Author Archive for tpressley

Swain County Man Arrested on Several Charges

According to the Swain County Sheriff’s Department, on Friday , February 14, 2014, Swain County Sheriff’s Deputies and Bryson City Police Officers arrested Dennis Allen McGaha of Swain County on several charges resulting from an incident that occurred in Bryson City on the same date. McGaha was charged with:

  • Felony Flee to Elude
  • assault with a Deadly weapon on a Government official
  • Resisting Public official
  • Possess Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possess Marijuana Greater then 1/2oz to 1 1/2oz
  • Injury to Personal Property
  • Breaking and or Entering
  • Larceny of a Motor Vehicle
  • Felony Larceny
  • Break or Enter a Motor Vehicle
  • First Degree Burglary

He is currently being held in the Swain County Detention Center on a $150,000.00 secured bond.

Wanted: Sex Offender for failing to register

Craig Michael Hawkins

Craig Michael Hawkins

Attached please find an incident report and mug shot regarding a Craig Michael Hawkins, who has failed to register as a sex offender. Deputies from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office were verifying sex offender addresses and looked for Mr. Hawkins at his last known and registered address, only to find he was no longer living at that location. A felony warrant for failing to register has been issued. In addition, Mr. Hawkins has outstanding warrants for assault on a female and failure to pay back child support in the amount of $300.

As always, anyone having any information as to Mr. Hawkins’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666 or the Haywood County CrimeStoppers line at 1-877-92CRIME. (Deputy Heidi Warren, Public Information Officer, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)

Avoid IRS imposters

With the April 15th tax filing deadline coming up, watch out for criminals and con artists posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try to win your trust and steal your money. We’ve warned you before about phony calls from the IRS. Some North Carolina consumers recently reported getting threatening calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The fake IRS agent told them a warrant had been issued for their arrest and, if they did not pay his taxes immediately, police would jail them within hours. The caller continued to harass one victim and intimidate him until he felt he had no choice but to pay more than $8,000 to the scammers.

If you get a call that claims to come from the IRS, look for warning signs that it’s scam:

  • The IRS will not threaten arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay back taxes immediately.
  • IRS agents will never demand immediate payment by credit card, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
  • Typically, the IRS communicates with consumers about tax issues via mail, not by phone, email or text message.
  • Ask for the caller’s call back number and employee badge number, and then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to check them out.
  • Don’t rely on Caller ID to identify who is calling you, since scammers can manipulate it to make it appear they are calling from the real IRS.
  • Never share personal information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account number, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you, even if they claim to be with the IRS.  Identity thieves can use this information to open up accounts in your name and even claim your tax refund.

If you spot a tax related scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing an online complaint at ncdoj.gov.

Phone Scam Alert

Don’t Recognize the Number? Don’t Return the Call.

Phone-based crooks are always on the lookout for a new way to take your money. In their latest scam, they use computers to place calls to thousands of phones, including to numbers in North Carolina. After your phone rings one time, the computer ends the call but your phone captures the number of that incoming “missed” call.

Even though the number is unfamiliar, some people call back to see who called them. However, calling the number may connect you to an adult entertainment line overseas and trigger charges of $19.95 plus $9 for each minute of the call. These calls usually come from area codes in the Caribbean including 473, 809, 284, 649, or 876.

Remember, if the call you missed was legitimate and important, the caller would have left you a voicemail message or will call you back.

To protect yourself from the one-ring scam:

  • Don’t automatically return calls from numbers or area codes you don’t recognize.
  • If you don’t know the number but think the call may be legitimate, check it out by typing the number into an online search engine.  You can also search the area code to see if it’s an overseas call.
  • To avoid accidentally calling the number and falling victim to a scam, delete it from your phone.
  • Check your cell phone bill carefully, and if you get billed for one of these calls report it to your cell phone carrier.
  • If you believe that you‘ve been scammed or if you have trouble getting the charges removed from your bill, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.

Haywood County Missing Persons Located

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office reports two people who were reported missing in separate incidents have been located.

Family members who had reported 38-year-old Robert Douglas Parks missing said today that he has spoken with them and is fine.  His name has been removed from missing persons.

Also, because of news alerts in the local media, a person recognized James Christopher Franklin at a fast-food restaurant in the Oteen area of Buncombe County last night and notified police.  Asheville police officers positively identified Mr. Franklin, and he was in good condition.

