Sheriff Offers Back to School Safety Tips

Christopher_3519 3504 Hi JpegSheriff Greg Christopher of Haywood County offers some safety tips for those youngsters who will be walking back and forth to school this year.

“Parents can teach their children the following safety tips which will inform the youngsters of the danger signs to watch for and avoid when walking between school and home,” Sheriff Christopher said.

“Drivers should be cautious of children walking back and forth to school,” added the Sheriff. “We can all learn from the safety tips below and abide by them to make Hyawood County safer for all.”

• While walking, remember to always travel with a friend. Two heads are better than one, especially if there’s an emergency.

• A stranger is anyone you or your parents don’t know well.

• You or your friend must never take candy, money, medicine or anything else from a stranger.

• If a stranger in a car asks you questions, don’t get close to the car (you could get pulled in) – and never get in the car.

• Strangers can be very tricky – they can ask you to walk with them to “show” them something; they can offer to pay for your video game, or ask you to help them find a lost dog or cat. Don’t be fooled!

• Don’t tell anyone your name or address when you’re walking and don’t think that because someone knows your name that they know you – they may just be looking at your name printed on your lunch box, school bag or T-shirt.

• If you think you’re in any danger, yell, and run to the nearest store or “safe house” or back to school.

• Always tell your parents or teacher if a stranger has approached you.

“By taking the time to carefully prepare your child on how to handle these situations, you can insure your child’s safety whether they are on their way to school or home, playing on a playground or riding their bikes,” Sheriff Christopher concludes.

Haywood Community College Celebrates 50 years

Haywood Community College is pulling out all stops to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. with the Freedlander 5K and Fun Run, then continue with many activities throughout the day.

To satisfy attendees of all ages and interests, the celebration will have something for everyone.

Following the 5K, there will be live music beginning at 10 a.m., headlined by Joe Lasher Jr. and the Jeff Santiago Band, a classic car show, bounce houses, putt-putt golf, creative arts activities for adults and children, a photo booth, and a fishing tournament with cash prizes at the Millpond.

Adding to the festivities, the event will host a Timbersports demonstration featuring HCC’s Collegiate National Champion, Ben Kniceley, as well as a flag raising ceremony to honor HCC alumni.

“The goals of this event were defined early on and really drove the decision making process as to what we wanted to feature,” said Aaron Mabry, director of marketing and communications for the college. “We (HCC) wanted to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, invite the community, make every aspect of the event family friendly, honor the heritage and the alumni of the college. More than anything, outside of food and the 5K registration, we wanted the event to be free to the community.”

For the food, HCC has invited Dickey’s BBQ of Canton to cater the event. As a thank you from the college, HCC alumni who attend and provide their most up to date contact information (name, address, e-mail), will receive a $5 voucher for the purchase of food at the event. Also in attendance will be HCC’s Waynesville Soda Jerks, serving up their local, handcrafted artisan beverages.

“We’re extremely excited to invite the community to our campus and celebrate this community-wide milestone. Our mission began in 1965 and remains intact to this day- providing accessible, affordable, and high-quality education, workforce training, and lifelong learning. This event celebrates fifty years of achievement for the college, our alumni and ultimately, Haywood County,” said HCC President Barbara Parker.

Freedlander 5K, Fun Run
The Freedlander 5K is open to runners and walkers for both individuals and teams of four. All registrants in the 5K and Fun Run will receive a race t-shirt. To honor the heritage of the college, the T-shirt is a replica of the shirt given to runners of an HCC 5K in 1980.

The Fun Run is a .44 mile-walk/run that is designed for kids and older adults. All children completing the Fun Run will receive a finisher’s medallion at the finish line and race t-shirt. The Fun Run will start at 9:15 a.m.

Regular Registration for the 5K through Aug. 31 is $25. Late Registration is $30 from Sept. 1 – 19. Registration for the Fun Run is $15. Online registration at haywood.edu ends at midnight on September 17. Race day registration on-site is Sept. 19.

Heritage and Growth
HCC opened in August 1965 as Haywood Industrial Education Center with one curriculum program, nursing and 39 students. Today, HCC offers over 23 curricular programs to over 2,200 students.

