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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:47

When it’s all about the writing, I’m all in

Even after laboring for some two decades at various news publications I can’t say that I ever particularly considered myself “a writer.” A reporter, an investigative reporter, an editor, a newspaper administrator: those were some of the labels that fit…
I unpacked my *euphonium recently — my first love was music; writing was a fallback position — and started fooling with it again. Despite not having held this horn more than just a few times in some two decades, I’m…
To the Editor: A headline on a Feb. 29 article in The Smoky Mountain News creates a misleading impression of the support the N.C. Education Lottery has provided for Haywood schools. Through June 30, 2011, Haywood County received more than…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 13:26

Brigman story needed a second opinion

To the Editor: It is interesting that The Smoky Mountain News in its reporting on superintendent of Macon County Schools Dan Brigman both last summer and recently cites the legal opinion of only one organization. That is unfair. Sadly, it…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 13:25

Headline showed SMN’s political bias

To the Editor: Somewhere during my school years I was taught about slanted journalism. One of the best examples of slanted journalism is the headline for an article about Sen. Jim Davis on page 5 of the Feb. 29 edition…
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 13:24

Time to send Barack down the road

To the Editor: Over the weekend we heard from our 44-year-old niece. She was fretting over her 401k. She is employed as a teacher in Alaska and has been since she got out of college, so she has around 20…
Government at all levels needs to spend money judiciously. It is, after all, our money. I’m not convinced either major political party is doing that very well right now. What we get is competing priorities, which is why voters need…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:52

Another broken promise about national park

To the Editor The National Park Service says we need to charge for backcountry camping. After hundreds of letters and several public meetings, with the majority of people saying no to fees, the fee is being implemented anyway. In 1934…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:51

State GOP leaders did cut education

To the Editor: The Republican state legislators have repeatedly said that the $428 million in cuts to the public education system would not affect teachers, teacher assistants, or students. State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, wrote, "Teachers and students ... are…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:50

Support of bike rallies not a good idea

To the Editor: I was amused to read recently that Scott Cochran, the promoter for the town's upcoming Rumble in the Smokies motorcycle rally, stated that noise would be an unavoidable inconvenience to residents and "the biggest complaint you will…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:48

Pressley deserves everyone's support

To the Editor: All of Haywood County — and especially Maggie Valley —should be standing on their heads in support of helping Alaska Presley and what she's trying to accomplish with her efforts to bring back Ghost Town in the…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:48

Police presence should be a blessing

To the Editor: Complaints about the significant police presence in Maggie Valley, I think, are highly exaggerated. In the 10-plus years we've been visiting Maggie Valley we have not been overly aware of that presence, much less pulled over. This…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:47

Maggie Valley police presence appreciated

To the Editor: With regard to your news story "Are cops making a pest of themselves in Maggie Valley?" (Feb. 29 Smoky Mountain News), our answer is a resounding "no." My husband and I are Maggie Valley residents who regularly travel…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 03:45

Letter a sad example of misinformation

To the Editor: Since Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009, the DOW has risen 48 percent, the S&P 500 is up 60 percent, and the NASDAQ is up 90 percent. Yet Pat Denzer, in her Letter to the Editor of…
Thanks to work obligations that have put me in Franklin several days at a time these last few weeks, I've had the opportunity in recent days to run, walk and stagger along that town's greenway. I know I've plucked on…
We — this country, its leaders and all of us — are imperfect. We're human, and that means we get it wrong sometimes. But this is about something we've collectively gotten right from the very beginning of this republic. It…
Harrah's Hotel and Casino will host three of the country's top Drag Queen entertainers in DRAGS TO RICHE$, a new drag variety show. Performers include Pandora Boxx and Mimi Imfurst, who both appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race, as well as Sherry…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:16

Grace Noon Concerts to begin 4th year

The fourth season of Grace Noon Concerts will kick off at noon on March 15 at Grace Church Episcopal in Waynesville. "We are delighted to host these wonderful local performers and provide a venue for fine music," said Rev. Arlene…
The University of Iowa Press recently released "The American H.D.," a book by Annette Debo, a Western Carolina University associate professor of English. "The American H.D." offers a story about the significance of the United States through a study of…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:14