Sheriff Ashe Announces Retirement

Sheriff Jimmy Ashe

Sheriff Jimmy Ashe

Below is the retirement announcement released by Sheriff Jimmy Ashe’s office.


After much prayerful thought and reflection, I am today announcing my decision to retire as your Sheriff in December of 2014.  Serving three terms as Sheriff, and many years more as a member of the Department, has been the most rewarding experience in my life.  Serving with and leading the men and women of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has been a privilege and an honor and the citizens of the County can be proud of the law enforcement professionals who answer the call of duty everyday.

During a career that has spanned nearly thirty-five years, I have witnessed great changes in the County.  While we have grown in population, we have also maintained the remnants of days gone by, with neighbor knowing neighbor and citizens supporting the greater good.

I am proud of what we have accomplished at the Sheriff’s Office.  We have worked diligently to enhance our crime fighting skills with new equipment, robust training, and meaningful relationships with our colleagues at other agencies; local, State and Federal.  I would like to think that we have created the foundation for sustainable relationships with our law enforcement partners.

As I reflect on my many years with the Sheriff’s Office, as a Deputy, Supervisor, Commanding Officer, Chief Deputy and elected Sheriff, I cannot help but recall the many changes we have seen in both the Sheriff’s Office and the communities we serve.  Once a sleepy hamlet imbedded in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we have emerged as a hub of social activity, cultural diversity, educational greatness, and the destination of many, be they tourists or those who have decided to become our neighbors.

Many have served the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office during my tenure, and I would like to thank them for their commitment to our community and the strengthening of our values.  Together we have worked to assimilate our department into the mainstream lives of our citizens; being there when needed and providing for a sense of safety and well-being.

This has not been an easy decision.  I have been humbled by the breadth of your support and the measure of your resolve to help me make Jackson County all that it can be.  But there does come a time when the reins of leadership must be passed to others and I have determined that this is the time.

To my friends, supporters, and all citizens of Jackson County, please accept my most sincere thank you for your trust, confidence, and faith.  I shall always cherish my service with the County I love and its magnificent people. (Press Release from the office of Sheriff Jimmy Ashe)


Concerned about the Target security breach?

By now you may have heard the news that national retailer Target experienced a massive data breach that could affect approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts.

A data or security breach happens when records containing personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card or bank account numbers, are lost, stolen or accessed improperly.

Just because your information was part of a security breach doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a victim of fraud or identity theft, but it does put you at greater risk.

To protect yourself:

  • Check your credit and debit card accounts and report suspicious charges to your bank or credit card company immediately.  Also, request a new card with a different number and change any PINs or passwords for the affected account.
  • Check your credit reports.  Once criminals have your personal information, they may use it to open new accounts in your name. Everyone is allowed a free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus.  Breach victims can also request a fraud alert from one of credit bureaus, and should consider a security freeze for maximum protection.
  • Check out our detailed list of tips for what to do after a security breach.

This breach is a good reminder that we all need to watch our accounts for unauthorized charges and monitor our credit, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.  For more tips on protecting yourself from crimes and scams, visit www.ncdoj.gov.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Golden LEAF awards $500K to WCU

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to help expand engineering education across Western North Carolina through a partnership with regional community colleges.

The funding will support WCU’s efforts to ensure a seamless transition for community college students who want to earn four-year degrees in engineering through the implementation of engineering pathway courses at community colleges and the recruitment of qualified students into the program.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical, Blue Ridge and Isothermal community colleges are initial partners in the effort, which will eventually include WNC community colleges from Rutherfordton in the east to Murphy in the west.

The grant, awarded out of the foundation’s Essential Skills in Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, will help produce qualified workers for manufacturers, including some of the region’s largest private-sector employers, said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president.

“The grants awarded under this initiative will provide citizens from tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities with access to skills training for high-wage jobs, connect the state’s industries with the skilled workers they need and upgrade the capacity of our training institutions,” Gerlach said. “North Carolina leads the Southeast in manufacturing jobs, with more than 18 percent of the rural workforce earning $8.5 billion in manufacturing wages.”

The funding will provide support for Western Carolina’s recently announced undergraduate program in engineering at its instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, and will supplement advanced manufacturing engineering education on the campus in Cullowhee, said James Zhang, dean of WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

During the past legislative session, the N.C. General Assembly approved a budget that includes more than $1.4 million for expansion of WCU’s engineering program to Biltmore Park. The appropriation was designed to enhance education opportunities in the fast-growing corridor between Asheville and Hendersonville to help meet increasing industry and business demand for a highly qualified workforce.

