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Archive for Cherokee – Page 2

EBCI to Inaugurate a New Tribal Council

On Monday, October 7, 2013 the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will inaugurate a new Tribal Council. The ceremony will take place at 10:00am at the Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center at Cherokee Central Schools. Three new representatives and one former council member will join eight incumbents for the next tribal council which will serve a two year term. The tribe will also swear in members of the Cherokee School Board. The event is open to the public.

Per Capita Notice for New EBCI Enrollees

To be considered for the December 2013 per capita distribution, a complete enrollment application or a new applicant must be submitted to the Enrollment Office by 4:30 pm., Monday, September 16. Enrollment applications received after this date will not be considered for the December distribution. An application will only be considered complete with a county certified birth certificate and Certified DNA results sent directly from the lab to the Enrollment Office. To schedule a DNA test in Cherokee, contact Michelle at the EBCI Enrollment office at 554-6463. To schedule a DNA test out of town, contact Amber Harrison (918)-685-0478. DNA testing must be scheduled on or before August 30th to obtain the results before the September 16th deadline. Because of the extended amount of time in receiving a social security number for a newborn, an application will be considered for enrollment without the social security number. However, an Enrollment Card will not be issued until the Enrollment Office receives the social security number for the new enrollee. Applications may be obtained from the Enrollment Office located in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex or you may call the Enrollment Office at 554-6467, 554-6465 or 554-6466.

Harrah’s Cherokee Named Best Overall Gaming Resort, NS Region

476cc673c084f8a197123d7eae7a48b8 Readers of Casino Player Magazine recently voted Harrah’s Cherokee as Best Overall Casino Resort in the Native South region for 2013. The annual “Best of Gaming” issue of the magazine features the results of a reader survey ranking casinos in various parts of the country. Harrah’s Cherokee topped the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa and Silver Star Casino at Pearl River Resort in this category.

In addition, Harrah’s Cherokee also won for Best Casino, Best Video Slots, Best Video Poker, Best Players Club and Casino Where You Feel Luckiest. Amenities at the property were also awarded top spots for Best Rooms (Hotel) and Best Golf Course (Sequoyah National Golf Club). Rounding out the list of accolades for Harrah’s Cherokee was Casino With Best Facebook Page.

About Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort:

An enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is celebrating 15 years of operation since opening its doors in November, 1997. The Casino has 150,000 square feet of gaming space, and offers traditional table games such as black jack, roulette and craps. The property also features over 1,100 hotel rooms, the Le Fu Men gaming area, 10 restaurants, the ESSENCE Lounge, the luxurious 18,000 square feet Mandara Spa and seven retail shops. In addition to the 56-acre property, guests have privileged access to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation-owned Sequoyah National Golf Club, named one of Golf Magazine’s best new golf courses.

 

 

 

Chief Michell Hicks Appointed to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

left to right Ms. Marsha Hicks, Judge Alan Thornburg and Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians being sworn in the North Carolina Wildlife Commission

left to right Ms. Marsha Hicks, Judge Alan Thornburg and Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians being sworn in the North Carolina Wildlife Commission

Michell Hicks, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, has recently been appointed commissioner on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission it was announced today by N.C. Governor Pat McCrory. Created in 1947, the commission oversees conservation of and sustains the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. With an annual budget of $65 million and 590 full-time employees, the commission also enforces N.C. fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws. Chief Hicks had the following to say; “This is a great honor for me and also for the Eastern Band,” Hicks commented. “Our tribe has long been committed to environmental preservation and sustainability and this appointment represents a natural extension of the work we have been doing for many years on the Qualla Boundary and in Western North Carolina.” Chief Hicks concluded with “We look forward to the opportunity to continue this tradition and also to give back to the state of North Carolina.”

 

Update: Tragedy for Girl Struck by Car in Cherokee

 

Haze Lynn Ayen

Haze Lynn Ayen

In an unfortunate update to a news story we reported earlier, the 10 year old who was struck by a vehicle on August, 22nd, Haze Lynn Ayen, died from her injuries. The accident happened along Adams Creek Road in Cherokee around 3:30 pm. She was taken to Mission Hospital where she was listed in critical condition and put on life support. After being advised by doctors on her prognosis and inevitable fate, her family has decided to donate her organs. They already know that lives have been save by her sacrifice and they hope that many more will be. Family and friends are posting condolences on a Facebook page that has been made in Hazes memory, and say she was beautiful and full of love, and gone too quickly. One quote reads; “She is so beautiful. She is in God’s hands now, and with other loved ones. My prayers are with the family…” Another says “Such a beautiful little girl. God gained an angel today, I pray for healing for the family. I did not know Haze but my heart is broken for those that love her. I pray God will comfort you as only he can.” Investigators are still putting together exactly what happened when a vehicle struck the girl. The Cherokee Indian Police and the North Carolina Highway Patrol are working together to reconstruct the accident, and there is currently no word on whether the driver of the vehicle will face any charges.

