Archive for Local News – Page 2

Haywood Regional Hospital Now Owned By Duke Lifepoint

It was announced Friday Morning that MedWest Haywood and Duke Lifepoint Healthcare have finalized Duke LifPoint’s acquisition of the 169 bed medical center and its affiliated assets. Duke Lifepoint will invest a minimum of $36 million in capital improvements at Haywood facilities over the next eight years and provide resources that will help it enhance and expand its services. Medwest Haywood will n ow be known as Haywood Regional Medical Center.
“As part of Duke LifePoint, Haywood Regional will be better able to meet the changing needs of our community,” said Frank Powers, Chairman of the Haywood Regional Board of Trustees. “We are delighted to finalize this acquisition and begin our collaboration with Duke Lifepoint to improve the health and well being of people throughout this region, create new opportunities for our staff and physicians, and strengthen our medical center for the future ahead.”

Created in 1927, Haywood was the first county hospital in North Carolina. It offers a comprehensive array of services including orthopedics, spine services, cardiology, general surgery, women’s care, emergency medicine, and behavioral health. In addition to its medical center its campus is home to a health and fitness center, the Haywood Outpatient Care Center, and the Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility. Haywood Regional also operates two urgent care centers located in Hazelwood and Canton.
Duke LifePoint is honored to welcome Haywood Regional to our system,” said Lifepoint Chairman and Chief Executive officer William Carpenter III. The physicians and staff at Haywood Regional have shown inspiring dedication and commitment to their patients and community. We look forward to working with them to build on a great tradition of care that exists here and transform health care delivery in Clyde and beyond.”
As part of Duke Lifepoint, Haywood Regional will support its local community by becoming a local taxpayer. A local board of trustees will be established to ensure a strong community voice in Haywood’s long-term strategic direction. “Haywood regional has played a central role in the health care infrastructure of Haywood County for nearly 90 years,” said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, executive vice president of Duke University Health System.” “The Duke LifePoint team is pleased to partner with the medical staff and employees to further strengthen Haywood Regional’s ability to advance Health care throughout the region.”

Duke LifePoint’s acquisition of Haywood Regional was approved by the Haywood County board of Commissioners and the local Hospital Authority Board.

John Luke Carter To Enter American Idol Competition

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

North Carolina Groups Remind Lawmakers of Water’s “Trickle Down” Economics

gr-40716-1-1Thousands of North Carolinians are joining forces to remind the feds about the basic principles of gravity. More specifically, they want the EPA to reinstate Clean Water Act rules that protect headwater streams and isolated wetlands in the state. There had been regulations in place, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2001 and 2006.

Jim Mabrey with Trout Unlimited says streams located at the top of mountains and in the center of prime real-estate development have been impacted by the change.  “But if they don’t do something to protect it, you start building houses up there and you start filling these little streams and ditches in with sediment, it’s no longer a stream then, it’s just a mud hole. ”

Mabrey points out that frogs, bugs and other small animals call those areas home. A decline in their population would mean a decline in the food supply for larger animals and impact the ecosystem. The EPA has extended the comment period for the Clean Water Act regulations until October.

Opponents of a reinstatement of the rules say it would impact agriculture, but Fred Harris with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation says that’s simply not true, and while the new rules would protect key water sources, there are exemptions to protect the interests of farmers. “And I think an important thing is what is not, and things like farm ponds and ditches that farmers dig, those are clearly not included under there. ”

There are more than 242-thousand miles of rivers and streams in North Carolina which supply drinking water for the state and a home for the region’s fish and wildlife. Mabrey says extending the protection to areas that were initially protected is key to securing the “circle of life.” “The frogs, invertebrates, some small fish that use these streams when they are flowing with rainwater, that’s when they breed, that’s where they raise their young.”

Wildlife recreation-related activities lead to more than three-billion dollars spent per year in North Carolina alone, and that money supports more than 95,000 jobs in the state.

