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David Profit Recieves Prestigious Award

Long time Jackson County School System employee David Profit has been named the first recipient of the Steven Jones Distinguished School Administrator Award. The award was established by the Jackson County School system this year to continue to honor the years of popular Jackson County School’s employee Steven Jones who died unexpectedly last year. According to Jackson County School’s Superintendent Dr Michael Murray, David Profit is most deserving to be the recipient of this first time award. In addition to Profit’s many assigned responsibilities as the Technology Coordinator of the school system, David also volunteers much of his time as the voice of the Mustangs at High School football and basketball games, and renders so much assistance and leadership to the system and his co-workers. Dr Murry added that due to the close relationship that existed between David Profit and Steven Jones that it was humbling for Mr Profit to accept the award named after his dear and deceased friend.

Jackson County Hires Richard Price As The New Director Of Economic Development

Joseph Richard Price (Rich) has accepted the position of  Jackson County Director of Economic Development effective  November 1, 2013. Mr. Price has been a resident of the Whittier community in Jackson County since 1991 and is a 1988 graduate of Western Carolina University. He possesses a diverse professional background involving banking, management, owning and operating an small business, and most recently a member of the senior administrative staff with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel serving as the Director of Casino Marketing. Rich brings a proven track record in relationship marketing, financial  analysis, strategic planning, and sales.  The appointment of Rich Price follows an extensive recruitment and interview process that involved business leaders, education leaders, leaders in the travel and tourism industry, elected officials and other county employees.

The Director of Economic Development reports to the county manager and will utilize a Business and Industry Advisory Committee composed of leaders from local community to develop strategies for implementing the Jackson County  comprehensive economic development strategy that was created and approved by the Board of Commissio0mers in 2012. As Director, Mr. Price will work with existing business and industry to address the challenges and obstacles they are experiencing and to respond to inquiries about Jackson County as a possible site for new business opportunity, One of the first task for the new director will be preparing an inventory of existing businesses and industry,  identifying available buildings and properties for new business development, and documenting the location of existing utility infrastructure that is an essential component of economic development

The office location for the Director Of Economic Development will be room A231 in the justice and Administration Building

Commissioners Approve Contract For Dillsboro Landfield Improvements

Jackson County is responsible for maintenance of the Dillsboro Landfill on Haywood Road which closed in 1998 for at least 30 years. This year the landfill has experienced some significant slope failure, some suspect because of the higher amount of rainfall. However the county is not eligible for state or federal funds at the current time because the structure failure was not directly tied to the January situation of heavy rains which let to slope failure on US Highway 441 between Cherokee and Tennessee.  According to Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten, should there be significant slope failure which exposed buried garbage the county would have no choice but act quickly and without little control over the costs. The County voted to enter into a contract with Lofquist and Associates to develop plans for drainage, structure stabilization, and drainage control.  With road construction taking place on Highway 107 a significant amount of free dirt is available which can be used to construct slopes with a lesser degree of slope which would stabilize the surface, allow for easier maintenance, and cost the county about half the cost otherwise. The contract is going to cost the county about $400,000 which will be taken from the reserve in the Solid Waste Fund. This is about half the cost if the repairs had to made under a full contract basis. The County will be responsible for contracting for the drainage, ground stabilization, and maintenance.

Mountain Heritage Day. Saturday, September 28th

Western Carolina University’s 39th Annual Mountain Heritage Day will commence this weekend on Saturday, the 28th. The WCU Mountain Heritage Day festival will be free to the public and feature a full list of mountain music, activities, and many arts & crafts, and food booths. Scott Philyaw had the following to say about the festival’s history, “When this school was started, back in the 1880’s by the people of the Cullowhee valley and Jackson County, they included things that are very similar to mountain heritage day. The very first commencement had music, it had barbecue, it had presentations of the various aspects of the region, much as Mountain Heritage Day does. It attracted a large number at that time of one thousand people for a weekend. In many ways Mountain Heritage day harkens back to those earliest celebrations when what we call Western Carolina University was known as Cullowhee Academy.”