University officials have credited N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca, who represents constituents in Buncombe, Henderson and Polk counties, with ensuring that the state budget included funds to bring WCU’s engineering program expansion to the Biltmore Park instructional site. WCU expects to begin offering engineering classes there in the fall of 2014.

“This grant is key to strengthening the linkage between WCU and Western North Carolina community colleges and industries, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at high schools in our region,” Zhang said.

“These funds also will greatly assist us in our work with our community college partners to develop short-term training courses to meet the immediate needs of industry in the region,” he said.

Funds from the foundation also will enable the acquisition of a new piece of equipment – a selective laser melting apparatus – that will enable students to gain hands-on experience working with 3-D printers that are capable of creating metal prototypes of objects, adding to WCU’s current inventory of 3-D printers that create prototypes in plastic and resins.

The equipment will be housed in the university’s Center for Rapid Product Realization. The “engagement arm” of the Kimmel School, the Rapid Center provides technical assistance to companies, organizations and entrepreneurs through faculty expertise and hands-on learning activities for students.

“By locating this new equipment in Cullowhee, located in the middle of the region that we serve, we will have the opportunity to provide education and training to engineers from all over Western North Carolina,” Zhang said.

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy through grants made possible by a portion of the state’s settlement agreement with cigarette manufacturers.

For more information about engineering at WCU, visit the website engineering.wcu.edu. (Bill Studenc, Senior Director of News Services, Office of Public Relations,Western Carolina University)

WCU College of Health and Human Sciences Hires Director of Clinical Affairs

CULLOWHEE—Elizabeth T. Wark, former assistant dean for faculty practice for the College of Allied Health Sciences at Georgia Regents University, has joined Western Carolina University’s College of Health and Human Sciences as the director of clinical affairs.

At WCU, Wark will support development and operation of clinical opportunities that serve the community and involve students and faculty from different programs within the college.

“Dr. Wark is an experienced educator and health care and higher education administrator whose teaching and managerial skills are highly regarded by students and colleagues,” said Douglas R. Keskula, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “With Dr. Wark’s credentials, experiences and expertise, she can offer valuable input in the coordination of faculty involvement in the emerging clinical opportunities at WCU.”

Wark holds a doctorate in physical therapy from Simmons College in Boston, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Ithaca College.

As assistant dean at Georgia Regents University, she was responsible for the creation and daily operations of a nonprofit corporation created to provide a mechanism for faculty to practice in clinical, consulting and continuing education roles. Her duties included negotiating and managing practice contracts for faculty within 13 health professions.

Prior to serving as assistant dean, she was coordinator of academic affairs at the college and was responsible for oversight of new program development, programmatic accreditation review, program feasibility and sustainability studies, coordination of interdisciplinary courses, and creation and dissemination of academic policies

In addition, she has worked as a faculty member teaching courses ranging from health care ethics and jurisprudence to health care management, and she has held clinical administrative and care roles such as serving as assistant director, center coordinator of clinical education and supervisor with the University of Virginia Medical Center Physical Therapy Department.

For more information, contact Wark at etwark@wcu.edu. (Teresa Killian Tate, Office of Communications and Public Relations, Western Carolina University)

Accident on Cowee Mountain

According to Jackson County Rescue Squad, there is a vehicle over the bank just above the runaway truck ramp coming down Cowee on the Jackson County side. Injuries have been reported. Use caution while traveling this stretch of highway 441.

Stay tuned to 540AM WRGC for further information as it becomes available.

Jessica May Carpenter Charged with Statutory Rape

 The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance in locating other potential victims and/or witnesses in the case involving the listed arrestee.  While investigating a case where alcohol was bought and given to a minor person, investigators determined further criminal conduct had occurred.  Subsequently, Carpenter was charged and arrested with the offense listed.  The investigation into this offense as well as other offenses is continuing.  Other witnesses and potential other victims may have not come forward.  Those persons are encouraged to contact Detective Andi Clayton at (828) 586-1392.  Potential victims may be minors who received alcohol from the suspect or are victims of sexual misconduct.

 STATUTORY RAPE or SEXUAL OFFENSE of a PERSON 13, 14, or 15 years old $100,000 secured Bond.

