Some will remain without power until Friday night
(1-/31/13) Some Western North Carolina residents will be without power for another night. According to Duke Energy, power has been restored to some communities but others will not receive service restoration until tomorrow evening. Page Layne with Duke Energy gives WRGC a timeline of repair and options on how to deal with the cold weather tonight. To contact Duke energy call 1-800-POWERON.
Former Superintendent and Rotarian Charles (Charlie) McConnell Jr. passes away
(1/31/13) Last night, Charlie McConnell called WRGC Radio to let us know that the basketball game between Smoky Mountain High School and West Henderson had been canceled. Always the community servant even to the very end.
This morning, Charlie McConnell has passed away.
McConnell is a dear friend of WRGC Radio. It was just a few months ago that Charlie appeared on our 540 Focus Legends Program and talked about some of his experiences as the Superintendent of Haywood County Schools and the rivalery between Tuscola and Pisgah High Schools. He also talked about his experiences being a team mate of WCU’s legnedary basketball player Henry Logan; including the significant role Logan played in the intergration of colleges in the conference.
Fellow Rotarians at WRGC Radio, Roy Burnette and Margaret Agee, incoming Sylva Rotary Club Recording Secretary, express deep sadness upon hearing the news of Charlie McConnell’s death. Agee said, “Charlie made anyone he met immediately feel at home. I enjoyed my time with him in Rotary and in the community.” Roy Burnette added, “Charlie was one of those rare individuals that you have the privilege of knowing in a lifetime. He will be deeply missed.”
Power outage numbers in the thousands for Western North Carolina
(1/31/13) Duke Power is reporting close to 3,000 customers without power in Jackson County as of Thursday morning. Swain County has almost 2,100 customers in the dark. Progress Energy is also reporting multiple outages between Haywood County and Black Mountain. Some local hotels are offering discounted room rates for locals without power.
Most of Western North Carolina hit hard by thunderstorms
(1/30/13) Most of Western North Carolina is under multiple severe weather watches and warnings. Get your weather updates by logging on to WRGC.com.
Prepare for more rain tonight
(1/30/13) The weather Tuesday night and into Wednesday could be dangerous with winds gusting to 40 miles per hour and two inches of rain in the next 24 hours. Local emergency personnel are keeping an eye on the weather and an ear on the pager radio. The Ray and Roy Radio Morning Show will keep everyone posted on conditions first thing Wednesday. The station will be fully staffed on Wednesday to keep everyone posted with conditions.
SCC Chemistry Instructor wins Excellence in Teaching Award
(1/30/13) Deanne Oppermann, chemistry instructor at Southwestern Community College (SCC) in Sylva, was named the recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award for 2012-2013 by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS).
Oppermann is known at SCC for embracing multiple teaching styles and incorporating mastery learning, the philosophy of providing more than one chance to demonstrate mastery of content or skill, into her courses. However, Oppermann’s passion for teaching goes beyond the classroom. Her passion for teaching is solidified by her interaction with students during the advising process and the countless professional development hours she logs to improve student learning and stay current in her field. Oppermann has been an educator at SCC for 17 years, with six years’ experience in the industry as a research chemist. She also holds a U.S. Patent based on novel chemical surfactants.
“It is with great pride that we recognize Deanne for this prestigious award. One of our primary goals at Southwestern Community College is to identify, attract and retain instructors who are knowledgeable, approachable and have a sincere passion for learning and the learning process,” says Dr. Don Tomas, president. “We are all very proud of Deanne and thankful that she is part of the SCC team.”
The R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1985 by the NCCCS. Provided by financial support from R.J. Reynolds, the Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes full-time teachers who exemplify the highest standards of instruction and professionalism in the classroom, while also consistently demonstrating their excellence in service to their colleges and communities.
“I am humbled, honored, and excited to have been selected as the 2012-2013 NCCCS Excellence in Teaching recipient,” Oppermann said. “The true reward of teaching comes from making a positive difference in my students’ lives.”
Over the past few months, Opermann has worked diligently to organize documentation, collect letters of reference, and complete a series of mini-essays addressing seven different criteria required for the statewide award. After submission to the state review committee and several interviews, she was chosen as one of the five finalists for the award from a field of fifty-eight candidates, one from each community college in the state. Oppermann traveled to Raleigh for a finalist interview on December 14 and was notified on January 18, 2013, that she had been chosen as the 2012-2013 recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award.
“Deanne Oppermann is a superstar in the classroom. Because Dee has NEVER mistaken activity for achievement, every activity she connects with (and there are many) leads to something spectacular for the student,” says Cheryl Contino-Conner, Director of Student Support Services and Honors Program at SCC. “As an instructor, an advisor and a champion of SCC’s Honors Program, Dee Oppermann is simply the best when it comes to student service and teaching/learning at SCC. We are very lucky to have her, and I say that as a colleague and as a friend.”
Oppermann will receive an $8,000 stipend, $2,000 contribution to Southwestern Community College and a commemorative plaque.
Southwestern Community College is proud to have instructors like Deanne Oppermann who put learning first and support students in reaching their education and personal goals.
Newfound Gap Road landslide making progress on repairs
(1/29/13) Heavy rains over the past month caused dozens of landslides all over the Southeast. One of the biggest slides happened in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. A portion of the Newfound Gap road in the park was washed away. Progress has been made to rebuild and reopen the road. One work contract has already been awarded for the initial cleanup, stabilization and safe access to the slide. APAC construction was awarded the $200,000 contact with completion of the first phase to take a few weeks.
The major repair and construction is in the pre-solicitation phase from the Federal Highways Administration. This construction and repair job is estimated to cost between $3,000,000 and $7,000,000. Mid February is when the contract should be awarded, with the middle of summer being an estimated completion date nd reopening of the road.
Smoky Mountain High School basketball plays make up games
(1/29/13) Smoky Mountain High School basketball teams will travel to West Henderson on Wednesday to play make up games. Last Thursday was the original day for these games but the eventual ice storm caused the cancelation and reschedule. All teams will play including both JV and Varsity teams. Tune to 540am WRGC or log on to WRGC.com starting at 6pm Wednesday to follow all the Basketball action from West Henderson.
Vandals destroy land on Max Patch Bald
(1/29/13) Since December The National Forrest has been dealing with unauthorized off highway vehicle in the Max Patch area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Fences torn down, Barb wire cut, and signs and post being ripped from the ground have all taken place as these vandals have ripped, torn and rutted the “bald” that is a part of the Appalachian Trail. Tina Tilley District Ranger talks with WRGC about how the Park and its Rangers are dealing with the situation… Some suspects have been questioned and the park is looking into a more permanent barrier for motor vehicles.
Sylva funeral home owner indicted by Grand Jury
(1/28/13) The ongoing case of Reginald Moody and Moody Funeral Home in Sylva reached the Grand Jury last week. The Grand Jury indicted Mr. Moody on 24 counts of “Obtaining Property By False Pretenses”. The case deals with false funeral home practices and failure to produce services and headstones for Moody Funeral for customers. Moody was arrested and held on a secure bond of $38,000.
Non-profit veterans service group raises over $3,000 over weekend
(1/28/13) Even though the severe weather closed schools and many other offices and businesses on Friday, in Haywood County, a fundraiser for a local veterans charity went off without a hitch. The Waynesville Elks lodge along with The Dixie Beard and Mustache Society as well as the stars of hit show “Moonshiners” and local country band My Highway raised close to $3,000 on Friday Night for the non-profit veterans organization Warrior Service Dogs. WRGC spoke with the president of the DBMS Aarron Stone about the organizations involvement in the fund raiser and how it snowballed into a huge event………….WRGC also spoke to co-founders of Warrior Service dogs Mike Ferguson and Shane Cox about the new organization……….Warrior Service Dogs already has provided over a half a dozen veterans with trained service dogs.3
Association of Broadcasters offering scholarships for aspiring broadcasters
(1/25/13) NCAB continues the tradition of offering two $10,000 scholarships for students pursuing a career in broadcasting. The “NCAB Scholarship” and the “Broadcasters Scholarship” are defined below.
• The “NCAB Scholarship” will be awarded to the child of a Regular, Affiliate or Associate Member of NCAB. The parent must have completed at least one year of continuous service with the member company by January 31, 2013, and continue to be employed at the time of the award.
• The “Broadcasters Scholarship” will be awarded to a student who has been recommended by a Regular, Affiliate or Associate Member of NCAB, regardless of the employment of their parent. The NCAB member who is recommending the applicant must include their statement on page 2 of this application form.
Please let your employees know about the program at your next staff meeting, and be sure to post the enclosed scholarship program flyer on bulletin boards in your office and around your facility. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 29.
Inclement weather has caused many accidents throughout the southeast
(1/25/13) Todd Dillard advises drivers to follow suggested safe driving techniques while driving in adverse weather.
Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
Even the most experienced drivers sometimes cannot compete with mother nature. Including Tennessee Department of Transportation drivers. This particular TN DOT crew took a spill when hitting a large patch of black ice just outside of Knoxville. Picture by @lucky13wxman
Department of Transportation reports for slide clean-up
(1/25/13) There were nearly eighty slides in Jackson and Swain counties last week caused by the heavy system of rain that moved through the area. DOT crews have been busy evaluating each slide and developing estimates on the cleanup of each affected area. The report was submitted to the Division on Thursday. From there a decision will be made concerning which slides can be removed by DOT Employees, and which slide clean-up procedures need to be contracted. This cleanup will take several weeks to complete and will infuse the area with additional capital for equipment operators and truckers.
NCDOT prepared for winter event
(1/25/13) Statewide, more than 1,900 trucks are equipped with snow plows and graders in addition to 325 front-end loaders and backhoes and 450 motor graders.NCDOT has 146,50 tons of salt on hand. A typical statewide frozen precipitation event requires 40,000 tons of salt. Here’s what crews are doing across the state to prepare for the storm: North Carolina Mountains and Foothills: * Crews are treating major roadways across the mountains and foothillswith brine. Once that is completed, equipment will be refitted with plows and spreaders and be on standby until needed.
BUSINESS AND SERVICE CLOSINGS:(1-25-2013)
Cullowhee Valley 7th grade fundraiser tonight with Hoss Howard – Canceled
Cullowhee and Cashiers Recreation Centers- Closing at 5 pm and will reopen tomorrow at 9am
Jackson County Solid Waste Facilities- Closing at 4pm
All Jackson County Offices- Closing at 4pm
Waynesville Recreation Center- Closed
Old Armory Recreation Center-Closed
Meridian Health Services – All area offices Closed
Family Night at the Black Mountain Baptist Church – Canceled
Jackson County Health Department Clinics- Canceled but department is open
Sylva Family Practice- Closed
Jackson County Public Library- Closed
Upward registration session tonight- Canceled and will be rescheduled
Mountain Valley Surgery-Closed
Center for Family Medicine-Closed
Western Carolina Pulmonary -Closed
Sylva Medical Center-Closed
The Community Table – Closed
Jackson County Meals on Wheels & the Senior Cafe- Closed
Jackson County Adult Daycare- Closed
United Christian Ministries- Closed
Jackson County Minor Traffic Court – Canceled
Haywood County Meals on Wheels- Closed
Macon County Public Library- Closed
Cashiers Library- Closed
SMHS FCA Prayer Breakfast on Saturday- Canceled
License Plate Agencies in Sylva and Franklin – Closed
Hooper’s Downtown Restaurant- Closing at 3pmIf your business is closed or will be closing due to inclement weather let us know here at 540 A-M WRGC by calling us (828)586-2221 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
SCHOOL CLOSINGS: (1-25-2013)
Jackson County – Closed/OTWD
Swain County – Closed/OTWD
Macon County – Closed/OTWD
Haywood County – Closed/OTWD
Clay County – Closed/OTWD
Graham County – Closed/OTWD
Southwestern Community College (Day)-Closed
Southwestern Community College(Evening)-Closed
Haywood Community College(Day) – Closed
Haywood Community College(Evening )- Closed
Western Carolina University – Closed
Friday morning ice cancels class for most Western North Carolina school systems
(1/25/13) More winter weather has yet again canceled class in most Western North Carolina Schools. Some schools also canceled sporting events Thursday night in anticipation of the ice. Accidents are also being reported all over the county. From Cowee Mountain, to Dillsboro to Cullowhee, area first responders are hard at work. Emergency Management Director Todd Dillard reported to WRGC to be extremely carful on the side roads. According to the weather service, tempretures are not expected to reach above freezing today with precipitation to continue in to the evening. Most of Western North Carolina is under a Winter Weather Advisory until 11:00pm Friday night.
State of Emergency declared for Western North Carolina counties following landslide
(1/24/13) Newly elected Governor Pat McCory signed a State of Emergency for some Western North Carolina Counties on Wednesday. With last week’s extensive rain, a portion of Highway 441 was washed away causing the closer of both lanes of that stretch of highway. The slide took place inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park near the Newfound Gap area. According to the GSMNP, as of last Thursday, January 17, the slide was still active with onlookers viewing slide activity. The State of Emergency is declared in parts of Graham, Jackson and Swain counties, as well as areas of the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. There is no clear date or time when the Declaration of the State of Emergency will be lifted.
New Sylva Merchant Association takes first steps with meeting at SCC
(1/23/13) A small group of Sylva Business owners met on Tuesday with the help from Southwestern Community College small business center and director Tommy Dennison to start the initial planning phase for some form of a Merchant Association.
Several prior attempts for cooperative efforts have not survived for long. The Downtown Sylva Association was the last attempt at a merchant group along with The Sylva Main Street Association being another attempt with grant money being received in the past for administrative organization. Looking for a better outcome this time, Tommy Dennison led the group to explore some strengths, needs and opportunities for Sylva businesses. Over three-dozen qualities were thought up including the Tuckaseegee River as a tourist destination, partnerships between the local colleges, the historical flavor of Sylva and the new public library.
Some of the needs expressed include better communication between the town and merchants on issues like signage, licensing, cleanliness, business recycling ad planning for events for maximum benefit for both citizens and residents of Sylva as well as the diverse merchant community. A major concern was the development of service providers in downtown rather just “filling store fronts”.
Town Manager Paige Roberson was present and addressed many questions that came up and suggested that some action by the town board could address other issues. Roberson made several suggestions for the merchants when planning for such events as Greening Up the Mountains, festivals, and holiday promotions.
Jackson County Chamber Director, Julie Spiro, announced that the Concerts On The Creek would return to Sylva starting Memorial Day. The number of shows scheduled for 2013 will depend largely on funding. Vendor contracts were mentioned to run in conjunction with the concerts but prior instances with concessions were met with stiff opposition from some downtown businesses. Spiro also announced a new Christmas Festival and promotion for 2013. The “HoliDazzle” will feature a competition for the Best “Jackie the Snowman”. There will be a downtown event on Dec. 7th and the parade will be on Saturday Dec. 14thFree
Free tax preparation service in Jackson County
(1-23/13) Volunteers are assisting persons in Jackson County with tax preparation free of charge from February 1st until April 11th. Every Monday and Friday, the service will be in the Jackson County Senior Center. No appointments will be taken at the Senior Center. Tuesdays the service will be held in the Jackson County Public Library. Appointments are necessary for the Tuesday service. Taxpayers are required to bring proof of ID, Social Security card and all 2012 tax paperwork. The Jackson County Golden Age Center, Jackson County Public Library, AARP Foundation and the IRS sponsor the program. Contact the Golden Age Center (828) 586-4944, or the Library (828)586-2016 for more information.
MedWest-Harris Hospice announces new line-up for department managers
(1/22/13) MedWest-Harris Hospice has announced Morgan Allen as the new Manager of Hospice Operations and Administration and Jeanne Tillett as Manager of Hospice Clinical and Quality Services.
Tillett and Morgan have accepted their new roles leading the MedWest-Harris Hospice in clinical/quality areas and operational/administrative work.
Tillett has extraordinary experience in nursing leadership, both in acute and post-acute settings. As manager of Hospice Clinical and Quality Services, Tillett has oversight for MedWest-Harris Hospice nursing and clinical services as well as quality and performance improvement initiatives.
Morgan has served with MedWest-Harris Hospice for more than two years and has prior experience in nonprofit operational leadership. As Manager of Hospice Operations and Administration, he oversees administrative and operational services as well as support services and office management.
MedWest-Harris Hospice is dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate and quality care while “Making a Difference, One Life at a Time.” With specialty in service to terminally ill patients, as well as their families and loved ones, MedWest-Harris Hospice can help patients learn to live with dignity and comfort as they cope with end of life issues.
Some believe climate change is stronger than ever
(1/22/13) Recent mild winters and severe storms lead some to believe in climate change. The National Climate Assessment, which was released last week, reports that climate change due to extreme weather events is becoming more common. 2012 has gone down in the record books as the warmest year on record. North Carolina, over recent years, has suffered through extreme drought, flooding and warmer winters. The White House has stepped in to suggest Carbon Dioxide reduction and emissions regulation that cause pollution. New Clean air standards are being implemented at new power plants with hopes of older plants adopting the same practices. The southeast had more Billion-dollar disasters in the last 30 years than any other region.
Department of Public Safety announces activation of Clay County VIPER site
(1/21/13) Raleigh – The Department of Public Safety is pleased to announce the activation of VIPER site #199 on Chunky Gal Gap in Clay County. Chunky Gal Gap is approximately an 8 mile ridge that runs between the Appalachian Trail and US 64, at Glade Gap, in the Fires Creek area.
VIPER, which stands for Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders, was first was identified in the General Assembly’s Criminal Justice Information Network report of 1995 as a critical need for public safety agencies when responding to emergencies. At the time, Public Safety officials could only communicate directly with other public safety officials by relaying time-sensitive messages through numerous communication centers. The inability to receive and send critical information instantaneous was a major obstacle to the public safety community. After the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, it became even clearer that public safety officials needed to have the ability to communicate with one another on a single radio.
“The public safety community is under constant pressure to meet the needs within their jurisdictions. The recent addition of the Chunky Gal Gap VIPER site will only strengthen those needs by putting essential communication tools in the hands of first responders which is vital to help save lives or even themselves,” said Kieran Shanahan, secretary of the Department of Public Safety.
241 total sites are planned for statewide coverage. VIPER is 83% complete with 199 sites “on the air” bringing the total number of emergency first responder users to 65,388. Currently 260 emergency responding agencies make up the 65,388 users.
The continued implementation of interoperable communications will benefit all public safety agencies when dealing with daily emergency calls or large scale disasters thus allowing fire, rescue, and law enforcement agencies better able to serve the citizens of North Carolina.
For more information on the VIPER system, please contact Captain Bobby West, State Highway Patrol at (919) 662-4440 or simply click on the link: https://www.ncdps.gov/index2.cfm?a=000001,001148.
New center in North Carolina urges businesses to be more sustainable
(1/21/13) There is a new push to make North Carolina communities more sustainable, with a goal in mind of attracting business to the state. The NC Sustainability Center is urging businesses statewide to commit to more green practices. This new center is attempting to establish North Carolina as a leader in sustainability. Within the past few years major businesses who previously had no presence in North Carolina, are now moving into the state. New Belgium Brewery , a Colorodao based brewery is opening a new facility in Asheville with completion expected by 2015. One of the major factors for New Belgium’s decision was the sustainibilty practices of North Carolina businesses. The NC Sustainability Center is also developing an economic guide to sustainability.
WCU to commence a new long term plan process friday
(1/17/13) One of Chancellor Belcher’s core goals when he assumed the Chancellors position last summer at Western Carolina University was to commence a thorough and long term planning process. Driven by the fact that the number of students was increasing, the universities infrastructure needed significant upgrades, community and societal needs are changing, future employment training will continue to change, the jobs of tomorrow are likely not the jobs of today. Over the past year the university has been meeting with university faculty, staff, students, alumni, administrators, and other interested individuals to solicite as much information as possible about possible directions, intent and even dreams for the university. The university will start interviewing individuals Friday who will lead the strategic planning process. WCU Provost Dr Angela Brenton spoke to the Sylva Rotary Club yesterday and identified several needs and initiatives the University will need to set into priority stages. One is the new Millennium Campus which is home to the new Health Sciences Program. With a huge need of Health Care Professionals predicted this program is ramping up to both provide needs and do the research and development on new models of care and treatment. Combined with some of the other programs on campus the framework is in place for the “rapid engineering program” which has already made major contributions to the local industry community in engineering development for critical equipment. The North Carolina legislature acted several years ago to allow university and business partnerships. The Millennium Campus will be be looking to capitalize on some of those partnerships in health care. Dr Brenton outlikes several other initiatives including sidewalks along Highway 107, university and private housing, a public school task force, transitions among college and universityh programs, hiking trails, and additional partnerships in tourism and agreements with local municipalities.
New Sylva Police Station goes full operational Friday
(1/17/13) After years of planning, months of work, and weeks of waiting and days of moving the Sylva Police Station opens Friday on Main Street in Sylva in the location formerly occupied by the Jackson County Library. After the property was vacated last Summer the Town opted to rennovate the facility and free up needed space for the 15 Town of Sylva Police officers. There will also be additional secure parking adjacent to the facility. This week in addition to the troubles with the weather the town staff and others worked to make the move complete so the officers would open Friday morning ready to do business. The additional space will give officers more privacy to work on their cases and reports, secure evidence in a proper manner, conduct private questioning, and other police work.
