SMN staff

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To the Editor:

The recent letter from a Sylva reader critical of support for Ukraine could have been written by a Russian intelligence agency. The assertions do not fit the facts.

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Breaking previous records, approximately 130 volunteers helped spruce up Highlands and surrounding highways this past Saturday, April 23, as part of the annual Plateau Pickup, organized and hosted by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce/Visit Highlands, NC. Volunteers collected approximately 15 tons of garbage along the roadways. 

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Folkmoot USA, home to North Carolina’s Official International Folk Festival, welcomes Evan Hatch as the new executive director to lead the nonprofit organization that embraces diverse cultures through music and dance.

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The “Spirit of the Smokies” certificate program is starting up again, offered by the University of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain Field School for adults who love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and desire a deeper connection to this landscape. This will be the field school’s 45th season.

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The Bobs Creek State Natural Area in McDowell County now totals more than 6,000 acres following completion of the third and final phase of property acquisition March 30. 

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The executive director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has invoked emergency powers to prevent spread of Chronic Wasting Disease following its detection in a deer in Yadkin County.

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A section of the Waynesville greenway next to Richland Creek at Vance Street Park is now closed for a construction project that will ultimately grow the park’s acreage. 

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The long-awaited Chestnut Mountain Nature Park just outside Canton will open to the public Saturday, April 23, with a family-friendly grand opening 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Situated as a park-within-a-park, Berm Park will open to mountain bikers the same day. 

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Celebrate the 200th birthday of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville. 

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To the Editor:

The nuclear family in America has been the backbone of its strength. This sacred unit has been under attack since 1965 when then President Lyndon Baines Johnson along with its laws and policies of “The Great Society” gradually redefined “family.”

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To the Editor:

Every once in a while an every-day experience provides the perfect example of a major issue and one may not even realize it. I usually wear a baseball hat around Waynesville. I generally get positive comments about it. 

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To the Editor:

Although I have no school-aged children, I read with interest the article about the Haywood County Association of Educators coming up with a new proposal for the review of instructional materials that a parent has found objectionable. 

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It is never too early to teach children and adolescents about budgeting and finance. Even the youngest of kids can learn how to manage money in a healthy way. The goal is for them to create habits that move with them into adulthood and ensure they make wise financial decision throughout their lives.

After 36 years in business, Motion Makers Bicycle Shop owner Kent Cranford has sold all three stores to Specialized Bicycles, the shop’s largest supplier. 

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With fishing season underway for Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, wildlife biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking the public to report sightings of mudpuppies and hellbenders. 

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A two-year trail rehabilitation project will soon start on Ramsey Cascades Trail, one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most popular paths. Located in the Greenbrier area, the 4-mile trail provides the only access to the park’s tallest waterfall, 100-foot Ramsey Cascades. 

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More than 600 people from across the region, nation and Canada representing every facet of the outdoor industry converged on Cherokee last week for the fourth annual Outdoor Economy Conference. 

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All poultry shows and public poultry sales are suspended in North Carolina due to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. 

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To the Editor:

Cory Vaillancourt’s March 30 roundup of what WCU professors have to say about the war in the Ukraine (“The messiest story you can have”) was fascinating. Particularly enlightening was Associate Professor David Dorondo’s response to students complaining about ever higher gas prices exacerbated by the conflict: “Remember, you’ll still get your gas. You’ll still get to go home ... and have electricity … and be alive in the morning.” Mr. Dorondo then added that fleeing Ukrainian refugees don’t have those guarantees.

My response is: so what? Professor Dorondo’s salary is more than $66,000 a year, which you can find by checking a state website. That’s four times what I make as a clerk in a secondhand bookstore. I can’t afford to pay more for gas to help people on the far side of the world who have the misfortune to live between the former German and Russian empires. Speaking of which, your reporter didn’t mention that one of Professor Dorondo’s areas of expertise was the German cavalry. In any case, I want to order his book, “Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare, 1870-1945.” But does he also lose sleep over what’s going on in the Yemen, inflicted by our ally, Saudi Arabia? It makes Ukraine look like a Rotary picnic.

The truth is, it doesn’t affect regular Americans what Putin does or doesn’t do in the lands covered in the 1918 Brest-Litovsk treaty. Those here who are most concerned — and think a war with Russia might be worth it — include government officials and diplomats whose “expertise” is said to be in that part of the world, or those whose ancestors hail from that area or they themselves were born there (e.g., Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Col. Alexander Vindman). Plus, we’ve got our own garden-variety, saber-rattling fantasists including the entire U.S. Senate, who hope foreign posturing will make us forget their utter mediocrity.

