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Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:36

Excuses, excuses – don’t give me that

I remember my outrage bubbling up as she spoke. “Mrs. Langley,” my fellow first-grade classmate and yellow-bellied, snitch-of-a-former friend said to our teacher. “Tink had her eyes open during the prayer.” A few words of explanation are necessary. My nickname…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:33

Miller is choice in 11th District

To the Editor: If you are unfamiliar with Jeff Miller, the Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District, or if you are confused as to whom to vote for this November, then I suggest that you log onto Jeff Miller’s…
When the administration of George Bush argued Nov. 29 before the Supreme Court that the EPA did not have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, it was doing this country and its people a monumental disservice.…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:32

Don’t muzzle public input in Haywood

To the Editor: As citizens of Haywood County, we would like to call your attention to some proposals that the Haywood County commissioners have put forth which we find potentially dangerous.  1. The proposal to limit speaking time in front…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:31

Incumbents are best for commissioner seats

To the Editor: The race is on now that Labor Day has come and gone. For a while we will hear good points about the candidates and what wonderful character they have. They will then take off the gloves and…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:29

Democrats are the problem solvers

To the Editor: I am a proud Democrat. An intelligent, articulate Democrat became President and he brought back America’s honor throughout the world. During these historically difficult times the President succeeds in spite of constant pressure from an opposition party…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:28

Why we need a public forum in Jackson County

To the Editor: Why did the Jackson County Home Builders Association organize the upcoming Jackson County Town Hall Forum at 6 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the Cashiers Community Center? It is quite simple: we have some questions that we…
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 19:27

I go to carnivals, therefore I love my children

Part of becoming a parent is making peace with the proposition that virtually everyone in the world except you knows best how to discipline your children. I was once part of that world, casting judgmental “if those were my kids”…
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 14:31

Tiger hurts himself with silence

Poor Tiger Woods. He is not only the greatest golfer of all time, but also perhaps the world’s most popular athlete. He is still in his prime and is already rich beyond imagination, still at the top of his game.…
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 13:45

Yeah right, sure it’s gonna snow

“Winter Storm Warning, Haywood County.” That’s what it said on television Thursday night, up in the top right corner of the program we were watching. Winter storm warning. Yeah, we’ve heard that one before. “Better get to Ingles quick,” I…
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:10

Flirting with my own mortality

I felt something clutch, almost seize up, and then a shooting pain in my chest, and my first thought was, oh no, God, please, not this, not now, not yet. I was standing over a frying pan, just browning some…
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 16:18

Obama haters showing their true colors

His harshest critics delight in daring you to characterize their frothing hatred — and there is no other word for it — of President Barack Obama as “racist.” They whine, “You just can’t criticize Obama or you’ll be labeled a…
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:13

Casino one step away from the total package

Let’s just say it’s about time. A state special deputy attorney general said in a Nov. 25 letter that alcohol sales could indeed take place on the gaming floor at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, clearing away the last barrier blocking patrons…
In the news business, the interplay between the Internet, mobile devices, television and print is at a precipitous crossroads where everything is changing so fast no one truly knows what the future will hold. It’s both exciting and scary for…
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 20:00

Ugly public discourse and the future of truth

More and more these days, it seems those who follow the news have strong opinions on the tone of public debate, a topic that elicits as much discussion — perhaps more — than the actual news items we want to…
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:30

Irritating public comment must be tolerated

Haywood County elected officials may sometimes get fed up dealing with the incessant public record requests and the three-hour meetings that a new wave of public scrutiny is forcing upon them, but there’s no good alternative except to take the…
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 14:31

Satire hits hard, but it works

Satire is one of language’s most powerful weapons, and when used effectively, it can foster meaningful dialogue on important topics. A recent letter in The Smoky Mountain News brings this point home. Lamar Marshall poked fun at Macon County officials…
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 12:59

Christmas gifts from the heart

According to the government standards defining poverty in the 1950’s, I was poor. My father did not hold a regular job. My mother took in ironing for neighbors before landing a job in the Bethel School cafeteria washing dishes. We…
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 13:45

Fix the flaws, stay the course

Waynesville’s land-use plan is an ambitious set of ideas adopted during a booming economic era and thus full of the optimism of such times. Now that times are tougher, we hope task force members charged with updating the plan don’t…
By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist I’ve spent most of my life minding my own business. I was raised by people who were reticent; reticent in their demeanor and in their culture. My grandfather didn’t have much education, only through…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

