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The exterior walls of Western Carolina University’s Scott and Walker residence halls — a pair of nine-story, no-frills, 1960s-era, dormitory-style student housing facilities — are scheduled to begin tumbling down Wednesday, Sept. 16, along with floors and ceilings.

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Due to the pandemic, Friends of the Smokies has had to cancel its annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon, which it typically holds at the end of August to raise money for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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A virtual book club through the Highlands Biological Foundation this fall will cover the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. 

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The Waynesville Recreation Center and Old Armory will reopene for additional activities at 30 percent capacity at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, in response to Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement that North Carolina is entering Phase 2.5 of reopening. 

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The Jackson County Recreation Centers in Cullowhee and Cashiers will reopen on Monday, Sept. 14, but with significant operational changes. 

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Law enforcement is investigating an early morning shooting that occurred just before 3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, near milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

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The fall color forecast is looking dim for 2020, according to the annual prognostication offered by Western Carolina University biology professor Beverly Collins. 

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At midnight Friday, Sept. 4, a pair of experienced Smokies hikers embarked on a 900-mile challenge in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the goal of raising $60,000 for the park’s Preventative Search and Rescue program. 

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To the Editor:

I keep hearing the term systemic racism. I assume this means racism built into our nation’s systems and policies for years and years. I guess the latest example in our media is supposed to be the black persons killed by cops even though many more whites by far are killed by cops annually than blacks. 

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By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | It’s 10 O’Clock on a Monday morning. I stroll into J. Gabriel Home and Gifts on Waynesville’s Main Street and am greeted by a blur of commotion. Though the store’s just opened, people are already popping in and milling around displays of jewelry, clothes and chocolate truffles. There’s a flash of grey fur by my feet and I’m suddenly being nuzzled by a gorgeous ice-eyed husky. Pleasantly shocked, I reach down to pet it, but am interrupted by a short whistle that sends the dog careening away across the shop. 

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Joseph William Lomas, 25, of Cherokee, died while being detained at the Swain County Detention Center on Aug. 28. 

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When Haywood-area Realtors merged with their Charlotte counterparts earlier this year to create the Canopy Realtors Association, one big reason was the opportunity to dispense charitable support that would address unmet housing and educational needs. 

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Recently I was able to participate in a Zoom webinar by the NC Muscadine Growers Association to learn more about muscadine grapes, how and where they are grown in North Carolina, some of the different varieties and I even got to sample some different types of muscadine grapes.

The Jackson County Board of Education voted to proceed with Phase 2 of the district’s reentry plan at their work session on Sept. 1.  Interim Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton recommended the change that allows students to return to their classrooms on an A/B schedule beginning Sept. 14.

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On Thursday, the new Carolina Black Millionaire Edition game delivered its first $1 million prize to Caterra Ponton of Clyde.

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Autumn leaves and the natural beauty of fall colors across Western North Carolina are a seasonal sensation that draw thousands of visitors and locals alike - and prompts an annual prognostication by Western Carolina University biology professor Beverly Collins.

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Following Governor Cooper’s press conference Tuesday, Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center will begin a phased reopening plan to best navigate the health and safety of patients and guests. 

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Q&A with Beth Sanderson Hooper: Teacher, Mom and Fitness Extraordinaire 

Part of our goal here at Rumble is to start and continue conversations among women. We want to know what’s important to you, what’s weighing heavy on your mind? What problems can we help each other solve? What questions can we help you answer? 

Would it be healthier for me to use honey instead of cane sugar?

Previously closed facilities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will reopen on Thursday, Sept. 3, for the first time since the Coronavirus Pandemic began. 

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High-priority trail work on the Black Mountain Crest Trail in the Nantahala National Forest is now complete thanks to a crew of young adults with Conservation Corps North Carolina that worked with volunteers from the N.C. High Peaks Trail Association. 

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The Bucket Brigade is looking for people who are tired of passing by the same trash each day and want to get outside to make a difference in the community. 

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After a weeklong virtual campout in July, Cub Scouts from Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties converged at Camp Daniel Boone in Haywood County Sunday, Aug. 23, for Shooting Sports Day — an afternoon of hiking, fishing and target practice with BB guns and bows and arrows. 

