Shop Local Saturday: Support local businesses onsite and online

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | This year’s post-Thanksgiving weekend of shopping holidays will be unlike any other. This should come as no surprise when one considers a market made unpredictable in the wake of a global pandemic, large swaths of the consuming public now reticent to venture outside and their consequent move to the safety of purely online vendors. 

Cleanest air on record: Pandemic accelerates long-term move toward cleaner air in N.C.

When President Richard Nixon ‘s signature on the Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted North Carolina to create its Division of Air Quality, air quality was bad in Western North Carolina. 

“Back in the ‘80s or the ‘90s, once summer hit your mountains would disappear,” recalled Jim Renfro, longtime air quality specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, during an interview earlier this year. “You’re outside in the valley looking up, and you couldn’t see the mountains through the haze.”

Cold weather means COVID cases could heat up

As the colder weather settles in, many Western North Carolina counties are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Smokies seeks solutions to overcrowding

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten a lot busier since its creation in 1931. In 1932, its first full year of existence, the park received only 300,000 visitors — these days, annual visitation is more than 40 times that figure, coming in at 12.5 million last year. 

Fighting for attention: When politics and professional wrestling collide

Earlier this month, nearly 300 people packed the four-bay garage of the Jackson County Rescue Squad in Sylva on a Saturday night during the height of campaign season to witness a high-stakes struggle between two fierce competitors.

They’ve been fighting over your attention on the internet and the television for what seems like forever now; they’ve got their slogans and catch phrases, their soundtracks and color schemes, their gimmicks and gags, their die-hards and their haters. One’s a hero, the other’s a villain. Countless hopes ride upon the outcome but in the end only one can be victorious. 

WNC tourism numbers show quick recovery

When North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper gave the order to close bars and restaurants back on March 17, that was only the beginning of a series of blows the Coronavirus Pandemic would inflict upon the state’s leisure and hospitality industry. 

Clampitt, Queen face off for fifth time

They’ve now run against each other five times in 10 years so there’s not much voters don’t know about them already, but the first question of the Blue Ridge Public Radio/Smoky Mountain News forum Sept. 24 between Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen and his Republican challenger Mike Clampitt took a more substantial purview of their decade-long feud.

WNC moves into new phase of COVID

As the number of new cases begins to stabilize in Western North Carolina, medical directors urge people to keep doing what they’re doing to prevent another spike. 

A train ride through Prohibition-era NC

“We are here on this earth separated from God, so that we might learn and grow.” — Jedidiah Robbins

If there’s anything to the bumperstickers that read “Buy Local” (and I think there is), then that not only applies to the food produced in our region but the literature too.

New players join affordable housing fight

The affordable housing crisis in Western North Carolina isn’t anything new, but it is entering a dangerous new phase due to ever-increasing home values, limited supply and a red-hot real estate market that has refused to use the Coronavirus Pandemic as an excuse to cool down.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.