You may hear a Blue Dog howl

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Conservative victories and liberal angst – often repressed — characterized last week’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey. But what lies ahead as the nation’s politicians wrestle with the contentious issues of the economy,…
Now that it’s clear that Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, did indeed mislead everyone about his involvement in a land deal that one of his companies negotiated with the Tennessee Valley Authority, constituents will be forced to make a character judgment…
By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist When President John F. Kennedy formed a federal-state committee in 1963 known as the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission, one out of every three people living in Appalachia was living below the poverty line. Millions…
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:58

Is this the change you waited for?

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist In the election of 2008 many Americans aspired for hope and change when Barack Obama won the White House and Democrats increased their majorities in Congress. Today signs of buyers’ remorse are everywhere. Disgruntled…
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 13:37

A gift from the grave on Veteran’s Day

By Karen Dill • Guest Columnist “Mom,” my daughter Anna began on her phone call from Washington, D.C., “wasn’t Grandpa a World War II veteran?” It seems there are scholarship monies for medical students who are direct descendants of veterans…
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 17:10

Watching sleazy 80s movies late at night

“Don’t do it, Dan.” Michael Douglas is Dan Gallagher, and he is sitting across the table from Alex Forrest, played by the incomparable Glenn Close. Alex is beautiful, all right, but she is also not his wife, who is out…
“Pssst!” I was just finishing up my lat pull-down exercise when I heard it, but I was too busy thinking about how sore I’d be tomorrow to fully register the sound. Out of the gym all summer and good to…
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 15:43

My year-end list obsessions won’t go away

I have an irresistible urge to make a list. Apparently, it is what people must do at year’s end, especially if the end of the year is also the end of the decade. In the past few weeks, I have…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:10

Incumbents are best to represent Jackson

To the Editor: This year we have three county commissioners running for re-election in Jackson County. Brian McMahan is running again for chairman; Tom Massie is asking for our support again as  vice chairman; and William Shelton wants your vote…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:09

Understanding others is the way to peace

To the Editor: We write with deep concern over recent attacks on Muslims and Muslim communities in our country. One of our principal readings for last year’s Lake Junaluska Peace Conference was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s fine book, What’s Right…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:08

Forest Hills needs to look before it leaps

To the Editor: Having been involved when Forest Hills sought to impose an ETJ on surrounding communities several years ago and having been a long-time critic of Chancellor John Bardo’s “vision” for both WCU and the adjoining communities, there is…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:07

Forest Hills should consider its future

To the Editor: I have several concerns about the Forest Hills annexation after attending the second extended meeting between Forest Hills and Western Carolina University. Many good questions were asked and deflected with ambiguity. I understand that WCU has yet to produce full…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 20:05

Scotts Creek still has its pollution problems

To the Editor: The article titled “Creeks now flow clean through Waynesville and Sylva” (Sept. 8 Smoky Mountain News) described the decline in fecal coliform pollution in Scotts Creek. While this is unequivocally good news, it does not mean that…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:59

Missed forum was bad timing, not apathy

To the Editor: I would like to respond to the Cindy Solesbee letter to the editor in the Sept. 8 Smoky Mountain News where she presumed that I “failed to show up” because I was “too busy (or some other excuse) to…
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:58

Judging a society by what it values

A lot of ink has been spilled over the new $10.3 million crafts education building at Haywood Community College, and for good reason. The building’s cost and its environmentally friendly energy-saving features were both somewhat controversial. I’m among those who…
By Joe Cowan • Guest Columnist Editor’s note: Jackson County Commissioner Joe Cowan made the following comments following a vote last week to stop legal proceedings against Duke Energy over its plan to take down the Dillsboro Dam, the centerpiece…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

National Guard soldiers deserve better

The Smoky Mountain News cover story last week about the troubles faced by returning National Guard soldiers after deployments in Irag and Afghanistan will hopefully open many people’s eyes to this issue. Reporter Giles Morris wrote about the post-traumatic stress…
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:12

If you reform a reform, is it still reform?

