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It’s 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

On a normal weekend, Tipping Point Brewing in downtown Waynesville would have been open for 45 minutes, its craft beer being poured to numerous local residents and summer tourists. But, this past Sunday, the front doors were locked, with owner/brewmaster Jon Bowman sitting inside. He watched as, one-by-one, confused people try to open the door, looking at their watches, looking around for an answer — one that Bowman holds.

Sylva’s pub-lovers got a shock this summer when a closed sign appeared on O’Malley’s Sports Bar and Grill June 2.

Since announcing its closure after 51 years in business, Joey’s Pancake House owner Brenda O’Keefe and her staff have been bombarded with well wishes and awards, including the highest honor in North Carolina — Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The strange saga of a shuttered school still casts a shadow over Haywood County, but it may turn out that opponents of the school’s closing were exactly right. 

A recent debacle between the town of Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has been a wake-up call for the local business community.

Since it is, after all, the Haywood County School Board, I can only hope they’ve learned a lesson.

Last week it was announced that a settlement has been agreed upon in the lawsuit filed by Waynesville attorney Mark Melrose against the school board for the way it closed Central Elementary School. The settlement mandated that neither party discuss the particulars, but here’s part of the 57-word statement that was released:

The school board “does not admit it violated the law or its own policies, but agrees it would have been preferable if circumstances had permitted to have provided more advanced public notice of its intention to vote on January 11, 2016, to study the possible closure of Central Elementary School.”

Unseasonably warm weather and the drought have combined to temporarily close Cataloochee Ski Area.

Haywood County’s Central Elementary School has been declared “surplus” school board property and will be disposed of according to proper procedures. 

I hope the lawsuit by Mark Melrose against the Haywood County School System has its day in court, and was gratified last week when a judge did not stop it from proceeding.

Melrose — whose daughter was a student at Central Elementary School — has sued the school system over its decision to close the school. Judge Joe Crosswhite immediately snuffed the effort by Melrose to keep the school open through an injunction, but at this point the remainder of the suit is going forward.

By David Teague • Guest Columnist

Possibly the best perspective I’ve ever read about the importance of open government, and the public records and open meetings laws related to it, came from a speech made by a North Carolina public official. Here’s an excerpt from the speech:

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