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Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:01

Corporations are not people

To the Editor: This letter is in direct response to Ginny Jahrmarkt’s May 30 letter titled, “Jones made wrong vote at last Jackson meeting.” Jahrmarket inferred that Mark Jones, a Jackson County commissioner, “showed his true colors” by “siding with…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:00

Commissioner’s actions were disappointing

To the Editor: It was disappointing to read that Commissioner Mark Jones representing District 4 voted to support a resolution from Occupy WNC attacking corporations. Since he was elected in 2006 he has consistently voted for anti-business regulations, stripping private…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:00

Arrogant is the word for Sheriff Ashe

To the Editor: When I think of the word arrogant, I usually think of someone who is so intelligent or so beautiful that they think they are above the rest of us common folk. However, after reading the article concerning…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 12:59

Both sides scratching their own backs

To the Editor: The word austerity seems to have saturated world and national news of late, sometimes used in a positive vein but often displaying a strong negative quality. One fellow in Greece insisted recently that austerity (as employed by…
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 12:55

Time to take out the long knives

Suppose this was your household budget: • Annual family income………………....$23,400 • Money family spends annually….....$35,900 • New debt added to credit cards……$12,500 • Outstanding credit card balance ..$154,000 • Total cuts to family budget………….......$385 Looks like the budget from hell,…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 18:59

Fight back against Alzheimer’s

To the Editor: Ask yourself, for just one day, can I match the passion and dedication of Alzheimer’s caregivers and those with the disease? For them, it’s every day. For us, just one–- June 20, 2012, the longest day of…
I found Booger at the Coffee Shop some 15 years ago – a tiny kitten with only one eye open, and although I could easily cover her with one hand, I couldn’t muffle the anguished MEEOOW! that she produced. It…
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 18:57

Teachers get sympathy from readers, peers

You never know what subject in a column will incite readers and friends to open up and express their feelings. Last week’s piece about the madness that the end-of-year testing brings to public schools certainly led to an onslaught of…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:49

Hearing all the buzz about sourwood

This is a special time of the year for beekeepers in Western North Carolina. It is the time they prepare for the sourwood honey flow. Beekeepers in this area collect two types of honey from their charges: a spring wildflower…
State senators from the mountain region — and we’re especially talking about those representing the southwest, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Spruce Pine — need to pull out all stops to save the colorful license plates that…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:48

Women make decisions for themselves

To the Editor: This is intended for all men: political office-holders, the religious of all faiths, and just plain “guys.” I speak for women. You know – us! The other half of the population. We may differ in age, ethnicity, income level, religion…
To the Editor: Election reform is needed in North Carolina. Nearly eight out of 10 North Carolina voters support Voter Photo ID legislation. Support for restoring confidence in government extends across racial demographics (whites, 81 percent; black, 64 percent; Hispanic,…
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:46

Romney’s plan will benefit wealthy

To the Editor: Mitt Romney is saying his experience in the private sector means he can do a better job of “fixing” the economy and “creating” jobs. He also tells us to ignore the rhetoric and “look at the record.”…
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 00:00

Sometimes a walk is better than a run

 For many years I was a dedicated runner. These days I’m much more likely to choose to walk, both for exercise and pleasure. I enjoyed running, particularly trail running. There was a sense of freedom and power about running through…
By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist My wife and I moved here from Florida because we wanted to live in a state that valued its people, its environment, and its future as much as North Carolina did. We knew this…
 My daughter has arrived at an impossible age — impossible for her, impossible for me, impossible for her mother, impossible for her brother. If this age were a dinner, we’d send it back to the kitchen. If it were a…
  To the editor: The barking ordinance that Jackson county commissioners recently said they’d support sounds at first like a good idea. After all, the idea of dogs barking all night long is upsetting and annoying. Tax-paying property owners deserve…
  To the editor: Remember when we would say “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite” as a nod to the mid 20th century quote? Well, bedbugs have literally raised their ugly heads again. Why? Probably because a single…
  To the editor: I am writing in response to recent discussions of “Barking Dogs” in Jackson County and to the possibility of amendments to the current noise ordinances of Jackson County. I am the dog owner whom Norton resident…
We were nearing the end of our European summer vacation with three other families from Western North Carolina when we pulled into Interlaken, Switzerland on a Saturday evening. As I looked around at the neat mountain chalets on the outskirts…
I slept downstairs on a futon last night, trying to escape some of the intense heat that, chimney-like, turned the upstairs of the cabin I live in into a furnace. Even so I lay in bed sweating and dozing fitfully.…
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

