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Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:37

N.C. headed toward Third World status

To the Editor: North Carolina is now a state role model — a model for what will happen when a state (and possibly the country) is completely controlled by Republicans. Unemployment benefits will be curtailed, and public education will be…
There’s just not much exciting about turning 14, but that’s what The Smoky Mountain News turned a couple of weeks ago. I can keep up with our age because of the volume number on the front of this edition and…
To the Editor: I wanted to reply to the “Did That Used to be a Tree?” article in the June 5-11 paper. I have worked in the natural resources community for a number of years, and nowhere have I seen…
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

We must pass immigration reform

To the Editor: As Congress wrestles with immigration reform, it appears that folks of all political stripes are convinced that our current system is broken and needs fixing. This brokenness is seen when: • Hardworking  individuals are detained by Immigration…
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

A moving ‘Liar’s Bench’ performance

Editor’s note: Marie Cochran attended the production of the “Liar’s Bench” on June 20 at the Mountain Heritage Center on the WCU campus and wrote this review for The Smoky Mountain News. I am very familiar with the term “the…
The Lake Junaluska Assembly is marking its 100th anniversary this year, and a plethora of activities will take place at the Methodist conference center during the July 4 week. I’m not Methodist, but because of my job as a journalist…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 01:44

Cowee disaster is a moving story

To the Editor: My appreciation goes to Gary Carden and Dave Waldrop from “The Liar’s Bench;” George Frizzell of the Western Carolina University Library for uncovering and reporting; and to The Smoky Mountain News (June 19th) for publicizing the profoundly…
To the Editor: MedWest, the company that has taken over our local hospitals as well as many local medical practices, has quite a few problems. Articles in local news outlets have documented financial problems, conversations with MedWest employees lead one…
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 01:43

Teaching people to care about conservation

To the Editor: I would like to share with your readers what I have come to realize are fundamental objectives of the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society, which is the local Audubon chapter for Cashiers, Franklin, Highlands, Scaly Mountain and surrounding…
By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist In a previous letter, I described how devastating to human beings our current immigration system is. The flaws are many and obvious. But disagreement arises as to how to correct them. I believe that a just system…
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 13:28

High mileage, some rust, still running

By John Beckman • Columnist I’ve had quite a few cars on the road in the past 40 years, and I’ve noticed that they all start to fall apart when the odometer begins showing nervously higher figures. The breakdowns that happen…
I’m not sure it represents a new philosophy or perhaps is just an acknowledgement of reality, but the decision by the state Department of Transportation to hold off on any further planning for the massive Southern Loop project in Jackson…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:31

Expanded Macon runway is a bad idea

To the Editor: An article in a local paper stated that the Macon County Airport Authority met in early July to get an update on the widening of runways to allow for use by larger aircraft. The news that the…
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:30

Legislature leading us down to new depths

“Thank you sir, may I have another.” The line by Kevin Bacon from the now-classic film “Animal House” kept popping into my head as I went down the list of what this year’s GOP-led General Assembly is doing to North…
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00

A prime time for North Shore debate to end

It’s time to end this debate.With another pro-settlement county board, the election of Swain Count native and pro-settlement congressman Heath Shuler, a new study showing the economic benefits of a cash settlement and an ever-increasing price tag for construction, it’s…
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00

Memories prevent me from celebrating Veterans Day

By Jim Joyce In five hours and twenty minutes it will be midnight and Veterans Day 2006 will be over. Thank God. I hate Veterans Day, and I don’t know why we have it. We already had Memorial Day. To…
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00

Keeping college affordable

Some time this holiday weekend, my nephew Sterling will come for a visit at my mother’s house. He’s a high school senior, and he is still unsure of his college plans.
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00

Going after the good guys

The fine line between a cop doing one’s duty or overdoing his duty is once again in the grip of Monday morning quarterbacks to judge. Meanwhile, a pair of police careers are on the line.
It’s time to change the voting laws and procedures in North Carolina to reflect today’s reality and to help alleviate a confusing situation that could hurt candidates and confuse voters.
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 00:00

Looking for ways to fix the health care system

By Mark Jaben Last time, we talked about EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act), managed care and how far the pendulum has swung, leading to decreased capacity in the system. The availability and provision of health care…
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 00:00

