Author Archive for 540-AM WRGC – Page 2

Foul Play In Burned Vehicle

crime-sceneAs reported earlier, The Cherokee Police responded to a call around 1am on December 29th of a burned vehicle on Old Rock Crusher Road in the Big Cove Community. A body was found and was identified to be Marie Walkingstick Pheasant, 26 of Cherokee. Foul play is now suspected and the Cherokee Police, NC Bureau of Investigations and FBI are currently investigating the crime. A reward of $5,000 is being offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the crime. Anyone with information may contact Detective Jason Cable at the Cherokee Indian Police Department at 828-778-5608.

Felony Drug Charges

Joshua Ray Warren

Joshua Ray Warren

A routine traffic stop late Sunday night led to a felony drug and weapons arrest by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy initiated the stop after observing a revoked license plate on a vehicle occupied by three people.  As the subsequent investigation unfolded, deputies found a handgun during the vehicle search, and secured the weapon and more than $380 cash into evidence.  During a search of the suspects in the jail facility, deputies also found and seized 7.3 grams of methamphetamine. Joshua Ray Warren, 34, has been charged with felonious possession with intent to manufacture, sell and/or deliver a schedule II substance, maintaining a vehicle to keep and sell controlled substances, possession of a controlled substance on jail premises, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Warren was jailed in lieu of $100,000 secured bond.  Warren was out on bond awaiting trail on unrelated charges of felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.  His next court date is slated for Jan. 8.

Newfound Gap Work Starts

Newfound Gap Landslide

Newfound Gap Landslide

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin work on a road stabilization project to repair a slide area in North Carolina beginning Monday, January 5, through Wednesday, May 14, along Newfound Gap Road (NFG) approximately 1 mile south of NFG parking area, just south of the Deep Creek Trailhead. Park staff and Federal Highway Administration engineers recently documented the slide approximately 50 feet below the road corridor. Crews will reinforce the slope to stabilize the road embankment and to prevent slope failure or erosion along the road shoulder. The restoration work will include retaining wall construction, road reconstruction, stone masonry guard wall construction, guardrail placement, shoulder reconditioning, installation of culverts and inlets, and site restoration. Traffic lanes will be temporarily shifted onto the road shoulder throughout the duration of the project to maintain two-way traffic; however, single lane closures will be required intermittently primarily during the construction of the temporary lane. The parking area adjacent to this slide area will be closed, but the small pull off for the Deep Creek trailhead will remain open. Phillips and Jordan, Inc. was awarded the contract for the project through a competitive bid process. The primary geotechnical subcontractor is Goettle, Inc. Contractors are authorized to conduct operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about road conditions, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm and or call the Park’s Road and Weather Information Line at 865-436-1200.

Possum Drop Is A Go

possumThere’s been controversy surrounding the annual Brasstown Possum Drop for years now. The Animal Rights Group PETA has filed multiple lawsuits saying “the event stresses out the animal”. Last week a judge has ruled that a permit issued for the organizers to capture and hold a possum for the event will stand. This new years eve marks the 20th annual possum drop. The event starts at 6:00pm tonight.

Sweepstakes Scam In Haywood

Scam-Alert1The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office wishes to inform area residents of a scam that is still occurring in and around Haywood County. The scenario unfolds like this:  Victims are called and told they won money, a new car, or other prize through Publishers Clearinghouse or similar sweepstakes. The victims are instructed to send either cash or pre-paid debit cards from CVS or Walmart to a specific address, often an address in New York.  Victims are informed that, once payment is received, their winnings will be forwarded to them immediately. The caller identifies himself and tells you to follow up with a call to the IRS to validate the claim as far as taxes and “state to state” transfer of monies is concerned. The caller will ask for the card numbers of pre-paid debit cards once they’ve been purchased. The caller then takes the number, makes an identical card, and gains immediate access to the money with no hope of restitution to the victim! The promised prizes are NEVER delivered. Investigations show the calls and frauds are originating in countries outside the United States. PLEASE refrain from engaging the caller in any conversation!  This is a fraud and scam. If you are told by anyone you have won a prize, a vehicle, or any other item of value and are requested to send cash, money order, or prepaid debit cards, DO NOT! Remember:  You should NEVER have to pay for anything you have won! For more information contact the Haywood County Sheriffs Department at 828-452-6669.

