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 In the News, December 12, 2016 

State agency honors Swansboro Historical Association. Officials with the Swansboro Historical Association could not have had any idea they’d end up a state award winner when they applied for a couple of grants, but that is what happened. On Nov. 18, the Swansboro Historical Association was named an Albert Ray Newsome Award winner for their annual “Haunted Hayride.”

Chapel Hill splashing street with color to highlight crosswalks. Artfully designed crosswalks are being installed at three downtown intersections. The designer crosswalks were created by area artists and are meant to make pedestrians crossing the street more visible to drivers. A similar crosswalk was installed in March on Willow Drive near University Place to monitor the paint’s durability through traffic, weather and regular maintenance. The paint is expected to last six to 10 years at a minimum, said Guy Harrigan, southeast regional sales manager for Transpo Industries whose company donated the paint for the Willow Drive pilot project.

Parking revenue higher than expected in Wrightsville Beach. Changes to the parking program in Wrightsville Beach helped the town bring in much more revenue than anticipated this year. According to figures from parking operator Lanier Parking Solutions, the program collected $3.08 million through October. That's up 20 percent more than what was budgeted.

City of Marion eases restrictions for craft beverages. The Marion City Council agreed unanimously Tuesday to make it easier for a brewery, meadery or taproom to open for business in the downtown. And they heard from three prospective entrepreneurs who wish to bring those types of businesses to Marion. “It’s a beautiful downtown,” said Jason Snyder, who plans to open a brewery in Marion. “We would love to see some new life breathed into it.”

Christmas Town USA opens in McAdenville. McAdenville is living up to its reputation for the 61st year in a row with houses and businesses dripping in lights and more than 300 trees decked out for the holiday season. The free annual display drew 600,000 visitors in 2015, making Christmas Town USA one of the top Christmas attractions in North Carolina.