They can’t imagine not caring about Eastern Europe, but I can. Putin’s writ could run to the English Channel and it wouldn’t make me materially worse off. If Europe won’t pay to defend itself, why should we? NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Is Ukraine getting salt breezes from that Ocean? Romania? And if you want to talk about Munich 1938, bring it on. Neither “Munich” nor “balance of power” mean anything in the age of nuclear weapons.

Stuart Ferguson

Highlands

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Famed NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte has a message for all North Carolinians: speeding belongs on the racetrack - not the highway.

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The Fund for Haywood County with the J. Aaron and Adora H. Prevost Endowment Fund and the Mib and Phil Medford Endowment Fund awarded ten grants totaling $66,468 in a recent grant cycle.  Since 1994, The Fund for Haywood County, in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC), has awarded grants totaling $1,262,766.

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The Haywood Community College Foundation will hold an event called Laughter & Libations on Tuesday, April 26, from 6:00 until 8:30 p.m. at Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Maggie Valley. The funds raised will improve and expand the hiking trail on campus. With the purchase of a $50 ticket, participants will receive one drink ticket and heavy appetizers. 

To the Editor:

It is not my purpose to simply compare costs from a time long past but rather to recognize the consequences and repercussions that have occurred over decades due to the societal and economic (often erratic and unpredictable) variations Americans have experienced since WWII.

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To the Editor:

This might sound like a puff piece, but it is really a critical review of a local newspaper. I decided to write this after reading the latest edition of The Smoky Mountain News.

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To the Editor:

Late last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 6833, a bill that caps the price of insulin at $35 per month. Now it goes to the Senate for approval. 

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To the Editor:

Forgive me if I don’t share the general enthusiasm for the war in Ukraine.

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The first case of chronic wasting disease, a fatal affliction affecting cervids like deer and elk, has been detected in North Carolina. 

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Tribal members are wanted to work on a conservation crew this summer emphasizing Cherokee heritage and tradition. 

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The numbers are in, and in 2021 a total of 322 volunteers with Friends of Panthertown donated 1,945 hours of labor worth $52,904, spread over 68 trail workdays. 

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The U.S. Forest Service received nearly 14,000 objections to the forest management plan it released in January for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, but only 891 were deemed eligible for the process. 

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Brad Roberts, maintenance mechanic supervisor for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has been named the park’s 2021 Employee of the Year. 

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Clingmans Dome Road will open for the season April 8, a delay from the typical April 1 opening date due to drainage improvement work in the main parking area, including a culvert replacement and roadway patching. 

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Two fire specialists in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently received awards recognizing them for superior service, innovative thinking and leadership. 

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A summer program just for adults will launch this summer at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, offering a five-day, four-night residential experience June 20-24. 

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A Sylva man who arrived an hour late to court, appeared to nap through his trial, admitted to using methamphetamine and smoking marijuana during the three-days of proceedings, then attempted to bolt from the courtroom after jury members returned guilty verdicts, will spend at least the next 14 years in prison.

Comment

A Tuckasegee man who twice used knives to slash the necks of two men on separate occasions is headed to prison, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

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A virtual public meeting and hearing 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, will take input on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to move the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 

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Landmark Learning is now enrolling for a variety of wilderness medicine certification courses planned for the spring months. 

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Part-time Sylva resident Richie Kahn is running the Catamount Climb at Western Carolina University April 9 to raise money for One Rare, a nonprofit that works to improve the lives of young adults living with rare conditions. 

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A downed powerline along Park Headquarters Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ignited a 1.5-acre wildfire last week. 

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Oak Island resident Luke Bennett recently set off on a 1,175-mile journey across North Carolina to raise money and awareness for issues threatening wildlife and their habitats — and have a go at the Mountains-to-Sea Trail speed record.

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The Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary in Cherokee is now open for play. 

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To the Editor:

It looks like the leftist propaganda media has teamed up to smear former Rep. Mark Meadows with exaggerated claims of voter fraud, comparing his case to two other cases in which the voter fraud committed was of a totally different nature. 

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To the Editor:

This is in response to David L. Snell’s letter published in the March 16 edition. 

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Mountain Projects Community Action Agency has received a $30,000 investment grant from Nantahala Health Foundation to increase home safety for underserved populations in Jackson County.

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The N.C. Department of Information Technology today announced that qualified internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives providing internet service now have through May 4 to apply for up to $350 million in grants to expand broadband infrastructure in North Carolina. 

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Wild bird deaths due to highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, have been documented in four North Carolina counties, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is encouraging people to report potentially sick birds to the N.C. Wildlife Helpline. 

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A total of 94 people completed the grueling Assault on BlackRock trail race Saturday, March 19.

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