Robin Whitley to perform songs and stories

Musician Robin Whitley will offer a program called "Songs and Stories of Life" at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva at 7 p.m. on March 20. "Songs and stories are both part of life, and they complement each other,"…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:12

Dora May featured in OICA Gallery

The gallery at the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts will feature an exhibition of work by artist Dora May during the month of March. May's work is a combination of paintings, drawings and installation exploring issues of the body and…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:11

Edible book contest at Waynesville library

Craft an edible creation inspired by a book. Whether your favorite recent read is The Lorax or Lord of the Flies, you can bake, assemble, frost or fill using anything edible. Deliver your registered entry on Friday, March 30, to…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:10

Theatre presents the musical, Lamb of God

The Overlook Theatre Company will present the musical, "Lamb of God," March 22-25, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. The performances will start at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Sunday's performance, which begins at 2:30 p.m.…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:08

Groovy Movie Club presents “The Double”

The Groovy Movie Club will show the film "The Double" on Friday, March 16. The event will begin with a mostly organic potluck dinner at 6:15 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. The event is free and open…
Haywood County's first female flat track roller derby team, Balsam Mountain Roller Girls, is hosting a retro prom at the Smoky Mountain Sk8way at 8 p.m. on April 6. All proceeds will benefit the Balsam Mountain Roller Girls and help…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:02

Stellar Chapman to lead Songwriters event

Stellar "Tall Girl" Marshall Chapman will head the next Songwriters-in-the-Round event on March 17 at Balsam Mountain Inn. Chapman is a singer-songwriter and author who was born and raised in Spartanburg, S.C. She has released twelve critically acclaimed albums, and…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:01

Renowned Christian artists to perform

Four legendary artists — Steve Green, Twila Paris, Wayne Watson and Michael Card — will unite together for their Christian Classic Tour at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. on March 30. Tickets start at…
Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:00

Singers earn places in honor choir

Four members of Voices in the Laurel were selected to sing in the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Children's Honor Choir. Colby Cook, Ivey McClure and McLain Youngwood, of Haywood County, and Emily Wylupek, of Franklin, auditioned for the…
The Liars Bench will perform the first in a series of stories called "Balsam Chronicles" at 7 p.m. on March 15 at Western Carolina University's Mountain Heritage Center. The free series will start with the story of Gus Baty, a…
From written word to silver screen, Western Carolina University's Spring Literary Festival will celebrate its 10th year by featuring two authors whose works have been tagged for the silver screen. Novelist and poet Ray Rash will kick off the festival,…
Spring weather like we’ve been experiencing makes clear that we live in a world essentially comprised of two kinds of people. There are those who bask in the sun and who glory in the profusion of flower blooms; these are…
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:13

Psychos don’t know park boundaries

To the Editor: There seems to be a bent in this publication about taking away the gun rights of decent citizens. All this because some psycho is shooting people somewhere. The state finally made a good decision in allowing responsible…
To the Editor: For the sixth time since the end of the 2011 legislative session in North Carolina, the state is once again making national headlines for its inability to adequately protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities, known as puppy…
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:12

Motorcycles are asset to tourism economy

To the Editor, It is not my norm in life to write letters to a newspaper. However, I feel that after reading Carol Ramsey’s letter in your March 14 issue I have a civic duty to respond. First, lets set…
While I can appreciate that many citizens get caught up in this so-called “March Madness” every year, I no longer have the time to cast anything more than a sideways glance in the direction of the NCAA basketball tournament. Where…
Question: How does one come to the conclusion that the upcoming General Assembly short session will almost certainly be an extremely partisan, politically charged couple of months? Answer: When the political claws come out even in the most benign of…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:36

Affordable Care Act already helping families

To the Editor, For my entire working life, I have paid for medical insurance, first for myself and later for my family. Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, I no longer have to worry about my insurance company dropping…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:35

Hayden Rogers made right debate decision

To the Editor: In the Thursday, March 15, edition of The Asheville Citizen-Times, Jon Ostendorff takes issue with Hayden Rogers, who is a Demcorat running for the congressional seat vacated by  Heath Shuler. It appears that Mr. Rogers had made…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:34

Land use criticisms were off the mark

To the Editor: I have been a full time resident and small business owner in the Cashiers area since 1988 and value Cashiers as one of the best places to live in the world! I consider myself a moderate independent…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:34

