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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:00

Our state's priorities have gone askew

The swearing in of new Gov. Pat McCrory this past weekend brought to mind a conversation at a recent holiday party. I was sequestered with a few political types and several issues came up that had been covered in The…
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00

Loosening development regulations a bad idea

To the Editor: I am adamantly opposed to the rescinding or changing of the current steep slope and mountain-top ordinances in Jackson County. It is all is based on greed and amounts to the selling out of our county representatives to the real…
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00

Something strange is haunting our dreams

The teenage cashier at the grocery store is conversing with a customer. “That’s right,” she says. “The only thing that will work is for civilization to collapse so we can all go back to nature.” Later I encounter a friend…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:25

A different perspective on guns and government

To the Editor: As someone who has lived in four different countries and traveled to several others over the last 11 years, I can tell you that no people who I have encountered continually demand that their government institutions solve…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:23

Shame on Jack Debnam and Jackson’s citizens

To the Editor: Friends, they’ve out-waited us. And, motivated by the smell of money, they appear to have outlasted us as well and are – right now – in the process of outmaneuvering us. Jackson County’s land-use ordinances were enacted…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:21

Some want to lead by using fear

To the Editor: Don’t let anyone tell you there’s no conspiracy or that conspirators are not busily at work here in our “exceptional” country full of “superior” people. It’s not written anywhere. There’s no agenda to read or way to…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:20

‘Gun Free Zones’ are danger zones

To the Editor: Legislation has created a zone where the only people protected by a “gun free zone” are the evil criminals that come there to break the law. No one can stop them. Good people are forbidden to carry…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:20

U.S. Postal Service should be left intact

To the Editor: We have just been through a holiday season during which the U.S. Postal Service and its workers have served us well. Millions of cards, letters, and packages have passed from city to city, home to home. Stamps…
By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist A 1996 New Yorker cartoon — poking fun at Steve Forbes’s presidential campaign plank — pictured two men dining on steaks at a posh private club. “I’ve been thinking about the flat tax and…
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

Working triple time in Jackson County

By Nancy Geiger • Guest Columnist My daughter, Brittany, is staying at Western Caroina Univesity this summer. The hotel she has been working at wanted her year-round, and since her sorority house stays open and charges for her room all…
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

Life too often revolves around the minutiae

By Stephanie Wampler Stuff. Life is all about the stuff, isn’t it? We have stuff to amuse us, educate us, make our work easier, and do our work for us. We work hard so that we can buy more stuff.…
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 00:00

We can’t stop the changes

Some have charged that the true, underlying sentiment among those who support stringent development regulations in Jackson County — and elsewhere in Western North Carolina — is a desire to stop all growth and keep newcomers away. Build a wall,…
By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Concerned Americans await the concluding acts of the political drama the president and his allies call “comprehensive immigration reform.” Many questions remain unanswered. The most salient is: Why are the president and Republican leaders…
A government building for a mountain town that looks like it belongs in the mountains? Funny how that is going to work out for the town of Waynesville but never could come to fruition for Haywood County and the justice…
By John Armour You’d think that what happens in Western North Carolina, in the 11th Congressional District, isn’t very important to the powers-that-be in Washington. That’s usually so. But not now. And two extraordinary events that have occurred a year…
Those who supported Heath Shuler’s bid to represent this region in Congress probably did not believe the detractors who spent most of the last election harping about how he would become Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s lapdog once he arrived in Washington.…
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

Some gifts are always keepers

Kayden is doing her very best not to tell me about the preparations she and mom and Jack have made for Father’s Day, but she is 6 years old, and at this age especially, secrets are like little, wet bars…
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

How do we really support the troops?