More than 5,000 more students attend classes through the Workforce Continuing Education division, including College & Career Readiness, occupational courses, and community service programs.

The college offers some unique programs that are known not only throughout the state but nationally. The Professional Crafts programs of clay, fiber, jewelry and wood combines a unique blend of studio experience, classroom education, and hands-on business experience. Students gain the skills needed to start their own business or become valued, skilled employees in the craft industry.

Another unique area of study for HCC is the Arts, Sciences, and Natural Resources Department. With Associate degrees available in Fish and Wildlife Technology and Forest Management Technology, students come from many counties to be a part of these leading programs. The hands-on style gets students out of the classroom and allows them direct application of the skills learned, often making ties with professionals in the field.
Oftentimes, HCC alumni have jobs before finishing their programs of study.

Graduate Success
According to HCC 1999 Fish and Wildlife Management Technology graduate Shawn Martin, “As a student at HCC, you are able to build your resume while you are still in college. You get job offers before you finish the program. It’s a tough program. A lot of four-year programs don’t give students this kind of exposure.”

Martin is Sergeant of District 9 for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. He enjoys being able to give back to HCC by teaching some classes and speaking to the Natural Resources students. In addition, Martin is an adjunct Basic Law Enforcement instructor. He is certified in the state as a general law enforcement instructor and specialized firearms instructor for law enforcement.

For Donna Forga, 1991 HCC Business Administration graduate, the college was a stepping stone to continuing her education. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Language from UNCA. In 2000, she finished law school at Chapel Hill.

Forga is a District Judge for seven counties including: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain. She was first elected as District Court Judge in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.
Forga says that HCC taught her that she could succeed and overcome obstacles. “Without coming to HCC first, I would not have continued my education to become a lawyer then a judge. HCC showed me I could make the grades and balance being a parent while going to school.

Ben Kniceley, HCC 2014 Fish and Wildlife Management Technology and 2015 Forest Management Technology graduate, recently became the STIHL USA Collegiate Champion in Timbersports. He won the title competing in Central Park in New York against five other national qualifiers. This is the fourth HCC student to go to the nationals.

The next stop for Kniceley will be in Austria in November for the world championships. He will spend 2016 competing in the professional series. Kniceley works at the Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
He has worked for the Lumberjack Feud for three years. He also spent a summer working in Alaska for the company’s sister attraction, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.

“Being a community college, no one thinks any good can come out of it,” Kniceley says. “But travelling with the school’s timbersports team, Haywood is the team everyone wants to beat.”

At HCC, we know education changes everything. Graduates from the college work throughout Haywood County in many offices such as medical, accountants, and cosmetologists. They also work on cars, build houses, and make a living from their creative artistry. The college would love to hear from these graduates and know what they are doing now.

For more information about HCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, please visit haywood.edu/50. If you would like to share your HCC story with us, please call 828.627.4679 or email dconard@haywood.edu.

Famers should have corn tested

Dry weather means that farmers are harvesting their corn a little earlier this year. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin to prevent contamination of feeds and food.

Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock.
“Corn that has been harvested from areas that suffer from drought will be highly susceptible to aflatoxin,” said Troxler. “Farmers in drought–stricken areas are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this testing. We have six drop-off locations at research stations across the state to make it easy for farmers to submit samples.”

Some farmers may need to have corn samples tested for crop insurance or quality assurance purposes. These samples must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tests cost $22.20 per sample.
For insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location. The following locations can conduct USDA-certified testing, and they will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays:
Cargill Soybean Plant
Attn: Jason Jernigan
1400 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
Grain Grading Office
Attn: Judy Grimes
407-G South Griffin St.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. This Laboratory is not on the Risk Management Agency’s approved testing facility list; therefore, results from this location will not be accepted for insurance claims.

Farmers may drop off 5-pound samples of shelled corn at the Constable Laboratory or at one of six agricultural research stations. Forms for submitting samples will be available at the laboratory and the following collection sites:
• Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-648-4703;
• Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, 252-348-2213;
• Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, 252-793-4118;
• Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, 252-527-3579;
• Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, 704-278-2624;
• Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, 828-684-3562.
Samples mailed via the US Postal Service should be sent to:
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Food and Drug Protection Division
Attn: Forage Testing
1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070
Samples mailed via FedEx or UPS should be sent to:
Forage Testing, NCDA&CS
4000 Reedy Creek Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27607
For more information about the aflatoxin testing program, call George Ferguson, feed compliance officer, 919-733-7366.

