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Archive for Haywood County

Sex Offender Violation

Dennis Goodman, Dennis Michael Goodman53, of  Pisgah Drive in Canton, North Carolina failed to register as a Sex Offender. Upon hearing there was a warrant issued for his arrest, Goodman turned himself in to the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department.

North Carolina law requires sex offenders who have been convicted of certain offenses to register with their county sheriff. The sheriff collects information from the offender and court documents.  The sheriff then enters the information into the Registry database.  This information is available on a county wide basis at the sheriff’s office.  The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation takes certain information submitted by the sheriffs in all 100 counties in the state and makes it available to the public via the Sex Offender Registry website. Failure to register as a Sex Offender is a Class F Felony.

 

Evergreen Foundation Allocates $392,917 in Grant Funding

At their March meeting, the Evergreen Foundation board of directors voted to provide $392,917 in funding to support nine agencies that provide programs and services for individuals with Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Disabilities. The grants were awarded through a competitive grant process to agencies located throughout Western North Carolina. Fourth quarter grant recipients are:

-Full Spectrum Farms, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $16,370 to provide accessible restrooms, pathways and safety modifications which will provide full access to their facilities by all participants.
-30th Judicial District Domestic Violence-Sexual Assault Alliance, Waynesville, serving the 7 western counties: $7,778 to support phase 2, marketing and fund raising, for their animal assisted therapy project.
-The Arc of Haywood County, Waynesville, serving Haywood County: $52,000 to help purchase security cameras for their group homes and a wheelchair accessible van for their residential programs.
-Barium Springs Services for Children, Barium Springs, serving the 7 western counties: $65,000 to provide a challenge gift which will match dollar for dollar up to $65,000. This will provide funding needed to complete renovations for the Hawthorne Heights youth shelter in Bryson City.
-Pathways for the Future, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $4,157 to purchase materials and equipment for use in a new day enrichment program.
-Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Waynesville, serving Haywood County: $27,800 to purchase a 15 passenger van for use in their day program.
-Webster Enterprises, Webster, serving Jackson, Swain and Macon Counties: $8,955 to update their accounting software.
-Meridian Behavioral Health Services, Inc., Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $204,357 for additional training to expand their Peer Support Services workforce; supplement their current funding for under-funded psychiatric services; and to purchase 2 vans and 3 all-wheel drive vehicles to transport individuals in their programs.
-Mountain Projects, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $6,500 to support two teen initiatives, Sticker Shock Underage Drinking Awareness and the Teen Institute Summer Conference.

Evergreen Foundation grants for fiscal year 2013-2014 have totaled $760,675. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 31 for the June grant cycle.

The mission of the Evergreen Foundation is to improve access to and public awareness of quality prevention, treatment, and support services by the provider community to individuals and families with intellectual/developmental disabilities, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse needs in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. To learn more about the Evergreen Foundation visit www.evergreenfoundationnc.org.

Convicted Felon

Shannon Mack Owens

Shannon Mack Owens

Cooperative efforts between federal and local law enforcement agencies have led to the arrest of a Haywood County man charged with firearms violations.   Shannon Mack Owens, 36, of Sutton Town Road, Waynesville, is accused of possessing and selling a .22-caliber pistol while being a convicted felon.  Detectives with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office worked together with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on the investigation.  Owens was charged with Possession of a Firearm by Felon and with User in Possession.  Each of the two charges can carry up to a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.   Owens was arrested March 28 and transported to the Buncombe County Detention Center, where he has been placed on federal hold pending trial.

Prostitution Arrests In Clyde

James Lee Ramsey

James Lee Ramsey

A man and woman accused of promoting prostitution from an apartment in Clyde were arrested Monday. James Ramsey, 29, of Clyde and Vicky Cecero, 25, of Waynesville, are both accused of advertising prostitution through social media and attracting people to the apartment for sex acts. The apartment was fronted by a storefront called Wild Things Plantation, where they were selling animals such as ducks, chickens and goats, said new Clyde Police Chief Terry Troutman. The two weren’t residing at the apartment, which wasn’t in livable condition, he said. ”That was just their secondary business location,” Troutman said. Law enforcement have been conducting surveillance at the apartment at 7937 Carolina Blvd. in Clyde since early March, according to a press release from the Clyde Police Department. Through investigation, police found the location has been advertised through social media as a business in what investigators believe has been conducting acts of prostitution. Surveillance and subsequent investigation revealed the business was attracting individuals from several counties and even from out of state, including several people who were registered sex offenders. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the apartment Monday. The arrests were the effort of multiple law enforcement agencies called the Unified Narcotics Investigative Team, a multi-jurisdictional task force in Haywood County. Both suspects face felony charges for promoting prostitution. Ramsey is also charged with maintaining a place for prostitution, felony conspiracy and is a fugitive out of Georgia. Ramsey remains in custody under $60,000 bond and Cecero was released on a written promise to appear in court. The investigation is still ongoing and other charges and arrests are possible, Troutman said. ”This operation is just another example of all the law enforcement agencies in the county working together to address criminal concerns that plague our communities,” Troutman said in the press release.

