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Archive for Jackson County – Page 2

Agricultural Development and Farm Land Preservation Grants Awarded for 2014

The North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund recently awarded nearly $2.3 million to help communities across the state protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises. These grant recipients were applicants from the trust fund’s Cycle VII request for proposals. Funding resources included statewide general appropriations, Tennessee Valley Authority settlement funds and, for the first time, military funds.

The trust fund collaborated with the military to support agriculture and agribusiness in areas of the state where military bases and training are located. TVA settlement funds were distributed to a 17-county region in Western North Carolina.

Franklin:

The Black Family Land Trust was awarded $143,475 toward the purchase of a 20-year conservation easement on 436 acres of a livestock and horticulture farm owned by Martha Mobley of Louisburg.

Haywood:

The Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation District was granted $362,500 toward the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement on 100 acres of a livestock and crop farm owned by Andrew and Jamie Francis of Canton.

The Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation District received $87,500 toward the purchase of a 30-year conservation easement on 100 acres of a livestock and forestry farm owned by Austin and Kathy Swanger of Clyde.

The Southwestern N.C. Resource Conservation and Development Council was awarded $188,500 toward the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement on 80 acres of a livestock and forestry farm owned by Charles and Janice Henson of Canton.

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy was granted $135,780 toward the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement on 175 acres of a livestock, crop and forestry farm owned by Robbie Kirkpatrick

Swain:

The Swain County Soil and Water Conservation District was granted $10,200 to stimulate profitable and sustainable farms through a series of educational workshops, market studies and marketing efforts.k of Candler.

Jackson County was granted $10,000 to assess whether a viable business model can be developed for a profitable red-meat slaughter and processing facility in Western North Carolina. This project will impact the TVA region.

The Southwestern N.C. Resource Conservation and Development Council received $25,000 to develop a Smoky Mountain Agriculture Economic Strategy focusing on the needs and opportunities for farmers in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.

The Swain County Soil and Water Conservation District was awarded $16,000 for the creation of a mobile soils exhibit that will serve as an interactive education display in order for the public to better make connections between the conditions of soils and water on quality of life. This project will impact the TVA region.

The University of North Carolina at Asheville Foundation was granted $7,000 to demonstrate the innovate use of perennial food crops on marginal land to increase small farm profitability. The program will serve Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey counties.

WNC Communities received $25,000 to establish a system to deliver brewers grain as an alternative and cost-saving feed source to family farmers with smaller livestock herds. This project will impact the TVA region.

WNC Communities was awarded $32,500 to fund enhancements and safety upgrades to the WNC Regional Livestock Center in Haywood County. The trust fund was a partner in the construction of the center. This project will impact the TVA region.

 

Smoky Mountain Military Stand Down Reaches Out to Local Veterans

homelessveteranIf you know a Veteran who is struggling with homeless or perhaps just making ends meet, look no further. The Smoky Mountain Veteran Stand Down will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the Macon County Community Facility Building, located at 1288 Georgia Road, Franklin.

This event is made possible by  efforts of over 50 donors, sponsors and agencies to provide one day of care and services to veterans who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless and low-income veterans who are unable to afford basic care.

Services for veterans will include haircuts, military surplus gear, dental work, optometry, veterans benefit administration, local education services, legal services, housing support, medical and mental health services, veterans service officers and supportive services for veteran families. A hot breakfast and lunch will be served to veterans and their families.

Free transportation is available at the following locations:

— For Haywood County: 7 a.m. at the Open Door Soup Kitchen, located at 32 Commerce St., Waynesville. Call 452-3846.

— For Jackson County: 7:30 a.m. at the Jackson County Justice Center, located at 401 Grindstaff Road, Sylva. Call 586-4055.

— For Swain County: 7:45 a.m. at the State of Franklin, located at 125 Brendle St., Bryson City. Call 488-3047.

For more information, call Mark Schuler at 456-6061 or Mike Casey at 837-7407.

Cullowhee Fire Victim Identified

jennifer lee ludwigIn the early mornings hours of August 14, the Jackson County 911/Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a structure fire at 8357 Highway 107 in Cullowhee, North Carolina.  A positive identification has been made on the body that was located in the home.  Jennifer Lee Ludwig, also known by friends and family as JLee Mayer, age 32 was killed in the fire. The cause of death is expected to be released by the medical examiner next week.  Another resident Michael Thad Schrader was also in the home but sustained only minor injuries which were treated by WestCare.