A story everyone should read, learn from

To the Editor: We, the undersigned, are a group of Haywood County citizens that meets regularly for a respectful dialogue around race issues. This group first fellowships together over a meal and then enters into a structured conversation aimed at…
To the Editor: In Western North Carolina we are extremely lucky to live, work and play in a place of incredible natural beauty. I am proud that I worked professionally for many years to safeguard the health of both our…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:36

Loving guns and badges in Maggie Valley

To the Editor: Maggie Valley must love the guns, badges and handcuffs. In fact, with Maggie Valley being only about 4.5 miles long, we have a little more than three fine local officers per mile. Maggie Valley has a population…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:36

The party of tax-and-spend, really?

To the Editor: It’s election trash talking time again, and one of the things that will come up will be the Republicans reminding everyone of the old saying that Democrats are the “party of tax-and-spend.” Then the next thing they…
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:35

Rhyming a solution to our political woes

To the Editor: As our government officials keep putting off a long-term solution to the debt ceiling problem, perhaps these limericks by Michael Silverstein will provide some guidance: Solution 1: Keep on letting things slide. “A country much burdened by…
The wonderful thing about keeping bees is there are always surprises. Just when you think you’ve learned what there is to know in one area of beekeeping or another the bees do something entirely unexpected and delightful. I was reminded…
I loved Andy Griffith as much as it is possible to love someone you’ve actually never met. In some very important ways, he was like a second father to me. Like a lot of young boys do, I worshiped my…
The healing power of forgiveness is at the top of the list of things in which I believe strongly. It’s the best drug on earth, doing more good for more people than anything a doctor ever learned in medical school.
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

The politics of python invasions

By David Curtis Just when you thought you had enough to worry about here comes a news report that’s right out of a bad Hollywood B movie — the giant snakes are coming.
Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Green Energy Park is not dangerous

By Timm Muth My thanks to the editor for giving me the opportunity to respond to the recent allegations about safety at the Green Energy Park. The article in last week’s paper (“Issues flare up at Green Energy Park,” Feb.…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Signs that we are growing up

Sparta, N.C. – I am on my way to town to get a birthday cake for my son, Jack. He will be 3 years old tomorrow, but we are celebrating tonight, so that all the family can join in the…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

Tuning in once again

The Sweetest Sounds The sweetest sounds I’ll ever hear Are still inside my head. The kindest words I’ll ever know Are waiting to be said. — Rogers and Hart   Over the past 40 years, as my hearing has steadily…
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

HRMC's survival vital to Haywood

Some are saying Regional Medical Center faces an uncertain future, but we believe it is vitally important for community leaders, the medical community and anyone else who cares to come together and do whatever it takes to help this hospital…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Valentine's Day, often, is about survival

By David Curtis Whew ... I survived another Valentine’s Day. That is a big accomplishment if you are a man, a man who’s married with teenage daughters.
By Marsha Crites • Guest Columnist Whether I am working on a watercolor design, organizing a community group, decorating a room, or getting to know a new person, I always enjoy beginning with a blank slate. No old baggage, muddled…
By Ed Seavey • Guest Columnist The recent issue of the Smoky Mountain News (Jan. 16, “WNC Confronts Mental Health Crisis”) on the mental health crisis was interesting. Officials quoted proclaimed diplomatically that the issue is complex, as they wonder…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

Resisting the prospect of extinction

By Brent Martin Almost 10 years ago, science writer David Quammen published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled A Planet of Weeds, which was later selected for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Essays, 1999. It made a lasting impression on me,…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