Repairs Taking Place At Newfound Gap

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Historic Preservation Crew announced an updated timeline for repairs to the Hiram Caldwell House in Cataloochee in addition to upcoming closures for the Noah Bud Ogle Cabin along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and partial closures along the flagstone walkways at Newfound Gap.

The Hiram Caldwell House in Cataloochee, NC will be closed for an extra week to complete repairs and repaint the exterior. The house has been closed since Monday, June 9 and is expected to be open by Saturday, July 26.

Repairs to the Noah Bud Ogle Cabin on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will begin on Monday, July 21. The cabin will be closed to the public until Friday, August 15 to replace the wood shake roof. The cabin will be accessible to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, but temporary fencing will be in place during the week to ensure visitor and staff safety. The parking area which serves the cabin will be open continually, but three spaces will be reserved Monday through Thursday for use by the Historic Preservation Crew.

Repair work at the Rockefeller monument at Newfound Gap will occur from Monday, August 4 until Tuesday, September 30 allowing the preservation crew to reset and re-grout the flagstone walks. Park staff will place signs and barricades around the affected areas as the work progresses, removing them once the walkways are safe for visitor traffic. Work will be conducted Monday through Thursday during normal business hours. Access to the monument and comfort stations will remain open.
For more information about historic structures in the park, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/historicbuildings.htm.

Parts of Jackrabbit Recreation Area Closed

The U.S. Forest Service has closed certain areas of the Jackrabbit Recreation Area near Chatuge Lake in Clay County. The closures are an effort to promote public safety after an escaped felon from Georgia was allegedly seen near the recreation area. Law enforcement officials are searching for the felon at this time.

 The day-use area, swimming beach and trailheads are closed; however, the campground remains open. Campers have been notified about the escapee. Forest Service law enforcement officials are providing security at the campgrounds. The Jackrabbit Recreation Area is located on the Tusquitee Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest.

Keith Dean Installed As AMVETS Commander For North Carolina

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

Celebrate the 4th of July in Our Region!

Bryson City

• Freedom Fest begins at 8 a.m. in downtown with the Rotary International Firecracker 5K. Riverfront Park will hold the Strut Your Mutt pet show and the Explore Kids’ Street children activities will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Also at the park will be the Smoky Mountain Rollergirls dunking booth from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Bridge Stage on Everett Street will have live music throughout the day, with the fireworks show beginning at 10 p.m. Free. www.greatsmokies.com/freedomfest.

• NOC’s Sizzlin’ 4th of July will run July 4-6 and the NRC Family Whitewater Weekend will run July 5-6 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Nantahala Gorge. Nantahala Racing Club’s adventure race will be at 4 p.m. July 5, with live music at 7 p.m. at Big Wesser BBQ. Slalom races will be at noon July 6. Free. 828.232.7238 or www.noc.com.

• Singing In The Smokies Independence Weekend Festival will run July 3-5 at Inspiration Park. Hosted by Appalachian/gospel group The Inspirations, the event features live music from The Kingsmen, Troy Burns Family, Dixie Echoes, Chris Smith, Daron Osbourne, Evidence of Grace, and many more. $20 per day, per adult. Children ages 12 and under free. www.theinspirations.com.

• Freedom Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will depart at 7:30 p.m. July 4 at the Bryson City Depot. The trek will head to the Fontana Trestle and return just in time for the fireworks in downtown Bryson City. First Class, Crown Class and Coach Class seating available. All ticket purchases of any class include a meal. 800.872.4681 or www.gsmr.com.


• The town’s 4th of July Celebration begins at 6 p.m. July 5 at Sorrells Street Park. Live music, dancing, food and craft vendors. Watermelons will be provided for free, with children’s watermelon rolls and seed spitting contests to commence. Fireworks at dusk. Free. www.cantonnc.com.