The Mountain Heritage Day will start off with a 5-K foot race at 8 am. The Blue Ridge and Balsam Stages will be playing continuous mountain music, clogging, and southern storytelling. There will be demonstrations of Cherokee stickball among other games from the Cherokee Tribe. Directly in front of the Balsam Stage there will be a new platform, created for members of the audience to show off their dance skills. There will be a children’s tent providing activities for the younger attendees, as well as hayrides. Among all the other mentioned events there will also be demonstrations and competitions for: Chainsaw wood cutting, baked and canned goods, period costumes, and contests for beard and mustaches. Expect to see, blacksmithing, black powder shooting, as well as interpretations of Cherokee hunting capabilities. The festival will be rain or shine. No pets allowed though service animals are welcome. “The festival itself starts at 10:00am, the 5-K Race starts at 8:00am. Registration for the chainsaw contest starts at 9:00am. We are recommending people show up around 9:30 so they can find a place to park. The festival closes down at 5:00pm.”

For more information visit MountainHeritageDay.com or call 828-227-7129

Final Week to Donate to 5th Annual “Coats for Kids” Drive

This is the LAST week to donate to the 5th Annual “Coats for Kids” Drive. Donations are greatly appreciated to help the children of our community stay warm this Autumn/Winter Season. Childrens’ new and good condition used coats, hats, gloves, winter clothing and shoes can be dropped off at the following locations until Monday Sept. 30. Drop-off locations include Cullowhee United Methodist Church, Sylva Walmart (inside store), Sylva First Presbyterian Church, Pathways Thrift Store and Jackson County Public Library.

To make a monetary donation, please send checks to: Cullowhee United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1267, Cullowhee, NC 28723 with “Coats for Kids” on the memo line.

Distribution day for “Coats for Kids” will be held at Sylva First Presbyterian Church, 46 Presbyterian Drive, Sylva, NC 28779, Saturday, October 5, 9 A.M.-Noon for any family in our community who needs warm clothing for their children. Children will need to be physically present to receive items.

 

Plans for Artisans Complex at Jackson County Green Energy Park

During a recent work session by the Jackson County Commissioners, Jackson County Green Energy Park Manager Tim Muth laid out plans for the artisans complex at the Dillsboro Facility. Muth feels that the artisans complex will be comparable to some of the art venues in Asheville. The Green Energy Park is the only facility of its kind in the world, using land field methane for energy to help create pottery and ceramics, stained glass and even blacksmithing. If you would like to find out more information on the Green Energy Park contact Tim Muth at tmuth@jacksonnc.org.

National Farm Safety & Health Week

This week marks National Farm Safety and Health Week. In Jackson County alone there are over 300 number of farms which attribute to over 13,000 acres of farmland. President Obama has declared National recognition of agricultural safety during this week. “This week we resolve to make farms and ranches safer places to live, work and raise families.” .WRGC had the privilege to talk with North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. As a native North Carolinian and farmer he had great incite on how to keep our farmers safety. Commissioner Troxler discussed how education and awareness were the two biggest factors for keeping the men and women in the agriculture business safe. According to the National Safety Council, farm accidents and other work related health problems claim as many as 1,300 lives and cause 120,000 injuries per year, most of which are preventable. Commissioner Troxler stated that tractor and other machinery accidents on farms cause the highest number of fatalities with tractor overturns accounting for 44% of all tractor fatalities. Always use proper safety equipment, and maintain regular equipment maintenance and have an emergency plan in place to help avoid farming accidents.

Funds Allocated for Jackson County School District

Superintendent Dr. Murray is allocating the new funds from the Jackson County Commissioners and planning the final stages of the current building projects in the Jackson County School District. Smoky Mountain High School’s current construction project of the new fine arts building and gymnasium are reaching their final stages. The new allocation of funds from the County Comission will greatly help the School Board progress their construction projects and even adding on more Resource Officers as needed and help in keeping Teacher’s Asssistants in the classrooms.

School Librarian Suspended Pending Embezzlement Investigation

A Jackson County School System employee has been suspended without pay after being accused of stealing from school funds. Authorities say Patricia Dunford, 45, a librarian at Cullowhee Valley School, has been charged with Larceny by Employee for embezzling money from the school system from August of 2012 to May of 2013. Dunford will remain suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and is scheduled to appear in court to face these charges on September 24th.