School systems of Western NC decide on early dismissals
(1/17/13) Even before the first flake falls from the impending snow storm forecast for the next 24 hours, some Western North Carolina School systems are dismissing school as early as 1pm today. Dr. Michel Murray, of the Jackson County Public School Corporation gives his reasoning for early dismissal being one of safety for the children and teen drivers. Heritage Christian Academy and the Haywood county school system are also dismissing students early.
Large landslide in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park forces road closures
(1/17/13) A weeks worth of rain has caused flooding throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Along with the flooding, bridge washouts in Murphy, and evacuations in Swain and Haywood counties have taken place. One of the largest landslides happened on Wednesday, with a 200-foot section of Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mtn. national park washing away. Elizabeth Dupree of the GSMNP describes the slide as being 1000ft down the embankment where the road is located. The section is on the North Carolina side of the road and the park has closed sections of the road system around the slide area. Southwestern North Carolina, East Tennessee, and most of the Southeast remains under a Winter Storm Warning and flood watch thru Friday, which means cleanup and repair of the road could take longer than expected.
Golden Leaf Forum scheduled in Cherokee County
(1/16/13) The Golden LEAF Foundation and Cherokee County will host a public forum on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on the main campus of Tri-County Community College at 21 Campus Circle in Murphy. The meeting will be in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Enloe Building. The purpose of the forum is to continue the Golden LEAF Foundation’s Community Assistance Initiative and discuss key issues and assets in Cherokee County. The Community Assistance Initiative is a grantmaking process targeting economically distressed counties across North Carolina and is currently being implemented in Cherokee County. If you have any questions or need further information please contact Pat Cabe by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 888-684-8404. We hope you can attend.
Prepare for a winter storm
(1/16/13) The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for western North Carolina elevations in excess of 3500 feet. These elevations could receive eight inches or more of snow before the end of the day Thursday. For those under 3500 feet the snow will taper off at lower elevations who will likely only receive a trance on snow. Be prepared with proper tires and some extra food. For those at higher elevations prepare for possible power outages and possible cold conditions as the temperatures are predicted to plunge into the teens.
Mudslides and flooding throughout Western North Carolina
(1/16/13) Rain continues to fall. After three days of heavy rain throughout the Western North Carolina region, saturated ground, swelling creeks, streams and rivers have caused mudslides, power outages, and evacuations. Mudslides occurred in Macon, and Haywood counties, with Lake Junaluska rising past it’s banks. Power outages took place in Jackson county Tuesday afternoon and as of now Henderson County has over 2000 customers without power. In Sylva, folks living close to Scott’s Creek were evacuated Tuesday night. Rivers are reaching their capacity and in some cases past their banks. With a cold front moving in within the next day and wintery mix and snow in the forecast, the situation can only become more interesting.
Heavy rain causes evacuations in Bryson City.
(1/15/13) Swain County Rescue squad evacuates residents due to heavy rain. Near the area of Water Street in Bryson City, a drainage covert was blocked which caused water to run under the homes of residents. Swain County Rescue Squad evacuated the residents who, at this time, are still not allowed back in their homes. WRGC also spoke with Emergency Management Director Todd Dillard about the current situation in Jackson County. Mr. Dillard informed WRGC that so far all creeks and streams in Jackson County are swollen from the rain but are staying within their banks and no major flooding has been reported.
Medwest Harris in Sylva gets a major Birthing Center upgrade
(1/15/13) Appearing on the WRGC Five Forty Focus program Tuesday morning Medwest Harris Director of Comprehensive Family Services, Vicki Lewis reported on the new Phillips Fetal Monitoring System. While most hospitals have some equipment for monitoring the mother and infant during the birthing process this equipment is state of the art and includes features that immediately give Medwest Harris a technology unmatched in southwestern North Carolina. One example is the nursing department and the patients medical doctor can monitor the birthing process on their computer or handheld device while a certified mid-wife is assisting the mother with the birthing process, but should a complication arise the nursing staff and medical doctor can be on the site in moments. Staff in the Birthing Center were undergoing training last week on how to use the modern equipment, as luck would have it seven babies were born during the training process. The technicians from Phillips were able to provide hand on training for the staff, Lewsis reflected that all in all the babies that were born during the training process really were a blessing because the training was a real life expderience. The $65,000 piece of equipment was paid for through regular budget allocations.
Lewis also discussed the “New Generation Birthing Center” which has been approved for development by both the Medwest Foundation and the Medwest Board. The new Fetal Monitoring System will be the center piece of the new department on the third floor of Medwest Harris in Sylva, additionally the rennovation will including fundingfor the construction of an operating room as part of the Pediatric Center. In case of a crisis in the birthing process the operating room will ready for emergencuy surgery rather than the person having to go to the general Operating Operating Room. This will aleviate the potential problems that could arise if the regular OR was in use.
Another positive report from Vicki Lewis was their new Lactation Certification program. 632 babies were born last yeat at Medwest Harris. Of this number 70 percent of the mothers chose to breast feed their infants. Lewis states this is a significant increase from prior years and was happy for the increase stating that in mosgt cases breast feeding is better for the infant.
Jackson County Sheriffs Office receives a website upgrade
(1/14/13) The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the release of our updated website to provide the citizens with improved access to convenient information regarding the Sheriff’s Office operations and public data. The improved site was tailor-made for simple interactivity by the most novice internet user. The Sheriff’s Office worked closely with Webmaster Kelly Fuqua with the County’s IT department to make this improvement. This will allow for quicker and more updated changes to our website as opposed to the outsourcing of this task as in years past. Listed below are just a few of the improvements to the updates site.
- Real Time Current Inmate Search of the Jackson County Detention Facility to include mugshots, dates of birth, charges, and bond information.
- Current Sex Offender Search information by address, GPS location, or the entire county
- Weekly arrests data on all arrests by the Sheriff’s Office updated every Monday morning
- Updated and regular announcements to include and valuable information regarding public sales of seized property, press releases, and community information
- Updated and improved contact information for Sheriff’s Office staff
Park reminds visitors to avoid contact with bats
(1/14/13) Great Smoky Mountains National Park wildlife staff recently received numerous reports of unusual winter bat activity. Normally, bats should be hibernating during the winter, but bats have been described as flying erratically during the day and diving down toward people. Park biologists do not know the exact cause of this unusual bat activity, but urge all visitors to exercise caution as bats are known to carry diseases such as rabies. Skin to skin contact should be avoided. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission of rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites from bats. For human safety, it is important not to touch or handle a bat. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends you seek immediate medical advice if you have had skin to skin exposure to a bat. The park is home to at least 11 species of bats that play a critical role in the health of ecosystems by consuming insects including mosquitoes and agricultural insect pests. One of the species in the park, the Indiana bat, is federally endangered and another, the Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, is a state listed species of concern in both Tennessee and North Carolina. If you see a bat or any other wild animal that is acting strange and you suspect it may be sick or injured, avoid the animal and contact Park Communications at 865-436-1230. Unusual bat activity outside the park should be reported to state wildlife agencies
Be AWARE of high water and falling trees
(1/14/13) Today’s heavy rains have already caused a disruption of services and transportation. Several roads including Highway 441 going into Cherokee have been affected by the high water. Other low lying roads are expected to experience intermittant closings as the rain continues over the next 36 hours. The rain has also loosened the roots of some trees resulting in several turnovers and sluffing off of some unstable dirt along road banks. Local emergency personal and law enforcement have had a busy day working these situations and accidents resulting from hydroplaning automobiles. Caution is encouraged for all drivers.
Jackson County Commissioners look forward 2013
(1/14/13) The county commissioners of Jackson County are already at work with plans for the next year. Right after the first of the year the commissioners held a planning retreat covering everything from reevaluation of county property, new zoning ordinances, and the possibly of a future civic growth organization for the town of Cullowhee. The two issues that county manager Chuck Wooten feels should be resolved this year is the forming of a Jackson County ABC board in replacement of the Sylva town board. Also Mr. Wooten also touched on the possibility of returning the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad to Dillsboro in a higher capacity. The Great Smoky Mtn. Railroad left Dillsboro in 2008 for economic reasons but has since brought limited service back to the tourist driven town. The next Jackson County Commissioners meeting is set for Thursday January 22 at 6:oopm.
Haywood Co. Health Dept. and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs initiate new program for veterans
(1/14/13) The Haywood County veterans population exceeds ten thousand. Today some of those veterans who are not already in the VA Health program will be taking an important and time saving step to start getting services at a VA health facility such as the Charles George VA Medical Center in Black Mountain. According to Haywood County Veterans Service Officer Brandon Wilson, this is the initial evaluation for veterans. “After a veteran has completed an application and received authorization of acceptance the veteran can schedule the initial physical at the Haywood County Health Department with a Department of Veterans Affairs Doctor,” stated Wilson. “This service does not cost the taxpayers of Haywood County anything. The lights are already on and the space is available and the VA brings everything they need to conduct the physical.” If the program is successful other such partnerships can be developed across the country with some expansion into pre-op and post-op consultations via video conference connections. These services can save veterans living some distance from a VA Medical Center alot of time and travel expenses. Wilson stated the goal is to cut down the time it takes to get medical treatments underway for those initially entering the VA health care system from several months to a few weeks. Based upon the response and need the program could be expanded to three days a month. Veterans are reminded that appointments are required. The program is available to veterans regardless of their county of residence, and this is not a substitute program for those veterans who are already being seen at the VA Center in Asheville or the Clinic in Franklin. The Haywood County Veterans Service office number is 452-6634.
Beekeepers concerned with the warm weather
(1/14/13) The warm weather for the past couple of weeks has caused some of the flowering shrubs and fruit trees to think it is spring and start putting forth their buds. Farmers and beekeepers are concerned their strawberries and fruit trees will bloom only to have their Spring and Summer crops destroyed when the seasonal cold return. Smoky Mountain Beekeeper Club President Arnold Burnette expressed concern that bees will be lured outside to forage on the early blooms and prompt the queen to start laying eggs in preperation for the spring bloom and honey flow. Should this happen the cluster of bees in the hive body would be broken and the nurse bees would be working to care for the incubating bees. When the temperatures plunge the nurse bees and brood would be frozen in the hive body because the bees would not be in the cluster which provides protection for the queen, and keeps the food honey and the bee population warm. Some have speculated this could be one of the causes for Colony Collapse Disorder which has caused the bee population to decrease by thousands of hives nationwide.
Scams made personal
(1/14/13) Over the past few weeks WRGC has aired numerous reports concerning scam artists. However last week I was the victim. While being out of email range for a few days the scammers hacked my email and sent a panic message to everyone with an email address on my yahoo account. Hopefully no one sent money to those stating that I needed money to get out of Manila, Philippines. My brother stated, “I have heard this scam for years, but when it comes this close home it makes you think about it no matter what you have heard and even know. Some of my friends on the veterans users group have reported being hit with the same scam tactic. Their recommendation is to completely change addresses and abandon the old address in order to stop the scammers from using the address for other activities. Even though one changes the address they still have access to the email addresses. There were many calls to the station asking if this was true… the only thing true about it is that it is a scam. Roy Burnette.
Jackson County Transit System seeking the use of propane fuel for its fleet
(1/11/13) The Jackson count public transit system is in the final stages of the grant writing process to upgrade all of its vehicles to a duel fuel system. Propane gas will be the main source of fuel for all the transit vehicles. Gasoline will still be an option as well making these vehicles duel fuel capable. The state grant has been utilized by several civic organizations around the state including the Raleigh Police Department. Along with the cleaner burning fuel helping the air quality in WNC, the propane would save the county roughly $1.50 a gallon. Chuck Norris, director of the Jackson County public transit system explains that this grant is a clean air initiative for WNC. Alliance Auto Gas will be doing the propane retrofit as well as installing a fuel station at the JCT current location once JCT moves to their new location in Dillsboro. http://jacksoncountytransit.com/
NCDOT make plans to resurface portions of I-40
(1/9/13) The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $8.6 million contract to Harrison Construction Co. Division of APAC-Atlantic Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn. to resurface 5.7 miles of Interstate 40 East and West in Haywood County between Exit 15 (Fines Creek) and Exit 20 (U.S. 276/Jonathan Creek). The contract also includes resurfacing 2.9 miles of Newfound Road from the Buncombe County line to south of Johnson Road in Haywood County. Work can start as early as April 15 and is scheduled for completion by Sept. 20. This is one of 23 contracts totaling $145.7 million awarded by NCDOT in December for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 9.8 percent, or $15.8 million, below NCDOT estimates.
Cashiers/ Glenville Recreation Center open
(1/19/13) After years of talk, planning and eventual construction the Cashiers Glenville area finally has it’s own recreation center. Earlier this week the Jackson county commissioners and hundreds residents of the Cashier/Glenville area turned out for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new center. County Manager Chuck Wooten explains the new 24,000 square foot facility contains an indoor running track, gym, fitness area and meeting rooms. The ribbon cutting symbolized a soft opening with the official grand opening being Monday January 14th.
WCU to host education panel in response to recent school tragedy
(1/9/13) Veteran educators will discuss how to respond to tragic and traumatic events in school communities and how schools strive to meet the needs of all students during a panel discussion at Western Carolina University on Thursday, Jan. 17. Organized by WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the event is open to the public and will take place in the A.K. Hinds University Center multipurpose room from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Experienced professional educators will provide perspective and answer attendees’ questions at the event. Panelists include Mike Murray, superintendent of Jackson County Schools, and WCU faculty members Lisa Bloom, professor of special education; Phyllis Robertson, professor of counseling; Judy Robinson, visiting assistant professor of social work; and Lori Unruh, associate professor of school psychology. Dale Carpenter, interim dean of and professor in the College of Education and Allied Professions, will moderate the discussion
Haywood Co. wood products under NCDA&CS quarantine
(1/8/13) The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has placed Haywood County wood products under quarantine due to a recent detection of thousand cankers disease in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “This marks the first time the disease has been detected in the state, and by placing restrictions on a variety of plant material and wood products, we hope to keep the disease from spreading into other counties,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Something as simple as moving firewood from an infected area to an uninfected county could increase the risk of spreading this disease.” The Thousand Cankers disease is a newly recognized disease primarily affecting black walnut trees. It is caused by the Geosmithia morbida fungus, which is spread by the walnut twig beetle. Thousand cankers disease has produced widespread death of black walnuts in many western states during the past decade. Other species of walnut, such as Arizona walnut, English walnut and California walnut, have also shown varying degrees of susceptibility to this fungus.The following items fall under the quarantine restrictions: walnut plants and plant parts including firewood, lumber, logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips. Regulated items cannot be moved outside the county. Exceptions to the quarantine restrictions include nuts, nut meats, hulls, processed lumber with square edges that is 100 percent bark free and kiln-dried, and finished wood products without bark, such as furniture, instruments and gun stocks.NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division and N.C. Forest Service personnel will continue to monitor counties across North Carolina for the presence of this disease.Anyone with questions about this quarantine should contact Phil Wilson, NCDA&CS plant pest administrator, at 919-707-3730, or go to the website
MedWest-Harris Hospice to offer grief support group
(1/07/13) The eight week Grief Support Group will meetat the MedWest-Harris Hospice Sylva office beginning on Jan. 15th and will continue every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. through March 5th
The Grief Support Group welcomes anyone who is experiencing grief to find hope and support. Whether you have been involved with hospice locally or had a loss elsewhere in the past, you are invited to join in this supportive educational group.Weekly attendance is not required and you may begin attending at any time during the 8-week course. Light refreshments will be provided.For more information on MedWest-Harris Hospice or how to register to the Grief Support Group, please call (828) 631-1702.MedWest-Harris Hospice offices are located at 132 Sylva Plaza, Sylva, NC 28779
2012, a great year for local food
(01/04/13) was a great year for Local produce. The “roots” movement, towards more regional produce consumption and education, has yet again grown in 2012. Sales of Appalachian Grown farm products topped $100 million this year. In 2012, 20,000 school children took farm field trips and cooked and enjoyed local food. ASAP, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project program “Growing Minds: Farm to School” was a contributor to this and many school programs. Asheville City Market led the Southeast in EBT (electronic food stamps) sales once again. Over the last decade The number of local farms selling direct to consumers has increased a whopping 855%, from 58 to 554. The number of farmers tailgate markets has increased 184%, from 32 to 91. The number of restaurants sourcing local food has grown 558%, from 19 to 125.
Congressman Mark Meadows gets committee assignments
(01/03/13) WASHINGTON, DC – Newly installed US Congressman Mark Meadows has been assigned to positions on two committees important to Western North Carolina. The committee assignments include the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congressman Meadows work with the 113th Congress started Thursday after the noon swearing in ceremony in Washington D-C. The announcements were made in December by House Speaker John Boehner. The Committee on Government Oversight and Reform will allow Meadows to concentrate on creating a more efficient government by finding and eliminating fraud, waste and abuse. Meadows work on The Committee on Foreign Affairs will enable the Congressman to concentrate on global issues which affect the district including trade and employment. The Committee on Government Oversight and reform has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the government procurement system and the federal personnel systems, and the Postal Service. The Committee also scrutinizes the government’s homeland security grants, workforce policies, regulatory reform and reorganization from information technology to individual government-wide data security standards.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs drafts legislation that impacts the nations diplomatic community including the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Peace Corp, the United Nations, and the Arms Export Control Act.
Congressman Meadows has also announced the opening of a District office in the new Henderson County Courthouse located at 200 Grove Street in Hendersonville.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Deputy Superintendent retires
(01/03/13) After 34 years with the National Park Service. Kevis Fitgerald hands up hit boots today. He has served in the park as Deputy Superintendent since June of 2006, and has had day to day responsibility for park operations, including Visitor and Resource Protection, Natural and Cultural Resource Management and Science, Facility Management, Planning and Professional Services, Resource Education, Concessions, Safety and Environmental Management and Administration of the Nations most visited National Park.
FitzGerald began his career with the National Park Service as a seasonal fee collector on the Blue Ridge Parkway. His first permanent job was as a Park Ranger in the Oconaluftee area of the Smokies near Cherokee, North Carolina. He later served as a District Ranger at Everglades National Park, Chief of Visitor and Resource Protection at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP in Maryland, Chief Ranger at Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts and Chief Ranger of the Intermountain Region in Denver, Colorado before returning to the Great Smoky Mountains in his final permanent NPS position.
FitzGerald also served as the acting Chief Ranger for the NPS in Washington, DC in 2002. During his time in the NPS FitzGerald has been the recipient of two Department of the Interior Honor Awards for Superior and Meritorious Service. While at Great Smoky Mountains, FitzGerald was involved in managing and maintaining the park’s over 200 partnerships with a wide variety of conservation, education and park support groups. The park averages over 9 million visit per year, employs over 325 persons, has an annual volunteer organization of 2000+ who contribute over 120,000 hours annually. “In just over 6 ½ years at the Smokies, Kevin made a significant impact in developing relationships with park gateway communities, partner organizations, and in recognizing the value and importance of each individual National Park employee,” Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said. “The value of each individual was paramount in Kevin’s focus on improving programs for employee health and safety.”
In addition to his partnership work, FitzGerald played a key role in guiding the largest infrastructure improvement program in the park since the days of the CCC. The America’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka Stimulus) resulted in an investment of over $80 million in capital improvement projects to the Smokies. He also was instrumental in developing a relationship with the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office leading to the approval of a Memorandum of Agreement for the future of Elkmont, developing a partnership construction agreement leading to the completion of the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center and developing and implementing the concept and plans for the rehabilitation of the CCC era comfort station at Clingmans Dome into a much needed visitor contact station and bookstore.
“Kevin’s hard work, diligence, and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on staff and park partners alike,” added Ditmanson. FitzGerald was born in Richmond, Virginia, but grew up in the Winston-Salem, NC area. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from the School of Forestry, North Carolina State University (1980) and graduated from the FBI National Academy, Class 203 in December of 2000. He and his wife of 31 years, Cyn Slaughter, married in the Smokies at the Oconaluftee Baptist Church at Smokemont. They plan to eventually relocate to western North Carolina.
For more information, or to pass on well wishes, please contact Dana Soehn or Molly Schroer in the park’s Public Information Office at 865-436-1207.
January is Radon Awareness Month
(01/02/13) The Environmental Protection Agency has joined forces with health agencies across the country to promote awareness of the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and National Cancer Institute all agree that radon is a National health problem and encourage radon testing during the January Awareness drive. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in fifteen American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. Harvard University ranks radon as America’s leading in-home hazard. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fit is necessary, this health hazard could be avoided. Radon gas problems have been detected in every county in the United States and caused more fatalities last year than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined. If you home has not been tested for radon in the past two years the Surgeon General urges you to take action by contacting your state radon office for information on locating a qualified test kit or qualified radon testers. The VA and other federal agencies will begin testing low income homes occupied by low income families who do not have the money for radon testing in their dwelling. learn more at RadonMonth.org.
North Carolina EZ Pass and NC Quick Pass available 1/3/13
(01/02/03) Raleigh – Beginning Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, drivers with an E-ZPass or NC Quick Pass hardcase transponder can travel in all E-ZPass states and North Carolina using their prepaid electronic toll collection account.
“This is an exciting day for the people in 15 states and a monumental business agreement for the tolling industry,” said E-ZPass Group’s Executive Director PJ Wilkins.
