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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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By Geoff Cantrell • Contributing writer | In a typical school year, Highlands Biological Station serves nearly 10,000 students through more than 250 programs for 50-plus schools across the mountain region. 

This was not a typical school year. 

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By Jonathan Austin • Contributing writer | A recently documented bee species has been identified living in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Will Kuhn, director of science and research at Discover Life in America, said the bee, Epeolus inornatus, was found during two observations off Baskins Creek Trail, located just outside Gatlinburg.

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By Heather Hyatt Packer • Guest Columnist | There’s a lot of discussion about freedom, rights and patriotism when discussing coronavirus restrictions. Americans today have no idea what it means to make sacrifices for the greater good nor do they seem interested. We’re in the throes of a national crisis. Coronavirus is very real. Many in our community have lost their lives or face long-term health problems. Yet a large number of residents are still in denial, though I’m not sure it’s denial. It’s defiance.

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To the Editor:

“Incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government, or any action (especially in speech or writing) promoting such discontent or rebellion.” That is Webster’s least complicated definition of sedition and what, in my modest opinion, the President of the United States, 18 states attorney generals, at least 126 congressmen and women, and a multitude of enablers who eagerly signed on to Trump’s ill-advised, short-sighted, half-baked and very, very dangerous endeavor to overturn a free and fair election, are guilty of.

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To the Editor:

I am worried. Our newly elected congressman Madison Cawthorn contests what he has tweeted about as the right to a free and fair election. As he stated: “the right to vote is the cornerstone of our Republic.” 

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To the Editor:

Arts organizations have had an extraordinarily challenging time during the pandemic, and it’s been no different for Folkmoot. 

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Packaging: Family-size vs personal grab-n-go - For many years we had seen the rise in "grab-n-go" beverages and personal size convenient to carry snack and food items. With "stay at home" and work at home becoming more commonplace during the pandemic, the popularity of family size packaging has reemerged as the shopper's choice.

When you get to the point of marriage in a relationship, it’s important to establish a strong foundation beforehand. Part of that strong foundation involves getting to know your partner on a deep level. It’s time to push past the surface and get to know your partner’s thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of “what-ifs” that could happen in the course of your relationship. 

In the week since the last press release, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 327 new cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Jan. 4, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a total of 2,332 cases in Haywood County since the pandemic began. There are 284 people isolating with COVID-19. The health department is monitoring these cases.

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The mountain counties of Western North Carolina posted yet another strong month of home sales in November according to the latest Canopy MLS housing report for the Asheville region.

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Haywood County Health and Human Services is reporting six more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number now to 68. 

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On Monday, Jan. 4, Down Home North Carolina Haywood and local community members will hold a press conference to announce their “NO NEW JAIL!” campaign. The event will be held in front of the Historic Haywood Courthouse at 8 a.m. immediately before the first Haywood County Commission meeting of the year. 

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RALEIGH —The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced beginning Jan. 4, households can apply for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) and the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) online at www.epass.nc.gov.

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Three Macon County residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have passed away. The persons were over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. To protect the family ́s privacy, no further information will be released about these patients. These deaths bring Macon County to 12 deaths related to COVID-19.

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Former National Park Service Director Gary Everhardt passed away on Sunday, Dec. 27, following a battle with COVID-19 and just days after his beloved wife, Nancy died on Dec. 23. He was 86 years old.

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Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has begun distribution of its first allotment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

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The Junaluska Sanitary District experienced a discharge of untreated sewage from a broken sewer main.

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No one needs reminding that this year was dismal. In addition to our commonly shared pandemic misery, I have endured one of the more turbulent eras in my 38-year history of relationships.

Happy New Year, Rumble readers! As we bring 2020 to a close, we wanted to share some lessons we learned this year and our thoughts on making resolutions for the new year. 

A series of horticulture classes aimed at home gardeners will be offered in the New Year through Haywood County Cooperative Extension. 

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The N.C. Agricultural Hall of Fame now has three new members following the induction of John Holman Cyrus, Fred N. Colvard and Marshall W. Grant. 

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Rob Young, director of Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, was recently appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to a technical advisory committee as part of the Virginia Coastal Master Planning Framework, which will guide development of the state’s master plan to adapt to environmental changes.

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Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking the public, particularly anglers, to submit any sightings of mudpuppies to the agency.