Michael Watson, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, contends the state’s overhaul of its behavioral health system doesn’t amount to an abandonment of its past reform effort of 2003. “I wouldn’t call it a rollback of…
Religion and its place in local government have once again arisen as issues in North Carolina. This means that many Christians — especially those holding elected office — are having to search for a balance between their personal prayer practices…
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:12

Finding a WNC solution for ‘aging in place’

With so many unknowns ahead, it’s comforting there are proven solutions to one big challenge — the aging of the population. From research, and experience, experts have identified factors for remaining independent, resilient and happy as we grow older. Key…
What to say about 2009? How about this: it ended on a high note for the overall economy, and that is good for the citizens of this country and this region. Here’s a sampling of the business news that bodes…
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:50

‘Judge not,’ or so my mom always taught me

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in…
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 17:10

Making sure Swain County gets its due

The cash settlement now signed and sealed for Swain County in lieu of building the North Shore Road is a good thing, right? Well, it’s a good thing only if the entire $52 million comes through, and that’s something that…
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 20:54

Sometimes you just know when it’s right

I felt sure this morning the thermometer was telling lies. It read 48 degrees, but the chill in the air felt positively Siberian. Woodstove weather. Harvest weather. Count the hay bales, fill the root cellar, oh my golly we’d better…
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 20:53

Independent candidates might deserve a look

To the Editor: With the occurrence of each election cycle, more and more Americans are choosing to support and vote for candidates who do not have an “R” or a “D” after their name. That’s why it is not surprising…
To the Editor: Congressman Heath Shuler just sent out an email talking once again about the wisdom of his “S.A.V.E. Act” immigration bill. And indeed it is a good first step that, in his words, “expands an existing and successful system…
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 20:51

GOP was blamed for good reason

To the Editor: I want to thank the League of Women Voters in Franklin for holding candidate forums for our community.  On Aug. 12, the candidates for the North Carolina House and Senate running in the November election were invited…
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 17:04

Rich Cove may be a portent of things to come

Writing about the weather is usually about as exciting as a yawn. For 12 months, though, we in the mountains have been taking it on the chin time and again, and it’s got me wishing for a bit of a…
By Buffy Queen • Guest Columnist As the middle school girls trailed out of the classroom one morning last spring, I began packing up my materials after sharing my last “Safe Dates” session at their school. My Safe Dates topic…
Back in early January, I found myself waking early to pack for a day-long excursion into the backwoods of Chunky Gal Mountain with a friend who was home from graduate school in Forestry. It was close to 10 degrees up…
By Chris Cooper Kea was a filthy, grease-covered little miscreant when she was found by In Your Ear Music Emporium owner Lauren Calvert some 16 years ago hiding in some random machinery (in the snow, no less). Sixteen years ...…
By Bruce Gardner • Guest Columnist The Tea Party movement is sweeping the nation and has found its way through the media and into almost everyone’s living room. It is not a political party; it is a frame of mind.…
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 19:03

How we found the Wondermutt

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a news story about how animal rescue organizations are being inundated with unwanted pets in the down economy. I didn’t, however, get a chance to say why I care. So here’s a happy…
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 16:12

Evergreen’s fate is important to WNC

Mix a strong environmental ethos, economic realism and strong community pride all together in the same brain (mine, in this case), and in almost any environmental controversy or issue, there’s an outcome that fits nicely into my world view. Logging…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Will cell phones rule the World??

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist If Alexander Graham Bell were alive today he’d probably be carrying an iPhone. Based on Samuel Morse’s first telegraph sent via “Morse Code” in 1838, Mr. Bell and others began working on a “speaking…
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:37

Time to tackle immigration reform

Now that the health care debate is over, here’s what we have: a very middle-of-the-road health insurance reform package. Most on the left wanted much more (the public option), while those on the right admitted they’d like to control health…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

Marking Easter with a community of three

When I was young, Easter was a circumscribed affair. We woke up, hunted for painted eggs in the backyard, ate lamb chops, and went across the street to St. David’s Episcopal Church, a quaint stone monument to polite Christianity in…
By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Plunging public support for Obamacare accelerates presidential efforts to convince the nation that great health care savings are in our future. However, common sense leads most citizens to conclude that giving services to more…
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 17:37