• Fireworks Extravaganza on the Green begins at 6:30 p.m. July 4 at the Village Green Commons. Live music will be provided by rhythm and blues band The Extraordinaires. The Cashiers Farmers’ Market and numerous food vendors will be onsite. There will also be moonshine margaritas, beer and wine available. Fireworks begin at dusk. Free, with VIP packages available. www.villagegreencashiersnc.com or 828.743.3434.


• 4th of July Fireworks will be held at dusk on July 4 at the Acquoni Expo Center. The Sunset 5K Run will also be held at 5 p.m. The Cherokee bonfire will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Oconaluftee Islands Park Bonfire Pit. www.cherokeesmokies.com.

• The 39th annual Eastern Band of Cherokee Pow Wow begins at 5 p.m. July 4, 10 a.m. July 5 and 7 a.m. July 6 at the Acquoni Expo Center (formerly Cherokee High School). The event features world-champion dancers and drummers competing for prizes. Vendors from across the country will offer food and arts and crafts items. $10 per day with a weekend pass for $25. www.visitcherokeenc.com.

Fontana Village Resort

• 4th of July at Fontana Village Resort will be July 2-5. The event features cornhole and Pac Man tournaments,  a sunset cruise, documentaries, games and children’s activities. Performances will include the Larry Barnett Duo at 7 p.m. July 2, Unit 50 at 7 p.m. July 3, Fast Gear at 6 p.m. and The Chillbillies at 9 p.m. July 4, and Old Red Schoolhouse at 7 p.m. July 5. Fireworks will be at 10 p.m. July 4. www.fontanavillage.com.


• 4th of July Parade and Celebration, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 4, in downtown. Parade starts at 10 a.m. The Fireworks in the Park will be held at 3 p.m. until dark at the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreation Park. The park features a cornhole tournament at 3 p.m. (registration begins at 1:30 p.m.), famous plunger toss at 7 p.m. and bull’s eye ball drop at 9:15 p.m., with fireworks at dusk. Live music will be provided by Miss Kitty & The Big City Band at 7 p.m., with the Presentation of the Colors at 9:15 p.m. and the singing of the national anthem at 9:30 p.m. Food vendors will also be onsite. www.franklin-chamber.com.


• July 4th Fireworks, 11 a.m. until dusk July 4, in downtown. Cookout begins at 11 a.m. at the baseball field, with the 3rd annual Rotary Rubber Ducky Derby at 3 p.m. at Mill Creek, live music at 6 p.m. at Town Square and Pine Street Park, and patriotic sing-along at 8 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church. Fireworks at 9 p.m.  Free. 828.526.2112 or www.highlandschamber.org.

Lake Glenville

• Lake Glenville Fireworks, 8:30 p.m. July 5 over the lake. www.cashiersareachamber.com.

Lake Junaluska

• The 4th of July Celebration will be July 3-6 at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. A fish fry will be at 5:30 p.m. July 3 next to Stuart Auditorium. The Star Spangled Salute kicks off with a parade at 11 a.m. July 4, with a barbecue at noon and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. There will also be an array of children’s activities from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 5 at the pool, with a performance by the Carolina Water Ski Show at 1 p.m. on the lake. Live music will be performed by the Lake Junaluska Singers at 7:30 p.m. July 3-4 and by Balsam Range at 7:30 p.m. July 5. Tickets for each show are $17.50 general admission and $20 for reserved seating. www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th or 800.222.4930.

• Doug Stanford Memorial Rodeo, Ram Rodeo Series will be 8 p.m. July 4-5 at the Haywood County Fairgrounds in Lake Junaluska.

Maggie Valley

• Backyard 4th Celebration will be from 6 to 11 p.m. July 4 at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. Fireworks at dusk. Free. 828.926.0866 or www.townofmaggievalley.com.

• Wheels Through Time Museum’s 12th anniversary in Maggie Valley Fourth of July celebration will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rare and unique machines spanning more than 110 years of transportation history, dating back to the very roots of motorized travel. www.wheelsthroughtime.com or 828.926.6266.

