SMN staff

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To the Editor:

This is in reference to the June 9-15 issue of The Smoky Mountain News. I thought this was called the Smoky Mountain News, not the Greenville News. I can see perhaps a mention of Trump in North Carolina but a full-page picture with “The Return Of The Don” was unprofessional and uncalled for. 

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By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Guest writer | Two Western Carolina University professors with interests in jail populations and addiction issues collaborated with one regional county government to better understand the recovery needs of its jail inmates with substance use disorder.

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Juneteenth Events in WNC:

Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail received its largest individual gift ever when an anonymous donor gave $100,000 to establish the MST Forever Fund. 

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The Nantahala Ranger District is resuming work on two projects in Macon County whose timelines were affected by position turnover and COVID-19, with plans to combine them into a single Environmental Assessment process. 

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The 2021 Summer Learning Program at Marianna Black Library in Bryson City will celebrate all things related to books and animals this season, with a fish-centric event slated for 2 p.m. Thursday, June 17. 

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A teenager is dead and two other people injured following a car crash on Monday, June 7, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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The first book of the new StoryWalk at the Cashiers Village Green, Cashiers, Come Play With Me!, will soon be installed with a dedication ceremony and family picnic planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19, near the Village Play. 

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Visitor spending in national park communities during 2020 was just over two-thirds the amount spent in 2019, but parks in Western North Carolina were spared that drop, according to a new report from the National Park Service. Together, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway accounted for more than 10% of visits to national park units in 2020. 

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A portion of the Black Mountain Trail on the Pisgah Ranger District will be closed through approximately Aug. 15 for maintenance. 

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Friends of DuPont Forest’s new Share the Trails Campaign aims to help visitors share and care for the forest’s 80-plus miles of trail this summer and beyond. 

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The Pic’ & Play Mountain Dulcimer Players will be resuming in-person jam sessions at the St. John’s Episcopal Church basement fellowship hall in Sylva.

By Sandra Hayes • Guest Columnist | I volunteer with QuickDraw of WNC, an art auction where artists step up to help put supplies on classroom shelves in our public schools. We’re raising money right now.

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To the Editor:

As North Carolina faces an economic crisis amidst a pandemic, our community colleges will be key to recovery efforts. 

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To the Editor:

The following is a letter I wrote to Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

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A National Park Foundation grant will fund outdoor field trips for kids in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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The most recent round of Pigeon River Fund Grant Awards distributed through the Community Foundation for Western North Carolina will provide $236,250 for water quality projects in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. 

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The pool at Lake Junaluska is now open for the season, and 2021 passes offering pool admission and special discounts at Lake Junaluska though Labor Day are on sale. 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash was named the winner of the 2021 Agency Leadership Award from the Public Lands Alliance during a virtual conference May 24.

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Friends of the Smokies will host the third annual Smokies Cup Tournament at the Biltmore Sporting Clays Club Sept. 16-17 this year. 

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To the Editor:

As an occasional writer of letters to the editor I sometimes receive feedback, mostly positive but sometimes negative or dismissive. Most of the time I don’t hear anything, which causes me to wonder if I was just speaking to the void. I was very surprised then to see my name at the beginning of a guest column, no less. I am, therefore, gratified that people are indeed paying attention.

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With vaccinations underway and COVID-19 restrictions easing, April home sales rose 48.8 percent year-over-year with 1,138 homes sold across the Asheville region. 

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From mild to wild, paddlers can find whatever kind of river experience they’re looking for in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Why do we seek the high places? The easiest explanation for going to the mountains is for the scenery. Even so, there must be something ingrained in the human experience that draws us to lofty summits and places where we can look out over the landscape. The reasons vary from the practical to the spiritual.

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to The Smoky Mountain News a retired military man stated, “Among all the other abhorrent and anti-American acts Comrade Beijing Biden and his cabal are perpetrating is endeavoring to take all firearms away from law-abiding Americans.” Later in his letter he refers to “… this unprecedented act.”

