Haywood County residents won’t be down a Burger King when the state Department of Transportation starts its major reconstruction of the Lowe’s interchange.
Exiting your vehicle at Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley, a cold, late fall wind hits you in the face like a frying pan. Standing atop the 5,000-foot mountain retreat, the vastness and endless beauty of Western North Carolina lies below. Heading towards the main building, you reach for the doorknob and enter eagerly. Soon, your body, mind and soul thaw to the sounds of friends, strangers and old-time string music.
“It’s just a different feeling up here; everybody is excited to be part of this,” said Billie Smith, event planner at Cataloochee. “We really open our arms to local musicians and folks from everywhere to come and join in.”
The trio of MedWest hospitals in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties could be sold by next spring to Duke LifePoint Healthcare, joining a network of 60 community hospitals nationwide.
The aggressive timeline is contingent on due diligence by both sides and further negotiations to refine exactly what the sale would look like. Persistent financial struggles prompted the hospitals to put themselves up for sale in the spring. They advertised to prospective buyers and last week announced their top pick was Duke LifePoint.
A crisp wind blows through Haywood County. Gazing upward, dark clouds slowly take over the sky while a few ominous raindrops are felt. For many, it may seem to be the official death knell to summer. But for Sally Eason, it’s a sign of great things to come.
“We love this weather, and we’re probably the only people around here that do,” she chuckled.
Haywood County is moving slowly towards consolidating its Department of Social Services and Health Department to save money and become more efficient.
Last year, the N.C. General Assembly approved legislation that allows counties to combine the two departments into one Department of Human Services. Previously, only Mecklenburg and Wake counties were allowed to have consolidated health and social services departments.
Pisgah High School in Canton finally has the money for some much-needed renovations, which have been years in the making.
The Haywood County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution allowing the county finance officer to borrow up to $1.7 million for the high school project.
When N.C. GOP Director Todd Poole emailed a list of state job openings — some 300 vacant positions in all — to dozens of Republican operatives asking them to spread the word to party friendlies, some political fallout was to be expected.
Some mainstream Republicans in Haywood County fear their local party is being hijacked by a far-right faction with extreme views on what limited government should look like.
The ascension of what some deem the radical right into leadership positions on the party’s executive committee is steering the party into uncharted activist territory, threatening to veer the party off course, they say.
After navigating Haywood County through some of its toughest budget times, County Manager Marty Stamey will leave his position Jan. 1 after just three years overseeing county operations.
Heather Brookshire is behind enemy lines.
“Everybody has been giving me a hard time all day,” she chuckled.
Taking orders and running around DuVall’s Restaurant in Waynesville last Friday morning, Brookshire is sporting a bright red and white shirt with the words “Pisgah Black Bears” emblazoned across it.