“NC Quick Pass customers who have hard cases can now travel from North Carolina to Maine, or west to Illinois, utilizing the convenience of all-electronic tolling,” said NC Turnpike Authority Executive Director David Joyner.
Toll technology has come a long way since the start of electronic toll collection. NCTA procured technology that is compatible with other tolling programs. NCTA started discussions with E-ZPass, the largest tolling program in the US, and through their efforts an agreement was developed that now provides customers with the convenience of utilizing E-ZPass and NC Quick Pass.
“I am very proud that North Carolina is the first state to implement an agreement of this kind with E-ZPass, said NC Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti. This allows our customers the freedom to travel on many tolling roads with the same ease as traveling at home. We hope that other states will join as well to share in this convenience.”
For details on the ability to utilize your E-ZPass or NC Quick Pass, visit either website or call a customer service center in your state.
New laws taking effect January 1st in North Carolina
(01/01/13) Laura’s Law goes into effect today. Named for the 17-year-old victim of a drunk driver, the law requires that repeat DUI offenders whose cases “have other aggravating factors” receive a minimum one- to three-year prison term and fines up to $10,000. Courts in the Tar Heel State can also require electronic alcohol monitoring of some offenders.
Another new law, Run and You’re Done, is intended to prevent high-speed chases on North Carolina’s roads and interstates. In some instances, a convicted offender’s vehicle can be seized and sold, with proceeds going to local school districts.
What’s the weather at Newfound Gap
(01/01/13) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has added a webcam to their list of services to cyber visitors. When a person wants to know what the weather is at Newfound Gap or some of the other high tops the webcam can be accesses through the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park website. With the temperature staying below 40 degrees on New years Day it seems likely that snow flakes would be falling at Newfound Gap. However temperatures in Gatlinburg are about ten degrees warmer than in Cherokee keeping the mountain roads wet but snow free. Clingman’s Dome averages 18 inches of snow each January.
Rumors abound concerning a potential deployment of the 210th MP Units
(12/31/12) For the past several months unofficial statements have been made concerning an upcoming deployment of the 210th MP Unit which has armories in Sylva, Franklin and Murphy. Several individuals assigned to these units have unofficially commented they are getting their personal affairs in order in expectation of an official announcement of deployment. In an interview on 540 WRGC Radio last Friday Clay Logan from Brasstown stated that part of this years New Years Patriotic event to welcome in the new year at Clay’s Corner in Brasstown would be a special recognition to the 210th which in his words “is going to be deployed to Afghanistan” The biggest reason the 210th would be deployed is to provide security as the American forces exit Afghanistan next year. A rear guard force is critical in such a movement and the 210 is an MP unit which would have been trained especially for such duty. If activated the 210th would be receiving several months of specialized training before being deployed directly into Afghanistan to assist with the exit from that country. A unit returned to Durham this past week. This unit had spent a large portion of their time in coujntry training the Afghan police force in hopes they would be able to assist with security for the American forces departure. RBurnette
MedWest Harris gets high praise from the Joint Commission on Accreditation
(12/31/12) While the accreditation site visit is always a time for apprehension, Medwest Harris recently completed the process feeling pretty good about the outcome. The official report is still a few weeks away but the exit interview included numerous commendations for Medwest Harris. CEO Steve Heatherly commented that Medwest Harris and Medwest Swain put forth an effort everyday to meet and exceed the accreditaion expectations, that is is not something that is done at survey time but they seek to operate according to the best practices everyday. While the site visit is considered peer review there are selected individuals who concentrate on different aspects of care, general operation, safety, training, staff qualifications, and numerous other categories.
Medwest Harris staff learning how to operate the new Fetal Monitoring System
(12/31/12) Rather than wait until the New Generations Birthing Center is completed in a year or so Medwest Harris decided to go ahead with an essential piece of equipment. The New Fetal Monitoring Equipment has been installed and the medical staff in the Birth Department are getting the operational inservice training. The machine wiull provide the staff with instant monitoring of the infant and mother during the critical birthing process. Should there be a problem medical staff will be able to detect the potential for danger immediately and make the necessary interventions to save the baby and mother from danger. The goal is healthy babies and certainly avoid birthing problems. Medwest Harris already delivers more babies than any other hospital in western North Carolina. This machine is an important upgrade especially for high risk pregnancies. The Jackson County Health Department already carries a large caseload of such neo-natal cases for several adjoining counties. The highly trained and competent staff at the Jackson County Health Department and the proxmity to Medwest Harris makes this facility attractive to those who may be coping with a problem pregnacy.
MedWest and WRGC hold Blood Drive on Jan. 10th
(12/31/12) MedWest-Harris will be hosting a blood drive on January 10th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the front lobby of the hospital at 68 Hospital Drive in Sylva.
The American Red Cross will be sponsoring the January 10th blood drive along with 540AM WRGC, who will be broadcasting live from MedWest-Harris.
All blood types are needed and anyone planning to donate blood is encouraged to pre-register by calling (828) 586-7130 or going online at www.redcrossblood.org and entering sponsor code “Harris” to make an appointment. Participants must bring photo identification in order to donate.
Surveillance video footage released clearly shows the two men, one armed with an assault-type rifle
(12/27/12) The FBI and the Newport Police Department are investigating an armed robbery of the Tennessee State Bank, at 107 Epley Road, in Newport, Tennessee.
The two men reportedly entered the bank today and demanded money, then fled in a silver SUV (also pictured to the right).
The suspects are described as follows: one male in his mid 30s’, 5’10”- 6’ tall, slender build wearing a dark long-sleeve shirt, dark pants, dark gloves and a toboggan, armed with an assault rifle; the other a man in his mid 20s’, 5’8”, medium build wearing a dark hoodie, dark pants, gloves and a toboggan.
Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to call the FBI, at (865)544-0751 or the Newport Police Department at (865)623-5556. For pictures of the robbers and their get away car go to the Tennessee State Bank Bank robbers.
Tennessee bank robbers may be headed toward North Carolina
(12/26/12)The scanner has been busy Wednesday afternoon with local law enforcfement officers being alerted about two armed and dangerous hispanic males thought to be traveling east in Interstate 40 in flight from Newport, Tennssee following the robbery of the Tennessee State Bank in Newport. According to reports the robbers held a local law enforcement officer hostage before taking the officers service weapon. The fugitives are reported to be driving a grey SUV possibly an Arcadia. If spotted call local law enforcement in Sylva.
Longtime furniture store closes it’s doors
(12-26-2012) Fifty years ago furniture was a huge retail business in Sylva with four major suppliers operating large operations. Massie Furniture also affiliated with Massie Furniture in Waynesville; Sossman Furniture, which had several locations including Bryson City and Jackson Furniture all occupied large retail facilities on Main Street. Gibson Furniture, which was affiliated with Gibson Furniture in Andrews, operated out of the East Sylva Shopping Center. This year marks the end of the era for another of the big four Sylva furniture stores when Gibson Furniture closes their doors. In Spite of the competition each of the companies were able to distinguish themselves with a particular name brand of furniture, recliners, bedding and accessories. Massie Furniture will be the last of the big four to continue in business when the calendar year hits 2013. Even though Massie Furniture is not the furniture retailer of fifty years ago, they still concentrate on quality products and old time friendly service. According to John Stiles, Gibson Furniture had a busy week both in Sales and long time friends stopping by with well wishes. While some other furniture retailers have expressed an interest in the Sylva market, it is not known at the present time if a new vendor will occupy the space.
The Sounds of a Carolina Mountain Christmas
(12/23/12) This is the Broadcast Schedule of local church and Community Christmas music on WRGC Radio
Monday: 12:00 East Sylva Baptist; 1:00 The Community Chorus; 2:00 Scotts Creek Baptist Church; 2:30 Lovedale Baptist Church; 3:00 Sylva First Baptist Church; 4:16 Sylva Presbyterian Church 5:00 Generic Christmas Music Music 6:00 Crook and Chase Country Music Special 10:00 Christmas Music Overnight
Tuesday: 7:00 a-m Community Chorus; 8:00 Calvary Baptist Church; 9:00 Sylva First Baptist Church; 10:00 East Sylva Baptist Church; 11:00 Scotts Creek Baptist Church; 12:00 Lovedale Baptist Church; 1:00 p-m Sylva Presbyterian; 2:00 Community Chorus; 3:00 Bryson City First Baptist Church; 4:00 East Sylva Baptist Church
Poppins Electrical Services representative of types of businesses WRGC Radio advertises for
(12/23/12) A few weeks ago when Robert Lowe approached Peter Poppins in Bryson City about taking a sponsorship of the Swain County High School Football Teams State Championship Game Broadcast and the Bryson City Christmas Parade he thought it would be a good idea because of the interest in the events, the expanded coverage area, and besides that the prices were fairly inexpensive. When the top of a huge tree broken off from its trunk plunged into the radio station building and causing a wreck to the station’s electrical service, and forcing a complete rebuild, the station managements position was to first call upon a business who was an advertiser. So Poppin’s Electrical Service in Bryson City was called, after handing a couple of other smaller emergencies Peter Poppins was on his was to Sylva. The temperature was 29 degrees, snow was blowing, and the wind gusting to 20 mph. Peter made a couple of calls and located a new meter base from a local vendor and a Waynesville business had the 400 amp service entrance cable and were willing to make the delivery to Sylva. Thankfully the weather moderated slightly and Peter with some help from station owner Roy Burnette, County Ispector Jim Buchannan, Poppins was ready for the power to be turned on before five p-m. “We recommend Poppin’s Electrical Services,” said Roy Burnette. “Without Poppins we may have been sitting here till Thursday because of the conditions and the fact that we are in a holiday period.” Also thanks to the county inspections office and Jim Buchannan who not only said they would do what they could to get us back on the air, they actually went the extra mile and did it. Thanks. Roy Burnette
Sylva Rotary Club honors Dr Harold McGuire
(12/19/12) The Sylva Rotary Club has proclaimed December 20th 2012 as Dr Harold McGuire Day and will hold special observances during the regularily scheduled meeting at noon at the Jackson County Senior Center. Fellow Rotarians will be presenting Dr McGuire with cards, sharing stories, and presentations of honor. Dr McGuire has the most years as a member of the Sylva Rotary Club than any other member. McGuire joined the Rotary Club in July 1940 giving him 72 and 1/2 years membership. He may also be the longest serving Rotarian in the state and among the oldest in the nation.
Sylva families join the nation in grieving for the lost lives and shattered families in Sandy Hook
(12/19/12) A candlelight vigil organized by Paige Roberson and Sylva town officials was well attended Tuesday night as local citizens came out to grieve with their friends, join a grieving nation, and to show support for those affected by the tragedy. Many communities across the nation conducted simular events both as a show of support and concern for yet another senseless attack upon innocent citizens. The pain was even more severe because of the mercyless murder of innocent children.
State Senator Jim Davis to Co-Chair the Senate State and Local Government Committee
12/18/12 Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) announced Monday he plans to appoint Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) and Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union) as co-chairmen of the Senate State and Local Government Committee when the legislature convenes early next year. They will also chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology.
The State and Local Government Committee has jurisdiction over local bills, which impact no more than 15 counties, affecting the operation or authority of local government entities. The Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology appropriates funds necessary to operate all facets of state government.
“As former County Commissioners, Sen. Davis and Sen. Tucker are able to recognize the unique issues faced by local governments during these trying economic times,” said. Berger. “Their experience will be invaluable as they help make North Carolina government more effective and efficient.”
Jackson County in line for business development assistance in 2013
12/18/12 Those looking to expand or create a new business in Jackson and several of the other most western counties in North Carolina could be in line for additional tax breaks and incentives for hiring additional employees in 2013 because of the changes in Tier Designations for some of those counties. The designations, which are mandated by state law, determine a variety of state funding opportunities to assist in economic development. Jackson County has been bumped up to a tier one county and joins Cherokee, Clay, Graham, and Swain counties in that category. Macon County will remain at Tier One while Haywood County dropped from Tier Two down to a Tier Three designation. N.C.
Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco stated “Our mission is to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for all North Carolinians. We want all of our residents to have good jobs regardless of where they live in the state. These tier rankings provide important tools that help attract and retain businesses in all parts of North Carolina.”
All eligible companies are required to offer employees health insurance and pay at least 50 percent of the premiums, cannot owe back taxes and cannot have received a significant environmental violation notice from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
As a Tier One county those participating in the job development program are able to obtain a $12,500 tax credit per new job with a requirement to create at least five jobs, and a 7 percent tax credit for eligible business property expenditures. The North Carolina Department of Commerce is available to answer questions at 919-733-4151.
Southwestern Community College graduates 125 students
(12/15/12) Southwestern Communiuty College announced that 125 students had completed the requirements for graduation. Some of the students received their Associate Degrees from SCC, others having successfully completed certificate programs and the required state tests such as Certified Nursing Assistants. Other students had completed the course work which will allow them to transferr their credits to another four year institution, also some students in the high school and community college dual enrollment programs were eligible to get certificates. Many of the graduates will find better employment opportunities now that the economy is starting to create more job openings. Congratulations to all those who graduated and to their families.
Local airports providing a major impact to their communities
(12/15/12) The Western North Carolina Airport in Andrews/Cherokee County is delivering more than people to Cherokee County. A constant flow of private, corporate, and business aircraft have given a huge economic boost the county. According to a report produced for the North Carolina Department of Transportation and showed that Airports in North Carolina are responsible for about 26 BILLION dollars in economic activity in the state. Western Carolina Airport in Andrews is delivering over $17 million dollars of that economic output. There are 180 jobs related to the airport with an estimated payroll of over $4 million dollars and a county tax benefit of almost a half million dollars.
The Macon County Airport also brings a considerable amount of income to Macon County with an estimated output of about four and a half million dollars, forty jobs with a payroll of about $750,000 and about a quarter of a million dollars in local tax revenue.
The Jackson County Airport is the least of the three airports but still provides Jackson County with a sizeable amount of benefit. The report showed that the Jackson County Airport has an economic output of $430,000 with an employment base of ten and payroll of $120 thousand dollars, and a tax benefit to the county of $23 thousand dollars. Jackson County officials have recently sought to develop better partnerships with the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, and other tourism and transportation entities to develop new and improved services to increase the airport’s use and bolster the economic impact of the airport on the county.
Update on construction projects
(12/14/12) Construction crews are taking full advantage of the fabulous weather that had dominated western North Carolina for the past month. Construction crews arrived on the scene at Smoky Mountain High School and Blue Rodge School immediately after the ground breaking activitiers were completed in November to begin the ground preparation necessary for the utility contractors to arrive and commence the preparation work for the under ground water and electrical services. The new Smoky Mountain High School Performing Arts Center and the new athletic facilities at Blue Ridge School are expected to take several months to complete, but a cooperative weather pattern means the crews can make quick progress at the start which might expedigte the completion of the perojectg by several weeks.
The new Sylva Police Department is expected to be ready for occupancy in mid January. The project got of to a rough start when contractors found some unexpected problems with the roof of the old library building, and the bids for some of the more energy efficient products were somewhat higher than expected. The Town of Sylva was able to renegotiate and redesign most of these problem areras and end up with a facility which meet most of their initial goals. There will be more space for administrative activities, data services, interrogation, and temporary holding, and security.
The new Recreational Complex in the Cashiers/Glenville area is expected to be opening in early January. This facility will allow the department to expand current services and develop a whole new set of services. The facilities get much more indoor use during the winter so the opening will be just in time in case bad weather decides to hang around.
Shop with a Cop Program scheduled for December 19th
(12/13/12) Jackson County Sherriffs Department Sergant Johnny Hollifield reported on WRGC Radio’s Five Forty Focus Program that the Shop with a Cop Program is having an excptionally good year. There has been a significant increase in donations this year meaning the program will be able to serve even more children. Even though there are several programs, Sgt. Hollifield stated the need was so great that chances of any one child or family getting a windfall of presents would be small. The Shop With A Cop Program works in cooperation with the local school system in the development of a list of children who would most likely benefit directly from the program. The school provides transportation for the students to walmart where the students are given a hundred dollar debit card and are paired with a law officer from the Sylva Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina Wildlife Enforcement Officers, and other officers who assist the child in shopping. Officers are often impressed that children think more about getting a present for their parents or sibblings before themselves. Officers are also impressed with the positive outcomes of program when friendships are developed which continue for many years.
Individuals wanting to donate to the program need to have the donation to the Jackson County Sherriffs Department by Monday morning, preferably by Friday December 14th. For more information call Sgt Hollifield at 828- 586- 1386
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort to allow minors in the showroom
(12-13-12) Shows are being added to the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort event center for all ages and that is the reason for the new minor policy. The new policy allows minors under the age of 16, with an adult, into the showroom. Minors 16-21 who have a ticket will be allowed to the show without an adult. Anyone under 21 must be dropped off and picked up at the facilities front entrance. The 3,000 seat event center was opened in 2010 and has been in the Billboards top 25 Hottest Clubs in North America for the past two years.
New Federal guidelines for School Nutrition Programs
(12/12/12) New federal guidelines are impacting the development of school menu’s across the nation. The new Jackson County School Nutritionist Linda Cabe stated the guidelines have allowed for an increase in the volume of foods but the calory count must remain within the prescribed range. Soem may ask about how that will work, and the answer is for students to have access to more low calory foods such as fruits, beans and other vegetables which have much nutitional value but are not loaded with calories. Students are encouraged to consume the food they have access too, take the food home to eat later, or share the with a family member. Even though several containers of spoiled food are disposed of every day, hunger continues to be a problem for many citizens. Cable said that commodity foods from the government are important ingredients in planning menu’s. While the schools do not have alot of storage space, careful menu keeps those problems out of extended storeage. Jackson County’s school cafeterias serve over 2300 plates each day.
School Board meeting on Tuesday
(12/12/12) The Jackson County School Board met Tuesday at Fairview Elementary School. The top order of business was the recongitions for four teachers who either received National Board Certification or a renewal of the certification. Maureen Sutton revieved the renewal while Patricia Vyanne Fisher received her initial certification, as did Brooke McDonalds, and Amanda Fouts. Congratulations to these outstanding teachers for their accomplishment.
Home Fire Season
(12/12/12) Listening to the scanner for a few minutes will be sufficient reminder that chimney fires are a reality. While the weather has not been bone chilling cold, the temperatures have been dropping into the chilly zone meaning more home woodstoves have been getting fired up. The cresote has had time to build up and some left over residue from last winter is a fuel source waiting for the temperature in your chimney to reach the right degree. If you have not had your chimney cleaned it might be a good time to get that done. WRGC has no recommendations for a reputable chimney cleaning firm and none have advertised their services. The only recommendation is be diligent in your search.
Organizations to get a helping hand
(12/12/12) As we approach the end of the year, citizens and organizations needing to complete their don ations for tax purposes will be looking to write the checks that can almost make or break a local not for profit organization. One such effort is the Twelve Days Of Christmas campaign be conducted by Brian Davis at zaxby’s in Sylva. A portion of the proceeds from each days sales will be donated to a local charity such as The Community Table, The Jackson County Health Department for cancer screenings. For more informaiton contact Lee Lillard at the Health Department or Amy Grimes at The Community table
Is today the last day?
(12/12/12) The Mayan Calendar cycles through long and short counts. Some of these counts take place over decades, others over millennia. The unique features of Mayan teachings are the cycles are endless. There is no Mayan writings or mathematics in existence which state or display that a cataclysm will befall Earth this month. With your expansive background in metaphysics and other subjects have you come across any teachings or evidence that would support the hysterics contemplating doom this month. My background is in the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, medicine etc.) and the science I know says the Earth will be here another 4 billion years, plus or minus a year or two. What is you opinion of this doom and gloom in the media? Mark Davis MD firstname.lastname@example.org www.healthnetsreviewservices.com
Scams could spoil your Christmas
(12/12/12) Scammers are always looking for their next victim. The holiday season is peak time to take advantage of anybody with their gaurd down. Bogus charities, emails with viruses, websites with discounted hot toys and phone calls with false surveys are just a few of the ways scammers fleece more than a billion and a half dollars yearly. The elderly are the most targeted with more than 25 thousand of them losing more than 110 million to fraud last year. Fraud is up 19 percent since 2010 and up 800 percent in the last twelve years.
Flu season starts early in North Carolina
(12/10/12) North Carolina health officials are reporting earlier cases of the flu this year. The spike in the cases is the most seen in a decade for this time of year. Influenza cases have picked up in December with more folks going around undiagnosed. Schools in Tennessee have closed due to the flu with North Carolina reported cases being the most in ten years. The best ways to prevent the flu are to wash hands frequently, wipe down surfaces like cell phones computers and desktops and cover your coughs and sneezes.
Sylva/Franklin Alumni Football Game scheduled for December 8th
by 540-AM WRGC
(12/7/12) Alumni of Smoky Mountain High School and Franklin High School will once again have the opportunity to suit up and play some football on December 8th at 7:00 at Franklin High School. This Alumni Football games are coordinated by Alumni Football USA which conducts hundreds of these games across the country each year. While Smoky Mountain High School and Franklin High School are playing for the King of Cowee Mountain Alumni Football, Andrews and Murphy will also be battling for the title of the King of the Valley on the same night. Earlier this year Enka High School raised over $21,000 for their school in their alumni game with Erwin. The home team gets the proceeds from the concession stand while both teams are able to make their money from advance ticket sales. Gate ticket sales go the Alumni Football USA. Tickets are available from Alumni Players, Franklin and Smoky Mountain High Schools, are some area businesses. For more information to to alumnifootballusa.com.
