Play On Branding Campaign

SCC-JessicaWaldronThe Jackson County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) is excited to announce the launch of the “Play On” branding campaign.  Designed to attract target markets to the county’s unique attractions and amenities and to inspire the loyalty of existing residents and future visitors, the campaign includes advertising, marketing, public relations, social media, a redesigned logo, and a rebranded Website (www.mountainloversnc.com) to position Jackson County as a premiere tourist destination among outdoor enthusiasts.  New social media channels include Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Jackson County offers pristine hiking and biking trails, cascading waterfalls, a fly fishing trail, nationally acclaimed culinary talent, an antique trail, and more.  Located between the Great Smoky Mountains to the north and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the south, the idyllic mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire make up Jackson County. “The new branding strategy was developed to encourage travelers to make Jackson County the destination of their next outdoor adventure or vacation instead of a ‘stop over’ on the way to a different destination,” said Robert Jumper, chairman of the Jackson County TDA.  “The ‘Play On’ campaign highlights the area’s stunning natural resources and other exciting entertainment options for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and mountain lovers.” The “Play On” campaign is part of a comprehensive initiative by the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority with the professional guidance of internet marketing firm, Innsights; advertising firm, The Brandon Agency, and public relations agency, Pineapple Public Relations.  The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority was developed in January 2013 by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners in an effort to create a strategic marketing plan to enhance the tourism industry in JacksonCounty.

No Cause Determined In Fire

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort Fire

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort Fire

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

Food Stamp Deadline

NorthCarolinaSealNorth Carolina may have new troubles meeting a deadline from federal regulators demanding that backlogged food stamp applications be cleared. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos told a General Assembly oversight committee Wednesday social service offices had appeared on track to resolve the roughly 500 applications by next Monday. But now she’s worried news of additional pending applications in Guilford County could put a damper that goal. Wos says the Guilford applications hadn’t been entered into the state’s computer system for determining eligibility for government services. She didn’t immediately have a number on the additional household applications. The state met a deadline last month from the U.S. Agriculture Department to handle most pending applications or potentially lose funds to administer the program. Now USDA wants the remaining applications resolved.

Morris Broadband Contract

zeropoint_logoIf you flip on your Cable TV this Monday and your favorite channel isn’t working, there could be a good reason why. Morris Broadband, Jackson Counties primary Cable TV provider is currently in the middle of a Viacom contract renewal process. Viacom owns MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike TV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr,CMT, along with others. The contract ends March 31st. the channels can (and probably will) go dark on April 1st for an unspecified time due to contract negotiations. It seems this is the strategy of Viacom as Direct TV had the same issue last year with them as the channels went dark for 9 days.To get the latest info Morris Broadband visit www.morrisbroadband.com under customer updates. or go to www.tvonmyside.com for the latest information.

A Look At The New Facility

SMHS Performing Arts Center

SMHS Performing Arts Center

Randy Murphy who is the General Contractor for the new Gymnasium and Performing Arts Center at Smoky Mountain High School met with the media and County Manager Chuck Wooten to give an update on the final stages of the construction. Murphy expects construction activities to be completed this week. Murphy also complimented the local contractors for their exceptional work. County Manager Chuck Wooten expressed happiness with the outcome of the project. The new facility has been able to combine two facilities under the same roof which is more efficient. Wooten also complimented the contractors who have paid close attention to detail which has produced a beautiful facility. There is also potential for additional on site construction based upon the site master plan.  A ribbon cutting and grand opening is expected in mid April. The eleven point four million dollar building will seat 1500 for basketball and 754 for events in the Fine and Performing Arts Center.



 The New Facilities At A Glance




Multi-Use Room

Multi-Use Room

Lighting System In Theater

Lighting System In The Theater

Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center Seating


Locker Room


Wrestling Area


Orchestra Pit

Laura Lindsey Signs Scholarship

Laura Lindsey & Family

Laura Lindsey & Family

Smoky Mountain High School senior Laura Lindsey has signed a full scholarship to Berea College . She will wear number six and has already been practicing with the team. Berea College is a liberal arts work college in Berea, Kentucky, founded in 1855. Known for their very high standards and requirements for applicants. There are roughly 300 applicants for each student seat.

