Archive for Local News – Page 2

Waynesville Roller Derby

Balsam Area Derby Association is the first co-ed roller derby team in Western North Carolina.

Balsam Area Derby Association is the first co-ed roller derby team in Western North Carolina.

Roller derby is rolling into your backyard! Balsam Area Derby Association and Balsam Mountain Roller Girls are hosting two Bad Scrimmages on Sunday May 4th at 4pm at Smoky Mountain Skateway off the by-pass in Waynesville.

Balsam Mountain Area Derby Association teamed up with Columbia Quad Squad for a bootcamp which will take place before the scrimmage on Sunday. The scrimmage will give skaters from all over Western North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee to learn new skills before showcasing in the public scrimmage.

Columbia Quad Squad is ranked #45 in the world for Women’s Flat Track Derby Asssociation (WFTDA) and hails from Columbia, South Carolina.

There will be a women’s scrimmage and a coed scrimmage. A family friendly event, the public is welcome to come watch both bouts! $5 admission and seating is limited so everyone is encouraged to bring a chair.

Balsam Mountain Roller Girls is Waynesville’s only women’s flat track roller derby team. Balsam Area Derby Association is the only co-ed team in Western North Carolina. For more information visit www.balsammountainrollergirls.com or www.facebook.com/balsammountainrollergirls

Folkmoot Funding Slashed

Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival celebrates diversity by bringing in performers from all over the world to WNC.

Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival celebrates diversity by bringing in performers from all over the world to WNC.

Haywood County Tourism Development Authority cut grant funding again to Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival. This year $8500 in grants were given to the festival which is significantly less than previous years. Folkmoot has struggled in recent years not managing to bring in ticket sales and revenue to cover the cost of the event.

The tourism and development authority were split on the issue. Some argue that the festival needs to stand alone and manage profitability on it’s own while others say the festival brings tourism dollars to the area with lodging and dining.

An economic study sanctioned by Folkmoot last year showed the festival had a 9.2 million dollar impact on the region.

Maggie Valley Seeking Miss Maggie for Season

Miss Maggie has become a cultural icon in the Great Smoky Mountains. Her likeness is owned by the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Miss Maggie has become a cultural icon in the Great Smoky Mountains. Her likeness is owned by the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Maggie Valley Chamber is looking for someone to portray Miss Maggie. Miss Maggie is somewhat of a cultural icon in Maggie Valley, donning a costume which looks much like a traffic light: red, green and yellow. She wears an old timey bonnet and a long dress with apron. Miss Maggie has become a recognizable symbol of the town.

The Miss Maggie program was instituted to show visitors true mountain hospitality. The main responsibility of Miss Maggie is to walk the sidewalks in Maggie Valley greeting visitors with a welcoming smile and wave and to make special appearances at festivals and events. The main message delivered by Miss Maggie : You’re welcome here.

Individual seeking the position agrees to walk one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon/evening with times to coincide with the greatest number of visitors present in the valley. Miss Maggie appearances traditionally begin in May and run through the end of October.

This position is a paid contract labor position which Teresa Smith describes as perfect for a retired person or someone who enjoys the outdoors.

Interested ladies should call Teresa at the Maggie Valley Chamber at 926-1686.

Fire Burns 6 Acres of Forest Land

NC Wildlife Services brought in a helicopter to extinguish the fire.

NC Wildlife Services brought in a helicopter to extinguish the fire.

A fire broke out Sunday afternoon in the Parris Branch community off Happy Holler Road in Sylva. Eddie Parris, a local landowner, lost approximately 4 acres of land in the fire. Eddie Parris told WRGC that this fire marks the third to destroy his forest land over the past few years. Parris said the fire was believed to have started around 1:00 pm and burned until 10:00 pm. He said if not for the fire department, his home would’ve been destroyed in the fire as well as his forestland. NC Wildlife Services brought a helicopter in to help keep the fire under control.

According to Benji Reece with the North Carolina Wildlife Service around 6 acres of land burned. The fire is still under investigation by the Sylva Fire Department and the Wildlife Service. Though no conclusion has been found, Reece speculated it was likely caused by a burn pile of debris which got out of hand. He warns this is the season for many fires to start with people burning brush and debris.

Appalachian Care to Offer Free Medical Services

israel-express-medical-12Swain County Health Department and the Department of Defense are sponsoring a medical mission, Appalachian Care, June 9-13 in Bryson City. Available services will be primary medical care, dentistry, optometry, behavioral health and classes on nutrition, smoking cessation, stress reduction and healthy and fit lifestyles.

Sarah Peterson with Swain County Health Department explained the medical mission “helps get troops ready for deployment” while offering medical services to those in need in Western North Carolina.

All services are free to the public. Registration will begin on June 2 at the First Baptist Church in Bryson City. Services will be on a first come first serve basis. Volunteers are also needed for the event. For more information, contact the Swain County Health Department at 828-488-3198.

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

Seeking Community Leadership Nominations

Western_Carolina_University_sealThe Coulter Regional Leadership Program and the Cherokee Right Path Adult Leadership Program are both seeking nominations.

The Coulter Regional Leadership Program is accepting nominations for participation in the 2014-15 program. This 12-month leadership program is for adults ages 25-55 years of age who have some involvement in community activities and have the potential to become dynamic leaders.

Nominees must reside in the counties of Haywood, Macon, Jackson, Swain, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, or the Qualla Boundary. Persons wishing to nominate can go to wnclead.wcu.edu and download the nomination form.

Deadline for submission: Letters of nomination will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 15

Litter Sweep Clean Up Drive

LitterFreeNClogo-150hVolunteers, maintenance crews, inmates and community service workers donning orange safety vests will take to the roads Saturday, April 26 to Saturday, May 10, to participate in Litter Sweep, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s biannual cleanup drive.


NCDOT encourages all North Carolinians to get involved in this spring’s Litter Sweep and help clean up more than 79,000 miles of state-maintained roadsides. The department provides all litter removal gear, including safety vests, gloves and bags. Anyone wanting to volunteer should contact their county NCDOT maintenance office in advance to obtain supplies.


NCDOT will deploy crews for litter pick-up in each county and NCDOT employees will be available to collect trash bags left on the roadsides by volunteer groups participating in the cleanup. Participants are reminded to warm up before picking up litter and to drink plenty of water during the cleanup event.


12th Annual Dining Out for Life

415679The 12th Annual Dining Out for Life event will take place on Thursday April 24 to benefit the Western North Carolina Aids Project. Over 100 restaurants in Western North Carolina will be donating 20% of gross sales to the foundation. Last year $165,000 was raised which goes to assist with Aids Awareness, testing, education and to provide case managed care for those in need. More than 1 million people are living with AIDS in the United States with 40,000 diagnosed annually. 1 in 6 living with HIV are unaware of their infection.

City Lights Café, Guadalupe Café, Soul Infusion Tea House and Innovation Brewing are some of Jackson County’s restaurants participating in the event. To participate in Dining Out for Life, visit these local restaurants on Thursday.  For a complete list of participating WNC restaurants visit www.diningoutforlife.com.

General Mundy Funeral Saturday

General Mundys' Funeral Greenhill Cemetery in Waynesville on Saturday

General Mundys’ Funeral Greenhill Cemetery in Waynesville on Saturday

The 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps was laid to rest in Haywood County Saturday. General Carl Mundy passed away at his home in Virginia after battling cancer. Mundy was raised in Lake Junaluska and was buried at Green Hill Cemetery in Waynesville. General Mundy was appointed to serve as the 30th Commandant from 1991-95. After he retired, he also served as the President of the Marine Corps University Foundation.



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.