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To the Editor:

Republicans seem to have given up on our Constitution and democracy. Instead, they have opted to follow the path to a dictatorship by rejecting the results of a fair election because it did not turn out the way they wanted. They accept the false claims of widespread fraud even though no one has been able to come up with any evidence.

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To the Editor:

Your recent report about Waynesville’s Emergency Ordinance (“Waynesville passes State of Emergency ordinance”) includes a description of Janet Presson’s appalling local activism against the use of face masks in the midst of this pandemic and also against the use of vaccines. Meanwhile, she continues to serve on the Board of the Haywood Healthcare Foundation, which oversees around $13 million in taxpayer money and has a direct impact on the health and well-being of the county’s 62,000 residents.

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To the Editor:

I recently read an article that asked, “What will be your story of 2020?” I’ve since given the question a lot of thought, and despite everything we’ve experienced this year I can’t help but see a silver lining: the very best in human nature is coming out in our community.

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They say hindsight is 2020 and that is definitely true as we’re all eager to put this disaster of a year in the dumpster and light it on fire. 

While many of us remember way back in January feeling like 2020 would be our year — we just couldn’t predict it would be our year of high unemployment, isolation, fear, sickness and uncertainties. 

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Macon County Human Services building (which includes the Department of Social Services, Macon County Public Health, and Code Enforcement) was temporarily closed at noon today due to an unknown chemical substance in the building.

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Macon County has identified a rabies positive raccoon. The raccoon was turned over to Macon County Animal Services after it was killed following an interaction with a resident’s dogs. 

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Dear everyone thinking they still have a day of crumbiness to happen to them before 2021 rings in a miraculous year of amazingness?

Part of our goal here at Rumble is to start and continue conversations among women. We want to know what’s important to you, what’s weighing heavy on your mind? What problems can we help each other solve? What questions can we help you answer? 

So this is where you can ask us anything and you’ll get answers from several different members of our staff, which is surely to bring different perspectives. To submit your questions to us, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

My husband and I chose to stay at home this Christmas instead of traveling to another state to gather with our families. It was a difficult decision because we don’t get to see them enough anyway, but we knew it was the right decision as we are both still working and don’t want to risk transmitting the virus unknowingly to our families, especially those who have chronic and serious underlying conditions. This decision was made more difficult by relatives who don’t understand and have laid heavy guilt trips on us, claiming we don’t love them. We are so hurt by their comments. How do we make them understand? How do we repair these hurt feelings on both sides now?

Susanna Shetley: It’s been said that COVID-19 takes advantage of our humanity. As human beings, it’s a natural desire to be with those we love, especially over the holidays. Many super spreader events have been the result of weddings, funerals, birthday parties and other family gatherings. It’s during these times when the virus rears its ugly head and takes hold. I say all of that to make you feel better because you did the right thing, in terms of what was safest. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing in terms of everyone’s feelings, but it was still the wisest choice. Also, it’s looking hopeful that herd immunity will combat COVID-19, just as it has other powerful viruses. History has shown us we can overcome a pandemic. In the grand scheme of things, one year isn’t that long of a time, especially if it means saving someone’s life. I’m sorry your family doesn’t understand, but if they truly love you, they will move past this and when life feels safer, we can go back to more intimate holiday experiences.

 

Amanda Singletary: For starters, you made the right call in steering clear of family gatherings during the Holidays. We continue to see rising cases in our area and across the country due, in large part, to families joining together to celebrate. There’s a natural tendency to let our guards down around those we love, but love can come at a potentially high cost during a global pandemic. I don’t want to kill grandma, do you? To make matters worse, it’s been difficult for many of us to get our family members all on the same page in handling how to celebrate safely. Lots of bridges have been burned and feelings have been hurt along the way. I know I’ve hurt some feelings myself. Rest assured this is not just a “you” thing.

Scrolling through my Facebook during the days following Christmas, I saw an assortment of photos documenting holiday gatherings – some appeared much safer than others. We’ll have to see what comes of them. I hope they all stay well, but admittedly many were doing things I would never do at this point in the pandemic. At the end of the day, the safest choice, whether for a holiday or any other time, is to gather in person only with the people you live with. Even with masks being worn, folks have a tendency to forget the distance portion of the equation. Masks are great, but they aren’t perfect, especially when gathering indoors. There needs to be distance and ventilation as well. 

