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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.

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.

 

Evergreen Foundation Allocates $392,917 in Grant Funding

At their March meeting, the Evergreen Foundation board of directors voted to provide $392,917 in funding to support nine agencies that provide programs and services for individuals with Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Disabilities. The grants were awarded through a competitive grant process to agencies located throughout Western North Carolina. Fourth quarter grant recipients are:

-Full Spectrum Farms, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $16,370 to provide accessible restrooms, pathways and safety modifications which will provide full access to their facilities by all participants.
-30th Judicial District Domestic Violence-Sexual Assault Alliance, Waynesville, serving the 7 western counties: $7,778 to support phase 2, marketing and fund raising, for their animal assisted therapy project.
-The Arc of Haywood County, Waynesville, serving Haywood County: $52,000 to help purchase security cameras for their group homes and a wheelchair accessible van for their residential programs.
-Barium Springs Services for Children, Barium Springs, serving the 7 western counties: $65,000 to provide a challenge gift which will match dollar for dollar up to $65,000. This will provide funding needed to complete renovations for the Hawthorne Heights youth shelter in Bryson City.
-Pathways for the Future, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $4,157 to purchase materials and equipment for use in a new day enrichment program.
-Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Waynesville, serving Haywood County: $27,800 to purchase a 15 passenger van for use in their day program.
-Webster Enterprises, Webster, serving Jackson, Swain and Macon Counties: $8,955 to update their accounting software.
-Meridian Behavioral Health Services, Inc., Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $204,357 for additional training to expand their Peer Support Services workforce; supplement their current funding for under-funded psychiatric services; and to purchase 2 vans and 3 all-wheel drive vehicles to transport individuals in their programs.
-Mountain Projects, Sylva, serving the 7 western counties: $6,500 to support two teen initiatives, Sticker Shock Underage Drinking Awareness and the Teen Institute Summer Conference.

Evergreen Foundation grants for fiscal year 2013-2014 have totaled $760,675. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 31 for the June grant cycle.

The mission of the Evergreen Foundation is to improve access to and public awareness of quality prevention, treatment, and support services by the provider community to individuals and families with intellectual/developmental disabilities, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse needs in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. To learn more about the Evergreen Foundation visit www.evergreenfoundationnc.org.

Blue Ridge School Break-In

crime-sceneIn the early morning hours of April 7, 2014, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was requested by the Cashiers Fire Department to come to Blue Ridge School.  The Fire Department was already on scene for a fire alarm activation.  Suspects had forced entry into the school and thousands of dollars of damage to the interior of the building was done.  Damages included spray painting and flooding.  The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident and is asking for anyone with any information to contact Detective Rick Buchanan.  The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $500 reward for anyone with any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an offender in this case.  Please contact Detective Rick Buchanan at (828) 269-5698, email him at rlbuchanan@jacksonnc.org or contact Crime Stoppers,at (828) 631-1125 or crimestoppers@jacksonnc.org

Jackson County ABC Board

liquor-1221-1280x960After months of discussions and negotiations a plan has finally emerged which would consolidate the control of hard liquor sales in Jackson County under a single county wide Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. County Manager Chuck Wooten presented his plan to the Jackson County Commissioners on Monday and asked for a meeting on Monday April 14th with Town of Sylva officials to formalize the agreement. Once the agreement is signed a Jackson County ABC Board would be appointed. Initially the appointments would have term limits in order to get the board into a three year staggered system of rotation. Board members would be paid $150 per meeting plus travel. The ABC Board Chair would receive $250. plus travel for each meeting.  Wooten stressed that operations of the Sylva ABC store then the Cashiers ABC store expected to open in May would be under the control of the Jackson County ABC Board by May. One of the concerns expressed by the Town of Sylva is the loss of revenue generated by the Sylva ABC store. According to the merger agreement the Town Of Sylva would continue to get a share of the net profits and a guaranteed return. Once the new merged board is in place then steps would be taken to adopt the current standard operating procedures. Wooten also described how employees of the present Sylva ABC Board would be transitioned into the new Jackson County ABC Board. The Sylva ABC Board would be compensated for the inventory and fixtures at the ABC Store. It was recommended by the current members of the Sylva ABC Board that at least six weeks of working capital be available for ongoing use. Elected officials of the Town of Sylva and the County of Jackson will meet Monday April 14th to complete the merger agreement which will end the Sylva ABC Board  and create a new Jackson County ABC Board.