Sapphire Valley

• 9th annual Yankee Doodle Dandy Day, will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 4 at the Sapphire Valley track and recreation center areas. Swimming, outdoor games and contests, inflated bouncy toys, live music, sports contests, food, pony rides and the Horsepasture River Ducky Derby.


• 4th of July Concerts on the Creek with Dashboard Blues will be at 7:30 p.m. July 4 at Bridge Park. Free. www.mountainlovers.com.


• Stars and Stripes Celebration, will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4 in downtown. Shops, galleries and restaurants open, with live music and entertainment. Kids on Main Patriotic Parade will be at 11 a.m. The Main Street Cookout, featuring local craft beer, barbecue, burgers and hot dogs will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at United Community Bank. The Haywood Community Band performs at 2 p.m. on the courthouse lawn. Free. www.downtownwaynesville.com.

Cherokee County Man Charged with Murder

A Cherokee County man is behind bars on a murder charge in the death of another man.

John Anthony Hill, 43, was charged in the Sunday slaying of Paul George Pfleiderer

Deputies went to Hill’s home in the Peachtree community off N.C. 141 shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday in response to a 911 call reporting a home invasion in progress at the residence.

Hill met officers as they arrived, and officers found Pfleiderer, also of Peachtree, dead inside Hill’s home.

After processing the scene with assistance from the SBI, investigators determined the death was “consistent with homicide,”

Hill is being held at the Cherokee County Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond. His first court appearance in Cherokee County District Court is scheduled for July 8.

Stanley Furniture to Close

Stanley Furniture in Graham County will close doors at the end of this month. Stanley Furniture is the largest employer in Graham County and will be laying off 400 workers. In a town with a population of 8600, that’s a large chunk of the work force. The county currently has 513 unemployed. Only 3,569 residents are currently counted as holding jobs.

Joblessness in the county is expected to double. Graham County already has one of the highest numbers of unemployment in the state but it is expected to jump from 10.6% to 22.1% after the lay offs.

Beat the Heat as Temperatures Rise In Area

New York Hit With Earlier Summer Heat WaveThe North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and other health officials are urging everyone to take caution as extreme temperatures arrive in North Carolina. Older North Carolinians are very susceptible to complications from extreme heat. The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services is encouraging frequent checks on older family members and neighbors to be sure they are protected from the heat but of course encourage safetey measures for people of all ages.

The Center for Disease Control estimate about 650 deaths occur each year as a result of extreme heat. In 2012, one large scale heat event claimed 32 lives in a two week period as temperatures in the mid-atlantic states rose above 100 degrees.

Steps such as drinking plenty of water and juice to stay hydrated are vital. Limiting time outdoors especially in the afternoon when the sun and temperatures are at their peak. Children should be monitored for symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, headache and nausea. If you live in a home without air conditioning and fans, opening windows for air flow and closing blinds, shades and curtains during the hottest part of the day or when windows are in direct sunlight help, cool showers can help and do not use a fan if the temperature is above 95 degrees, the hot air can add to heat stress. Never leave children, disabled or older persons, or a pet in unattended cars. Ask your doctor if medications you may be taking can impede heat loss which can include kidney, diabetes and some mental health medications.

Last week across the state, 95 heat related illnesses were reported in emergency rooms across the state. The National weather services is forecasting heat up to 103 and 105 degrees in some parts of the state. People who are exercising, doing yard work or recreational activities, and those who have outdoor jobs should take proper precautions to avoid illnesses when temperatures are high.


Debit Card Scams

With many banks offering fraud alerts for credit and debit cards, It can be easy to fall for fake versions. The Better Business Bureau of Asheville and Western North Carolina warns to watch out for automated phone calls or text messages that claim your cards has been deactivated. It’s really an attempt to get you to share your banking and personal information.