(Press Release from the office of Sheriff Jimmy Ashe)  

Jessica May Carpenter Arrest 12.16.13

Jessica May Carpenter

57 Aurora Lane

Sylva, North Carolina 28779

DOB, 04/05/1978

WCU Campus Master Plan Wins Approval of Board of Trustees

A new campus master plan endorsed Friday by the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees is designed to closely link physical facilities of the university, including future construction and renovation, to goals of its recently approved strategic plan. The master plan is meant to provide “a flexible framework for growth,” said Keith Storms of Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning.

The plan is based on enrollment projections that anticipate more than 11,000 students studying on the campus in Cullowhee by the year 2023, and the need for approximately 486,000 gross square feet of additional interior space to accommodate the needs of those students. Currently, about 7,800 students out of WCU’s total enrollment of 10,107 live and study in Cullowhee.

Approval of the plan, which was drafted with the guidance of a 16-member task force, comes after a 17-month process that included numerous public forums designed to collect input and feedback from university students, faculty and staff and from residents of surrounding communities. During that process, the task force and the master plan consultants presented numerous options for land use and future development. Feedback from the campus and community led to a preferred land use plan that focuses on reinforcement of the existing academic core of campus, reconnects that core to the historic hill area of WCU and seeks opportunities for strategic
development around the new Health and Human Sciences Building on the university’s West Campus.

In presenting the master plan to the board for its consideration, Chancellor David O. Belcher called it “a living document, one that is not set in stone but will be a guide to us as we go forward.”

Highlights of the plan include:

*Construction of a new science building of approximately 130,000 square feet that would replace the existing Natural Sciences Building and create a “science quad” by incorporating renovations to the existing Stillwell Building.

* Construction of a new building for the College of Business and additions to the existing Forsyth Building, which is home to most business programs.

* Consolidation of programs in the College of Fine and Performing Arts to new and existing space near the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

* Enhancing pedestrian connectivity across campus, especially between the academic center of campus and the historic area. The plan envisions a signature building located between the upper and lower areas of campus that would house existing programs in student engagement and related activities.

* Additional revitalization of the historic hill area of campus, including improvements in transportation flow and new residence hall and dining space for 300 additional students.

* Creation of a new main entrance to campus on N.C. Highway 107 that links the traditional campus with the newer West Campus, with a new visitor center and enhanced public parking for visitors attending fine arts, athletics and entertainment events at the Bardo Arts Center, Ramsey Regional Activity Center and athletics fields.

* Phased development of two buildings for private/public partnerships adjacent to the Health and Human Sciences Building on the West Campus while reserving steeply sloped land as an environmental preserve.

* Enhancing views of and recreational opportunities along Cullowhee Creek as it flows through campus by removing invasive vegetation, and using existing green space in the flood plain of the creek for recreation and athletics fields.

* Improvements to athletics facilities including a new field house, indoor practice facility and enhanced stands and a new press box on the west side of E.J. Whitmire Stadium.

* A possible mixed-use facility featuring dining and retail space on the ground floor and residential space on upper levels.
Additional information about WCU’s master planning process can be found at the website masterplanning.wcu.edu.

Alleged Assult on WCU Campus Reported

Western Carolina University police are investigating a report of a simple assault that allegedly occurred between the Courtyard Dining Hall and Scott Hall at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec.  8. At 12:19 p.m. that day, a female student reported to police that she was approached from behind by a black male. The female student told authorities that the male grabbed her shoulder and, when she turned around, the suspect ran off. Police say that the suspect was last seen entering a silver or light-colored SUV.

University police informed the campus of the investigation on Sunday afternoon, and took the opportunity to remind members of the campus community of several safety tips, including to have the WCU emergency phone number plugged into their cell phones; to report suspicious behavior to police as soon as possible; to walk in groups, especially at night, and in well-lit areas; and to remain alert to their surroundings.

Early Sunday evening, university police informed the campus that the suspect had been located, and that there did not appear to be an ongoing threat to the community. No charges have been filed at this time. The incident remains under investigation.


Haywood County Inmate Dies in Custody

The Haywood County Detention Facility has experienced an in-custody death.  An inmate was found non-responsive in the jail at approximately 9:40 Monday night.  The man was reportedly housed in a cell by himself.  Upon finding him unresponsive, corrections officers quickly sought emergency medical assistance. EMTs responded and transported the man to MedWest Haywood, where he was later pronounced dead.

Pursuant to jail policy, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has turned the matter over to the State Bureau of Investigation. No additional information has been released at this time.