This is about war, but only from a distance. When I read about deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan, it mostly seems a world away. On the rare occasion it gets personal, I can’t help but be reminded that war, particularly…
We want the state Agricultural Research Station in Waynesville to remain open, but the Senate budget proposal that attempts to weed out duplication and conduct agricultural research more efficiently isn’t such a bad idea.
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 00:00

Feudin’ banjos and writin’ laws

By John Armour At the end of every week I take stock of what’s happened. Rare are the weeks which have actual bookends — something that was sublime, and something that was ridiculous. This was one of those weeks. I…
By Chris Lowe • Guest columnist “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education,” said Albert Einstein. Einstein is credited with several accomplishments, some of which you may be familiar with and not know exactly what they mean to…
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 00:00

Another day, and it’s off to the races

7:37 a.m. — Snatched out of sleep by the ceaseless opening and closing of drawers. Goodness, woman, what can there be in those drawers? I turn over and groan dramatically, and she laughs without sympathy. A long night grading papers…
Blessed are the planners, for in their hands rest the fate of these mountains.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:12

We need to keep track of all firearms

To the Editor: I miss Martin Luther King. His enlightened reason and fervent advocating for equal rights is sorely missed. Unfortunate that a man with a gun chose to end his life. Make no mistake about it, there have always…
To the Editor: Nature abhors a vacuum. Mother Nature assures change. Organisms are constantly adapting, changing, improving, evolving. Understand-ing life cycles in nature assists man in many ways. We can collect water, grow vegetables, clear land, harvest timber, fish for…
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:10

Last issue of SMN painted a vivid picture

To the Editor: How incredibly serendipitous that your newspaper of Jan. 23 should headline the flooding and landslides that occurred during the four days of local heavy rains while at the same time highlighting the ongoing review of the Jackson…
By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist When the 1911 Weeks Act was passed, allowing the federal government to purchase land and create a national forest system in the eastern United States, an agreement was established between the federal government and…
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

I’m sorry for all the impotence ads

By John Armor • Guest Columnist There are certain categories of ads on TV which offend me, and no doubt you, whenever they appear. There are the impotence ads. (Known as “E.D.” to its friends.) Plus the constipation/diarrhea ads. Plus…
The road, it appears, stops here. Now, elected leaders and citizens must demand a timetable for the $52 million settlement due Swain County.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 00:00

A surprising reminder of a common bond

By Stephanie Wampler One morning in early spring, I woke up before anyone else and went out on my porch. The air was cool and clear, the thin morning mist was a veil over the grey trees of winter. A…
By Brent Martin The most popular subject of conversation in mountain communities today deals with the hollows and ridge tops of Appalachia being filled to capacity with gated and mysterious wealth.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

Ushering in a new era in Maggie Valley

A whole lot of residents and business owners are excited — and that’s putting it mildly — about Ghost Town’s May 25 re-opening. It’s probably the most anticipated business event in years in Haywood County, and there’s good reason to…
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 00:00

It’s all, really, about the tadpoles

The kids are doing their best to amuse themselves there at the water’s edge, but they are past restless. Something needs to happen, and sometimes when you’re fishing, not much does. “Dad, can we skip rocks yet?” Dylan wants to…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:11

Taking God out of schools was mistake

To the Editor: Just over five weeks ago a mentally disturbed 19-year-old young man went into a school in Connecticut and slaughtered 20 young people and 6 adults. Mentally disturbed people caused similar incidents in the last few years, including…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:11

Jackson should not sell out to developers

To the Editor: Thank you for your excellent reporting on the consideration to a change in the development rules in Jackson County. The economy is not a reason for a change in the rules. Once a mountain is changed there…
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:09

Majoring in philosophy? More power to you

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is trying to temper disparaging remarks he made early last week about the value of a liberal arts education. He certainly needs to, and while he’s at it he should assure this state’s citizens that he…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:38

All Cherokee bear zoos should be shut down

To the Editor: It’s about time that the USDA finally suspended operations at Chief Saunooke’s antiquated concrete pit in Cherokee. Now is the time for Chief Michell Hicks and tribal council members to make this permanent. Anyone who continues to…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:37

Lake J property owners need more information

To the Editor: The article about the upcoming decision regarding possible annexation of Lake Junaluska by Waynesville in the Feb. 6 issue of The Smoky Mountain News included a statement that “... Lake Junaluska property owners have had ample opportunity…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:36

Gov. McCrory needs to put up or shut up

To the Editor: Thanks for standing up to the governor in your column about our state universities (“Majoring in philosophy? More power to you,” SMN, Feb. 6). Even those of us who earned technical degrees appreciate our universities as more…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:34

This diplomacy stuff just isn’t that hard

By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist Well, it seems that John Kerry is our new secretary of state, ready to take on all the problems of the world. Up until recently, I would have been fine with that, but I…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:35

