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Archive for Haywood County

Haywood Regional Hospital Now Owned By Duke Lifepoint

It was announced Friday Morning that MedWest Haywood and Duke Lifepoint Healthcare have finalized Duke LifPoint’s acquisition of the 169 bed medical center and its affiliated assets. Duke Lifepoint will invest a minimum of $36 million in capital improvements at Haywood facilities over the next eight years and provide resources that will help it enhance and expand its services. Medwest Haywood will n ow be known as Haywood Regional Medical Center.
“As part of Duke LifePoint, Haywood Regional will be better able to meet the changing needs of our community,” said Frank Powers, Chairman of the Haywood Regional Board of Trustees. “We are delighted to finalize this acquisition and begin our collaboration with Duke Lifepoint to improve the health and well being of people throughout this region, create new opportunities for our staff and physicians, and strengthen our medical center for the future ahead.”

Created in 1927, Haywood was the first county hospital in North Carolina. It offers a comprehensive array of services including orthopedics, spine services, cardiology, general surgery, women’s care, emergency medicine, and behavioral health. In addition to its medical center its campus is home to a health and fitness center, the Haywood Outpatient Care Center, and the Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility. Haywood Regional also operates two urgent care centers located in Hazelwood and Canton.
Duke LifePoint is honored to welcome Haywood Regional to our system,” said Lifepoint Chairman and Chief Executive officer William Carpenter III. The physicians and staff at Haywood Regional have shown inspiring dedication and commitment to their patients and community. We look forward to working with them to build on a great tradition of care that exists here and transform health care delivery in Clyde and beyond.”
As part of Duke Lifepoint, Haywood Regional will support its local community by becoming a local taxpayer. A local board of trustees will be established to ensure a strong community voice in Haywood’s long-term strategic direction. “Haywood regional has played a central role in the health care infrastructure of Haywood County for nearly 90 years,” said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, executive vice president of Duke University Health System.” “The Duke LifePoint team is pleased to partner with the medical staff and employees to further strengthen Haywood Regional’s ability to advance Health care throughout the region.”

Duke LifePoint’s acquisition of Haywood Regional was approved by the Haywood County board of Commissioners and the local Hospital Authority Board.

Waynesville Teen Dies

Randy Tyler Jenson, 18, of Waynesville

Randy Tyler Jenson, 18, of Waynesville

A Waynesville teen died after falling out of the bed of a moving pickup truck around 330 am on  Wednesday morning in the Fines Creek area of Clyde.

Emergency workers and law enforcement responded to the call on Shelton Laurel where Randy Tyler Jensen, 18, had been riding in the back of a pickup truck when he fell out.

Jensen was pronounced dead at the scene. No others were injured. The incident remains under investigation.

Have You Seen This Man?

Freddie LopezThe Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance from the public in locating a Haywood County man charged with sexually assaulting a woman yesterday.

A warrant has been issued for 20-year-old Kaiser Israel Lopez, who goes by the name “Freddie,” for felonious second degree sexual offense. Lopez is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information as to Mr. Lopez’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666 or the CrimeStoppers line at 1-877-92-CRIME (877-922-7463).

Haywood County Sheriff’s Office Seeks Help

Jeremy Ryan ClarkThe Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance from the public in locating a local man accused of using community ties in attempts to defraud citizens.

Warrants have been drawn on Jeremy Ryan Clark, 28, of Canton, charging him with two counts of feloniously attempting to obtain property by false pretense. He is accused of approaching residents at their home, claiming to be the son of a locally well-known citizen or friend, then asking for money or claiming money is owed him.

Clark was arrested last November and charged with defrauding $200 from a 93-year-old man by claiming his child was sick and needed medication.  He was arrested in January and February this year and charged with similar crimes.  His court date on those pending matters is slated for July 30.

Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher cautions citizens about similar fraud schemes, and warns against giving money to strangers or even casual acquaintances.

Clark is described as a white male, approximately 6’5” and weighing about 160 pounds with short, curly brown hair and brown eyes.  He was last known to have sideburns and a goatee.

Anyone who has had a similar encounter or has information as to Jeremy Clark’s whereabouts is asked to immediately contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666, or the CrimeStoppers line at 1-877-92-CRIME (877-922-7463).