Mountain State Fair offers new attractions, rides and more

Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the WNC Agricultural Center for the N.C. Mountain State Fair to celebrate the people, agriculture and traditions of Western North Carolina. This year, organizers are adding new rides, attractions and exhibits to the lineup of annual favorites.
“This year, we’ve brought in several new attractions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We’ve also expanded the footprint of Heritage Circle to highlight even more traditional crafters that continue to add to the region’s rich culture.”

Heritage Circle adds exhibitors

Heritage Circle will feature craftspeople offering daily demonstrations, ranging from molasses making and blacksmithing to pottery and basket weaving. New exhibitors will demonstrate traditional canoe-building techniques and teach fairgoers how to dye fabrics using natural materials. Visitors will have a chance to ask artisans about their crafts and the traditions intertwined with the mountains of North Carolina. In addition, visitors can purchase unique handmade gifts from exhibitors.

New attractions on midway

The midway is one of the more popular draws for many visitors. James H. Drew Exposition will return with a full midway featuring more than 40 rides and carnival games for the whole family. Crowd favorites, such as the chair lift and Seattle wheel, will return along with three new family-friendly attractions:

The Balloon Ferris Wheel, a pint-sized Ferris wheel, has eight enclosed cars that rotate around a smiling sun.
The Lollipop Swing, another miniature version of a popular fair attraction, will send children soaring through the air in seats attached to colorful lollipop arms.
The Black Forest Fun House offers children a unique place to explore and have fun.
Ice Cream Eating Contest

One of the new competitions is the Ice Cream Eating Contest, sponsored by PET and Ingles. The contest will be held in the Davis Event Center at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Anyone 5 and older attending the fair the day of the contest is eligible to participate, but space is limited. Registration will take place the day of the event, and all contestants must be registered by 6 p.m. The competition has five categories: ages 5-7; 8-12; 13-17; 18 and older; and celebrity. Trophies will be awarded to winners, and ribbons will be given to second- and third-place finishers in each category.

New performances aim to educate and dazzle

The fair will have four new performing attractions in 2015:

The Mobile Dairy Classroom teaches children about the dairy industry with the help of a live dairy cow. Instructors demonstrate how to milk a cow, describe how milk gets from the farm to the consumer, and answer questions from the audience.
Horses Horses Horses! is a performance featuring 12 miniature stallions, a Friesian horse and a black Arabian horse. The horses will waltz, dance and perform other tricks to the delight of the crowd.
Hansen’s Spectacular Acrobatic Sensations joins the entertainment lineup with lots of high-flying aerial acts. The act includes juggling, trampoline routines, skating tricks and cloud-swinging.
Rowdy Rooster and his sidekick, Diesel the Weasel, perform an interactive puppet show that’s well-suited for families with small children.
Save money with advance tickets

The 2015 N.C. Mountain State Fair runs Sept. 11-20 at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher. Advance tickets are now available at area Ingles stores, the WNC Agricultural Center and the WNC Farmers Market. Fairgoers can save $2 on admission tickets and 50 percent on ride tickets by purchasing in advance. More information about the fair is available at www.mountainfair.org.

WCU Potential for 4th Year of Record Enrollment

The potential exists for a fourth straight year of record enrollment as the Western Carolina University community prepares to welcome new and returning students for the start of the fall semester.
Fall classes start Monday, Aug. 17, but WCU’s official student headcount will be an unknown until the 10th class day Friday, Aug. 28, which is “census day” as specified by the University of North Carolina General Administration. Current indicators point to the possibility of another all-time high for WCU’s total enrollment, said Phil Cauley, the university’s director of student recruitment.

The recent upward trend in enrollment began in 2012, when 9,608 students attended WCU, followed by 10,107 in 2013 and 10,382 last year. At this time of year, student registration totals ebb and flow as final orientation sessions, course change periods, drop for nonpayment and late registration occur, Cauley said. “Stronger retention rates in the large entering first-year classes in recent years, solid transfer numbers and healthy distance learning registrations could add up to another total record enrollment,” he said.