We have to decide which side we’re on

To the Editor: Well over a half century ago, the infringements, abridgments and usurpations of government against our liberties ordained in the Bill of Rights began. Recently, this has accelerated to an intolerable assault on our Constitution, individual freedoms, and personal…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:34

Ball fields bad use of tourism money

To the Editor: Why on earth tap the tourism development funds in Haywood County for a ballpark that won’t result in increased revenues in the tourism marketing pot? Cherokee has tried with their expensive sport complex in Whittier and, as I…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:34

Weakened slope laws could prompt lawsuits

To the Editor: This is an open letter to the Jackson County Planning Board and county commissioners. Things to consider:  • We have an existing steep slope ordinance. • Mudslides are not covered by insurance in N.C. • Changes being considered to…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:32

Beware plastic power strips, and many thanks

To the Editor: It is hard to believe it was a month ago that our little house in Waynesville burned. Through the shock, sadness, transition and confusion, two things have remained consistent in our minds. First, how very blessed we…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:30

We need sanity in gun debate

To the Editor: As a gun owner, parent, teacher and American, I believe that there is no legitimate reason for civilians (such as myself) to own weapons capable of firing more than 10 shots before reloading. A 30-round mag (typical…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:29

Macon County may need second pay study

To the Editor: I believe Macon County’s commissioners need to closely analyze and thoroughly discuss the results and proposals made in the recent compensation and classification study before any changes are made to the county’s compensation plan. I suggest that…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:27

Obamacare will drag down health care

To the Editor: Recently, after a serious falling accident, I experienced medical treatment from our local health care system at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital and at Asheville’s Mission Hospital. Doctors and nurses at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital saved my life and I spent 10…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:24

Downtown Sylva needs some help

To the Editor: Tourism, tourism and tourism are the three most important words to line the struggling businessmen’s pockets and the county tax collector coffers. One must ask, who were the folks in Dillsboro responsible for tar and feathering plus running…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:20

By chance, by sea, bye bye

By John Beckman • Columnist Thirty-five years ago, I moved into my first dorm room and this small-town lad had high hopes of the excitement and new people he would meet at this big university hundred of miles from his…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

Liberals arts education enriches one’s life

To the Editor: Scott McLeod (Feb. 6 SMN) pays tribute to the value of a liberal arts education. Even though I never earned a B.A. degree, my college and high school background in literature, philosophy, music and religion has greatly…
To the Editor: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the building boom of million dollar homes in Jackson County supported this county’s people? Hiring local contractors and skilled laborers, as well as employing the abundant resource of manual labor in the…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

Not all doom and gloom in Dillsboro

To the Editor: The claim of Frank Parrish and others over the past few years that Dillsboro is a ghost town is highly exaggerated. By all accounts, most Dillsboro merchants had a very good 2012. My retail store broke even…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

Time to be rid of all Cherokee bear zoos

To the Editor: Little has changed in Cherokee since a 1989 Parade Magazine cover story, “Are Our Zoos Humane?” named a Cherokee bear exhibit as one of the 10 worst zoos in America. Thus, I was very pleased to read…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

Writer spouted false facts about Obamacare

To the Editor: A recent letter writer makes a number of unsubstantiated and flat out erroneous claims about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These sound like talking points from some right-wing propaganda organ. First, the writer…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

State’s democratic ideals are fading fast

To the Editor: Our founding fathers, framing our Constitution, created a representative democracy. They formed a republic, a government where the people vote for representatives to govern for them who reflect their views. This is an indirect democracy, a government…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

MV Lodging Association opposes TDA tax hike

To the Editor: Contrary to articles recently published in our local papers, there is much opposition to the proposed law to increase the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority occupancy tax by an additional 2 percent, raising the taxes to an…
By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist The United States spends twice as much on health care as most other modern nations, with less to show for it in terms of longevity and other true measures of health. The reasons why…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:28

Don’t be in a rush to cut courthouse trees

To the Editor: I am concerned that the decision to remove the trees at the courthouse was hasty and ill-judged. Once mature trees are removed, they will not be replaceable in our lifetime. According to Cornell University, sugar maples, such…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:27

Once again, we need to save Needmore

To the Editor: After all the time and effort put forth by the citizens of Macon and Swain counties, the NCDOT is back again wanting to pave Needmore Road. It seems the public gets to have its input, but does…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:26

