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Wednesday, 31 October 2007 00:00

Some people really can work miracles

By Stephanie Wampler I walked across the floor, the crowds cheering, the woman smiling as she handed me an award. Then the crowd fell utterly silent. I turned towards the camera man, smiled, and held up my plaque. It was…
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

Days like these can go on forever

I miss all those Sundays at my grandma’s house, so many Sundays, so many years. Once upon a time, it seemed we would never run out of them. It seemed as if there would always be cars lined up like…
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

Free press and tribal politics

The decision by Michell Hicks, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, to do away with a column in The Cherokee One Feather was a mistake.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 00:00

A health care fix is needed

Our story last week about a fund that helps women pay for breast cancer testing and treatment pointed out cracks in the health care system. It’s not surprising that this situation exists, and while we hope the funding issues for…
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00

The right too often hides behind the children

On a political talk show recently, a well-known Republican political consultant spent a lot of time attacking public schools in North Carolina and the people who run them. No surprise there.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00

Sharing the moments as time marches on

By David Curtis Does time go by faster the older you get, or do we just have a better way to gauge its passing?
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 00:00

Breaking the made in China addiction

By Angela Faye Martin My husband is unwittingly celebrating my month-long, albeit relative, independence from Chinese goods. He sits across from me at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in Sylva. Realizing that we chose Chinese, I remark, “you know, this marks…
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 00:00

Where do postage stamps come from?

By Sami Felmet • Columnist My muse seems to be marred in divorce and family issues lately. I think it was about this time of year that I became a single woman again. There were some surprises along the way.…
How’s this for a political endorsement: cast your votes in the upcoming municipal elections for those candidates who support land-use planning.
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 00:00

Drive-thru decision-making is maddening

Let me say this first. This is not really a column about restaurants. The last time I wrote a column about restaurants, I suggested that Pizza Hut bring those poor young ladies holding signs on the curb out of the…
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:32

Why Obama is not the rich man’s candidate

To the Editor: It’s hard to understand why working people would ever vote Republican. The Republican Party is the party of the rich … the Donald Trumps, the Sheldon Adelsons, the 1 percent. Since 1997, when the Republican congress slashed…
To the Editor: In a recent interview with David Joy in the Cashiers Crossroads Chronicle regarding a county wide barking dog ordinance, Incumbent District 4 Jackson County Commissioner Mark Jones stated that he is “... on the fence” and “……
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:30

Speak up about Citizens United

To the Editor: Your readers may be interested to know the result of petitions signed this year by hundreds of residents of Jackson, Macon, Haywood and Swain counties. These petitions called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would…
To the Editor: There’s a “For Sale” sign in front of your home, but you didn’t put it there. What’s worse, you may never know who did. The object of the sale is your mind, and through it, your vote.…
North Carolina’s General Assembly — under the leadership of Republicans for the first time in more than a century— will hopefully refrain in the future from pushing unfunded mandates onto the backs of counties and their taxpayers. The U.S. Congress…
By Stephanie Wampler With a long flash of silver, the golf club revolved in a wide, smooth arc. The glinting club head cut through the air. Splat! It crashed against the tiny tomato and there was an explosion of juice…
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 00:00

It’s all over but the texting

By David Curtis The 21st Century arrived at the Curtis residence this past Friday. We have evolved from caveman, cavewoman and cave children into the cellular age. Yes, our foreheads no longer slant and we can now stand erect while…
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 00:00

DOT needs to hit the brakes on Southern Loop

There’s one fundamental reason the Southern Loop needs more discussion before it is considered a done deal — the simple fact that the citizens whose tax dollars pay for roads should, ultimately, decide the transportation future of the community in…
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 00:00

In the wake of death, new life

By Marsha Crites • Guest Columnist Much has been written in this paper and others about what is causing our gorgeous hemlock trees to die and what steps one can take to forestall or halt the disease. Rather than belabor…
By Arthur Hancock Anyone who is among the living has hope — even a live dog is better off than a dead lion. — Ecclesiastes 9:4 Do you agree with the following sentence? The survival of the human race is…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