Jackson County mourns the loss of Steve Jones
(12/5/12) Early Tuesday morning the Jackson County School Corporation unexpectedly lost a great educator. Associate Superintendent Steve Jones, 51, passed away apparently from a blood clot possibly brought on by a seizure. His wife, 4 children, two brothers and a sister survive Mr. Jones. A celebration of Steve Jones life will be this Saturday at 10am at Southwestern Community College with the service to follow at noon.
$15.9 Million contract awarded to construct new road near SCC Campus in Jackson Co.
(12/4/12) RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $15.9 million contract to construct a new 0.7-mile two-lane road connecting N.C. 107 and N.C. 116 near the campus of Southwestern Community College in Jackson County.
The new road will alleviate congestion at the N.C. 107 and N.C. 116 intersection by providing an alternate route. The project also includes construction of an overpass above N.C. 107 with on- and off-ramps.
The contract was awarded to DeVere Construction Co. of Alpena, Mich. Work can begin as early as Dec. 31 and is scheduled for completion by April 26, 2016.
This is one of 22 contracts totaling $67.1 million awarded in November for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 6.2 percent, or $4.5 million, below NCDOT estimates.
Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January of 2009, NCDOT has awarded 749 highway contracts totaling $5.1 billion to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to jobs and educational opportunities. Gov. Perdue continues to support immediate jobs in the construction sector and the goal of ensuring that our transportation network facilitates access to jobs, education and healthcare for the future.
For more information about funding for infrastructure improvements in North Carolina, as well as other NCDOT projects and activities, visit www.ncdot.gov.
North Carolina reports record exports for 2012
(12/4/12) The total value of N.C. agricultural exports was more than $3.75 billion in 2011, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The record amount is an increase of half a billion dollars from 2010 and was enough to rank North Carolina 11th in the nation for overall agricultural exports
The USDA tracks 20 commodities for the report. Of those, North Carolina saw increases in 17 of the categories, including significant jumps in pork, cotton, chicken meat and wheat. The largest increase was seen in cotton, which increased from $306 million in 2010 to $509 million in 2011. Tobacco exports saw a decrease in 2011 due to significant crop damage in Eastern North Carolina caused by Hurricane Irene.
Agricultural exports help boost farm prices and incomes for local farmers. In addition, exports support about 36,000 jobs directly on farms and indirectly through food processing, storage and transportation jobs.
Jackson Co. Emergency Management to test CodeRED Alert System Monday
(11/28/12) Sylva, NC – November 28th – The JACKSON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE will be utilizing the CodeRED Emergency Notification System on December 3rd to call the entire community.
The calls will be in the MORNING and will continue until the entire database has been attempted. This call will give JACKSON COUNTY personnel the chance to operate the system as if there has been a community wide disaster.
The message that is being delivered directs recipients to the JACKSON COUNTY web site to add additional contact numbers, and it also asks that recipients spread the word by mentioning the system to family, friends and neighbors.
Todd Dillard Jackson County Emergency Management Director suggests that “all individuals and businesses should take the time to visit our website and add contact information to include cellular phones and other non-traditional phones as well as email and text addresses. If your contact information is not in the database you will not receive a call when an urgent message is sent.” In particular businesses should register, as well as individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number recently, and those who use a cellular phone exclusively or have VoIP phones (such as Vonage) as their primary numbers.
Dillard urges citizens to log onto the JACKSON COUNTY website at www.jacksonnc.org and follow the CodeRED link in the middle of the page under Contact Us. Those without Internet access may call 828-586-7508 or 828-586-7534 Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Required information includes a street address (physical address, no P.O. boxes) for location purposes and a primary phone number. Additional phone numbers, email and text addresses may also be entered.
More information about the CodeRED system is on the website, any questions should be directed to Jackson County Emergency Management Office at 828-586-7508.
About Emergency Communications Network
Emergency Communications Network Inc. (ECN) provides affordable high-speed notification solutions capable of reaching millions of citizens in minutes. ECN’s sophisticated network supports a web-based product suite featuring CodeRED® which enables local government officials to communicate time-sensitive, personalized messages via voice, email and text messaging in the event of an emergency or disaster. For more information about Emergency Communications Network, visit emergencycommunications.net.
Better Business Bureau Scam Hits Western North Carolina
(11/28/12) WRGC has reported for the past month about possible scams and fraud that have been discovered in our area. Scams have been reported by WRGC concerning the Irish Traveler home repair scams that prey on the elderly. Also WRGC has received information about a false Publishers Clearinghouse scam that is trying to extort money from victims over the phone with promises of prizes. Lately, a scam with the tale of a grandchild detained in Mexico has surfaced where the scammer is seeking bail money over the phone to free the relative. WRGC and local businesses are now the target of a new scam. This week WRGC received an e-mail supposedly from the Better Business Bureau concerning a complaint filed about our company. Before opening the e-mail, WRGC called the BBB and we received a recording warning WRGC that this a scam and the FBI is involved in tracking down the scammers. Please pass this information on to your local business community so no one is affected by this scam.
Agreement Reached for Dwelling Property Insurance Rates
Decision Saves Policyholders $54.4 Million, Spreads Increases Over Time
(11/27/12) Note: This settlement is in relation to a January 2011 rate filing for dwelling fire and extended coverage rates; it is unrelated to and should not be confused with the October 2012 homeowners insurance rate filing.
RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has signed a settlement agreement with the insurance companies in the matter of a rate revision for dwelling insurance. The agreement allows for a statewide average increase of 13.2 percent for dwelling fire and extended coverage policies, spread over a three-year period.
The insurance companies, represented by the North Carolina Rate Bureau, requested an overall statewide average increase of 20.5 percent, varying by coverage and territory, in January 2011. The difference between the requested and settled rate increase represents approximately $54.4 million in savings for policyholders over four years.
Prior to this settlement agreement, the insurance companies were in the process of appealing to the North Carolina Court of Appeals a 2011 decision by Goodwin that ordered a small decrease in dwelling rates.
“It became apparent that if we continued to fight this issue in court, there was too great a risk that dwelling policyholders would receive much larger increases, particularly on the coast. This agreement allows for a smaller total increase spread over three years to lessen the impact on policyholders,” said Goodwin.
“The decision to settle on these rates was not taken lightly,” Goodwin added. “In recent years, more and more insurance companies have been dropping or refusing to offer these policies. Genuine concerns about insurance availability were also a factor in arriving at this settlement.”
The last rate increase for dwelling insurance went into effect in 2006.
About Dwelling Property Insurance
Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners insurance policies; dwelling policies are offered to non-owner occupied residences including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner. They offer fewer coverage options and are sold to cover properties that would not qualify for a standard homeowners policy.
Dwelling policies typically consist of two parts: the fire portion of the policy covers damage caused by fire; the extended coverage portion of the policy generally covers damage caused by wind, hail, fire, smoke, riot, civil commotion, and aircraft and vehicle damage.
In North Carolina, there are approximately 400,000 properties covered by dwelling insurance, compared with more than 2.2 million covered by homeowners insurance, which are not part of this settlement.
Details of the Settlement
In reaching a statewide average increase of 13.2 percent for dwelling property insurance, the settlement provides that:
- An average 4.7 percent rate increase, varying by territory, will be applicable to new and renewal policies effective March 1, 2013.
- An average 5.7 percent rate increase will be applicable in all territories for new and renewal policies effective March 1, 2014.
- An average 2.4 percent rate increase will be applicable in all territories for new and renewal policies effective March 1, 2015.
Cherokee Boys Club Breaks Ground for New Cherokee Children’s Home Complex
(11/27/12) Cherokee, NC – Today, leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians joined the staff of the Cherokee Boys Club, Cherokee Children’s Home and community members to break ground on a new Cherokee Children’s Home complex. The first facility is approximately a $1 million dollar home and is expected to be completed within a year. The Cherokee Children’s Home began in the 1970’s in an effort to prevent Cherokee children from being placed in foster care away from the tribe. The Cherokee Children’s home consists of three facilities which are operated by the Cherokee Boys Club and are primarily funded through grants and donations. The first facility, Burgess Cottage was opened in 1970 followed by Ponting Cottage in 1971 and Jackson Cottage in 1972.
The need for a new facility was brought to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal council by two determined Cherokee women, Gunny Bradley and Francine Watty. The women were concerned that the aging facility had been dwarfed by huge trees and that the buildings were devoid of sunshine. Efforts began at that time to assess the need for a new facility, to find a suitable location and to secure funding. Today’s groundbreaking was the culmination of all those efforts.
left to right, Mr. Ray Kinsland – retired former General Manager Cherokee Boys Club, Scott Donald – Padgett Freeman Architects, Mike Parker – Tribal Council, Bo Taylor – Tribal Council, Tommye Saunooke – Tribal Council, David Wolfe – Tribal Council, Tommy Lambert – General Manager Cherokee Boys Club, Tom Bennett – Benefactor Cherokee Children’s Home project, Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Gunny Bradley, Travis Smith – Construction Manager Cherokee Boys Club, Perry Shell – Tribal Council & CBC Board, Francine Watty, Perry Shell – Tribal Council and Chris Weatherford – Cherokee Children’s Home.
(hashtag) Giving Tuesday to Start This Year
(11/27/12) #(Hashtag) Giving Tuesday. Thanksgiving is followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicking off the Holiday shopping season. Now a new movement is using Twitter to promote charitable giving. #givingtuesday is today. The idea was formed just a few weeks ago to balance the days of consumerism with days of being thankful and giving. More than a thousand groups have joined up to promote the concept. You can find more information at GivingTuesday.org.
The Music of the Season is Coming to WCU
(11/27/12) The Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will be performing its fall 2012 recital at 7:30 p-m Tuesday November 28th (tonight) in the Coulter Building Recital Hall on the WCU Campus. The concert is free and open to the public. The Quintet consists of P. Bradley Ulrich and David Ginn on trumpet, Travis Bennett is the horn player, Dan Cherry will be featured on the trombone, and Michael Schallock will shoulder the tuba. The Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet has a very active travel schedule with performances in Ireland, England, Wales, Russis, China, Jamaica, and at Carnegie Hall. In 2013 the Quintet will be performing in the Netherhands, Germany, and the Czeck Republic while visiting several other WCU sister schools.
Music students from Western Carolina University will perform jazz concerts in the recital hall of the Coulter Building at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, and Thursday, Nov. 29.
Admission is free and the concerts are open to the public.
The Nov. 26 concert will feature two student jazz combos, each with 30 minutes of repertoire. They plan to perform jazz standards in various styles including blues, swing, ballad, waltz, funk and bossa nova.
Jacob Duncan will perform on saxophone with the WCU Jazz Ensemble at a Nov. 29 concert.
The Nov. 29 concert will feature the Jazz Ensemble with guest artist saxophonist Jacob Duncan. The Jazz Ensemble comprises five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets and full rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass and drums). The performers develop knowledge of various jazz big band styles, including the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Herbie Hancock and Bob Mintzer as well as music of modern jazz arrangers of the 1990s.
Duncan, also a band leader, composer and arranger, began on alto sax at 11. He graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and won a music scholarship to the University of North Texas, where he was a member of the One O’Clock Lab Band. After graduation, he played on the streets and in the jazz clubs of Europe, based himself for a time in New York and worked on a cruise ship before returning to his hometown of Louisville, Ky.
For more information about these performances, call the WCU School of Music at 828-227-7242 or go online to music.wcu.edu.
There is MORE.. On Sunday December 2nd the Sounds of the Season will be presented from three till five p-m at the Bardo Center on the WCU Campus. This program will feature the WCU student and faculty choral groups and various ensambles. Tickets are available at the Bardo Center Website or at the Bardo Center Box Office at $15.00. Tickets for faculty, staff, and senior citizens is $10.00. More information is available by calling the WCU Music Department at 227-7242 or the Bardo Center at 227-2505.
THERE IS EVEN MORE. The WCU Wind Ensemble will perform a free concert on Tuesday December 4th at 7:30 also at the Bardo Center. This group includes both faculty and students in a program that will leave the audience impressed with the performance abilities of these performers as they work their way through a program of older classics and some of the modern era works.
AND STILL NOT FINISHED: The Western Carolina Community Chorus under the direction of Bob Holquist will perform their Christmas Celebration concert at the WCU Coulter Building Recital Hall on Sunday December 9th at 4:00 p.m. The admission is free. The most accomplished pool of singers from all over western North Carolina have been practicing for three months to perfect this high powered performance. Many of the members are graduates of the WCU music and other programs, sing in their local place of worship, lead school music programs, sing professionally, and some members just love to sing. The Western North Carolina Community Chorus has provided seasonal concerts for over thirty years. Upon the recent retirement of Dr Bob Holquist from the WCU Choral Music Department, he assumed the leadership of the Community Chorus from Dr Tom Dooley who hung up the batton after last Springs performance. Dr Dolley has led the Chorus from its inception in the early 1970′s.
OK: There are numerous other student led concerts and recitals going on for the next couple of weeks at students finish their fall semester with various concerts, ensambles, recitals, and performances. for a complete listing visit the WCU School of Music website
Two of Jackson Counties Most Popular Gospel Groups Join for a Christmas Concert
(11/26/12) Mountain Faith and The Carolina Crossmen will join together Saturday Night for a concert of music with the traditional Christmas theme. These two distinctively different styles of music should provide a memorable evening in a worship environment. Mountain Faith will present numerous Christmas favorites in their distinctive bluegrass style. The traditional all male quartet style of singing will make the traditional Christmas Hymns come alive with meaning and a heart touching evening. The program will start at 7:00 p-m in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library on Saturday December 1st. There will also be audience caroling, Christmas memory stories, and the reading of the traditonal Christmas story. Those attending are asked to bring an item for the Operation Christmas Box program being conducted in cooperation with the Jackson County Department on Aging.
The November Blue Plate Special is Wednesday
(11/26/12) Its already time for another Blue Plate Special at the Community Table Wednesday November 28th. This month the food will be Jambalaya with rice in creole sauce with ham, chicken, smoked sausage, and shrimp. Lulu’s will be adding vegeterian red beans and ric with cornbread. Also a fresh garden salad and apple crisp with fresh local apples donated by Barber’s Orchard and the famous Heinzelmannchen Root Beer. As always a minimum five dollar donation is expected. The Community Table accepts cash, check, dine in , or carry out. for carry out reservations call 586-6782.
The End of the SHIIP Annual Election Period is Rapidly Approaching
(11/26/12) Senior citizens are reminded that Senior’s Health insurance Information Program (SHIIP) a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, is able to help you find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that will meet your needs and assist you with enrolling in a plan. As the December 7th deadline approaches qualifying Seniors are urged to call their County Department on Aging and make an appointment with a qualified volunteer who will assist each individual with information about the programs available. Seniors are urged to complete the Prescription Drug Plan Finder Tool prior to the meeting. This will give the volunteer the basic information needed to compare the medications list with the provider agencies who continuiously add and remove medications from their packages. It is important for citizens to carefully review the lists of covered medications from each provider to avoid having to pay additional personal costs for an essential medication they overlook because the company changed their coverage plan.
Sylva Rotary Club Brings Happy Thanksgiving
(12/21/12) Sylva Rotary Club President was speechless at the number of Rotarians who volunteered Monday to deliver turkey’s and gift bags of foods and staple items to individuals who likely would not have otherwise had a good Thanksgiving dinner. Plans were for 18 rotarians to deliver 54 food packages. But the number of food packages ran out before the number of volunteer Rotarians. This turned out to be a good problem showing the generous and caring nature of the Rotarians in the Sylva Rotary Club.
Jackson County Hires Danielle Wittekind as the Human Resources Director
(12/21/12) The Jackson County Manager, Chuck Wooten announced Monday that Danielle Wittekind has been hired to fill the Human Resources Director position of the county. Commission Chairman Jack Debnam compared the county to a small corporation based upon the number of employees the county has. “It is more complex for employees now with the numerous benefits and insurance packages offered to employees, and we felt it is time to put the responsibility of this job into a department with a person who is a experienced with that. It will also free up Mr Wooten to concentrate on some other pressing obligations,” stated Debnam. Wittekind is a graduate of Western Carolina University and has been in a simular position with Meridian Behavorial Health for the past couple of years. Wittekind was the unanimous choice of the internal search committee. Wittekind will be moving to Jackson County from Macon County soon to accept this position which has a starting salary of $57,221.91. She will be sworn into the position on December 3rd.
Jackson Co. Announces Ground Breaking Plans for the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine
(11/21/12) This Community Service Learning Center will be located adjacent to the Jackson County Rescue Squad Building on County Services Drive in Sylva. The ground breaking will be December 3rd at 11:00 a.m. and will. Once completed this facility will attract both local and out of town students. North Carolina has about four dentists for every 10,000 people, below the national average of 5.8 per 10,000. “About one-third of dentists are 55 years and older,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, interim dean of the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine. “They’re going to age out in the next 10 to 20 years.” That’s one reason why legislators allocated $90 million several years ago to open the state’s second dental school, at East Carolina University. UNC Chapel Hill’s dental school, established in 1950, graduates about 80 dentists a year.
ECU’s first 52 students – all North Carolina residents – will be starting their second year in August. But their education won’t be confined to the campus in Greenville. As fourth-year students, they’ll be dispatched across the state in 10 clinics, or “service learning centers.” Students will treat local patients, many of whom have not had access to dental care, while living in the same communities. Like East Carolina’s medical school, the dental school’s emphasis is on training primary-care practitioners who will practice in rural and underserved urban areas.
“The goal is to expand the number of dentists in North Carolina,” said Lara Holland, 23, an ECU dental student and graduate of Huntersville’s Hopewell High School and UNC Chapel Hill. “We want people that have ties to North Carolina and are more likely to stay here.” The first of 10 ECU clinics has opened in Ahoskie, north of Greenville. The closest to Charlotte will be near Lexington. Others are planned for Sylva and Spruce Pine in the west, Lillington in the central part of the state, and Elizabeth City in the east. Land for the clinics has been donated by state agencies.
In most dental schools, students treat patients while monitored by faculty. But students might not have the same supervisor twice, and faculty dentists might supervise 10 students at a time, Chadwick said. At the ECU clinics, faculty dentists will supervise only a four or five students while also treating their own patients. Teachers and students will get to know one another like colleagues in a practice, and they’ll have some continuity with their patients. “We really are going to be a model for dental education,” Chadwick said. “It will be very much like a private practice … That’s not the case in the typical dental school.”
Many patients will be covered by Medicaid, the government program for the low-income and disabled. Others will pay based on income. Faculty salaries will come from the dental school, but other employees will be paid from income generated by treating patients. “We want to be sustainable,” Chadwick said. “I liked offering this opportunity for people who wouldn’t necessarily receive it otherwise,” she said. “… I’ve seen significant differences in patients’ smiles. It’s amazing to see.
Sylva and Jackson County Ask Citizens to Improve Their Recycling Habits
(11/21/12) Chad Parker and Dan Shaffer used their opportunity on the WRGC Radio Five Forty Focus program to urge local citizens to become more judicious in their practice of recycling. Of the 1500 residents in Sylva who receive regular curbside trash pick-up by the town, only 10% are recycling. Containers are available through the Town of Sylva for people who want to separate their trash for the dual stream recycling program which includes paper in one container and cans and bottles in the other container. Dan Shaffer reported that the town on Sylva had removed 380 tons of brush, 684 tons of solid waste, and 38 tons of recycled materials this year. More simply this is 13 tons of solid waste each week. For the town of Sylva and County of Jackson the cost for solid waste disposal is significant. The garbage disposal fees which are included as part of tax payers annual accessment and coupled with the fees collected for solid waste disposal at the Transfer Station on Mineral Springs Drive cover most of those costs. However those costs could be reduced through recycling which would lower the costs of hauling solid waste out of the county, generate most revenue for the county through paper, plastic, and glass recycling. The revenue generated by the county for metal recycling has declined with the growth of the private sector paying individuals for metal items.
Jackson County Reports Huge Jump in County Retail Sales for July
(11/21/12) According to Jackson County Commissioner Doug Cody, the most recent report available for county retail sales is for July 2012. Jackson County reported an increase of 7.1% for July 2012 compared to July 2011. The increase in retail sales resulted in $52,558.27 additional dollars being added to the county General Fund. The increase in retail sales in July and coupled with the increase in home sales and home construction in October are extremely positive signs the economy is improving. Another positive sign is the increase in consumer confidence. This is demonstrated through a growth in retail sales, the increase in the number of new vehicles sold, and a decline in unemployment. Commissioner Jack Debnam cited a number of businesses in ther Sylva area that had signs out indicating they were accepting applications and beginning hiring. The commissioner stated that he felt if a person was wanting a job in Jackson County they could find one, perhaps not the job they wanted but a job to improve their living situation until the desireable job became available. According the Andy Shaw Ford Owner Larry Hinton, “Pent up need and desire for a new vehicle is starting to catch up with individual buying interests now for a new car. Some consumers have held on for so long till it is necoming a necessity to get a new car. Other shoppers are now feeling comfortable enough to go ahead and purchase a new vehicle because that is what they want.” ”It is also interesting that one of the biggest jumps in retail sales happened in Jackson County at the same time WRGC Radio was running their Nashville Dream Vacation Package when well over a dozen businesses were saturating the airwaves with information about their business and sales that were taking place at that time,” stated Roy Burnette owner of WRGC Radio in Sylva.