Emergency Department ReOpens at MedWest Haywood

The Emergency Department at MedWest Haywood reopened for patient care today, less than two weeks after an electrical fire resulted in relocation of all patients in the main hospital. The reopening is  slightly ahead of a projected early July date, and comes after successfully completing review and approval by technical and governmental agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Health Service Regulation.

 

Carolinas MED-1 will remain onsite in a supporting role for a short period of time while the Emergency Department transition is completed.

 

MedWest Haywood nears completion of the short-term recovery phase, which also includes opening other departments such as the business offices. It is expected that all inpatient services will be reopened by mid- late July.

 

The MedWest Haywood team is working with an electrical engineering firm who is leading the charge and is supported by several local firms, Carolinas HealthCare System and other partners on a very methodical process to get MedWest Haywood up and running as quickly as possible.

 

Working with its insurance carrier MedWest Haywood has been able to ensure all employees a continuation of benefits and payroll during this recovery time.

 

All other MedWest Haywood facilities including The Outpatient Care Center, The Health & Fitness Center, all related physician practices, the Home Health and Hospice and Urgent Care Centers, have remained fully operational throughout this incident.

Fire Repairs at Med West Haywood

After small electrical fire at Med West Haywood last Thursday evening, there has been a great deal of work going on behind the scenes to not only determine the cause of the electrical failure but also determine what steps will be needed to reopen the hospital to patient care. The question on everyone’s mind is when Med West Haywood will re-open.

The timeline to reopen is still tentative, but Med West is hoping to reopen the hospital to patient care in a matter of weeks. Some rumors circulating have projected it could be months.

The hospital is taking a number of important steps before they can re-open, including verifying the safety and dependability of power systems, assessing the medical equipment and devices, and the inspection of the hospital and systems by the Department of Healthcare Services Review and other agencies.. Based on current information MedWest Haywood believes they may  be able to re-open services located in the main hospital such as the Emergency Department, and administration offices in early July.  Other sections of the hospital including inpatient services could be active at the end of July. It is possible that technical and governmental approvals may cause this timeline to shift so for now it is a waiting game for Med West Haywood. Med West has said the fire will not affect the hospital’s sale to Duke Life Point which is expected to close by the end of July.

 

Folkmoot USA to Celebrate New Home

DSC0263Folkmoot USA will host an Open House on Thursday, June 26, from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m., to celebrate Haywood County’s generous donation of the historic Hazelwood School to the cultural organization.

 

On June 16, the Haywood County Board of Commissioners approved the donation of the historic Hazelwood School facilities to Folkmoot USA. According to county tax records, the facility is worth approximately $1.3 million. This marks the first time that Folkmoot USA has had a permanent home in its 31-year history of offering its annual summer festival and other events celebrating international culture.

 

“We have operated as tenants in this facility for more than a decade,” explained Karen Babcock, Executive Director of Folkmoot USA. “Ownership opens the door to both new responsibilities and exciting opportunities.”

 

By fixing the roof, renovating the auditorium, and making other facility changes, Folkmoot USA can achieve its goals of offering events year-round and operating a center that brings the local, regional and international communities together. Some of the possibilities include hosting guests and creating venues for community and international events and performances. Folkmoot USA has already secured $167,000 in cash support to help initiate these changes.

 

“We are very grateful to Haywood County for providing the largest donation in Folkmoot USA’s history,” said Rose Johnson, president of the board of Folkmoot USA. “The Open House is an opportunity to celebrate this amazing gift and also start the conversation about the future. We are thoroughly committed to utilizing this historic school facility to serve the community. We’re eager for people to come see the center and offer their ideas.”

 

Folkmoot USA supporters, former teachers and students at the historic Hazelwood School, Hazelwood neighbors, and the general public are all welcome to attend the Open House, which will take place at 112 Virginia Avenue in Hazelwood (Waynesville), from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 26. This free event will include light refreshments.

 

Nominations for new Folkmoot USA board members are now being accepted. Terms will begin in September, 2014. Forms may be picked up during the Open House or requested via phone or email.

 

For more information about the Open House or board member nominations, please call 828-452-2997 or email info@folkmoot.com

Information Sought in Haywood County Burglary

John Cleveland Meris is wanted in connection with a robbery in the Hemphill community in Haywood County.

