Media freedom could easily slip away

When Federal Communications Commission officials came to Asheville last week to discuss media ownership regulations, they got an earful from a crowd that was mostly against media consolidation of any kind. We hope FCC officials get this reaction everywhere they go, because the decisions they make in the next few years could have a profound and, perhaps, chilling effect on the media as we know it today.

Once and for all, stop the influence peddling in Raleigh

For most people who live and work in Western North Carolina, the inner workings of our citizen legislature in Raleigh are just about as arcane as the inner workings of the federal Congress in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, it also suffers from the same malaise — too much influence is held by lobbyists whose goal is to help themselves and their clients, not the state’s citizens.

Truth about kids and synchronicity

Before our son was born almost a year and a half ago, Tammy and I made an important decision. She would stop working and stay home with our two kids until they were both in school. We weighed the advantages and disadvantages, realizing that losing her income would put us in occasional tenuous circumstances financially, but we felt that even if we had to go into the red some months, even if we had to watch our credit card debt crawl (and sometimes leap) upward, it would be worth it for our family.

Authenticity often doesn’t lend itself to good drama

Back in 1952, when I was one of a dozen Western North Carolina high school students who wrote winning essays on the Trail of Tears, I sat with a transfixed audience in Cherokee’s Mountainside Theatre and watched T’sali die.

Support for downtown Sylva is a wise investment

Sylva town officials have OK’d a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that has just about eliminated funding for the Downtown Sylva Association (formerly SPIR). That’s a mistake the citizens of Sylva and the downtown business community should not tolerate.

Saving farms is not about nostalgia

If you think taking tangible steps to protect farmland is more about nostalgia than anything else, guess again. As change continues at its rapidly accelerating pace, having protected private land on which to grow crops could become an important part of the American economy.

The difference between co-opted and compromised

By Avram Friedman

In January of 2006, Jim Hansen, a climatologist advising the Bush Administration, said that we have “at most 10 years” to make the drastic cuts in emissions that might head off climatic catastrophe. Hansen was speaking to just one major threat to our existence on earth. Likewise, the continued use of fossil fuels and nuclear technology poses the threat of other disastrous consequences such as acid rain, excess nitrogen deposition, mercury contamination and radioactive materials saturate the environment and endanger public health for generations to come.

Look at TDA structure, and then let’s move on

After last week’s surprising meeting of the Haywood County Council of Governments regarding the tourism board, perhaps there is finally an end in sight to the controversy regarding this board.

Scared of the Dark?

By Stephanie Wampler • Columnist

The dark is a strange creature. It has so many faces.

“Dark” is how we have always described our worst times. Thousands of years ago, the phrase “the valley of the shadow of death” was coined, and it still strikes a deep chord. We can all think of some dark time in our lives.

A heated rivarly where everyone’s a winner

By Eric Larson

Where I grew up, you had to choose sides early: You were either a University of Alabama football fan or you pulled for the Auburn “War Eagles.” I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but some people were actually shot and killed over arguments that arose from this bitter, storied rivalry.

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