Displaying items by tag: opinion

Doing nothing to enhance school safety is not an option. Thoughtful gun control measures would be helpful and are one tool to help get there, but there are other — perhaps more beneficial — avenues we as a society should pursue.

At a Haywood Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting last week, Waynesville Police Lt. Tyler Trantham’s topic was how to plan for live shooter situations in businesses, churches and schools. It was the second part of his presentation, the first having come on Feb. 7 — exactly one week before the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.

Recently, I spent time in the tri-cities of Rutherford County, N.C. Spindale, Forest City and Rutherfordton make up this trifecta of small towns nestled in the foothills.

Our first stop was Copper Penny restaurant in Forest City. While we were waiting on the rest of our group, I noticed the hardwood floors and tin ceiling and felt a familiar pang of nostalgia, a longing for something I never had and that’s now impossible to experience. 

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist

Do politicians read their mail? It depends.

A recent New Yorker article on Christopher Steele, the British espionage expert, scored a direct hit on Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from our neighboring state to the south. Steele, you may recall, put his livelihood and perhaps his life at risk in helping to alert our intelligence agencies to Russia’s covert — and continuing — subversion of our election process. Among other things, Steele wrote the memo that raised the question of whether the Kremlin has seriously compromising information regarding Donald Trump’s personal conduct during a visit to Moscow.

Half the battle is just getting out of the house and on the road. Whenever we travel, we all understand that if we need to leave at 8 a.m., we will pretend that we really have to leave at 7 a.m. so that we can actually lave by 8:45 a.m. 

We set the alarm clock an hour earlier than any sane person would deem necessary, more than enough time to pack the car, eat a nutritious breakfast, run through the checklist of things that need to be turned on and things that need to be turned off, water the plants, leave a note for the house sitter so excruciatingly detailed that it resembles a manuscript, and say ‘goodbyes’ to our pets in a fashion that is so cute and so urgent that they seem confused, and probably alarmed, at what is unfolding here in front of them.

By Virginia Jicha • Guest Columnist

I was in the process of writing about the need for school nurses when the Parkland school shooting happened on Valentine’s Day. As the President of the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association and an educator, I know that we have too few nurses per students — leaving many schools with a nurse one day a week or less and with teachers and administrators needing to respond to health emergencies and manage the daily needs of our children’s many chronic health needs. Each school nurse in the state serves an average of 1,112 students, serving far more students than the federally recommended ratio of one nurse per 750 students.

Would you turn your back on a long and meaningful friendship because of widening political differences? I won’t do it, and I don’t understand people who would. 

The gun control debate is the perfect example. It’s as polarizing and divisive issue as there is, especially after what happened two weeks ago at a high school in Parkland, Florida. 

I didn’t go to church growing up, but my parents were the godliest people I knew. They were giving, compassionate, selfless, honest, humble and forgiving. They exemplified the true qualities of “people with faith.” 

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist

Cars don’t kill. Drivers do.

Remember that? No one does, because although Detroit dragged its feet over the cost of making autos safer, it couldn’t pretend that it wasn’t possible or wouldn’t matter. Thanks to seat belts, air bags and other improvements we now take for granted, along with stricter enforcement of traffic laws, the highway death toll per capita has been cut nearly in half since 1960. That’s with more than three times as many vehicles on the road.

My grandfather loved guns. He had a magnificent collection, including a dazzling array of pistols, shotguns, and rifles, some very old and exotic. These he kept locked in a gun cabinet that was strictly off limits not just to children, but to anyone. Most days, he wore a pistol strapped to his side just like Wyatt Earp, though his was more likely to be used to shoot a copperhead or water moccasin than some rounder in a saloon.

Breathing in the good

My life is starting to even out. And while I’m happy about this, a peaceful, comfortable life doesn’t offer as much column fodder as a melancholy, tragic one. 

Five years ago, my mom found out she had breast cancer. Then a year after that, when she was in remission, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. It was complications from multiple myeloma that ultimately took her life. 

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The Naturalist's Corner

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