Community Table Will Serve Thanksgiving Meals.
(11-21-2012) Hunger doesn’t take a holiday. That’s why the folks at the Community Table are working hard on Thanksgiving to provide a full menu for the hungry of Jackson County. A full Thanksgiving meal will be served from 11-1 on Thursday. Also, even though people are filled with the holiday spirit and want to voulenteer, Amy emphisises that voulenteers are needed year round not just for the holidays. The Community Table has settled into their new home located on Central Street next to the Sylva Pool.
Senior Fraud Alert: Grandparent Scammers Now Claiming Diplomatic Status
(11/20/12) Assistant Chief Joe Ramey of the Gaston County Police Department shares the following about an attempted grandparent scam in which one of the criminals claimed to be an American Embassy official:
We had a citizen preyed upon by phone scammer pretending to be a grandchild imprisoned in Mexico. There were two persons working the phone with the first person pretending to be the grandchild of the potential victim. A second scammer identified himself as a US Embassy Agent named Paul Hyatt, phone number 001-444-3800. The scammer knew the name of our citizen’s grandchild and presented a story that the grandchild had been arrested for drug trafficking after attending a funeral of a friend in Mexico. The scammers attempted to get the person to pay $2,000 by credit card and the grandchild would be released immediately upon payment. Fortunately no credit info or money was passed to the scammer.
County Commissioners Say Goodbye to Commissioner Joe Cowan
(11-20-2012) During the Monday night monthly county commissioner meeting, each commissioner took time to thank and remember Joe Cowan. Dr. Cowan is stepping down as county commissioner as of Dec. 3rd. Vicki Green ran uncontested for Dr. Cowan seat and will be sworn in during that December 3rd meeting.
North Carolina Christmas Trees Make There Way to the White House and VP’s Residence
(11-20-2012) From the White House to your house, N.C. Christmas tree growers have something for everyone. A 19-foot Fraser fir left Peak Farms in Jefferson Saturday destined for Washington, D.C., as the official 2012 White House Christmas Tree. Additional trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk were also chosen for the residence of the vice president.
“This is the first time the White House tree and vice president’s tree have come from the same state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “It speaks volumes about the quality of trees available in North Carolina.”
This weekend, choose-and-cut tree farms will open in the mountains and foothills for families hoping to find the perfect Christmas tree for their own house. “A cold fall and good amount of moisture have really helped us have an excellent crop this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Consumers should notice an ample supply and selection to fit any budget.”
North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Christmas tree production, and more than 5 million trees are harvested annually. Choose-and-cut operations can be found in the western part of the state. Tree buyers who don’t have time to drive to the mountains can find trees at farmers markets and retail locations across the state.
North Carolina is also the second-largest producer of another holiday decorating favorite, poinsettias. In 2011, the state produced more than 4.4 million poinsettias and generated cash receipts of $17.6 million.
Expect More Hunters
(11/14/12)Now that the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians have initiated a bounty system for reducing the cayote population, residents are put on notice to pay more attention to hunting activities taking place in their vacinity. Hunters will be looking to identify the range of the cayote packs then working a plan to remove the cayotes and obtain the bounty. A nice way to earn some extra cash for Christmas. The cayotes have a well earned reputation for destroying other game populations such as turkeys and deer, as well as feral and tame housecats and small dogs. Individuals with a cayote problem are encouraged to call a hunter.
Also deer season will be opening next week, so expect to see hunters parked along roadways. Most hunters respect the property rights of others and land owners are encouraged to cooperate with hunters. Likewise hunters are cautioned about leaving trash on other people’s property. Trashing one’s hunting site is an excellent way to be greeted with an official “No Tresspassing” sign the next time the hunter decides to visit that location, or for another hunter who might decided to hunt there.
Property owners are also prompted to act in a responsible way. Know the person who is hunting on your property, a signed authorization is required for legal hunting on private land. Be on the lookout for scandrels posing as legitimate hunters. Make sure your property is not being cased by someone trying to find out your schedule and looking to find items that might be stolen at a later time.
New Sylva Police Station Gets Finishing Touches
(11/13/12) The remodeled facility on West Main Street tht once served as the Jackson County Public Library is now showing off a new name. Workmen have installed the new name as “Sylva Police” on the building. Most of the exterior work is now finished including a new accessible ramp at the entrance. The building incorporates many of the newer building techniques in order to take advantage of natural heat and light and be more energy efficient. Which these features jacked up the initial construction cost, those cost will end up saving the town thousands of dollars in the long run. The Sylva Police Department should be able to move into the new facilty within the next few weeks.
Senior Fraud Alert: Itinerant Scam Groups Heading Through NC On Way Home
(11/13/12) Below is an email alert received from David Kirkman, Task Force Alerts Chair, Assistant Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division. WRGC felt it should be brought you our listeners attention. If you every think you have been contacted by scammers contact you local sheriff’s office.
To keep safe, follow these simple suggestions from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department :
- Don’t give out personal information, including credit card numbers (or even just expiration dates) if you are not making a purchase. Do not give out this information even if you are asked to do so for identification verification purposes, or to prove eligibility for an offer.
- Don’t advertise that you live alone by the way you list your name in the phone book or put it on your mailbox.
- Don’t be fooled by a trustworthy manner or an official-sounding position of any person who makes an unusual financial proposition to you. Check the person out first – this may require calling the Sheriff’s Office.
- Don’t be fooled by persons claiming to represent a city or state government agency. Always ask for their picture I.D.
- Don’t give strangers money or valuables as a “good faith” deposit.
- Don’t sign anything that you do not understand.
- Do be wary of strangers with money propositions claiming to have been referred by your friends, relatives, or clergy.
- Do be instantly suspicious of “deals” that require secrecy.
- Do take a few days to consider money propositions; talk them out with someone close to you.
- Do notify the Sheriff’s Office if you come close to being victimized or if you are actually victimized by a con game.
- Do call 9-1-1 if asked, to help stop this kind of crime.
- Do get several estimates for every repair job and compare prices and terms. Ask if there is a charge for an estimate before agreeing to let the repairperson or company, inspect your home.
- Do make sure you know your sales person’s name and the name and address of the company he or she represents.
- Do ask the firm for references, and check them out. Inspect the finished product.
- Do contact your local Better Business Bureau to check out the company’s reputation before you authorize any work or pay any money.
- Before you decide to sign a contract, do make sure a completion date is specified and that you know what the job will cost, if work will be sub-contracted, if a bond will be posted to protect you against liens on your home, if the contract includes all oral promises made, and if materials to be used are described in detail.
- Pay for home improvement work with a check or money order, never with cash. You may wish to make installment payments at the beginning of a job, when the work is almost complete, and after the job is finished. Many reputable companies do not require payment until work is completed.
Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
We’re halfway through the months of autumn, which means that itinerant groups of scammers are now passing through the state on their way home for the winter. Not that they completely disappear from North Carolina during the warmer months, but driveway paving and house painting scammers who have been hitting seniors in other parts of the country will be trying to collect more cash at the expense of North Carolinians as they head for their home towns in areas like southwestern Virginia or the Georgia-South Carolina border near Augusta.
The following is a warning to the public about one such group that was issued yesterday by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in Goldsboro:
Travelers are Prowling Around
NEWS RELEASE: BE AWARE! Possible Scam November 8, 2012 The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office would like to make the public aware of a possible Scam that is being attempted in Wayne County. On November 7, 2012 a citizen reported that a person approached him and talked to him about painting some of his barns. The citizen reported that the person acted like he knew him, but the citizen was sure he had never met the subject. The suspect was reported to be slender built white male driving a white Chevrolet Pick-Up Truck displaying South Carolina license plate.
The citizen was suspicious and did not do any business with the suspect but he was able to get the license plate and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. Det/Sgt. Rick Farfour contacted a South Carolina SLED Agent and he was able to confirm that the registered owner of the truck was a member of a group called the Irish Travelers that are partially based out of South Carolina. According to information gathered this is a common scam perpetrated by some people. The suspect will approach the citizen about painting the barns. He will then give a fairly cheap price to paint. The suspect will then use watered down paint, usually mixed with gasoline. He will then report to the citizen that the barn will need more coats of paint and of course will charge more. It doesn’t matter how many coats of paint are applied to the barn, it usually washes all off with the first good rain.
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office has arrested other members of this group in the past. In early 2011, warrants were issued on three of these members for stealing money from a lady in Wayne County. In that situation, 2 of the members talked to the citizen about buying some flooring while a third person snuck in the house and stole some money.
Always be very cautious when dealing with any strangers that approach you unsolicited.
******End of Alert******
Retired FBI Agent to Speak During WCU’s International Education Week
(11/9/2012)Steve Moore, author and activist, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the theater of Western Carolina University’s A.K. Hinds University Center as part of International Education Week, Nov. 12-16. A former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Moore began his career conducting surveillance of white supremacists, later supervising the counterterrorist squad in the Los Angeles office investigating al-Qaida following 9/11. He completed assignments as a SWAT team operator, sniper, pilot, undercover and counterterrorist agent.
Since his retirement in 2008, he has served as a human rights activist supporting Amanda Knox (Italian prison, released in October 2011), Jason Puracal (Nicaraguan prison, released in September 2012) and Jacob Ostreicher (Bolivian prison since June 2011; never formally charged).
Moore has written about his career, published as “Special Agent Man: My Life in the FBI as a Terrorist Hunter, Helicopter Pilot, and Certified Sniper.”Following his remarks, he will be available for a book-signing opportunity at the University Bookstore, where copies may be purchased.
International Education Week is sponsored annually by WCU’s Office of International Programs and Services as an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide and to become more aware of differences and similarities among cultures. This year’s theme is “Global Citizenship and Civility.”
Local Business Donates Shipping Space on Trucks for Sandy Relief
(11-8-2012) With the Northeast still cleaning up and trying to return to normal after Hurricane Sandy and a nor’easter storm front on the way people from around the country are coming together to help with the relief effort. Western North Carolina is no different. The main problem has been finding an efficient way of transporting all the donated items to the affected areas. One local business is filling that transportation need. Lucky’s Real Tomatoes of WNC is offering space on their tomato shipment trucks to haul relief items to the greater New York and New Jersey areas. Lucky Lee, from Lucky’s Real Tomatoes spoke with WRGC on the short and long term cleanup and relief efforts going on near her facility in New York. Lucky goes on about the wonderful effort put forth by the people of Western North Carolina Region. I also spoke with Roberta Hoke, of Lucky’s tomatoes here in WNC about what is needed, and how to get in contact with her at Lucky’s tomatoes to drop off and donate items for Sandy relief. You can reach Roberta at Lucky’s Real Tomatoes by calling 586-4881.
Jackson County Schools Construction Projects Officially Break Ground
(11-7-2012) After months and what some say years of planning, ground has finally been broken for both the Blue Ridge schools and Smoky Mountain High schools major renovation and construction projects. With the help of County Commissioners, Student body President, marching band and show choir, the site of the new gym and theater was officially off and running. The ceremony took place on Monday afternoon. The Smoky Mountain Build is estimated to take twelve to fourteen months to complete.
Winter Weather Advisory For Some of Western North Carolina
(11-7-2012) WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM EST THIS
AFTERNOON ABOVE 3500 FEET…
* LOCATIONS…THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF SWAIN…NORTHERN
JACKSON… AND HAYWOOD COUNTIES.
* HAZARDS…PERIODS OF ACCUMULATING SNOWFALL.
* TIMING…SNOW LASTING THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.
* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 2 TO 3 INCHES.
* IMPACTS…SLICK AND SNOW COVERED ROADS.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE UPPER 30S.
* WINDS…NORTHWEST 5 MPH OR LESS.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW
WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW
COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE
Davis, Queen, Jones Win Locally
(11/7/12) Jim Davis wins the senate seat for district 50 defeating John Snow in an extremely close race. Joe Sam Queen wins the North Carolina house seat against Mike Clampitt. Mark Jones remains on the Jackson county board of commissioners defeating Marty Jones.
WRGC Has Live Election Night Coverage
(11/6/12)Starting at 7pm WRGC will be broadcasting from around town giving live updates of the 2012 elections. The race that will be most notable for our area will be the County Commissioner seat district four between Marty Jones and Mark Jones. The congressional seat left open by Heath Shular is being sought after by Hayden Rodgers and Mark Meadows. WRGC’s news will broadcast live at 7, 8, and 9am all morning on Wednesday with all the final election results.
Cullowhee Valley School To Host and Honor Veterans on November 9
(11/05/12) All local veterans and their spouses are invited to join the teachers, students, and staff of Cullowhee Valley School in activities on Friday morning, November 9, to honor those who have bravely served our country.
Breakfast will be provided for veterans and other guests in the school cafeteria, beginning at 8:30. A Veterans Day observance will follow in the school gym, starting at 9:15, with a Color Guard from William E. Dillard American Legion Post 104, Sylva, posting the flags. Principal Kathryn Kantz will welcome the guests to begin the program, which will feature a brief talk by Lisa Winders, US Air Force Retired and Director of Military Education at Western Carolina University. Patriotic music will be provided by the School’s Student Chorus under the direction of Katee Johnson.
Air Force retiree Ron Watson, who is a CVS middle school teacher and the school’s Athletic Director, is coordinating these Veterans Day activities. He can be reached at 293-5667.
N.C. DMV Seeks Applications for New License Plate Agency in Jackson County
(11/05/12) RALEIGH — The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is seeking applicants to operate a license plate agency in Jackson County. The current contract for the agency is concluding.
The agency, currently located at 454 E. Main St., Suite 3, in Sylva, will continue to operate on a month-to-month basis until a new contractor is in place. DMV’s policy is to seek new applicants whenever a contract expires or ends.
Plate agency applications (Form MVR-93 or Form MVR-93AA) are located on the Connect NCDOT website. Interested applicants are invited to download an application form for a motor vehicle LPA or call (919) 861-3332 with questions. The application must be returned to NCDMV no later than Friday, Dec. 7.
LPAs offer vehicle registration services and title transactions, as well as vehicle license plate renewals, replacement tags and duplicate registrations. Currently, about 120 license plate agencies operate across North Carolina.
Local Volunteers Join the Relief Effort in New York and New Jersey
(11/04/12)Hundreds of volunteers from Baptist churches and other faith based organizations are part of the army of volunteers pouring into New York and New Jersey to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Several local churches have loaded their busses with volunteers who will be on site Monday to assist with clean-up and meal preparation. Three custom built North Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief Feeding Units are on site and cooking over 80,000 hot meals a day. The Command Unit, along with large shower units, laundry units, generator units and recovery units, are also on the ground. Volunteers are ministering to both physical and emotional needs of victims overwhelmed with their losses. The North Carolina Units are among several Baptist supported feeding units which all together are providing over 450,000 meals each day. The meals are handed off to Red Cross volunteers who deliver the meals to designated shelters and food distribution centers. Over 30 volunteers from the Durham area have been on site for several days. Other volunteers will be reporting to the local disaster relief coordinators for assignments in cleaning houses, streets, and yards so individuals can return to their homes. Many disaster relief teams are being housed at Rutgers University which has become one of the centers of operation for disaster relief. Several of the local volunteers will focus on making the repairs necessary to make dwelling safe for occupancy. Over one millions homes remain without power, however many occupants have been allowed to return home. New York City officials have handed out over 25,000 blankets to those living in their own homes without working electricity. Sunday night temperatures hovered around the freezing mark making the situation even worse for those without power. Numerous warm shelters are being opened in advance of the colder temperatures which are settling in over the disaster site.
Here’s the Latest on Kudzu Bugs
(11/03/12) Local residents have reported the Kudzu Bugs arrival to Jackson County. The Kudzu bugs are now moving out of the kudzu and congregating on structures including homes and school buses. Since most of the kudzu foilage has been killed by the frost, and that combined with the cooler temperatures have put the kudzu bugs on the move to find a a suitable place for the winter. The kudzu bug’s fall movement indoors is very similar to the Asian lady beetle which has been a fall nuisance since the mid 1990′s. The major difference between the two insects is that the Asian lady beetle is actually beneficial as a biological control agent chomping down on aphids and other plant-feeding insects. By contrast, the kudzu bug’s primary food source (aside from kudzu) happens to be field crops such as soybeans. In more urban areas, there are plenty of other hosts such as wisteria and privet. The insects are quite mobile – being able to catch rides on wind currents and automobiles, trucks, trains and planes. This helps explain why this pest has managed to spread in about 3 years from the north-central Georgia and through most of South Carolina, North Carolina and on into Virginia (plus west into Mississippi).
In a press release from the North Carolina Agriculture Extension Service, officials stated they had nothing new to report in terms of recommendations to homeowners and businesses as to how they might address this problem. Kudzu bugs are attracted in light-colored surfaces but that certainly doesn’t mean that brick buildings or those with dark-colored siding will escape the bug invasion. While people are going to want shortcuts and easy solutions, there simply aren’t any. The emphasis still has to be on exclusion because chemical control is still only partially effective and relies primarily on targeting the insects that are aggregating on surfaces. Preventive sprays are not recommended – because they simply won’t be durable enough to last the weeks during which these insects will be actively seeking overwintering sites. Homeowners and pest control companies will rely primarily on targeted treatments of critical areas: windows and door frames, and some soffits. There are several common exterior insecticides labeled for application to buildings (Ortho and Spectracide both have suitable products) but homeowners are reminded to not expect much in limiting the kudzu bug invasion.
Early Voting Concludes Saturday
(11/02/12) arly voter turnout has been significant. Some short lines have developed from time to time but voter personnel have been efficient in getting all voters moves through the process at a fairly rapid rate, considering the huge turnout of voters. Early voting ends Saturday. Voters can vote at the Justice Center, Cullowhee Recreation Department, Okre Hill/ Willets Fire Department, Cashiers Community Center and the Community Center in Cherokee next to Santas Land.
Fire Season Erupts in Jackson County
(11-02-12) Jackson County Firefighters and North Carolina Forest Service personnel were called out to the upper section of Nations Creek Friday to combat an out of control wildfire. The flames were whipped out of controll by winds gusting winds. Some homes in the vicinity were threatened. Thanks to the efforts of the firefighters the homes were save. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. Broisk winds made it difficult to get the fire under control. All citizens are reminded to get a burning permit before conducting any buring around their home and especially when attempting to burn leaves and yard debris. Burning permits are available at many community gas stations, from the US Forest Service, and on line from the North Carolina Forest Service. Burning without a permit could result in the violator receiving a citation and facing a stiff fine.
Military Medals of Charles George Being Returned to Family
(11/02/12) Two boys from New York will present the remaining members of the Charles George family in Cherokee with the military medals earned by Medal of Honor recipient Charles George. The two youngsters are Michael, 10 and Mario 8 Mazzerello of Walkill, New York. The youngsters were in an antique shop last spring when they found the medals and decided to obtain the medals and return them to the rightful owner. Their research led them to the Steve Youngdeer Post 143 of the American Legion in Cherokee. No other Charles George could be identified, and the medals matched those earned by Charles George from Cherokee. Arrangements were made for Michael and Mario to come to Cherokee on Monday November 12th to present the medals to the Charles George Family in a ceremony to be conducted at the Cherokee Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall at 11:00 a.m.. The public is invited to attend. The Veterans Hospital in Asheville was named for Charles George in 2007. George earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic acts while on a patrol in Korea which resulted in saving the lives of his comrades on the patrol without revealing the location of the patrol which was deep in enemy territory at the time. The family of Charles George has been asked to participate in numerous observances over the past 60 + years, of which all are well deserved, and in order to honor the bravery and patriotism of Charles George from Cherokee.
Great Smokies National Park Stargazing Program Rescheduled
(11/02/12) A stargazing program in Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Cades Cove, originally scheduled for mid-September, has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 10 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The program is held in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society and allows experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes to be on hand to provide a discovery of the autumn sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way.
“We are happy that we were able to reschedule this event which was cancelled in September due to cloud cover,” said Park Ranger, Mike Maslona. “Stargazing in Cades Cove provides a great opportunity to view the star-studded sky and vast depths of this planetary world without the obstruction of artificial lights as one might see in developed areas outside the Park. This program treats visitors to a mix of astronomy, legends, and the beauty of the stars for a worthwhile exploration into the wonders of the heavens.”
In the event of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.
Participants should park near the exhibit shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road where a ranger will be to escort the group about one-third of a mile to a nearby field. Those planning to attend should dress warmly and bring a flashlight and a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. It is also suggested to bring binoculars which can be used for stargazing. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.
For further information, call 865/448-4104; or if there is any uncertainty about whether the event will occur because of weather conditions, call the day of the event for its status.
(Molly Schroer USPS)
Daylight Savings Time Ends This Weekend
(11/1/12) It’s that time of year again, time to set your clocks back one hour. Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 am this Sunday morning. Just remember, Spring forward and Fall back.