Last year’s freshman class at WCU exceeded expectations at 1,745 students, the largest class of first-year students since an enrollment boom of the post-Vietnam mid-1970s, Cauley said. “While this fall’s entering first-year class will not challenge last year’s total, the fall 2015 entering class is expected to be the second- or third-largest entering class since the 1970s,” he said.

Former Harrah’s Employee Convicted of Embezzlement

Keith Alan Franklin, 27, of Waynesville was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $400,000 from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino while he was an employee. He must also pay $475,000 in restitution to the casino.

In a sentencing hearing Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Asheville, Franklin was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Franklin pleaded guilty to theft by an employee of gaming establishments on Indian lands.

Franklin was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after he leaves prison.

According to court records, Franklin embezzled money from Harrah’s from October 2013 to April 2014. Franklin was employed at Harrah’s and had direct access to the casino’s funds during this period, according to court documents.

Franklin was fired in April 2014 and pleaded guilty in October 2014 to the embezzlement charge.

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

The U.S. Secret service handled the investigation, assisted by the Cherokee police.

Homicide Arrest in Cullowhee

On August 12, 2015 Deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence located on Setting Sun Lane, Cullowhee, North Carolina. Deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office along with Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation located Jennifer Sellers deceased inside the residence. Also located at the residence was eighteen year old Daniel Sellers, the son of Jennifer Sellers.

Upon further investigation investigators obtained sufficient probable cause to arrest Daniel Sellers. Daniel Sellers has been charged with murder and is being transferred from the Jackson County Detention Center to a North Carolina Department of Corrections facility that is better suited to meet his medical needs. This is an ongoing investigation.

Buncombe Commissioner Holly Jones to run for Lt. Governor

Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones announced today that she is entering the race for Lieutenant Governor. Jones, who has spent the last 14 years serving in local government, said she is running because of the General Assembly’s constant meddling in local affairs. She says that Raleigh needs new leaders who better understand and respect the role of local government instead of partisans who just want to score political points.

“As County Commissioner, I’ve seen firsthand the damage these legislators have done to our counties,” Jones said. “In 2011, Buncombe became ground zero for their heavy-handed tactics. They’re playing politics while we’re trying to govern.”
Jones says the legislature redistricted Buncombe County, meddled in airport business, and even tried to seize Asheville’s water supply, a multi-million-dollar asset. She also points to redistricting in Wake County and Greensboro, as well as changing nonpartisan elections to partisan ones in Lee County.

Jones also criticized Republicans for cutting budgets that pass expenses to local governments. She called them unfunded mandates, and said they hurt the state as a whole.

“In their ideological zeal, Republican legislators have slashed public education, leaving our schools underfunded and our teachers underpaid,” said Jones. “They’ve short-changed our children and our future.”

Jones was elected to the Buncombe County Commission in 2008, and before that, spent seven years on the Asheville City Council, including two as Vice Mayor. During her tenure, Asheville and Buncombe County have seen impressive economic growth. In the last five years, Jones and her colleagues have created 2,860 jobs paying an average of $44,667 a year, and Buncombe County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state. They have accomplished this while passing the state’s most ambitious carbon emission reduction goals and awarding teachers among the dozen highest salary supplements of any county.

Jones is the Director of Member Services for YWCA USA. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Southeast Region and Executive Director of the Asheville YWCA. She began her career as a public health educator in Durham after obtaining her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and a Masters of Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill. Jones also has a Masters in Divinity from Duke University and spent three years doing mission work.

“I’ve never been one to sit idly by, and I’m certainly not going to now,” Jones said. “I’m ready to fight to put North Carolina back on the right track, and to bring the Buncombe success story to the rest of the state.”
Jones grew up in Wadesboro and Asheboro, the daughter of a public school teacher and a former state senator and county commissioner. For the last 19 years, Jones has made her home in Asheville, where she lives with her husband, Bob Falls, and their daughter, Gabriela.