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To the Editor: Haywood County 2020: I can’t drive down the street without seeing a representation of a Confederate flag. It’s flying in my neighbor’s yard, waving from the backs of unnecessarily jacked up trucks, and on T-shirts, hats and bumper stickers. Let’s be honest, you can’t swing a possum without hitting the stars and bars. 

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To the Editor:

Trump is fine with the violence and looting. He thrives on drama and chaos. He can continue to drive home his law and order rhetoric and convince people that Democrats are responsible for it all. 

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To the Editor:

When I was a young girl studying my catechism we would read aloud in unison: “Who Loves You ... God Loves You, Who Made You ... We Were Created In The Image And Likeness Of God.”

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To the Editor:

As a student of color at Western Carolina University, I was angered and disheartened by the racist videos made by former classmates which recently came to light, but I can’t say I was surprised. As many Black students and students of color know, racism is not something new on our campus. 

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To the Editor:

I have had the pleasure of reading many a fine editorial from SMN Editor Scott McLeod over the years, but the tone and the substance of last week's opinion piece “If you stay home, just keep quiet,” is one of the worst pieces I have ever read, from any source. 

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To the Editor:

The White House is a broken train wreck. The only way we Americans can restore sanity to the presidency, restore constitutionality to our democracy and restore integrity to the Oval Office is to use the hard-earned power of our votes.

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To the Editor:

In response to Margaret Abel’s rhetorical question “what would our Founding Fathers do?”

To quote from the First Amendment to our Constitution: “Congress shall make no laws …. Abridging the right of people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” 

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By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | Since its opening in 2014, the Haywood Pathways Center has become a life-changing place for people in Haywood County. Originally founded as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness or getting out of jail, it is now a holistic care and rehabilitation program. Residents are given warm beds, good food, and most importantly, resources for returning to the workforce. 

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By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | During the Haywood County Arts Council’s annual meeting, Executive Director Leigh Forrester recently outlined the extensive losses the art community has suffered due to COVID-19. 

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Western Carolina University has obtained a rare photographic glimpse of Bryson City and Swain County in the early 1900s, thanks to a recent donation to Hunter Library’s renowned Special and Digital Collections. 

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Haywood County Public Health received notice of 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the last week. As of 5 p.m. Aug. 27, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded 493 cases in Haywood County.

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Haywood County Schools is scheduled to reopen for remote instruction on Monday, Aug. 31 after a significant cyber attack last Monday forced the school system to take down most technology services in order to stop the corruption of school system servers and computers.

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Paul Snow pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Macon County courtroom to the Nov. 6, 2016, shooting deaths of his mother and sister, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

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By Sally Kestin, Tom Fiedler and Peter H. Lewis | AVL Watchdog | Conservative congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn, scheduled to speak Wednesday at the GOP national convention, traveled to Texas last month to visit a private border wall and echoed discredited child sex trafficking claims promoted by the extremist conspiracy theory movement.

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a key figure in Operation Jawbreaker, a sweep two years ago of suspected local drug dealers acting in concert on a two-state level, was arrested Tuesday and charged with harboring a fugitive.

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College students around the nation adjust to a new normal amidst COVID-19.

By Laurie Bass

Years from now, when we look back on the fiasco that is 2020, I wonder how we will feel about our foray into virtual learning and teaching. Will it be one of those experiences that time smiles upon, casting it in a friendlier light? Will we think about the extra time we got with our children and smile wistfully? Will we pat ourselves on the back for navigating uncharted territory with gumption and grit? Or, more realistically, will we shake our heads and praise the Lord on high that it was just a short season, and against all odds and despite many setbacks, we survived it and our children did too?

A cyclist passed away in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last week following an accident on a downhill section of Cades Cove Loop Road Sunday, Aug. 16. 

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A new fictional chapter book for young readers is now available from the Great Smoky Mountains Association. 

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The annual Winter Lights event at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will be offered as a drive-thru experience this year due to COVID-19. 

