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Greenway Bridge Gets Approval

The Tuckaseigee River Green-way got a significant boost Monday night when the Commissioners gave approval for the acquisition of a $304,000 pedestrian bridge to cross the Tuckaseigee River to the Green-way from the parking lot at the Rolling Green. The paving of the Green-way path is expected to be completed by the end of May, but it will take several months to complete the installation of the bridge. The Commissioners have heard numerous comments over the past months about the costs factors and the design of the bridge but when it came time to vote the commissioners decided to go to the more decorative design. According to County Manager Chuck Wooten, “since this bridge is going to be a landmark and staple for a long long time we prefer it to be attractive. We only have one time to buy a bridge and over time the small difference in the price makes it a good decision.” Once completed the Green-way will offer foot traffic and recreational access from the Rolling Green area to the University.

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.

Jackson County Man Charged in Death

537a24fadaebc.preview-300A Jackson County man is charged in the death of John David Wallis, 23, of Cullowhee. May 12, Mark Richard Franks lost control of the 1995 Ford Pick Up Truck he was driving on Cane Creek. The truck hit an embankment and overturned after going off the road in a curve. Wallis was killed in the single vehicle accident. Another passenger, Stephanie Wallis, along with Franks was transported to Harris Regional Hospital for injuries. Franks is being held under a $50,000 bond in Jackson County Detention Center. The Highway Patrol is awaiting results of a toxicology report but believe alcohol played a role in the accident. Franks is being charged with felony death by vehicle and felony serious injury by vehicle.

Jackson County NAACP Elects Officers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe new Jackson County Branch of the NAACP held its first election of officers and celebrated the historical event last Saturday, May 17, at the Liberty Baptist Church, in Sylva. Jerry McCombs, the District Supervisor for the North Carolina NAACP, officiated over the election.

A large crowd including elected public officials from both major political parties were present in honor of the occasion. After the election the crowd sang traditional songs of the movement together, including “This Little Light of Mine”, “We Shall Not be Moved”, and “We Shall Overcome.”  There was a barbecue luncheon following the Installation Ceremony.

The Reverend Charles Lee was elected as President of the new branch. Avram Friedman was elected 1st Vice-President, Enrique Gomez is 2nd Vice-President, Mary Sue Casey is the Secretary, Joyce Stratton is the Treasurer, Marion Pryce-White is Assistant Secretary and Lorna Barnett is Assistant Treasurer. Curtis Wood, Tracy Fitzmaurice, Stanley Rogers, Stella Moore, Lucy Christopher, Myrtle Schrader, Marie Cochran and Gene Keldon Austin were all elected to the Executive Committee.

Reverend Lee delivered the keynote address reminding the gathering of the historical role of the NAACP in the civil rights movement and its ongoing effort in the Moral Monday Movement.

A wide range of laws passed in the NC General Assembly in the past two sessions is at the core of reasons that the Moral Monday/Forward Together Movement has materialized inspiring the birth of at least six new branches of the NAACP in North Carolina, including the new Jackson County Branch, #54AB.

The Jackson County Branch of the NAACP will be holding regular meetings, announced publicly.

NCCAT in Cullowhee Could Close

aef31910-39e0-408d-9723-2e2b37cdeb73In the midst of a 445 million budget crunch in Raleigh, North Carolina Center of the Advancement of Teaching  in Cullowhee could close it’s doors on June 30th unless it can secure state funding.

NCCAT isn’t funded in the Governor Pat McCrory’s  proposed budget.

35 workers in Cullowhee will be out of work if the center closes. The 36.7 acre campus would be turned over to Western Carolina University.

Recount In Jackson County GOP Sheriff’s Race

election2014The GOP race for Sheriff is heating up in Jackson County! Tuesday, Jimmy Hodgins requested a run off after the canvass ballots were certified. There was no clear winner in the election meaning no candidate received the 40% plus one vote to be declared the party’s winner.