Community Table Announces Successsful Blue Plate Special
(11/1/12) Mark up another successful Blue Plate Special event sponsored by the Jackson County Community Table. Director Amy Grimes reported over 300 people attended the event and donations exceeded $3000.00 making it among the most successful blue plate special fund raisers. However the money raised will not be sitting still for very long because before the ened of the week Ms. Grimes is on schedule to order hundreds of pounds of food from the MANNA Food Bank to restock the pantries which have been largely depleted over the past few weeks. Even though the economy has seen improvements this year, still the number of people finding their way to the community table had increased, mainly because they have gotten so far behind, they are still struggling to catch up. The Community Table continues to set records for the number of services they provide. The successful Blue Plate Special events are a critical link in helping the Community Table provide essential servies and meet their budgetatory needs.
“You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” To Be Shown By Over Look Theatre Company
Franklin, NC - The Overlook Theatre Company, under the direction of Scotty Corbin, will present You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: The Classic Musical Comedy, on November 16 and 17 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10 each.
Charlie Brown, a loveable loser with endless determination and hope, has been a treasured comic strip character, along with the entire Peanuts gang, since the 1950s. In this fun, family-friendly musical, it’s the first day of school and Charlie Brown is determined it will be the best year yet. Along with his friends and faithful dog, Snoopy, the group learns a hilarious lesson on friendship, growing up, and how the simplest things can be the most exciting moments in life.
This musical production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is sponsored in-part by Della’s Daughters, a clothing boutique and tanning spa located at 677 East Main Street, Franklin. To purchase tickets for this night of silly laughs and family fun with a cast full of talent and energy, visit GreatMountainMusic.com or call 866.273.4615
WCU Campus Master Planning Committee to Hold Community Forum
(10/31/12) CULLOWHEE – A steering committee overseeing the creation of a comprehensive master plan to guide development and improvements at Western Carolina University’s Cullowhee campus will hold its first public forum from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5.
The forum, open to any interested member of the community, will be held at Cullowhee Valley School.
A direct outgrowth of the university’s recently approved strategic plan, titled “2020 Vision: Focusing Our Future,” the campus master planning process will address issues related to new building needs, utilization of existing space, parking and transportation, technology infrastructure, sustainability, safety and security, preservation of campus heritage and integration of the campus with the surrounding community.
As the committee begins its work, one of its first tasks will be to solicit feedback and input from the community, said Melissa Canady Wargo, assistant vice chancellor for planning and effectiveness.
“The university recognizes that its Cullowhee campus is a major focal point, with tremendous impact on Jackson County and Western North Carolina, and is committed to community involvement in the master planning process,” said Wargo, who is co-chairing the steering committee with Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs.
The committee also will hold a campus forum from 3:30 until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.
Members of the committee are Craig Fowler, chief information officer; Robert Edwards, vice chancellor for administration and finance; Darrell Parker, dean, College of Business; Joe Walker, associate vice chancellor for facilities management; Gerald Green, director, Jackson County Planning Department; Mark Lord, interim associate provost; Kim Ruebel, associate dean, College of Education and Allied Professions; Maurice Phipps, professor, parks and recreation management; Peg Connolly, associate professor, recreational therapy; Larry Hammer, university registrar; Roger Hartley, associate professor, political science and public affairs; Shawna Young, director, student affairs outreach and assessment; Alecia Page, president, Student Government Association; and Benjamin Ward, Graduate Student Association.
Additional meetings of the master planning steering committee will be scheduled. For more information about the master planning effort, contact the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness at 828-227-7239 or email email@example.com.
Panthertown Valley Dealing With Another Problem
(10/30/12) A few weeks ago Panthertown Valley in Southern Jackson County was in the news because of their concerns with the US Forest Service’s plans to conduct controlled burns in some of the Valley’s most lush areas for rare and qunique native species. Friends of Panthertown Valley petitioned the US Forest Service to look at different parts of the Valley for the controlled burn and even volunteered their assistance with cutting firebreaks and other measures to control the burn area. Another of the reasons for asking the Forest Servie to consider a different burn area was the amount of camping that takes place in one of the proposed burn areas. Now that camping area is experiencing a totally different threat… the imposition of black bears into the campsites looking for a quick and easy meal. While the US Forest Service and volunteers have worked to establish facilities for campers to hang their food above the forest floor the bear have still been paying annoying and frightening visits. The US Forest Service is recommending that campers start using areas that are a little more remote or at least less used. According to the Forest Service the bears seem to have become accustomed to finding morsels of food in the higher used areas and have made a visit to the camping area part of their nightly circuit for scrounging food. Campers are also reminded to not have food stashed inside the tent, instead using the higher tree hanging apparatus for storing food.
Senator Haggin to Visit Western North Carolina
(10/30/12) North Carolina Senator Kaye Haggin will be in Hayesville Froday from 10:30 till 11:30 to meet with constituents. Veterans and individuals with issues with Social Security, the IRS or other Federal Agencies are encouraged to meet with Senator Haggin’s community support staff who will be available from 10:00 a-m till noon. Haggins normally has the group to divide into small groups who wiull firstg meet with her constituent service representatives then the Senator meets with each group individually to hear broader based concerns. Senator haggin was in Cherokee, Jackson and Macon Counties last year. Her goal is to meet with groups in each of the 100 counties this year when the Senate is not in session.
Jackson County Escapes the Worst Case Scenerio
(10/30/12) While other parts of the north east and east are digging out and mopping out from the storm of the century, most of the worst case scenerio did not happen in Jackson County. While flurries are expected to continue into the early morning hours of Wednesday, the sun and warmer temperatures should dominate by early afternoon. Power line crews, Emergency Management, North Carolina Baptist Men and other church based Disaster Relief teams were on standby. Some of the Disaster Relief Teams from the Churches were dispatched to the Northeast to assist with the big clean-up.
500 People Without Power in Jackson and Macon Counties
(10/29/12) Duke power has reported that 500 customers in southern Macon and Jackson Counties are without power. Crews are working to restore the outtages but have not released the exact location of the outtages for broadcast. To check on Duke Power outages go to: http://www.duke-energy.com/north-carolina/outages/current.asp
Jackson County Early Voters Experiencing Trouble Free Voting
(10/29/19)While voters in some parts of North Carolina have experienced problems with long waits, confusion caused by redistricting, and the differing reports about mandated voter picture ID, Jackson County is not one of them. North Carolina has not changed their voting procedures since 2008. Supplying a utility bill, pay stub, or government issued I-D are accepted ways to do same day registration and early voting in North Carolina. Voters are reminded that a specific picture ID is not required for voters who are registered and for those who have voted in prior elections in Jackson County. Jackson County was also spared the confusion caused by redistricting. Jackson County Board Of Elections Director Lisa Lovedahl reported to WRGC News Monday morning that 5141 individuals had already voted in Jackson County. While some lines have formed occasionally, all voters had been able to complete the voting process in a matter of minutes keeping wait times at a minimum.
Cherokee Indian Hospital Receives Two Million Dollar Grant From Caesar’s Entertainment
(10/29/12) – The Cherokee Indian Hospital accepted a two million dollar donation from Caesar’s Entertainment at a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. The event commemorated the addition of a new modular facility located at the hospital to house a new MRI machine.
In the near future, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will expand the hospital to a new location. “We have come a long way. I have just signed a submittal for a land agreement for a new hospital, not just for a bigger building, but one for increased service. This partnership with Caersars Entertainment has contributed to the betterment of our community,” said Principal Chief Michell Hicks.
“Clearly this type of technology at the Cherokee Indian Hospital would not be possible without the partnership between the Eastern Band and Caesar’s Entertainment,” said Cherokee Indian Hospital CEO Casey Cooper.
Harrah’s Cherokee Senior Vice-President and General Manager Brooks Robinson added, “The entire casino initiative was about jobs and we truly have come along way. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is a thriving business and something to be proud of. We are proud to give back to the community.”
The 15-year partnership between Caesar’s Entertainment first began as a means to improve the lives of the EBCI members and its communities by creating much needed jobs on the Qualla Boundary with the creation of the state’s only casino.
Hunting Season In Full Swing
(10/27/2012) Sportsmen are enjoying the peak of hunting season. Already seasons have been open for deer hunting with a bow, and black power. The season is open for most other game animals and delayed harvest waters are open now for fishing. However those participating in the hunting seasons are reminded to check the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website for rules and regulations. This is become more important than ever because the public’s now has little or no tolerance for poaching and the violation of games laws. With most people having a cell phone poachers and game law violators can expect to be reported immediately. For the 2011 and 2012 season 580,345 citizens had a North Carolina hunting license. The Wildlife Resources Commission reported that 217,146 deer, 2,848 bear, 9,306 feral swine, 272,956 rabbits, 21,488 turkeys and 31,662 coyotes were harvested. Hunters are able to assist communities and neighborhoods with keeping wild game in check. Last year (2011) over 900 deer were killed in collisions with automobiles causing fatal accidents and massive property damage in Wake County alone. In 2004 over 15,000 accidents were attributed to individuals trying to avoid an collision with an animal.
The National Weather Service Has Issued a Winter Storm Warning
(10/27/12) As Hurricane Sandy moves up the coast a low pressure system roaring out of the midwest is expected to pick-up strength and bring cold, high wind, and snow to the mountains. Higher elevations can expect a foot or more of snow along the Tennessee border and mountain valleys can anticipate a covering by Monday morning. Over the next two days four to seven inches of snow could fall in the lower elevations, accumulations are still uncertain because the ground has not frozen. Wind damage could be severe with winds of 60 or more miles per hour forecast. The remaining leaves on the trees could present problems by holding additional snow accumulations causing the trees to fall. Power outages are expected so everyone is reminded to stock up with water and general groceries enough to last a few days. Individuals running short on medications because of the end of the month are reminded to take precautions by contacting emergency services if the conditions deterioriate to that point.
Black Mountain Veteran’s Assisted Living Center Finally Opens
(10/27/12) The 100-bed Black Mountain facility was scheduled to open in June of 2012 but days before the planned opening event was to take place a water main failed resulting in extensive flooding throughout one entire wing of the facility. Contractors had to re-enter the unit and remove carpet, sheetrock and wall covering, and trim mold because of the damage. Administrators were initially at a loss for an explaination as to why the famility had such overpowering water pressure. Consequently several other modifications were required to obtain the required water pressure for the entire facility. Now that the VA Assisted Living Center and Retirement Home is open, veterans from all over western North Carolina will be able to again find comfort and consolation among their veteran comrades. All be it an older group the Band of Brothers will be reunited. The Veterans Assisted Living Center will make sure residents are provided with single rooms with private bath and features “neighborhoods” of 12-14 clients who share a common area with large-screen TV, dining room and a courtyard.
The facility also provides skilled-nursing care and is outfitted with a state-of-the-art therapy center, including a therapy pool. In addition, this 111,000-square-foot center features a Memory Support Unit for Alzheimer’s patients, as well as comprehensive therapy services.
The N.C. State Veterans Home program provides skilled care services to qualified North Carolina veterans. About 765,900 veterans reside in North Carolina and approximately 100,000 veterans in Western N.C. are served by the Asheville Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
The State Veterans Home program is a fully receipt-based operation. Homes operate on funds from private pay, Medicaid /Medicare, Veterans Affairs pension and/or per diem, and other sources such as gifts and donations. The N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs, which is part of the N.C. Department of Administration, employs a private provider to manage the facility. North Carolina currently operates two other facilities, a 150-bed facility in Fayetteville, and a 99-bed in Salisbury. A fourth facility in Kinston is scheduled to be completed in early 2013. Sylva resident and state representative Phillip Haire who is a veteran and member of American Legion Post 104 in Sylva worked tirelessly in an effort to have the facility located in the Millennium Campus at Western Carolina University but finally had to conceed the quest saying, “It was better to have the facility at Black Mountain than not at all but it sure would have been nice to have had it at Western.”
NC Dept. of Administration Releases Status Of Women Report For Asheville and Western NC
(10/27/12) Although many women in the Asheville area are doing well, the data reviewed in this briefing paper point to a number of areas of concern, such as the gender wage gap, substantial rates of poverty, the high cost of child care, and lack of basic health insurance coverage for many women and men. Policy recommendations to address these nchallenges include:
1. Promoting quality flexible working practices to make it easier for parents to combine paid work with care giving;
2. Ensuring that employers are aware of their obligations under the federal anti-discrimination statutes;
3. Providing training to employers on best practices for recruiting and retaining women workers, particularly in sectors where they are now underrepresented;
4. Encouraging pay transparency and increasing awareness of resources to help women find out about going wage rates and strategies for negotiating their wages;
5. Monitoring workforce development to ensure that women and men have equal access to training in highgrowth, well paid careers;
6. Providing career counseling and financial supports to women with lower levels of education; and
7. Ensuring that those who need it receive ‘Work First’ assistance (North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.
The full report is at the North Carolina Department of Administration website.
17th Annual NC American Indian Heritage Month Celebration
(10/27/12) The free, family-friendly event features a wide range of culturally-related interactive displays and activities, as well as traditional foods will be held at the N.C. Museum of History on Nov. 17.
Additionally, the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs will mark its 41th anniversary of serving North Carolina’s American Indian communities in November. More than 122,000 American Indians reside here, giving the state the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi and the eighth largest American Indian population in the country.
There are eight tribes and four urban associations that call North Carolina home, including the Coharie, the Eastern Band of Cherokee, the Haliwa-Saponi, the Lumbee, the Meherrin, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi, the Sappony, the Waccamaw-Siouan, Cumberland County Association for Indian People, Guilford Native American Association, Metrolina Native American Association, and Triangle Native American Society.
Meadows/Rogers Have 11th Congressional Debate
(10-24-2012) After numerous venue changes the 11th congressional debate between mark meadows and Hayden Rodgers was ultimately held in the university center grand room on the Western Carolina University campus. The doors opened 30 minutes prior to the debate and in an instant the room was immediately half full with attendees literally waiting in the wings. By the time the of the coin toss three quarters of the much larger room was filled. Rogers won the toss and decided to go second to kick off the debate. Candidates Joe Sam queen, Jim Davis, Marty Jones, mike clammpitt and Jackson County commissioners were in attendance. One of the first questions that were asked was if Hayden Rodgers, running as a democrat, supported president Obama, he gave an interesting answer. Questions covered Education, Obamacare, environmental issues of Western North Carolina, and both candidates experience. The Mediator was Russ Bowen from WLOS and during the question about education and federal assistance Mr. Bowen was very critical of the NC school system. The crowd was very vocal in reaction to both candidates answers by way of applause, boo’s and even hissing to the 12 question debate. Inexperience was asked of both candidates. The Candidates have one more meet up in Mitchell County before the election.
Press Release – Webster Enterprises, October 22, 2012
(10/23/12) Two employees of Webster Enterprises received awards at the annual Marketing Association of Rehabilitation Centers (MARC) annual meeting held recently at Lake Junaluska. Noel Watts, MARC president, presented the awards to Wanda Mills for personal achievement and Gene Robinson for years of dedicated service to WE.
Ms. Mills, a native of Jackson County, was born with cerebral palsy and currently is a production aide at Webster. She also writes a column for the company’s newsletter based on her life-long experiences as an individual with a severe disability. Her recent “I Have a Right to Vote” article has received many positive comments. Her leadership as a production aide for other clients with disabilities has resulted in increased productivity in that section of the manufacturing division.
Gene Robinson, Webster Enterprises executive director, received the MARC Chairman’s 2012 Award for “exemplary leadership restoring services and facilities at Webster Enterprises of Jackson County.” Robinson noted that WE currently employs 65 people in the manufacturing division including nearly two dozen employees who have a disability.
Jobs Brewing Up in WNC Within the Next Three Years
(10-23-2012) With a huge focus on economic growth during this election season, Beer is helping grow jobs and spark development in Western North Carolina. With excellent water quality in the region, and the distinction of “Beer City” for Asheville, three national breweries are choosing to locate to WNC. Oskar Blues will be locating in Brevard, while Sierra Nevada and New Belgium will be setting up breweries along the French Broad River. New Belgium plans on spending over 175 million dollars on the site and in the end hire 150 people once the brewery is up and running. To build the New Belgium facility will create over 12-hundred jobs between now and 2015, the year the facility is set to open.
Congressional Debate at WCU Undergoes Another Venue Change
(10-22-2012) The debate between Republican Mark Meadows and Democrat Hayden Rogers will take place at 7pm Tuesday in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom. The debate is for the North Carolina 11th Congressional District. The debate is open to the public but seating is extremely limited. Hence the venue change. The debate was originally set to be held in the U.C. Theatre with over flow seating being in the Blue Ridge Hall. In the event of a packed Grandroom, the theatre will be used for overflow seating with live streaming of the debate. This debate is part of a year long theme of “Citizenship and Civility”. This is a project that explores what it takes to be a citizen and what it means to be civil. The program is headed by Todd Collins, associate professor, of political science and public affairs.
Gary Neil Carden, 2012 Recipient of the NC Award for Literature
(10/23/12) Gary Neil Carden, legendary raconteur of Jackson County, is finally getting what he deserves. On October 30th Carden will receive the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state’s highest honor in letters. Carden is being recognized for his many dramatic and narrative works which have captured the authentic voice and character of Southern Appalachia.
Carden may be recognized by TV viewers for his insightful contributions to the NC Language and Life Project documentaries MOUNTAIN TALK and VOICES of NORTH CAROLINA, and the Sucker Punch Pictures documentariesTHE OUTLAW LEWIS REDMOND and THE LAST ONE. A film adaptation of his play THE PRINCE of DARK CORNERS was produced by Sucker Punch Pictures in 2007 (and inspired the Redmond documentary), and several other films have been made about Carden or his work. for all things Carden, go to www.tannerywhistle.net
Bryson City Teen Flips Car Onto Train Tracks
(10/20/12) Just before 6pm yesterday evening, a seventeen year old girl from Bryson City found her world turned upside down in an instant. Nica Houston topped the hill at the intersection of Pam’s Way and the River Road where she met another car head on. To avert a collision, she moved her blue, PT Cruiser too far over on the right shoulder in an attempt to pass. Her car dropped off the embankment, landing upside down on the railroad tracks. Officer Ammons of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said she was transported to MedWest Swain with only minor, non-life-threatening injuries. The EMT quickly arrived on scene where one of the paramedics flagged down the train as it was returning from its excursion to Whittier during the Great Pumpkin Patch Express, an engineer with the Great Smokey Mountains Railroad said. This is not an isolated incident, with other cars getting too close to the bank while trying to pass and falling onto the tracks. It can be speculated that the limited sight distance is largely to blame because it limits a driver’s reaction time to an unsafe, short period.
Bryson City Teen Wreck 10/19/2012
Native Chestnut Conference Going On This Weekend in Asheville
(10/19/12) Researchers have been trying for a hundred years to figure out a way to stop the fungus that wiped out eastern forest of over 4 billion native Chestnut trees knows as the “redwood of the east.” The native Chestnuts have persisted in sprouting from the roots of Chestnut trees that died in the blight, but one the sprout gets an inch or so in diameter the fungus has attacked the tree with lethal results. Scientists found the Chinese Chestnut to be resistent to the blight but inferior in the wood. Chestnut trees which were cut in what is now the Great Smoky Mountain National Park still have solid wood even though they have been cov ered with moss and laying oin the ground for 80 years. Forty years ago Jackson County was the nation’s largest producer of Wormy Chestnut lumber. Researchers have been able to genetically modify the Chestnut tree genetics to get the blight resistence from the Chinese Chestnut while retaining the wood quality of the American Native Chestnut. Researchers have also had amazing results at getting the modified Chestnut to grow in mine dumps or soil and rock scrapped from the earth in the strip mining process. If this program proves successsful then beautiful and productive Chestnut forests can return to the unsightly mine dumps. Ther conference in Asheville has all the top researchers and program specialists involved with the Native American Chestnut reclaimation project. The 2012 American Chestnut Summitt is going on this weekend in Asheville for informaiton check their website or call at 828-281-0047.
Trace Lee Mason Apprehended in Charlotte
(10-19-2012) Trace Lee Mason Jr., a fugitive from the Jackson County Sheriff’s office was caught in Charlotte, NC. yesterday October 18th. In a press release from the Sheriff’s office Mason, 26, was taken into custody in Mecklenburg County. The State Bureau of Investigation, the Mecklenburg Police Department, and the FBI were all involved with the apprehension of Mason. Trace Lee Mason Jr. will be transported back to Jackson County.
One Stop Voting Started Thursday, October 18th
(10-19-2012) One stop voting began in North Carolina on Thursday Oct. 18th. With elections just a little over two weeks away, one stop voting allows voters to vote on their own time. Lisa Lovedahl director of the board of elections gives the dates and times for the one stop voting. ………Justice Center – Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cullowhee Recreation Center – Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cashiers Community Library – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wolftown Community Building – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Balsam-Willets-Ochre Hill Fire Department – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I asked Lisa what the advantage of one stop voting is and how it helps with the election process. Lisa explained it allows voters to vote at any of these locations and allows for less congestion at the polls on election day. One stop voting continues through November 3rd.
Protect Your Identity with Free Shred-A-Thon
(10/18/12) Local sponsors are donating their time and resources to sponsor free shred-a-thons in your area. Shred-a-thons are a perfect way to destroy old tax records, checks, employment records or credit applications. You do NOT need to remove staples and paper clips from the documents. Please pass along this information to co-workers, neighbors and friends. This service is provided for individuals to dispose of personal documents to help prevent identity theft.
