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Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

With the deadline closing Friday for applications, at least seven artists, perhaps more, will vie to create Sylva’s first mural. Town officials have received submissions from near and far. One artist hails from distant Italy, town Manager Paige Dowling told me earlier this week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017
  • Updated

What I’m going to say in this column shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Times are tough in the newspaper business.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I found myself sitting on the steps of the historic Courthouse one day last week watching town and county employees sweat over Sylva’s Christmas tree, snapping the occasional photograph of their annual struggle to fit a very large Fraser fir into a moderately-sized tree stand.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, there were enough mature purple-fleshed daikon in the garden to send me scurrying to cookbooks in search of recipes.

One cold, snowy morning in January 1978, a man drove to Western Carolina University. He parked in the lot behind Hoey Auditorium. The man waited.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This nation is being held prisoner. Punch drunk, we lurch from insane moment to insane moment, led by a man who blurts something, anything to please the crowd. When one of a thousand arrows hits an emotionally charged target, President Trump embraces as immutable truth his own irrationalitie…

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A few years ago, Pew Research Center found only 48 percent of American adults directly take part in civic groups or activities. Less than 40 percent of those surveyed reported recent contacts with a government official or participation in a public forum.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On occasion, growing up, I would help my mother in the garden, weeding, digging potatoes and picking beans. This work wasn’t done particularly willingly or voluntarily. That’s too bad, because she knows a lot about gardening. I could have learned from her, while sharing the many joys of grow…

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On occasion, my brain departs for parts unknown. I started Brussels sprouts from seed two summers in a row, last year and the year before. Both times, the plants grew in such a spindly, sad-sack fashion, I didn’t bother to plant them in the garden.

Three-decades-old Gallery 1 is undergoing something of a renaissance. If you haven’t visited recently, make the trip – I’m confident you’ll find the climb up the 19-step staircase, to the building’s second floor, worth the effort.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A July 25 crash killed a couple from Eustis, Florida and seriously injured a trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol. Since this terrible accident, there has been a lot of talk about the dangers of traveling on U.S. 23/74 through Balsam.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

“The Mooch showed up a week ago,” a foul-mouthed Anthony Scaramucci told the New Yorker writer. It was perhaps the only sentence he spoke not bristling with more profanities than there are fruit in a fruitcake. I was shocked, and I’m no sweet innocent lass with a pure tongue. In truth, my la…

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

When this newspaper in February featured Phyllis Fox on the front page, it was to join with town of Sylva officials in honoring the pioneering, female small-business owner for receiving the annual Volunteer Service Citizen of the Year award.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Despite disavowals to the contrary, don’t make the mistake of thinking only Western Carolina University and the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority are deciding the fate of the dilapidated Cullowhee Dam.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Typically, I find myself at odds with conservative firebrands like Rep. Michael Speciale, a New Bern Republican who called the Women’s March a joke, accused NAACP leader the Rev. William Barber of being a racist and once queried whether, when it comes to humane euthanasia of animals, he shou…

Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Listening to a recording of last week’s Jackson County Board of Commissioners’ work session, I was struck by the repeated use of the word “girls” in connection with three professionals in the room, Finance Officer Darlene Fox, county Attorney Heather Baker and Clerk to the Board Angie Winchester.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Because of my natural inclination to see the best in people, I find it hard to even hint at such an unflattering possibility, but (sigh) someone must ask the question. For the good of humanity, then, let it be me.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wow, I’m loving this version of America, the one where we are so great and all. You heard the latest on our climb back to the top, the Montana politician who last week body slammed, then punched, a reporter who questioned him about health care?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A writer writes alone, “for oneself and for strangers,” as Gertrude Stein put it. Most learn their craft from others, however, through a combination of imitation and study.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Politicians taken to task in print one day usually aren’t overly gracious the next. When the Herald’s front-desk clerk rang the newsroom Tuesday to announce that state Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Swain, was downstairs asking to see me, I braced myself for the possibility, nay, the likelihood, of u…

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

After seven years of leadership, Ralph Slaughter retired this month as chairman of the Jackson County Republican Party. Unassuming, gracious, unfailingly polite – he’s the sort of man who is easily underestimated and overlooked.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Sometime in 1992, shortly after taking up my career as a journalist, I started reading back issues of the newspaper in Franklin where I worked.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A staid panel discussion at Western Carolina University took a dramatic turn on Feb. 16 when a bellicose professor refused to relinquish the microphone during a question-and-answer session.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Wednesday, February 01, 2017