WRGC regretfully informs you that after over a century of business and service to the Dillsboro community The Jarrett House will be closing their doors for good after this weekend. We here at WRGC will have more information for you soon.
WRGC regretfully informs you that after over a century of business and service to the Dillsboro community The Jarrett House will be closing their doors for good after this weekend. We here at WRGC will have more information for you soon.
Today the WestCare Health System Board of Trustees announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding to be acquired by Duke LifePoint Healthcare. The memorandum is a non-binding agreement that outlines the terms upon which WestCare and Duke LifePoint may move forward to finalize the proposed acquisition. It also establishes a due diligence and negotiation process, which is projected to take 60-90 days, after which, the parties intend to enter into a definitive agreement. The agreement would then be subject to review by the Attorney General of North Carolina before being finalized.
At the announcement, Steve Heatherly, WestCare Health System President and CEO said, “We evaluated partnerships with several organizations and ultimately chose Duke LifePoint because it aligned with our strategic priorities, including positioning WestCare to reach its full potential in serving its communities.” Also, potential buyer, LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Carpenter said, “We are excited at the prospect of partnering with the dedicated board, management team, clinical staff and employees at WestCare to strengthen their hospitals for the future. We seek to be a collaborative partner with Harris Regional and Swain County and look forward to exploring this proposed partnership further in the weeks to come.”
The WestCare Board of Trustees had said that becoming a part of Duke LifePoint offers many benefits to WestCare’s communities. The organization would become a local taxpayer, providing an important source of new tax revenue to support the local economy. Additionally, proceeds from the acquisition would retire WestCare’s financial obligations and fund a locally-governed charitable foundation to support crucial community needs. Also, as part of Duke LifePoint, WestCare would have access to wide range of clinical, safety, quality and operations experts. It would also have the ability to collaborate and share ideas and practices with staff at nearly 60 peer community hospitals in 20 states through the LifePoint system.
After the 60-90 day due diligence period, should the two organizations enter into a definitive acquisition agreement, that would not be the final step in the process. The agreement would then be subject to review and approval by the Attorney General of North Carolina before being finalized.
If you are looking for Jackson County Transit you will not find them in their former location on Skyland Drive in Sylva. Jackson County Transit has completed the move to their new home on Haywood Road just west of Dillsboro next to the Green Energy Park. The Transit Department has operated in the County Services Building that once was the home of Southern Lumber Company. The property was collateral for a loan used to open a full service building supply which was not able to survive with the arrival of the big box stores. Once the County took control of the building several departments relocated into the facility including Jackson County Transit and the Driver’s License Office. The property was also a county vehicle and equipment depot. The new home of Jackson County Transit in located next to the Green Energy Park and the Dillsboro Landfill in the former home of Western Builders. The property was purchased from Western Builders several years ago when the well on the property was found to be contaminated by leakage from the landfill. Once a water and sewer line was installed to the property and connected to the Tuckasegee Water and Sewer Authority the building and grounds were used to house portions of the Jackson County Maintenance Department. The former home of the Jackson County Transit Authority will be converted into the Jackson County Board of Elections. Part of the building will contain a classroom, and the county’s voting machines will be stored there. Some county offices now located in the Justice Center may be relocated to the County Services Center to create addition space for the court system.
Carolina West Sports Medicine, the official medical provider for Western Carolina University athletics, has relocated its physical therapy and sports medicine clinic at the university from the Ramsey Center to the new state-of-the-art Health and Human Sciences Building. Carolina West Sports Medicine, part of the rehabilitation services department of WestCare Health System, has partnered with Western Carolina University since 2001, providing comprehensive outpatient physical therapy specializing in orthopedics, athletic training and sports medicine services to students, faculty and the community.
The new space provides more room for patients, additional private treatment areas and greater accessibility. It is located on the first floor of the Health and Human Sciences Building in room 113.
The new building will also feature an aquatic therapy pool donated by WestCare. Carolina West Sports Medicine will use the therapy pool to expand services for patients who need therapy in a reduced weight-bearing environment.
“This is helpful for patients who have had spine surgery, or who have ongoing problems with walking or chronic pain. The pool has an underwater treadmill and will enable athletes to attempt running and other dynamic movements while injured or after surgery,” said Thomas Burns, a doctorate-level physical therapist board certified in orthopedics who works with Carolina West Sports Medicine. The pool is expected to open after the first of the year.