The honeymoon ends ... now

In the aftermath of last week’s election, we’ve seen a seemingly endless parade of politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle making wild claims about just what it all means, the pasting of the Republicans by the Democrats.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Bush tax cuts soaked the rich

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Every election year there are always claims and counter claims over federal tax policy. Liberals claim Republican income tax cuts benefit the rich and ignore the lower and middle classes.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

The school board, economics and political insight

By the time we hit the streets with this edition and this column is read, the election that has been dominating the news will be behind us. Talking heads and columnists will be digesting and spinning the results, givingtheir take…
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

The real work begins the day after the election

By Rob Schofield This year, those who care about preserving and expanding the common good in North Carolina would do well to treat Wednesday, Nov. 8, as less a day of celebration or mourning and more as the day on…
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

What the health care system needs now

Do the rules of our health care system work anymore? That is the question posed in this column two weeks ago.
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Front-row Kid dreams of riding once again

“Riding the range once more Toting my old 44 Where you sleep out every night Where the only law is right I’m back in the saddle again.” — Gene Autry (and others)
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 00:00

Backpacking Fifth Avenue style in Hazel Creek

By Al Smith • Guest Columnist Hazel Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is located in the middle of the most extensive roadless area in the eastern United States.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 00:00

The horrifying beauty of Halloween made simple

“Excuse me, miss, but did you happen to see a princess and a small cow come through here a minute ago?”
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 00:00

The value of endorsements

Come Nov. 7, voters will choose candidates based on many different factors. In almost all cases, those choices will be their own, as they should. But newspaper endorsements continue to serve a useful purpose for voters.
By Lee Shelton As the Nov. 7 election date approaches, the “Good Governance Legion” is, again, “banging their noise makers” in Haywood County.
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 00:00

Using development to save mountain farms

Not too long ago there occurred an unlikely meeting of the minds. Sylva developer John Beckman and Whittier farmer William Shelton sat down in the back of Sylva’s Spring Street Café with maps and blueprints to talk about the issue…
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 00:00

A survival guide for direct-to-consumer ads

By Mark Jaben In the 1970s, a book written about a doctor’s internship experience, The House of God, reached near cult status for its reasonably accurate — if not cynical — portrayal of one intern’s experience surviving medical training.
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 00:00

Finding ways to help the innocent

Over the last two decades, the number of drug-affected infants has been growing. It is estimated that as many as one in 10 babies born in this country has suffered some degree of drug exposure. Due to the short time…
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 00:00

Optimisim reigns at Blue Ridge

The ups and downs across a graph that tell of a business’ profits and losses may not be very interesting, but look beyond those peaks and valleys and a fascinating story might emerge. Blue Ridge Paper’s last 15 years, viewed…
Democratic congressional candidate Heath Shuler’s decision to back away from a debate with Rep. Charles Taylor sent shockwaves through the mountains this past weekend. Politicos, however, say Shuler’s decision is hardly surprising given his lead in the polls, but we…
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 00:00

Need negative ad material? We’ve got it

Heath Shuler says he will bring integrity and accountability to Washington? Ha! We have here in our satchel 76 examples of Shuler’s low character and corrupt tendencies. Space and decorum prevent us from elaborating fully on every example, but we…
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 00:00

Where do you get medical advice?

By Mark Jaben I always marvel at people that tell me they haven’t been to a doctor in 25 years. Not engaging the health care system is a great strategy if you can get by with it. But then, they…
Wednesday, 11 October 2006 00:00

Change of a good kind is in the air

I’m not sure when the characteristics of being frugal and not wasting became derisive traits, why it became wimpy to drive a small car, how it became popular to make fun of those who wanted the best of the technological…
It appears Swain County commissioners were out of sync with public consensus two months ago when they decided to postpone the creation of a county planning board.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:42

Cullowhee traffic woes deserve attention

To the Editor: Had I been a student at Western Carolina Teachers College (WCTC) in the late 1920s, I might have taken a walk down the hill from my dorm on the “old campus,” down the road to the campus…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:42

We are going wrong way on abortion issue

To the Editor: I am old enough to remember the time before Roe v. Wade was passed. Almost every family I knew back then had a horror story about some member of their extended family dying from a botched illegal…
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:41

