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Author Archive for 540-AM WRGC

Snow Day Dilemma

snowmanWITH JACKSON COUNTY STUDENTS MISSING ALMOST ALL OF LAST WEEK DUE TO SNOW, LOCAL SCHOOL OFFICIALS ARE BUSY PLANNING TO MAKE UP THE MISSED TIME. SO FAR THIS YEAR, STUDENTS IN THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN DISTRICT AND AT THE JACKSON COUNTY EARLY COLLEGE HAVE MISSED 11 DAYS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, BLUE RIDGE HAS MISSED 12 SNOW DAYS. SCHOOL LEADERS SAY THEY ARE NOW ARE COUNTING HOURS OF INSTRUCTION RATHER THAN DAYS TO MEET STATE REQUIREMENTS. BASED ON THE STATE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT OF 1,025 INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS, THE LAST STUDENT DAY WILL BE JUNE 9 FOR THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN DISTRICT; MAY 29 FOR BLUE RIDGE AND MAY 28 FOR JACKSON COUNTY EARLY COLLEGE IF MORE DAYS ARE MISSED  THE SCHOOL SYSTEM WILL BE FORCED TO CONTINUE THE PLAN OF POSSIBLE SATURDAY MAKE-UPS THE BOARD WILL ALSO BE DISCUSSING THE POSSIBILITIES OF USING SATURDAY, MAY 31, AND EVEN EXTENDING THE LENGTH OF THE SCHOOL DAY BY 10 MINUTES SHOULD IT BECOME ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Secular Student Alliance

Pisgah High School

Pisgah High School

STUDENTS AT PISGAH HIGH SCHOOL IN CANTON HAVE BEEN TRYING SINCE OCTOBER 2013 TO FORM A CHAPTER OF THE SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE, WHICH SEEKS TO CREATE WELCOMING COMMUNITIES FOR NON-RELIGIOUS STUDENTS, BUT WERE TOLD BY OFFICIALS THAT THE CLUB WOULD NOT “FIT IN” AND COULD NOT FIND A FACULTY SPONSOR. THE SCHOOL HAS ABOUT 30 EXTRA CURRICULAR CLUBS, INCLUDING AT LEAST TWO RELIGIOUS CLUBS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES AND KEY CLUB. IN A FEBRUARY 11 LETTER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF HAYWOOD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE ACLU SAID THAT PROHIBITING STUDENTS FROM FORMING THE CLUB VIOLATED THE FEDERAL EQUAL ACCESS ACT, WHICH PROHIBITS PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM DISCRIMINATING AGAINST STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ON THE BASIS OF RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL BELIEFS. THE EAA ALSO REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO APPOINT A FACULTY SPONSOR IN THE ABSENCE OF VOLUNTEERS. THE STUDENTS WERE TOLD THEY WOULD BE ALLOWED TO FORM THE CLUB AFTER A RECENT MEETING WITH PISGAH HIGH’S PRINCIPAL.

Gun Locks

Gun Locks

Gun Locks

THE JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS RECEIVED A LIMITED SUPPLY OF GUN SAFETY LOCKS TO ENCOURAGE FAMILIES TO SAFELY SECURE THEIR FIREARMS.  THESE LOCKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE, UPON REQUEST AT THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE MAIN LOBBY.  THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS ALREADY BEGUN DISTRIBUTING THESE GUN LOCKS WITH EACH GUN PURCHASE PERMIT. THE JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE ENCOURAGES GUN OWNERS TO TAKE TIME AND TALK WITH THEIR LOVED ONES AND CHILDREN ABOUT FIREARM SAFETY.  FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AT (828) 586-4355

 

Child Sex Charges

Stephen Hurley

Stephen Hurley

On February 5th, Police responded to an attempted suicide at the Maggie Valley Motel. There they found 68 year old restaurant owner Stephen Hurley. They also found a note in the room with him. This led the Maggie Valley Police to investigate the alleged sexual assault of two children. A total of 44 sexual molestation related counts and felony warrants have now been served against Hurley. He was arrested and is now in the Haywood County Detention Center under 1 million dollars bond. The warrants charge Hurley with molesting two children under the age of 16 in 2006 and 2007. Other Charges include indecent liberties with a minor and crimes against nature. The alleged victims are now of age and are cooperating with authorities. Residents and those who personally knew Hurley were shocked, stunned and disgusted.

Magnitude 4.4 Felt In Jackson County

Epicenter in Edgefield, SC

Epicenter in Edgefield, SC

At 10:23 last evening we got reports of shaking near Webster. Soon after the USGS confirmed a 4.4 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Edgefield, South Carolina. There were reports of people all over the Southeast feeling it. Residents in Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC and into Tennessee. There were no reports of damage or injury.