Haywood County High Speed Motorcycle Chase

Monday Waynesville Police and Highway Patrol were led on a high speed chase involving a stolen motorcycle. They are still looking for the driver who was involved in a high-speed pursuit along U.S. 23 /19 and U.S. Business 23.

Trooper Hunter Hooper attempted to stop a pair of motorcycles for speeding as they were headed east on U.S. 19/23. One of the riders fled, reaching speeds in excess of 140 mph.

During the chase, a car got between the trooper and the motorcycle who was fleeing and the officer lost sight of it near the 100 mile marker. Another trooper picked up the chase near the 102 mile marker and followed it.

The motorcyclist turned off on Howell Mill Road, which is in the midst of construction renovations. The driver, described only as a white male wearing a white full face helmet and black vest, ditched the bike in a motorcycle-parking shed behind the Evergreen Packaging plant.

He left the cycle running with the keys in the ignition and took off on foot. Despite an extensive search of the surrounding area by Waynesville police officers and Highway Patrol troopers, the suspect could not be found.

The blue Yamaha sport bike was reported stolen from Tennessee, and carried Florida plates set to expire in August 2015.

The incident is still under investigation.

Abducted Jackson County Girl Found

A missing girl has been found. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office wants to report that Phoenix Coralee Crawford has been located in Greenville, South Carolina.

Investigators with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office while following up on leads for the whereabouts of Phoenix Coralee Crawford and her mother, Samantha Diane Crawford were able to determine a possible location.

With the assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Investigators were able to locate Phoenix Coralee Crawford and Samantha Diane Crawford. Currently Samantha Diane Crawford is in custody in Greenville, South Carolina awaiting extradition back to Jackson County, North Carolina. Phoenix Coralee Crawford is in good health and is being reunited with her family.

New Traffic Pattern at SCC for Back to School

Due to the ongoing nature of multiple construction projects on and around the Jackson Campus, Southwestern Community College officials encourage faculty, staff, students and visitors to check the college’s website and social media outlets for updates before fall semester classes start on Monday, Aug. 17.

Road construction related to the R5000 project will not be completed before fall classes begin, so there will be only one entrance into the Jackson Campus. The middle turn lane from NC Highway 116 has been shortened to roughly 2-3 car lengths, so vehicles waiting to turn left into College Drive will spill into the primary westbound lane at peak traffic times in the morning hours of school days.

R5000 as well as other on-campus construction projects will also alter both pedestrian and vehicle traffic patterns.

Governor Announces New Transportation Secretary

The acting secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation will assume permanent leadership over the agency a week after the former head Tony Tata resigned to focus time on his writing career.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday to a meeting of the state Board of Transportation that Nick Tennyson, a former chief deputy secretary of the department, would assume the top job full-time.

Tennyson has been a supporter of the governor’s proposal to borrow almost $3 billion for road and infrastructure projects. The House recently unveiled a similar proposal focused more on infrastructure.

Fatal Accident in Franklin Claims Mother and Son

A traffic crash in Macon County claimed the lives of a mother and son from Franklin.

Troopers say a van and a suburban collided Wednesday afternoon on Highway 64, also known as Highlands Road. The accident happened about 2pm near the entrance to the Riverbend RV Park and Campground.

They say the van, driven by 16 year old Caleb Sloope, was heading west when it ran off the road. Authorities say Sloope over-corrected and rolled the van into the path of the suburban, which was heading east.

Caleb Sloope’s mother, Joy, was in passenger seat and died at the scene. The highway patrol says Caleb Sloope died later at the hospital. His sister, 17 year old Cameron is in critical condition at Mission Hospital, but expected to live.

86 year old Herwart Hugel and his 80 year old wife Ingrid were taken to Mission Hospital.

N.C. wine and grape industry has $1.71-billion impact on state’s economy

Wine lovers may raise a glass to a new report that shows the North Carolina wine and grape industry contributes $1.71 billion to the state’s economy.

“It is encouraging to see continued growth in the wine and grape industry, not only for our wineries, but also for our grape growers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “More than 77 percent of all wine produced in North Carolina comes from North Carolina grapes.”

The study was commissioned by the N.C. Wine and Grape Council and conducted by Frank, Rimerman + Co. using data from 2013. The firm also conducted the council’s 2009 economic impact study.