Benifit For Washington State

WAWestern Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center is sponsoring a Friday, April 11, concert to benefit landslide victims in Snohomish County in Washington state – an area with strong ties to Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. The concert, titled “The Circle is Unbroken: A Benefit for Oso, Washington, from Western North Carolina,” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Sylva’s Bridge Park. The bluegrass show will feature local bands Mountain Faith and the Boys of Tuckasegee. A few days after the landslide disaster struck on March 22, taking lives and destroying homes, two WCU historians who have researched the migration of WNC residents to the Pacific Northwest, Scott Philyaw, director of the Mountain Heritage Center, and Rob Ferguson, visiting assistant professor, were discussing ways to assist the victims.  Ferguson contacted officials in Darrington, Wash., and learned that financial assistance is what those who have lost their homes need most. Recognizing the strong connections between WNC and Washington state, they decided to reach out to the local community, Philyaw said. For much of the 20th century, migrants from the southwest mountains of WNC moved to western Washington state in such large numbers that they outnumbered every other immigrant population in a half dozen communities, said Ferguson. At first, the migrants from North Carolina represented many types of occupations, but from 1920 to 1940 the Pacific Northwest slowly replaced the Appalachians as the center of the nation’s lumber production, and that development led many people in that line of work to move west permanently, he said. Philyaw said many WNC residents still have family and friends who live in the area of Washington state where the landslide occurred, in surrounding communities such as Darrington and Sedro Wooley, and in many other towns in Skagit and Snohomish counties. Assisting Ferguson and Philyaw in organizing the benefit and local fundraising activities are Lane Perry from WCU’s Office of Service Learning, who is coordinating efforts on the WCU campus, and the Rev. Tonya Vickery of Cullowhee Baptist Church, who is coordinating outreach with local churches. Perry can be reached at 828-227-2643 and Vickery can be contacted at 828-293-3020. Individuals who would like to assist in the effort can contact Philyaw at 828-227-3191 or Ferguson at 828-227-3502. Updated information about the concert is available on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/OsoMudslideBenefit.

Internship Applications Available

NorthCarolinaSealThe Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office within the Department of Administration announced that they are accepting additional applications for the 2014 State Government Internship Program for select projects. The program has 6 remaining paid internship projects in Raleigh and Pine Knoll Shores. Internships would start May 27 and end on August 1, 2014. Application deadline is postmarked by April 21. The 2014 State Government Internship Project Booklet describing all rules and available opportunities is now online. The State Government Internship Program offers students real-world experience in a wide range of state government workplaces. Internships provide opportunities for students to work in their chosen field and to consider careers in public service. More than 3,600 students have participated since the program was established in 1970. Paid summer internships are available in locations across the state. They provide North Carolina students with compensated professional work experience that integrates education, career development and public service. Opportunities exist in numerous recognized fields of study, from accounting to zoology, and interns will also participate in seminars, tours or other activities designed to broaden their perspective of public service and state government. Interns will earn a stipend of $8.25 per hour and work 40 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer. For more information, please visit the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office online or by phone at 919-807-4400. Information is also available in campus career services or cooperative education offices.

Trout Season Opened Saturday

NC Trout WatersA Successful Trout season opened in North Carolina on Saturday. Thousands of anglers flocked to The Mountains to fish. Western North Carolina has over 3 thousand miles of trout waters. “The first warm weather that comes around…people are itching to get out and get at it,” says Josh Garris, a fly fishing guide in Asheville. People from all over the world book fishing trips in and around The Mountains. A license is required to fish in North Carolina. It costs $20 but is good for the entire year.

Haywood County Bank Robbery

Matthew Mark Lloyd

Matthew Mark Lloyd

A local bank was robbed today and the quick thinking of the tellers helped deputies catch the suspect. The robbery happened at the BB&T Bank on Soco Road in Maggie Valley. The suspect, 36-year-old Matthew Lloyd of Lenoir, was arrested just seven minutes later on Highway 276. Deputies say the tellers took down his license plate number and direction of travel which helped deputies locate him. Lloyd is being held on $30,000 bond.

Resolution Passed

jcpsJackson County’s education leaders passed a resolution March 25 opposing state lawmakers’ mandate to give raises to some teachers, but not others. The 25 percent of teachers who accept four-year contracts and $500-a-year salary increases agree, in return, to forfeit tenure. Like dozens of others, Jackson County has gone on record asking the General Assembly to rescind its law. Jackson County last month announced plans to use a selection system that granted points for evaluations, higher degrees and such; that’s not going to happen. Murray plans to present a lottery scheme to school board members in April. Jackson County’s school board followed up the anti-contract vote by approving a second resolution. It urges the General Assembly to give all teachers more pay, not just beginning ones as proposed, and to reinstate salary step increases and financial bonuses for teachers getting master’s degrees.

