WRGC MastHead

Archive for Bryson City

Jarrett House Sold

The Jarrett House

The Jarrett House

The Jarrett House in Dillsboro has taken on a new primary owner and major changes are coming to the structure that was built in 1884. Jim and Jean Hartbarger announced yesterday to Constantine Roumel who also owns the Nantahala Village and Resort in Bryson City will become the new primacy partner. The Hartbargers purchased the Jarrett House property in 1975. They will continue as the administrators, oversee renovations, prepare for the opening in late April or early May, and coordinate marketing and brand imaging. Renovations are now under way to the lobby and the two dinning rooms. The parlor is being converted into an English Tea Room. Other renovations include a new face lift to the inn which will start this fall. The menu will also be changing with popular items remaining but new items offered will include pastas, salads, pastries, espresso and a full-service bar. The new owner Roumel is a native of Crete and resides in Europe yet spends much of his time in the US with offices in Atlanta and Orlando. The Jarrett House was penned to the National Register of Historic Places on March 1st, 1984 and is one of the oldest operating inns in Western North Carolina.

Swain County Sex Charges

David Peterson

David Peterson

A Swain County school resource officer and former teacher is accused of having sex with a high school student. David Peterson is charged with felony statutory rape in Macon County. That’s where the arrest warrant says he had sex with the 15-year-old victim. Peterson had taught science at Swain County High School and had only been with the sheriff’s office in Swain County for three weeks. Peterson was an SRO for East Elementary and was terminated after his arrest. The SBI is handling the investigation. Peterson was released on a written promise to appear in court. His next court date is set for March 6th.

Ledbetter Road Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

A driver ends up in the Tuckaseigee River Monday morning. It happened around 8:30am on Ledbetter Road in Jackson County. The driver of the SUV told troopers a car traveling in the opposite direction, came into her lane. That’s when she over-corrected and went into the river. The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Troopers say it isn’t the first time an accident has happened on this road. A deadly accident has previously occurred in this same spot. The winter weather also played a part in seavral accidents off Ledbetter Road last week.

Ginsing Poachers Get Jail Time

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell sentenced Charles R. Nash, of Whittier, N.C. to serve 10 days in jail for the illegal possession or harvesting of American ginseng from the Nantahala National Forest, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina and Kristin Bail, Forest Supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina. According to the January 30, 2014 sentencing hearing and other documents, on October 12, 2013, Nash admitted to illegally possessing 24 American ginseng roots he had dug from the Mosses Creek and Wayehutta Off-Road Vehicle areas in Jackson County. He pleaded guilty to the poaching charge. Staff of the Forest Service replanted the recovered viable roots. American ginseng is on the list of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reminds the public that gathering ginseng on the Nantahala National Forest without a permit is illegal. U.S. Forest Service lands have been severely impacted by ginseng poachers in western North Carolina. American ginseng was formerly abundant throughout the eastern mountains, but due to repeated poaching, populations have been reduced to a point that they can barely reproduce. The roots poached in this park are usually young, between the ages of 5 and 10 years, and have not yet reached their full reproductive capacity. In time, the plant’s populations could recover if poaching ceased. The Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the regulatory agency that evaluates the biological and management status of wild American ginseng throughout its native range. The Division issues an annual or biennial report detailing if any harvest conditions need to be modified to ensure the sustainable harvest of wild native ginseng. Permits to collect ginseng root in National Forests are issued through the U.S. Forest Service in early September. Permits are not available in National Park lands such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where even the possession of American Ginseng is prohibited.
The investigation of the case was handled by the U.S. Forest Service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville handled the prosecution.
To report illegal harvesting activities of American ginseng, please call 828-257-4200.

The ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships Are Here

It has taken years of planning and months of construction in the Nantahala River to prepare for Monday evening’s official opening of the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships to take place in Bryson City. Hundreds of water enthusiasts have been arriving in Swain county over the last month for a shot at some practice time in the specially constructed 2013 Wave water feature on the Nantahala River. The event will attract competitors from forty-five nations and thousands of spectators who are expected to fill the campgrounds and fill motel and hotel rooms and pour thousands of dollars into the local economy for food, beverage, lodging, parking fees, and transportation. On Monday, the town of Bryson City will host a parade of Athletes and the Opening ceremonies starting at 6:00 p-m. There will also be a performance of the Warriors of Anikituhwa, a traditional Cherokee dance group; the group will be followed by the Big Air Show and music in downtown Bryson City. The competition begins with the first heat races on Tuesday and continues through the quarter finals, semi-finals, and the finals on Sunday September 8th.  The competition will include competition in the men’s and women’s classes as well as junior classes. Between the competitions there will be fun activities such as Fontana Lake demo tours, kayak races, head to head SUP races, rodeo races, rubber duckie races, a canoe ball race and more. On Tuesday the NOC Mini-Me Rodeo  will feature teams of four paddlers out to surf the 2013 Wave earning points for spins, stunts, and spectacular carnage. On Wednesday the highlight will be the Wave Sport Wesser Falls Extreme Race which includes the 2013 wave, the Class 5 Wesser Falls, and ends up  in Fontana Lake.  On Thursday the Bomber Gear SUP Race is for stand up Paddleboarders  who race head to head through the 2013 Wave. Also on Thursday the 2013 ICF Freestyle World Champions competitors face off on the Nantahala River. Other events and the championships are scheduled for the weekend with the championship award ceremonies on Sunday afternoon.

Doryel Ammons Cain Presents, “Creating a Mural”

muralFARMERpanelsml On Tuesday, September 3, at 6:15 pm Doreyl Ammons Cain will do a presentation and demonstration on the process involved in creating a mural at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. The Event is free to the public and everyone is invited to attend. Artist, writer, and speaker, Doreyl Ammons Cain of Sylva will be performing a demonstration of the 4-step process of creating a mural at the Swain County Center for the Arts, located in Bryson City, NC. Doreyl Cain is creating a history defining mural for Jackson County. During the demonstration Doreyl Cain will describe the materials she uses, along with resources and process. The 4-step process will include; rough sketching, transfer of sketches to the grid method, the painting of the mural, and finally the protection and placement of the mural. Along with holding a Bachelor of Fine arts degree and a Master of Arts Degree in Biological and Medical Illustration, she has also received “The Best in the West Illustration” award three years in a row. Doryel Ammons Cain along with her sister, Amy Ammons Garza also produce a radio show, “Stories of Mountain Folk” which can be heard on the air through WRGC 540 AM and also on-line at http://www.storiesofmountainfolk.com/. Doryel Ammons Cain and her husband, Jerry Cain, have designed a new line of art cards, limited edition Giclèe art prints and are creating a nature preserve called “Nature’s Home,” based on the principles of Permaculture and sustainability. Her Art Blog is www.yurtstudio.com/myblog. For more information about Art League of the Smokies or to view the exhibits at Swain County Center for the Arts, call Jenny Johnson at 828-488-7843. Go to www.swain.k12.nc.us/cfta to view the current calendar of events.

Heavy Rain Season Proves Challenging for Local Crop Growers

With Agriculture being a large business in Western North Carolina questions have been raised as to what effect the recent high volume of rain will have on the growing industry in our area. Typically growers are concerned about not getting enough rain for their crops, but too much precipitation can also cause problems. Christy Bredenkamp, Horticultural Specialist for the North Carolina Co-operative Extension had the following to say; “Because of the rainfall we’ve had, disease can come in through the foliage through the wind and rain where there are a lot more leaf spot diseases, there are also diseases that affect the root through the soil. Nutrition wise, the plants are growing much faster and using more fertilizer. If people don’t apply additional side dressings of fertilizer the plants will produce fewer vegetables and fruits or just stop producing.” With the challenges that high rainfall will bring to growing crops our local farmers and growers are already expecting high losses and low production levels this year. “The local farmers know what to do, they are veteran growers and they know how to treat their irrigation systems and what to spray to keep diseases at bay.” Christy Bredenkamp went on to say, “It’s those new growers who don’t have that experience quite yet, they are the ones that are going to suffer more so. It’s the same with gardeners, depending on the type of equipment they have and so-on.” So far Christy Bredenkamp does not expect major issues for the long-time commercial growers in our area, however for the new farmer or the home gardener who may have less experience and equipment than the high volume farms Christy has specific advice for them. “Tomatoes are really suffering. There are wilting diseases and leaf spot diseases, early blight, and late blight already spotted in North Carolina. There is bacterial speck and spot along with different wilting diseases. There are about four different diseases that affect beans. Those are the ones that are going to suffer the most.” For additional information or advice on the challenges of growing in this exceptionally rainy season contact your local North Carolina Local Co-operative extension office at 586-4009.