Responding emergency personnel were from the Cullowhee Fire Department, Sylva Fire Department, Canada Fire Department, and Cashiers Fire Department.  Med West EMS provided medical support and the Jackson County Emergency Management Office also assisted.  The investigation will be joint between the Fire Marshal, Jackson County Sheriff’s and and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.

 

Early Morning Fire in Cullowhee; One Dead

In the early morning hours of Thursday August 14 the Jackson County 911/Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a structure fire at 8357 Highway 107 in Cullowhee. An unidentified body has been located in the home.

Investigators will be working to determine the cause of the fire.  The name of the fire victim will be released when confirmation of identity is made and notification of next of kin is completed.  The cause of death will be determined after an autopsy.

Responding emergency personnel were from the Cullowhee Fire Department, Sylva Fire Department, Canada Fire Department, and Cashiers Fire Department.  Med West EMS provided medical support and the Jackson County Emergency Management Office also assisted.  The investigation will be joint between the Fire Marshal, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.

 

Jackson County Getting New Outdoor Recreation Area

Jackson County will add to it’s growing number of outdoor recreation sites along the Tuckasegee River. The Barkers Creek put in was approved by County Commissioners this week. The lease is on a 3-acre piece of property owned by Duke Energy which the county will get for the bargain price of  $10 a year.

The property sits along U.S. 74 known as the Tuckasegee Gorge. It already has a boat put-in and small parking lot, but Jackson County plans to expand the area for more recreational users. A parking lot expansion, picnic shelter and the addition of 6 picnic tables will be added. Also, there is discussion about a basketball court which County Manager Chuck Wooten compares to East LaPorte Park. The county would be responsible for making these other improvements.

Wooten says the county will be able to build the park amenities with money set aside in a special county recreation fund provided by Duke Energy though some additional local funds may be required.

Wooten adds that Duke Energy will also be responsible for the property taxes on the site.

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.

Duke LifePoint Announces The Purchase Of Westcare Health Health System

Sylva, NC (August 1, 2014) – The WestCare Health System Board of Trustees and Duke LifePoint Healthcare today announced that the acquisition of WestCare by Duke LifePoint has been finalized.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, which was reviewed by the Attorney General of North Carolina, Duke LifePoint purchased Harris Regional Hospital, an 86-bed hospital in Sylva; Swain County Hospital, a 48-bed hospital in Bryson City; and WestCare Medical Park, an outpatient medical facility in Franklin. Duke LifePoint will invest a minimum of $43 million in capital improvements over the next eight years and provide new resources to help the system grow, recruit new physicians, enhance services and improve health care delivery throughout the region.

“As we have explored this acquisition over the last several months, Duke LifePoint has shown that it shares WestCare’s commitment to our hospitals, our patients and our communities,” said Bunny Johns, Chair of the WestCare Board of Trustees. “We are excited to begin our future as part of Duke LifePoint and to explore the great opportunities we have to enhance health care services to make our communities healthier.”

Becoming part of Duke LifePoint offers many benefits to WestCare’s hospitals, medical staff, employees and communities. Proceeds from the acquisition will retire WestCare’s financial obligations and fund a locally governed charitable foundation to support community needs. WestCare also becomes a local taxpayer, providing a source of new tax revenue to support the local economy.

“Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital have been a critical part of the health care infrastructure in western North Carolina for many years,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “We are proud to partner with these hospitals to strengthen quality care across this region and look forward to working with their teams to better position the hospitals to grow and prosper in the changing health care environment.”

WestCare’s hospitals now have access to Duke University Health System’s top-ranked patient safety, quality and education programs and LifePoint’s financial and operational resources and expertise.
“We are pleased to welcome WestCare to Duke LifePoint,” said William J. Fulkerson Jr., M.D., executive vice president of Duke University Health System. “Generations of people in this region have relied on WestCare’s hospitals and, together with WestCare’s board, executives, medical staff and employees, we will work together to further enhance health care in this region.”

WestCare will be governed by a regional board of trustees comprised of members of WestCare’s communities, local physicians and representatives from Duke LifePoint.

“WestCare’s relationship with Duke LifePoint marks a new beginning for our hospitals in Sylva and Bryson City and our outpatient center in Franklin,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of WestCare Health System. “I look forward to working with Duke LifePoint to strengthen health care in our community by providing exceptional experiences for patients and families and growth opportunities for our staff,”

About WestCare Health System
WestCare Health System was formed through a partnership of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital in 1997 and serves Jackson, Swain, Macon and Graham counties with primary and subspecialty care, outpatient facilities and urgent care.

