SMN staff

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Election season in North Carolina got off to a predictably unpredictable start on Dec. 6 when an appellate court issued a temporary stay 30 minutes before candidate filing for the 2022 elections was set to begin.

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It’s cookie season. And with all that this year has thrown at us, I am so glad we have finally arrived here. 

The practice of wassailing is a time-honored tradition that has spanned centuries. When wassailing, people go door-to-door, singing and offering a sip of drink from something called a wassail bowl. Most do it to spread holiday cheer and wish good health on their neighbors. 

The past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way Americans prepare for everything — from the summer travel season to the back-to-school season and even the fall sports season — and small businesses are feeling the strain. But even in a pandemic, consumers want to shop small year-round. For small businesses looking to adapt, consistent engagement is key.

The holiday season is steeped in tradition. Many holiday traditions are centered around food, with much of the focus on all of the decadent treats and desserts taking center stage at many family gatherings.

He grew up around a father and grandfather that had woodshops, but he didn’t turn to woodworking until a little later in life. Now, after 49 years in banking, he spends 30 to 35 hours a week in his own wood shop in Maggie Valley. 

Susan Coe was born in England, grew up in Alabama, and now lives just outside of Bryson City. There was one spot left in the pottery class she decided to take at Southwest Community College (SWCC). Soon thereafter, pottery consumed her. Today, Susan has a home studio where she produces her colorful, functional pottery. 

Gallery Zella opened in Bryson City in March of 2016. Zella Jackson Hannum and Brian Hannum retired from their respective careers to devote their time to Gallery Zella and the work of nurturing the arts and artists in the region. 

A years-long effort to restore and relocate the Yancey Ridge Trail in Avery County is now complete, including a 1.2-mile section of new trail rerouting a segment that was on private property. 

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Winding Stair Road in Macon County will be closed through late March to install an overhead powerline replacing the existing cross-country route. 

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A diverse set of management activities proposed for the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest would include timber harvest, fish passage improvements and additional Appalachian Trail parking at Ben Creek Road.

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By Molly Phillips • Contributing writer | Over the summer, 16 students from Western Carolina University — led by Dr. Brett Riggs, Dr. Jane Eastman and field assistant Karen Biggert — drove each weekday from Cullowhee to Franklin to spend more than four hot, sticky weeks outdoors. Their mission? To apply scientific techniques to discover archaeological evidence on Mainspring’s Watauga Mound  property, and learn more about what northern Macon County looked like hundreds of years ago. 

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When Appalachian Trail season starts next year, the trek will be 1.2 miles longer thanks to three significant trail relocations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and along the Connecticut/New York border. 

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After more than two decades serving farmers and the local food community, Charlie Jackson will retire as executive director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

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The U.S. Senate confirmed Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III as director of the National Park Service on Thursday, Nov. 18, making him the first Native American to lead the agency. 

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Storm drains at Haywood Community College now sport stencils reminding people to help keep the waterways clean, thanks to a class project that Haywood Early College students recently completed. 

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To the Editor:

I grew up in what used to be a small town in New Jersey. Everything was peaceful and had plenty of open land with farms spread out amongst Cape Cod housing developments, population around 10,000. 

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To the Editor:

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the coming holidays, I’m writing to express my gratitude to Senators Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., and all the Democratic lawmakers for voting in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act President Joe Biden signed into law on November 15 . 

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By Gary St. Arnauld • Guest Columnist | North Carolina’s General Assembly has a long and not so honorable history of creating legislative maps that have been consistently struck down by federal and N.C. courts. This year, maps for N.C. congressional districts, state Senate districts and state House districts were drawn again as they are every 10 years due to U.S. Census data, or when the courts order new maps. Indeed, N.C. has drawn more litigation over this issue than any other state over the past 10 years.

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On the evening of Monday, Nov. 15, the Special Victims Unit of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation after receiving a complaint of a sexual assault involving a Macon County employee. 

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The saying “the more the merrier” certainly applies during the holiday season. But during a season of big gifts, extra food and travel, “more” can exact a heavy toll on the environment. 