SYLVA (Jackson County): Wednesday, October 31, 9:30 am – 11:30 am Mountain Credit Union 30 Highway 107, Sylva. Sponsors: Mountain Credit Union www.mountaincu.org
SYLVA (Jackson County): Saturday, November 10, 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM or until the truck gets full, at the Jackson County Justice and Administration Building located at 401 Grindstaff Cove Road, Sylva, NC 28779, hosted by the Jackson County Solid Waste Department. There will be a five (5) box maximum per car for the event. If you have any question you may call the Public Works department at 828-586-2437.
FRANKLIN (Macon County): Wednesday, October 17th, 10 am – 12 pm Mountain Credit Union 746 East Main Street, Franklin. Sponsors: Mountain Credit Union. www.mountaincu.org
CHEROKEE (Swain County): Wednesday, October 17th, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Mountain Credit Union 375 Sequoyah Trail, Cherokee. Sponsors: Mountain Credit Union. www.mountaincu.org
WAYNESVILLE (Haywood County): Wednesday, October 31th, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Mountain Credit Union 721 North Main Street, Waynesville. Sponsors: Mountain Credit Union. www.mountaincu.org
This information brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. All shredding notices are about free events but donations may be accepted at some. Always check with the local sponsors for event changes or additional details. The NC Department of Justice does not endorse any business or charity.
Local Farmers to Meet with Representatives of Local Foods Council
(10/18/2012) Local farmers continue to look for ways to increase the presence of locally grown foods in local markets. Regardless of the region local markets who offer or specialize in selling locally grown products strengthens the local economy. This meeting will give local farmers the opportunity to meet with representatives of the statewide Local Foods Council and representatives from North Carolina’s agricultural and regulatory community to share issues, ask questions, and advocate for new policies that affect agricultural development in western North Carolina. This session will help create a list of policies and regulations that will help address barriers and obstacles to food production and distribution. The Western North Carolina Food Policy Council is hosted by the Western North Carolina Public Policy Institute and members include representatives from the seven most western counties of North Carolina. The goals of the council are to address food insecurity and strengthen the local food economy in Western North Carolina. The meeting will take place Monday October 22nd at Blue Ridge Hall Conference Room A on the campus of Western Carolina University between the hours of four and six p-m. The Blue Ridge Hall is one of the new dormatories located next to the clock tower in the middle of the WCU Campus. There normally are some parking places in the lot beside the Forsyth Building which is the School of Business. for more information call at 227-3898.
NC Has a New Distinction Which Might Be Considered Dubious By Some
(10/18/2012) On this the anniversary of the Clean Water Act clean water advocates are meeting at the Future of North Carolina’s Water Conference in Montgomery County. One of the keynote szpeakers is writer and activist Maude Barlow who has raised concerns about the number of livestock farms in North Carolina. According to Barlow, “ North Carolina has the heaviest concentration of animals in one place in the world.” Barlow continued, “Coastal North Carolina has ten million hogs polluting the wateways with fecal material and feertilizer.” In addition to bringing attention to the State’s abundant water resources the intention of the conference is to bring attention to the possible dangers the state’s water supply is facing from both fracking and pollution from agricultural waste, construction, industrial waste, and urban waste. Another of the topics on the conference is the impact of water quality on the state’s economy. Recent budget cuts to the Department of Natural Resources have reduced the number of inspectors available to monitor construction sites and other activities which might impact water quality.
Maude Barlow, best-selling Canadian author and human rights activist, is the chair of the board of Food & Water Watch. She is also an executive member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization, founder of the Blue Planet Project, and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.
Maude is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Award, and the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly
See More Deer in the Headlights for the Next Two Months
Written By: Jerry Higgins, NC DOT
(10/18/2012) RALEIGH - In order to help reduce the number of wildlife-related automobile crashes, the N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be aware of the increased presence of deer on state roads during the fall months. More than 19,500 animal-related crashes were reported each of the last three years, and 90 percent of those involved deer. Since 2009, the incidents have resulted in 3,498 injuries to people, of which 17 were fatal, and approximately $139.1 million in property damage. “More deer are being seen in densely populated areas,” said State Traffic Engineer Kevin Lacy. “Drivers need to be alert at all times. If you can’t avoid a deer, it is better to hit it than to lose control of your vehicle and cause a bigger accident.” While a crash involving a deer can happen at any time, the majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur between the months of October and December, when deer activity increases due to mating and hunting seasons. Crashes are most common during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., when deer movement increases and limited lighting makes it more difficult for motorists to see them on or near roadways. Between 2009 and 2011, there were 61,046 animal-related collisions reported throughout North Carolina. The top five counties for such collisions in 2011 were Wake (1,105), Duplin (646), Guilford (642), Pitt (623) and Johnston (535). Wake County has had the most animal-related crashes for the past 11 years. The North Carolina Animal Related Crashes 2009-2011 data and county rankings can be found on the Connect NCDOT webpage. NCDOT has animal crash maps available by county as well (click on Crash Type: Deer, Crash Description: 2011 By Time of Year). A county spreadsheet will load with links to the maps. The crashes are coded by the quarter of the year they occurred.
NCDOT offers the following suggestions for motorists to avoid being in a collision with a deer:
1. Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening;
2. Statistics indicate most car-deer crashes occur near bridges or overpasses. Deer also follow railroad tracks, streams and ditches;
3. Drive with high beams on, when possible, and watch out for eyes reflecting in the headlights;
4. Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that the road is clear if one deer has already passed;
5. Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run;
6. If you see a deer near or on the road, give you car horn one long blast. This sound gives the deer an audible signal to avoid; and
7. Increase the distance between your vehicle and other cars, especially at night. If the car ahead of you hits a deer, you may also become involved in the accident.
Great Smokies National Park Visitation Increase in September
(10/18/12)People just can’t keep away from the Smokies.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park recorded 963,317 visitors during September 2012. This is a 9.2 percent increase in visitation as compared with September 2011.
Smokies visitation numbers during September 2012 at all the park’s three major entrances showed increased over September 2011 as follows:
Gatlinburg, Tenn.: up 7.8 percent
Townsend, Tenn.: up 4.5 percent
Cherokee, NC: up 5.3 percent
The total entrances at the 14 outlying areas were also up 17.4 percent over last September. Year-to-date visitation is up by 8.9 percent, which works out to 602,299 more people than during the same time last year, according to a statement today from the park.
September is a transition month where Labor Day marks the end of the summer season and the start of the school year. The Park generally sees a very slight lull in visitors before the popular autumn leaf peepers begin to flock to the Great Smoky Mountains towards the end of the month.
The Smokies is the most visited national park, with more than 9 million total visitors last year. (by USPS reports)
The Stream of Cheer Boxes Continues to Our Troops
(10/17/12) In September WRGC Radio in cooperation with the Sylva Rotary Club, Veterans Council, WCU Veterans Services Program, and the National Guard, campaigned to collect boxes of personal items to be shipped to American Troops stationed in the forward positions in Afghanistan. Veterans all recall a higher ranked enlisted Non-commissioned officer or even a full fledged military officer making a statement simular ”If Uncle Sam had wanted you to have _______ he would have issued it to you.” However in the current wars soldiers often find them selves without good fresh socks, toothpaste, shaving materials, snacks, a deck of cards, things to write with, or to write on. Sometimes soldiers have to relocate on short notice and their backpack usually exceeds a hundred pounds in weight … so things just have to be abandoned. This said, our soldiers need help with those personal assistance items that Uncle Sam does not provided. In September, 28 boxes of materials collected through the collaborative effort with the Rotary Club were collected and shipped to the troops. Until the end of October items can be dropped of at the State Employees Credit Union. A list of most needed items is posted near the box.
The Winner of the Our State Magazine Songwriting Award Announced
(10/17/12) For the past couple of months WRGC has been following the story about the song competition being sponsored by Our State Magazine. It was published today (Tuesday) that Aarron Burdett from Saluda has won the competition with his song entitled “Going Home to Carolina.” Burdett is a frequent performer in the Asheville music scene having collaborated on albums with members of Big Daddy Love, Accoustic Syndicate, Free Planet Radio, and Snake Oil Medicine Show. “As judges we had a great opportunity to hear some passoniate songs about North Carolina,” said Rhiannon Gibbons, lead singer for the Carolina Chocolate Drops, “Aaron did a wonderful job capturing the strong connection that I think we feel about this state.”‘Burdett will receive the $500.00 prize, professional production of the song in a studio and the opportunity to perform the song at various events and festivals across the state. To learn more about Burdett and to listen to a live version of the song visit ourstate.com/songwriting
Candidates Forum at the Library in Sylva Draws a Crowd Monday Night
(10/16/12) Last night citizens were able to listen in for the Candidates from the Community Room of the Jackson County Library Complex. The Forum was sponsored by the Macon County League of Women Voters, The Canary Coalition, The Smoky Mountain News, and Occupy WNC. Candidates present for the Forum included North Carolina Senate Candidates Former Democrat Senator John Snow and incumbent Republican Senator Jim Davis, North Carolina House Candidates Republican Mike Clampitt and Democrat Joe Sam Queen and Jackson County Commission Candidates for District Four; Republican Marty Jones and Democrat incumbent Mark Jones.
Some of the questions were more specific to the statewide candidates and some were more specific to the local candidates but all candidates were given the opportunity to answer most all questions. Former State Senator John Snow gave the answer to the first question which was a question about how elected representatives might be able to work together. Snow described the difference between the extension of four lane US Highway 74 between Stecoah and Andrews which is known as the Corridor K project and the fracking legislation which was passed in the last state legislative session. Snow stated that environmental concerns had halted the road construction which is needed to help boost the economy of Graham county, but the state took action in spite of the environmental concerns for fracking in Chatham county in eastern North Carolina. Later John Snow stated he was not in favor of the fracking process because of concerns with ground water contamination. State Senator Jim Davis defended his vote and position on fracking by stating that he believed the state needed to harvest its energy resources but that the science was still being studied. He pointed out the financial windfall other states had obtained because of the fracking technology which had allowed those states to get revenues from their natural gas revenues. In a local issue concerning the funding and use of local libraries, Marty Jones reported on the generous community support in donations funding for the library in southern Jackson County. Mark Jones pointed out that Jackson County provided some funding for the new library in Sylva but almost two million dollars was raised by the community for the project. Mark Jones then tied the library’s resources to the role of education in jobs creation. Marty Jones tied the jobs program into the need to lax some of the construction and steep slope/land use regulations which were responsible for significant job losses a few years ago. All the Democrat candidates agreed that the effective jobs program was an education program in getting people trained to work the jobs that are available in the state. Democrat Joe Sam Queen and Republican Mike Clampitt had opposite opinions on the health care issues. Candidate Clampitt pointed out the Affordable Care Act was already responsible for job losses in Jackson County in making a reference to the recent reduction of force announced by Medwest Health Care Systems, Joe Sam Queen supported the Affordable Care Act but stated that improvements needed to be made. That even though this is a federal government act, the impact of the action on state funding for Medicaid and Medicare is tremendous. On several questions the candidates answers mirrored the national policy of their political party, but each candidate stressed their willingness to think and act independently in what they considered the best interests of their constituents.
The Community room was about 75% full for the Forum which was broadcast live and streamed live by WRGC Radio.
Gov. Perdue Proclaims October 18 as Earthquake Preparedness Day
(10/15/12) Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed October 18 as Earthquake Preparedness Day to encourage families, businesses and schools to learn and practice what to do to protect themselves in an earthquake. North Carolina will join other Southeastern states in the first earthquake exercise, scheduled for Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m.
“While earthquakes in North Carolina are rare, they do happen,” said Perdue. “In fact, last year, much of our state experienced shaking from an earthquake that originated in Virginia. I want to be sure people know what to do to protect themselves.”
Perdue said following three simple steps – drop, cover and hold on – will better protect people in earthquakes. Although ground shaking from earthquakes typically lasts only a minute or two, aftershocks can continue for several days or even weeks.
Federal, state and local emergency management experts and rescue teams agree that the best actions to keep you safe in an earthquake are:
* Drop to the ground (before the earthquake makes you fall)
* Take cover under a sturdy desk or table
* Hold on to the desk until the shaking stops.
* If there is no table or desk nearby, crouch in an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
* Stay away from bookshelves, lamps, TVs, cabinets and other objects as much as possible. Such items may fall and cause injuries.
Just as importantly, there are several actions that people should not do.
* DO NOT get in a doorway. They are not safe and do not protect you from falling or flying objects.
* DO NOT run outside. Running in an earthquake is dangerous. The ground is moving making it easy to fall or be injured by falling structures, trees, debris or glass.
Residents, businesses and schools from North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia are joining together to host the first earthquake drill in the southeast. Similar to the annual tornado drill held each spring, people will be asked to take a few minutes of their day to rehearse what they would do in such an emergency. Since earthquakes happen with no warning, there will be no Emergency Alert System test to announce the drill. Instead, each school, business, agency and family is asked to practice recommended safety techniques on their own.
Additional information and resource guides are available on www.shakeout.org/southeast to help various groups prepare for the exercise. Individuals and agencies are encouraged to register their participation on the website.
“I encourage everyone to take a couple of minutes out of their day to rehearse these potential life-saving actions,” said Perdue.
New Permanent License Plates Required
(10/15/12) Beginning Monday, October 15, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will introduce new permanent plates and a new process for their issuance. A new law passed by the General Assembly requires all current permanent plates to be cancelled and re-issued under new eligibility rules by Dec. 31, 2012.
Vehicle owners, depending on their eligibility for permanent plates, must purchase either replacement permanent plates or standard “First in Flight” plates by the December deadline. New orange and black plates will replace the current silver and black permanent plates. Beginning Oct. 15, DMV will no longer issue silver and black plates. A one-time $6 fee is required for permanent plates; standard registration plates cost $28-$33.
Current permanent plate holders will be notified by letter to replace their plates. NCDMV expects about 120,000 vehicles to be affected by the change, mostly vehicles that are owned and operated by municipalities and counties across the state. New permanent plates will be available from license plate agencies or by mail accompanied by form MVR-619 from Vehicle Services, 3148 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-3148.
The new law limits eligibility for permanent registration plates to governmental entities and certain other groups. Those approved for permanent plates include vehicles owned by a county, city or town; a board of education; the Civil Air Patrol; an incorporated emergency rescue squad; a rural fire department, agency or association; community colleges; or local chapters of the American National Red Cross and used for emergency or disaster work. All other vehicles must obtain standard registration plates.
Examples of vehicles that will no longer be eligible for permanent plates include vehicles operated by orphanages, church buses, mobile X-ray transports, sheltered workshops, non-profit mental health transports, city trolleys and parade vehicles of charitable organizations.
All vehicles still have to pass required annual safety and emissions inspections prior to obtaining new registration plates, whether permanent or standard.
The Senior Citizens SHIIP Program
(10/11/12) The Seniors Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance is able to help you find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that will meet your needs and assist you with enrolling in a plan. The Departments on Aging in all counties in North Carolina have trained volunteers and staff John Ciccone (Haywood), Valerie Harrison (Jackson) and Allison Woodard (Swain) are all available to provide assistance with the form/application. The form is available online at www.ncshiip.com or at the Department of Aging in each county. Individuals are encouraged to get the plan and complete as much of the paperwork as possible before bringing it to the county volunteer assistant for review. The form asks for a significant amount of information about the applicants medications. That information is critical when planning for the most appropriate drug plan. For general information one can call at 1-800-443-9354.
Jackson County Board of Education Announces Meeting
(10/15/2012) The Jackson County Board of Education will meet October 23rd at Smokey Mountain Elementary School on highway 441 north headed toward Cherokee from the Gateway exit. The meeting will take place at 6:00 in the school’s Media Center. It is likely that construction on the recently approved Gymnasium and performing arts center at Smoky Mountain High School will be discussed.
Hunting Season is Now Open
(10/15/2012) Tired of wild and dangerous bear hanging around your home and property, then take heart because hunting season is officially open. For the past month hunters have been able to chase the bear with hounds, but the outcome of that is the bear would scale up a tree and hang out till the hunters retrieved their hounds and left the area. Now with hunting season open the hunters will able to harvest the bear and stop the annoyance. Beekeepers will especially be happy to know that hunting season is officially open because bear with a history of destroying bee yards can now be legally hunted and harvested. With bear hunting nothing is left for waste, hunters normally share the bear meat among themselves and feed their families over the winter and bear hides are treasured and often made into beautiful rugs. Look for more trucks with dog boxes, trucks parked on the side of the road,and trucks on side roads. There is little cause for alarm because most hunters have been practicing this sport for their entire life. Land owners are encouraged to grant written permission to hunters to be on their property, rarely is property damaged by hunters and when written permission is given then the land owner has the information needed to contact the hunter should the property be damaged. Hunters are licensed, have completed a hunter safety course, and must report any harvested game to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. All activities of hunters are closely monitored by Wildlife Resources Officers. However anyone having knowledge of poaching, spotlighting and night slaughter of deer and other wild game should call law enforcement immediately. Brian Cookston is available at 488-0117 or in Raleigh call at 919-707-0186 or 919-707-0010.
WRGC Radio Announces Major Programming Changes for Sundays
(10/13/2012) Since WRGC Radio signed on at 540 in April 2012, Sunday’s have been set aside for religious programming and gospel singing and Atlanta Braves Baseball. The Braves untimely exit from the playoffs meant that the WRGC had to find something different to fill out the Sunday afternoon slot when the Braves had been on their air. “The response we have been getting getting from the gospel music on Sunday mornings has been good, and the response to Gospel Greats has been good but a little weaker than expected. We want to schedule The Gospel Greats earlier in the day in order to get better coverage and to be a strong lead in to the East Sylva Baptist Church service at 6:00 p.m, said Roy Burnette Owner/General manager.. Starting October 14th WRGC will program a program of specific interest to fishermen entitled “Tie one On” with Jerry McKneely. This will be followed by “Our Southern Community” with Ned Ryan Doyle. This program will features different leaders from Western North Carolina in the environmental/economic realm talking about things that impact the region in various ways. at 3 p.m. WRGC will broadcast the NBC program “Meet the Press”. being added at 7:00 p-m will be “Lessons in Leadership” with John Locke. This interview program will be feature leaders from businesses, non-profits, and organizations from all of Western North Carolina.
WRGC to Broadcast and Stream Monday’s Political Debate from the Jackson County Library
(10/12/2012)540 a-m WRGC Radio will be broadcasting and streaming the political debate from the Community Room at the Jackson County Library starting Monday at 7:15 p-m. Candiates include Hayden Rogers and Mark Meadows for US Congress; Mike Clampitt and Joe Sam Queen for State Representative, John Snow and Jim Davis for NC Senate, Marty Jones and Mark Jones for Jackson County Commissioner. The debate is being sponsored by the Macon County League of Women Voters, Canary Coalition, WNC Occupy, Sylva Herald and Smoky Mountain News. For the stream go to wrgc.com and click on the icon for the political debate.
WCU Tournament Of Champions Band Festival
(10/12/2012) The Western Carolina University Marching Band, the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has announced that 22 high school bands will be competing in the October 20th Tournament of Champions Band Competition at E.J Whitmire Stadium in Cullowhee. Local Bands include the Smoky Mountain High School band who will take the field at 11:45, Pisgah Band at 2:00 p.m. Enka at 3:00 p.m., and Tuscola at 3:45. The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band will perform their show at 4:00 p-m
Nathan Dollar with the Vecinos Farm Worker Health Program Shared Vital Information
(10/11/12) The state’s growing Latino population is placing additional needs on community services. Twenty five people from North Carolina are in Mexico this week to participate in the Center for International Understanding. Farmers in Jackson County and many of the other agriculture based counties in the state find their farming operations in jeopardy during disasters when Latino workers are also victims of the disaster. For example when the tornado’s in the Spring of 2011 tore through sections of Wake county, health departments struggled to find ways to communicate health concerns with to Hispanics. In Jackson County and other counties with significant farming operations, the lack of adequate sanitation facilities, moving from location to location to follow the crop harvest, little flexibility in work hours and lack of private tranportation, and limited communiucations skills. This week at the Sylva Rotary Club meeting, Nathan Dollar from the Vecinos Farm Worker Health Program defined many of this agencies programs which often operate late at night in order to accommodate the workers who normally return to tjheir native country after the harvest season, normally concluding with the harvest of Christmas trees. Nathan worked tirelessly as a translator atthe NC MOM Free Dental Clinic, and gave information about how this health program is supporting the farm workers in our area.
Friends of Panthertown Valley Address Nantahala Ranger District
(10/11/12) The proposal of the US Forest Service to burn almost 5000 acres of forest land in the Nantahala Forest District continued to receive opposition from the Broad of the Friends of Panthertown located in Southern Jackson County. Of the 250,000 acres in the District 814 acres in the Blackrock and Little Green Units of Panthertown Valley have been designated for the burn. While Panthertown Valley consists of 6,295 acres, the area targeted burn area represents 13 percent of the Valley and and more than 16% of the total area designated for burning. Taken that only 2% of the total 250,000 acres are set aside for the burning program, Friends of Panthertown Valley feel the amount of the land in the Valley is disproportional. The increased use of Panthertown Valley for recreational hiking and camping is given as a reason why the land needs to be left alone. There is also a great concern for significant damage to specific plant species such as pink shell azalea, twisted hair spike moss, blueberery, bear huckleberry, sand myrtle, and the purple and carolina rhodod of which some are endangered or rare. The Board also noted to Ranger Michael Wilkins that the Board recommended some alternative places for the proposed burn and were willing to assist the forest Service with the construction of appropriate fire breaks, and also pointed out that the Board had not opposed the logging of certain tracts of land and the forests in Panther Town valley.