Girl Struck by Car in Cherokee

A 10-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle on Adams Creek Road in the Birdtown community of the Qualla Boundary, yesterday at approximately 3:27 pm. She was transported to a nearby medical facility where she remains in critical condition. The accident took place during the first day of school for Cherokee. WRGC would like to remind everyone to be cautious on the roads now that school season has started. Pedestrian Traffic is much higher during the school season, especially in the morning and afternoon. The Cherokee Indian Police Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol continue to investigate the incident.

Wastewater Spill in Jackson County

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians had a wastewater spill on July 30th, 2013. The spill was an estimated 1,000 Gallons from a manhole near the Tribal Transfer Station. The untreated wastewater was spilled into an unnamed tributary of Shoal Creek in the Little Tennessee River Basin. The Division of Water Quality was notified of the event on August 2nd, 2013 and are reviewing the matter. The news release is in accordance with House Bill 1160, which requires that municipality, animal operations, industries and others who operate waste handling systems issue news releases when a waste spill of 1,000 or more reaches surface waters. For more information contact the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at (828)-497-7000.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Donates $15,000 to NC Senior Games

Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort has sponsored the NC Senior Games state finals for the past 12 years. NC Senior Games President and Executive Director Brad Allen and Senior Games board member Sue Bent accept a $15,000 donation for the organization's state finals from Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort VP of Human Resources and External Relations Jo Blaylock and Community Relations Specialist Janna Hyatt.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort has sponsored the NC Senior Games state finals for the past 12 years. NC Senior Games President and Executive Director Brad Allen and Senior Games board member Sue Bent accept a $15,000 donation for the organization’s state finals from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort VP of Human Resources and External Relations Jo Blaylock and Community Relations Specialist Janna Hyatt.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort donated $15,000 to the North Carolina Senior Games, Inc. (NCSG) for its annual Senior Games state finals. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Senior Games state finals, and the 12th year Harrah’s Cherokee has sponsored the event.

“The support of Harrah’s is critically important to the western part of our state, but also to every corner of every community – all across North Carolina,” Brad Allen, NCSG president and executive director, said. “Once again, Harrah’s has shown its dedication to the ideals of health across the lifespan and a significant commitment to providing health and wellness opportunities for older persons.”

North Carolina has the largest Senior Games program in the nation with 53 local games serving all 100 counties and more than 60,000 year-round participants. The state finals in Raleigh will bring together over 3,200 qualifiers from the local games and more than 900 volunteers throughout September and October. Competitive categories include visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, heritage arts, as well as over 40 sporting events. The 2013 state finals is set to be one of the largest in history.

“We are proud to support Senior Games and look forward to state finals in a few weeks,” Jo Blaylock, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort VP of Human Resources and External Relations, said. “Being active is important to good health as we age, and the artists and athletes of the Senior Games inspire us all to do just that. Senior Games are important all year long, and we are proud to offer our support in many ways.”

A full schedule of events and volunteer activities can be found at www.ncseniorgames.org.

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/.

Filing Date Moved for Forest Hills Due to Empty Seat

Current Forest Hills Mayor, Jim Wallace will not be running for re-election, and as of now no one has filed to replace Mayor Wallace. Forest Hills has enough candidates for all other open seats on the board to be filled. The three open Forest Hills town board seats have been filled by: Ron Mau, along with Clark Corwin and Carl Hooper. The filing deadline for Forest Hills Mayor has been extended from the original date of Friday, July 19th to Friday, July 26th. The extension of filing time is in line with state statutes due to the open seat with no candidate. In Sylva, board member Chris Matheson will be running against Jeremy Edmonds for the position of Sylva Mayor. Three candidates will run for two open board seats in Sylva: Danny Allen, Barbara Hamilton, and Mary Gelbaugh. Current Webster board member Jean Davenport has filed for Mayor of Webster. Six candidates will be running for five open seats, those candidates are: Danell Moses, Billie Jo Bryson, Allan Grant, Nick Breedlove, Tracy Rodes, and Janice Blanton. The town of Webster will be implementing staggered terms this year, meaning the three with the highest vote count will hold office for four years and the second highest two for two years each. In Dillsboro little will change this election, Mayor Mike Fitzgerald has filed for re-election. The five other current board members have also all filed for the five open seats on the board, those members are: Tim Parris, David Gates, David Jones, Beauford Riddle, and Jimmy Cabe.

