Murphy, N.C. – The Nurse Professional Practice Council of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) generated nearly 340 pounds of items for the second annual Reach donation drive for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
Reach supports individuals who are victims of domestic and sexual abuse. In addition to providing temporary shelters, Reach offers resources for abuse victims, including support groups, court and hospital accompaniment, employment training, help with finding housing, community education, etc.
Hospital staff and visitors donated personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, clothing, baby items and household supplies for the Reach shelters in Cherokee and Clay County.
“Erlanger is so thankful for everyone who donated to the Reach drive,” said EWCH nurse Amanda Berry. “Reach is such an important organization. Our employees and patients are so generous, especially when it comes to supporting efforts to improve our community.”
The council presented the donations to Reach representatives from both Cherokee and Clay County on May 14.
Officials with the Tri-County Community College Foundation announced Shawna Vasser, a 2016 graduate of Hayesville High School as the recipient of the inaugural Dr. F. David Slagle Memorial Scholarship.
“Dr. Slagle is an individual whose impact on Tri-County Community College spanned decades, and we are grateful to his family and friends for creating this scholarship to continue serving our students is his memory,” said Bo Gray, executive director of the college’s foundation.
Vasser said she currently is pursuing both an associate in arts and associate in applied science degree at Tri-County Community College.
According to officials with the Tri-County Community College Foundation, the Dr. F. David Slagle Memorial Scholarship was established in 2018. It is designated as an annual scholarship for a Tri-County Community College student who is majoring in business administration or a college transfer degree program; is a resident of Cherokee or Clay County, and a graduate of Andrews or Hayesville High School.
A graduate of Andrews High School and Lenoir-Rhyne College, Dr. Slagle trained as U.S. Navy aviator following the completion of his bachelor’s degree. He earned his master’s degree in education from Western Carolina University, and doctorate in education from Clemson University.
Dr. Slagle began his tenure at Tri-County Community College in 1972, where he would go on to serve in multiple roles, including Dean of Continuing Education, Interim President and Vice President of Research and Development.
For more information about this scholarship or the Tri-County Community College Foundation, call (828) 837-6810.
Concerns about the growing measles outbreak both nationally and internationally should not discourage individuals from traveling. However, Erlanger Health System specialists say it is important to keep a few things in mind while preparing for summer travel.
Before this year’s outbreak in the United States, measles was and is still a common disease in other countries. According to the CDC, an estimated 10 million people worldwide (including U.S. residents) are infected with measles every year. Until recently, the disease has been limited in the United States due to the wide use of vaccines in our country.
“The problem arises when individuals who are not protected from the disease become infected and spread measles to other unvaccinated persons,” said Dr. Charles Woods, Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. “Travelers, both internationally and nationally, must now be even more aware of the risks to themselves and others if they have not been vaccinated against measles.”
This is what travelers need to know, according to Dr. Woods, who is also an infectious disease specialist. Measles is an extremely contagious disease spread by a virus through the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Handwashing alone is not protective. People who are infected with the disease will experience a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes for several days before the skin rash develops. They are contagious during this time and for four days after the rash starts.
Measles cannot be treated, but it can be prevented with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine. The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.
Dr. Woods recommends that those who plan to travel internationally or even in the United States should:
The CDC recommends that families traveling with infants and young children get vaccinated before any international travel. Infants 6 to 11 months old need one dose of measles vaccine. Children one year old and up need two doses. The doses should be at least 28 days apart.
Families with young infants may want to consider delaying their trips until the child is old enough to be vaccinated. The dose in 6 to 11 month olds is to protect infants who may no longer have measles antibodies transmitted from their mothers during pregnancy.
As of this time, the CDC has travel warnings related to measles outbreaks in Brazil, Israel, Japan, the Philippines, and Ukraine.
For more information on measles, visit https://www.cdc.gov/features/measles/index.html.
Karen Mulvaney, MBA, RN, NRP, and Greg Taylor, NRP, FP-C were recently awarded the designation of Certified Medical Transport Executive (CMTE), by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) from the Medical Transport Leadership Institute (MTLI). Mulvaney and Taylor are Clinical Base Managers with Erlanger Health System’s LIFE FORCE Air Medical Service.
The CMTE designation is an indication of Mulvaney’s and Taylor’s demonstrated skill in leadership and expertise in medical transport management. There were only 78 graduates of the 2019 MTLI program. In order to be eligible for this certification, Mulvaney and Taylor participated in a rigorous educational program over the course of two years, passed a comprehensive written examination, and completed a team project related to a timely industry challenge.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication showed by these two individuals,” said Robbie Tester, NRP, FP-C, CMTE, Vice President of Operations at Erlanger Health System. “They both have put in a lot of hours toward this achievement. This is just another example of what makes LIFE FORCE a World Class organization.”
Mulvaney and Taylor's certification is valid for three years. During the three years, they must earn 30 Management Education Units (MEUs) in order to keep this certification current and to become recertified. Mulvaney is the Clinical Base Manager at LIFE FORCE 1 located in Cleveland, Tenn. and Taylor is the Clinical Base Manager for LIFE FORCE 6 located in Andrews, N.C.