Rep. Presnell should keep out of merger

To the Editor: We are thankful for The Smoky Mountain News coverage of the Lake Junaluska-Waynesville merger process. I am a full-time resident at the Lake and have served as president of the Lake Junaluska Assembly Property Owners Organization. I…
By Martin Dyckman Blackbeard, North Carolina's most famous pirate, was a fitting precursor to the modern brigands at Raleigh. As Scott McLeod's column pointed out last week (www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/11167), there’s no apparent limit to their ruthlessness or to their scorn for…
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Segways deserve a place on the greenway

The answer to the problem with Segways on the Little Tennessee Greenway in Franklin is not to enact an outright ban. Instead, a well thought out set of regulations to govern the who, when and how of such an operation…
By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Just over a month remains before voters make the decision who will rise and who will fall in the political races being run before us now. Many issues are bantered about, but absent from…
Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Do what it takes to protect battered women

There was so much blood all over the place that her home looked more like a slaughterhouse. That’s what she said. She said that he chased her back into the bathroom and she felt the cold, sharp barrel of a…
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

New leadership could bode well for Smokies

Each time the president and Congress choose a new leader for the National Park Service, those of us in Western North Carolina are left to hope for the best. If the right leader with the right political skills comes along,…
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

Let the at-risk kids compete

It probably shouldn’t have gotten to me. But it did, in a big way.
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

Don’t call me Charlie, I’ll call you

By Margene Roper • Guest Columnist Around 7:30 this evening my telephone rang and I rushed into the house from grilling steaks to answer it. A voice on the other end said “Health Shuler and his “liberal” followers (or cronies,…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:37

State GOP leaders are bought and paid for

To the Editor: In a recent letter to the Editor, Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-Wilmington, changed his name for the weekly protests against Republican decisions in Raleigh from “Moron Mondays” to “Money Mondays.” Ah-ha, the truth is out! He has to…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:37

Runway widening will harm rural valley

To the Editor: An article in a local paper on July 5 states that the Macon County Airport Authority met that week to get an update on the widening of runways to allow for use by larger aircraft. The news…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:36

Jake brakes are a needed safety measure

To the Editor: I absolutely object to the conclusions in your article about Jake brakes in last week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News (www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/11190). Jake brakes are an absolute necessity for trucks. It prevents the regular brakes from “fading,”…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:36

GOP-led legislature has wrong priorities

To the Editor: The Republicans in Raleigh have approved their “tax reform” and budget, and we will suffer for both.  According to Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein, the GOP “tax reform” cuts $500 million in revenue while their budget cuts…
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:35

Being in the right place at the right time

Ever know you are in a good place at the right time? Every now and then that sentiment — about living Western North Carolina right now — overwhelms me. I’ve been messing around with newspapers and journalism in some form…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Haywood residents can take part in research

To the Editor: When I was told I had cancer, I wondered what caused it. I had always been very healthy, so the diagnosis was a complete surprise. Now I am urging my friends, family, and neighbors to help with…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Waynesville Jake break laws good for in town

To the Editor: Referencing the article of two weeks ago about the Jake brakes in Waynesville and in reply to last week’s letter from Gino Deneef of Franklin, I would first like to say that this article was about a…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Some things Macon citizens may not know

To the Editor: I’ve had several citiznes ask me why I voted against this or that. It’s time to clear the air and let you folks know all the other stuff that goes on.   First off, I do try to get…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

It’s painful, but state is on the right path

To the Editor: On Monday this first week of August, a group of people showed up in Raleigh complaining about teachers’ pay and the budget for the coming school year. Does anyone believe that Gov. Pat McCrory has a “stash”…
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00

Saving specialty license plates great for WNC

The General Assembly’s renewal of the specialty license plates for North Carolina drivers surprised many only because it seemed such a no-brainer that it was curious there was even a debate. Thank goodness lawmakers saw the light. Let’s take a…
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:28

Specialty plate renewal a victory for everyone

To the Editor: We won! The vibrant green bear Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate has been rescued from extinction. The North Carolina legislature in the 11th hour voted to preserve the full color specialty license plate program.  A…
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:28

Poor leadership will drag down the state

To the Editor: Once again Jim Mueller, vice chair of the Jackson County Republican Party enlightens us with his Tea Party perspective on austerity and the path to economic recovery in North Carolina, citing the example of Detroit as a…
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:27