Women treated unfairly in health care debate

To the Editor: We’ve all heard the remark “Follow The Money.” It’s more important than ever to look behind all those proposals made by the current crop of presidential candidates. Who is paying how much? Why? Whose pocket will those…
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:30

My critics just can’t get enough of me

I’m sitting here writing this column in the company of Suki, a 13-year-old Golden Retriever mix. Suki is not actually my dog but has proven very good dog company for writing nonetheless. Dogs aren’t picky and demanding, you see. Unlike…
Firmly resolute in my desire to set aside more time for my writing I decided not to have a garden this year. Typical of my fickle ways, I now have my largest garden plot ever. I’m terrible with guessing dimensions…
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 20:26

Who is candidate Cecil Bothwell?

To the Editor: We may criticize someone not attending our church or not believing what we believe. Many of us have experienced members breaking from our church to form another church. Cecil is Unitarian and believes churches play an important…
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 20:24

Do not mess with our health insurance

To the Editor: This is an open letter to Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin. Let me be perfectly clear. Obama Care is the reason I am finally able to get good health insurance after 15 years of not having any. I…
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 20:24

Armed citizens not always a good thing

To the Editor: A recent letter by a firearms instructor made the assertion that no one at the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gifford had a pistol to stop the shooter. Several news reports stated that there was at least one…
The revelation was at first surprising and then disappointing. So I’ll take a stab here at shedding some light on the surprising part, which hopefully will also mollify the disappointing part. As anyone who reads The Smoky Mountain News knows,…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:41

Trayvon Martin just went too far

To the Editor: Norman Hoffman has his facts wrong about the Trayvon Martin shooting.   Based on my experience, and what I read in the news, here is my opinion on what happened. Zimmerman had a legal right to be…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:41

Jackson should join Franklin on this one

To the Editor: I write to urge the Jackson County commissioners to follow the lead of the Franklin Town Board and place on their agenda for May 7 the Resolution to Amend [the Constitution] presented to them on April 2nd.…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:40

Franklin leaders say corporations not people

To the Editor: Kudos to the Franklin Board of Aldermen for unanimously passing a resolution calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to petition Congress that the U.S. Constitution be amended to firmly establish that human beings, not corporations, are…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:39

Marty Jones does not deserve criticism

To the Editor: In a recent letter to the editor John Edwards attacks District 4 County Commissioner Candidate Marty Jones. Edwards’ criticism was very predictable and fails to mention a very insightful and refreshing idea from a recent interview with…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:39

Let me explain how FreedomWorks works

To the Editor: My, that was quite a headline on Margery Abel’s letter appearing in the March 28 edition of the Franklin Press. “Buying local elections – this is how FreedomWorks.”  The headline is as fallacious as the story that…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:38

Cherokee voters should say no to alcohol

To the Editor: Ruin your life. Paralyze your mind. Impair your higher thinking. Make poor judgements imbalanced by intoxication due to alcohol. Should you vote “no” to legalization of liquor on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians land on April…
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 13:36

The heart of America is just right of center

To the Editor: The President’s budget will “never” balance, or reduce spending, or reduce our borrowing. So, no one — not even one Democrat or Republican — voted for President Obama’s budget. The vote was 414 to 0. No compromise.…
I heard a distinctive gobble gobble gobble one recent evening through the open windows and French doors of the cabin I call home. Down below the cabin is a large field. Peering through the trees that intervene I could just…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:48

Call them statesmen, not “republicrats”

To the Editor: There has been too much name-calling in the media lately criticizing the way in which some of our local elected officials do their job, the most recent being the angry response by Brad Seagle in the Friday,…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:47

Dilapidated mobile homes should be illegal

To the Editor: Old Cullowhee Road in Cullowhee is a beautiful route for viewing land, homes, water and sky. Lately though, there have been dilapidated mobile homes popping up for rent along both sides of the road. When traveling from…
To the Editor: One of the more interesting races in the May 8 Democratic primary is the race for U.S. Congress (the N.C. 11th Congressional District) between Cecil Bothwell, a progressive Asheville City councilman, and Hayden Rogers, a “blue dog”…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:46

The new world of political advertising

To the Editor: I’m going to be as “tacky” in my public response to Mr. Swanson as he was in his response to Ms. Abel. This gentleman, in his attempt to kill a message, kills the messenger. This is not…
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:45

