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Although recent economic development efforts by Haywood County, including a highly anticipated partnership with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, focus on drawing new business to the area, Haywood County Commissioner and Economic Development Council Board Member Mike Sorrells says devoting effort to retention and expansion of existing businesses is just as important. 

Officials in the town of Canton have been throwing around the term “Canton Comeback” for a few years now, noting the very visible progress made in economic development and administration.

A $740 grant from the Jim McRae Endowment for the Visual Arts will fuel efforts to create a Women’s History Trail in Macon County, celebrating the lives and accomplishments of Macon County women with a trail to “walk in her steps.”

Haywood County’s new emergency alert system startled many Jan. 11 with a “shelter in place” notification just after 6 p.m., related to shots fired on Biodome Drive.

A series of water line breakages in Canton during a recent period of extreme cold provoked unusually lengthy complaints from residents determined to point out the obvious, while also pointing fingers.

One of Zeb Smathers’ earliest memories is sitting in the cereal aisle of his grandfather’s downtown Canton grocery store, which wasn’t open on Sundays and didn’t sell booze.

“When the movie Ghostbusters came out there was a Ghostbusters cereal and I remember pleading with granddad,” Smathers said. “Mom would never allow us sugary cereal.”

When Canton Alderman Dr. Ralph Hamlett recently proposed a parade entry policy that would limit inappropriate speech during the town’s two annual parades — and in effect limit the display of the Confederate Flag — it understandably generated a substantial amount of negative comments.

I’ve lived in Haywood County 1,931 days. It’s also the exact number of days I’ve known Balsam Range.

Within the first hour of my first day in these mountains, I befriended the members of this Western North Carolina bluegrass act. The engine of my truck was still hot due to a nonstop 16-hour/1,000-mile overnight drive from my native Upstate New York to my new gig as the arts and entertainment editor of The Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville.

When a policy that would prohibit the display of the Confederate flag in a tiny mountain mill town’s municipal parades was first proposed, it was immediately identified as both a sensitive cultural issue and a thorny Constitutional question that cast the Western North Carolina municipality as a microcosm of the complex national debate over the role of Confederate imagery in society today.

With sunshine spilling into the taproom of Currahee Brewing Company in Franklin one recent afternoon, brewmaster Taylor Yates is all smiles. A hearty beverage raised high, the sun’s rays are a cherry on top of the big news currently floating around the facility.

“For us being so new, this is a huge thing,” he said. “We’re still trying to get established. Something like this on a national level just does wonders for us. When you’re new, it really gets you that exposure and notoriety you hope for.”

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