The economic impact of the industry grew 33.6 percent from 2009 to 2013.

Tourism accounted for the most significant increase in the study. Between 2009 and 2013, tourism expenditures increased 65 percent, to $257 million. The number of tourists visiting N.C. wineries increased by nearly a half-million people from 2009 to 2013.

“Many of our wineries are opening up their vineyards to wine-related events, private parties, weddings and other special occasions to attract more visitors and diversify their income,” said Whit Winslow, executive director of the Wine and Grape Council. “The new numbers reflect an increase in consumer demand for experiences beyond the tasting room.”

According to the report, North Carolina is home to 130 wineries and 525 commercial grape growers. Winslow said that because of substantial growth over the past two years, North Carolina now has 159 wineries.

There will be plenty of opportunities to visit local wineries in September as the state celebrates North Carolina Wine and Grape Month. The harvest season will be under way, and visitors can participate in grape stomps, wine festivals and other events at many of the state’s wineries. In addition, the N.C. Wine and Grape Council will sponsor Grape Day at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on Sept. 18. The council also will hold the annual N.C. State Fair Wine Competition for amateur and commercial wine producers. Judging will take place Sept. 2 and 3 in Raleigh.

Missing Haywood County Man’s Body Found in Creek

Searchers found the body of a missing Haywood County Man in a creek on Monday afternoon.

Johnnie Rathbone, 67, of Mauney Cove Road was reported missing by family on Monday after not having heard from him since Saturday.

During a routine patrol, a Haywood County deputy found Rathbone’s car around 2:45pm at a parking area off US 19 near Lake Junaluska. Search and Rescue personnel found Rathbone’s body at about 5pm in Richland Creek, about 200 yards away from his car.

An autopsy will be performed to verify his cause of death.

Fly Fishing Museum Opens in Cherokee NC

Cherokee NC’s newest attraction – the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians – is now open. Through exhibits and videos visitors will learn about past fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast.

The museum is open daily (off-season schedule may vary). The website, FlyFishingMuseum.org, has hours of operation, directions, and exhibit information, as well as membership and donation opportunities.

The museum is the recipient of start-up grants from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and tremendous support from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Two other large donations include a grant for the Tailrace Exhibit from Tennessee Valley Authority, and a $20,000 donation by Southern Trout Magazine.

“We’re pleased that Southern Trout has been so generous in its support of the museum,” says curator Alen Baker. “The donation is largely in the form of advertising, which is great for the museum as the magazine is well-read by fly fishermen.”

The museum is centrally located in Cherokee – next door to the Visitor Center, and across from the Fairgrounds and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The back deck of the museum building overlooks the Oconaluftee River; and the Museum is within walking distance of Oconaluftee Islands Park.

Cherokee is the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and some of Western North Carolina’s most acclaimed trout waters.

SCC Foundation’s gala nets more than $51,000 to support student scholarships

Thanks to a significant contribution from presenting sponsor Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and the generosity of more than 180 attendees on July 25, the Southwestern Community College Foundation’s “Bluegrass, Blue Jeans & Bling” gala yielded more than $51,000 that will be used to create the $1 million endowed Student Success fund.

Harrah’s presenting sponsorship allowed the SCC Foundation to put about 90 percent of funds raised directly into the Student Success Campaign – the most ambitious fundraising effort in college history.

“We are so grateful for the phenomenal support and hospitality of everyone at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort,” said Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC. “Everyone seemed to have a wonderful evening, and we’re thrilled to have been able to raise this much money to benefit our students.”

The gala served as an unofficial kickoff to Phase 2 of the Student Success Campaign, which aims to raise more than $1 million. SCC successfully completed Phase 1 by fully leveraging a federal matching grant in October.

That U.S. Department of Education challenge grant doubled the first $300,000 raised by the campaign, which now has more than $700,000 in the bank.

“We’re well on our way in the ‘March to a Million,’” said Brett Woods, director of the SCC Foundation. “I continue to be humbled by the generosity of people in our community who recognize the value of Southwestern and the way we serve Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties and the Qualla Boundary.”