Final NC Tax Free Weekend

The final North Carolina Tax Free Weekend is only days away. For the past decade the Tax Free Weekend has served as a way for both parents and students to save on back to school supplies. Discounts on State Sales Taxes are offered on a large list of items, including computers, backpacks, and clothing. Due to a major tax reform recently signed into law by North Carolina Governor Pat Mccrory this weekend will the last of those tax holidays. For this coming weekend Sales Taxes are eliminated for clothing, footwear, and school supplies, also items like diapers, coats, and athletic uniforms for items one hundred dollars or less. School supplies include lunchboxes, book bags, and calculators as well as school reference materials, including maps, globes, and textbooks. Sports and recreational gear such as protective padding, helmets, cleats, and even dance shoes are included in the list for items fifty dollars or less. Computing electronics including tablets, netbooks, keyboards, monitors, and speakers for items thirty-five hundred dollars or less per item are also included in the Tax Free Weekend. The Tax Holiday also applies to other computing needs such as data storage media, blank cd’s, printers, paper, and ink. The final Tax Free Weekend will officially begin at 12:01 AM on Friday, August 2nd and will conclude at 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 4th. For a full list of Tax Free items you can visit the North Carolina Department of Revenues website at http://www.dornc.com/.

NCDOT Announces “Operation Firecracker” Campaign Yields 1,737 DWI Arrests

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program announced today that nearly 1,800 DWI arrests were made during “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” over the Independence Day holiday, which was held June 28-July 7. “Law enforcement officials statewide continue to play a pivotal role in keeping those who drink and drive off the roads,” said Don Nail, director of the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Year round and especially during ‘Booze It & Lose It’ officers are going above and beyond the call of duty to keep our highways safe.” In addition to DWI arrests, there were a total of 56,774 traffic and criminal citations issued statewide. Officers issued 4,194 safety belt and 729 child passenger safety violations, 15,972 speeding violations and 1,665 drug charges. In addition, they apprehended 1,379 fugitives from justice and recovered 92 stolen vehicles.

For more information regarding “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” activities, contact Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2665, or visit the GHSP website

Fontana Lake filled to the Brim

This weekend marked the second time in 13 years, both of which have occurred this calendar year, that the sluice tube was opened to lower the level of the lake due to excessive inflow from the feeder rivers to the lake.  Between the operation of the generators and the opening of the sluice tube 128,000 cubic gallons per minutes of water were passing through the dam. The spectacle of the millions of gallons of water flooding from the sluice tubes was a major spectacle for visitors over the weekend, one twice seen this year. Fontana Dam was constructed in the 1940′s for two reasons, one was to generate electricity for the making of the first atomic bomb, the second was part of the flood control on the Tennessee River flood plain.

“Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” Continues

Even after North Carolina citizens have finished celebrating the Independence Day holiday, the warning to not drink and drive should be kept well in mind. On June 28th the Governor’s Highway Safety Program kicked off the “Booze It or Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign to make our roads safer by cracking down on those who drive intoxicated. Don Nail, the newly appointed director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program had this to say about the program; “The July 4th holiday is a time to make memories with family and friends, but those memories can easily turn tragic if you drink and drive, law enforcement agencies and DWI task forces across the state will step up patrols during this campaign to cite drunk drivers and help keep our roads safe.” During last year’s campaign there were 1,937 DWI citations issued statewide and 361 alcohol-related crashes, which resulted in 17 fatalities. To help combat drunk driving over the Independence Day holiday and throughout the year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, in accordance with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has provided grants to create DWI task forces in areas with the highest number of DWI-related deaths. There are currently seven DWI task forces across the state whose sole purpose is to get drunk drivers off the roads. The “Booze It or Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign continues until July 7th. All of us here at WRGC wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July holiday.