John Cleveland Meris is wanted in connection with a robbery in the Hemphill community in Haywood County.

One Canton man has been arrested and another is wanted in a breaking and entering that resulted in the theft of more than $150,000 in money and jewelry from a home in the Hemphill community Wednesday.

 

James Cleveland Meris, 32, of Canton was arrested and charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property.  He was also charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

 

James Meris was jailed Thursday night in lieu of $50,000 secured bond.  He was released from custody after posting bond Friday afternoon.  His court date is set for June 25.

 

Also wanted in the incident is 56-year-old John Cleveland Meris, of Carson Street, Canton. He is described as a white male, approximately 5’9” tall, weighing about 140 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes.  He is believed to be driving a green Ford F-250 4×4 truck.  Anyone with any information as to his whereabouts is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666.

 

The case remains under investigation, and additional arrests and charges are expected.

Haywood County Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge

Pennington, TyHaywood County has officially entered the Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge where the winning project could receive up to $50,000, and runners up will receive up to $10,000 per project.

The funds are available through the mortgage company Guaranteed Rate, and Ty Pennington, the host of the television hit “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Projects being sought for the next series involve those that will benefit a community.

Haywood’s project is the ongoing effort to renovate the former Hazelwood Prison to serve as a half-way house for those released from jail and to serve as an emergency shelter. Open Door Soup Kitchen will open a secondary location at the center as well to serve a greater portion of the community.

Part of the challenge involves an online Facebook voting effort. There are more than 100 projects under consideration, and many were entered in March when the ultimate challenge event started.

The online voting effort is 20 percent of the criteria to determine which projects are selected as the top six finalists. That effort ends June 9.

To help Haywood be the winner, go to Facebook and type in Guaranteed Rate. Click on the “Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge” icon to see all the projects and vote. Each Facebook user can only vote once, but all can share the voting site frequently to convince their friends to vote.

K-9 Vests For Local Law Enforcement

385_K-9BakerOPD-vest_Large_The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and Waynesville Police Department have been awarded ballistic vests for two K-9 officers, thanks to the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association and the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

On Saturday, June 14, Haywood County Deputy Randy Jenkins will be presented with a ballistic vest for his K9 partner, Lenny, and Waynesville Police Officer Zachary Faulkenberry will be presented with one for his K9 partner, Valor.  The vests will be awarded during the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association All-Breed Dog Show, Obedience and Rally Trials at the Haywood County Fairgrounds.

The Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association donated $1,900 to Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. to enable the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and Waynesville Police Department K-9s to receive the vests.  WCDFA raised the money at their annual “Bark in the Park” event.  John Havrilla, a North Carolina artist, donated a painting to the winner of the raffle held to raise money for this cause.

North Carolina has lost several service dogs in the line of duty over the past year.  Events like this allow law enforcement agencies to protect K9s who are on the front lines with their handlers.

Jackson County Fire Departments Dispatched To Haywood Blaze

image (2)A Fire burned a multi-million dollar Haywood County home to the ground. Waynesville Fire Department was dispatched to a home on shining rock trail in Waynesville just before 3AM on Wednesday morning.

The homeowner saw flames coming from the kitchen area of the house. The home was occupied by the homeowners, who are married. The woman made it out of the home along with her husband, but authorities are saying the man is unaccounted for.

When firefighters arrived, flames were coming thru the roof. Departments from across Haywood County and some from Jackson County were on the scene Wednesday morning. The structure was burnt to the ground and crews are worked on getting the remaining parts of the fire out but no other structures were harmed.

The Waynesville Police Department is handling the investigation along with the State Bureau of Investigation and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Again: More Jobs Coming To Jackson County

The Jackson County Commissioners moved to accept an offer from Consolidated Metco to locate a warehouse and possibly a small manufacturing operation in Sylva in what is known as the Tuckaseigee Mills building. This is a two phase project. First the Commissioners accepted a bid from NEO Corporation of Canton to remove floor tiles containing asbestos. According to County Manager Chuck Wooten, when potential users of the industrial site did a site visit the asbestos question always came up and actually was a deal breaker. Under the current plan NEO will complete the asbestos tiles within two weeks. The project is expected to start immediately. The SECOND PHASE is once the asbestos is removed Con Met will move in behind them with a $350.000 facility upgrade including lighting and bathrooms. There will be other additions including a loading dock and facility upgrades. The lease will be for three years at a base rate of 82 cents a square foot but the improvements make the rent value almost three dollars per square foot. Con Met is expected to have 24 employees at the site by July or early August. Con Met has been on a hiring blitz for the past few weeks and is expected to continue seeking reliable workers for these operations as well as for those in Swain and Haywood counties. The base pay is $12.00 per hour and increases to $15.00 per hour once the trial period is over. The benefits package is worth about one half the base rate once employees are granted full time status.