Tuscola Prom Problems

Tuscola High School

Tuscola High School

Organizers at Tuscola High School moved the prom from the Deerpark Restaurant at Biltmore, to the much smaller Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville. Prom organizer Maggie Melville says the prom was moved because it had gotten too expensive to have in Asheville. She says in February, they limited ticket sales to Juniors and Seniors, and told students about the change. But by mid-March, only three tickets had been bought. Then sales opened up to the whole school and they quickly sold out. Prom organizers say they may consider finding a different venue next year.

Haywood County Bank Robbery

Matthew Mark Lloyd

Matthew Mark Lloyd

A local bank was robbed today and the quick thinking of the tellers helped deputies catch the suspect. The robbery happened at the BB&T Bank on Soco Road in Maggie Valley. The suspect, 36-year-old Matthew Lloyd of Lenoir, was arrested just seven minutes later on Highway 276. Deputies say the tellers took down his license plate number and direction of travel which helped deputies locate him. Lloyd is being held on $30,000 bond.

Haywood Co. Man Pleads Guilty

James Daniel Sawyer

James Daniel Sawyer

A Canton man faces nearly 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to sexual assaults that left a 3-year-old boy with a sexually transmitted disease. James Daniel Sawyer, 33, was arrested in October of last year after Sgt. Shawn Gaddis with the Canton Police Department received a report from the Haywood County Department of Social Services involving the little boy. The boy and his then 7-year-old sister were examined and interviewed at Mission Hospital. Though the girl did not have any physical illness, she did speak of Sawyer’s sexual behavior. Authorities believe the crimes occurred on and off between January 2012 and September 2013, based on statements by the mother, children and Sawyer himself. Sawyer has never even had so much as a traffic ticket, comes from a well-respected family, is a lifelong local resident and has a stable employment history.  Sawyer’s father and pastor were present in the courtroom as well. His father teared up as he stood to speak. Judge William Coward did not recognize any mitigating factors and sentenced him to 240 months to 348 months in prison and fined him $10,000 to go to the state. He also granted the defense’s request to allow Sawyer work release so he can help support his 5-year-old daughter, despite adamant disagreement from prosecutors. Upon his release, Sawyer will be a registered sex offender and required to wear satellite based monitoring for life.

Haywood Bridge Replacement

NCDOT LogoTheN.C. Department of Transportation will temporarily close part of Hemphill Road in Haywood County beginning next week for a bridge replacement project. During construction, crews will be replacing a bridge over a branch of Jonathan Creek with a culvert. The $331,162 project also includes grading, drainage, paving and installing signage around the new structure. The existing bridge was built in 1955 and is considered functionally obsolete, which means that although the bridge is safe, it was built to design standards no longer in use. The project contractor, NHM Constructors, LLC, will begin installing the detour during the first week of April. The detour will remain in place until mid-July. Motorists will take Hemphill Road to N.C. 276, and then take Grindstone Road back to Hemphill Road. For real-time travel information any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference.

NCHP Information Sessions Planned

Troop GThe North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troop G  Invites you to their open house at Reynolds Fire Department for informational sessions regarding employment with the Highway Patrol.  These sessions will be held at Reynolds Fire Department on April 26th and May 3rd from 9 am until 12 noon.  Troopers will discuss everything from basic qualifications of an applicant to retirement from the organization.  If being a North Carolina State Trooper has ever crossed your mind, or if it is something you have always wanted to do, come by and see us at one of these two sessions.  If you would like to speak to a recruiter, call Trooper Metcalf at (828) 234-5603.

Haywood County Church Fire

Sutton Town Baptist Church

Sutton Town Baptist Church

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office says a man accidentally burned down the historic Sutton Town Baptist Church in Waynesville Friday. Deputies say the fire started when the man’s burn pile got out of control. Deputies say dry conditions and wind helped the fire spread quickly. The church hadn’t been operational in several years and was destroyed by the flames. Deputies say the fire was ruled accidental and no charges will be filed.