Closing Gap In NC Water Protection

Tennessee River

Tennessee River

For more than a decade, 20 million wetland acres and 2 million miles of streams – including many in North Carolina – were left unprotected, despite the federal Clean Water Act. Experts say the gap in coverage was the unintended result of two Supreme Court decisions. On Tuesday, the Obama administration proposed a new rule to clarify which types of water have Clean Water Act protection. ”This protects us moving forward,” said Tim Gestwicki, chief executive of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, “and certainly as North Carolina grows, this is going to be really important to protect the overall quality of life in North Carolina.” According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the rate of wetlands loss accelerated by 140 percent from 2004 to 2009, the years immediately following the Supreme Court rulings. A public comment period is expected to begin in a few weeks on the proposed rule. Jan Goldman-Carter, senior manager of wetlands and water resources for the National Wildlife Federation, said the the 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court decisions have confused and limited the scope of the Clean Water Act, making it much more difficult to maintain and restore the state’s streams, headwaters and freshwater wetlands. ”A lot of the really important trout streams, headwater systems and their adjacent wetlands under this rule are now clearly covered,” she said. “That will be a huge improvement in fish and wildlife habitat and clean water for North Carolina waters.” Gestwicki said the clarification this rule would provide extends beyond benefits to the land.  ”For mountain trout anglers to Piedmont bass enthusiasts and duck hunters in eastern North Carolina, this is a real important, critical step towards protecting our sporting heritage and our outdoor future in North Carolina,” he said. More than 242,000 miles of rivers and streams in North Carolina, and related recreation activities produce more than $3 billion a year in economic activity for the state.
Information about the new rule is online at www2.epa.gov/uswaters.

Culvert Work At SCC Continues

mapWork on a Culvert continues on at Southwestern Community College’s campus in front of the National Guard Armory as part of R-5000, a new road segment that will link N.C. 107 with N.C. 116 through the SCC campus.Within the next couple of weeks the contractor will remove the dike to turn the water back into the culvert, back-fill the culvert and stabilize the inlet and outlet slopes, NCDOT says Once the sides have been back-filled, a new sewer line will be laid over the culvert and the temporary aerial crossing, above, will be removed. The area will then be back-filled and the driveway paved.

WCU Telescope Viewing Party

Western_Carolina_University_sealWestern Carolina University’s Department of Chemistry and Physics will host an evening telescope viewing party beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Jackson County Airport overlooking the WCU campus. Part of the 2014 North Carolina Science Festival, the event is designed to give members of the campus and surrounding communities an up-close view of stars, the moon and the planets Mars and Jupiter through telescopes at various magnifications. The viewing is open free of charge, and members of the public are welcome to bring their own telescopes. In the event the evening is overcast, the viewing will be canceled. Young children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly. For more information about the viewing call 828) 227-2718.

NCHP Information Sessions Planned

Troop GThe North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troop G  Invites you to their open house at Reynolds Fire Department for informational sessions regarding employment with the Highway Patrol.  These sessions will be held at Reynolds Fire Department on April 26th and May 3rd from 9 am until 12 noon.  Troopers will discuss everything from basic qualifications of an applicant to retirement from the organization.  If being a North Carolina State Trooper has ever crossed your mind, or if it is something you have always wanted to do, come by and see us at one of these two sessions.  If you would like to speak to a recruiter, call Trooper Metcalf at (828) 234-5603.

Are You Susceptible To Scams?

Scam-Alert1If you haven’t already, chances are good that you’ll have a run-in with a scammer. It might be a phishing email asking you to click on a link, a phone call telling you your computer has been compromised, or a contractor who shows up at your door ready to trim your trees. Scams are everywhere. Each and every day, scammers are finding new and clever ways to cheat people out of their hard-earned money. While schemes are constantly changing, the characteristics of a scam victim remain fairly constant. Understanding what scam victims have in common can help you avoid being an “April Fool” and falling for the next scheme that comes your way. A few characteristics of someone who is more susceptible to scams are, they are afraid of being rude, they live alone, they don’t read the fine print and they rush into decisions. So, before you say yes to anything, The Better Business Bureau of Western North Carolina says think twice and be cautious! For more information and resources contact the BBB at 1-800-452-2882.

Precinct Change For Sylva

voteVoters in Sylva’s South Ward precinct will now go to the new Skyland Service Center to cast their ballots in the primary elections and not the Community Service Center as they have previously. The Jackson County Board of Elections sent postcards to each of the precinct’s 2,719 registered voters notifying them of the change. The election board moved to Skyland Service Center (previously Southern Lumber) early this year. That means a One-Stop Absentee Voting station also will be set-up there; state law requires early voting take place where a county election board’s offices are located. For the Tuesday, May 6, primary, one-stop stations will be open in the Cullowhee and Cashiers communities, too. A fourth station, in Cherokee, will probably will be added for the Nov. 4 general election. The deadline to register to vote in North Carolina is 25 days before Election Day.

Booze It & Lose It

NC Highway Patrol

NC Highway Patrol

The North Carolina Highway Patrol along with other local and state agencies have released numbers for their 2014 St. Patricks Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign. Jackson County had a total of 18 checkpoints and patrols with a total of 130 traffic stops with some nature of violation. Haywood County had 162 and Macon County with 108 citations.