A phenomenon called “cabin fever” tends to set in around late autumn or in midwinter. Long hours of darkness coupled with cold, inclement weather often is a recipe for increased time spent indoors. For people who live alone, the effects of cabin fever might be more pronounced.

The holiday season is steeped in tradition. Few traditions may elicit more collective belly laughs than holiday movie night, a tradition in millions of households across the globe. Families can consider these classic holiday films as they plan family movie night this holiday season.

The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family. Celebrating and entertaining are large components of what makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year’s festivities so enjoyable. Holiday hosts with pets must consider companion animals when planning the festivities.

A grant from Dogwood Health Trust will fund the first 6 of 42 planned miles of new, accessible trails in the Pisgah National Forest near Old Fort, with a pair of community input sessions coming up in December.

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A Sevierville woman is dead following a single-vehicle crash on the southbound Spur between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Wednesday, Nov. 17. 

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Wildlife biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are praising Asheville residents for helping them locate a distressed female bear cub wandering North Asheville with a clear container stuck on her head. 

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Cleanup efforts at informal campsites along Fontana Lake removed 3,500 pounds of trash this year, thanks to more than 30 volunteers and grant support from the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

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Lakes in the Hiwassee River Watershed tested extremely low for E. coli and other pathogens this summer, according to data from MountainTrue, though heavy rains, leaky septic systems and animal agriculture caused bacterial pollution in other parts of the watershed. 

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Letter to the Editor: I enjoyed reading Dr. Norman Hoffman’s opinion piece in the Friday, November 12, issue. I appreciate his concerns about the teaching of history in our public schools, his experiences as a public school student, and his reference to Critical Race Theory (CRT). I am prompted to comment on three things he wrote about.

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By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | Some people may still wonder how the Germany of a century ago could have spawned Adolf Hitler, World War II and the Holocaust. It was, after all, one of the best-educated and highly cultured nations in Europe, if not the world.

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To the Editor:

Communism, socialism and Democrats are all the same, always bad, all the time. Democratic-leaning relatives, friends, and associates who you have known for years are now considered pedophiles or worse, socialist. The Republican propaganda machine is in warp drive. I lived through the “Red Scare of the 1950s and, like today, unfounded fears and pure lies are at the heart of this assault on the truth. 

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To the Editor:

At long last after years of inaction, there will be greatly needed improvements to the infrastructure of the United States.  

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To the Editor:

I recently received an email from Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville. If only there was a Pinocchio award, so I could see our congressman’s nose growing longer and longer.

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Digital signs posted several counties away are warning of delays on Interstate 40 in the Pigeon River Gorge.

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A new book is available on the StoryWalk in the Village Green in Cashiers. 

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A pair of volunteer organizations within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park earned regional recognition for their service in 2020. 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash was one of five leaders nationwide recognized with the Walter T. Cox Award for conservation excellence this fall.

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To the Editor:

I find myself perplexed over the “housing crisis” in Waynesville. It seems all our town does is help big developers push more and more into rural neighborhoods. The public is being deceived into believing there is need for more, even when housing magazines/websites show numerous vacant homes. When will enough finally be enough? 

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To the Editor:

Folks, it is gerrymandered maps time again.

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The days are getting shorter, and so are the hours at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville. 

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North Carolinians ages 50 and older can now purchase lifetime hunting and fishing licenses for half price, following implementation of recent legislation. 

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The National Park Service is asking anybody who took pictures or videos on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 9, to share those files as the agency works to solve a homicide.

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The National Park Service and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association recently finalized a new five-year agreement that aims to facilitate regular, robust and meaningful dialogue between the NPS and Native American tribes. 

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Winter has started on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with some seasonal closures in effect and the first round of snow-related road closures taking place last week. 

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Dillsboro resident Phil Woody took home 10 medals in this year’s North Carolina Senior Games. 

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David Holt is one of nine North Carolinians who will receive the state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award, on Thursday, Nov. 18, at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 

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To the Editor: 

As each new report comes to light about Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s concealed weaponry, we should be asking how we can help this young man manage his fears before he makes good on his threats. 

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