Outside the Haywood County Justice Center in downtown Waynesville, Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews stands with a slim manila folder in his hands while an attorney nearby reads off a boilerplate legal notice required when the county offers a foreclosed property at auction.
Columbine, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas — those names ring out like the bullets that once flew through their hallways, stark reminders of a perplexing and tragic problem that simply hasn’t gone away.
Right about the time this newspaper hits the stands on Wednesday, March 14, students at Haywood County’s two public high schools, Tuscola and Pisgah, will be hitting the bricks as part of a national school walkout to protest gun violence in schools.
Haywood County’s high-performing public schools will see a small budget increase for the FY 2018-19 school year, but at the same time takes care of some critical needs, including teacher supplement pay that helps attract and retain the best instructors.
The type of traditional manufacturing that put many small towns on the map and provided a decent living to generations of Americans is long gone; it’s been in decline sine the 1970s and will never fully disappear, but the massive economic benefits of large-scale industrial production for the most part have.
Despite being called “a shameful person to deal with” and “obsessed” in highly unusual comments directed at him by a county official last week, Waynesville resident Monroe Miller shows no signs of halting his crusade to dig up some dirt on what he supposes are irregularities surrounding a Haywood County earthmoving project.
Growing up in Haywood County, Sheriff Greg Christopher certainly learned the value of hard work at his family’s farm and roadside produce stand, located just off U.S. 276 between Waynesville and Bethel. But that’s not all he learned there.
Lake Logan is a familiar fixture of any cruise along Haywood County’s stretch of N.C. 215, an 80-acre expanse of water that creates a wide-angle view of sudden contrast to the forested tunnel forming most of the road’s winding path toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.
But for years, it’s been a well-known fact that the inviting-looking lake is off-limits to locals looking to spend a day swimming, fishing or boating.
That’s not true anymore.
As someone who’s spent 13 years as a school superintendent and four decades as a teacher and administrator fostering the personal achievement and enrichment of others — all in Haywood County — it’s finally time for Dr. Anne Garrett to focus on her own goals and dreams.
“I think 40 years is a long time to do this, and it was just a good time for me. I think our school system is in really great shape. We’ve got good academics and a sound budget right now, we’re not having to close any schools or do anything negative,” Garrett said. “I think it’s just a good time to make that transition.”
School administrators around the state have been crying foul since late 2017 over the way the North Carolina General Assembly implemented a new smaller class size requirement that was essentially an unfunded mandate.