Southwestern Commission Trails
(10/11/12) The Southwestern Commission will be hosting a two-hour public workshop on Thursday, October 25 as part of a Regional Trails Plan underway for seven counties in Western North Carolina. The workshop begins at 5:30 at the Cherokee County Courthouse.
The workshop will focus on generating ideas for future trails in Cherokee County, including a discussion on ideas future greenways, existing greenways, mountain bike trails and hiking trails.
“There’s always been a lot of interest in hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in this region,” said Sarah Graham, regional planner for the Southwestern Commission. “We hope to take some of the plans already completed by counties and towns and organize them into a cohesive regional vision for future trails.”
Southwestern Commission, through a grant from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and its State Trails Program, is leading the regional trails inventory and concept plan for Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties. Other workshops have taken place in other counties or will be completed this fall.
The primary product of this plan will be a region wide map indicating where existing hiking trails, greenways, mountain bike trails, and some on-road bicycle routes are located. It will also include recommendations, based on public input, on where new trails, greenways or routes may be located to connect to other trails or connect towns/communities to one another.
“We want to use this plan to help identify partners, pursue funding opportunities, and link communities,” said Graham.
The Plan will also include some documentation of other trail and greenways considerations for use by the towns and counties within the region. This documentation will include topics such as recommendations for more detailed planning efforts, funding strategies, partnerships and maintenance expectations.
Completion of the plan is expected in early 2013, with adoption by the Southwestern Commission Board and County Commissioners. Bob Ferreira
Pressure Applied on Power Companies to Clean Contamination
(10/11/12) Pressure is building for Duke Poower and Progress Energy to clean up coal ash ponds found in 14 sites around North Carolina. Wenesday the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a complaint with the NC Environmental Management Commission to require the power company to clean up the sites. Coal ash contains pollutants like lead, mercury, and arsenic. According to Sierra Club spokesperson Kelly Martin, “these chemicals are harmful to our brains and nearly every major organ in our body, It’s high time for Duke and Progress to take responsibility.” Martin added that self monitoring by Progress Energy Carolinas confirms that contaminations around its coal ash ponds at its Asheville and Wilmington facilities fail to meet state standards for ground water quality. “One example of the problem is cancer causing thallium being found in the groundwater near the historic French Broad River in Asheville. The French Broad is increasingly used as a recreation destination and the New Belgium Brewing Company is set to open its second location off the banks of the river, the state needs to step in.” said Martin . “We think that they should follow the law and require that Progress and Duke immediately clean up the toxic wastes that are leaching into our ground water and potentially into our rivers.” concluded Martin. A spokesperson from Duke Energy said in a statement that “Duke Energy has not yet reviewed the filing these organizations have made.” The statement went on to say that Duke Energy and Progress Energy have been sampling groundwater around their ash basins for years, and all the data has been reported to the state regulators all along the way.
Another Jackson County Bridge Marked for Replacement
(10/09/2012) The N.C. Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23, on the proposed replacement of the bridge on East Fork Road over East Fork Savannah Creek in Jackson County. NCDOT proposes to replace the current bridge with a two-lane bridge in the same general location. During construction, traffic will be maintained on a temporary detour bridge east of the existing bridge. The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Savannah Volunteer Fire Department, located at 18 Ralph Tatham Road in Sylva.
At the meeting, NCDOT representatives will provide information, answer questions and accept written comments regarding the proposed project. Comments and information received will be taken into consideration as work on the project progresses. Citizens may drop in anytime during the meeting hours. There will not be a formal presentation. For additional information or to provide comments, contact NCDOT Division 14 Bridge Manager Josh Deyton at (828) 488-0902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in this meeting. Anyone requiring special services should contact Deyton as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made. People who speak Spanish and do not speak English, or have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English, may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the meeting by calling 1(800)481-6494.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(10/08/12) Already this month you may have noticed players in the National Football League, Major League baseball, and at many other sports events wearing pink attachments to their uniforms, pink socks, belts, or shirts. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). This an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October is designed to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. As well as providing a platform for breast cancer charities to raise awareness of their work and of the disease, BCAM is also a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection.
NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries which was a maker of anti-breast cancer drugs. The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. In 1993 Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol, though this was not the first time the ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer. In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation had handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.
In October 1983 the Race for the Cure was held for the first time in Dallas, Texas, where 800 people participated. According to the organizers, by 2002 the number of participants reached 1.3 million and the event was held in over 100 US cities. The event is also being organized in several other parts of the World.
This month in Sylva numerous businesses will have Pink Displays in their windows to show their support for breast cancer research and to promote mammograms as one of the early detection methods. While often overlooked in the greater promotion of Women’s Breast Cancer, the number of men becoming victims of breast cancer continues to rise as well.
Tuckasegee Baptist Association Announces Annual Meeting
The Tuckasegee Baptist Association which is affiliated with the conservative Southern Baptist Convention will be meeting at two Jackson County Churches in October. The first event will take place on October 18th at Lovedale Baptist Church locate on Highway 107 just south of Smoky Mountain High School. The focus of this meeting will be to hear reports from the numerous state agencies which share Cooperative Program funds. Some of these agencies include Baptist Men and their Disaster Relief programs, Children’s Home services, Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem, Baptist Camps including Truett Camp in Hayesville and Camp Caraway in Asheboro. The Friday night session will take place as Rockdale Baptist Church located west of Dillsboro in the Barker’s Creek Community. On Friday messangers will vote on the annual budget, hear reports from local missions activities including Southwest Area Missions (SWARM) the hispanic mission churches, the 40 Days of Prayer Initiative, the Migrant Camp Mission Program, and some joint missions efforts such as united Christian Ministries. The host churches will provide a dinner starting at 4:30. Rev ray knowles will bring the message on October 18th and Rerv Charles Lee will be the preacher for the Friday Night service.
Ag Options Grants Program Application Deadline is October 12th
Christie Bredenkamp has announced the WNC Ag Options program has been notified that the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund has provided $145,000 in funds for a new round of grants to farmers in the 17 western counties and the Qualla Boundary. The grants are for three to six thousand dollars and are to be used for farmers to develope new ideas, technologies, and techniques for advancing farming programs. The funds are part of the settlement from the tobacco companies, and are designed to help farmers replace the money lost when the tobacco price support programs were cut out. The adverse impanct upon tobacco prices and growers for the most part ended growing tobacco as a farm crop in the mountains. While people continue to use tobacco products more of the tobacco used to manufacture those products is grown as a large crop in the coastal plains and imported. the deadline for the Ag Options grants is November 16th. Interested farmers need to contact the Agricultural Extension Service by October 12th. for informaiton call 586-4009 or 488-3848
Bridge in Franklin to be Named for Nathan B Henry
(10/07/12) The Viet Nam Veterans Association in Franklin announced today the bridge over US Highway 64 and US Highway 441 will be named to honor Nathan B. Henry in a ceremony to take place on Friday October 12th at 2:00 p.m. Henry was a POW in Viet Nam for six years. Below is a short biography written by Nathan B. Henry. For a complete summary of PFC Henry’s service and report of his capture simply Google his name.
NATHAN B. HENRY Staff Sergeant- United States Army Captured: July 12, 1967 Released: March 5, 1973: I am twenty-five years old and still single. I like girls and parties as well as the outdoors. I was born in Franklin, North Carolina, a small town in western North Carolina. I am the youngest of three boys and have no sisters.
I was drafted in September 1966 and arrived in Vietnam in February 1967. I was captured on 12 July 1967 in the La Drang Valley near the Cambodian border west of Pleiku. I was serving with the Fourth Infantry Division. My job was a radio operator (RTO). I was on a search and destroy mission when I was captured. I was in prison five years and eight months. I always kept faith in God and in my government. I would like to say these are the greatest days of my life since I have been given back my freedom.
I finished high school in 1965 and plan on going to college and majoring in forestry. I am thankful to God and the American people for my being alive today. America is the greatest country in the world and I hope we can keep it free throughout the future. It is hard to find words to express my gratitude to the American people. The only thing I can say is God bless you. I love each and every one of you.
Disaster Drill at Southwestern Community College
(10/06/12) From the moulage to the ambulances, EMT’s hurriedly doing their jobs, students being pressed into service or secured for safety purposes the drill was both an orientation for students, faculty and provider agencies Friday at Southwestern Community College. The focus of the drill was that a shooter had opened fire on fella students at SCC. This is an important drill in that this carziness has crept into society on a greater basis since Columbine. Mental Health professionals were utilized to calm fears and conduct interventions between the shooters supposed girlfriend and estranged wife, family members who were distraught after learning that family members were victims of the shooter. Law officers were looking and catalogueing evidence, Highway Patrol was maintaining traffic control, ambulances were transporting individuals to Medwest Hospital, EMT’s were providing immediate care, nursing students at SCC were getting some on the job training and experience. Organizers were calling the activity successful, both from what was learned in the way things were done right as well as how things were done wrong. Andy Bryan covered the story for WRGC and filed several reports over the weekend.
Actress Sherry Rigby Scheduled for Appearance in Franklin
The motion picture October Baby is a heartfelt story which captures the agony of an example of a modern woman who finds herself dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. Sherry Rigby delivers an award winning performance because of the personal identity and passion she projects into the motion picture. The Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center has arranged for Sherry to attend an all star Gala on October 13th in Franklin. The show will be take place in Franklin at the Covenant Church. Table sponsorships are available which also are enhanced with a special opportunity to visit with Sherry Rigby. This fund raising event will help fund the operation of the Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Centers in Franklin and Cullowhee
Distinguished Service Award to be Presented on Saturday as Part of the WCU Homecoming Activities
The Chancellor’s Brunch and Alumni Awards, honoring the WCU Alumni Association award recipients and the university’s Distinguished Service Award recipient, will be held from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday, in the Grand room of the A.K. Hinds University Center. This year’s Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Bob Buckner (class of 1967). Buckner is considered the father of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band which has been the recipient of numerous national awards including the Sudler trophy in 2009. The band performs pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows at all Catamount Football home games and provides exhibition performances throughout the Carolinas. The Pride of the Mountains has been featured several times as an exhibition band at the BOA Grand National Championships (a showcase for the nation’s top high school marching bands) and at four BOA regional competitions in Atlanta, Georgia. The band participated in the 2011 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, performing the song “You” by Suburban Legends, in memory of that band’s former trombone player, Ryan Dallas Cook
The Lilies are Back at the “Valley of the Lilies”
(10/06/12) When Susan Belcher asked Grounds Maintenance Coordinator Roger Turk about having Cullowhee Lilys as the markee plant to accentuate the stage for Dr Belcher’s installation as the WCU Chancellor last spring she was disappointed to learn there were really no Cullowhee Lilys available. Since Cullowhee means “Valley of the Lily’s” Susan Belcher decided there needed to be lily’s in the Valley of the Lilys. So the process of finding a source of the unique lily started. A farmer in a neighaboring state who specialized in this particular lily species was found. a contract was signed and the farmer commenced the laborous task of digging 4000 bulbs from which the Cullowhee Lily grows. The first batch of lilies were made available on Mountain Heritage Day but sales and call in orders were such that reorders were soon placed even before the first shipment was sold. Other shipments are arriving throughout the month of October and are available at Ray’s Florist, Bryson Hooper Farm Supply and Country Road Farms. The proceeds from the sale of the Cullowhee Lily are going to the Alumni Scholarship Fund. The initial goal for the scholarship was $100,000. Unconfirmed reports are that goal is now easily within reach. Susan Belcher will be reporting on WRGC Radio next week. Information will be available on how to obtain a package of the Cullowhee Lily bulbs. Looks like Susan Belcher came up with the right product, at the right time, and a farmer somewhere down south has some really desirable lily bulbs.
Bridge Replacement to Inconvenience Residents on Skyland Drive in Sylva
Residents in the Addie Community are now dealing with the inconvenience of having a bridge out on a primary traffic thoroughfare. State bridge number 320 is located 1.2 miles south of Willets Road intersection with US Highway 74 on Skyland Drive. The “Through” road will be closed for about nine months. Local residents can use Mineral Springs Drive or Willets Road as alternative routes during the 9- month period expected for the bridge replacement project to be in progress. The project also includes grading, drainage, paving, and structure replacement. The bridge spans a cutout for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
The 2012 WCU Homecoming Activities
In addition to the Distinguished Service Award being given to Bob Buckner, the Professional Achievement Award to recognize the accomplishments of Gaither Keener, Ron Morrow (class of 1978), will be given the Academic Achievement Award; and Wade Livingston (class of 2004, master of education degree in 2006), has been selected for the Young Alumnus Award.
Susan Belcher and the Alumni Association have rallied the community behind their effort to raise funds for scholarships and Belcher’s passion to return the Cullowhee Lily to the “Valley of the Lilies” and southwestern North Carolina. On Saturday at 12:30 p-m Belcher will preside over the planting of Cullowhee Lily bulbs at the Centennial Garden near the curve in the road above Central plaza.
Western Carolina’s new Health and Human Sciences Building will be open for visitors and tours from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p-m. This modern facility located on WCU’s West Campus (about a mile above the Cullowhee post office and on the right side of the road) has already brought significant recognition to the university because of the energy efficiency designs incorporated into the buildings structure, a laboratory of medical sciences, displays of the newest technologies which will be used in everyday teaching and training programs, and discussions of partnerships with numerous local professionals health provider agencies.
At noon the attention starts turning toward the homecoming football game when the tailgate lot opens. This centuries old ritual will bring together families, friends, supporters, and fans for food, games, and the opportunity to commensurate. Alumni from the 1980s will gather in the Cordelia Camp Building lot from noon to 3 p.m. to hear a DJ spinning songs from their decade. Kickoff for the WCU football game versus Georgia Southern University is 3:30 p.m. at Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field.
Choose from a number of activities after the game, including the African-American Alumni Postgame Reception, 6:30-8 p.m. in the Peele, Westmoreland Suhre, Hartshorn Hospitality Room, in the Ramsey Center; a 7 p.m. Catamount volleyball game versus the Wildcats of Davidson College in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center; and at 7 p.m., Stompfest, an annual stepping competition performed by black fraternities and sororities in the Coulter Building recital hall.
Bringing Homecoming activities to an end on Sunday, Oct. 7, is a 12:30 p.m. performance by the Inspirational Choir Concert in the UC Grandroom.
The WCU Professional Achievement Award to Recognize Gaither Keener
The 2012 Western Carolina Professional Achievement Award will be presented to Gaither Keener (class of 1972). Keener is Chief Legal Counsel for Lowes, a veteran with service in the United States Marine Corp, has made significant endowments to the Cross Country and Track and Field programs at WCU. He is also the Judge Advocate for the North Carolina Department of the American Legion and is active as legal counsel for the United States Department of the American Legion.
Honor Air Flights for Korean War Veterans
(10/03/12)The honor flights started out of Springfield Ohio in 2004. After the completetion of the WWII memorial in Washington different groups started getting the funding and logistics in place so the veterans would be able to go see their memorial. At the time the death rate for WWII veterans was more than 1200 veterans a day. In 2011 the death rate for WWII and Korean war veterans was 900 per day. Companies, civic clubs and different organizations have been raising money for the past ten years and have sent tens of thousands of WWII veterans to Washington DC including several trips which have included veterans from Sylva and the surrounding area. The Sylva Rotary Club and under the leaderhip of committee chairs Lynn Lazar and Larry Hinton raised thousands of dollars to make the trips possible for are WWII veterans. Now the focus has turned to Korean War veterans. These members of “The Forgotten War” except for those hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines who remember the horrors of the Korean War when wave after wave of Chinese troops attacked American positions until the barrels of the American weapons and machine guns simply melted down from the heat of a endless stream of bullets being sent down the gun barrell in an effort to hold their positions and save American soldiers lives.
In Washington DC between the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorial one will find the Korean War Memorial. This beautiful memorial displays a platoon of Marines on patrol on the snow covered grounds of Korea. The monument is surrounded by a wall with the engraved images of the faces of soldiers, airplanes, and different armaments of the war. Soon the effort will increase locally for a civic club or organization to send our Korean War Veterans to Washington DC to see their memorial. October 3rd was a special day in Knoxville when over a hundred veterans were given a trip to see their memorial.
MAIN Awarded $10,000 Grant
(10/03/12) – The nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) has been awarded a $10,000 Rural Digital Advocacy grant to build an online mapping and data visualization website for nonprofit organizations in Western North Carolina.
Awarded by the Rural Policy Action Partnership, the grant was one of six national awards to organizations to demonstrate the use of digital tools for rural advocacy and policy change.
The project, entitled “Mapping Our Issues: Data Visualization Made Easy for Rural Activists,” has two phases. In phase one, MAIN will build a web-based mapping and data-visualization tool to enable WNC residents to document the availability, cost and performance of broadband Internet access in their locale. The tool will allow residents to compare their broadband experience with availability data provided by incumbent telephone and cable companies to the Federal Communications Commission.
In a report published Aug. 21, the FCC estimates that more than 48,000 residents of 16 mountain counties live beyond the reach of broadband lines from a cable or telephone provider. The number of WNC residents without broadband is even higher when cost and affordability are factored, the report said.
Phase two of the project will provide training for rural activists in how to use digital mapping and data-visualization to deepen public understanding of their issues. This training will initially focus on staff and volunteers from four local nonprofit partners: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Canary Coalition, Disability Partners, and the Western Region Education Services Alliance.
“Digital mapping and data visualization have long been used by Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to promote their issues and policy solutions,” said Wally Bowen, the project director and founder of MAIN. “With advances in open-source software, it’s now possible for grassroots organizations to harness the power of digital mapping and data visualization,” he said.
Digital mapping, often called GIS for “geographic information systems,” has been around for more than 25 years. GIS can map everything from the spread of communicable disease or environmental pollution to the geographic distribution of tax breaks and campaign donations. Open source GIS is free software developed and refined over time by programmers from all over the world.
“There are tons and tons of public data available on any issue you can name,” said Neil Thomas, an Asheville-based GIS consultant. “GIS and data visualization allow you to analyze and present this data in ways that inform citizens and advances the public discussion around critical policy issues,” he said. Thomas’ firm, Resource Data Inc., is a consulting partner for the “Mapping Our Issues” project.
Real Estate Market on the Upswing
(10/03/12) For the past several months WRGC radio has been the “Voice of an improving real estate market” The Real Estate Sense program which airs each Saturday with Jack Debnam and sponsored by Western Carolina properties has explained how the market has improved, has brought in dozens of guest who have also described improvements to the market. In the October 3rd edition of USA Today the indications are the housing improvements are pretty much nationwide. With the biggest gains in home prices in six years. Experts are now saying there is a shortage. Nice homes are selling while the market for trashed homes remains stale. Improvements for the housing market will drive many other businesses from flooring, improvements, landscaping, plumbing, electrical contractors, and appliance sales. One of the features of the Real Estate Sense show is that those planning to sell a home need to make the home attractive and marketable in order to get the best price, else the seller will have to lower expectations when the buyer is expected to refit the home. homes that have been raided for their copper wiring and plumbing will continue facing a hard sale market. According to the Home Builders Association, many contractors whose foces had been on new construction are now marketing themselves in the remodeling market. According to the National Association of Realtors single home sales in August was up 9% over August of 2011 and the supply of listed homes for sale was down 18%.
Early Voting is Underway In North Carolina
(10/01/2012) To get an absentee ballot, click here to visit the State Board of Elections website, where you can make a request to have an absentee ballot mailed to your home.
You don’t have to be away from home on Election Day to be eligible for absentee voting. It’s allowed for any reason. To find a polling place where you can go in person to cast an early ballot (called One-Stop Absentee Voting), click here. Please remember voters who might have trouble getting to the polls on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6. For example, older people may find it more convenient to vote early. Someone with a busy work and family schedule may find it easier to vote by absentee ballot than to appear at a crowded regular polling place on Nov. 6. Please let your friends and family know about early and absentee voting to help make sure their voice is heard on Election Day.
Sylva Mourns the Death of Two Community Leaders
(10/01/12) The name Andy Shaw is immediately recognized in Sylva due to the attachment with Andy Shaw Ford. Mr Shaw passed away on Sunday. Mr Shaw along with Larry Hinton opened Andy Shaw Ford several years ago. The dealership has a unique advertising partnership with WRGC Radio. Mr Shaw was an attorney by profession, is a graduate of Duke University, and was active in a variety of environmental initiatives. The family will receive friends Thursday at Appalachian Funeral Home.
Also Padgett McCoy passed away on Sunday. Mr McCoy was the long time operator of several businesses in Sylva including F and P Supermarket then later Padgett’s Flea market on Highway 441 just south of Dillsboro. People would come from miles around to enjoy Padgetts famous hot dogs. Mr McCoy was a member of American Legion Post 104, and was always more than willing to help out anyone needing a helping hand including those at the nursing home when he spent some most of his later years. Services will be Wednesday for Mr McCoy, American Legion Posy 104 will assist with graveside rights