The scam works by getting a call or text alerting you that your credit or debit card has been deactivated. Reactivating your card is easy you just need to call customer service number and confirm some information. When you dial the number it instructs you to enter your 16 digit credit card number. Better Business Bureau warns not to do it because it’s a scam.  Some ways to spot this scam are to call your bank and check their website. Find the phone number from your bank’s website, never use the number that has been text to you. Ignore instructions that tell you to reply STOP or NO to unsubscribe from future texts. This is often a ploy for scammers to confirm they have a real working number. Forward texts to 7726. This service alerts your cell phone provider to block future texts from this number. Be familiar with your banks communications methods. Did you sign up for text messaging alerts? Be aware of how your bank communicates with you because anything out of the ordinary could be a scam

Possum Drop to Remain NC tradition

possumintroduced_GJCThe marsupial star of a New Year’s Eve tradition in a North Carolina mountain town can remain the center of attention.

The Senate agreed Wednesday without discussion on a bill excluding opossums from state wildlife laws between December 26 and January 2 in Clay County, where the annual Possum Drop celebration is held.

The Possum Drop involves lowering a possum in a clear plastic box at midnight and then releasing it.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has tried to stop the event, saying the animal is cruelly treated. A judge last year dismissed a PETA lawsuit, but another hearing is expected.

The bill is considered local legislation, which means it takes effect without the governor’s signature.


Asheville Native Wins American Idol

02-top9-portraits-caleb-1170x658Big News for Asheville and Western North Carolina! Native Caleb Johnson won the 13th season of American Idol on Wednesday night. He was named the latest champion of the Fox singing competition over runner-up Jena Irene. Caleb will be awarded a record contract. He’ll release an album on August 12.

Winners 2nd Mountain Youth Talent Contest

heritagealive3In the second traditional Appalachian talent contest this year for mountain youth, the Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest was held at the Bluegrass Festival last Saturday, May 17, 2014, at the Stecoah Valley Center in Stecoah, NC. Youth were drawn from Cullowhee, Bryson City, Leicester, Robbinsville, Topton, and Almond.  The children ranged in age from six to fifteen. The songs they choose to perform brought back memories of yesteryear, from “Blackberry Blossom” to “Cumberland Gap,” to “Jesus is Risen.”  Cash prizes were furnished by Stecoah Valley Center, United Community Bank, Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, and Jackson County 4-H.

Best of Show first place winners chosen from the group of talented youth were the Graham County Line Band, featuring Joshua Jones (12), Jonathan Jones (15), and Daylan Carver (14). They will get the chance to perform on stage at the Mountain Heritage Day held at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC on September 27, 2014.  At this larger venue, with it’s broader audience, it will be terrific to watch the young people from the Talent Contests serve as ambassadors of traditional Appalachian music and heritage.

Best of Show second place winner was Dakota Gatti (13); third place Best of Show was Joshua Jones (12).  A first time ever award, called the Judge’s Choice, went to the family group Mountain Medicine Makers:  Bryan Surat (13), Rylee Surat (10), Sylas Surat (6), from Leicester, NC.

Judges were three in number, including: Judy Rhodes, a musician who holds a Masters Degree in Appalachian Studies;  Ken Walton, a musician and guitar instructor; Bennedene Walton, a musician who holds a degree in early childhood development.

Sponsored by the Jackson County 4-H in association with Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, the talent show was performed at the Stecoah Valley Center in Stecoah, NC, home of the “Appalachian Evening” summer series of eleven great concerts beginning June 28 and continuing through September 6 when Balsam Range returns to the Grand Old Stage. The Bluegrass Festival was sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:



1st:  Joshua Jones, Robbinsville, NC (12)

2nd: Summer Davis, Bryson City, NC (10)

3rd: Aspen Budden, Cullowhee, NC (9)



1st:   Drey Keener, Robbinsville, NC (11)



1st:  Colby Lovin, Robbinsville, NC (12)



1st:   Joshua Jones, Robbinsville, NC (12)

2nd: Emma Budden, Cullowhee, NC (11)

3rd: Booth Bassett, Robbinsville, NC (12)