Judicial hearings should remain open to public

To the Editor: When sponsors can’t give a good reason for proposed legislation, it usually means there are bad ones. It’s not hard to perceive the bad ones behind House Bill 652, which would wreck the way North Carolina polices judicial…
It’s difficult for me to believe that the new leadership in Raleigh would purposely sacrifice development in the state’s rural areas at the altar of political ideology. On purpose or not, however, that’s the way it looks to many of…
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:27

GOP declares war on all except the rich

To the Editor:  Since the radical cabal of Republican reactionaries has taken control of our state government, much has been reported about the Republican “War on Cities,” with the theft of Asheville’s airport and water systems and Charlotte’s airport. But…
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:26

Is it too much to ask for an honest election?

To the Editor: All I want is an honest election. Is that too much to ask? Why are some Democrats, like Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., so opposed to an attempt to have honest elections? OK, the answer is obvious, but…
To the Editor: It’s time to speak the truth about the gains for North Carolina citizens made by the state legislature in its 2013 session just completed. Here is a summary of some of the bills passed. You will find…
To the Editor: I was pleased to see in my most recent issue of The Smoky Mountain News that Dr. Doug Gates has joined Sylva Orthopedics. I worked with Doug over many years of his training in surgery and in…
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 13:24

New voting law doesn’t pass the smell test

The photo ID requirements included in the new voting law passed by the General Assembly and recently signed by Gov. Pat McCrory are problematic. Still, if it was just a voter ID law there wouldn’t be so much hell being…
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:17

Students food insecure as school starts

As children return to school this week, the joy of seeing their friends, sharing summer stories, wearing new shoes or clothes and hearing the laughter ring though the hallways of Haywood County Schools is all too familiar. However, this joyous…
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 02:17

Meals on Wheels needs volunteers

To the Editor:  I volunteer with Jackson County Meals on Wheels, and I also serve on the volunteer committee.  I would like to address some of the concerns raised in last week’s article (“Jackson Meals on Wheels leaves money on…
I’ve always loved school. Consequently, I detest what the General Assembly is doing to education. As a kid, I knew that looking forward to school each day put me in a minority. Maybe it was my parents’ influence. My dad…
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:09

Wrong priorities causing problems

To the Editor: The 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington” and Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech have been recently observed. King hoped to see a generation of black Americans who would “not be judged by the…
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:09

Gov. McCrory, GOP have turned business loose

To the Editor: We live in the greatest country the modern world has ever known. Our president has not been able to energize our economy and has passed thousands of new regulations that hinder rather than promote employment. The most…
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:08

New attempt to help domestic abuse victims

To the Editor: Domestic abuse, according to statistics, has increased. Although the exact reasons cannot be pinpointed, the latest analysis points to the possible presence of a “warrior/bully” gene which can manifest all the time or just activate when the…
By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist It doesn’t seem to matter which political party a president belongs to: if he wants to go to war he’ll find a way, regardless of what the American people may want. We are tired…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:24

Let’s keep the AT as pristine as possible

To the Editor: In the winter of 1979, in the midst of studying for a degree at a large university, things weren’t going well. Academically I was OK, but emotionally, spiritually, I needed a break. One afternoon I returned to…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:25

National spotlight shines on N.C.

To the Editor: The 2013 North Carolina legislature has enacted numerous measures to benefit corporations and attract new business to our state. Tax reform is reducing corporate income tax and the state excise tax is being repealed. Middle- and lower-income…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:25

Hoping memories last until next election

To the Editor: In a recent letter titled “New laws bring advantages to N.C. citizens,” the writer stated “It’s time to speak the truth about the gains made by the N.C. legislature in its 2013 session.” While most of the…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:26

At least the rich got a tax cut

To the Editor: Congratulation, the Republican legislature just gave everyone in the state a tax cut. Well, maybe not, just those whose income is over $84,000. If your income is over $400,000, your tax cut may be as much as…
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:23

What a great day in Western North Carolina

From the very first few days I lived in the mountains — as an 18-year-old freshman at Appalachian State University — late-summer days have always gotten my blood pumping. The fresh, cool breezes that suggest the coming fall do battle…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

