Along for the ride: Cataloochee thrives amid warm weather, pandemic adaptations

Sun is shifting in and out of the clouds covering Cataloochee Ski Area on Friday, Jan. 14, as I catch a ride to the top of Easy Way with Greenville, South Carolina, resident William Oliver. It’s my first run of the day, but he’s been riding for a while now — and after the warm weather and closures that plagued eastern ski resorts in December, he’s enthusiastic about today’s snow report. 

Do your part, let’s beat this thing

Three tests, two shots, but just let me know if more is needed.

That’s a short and very superficial synopsis of my personal Covid story, but in truth the story goes much deeper. I suspect that’s the truth for most of us.

Cases surge with Omicron arrival

The arrival of the extremely contagious Omicron variant in conjunction with holiday travel and gatherings has caused a spike in COVID-19 cases far eclipsing anything seen in the pandemic to date — but the variant’s apparently milder effects compared to previous COVID-19 strains could a limited impact.

Rescue funds to assist local governments

Signed by President Joe Biden on March 17, 2021, the American Rescue Plan will provide $1.88 trillion in federal funds in an effort to defeat the COVID-19 virus and provide workers and families with resources to survive the pandemic. 

Now we know what the COVID police will do

I’ve had mixed feelings about the “COVID police” since the beginning of the pandemic’s lockdowns.

As Delta wave recedes, hospitals see consequences of deferred care

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are continuing to fall to the lowest levels seen in months, but hospitals say that staffing shortages and increasingly acute presentations of non-COVID ailments are keeping them busy. 

Macon votes for optional masking, universal testing in schools

The Macon County School Board decided last week to make masks optional for all K-12 students. The decision came on the same day that the state Department of Health and Human Services updated its guidance for North Carolina schools, no longer recommending districts require face masks for all students and staff in school. 

Pandemic is financial bonanza for HCA

By Peter H. Lewis • Asheville Watchdog | Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, which operates Asheville’s Mission Hospital and five other hospitals in Western North Carolina, reported Friday that it made $2.27 billion in profits in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, triple the amount in the same period last year. 

Haywood schools outlines COVID retention bonus plan

During COVID-19, Haywood County Schools’ employees have gone above and beyond to support the community and encourage learning during the Coronavirus Pandemic. This began with meal deliveries to students and the community. When the state allowed students to return to in-person schooling, Haywood County Schools opened its doors five days a week for rotational or daily attendance. Haywood County Schools have been very safe with limited clusters, strong academic and extra-curricular performance.

Our public health crisis is not over yet

Allison Richmond • Guest Columnist | Haywood County is struggling to cope with a very unusual situation, two separate states of emergency happening at the same time. A month and a half ago, historic flooding brought loss and anguish to our community, and while that is devastation enough, for nearly two years now COVID-19 has threatened the health of every one of us.

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