WestCare and Western Carolina University have collaborated on the new space and pool since the inception of the Health and Human Sciences Building. “Through our partnership with Western Carolina University we have not only expanded our space but also added a critical new modality in aquatics therapy, all housed in a spectacularly high-tech building. WestCare is pleased to participate in serving our community with such advancements,” said Steve Heatherly, President and CEO of WestCare Health System.
The clinic will be staffed with four physical therapists working for Carolina West Sports Medicine. “Being located in the Health and Human Sciences Building will provide our team with the opportunity to continue working in close proximity to WCU athletics and to collaborate with physical therapists on faculty at the university,” said Carlyle Schomberg, director of rehabilitation services for WestCare Health System.
An open house for the new space and aquatic therapy pool will be planned for early 2014. For information call (828) 293-5174.
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.
The Jackson County Public Library will be celebrating a bitter sweet milestone with County Librarian Dottie Burnette on December 11th. Burnette will be retiring from her post at the end of the year. Brunette has served as Jackson County Librarian since May 2007, and before that was branch librarian at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library, as well as an assistant librarian at the Macon County Public Library and WCU’s Hunter Library. A native of Sylva, Brunette graduated from Western Carolina University and received her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As Jackson County Librarian, Brunette oversaw the library’s 2011 move from its previous location on Main Street, currently the Sylva Police Department, to its new home on the site of the Old Courthouse overlooking Main Street. The December 11th reception, held in her honor, will be from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the Community Room of the Jackson County Library. It is open to the public and light refreshments will be served. For more information, call the Jackson County Public Library at 586-2016.
A-B Tech Community College (Day): OPEN AT 8AM
Cherokee Reservation School: CLOSED
Cherokee Tribal Care: CLOSED/OPTIONAL TEACHER WORK DAY
Haywood Christian Academy: CLOSED
Haywood Co. Meals on Wheels: CLOSED
Haywood Public Transit: TWO HOUR DELAY – NO BUSES ON ICY ROADS
Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc.: BUSES 2 HR DELAY – NO BUSES ON ICY ROADS
Mitchell County Schools: CLOSED
Pams Child Development Center: CLOSED
Swain County Schools: CLOSED/OPTIONAL WORK DAY
Swain Public Transit: TWO HOUR DELAY – NO BUSES ON ICY ROADS
Tri-County Christian School: CLOSED
Waynesville First Baptist CDC: OPEN AT 10AM
A group of Sylva merchants have published a new marketing logo for Sylva and backed up with the marketing message of “Plant your $ where your roots are”. Local businesses have struggled for the past five years while the economy has languished in recession. However, numerous economic indicators are showing significant stock market gains, increases in building permits, and increases in home prices. Also, local retail sales are increasing, and Jackson County’s unemployment rate is dropping. With these improving conditions, local businesses are making a much stronger appeal to Jackson County residents to shop at their local retailers. Across the nation awareness has been rising of the value of supporting local businesses. One such movement called “Small Business Saturday”, is a grassroots effort to encourage buyers to visit their local retailers, instead of the big box stores, during the upcoming holiday shopping season. With their own take on the message, Sylva merchants are spreading the word to “Dig Sylva, Buy Local”.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program in Jackson County will start accepting applications on December 2, 2013. This program gives the elderly and people with a disability a one time payment to their vendor/provider to help pay cost of heating their home. The program is open to all residents of Jackson County who meet the eligibility criteria, and applications will be taken at the Jackson County Department of Social Services building beginning on December 2, 2014 through January 31, 2014 or until the funds are exhausted. Applications may be made Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Everyone must complete an application to receive the assistance; there is no automatic eligibility to receive this assistance. Households using coal or wood will receive $200.00.
Several businesses located along Central Drive on WCU’s campus were engulfed in flames Thursday morning. According to early reports the fire started at Subway and quickly spread to other businesses located in that same structure. According to Bill Studenc, WCU’s Director of News Services, the fire was contained to the one structure at 11:00 a.m. with every effort being made to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings. Fire departments from Jackson County are working to control and extinguish the blaze with mutual aid being provided by fire departments from neighboring counties. There are no reports of injuries from the fire or from those who are battling the blaze. Once the fire has been extinguished the investigation as to the cause of the fire will commence. For a video of the blaze go the wrgc facebook page.