Don’t tax the hand that feeds us

To the Editor: I have been reading the news regarding the Jackson County Occupancy Tax and the discussion around the Travel and Tourism Association (TTA) versus a Tourism Development Authority (TDA). I cannot help but look at the abbreviation TTA…
To the Editor: Recently there were two letters to the editor locally by Shirley Ches and Marge Abel which expressed the exact issues that many women in Macon County are very concerned about. I couldn’t have proclaimed the issues any…
I was fortunate enough this past weekend to be present when a mother goat gave birth to two babies, and even to assist her some, though truthfully I think she’d have performed just fine without me. My friend and I…
This being a Sunday, the day on which I generally take care of household chores that have gone unheeded during the hurly-burly and rushed pace of the workweek, I was dusting the combination living room and kitchen in the cabin…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:02

Sweepstakes cafeterias good for tourism

To the Editor: I agree with the opinion expressed by several of those interviewed for a recent article that the increase in gambling cafes is good for business and is a welcomed option for increasing city revenues. Each person who…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:01

Does Bothwell realize Shuler is not running?

To The Editor: I find Cecil Bothwell’s preoccupation with Heath Shuler odd and slightly disturbing. Although Shuler announced months ago that he would not be running for re-election, Bothwell has continued to attack him online and in public forums across…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:00

Hanging chads and voter suppression

To the Editor: Do you remember “hanging-chads? Those were the tiny little punch-out holes on Florida ballots that gave George Bush the presidency in 2001 and made Florida the land of bad elections. As a direct result of that fiasco, Congress…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:59

Let me tell you why I’m a Democrat

To the Editor: I want to share with you three times in my life that made me appreciate how important our Democratic vision is to the people of this state and this country. First, it is clear to me the…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:58

Working at C.J. Harris is an honor

To the Editor: In 1993, I knew I wanted to be a registered nurse (RN) and my health occupations teacher, Mrs. Hess, encouraged me to go to C.J. Harris Hospital and become a junior volunteer. That is where my story…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:57

Those staying believe in this hospital

To the Editor: To us, this is more than just a hospital because it is part of our community, and it’s where our friends, relatives and neighbors work and so many people’s livelihoods depend on the hospital being here. We…
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:57

It is time to look ahead, not behind

To the Editor: The Physician Leadership Council, the governing body of the employed physicians of MedWest Health System, is saddened to see the recent media coverage surrounding MedWest-Harris. We understand the concerns that have been voiced by several doctors, as…
By Steve Heatherly At the April 16 Jackson County Commissioners’ meeting, a physician stated his concerns about the future of MedWest-Harris and MedWest-Swain. While some of the observations are correct, we disagree with the assertion that MedWest-Harris and MedWest-Swain have…
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:17

Full-color plates still not a sure thing

By Holly Demuth What does your car believe in? Here in Western North Carolina, many people choose to express their love of the Smokies, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, state parks, and the elk and ducks with their…
With our average last frost date of May 10 or so it’s time to start planting the main garden. Corn and beans can go in, and over the next few weeks, so can summer staples such as tomatoes, squash and…
To the Editor: In his April 25 letter to the editor, “Let me tell you why I'm a Democrat,” Ed Morris provides many reasons for his pride at being Macon County’s new Democratic Party Chair. While I take exception to…
To the Editor: Please go to the poles on May 8 and vote “No” to amend the N.C. Constitution, an amendment that if passed, would further codify the denial of rights for certain groups of North Carolina citizens. Amendments to…
To the Editor: I am writing to clarify my position on the recent events that have occurred within the Med-West Health System. First, I want to begin by giving everyone some background information. The career and wonderful life that I…
To the Editor: Considering the tremendous harm that alcohol continues to cause our society, the churches of the Tuckaseigee Baptist Association would like to make known their complete and total opposition to the May referendum allowing alcohol sales throughout Jackson…
Thursday, 03 May 2012 01:29

Is this really what this state wants?

