Protect your pets

To the editor:

What is wrong with people? If it is over 70 degrees outside and you have to go the grocery store or Walmart, leave your dogs at home.

After 10 minites in a car when it is 70 outside, the inside of a car heats up to around 90. Even if the windows are cracked, it is too hot. If you love your dog, leave it at home when it is hot. They will have a heatstroke and die and it will be your fault.

And Walmart, shame on you for not announcing over your intercom when someone needs to be called out for this nonsense. Thank God the law made it in time.

Christy McMahon

Lake Junaluska

Christians should follow their faith To the editor:

As a Christian mother of a Haitian son (who has very dark- skin), who believes that all children were formed by God in their mother’s wombs, that there are no perfect people, and that is why we need Christ.

I am deeply disturbed by what is happening today in our community. How can I possibly expect my son to walk into a “Christian” church after what he is seeing on the streets and hearing from the mouths of “Christians?” I am at a loss.

I read about a local Baptist expressing his anger and lack of empathy, demonstrating his lack of ability to see people as God sees them at The Communities for Change Protest in Maggie Valley. I am dismayed by the behavior of those who claim to follow Christ.

Only 30 peaceful protesters showed up, but it was reported that 200 angry counter-protesters gathered and ended up being the ones holding the match to the powder keg. An organizer stated they were there to get the word out that systematic racism… is a problem.

The Baptist counter-protester made accusations and belittled her. She relayed her own experience of being antagonized by Haywood County white students chanting “We hate N…!”

Unfortunately, in Maggie, protesters were told to go to hell, while the counter-protesters waved flags — American, Confederate and Trump flags, even raising their middle fingers and cursing at those whose intention was to raise awareness peacefully.

Police officers had to restrain these hate-filled counter-protesters. Threats were shouted. One woman yelled, “You need the Lord… There’s no hope for you. You’re going to hell.”

Now, I ask you — where would Jesus stand? Let’s remember that everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God; but he that loveth not, knoweth not God.

Please by your actions, tell my son his life matters as well. He too is a child of God created to do good works. He too is loved by God and he is loved and cherished by his family and all that have the privilege of knowing him.

Jamie Shackelford

Maggie Valley

Vote by mail or vote in person?

To the editor:

If you are conflicted about voting in person vs. voting by mail, and are worried (as I am) about not catching the corona virus (or flu or anything else running around in the Fall) please be aware that one can vote in person in relative safety because there are 15 voting days before Tuesday Nov. 3.

There are plenty of after-hours dates and times and three whole Saturdays you can vote. Many of these days will be sparsely populated.

So if you go on these days, wear a mask and stay 6 feet from people as possible it shouldn’t be any more dangerous than going to Ingles or Walmart. Voting by mail is always an option, but why wonder if your ballot actually got counted?

The ballot is already set, all the candidates are on it.

You can find all the information on the Haywood County website here: where you can preview the candidates and you can also view, download and print the days from Oct. 15 through Oct. 31 when you can vote. Weekdays they’re open till 7:30 p.m.

I see no reason to wait until Nov. 3, wait in a long line and possibly be crowded. I’m surprised really that anyone would wait to vote on the actual election day.

I intend to both vote early and volunteer as a poll worker.I hope you can join me.

Allan Zacher, MD

Lake Junaluska

Help Frog Level now

To the editor:

I have been in the Frog Level area since 1979 and have seen almost anything you can imagine from bar room fights, brawls in the alley way, prostitution and various other activities.

Today we are faced with a far worse and more trying time. I am talking about the homeless situation that we have here in Frog Level.

I realize the town has a task force with very impressive names and credentials studying the situation. From what I have read in The Mountaineer, this study is going to take about one yar.

We need action now. Let us say, for instance, your house is on fire. The fire department arrives at the home but instead of trying to take care of the immediate fire, they form a task force to try to prevent a fire like this from happening in the future. You would not be very happy, would you?

Frog Level is on fire.

Taylor Dean Best, Best Electric; John Corn, Mountaineer Cabinetry; Jan Stanley, Depot Village; Gene Campbell, Trader

Follow the science

To the editor

I love science. That may be why I’m a scientist. I am not an epidemiologist. Or an infectious disease specialist. But I know a good bit about science, and that it is a mystery waiting for solutions. We are given clues.

Some of them turn out to be false leads, leading nowhere useful. So we look for other clues; some help, some don’t. And we try again and keep trying.

Science progresses by steps where one step leads to the next. It’s not that A leads directly to Z. Rather, A leads to B which leads to C. And sometimes not. Some of the science that I have learned over the years is no longer accepted as accurate. We’ve developed new information. And so science proceeds.

Science does not rely on intuition, gut feeling, denial or wishful thinking. Science relies upon data, on the best information that we have at any given point in time.

Science generally proceeds slowly because it takes time to collect data. Some folks are angry that some the recommendations made by our experts have changed over time, as has happened with masks. We developed new data and the recommendations changed. That is how we proceed.

Science typically moves at a rather slow pace. COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented effort to understand it and develop useful treatments and vaccines as soon as possible.