SYLVA, N.C. – The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce recently won Best Relocation-Visitors Guide with Our Town magazine at the Annual Management Conference for CACCE, the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Chambers of Commerce in North and South Carolina competed in the two state area. CACCE is the premier association for leadership and organization development of Chambers of Commerce in the Carolinas. The awards were judged by Chamber peers across the state region. Jackson County Chamber’s Executive Director Julie Spiro (right) was presented the award by incoming CACCE President, Patrick Coughlin. Julie stated, “Our members make our magazine interesting, and help make Jackson County, our town, a wonderful place to live and work each day. I am happy for the attention this brings to our membership and Jackson County. It’s great to be recognized on the state level!” Our Town magazine is published annually by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and is offered free of charge to people relocating to the area, as well as visitors and area businesses. The magazine is also disbursed in select NC Welcome Centers. (Story by Julie Spiro)
Several months ago the Jackson County Commissioners voted to move forward with the conversion of the vehicles used by Jackson County Transit to propane and stop using gasoline for fuel. The Commissioners received a report this week the conversions had been completed. While it is too early to determine the savings of the conversion it is expected that the fuel costs will be about a dollar and a half cheaper than gasoline per gallon. Other counties having made similar conversions report the vehicles have a longer life expectancy, are less polluting, and have no drop off in power with the use of propane. The payback for the conversion is expected to be in between three and five years thus rendering a savings for the remaining life of the vehicle.
The Jackson County Tax Collector has been called upon to report on the tax potential which could arise from the sale of the property now owned by Medwest should that property be sold as has been reported by the WRGC Radio News Department. The Jackson County Tax Department reported the property evaluation for the hospital and affiliated property and buildings to be $74 million. Should this property be sold to Lifepoint which is a for profit organization as reported, the property would then become taxable rather than continue to qualify for tax exempt status. Since the property is situated inside the city limits there would be both a city tax and a county tax assessment. The county tax assessment is estimated to be $207.000. The city tax would likely be that much or more. Also as a for profit business Lifepoint would also no longer be exempted from paying taxes on purchases. If the sale closes in 2014 as expected the taxes assessment would become applicable in 2015.
The Jackson County Commissioners were updated Monday by Architect Odell Thompson on the planned new 9-1-1 Facility and Emergency Operations Center to be constructed on Highway 441 South on the same property where the current 9-1-1- Dispatch Office and Emergency Management Offices are located. This is the property formerly occupied by Duke Power Maintenance Operations. The proposal is for the construction of a new facility to allow for the consolidation of all communications and emergency services in one location. The facility would be constructed to a standard sufficient to withstand most any terrestrial condition so communications and emergency services would not be disrupted during the most severe weather conditions. The the design process which is now underway will include additional drainage issues for the property and security enhancements. The finals are expected to be approved early in 2014 with a targeted date of May 2014 for construction to begin. It expected to take one year for the construction to be completed.
The Jackson County Commissioners Monday approved their priority list of local road projects for the next three years. Commission Chairman Jack Debnam serves on the Regional planning Organization (RPO) which is comprised of commissioners and officials from adjoining counties who review the recommendations from local citizens and the NC DOT for determining the priorities for road upgrades and improvements for the multiple county area. The Jackson County Commissioners identified: The upgrade of NC 107 from US 23 Business to NC 116 to boulevard status with a median, improvement of intersections, and the construction of access management improvements; replace the two lane US 64 from NC 107 to Lance Road with a three lane road and construct a round about at the intersection of US 64 and NC 107; construct a westbound ramp at US 74 at US 23 Business; US Business from Hospital Road to NC 107 to be widened to four lane divided boulevard; Old Settlement Road from NC 107 to NC 116 to be widened to a minimum of 22 feet; Ledbetter Road/Monteith Gap Road to be widened with multi-use paths/bike lanes, extend Ledbetter Road to connect Monteith Gap Road as a loop road; and finally to replace Wilmont Bridge and modernize the intersection. Commissioner Debnam will meet with the RPO next week to establish the priorities for the region. The list will then be turned over to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for further review. After the review process is completed the recommendations will be turned over to the Highway Commission for approval and funding.
