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North Carolina’s economy is projected to grow 3.2 percent and add a net gain of 126,800 new jobs next year, a UNC-Charlotte economics professor told state legislators recently.

Beth MacDonald understands the ins and outs of military life — the good days, the bad nights, the ugly cry. She’s been there. She credits those experiences with inspiring her desire to give back as an accredited veterans services officer with the Green Beret Foundation.

Dentist Shannyn Little has taken over the practice previously run by Thomas Vicars Jr. at 270 S. Bennett St. in downtown Southern Pines. Vicars retired earlier this year after almost 30 years at that location, now renamed Southern Pines Smiles.

A farm-to-table restaurant and dental clinic are two new businesses set to open in the 14,000-square-foot retail center in the Tyler’s Ridge mixed-use development on N.C. 22, near the Moore County Airport.

The Pilot celebrated winners of this year's Best of the Pines competition Wednesday and Thursday. Winners were given specific times to come and pick up their awards and be celebrated for their achievement.