Curtis Lambert received 424 votes. Hodgins received 376 votes and Mary Rock 375.

Immediately, Hodgins requested a run off. However, Mary Rock has requested a recount of the ballots. According to Rock, she was told all day Tuesday that she was tied with Hodgins for second place. Later one ballot made the difference.  On Monday at 8:30 am there will be a recount of ballots. During the canvass, Rock picked up 5 votes and Hodgins 2 creating the 1 vote gap between the two candidates.

The run off race is slated for July 15th.

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.

Lambert And Hodgins Face Run-Off In Republican Race For Sheriff

The Jackson County Board Of Elections on Tuesday released the certified results of the Primary Election held on Tuesday May 6th 2014. The canvas showed that neither of the three Republican candidates for sheriff exceeded the 40% plus one vote threshold to be declared the winner. Curtis Lambert was the top vote getter with 424 votes. He was followed by Jimmy Hodgins with 376 and Mary Rock had ONE VOTE fewer with 375. This election shows that ONE vote makes a difference. As reported on WRGC Radio News last week Jimmy Hodgins said that he would exercise his right for a runoff election if he was the number two vote getter. Hodgins trails Lambert by exactly 50 votes. According to Jackson County Board Of Elections Director Lisa Lovedahl, Hodgins immediately filed the form required for a run-off. Lovedahl further reported that a 2nd primary has been called in a federal office (congressional district)
and all 2nd primary dates have been moved to July 15 (federal election date). All of the precincts will be open on a regular election day schedule. Early voting will be offered at the Board Of Elections during the week prior to the run-off election. In the initial vote tally Hodgins had led Mary Rock by four votes 374 to 370 but when the additional ballots were counted and the certification process took place Rock gained five voted and Hodgins gained two votes. The outcome of the Democrat races were unchanged. Democrat Chip Hall who won the Democrat primary outright will face the winner of the run-off race between Curtis Lambert and Jimmy Hodgins.

Cherokee Man Charged with Meth at Huddle House

SCC-JessicaWaldronRobert John Ayen, 36, of Cherokee was arrested Sunday at the Huddle House in Whittier. Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call from Huddle House employees regarding a man who was unresponsive and sleeping in the restaurant.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to revive Ayen who became agitated. An altercation broke out. Ayen was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a government official. Upon arrest, it was discovered he had in his possession Methamphetamine.

He was charged with resisting arrest, assault on a government official, trespassing, possession/concealing a weapon, as well as possession of Methamphetamine and possession of a schedule IV.

His bond has been set at $22,000.

 

Sylva License Plate Agency Closed Until Thursday

dmv_vehicle_plates_replace_headerAs part of its customer service emphasis and reform, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is holding statewide customer service training next week. The Division will provide two days of training to license plate agency staff located in the Murphy, Robbinsville and Sylva license plate agencies, requiring their closure on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 13 and 14. Nearby agencies will remain open to provide vehicle registration services.

The following nearby LPAs will be open during the training: Bryson City – 101 Mitchell St., (828) 488-8247 Franklin – 118 Depot St., (828) 369-8165 Canton – 478 Champion Dr., (828) 646-3406 Pisgah Forest – 69 New Hendersonville Hwy., Suite 8, (828) 883-3251 Northeast Asheville – 85 Tunnel Road, Suite 16-B, (828) 252-8526 South Asheville – 780 Hendersonville Road, Suite 8, (828) 277-7767 Hendersonville – 145 Four Seasons Mall, (828) 692-0648

LPAs offer vehicle registration services and title transactions, as well as vehicle license plate renewals, replacement tags and duplicate registrations. Currently, about 120 license plate agencies operate across North Carolina.


175th Trail of Tears Anniversary Exhibit

Trail-of-Tears-LogoOur area has a rich history. During the month of May, Fontana Regional Library is hosting “Fewer Footprints and More tears” exhibits at all six library branches commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears. Each of the six branches offers unique pieces of history so  Sylva Branch Librarian Tracy Fitzmaurice recommends visitors visit each branch to get the full experience.