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To the Editor:

In my opinion all plaques, markers, statues and monuments honoring those who served the Confederacy should be removed from public squares. Simply adding context or additional statuary allows the object honoring the Confederacy to remain … and that’s the problem. There is a horrific backstory connected to these statues which goes unacknowledged or unaccepted by many. Yet, in the light of historical fact, no one could support the continued public display of Confederate monuments.

At the core of all things Confederate is the preservation of human enslavement. So paramount was this issue that it was enshrined in the Confederate constitution. Article 1, Section 9, states: “… no law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” It continues in Article 4, Section 3, “… the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and the Territorial government(s) …”

Re-read that. Let it sink in. Property in people of African descent is protected in the foundational document of the Confederacy. Every Confederate soldier or government official would have sworn to uphold the constitution.

Now, take a second look at these statutes. All who served the Confederacy in any capacity, regardless of economic status, would have pledged to protect the “right of property in negro slaves.” All Southerners knew, at its core, what the fight was about. Other rationales were contrived, such as “state’s rights” or “home and hearth” to make the call to arms more virtuous or morally respectable, something noble. And while it’s true that most Confederate soldiers did not practice enslavement, they were, nonetheless, willing to fight to preserve it.

In historical reality, Confederate monuments honor those who took up arms to secure the right of white Southerners to force labor upon enslaved people who were legally designated as property, like other farm animals or equipment. That is the glaring historical truth. Do you actually want that represented on your courthouse lawn or capital square?

Having Confederate ancestors, as I do, is nothing to be proud of and should certainly not me memorialized. Sadly, this history happened, and rest assured it can’t be erased. But it is imperative now that we, as Americans, ask ourselves what in our history is worthy of communication. What should we publicly honor?

Faye Kennedy

Whittier

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To the Editor:

Would you be able to vote if you had to pass a literacy test?  Can you count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap? Can you count the number of jelly beans in a jar? These were some of the tests that were required for Black citizens prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Can you imagine the pain and trauma many people endured when trying to exercise their rights as American citizens and were denied?

The late congressional Rep. John Lewis actually shed his blood in his efforts to draw attention to the fact that people of color were not allowed to vote. He was beaten, insulted and his life threatened along with many others involved in fighting for civil rights and voting rights in the 1960s. 

Do you take your right to vote for granted? Do you exercise that vote every time there is an election? In addition to John Lewis and others fighting for voting rights of minorities, think of the thousands of Americans who have served and died in military service defending democracy and our right to vote. 

I recently interviewed Payson Kennedy, who co-founded the Nantahala Outdoor Center in 1972. He was a faculty member of the University of Illinois in the 1960s. In early 1965, Kennedy took some students in a Volkswagen van to Selma, Alabama. They stayed in a housing project and every morning John Lewis, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to them. At noon they marched to the courthouse in Selma to register Blacks to vote but they were refused. Kennedy said the speeches and marches all emphasized non-violence. They were asked to remain non-violent despite taunts and threats. Protestors today should follow their example. 

The marches that Payson Kennedy and his students participated in, plus the famous “Bloody Sunday” march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965, led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This act prohibited racial discrimination in voting and was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. 

Kennedy is puzzled why people don’t vote when so many people put their lives on the line for this right. He believes our country is in a crisis today probably as bad as any other time in recent history. 

In a letter written days before his death to be read on the day of his funeral, John Lewis repeated something he often said: “If you see something that is not right, you must say something and you must do something.”    

Filmmaker Michael Moore stated: “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.” When you exercise your right to vote, you’ll be doing your part to maintain our democracy.  Use your right to vote or lose it. 

Mary A. Herr

Cherokee

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Foods and drinks that are high in added sugar often lead to consumption of excess calories and dental caries so it would seem like "no sugar added" or "sugar-free" products would be a better choice, right? 

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | Internet technology has become the backbone of schools in the time of COVID-19. E-learning has allowed students to carry on their studies while safely at home on a historic scale. However, this reliance on technology has its pitfalls; school systems are now more vulnerable than ever to cyber attacks. 

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The Sylva Police Department arrested Michael Bruce Huffman of Sylva on Aug. 20. Huffman wascharged with misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor child abuse.  

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