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

Cherokee Reservation Hosts 9th Annual Festival of Native Peoples

cherokee_festivalThe Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be hosting their 9th annual Festival of Native Peoples on Friday, July 12th and Saturday, July 13th. The festival will be held at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. Festival features include the acrobatic feats of Totonac pole flyers of Mexico, the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations Lelala Dancers, The White mountain Apache Crown Dancers, the Zuni Dancers of New Mexico, Mexico Citys Aztec Dancers, and Cherokee’s Warriors of AniKituhwa. Doors will be opening Friday and Saturday at 11 am and will include performances all through the day. Admission for each day is $10 for adults; childern age 6 & under are no charge. To purchase tickets online go to VisitCherokeeNC.com or buy at the gate.

“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.

Seven Indicted in Cherokee Drug Trafficking Ring, Several More Facing Charges

A criminal indictment that charges seven suspects with drug trafficking and other related charges was announced in a U.S District Court on June 19 by Western North Carolina U.S Attorney Anne M. Tompkins. The indictment is the aftermath of a joint federal, tribal, and state investigation that targeted the circulation of illicit drugs, with a particular focus on prescription narcotics. The defendants indicted are being charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with an intent to sell controlled substances, those substances include; oxycodone, cocaine, marijuana, and alprazolam. In accord with the indictment, the purported conduct occurred between January of 2007 and December of 2012 in Swain County and Jackson County. The individuals charged are as follows; Jackie Lee Rattler, of Cherokee, Jacob Hunter Rattler, of Cherokee, Evan Thomas Norris, Jr., of Robbinsville, Taryn Krista Elizabeth Toineeta Rattler, of Cherokee, Timothy Leroy Rattler, of Cherokee, Justina Nacole Rattler, of Cherokee, Mark Allen Winstead, of Cherokee. Jackie Rattler is also charged with six additional counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to sell, and one count of being controlled substance user in possession of firearms. Jacob Hunter Rattler is also facing charges of one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Each Drug offence has a maximum prison term of twenty years, a one million dollar fine, or both. The use of narcotics in possession of firearms offence holds a maximum prison term of ten years, a $250,000 fine, or both. Six out of the Seven people charges in the indictment are currently in custody. Taryn Rattler remains a fugitive. The names of others facing various drug charges are as follows; Deborah Smith, Charles Taylor, Austin Gunter, Humberto Corral, Deanna Smith (not arrested), Kevin Smith, Shenna Crowe, Lisa Toineeta, Sam Thompson, Mike Walkingstick (not arrested), Annie Cucumber, Robert Tramper, Ashley Keel (not arrested), Chadwick Feather, Walter Bradley, Thomas Rickman, Victoria Cucumber (not arrested), Delores Cabrera, Sally Bryson, Raymond Whitecotton, Rachel Taylor, Regan Parton, Alea Ohmart, James Murphy, Ceegee Bird (not arrested), Clyde Taylor, Rogelio Cabrera, Eric Dossett, Anthony Dossett (not arrested), Frankie Dyer and Christin Hodgins (Not arrested). The following names are those arrested on charges related to the case; John Patrick Smith, Michael Keener, Jacob Chase Wolfe, Clifford Brown, Heather Cucumber, Rita Howard, Sheena Standingdeer, Will Howard, Jason Thompson, Charlotte Cabe, Patrick Mahsetky, Kathy Sue Smith Bradley, Taslisa Bradley, Christopher Kirkland, Carl Arch, Josie Owle, Anna Parton, Ontonio Rodriguez, Krystal Pheasant Watty, John Taylor Sr., Katelyn Ledford, Stephanie Taylor, Kogee Postoak, John Patrick Smith Jr., Frances Sequoyah, William Douthit, Nancy Griffin, Paul Stanley, John Cameron George, Kevin Johnson, Jasmine Lossiah, Kandance Griffin, Eudine Wilson, Marie Raymond, and William Hatt. All those who were arrested will have detention hearings on Friday, June 21st. All charges in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Cherokee Proposes Casino Dividend Check Garnish for Inmates

