Let’s bend that trail toward Jackson


To the Editor:

Our friends to the northeast have an idea: The Hellbender Trail. The entire state of North Carolina is establishing the Mountain-to-Sea Trail. The Appalachian Conservancy has the long-developed Appalachian Trail. And in England, there are the walkways along streams where the public may hike throughout Britain.

Across the Cowees to the south is the Macon County Greenway. We have now established the mile-long Jackson County Greenway. But is there any interest in stitching together our small Greenway with any other trails as the folks are discussing for the Hellbender Trail in Haywood, Henderson, and Buncombe counties?

Outdoors seem to be the best place for more of our citizens recreating with the COVID-19 issue. Let’s see if we can stitch together our Jackson County Greenway with some other trails, perhaps through Pinnacle Park and the Mountain-to-Sea Trail for a starter. Then maybe a way can be found to link up with Macon and other counties to our south and west.

Dan Pittillo,



Don’t mess with the USPS


To the Editor:

I am so upset!

Our U.S. Postal Service is in grave danger. Our current president is out of control with power. It’s one thing after another with him, but messing with the post office is beyond reason.

As I see it, he’s the one instigating voter fraud, by slowing down the mail and trying to suppress mail-in voting. In these COVID times more people than ever want to mail their vote in as a matter of health concern. Why should we risk our very lives? I’ve always voted in person but not this year. You have to wonder, what is he afraid of?

Now that he’s got his mega-rich donor Louis DeJoy as the new postmaster general of the USPS to do his bidding, he’s got his puppet. We are in very trying times. This is a disgraceful abuse of power and undermines our democracy.

I think Trump will do anything to disrupt this election or control it in his favor. We can’t have four more years with a president who only cares about himself and power. He is not a king.

Stacy Munn,



Use it or lose it


To the Editor:

Would you be able to vote if you had to pass a literacy test? Can you count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap? Can you count the number of jelly beans in a jar?

These were some of the tests that were required for Black citizens prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Can you imagine the pain and trauma many people endured when trying to exercise their rights as American citizens and were denied?

The late U.S. Rep. John Lewis actually shed his blood in his efforts to draw attention to the fact that people of color were not allowed to vote. He was beaten, insulted and his life threatened along with many others involved in fighting for civil rights and voting rights in the 1960s.

Do you take your right to vote for granted? Do you exercise that vote every time there is an election? In addition to John Lewis and others fighting for voting rights of minorities, think of the thousands of Americans who have served and died in military service defending democracy and our right to vote. 

I recently interviewed Payson Kennedy, co-founder of the Nantahala Outdoor Center in 1972, who was a faculty member of the University of Illinois in the 1960s. In early 1965, Kennedy took some students in a Volkswagen van to Selma, Alabama. They stayed in a housing project and every morning John Lewis, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to them. At noon they marched to the courthouse in Selma to register Blacks to vote, but they were refused. Kennedy said the speeches and marches all emphasized non-violence. They were asked to remain non-violent despite taunts and threats. Protesters today should follow their example.

The marches that Payson Kennedy and his students participated in plus the famous “Bloody Sunday” march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965 led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This act prohibited racial discrimination in voting and was signed into law on Aug. 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson.

Kennedy is puzzled why people don’t vote when so many people put their lives on the line for this right. He believes our country is in a crisis today probably as bad as any other time in recent history.

In a letter written days before his death to be read on the day of his funeral, John Lewis repeated something he often said: “If you see something that is not right, you must say something and you must do something.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore stated: “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.”

When you exercise your right to vote, you’ll be doing your part to maintain our democracy. Use your right to vote or lose it.

Mary Herr,



We can make sure there

are no more divisions


To the Editor:

I understand fully now, people who are all related to each other and think this is their town, they have forgotten we are a city of diverse people who have come from all over the United States of America. But because we are not born natives to the town of Sylva, our voices don’t count.

This seems also to be a group of people who practice nepotism and wish to have their own thoughts, not those of the members of the community, call the shots. Many of those protesting seem to be ignorant of what it cost all of those people during the days of the Civil War. They have been worked up by radicals and follow like brainless ignorant children, a cause that does nothing to make for peace and unity.

Stop this nonsense; a statue that was erected by those who wanted it and is a picture of the (past) and that past has no power, but that you give it with your pettiness. It is a part of our history and removing it will not change that history. To support such actions to remove it only solidifies your unwillingness to work towards peace and unity.

Leave the statue and thank God for what is over and how far we can go when and if we work together toward a brighter future. Together we can make a better country and assure there will be no more divisions among Americans.

Dee Kennedy, 



The squeaky wheel gets the grease


To the Editor:

One of the most important things we can do as citizens of this region is to support our community. The 2020 Census is in process and the self-response phase has been extended until Sept. 30. Our response rate has not been good.

Out of 100 counties in the state, four of the five worst response rates are from counties in Western North Carolina. Ranking worst at 100 out of 100 counties was Avery with a 30.1 percent response; Graham was 99 of 100 at 31.9 percent; Jackson was 98 of 100 at 33.2 percent and Swain was 97 of 100 at 33.6 percent. These figures reflect data received as of Aug. 18.

It is essential to have an accurate census count at every level of government. Census results will determine congressional representation and provide data to inform decision making for the next decade. For example, the census results will show where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and necessary family services. They impact support for hundreds of programs that help our communities grow and prosper. In the area of education alone this includes programs such as Head Start, Pell Grants, school lunches, rural education, adult education and grants for preschool special education. Our lack of response will cost local and state government $1,823 per undercounted person every year for the next 10 years.

Everyone must do their part. Please fill out the census for your household and encourage your neighbors to do the same. It takes less than 10 minutes. Engage with local government leaders to actively support the census and help the Census Bureau to count all households over the coming months.

The Census Bureau works hard to produce high quality statistics and protect your privacy. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by supporting them. None of us has a right to complain about government services if we don’t participate. Stand up and be counted! The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Joe Buranosky, Col. USMC (Ret.),



Leave the statue alone


To the Editor:

Jackson County was established and formed in 1851. Ten years later it became involved in the Civil War, in which many sons, brothers and fathers became part and served with the Jackson County 62nd Confederate. Many never came back, and those who did make it back home to Jackson County continued to farm and carry out their daily lives.

Many Confederate soldiers are buried here in Jackson County in many cemeteries, which I can prove. Also, I have past family who were Confederate soldiers buried here as well.

My father and grandfather, along with my great-grandfather, were there when the statue was dedicated in memory of those who served in the Confederate Army from Jackson County.

So it’s been standing there for 105 years. My point is, who has it ever hurt? It’s just a statue, plain and simple! Think of the many tourists who come here year after year that photograph our old courthouse, the steps and monument. Have they ever complained?

It’s part of our heritage, it’s not a symbol of hate by any means. So I think a few people need to go back and study our great history and leave well enough alone.

I am in agreement with and support our county commissioners in keeping it where it is and protected by whatever means it takes.

We are a sleepy-eyed community and don’t need any outsiders or left-wing liberals coming in here and trying to change our way of life. So leave it alone!

Alvin Frady Jr.,