Body Found In Burning Vehicle


A body was found in a burning vehicle just off Old Rock Crusher Road in the Big Cove Community Sunday Night. The Vehicle was registered to someone in the Big Cove Community. Authorities have not released any information on the victim or suspects in the case. Community members say the victim is a woman. The Cherokee Police, SBI and FBI are investigating.

Cashiers Fire

An early morning fire destroys a home near Cashiers. The fire also threatened other homes nearby. The fire started early Sunday morning around the Cashiers community in the Trillium Subdivision. Officials say the flames overcame the 4,000 square foot house before they could put it out. There were 8 people from the Raleigh/Durham area inside the home as they were renting it when the fire started. Smoke detectors alerted them, everyone got out to safety. Three departments battled the blaze to keep it from spreading to other nearby houses. Officials say around 80,000 gallons of water were trucked up the narrow roads to the homes during the blaze. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Canton House Fire

An early morning fire in Canton destroys a family’s home. It happened around 5:45AM Saturday morning off Double Sides Drive, in the Beaverdam community. A woman and three children inside made it out safely but the home and the family’s car are a total loss. The Victim and family has nothing left except for the clothes they ran out in. She says this has been the most devastating experience of her life. Carrie Autry, fire victim, “just the intensity of the heat and not knowing if I was gonna get the kids out, just watching all my memories and my whole life and everything I’ve worked for burned up in a matter of seconds.” The cause of the fire is under investigation but officials say it does not appear to be suspicious. Local churches, including North Canton Baptist, are collecting donations for the family.

School Closings and Delays for 11/27

A-B Tech Community College (Day): OPEN AT 8AM

Cherokee Reservation School: CLOSED


Haywood Christian Academy: CLOSED

Haywood Co. Meals on Wheels: CLOSED


Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc.: BUSES 2 HR DELAY – NO BUSES ON ICY ROADS

Mitchell County Schools: CLOSED

Pams Child Development Center: CLOSED



Tri-County Christian School: CLOSED

Waynesville First Baptist CDC: OPEN AT 10AM

Mustang Girls Lose Season Opener

(11/21/13)  The Mustang girls staged a huge comeback in the third quarter against Madison to cut the Patriots lead to four points but could not hold it in the fourth quarter and lost the season opener at home 62 to 48.

Duke Energy Approves Grants


Duke Energy has approved the funding of seven riparian (streamside) habitat enhancement projects in the watersheds and tailwaters of its Nantahala area hydroelectric projects.

Grant funds total $109,057 and matching and in-kind funds for the projects total $406,873.62.

Duke Energy established the Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund as a commitment in the Tuckasegee Cooperative Stakeholder Team and Nantahala Cooperative Stakeholder Team Settlement Agreements, which were made during relicensing the company’s Nantahala area hydroelectric projects.

The Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund was established to protect or enhance fish and wildlife habitat directly or educate school children or landowners about the importance of healthy riparian areas for fish and wildlife habitat. “Riparian” refers to areas along a stream, which are important for stream stability, fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality.

An advisory board, comprised of state and federal resource agencies and county soil and water conservation experts, ranked project proposals based on criteria such as long-term impact, direct benefits to riparian resources, broad support for the project (demonstrated by co-funding), creativity, and the ability to show measurable results. Based on those recommendations, Duke Energy funded seven of the proposed projects.