Jackson Wins First Place

The beautiful wildflower beds dotting North Carolina’s highways took center stage this week at the Annual Wildflower Awards ceremony in Raleigh. The awards were given to the Department of Transportation staff who cultivated the best-looking flowers of 2013, as voted on by a panel of judges. They also recognize the efforts of all NCDOT crews who help carry out the Wildflower Program and work to enhance the overall appearance and environmental quality of the state’s highways. Jackson County took first place in the Best Regional Wildflower Planing catagory for N.C 107 at Cullowhee. The NCDOT Wildflower Program began in 1985 and is coordinated by the department’s Roadside Environmental Unit, which installs and maintains 1,500 acres of wildflowers along North Carolina’s highways. The program is primarily funded through the sale of personalized license plates.

Allergy Season in Full Swing

allergiesGrass pollen starts to bloom in April around Western North Carolina and continues into May and June, followed by ragweed and other weed pollen in late summer and early fall, leaving allergy sufferers facing a warm season filled with pesky allergy symptoms. Some 40 million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies. The most common triggers are tree, grass and weed pollen. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient office visits each year – primarily in spring and fall. You can develop allergies at any age. You’re most likely to develop allergies if there is a history of allergies in your family. Studies show the average wait time to see a specialist is 20 days. Experts recommend a few tips for reducing allergies. Limit outdoor activity to late afternoon – pollen counts are highest in the morning. Keep car and home windows closed and opt for air condition at night to keep pollen out. Change your bedding and pillow covers often and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Spring and fall are the busiest times for Allergy Specialists in Western North Carolina.

ACLU Pushes Mandate

ACLUThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina sent letters yesterday to 23 sheriff’s departments across the state who to date have failed to produce documents that show they are complying with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act . Among the mandates for jails and detention centers is a requirement that inmates under the age of 18 be housed separately from adults – a chief concern in North Carolina, where 16 and 17 year olds are treated as adults by the criminal justice system. The ACLU-NC sent letters to North Carolina sheriffs on January 16, 2014, asking for policies and documents related to their compliance and offering assistance in preparing proper guidelines for the treatment of youthful offenders in custody. Of those offices that responded by April 1, 23 said they had no documentation about the compliance, prompting yesterday’s follow-up letter. Among the 23 counties in North Carolina who received a follow-up letter were Haywood and Swain county.

Blue Ridge Bike Plan

cyclingA state Department of Transportation blueprint called the Blue Ridge Bike Plan this month cleared a hurdle required for projects to move from conceptualization to reality. The Rural Planning Organization, made up of local leaders who help the state prioritize road projects, approved the plan; through the addition of lanes, shoulders and bicycle traffic signs, mountain roads could be improved for cycling. In Jackson County, the hope is to make six improvements:

• Open seven miles of U.S. 74, from exits 81 to 74 (Dillsboro to Gateway), to bicyclists (it’s restricted right now) and modify rumble strips where needed. Cost: $4.69 million.

• Add shoulders for biking and signs to five miles of North and South River roads, from U.S. 441 to N.C. 107. Cost: $1.5 million.

• Add shoulders and signs, plus modify the rumble strips, along a 10-mile section of U.S. 23/74 from Balsam to Sylva. Cost: $4.7 million.

• Add a bicycle lane to two miles of N.C. 107, extending what’s there now toward Sylva. Cost: $560,000.

• Work on the shoulders and add signs on the 14.5 miles of N.C. 107 from Cullowhee to Cashiers. Cost: $4.4 million.

• Do the same on a 12-mile stretch between Sylva and Balsam along Skyland Drive and Dark Ridge Road. Cost: $3.7 million.

New state law prohibits DOT from using state dollars as a match for federal funding on most bicycle and pedestrian projects, said Reuben Moore, state division planning engineer. Local matches of 20 percent are now required from counties, cities or universities.