210th Military Police Unit Set To Return Home On Friday

The NC National Guard has announced the return of the 210th Military Police Company (Forward Detachment) unit with Armories in Franklin, Sylva, and Murphy NC will be greeted with “Welcome Home” ceremony on Friday May 16th at 1:00 p.m at the lake Junaluska Terrance Hotel and Conference Center. The ceremony is open to the public and veteran’s groups are encouraged to attend. This Unit comprised of 30 soldiers was deployed in May 2013 in a ceremony at Southwestern Community College. Their mission was law and order operations and were equipped to provide those services at their assigned base. The 210th National Guard unit is commanded by Captain James Rossi and the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge is First Sargent Timothy Schwab. Their rear Detachment commanders are Captain Jason Porter and First Sargent Willard Lackey. Their primary assigned duty station while deployed was the Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The accomplishments of the 210th MP unit from the North Carolina National Guard were: Conducted Law and Order operations on the largest strategic base in the Afghanistan theater of operations. Worked directly for the Garrison Commander (O-6), NATO Installation Commander (O-7), and the Division Commanding General (O-8) to protect over 32,000 resident Service Members and Civilians from criminal threats. Deterred criminal activity, which interferes with combat readiness, provided community assistance, developed crime prevention programs, and promoted a safe environment. Directly supported the Base Defense Operations Center by locating and cordoning over 90 Indirect Fire attack Points of Impact. Also operated the only Field Detention Site in Regional Command-East, allowing for the successful detention of several named targets. The unit received numerous awards and commendations including the BSM x3, MSM x3, ARCOM x21, AAM x7. There no Purple Hearts issued during the mission which indicated all the soldiers served their tour of duty with no combat related injuries and no loss of life of any member of the unit. Many felt this was a dangerous mission with the deployment in May 2013, but the fact that the unit returned with no injuries nor loss of life speaks highly of their units leadership, training, and superior service. One of the interesting stories from the deployment is the Unit was co-located at Bagram Airfield with sister NC-ARNG unit, the 211th MP CO. for a portion of deployment. Two brothers SGT Marc Cook(210th) and SSG Brandon Cook (211th) served together.
Special thanks to area businesses and institutions supporting the individuals during deployment included Hayesville American Legion Post #532, and the Western North Carolina Veterans Council.

Verizon Wireless Shooting

4314-RANDOLPH-SHOOTING_19467A cell phone outage across Haywood County Thursday afternoon resulted in a shooting. Just before 5am, Waynesville authorities were called out to the Verizon Store after Lawrence Martin, apparently upset about his phone & cable being out, shot 15 rounds at the building from his vehicle.

Martin’s family members called the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office Thursday evening to report his plans to target the police department and communications companies.9-1-1 calls came in later from people at the Huddle House who said a man was shooting at the Verizon Wireless building across from Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Waynesville officers were vigilant and found Martin still in the parking lot. A chase ensued as the suspect led officers to Main Street where he eventually crashed his truck.

Martin was arrested and charged with felony fleeing to elude, going armed to the terror of the public and several counts damage to property. Martin was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Dog Shooting

Lewin Devoe BurrellHaywood County deputies arrested a man today accused of shooting a dog near Canton.

Lewin Devoe Burrell, 70, of Canton was arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals and misdemeanor going armed to the terror of the people.  Mr. Burrell is accused of shooting a mixed-breed terrier in the face with a gun.  The warrants also charge Mr. Burrell with firing the gun in close proximity to a house.  The incidents are alleged to have occurred Wednesday.

At the time this story was published, the dog was still alive.

Mr. Burrell was arrested without incident and jailed in lieu of $2,000 secured bond.  His court date is slated for May 28.

