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39th Annual Pow Wow on Qualla Boundary

powwow1For almost four decades, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has hosted its annual Pow Wow on the Qualla Boundary and this year’s promises to be the best ever.

This year’s event, July 4-6, features world-champion dancers and drums competing for prizes. Vendors from across the country will offer food and arts and crafts items. The Pow Wow attracts thousands of visitors each year from all over the world.

Dance competitions are open to participants in five groups and several categories including Traditional, Grass, Fancy, Straight, Jingle and Buckskin. There will also be Northern and Southern Singing prizes and a Hand Drum special. Age groups include “Golden Age” contestants (age 50+), men and women (age 18-49), teens (13-17), Junior (6-12), and tiny tots (under age 5). Specials include Men’s Fancy and Straight, Women’s Jingle, Old Style Fancy Shawl, Cowboy/girl and two Junior specials.

The Pow Wow opens at the Acquoni Expo Center (formerly Cherokee High School) Friday, July 4, at 5 p.m. with a grand entry at 7 p.m. and a fireworks show at 10:00 p.m. The event begins Saturday, July 5 at 10 a.m. and grand entry at 1 p.m. and 7 a.m., and Sunday, July 6, at  gates open at noon with grand entry at 1 p.m. Admission is $10 per day with a weekend pass for $25.

Cherokee to Host State GOP Convention

Republican_Party_(North_Carolina)The North Carolina Republican Party will host its annual convention in Cherokee this year June 6-8th. Normally, the convention is held in cities like Raleigh or Charlotte. There is an anticipated 1600 attendees. The city hosting the convention needs to have accommodations to handle the group. Cherokee happened to be one of few locations which fit this criteria. The convention will include committee meetings and general sessions which will map out the future for the Republican party in the state. US Senate nominee Thom Tillis is expected to give his acceptance speech at the event. A Dinner will also feature former US Speaker Dennis Hastert.

“Play On” Paying Off Statewide

Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that the North Carolina tourism industry generated record visitor spending in 2013. The $20.2 billion in domestic visitor spending represents a 4.1 percent increase over 2012.

“The growth of our tourism industry gives us a lot to celebrate,”Governor McCrory said. “We attracted 52.5 million travelers from across the United States last year because of our great tourist destinations.The money they spent while visiting our mountains, beaches, cities and places in between directly supported nearly 200,000 jobs and more than 40,000 businesses. We can be proud that the quality of North Carolina’s travel experiences makes us the sixth most visited state in the nation.”

Governor McCrory, who proclaimed May 3-11, 2014, as Tourism Week in North Carolina, will discuss the new figures from the U.S. Travel Association at a news conference on Thursday, May 8 at the Outer Banks. Preliminary results from the study show that direct tourism employment grew 2.1 percent and that state tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4 percent to top $1 billion. Visitors spent more than $55 million per day in North Carolina last year and contributed more than $4.4 million per day in state and local tax revenues as a result of that spending.

“Everyone in North Carolina can feel the benefits of the tourism industry’s success,” Secretary Decker said. “Tourism means jobs in all of the state’s 100 counties. In addition, each North Carolina household saves $435 annually in state and local taxes as a result of taxes generated by visitor expenditures.”

Tourism Week in North Carolina is part of National Travel & Tourism Week, which also runs May 3-11. The state’s nine Welcome Centers will host activities throughout the week.

Tourism Facts

Domestic travelers spent a record $20.2 billion in 2013, up from $19.4 billion in 2012. That’s an increase of 4.1 percent.
In 2013, total visitor volume was 52.5 million, up nearly 16 percent from 2012. North Carolina is the sixth most visited state for domestic travel.
North Carolina’s domestic market share increased from 4 percent to 4.3 percent.
For every $1 invested by the Division of Tourism in paid media advertising, North Carolina receives $191 in new visitor spending, $10.31 in new state taxes and $6.25 in new local taxes. This is nearly a 17-to-1 return on investment of tax dollars.
For every $1 invested by the Division of Tourism is paid media advertising, one trip is generated to the state.
More than 40,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers, with travelers directly contributing more than 25 percent to their total products and services.
Visitors to North Carolina generated more than $3 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2013.
State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending passed the $1 billion mark in 2013. The figure represents 4 percent in growth over 2012’s $970 million.
Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 3.1 percent to $597.3 million.
Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased nearly 2.1 percent, to 197,700. The majority of the growth was in lodging, transportation, food service and retail employment.
Direct tourism payroll increased 3.8 percent to $4.6 billion.
Visitors spend more than $55 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds more than $4.4 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $2.8 million in state taxes and $1.6 million in local taxes).
Each North Carolina household saves $435 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.