WestCare Health System Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Duke Lifepoint Healthcare

Today the WestCare Health System Board of Trustees announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding to be acquired by Duke LifePoint Healthcare. The memorandum is a non-binding agreement that outlines the terms upon which WestCare and Duke LifePoint may move forward to finalize the proposed acquisition.  It also establishes a due diligence and negotiation process, which is projected to take 60-90 days, after which, the parties intend to enter into a definitive agreement. The agreement would then be subject to review by the Attorney General of North Carolina before being finalized.

At the announcement, Steve Heatherly, WestCare Health System President and CEO said, “We evaluated partnerships with several organizations and ultimately chose Duke LifePoint because it aligned with our strategic priorities, including positioning WestCare to reach its full potential in serving its communities.” Also, potential buyer, LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Carpenter said, “We are excited at the prospect of partnering with the dedicated board, management team, clinical staff and employees at WestCare to strengthen their hospitals for the future. We seek to be a collaborative partner with Harris Regional and Swain County and look forward to exploring this proposed partnership further in the weeks to come.”

The WestCare Board of Trustees had said that becoming a part of Duke LifePoint offers many benefits to WestCare’s communities. The organization would become a local taxpayer, providing an important source of new tax revenue to support the local economy. Additionally, proceeds from the acquisition would retire WestCare’s financial obligations and fund a locally-governed charitable foundation to support crucial community needs. Also, as part of Duke LifePoint, WestCare would have access to wide range of clinical, safety, quality and operations experts. It would also have the ability to collaborate and share ideas and practices with staff at nearly 60 peer community hospitals in 20 states through the LifePoint system.

After the 60-90 day due diligence period, should the two organizations enter into a definitive acquisition agreement, that would not be the final step in the process. The agreement would then be subject to review and approval by the Attorney General of North Carolina before being finalized.

WCU Officials Await Answers on Nov. 21 Fire

The future of three dining establishments damaged by a November fire on the Western Carolina University campus remains unknown as state insurance and construction officials continue analyzing the structural integrity of the building and conducting a financial assessment of the damages.

Representatives of the State Construction Office and N.C. Department of Insurance were on the scene the day after the fire to begin their work. University officials say they do not know how long that work may take, but caution that it could require as long as a year to complete.

No injuries were reported during the fire, which broke out in the morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 21, in the commercial strip of Centennial Drive in the center of the WCU campus. The blaze damaged the Subway sandwich shop, Rolling Stone Burrito and Mad Batter Bakery and café.

The businesses are located on the ground floor of the two-story structure. The second story of the building, which had contained apartments until several years ago, was unoccupied. The section of the building that houses Bob’s Mini Mart was not damaged.

The property affected by the fire is owned by the WCU Endowment Fund and leased to the business owners. The structure was formerly the site of the Townhouse restaurant, a longtime campus landmark and a popular gathering place for students, faculty and staff from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s.

“We certainly would like to know as quickly as possible what will happen with this building located in the heart of campus,” Chancellor David O. Belcher said. “But we also realize that there are state policies and procedures that must be followed, and we understand that the process inevitably will take some time. We will keep the campus and community informed as additional information becomes available.”

The university has established a website for updated information about the fire and its aftermath at http://fire.wcu.edu.

WestCare Health System Opens New Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Space At WCU

Carolina West Sports Medicine, the official medical provider for Western Carolina University athletics, has relocated its physical therapy and sports medicine clinic at the university from the Ramsey Center to the new state-of-the-art Health and Human Sciences Building. Carolina West Sports Medicine, part of the rehabilitation services department of WestCare Health System, has partnered with Western Carolina University since 2001, providing comprehensive outpatient physical therapy specializing in orthopedics, athletic training and sports medicine services to students, faculty and the community.

The new space provides more room for patients, additional private treatment areas and greater accessibility. It is located on the first floor of the Health and Human Sciences Building in room 113.

The new building will also feature an aquatic therapy pool donated by WestCare. Carolina West Sports Medicine will use the therapy pool to expand services for patients who need therapy in a reduced weight-bearing environment.

“This is helpful for patients who have had spine surgery, or who have ongoing problems with walking or chronic pain. The pool has an underwater treadmill and will enable athletes to attempt running and other dynamic movements while injured or after surgery,” said Thomas Burns, a doctorate-level physical therapist board certified in orthopedics who works with Carolina West Sports Medicine. The pool is expected to open after the first of the year.