Life and death aboard a tin can

By Dr. Robert H. Spiro Jr. • Guest Columnist Friday, April 6, 1945, is a day emblazoned in my memory. Sixty-five years ago this week, off Okinawa in the East China Sea, a Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into the port…
When I took my morning walk with our miniature dachshund to the mailbox to get the mail last Friday, I wasn’t really expecting much — a couple of bills, maybe a movie from Netflix, the usual mix of junk mail.…
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:18

WNC’s economic stimulus lies in tourism

By David Huskins • Guest Columnist Much of the talk nationally, as well as locally, has been centered on how to get our economy moving again. Policy proposals and local budgets are being measured by whether they will create jobs…
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:19

Tough times lead to tough choices

For its entire existence, this country’s leaders have wrestled with the slippery issue of power and how much is too much for government at all levels. In times like these, as tax revenues disappear while the free market struggles, the…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:38

Incumbents were not very open-minded

To the Editor: The League of Women Voters is to be commended for conducting a forum in Franklin on Aug. 12 for N.C. State Senate and House candidates for the 2010 election. This allowed constituents to listen to the candidates…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:38

Green building is the right choice

To the Editor: The move towards sustainability is of paramount importance for the future of our local communities, our nation and this planet.  To this end, the development of the proposed Creative Arts Building at Haywood Community College plays an…
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 19:18

Bucks, does, pullets and cockerels ... huh?

Auctioneer Mike Cagle’s patter mingles with the crows of roosters, quacking of ducks and chatter of the crowd. “These homer pigeons are as fat as little butterballs. $2 a bird? They will never be no cheaper. How ‘bout $1.60 ……
Finding the sweet spot in government regulation, like on a wooden baseball bat, is often difficult. It’s the place where people are protected from the inherent dangers that go hand in hand with many large industrial enterprises while those same…
By Thomas Crowe • Guest Columnist With the recent rash of mining disasters, oil and gas spills here in the U.S. and worldwide, and the apocalyptic timing of all of these, things have changed. These are not just mere rare…
The primary election is over now, but even before the vote tallies made winners and losers out of so many candidates, this election season seemed to be sweeping in a tide of activism in the mountains. The truth of this…
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:20

Watching the world’s game

Every four years the World Cup interrupts business as usual for a month in countries that have nothing else in common. From Accra to Osaka to Ljubljana, sport’s most international event hits 90 percent of the globe with the unpredictability…
By Lynda Bennett • Guest Columnist Protestors in Waynesville recently dismissed Gov. Beverly Perdue’s stimulus grants as simply “baking up” a photo opportunity using pork barrel spending instead of addressing small business concerns. The ruling elite once stated “let them…
I admit to being slightly irked when I initially thought about writing this column. It has been about a year since Jeff Seiler retired as the director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service for Swain and Jackson counties, and more…
“Do I want to dictate what the college does? That is not my job. As county commissioners, it is my job to ask questions.” Haywood County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick The Haywood County commissioners have done their job,…
To the Editor: I recently had occasion to take a 10-day camping and motorcycling trip. Maggie Valley was selected as my turn-around destination. The draw to Maggie Valley was great. The potential to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, which would include…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:21

Nothing good about another Wal-Mart

To the Editor: The dollar signs twinkling in the aldermen’s eyes were glaringly visible at the town of Franklin meeting last night. Clearly the advent of this unnecessary Wal-Mart is a forgone conclusion, evidenced by the limited debate to only…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:21

Honor suffragists by voting in November

To the Editor: In a column dated Aug. 13, Gail Collins of The New York Times reminds us that August marks the 90th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. She also reminds us that before that August 90…
To the Editor: I commend Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., for his support of H.R. 1586, the “Education, Jobs, and Medicaid Assistance Act.” According to Reuters, this bill provides $26 billion to the states to save the jobs of teachers, firefighters,…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:19

Our thanks to the Haywood health board

To the Editor: Tuesday night (Aug. 10) the Haywood County health board voted to table the amendment (for 90 days) to the health rule that would have allowed for a Class 1 misdemeanor in cases of health rule violations. Many…
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:19

