After a long day at the polls, Ralph Hamlett and Gail Mull were heading to The Imperial on election night to celebrate their re-election to the Canton Board of Aldermen.
Girl Scout Elizabeth Martin has remained quiet and humble for the last couple of weeks as local leaders shower her with accolades.
The Canton Board of Aldermen has made major headway in the last two years by putting policies in place that will hopefully set the stage for a more prosperous future, which is why the incumbents up for election this year are scratching their heads wondering why they don’t have the support from everyone on the board.
The town of Canton elected a whole new board two years ago when all four aldermen decided not to run for another term.
An outbreak of the highly contagious intestinal bug known as norovirus has been raging through North Canton Elementary School over the past two weeks, but illness now seems to be on the downswing — to the relief of parents and teachers alike.
With the right leadership, it can happen. If the national and regional economy continues chugging along for another few years without a stumble, it can happen.
I’m talking about a rejuvenation of the small east Haywood County town of Canton, where elected leaders are saying they want business growth and new residents. That’s the town dominated by the giant paper mill that sits unabashedly in the town center, the mill that still occasionally emits a smell that envelops the town, the mill that still discolors the Pigeon River.
It is the heartbeat of a town and its people.
While some communities pride themselves on their Christmas, 4th of July or Memorial Day festivities, the town of Canton showcases Labor Day — a time every year when any and all cheer the workingman, the blue-collar nature of a place as special and unique as its inhabitants.
It’s a question I get a lot. “Why do you like Canton so much?”
Strolling Main Street in downtown Canton mid-morning, the steam stacks of nearby Evergreen Packaging rise high into another bluebird sky day in Haywood County. Train cars shuffle to and fro in the rail yard surrounding the enormous paper mill.
Sitting down next to each other, it’s pretty apparent that Pat and Zeb Smathers are father and son.