Haywood County Murder

Crystal Brook Howell

Crystal Brook Howell

A 17-year-old MaggieValley teen has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her father. Crystal Brooke Howell was arrested Sunday in Richmond County, Georgia, on a HaywoodCounty warrant initially charging her with concealing the death of her father, 50-year-old Micheal Joseph Howell. Mr. Howell’s body was discovered by potential renters of his property at 497 Pless Underwood Road in the SheepbackMountain community near MaggieValley.  Local law enforcement received information about the incident Saturday afternoon. According to this morning’s preliminary autopsy findings, Howell died from a single shotgun wound to the head.  A murder warrant for Crystal Howell was issued a short time later. “This tragic event appears to have been an isolated incident,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher.  “There is no evidence to suggest any risk to other HaywoodCounty citizens.” The investigation unfolded quickly as Haywood County officers worked together on the case with Waynesville Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney’s office and Maggie Valley Fire Department, as well as sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Columbia counties, Georgia. “Hard work and cooperative effort brought this matter to a rapid conclusion,” said Sheriff Christopher.  Ms. Howell is being held in jail in Georgia while awaiting extradition proceedings.

Haywood County Video Gambling Busts

Video Gambling Machine's

Video Gambling Machine’s

Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Waynesville Police Department, served two search warrants on business establishments believed to have been housing electronic video gaming machines in violation of state laws. The searches were conducted at 1190 Asheville Highway outside Canton and at 1659 South Main Street in Waynesville.  A total of 34 machines were seized from the locations, as well as U.S. currency and related business records. The investigation was prompted by numerous complaints to law enforcement from citizens throughout the county concerned about illegal video gaming and the negative impact it has had on the community. There have been no arrests made at this time, but individual cases are being forwarded to the grand jury.  The investigation is ongoing.

DMV Plate Agency Second Call

dmv_vehicle_plates_replace_headerThe North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is making a second call for applications for a Canton area license plate agency since a February posting did not yield qualified applicants. The current agency operates under a contract that will expire in July. The policy of the Division is to open applications to operate a license plate agency whenever a contract expires or ends. The current agency, located at 478 Champion Dr., will continue to operate during the application process and its contractor may reapply to operate the business. Routinely, it takes about four months to complete the application process. Plate agency applications are located on the Connect NCDOT website. Interested applicants are invited to download an application online. Visit www.connect.ncdot.gov

Canton Search For Town Manager

Canton Town Hall

Canton Town Hall

About 40 Canton residents got their first glimpse of the three finalists selected by the town aldermen to fill the town manager post. The trio included Jason Burrell, who is serving as interim manager, Seth Hendler-Voss, the park planning and development manager for the city of Asheville and Vincent Wong, the senior budget and business systems analyst for the city of Gastonia. All three have a master’s degree in public affairs or public administration, and all have worked in some capacity in municipal government. The Saturday interviews and forum could signal the end to a 14-month search to replace Al Matthews, who retired at the end of December.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

swawSevere Weather Awareness Week begins in North Carolina. The National Weather Service and FEMA are highlighting the importance of planning and practicing how and where to take shelter before severe weather strikes. They say it’s important to be prepared to act quickly, and take it upon yourself to be ready at work, school or home. A statewide tornado drill will take place Wednesday morning across North Carolina, activated on the “emergency alert system” and local radio broadcasts.

Haywood County Inmate Escape

Jeffery Wayne Medley

Jeffery Wayne Medley

An inmate from Haywood County Detention is in custody after having jumped and run from a transport van early Wednesday evening. Jeffery Wayne Medley, 18, had been at the Justice Center for a court appearance and was being transported back to detention shortly after 5 p.m. when he escaped from the van. After a quick foot chase, he was apprehended by law enforcement a few blocks away. Mr. Medley had been in court on an Order for Arrest for a misdemeanor probation violation. Mr. Medley is facing additional charges of misdemeanor escape and property damage in excess of $200 for damage to the van.