Gov. McCrory Concludes Sylva/Dillsboro Visit

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Governor McCrory Hosts the Roundtable Discussion

Gorvernor Pat McCrory visited Sylva, North Carolina today, and met with business leaders at local industries as well as had a discussion with regional leaders and citizens. The Governor’s visit began with a tour of Jackson Paper Company where he spoke with both executives and mill workers to get a better understanding on how the company has coped during the recent economic decline. Following the visit at Jackson Paper, the Governor hosted a round table discussion forum at the Jarrett House in Dillsboro. Nearly 40 invited guests were on hand to hear the governor speak and ask him questions. Governor McCrory began the roundtable event with the following opening statement, “You know, what I want to do is first of all, I am here to have conversation with you. I’m not here to give a speech and we’ve got business leaders in here, we’ve got republicans, democrats, and independents here in this room and I want to welcome all of you. This is about governing and this is about leading now.” He went on to say, “For the people of Jackson County and Sylva, I’ve said it in 2008, this is one of my two favorite towns in North Carolina.” “I love the Main Street here.” During the 45 minute roundtable discussion the Governor touched on questions across a wide range of topics, including taxes, spending, state hiring practices, health care for the mentally ill and the tourism industry. When asked about criticism he has received regarding the states education budget, the Governor replied, “I want to also let you know, despite what you read, K through 12 spending is the largest this budget has ever been in North Carolina history.” WRGC’s had the opportunity to sit down with the Governor and ask how hi tour of the Jackson Paper Company went and why he chose to visit. “One is, I went to that company back in 08′ when I was running for governor and I wanted to see what’s changed since 08′ and what some of their challenges are. I want to get feedback from the industries that are making things. We’ve got to continue to be a state where we make and build, innovate and grow things. As Governor I am focusing on the agricultural industry, the manufacturing industry, and travel & tourism. We kind of take those industries for granted, and those industries margin a profit.” “I went there to listen, and not just to the head of the company, I went to listen to the employees. I met with their employees that work on the line and just trying to make it through the day.” At the conclusion of his stay, WRGC asked the Governor what he had learned about the needs of our area during his visit. “There are some very basic things that we can look at to make a positive difference. For example: Signage on state roads, that’s not too complicated. A lot of times its the small details that people are looking for. You just need to listen.”

Governor Pat Mccrory to Visit Historic Dillsboro

It has been announced that NC Governor Pat Mccrory will be visiting Jackson County on Thursday. According to an unofficial schedule he will begin a tour of Jackson Paper Company in downtown Sylva at 10 am and later in the day move to the Jarrett House in Dillsboro to have lunch and host a roundtable discussion with invited guests. Jim Hartbarger confirmed that he and his staff will indeed be hosting the Governor along with several others. Jim had the following to say, “The only thing we know is that he is going to have a round table discussion at lunch. They said that there would be between twenty and twenty-five people in the roundtable discussion.” Even though all details of the trip have not yet been made public Jim said that he and his staff are excited to add Pat Mccrory to the list of Governors that have visited his establishment. “We’ve been here thirty-eight years, so we have had may Governors during that time and we are honored to have him.” WRGC will be continuing coverage of the Governors trip to our area.

NC Governor Appoints Three New Members to WCU Board of Trustees

A Rutherford County educational foundation executive, the first woman elected principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and a Highlands homebuilder are the three newest members of the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees.

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Charles Philip Byers to fill a recent board vacancy, and Joyce Conseen Dugan and John R. Lupoli to four-year terms on the WCU board.

Byers is filling a vacancy on the board created by the departure of Brenda Wellmon of Mecklenburg County, who stepped down as a trustee for personal reasons this summer.

In addition to Wellmon, McCrory’s appointments to the WCU board fill vacancies left by outgoing members Tommy Saunooke, member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council, and William Forsyth, retired executive director of the Cherokee County Economic Development Commission.

Byers, Dugan and Lupoli will join two other new members – Phil Drake, chief executive officer of Drake Enterprises, and Kenny Messer, an executive with Milliken Corp. – elected to the WCU board earlier this year by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The board will hold its first quarterly meeting of the new academic year at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in the board room of H.F. Robinson Administration Building. The board also will hold committee meetings and discussions beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at various locations on the fifth floor of the Robinson Building.

 

Hundreds Gather at The “Taking the Dream Home” Rally in Sylva

RALLY Hundreds of people from all across Western North Carolina congregated at Sylva’s Bridge Park this Wednesday. They were there for many causes, from supporting public education to restoration of voting rights. The “Taking the Dream Home Rally” in Sylva was just one of 13 gatherings of people across the state of North Carolina in celebration of the anniversary of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech given by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The rally also was an extension of the Moral Monday protests held earlier this year in Raleigh. The rally placed large emphasis on a recently passed voting law which requires residents to show identification before being able to vote.