The exhibit is provided by Dr. Michael Abram and his wife Susan Abram in conjuction with the North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association.  The comprehensive exhibit will highlight different aspects of the Trail of Tears.

In addition, Thursday May 15th at 6pm, The Trail of Tears program will feature Dr. Michael Abram, who has generously donated his private collection for the exhibit. He will give a presentation on the history and culture of Cherokee relating to the Trail of Tears at the Sylva Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Proposal to Increase County Employee Pay

SCC-JessicaWaldronCounty Manager Chuck Wooten recommended approval of a pay raise for Jackson County in the upcoming budget. Wooten’s budget proposal will include a 1.5 percent cost of living increase and 20 additional hours of bonus leave. The leave and pay combined would give Jackson County employees an increase of 2.5 percent relative to the time they spend on duty.

The raises would cost the county $250,000 in salaries and benefits.

In the current 2013-14 budget, all employees received a 2 percent raise, and in 2012-13, all employees making less than $40,000 per year were given a one-time increase of $650.

“Play On” Paying Off Statewide

Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that the North Carolina tourism industry generated record visitor spending in 2013. The $20.2 billion in domestic visitor spending represents a 4.1 percent increase over 2012.

“The growth of our tourism industry gives us a lot to celebrate,”Governor McCrory said. “We attracted 52.5 million travelers from across the United States last year because of our great tourist destinations.The money they spent while visiting our mountains, beaches, cities and places in between directly supported nearly 200,000 jobs and more than 40,000 businesses. We can be proud that the quality of North Carolina’s travel experiences makes us the sixth most visited state in the nation.”

Governor McCrory, who proclaimed May 3-11, 2014, as Tourism Week in North Carolina, will discuss the new figures from the U.S. Travel Association at a news conference on Thursday, May 8 at the Outer Banks. Preliminary results from the study show that direct tourism employment grew 2.1 percent and that state tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4 percent to top $1 billion. Visitors spent more than $55 million per day in North Carolina last year and contributed more than $4.4 million per day in state and local tax revenues as a result of that spending.

“Everyone in North Carolina can feel the benefits of the tourism industry’s success,” Secretary Decker said. “Tourism means jobs in all of the state’s 100 counties. In addition, each North Carolina household saves $435 annually in state and local taxes as a result of taxes generated by visitor expenditures.”

Tourism Week in North Carolina is part of National Travel & Tourism Week, which also runs May 3-11. The state’s nine Welcome Centers will host activities throughout the week.

Tourism Facts

Domestic travelers spent a record $20.2 billion in 2013, up from $19.4 billion in 2012. That’s an increase of 4.1 percent.
In 2013, total visitor volume was 52.5 million, up nearly 16 percent from 2012. North Carolina is the sixth most visited state for domestic travel.
North Carolina’s domestic market share increased from 4 percent to 4.3 percent.
For every $1 invested by the Division of Tourism in paid media advertising, North Carolina receives $191 in new visitor spending, $10.31 in new state taxes and $6.25 in new local taxes. This is nearly a 17-to-1 return on investment of tax dollars.
For every $1 invested by the Division of Tourism is paid media advertising, one trip is generated to the state.
More than 40,000 businesses in North Carolina directly provide products and services to travelers, with travelers directly contributing more than 25 percent to their total products and services.
Visitors to North Carolina generated more than $3 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2013.
State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending passed the $1 billion mark in 2013. The figure represents 4 percent in growth over 2012’s $970 million.
Local tax receipts from visitor spending grew 3.1 percent to $597.3 million.
Direct tourism employment in North Carolina increased nearly 2.1 percent, to 197,700. The majority of the growth was in lodging, transportation, food service and retail employment.
Direct tourism payroll increased 3.8 percent to $4.6 billion.
Visitors spend more than $55 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds more than $4.4 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $2.8 million in state taxes and $1.6 million in local taxes).
Each North Carolina household saves $435 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.