State is on the way up

To the Editor: North Carolina has the 49th highest unemployment rate in the USA, tied with Rhode Island and followed by Illinois at No. 50 and Nevada at 51 (Washington, D.C., was included in this survey).  There are well over…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

McCrory gets defensive about voter law

To the Editor:  The national criticism of his voter suppression law — yes, he signed it, so it’s his — must be working on Gov. Pat McCrory. He wrote a defensive op-ed piece in USA Today not long ago in which…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:38

Government for the rich, by the vindictive

To the Editor: In January, Republicans swept into state government on a mission of frugality, vowing to trim fat from the state budget. And trim they did, taking a cleaver to unemployment benefits, our vaulted education system, welfare, health care,…
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:36

Needed: a just, humane immigration policy

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist With all the current media attention being focused on Syria, budget deadlines, Obamacare, and the floods in Colorado, the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Yet, migrants…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:32

New ID law turns away voters

To the Editor: The North Carolina legislature has passed, and Gov. McCrory has signed, a bill requiring a photo ID in order to vote. This bill will disenfranchise a large number of voters in our state, especially the elderly (which…
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:30

Class Notes: The new reality for teachers

By Dawn Gilchrist-Young I’m writing this because I teach three sections of senior English at Swain High School, where I’ve taught English in grades nine through 12 for almost 15 years. However, I can only say I’ve loved what I…
My people are rooted in the South. On both mom’s and dad’s sides of the family, very few have moved far from North and South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. It’s not one town or a single homeplace we embrace, but…
First United Methodist Church in Sylva will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a Homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 6. Bishop Larry Goodpaster will deliver a sermon at a 10:30 a.m. church service in the sanctuary, followed by a luncheon in the…
Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:48

Waynesville street art belongs to the public

To the Editor: The enthusiasm was very evident! The Waynesville Public Art Commission would like to thank everyone who came to the Friday, Sept. 6, dedication celebration for the art created by Grace Cathey for the downtown mini-park’s final piece…
Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:47

New North Carolina ID law turns away voters

To the Editor: The North Carolina Legislature has passed, and Gov. McCrory has signed, a bill requiring a photo ID in order to vote. This bill will disenfranchise a large number of voters in our state, especially the elderly (which…
By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist Back in March, my wife and I, together with a couple from Brevard, paid a visit to Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, in his Washington office. We were part of an event called Ecumenical Advocacy Days,…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:39

GOP shouldn’t blame this on Democrats

To the Editor: The Republicans, including our own Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, who have repeatedly stated dislike for the federal government, have closed much of the U.S. government. What is particularly obnoxious about this is that they are blaming Democrats…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:38

Please explain what is so bad about Obamacare

To the Editor: I do so hope that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, read the Oct. 2 issue of The Smoky Mountain News. The lead story details how much this government shutdown is damaging his own home district economically. I am…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:37

Rep. Meadows is proud of poster boy status

To the editor: In a Sept. 27 CNN article, Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, was identified as “the architect of the brink” and a member of the “suicide caucus.” Although he’s claiming that the CNN reporter was “sensationalizing” his role in…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:36

Meadows playing up to Tea Party

To the Editor: Regarding a recent op-ed piece by Doug Wingeier on Congressman Meadows, R-Cashiers, and his feigned interest in alleviating hunger in the U.S.: I also have noted a certain disingenuousness about Rep. Meadows in his latest series of…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:35

Shutdown particularly bad for our region

To the Editor: The federal government shutdown is probably the most counter-productive action that Congress could have taken during this recession. Not only will it cost money, but it is harming our economy in so many ways … not to…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:34

The system isn’t broken, it’s fixed

To the Editor: If we hadn’t figured it out by 2008, we should have at least gotten a clue. The congressional and White House phones and emails were jammed with unprecedented pleas from We the People. Not only were the…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:32

Jackson’s new tourism logo is lacking

To the Editor: Neither of the logos considered by the Jackson County TDA convey the proper message for tourism development. Both, per the logo display in a recent edition of The Smoky Mountain News, are lackluster, lack excitement (one being…
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:30

‘We have met the enemy, and he is us’

To the Editor: Does John Boehner like what he’s seeing in the mirror these days? Maybe not, but the problem for the nation is that he is too fond of what he sees on his office door: “Speaker of the…