-2019.

  • The primary vaccination site will remain at the Smoky Mountain Event Center, with the exception of the week of April 5 when we will furlough for Spring Break.

Important to know: 

  • Citizens are urged NOT to double register. If you already pre-registered prior to April 14, DO NOT use the self-scheduling portal to book an appointment. Health and Human Services already have your registration and you will receive a call to schedule your appointment time in the order in which registrations were received. Those on the pre-registration list will be prioritized during the transition period that is expected to last a few weeks.

 

Where to find COVID-19 vaccine information:

  • For vaccine appointment or registration questions call: 828-356-2019

  • Please do not call the health department’s main number for COVID-19 vaccination questions, use the hotline number instead.

  • For general COVID-19 information visit https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/COVID-19-Information

Vaccinations by the numbers:

Total first shots given so far: 18,041* 

*This figure now includes federal vaccination programs through pharmacies.

First shots given this week at Haywood County drive-through events: 800+

 

Currently vaccinating: 

  • Haywood residents of all eligible groups (1-4)

 

Currently registering: Haywood Residents 18 and up

To register online visit: haywoodcountync.gov/vaccine

or by phone at 828-356-2019 (hours of operation for the phone line are Monday - Friday 8 a.m - 5 pm..) 

 

Vaccination groups completed:

  • Long term care facility residents and staff

  • Hospital and doctor’s office staff

  • Health Department, Emergency Services, and Vaccine Clinic staff

  • County and municipal critical staff

  • Haywood residents ages 75+

  • Haywood residents 65+

 

Vaccination groups nearing completion:

  • Haywood County educators

 

What to know for Group 3 & 4 in Haywood County —

  • Vaccination eligibility is open to everyone in Groups 3 & 4. Appointments will still be required.

 

Vaccination capacity: The county expects to receive an allotment of 400 Moderna doses this coming week. Since Haywood County will not have its mass vaccination clinic during the week of Spring Break, that allotment will be transferred to Range Urgent Care in Asheville under a vaccine exchange program to supply vaccines to providers best able to distribute them in a timely manner. 

 

Haywood County is also receiving 400 doses of Johnson & Johnson, which will be used throughout April at mobile clinics.

 

Accepting First Dose Appointment: 

  • Time and location details for first dose appointments go out through an automated phone/text/email system. Listen carefully for appointment location and time.

  • Do not accept the appointment for the initial dose if you cannot commit to being available on the day your second dose should be given. Second doses are due 21 days or 28 days after the first dose, depending on the vaccine given, which we will not know until the day of the clinic. If you plan to be out of town or having a scheduled surgery or some other conflict you should wait and not start the vaccine until you can receive all doses here in Haywood County, on time.

  • If you decline an appointment, your name remains on the list to be called for a future first dose clinic. You do not have to register again.

 

Second dose information:

  • Over 800 people received second doses this week, completing their COVID-19 vaccination regimen. For most people, full immunity potential is reached about two weeks after receiving the second dose. For J&J vaccine, the full benefit is reached 4 weeks after the single dose. It is important to continue wearing masks and following other COVID protocols even after immunity is reached.

  • Second doses are allocated separately dependent on the number of first doses given. So far, second dose allocations appear to be arriving right on schedule and we anticipate no issues here.

  • The second appointment dates for Moderna are due 28 days after the initial dose. Appointments for Pfizer are due 21 days after the initial dose. (If you have been vaccinated already, your second appointment date can be found on the back of your vaccine card.)

  • Time and location details for second appointments will go out via the same phone system through which you received your first appointment. 

 

Organizations dispensing vaccine*:

  • Haywood County Health and Human Services 

  • Haywood Regional Medical Center (partnering with HHSA for distribution)

  • Blue Ridge Community Health: 100 doses per week

  • Walgreens: 100 doses per location per week

  • Ingles: Canton

 

*All organizations are offering vaccinations by appointment only.

 

Mass Vaccination Clinics:

  • Haywood County Health and Human Services, Haywood County Emergency Services, and Haywood Regional Medical Center are partnering on the weekly vaccine clinics.

  • The clinics serve those on the pre-registry list who have been contacted with an appointment time and are NOT open to the public or to walk-ins. 

  • Instructions on how to participate will be given when appointment times are scheduled.

  • About 800 people received their first shots at mass clinic events this week in Haywood.

  • Huge thanks to all the volunteers, churches, and individuals who contribute to the success of these events. 

 

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and the prioritization goals visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

 

At each step of the way,  Haywood County Health and Human Services is committed to providing updates and guidance to make sure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have their chance.

 

Key Points about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • The vaccine is tested, safe, and effective

  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine

  • The vaccine will be provided free of charge to everyone that wants it.

