The opening of the new BearWaters Brewing in Canton is a great shot in the arm for one of most unique towns in this region. But there’s more than just a brewery happening in Canton, and we hope the recent successes continue to create momentum.
Canton is a mill town. The paper mill that dominates its landscape opened in 1909 as Champion Paper and continues churning out items like Starbucks coffee cups and cardboard for juice and milk containers today under the umbrella of Evergreen Packaging. It and its sister plant in Waynesville still employ more than 1,000 workers, a rarity for a Western North Carolina manufacturer these days.
My dad’s been dead about 15 years now, and there’s still no fuzzy, larger-than-life, exaggerated memories that pop into my head when I remember him. As Father’s Day looms, I think of Lawrence McKinley McLeod as a man who created his own opportunities, a man with many strengths and many weaknesses, someone full of contradictions.
He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, a town that could have come out of Erskine Caldwell’s 1932 novel Tobacco Road or the mill-town movie “Norma Rae,” or perhaps a mix of the two. The son of a mill foreman from Robeson County and his half-Catawba Indian bride, Dad was born in 1929 and was the oldest of seven.
North Carolina’s efforts to change the elections process to help keep its GOP majorities in office have been declared illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court in three separate decisions in recent months.
One can only hope that this will be the death knell for such a politically corrupt agenda, but I’m not holding my breath.
Who runs the U.S.? We’ve always known that money and politics go hand in hand, but these days that seems to be truer than ever. Do what you want at the voting booth, but it’s Wall Street bankers and corporate bigwigs who pull the strings that make our politicians move this way or that way.
When I read about Wicked Weed Brewing getting bought by AB InBev (formerly Budweiser) — one of the world’s largest brewing conglomerates — my instinct was to be incensed at the decision.
For years, this newspaper has been a very vocal advocate of the homegrown, buy local movement whose roots reach deep into these mountains. As late as the 1950s there were pockets of Appalachia where people still grew, raised, hunted and made a great deal of what they needed to survive. Nowhere else in this country is the resolve to be independent from governmental authority and corporate marketers worn so easily and proudly by so many.
At some point in the future, here’s something you might never hear again: “I was born in Franklin.”
Look no further than this Macon County town if you want stare right in the face of the agonizing state of the health care crisis in this country. Due strictly to bottom-line concerns, officials who run Angel Medical Center say come July the hospital will no longer deliver babies. Too expensive, too much of a losing proposition.
“The ONLY thing is, we don’t have to go all the way to Adam’s Creek,” my wife Lori said. We had just shut down the motor after passing the last marker leading out of Broad Creek and into the Pamlico Sound. The sails were up and closely hauled as we headed into a 10-knot wind.
Sorry Haywood County citizens and others in the western part of the state, the most grassroots and local ballots you cast just don’t matter. But you should be fine with that, because surely you realize that those men and women whom you voted on to your county board and school board, they just aren’t as smart and astute as your state legislators. From on high atop their lofty perches in Raleigh, Reps. Michele Presnell and Mike Clampitt know what is best.
So shut up, get in line behind these wise leaders, and we’ll make Haywood County and the rest of west great again.
North Carolina and its citizens are better off with HB2’s repeal. It’s a giant step forward, and despite criticism from the right and the left, I am glad we have at least moved the ball closer to the endzone.
HB2 was an embarrassment, a bad joke whose punchlines kept North Carolina in the crosshairs of pundits and comedians. The bill was morally wrong.
As in Rep. Mark Meadows, our Republican congressman who reportedly represents the rural and economically challenged residents of mountainous Western North Carolina? Where is he, literally, after his prominent role in the healthcare drama that played out last week in our nation’s capital (otherwise known as the swamp).
Well, if you pay attention to his press office and watch night-time cable news (I’m guilty of both), you’ll find that he’s spent the weeks leading up to the momentous healthcare vote last Friday making the rounds of the various talk shows. Meadows was seemingly basking in the limelight provided by his leadership of the Freedom Caucus, the renegade GOP faction that foiled the President Trump and Rep. Paul Ryan healthcare initiative that was to replace Obamacare.