Tuscola Student Arrested for Threats

Joseph Francis JacobsA sixteen-year-old Tuscola High School student was arrested by Haywood County Sheriff’s Office deputies Wednesday, accused of threatening the lives of several students.

Deputies arrested Joseph Francis Jacobs, 16, of Maggie Valley, shortly after 10 a.m. upon receiving information from students that Jacobs told them he planned to shoot them.  Jacobs was charged him with making a false report of mass violence on educational property – a Class H felony.  He was also charged with four misdemeanor counts of communicating threats.

Jacobs was jailed in lieu of $10,000 secured bond.  His first court appearance is scheduled for May 21.

Spring Rabies Clinics Held in Haywood County

The clinics encourages everyone to get their pets a rabies shot.

The clinics encourages everyone to get their pets a rabies shot.

Spring rabies clinics will be held throughout Haywood County for five days beginning May 19.

Every spring and fall, Haywood County Animal Services, the Haywood County Health Human Services Agency and veterinarians from several animal hospitals around the county collaborate on a series of Rabies Clinics to encourage citizens to get their pets vaccinated.

According to North Carolina law, in order for a rabies vaccine to be current, all dogs, cats and ferrets ages four months old and older must be vaccinated against rabies. North Carolina courts have ruled that to be in compliance with the law, a licensed veterinarian must administer the rabies vaccination.

The clinics will be held at the following locations:

— Monday, May 19, at Riverbend Elementary School and Old Fines Creek School

— Tuesday, May 20, at Canton Middle School in the bus parking lot

— Wednesday, May 21, at Hazelwood Elementary School

— Thursday, May 22, at Jonathan Valley School

— Friday, May 23, at Bethel Middle School in the bus parking lot

The clinics will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The cost per vaccine is $9. Participating veterinary clinics include Animal Hospital of Waynesville, Balsam Animal Hospital, Canton Animal Hospital, Country Lane Animal Hospital, Junaluska Animal Hospital and Maple Tree Veterinary Hospital. Most veterinary hospitals will also offer rabies shots for $9 during normal business hours on each of the clinic days.

For more information on rabies in Haywood County, call Animal Services at 456-5338 or the county Environmental Health Department at 452-6682.

Haywood County Prescription Drug Arrests

0511_prescription-drugs-500x333The Haywood County multi-agency drug task force recently arrested three men in association with the theft of prescription pain medication from an elderly woman.

Officers with the U.N.I.T. (Unified Narcotics Investigative Team) received information last week that liquid morphine being prescribed for a patient receiving end-of-life care was being stolen from her home on Walnut Trail.  The task force also received information that known drug users and dealers had been frequenting and staying at that location.

The task force conducted a welfare check on the elderly female at the residence, and during the course of the investigation, seized several items of drug paraphernalia and five guns. Arrested on April 22nd in connection with the crimes were James Barnett, Phillip Szostak and Andrew Clubb of Waynesville.

Early Voting Starts April 24th

This is a reminder the opportunities for early voting are getting underway. In order to accommodate voters and avoid the voting rush on May 6th voters can vote now. Below are locations to vote in the counties served bt WRGC Radio.

Haywood County
Senior Resource Center
81 Elmwood Way, Waynesville
Canton Library
11 Pennsylvania Ave., Canton
Town of Clyde Municipal Building
8437 Carolina Blvd., Clyde
Hours for all three locations:
April 24 – 25: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April 26: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
April 28 – May 2: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 3: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Jackson County
Jackson County Board of Elections Office
876 Skyland Drive, #1, Sylva
Hours:
April 24: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Aprils 25: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April 26: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 28 – May 1: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
May 2: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 3: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Remote Sites:
Cashiers Recreation Center
355 Frank Allen Drive, Cashiers
Hours:
April 24: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Aprils 25: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April 26: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 28 – May 1: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
May 2: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 3: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cullowhee Recreation Center
88 Cullowhee Mountain Road, Cullowhee
Hours:
April 24: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Aprils 25: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April 26: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 28 – May 1: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
May 2: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 3: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Swain County
Swain County Board of Elections Office
1422 S. Hwy. 19, Bryson City
Cherokee One-Stop Site
37 Cherokee Boys Club Loop, Cherokee
Hours for all locations:
April 24 – 26: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April 28 – 30: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 1 – 2: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
May 3: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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.