The innate traits of the male species

By Stephanie Wampler Step-by-cautious step, the man crosses the room, casting his eyes in all directions to make sure no one is watching. He moves quietly but intently, focused completely on the object which beckons to him from across the…
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00

A favorite plant

By Jim Janke • Special to SMN Editor’s note: This is a regular feature on gardening by the Haywood County master gardeners. Look for it every other week. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes) is one of my favorites. Sow the seeds…
When the Democratic primary election rolls around in Jackson County on May 6, many will finally get the chance they’ve been wanting — the opportunity to vote on the strict development regulations passed last year by county commissioners.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

Too close to call

The most fascinating race for President of the United States in my lifetime could have become a good bit more settled after the Super Tuesday round of primaries. Hillary Clinton, the “establishment” candidate and heavy favorite going into the primary…
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

The greening of America

“I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good,…
By Victoria McDonald • Guest Columnist Reverend C. T. Vivian is a living legend of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. He was a rider on the first “Freedom Bus” that went to Jackson, Miss. He worked on the executive staff…
The U.S. Forest Service is about to release its opinion on whether to allow boating on the Chattooga River. It’s been a long and complicated battle, but here’s hoping that American Whitewater’s attempt to open the river to kayaking is…
There’s not a one-size-fits-all model for how counties should promote economic development, but at the very least there should be one skilled specialist on the county’s payroll whose sole responsibility is to promote job growth and help existing business. Put…
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

This rodent won’t make it to the White House

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Penn. — A year from the day he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog in the land, has dropped out of the race for the highest office in the land.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

Letter writers take me to task twice in one week

Fair’s fair, so I’ll print an anonymous letter I received over the weekend. We usually don’t print anonymous submissions, but this one raises important issues. Don’t stop reading before the last paragraph.
By Rep. Heath Shuler After more than 60 years of contentious debate that has divided our community, we are finally nearing a fair and conclusive solution to the issue of the North Shore Road. This solution will provide a fair…
By Marsha Crites • Guest Columnist She is very thin, about 6 years old, her hair is unkempt and her nose is running, but her smile is broad and captivating. It is hard to walk with her wrapped around my…
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Oh, the glorious memory of boredom

George Bernard Shaw once said, “It’s a shame that youth is wasted on the young.” If that is true, then I would also add that it is equally a shame that boredom is wasted on the bored.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 00:00

Tis the season of politics and lies

The truth is that, at the state level, no one is giving Pat Smathers a chance to win in his bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. The Canton mayor and attorney is trying to run a statewide race…
Haywood Community College needs help, and the community that benefits from this beloved institution is going to step up. The only question to be answered is in what form that help will come.
Perhaps it is going to take a complete fracturing of the mental health system before policymakers finally realize that North Carolina needs more inpatient facilities to treat patients who are a danger to themselves and society. Well, if it’s a…
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:00

Is it unpatriotic to save the rebate?

Don’t you just love being an American. Just the mere mention of the word “recession” and the next thing you know the government is proposing to spend billions of dollars in the form of tax rebates for people just like…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Stay out of my space with the cell phone

By Angela Faye Martin Presently, I am stalking though my local library collecting my thoughts on what I will write about in my next column when, wham! Someone across the room is getting a call on their cell phone.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Last challenge to Duke worth a try

Jackson County is almost at the end of its rope in the fight against Duke Power, but it is important that it make this final appeal. Its citizens deserve one more attempt at getting their fair share in what has…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Turn and face the change

Are you ready for a change, I mean a REAL change? The candidates for president of the United States are clearly ready.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

Next president has abig hole to dig us out of

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” — Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson believed in a strict code of ethics and morality that was Christian-like, and judged according to that belief. When I came across…
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 00:00

When the snows fell on Babbie’s house

When winter comes now, and I see those familiar pale shafts of sunlight that briefly touch the tops of the Balsams — just before total darkness settles on Rhodes Cove — I find myself remembering a trip to see my…
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