Brief project descriptions are as follows:

  • Killian Farm – Cartoogechaye Creek Restoration: Stream bank and aquatic habitat restoration in Cartoogechaye Creek, a tributary of the Little Tennessee River near Franklin, N.C. Requestor: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee
  • Kelly Farm – Savannah Creek Restoration: Stream bank and aquatic habitat restoration in Savannah Creek, a tributary of the Tuckasegee River near Dillsboro, N.C. Requestor: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee
  • Riparian Education & Enhancement in the Hiwassee River Watershed: Replanting riparian buffers and educating local school children and landowners on the value of these buffers using a small tributary of the Hiwassee River near Hayesville, N.C. Requestor: Hiwassee Watershed Coalition
  • Little Tennessee River Greenway Riparian Restoration & Education: Remove invasive exotic vegetation and plant native trees and shrubs at the confluence of Cartoogechaye Creek and the Little Tennessee River near Franklin, N.C. Requestor: Friends of the Greenway
  • Tributary to Hiwassee River Rehabilitation: Reconstruct 1,000 feet of stream bank and enhance riparian buffers on a small tributary of the Hiwassee River near Murphy, N.C. Requestor: United States Forest Service
  • Instructional Stream Table: Purchase a stream table to be used in teaching Swain County school children about the value of riparian buffers and stream habitat. Requestor: Swain County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Restoration Tasks in Jackson County: Stream bank reconstruction on a tributary of the Tuckasegee River, Savannah Creek, near Webster, N.C. Requestor: Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River


Another request for proposals will be issued by the Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund Advisory Board in early 2014. The application will be posted at http://www.duke-energy.com/lakes/nantahala/hydroelectric-relicensing.asp

Gov.McCrory Visits Sylva

Gov. McCrory Visits Sylva 2  9.12.13

Gov. McCrory Visits Sylva

Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson greets Gov. McCrory this morning while visiting Jackson Paper. Gov. McCrory will move to the Jarrett House in Dillsboro to have lunch and host a roundtable discussion with invited guests.

Flooding In Jackson County


50 Ton Crane in the Tuckaseigee River

With rivers at their banks all across Western North Carolina, Jackson County was no exception. At left, a picture of a 50 ton crane that was doing bridge work in the Wayehutta community was washed into the river over the holiday weekend as a result of a landslide. The Slide temporarily shut down the road. Leaving residence without access for a short period of time. The 50 ton red crane toppled into the the Tuckaseigee River. Duke Energy was forced to open flood gates at Thorpe Lake, dumping large amounts of water into the river.  Flood waters were also blamed for the death of a Kyaker in Haywood County. The Haywood County Sheriff’s office says the body of 36-year-old Richard Bradfield, of Lexington, KY was found near a riverbank in the Shining Rock Wilderness area around 7:20 p.m. Friday.

WCU to host thousands of visitors this weekend

05/09/13-This weekend thousands of visitors will flock to catamount country for commencement. Western Carolina University has announced the schedule and tips to help visitors and locals with the influx of traffic this weekend. Ernie Hudson, Chief of Police for WCU recommends avoiding the main entrance to WCU’s campus if at all possible. Arriving early if attending the commencement ceromonies and using the Old Cullowhee Road to bypass the majority of the traffic.

On Friday the 2013 Spring Graduate Commencement will be held at the Ramsey Center at 7pm and doors will open at 5pm. Saturday their will be two ceromonies at the Ramsey Center to accomodate the largest graduating class in WCU history. Commencement for Arts and Sciences will begin at 10am and at 3:30pm commencement will be held for the College of Business, etc.

For more driving and parking information check out http://wcu.edu/24593.asp.

210th Military Police Battalion Rolls Out

05/08/13-The teary-eyed goodbyes early Wednesday morning were of mixed emotions. The families and friends of the 210th Military Police Battalion were up early to send off the group from the Franklin National Gaurd Amory. Hugs, kisses and handshakes for a safe return as parents, husbands, and wives said farewell to their service members. The 210th Military Police Battalion will be stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas for several weeks for training before being deployed to Afghanistan . The 210th will be in Afghanistan  for one year to help with Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tasha Black described how proud she is of her husband who is being deployed, “Very proud…this is why he joined not for the glory but to serve.” Tasha and the rest of the families who were their for the sendoff are praying for a safe return of the brave men and women they Rolled out early wednesday morning from the Franklin National Guard Armory for a one year deployment. From the 540 WRGC team we would like to thank all service men and women and their families for their sacrifices for freedom.

New Master Plan for Jackson County Recreation and Parks Department

The Jackson County Recreation and Parks Department has achieved many goals on the master plan created several years ago. While that plan has been updated a few times, its time to wrap that one up and start a new one.

