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Armed Robbery in Jackson County

David Earnest Frizzell

David Earnest Frizzell

On Sunday, June 8, 2014, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office investigated an armed robbery on Buff Creek Road in Jackson County involving an 86 year old victim.  The crime was perpetrated by using a firearm at the victim’s residence as he returned home.   The suspect, David Earnest Frizzell,was known and identified by the victim and investigators believe this was an isolated incident involving the armed robbery.  Deputies located and arrested the suspect a short time after the incident occurred and is currently being held in the Jackson County Detention Center.  The suspect had previous outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest for other property crimes.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Seeking Suspects

Elliott Neal Mattox DOB 09/05/1992 195 Black Hill Road Bryson City, NC   28713

Elliott Neal Mattox
DOB 09/05/1992
195 Black Hill Road
Bryson City, NC 28713

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding a June 2, 2014 break in at the Cashiers Valley Pharmacy in Cashiers, NC.  During the theft two masked individuals entered the store and were captured on video surveillance.  Taken from the store were multiple pharmaceutical drugs and firearms.  A large portion of the drugs were recovered during another investigation but the firearms have not been located.  A named person of interest in this case is listed below.  The Sheriff’s Office is offering a reward up to $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects in this case.  Please contact Detective Andi Clayton at (828) 586-1392 oramclayton@jacksonnc.org

 

 

Jackson County Sees Changes at WIC Program

131011123051-wic-north-carolina-620xaThe North Carolina Women Infants and Children Program (WIC) is changing to a new computer system to better serve WIC participants across the state. The new computer system, known as Crossroads, will improve the WIC process and make the WIC experience more efficient for families.

The Jackson County WIC program is in the first group across the state to implement Crossroads. Not everyone in the state will start using the new system at the same time. This means family and friends in other parts of North Carolina might not get the new WIC checks at the same time as clients in Jackson County.

Clients will see changes in the appearance of their WIC checks which will be explained at their first appointment following the implementation of Crossroads. Food packages will better meet family needs and clients should eventually have quicker times for food instrument pick-up. Clients will also have easier scheduling, more education options, fewer questions at check-in and quicker in-state transfers.

The first time a client comes into WIC after Crossroads, WIC staff may ask you some new questions. The things WIC will need to know are as follows: 1) First name, last name and birthday of the parent/guardian, caretaker and/or proxy 2) Physical address 3) Contact information, like phone numbers 4) Voter registration status 5) Language spoken and read. If a parent/guardian should send a proxy to the appointment, please give them this information.

Jackson County Woman Sentenced on Child Porn Charges

510ae4a99c3a2.imageA Jackson County woman was sentenced on Tuesday, June 3,
2014, to serve 210 months in a federal prison for producing, receiving, possessing and
distributing child pornography, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western
District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger
also ordered Kimberly Rachael Moore, 31, of Tuckasegee, N.C. to serve under court supervision
the rest of her life upon release from prison and to register as a sex offender.

Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas and
Sheriff Jimmy Ashe of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in
making today’s announcement.

In December 2012, a federal criminal indictment charged Moore with one count of
production of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of
receipt of child pornography and four counts of distribution of child pornography. Moore
pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2013. According to court filings and proceedings, during
the investigation detectives discovered an extensive collection of child pornography, as well as a
computer hard drive, an email account, and online photo sharing accounts.

Moore is in federal custody and will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the
possibility of parole.

The investigation into Moore was handled by HSI and the Jackson County Sheriff’s
Office.

Webster Announces Proposed Budget

250px-Webster_Baptist_ChurchThe town of Webster released the proposed budget for 2014-2015. Mayor Nick Breedlove sent a memo explaining the budget is actually down from last year coming in at $77,600 when it was previously $79.250. The largest portion of monies would be allocated for Fire protection at $16,800 and law enforcement at $10,000. Other monies would be used for landscaping and sidewalk maintenance, street lights and the Webster cemetery in addition to Administrative costs. The tax remains unchanged at 5 cents for $100 valuation. A public hearing will be agreed upon at the first June meeting.

Second Graders Remember Student Teacher

Reagan Hartley, student teacher at Cherokee Elementary School, was killed in a fatal car crash in April.