Science has built in protections. We want effective treatments that are both effective and safe. Personally, I do not want to take a medication that works 50% of the time but has a 50% chance of killing me. The same holds true for vaccines.

Hence, when we find something promising, we test. We test animals. If it looks good, we test a small group of people. Then large-scale double-blind trials. The same is true with vaccines. And it takes time. More than we would like. It has been said the populace have sacrificed enough and that our scientists have not worked hard enough. Sometimes I just don’t know how to respond to ignorance, especially when there is good information available to us. Please search for accurate information like the National Institute of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad, misguided, if well-meaning, information. All over the world scientists are working in a way that has never happened before, working as fast as they can, working to understand the disease and help us.

But, and it’s a big but, to actively deal with the virus now the rest of us need to do our part. It is public health at its most basic. And it is an absolutely critical piece of the fix. Absolutely for real.

You know the recommendations, all of which are made on the basis of scientific data. Stay at home as much as you can. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Don’t gather in groups. We are all in this together and it will take all of us to begin to make it better, to get back to something like normal.

Please help by being part of the solution.

Craig A. Iversen, Ph.D.


First Amendemnt should be promoted — always

To the editor:

The town of Maggie Valley has called to order a special meeting with consideration to adopting an ordinance which would regulate pickets and picketing within the town.

While almost everyone says they favor free speech, often they are not in favor when it really counts. A prime example is this ordinance which only seemed to be necessary when a Black Lives Protest was held.

Anti-protestors showed up creating a heated public assembly. And now the town board wants to “regulate” our First Amendment Rights.

The town board is missing the entire point of “free speech.”

The constitutional protection of our First Amendment was never intended for people who want to “sugarcoat” issues or radiate a positivity; that doesn’t need protection. What needs protection is standing on the sidewalk along the route of a military funeral with a sign saying, “Baby Killer.” Or for gun owners, pro-lifers, anti-fascists and many others who want to assemble. We all have a right to do so.

While many people might not want to allow that, it is precisely what the founders intended to protect, and what the courts have upheld. There was a time in our nation’s history when our founding fathers had less support than the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, they persevered.

Our founding fathers also dealt with a great deal of opposition when proposing a War of Independence. The existing government, law enforcement and the vast population of colonists were not on their side.

People tried to silence them, just as now. The First Amendment is so thoughtfully crafted, succint and brilliant that we hardly seem worthy of it, considering what we have become as a country in the past four years.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”

We’re not going anywhere. Trampling or attempting to bulwark our Constitutional rights is a bereft effort to control us all.

Heather Hyatt Packer


Make travel safe

To the editor:

I wish to respond to a comment made by the Waynesville town manager in a recent article regarding a speed bump near Giles Chemical and a pedestrian component.

Observe Hendrix Street on any given day and you will witness pedestrians of several types. Walking, in motorized wheelchairs. and on bicycles. We also have handicapped individuals who live close to the street.

The town manager was wrong to make such a general statement without investigation. Being a professional driver for over 40 years, the intent of a speed bump is to slow traffic to give others in the area response time to react to the vehicle speed for safety purposes.

With this being said, I witnessed at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 24, two pick up trucks drag racing on Hendrix Street coming from Allens Creek Road. These vehicles were side by side coming over the bridge over Allens Creek at speeds far above the 25 mph posted.

This could of became a very tragic event had one or both lost control and became uncontrollable crashing into someone or a home. But do not worry, no need to slow them down.

They and many others use our street as an acceleration ramp for the bypass. Please, for all the citizens of this area, refrain from making statements that you are uneducated.

We hope that you may have safe travel in this area should you venture out of the bubble you are living in not knowing that pedestrians do exist in our fair town.

We have contacted Waynesville Police in reference these items and have been served by Lt. Gilmore, Sgt. Messer, and several other officers have tried to monitor the over 1,400 vehicles a day that use our narrow street.

Thank you all for all you do around the rest of our town. In closing, God bless our needle toting, needle littering folks who think they are going unnoticed.

Jill Plemmons


Get the bills right

To the editor:

Haywood Regional Medical Center offers good care, but has completely failed regarding my billing and payment. I had an outpatient procedure done in November of 2019, eight months ago and pre-covid 19. The procedure was successful and efficient.

Over the next couple of months my insurance benefits were applied, and I received a final bill from HRMC. The hospital offered a 20 percent discount if payment is made in full.

My total bill after insurance was sizeable, and given the discount, I was able to work out full payment minus the 20 percent in January of this year.

That’s when the billing fiasco started. Each month starting in April I have gotten a bill for various amounts that were part of the original procedure and after going through my records, I found were clearly paid.

And each month I called the billing department and after considerable time on the phone, they said yes, they do have record of full payment and accounting just hasn’t updated their records and I should simply disregard the bill.

The same thing happened in May, June, and July. I received a bill and had to call again, and again.

The first part of this month I talked with Cody, and he assured me that the accounting has been updated, and I would get a zero balance letter. I have not received that letter.

But I have gotten a collections notice for $16.

And I have to wonder. What if I didn’t keep good records, or I maybe older or otherwise not sharp thinking?

If HRMC is trying to build their brand, they are failing people like me. I am well insured and capable of prompt payment.

Don Sanner


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