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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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International private equity firm Cinven recently announced that it has agreed to make a significant investment into Drake Software, a provider of software for tax preparers headquartered in Franklin. 

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Macon County man who went on school property in violation of his sex offender registration requirements will serve the maximum prison sentence possible under state law.

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CLYDE – A late-night operation at the interchange of U.S. 74 West and U.S. 19 South in Haywood County requires drivers to a detour from 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. for five nights starting Monday, Feb. 22.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the past year’s likely been topsy-turvy in all kinds of unexpected ways. With the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic coming up in one month, we want to hear your stories.

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Due to the forecast for windy, cold weather, the Annual Lake Cleanup at Lake Junaluska, originally scheduled to take place on four days, will not hold a cleanup event on Friday, Feb. 19, and will move the time for the clean-up on Saturday, Feb. 20, to noon to 4 p.m. 

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Daniel “Danny” Steven Lucas will spend a minimum of almost 19 years in prison for operating a substantial opiate and marijuana operation in Macon County, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said this week.

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Online dating is an absolute minefield. When our parents were being raised, gentleman callers either had to ring the home phone number and check in with a parent, or sneakily meet up in a restaurant on the bad side of town. The recent development of being able to hide behind a screen has not only led to an increase in cyberbullying and innocent ‘catfishing,’ but to the internet becoming an increasingly dangerous place. Unfortunately, the world wide web is open to the whole world and has not got a firewall for keeping the bad ones out. 

Gladys Knight, “Empress of Soul,” and her husband William McDowell recently received their COVID-19 vaccinations in Haywood County. The couple, who reside in North Carolina and created a community center and nonprofit RHS Community Foundation in Canton, wish to set an example for others and dispel vaccination fears within the community. 

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A new online platform now allows visitors to the Nantahala, Pisgah and Croatan National Forests to pay day-use and annual pass fees through www.recreation.gov at no additional cost. 

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Two popular springtime events at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville won’t take place this year due to ongoing virus-related safety precautions. 

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A pilot project that last year kept Cades Cove Loop Road vehicle-free on Wednesdays will continue this year. 

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Despite the pandemic, Sylva’s Cub Scout Pack 999 has been staying active and is currently seeking new members to join the group. 

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By Mary Jane Curry • Guest Columnist

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”

— William Wordsworth, 1798

Agreeing generates peace and optimism — emotions hard to come by over the past year. Fortunately, a growing majority of Americans do agree that we must do more to lessen the climate crisis and they want to be part of the solution. But how and what?

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To the Editor:

Budgets, it has been said, are moral documents. This is because how a community chooses to spend and invest its money demonstrates the priorities of that community and, ultimately, our values. More than just a dry process of bureaucracy, budgets shape our future and impact who we, together, will become.

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To the Editor: 

There has been a bit of discussion and controversy over the proposal for Haywood County to spend in the neighborhood of $15 million to build a new jail. One of the arguments is that there are other needs that could be addressed for that amount of money. The problem is that some of the arguments don’t address the issue for the need of a new detention facility.

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To the Editor: 

Thank you for your February 3 primer on the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as well as an update on its reintroduction this session in the North Carolina General Assembly. 

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A woman who wrecked while driving impaired, killing a close friend after the two left work from the now-shuttered No Name Sports Pub in Sylva, will spend three days a year in jail for three consecutive years, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said. 

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Over the past decade at Southwestern Community College, serving as Heritage Arts Department Chair has become much more than a fun job for Jeff Marley — it’s a passion.

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Question: What are some snack ideas for someone with diabetes?

Uncertainty about university schedules, childcare and other variables prevented some prospective students from enrolling in college classes this spring.

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The supply of COVID-19 vaccine from N.C. DHHS to Macon County remains limited at this time and a waitlist was established in late January. Currently, only individuals in Group 1 (Health Care Workers with in- person Patient Contact) and Group 2 (Individuals age 65 and over) are eligible to receive the vaccine at this time according to the NC DHHS schedule. However, Macon County leaders urge residents to register to receive the vaccine regardless of eligibility criteria.

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On Tuesday, Feb. 9,  Haywood County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a vehicle on North Canton Road around 4 p.m. A search of the vehicle produced 74.7 grams of methamphetamine, 21 grams of heroin, 1.3 grams marijuana, $443 in cash and a variety of drug paraphernalia.

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Haywood County Health and Human Services has received notice of three more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number now to 84.

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Two investigations and subsequent arrests in cases that were first initiated in Fall 2020 has Macon County Sheriff’s Office detectives continuing their extensive investigations. 

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With freezers now on campus, staff in place, and volunteers on the way, Western Carolina University is in the final stages of preparations to open a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, targeting a Feb. 18 opening date.

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February is Teen Dating Violence and Awareness Prevention Month. This issue affects not just teens, but their families, friends, and community as well.  Teen Dating Violence is comprised of four types of abuse: sexual violence, physical violence, psychological aggression, and stalking.

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