Reagan Hartley, student teacher at Cherokee Elementary School, was killed in a fatal car crash in April.

 

Second grade students at Cherokee Elementary School gathered today to honor their former student teacher, Reagan Hartley. Miss Hartley was killed in April in a fatal automobile accident resulting from a high speed police chase near Greensboro. Ronnie Fichera was fleeing from police and heading the wrong way on the highway when he struck Miss Hartley.

 

A special page was added to the yearbook, which was also dedicated to Miss Hartley. Students presented books of their art work and writing to the family. They also created a memory wall decorated with butterflies in the hallway near the second grade classrooms.

 

Miss Hartley’s family and Western Carolina University faculty were present for the event.

 

Following the presentation, students released red, white and blue ballooons and planted a tree in memorial of their teacher.

Sylva Woman Wins Trip to Macy’s Parade

pride-of-the-mountains-for-webVivian Cleaveland of Sylva had forgotten about the raffle ticket she bought to support Western Carolina University’s Friends of the Arts when Robert Kehrberg, dean of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, called with some news and asked if she was sitting down.

Cleaveland had won a trip for two to New York City to see WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band in the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The package includes airfare, a three-night stay in a four-star hotel, limousine services, Grand Stand VIP parade seating, Thanksgiving dinner with the band and a $500 gift card for meals, shows and other expenses.

“I should have sat down,” said Cleaveland, remembering the phone call. “I was absolutely thrilled to death. I’ve never won anything in my life. I was elated and shocked. It’s just awesome.”

A retired federal employee, Cleaveland works part time for dentist Dr. David McGuire and bought the raffle ticket from Jeanne McGuire, a Friends of the Arts silent auction committee member who works in the same building. Jeanne McGuire is the wife of Dr. Patrick McGuire, a dentist and brother of Dr. David McGuire.

A long-time supporter of WCU and Jackson County Schools, Cleaveland has watched the Macy’s parade on television and has enjoyed seeing the WCU marching band perform at football games.

“We have a close connection with the band and love to watch them perform,” said Cleaveland who plans to take the trip with her daughter. “The music is great and the formation of the marching band is just spectacular.”

The raffle and a silent auction were part of a spring fundraiser that generated about $70,000 for College of Fine and Performing Arts scholarships and programming.

Lynda Sossamon, chair of the Friends of the Arts advancement council and the raffle committee, said event organizers wanted to include a trip to New York City in the raffle and were excited when David Starnes, director of the Pride of the Mountains, offered two VIP seats in the stands along the parade route as well as Thanksgiving Day dinner with the band to include in the package.

Fracking Debate Hits Home in Jackson County

000_480270741.siAn official from North Carolina’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources confirms experts will take rock samples from areas around Northern Jackson and Graham Counties and the town of Topton, to test for carbon amounts. Jackson, Haywood, Macon, Swain, Cherokee, Clay and Graham counties are the only counties in North Carolina where natural gas may be found.

Carbon can indicate if there could potentially be natural gas to extract from the ground. A bill that would lift the moratorium on fracking has made it through the Senate. Testing would begin on the rock in late August and through the fall, with results coming back in late 2014 or early 2015.

With the passage of the new bill, fracking permits could be issued as soon as July 2015.

Conmet To Add 25 Jobs in Jackson County

SCC-JessicaWaldronMore Good economic news is coming to Jackson County as Conmet will expand and add 25 jobs in the next year. County Commissioner’s approved the plan on Monday.

The plastics company will lease the 60,000 sq ft warehouse space at the former Tuckaseigee Mill for $48,000 annually while investing $350,000 for rennovations for lighting, loading docks and more bathrooms.

As part of the deal, Jackson County must pay $69,400 to remove asbestos. A 5-0 vote on Monday approved hiring NEO Corporation out of Canton to handle the asbestos removal. It expected that as soon as the asbestos is removed from one portion of the building that Con Met contractors will move in with their renovations. It is expected the facility will be in use within 90 days.Con Met has a three year lease with an 18 month escape clause.

County Manager Chuck Wooten described the partnership as a ‘win win’ for Jackson county. According to Wooten other entities had expressed an interest in the building but all has been apprehensive about entering a least because of the potential for health hazards from the asbestos tiles in the building.

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.