The menagerie grows by one well-trained possum

By David Curtis I would like to think Haywood County is still considered a rural county. At least to me, sexing a possum is something I can’t really associate with an urban lifestyle.
Haywood County commissioners have taken a first step forward — albeit a small one — to protect farmland in the mountains, but they and leaders in other counties need to do more. If they don’t, the region’s agriculture traditions is…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

What I don’t know about parenting

The central paradox of parenting is that by the time you have it figured out, it’s over. Now that I have written that sentence, I immediately see two flaws in it, regardless of how wise it sounds. First, parenting is…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:48

Obama wants to limit free speech rights

To the Editor: Albert Einstein, who was a genius both in mathematics and in understanding human motivation, said the following: “... Leaders came to their power not by their ability to think and to make decisions, but by their faculty…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:46

Forest Service should not tear up hillside

To the Editor: I live at the head of Tilley Creek, where my family has been since the early 1800s, so I have a keen interest in what happens up here. I have worked very hard since returning to my home…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:46

People, not dogs, are the problem

To the Editor: Having read about the dispute of the barking dogs and a push for a county-wide ordinance, I have to make a comment or two regarding this issue.  Number one it is always wise to look and listen…
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:45

Affordable Health Care Act is good legislation

To the Editor: Republicans in Raleigh and Washington who want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act — and those who vote for them — would be doing away with the following benefits to us which are now in place:…
By John Beckman • Guest Columnist I’ve read the letters regarding the barking dogs issue and the responses from both sides. It’s clear to me that the central issue is not dogs at all, but how Jackson County and the…
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:00

Time to fix NCLB to better reflect the real world

Congress is likely to re-authorize the No Child Left Behind Act sometime this fall. If that is indeed the case, then we can only hope it makes some significant changes in this flawed bill that will help school systems use…
By Susan Leveille Editor’s note: This letter, which contains some updates, was sent by Susan Leveille to the Maggie Salas, secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in 2004. She asked that we publish it as a guest column. Dear…
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:00

School gets scant attention out in the jungle

By David Curtis As a teacher in the public school system I have often heard teachers express their frustrations by using the famous middle school axiom, “How do they expect us to train a wild animal if each night we…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

For gays, desperation too often a way of life

A few years ago, I received a letter from a reader that I have never forgotten. Upset over the suicide of a former student — who I knew had long agonized over dealing with his homosexuality due to various painful…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Is oil like a mineral, vegetable or animal?

By S. Michael Hewitt • Guest Columnist Remember the game of 20 Questions? One person thinks of a thing. A second person tries to figure out what that something is by asking a series of questions that can be answered…
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:00

Defending their turf

Four-wheel drive enthusiasts are prepared to defend their use of the Tellico Off-Road Area in the Graham County section of the Nantahala National Forest. “There are very few places for full-size four-wheel drives,” said Heather Spivey, spokesperson for the Southern…
In this day and age, as the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen and this country’s manufacturing economy undergoes a dramatic transformation, community colleges are more important than ever.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Osama, this is George: I need you, man

By Arthur Hancock • Guest Columnist I had a dream that the following communication came into my hands. I read it and woke up screaming ... TOP SECRET: CLASSIFIED! TO: Osama bin Laden, Tribal Areas FROM: George W. Bush, Leader…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

Roll the credits, please – ASU 34, Mich. 32

For the last 24 hours, I have felt like a character in a movie. You have seen the movie, probably dozens of times. A small-town team nobody has ever heard of gets its big chance against a nationally ranked powerhouse.…
By Stephanie Wampler Have you ever doubted the existence of Heaven? If so, then I will jump to the hasty conclusion that you have never picked and eaten fresh blueberries. Yes, it seems a bold statement but entirely true as…
When the new owners of the Canton paper mill announced a few weeks ago that company headquarters were being moved to Memphis, it was seen as mostly a footnote to the larger story of Blue Ridge Paper’s sale to the…
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 00:00

When did the need for AC move up the mountain?