WCU Renovations Moves Ahead

Buchanan Building

Buchanan Building

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has given its unanimous approval to allow university officials to proceed with planning and design for renovations and additions to Buchanan Residence Hall and Brown Building in the historic upper part of the Cullowhee campus. Work on the 56-year-old Buchanan Residence Hall will include renovation of existing space, which now provides 180 beds, and an addition of space for 300 beds to create an updated residence facility with 480 beds. The project is currently authorized with a $48 million price tag, but actual construction cost estimates will not be available until advance planning and initial design is complete.

Franklin Apartment Fire

FireAn adult and two children are without a home after a fire at an apartment complex in Franklin. Firefighters were called to the Panther View Apartments on Ulco Drive just after 9:00PM Sunday night. One apartment suffered heavy damage, and is a complete loss. Three other apartments nearby were evacuated, but those residents were allowed to return to their homes. There were no reports of serious injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Haywood County Church Fire

Sutton Town Baptist Church

Sutton Town Baptist Church

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office says a man accidentally burned down the historic Sutton Town Baptist Church in Waynesville Friday. Deputies say the fire started when the man’s burn pile got out of control. Deputies say dry conditions and wind helped the fire spread quickly. The church hadn’t been operational in several years and was destroyed by the flames. Deputies say the fire was ruled accidental and no charges will be filed.

Haywood County Murder

Crystal Brook Howell

Crystal Brook Howell

A 17-year-old MaggieValley teen has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her father. Crystal Brooke Howell was arrested Sunday in Richmond County, Georgia, on a HaywoodCounty warrant initially charging her with concealing the death of her father, 50-year-old Micheal Joseph Howell. Mr. Howell’s body was discovered by potential renters of his property at 497 Pless Underwood Road in the SheepbackMountain community near MaggieValley.  Local law enforcement received information about the incident Saturday afternoon. According to this morning’s preliminary autopsy findings, Howell died from a single shotgun wound to the head.  A murder warrant for Crystal Howell was issued a short time later. “This tragic event appears to have been an isolated incident,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher.  “There is no evidence to suggest any risk to other HaywoodCounty citizens.” The investigation unfolded quickly as Haywood County officers worked together on the case with Waynesville Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney’s office and Maggie Valley Fire Department, as well as sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Columbia counties, Georgia. “Hard work and cooperative effort brought this matter to a rapid conclusion,” said Sheriff Christopher.  Ms. Howell is being held in jail in Georgia while awaiting extradition proceedings.

GSMA Releases Report

gsma_logo-14527_185x185Closing the books on one of the organization’s most vexing years in its 61-year history, Great Smoky Mountains Association officials released details this week of its contributions to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 2013. “Aid-to-park for 2013 was $1,524,784, which represents another strong year of support, especially considering the circumstances,” said Executive Director Terry Maddox. He said they experienced a massive rain event that washed out a portion of the main park road in mid-January and kept that important transportation artery closed until April 15. Then, during their organization’s busiest month for sales by far, the federal government shutdown Oct. 1-16 that shuttered all our in-park retail operations.” While most visitors may not realize how often they interact with the many GSMA-supported projects ongoing in the park, Maddox said, visitors time in the park would be less fulfilling if the endeavors of GSMA were not pursued. Since its inception in 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has given nearly $32 million to support the ongoing educational, scientific and preservation efforts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Candidates Forum Held Thursday

Thursday's Candidates Forum

Thursday’s Candidates Forum

The six democrat candidates for sheriff of Jackson county appeared before a packed room of voters on Thursday evening in the community room at the Jackson County Public Library Complex in Sylva. They were joined by the Ron Robinson and Jane Hipps who are competing for the opportunity to take on incumbent State Senator Jim Davis. Also present were Democrat candidates for commissioner, clerk of court, register of deeds, district attorney, and NC House District 119. The forum was coordinated and moderated by the Democratic women of Jackson County.

Debnam Gets GOP Support

Jack Debnam

Jack Debnam

The Jackson County Republican Party will back incumbent county Commission Chairman Jack Debnam, an unaffiliated candidate, in this Novembers general election against former chairman and Democrat Brian McMahan. Debnam unseated McMahan in 2010 by 68 votes; he had the GOP’s support in the last election. The endorsement does not include financial help, according to local Republican Party Chairman Ralph Slaughter; nor did it during the election four-years ago. Debnam said he appreciated the GOP’s endorsement. Voter registration records show Debnam has voted in both Republican and Democrat primaries in past elections. Four years ago, Debnam gathered the signatures necessary for unaffiliated candidates to get their names on the ballot. He must do the same again, needing 1,008 signatures by June 27.