For the upcoming (2015-16) academic year, 226 students applied for scholarships through the SCC Foundation. Enough resources were available to fund just 61 of those requests.

The Student Success Campaign is an effort to bridge that gap between need and availability. Interest from the money raised so far is being used to fund two scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year.

“We want to do more, and we need help from the community to reach the million-dollar mark,” said Lynda Parlett, executive director of institutional development at SCC. “Our ultimate goal is to someday be able to offer a hand up to every one of our students who needs it.”

Author of ‘The Other Wes Moore’ to speak at WCU’s New Student Convocation

Wes Moore, author of The New York Times bestselling book “The Other Wes Moore,” will visit Western Carolina University to deliver the keynote address during the university’s annual New Student Convocation on Friday, Aug. 14.
Members of WCU’s incoming freshman class and new transfer students will have an opportunity to hear Moore’s perspectives during the convocation set for 5:30 p.m. in Ramsey Regional Activity Center. The event is open to everyone.
“The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” is the true story of two young boys who grew up with the same name and in the same city. One of the boys, the Wes Moore who wrote the book, escaped the pitfalls of being raised in a rough neighborhood and became a Rhodes Scholar, decorated military combat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader. He now lives in Baltimore with his wife and two children. The other Wes Moore is currently serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder.
WCU’s new freshmen have been reading Moore’s book his summer as they participate in the university’s “One Book” program. The students received a free copy of the bestseller during June orientation sessions and they are expected to engage in a “common intellectual conversation” about the book as it is incorporated into many first-year courses, said Glenda Hensley, director of WCU’s Office of First Year Experience.
Hensley’s office directs the “One Book” program, which is sponsored by WCU’s Division of Student Success.
Lowell K. Davis, WCU’s assistant vice chancellor for student success, said Moore’s story “compels readers to imagine the many potentials of their own lives and understand the opportunities that are a part of every day.”
“It is my hope that the selection of ‘The Other Wes Moore’ as our ‘One Book’ for this academic year will lead students to this kind of self-reflection and impact the way they make choices during their time here at Western, and beyond,” Davis said.
The Aug. 14 convocation also will include remarks from WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher and university Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar.
A few weeks after the convocation, students will participate in roundtable discussions about the book at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center and at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, in the Blue Ridge Hall conference room. Other panel discussions are planned for September and October.

NCDOT Accepting Proposals for Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grants

The N.C. Department of Transportation is accepting proposals from communities for the 2016 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. The program provides funding for municipalities across the state to develop comprehensive bicycle or pedestrian plans. Smaller communities with populations of less than 5,000 can also apply to develop combined bicycle and pedestrian plans.

The deadline for application, to be submitted electronically, is Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. Award recipients will be notified by March 2016.

“These plans have a positive impact on the economy, health and safety; and are the first steps in laying the groundwork for future projects that promote options for bicycling and walking locally,” said Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Director Lauren Blackburn.

This program is sponsored by the department’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and the Transportation Planning Branch. Since 2004, nearly $4.5 million has been awarded through this program to 164 municipalities across the state.

Proposals are divided and judged in geographical groups to help establish equitable distribution of funding across the state. The selected awardees commonly incorporate a diverse mix of municipalities from large cities to small towns.

Plans funded are not for one specific project, but represent a comprehensive strategy for expanding bicycle and pedestrian opportunities within a given municipality. The plans address facilities, programs, policies and design guidelines that encourage safe walking and bicycling.

Investigation into Suspicious Package at Cashiers Bank

On August 3, 2015, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Jackson County Emergency Management Office and informed of a suspicious package at Macon Bank, 500 US Highway 64 East in Cashiers, North Carolina. The Cashiers/Glenville Fire Department was already on scene at the bank and was speaking with bank personnel. A determination was made to proceed with protocol dealing with unknown and suspicious packages.

Deputy Sheriffs arrived on scene and along with fire personnel set up a secure area around the bank and adjacent areas. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was contacted to respond with their bomb unit.

During the course of the investigation into the package, a determination was made the package had potential to have been an unscheduled weekend delivery. As a result, the package was examined and determined no longer be suspicious. The scene was cleared and business at the bank was allowed to resume to normal.