Long before the Oct. 3, 1880, arrival of the first scheduled train in Asheville, the American railroad has been romanticized in both story and song, on stage and on screen.
Trains took us to our baby, or away from our baby. Trains took us off to war, or home to peace. Trains opened vast swaths of the American West to settlement, bringing with them jobs, growth, trade and prosperity while quietly gliding over miles upon miles of cold steel rail.
One needn’t look further than industries like Sylva’s Jackson Paper, Canton’s Evergreen Packaging and Waynesville’s Giles Chemical for evidence of how rail access benefits the economy in small Western North Carolina towns.
The inherent paradox in American government is that a nation founded upon Christian values by Christians provides for the separation of church and state in its governing charter.
While that is de jure status quo, it is far from de facto; customs, holidays and laws with a basis in Christianity remain at the core of the American tradition, often with implicit if not explicit government support.
With the June 29 passage of Senate Bill 155, North Carolina became the 47th state in the union to allow alcohol service before noon on Sundays.
Now in their senior and sophomore years of high school, Karen and José Ramos — ages 18 and 16, respectively — are just starting to imagine how they might make their mark on the world after graduation.
In a nation of more than 320 million people, a small group of just 800,000 sit squarely in the crosshairs of a controversial proposal that could end their dream of American citizenship and possibly erode the underpinnings of the American Dream itself.
At 21, Teresa Luna holds two associate’s degrees, a freshly minted diploma in dental assisting from AB Tech and dreams of one day becoming a dentist. Add in the fact that she’s been full-time as both a student and an employee for the past two years, and it’s safe to say that Luna is the epitome of the self-motivated achiever.
But Luna is also an immigrant, having made the dangerous illegal crossing from Mexico as a child and applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when the Obama administration created it in 2012. Now, the program is on the chopping block, and Luna is worried about what that could mean for the future she’s worked so hard to build.
The proposition is simple — establish a transition from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 or face climate calamity, according to the N.C. Climate Solutions Coalition.
Working in support of the former is retired Haywood County schoolteacher Susan Williams, who for months now has been circulating a resolution to Haywood County’s local governments calling for support.
Although the clean energy resolution circulating through many local governments of late has been alternately called “aspirational” and “empty” by some, a quick survey of some of the Western North Carolina municipalities that have adopted the resolution shows that while a few have long been in the business of greening up government, others may just use the resolution as an impetus to start doing so.
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