Many protesters say that this law is regressive and a bid to keep certain people from being able to vote. Organizers of the rally helped register people to vote as well as handed out information about how the people may be affected by the new voting law. Civil Rights era songs were sung by people on and off the stage. Organizers reported expressed plans to focus the energy of these protests into the next voting period.

WNC Scam Alert

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is reporting a new scam that has been reported in Western North Carolina. Business owners have reported receiving official looking letters from a group called Corporate Records Services. Asking individuals to send money to a Raleigh address. The letter is misleading and includes seals and North Carolina laws from the Secretary of State. Many local businesses have fallen prey to these types of scams before. Several years ago a California company was shutdown for sending out similar letters and eventually had to return over ninty-thousand dollars it had collected from small business throughout North Carolina. If you suspect you have received one of these letters, do not respond. Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at http://www.ncdoj.gov/.

 

Sylva Woman, Robyn Crawford Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Today in Jackson County Superior Court Robyn Dillard Crawford, age 51, from Sylva pleaded guilty to six felonies for the embezzlement of $150,000 from the WNC Eye Care between March of 2005 and March of 2010. Crawford was the office manager at WNC Eye Care, working there for nearly eleven years. Crawford reportedly used credit cards issued by the company for things like; personal hotel stays, out-of-state travel, and even groceries. Robyn Crawford’s sentence of more than 3 years has been suspended due to the plea agreement and on the condition she pay $50,000 in restitution to Dr. Richard Beauchemin, the former owner of WNC Eye Care, and also pay a fine and court costs totaling $2650. Crawford’s attorney, Frank Lay, asked the court to forgo the court costs and probation supervision fee’s but was denied. If restitution is not made, a probation violation report will be issued, and her sentence could possibly be activated regardless of the plea deal.

Large Turnout Of Teachers At Library Complex

In what was billed as a rally for teachers,  former North Carolina Teacher Of The Year  Penny Smith motivated the near capacity crowd in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library Complex on Thursday night with stories of teachers who shaped her life and motivated her to be a teacher. She was followed as a speaker by former Jackson County School Superintendent Sue Nations and current superintendent Dr Michael Murray who also spoke of the quality o0f teachers from prior era’s who had influenced them to enter the teaching profession and inspired them for a special standing and value model in  society.  Jackson County Commission Chairman Jack Debnam spoke of a teacher who had influenced him by his corrective style then later in life the person became an employee of Mr. Debnam. Other speakers included , Rene Coward, and current teacher Edith Callahan. Retired teacher and coach Boyce Dietz also spoke of Coach Babe Howell and others who had given him the opportunity to get coaching experience and those  who had been instrumental in his career. Across North Carolina other teacher groups have rallied to show support for the state’s teachers despite the state budget cuts which have ended teacher tenure, reduced the number of teacher assistants, and have expanded classes sizes.  Some teachers groups are saying the cuts will threaten the future of quality education in the state because teacher salaries are expected to be among the lowest in the nation which will deter aspiring teachers to look elsewhere in a career choice or for employment.

Scam/Fraud Alert – MedWest Lifeline Calls

image001 There have been reports of people receiving recorded calls from MedWest Lifeline stating that the service has been paid for and is free and all is needed is to set up a time to come install equipment. This is not MedWest Lifeline or any MedWest affiliates. The calls have been reported to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. If you receive one of these calls do not call them back. You may report the call by calling Jackson County Crimestoppers at 828-631-1125 or email crimestoppers@jacksonnc.org MedWest-Harris Home Care Services provides Lifeline as one of its services but it has to be signed up for and there is a nominal fee involved.

 

Doryel Ammons Cain Presents, “Creating a Mural”