A big bowl of politics and football

By David Curtis College football and presidential primary politics make strange bedfellows, but in this New Year I think they have been sharing the same sheets.
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:00

Jackson students need a balanced education

By Michael Sanera • Guest Columnist In what appears to be a first in Jackson County, planners from a private consulting firm have been invited to teach students at Smokey Mountain Elementary and Cherokee Indian Reservation schools. The consultant will…
One is a new law that just took effect Jan. 1, and the other is a hoped-for statute that we believe is absolutely necessary for the continued prosperity of Western North Carolina. Both are good for the region.
The best news about the proposed Cataloochee Wilderness Resort is that it appears that from here on out, there will be at least some public disclosure on whatever progress is made. At least that is what representatives of the development…
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 00:00

Remember – every year is a new year

So it’s the New Year. The ball has dropped, the parties are all over, your Kool and the Gang album has been tucked away for another year, and Dick Clark has gone back into his jar of formaldehyde. Did you…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

A little moss, hopefully, is forever

By Stephanie Wampler A thick, green sheet of moss is growing across my roof. When I first noticed it the other day, driving home, I grimaced. I thought, “Somebody’s going to have to get up there and spray it off.…
By Tom Jensen • Guest Columnist John Edwards and Mike Huckabee are the most popular Presidential candidates in their own parties in Western North Carolina, according to recent surveys conducted by Raleigh’s Public Policy Polling. But Rudy Giuliani is the…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

The honesty of a cat’s purr opens my eyes

By John Armour We have two cats: Weasel, a grey female calico, and Orion, a male orange and white tabby. Orion is a big, lump of a cat, twenty pounds if he’s an ounce. He’s taught me a lesson for…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Blessed be the tin-eared hymn singer

By David Curtis “Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King.”
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 00:00

Mountain protections gained wide support in 2007

For those of us who have been beating the drum about the need for mountain communities to get serious about land-use planning, it’s been an eventful year. Not only was a lot of real progress made in 2007, but signs…
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

Disappearing fringes threaten national forests

By Brent Martin We see it everywhere we look in Western North Carolina — land advertised and marketed for its proximity to the national forests. One advertisement that I saw recently for such land perhaps said it best: going, going,…
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino quietly marked its 10th anniversary in November, but it’s impossible to ignore exactly what it has meant to the Eastern Band of Cherokee and its members. It has been the catalyst for a proud people to turn…
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

Foy’s influence will endure

The praise for outgoing Waynesville Mayor Henry Foy has been plentiful. Both of the other newspapers in Haywood County have beat me to the punch, publishing glowing articles and laudatory editorials. But I’ll still add my voice to the chorus.…
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

You cats dressed in blue, this is for you

(Editor’s note: Smoky Mountain News columnist Chris Cox delivered this address to the graduating class at Southwestern Community College this past weekend.) A couple of days after I was asked to deliver this address, I asked my creative writing students…
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

The maples face an emotional buzz saw

By David Curtis Trees are making the news again in Haywood County as two commissioners are debating the sugar maples in front of the historical courthouse. To cut or not to cut is the question, but, as usual, the answer…
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:00

Canton gains ground as mill’s dominance recedes

Things are changing in Canton. That in itself is somewhat newsworthy.
By David Rice • Guest Columnist The results of a survey of nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide indicate Haywood Regional Medical Center provides better care in several procedures than most hospitals. The hospital received 25 five-star ratings in addition to being…
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 00:00

Christmas past is what we’re aiming for

As you know, the Christmas season these days begins about 20 minutes after the last of the trick or treaters have collected their candy, and lasts until the last college bowl game is over, which used to be on New…
Too often debates about immigration veer way off course, inhabiting some netherland of hysteria that is so far from reality it borders on the ridiculous. In the past couple of weeks we in North Carolina have witnessed just such a…
As the Haywood County Arts Council celebrates 30 years of work, it’s a good time to reflect on how effective organizations evolve as times change and re-invent themselves in order to remain relevant. Few nonprofit, grassroots community organizations in Western…
To the Editor: OccupyWNC, an affiliate of MovetoAmend.com, along with groups all across the United States, has worked diligently to bring resolutions to the attention of local governments. The resolutions propose, in part, that an amendment should be brought before…
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:23