– See more at: http://governor.nc.gov/newsroom/press-releases/20140507/governor-mccrory-celebrates-record-visitor-spending-and-impact#sthash.nBgrGXaE.dpuf

An Employment Boom Hits Local Area

Consolidated Metco Inc in Bryson City has notified WRGC Radio of the need to add employees in six production divisions including assembly, material handlers, quality inspectors, finishing press, molding press and painting operators. These are good paying jobs for the local area starting at $12.00 per hour. This news comes on the heels of Hom-Tex in Sylva who last week announced the immediate need for 40 employees with an additional 60 workers to be recruited in the coming weeks. Consolidated Metco is having job fairs the first two days of May. The first job fair will be welcome news to Robbinsville who learned last week that Stanley Furniture was closing their Robbinsville plant and sending 400 workers to the unemployment line where unemployment benefits will only last for a few weeks. The second Con Met job fair will be in Sylva on May second at the State Employment Office located above the Jackson County Library in Sylva. This is also in addition to a job fair held this week by Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee. For more information on the ConMet positions check their website at www.omnisource.net

Key Appointed To Crime Commission

800px-Eastern_Band_CherokeeCalling it an “important milestone,” Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks applauded Gov. Pat McCrory’s appointment of tribal member Iva Key to the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission. She is the first member of the tribe to serve on the commission that advises the governor’s office on crime and public safety policy “Ms. Key has made great strides on behalf of our tribe as manager of the EBCI Domestic Violence program and we are gratified to know she will take her exceptional talent and experience to Raleigh,” Hicks said. Chief Hicks went on to say that appointment also “signals a commitment by our state to address the issue of violence against women which has long been a pressing problem for Native people in America.” He cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting violence against women in Native American tribes is the highest among any group in the nation. Ms. Key’s appointment follows sweeping expansion of the national Violence Against Women Act in 2013 that gave Indian courts greater jurisdiction in domestic violence cases.”It is gratifying that Ms. Key can now expand her commitment to saving lives and improving the ways we treat victims of abuse on a statewide level,” Hicks said.

Pageant Inn Motel Fire

Pageant Inn Motel on 441

Pageant Inn Motel on 441

A fire caused major damage to the Pageant Inn Motel on Highway 441 on the Cherokee Reservation Thursday Evening around 9:40pm. No one was injured in the blaze and no other structures were damaged. A portion of the motel was salvaged. Fire officials say Kudzu had caught fire behind the structure, but was quickly extinguished. No word yet on the cause of the blaze. We’ll keep you posted as details become official.

Investigation Into Forest Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Investigators are looking into who started a forest fire in Cherokee Tuesday morning that burned 120 acres on Mt. Noble. The fire also burned some land in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Bureau of Indian Affairs said Wednesday most of the fire is out, but not all of it. It is under control, but a few hot spots remain. Crews are on hand to make sure wind doesn’t re-start it. Bureau of Indian Affairs Supervisor Darlene Whitetree says they know it is an arson fire since it was started in four places. No arrests have been made and Whitetree says there are no leads.

New Cherokee Indian Hospital

800px-Eastern_Band_CherokeeThe Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority announces the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 10:00 am for the new Cherokee Indian Hospital located at 1 Hospital Road, Cherokee, NC. This project represents a unique opportunity and a culmination of three years of planning to create a facility which will serve as a healthcare and community anchor for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Recognizing the need to address the health care challenges of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and to create a positive wellness environment, the Tribal Council voted to approve the construction of a $75 million dollar facility. The new 150 thousand square foot (approximately) hospital will house numerous programs including a 20 bed Inpatient, Integrated Care Outpatient services, Lab, Pharmacy, Complimentary Therapies, Physical Therapy and other services currently provided by Cherokee Indian Hospital.