When we were having record and near record heat back in August, I did what any overheated mountain dweller would do — I packed up the family and headed to the beach. We don’t have air conditioning in our rural…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:28

Democrats never met a tax they didn’t like

To the Editor: Both political parties say with a straight face that the other party is to blame for the “fiscal cliff” that we will face come Jan. 1, 2013. The truth is that neither party was willing to compromise…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:27

GOP is party of those who want to work

To the Editor: In answer to the statement made two weeks ago by Lisa Weeks as to why working people would ever vote Republican, I would suggest this: simply, to keep on working. The Republican approach to government is that…
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:25

Debt burden will crush main street if unsolved

In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Today the challenge posed by Kennedy might read: “Ask not what you…
When Lori and I moved to Waynesville with our then 2-year-old daughter Megan, we made a conscious choice to build a life in a small town. Our belief was that the pace of life in such a place would be…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Vick a poster child for depraved stars

Has any professional athlete ever made more a mess of his life than Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick? At the ripe old age of 27, Vick had it made. After a stellar senior season at Virginia Tech, Vick was drafted…
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 00:00

Voting in North Carolina just got easier

The U.S. Justice Department gave final approval last week to a new North Carolina law allowing people to register and vote on the same day during the state’s early voting period. All we’ll say is it’s about time.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

TDA changes ramrodded by county manager

By Scot Warf As past chairman of the Swain County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), I feel compelled to share with the community the events surrounding the recent hostile takeover of the Swain County TDA. In the fall of 2006, Kevin…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

It’s always somebody’s fault, isn’t it

We are a nation of blamers. When something goes wrong, or something tragic happens we, as Americans, are quick to look for someone or something to blame. This is very apparent to most all teachers. Call out a student’s name…
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Duke just hasn’t offered much to the region

The phrase “do the right thing,” the name of an early Spike Lee movie, has become a part of the lexicon of this generation. It’s a phrase that has often come to mind — as in, “we wish they would…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:21

Letter writers were simply off the mark

To the Editor: A pair of letters in this (last) week’s Smoky Mountain News made me check the calendar to see if it was April Fool’s Day. One of them asserted that Republicans want everyone to work and aren’t the…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:09

Let’s restore common sense in November

To the Editor: Last Saturday afternoon, Aug. 11, hundreds of people traveled to Jackson County to attend a rally which featured the North Carolina Council of State and other Democratic candidates. This rally was an historic happening, and was put…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:09

We need laws to control loud, dangerous pets

To the Editor: What an ignorant letter (“People, not dogs, are the problem,” Aug. 1, The Smoky Mountain News) written by Mylan Sessions of Clyde. We were the second homeowners to build in our area — nice, quiet and lonely…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:08

It’s important to protect the golden goose

To the Editor: As Western North Carolina strives to attract more businesses into this area, a major selling point is the natural beauty of our mountains. Not only does this incredible natural resource promote a high quality of life, but…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:07

Valid criticism better than false accusations

To the Editor: I have been in such a state of shock over a letter published in your newspaper (“Obama wants to limit free speech rights,” Aug. 1 edition) that it has taken me this long to respond. I have…
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:59

Raymond Fairchild and a vanishing tradition

By Charles and Cynthia Seeley • Guest Columnists I am a visitor to Maggie Valley. My husband, two friends and I chose this area of the North Carolina mountains as our vacation destination by pure chance. Our goal was to…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:15

Tell Obama the numbers still need to add up

To the Editor: I have always had a problem with numbers, I joke that numbers traumatized me at an early age. One number that baffles me is the unemployment numbers. See if you can figure this out: using a low…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:12

Letter writer should follow her own advice

To the Editor: A recent area letter writer cautioned us to dig for truth and find facts before we go to the polls. What wonderful advice. However, she should have taken her own counsel and stopped immediately at the end of…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:12

League forums are non-partisan events

To the Editor: Recently, the Macon County League of Women Voters started a membership campaign and in our invitation, we stated that at campaign forums conducted by the League, to maintain the spirit of a non parti-san informational forum, there should…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:11

Davis supporters were not out of line

To the Editor: A recent letter to the editor in another newspaper criticized Sen. Jim Davis’ supporters for wearing red T-shirts at the League of Women Voters Aug. 9 public candidate forum, calling it “red shirt tactics.” The letter writer…
To the Editor: Here are some questions that need to be addressed to the people who are leading our country and our state or who are seeking office in 2012. Are you a free market capitalist or a big government…
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:10

