Archive for Education – Page 2

Dove Season Opens Early in 2013

Normally dove season in North Carolina opens the first Saturday in September but this year the first Saturday comes almost a week into the month so the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission voted to open the season the First Monday in September or Labor Day. Some areas in eastern North Carolina where more corn and soybeans are grown the opening of the season is a relief to farmers, the dove is less plentiful in the mountains. The Hunting Heritage Apprentice permit program was also initiated this year by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Under the provisions of this program a licensed hunter who is at least 18 years of age can accompany and mentor another hunter who has not completed a hunter safety course but who has purchased a license and agrees to be mentored by the experienced hunter  in lieu of the required hunter safety course.

Hundreds Gather at The “Taking the Dream Home” Rally in Sylva

RALLY Hundreds of people from all across Western North Carolina congregated at Sylva’s Bridge Park this Wednesday. They were there for many causes, from supporting public education to restoration of voting rights. The “Taking the Dream Home Rally” in Sylva was just one of 13 gatherings of people across the state of North Carolina in celebration of the anniversary of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech given by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The rally also was an extension of the Moral Monday protests held earlier this year in Raleigh. The rally placed large emphasis on a recently passed voting law which requires residents to show identification before being able to vote.

Many protesters say that this law is regressive and a bid to keep certain people from being able to vote. Organizers of the rally helped register people to vote as well as handed out information about how the people may be affected by the new voting law. Civil Rights era songs were sung by people on and off the stage. Organizers reported expressed plans to focus the energy of these protests into the next voting period.

WCU Campus Master Planners to Seek Community Input

Representatives of the firms assisting Western Carolina University in drafting a comprehensive master plan that will guide campus development and improvements in the years ahead will return to Sylva on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to seek additional community input. The drop-in session is scheduled for 5:30 until 7 p.m. in the atrium of Jackson County Public Library. Refreshments will be served, and community members can arrive at any point during the event to offer feedback. The public session is a follow-up to a previous forum held in Sylva in May. It will be led by Ron G. Smith, a Sylva native who has worked on the renovation project for the Jackson County Public Library and on WCU’s Hunter Library master plan. Smith is among the principal consultants with the architecture firm McMillan, Pazdan and Smith, which is working on the WCU project with Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning. Launched last year, the 17-month master planning process has included public forums held on and off campus last fall to help the steering committee set directions, with a community meeting at Cullowhee Valley School. Consultants were on campus in April soliciting feedback, gathering information and conducting impromptu focus groups with students, faculty, staff and members of the community. A preliminary report and plan by the consultants are expected to be completed by early September, followed by a series of campus and community presentations for reaction in October and November. After revisions based on that feedback, the final master plan should be ready for consideration by the WCU Board of Trustees at its meeting in December.

For more information about the master planning effort, visit the website masterplanning.wcu.edu, where there is a “share your feedback” link.

Back to School for Western North Carolina Students

It’s almost back to school season for students in the Western North Carolina area and WRGC would like to remind everyone to be wary of heavy morning and afternoon traffic in the upcoming weeks. The Blue Ridge district and Jackson County Early College students will be starting on August 13th. The first day of Southwestern Community College will be August 15th and Jackson County Smokey Mountain school district students will begin August 26th. Western Carolina University fall classes will start on August 19th, and WCU is planning to welcome an anticipated record number of students with total student enrollment already looking to top last year’s fall enrollment of 9,608. WCU’s official fall enrollment will be established on Friday, August 30th which is the 10th class day and the official census date as specified by the University of North Carolina General Administration. Freshmen move-in day will be on Friday, August 16 with an estimated 1,600 freshmen arriving on campus. Officials expect an extra 2,500 vehicles on the lower part of campus, and traffic is expected to be particularly heavy on and near campus between 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. The “Week of Welcome” activities set up by the A.K Hinds University Center include WCU’s annual Valley Balleyhoo event for students on the Central Plaza from 4 to 7 pm Saturday August 17th, which WRGC will be attending. The event will feature food vendors, live music, outdoor activities, and student and community organizations will share information and host give-aways. New students will be taking part in community service activities on and off campus. For more information on all events visit wow.wcu.edu and fye.wcu.edu online.

Expansion of WCU Undergrad Engineering Program

The $20.6 billion biennial budget recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly includes more than $1.4 million for expansion of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate engineering program to Biltmore Park. State appropriations for 2013-14 include $698,962 for engineering program start-up costs and laboratory equipment at WCU’s Biltmore Park location, and $719,844 in recurring funds to cover faculty positions and ongoing operations. With the budget now signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, WCU will proceed with established processes for bringing academic offerings to the Asheville area, with the expanded engineering program expected to begin at Biltmore Park in the fall of 2014. Additional engineering education opportunities in the fast-growing corridor between Asheville and Hendersonville will help meet increasing industry and business demand for a highly qualified workforce, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. “This is a real game-changer for Western North Carolina,” Belcher said. “The Milken Institute, which is a major economic think tank, has stated that one of the keys to a region’s success in economic development is close proximity to an institution of higher education that offers engineering degrees. With the funding provided by the General Assembly, we will be able to expand our Cullowhee-based engineering program to better serve the people and our business partners in Buncombe, Henderson and surrounding counties.” The Biltmore Park program will primarily focus on serving working professionals and will lead to a general engineering degree that will provide the specific skills sought by regional industry partners. WCU’s generalist approach to engineering offerings has a common core of mathematics and science, augmented by concentrations in specific engineering specializations. Additional engineering specializations can be created to meet the needs of the region. Because of industry demand, a new concentration in mechanical engineering will be offered on the Cullowhee campus beginning this fall.

For more information about engineering or any programs in WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, visit the website kimmel.wcu.edu or call 828-227-7368.


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/.

Collins selected to be the School Resource Officer for Smokey Mountain Elementary School

(07/25/13) Long Time Jackson County Law Officer Steve Collins has been hired to be the new School Resource Officer(SRO) for Smoky Mountain Elementary School. The Jackson County Sherriff’s Department and the School Board had requested that Jackson County add an additional School Resource Officer in at Smokey Mountain Elementary because of that school’s distance from the Sherriff’s Office in Sylva. The Jackson County Commissioners voted in June to fund the new SRO position.  Officer Collins brings many years of law enforcement experience to the position including several years as a border patrol officer. After returning to Jackson County Collins was employed by the local law enforcement agencies including the Western Carolina University Police Department. Officer Collins retired from the state and took care of his ailing father who was one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors until his death in December. Collins will be rejoined with Sherriff Jimmy Ashe who was an officer with the Western Carolina University Police Department prior to being elected as the Jackson County Sherriff.