– See more at: http://governor.nc.gov/newsroom/press-releases/20140507/governor-mccrory-celebrates-record-visitor-spending-and-impact#sthash.nBgrGXaE.dpuf

Run Off Expected in GOP Sheriff’s Race

election2014Run off elections are expected in the GOP Sheriff’s race in Jackson County. Since none of the 3 Republican candidates for Sheriff received the required 40% plus one vote to be the clear winner, a run off of the top 2 contenders could happen.

Candidate Curtis Lambert received 35.9% of the vote while Jimmy Hodgins had 32.3%. Mary Alice Rock received 31.8% of the vote.

There are several paper ballots yet to be counted. A canvas of the ballots is taking place and the certification is due Tuesday at 5:00 pm. Once the ballots are certified, the candidate in the second slot has 24 hours to request a run off which is expected.

WRGC Radio Representative Roy Burnette spoke with Jimmy Hodgins early Wednesday. Hodgins stated emphatically that if he is indeed the #2 candidate after the vote is certified, he will be requesting for a run off race. If a Federal run off is to take place that will be on July 15, otherwise the Sheriff’s run off is slated for June 24th.

Election Results!

US SENATE – REP (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Thom Tillis REP 540 43.37 %
Greg Brannon REP 440 35.34 %
Mark Harris REP 124 9.96 %
Heather Grant REP 74 5.94 %
Ted Alexander REP 29 2.33 %
Jim Snyder REP 21 1.69 %
Alex Lee Bradshaw REP 12 0.96 %
Edward Kryn REP 5 0.40 %
US SENATE – DEM (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Kay Hagan DEM 2,391 71.89 %
Will Stewart DEM 627 18.85 %
Ernest T. Reeves DEM 308 9.26 %
US SENATE – LIB (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Sean Haugh LIB 7 77.78 %
Tim D’Annunzio LIB 2 22.22 %
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 11 – DEM (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Tom Hill DEM 1,972 65.95 %
Keith Ruehl DEM 1,018 34.05 %
NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 50 – DEM (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Jane Hipps DEM 2,164 64.04 %
Ron Robinson DEM 1,215 35.96 %
NC HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 119 – REP (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Mike Clampitt REP 711 59.05 %
Dodie Allen REP 281 23.34 %
Aaron Littlefield REP 212 17.61 %
SHERIFF – REP (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Curtis Lambert REP 417 35.92 %
Jimmy Hodgins REP 374 32.21 %
Mary Alice Rock REP 370 31.87 %
SHERIFF – DEM (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Chip L. Hall DEM 1,559 42.43 %
Steve Lillard DEM 1,261 34.32 %
Doug Farmer DEM 397 10.81 %
Robin Gunnels DEM 357 9.72 %
Glen Biller DEM 88 2.40 %
Michael M. Gosnell DEM 12 0.33 %
SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE (HUDSON) (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Robin Hudson 1,851 44.55 %
Eric Levinson 1,283 30.88 %
Jeanette Doran 1,021 24.57 %
BOARD OF EDUCATION DISTRICT 2 (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Ken Henke 3,757 98.45 %
Write-In (Miscellaneous) 59 1.55 %
BOARD OF EDUCATION DISTRICT 4 (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Ali Laird-Large 1,897 42.56 %
Wanda McCall Nicholson 1,314 29.48 %
Judy Watson Henry 1,238 27.78 %
Write-In (Miscellaneous) 8 0.18 %

BOARD OF EDUCATION DISTRICT 5 (VOTE FOR 1)
Precincts Reported: 14 of 14
NAME ON BALLOT PARTY BALLOT COUNT PERCENT
Margaret M. McRae 3,761 99.23 %
Write-In (Miscellaneous)