Intelligent voters need to use their brains

To the Editor:  I have been out of town so I am late in responding to my neighbor, Joanna Swanson’s diatribe of Aug. 1, detailing Obama’s “wants.”  Regardless of the manner by which politicians garner votes, they generally fit the…
Count me among those who hope the MedWest affiliation between Haywood, Jackson and Swain hospitals survives. Otherwise, I fear none of the three hospitals will survive, but instead be swallowed up or severely marginalized in within a decade. It’s been…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:45

I don’t share Romney-Ryan vision

To the Editor: This letter is in defense of the work and research done at the Bent Creek Southeastern Forest Experiment Station in Asheville, work that is largely sustained by funding from the federal government. As a small woodlot owner…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:44

We need a conservative leader at this time

To the Editor: I acknowledge Martin Dyckman’s well-written letter in the Aug. 15 issue. He challenged my letter (8/8/12) by bringing up several points against the Republican Party worth investigating further.   The letter motivated me to research the points…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:43

Battle flag display should be allowed

To the Editor: For many years, it has been the tradition in Haywood County and other Western North Carolina counties to allow organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans to place Confederate flags at monuments and memorials to recognize…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:43

We need dialogue, not accusations

To the Editor: I can’t hardly stand to read the letters to the editor anymore. Civil discourse, the backbone of any democracy, has sunk to a new low here and across the country. Name-calling, overgeneralization, and denigration have become the new norm. Whatever…
Even though there’s little room for compromise, I’m going to step into the fray. Haywood County commissioners are trying to come up with a policy about Confederate flags and whether they should be allowed at the Confederate memorial that adorns…
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Hats off to Jackson County commissioners

Last week Jackson County commissioners passed what is being called the strongest set of development regulations in North Carolina. They’ve set a standard for other counties to follow, and we think they’ve accomplished this in a manner that won’t hurt…
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Bury Ed in Appalachia

By Brett Martin Western North Carolina is rich with great literature written on the region, and there are still a few jewels that have gone largely unnoticed or are forgotten. One of these would have to be Eliot Porter’s Appalachian…
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Is summer over already?

When I went back to teaching full time about three years ago, one of the things I looked forward to most was having seven full weeks off in the summer. I have never had more than a week off here…
By John Armour If you’ve read many of these columns you know I’m addicted to politics. My spouse, among others, tells me from time to time to cut it out. You may also know I live in a restored farmhouse…
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

For teachers, success is in smell

By David Curtis As a schoolteacher you always wonder how your students will remember you. “She was a good teacher, but she smelled like garlic,” was my daughter’s comment when the name of a former teacher came up in conversation.
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

Poo by any other name is still...

What’s in a name? What about Scat? Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Maybe. Shakespeare seemed to think so at least. But what about, um, fecal matter? Would it too retain its aromatic qualities under other…
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

Energy bill weak, but a good start

There are serious problems with the energy legislation passed this session in the North Carolina General Assembly, but the bill also marks a watershed moment for North Carolina and the Southeast — this state is now the first in the…
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00

Is anyone counting the losses?

By Sami Felmet • Guest Columnist The birds and the bees. We’re losing them, you know. How will we explain reproduction without them? Maybe it’s easier now with so much sex on TV and in the movies. Is it any…
It used to be the “revenooers” who were considered the most vile characters in the mountains, but now we have a new villain — the evil developer who swoops in with wads of cash and turns beautiful mountaintops and river…
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00

Give me a deck of cards and no sand

My dad hated the beach. At least, that is how I remember it. We only went a couple of times during my childhood, and I cannot recall a single instance of my father actually ever being in the ocean playfully…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:23

GOP war on women is a real problem

To the Editor: Believing in the power of women’s votes, here are some facts that we are facing in November. We have heard the GOP war on women dominate the news while delaying action that is imperative to the quickly…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:22

Those who make most noise aren’t from here

To the Editor: I find nothing wrong with your article, “Confederates in the attic” (Aug. 29 edition, www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion) unlike certain others. It seems, however, that those who make the most noise about their rights not being respected are the very…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:18