Cherokee Reorganizing DSS

800px-Eastern_Band_CherokeeThe death of a girl three years ago is providing much of the motivation behind Cherokee reorganizing its social services. In 2011, Aubrey Littlejohn died.  An investigation found she was neglected, and abused, and died with a body temperature of 84 degrees. Family members say Swain County DSS didn’t do enough to protect her. Swain County social worker Candice Lassiter pleaded guilty to attempting to cover up the agency’s role after Littlejohn’s death. Tribal leaders are now restructuring its medical division into a Health and Human Services Department. In turn, it will take over child protective services from surrounding counties. The reorganization will take a year to year and a half to complete. All social services for adults and children will be centralized in one location. A director is expected to be named this week, and the director will decide how many people might be hired.

Arson Suspected in Cherokee Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Arson is blamed for a wildfire that burned more than 120 acres in Swain County. The fire started yesterday on the Cherokee Reservation and made its way into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Bureau of Indian Affairs says it was clear that it was arson early on because the fire was actually set in four different locations. You could see the the fire from Downtown Cherokee. The fire was first reported just after noon and the wind pushed it quickly through tinder-dry woods. Flames came close to some homes on the secluded mountainside. Some of the firefighters were left to stand-watch at homes that had been threatened, making sure there were no flare-ups. Crews from both the reservation and national park sides coordinated efforts to surround the flames. That strategy paid-off. 100 percent containment has been achieved Tuesday night and no structures were damaged. No arrests have been made at this time.

More Deer For Cherokee

white-tailed-deer-great-smoky-mountainsA new tribal program is to thank for more deer roaming the Cherokee Reservation. Wildlife officals are moving deer from the Morrow Mountain State Park to the Reservation. The deer have spent a month in a protected habitat but were released into the wild on Monday. Chief Michell Hicks says “It definitely makes you feel proud to know that we are helping to improve the environment that we live in. Our goal is to monitor and hopefully watch them blossom.” Each deer has a tag and collar for radio tracking. The deer will be monitored closely. Cheif Hicks hopes that more deer will be released on the reservation in the near future.

 

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.

Chief Meets With CDC In Atlanta

Chief Hicks at CDC

Chief Hicks at CDC

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks spoke with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta this week.  The 2014 TAC Meeting and Tribal Consultation Session provides an opportunity for Tribal leaders to speak openly about the public health issues affecting their communities. A listening session with the CDC Director and another roundtable discussions with CDC leadership is also being held. Most importantly, this forum provided an opportunity to for Tribes to submit testimony regarding the public health issues.  Chief Michell Hicks is the Nashville Area regional representative speaking for more than 26 federally recognized Tribes. Within the CDC Consultation Policy, it is stated that CDC will conduct government-to-government consultation with elected tribal officials or their authorized representatives before taking actions and/or making decisions that affect them. The CDC remain committed to respecting Tribal sovereignty while working together to leverage capacity, expertise, and resources to achieve the greatest impact on the health issues affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Bridge Contract Awarded

CasinoThe North Carolina transportation department has awarded a contract to build a bridge to the site of a casino under construction in Cherokee County. The bridge is being constructed just off U.S. 19-23-74 east of Murphy. The transportation department says construction is to begin next month and should be finished by mid-November. The agency will later award a contract for a road near the casino. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians broke ground on the casino in October. The casino and a hotel are expected to create 900 jobs. The new complex is about an hour southwest of Harris Cherokee Casino and hotel in Cherokee.

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.

Four Forty One Corridor Development Creeping Forward

The Director of the Jackson County Planning Department  Gerald Greene and Jackson County’s new Business and Industry Development  Director, Richard Price gave positive reports on Tuesday about the growth possibilities along what is identified as the 441 Corridor between Dillsboro and Cherokee. Green reported that several plans are emerging which show the property in the vicinity of the Old Mill being the focal point for development in the near future. Several design images were shown which show how the new shopping areas could have more of a town approach rather than a traditional shopping center characterized by a huge asphalt slab surrounded by big box stores. According to Green, one elusive fact is the potential buying power of those passing through the corridor. The second detail is designing a shopping facility which will have the power to attract the motoring public. While several property owners in that area are making long range plans for development. Green added that some other near by property owners have expressed a desire to sell property for future development along the 441 Corridor. Richard Price added that the Whittier property which was once occupied by Drexel is getting more attention from those looking for development opportunities. He also pointed out that his meetings with Swain County and Eastern Band officials have expressed an interest is forming a collaborative entity to move forward with an Agricultural venue. The Commissioners suggested that it might be time to involve the Tuckaseigee Water And Sewer Authority in the planning since the potential for a substantial use of their service could easily be envisioned.

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.

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.

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.

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.