In the case of disgruntled family, the best thing to do is to acknowledge their reaction is one of hurt. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. That nasty message came from someone hurting. However, it’s not up to you to fix that hurt by risking your own safety or theirs. Instead, let them know you hear them and you understand they are upset and that you love them. You love them so much that you want to ensure you’re able to gather with them again when it’s safe. It’s going to be difficult for them to remain defensive and angry if you approach from a place of love and stay in that place during the conversation. Step away if you find yourself getting heated. Return when you are calm. Most importantly, keep doing what you’re doing because you’re helping to keep yourself as well as others safe.

 

Jessi Stone: You are not alone in this — so many families are dealing with this same problem. It’s disappointing when others, especially family members, can’t respect and honor personal boundaries and understand personal choices. Everyone has different comfort levels during this pandemic, and we should respect that. I don’t require my sister to wear a mask in my house, but I respect the fact that she wants me to wear one in her house. Unfortunately, people also have different coping mechanisms to deal with pain, disappointment and anger — often that mechanism is to lash out and place blame onto others. It’s important to keep that in mind as you process your feelings around it, so you don’t in turn lash out in return. Remind yourself that their behavior says way more about them then it does about you. I think it’s also important to remember you don’t have control over other people’s emotions or behavior, but you do have a right to express your thoughts to them in hopes of mending the hurt feeling so you can all look forward to seeing each other next year.  

Question: What are some desserts I could serve to someone with diabetes?

Between Dec. 23 and Dec. 28, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 185 new cases of COVID-19.  

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Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster of positive cases in Macon County’s 9-1-1 Communication Center.

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Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster of positive cases at the nonprofit Macon Program for Progress.

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Teachers from across North Carolina have been selected as finalists for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2020 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year Award in honor of their dedication, innovation, and ability to inspire students to achieve. Macon County teacher Emilee Higdon has been selected as a finalist.

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Between Dec. 18 and Dec. 21, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 129 new cases of COVID-19. 

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To allow all employees an opportunity to get tested for COVID-19 after the winter break, Southwestern Community College will be open and operating virtually on Monday, Jan. 4.

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“Blooms” marks Asheville Gallery of Art’s second new member show of the new year and celebrates the early signs of spring through the beauty of nature, new life, and of course, florals. Viewers can expect to see a variety of work from this month’s featured artists: Kate Coleman, Cynthia Llanes, Jacqueline Oliver, and Claire Simpson-Jones. From figurative work to still life’s, every piece connects with the “Blooms” theme and brings a preview of what’s to come. 

Question: What is a 'sugar alcohol'? I see this listed on some sugar-free items I buy

Nantahala Outdoor Center will offer its much-loved Guide School in 2021 

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A project that will add 10 additional miles of mountain biking and hiking trails to the Wilson Creek Area in Caldwell and Avery counties has been approved by the Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District. 

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Registration is now open for 2021 summer and adult programs at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. 

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A 10-month-long construction project to restore a retaining wall and expand a parking lot washed out during heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 is now complete at Chimney Rock State Park in Rutherford County.

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A new round of winners has been announced for the annual EcoForester Awards, honoring the people and organizations that are making a difference in forestry around the region. 

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Inland fishing and hunting license sales have skyrocketed in 2020, with a 23 percent increase in licenses sold since stay-at-home orders were lifted in May. 

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By Jesse Lee Dunlap • Guest Columnist | As someone whose politics are centered on bodily autonomy, I sympathize with folks who are against forced vaccinations. I bristle at anything that encroaches on a person’s individual freedoms — restrictions on abortions, prohibition, gun laws, etc. — any mandate, especially any mandate from the government, especially from the American government, which has a long history of using “medicine” to harm black, indigenous, and poor people. We all have ample reason to be cynical and skeptical of the American healthcare system, and no one should be ridiculed for questioning what is in a vaccine. This stuff is going right into your body. It is normal and prudent to question what goes in your body.    

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By Erick Mendez • Guest Columnist | According to the U.S. House records, at 25 years old, Madison Cawthorn — who will represent the 11th District and Western North Carolina — will become the youngest elected member of Congress in history. Cawthorn has styled himself as a leader of a new generation of conservatives, unafraid to criticize the Republican Party; however, Cawthorn has adopted President Trump’s tactics, particularly in basing his candidacy on a foundation of lies, only further confirming Cawthorn’s intentions as a sycophant to Trump’s agenda. As a native Western North Carolinian and a member of Generation Z, I felt compelled to voice my concerns against the elected congressman representing my hometown nestled in the heart of these Blue Ridge Mountains.

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