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is proposing a plan to garnish casino dividend funds of tribal members that are incarcerated. The plan was introduced by Council Representatives Tunney Crowe and Terry Shell earlier in the month. The idea was brought about to reduce or eliminate fees paid by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to other counties for housing inmates from the reservation. Many inmates from the reservation are, at this time housed in the Swain County Jail in Bryson City and Cherokee has to pay a daily fee to Swain County for each inmate each day. The amount of the dividend garnish for each inmate is yet to be determined. Each Tribal member gets a share of casino profits, usually equaling about $8000 a year pre taxes. The tribe does currently garnish per-capita money for child support, resulting in Cherokee having the highest rate of child support collection in the state. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians still have several steps before the proposal would become a law, the tribe is still working on construction of a 75 bed jail on the reservation, which will in turn be a part of a much larger Justice Center. The tribal attorney also has to draft a sample legislation that will need to be passed by the Tribal Council and then signed by the Chief.

NC Congressman Mark Meadows Opens the First Congressional Office on an Indian Reservation

 

(left to right) Vice Chief Larry Blythe, Tribal Council member Tommye Saunooke, Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Congressman Mark Meadows and Tribal Council member "B" Ensley.

(left to right) Vice Chief Larry Blythe, Tribal Council member Tommye Saunooke, Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Congressman Mark Meadows and Tribal Council member “B” Ensley.

On Tuesday congressman Mark Meadows made history when he and his staff opened the first ever congressional office on an Indian reservation. Tuesdays opening of the congressional office in Cherokee, North Carolina was attended by many tribal members including Chief Michell Hicks. When asked about his comments on this first ever event Chief Hicks had this to say; “The congressman proposed it to me a number of months ago, I told him was an excellent idea. With the job base we have here in Cherokee and the partnerships with the surrounding counties I think it would be a good idea to have an office here”.  When asked if he thought if congress members not only in our area but also across the country would follow this example Chief Hicks was quoted as saying; “I don’t think there’s any question in my mind. He’s taking a huge step and I think we are going to see a number of these offices spread out in the United States and I think that’s something that’s going to be part of any future congressman’s platform”. In an earlier interview with the Cherokee One Feather Congressman Mark Meadows had the following to say; “Constituent service is my top priority. By holding office hours in all 17 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, my staff and I will be able to better serve western North Carolinians.  Constituents can set up meetings at any of the district office locations to receive help with anything from navigating the federal government to assistance with their Social Security and Medicare.  My staff and I are dedicated to assisting constituents whenever and wherever they need us.” Cherokee’s office will be located in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex and office hours will be the fourth Tuesday of each month from 10am – 12pm and 1-3pm.

Cherokee Man Arrested After Swat Standoff

 

 Chris HillA Cherokee is man in custody after a standoff with reservation police. At approximately 11:10 pm Thursday evening the Cherokee Indian police department responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Big Cove recreation center. Upon arriving at the scene police officers located suspect Chris Hill of Cherokee, he then immediately barricaded his self inside an office in the recreation center and claimed to be armed. During the ensuing standoff the Cherokee Police Swat Team were called to the scene, upon entering the recreation center the Cherokee Swat Team located Chris Hill hiding in the ceiling area of the office and took him into custody. There were minor injuries to the suspect reported by the arresting officers, there was also damage to the recreation center caused by Hill being extracted from the ceiling. Chris Hill is charged with Criminal damage to property, trespassing in the first degree and Burglary by forcible entry. According to authorities Hill is also suspected of several larceny charges that happened on the same day in the Big Cove community. It is possible he will be facing additional charges pending the outcome of ongoing investigations.

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.

A Decrease In Tourism For The Smokies

Great SmokiesThe Great Smoky Mountains National Park has released tourism statistics. Total visitation for March of 2013 was down 23.8% as compared with March 2012. During March 2013 a total of 465,594 visitors came into the Park as compared with 611,326 in 2012, a decrease of 145,732 visitors. Visitation for January through March 2013 was 983,664 visitors which, is 250,334 less than in 2012, and 47.4% below the five year average. It has been the lowest visitation for January through March in over 5 years. The sharp decrease is likely due to the closure of a section Newfound Gap (Hwy 441) between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC due to a January 16 landslide. The landslide cut off direct road access between the northern and southern sections of the park. The road work was completed on Monday, April 15 and is now open to all traffic.

Visitation for Entrances:
Gatlinburg:                 158,953
Townsend:                 90,299
Oconaluftee:              46,717
Outlying Areas:          169,625