Pictured above are some of the members of the Mountain Mama Birthday Club. Every two months the group meets to celebrate the members’ birthdays, but rather than give each other gifts they take up a donation for a worthy need or charity of the birthday girls’ choice.

My name is Trevor Mark Gates. I was born in Sylva at the (Harris Regional) hospital. My family has lived in Jackson County for as long as I know. I graduated from Southwestern Community College here in Sylva. Look me up on Google, and you’ll see that I’ve been written up in the pages of the …

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pictured above are some of the members of the Mountain Mama Birthday Club. Every two months the group meets to celebrate the members’ birthdays, but rather than give each other gifts they take up a donation for a worthy need or charity of the birthday girls’ choice.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My name is Trevor Mark Gates. I was born in Sylva at the (Harris Regional) hospital. My family has lived in Jackson County for as long as I know. I graduated from Southwestern Community College here in Sylva. Look me up on Google, and you’ll see that I’ve been written up in the pages of the …

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

“Insanity,” Albert Einstein purportedly said, “is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Wednesday, November 06, 2019

If asked to identify our biggest problem today in one word how would you answer? My word would be trust. Republicans don’t trust Democrats; Democrats don’t trust Republicans, and the public doesn’t trust either group.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

When I was slightly past the age of accountability (according to my Granny’s definition of probabilities regarding sin) I thought ... “Why not trick-or-treat one last time?”

The president’s acting chief of staff stood in the White House briefing room and confessed to activities considered by some impeachable, by others at least illegal.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The recent skirmish between the State Board of Education and superintendent of public instruction is yet another reminder of the longstanding debate about just who is in charge of public education in our state. This lack of clarity has taken too much energy. Instead of arguing over who is in…

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

It is no secret that women are underrepresented in American politics. We have never had a female president of the United States and women make up just 24 percent of Congress, 18 percent of America’s governors and 26 percent of state legislatures. And those who may think that local offices ar…

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

At almost the same moment our state was boasting of a $900 million cash surplus, one important sector of state government was encountering serious shortfalls. Lawmakers should address the funding problems with the N.C. Department of Transportation before considering refunds to taxpayers or o…

Progressives and conservatives argue about economic policy all the time. At government’s current size and scope, would it better promote long-term growth to raise taxes and spend more or to lower taxes and spend less? During a recession, should government try to bolster demand by running lar…

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It has been my honor to serve five terms as the senator for North Carolina’s Senate District 50. Since January 2011, I have traveled extensively throughout the beautiful mountain counties I represent, and my goal has always been to understand how I can effectively support their needs in N.C.…

I read the Sept. 5 guest column (“Jackson must do better in stemming cat crisis”) and the sad dilemma Kaleb Lynch, manager at Catman 2, faces on a daily basis. It brought to mind a similar dilemma another community faced decades ago.

American Legion Post 104, and Post 104 American Legion Riders, will hold a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 14, in remembrance of all who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor the service of all first responders. There will be a short ceremony at 11 a.m. followed by a hot dog lunch. The post will …

Somewhere, sometime, and in some way, each of us thinks about peace. We might not call it “peace,” but we think about it. We wonder where or what peace is with questions like “why can’t we get along?” and “what is wrong with this family?” We sense peace each time we say, “what a wonderful ti…

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

We were an idea before we were a nation. Our borders were of less concern to our founders than a constellation of what were then almost unspeakable notions, like all men were created equal and they had, inherently, certain rights. Those rights were not granted by a state or a monarch or a ch…

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

If you come to the end of the year and you’ve got surplus money in the bank what do you do? This seldom happens in most homes, but would you spend it? Save it? Or, if you’re the government, would you return some of it to the people who sent it? That’s the option Senate President Pro Tem Phil…

In the context of American politics, North Carolina is a middle state – which is not the same thing as saying North Carolinians are especially moderate. It simply means that our Democratic and Republican coalitions are roughly the same size, making our elections highly competitive and diffic…

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

This is a modern day re-telling of the familiar Bible story of David and Goliath. In our version, David is played by State Treasurer Dale Folwell. The Philistine giant Goliath represents the large hospitals in our state.

Because Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly have remained deadlocked for weeks over passage of a new state budget, you might think nothing much of consequence is happening in Raleigh.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Between 1999 and 2017, almost 400,000 people in the United States died from an overdose involving an opioid. Even farther reaching, 48.5 million Americans have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs such as opioids. Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the …

Democrats are seeing how far and fast they can run to the left. Meanwhile, Trumplicans – they don’t act like most Republicans we’ve known – are march-stepping to the right before falling off the edge of the earth. You have to wonder, whatever happened to moderates? Did they die off or are th…

Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

To the extent Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and other online companies engage in viewpoint discrimination against conservatives and Republicans, they deserve condemnation and ridicule. But do they also merit oversight by lawmakers or regulators?

Members of the Sylva American Legion Auxiliary Unit 104 have been collecting new stuffed animals for police, fire and EMS personnel. These stuffed animals are given to children who witness or were victims of a traumatic incident. President Janice Short, second from left, delivered some stuff…

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

I have lived in several communities in my lifetime, but few compare to the amazing downtown Sylva community, especially the business community. It is so cool to see how business owners manage to not only craft their businesses for the greater good of the people who live here, but also manage…

When it comes to public affairs, bad news is good and good news is bad. That is, political speeches and media pieces that describe a problem as big and getting worse tend to attract more attention, so more are produced. That, in turns, fuels more public disaffection. It’s a vicious cycle.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In a year when our state is stashing more than $700 million into surplus funds, the recent state budget appears to target the Department of Health and Human Services for punishment. The budget fails to expand Medicaid, underfunds existing services and makes harmful cuts.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Let’s take a snapshot of North Carolina at mid-year. Please forgive the plethora of statistics, but they help bring our picture into greater focus.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

After patiently waiting, and maintaining a safe distance away from the broody hen, Poppa is pleased to announce he has hatched off ten little ones.

The common chigger aka red bug is a tiny pest smaller than the head of a pin, yet its bite can cause intense itching. Chiggers actually have several stages in their life cycle, but only the larva feeds on man and other animals.

Many political and education leaders in North Carolina say that our economy would be better off if our level of educational attainment was higher. They’re probably right about that, as long as their definition of “educational attainment” is sufficiently broad.

On Thursday, June 27, 2019, the nation’s highest court declared that it was too delicate a flower to deal with partisan gerrymandering. The issue, the court said, was beyond the scope of their authority.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Senator Richard Burr published an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer that attacks the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee people for opposing his Catawba off-reservation casino bill and his Lumbee recognition bill. 

Registered voters in North Carolina ages 25 to 64 do not feel financially prepared for retirement according to a new survey by the American Association of Retired People. AARP’s survey of 600 registered voters found that over half (56 percent) feel that they are behind in their retirement savings.

Summertime is when our beautiful native plants, majestic trees and shrubs, and yes, even our soils teem with living organisms. Parasitoids, beneficial nematodes and fungi, along with insect predators, are just a few of these organisms that help keep the bad pest populations at bay. These are…