Kituwah was the wrong place for development

To the Editor: Some locations just aren’t suitable for development, let alone to be utilized by a major utility project. Kituwah Valley is obviously one.     A portion of Swain County’s citizens are aware, and others should be made aware,…
Edisto, SC – Heat like this has a relentlessness that is unnerving. You try giving it the slip, it follows you like a villain in a dream into the air-conditioned nooks and the sea-breezed crannies of your vacation days. There…
By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Haywood County Commissioners on Aug. 16 will conduct a public hearing on a $12 million, 15-year loan request by Haywood Community College. Most of the loan would finance a new creative arts building on…
To the Editor: The standing-room-only Aug. 2 public hearing of the Franklin Town Board of Alderman regarding the development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter was an object lesson in how politics trumps reason at every turn. It’s bad enough when partisan…
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 20:26

Jackson salary hikes just plain wrong

To the Editor: In response to Jim McCarthy’s Aug. 3 letter, “County pay raises gone afoul,” I want to thank him for his diligence into this matter and support him and the Jackson County Citizen Action Group in their request…
In this business of covering the news, we often bear witness as apathy wins the day. Citizens sit back and let elected leaders, powerful corporations or a boisterous minority get their way without putting up a fight. That’s why the…
Tourism leaders in the mountains agree they’ve got to re-invent their marketing tactics over the next decade to stay competitive. Apparently, there are a multitude of opinions on how to do that. When we ran a story in last week’s…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 19:51

Taking the pulse of a region

We in the news business provide historians with some of the crucial data necessary to write the story of any particular point in time. Reporters gather facts and opinions that are snapshots of how people feel, and then we make…
The federal government, the nation’s largest land manager, has a responsibility ... to help develop a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century. We must look to the private sector and nonprofit organizations, as well as towns, cities, and states,…
A meeting that could lead to a completely new personality for the Cullowhee area will be finished by the time this hits the presses, but I’m hoping that the meeting gives fresh momentum to efforts to transform the Western Carolina…
There are books that get your attention, and then there are books that GRAB your attention. The new book by Bill McKibben (author of The End of Nature and founder of the 350 Movement) is of the latter variety. Not…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:31

Feds listening to our outdoors agenda

By Ken MurphyWestern North Carolina is a special place, a region with awe-inspiring scenic vistas, waterways and forested watersheds that are home to unmatched biodiversity, and rural landscapes and cultural sites that remind us of our heritage on a daily…
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:33

The real problem with the economy

To the Editor: Let’s look at what truly stimulates an economy, creates jobs, drives markets and produces tax revenue to fund government services. Should it be a mystery that in a brief period of time the greatest economy in history…
To the Editor: The Smoky Mountain News and Western Carolina University’s Gibb Knotts and Chris Cooper are to be commended for a job well done (“Jackson County Political Poll” in the July 7 Smoky Mountain News). County Commissioners Tom Massie…
To the Editor: On behalf of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank those who helped to make Franklin’s Annual 4th of July Fireworks & Fun Day such a huge success. Businesses donated not only money but…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 19:56

Haywood Garden Tour was a great success

To the Editor: We are writing to express our gratitude for your excellent coverage of the 2010 Haywood County Garden Tour. Your full page spread was really appreciated. Our attendance was up over 15 percent from 2008 thanks, we’re sure,…
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 13:00

Energy industry is not all bad

To the Editor: I wish the article written by Thomas Crowe (“The terrorists are right here among us,” July 23 Smoky Mountain News) would have never been published, but I reckon this is freedom speech being exercised. I live in…
To the Editor: Last week I announced that I would be conducting an online poll seeking input about public sentiment surrounding the proposed Super Wal-Mart project. Many community members responded, and I would like to give them my sincere thanks…
To the Editor: Taxpayers should be infuriated about any tax dollars going to such an organization as the Evergreen Foundation. It is about time that county commissioners are taking a stand on behalf of the tax dollars as it relates…
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 12:57

Tourism data simply not that hard to obtain

To the Editor: I read with great interest your recent column about the tourism industry in Western North Carolina. As a result of your insightful comments about the need for tourism research and based on my years of working as…
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 12:59

Sen. Burr is not a fiscal conservative

To the Editor: North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a self-defined fiscal conservative, has a lot of explaining to do. He recently rejected to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans because Democrats did not seek spending cuts to offset the…
To the Editor: Since November, the whole district has known that Shuler told us all an endless stack of lies regarding his dealings with the TVA and his own personal property investments. His tall tale that he had never contacted…
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