The roots of the U.S. gun culture

To the Editor: In all the current commentary about gun violence in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook, little if any attention has been give to the roots of the problem in our Western/American culture. Three aspects…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:25

A great night of music at the Bardo Center

To the Editor: What a wonderful evening recently at the Bardo Arts Center. Western Carolina University School of Music presented The Symphony Band, 108 students conducted by David Starnes and Graduate Conductor Emily Talley. It was so encouraging to see…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:23

Joining Waynesville right move for Junaluska

To the Editor: From my perspective, much of the discussion of whether or not to allow annexation of Lake Junaluska by Waynesville is a result of the deep felt emotional attachment many of the residents have to Lake Junaluska and…
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:22

Give McCrory, GOP a chance before piling on

To the Editor: Ms. Abel’s letter said that the state’s Democratic ideals are fading fast since the last election (“State’s democratic ideals fading fast,” Feb. 27, SMN). For about 140 years North Carolina was under the control of the Democratic…
By Ken Stahl • Guest Columnist There appears to be controversy concerning the proposed 2 percent occupancy tax increase. This is a good thing as it generates a reflection on concerns of the stakeholders. Several issues have been discussed, and…
By Kenn Jacobine I have this cousin, let’s call him Giovanni. He is a great guy – industrious, hospitable, great family man. He is my go to source when it comes to information and analysis about sports in general and…
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” For years I had ascribed those words to Thomas Paine, the fiery British-American writer who fanned the flames of America’s revolutionary spirit with his pamphlet “Common Sense.” A quick search, though, reveals it…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:41

Chavez did some real good in Venezuela

 To the Editor: With the recent death of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, there has been much speculation in the media as to whether the reforms he brought about in his country’s economy and society would be retained. As one…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:40

Voter ID law a waste of time, money

To the Editor: The voter suppression monster has reared its ugly head again in Raleigh. Although details are not known yet, any move to require voter ID is a thinly-veiled attempt to restrict the voting rights of certain groups for…
By Stephanie Wampler • Columnist Our Saturday morning cave adventure started out innocently enough. We would need flashlights. Check. I had purchased three apiece, plus four spare AAA batteries. Change of clothes. Check. Layers for warmth, since it was after all…
To the Editor: I once again would like to bring up the safety issues regarding fire, rescue and sheriff’s department personnel responding to home sites that are built on steep grades. In my humble opinion, the present 30 percent maximum…
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:40

Dillsboro will welcome railroad back

To the Editor: There seems to be some confusion as to the withdrawal of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad from the town of Dillsboro, so let me try and set the record straight. Back a few years ago the railway…
To the Editor: Let’s remember when talking about the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR), we are talking about two different entities. Formerly, the GSMR created and operated with private investment funds by Malcolm and Joan McNeill (who moved to and…
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:39

Voter ID issue just keeps getting better

To the Editor: The radical Republican regime in Raleigh has a new pretext for the voter ID scheme North Carolina doesn’t need. It’s no longer about voter fraud — which is virtually nonexistent — but about voter “confidence” instead. The real…
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:38

Investing in the region’s creative minds

When the city of Asheville decided that this year’s Bele Chere street festival would be the last it funded, little more than a whisper of protest was reported in the local media. The monstrous festival had become a victim of…
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 19:33

It’s our home, keep it clean

To the Editor:  Every time I drive to and from Bryson City, I become distressed by the volume of litter along our roads. I have lived here close to 40 years, and the litter problem seems to be worse than…
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 19:33

Meadows’ vote just doesn’t make sense

To the Editor: I am a white woman and a God-fearing Democrat. I could not sleep well this Easter Sunday. For the past weeks, I have been trying to figure out how Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, could vote against the…
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 19:32

Nuclear proliferation just needs to stop

To the Editor: How many nuclear weapons does it take to make us “safe?” According to a recent report by the Federation of American Scientists, the world’s combined stockpile of nuclear warheads is more than 17,000, of which 4,300 warheads…
Cigar smoke swirled around my face as the eardrum splitting street preacher invaded the festive mood of the thousands meandering around the entrance to the old market in downtown Charleston. A few minutes earlier, we had finished off a meal…
We have been hearing a lot lately about President Barack Obama’s charm offensive. He has been traveling a short distance from the White House to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, including Republicans. He now seems more interested…
What’s deadlier than a crazed maniac in a kindergarten class with a loaded assault weapon? In the most horrifying massacre in the history of the United States, a few days before Christmas, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into a classroom of…
To the Editor:  I was horrified to learn that my representative in the N.C. House, Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, co-sponsored House Resolution 494, the Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013.   H494 is designed to allow North Carolina…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:26