 

Snow Totals

Here are some snowfall totals so far for our area from the National Weather Service in Greenville Spartanburg as of 10:40pm on 2/12/14

snowcoveredroad

Snow Covered Roads in Jackson Co.

Cashiers 7.5 inches as of 8:05pm 02/12
Highlands 8.5 inches as of 8:28pm 02/12
Franklin 8.0 inches as of 9:08pm 02/12
Waynesville 6.0 inches 8:17pm 02/12
Asheville 6.0 inches 8:44pm 02/12
Weaverville 4.0 8:04pm 02/12
Etowah 5.3 inches 8:20pm 02/12
Rabun County GA (Clayton) – 3.8 10:00am 02/12

Winter Storm Warning In Effect

Accumulation Map

Accumulation Map

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6pm Thursday evening. Heavy snow accumulations across the region of 6 to 10 inches are possible along with a trace of ice. Heavy snowfall will make travel treacherous. The accumulations may also create power outages especially Wednesday through Thursday morning. Temperates will dip to the lower 30′s with winds Northeast 5 to 10 miles per hour. Gusts up to 25 miles per hour are expected. A Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Travel only in emergency situations and take cell phones. Wear a warm coat, gloves and boots. Keep a blanket, flashlight, food and water in your vehicle if traveling. Stay tuned to 540am WRGC for the latest from local and state officials.

 

Winter Storm

Tilley Creek

Tilley Creek

Jackson County and surrounding counties received significant snow accumulations over the course of the last two days. While the snow has stopped, the danger still exists, especially those on secondary roads. Pictured, Tilley Creek near Speedwell, one of the countless back roads in Jackson County that are still snow covered.  The North Carolina Highway Patrol says they responded to minor accidents this morning and throughout the day. Many Schools, Churches and Businesses are still closed due to this wintry weather mix. for a complete list of those CLICK HERE

Jackson County Property Evaluation Process On Schedule With No Rate Increase Projected.

The Jackson County Commissioners heard reports from a number of county agencies Tuesday during the annual Planning Retreat which was held at the NC-CAT facility at Western Carolina University. Bobby McMahan and Kevin Ford with the Jackson County Tax Department reported that the property re-evaluation field review of the real estate in Jackson County is about fifty percent complete with all the current data now entered. Also the data for all property sales in Jackson County in 2013 are now entered into the system. With the property reevaluation process underway and the report by Jackson County Finance Officer Darlene Foxx that the county fund balance at the end of the fiscal year was at 35% with just under a million dollars more than the prior year, and Jackson County having the lowest tax rate in the state it was projected by the commissioners that no tax rate increase is anticipated for this year. The Commissioners also felt it was not necessary to move forward with a Fire Tax until an additional review can take place.

Winter Storm Watch In Effect For Much Of Western North Carolina

9!/20/2014)  A winter storm watch has been announced for most of Western North Carolina.  The watch is in effect through late Tuesday night.  Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures could cause roadways to be quite slippery or even impassable. Also, strong wind gusts could cause downed trees and power lines.   A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet, or ice accumulations that may impact travel.  For up-to-date weather information and a complete list of closings and delays you can check out wrgc.com.

White-Tailed Deer To Increase On Cherokee Reservation

(1/20/2014) The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in conjunction with the Morrow Mountain State park has struck a deal to increase the White Tailed Deer population in Cherokee.  The Cherokee Reservation will receive twenty-five to fifty white tailed deer every year for the next three years. The Project hopes to increase Cherokee’s dwindling deer population and help ease Morrow Mountain’s abundance of deer.

Jackson County School System May Be Stuck With Huge Water Bill

(1/20/2014)  The Jackson County School System recently received a shocking bill in the mail.  According to the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority the school system owes over sixteen thousand dollars for four months of water usage.  The stunning bill is attributed to new construction of the performing arts center and the gymnasium at Smoky Mountain High School.  TWSA determined that Jackson County Schools used over seventeen thousand gallons of water per day during the four month time span.  The School System must pay the complete amount unless TWSA changes their policy.  TWSA’s next board meeting will be held February 20th, in which Board Members will be discussing this matter in more detail with TWSA Director Dan Harbaugh.

Parkway Budget Cuts

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway says it could face new challenges if US Congress doesn’t increase appropriations. New reports were released today that backs those very claims. Budget cuts last fall caused the Parkway and other campgrounds and picnic areas to close. If the cuts this year are as severe they say the same thing could  happen. Many volunteers that help to maintain the Parkway say their already behind on maintenance crucial for day to day operations. The reports state that the government has cut $784,000 from the Parkway budget last year out of an operating cost of 14-million. Other parks across the nation are feeling the same financial strain as well.