 

Haywood Co. Man Pleads Guilty

James Daniel Sawyer

James Daniel Sawyer

A Canton man faces nearly 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to sexual assaults that left a 3-year-old boy with a sexually transmitted disease. James Daniel Sawyer, 33, was arrested in October of last year after Sgt. Shawn Gaddis with the Canton Police Department received a report from the Haywood County Department of Social Services involving the little boy. The boy and his then 7-year-old sister were examined and interviewed at Mission Hospital. Though the girl did not have any physical illness, she did speak of Sawyer’s sexual behavior. Authorities believe the crimes occurred on and off between January 2012 and September 2013, based on statements by the mother, children and Sawyer himself. Sawyer has never even had so much as a traffic ticket, comes from a well-respected family, is a lifelong local resident and has a stable employment history.  Sawyer’s father and pastor were present in the courtroom as well. His father teared up as he stood to speak. Judge William Coward did not recognize any mitigating factors and sentenced him to 240 months to 348 months in prison and fined him $10,000 to go to the state. He also granted the defense’s request to allow Sawyer work release so he can help support his 5-year-old daughter, despite adamant disagreement from prosecutors. Upon his release, Sawyer will be a registered sex offender and required to wear satellite based monitoring for life.

Drexel Plant Community Meeting

Old Drexel Plant

Old Drexel Plant

A Public Meeting will be held on April 29th at the Smoky Mountain Elementary School from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in the school cafeteria.  The site is presently being called the “Smoky Mountain Agricultural Development Station.” The purpose of these community outreach meeting is to get the public’s input on the development of the Drexel site, so to meet real community needs for placed based agricultural economic development.  The meeting will listen to individual needs to make the effort site specific in respect to agriculture. Please come to this open community meeting to help Jackson County identify specific agriculture development at the old Drexel Site for the surrounding counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian. For more information, please contact Robert J. Hawk, County Extension Director at the Jackson County Cooperative Extension Center at 586-4009 or email “robert_hawk@ncsu.edu.” Refreshments will be served.

Haywood Bridge Replacement

NCDOT LogoTheN.C. Department of Transportation will temporarily close part of Hemphill Road in Haywood County beginning next week for a bridge replacement project. During construction, crews will be replacing a bridge over a branch of Jonathan Creek with a culvert. The $331,162 project also includes grading, drainage, paving and installing signage around the new structure. The existing bridge was built in 1955 and is considered functionally obsolete, which means that although the bridge is safe, it was built to design standards no longer in use. The project contractor, NHM Constructors, LLC, will begin installing the detour during the first week of April. The detour will remain in place until mid-July. Motorists will take Hemphill Road to N.C. 276, and then take Grindstone Road back to Hemphill Road. For real-time travel information any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference.

Ledbetter Road Incident

crime-sceneA student ended up in the emergency room early Friday Morning, March 28th after allegedly being hit by a vehicle on Ledbetter Road in Cullowhee. The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. Joshua Thomas, 21, of Cullowhee, had been drinking before he was struck by a vehicle, according to N.C. Highway Patrol. Thomas left Tuck’s Tap & Grille on foot and claims he was hit by a car on Ledbetter Road.  There was no evidence of a vehicle and a very vague description of a suspect vehicle from the victim. He had some damage to his left ankle. The N.C. SHP was notified by the hospital’s emergency room around 2:30 a.m. Anyone with information about the incident, is asked to contact the N.C. SHP at 828-627-2851 and ask for Bowers.

Stocking The Trout Waters

NC Trout Waters

NC Trout Waters

Four Swain County waterways will be stocked with trout for the hatchery-supported season that opens 7 a.m. Saturday, April 5. Through July, a total of 5,440 brook trout will be stocked in Swain, 6,990 rainbow trout and 4,270 brown trout for a total of 16,700. Waterways stocked include: Alarka Creek, Nantahala River, and Deep Creek.The season will run through Feb. 28. Many of these waters are stocked monthly, although some heavily fished waters are stocked more frequently. Commission personnel will stock nearly 907,000 trout, with 96 percent of the stocked fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other fish exceeding 14 inches. Stocked trout are produced primarily in two mountain region fish hatcheries operated by the commission. For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit www.ncwildlife.org or call the Division of Inland Fisheries, 919-707-0220.

No Cause Determined In Fire

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort Fire

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort Fire

Fire investigators with the SBI say they can not determine the cause of Wednesday’s fire at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. They say too much of the building was destroyed, which made it extremely difficult to find the source of the massive blaze. The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. They say there is not much left to sift through and says the wind blew away much of the evidence. On top of the intensity of the fire, crews had to battle ice-covered roads and frigid conditions to try to put out the flames.