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To the Editor:

Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was removed from her leadership position in the Republican Party for only one reason — she stood firm in telling the truth. Allow that to sink in. Rep. Cheney (daughter of former VP Dick Cheney) courageously stood, nearly alone, against party leaders whose destructive lies endanger our republic. “Remaining silent, ignoring the lies, denying the truth, only emboldens the liars,” she said.

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The Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway will reopen under new management on Thursday, May 27. 

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s long-time Facility Management Division chief has been named as the park’s new deputy superintendent. 

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Nantahala Outdoor Center is open for its 50th season, with new venues, courses and events in 2021. 

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MountainTrue has launched a new service that offers up-to-date water quality results for more than 65 popular recreation areas in Western North Carolina, northeastern Tennessee and Towns and Union counties in Georgia. 

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The North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council announced that Swain County Middle School was awarded a NC Schools Go Outside Grant of $13,789. 

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Haywood Community College Foundation’s Tuition Free Guarantee Scholarship is sometimes the deciding factor for Haywood County seniors when deciding where to go to college. 

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A chronic wasting disease case confirmed May 12 in Virginia occurred just 33 miles from the North Carolina counties of Surry and Stokes. 

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This spring, 17 physical education teachers from Haywood, Jackson, Swain and Macon counties joined the Western Carolina University Project Discovery Talent Search staff for training in a curriculum that aims to help children be more healthy and active. 

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Rehabilitation of the Abrams Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now underway after kicking off May 10. 

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Base Camp on the Go is back at Waynesville Parks and Recreation. 

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Moderate drought has returned to North Carolina for the first time since November 2019, though it is currently relegated to 12 counties in the southeastern part of the state. 

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By Heather Hyatt Packer • Guest Columnist | With a recent motel sign in Maggie Valley has come a collective hissy fit from the community with many businesses rushing to retort. In today’s climate, speaking out with any unpopular opinion is dangerous business so I tip my hat to the motel. Good for you. 

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To the Editor:

A recent letter writer attempted to excuse evangelicals who support Trump. She quickly got into the weeds of misinformation and exposed an ignorance about science.

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District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch announced the state Attorney General’s Office would take over the criminal investigation and potential prosecution of sexual-abuse allegations involving Asheville School.

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North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of Keith Brody Parks, 36, Waynesville. Parks was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, both felonies.

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Meet, greet and eat with some of your favorite former Ghost Town in the Sky performers on Friday, May 21, at Elevated Mountain Distilling Company.

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Snowbird Cherokee artists and community members in Robbinsville recently gathered to launch the outdoor installation of a long-awaited 400-square-foot mural honoring women of the Snowbird Cherokee Community.

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By Mary Jane Curry • Guest Columnist | This a reply to a letter by David Parker that appeared in the March 31 issue. The matters discussed are continually relevant.

From whom in our local schools did you hear about the “violations of common sense,” the assaults on national respect you mention? What courses in the state university curricula are you unhappy with? What are your sources, Mr. Parker? Have you asked to visit some university classrooms?

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By Kelli R. Brown • Guest Columnist | There are more than 242,000 students attending the 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina System. It is one of the larger and, arguably finest, systems dedicated to public higher education, research and community uplift in the country.  

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By Greg Caples • Guest Columnist | What is a hero? Maya Angelou famously said, “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” 

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To the Editor:

In a recent letter to The Smoky Mountain News a retired military man stated, “Among all the other abhorrent and anti-American acts Comrade Beijing Biden and his cabal are perpetrating is endeavoring to take all firearms away from law-abiding Americans.” Later in his letter he refers to “… this unprecedented act.”

This is a reminder of how little legislation has been enacted to regulate guns in the last 25 years. Readers, look this information up for yourselves. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t believe the NRA’s propaganda either. Biden is not going to “take all firearms.”

The writer focuses only on the second part of the Second Amendment and omits the first part. The entire amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  Contrary to what the writer states the amendment does not provide absolute gun rights. If it did, why even include the first 13 words?

To those who want to protect gun rights as provided in the Constitution this ex-sailor will stand with you. Will you stand with those who want a “well-regulated militia?”

Dave Waldrop

Webster

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In an online public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 13, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will take public comment on a proposed temporary rule for hunting on game lands. 

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