Drive a hard bargain with railroad

To the Editor: I’d like to ask the Jackson County Commissioners why, in the midst of high unemployment and a miserable economy, is there the rush to seal this dubious venture with the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. It won’t pay…
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 13:26

Rep. Presnell violates oath of office

To the Editor: There are conflicting lights in which to view the co-sponsorship by Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, of the ill-founded, ill-fated state religion resolution. Neither is flattering to her or comforting to the public. In one, she’s a witless…
The room tax hike being sought by Haywood leaders needs to pass and deserves the support of the legislative delegation in Raleigh, and we hope that Sen. Jim Davis in particular will get on board and shepherd this bill through…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:08

Democrats need to unite behind Christopher

To the Editor: I’m deeply troubled to learn that some Haywood Democrats are still disgruntled about the appointment of Greg Christopher as sheriff. First of all, no one was more disappointed than me that Chief Deputy Larry Bryson was defeated.…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:07

Career politicians are the problem

To the Editor: Career politicians are ruining this country. Unfortunately, once elected, most of our politicians’ concerns are to become career politicians. Numerous tactics are used to meet their goal, i.e., gerrymandering, voter ID, caving in to lobbyists, etc. Currently…
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:06

Dillsboro and Jackson need railroad back

To the Editor: How will the saga of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad end? There have been many letters written about this grant, comparing it to a loan of Jackson County taxpayer money, which it is not. It is a…
I cannot credit film critic Roger Ebert, who died just a couple of weeks ago after a lengthy battle with cancer, with instilling in me a lifelong love of movies. I was already in love with movies before I saw…
In 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, at the urging of the British M16, overthrew democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. In a declassified report completed in 1954 on the 1953 operation, “blowback” for the first time entered the…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:41

MedWest Haywood appreciates volunteers

To the Editor: A smile, a touch, a simple “how are you today?” are some of what I hear and see every day as I walk the halls of Medwest Haywood. Rain, sunshine or snow, those smiles are the ever-present…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:41

Don’t allow filling in of floodplain

To the Editor: I am a local biologist and an avid outdoorsman and spend a great deal of my time for both business and pleasure in the stream.  Historically, we have abused our floodplains all over the world. In many…
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:40

Tell your reps to vote against fracking

To the Editor: Most of us have heard the term fracking by now. In states where this underground energy extraction method is being used, the track record is not good for the folks who live there. Contamination of drinking water,…
The defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate wasn’t as much surprising as it was disappointing. This is one of those issues — like gay rights or even limits on tobacco advertising and use — that will eventually gain…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Sen. Davis going way too far to the right

To the Editor: Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and his extreme right-wing partisans have no problem wasting taxpayer money as long as he gets a headline and appears to be tough on the poor folks, as illustrated by his recent comments…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

What will you do about jack booted thugs?

To the Editor: Watching the YouTube videos (since removed) of the “jack booted thugs” trampling on our Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendment natural rights recently in the greater Boston area, I experienced a great sadness. Sadness because peace…
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Meadows in the wrong on background checks

To the Editor: This is an open letter to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., our district’s freshman congressman: Your vote to filibuster expanded background checks to purchase guns will haunt you through your next election. To defend your vote based on the…
To the Editor: I am extremely disappointed in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council (except members Perry Shell, Terri Henry and Bo Taylor) for allowing the bear zoos to continue in operation. It’s understood that the bears cannot be…
The “fractured public square” refers to the loss of the place where a community discusses ideas, politics and values. The ideal public square can be both a bonding agent and a place where one draws a line in the sand.…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:40

PCs for grads program thanks supporters

To the Editor: A little over a year ago, the concept of annually awarding donated and refurbished PCs to Haywood Community College’s GED graduates started to evolve. A small group of dedicated faculty, staff and students overcame a tremendous amount…