NC DOT Attacking Pot Holes

Pot Holes

Pot Holes

The recent cold, wet weather we have experienced across the state, means that more potholes will be popping up over the coming months. NCDOT’s top priority is safety. That’s why the N.C. Department of Transportation has its patching crews out in full force attacking potholes. “Potholes are common during the winter months when moisture that seeps into cracks in the pavement gets in between the layers of asphalt, freezes, expands and then thaws,” explained NCDOT’s Chief Engineer Mike Holder. “When the ice expands, it causes the cracks to widen and the asphalt layer to rise. Traffic then loosens the pavement, which eventually creates a pothole.”Because potholes can quickly form without warning, we urge motorists to pay special attention to the roadway and be on the lookout for potholes. Motorists can also help the department by reporting potholes. If you see a pothole on a state-maintained road, report it to NCDOT at 1-877-368-4968, or online at www.ncdot.gov/contact. Click on “County Contacts” on the left of your screen and then choose the county. The email form will be sent to the local NCDOT office. To help our crews locate the pothole, be sure to provide as much information as possible about its location, including the city or county, road name, nearest intersection, which lane the pothole is in, and the size and depth of the pothole. If a pothole is in a work zone, the contractor will be notified and is responsible for fixing it. You should contact your local municipality to report a pothole on a road that is not maintained by NCDOT. “We do ask that motorists be patient with road crews,” Holder added. “They will fill the potholes as quickly as they can, but will first address the ones that are the greatest safety concerns.” The location, size and depth of the pothole determine its priority. Potholes within travel lanes of major routes will be first priority. Potholes on shoulders will be less of a priority, as will shallow ones. Since most asphalt plants are not operating during winter months and “hot mix” asphalt is not available, crews will use “cold patch,” as well as spray patchers, to fix the holes as an interim treatment. “Cold patch” is a premix that NCDOT stockpiles for winter pothole response. Crews will perform permanent patches with hot mix when it is available.

AAA offers the following tips when encountering a pothole:

  • Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause loss of vehicle control;
  • Slow down. Carefully avoid impact with potholes. If a pothole can’t be avoided slow down. Hitting a pothole at a high speed increases the chance of damage to the vehicle, and losing control;
  • Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly;
  • Properly inflate tires. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage; and

Avoid puddles that may conceal a deep pothole

Secular Student Alliance

Pisgah High School

Pisgah High School

STUDENTS AT PISGAH HIGH SCHOOL IN CANTON HAVE BEEN TRYING SINCE OCTOBER 2013 TO FORM A CHAPTER OF THE SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE, WHICH SEEKS TO CREATE WELCOMING COMMUNITIES FOR NON-RELIGIOUS STUDENTS, BUT WERE TOLD BY OFFICIALS THAT THE CLUB WOULD NOT “FIT IN” AND COULD NOT FIND A FACULTY SPONSOR. THE SCHOOL HAS ABOUT 30 EXTRA CURRICULAR CLUBS, INCLUDING AT LEAST TWO RELIGIOUS CLUBS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES AND KEY CLUB. IN A FEBRUARY 11 LETTER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF HAYWOOD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE ACLU SAID THAT PROHIBITING STUDENTS FROM FORMING THE CLUB VIOLATED THE FEDERAL EQUAL ACCESS ACT, WHICH PROHIBITS PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM DISCRIMINATING AGAINST STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ON THE BASIS OF RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL BELIEFS. THE EAA ALSO REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO APPOINT A FACULTY SPONSOR IN THE ABSENCE OF VOLUNTEERS. THE STUDENTS WERE TOLD THEY WOULD BE ALLOWED TO FORM THE CLUB AFTER A RECENT MEETING WITH PISGAH HIGH’S PRINCIPAL.

Child Sex Charges

Stephen Hurley

Stephen Hurley

On February 5th, Police responded to an attempted suicide at the Maggie Valley Motel. There they found 68 year old restaurant owner Stephen Hurley. They also found a note in the room with him. This led the Maggie Valley Police to investigate the alleged sexual assault of two children. A total of 44 sexual molestation related counts and felony warrants have now been served against Hurley. He was arrested and is now in the Haywood County Detention Center under 1 million dollars bond. The warrants charge Hurley with molesting two children under the age of 16 in 2006 and 2007. Other Charges include indecent liberties with a minor and crimes against nature. The alleged victims are now of age and are cooperating with authorities. Residents and those who personally knew Hurley were shocked, stunned and disgusted.

Magnitude 4.4 Felt In Jackson County

Epicenter in Edgefield, SC

Epicenter in Edgefield, SC

At 10:23 last evening we got reports of shaking near Webster. Soon after the USGS confirmed a 4.4 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Edgefield, South Carolina. There were reports of people all over the Southeast feeling it. Residents in Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC and into Tennessee. There were no reports of damage or injury.