Finding meaning in life’s twists and turns

I recently experienced a visual about worrying. It was a mountain where the highest point is the peak of worry.
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Looking forward to SMN in 2049

This week SMN is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a business. As we mark the milestone, this industry is changing…
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School choice isn’t a conspiracy

North Carolina is becoming a national leader in expanding choice and competition in education. For some North Carolinians, this is…
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Billionaires, public education and vouchers

Despite stiff opposition, the N.C. Senate voted this month to double the funding for Opportunity Scholarships to boost enrollment in privately run…
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When history really does repeat itself

Recently someone described me as a “longtime columnist for the Smoky Mountain News,” which made me realize I’ve been sharing…
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To be a moderate takes real courage

One good thing about being skeptical of your own opinions is that if the wrong candidate wins you can reassure…
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Change is coming, and things will change

What happens when the those with the most chips in the game only have a partial stake in it? In…
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Sorry, fertilized eggs are not living beings

It is time to have a fact-based discussion about the biology and history of our knowledge about human reproduction. Much…
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Pray for the best, prepare for the worst

After what Haywood County has been through does anyone want to think about the hurricane season from June 1 to…
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Local food is the best choice

If you need a reminder of the sweet soul of humanity, visit your local farmers market on a Saturday morning.
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PlottFest not just about canines

PlottFest 2024 will be held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Saturday, April 27th from 9 a.m. until 10 p..m.…
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Single-use plastics need to be addressed

When I began my role as the French Broad Riverkeeper nearly 20 years ago, I was wide-eyed and eager. I…
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The hamster wheel of human well-being

I’ve become fascinated with studies and lifestyle changes focused on longevity and biohacking. A few recent “revolutionary health and wellness…
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Celebrating libraries means ending book bans

I’m no extremist. I like discourse with people who hold opposing viewpoints. You can sway me with sound arguments. I…
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Enjoying the Madness

It’s March Madness, and as a graduate of North Carolina State University, I am thoroughly enjoying it. We Wolfpack fans…
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Are the ‘deniers’ practicing better science?

I don’t deserve to be called a scientist, but maybe I’m at least a fringe scientist after spending 50 years doing…
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Former public servants send a strong message

We folks over 70 often make mistakes — forgetting and confusing names, places, dates. So when Joe Biden mistook President…
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Taking time to strengthen my gratitude muscle

Gratitude has become something of a buzz word and because of that, it seems that some people roll their eyes…
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One year later, Canton displays remarkable progress

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep,…
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Challenging false claims and legislative barriers

As keepers of our traditions and sovereignty, we vehemently oppose any attempts to exploit or appropriate the rich cultural legacy…
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Finding alignment on the anniversary of COVID

Many folks seem out of alignment these days, and I’ve been thinking about why that may be. The uncertainty and…
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Wastewater monitoring offers reliable health data

If you want to know whether COVID-19 infections are rising or falling, look to the sewers. Wastewater monitoring (also known…
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Electoral College’s value is underestimated

In this election year of 2024 I want to discuss two controversial topics: the Electoral College and two-senators-per-state rule. 
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Why humanity needs heroes and villains

Many of us at The Smoky Mountain News have written novels, are in the process of writing a novel or…
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Got comma issues? I can help with that

I really don’t like telling people that I teach English for a living.  Maybe it’s different for you, but my…
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Cherokee courts ‘underserve’ the EBCI’s members

My name is Raymond D. Large III, Esq., known to most as Rady [Ray-Dee]. I am an Appalachian-American, an attorney…
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Working together to raise good conversationalists

Recently, I was asked to speak to a leadership class at Tuscola High School and although flattered, I wondered if…
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Humans are entirely unworthy of our dogs

We hoped he’d die in his sleep, that we’d find him curled up in the bed in that old, familiar…
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Coming down from the mountain

This past weekend, I served as a cabin leader for Winter Retreat, an annual youth event hosted by First United…
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Here’s to being woke rather than a MAGA

Several months ago, I was having lunch with a friend and the topic of politics came up, specifically how bitterly…
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This conservative says it’s OK to disagree

I wish to respond in a general way to the two columns on the Opinion page of the Dec. 27-Jan 2024…
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Leaning into the momentum of a new year

I love the energy surrounding a new year. Why are beginnings so enchanting? Perhaps it’s the hope and anticipation of the…
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We’re the lucky ones; we live here

As I think ahead to 2024, I can’t help but feel so lucky to live here, in these mountains. 
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A lot to look forward to in 2024

If 2024 were a table laid out before you, how would you imagine it: a beautiful, feast-laden smorgasbord of rich…
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All different, all the same, all over again

Once upon a Christmas, our children came creeping down the stairs before dawn like little burglars.
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Nostalgia’s great, but ditch the rose-colored glasses

Like a lot of middle-aged-to-older Americans during the holiday season, I’m a person with a healthy nostalgic streak.
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We of the pale blue dot never learn

My Christmas wish is that every artificial light on earth gets turned off for 24 hours between Christmas Eve and…
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Christmas – finding beauty in the mess

It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than a week away. With more gifts to buy, a Christmas puzzle partially…
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Adjusting to life in a meat locker

I’m trying my best to get this column out to you, but it’s not as easy as it seems. My…
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It only takes one person to change a life

Many years ago when I was an educator, my school was tasked with reading a book titled “The Cycle of…
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A lesson from First Lady Rosalynn Carter

“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”  — David McCullough Jr. 
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Can our democracy survive?

It’s clear from numerous reports out of Congress that most, if not all, Republicans think Donald Trump is a buffoon…
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‘If I am still here in 11 more days …’

My birthday is tomorrow. When my dad reached this same age, he had 10 days left to live. I remember…
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Human gratitude runs deep in our DNA

Over 10 years ago, I was part of a cohort at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church who read a book…
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Simple, meaningful stories often overlooked

I once wrote a story about a couple in Jackson County who had been living off the grid for decades. They…
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Times have changed, and that’s a good thing

As an adolescent male in the 1970s, you didn’t tell your other male friends you loved them, not at that…
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Women are allowed to change their mind, right?

You have been together a month, maybe two. It was whirlwind and all, that electric “getting to know you” phase…
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Wildfires a reminder of Nature’s power

A severe drought. A moderate but steady wind that’s coming from the north and very dry. Parched leaves swirling everywhere. 
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America’s founding deserves our gratitude

In her classic novel “Little Women,” Louisa May Alcott has her character Margaret gaze bitterly at the family’s frostbitten garden…
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Finding ways to slow down time

I’ve been wondering lately how to slow down time. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you would agree there’s a…
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