About Duke LifePoint Healthcare
Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals® (NASDAQ: LPNT), was established to build a dynamic network of hospitals and healthcare providers. The joint venture, which brings together LifePoint’s experience in community-based hospital management and Duke’s world-renowned leadership in clinical service, is strengthening and improving healthcare delivery by providing community hospitals the clinical, quality and operational resources they need to grow and prosper. For additional information, visit www.dukelifepointhealthcare.com.

John Luke Carter To Enter American Idol Competition

Webster’s John Luke Carter is expected to compete in the qualification rounds of this season’s American Idol Competition. Carter is planning to enter the competition in New York and if he makes it past the qualifications then he will have the opportunity to appear before the celebrity judges and a chance at a national tv appearance in September in Brooklyn. Carter graduated from Smoky Mountain High School in 2009 and is a member of the Praise and Worship Team at Webster Baptist Church where his father is the pastor. North Carolina has been quite successful in American Idol competition with the last winner being an Asheville resident.

Public Hearing on Fracking at WCU

The N.C. Mining and Energy Commission recently agreed to hold a public hearing on proposed fracking regulations in Western North Carolina, in addition to three previously scheduled hearings in the Piedmont.

The meeting is tentatively scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, at the Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

The N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, on behalf of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission, is seeking public comments from July 15 through Sept. 15 on a set of proposed rules to regulate oil and gas exploration and development.

Additional public hearings are scheduled for Aug. 20 in Raleigh, Aug. 22 in Sanford and Aug. 25 in Reidsville.

An organization called Clean Water for North Carolina was among those that lobbied for a hearing to be held in the western part of the state.

ConMet Returning to Jackson County

Jackson County officials have announced an expansion agreement with Consolidated Metco (ConMet) that will utilize 60,000 sq. ft. of the former Tuckasegee Mills facility located on Skyland Drive in Sylva. The company’s investment will approach $500,000 in facility upgrades, equipment, and lease payments to the county over a three year period, with the potential of creating 25 new jobs during the first 12 months of operation. ConMet will primarily utilize the Jackson facility for warehouse operations and some product assembly as well.

The announcement marks the return of ConMet to Jackson County, as the company formerly operated Cashiers Plastics as a custom injection mold facility. With the growth of the plastic injection molding market in the mid-90’s, ConMet relocated to a 292,000 sq. ft. facility in Bryson City in 1996, and then followed with the addition of a 380,990 sq. ft. plant in Canton in 2006. Those combined facilities employ over 1,100 associates. ConMet back to Jackson County after many years

Mysterious Pig Virus in NC Concerns Environmentalists

Pigs continue to die in large numbers in North Carolina – and while pork producers work to stop the virus that’s killing them, environmentalists are working to make sure the bodies are being disposed of properly.

Larry Baldwin with the Water Keeper Alliance says the virus known as PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea) has killed an estimated two to three-million pigs in the state since it first showed up in June of last year. He says there’s a lack of transparency from the pork industry and lack of state regulations regarding the disposal of the dead pigs.

“What we have seen to some degree in North Carolina is improper burial, we’ve had a couple of facilities that we have documented from the air where the burial pits were left open for days, the animals were laying in the groundwater , you could see vultures and other birds of prey that were feeding on these animals.”

Baldwin says the Water Keeper Alliance, in conjunction with eight of the state’s River Keeper organizations, sent a letter to the state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler requesting that he inform the public about the scope of the problem, as well as regulate and oversee the swine industry’s handling of the dead animals. Baldwin claims the response from the commissioner’s office was dismissive and vague. There are about 25-hundred pig farms in North Carolina.

Baldwin says improper burial of the pigs is a big concern for the eastern part of the state – as the groundwater is very close to the surface, which means you don’t have to dig down too far to get your drinking water from a well.  “So you’re throwing the hogs in the ditch, they’re decomposing and now that’s actually going into the groundwater. So you’ve got the nutrients from the dead hogs that are now going into the groundwater. ”

The PED virus kills primarily piglets, and has spread to more than 45-hundred farms in 30 states. The good news, says Baldwin, is that there is no evidence it can be spread to humans.

Low Voter Turn Out In Jackson County

More than 105,000 North Carolinians cast ballots Tuesday to decide 19 runoff contests across 37 counties.   For the first time since 2006, no statewide race required a second primary.

Turnout was higher than any second primary over the past decade. One-stop early voting accounted for 23% of overall turnout.  Polling places remained open throughout the day Tuesday, despite severe weather

The race to watch in Jackson County was the race for GOP Sheriff Candidate. Curtis Lambert received 129 votes and Jimmy Hodgins 106 votes. Lambert will be facing off against Democratic Chip Hall in November. Jackson County saw a low voter turn out for the run off race.  There was a total of 239 votes cast or 1.57% of the 15,243 registered voters.

Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team Training in Jackson County

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Emergency Service Units from Jackson, Macon, Swain and Transylvania Counties along with members of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team, NCHART, will practice helicopter-based rescues in the area of the Lake Thorpe Dam and Spillway in Jackson County.

NCHART is a highly specialized team consisting of N.C. National Guard and N.C. State Highway Patrol air assets matched with N.C. Emergency Management and local Emergency Services personnel that form a mission-ready package for helicopter-based rescues.

Examples of NCHART missions include swift water rescue, lost persons, severe injuries and wilderness high angle rescues.  NCHART trains on a monthly schedule.  Partnership through NCHART has resulted in a number of successful mountain rescues, including this past December a stranded rock climber at Margarette Falls near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

NCHART came to “Paradise Falls” area in the Canada Community of Tuckasegee in Jackson County in March, 2008 when a rock climber fell approximately 50 feet while climbing.  Due to the remoteness of the area in which the subject was located, along with the dangerous terrain, low temperatures, time of day/night and the length of time it would take to extract the patient were the determining factors to bring NCHART to Jackson County.

 

Keith Dean Installed As AMVETS Commander For North Carolina

Keith Dean of Sylva was installed at the Commander of the AMVETS Department of North Carolina on June 8th in Greensboro. Dean has been a member of the AMVETS for fourteen years and has held positions as the local Post 441 Chaplain and Post Commander for eleven years. At the State level Dean served as the Chaplain, then progressed through the leadership ranks from Third Vice Commander to the position of the First Vice Commander which he held last year. Dean will officially take office on July first and will oversee the operations of the 32 hundred member organization in North Carolina. To be a member of the AMVETS a person must have served in the military and received either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions. The AMVETS National Service Officers are trained to assist local veterans with preparing their documentation for enrollment into the Department of Veterans Affairs and to file a claim. AMVETS also has an hold an essay contest for high school students and a recognition program for JROTC students. They also volunteer at VA Hospitals and long term care facilities. For information about AMVETS call Keith Dean at 586-6170 or by cell 506-9957.

Weekend Drowning of WCU Student

On July 5, 2014 The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a possible drowning in the Tuckasegee River, near the East La Port Recreation Park in the Cullowhee Community of Jackson County.  When deputies arrived on scene, Cullowhee Fire Department, Med West EMS, and the Jackson County Rescue Squad were already on scene providing aid to the victim.  The victim was transported to Med West Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.  The victim was swimming in the area with friends when the event occurred.   The victim has been identified as 18 year old Timothy Michael Adams of Wake Forest. Adams had been enrolled at Western Carolina University for 5 days prior to the drowning. The circumstances surrounding the drowning are still under investigation.

Sylva Welcomes ECU Dental Clinic at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

photo (15)With the opening of each dental community service learning center, East Carolina University is “changing the trajectory of oral health care in North Carolina.”

 

That was the message delivered by School of Dental Medicine Dean Dr. Greg Chadwick as ECU administrators and Jackson County officials celebrated the opening of the university’s newest center, located 50 miles west of Asheville in Sylva.

 

“This dream is important, I think, for everyone in this region,” ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard told attendees at the ribbon cutting. “You really made it possible to get this beautiful site. Thanks for being a part of a mission we take very seriously.”

 

Eight to 10 centers are planned for underserved areas of North Carolina. Four centers are now in operation and “all are becoming very busy places,” Chadwick reported.

 

The facilities combine clinical education and patient care. Led by ECU dental faculty members, fourth-year students are receiving clinical training at the centers while general dentistry residents also hone their skills at the facilities. The fully functional general dentistry centers feature treatment rooms, X-ray equipment, educational space and more.

 

“Our school is a statewide resource with a statewide footprint,” Chadwick said. “These centers are an integral part of our dental school.”

 

Local officials said there is a great need for dental care in Jackson County.

 

“Oral health is very important and for many folks it goes unmet, undone,” said Paula Carden, director of the Jackson County Health Department. “This great facility is going to lower the burden on our emergency rooms.”

 

Carden said Jackson County has one dentist for every 2,748 people, while the national average is one dentist per 1,493 people. And some of the dentists practicing in the area are getting “long in the tooth,” she quipped.

 

“The School of Dentistry, from East Carolina, is going to give western North Carolina its smile back,” Carden said.

 

Jackson County Commissioner Charles Elders welcomed the first four students on rotation in the Sylva center and said he hopes the experience will yield more dentists for underserved areas.