“About 8 years ago we were one of the first counties west of Asheville to do that… We’re in the process of finishing up that plan,” Director Jeff Carpenter.

As the old plan finishes up, the Department wanted community feedback and direction for the new master plan. To get this feedback, they conducted an online survey of local residents.

“We got close to 800 responses to our survey. Indoor pool was the #1 answer in the community. Walking areas was another big answer, and picnic areas and playgrounds were very high too.”

People are wanting areas to play, workout, and see their tax dollars at work.

“Everybody can use parks,” Director Jeff Carpenter.

2013 Mountain Heritage Nominations Open

Western Carolina University is accepting nominations for the Mountain Heritage Award, an honor bestowed annually on one individual and one organization that has played a prominent role in the preservation or interpretation of Southern Appalachian history and culture. Nominations for the award will be accepted through Monday, June 24.

“Beginning with the award’s inception in 1976 and continuing through 2006, WCU gave out one Mountain Heritage Award each year,” said Scott Philyaw, director of the university’s Mountain Heritage Center and chairman of the awards committee. “Because the contributions of individuals are often different from that of groups and organizations, making direct comparisons difficult, the university’s awards committee decided to begin giving out two awards in 2007 – one to an individual and one to an organization.”

Letters of nomination should not exceed five pages and should include the full name of the individual or organization being nominated, with a website address if applicable; the mailing address of nominee; nominee’s birth or founding date; a list of the nominee’s accomplishments; a list of the awards and other recognitions received by nominee; information about the nominee’s influence in the relevant field of expertise such as crafts, music or organizational cause; and information about the nominee’s role as a teacher, advocate, leader or preserver of mountain culture.

Nomination letters may be hand delivered to the Mountain Heritage Center, located on the ground floor of WCU’s H. F. Robinson Administration Building or mailed to Scott Philyaw, 151 H. F. Robinson Administration Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, or emailed to philyaw@wcu.edu.

Pride of the Mountains Marching Band’s Newest Honor

David Starnes, director of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, displays a commemorative drum head while students celebrate an invitation to participate in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

David Starnes, director of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, displays a commemorative drum head while students celebrate an invitation to participate in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The famous group from Western Carolina University has been honored time and again with invitationals, awards and accolades. The latest in the long list? An invitation to 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“We are honored as well as excited to represent Western Carolina University, the School of Music and the entire Catamount Nation on national television in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Starnes. “It is undoubtedly one of the greatest events a band student of any age can experience and we feel privileged to offer our members this opportunity. Our band program has received numerous national honors that carry great prestige. However, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has not been a part of our resume – until now.”

The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band is one of only ten marching bands selected from across the country to perform.

“When you are the best band in the land, you might as well share it with the rest of the world,” Chancellor David O. Belcher said.

NC Tag and Tax

The new bills reflect vehicle property tax information and vehicle inspection and registration information. The new program will require one payment for both bills. Both tag renewals and tax payments must be paid in full to renew registration. Those with a July tag will be among the first to receive the notices by mail. By this time next year, the program should include all NC vehicle owners. Upon receiving your payment, the Department of Motor Vehicles will renew your registration and forward your tax revenues to your local county office. This new program doesn’t affect your mortgage or home property tax. Your vehicle tax is due at the same time your registration is due. The increase in your bill is your property tax, because the registration fee has not changed. For more information, visit the NC DMV website.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Junior Ranger’s Day

Jr. Ranger being sworn in.

Jr. Ranger being sworn in.

As part of National Parks Week (April 20-28), the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is participating in National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 27.

For young children, there will be lots to do and learn with guided Ranger tours, demonstrations and workshops, and real wild firefighters to talk to. For children who complete special programming that day, there is a award ceremony where they will be presented with a Junior Ranger badge.

For middle and high school students, there is also the career day opportunity for them to learn what the park does, how it functions, and what employment opportunities exist within the park from computer work to trees and flower care.

For more information on Career Day, contact Emily at 865-736-1713.

For more information on Junior Ranger activities, contact Lloyd at 865-436-1292.