Brenda Anders who is the Executive Director of the Dogwood Crafters Cooperative in Dillsboro was the recipient of the Annual Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award presented Thursday night at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Holiday Reception. This award is a tribute to individuals or groups who make a difference in their communities or places of work by using their time, talents and compassion to positively impact the lives of others. Recipients of the award help foster a culture of citizenship and service that acts as a catalyst for others to become involved in civic and social activities. Brenda Anders was nominated by the Dillsboro Merchants Association, as well as Carolyn Wiggins, for her continued commitment, passion, and enthusiasm for the township of Dillsboro. Anders has provided key leadership to the Dogwood Crafters Cooperative which has given hundreds of local and regional artisans the opportunity to market their craft products in a viable way with a Cooperative with a reputation for having sustained uncompromising quality workmanship for a long period of time. Brenda has also led the Dogwood Cooperative toward their long term goal of having their own property in a key Dillsboro location which is critical for the long term success of the organization and opportunities for future artisans from the region. The crystal award was presented by Lisa Leatherman who is the Manager of the Nantahala Division of Duke Energy.
Long time Jackson County School System employee David Profit has been named the first recipient of the Steven Jones Distinguished School Administrator Award. The award was established by the Jackson County School system this year to continue to honor the years of popular Jackson County School’s employee Steven Jones who died unexpectedly last year. According to Jackson County School’s Superintendent Dr Michael Murray, David Profit is most deserving to be the recipient of this first time award. In addition to Profit’s many assigned responsibilities as the Technology Coordinator of the school system, David also volunteers much of his time as the voice of the Mustangs at High School football and basketball games, and renders so much assistance and leadership to the system and his co-workers. Dr Murry added that due to the close relationship that existed between David Profit and Steven Jones that it was humbling for Mr Profit to accept the award named after his dear and deceased friend.
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
Duke Energy has approved the funding of seven riparian (streamside) habitat enhancement projects in the watersheds and tailwaters of its Nantahala area hydroelectric projects.
Grant funds total $109,057 and matching and in-kind funds for the projects total $406,873.62.
Duke Energy established the Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund as a commitment in the Tuckasegee Cooperative Stakeholder Team and Nantahala Cooperative Stakeholder Team Settlement Agreements, which were made during relicensing the company’s Nantahala area hydroelectric projects.
The Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund was established to protect or enhance fish and wildlife habitat directly or educate school children or landowners about the importance of healthy riparian areas for fish and wildlife habitat. “Riparian” refers to areas along a stream, which are important for stream stability, fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality.
An advisory board, comprised of state and federal resource agencies and county soil and water conservation experts, ranked project proposals based on criteria such as long-term impact, direct benefits to riparian resources, broad support for the project (demonstrated by co-funding), creativity, and the ability to show measurable results. Based on those recommendations, Duke Energy funded seven of the proposed projects.
Brief project descriptions are as follows:
Another request for proposals will be issued by the Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund Advisory Board in early 2014. The application will be posted at http://www.duke-energy.com/lakes/nantahala/hydroelectric-relicensing.asp
The Jackson County Commissioners heard from Doug Kepplin, of the Heery Design of Orlando, Florida about renovations to the Jackson County Justice Center. Recently Judge Brad Letts reported to the Commissioners that certain design changes and renovations needed to be made to the judicial quarters of the Jackson County Justice Center. According to Judge Letts some of the courtroom space was to large and inefficient while other space was to small due to changes in the court and nature of the proceedings since the facility was constructed. Letts recommended the County review the Haywood County Justice Center floor plan which many of the now serving judges and agents involved with judicial services consider a model project. This Haywood County Justice Center was designed by Heery Design which has offices nationwide. Kepplin indicated that he had already conducted an assessment and suggested that a complete assessment be made of the floor plan, security, a mechanical and infrastructure analysis, and technology assessment. From that assessment a renovation master plan would need to be developed. For the review Herry Design would be paid about $31,000. County Manager Chuck Wooten stressed this is the first step. The Commissioners indicated they wanted to get the process started during this calendar year.
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