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The last whistle: Western NC mill town braces for the end of its mill

 A mill and smokestacks
Courtesy Zeb Smathers
Mayor of Canton
The Pactiv Evergreen paper mill in Canton, NC, shortly before its closure.

What does it mean for a small town when the mill that’s been the center of economic and social life for a century closes? And what is a mill town without its mill? That’s what happened Wednesday in the mountain town of Canton, about 140 miles west of Charlotte, a place that’s long been known as “Papertown” because of its mill.

WFAE's Gwendolyn Glenn spoke about the impact of the Pactiv Evergreen closure — which will cost the town more than 1,000 jobs — with Zeb Smathers, Canton’s mayor. You can listen to their conversation below.

A mill's closure costs 1,000 jobs
Pactiv Evergreen is closing the huge paper mill in Canton, NC after more than 100 years in business. WFAE's Gwendolyn Glenn spoke with the town's mayor Zeb Smathers about the impact, and how Canton plans to move on.
 A mill and smokestacks

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Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.