To the Editor: Amendment One sounds innocent enough. The wording is very precise and is carefully phrased to make approval seem to be a good thing. A lot of good people will vote for it for that reason. It accomplishes…
If Amendment One is defeated on May 8, North Carolinians will have made the right decision by refusing to support institutionalized bigotry. The proposal would add an amendment to our state's foundational legal document that says a marriage between a…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:49

A GOP perspective on leadership

To the Editor: The recent letter authored by the new chairman of the Macon County Democratic Party seemed to be more about personal attacks on Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Republicans in general than about “Why I’m a Democrat.” Such…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:48

Someone is having problems with memory

“No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” – Abraham Lincoln To the Editor: I am going to give Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he suffers from a poor…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:47

Thanks for taking a strong stand

To the Editor: I live in Albuquerque currently, but I grew up in North Carolina and spent summers at Lake Junaluska. My father is a Methodist minister. I am a Christian, lesbian and in the most committed, loving, relationship of…
To the Editor: No president serves for more than eight years but his influence on the Supreme Court lasts far longer. Andrew Jackson was 12 years in his grave when his Chief Justice, Roger Taney, brought on the Civil War…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:45

Don’t tell me about hurt feelings

To the Editor: Oh I am so distraught; and Chief Hicks is “appalled.” The Franklin maintenance crew has killed the weeds on the Indian mound! Is nothing sacred? Why must we be subjected to these cruel and heartless insults? Is…
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:43

My other family just lost one of its own

Here in the South, if you are of a certain age, you have two families at least. The first is the family you’re born into. About that, you have no real say in the matter. Your second family consists of…
The specialty license plates that have provided millions of dollars for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway — and plenty of other needy organizations in this state — may disappear if legislative leaders don’t take…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:38

Redefining marriage is always defeated

To the Editor: According to recent letters to the editor, Christians, or anyone else, should not be allowed to vote on amendments the “tolerant left” does not support.  This form of discrimination and attacks on Christianity continues to grow in…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:36

Recognizing the enemies within

By Martin Dyckman • Guest columnist In July of 1861, Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island composed a letter to comfort his wife in the event of his death, which came soon after at the first Battle of Bull Run.…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:33

Welfare state has destroyed California

To the Editor: California is back in the news. Two Saturdays ago, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit would exceed the original estimate he made in January of $9.2 billion. The new deficit is projected to be a…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:32

A majority did not support Amendment One

To the Editor: Three letters in the May 16-22 edition of the Smoky Mountain News reflect differing views about what the voting results on Amendment One mean, but all three, unintentionally I presume, use numbers from the actual vote count…
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:29

A festival for the unassuming goat

Every small town needs a street festival, and what better excuse for one could there be than goats? This past weekend a friend and I went to the Spindale Goat Festival, where all things dairy goat took center stage. The…
“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” quipped the legendary Yogi Berra after watching Yankee greats Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back homers so often it became almost commonplace. That’s the sentiment many in Swain County are feeling after…
To the Editor: At the most recent Jackson County commissioner meeting at the Balsam-Willets-Ochre Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Commissioner Mark Jones once again showed his true colors. His siding with an anti-capitalist, anti-commerce group like the Occupy Movement is consistent…
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:02

Left changes it’s tune when it loses

To the Editor: According to recent letters to the editor, Christians, or anyone else, should not be allowed to vote on amendments the “tolerant left” does not support. This form of discrimination and attacks on Christianity continues to grow in…
Some time back I wrote that at a future date I’d print seed-starting dates for the remainder of the growing year. I’ve had a couple people ask about that, so I thought now would be as good a time as…
To the Editor: Sometimes misunderstandings can get completely out of hand. Such was the case at the last meeting of the Jackson County Commissioners at which a group of citizens, including myself, again attempted to offer and gain the passage…
To the Editor: I commend Becky Johnson and The Smoky Mountain News for providing the facts to its readers regarding the non-payment of the Settlement of 2010. It is a bad situation. By all appearances the National Park Service is…
I’ll admit that I have never been much of a cat person. It’s because I am a little selfish, I guess. When I come home at the end of the day, I like to have a pet who is happy…
You’d be hard pressed to name a state-run entity more closely aligned with the region it serves than the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville. The work going on there is important for the agriculture economy and critical for the emerging…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:01

End of school year teaches some bad lessons

Each spring as the school year winds down, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. As preparations for end-of-year, high-stakes testing get cranked up in our public schools, everything changes. One day it’s a potentially life-changing test that has…