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Ep. 1 | The Power of Papertown: Remaining #HaywoodStrong

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  • "Whatever the end result may be, we're going to be okay, and we're going to be Haywood Strong," @HCSNC Superintendent Trevor Putnam said.
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Remaining #HaywoodStrong

On March 6, Pactiv Evergreen announced that it would be closing the paper mill in Canton, North Carolina, located in Haywood County. The mill, which is over 115 years old, is the second-largest employer in the county. 

Canton’s mayor, Zeb Smathers, said the mill closed on May 24 – about two weeks earlier than expected. 

We spent time in Canton in April, talking with leaders in town and educators in Haywood County Schools. We wanted to know how the mill impacts the town and what the closure will mean. 

What we heard repeatedly is that the town is centered around the mill. 

We learned that Canton is a community that rallies together.

While no one knows what to expect now that the mill is closing, folks are sure of one thing: Canton will remain #HaywoodStrong.

Listen to the audio story on Spotify here.

Seen on a shop in Canton, NC. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Behind the Story

The Power of Papertown is a series of audio stories highlighting the closure of the paper mill in Canton, North Carolina. In this episode, Haywood County Schools employees talk about the mill closure, community support, and resiliency. 

Cheyenne McNeill and Caroline Parker did the reporting for this story. Cheyenne produced and narrated the audio story. 

In this episode, you heard from Trevor Putnam, Jill Mann, and Courtney Myers – all employees at Haywood County Schools. The intro and outro music was recorded from a session at the Haywood Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) after school program.

The artwork for this series was created by Lanie Sorrow.

Cheyenne McNeill

Cheyenne McNeill is a communications strategist for EdNC.

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is the director of rural storytelling and strategy for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, STEM education and nutrition.