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A 175-acre prescribed burn is planned for this week along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Wears Valley to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, on the Tennessee side of the park. 

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A partnership between the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Brevard-based Black Folks Camp Too is expected to encourage outdoor participation and engagement with diverse communities.

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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 44th season.

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To the Editor:

I am so sick of hearing this argument that we’re “changing” or “erasing” history by changing statues or county namesakes. The history of the Civil War and the history of how we treated Native Americans in this country will always be the same, because the past is the past. However, we can choose which parts of history we want to honor. Statues, memorials, and namesakes are created to honor people or events. Should we have statues honoring people who fought for a cause that, at its core, was over slavery? Should we have our county be named after a man who forced people off the land they’d inhabited for thousands of years so that white people could live there? 

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To the Editor:

The other day a friend of mine made this remark: “I never want to hear Trump supporters mention morality (as in the Moral Majority) again. They have bowed down to his steady stream of lies as though the rest of us merely have to accept lying as a way of life in America.”

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To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my outrage regarding Madison Cawthorn’s bogus attempt to defend his proxy vote when the House of Representatives voted on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. His first offense was trying to project blame on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,claiming she purposely changed the floor schedule knowing that he and about 10 other Republican members were scheduled to speak on Friday at CPAC in Orlando. Speaker Pelosi is a master vote counter and it’s not uncommon for her to modify the floor schedule if there’s an issue that needs further attention before calling for a vote.  She knew how Cawthorn and his CPAC comrades were going to vote, so she had no need to work around them. 

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To the Editor:

Voting records show that North Carolina and Haywood County had the largest voter turnout ever in the last election. That’s great, because our democracy depends on citizens voting. And that’ whey it’s important to understand the proposed voting rights act that is heading to the U.S. Senate for consideration. It was created from well-established voting practices, from both red and blue states. 

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While summer camps were on hiatus during the height of the pandemic in 2020, many camps in Western North Carolina are reopening for summer 2021 with COVID-19 protocols in place. Parents will need to plan now to reserve a spot at some of the more popular week-long camps.

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The Natti Love Joys will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at Lazy Hiker Brewing in Franklin.

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There will be a wide array of new and ongoing art classes offered in the coming weeks and months at the Uptown Gallery in downtown Franklin. 

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Question: What are some beverage suggestions for someone who has pre-diabetes or is trying to watch their carbohydrates/added sugar?

By Peter H. Lewis, Asheville Watchdog | Since Madison Cawthorn took office two months ago, vowing to represent everyone in his Western North Carolina district, not just those who voted for him, nearly all of his votes in Congress on substantial issues have been against proposals supported by Democrats, an analysis of his record by Asheville Watchdog found. 

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SYLVA – N.C. Department of Transportation officials recently awarded three contracts to resurface highways in Cherokee, Jackson and Henderson counties.

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Quilters at Sassy Stitches in Franklin recently presented patches of comfort to District Attorney Ashley Welch, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

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A new online portal now allows people to schedule themselves for COVID-19 vaccine appointments through the Jackson County Department of Public Health.

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The Swain County United Gift Fund is pleased to announce a donation of $2,000 from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. This donation will be applied to the organization's 2021 campaign to raise funds for participating nonprofits in Swain County.

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Vice Mayor of Franklin Barbara McRae passed away Tuesday night after a long and valiant battle against cancer.

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International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. 

By Daley Hooten - 

Quarantine has taken an emotional toll on all of us. Some more than others, but we have all been affected by it. I’m getting to a period where it feels like I’m living the same day over and over and over again. Get up, go to virtual school, eat, do homework, eat again, sleep, repeat. To be honest, I’m going a bit crazy. 

As a nation we are still doing a really poor job at eating our vegetables. Many of us don't even eat one serving a day! What's stopping us? 

The U.S. Forest Service wants public input on a proposal to build 42 miles of new trails near Old Fort in McDowell County. 

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With the pandemic still very much in effect as thru-hiker season comes around once more, trail season in Franklin will look a good bit different than normal. 

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Cades Cove Loop Road will be fully closed for three weeks in September to allow crews to resurface the popular roadway, which is used by more than 2 million visitors each year. 