Obama was in over his head from day one

To the Editor: Election time is approaching and we are facing a promise gap. In 2008 when vice presidential candidate Joe Biden visited Maumee, Ohio, he berated and ridiculed the previous administration for the size of the national debt, and…
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:22

Looking forward to our own Hunger Games

To the Editor: Have you heard the latest about our local sportsmen? Well, it’s been reported that three elk were found shot to death and left to rot in the Cataloochee area. And let’s not forget (or “dis-remember”) those other…
“You know, this is really the only thing I know I’ve wanted to do my whole life.” That was my daughter Hannah, a rising senior at Tuscola. She’s had a lifelong gift for coming up with sweeping, profound declarations that…
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

Making a list, forgetting to check it

By David Curtis Wool socks, silk long johns, cotton turtleneck, boots, down vest, wool jacket, Gortex insulated camo gloves. Deer hunting? No, Friday night high school football in late November, expected temperature at game time — 27 degrees.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

Jonathan Creek project is just not a good fit

Rumors have been circulating for years about the proposed mega-development in the Jonathan Creek area, the one with a thousand houses and a huge retail center that would take advantage of the area’s proximity to Interstate 40 and the Great…
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

Today’s youth are missing in action

I was 22 years old in 1967. Although it’s become fashionable to downgrade the sweeping changes brought about by my generation to the meaningless antics of a bunch of spaced-out druggies and naive idealists, history confirms that we really shook…
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:00

Even Grinch knows Christmas isn’t in the store

“And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer. “Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!” Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming, “I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!” — The Grinch   Most…
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 00:00

How the cookie crumbles

I look at you. You look at me. We’re dancing sort of, but I’m not much of a dancer and neither are you. There is no practical reason why you would want or need to buy cookie dough from my…
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 00:00

Charlotte voters make tough, smart choice

These days Americans aren’t known for making tough choices. To the contrary, our national reputation is one of being soft. We eat too many bad foods and complain about our health, sit around way too much instead of exercising, and…
By Brent Martin For those who have read Charles Frazier’s excellent Western North Carolina tale, Thirteen Moons, you will most likely remember his descriptions of the dark Nantahala Mountains and the vivid imagery associated with their empty night skies and…
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 00:00

Filling up a room with more than a table

By Sarah Kucharski Sunlight streams in our house’s south facing windows. The rays bring out the color in the Kiatt wood that makes up the top of the new table sitting in our dining room.
Last Tuesday’s vote was as illuminating as any recent elections, and it should send a few good signals to those already looking ahead to 2008.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 00:00

Gauging a country’s greatness

By David Curtis Making the rounds in teacher’s email inboxes is a story about an educator from Arkansas who taught her students an invaluable lesson on the right to an education.
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 00:00

Some memories just spell T-R-A-U-M-A

I am pretty sure I am going to get lashed for saying this, especially as an English teacher, but I do not really believe there is much that can be done to improve one’s ability to spell words. I haven’t…
Macon County Schools superintendent Dan Brigman, school board attorney John Henning Jr. and the school board as a whole did not do itself any favors in its handling of the very important bond referendum that citizens voted on Tuesday. In…
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 00:00

Burmese need our voices our courage

By Michael Beadle The tired diatribes of partisan politics may continue to capture the headlines in the coming campaign months, but there is one issue President Bush, Republicans, Democrats, student activists, Hollywood actors and most world governments are all agreeing…
A major road is in the planning stages, and neighbors and others in the community feel like it’s more of a runaway train that will help developers, encourage sprawl, and subsequently change their future forever rather than a consensus-building project…
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 00:00

The nice ones are all red and shiny

By David Curtis If you are driving west along U.S. 23/74 and nearing exit 102, the Waynesville exit, you will see growing along side the road, a tree radiating a brilliant red. Chances are, you will also say something like,…