Four takeaways from the Haywood County commissioner's meeting

Vicki Hyatt, The Mountaineer, Waynesville, N.C.
·2 min read

Apr. 7—The Haywood County Board of Commissioners met on April 5. Here are the meeting highlights.

Child protection

Gayla Jones, who chairs the Haywood County Community Child Protection Team, updated the board on team activities.

The group generally meets quarterly to review child fatalities, abuse and neglect in the county and make recommendations on how to prevent them in the future.

Because the team must wait until the investigation is complete, there is a lag time between deaths and the reports. There were three child deaths in 2018, one from suicide and two from birth asphyxia. Of the eight deaths in 2019, three were reviewed — two from septicemia and one from congenital malformation of the heart, respiratory failure, and disorders of the kidney and ureter. The remainder of the deaths from 2019 will be reviewed this year.

Commissioner Brandon Rogers praised the Pack 'n Play program whereby eligible parents or caregivers can receive for free a safe place where babies can sleep given that many infant fatalities stem from asphyxia.

Messer honor

The commissioners approved a resolution asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to dedicate the portion of U.S. 276 N from Dellwood to the I-40 exchange to honor Claud "Paw" Messer, who was killed in the line of duty in September 2019 when responding to a fire call.

The DOT has plans to widen the shoulders and fix turning lanes, which will make the stretch of roadway much safer, Board Chairman Kevin Ensley said. The resolution requests a sign to be installed in Messer's honor, and the board will pay the $2,000 administrative fee.

Central Elementary renovation

The board approved an application to the Public School Capital Fund to use $250,000 in lottery fund proceeds dedicated to Haywood to pay for renovations to the K-1 building at Central Elementary School. The school was closed in 2016 due to budget woes and declining enrollment in the county. It has since been opened for use as the temporary school administrative offices until the remodeling project on North Main Street is completed.

The school system intends to move the child care center currently located in the former Hazelwood School to the Central location, said School Board Member Ronnie Clark.

The Central Elementary school building has been vandalized through the years and needs to be upgraded before it can be used, he added.

Appointments

The commissioners made the following appointments: Lisa Bradley, Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council; Eugene Sizemore to Clyde Zoning Board; Kay Kirkman, Mark Miller and Rob Roland to the Haywood Greenway Advisory Council and Ann Mills to the library board of trustees.