Archive for Cherokee – Page 2

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.

Jumper Appointed To Chair Tourism Board

The Jackson County Commissioners selected Robert Jumper to preside as Chairman of the Tourism Development Authority for the next year. Jumper has a long resume of positions in which he has served in connection with the tourism industry in Jackson County and surrounding area. Jumper has held leadership positions with the Cherokee Tribal Travel and Tourism  Authority in Cherokee which gave him access to hundreds of businesses and vendors who operate in western North Carolina. He was responsible for coordinating numerous festivals in Cherokee from those with local traditional emphasis to those developed to enhance the flow of tourists into the local area.

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

Jackson County Hires Richard Price As The New Director Of Economic Development

Joseph Richard Price (Rich) has accepted the position of  Jackson County Director of Economic Development effective  November 1, 2013. Mr. Price has been a resident of the Whittier community in Jackson County since 1991 and is a 1988 graduate of Western Carolina University. He possesses a diverse professional background involving banking, management, owning and operating an small business, and most recently a member of the senior administrative staff with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel serving as the Director of Casino Marketing. Rich brings a proven track record in relationship marketing, financial  analysis, strategic planning, and sales.  The appointment of Rich Price follows an extensive recruitment and interview process that involved business leaders, education leaders, leaders in the travel and tourism industry, elected officials and other county employees.

The Director of Economic Development reports to the county manager and will utilize a Business and Industry Advisory Committee composed of leaders from local community to develop strategies for implementing the Jackson County  comprehensive economic development strategy that was created and approved by the Board of Commissio0mers in 2012. As Director, Mr. Price will work with existing business and industry to address the challenges and obstacles they are experiencing and to respond to inquiries about Jackson County as a possible site for new business opportunity, One of the first task for the new director will be preparing an inventory of existing businesses and industry,  identifying available buildings and properties for new business development, and documenting the location of existing utility infrastructure that is an essential component of economic development

The office location for the Director Of Economic Development will be room A231 in the justice and Administration Building

The Dillsboro Mural Unveiled


muralFARMERpanelsml Nine months of meticulous workmanship by Doryelle Ammons-Cain was unveiled for public review on Saturday  in Dillsboro. The Dillsboro Mural is an image of how the town of Dillsboro and surrounding countryside looked in the 1880’s. The mural is accented with the image of Jarret Nimrod Smith who was a surviving infant of the  the removal of 1838 also known as the Trail of Tears. As a young man Smith was a member of the Thomas Legion in the Civil War and was later elected Principal Chief. Smith was largely responsible for the expansion and preservation of tribal lands and the pursuit of citizenship for tribal members. The mural also shows an image of the founding family of Dillsboro. Doryelle Ammons-Cain explained the significance of the mural as, “Without roots we can’t grow and this mural shows Dillsboro as a town with roots”  Dillsboro Mayor Mike Fitzgerald stated his belief the mural will create an interest for people coming to Dillsboro to come more than once and, ” fall in love with the town and want to stay”. Standing in for Cherokee Principal Chief Michelle Hicks was historian Freeman Owle who gave a historical review of the relationship between the Cherokee people and the white settlers who came to build towns and expand farming in the mountains. Owle figured the mural will be a catalyst for starting conversations about those historical relationships. Doryelle Ammons-Cain estimated the mural will have a life of about a century and will remain in the current location until a permanent location is found in Dillsboro.

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.