Journalism that counts

To the editor:

I commend The Mountaineer for the excellent work it is doing in keeping its readers informed. The daily coronavirus update for Haywood County, in particular, is meaningful and one of the first items I look at each morning.

You are doing journalism that counts, that has the best interest of your community at the forefront.

I am reminded of the words the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans where he says that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Surely, we can already see evidence of that. I sense a humility among people, a willingness to reach out to others, to put one’s own life at risk for the sake of others (especially medical personnel), innovative ways to worship while still practicing social distancing, and, in general, a genuine pulling together for the greater good.

The people of Haywood County were compassionate and caring even before the virus struck. What better place to weather the storm of this pandemic.

We see people here (and elsewhere) loving their neighbor unconditionally, and, I would submit that this deadly virus will bring many people closer to God, who is our ultimate hope, and who is the eternal healer.

Our world has changed forever. But God has not changed. His love endures forever, and we can trust him completely under all circumstances.

Our duty is to continue to reach out to others as best we can, to take one day at a time, and to keep faith in the Great Physician. May we allow God to bring his unique peace to our troubled hearts.

DeVere Williams

Pastor of Crabtree Methodist Church

(Editor’s note: If you aren’t receiving Haywood’s daily coronavirus update in your email each morning, sign up for free on The Mountaineer website ( and check the Newsletters box on the right side of the rail.)

It’s time to protect all

To the editor:

Thank you for your in depth coverage of the worst national health disaster of my long life.

President Trump is fond of saying that he’s a “war time” president. A war time President like FDR was able to mobilize the allegiance of all our citizens as well as the where-with-all to fight this war.

The COVID 19 virus demands national leadership, both by implementing policy and managing the distribution of much-needed medical supplies and equipment.

It is upsetting to read that beaches in our neighboring state to the south are still open and that thousands of spring breakers were frolicking on the beaches in Florida from mid February through mid March. Also, the Georgia governor just reopened their beaches in spite of protests from local officials.

We need Washington leadership and a national stay-at-home order to protect all of us from this dreadful virus.

Ralph Andrew


Need a car now?

To the editor:

What is up with places such as car dealerships remaining open during this crucial time? Surely it isn’t because someone needs a new car, is it? Just saying.

Betty Sutton


Test drug before hyping itTo the editor:

Once again a Trump supporter writes a letter attacking another letter writer instead of sticking to facts and fact checking. The issue in question is Trump’s hyping the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 on the basis of scant evidence. A website is quoted with qualifications, such as “may be effective.”

The “studies” reported to date do not provide any convincing evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19. I checked out what was available online, and found that at best one study could charitably be called a small preliminary pilot study.

The findings suggest that the drug could have some effect for mild cases. Replication with larger samples is required before any reputable physician should prescribe the drug.

Why the push for promoting this drug? Given the number of cases in New York alone, it would be possible to do a quick randomized trial, and if the drug is effective we should have sound preliminary evidence within a couple of weeks at most.

Is the Trump administration desperate for having a “win” to make up for his dismal handling of the response to the pandemic? Is it because a Trump donor has interest in the drug? Is Trump trying to compensate for having waited weeks before doing anything? The truth is we really don’t know why Trump is promoting this drug without proof of efficacy.

As to risks, people taking this medication need to see an ophthalmologist on an annual basis to check for possible retinal damage that the drug can cause. Use can also result in bone marrow depression, anemia, and a host of other medical conditions and psychiatric problems. Until the results regarding efficacy are in, caution should be exercised.

Continuing to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine in the absence of sound evidence that it’s effective in treating COVID-19 is irresponsible. Administering the drug could be dangerous to patients.

Hopefully it will be an effective treatment for at least some with COVID-19, but we need proof that it works. Administering the drug without such proof might cause more harm than good.

Norman Hoffmann


Better buckle up if this is prophetic times

To the editor:

While learning the details of this horrible COVID-19 pandemic, I realize there could be one unexpected positive of quarantines and social distancing.

Notwithstanding the increase of gun purchases, we should not fear any mass shootings in the near future.