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A paving project expected to last through the end of November is now underway on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most-used thoroughfare, Newfound Gap Road. 

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A new video highlighting the Smokies Hikes for Healing program, a hiking series that Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash hosted to foster open conversations about racism, diversity and inclusion, is now available on YouTube. 

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The 2021 Classic Hikes of the Smokies Series is underway. 

By Randy Siske • Contributing writer | Our “Breakfast Club” started eating together in 2006 just because we went to the same place, The Smoky Mountain Café, at the same time. That restaurant closed so we all decided to go to Duval’s. It closed so we started going to Clyde’s.

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To the Editor:

I am alarmed by the variety and sheer numbers of claims of election fraud we still see, claims that change or evolve over time to fit a multitude of narratives of mistrust this country has never seen.

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To the Editor:

This is in response to the recent letter by Carol Adams of Glenville: “Trump was 1,000 Percent Correct.”

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To the Editor:

On behalf of the Haywood County Senior Democrats, I would like to express our profound gratitude to the Haywood County Department of Health and Human Services for coordinating and delivering our county’s allotment of Covid-19 vaccines.

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AT&T customers and FirstNet subscribers in Cherokee got a big boost in wireless connectivity. AT&T added a new cell tower to enhance the area’s 4G LTE coverage and help give residents and first responders faster, more reliable wireless service. The investment will help customers get the most out of their mobile devices.

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The Smoky Mountain News team won 26 editorial awards in the 2020 North Carolina Press Association News and Editorial Contest. 

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Haywood County Health and Human Services has received notice of five more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number now to 89.

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NC-11 Congressional Rep. Madison Cawthorn spent last week engaging with his constituents in the western reaches of the district.

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Expanding on an existing partnership, Haywood County Emergency Services has contracted Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc. to manufacture COVID pod covers for use in transporting patients with contagious respiratory symptoms.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced the release of a video highlighting the Smokies Hikes for Healing program. In response to social unrest across the country in 2020, Park Superintendent Cassius Cash initiated the program to provide a space for people to have open conversations about racism, diversity, and inclusion in a place long recognized for its incredible diversity.

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By Barbara Durr, Asheville Watchdog — Priscilla Ndiaye Robinson looked across the empty fields where her Southside neighborhood once thrived. “It’s all gone,” she said. “One thousand two hundred businesses and homes were lost.” 

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By Megan Trawick — I should start by saying that I really enjoy personality tests. I always have. I remember first taking the Myers Brigg in high school for a school project and finding it fascinating. Since then, I have taken every personality test that is put in front of me. So it is easy to see how I became an Enneagram enthusiast. 

We wanted to tell you about how to start your own ritual but also wanted to share with you the rituals we've created during the pandemic. These simple acts of self-care have helped us manage our thoughts and stay mindful during such a chaotic time. 

The phrase, 'A chicken in every pot' has been associated with food security for almost a hundred years, and perhaps even longer. Possibly because poultry are inexpensive to raise and grows quickly. 

A 1995 Haywood Community College graduate has received seven awards for his distinguished assistance to the U.S. military in Afghanistan. 

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Hit the open road virtually at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 2, for author Hawk Hagebak’s humorous take on motorcycling up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

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Conservation groups are applauding a Feb. 11 order from Acting Secretary of the Interior Scott de la Vega that rescinds and revokes a previous order from the Trump Administration’s Interior Secretary David Bernhardt regarding implementation of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act. 

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A recently completed conservation project in Hickory Nut Gap connects to an existing 1,500 acres of conserved land in southwestern Buncombe County. 

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To the Editor:

In the six weeks since being sworn in as North Carolina’s new 11th District representative in Congress, Madison Cawthorn has voted against direct cash payments to his constituents and against financial support for apprenticeship programs at local community colleges. These are two votes that really would have helped people in Western North Carolina.

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To the Editor:

America has failed to punish Trump, the ex-president who has done so much harm to our country.

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To the Editor:

Senator Patrick Leahy (eight-term Democratic senator from Vermont) recently wrote a column charging former President Trump with a dozen, well, transgressions, you might say. I’ll paraphrase for simplicity and space.

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Macon County woman who was arrested as part of a multiple-person drug sting will serve at least 120 months in prison. 

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