  • For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, two doses are needed for maximum immunity.

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

  • There is no vaccine mandate.

  • Continuing the 3Ws will be critical until the vaccine is widely taken

 

Summary of Key Updates this week:

  • There will be no mass vaccination event next week due to Spring Break.

  • In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the user experience Haywood County will transition from its current COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system to a system by which citizens can self-schedule for available vaccine appointments beginning April 14.

  • The Haywood County mass vaccination appointments will continue to be located at the Smoky Mountain Event Center (fairgrounds).

Comment

Just as it was about to expire at the end of March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an extension of the national ban that temporarily halts evictions for millions of renters. The new order extends the moratorium to June 30, 2021. An estimated 435,000 North Carolinians are currently behind on their rent.

The order requires that renters meet certain criteria, including:

  • Have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or up to $99,000 for individuals.
  • Show they have sought government assistance to pay their rent.
  • Declare they are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19.
  • Affirm they are likely to become homeless or will be forced to stay with friends or family if they are evicted.
  • Show they have lost income.

Renters must fill out and submit a copy of the CDC declaration form – available at local courthouses and also www.pisgahlegal.org/federal-eviction-moratorium/. Renters should submit the form in English to their landlords or to their local court. Pisgah Legal advises keeping another dated copy as well.

Pisgah Legal Services Executive Director Jim Barrett says, “This is very good news for many folks across the country and those right here in our mountain region. Federal relief is on its way, and we hope this extension will allow for the time that is needed to get these funds to those who are worried about losing their homes.”

He continued, “In the meantime, we encourage people to fill out the CDC form and work with their landlords to pay what they can because the moratorium does not mean that rent is forgiven. And if they have questions or need additional help to contact Pisgah Legal Services.”  

In addition to the moratorium, renters should also know these basic rights:

  1. A tenant cannot be made to move from a rental home without a court order.  Tenants have a right to appear in court and defend themselves. Any attempt made to remove a tenant by anyone or any means except the Sheriff’s Department is illegal.  
  2. In most cases, landlords cannot legally terminate a tenant’s electricity, water, or heat source as a method of forcing them to leave a rental unit.  
  3. Do not move out without talking to an attorney. Tenants may have rights and defenses that they do not know about.  There may be financial resources available tenants are unaware of.  Even if a tenant is behind in rent, do not move out without finding out your options. Eviction actions can happen quickly without an attorney, and they can be slowed down to prevent homelessness with the aid of an attorney.

Pisgah Legal Services, a nonprofit that provides free civil legal aid in Western North Carolina, continues to assist people with low incomes. Staff and volunteer attorneys are helping clients and taking new applications for assistance with critical needs that include:

  • evictions and foreclosures
  • domestic violence
  • coping with debts and avoiding scams
  • unemployment and other government benefits 
  • and health care.

Need Help?
If you or someone you know needs help, call Pisgah Legal’s main phone lines at 828-253-0406, or 800-489-6144. Online applications are also being accepted: www.pisgahlegal.org/free-legal-assistance. Pisgah Legal staff and volunteer attorneys continue to work remotely and will be in touch via phone and/or email.  

About Pisgah Legal Services
Since 1978, nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services has provided free civil legal aid to help people with low incomes seek justice and meet their basic needs. Pisgah Legal provides a broad array of legal services in 11 WNC counties and offers health and immigration law services in 18 counties. Last year PLS served more than 20,000 people across the mountain region.

PLS has offices in Asheville, Burnsville, Brevard, Hendersonville, Highlands/Cashiers, Marshall, Newland, and Rutherfordton. In addition to the attorneys on staff, Pisgah Legal relies heavily on the pro bono legal services of approximately 300 volunteer attorneys.

Want to Help Others?

You can aid this important work. Giving online is fast, easy and secure at www.pisgahlegal.org/give or contact Development Director Ally Wilson by phone at 828-210-3444 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 2276, Asheville, N.C.  28802

Comment

The International Friendship Center, the Community Care Clinic of Highlands-Cashiers and Vecinos have hosted six weekly Latino COVID-19 vaccine clinics since mid-February, providing vaccines to several hundred of our Latinx neighbors, and plan more clinics in the coming weeks.

Comment

Easter Celebrations

Chronic stress can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia headaches and other symptoms that affect our health. During Stress Awareness Month in April, HopeWay – an accredited nonprofit mental health residential and day treatment center for adults – is offering helpful tips to reduce and manage stress.

By Heather Nation

Editor’s note: In recognizing World Autism Awareness Day April 2, we typically think of parents’ stories of challenges and triumphs after their child is diagnosed. But when Heather reached out to me with her story, it resonated and I wanted to share it with other women.

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