WestCare and Western Carolina University have collaborated on the new space and pool since the inception of the Health and Human Sciences Building. “Through our partnership with Western Carolina University we have not only expanded our space but also added a critical new modality in aquatics therapy, all housed in a spectacularly high-tech building. WestCare is pleased to participate in serving our community with such advancements,” said Steve Heatherly, President and CEO of WestCare Health System.

The clinic will be staffed with four physical therapists working for Carolina West Sports Medicine. “Being located in the Health and Human Sciences Building will provide our team with the opportunity to continue working in close proximity to WCU athletics and to collaborate with physical therapists on faculty at the university,” said Carlyle Schomberg, director of rehabilitation services for WestCare Health System.

An open house for the new space and aquatic therapy pool will be planned for early 2014. For information call (828) 293-5174.


Sheriff Jimmy Ashe offers some safety tips for those youngsters who will be walking back and forth to the bus stop or school this year.

“Parents can teach their children the following safety tips which will inform the youngsters of the danger signs to watch for and avoid when walking between school, bus stops, and home,” Sheriff Ashe said.

“Drivers should be cautious of children walking back and forth to school,” added the Sheriff.  “We can all learn from the safety tips below and abide by them to make Jackson County safer for all.”

  • While walking, remember to always travel with a friend.  Two heads are better than one, especially if there’s an emergency.
  • A stranger is anyone you or your parents don’t know well.
  • You or your friend must never take candy, money, medicine or anything else from a stranger.
  • If a stranger in a car asks you questions, don’t get close to the car (you could get pulled in) – and never get in the car.
  • Strangers can be very tricky – they can ask you to walk with them to “show” them something; they can offer to pay for your video game, or ask you to help them find a lost dog or cat.  Don’t be fooled!
  • Don’t tell anyone your name or address when you’re walking and don’t think that because someone knows your name that they know you – they may just be looking at your name printed on your lunch box, school bag or T-shirt.
  • If you think you’re in any danger, yell, and run to the nearest store or “safe house” or back to school.
  • Always tell your parents or teacher if a stranger has approached you.

“By taking the time to carefully prepare your child on how to handle these situations, you can insure your child’s safety whether they are on their way to school or home, playing on a playground or riding their bikes,” Sheriff Ashe concludes.

To reach the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, call 586-4355 or 586-8901.  Our CrimeStoppers Hotline is 631-1125.  Visit us on the web at sheriff.jacksonnc.org.



Bethel Christian Academy – CLOSED

Cherokee Central (Reservation) – CLOSED

Cherokee County Schools -2 hour delay

Haywood Christian Academy – CLOSED

Haywood County Meals on Wheels – CLOSED

Haywood County Schools-CLOSED

Heritage Christian Academy – Both Campuses – CLOSING AT NOON

Jackson County Schools – CLOSING IMMEDIATELY

Graham County Schools-CLOSED


Swain Public Transit – 2 hour delay



WCU board approves beer, wine sales for Bardo Arts Center

CULLOWHEE – Visitors to the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University soon will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or mug of beer along with the venue’s arts and entertainment offerings.

The WCU Board of Trustees, as part of its quarterly meeting Friday, March 1, approved an amendment to the campus alcohol policy allowing the sale of beer and wine for selected events in the Bardo Arts Center.

The new policy is made possible by the approval of countywide alcohol sales by the voters of Jackson County in a referendum last spring. The trustees had previously approved a similar amendment in 2006 to allow sale of beer and wine in the arts building, but Jackson County’s designation as a “dry county” rendered moot the university policy change.

The campus policy change is based on an amendment made in 2005 to state alcoholic beverage laws by the N.C. General Assembly that allows constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina system to sell beer and wine at performing arts centers. The law specifically defines a performing arts center as a venue of 2,000 seats or fewer built or used primarily for performances in the arts – including music, theater, film, performance art and recitation.

Under the new policy approved by WCU’s board, the university’s food service contractor will be authorized to sell beer and wine at selected events in the Bardo Arts Center and will be required to adhere to all rules and regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. No food or drink is permitted in the performance hall.

Aramark, WCU’s food service partner, is in the process of obtaining appropriate ABC permits, said George Little, a member of WCU’s Board of Trustees and chair of the board’s administration, governance and trusteeship committee, which recommended the policy amendment.

The production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” in April is expected to be the first event in the Bardo Arts Center at which beer and wine will be sold, Little said.   (From Bill Studenc, Senior Director of News Services, Office of Public Relations, WCU)