muralFARMERpanelsml On Tuesday, September 3, at 6:15 pm Doreyl Ammons Cain will do a presentation and demonstration on the process involved in creating a mural at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. The Event is free to the public and everyone is invited to attend. Artist, writer, and speaker, Doreyl Ammons Cain of Sylva will be performing a demonstration of the 4-step process of creating a mural at the Swain County Center for the Arts, located in Bryson City, NC. Doreyl Cain is creating a history defining mural for Jackson County. During the demonstration Doreyl Cain will describe the materials she uses, along with resources and process. The 4-step process will include; rough sketching, transfer of sketches to the grid method, the painting of the mural, and finally the protection and placement of the mural. Along with holding a Bachelor of Fine arts degree and a Master of Arts Degree in Biological and Medical Illustration, she has also received “The Best in the West Illustration” award three years in a row. Doryel Ammons Cain along with her sister, Amy Ammons Garza also produce a radio show, “Stories of Mountain Folk” which can be heard on the air through WRGC 540 AM and also on-line at http://www.storiesofmountainfolk.com/. Doryel Ammons Cain and her husband, Jerry Cain, have designed a new line of art cards, limited edition Giclèe art prints and are creating a nature preserve called “Nature’s Home,” based on the principles of Permaculture and sustainability. Her Art Blog is www.yurtstudio.com/myblog. For more information about Art League of the Smokies or to view the exhibits at Swain County Center for the Arts, call Jenny Johnson at 828-488-7843. Go to www.swain.k12.nc.us/cfta to view the current calendar of events.

Record Rainfall May Dampen Fall Color Show

mfec4S8 In the yearly tradition that is the Western Carolina University foliage forecast, given by Kathy Mathews, this years forecast has been delivered. Abundant rainfall during one of the wettest summers in Western North Carolina history may portend a dampening of the intensity of the fall color show this year unless autumn brings vastly drier conditions, predicts Kathy Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fall foliage forecaster. Mathews went on to explain; “With record rainfall during July, the trees in the mountains look healthy and green at the moment, and that’s a good thing for the trees. But leaf-lookers need to keep their fingers crossed for some drier weather in the next couple of months in order for us to see the development of vibrant fall leaf color.” Leaf looking tourists may be in for some disappointment this year, which will possibly affect the local businesses in our area. “There always will be plenty of color in the yellow and orange hues,” Mathews said. “However, if the days remain cloudy throughout September, there won’t be as much of a pop of bright reds on the leaves.” The red pigments called “anthocyanins”, are manufactured by leaves mainly in the fall in response to cooling temperatures and excess sugar production caused by lots of sun, Mathews said. “Dryness also causes production of more red pigment,” she said. “Studies have shown that trees stressed out by dry soils and nutrient deficiency produce more red pigment in the fall. Ample sunshine and dry weather is the combination necessary for brilliant fall foliage.” Another factor in the annual fall color show is temperature. “Cool nights in September, with temperatures dropping into the low 40s, release the yellow, orange and red colors because chlorophyll degrades faster at lower temperatures,” Mathews said. “Temperature may work in our favor this year, as we have seen relatively cool summer months. If this trend continues, colors may be more vivid despite the rainfall.” And there is an upside to all the rainfall, even if it means less-vibrant fall colors, the leaves should hang around longer, “With healthy, well-watered trees, we should not see much early leaf drop,” Mathews said. The color change should begin at the higher mountain elevations in late September and continue through mid-November in the lower levels of WNC. Regardless of when the peak is and how intense the hues are, visitors always can find good fall color somewhere in the WNC mountains, with more than 100 tree species in the Southern Appalachians. That means not only many different colors of leaves in the fall, but also a lengthy fall color season, Mathews said.

Back to School for Western North Carolina Students

It’s almost back to school season for students in the Western North Carolina area and WRGC would like to remind everyone to be wary of heavy morning and afternoon traffic in the upcoming weeks. The Blue Ridge district and Jackson County Early College students will be starting on August 13th. The first day of Southwestern Community College will be August 15th and Jackson County Smokey Mountain school district students will begin August 26th. Western Carolina University fall classes will start on August 19th, and WCU is planning to welcome an anticipated record number of students with total student enrollment already looking to top last year’s fall enrollment of 9,608. WCU’s official fall enrollment will be established on Friday, August 30th which is the 10th class day and the official census date as specified by the University of North Carolina General Administration. Freshmen move-in day will be on Friday, August 16 with an estimated 1,600 freshmen arriving on campus. Officials expect an extra 2,500 vehicles on the lower part of campus, and traffic is expected to be particularly heavy on and near campus between 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. The “Week of Welcome” activities set up by the A.K Hinds University Center include WCU’s annual Valley Balleyhoo event for students on the Central Plaza from 4 to 7 pm Saturday August 17th, which WRGC will be attending. The event will feature food vendors, live music, outdoor activities, and student and community organizations will share information and host give-aways. New students will be taking part in community service activities on and off campus. For more information on all events visit wow.wcu.edu and fye.wcu.edu online.