4th of July Event Cancellations, Postponements, and Scheduled Events

Due to the heavy amounts of recent rain fall and the predictions of more to come several local 4th of July celebrations and firework displays have been either cancelled or postponed. In Jackson County, the Dillsboro fireworks show has been moved back to later in the year. Jeff Carpenter, the Director of the Parks & Recreation Department for Jackson County had this to say; “The fireworks show for the 4th of July in Dillsboro has been postponed to December 14th due to the weather. Because we shoot at such a tough site our fireworks company called us with some concerns over safety as it relates to the weather. We have to get up on top of the rock quarry and there were some concerns by the fireworks company and the quarry about being up on that location in the bad weather. If we start the show that night and then we get bad weather we will lose the show. With other shows cancelling and the upcoming weather forecast we thought it was best to cancel early so people could know. We have worked with the merchants about a rain day for December 14th, which is the Saturday of the luminaries”. Despite the fireworks show being cancelled merchants of Dillsboro still plan to host guests with special 4th of July sales and events, including a live WRGC broadcast from downtown Dillsboro. Other shows in our area have also either postponed or cancelled their 4th of July events due to weather. Franklin’s fireworks display has been pushed back to Saturday, the 6th in hopes of better weather. Even though some surrounding areas have cancelled or postponed their events there are still some going on as planned. The fireworks extravaganza on The Green in Cashiers is still scheduled for Friday, July 5th and will take place on the Village Green Commons with a live performance by the Asheville R&B band “The Extraordinaires”. In Bryson City, the all day 4th of July Street Festival which includes a dog show, music, arts & crafts, and children’s events is still going on as scheduled. In Haywood county, both the downtown Waynesville and Lake Junaluska are still on schedule and open to the public. For a full list of 4th of July activity scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellations go to our news page at

Franklin Mayor & Bryson City Alderwoman Not Seeking Another Term

In a story related to yesterdays news report on the retirement of Sylva Mayor Maurice Moody, Franklin’s mayor Joe Collins will also be stepping down after a ten-year stint in his Mayoral position. When asked about his decision, Mayor Collins had this to say; “It’s time to step aside and allow someone else the privilege and honor to serve as mayor”. During Mayor Collins’ tenure Franklin built a new state of the art police station, a new public works facility, and a new town hall on main street. Mayor Collins also oversaw the addition of full-time town staff such as the Town Manager, Town Planner, and Human Resources Officer. In Swain County, Bryson City Alderwoman Stephanie Treadway has also declared that she will not seek re-election. Alderwoman Treadway cited acquiring a new job, and said she would not be able to give the time and attention being and Alderwoman would require. Treadway is the finance director for the Cherokee Boy’s Club. In all of these vacated seats, candidates seeking to run for office could begin filing as soon as July the 5th.

Carolina West Sports Medicine Provides Free Physicals for Local Student Athletes

Carolina West Sports Medicine recently provided free pre-participation sports physicals to 1,000 local students. The physicals were held at MedWest-Harris serving Smoky Mountain High School and Cherokee High School students and Jackson County rising 7th and 8th grade students. Physicals were also held at on-site locations serving Swain County High School, Robbinsville High School, Blue Ridge School, Highlands School and Rabun County High School. In Addition to staff from Carolina West Sports Medicine, several local healthcare providers donated time for the physicals, including Dr. Jud Garbarino, medical director for Carolina West Sports Medicine, Dr. Martin Senicki, and physician assistants Hannah Hill, Alexis Willey and Robin Pope with Sylva Orthopedic Associates, Dr. Todd Davis with the Center for Family Medicine in Franklin, Dr. Christian Moretz and physician assistant Jamie Ellington with Wellspring Family Practice and Dr. Cliff Mault. Volunteers also included staff from Sylva Orthopedic Associates, Health Professionals of the Future (HOSA) students from Smoky Mountain High School, and employees of MedWest-Harris. Carlyle Schomberg, director of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine at MedWest-Harris/Swain/Franklin was quoted as saying, “We’re pleased to serve our local student athletes with sports physicals at no cost to the family. Our physicians, trainers, therapists and staff care for these kids all year round on the field and on the court and we want to do everything we can to make sure they’re safe”. Carolina West Sports Medicine provides daily sports medicine coverage including game and practice coverage for local schools and physician coverage for Western Carolina University Athletics, Call (828) 586-7934 for information or visit www.medwesthealth.com.