An Employment Boom Hits Local Area

Consolidated Metco Inc in Bryson City has notified WRGC Radio of the need to add employees in six production divisions including assembly, material handlers, quality inspectors, finishing press, molding press and painting operators. These are good paying jobs for the local area starting at $12.00 per hour. This news comes on the heels of Hom-Tex in Sylva who last week announced the immediate need for 40 employees with an additional 60 workers to be recruited in the coming weeks. Consolidated Metco is having job fairs the first two days of May. The first job fair will be welcome news to Robbinsville who learned last week that Stanley Furniture was closing their Robbinsville plant and sending 400 workers to the unemployment line where unemployment benefits will only last for a few weeks. The second Con Met job fair will be in Sylva on May second at the State Employment Office located above the Jackson County Library in Sylva. This is also in addition to a job fair held this week by Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee. For more information on the ConMet positions check their website at www.omnisource.net

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.

Jackson County Fishing To Be Featured On Sports South

The premier episode of “Anglers and Appetites” filmed in Jackson County will air on Fox Sports South tomorrow, Saturday, April 19th at 10:30 a.m. (check your service provider for the channel number.)This program, sponsored by the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority, features local fishing experiences and culinary talents of area chefs amid the natural beauty of our lakes, rivers and streams and other regional attractions. The show will be rebroadcast on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. and Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and then air again in late May and June. It will be available online at www.anglersandappetites.com 24 hours after the premiere and for free download on the front page of the iTunes sports and recreation section athttps://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/anglers-appetites/id851760791?mt=2
For more information, contact the South Jackson County Visitor Center at 828-743-5941 or info@CashiersAreaChamber.com.

Rabbit Creek Pottery Wins Dillsboro Business Competition

After four months of suspense and tough competition Anne Burrell who operates Rabbit Creek Pottery in Dillsboro was proclaimed the winner of the $5000.00 business development grant competition. The award was announced Thursday at Southwestern Community College. Ms Burrell told WRGC News that they grant would turn their business around. They will now be able to install their Kiln and expand inventory and operations. When asked about the uniqueness of their pottery style, she said that each of the potters in Dillsboro offers a different style which makes the town attractive because of the diversity. The contest has been a collaborative effort among SCC WCU, Dillsboro, and local sponsors. The contestants went through an extensive application process, attended numerous small business management and entrepreneurial classes, developed a a business operational document including a plan for business operations, management team, capitalization, management team, legal ramifications, start-up, and employees. The winner also had a limited time to get their business operational in Dillsboro. Rabbit Creek Pottery was already open for business but were eligible for the competition because they had been open for only a short time before the competition started. In addition to Rabbit Creek pottery the other top two contestants were John Fault and Megan Orr who proposed a Dillsboro event shuttle service, and Anthony Brown who proposed a water park similar to a venue near Benson, NC which pulls skiers through the water with zip lines. Mayor Mike Fitzgerald gave Rabbit Creek Pottery a welcome to Dillsboro, and Tommy Dennison with the WCU Small Business Center who helped with the contest was happy with the intensity of the process and felt that the judges made an excellent decision. Mayor Fitzgerald said the other top finishers in the competition would have their privilege license fee waived if they opened their business in Dillsboro this year.

HomTex to add 100 jobs in Sylva

SCC-JessicaWaldronThe HomTex company in Sylva announced on Monday that orders for their sheet sets and decorative pillows has expanded enough to require the expansion of operations at the Sylva plant on Old Scotts Creek Road. Plant Manager Billy Elliot told WRGC Radio News that Hom Tex is looking for 40 permanent employees.

Elliott explained that applicants will be tested for dexterity, and hand and eye coordination skills, and other means to measure their skills for piece rate work. Interviews will take place at the plant on the Old Scotts Creek Road which is the old Chasm factory. Plans are to add up to one hundred permanent employees.

In addition to the current pillow and sheet set operation where workers are needed immediately a new pillow operation is expected to come on line in the immediate future where factory orders measure in the hundreds of thousands at a time. It was also pointed out that these pillows will carry the Made in America label.