Progressive is just new word for traitor

To the Editor: In regards to your column last week, let me make some points.  You wrote: “If someone gets pissed off because a flag used by a country — the Confederacy — that wanted to keep people in slavery…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:13

Proud to be an American ... sort of

Since I was old enough to talk, I’ve been told that being an American was something special, something I could take great pride and assurances in, and that my dreams and aspirations were indeed possible here in the land of…
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 00:00

It’s not about the trees at all

I really don’t think we are as stupid as they think we are. Developers of commercial retail shopping centers have an unfounded hang up about planting trees in front of, or in the parking lot of, shopping centers being developed.…
A coin toss. That’s what decided the race for mayor two years ago in the Jackson County town of Forest Hills. It was an election that featured an evenly divided electorate and ended with the kind of flair usually found…
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 00:00

Here’s what is wrong with the debates

By Marshall Frank As of this writing, five presidential debates — three Republican and two Democratic — have been held, ostensibly offering the American people a chance at learning the positions of each candidate and to evaluate their presidential gravitas.…
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 00:00

A new tax by any other name

By John Hood • Guest Columnist The North Carolina General Assembly seems poised to enact a new $300 million tax increase on North Carolinians this year, even though the tax burden has risen nearly every year since 2001.
By David Curtis The cows ate my corn. My corn is Silver Queen sweet corn. It’s an 80-day corn, which means that in approximately 80 days from the date you plant it your corn should be ready to pick and…
Wednesday, 18 July 2007 00:00

Al Gore to ride to the Democrats’ rescue

As the war in Iraq drags on with no end in sight amid reports that al-Qaeda has regrouped and is stronger than ever, you would think that the presidential race for 2008 would be picking up momentum as Americans, finally…
By Arthur Hancock • Guest Columnist With 70 percent of Americans now disapproving of the way George W. Bush is doing his job, maybe a little soul-searching on the part of the now-disillusioned Bush supporter is in order. “How could…
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has known it needed a new visitors center on the North Carolina side of the park since the early 1980s. Finally, it appears the nation’s most-visited national park is going to get one, and…
By Linda Watson • Guest Columnist Recently, a member of my family was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at Duke University. This diagnosis came after a nightmarish struggle to obtain proper diagnosis from local and regional physicians, all of…
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 00:00

Tomatoes really can save the world

I am a firm believer that the world would be a much better place if everyone just grew tomatoes. This thought came to me the other night; I was making pizza for the family and wished I had some fresh…
Since North Carolina is having such a hard time finding enough teachers, one place education leaders might look for help seems obvious — lottery proceeds. As the state pores over information from the first full year of the gambling games…
When most of us here in Western North Carolina go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail, hunt or fish in the national forest, enjoy a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or visit the Carl Sandburg Home, we…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:50

The end is nigh, but too few will admit it

By Kenn Jacobine • Guest Columnist According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, we are about to enter another recession. Of course, one would be hard-pressed to convince the over 20 million Americans who remain unemployed or…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:49

The GOP’s message of Social Darwinism

To the Editor: The 2012 campaign illustrates two oft-quoted maxims: that war is a continuation of politics by other means, and that truth is the first casualty of war. It’s more than the usual question about which party will occupy…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:48

Alderman replacement process should be open

To the Editor: As a full-time resident of Maggie Valley, I am shocked at the shenanigans taking place in our town over the selection of a replacement for Alderman Phil Aldridge who resigned in August. I think that the people…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:47

Some things should not be on public property

To the Editor: While I support the display of the Confederate flag or the Ten Commandments as a means of individual personal opinion, neither should be displayed on property we the people own together. The beginning of the end of the Civil…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:46

Columnist misguided in supporting Obama

To the Editor:  You printed an interesting, however misguided, guest column in the Sept. 5 issue. John Beckman (“Proud to be an American … sort of,” www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/8558) spends three columns lamenting the state of the country but then at the…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:45

We must protect religious freedoms

To the Editor: Some like to claim that ours is a Christian nation. But this was not the intent of our Founding Fathers. While a majority of our citizens may identify themselves as Christian (as do I), there is nothing…