6 days ago

    NPS Asks For Help Locating Missing 35 Year Old

    Urgent Notice from the Great Smoky Mountains: Search Underway for Missing Individual Efforts are underway by park rangers to locate…
    6 days ago

    Crucial Oversight with NC Parents Bill of Rights

    Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Parent Bill of Rights, yet recent revelations have uncovered a potentially…
    6 days ago

    Man Charged For Child Pornography Possession

    A man from Jackson County is being charged with a felony for having documents related to child sexual abuse. The…
    6 days ago

    Sanchez-Cruz Held on $25,000 Bond for Assault

    A man is facing serious legal actions following an incident that transpired late last month. Carlos Sanchez-Cruz, aged 38 and…
    6 days ago

    Constant Turnover and Strain on Emergency Services in Swain

    During a recent county commission workshop, Captain Brian Kirkland of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office urgently appealed for assistance, citing…
    2 weeks ago

    Prescribed Burning Ahead

    Residents may soon witness fire and smoke atop Waynesville’s high mountain peaks. However, it’s not a wildfire; rather, a series…
    2 weeks ago

    WCU Sees Significant Enrollment Milestone

    During the spring semester, Western Carolina University achieved a significant enrollment milestone. For the first time since 2020, the total…
    2 weeks ago

    NCDMV Fees to Increase July 1st

    A number of N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle fees will increase, effective July 1. As directed by state law, the…

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    • News

      NPS Asks For Help Locating Missing 35 Year Old

      Urgent Notice from the Great Smoky Mountains: Search Underway for Missing Individual Efforts are underway by park rangers to locate a 35-year-old man in the vicinity of Townsend Wye, Tremont, and Cades Cove within the park. Jacob Riggs was last sighted in Maynardville, TN on April 7, and his vehicle was discovered within the park on April 8. Riggs is described as a Caucasian male, with black hair, a dark beard, and brown eyes, standing at 6’2” tall and weighing 185 pounds. Multiple organizations are collaborating with the National Park Service in this search operation, with additional resources slated to join the effort tomorrow. If you have any information regarding Riggs’s whereabouts or have seen him, please reach out to us via: CALL the NPS Tip Line: 888-653-0009 SUBMIT A TIP ONLINE: go.nps.gov/SubmitATip EMAIL: nps_isb@nps.gov In case of EMERGENCY, dial 9-1-1.

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    • News

      Crucial Oversight with NC Parents Bill of Rights

      Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Parent Bill of Rights, yet recent revelations have uncovered a potentially life-threatening oversight within its wording, as acknowledged by Dana Ayers, Superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools. Ayers expressed concerns, particularly regarding students exhibiting suicidal tendencies, stating that while obtaining parental consent for surveys or evaluations isn’t typically an obstacle, it becomes one when dealing with urgent cases like suicidal ideation. In response, school systems statewide are drafting resolutions advocating for an exception to the Parent Bill of Rights concerning suicide risk assessments. Ayers presented a version of this resolution to the school board on March 19, urging their support to highlight the necessity of addressing student well-being promptly. The Parent Bill of Rights mandates parental consent for students to participate in any survey or assessment revealing mental health issues, including suicide screeners. Notably, a suicide screener is distinct from a comprehensive risk assessment, focusing on immediate crisis risk and being less invasive. While Ayers emphasized the importance of parental involvement, he stressed the urgency of initiating the screening process to ensure student safety, underscoring that the ultimate goal is to keep students secure and alive. The resolution proposed by the…

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    • News

      Man Charged For Child Pornography Possession

      A man from Jackson County is being charged with a felony for having documents related to child sexual abuse. The 23-year-old Sylva resident Jacob Colby Nicholson is accused of three felonies related to second-degree sexual exploitation of minors. A warrant for Nicholson’s arrest was obtained on March 25th in connection with his suspected possession of sexually graphic photos of young children. He is charged with duplicating various kinds of photos in July 2023. The images show children being sexually abused in a number of unsettling ways, such as a prepubescent girl being raped by an adult male, two kids having sex—a girl between the ages of 9 and 13 and a boy between the ages of 9 and 10—and a girl between the ages of 7 and 10. Second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class E felony carrying a possible sentence of 15 to 31 months imprisonment if convicted. Nicholson was booked into the Jackson County Detention Center and released under a $75,000 secured bond.

