Reader letters, Oct. 19

Oct 18, 2016

Collaboration is our new commodity

To the editor:

Haywood County has much to celebrate with the arrival of West Carolina Freightliner-a truck sales and service provider who chose Canton as the site of their new headquarters. Freightliner will bring as many as 35 new jobs to our community, invest at least $1,000,000 in new equipment and building construction, and satisfy the niche market of interstate shipping upon which our stalwart manufacturing base depends.

The project fulfills Canton’s high hopes for the former Anton Chevrolet site which languished vacant for nearly 10 years.  The significance that Freightliner chose to relocate to Haywood County from Buncombe County must not be lost on the public.  Their decision was heavily influenced by a carefully crafted incentive package made possible through a special partnership between town and county leaders.  In exchange for choosing Haywood County, Freightliner will receive a $243,000 reimbursement for public road improvements, which are necessary to make the site-located at the I-40/Exit 31 interchange-more accessible by large trucks. The reimbursement will be tied to job creation benchmarks and can be clawed back. A generous $200,000 of the reimbursement amount comes from Haywood County while $43,000 comes from town coffers.  Canton’s return on investment will be approximately five years, making the deal a responsible investment for tax-payers.

The name of the game for local governments seeking long-term stability is job creation. Livable wages are the foundation of a healthy and altruistic citizenry as well as a magnet for prospective families seeking to emotionally and financially invest in a community.  The Freightliner project demonstrates that market forces alone will not bring the jobs we need.  Proactive public involvement is necessary.  Incentives lessen the upstart costs of new development, which ultimately leads to new employment opportunity. As our region continues to grow we must remain vigilant about competing for a share of outside investment and harness it to shape a future that will preserve our county’s cultural and natural assets while creating opportunity for our children.

County commissioners and the economic development council should be commended on their involvement in sealing the Freightliner deal.  Along with Canton leaders, they subscribe to a cooperative approach to economic development.  They recognize the collective power of the purse and the long-term benefit of short-term investment.  Furthermore, they understand the breakdown of science and art when it comes to spurring economic opportunity.  We can use our majestic mountains and proximity to Asheville as a carrot up to a point before investors begin asking about monetary incentives, which are regulated by general statute.  During a time of vitriolic political discourse on the national level it is refreshing to see a group of elected officials of various political persuasions working together on a solution whereby all of Haywood County wins.

Freightliner is the latest in a string of economic successes in Canton and Haywood County.  Bearwaters Brewing is set to open a 15-barrel distribution facility in downtown Canton, which will create new jobs and add another product to Haywood County’s list of national exports.  Evergreen Packaging is implementing $65 million worth of boiler upgrades, which will secure 1,200 coveted manufacturing jobs.  In the midst of all the excitement we must remember to recognize that success often hinges on collaboration.  The Freightliner deal would not have happened without the involvement of the county and the deep professional relationships between staff and elected leadership at all levels of government.  Not all counties can claim the same.  Could Haywood County’s brand of collaboration be our new commodity that draws new investment our way?  I certainly think so and Freightliner proves it.

Seth Hendler-Voss, town manager for Canton


A random act of kindness

To the editor:

On Saturday Oct.  15, my wife and I attended the Apple Festival in downtown Waynesville.

Around noon we went into a Thai restaurant for lunch.  Suddenly I was struck with a bout of hypoglycemia and became very shaky and lightheaded.

Although we had ordered our lunch it was very slow in coming out and I had nothing to take to attempt to elevate my blood sugar.

We had been talking with a lady and her young child next to us about the cat face drawn on her child.  This lady offered me some of her lunch to help me with my problem.

I was struck by her kindness at that time.  Little did I know!  As she was leaving I told her thank you for what you did.

I had no idea what she had actually done over all.  When we finished our dinner the waitperson told us the bill had been taken care of by this lady. Her generosity and concern was overwhelming, and inspiring.

As a result of this act I want her to know (and I hope she reads this paper) that I am paying it forward.

Our favorite charity is The Salvation Army.  We are going to double our normal contribution this year.  I hope that someone who the Salvation Army assists will also pay it forward in the future.

Once again, I sincerely wish to thank this unknown woman from the bottom of my heart.

Norman and Lila Stringfield

Del Rio, Tennessee

Avoid DMV lines; use online services

To the editor

More than half a million drivers in North Carolina have utilized the state’s online license renewal program.

A process that used to require a time-consuming trip to your local Division of Motor Vehicles office can now be completed in minutes from the comfort of your home or workplace.

By going online, those drivers saved more than 248,000 hours that would have otherwise been spent waiting in DMV office lines.

Since October 2015, Governor Pat McCrory’s “Driving Change” initiative has greatly improved customer service and continues to decrease wait times for customers at DMV offices in Clyde and throughout western North Carolina.

Our research found that 70 percent of customers coming into DMV offices could have completed their business on the DMV website. The governor’s initiative provides additional conveniences, such as the use of credit or debit cards for payment.

I encourage all eligible customers to visit our website at and click the link for online services.

Whether they are renewing their license or vehicle registration, ordering a duplicate license or updating their address, or updating their voter registration information, more and more Haywood County residents are realizing the speed and convenience of the many online services DMV now offers.

Kelly Thomas

Commissioner N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles