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The nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) recently announced the semifinalists in our international solo contest. 

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Rich Price, a passionate and proud 1988 graduate of Western Carolina University, has spent the last seven years as the director of economic development for Jackson County. Now he will get a chance to marry his love of both WCU and Western North Carolina in his new role as the university’s executive director of economic development and regional partnerships.

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Vaccinations by the numbers:

Total number vaccinated in Haywood County: Over 6,000

Total vaccinated this week in drive-through events: 1,500

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Stealing a leaf blower in Haywood County ended last week with a hefty prison sentence for an Asheville man, who fled from — then assaulted and spit on — law-enforcement officers, after driving at a high rate of speed through a crowded parking lot.

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Dear anyone that feels like they have been challenged beyond measure — almost a year ago, our world as we knew it changed. We were introduced to COVID-19.

2020 was a year that could have used clear, concise information and instructions. Unfortunately, multiple conspiracy theories took hold, dividing our great nation. The following are some myths around Human Trafficking, and the truth of the situation.

Question: What does it mean when a product is advertised as "clean"?

Waynesville resident Kaleb Rathbone is now serving as an assistant commissioner to N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, overseeing Western N.C. agricultural programs and small farms. 

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Twelve rock faces in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are closed to climbing, rappelling, hang-gliding and other activities through Aug. 15 in order to protect the rare peregrine falcons that nest there. 

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A recreational racing program will offer skiers and snowboarders of all abilities the chance to push their speed with weekly competitions on non-holiday Saturdays through the end of the season at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley. 

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To the Editor:

It is totally baffling. At a time when the pandemic is pretty much out of control, vaccines are rolling out in larger numbers daily, our local officials seem oblivious to the urgency to develop a solution needed to save the lives of our local population and their constituents. Not addressing the issue will not make it go away.

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To the Editor:

Barely a week after the violent and deadly attack on our nation’s capital by domestic terrorists, The Smoky Mountain News chose to print Jeff Minick’s book review with the headline “For what would you lay down your life?”

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To the Editor:

A ray of hope has appeared in a strange but clear way over the past number of months. It has manifested itself since the presidential election and most clearly since the January 6 insurrection at our nation’s capital.

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To the Editor:

Who is going to make a difference? Who’s going to clean up the mess this GOP administration has left us?

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To the Editor:

In your article, “Words matter: Rhetoric became rage in D.C. insurrection,” Rep. Madison Cawthorn admits that he cannot prove fraud in the presidential election, but is quoted as saying “...what I can prove is that the Constitution was definitely subverted and circumvented.” He does not share his proof so we, his constituents, can evaluate his position, but there is a larger question.

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To the Editor:

Let’s look at the definitions.

Sedition: “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state.”

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As of Tuesday, Jan. 19, Haywood County Public Health received notice of 130 new cases of COVID-19 within the last four days.

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A collaboration between Western Carolina University, the University of North Carolina Asheville and the Blue Ridge Pride Center will gather oral histories, archival materials and photos for an ongoing LGBTQ+ community research project. 

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The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has identified a COVID-19 cluster connected to the Waynesville Police Department. Six employees, at all levels of the department, have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Macon County Public Health has established an additional Call Center with the assistance of Drake Enterprises and Macon County Administration to offer several options for individuals to get registered for the COVID-19 vaccination. The options are as follows:

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Newly elected Chief Justice Paul Newby wants judicial districts, not state officials, deciding when and how to resume full court functions, including jury trials.

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Mountain BizWorks is once again partnering with Dogwood Health Trust in a targeted effort to provide increased access to another round of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for nonprofits, small businesses, sole proprietors and independent contractors in the region, with a focus on rural and minority and women-led organizations.

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Western Carolina University has shifted its spring semester schedule in response to record-high COVID-19 cases and a resulting strain in critical care resources.

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Classes at Cullowhee Valley School will transition to remote-only instruction tomorrow due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among staff members. 

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By Megan McLeod, AmeriCorps Program Officer and Training Coordinator for North Carolina

Jorden Rice, a graduating senior at Brevard College, is on the path to realizing her dream of becoming a teacher following a remarkable student teaching experience this past semester in the remote-learning environment necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Did you know, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities?

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | During the Spanish Civil War, which the Fascists won, one of their generals said there was a “fifth column” inside Madrid that would capture the capital before any of their four advancing formations could reach the city. Ever since, the phrase has stood for any group of disloyal people aiming to subvert their own country.

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To the Editor:

As one of Mr. Madison Cawthorn’s constituents in the 11th District, I wish to inform him that I find his recent words and actions with regard to the presidential election to be beyond troubling.

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To the Editor:

In 1974 Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he committed, may have committed, or may have taken part in during the period from Jan. 20, 1969, through Aug. 9, 1974.

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As 2020 shifts to the rearview, Friends of Panthertown is celebrating a slew of accomplishments earned despite an ongoing pandemic. 

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A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Linville Falls will be closed through summer for a bridge rehabilitation project at the Linville River Bridge. 

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Two road sections in the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed for bridge replacement through Friday, March 26. 

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More than 200 acres have been added to the Pisgah National Forest at Linville Gorge thanks to a recently completed project by The Conservation Fund. 

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The Franklin Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet will be postponed until later in the year after a vote by its board of directors.

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Macon County Public Health was overrun with phone calls to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments and testing appointments on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 11-12.

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Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 191 new cases of COVID-19 in the last four days.

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In the process of implementing new systems to create a fair and equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Haywood County Public Health recently made the public aware of a mistake that was made.

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The future of a massive development proposed for the Cashiers crossroads is still up in the air following a Jan. 6 meeting of the Cashiers Area Community Planning Council.

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Question: What are "ancient grains" and are they better for me if I have celiac disease?

Over 80 firefighters, EMS, and rescue squad personnel who are frontline care providers were vaccinated Wednesday afternoon at a drive-through clinic organized by Haywood County Emergency Services in partnership with Haywood Health and Human Services.

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Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 7, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 155 new cases of COVID-19.  As of 5 p.m. Jan. 7, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 2,487 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. There are 361 people isolating with COVID-19. The health department is monitoring these cases.

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Vaccinations are underway in Haywood County and currently, we are nearing completion on the first phase, known as 1A, which includes frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff. 

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch has been named prosecuting attorney commissioner for the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission.

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Lake Junaluska began the drawdown of the lake on Dec. 30. The lake drawdown, which happens every few years, allows for removal of silt from the lake’s floor as well as repairs, maintenance and litter cleanup. The lake will be filled again by Easter.

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Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at Macon Valley. Thirteen residents and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. All patients who have tested positive are doing well and are isolated from others. Staff who have tested positive will not return to work until they are no longer infectious.

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As we focus on relationships this week, we reached out to our Rumble readers to get their insight into what makes a marriage last. They offered some pretty powerful advice! 

Beginning Jan. 6, Haywood County residents over the age of 75, who have not already been included in a previous vaccination group, may begin pre-registering for COVID-19 vaccine appointments. 

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Starting Monday, Jan. 11, the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will resume its normal winter hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the entrance gates closing at 6 p.m.

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