Additionally, commentators have referred to some situations as of “apocalyptic proportions.” If the apocalypse being referred to is the Bible book of Revelation “we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

This is only a harbinger of things to come, both bad and good.

The world of mankind better buckle up. The specifics of the Biblical apocalypse continue to happen as we go through these difficult times.

James Shaffer


Modern slavery

To the editor:

45.8 million people are caught in the trap of modern slavery around the world. This includes 10 million children. (International Labor Office.)

Now is the time, to heal together as one earth by praying for our siblings abroad and locally who may simply be facing these harsh practices of living, farming or employment because they are simply trying to survive.

When one is picking up food from Christian Ministry and it’s one type of tuna, it’s best to be grateful. We need to understand that eating is important, and we need to first have food and feel safe to eat.

We can hug shame, and say, I accept you although when you ______ I feel ________. Personal growth requires vulnerability.

I spent time living at Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in Pine Bush. They helped me deal with the grief of losing my grandparents and traditions changing especially around food.

Spending time with their Buddhist Sangha (community) helped me feel like I was part of a family that I could never lose because the earth is my home and every-body is my sibling.

Thich Nhat Hanh is an accessible teacher who brings Buddhism to American culture is a way that is relatable. Slowing down and saying, I am powerless has been the first step for me.

Next, I ask God to help me. We can change our own practices and influence those in our own family to make healthier choices too, one day at a time. Time takes time.

Our health is our wealth; both our physical health and that of our earth and the global community. We have members of our community who are Asian and when we say that Asia is not our friend, that’s going against God’s teaching which says, love thy neighbor.

I see signs that say Support Farms. To all you farmers out there, how can we support you? What practices can we all as locals engage in that can help your farms and families flourish?

Jeremiah Maitri


Here is a letter to Haywood County residents about a way to help neighbors during a time when all are hurting.

Haywood’s Outdoor Pantries provide one of the ways that members of our community are addressing food insecurity. These are hard times for many, and making sure that basic foods get to those who are hardest hit is critical.

Haywood’s Outdoor Pantries has, for several years now, been a source of food that fills a gap left by other food providers. Unlike other pantries that are driven by volunteer availability, the outdoor pantries are open at all hours every day.

The model is simple. Concerned folks shop at the local groceries and bring the food and stock the pantries. Those who need food may come and get the food whenever they can and for as long as the shelves are stocked. A very loosely organized team of neighbors supports each one of the pantries.

There is no contact – a great way to reduce risk in our current situation.

Haywood’s Outdoor Pantries are located:

Near the Head Start facility in Waynesville, 489 Pigeon St

Near the Head Start facility in Clyde, 384 Jones Cove Road

In front of Our Place Inn in Maggie Valley, 4077 Soco Road (open 9 to dusk)

For those who pick up or have some extra groceries, drop them at the nearest location. The donation could be a single can of tuna or jar of peanut butter or it could be a couple of bags or boxes of groceries. Nothing is too little or too much.

Items needed are:

Protein items: canned tuna, chicken, chili, chicken and dumplings, beef stew, Vienna sausages, etc.

Peanut butter and jelly

Cans of Chef Boy R Dee

Cans of soup

Canned fruit and applesauce, fruit snacks

Hamburger helper/tuna helper

Pasta, pasta sauce, Mac and Cheese


Taco meal kits

Hormel complete meals

Juice boxes

Boxes of cereal

Pancake mix and syrup

Simple spices in addition to salt and pepper

Any hygiene product you use in your house, cough syrup, Tylenol

Cleaning supplies

Pet food

If you would rather not shop or if you think your dollars could go farther if items were bought in bulk you can contribute by making a tax deductible gift through Helping Hands of Haywood

Another way you can help:

It would be wonderful if we could find locations to establish Outdoor Pantries in more areas of the county, especially in the Fine’s Creek, Bethel/Cruso, and Saunook/Balsam areas.

The greatest obstacles to food security among those who need it are 1) lack of transportation and 2) the cost of gas. So many of our neighbors have found themselves out of work due to the coronavirus. Getting pantries closer to where people live could really help lighten their load /easetheir burden.

Those who know of a possible location are asked to contact Beverly Banks or Ann Holtz at

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