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    • News

      Sanchez-Cruz Held on $25,000 Bond for Assault

      A man is facing serious legal actions following an incident that transpired late last month. Carlos Sanchez-Cruz, aged 38 and hailing from Sylva, has been apprehended on a felony charge of assault inflicting serious bodily injury. The arrest of Sanchez-Cruz by Sylva Police occurred on March 25, subsequent to a report received around 6:27 p.m. regarding an altercation near McDonald’s on Asheville Highway. Chief Chris Hatton stated that although the caller provided limited information about the incident’s location, they weren’t present at the scene, and the victim didn’t initiate the report. Subsequently, Sylva Police, in collaboration with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a search in the vicinity for the alleged perpetrator. Ultimately, Sanchez-Cruz was found in an abandoned building across the street, near Little Caesars Pizza. Sanchez-Cruz stands accused of assaulting Jeremy Trantham with a presumed knife or similar sharp object. Chief Hatton noted that no weapon was discovered either at the scene of the assault or in possession of the suspect. According to court records, Trantham reportedly sustained lacerations to his bicep as a result of the attack. He was initially taken to Harris Hospital and later airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville for further medical attention. There’s…

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    • News

      Constant Turnover and Strain on Emergency Services in Swain

      During a recent county commission workshop, Captain Brian Kirkland of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office urgently appealed for assistance, citing critical shortages in emergency services, especially in the jail system. Kirkland attributed the staffing crisis to low salaries compared to neighboring areas, leading to constant turnover and strain on resources. Sheriff Curtis Cochran echoed Kirkland’s concerns, highlighting the impact on essential jail operations. The staffing shortage also affects healthcare and social welfare services in the county. To address the crisis, Kirkland proposed revising employee benefit policies and conducting a salary study. Interim Swain County Manager Lottie Barker emphasized the need for modernized compensation to attract and retain skilled workers. With the study underway, stakeholders are hopeful that targeted interventions will mitigate the challenges facing Swain County’s workforce and ensure the provision of essential services.

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    • News

      Prescribed Burning Ahead

      Residents may soon witness fire and smoke atop Waynesville’s high mountain peaks. However, it’s not a wildfire; rather, a series of prescribed burns will be conducted in the 8,600-acre Waynesville watershed. This area supplies clean drinking water to the town, Lake Junaluska, and surrounding regions. The burns aim to enhance forest health and water quality by restoring diversity. Forest Stewards, affiliated with Western Carolina University, presented the plan at a recent town council meeting. The North Carolina Fire Service will carry out the burns at no cost to the town. The burns are expected to start in April, pending weather conditions. Residents will be notified beforehand, ensuring a coordinated approach to safety.

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    • News

      WCU Sees Significant Enrollment Milestone

      During the spring semester, Western Carolina University achieved a significant enrollment milestone. For the first time since 2020, the total enrollment at WCU increased compared to the previous year, marking an upward trajectory after three consecutive years of decline caused by pandemic-related student losses. The pandemic-induced enrollment decline created a period of decreased student numbers, which has gradually been resolving as those cohorts graduate and are replaced by larger incoming freshman classes. This trend indicates a positive shift in enrollment figures. The spring semester boasted a total enrollment of 10,742 students, representing an uptick of nearly 200 students compared to spring 2023. Provost Richard Starnes expressed satisfaction with the spring enrollments, particularly highlighting the improvements in retention and persistence rates. WCU experienced a surge in enrollment in 2018 and 2019 due to N.C. Promise, resulting in its largest first-year cohorts ever. However, the pandemic brought about challenges in recruitment and retention. Total enrollment peaked in January 2020 for the spring semester and in August 2020 for the fall semester. The decline in headcount enrollment from 2021 onwards was partly influenced by the graduation of the record-setting freshmen classes of 2018 and 2019. The lowest point for fall first-year enrollment was…

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