1st:   Caleb Turpin, Robbinsville, NC (9)

2nd:  Rylee Surat, Leicester, NC (10)

3rd:  Emma Budden, Cullowhee, NC (11)



1st:    Graham County Line Band, Robbinsville, NC (15,12,14)

2nd:   Mountain Medicine, Leicester, NC  (13,10,6)



1st:   Taylor Douthit, Cullowhee, NC (13)

2nd:  Dakota Gatti, Topton, NC (13)



1st:    Dakota Gatti, Topton, NC (13)



1st: Daylan Carver, Robbinsville, NC (14)



1st: Bryan Surat, Leicester, NC (13)

2nd: Jonathan Jones, Robbinsville, NC (15)

Best of Show

1st:    Graham County Line Band (Group)

2nd:   Dakota Gatti (Song and Dance)

3rd:   Joshua Jones (Fiddle, Mandolin)


Judges’ Choice:  Mountain Medicine Makers  (Group)

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.

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.

Kid’s Fishing Days Events

Dsc02816The USDA Forest Service today announced that it will sponsor two fishing days for local children at Carolina Hemlocks Campground on May 17 and Max Patch Pond on June 7on the Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest.

The events are for children ages 12 years and younger. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The event allows families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about one of our nation’s favorite pastimes – fishing. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission co-sponsors these events. No experience is needed for families to participate.

The South Toe River at Carolina Hemlocks will be closed to fishing Friday, May 16, 2014, and will reopen to the public at 3 p.m. on Saturday following the May 17 event.  Max Patch Pond will be closed to fishing on Friday, June 6, 2014 and will reopen at 3 p.m. on Saturday following the June 7 event.

The two fishing events on the Appalachian Ranger District are conducted as part of National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1-8, during which local events will occur in the communities across the country that bring attention to America’s wealth of world-class water based recreation opportunities .

For a listing of events taking place this spring, go to www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc and click on “Kids Fishing Days Events.”

Cinco de Beardo

Dixie Beard and Mustache Society will donate all proceeds from this year's event to Mary Harper of Sylva.

Dixie Beard and Mustache Society will donate all proceeds from this year’s event to Mary Harper of Sylva.

No shave November has come and gone but the beard craze is still here which leaves WRGC asking, what’s behind this hairy phenomenon?

There is no denying Beards are a growing trend. Many associate the popularity of beards with television shows such as Duck Dynasty but for the Dixie Beard and Mustache Society of Haywood County, it’s a way of life.

The Society was created in 2011 by facial hair enthusiasts in Haywood County to uphold long-standing southern traditions of beards and mustaches, promote camaraderie and also give back to the community.  The organization hosts various fundraising events throughout the year.

Dixie Beard and Mustache Society in conjunction with Tipping Point Tavern in downtown Waynesville will be celebrating it’s 2nd  annual Cinco de Beardo with beard and mustache competition at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 5. Live music will be provided by Chris Minick and Caleb Burress. All proceeds from the event as well as portions of the PBR sales will be given to Mary Harper of Sylva, who was injured in a motorcycle accident.

For more information, on Cinco de Beardo call 246-9230.

NC Primary is Tuesday

election2014North Carolina’s May primary is Tuesday May 6th  and while campaign signs are cluttering the entrances to libraries and other polling places statewide, some groups are concerned about voter turnout.

Because of changes to North Carolina’s voting laws last year, early voting will end earlier this year – on Saturday statewide. Next Tuesday, precincts will be open from 6-30 until 7-30 p-m. Photo I-D’s are not required in this election, but it is important to make sure you vote at your assigned precinct. New this year, no provisional ballots will be offered to voters who mistakenly go to the wrong poll.

Although this is a primary, meant to decide party nominees, some candidates are running unopposed by the other party, and next Tuesday’s election will be the final say in who holds that office.

North Carolina’s new voting law also eliminated straight party voting, so people must select each candidate for each office, even if they intend to vote a straight party ticket.