Saunook Fire

FireMultiple Haywood County Fire Departments responded to a camper going up in flames. It all happened around 7:40pm on Tuesday evening in the Saunook area of Haywood County. The Saunook Fire Department chief said there were no injuries and no one was occupying the camper at the time. He also stated electrical cords coming from the RV could have been to blame. The official cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Frigid Mountain Weather

135200_10152097518299356_1847424393_oThe weather in the Western North Carolina Mountains the last few days has been everything but normal when it comes to the temperatures. The cold air is all thanks to a “Polar Vortex”. Bitter cold air from the Arctic caused temperatures to plunge below zero in many places. We’ve seen some of the lowest temperatures in over a decade with readings in the single digits. If that weren’t enough, the wind chill factors have been minus 20 to 30 below zero in the higher elevations. Schools, Businesses and Non-Profits have been forced to close due to cold air. Officials say they’ve responded to many calls over the last two days in regards heater related fires, frostbite and other respiratory conditions. Thousands of flights across the country were also canceled as a result of the crippling cold and a mixture of snow and ice. Nearly 14,000 flights were delayed or completely canceled. Luckily, spring like temperatures will return to the WNC mountains by this weekend.

Tonight’s Game

The Smoky Mountain vs Pisgah game for tonight is scheduled to continue as planned. We will be streaming live online around 6pm.

Cold Weather Tips

Cold WXOf course the best solution for battling the cold weather is to stay indoors as much as possible, but for those that need to be outside they should follow a few guidelines. Frostbite in these cold of temperatures can hit in as little as five minutes, so people should make to cover as much bare skin as possible, especially the ears, toes and fingers because those are more likely to get frostbite. You should also wear as many layers of loose-fitting clothing and water-resistant coat and boots. If you are traveling, make sure to have winter survival kits in your car as well as a full cell phone battery in case you get in an accident. Vehicles themselves need to be taken care of in the cold as well. Make sure to start your car at least fifteen minutes before driving, and make sure to check the tires because they can lose air in the freezing temperatures.

Flu Restrictions Implemented

Woman with tissue and hot drink Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital have implemented temporary flu restrictions for their visitors. These changes are a precaution against the spread of the flu. There has been a significant rise in the number of cases in our communities. Visitors to the two hospitals need to be 12 years old or older. There is also a limitation of two visitors per patient at any one time. Visits to patients in isolation will also be limited to only those persons necessary for the patients emotional well being and care. Visitors should wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer before entering and exiting patient rooms. If visitors are experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness, they’ll be asked to wear a mask. We are working with patients and their families to ensure the final stages of a patient’s life are treated with respect and sensitivity. We will help families make arrangements for a child 11 and under to visit a family member in the hospital for the last time. However, if a child has flu-like symptoms, we may need to make alternate accommodations (i.e. mask) to protect the health and safety of our patients and their families.Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in preventing the spread of flu to our patients, staff, and visitors. Please contact the WestCare Infection Prevention Department if you have any questions or concerns at (828) 586-7297.Hospital Flu Restrictions

Maggie Valley Wreck

WreckNames have now been released in the two vehicle crash in Haywood County. The crash took place last evening at the intersection of US 19/Soco Road and US 276/Jonathan Creek Road in Maggie Valley. Police have now released the names of the occupants in the vehicles. Torry Pinter, who was driving in the right-hand lane did not have a chance to hit the brakes on his Chevy Truck while heading through the green light just past Dollar General, said Maggie Valley Police Department Sgt. Russ Gilliland. His truck T-boned the car, where the driver, a passenger named Darnelle Camp and the elderly passenger Frank Morgan, who was in the back seat. The impact likely totaled both vehicles and both Herman Morgan and Frank Morgan were transported to Med-West Haywood, where Frank Morgan later died. MAMA helicopter landed at Jonathan Valley Elementary School and air lifted Darnelle Camp to Mission Hospital. Gilliland said as of Thursday afternoon, she was in stable condition.  Police are reconstructing the accident to determine if charges will be filled.

Winter Weather Possibility

STSStormTotalSnow_webThe National Weather Service in Greenville Spartanburg is predicting snow for Thursday. An area of low pressure and a strong cold front will cross the region Thursday afternoon allowing snow to develop at higher elevations and work down toward the valley floors late. Light accumulations will be possible during the evening hours especially along the ridge tops. New snow accumulations of less that one inch are expected. In addition, very gusty winds will develop and a few downed trees will be possible.