 

“Our hope is that when you graduate…you will choose a rural community, just like you’re in today,” he said. “You will find our citizens to be courteous, welcoming, supportive, and just good neighbors.”

 

“Jackson County has a great relationship with Chancellor David Belcher and Western Carolina,” Elders added. “We’re pleased to welcome another purple and gold institution.”

 

ECU dental community service learning centers are already serving patients in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Lillington and Sylva. Other centers are under construction in Spruce Pine, Davidson County and Robeson County, and an eighth center will be located in Brunswick County.

 

The Sylva center is located at 316 County Services Park. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 828-586-1200. Any member of the community – including Medicaid patients – can receive dental care at the centers.

 

Webster Man Charged in Domestic Incident

53ac376c094c4.preview-300A Webster man has been charged with multiple felonies after a domestic situation on Wednesday. Jackson County Authorities were called to home in the Webster community after a woman called saying her estranged husband had entered her residence and pointed a handgun at the parties inside. During the domestic altercation, the female victim and other parties had a physical confrontation with the suspect, David Lee Hinnant, 30. Hinnnt fled the scene before law enforcement arrived but an accurate vehicle description was obtained by 911 dispatchers. A short time after, the suspect was apprehended without incident.

Hinnant is charged with 5 counts of assault by pointing a gun, 5 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, 7 counts of assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill, 2 counts of breaking and/or entering, 7 counts of first degree kidnapping, and 1 county of carrying a concealed weapon.

Waterfall Safety in Jackson County

With temperatures rising and visitors flocking to the mountains, many will venture out to local waterfalls to beat the heat. It’s tempting to cool off near a waterfall. However, waterfalls can be extremely dangerous.

Just this past weekend on Saturday, a 20 year old WCU student suffered minor injuries after a tumble from Paradise Falls located below Wolf Creek Dam in Canada community. Jackson County has seen it’s share of fatalities as a result of slips around waterfalls.

The US Forest Service urges visitors to practice waterfall safety and remember the best way to enjoy a waterfall is from a safe distance. Never climb on waterfalls. Don’t jump off waterfalls and don’t swim in pools or wade in streams above waterfalls.

 

Jackson County Transit Receives Grant

Jackson County Transit received grant funding which will enable transportation services to be provided at a reduced rate for residents who are disabled or who are 60 years of age or above for Door to Door Services beginning July 1, 2014.

As long as funding is available for qualifying individuals, fares will only be $1 each way for scheduled trips within the county and $1 added for each additional stop. The reduced fare can add up to big savings for many elderly and disabled residents in Jackson County. For example, Kim Shuler, Mobile Coordinator for Jackson County Transit, explained a ride from Cullowhee to Sylva usually costs around $3 one way. Riders from Little Canada could pay $4 for one way rides into Sylva. The grant which is offered annually will pass along savings to residents. Shuler told WRGC, the Jackson County Transit will certainly reapply for the federal grant again in 2015.

Medical trips to Swain, Haywood, and Macon will be only $5 round trip, and $10 round trip to Asheville.  Trips to destinations outside of Jackson County must be scheduled five days in advance. Rides within Jackson County and extra stops must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.  It will not be possible to make stops that have not been scheduled.

For more information or to register for this program come by the office at 1148 Haywood Road in Sylva (past the Dillsboro Huddle House) or call the Jackson County Transit office at 828-586-0233.

Trooper Blanton Memorial Scholarship Winners

Recipients of the Trooper Blanton Memorial Scholarship

Recipients of the Trooper Blanton Memorial Scholarship

On Saturday June 14 the Trooper Shawn Blanton Memorial Scholarship Fund held their 7th annual fund raiser at Sequoyah National Golf Club in Jackson County.  At the conclusion of the fundraiser, the 2014 Scholarship winners were announced.  The winners were selected among numerous applications received from multiple counties across Western North Carolina.  To qualify for the scholarship, each applicant must be participating in their high school softball program, be a senior, be accepted to a university or a college, and present a letter requesting consideration for the scholarship.  Each winner received a $1000 to go towards the expenses related with furthering their education.  Trooper Blanton was shot and killed on I-40 in Haywood County while conducting a traffic stop on June 17, 2008.  After his death, his father, David Blanton organized a Scholarship Fund for young ladies who played high school softball that wanted to further their education.  Trooper Blanton was the head JV softball coach at Smoky Mountain High School and an avid recreational softball player.  Since beginning the scholarship, there has been $32,000 given to help these ladies pursue their education. Winners from our area include Ashley Doolin from Smoky Mountain High School, Kendra Kirland from Swain County High School and Tristan Woodall from Tuscola High School and Erin West from Andrews High School.