The AAMS is the only international trade association serving the entire air and ground medical transport community. The AAMS mission is to assure that every person has access to quality air medical and critical care transport by promoting the highest level of safety, commitment, service, and patient care.
,The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the May 2nd, 2019 arrest of 44-year-old Owen Gregory Dean who provided a Murphy, North Carolina address for possessing a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
In a continuing investigation, information was provided to Investigators of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office that Dean was in possession of blasting caps at his residence in the Ranger Community of Cherokee County, North Carolina. Further information was that Dean was currently on probation in the state of North Carolina.
Investigators teamed with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), North Carolina Department of Public Safety Adult Corrections, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and made a search of Dean’s residence. During the search, a blasting cap was recovered which was secured and transported from the home by SBI Bomb Technicians.
Dean was arrested and taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center where he was placed under a $15,000.00 secure bond. Dean is currently detained in the Cherokee County Detention Center and is expected to be in District Court on May 9th, 2019.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated, “Again this had a huge potential for disaster. Explosives must always be properly handled and stored. We appreciate all the assistance of the SBI, ATF and DPS in helping us to bring this to a safe conclusion. We continue in this investigation and ask that anyone with information contact Detective JJ Wooten or Detective Tory Shivers at 828- 837-2589 or utilize the tip line.”
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please, call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Keystone Images Jerry Wilson for providing these high quality, up close photos from today's lantern installation at the Cherokee County Courthouse in Downtown Murphy, NC.
Click thumbnails to enlarge.
The following press release has been issued by NCSHP. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, would like to report an arrest in the 16 November 2018 hit-and-run death of Randall “Shorty” Penland of Hiawassee, GA.
Raymond Leo Hohmann III, age 36, of 1334 Old Highway 64 East, Hayesville, NC 28904 was arrested this morning (4/26/2019) and charged with the following offenses:
• Involuntary Manslaughter GS 14-18
• Felony Hit and Run GS 20-166a
• Felony Obstruction GS 14-221.1
Mr. Hohmann was taken before a magistrate where he was placed under a $100,000 Secured Bond and as of the time of this release was still in the custody of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
In the early morning hours of 16 November 2018, Trooper K. D. Hyde of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was dispatched to US 64 east of Hayesville where the body of Randall “Shorty” Penland had been located. Upon Trooper Hyde’s arrival, he determined that Mr. Penland had been involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, which had left the scene. Deputies and investigators with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office as well as additional Highway Patrol personnel responded to assist and began what would be a five month long investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Penland’s death.
Together, the Highway Patrol and Clay County Sheriff’s Office conducted an extensive investigation which spanned multiple jurisdictions in two states. The charges brought forward today were the culmination of this investigation and were brought under the advisement of local District Attorney’s Office.
Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital names chief financial officer and director of patient safety and quality
Murphy, N.C. – Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) has named Matthew Thomas as chief financial officer and Susie Aft, RN, as director of patient safety and quality.
Matthew Thomas recently served as chief financial officer at Merit Health Natchez in Natchez, Miss., where he oversaw the following departments: accounting, information technology, materials management, case management, admitting, business and health information management. There, he also successfully petitioned for the hospital to gain sole community hospital status with Medicare, a designation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Before stepping into the health care sector, Thomas served as senior accountant at one of Tennessee’s largest accounting firms, Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain, P.C. Since then, he has held management and leadership positions at Community Health Systems, Inc., in Franklin, Tenn., and San Angelo Community Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas.
Thomas attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville for both his bachelor of science in business administration and his masters of accountancy.
Susie Aft joins EWCH after serving as chief quality officer at Fannin Regional Hospital in Blue Ridge, Ga. In this position, she was responsible for the quality and patient safety program where she oversaw medical staff services, infection prevention and control and risk management.
With over 15 years of experience in health care, Aft has held clinical and leadership positions at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Murphy Medical Center and MedWest Health System.
Aft received her bachelor of arts from Agnes Scott College, her bachelor of science in nursing from Emory University and her masters of science in nurse administration from Western Carolina University.
“I am pleased to welcome Matthew Thomas and Susie Aft to their new roles,” said EWCH CEO Mark Kimball. “With both having worked in rural hospital settings and their extensive experience in health care management, I believe they are great additions to our team.”
The Tennessee Department of Health is investigating a case of measles after the State Public Health Laboratory confirmed a positive test for the illness in a resident of the East Tennessee.
While the investigation is currently centered in East Tennessee, all Tennesseans should be aware of measles and its symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. The illness is typically accompanied by a red, spotty rash that begins on the face and spreads over the body. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia. Measles can be fatal in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 cases.
“Our efforts are focused on preventing the spread of illness to others,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “This appearance of measles is a reminder about the importance of vaccines and how they can particularly protect our most vulnerable, including infants and those with compromised immune systems.”
The measles virus is highly contagious and can stay airborne or live on surfaces for up to two hours. People recently infected with measles may not have any symptoms of illness, but can transmit the virus for about five days before the typical measles rash appears.
“Most people in Tennessee are vaccinated against measles and that’s important, but infants and those with weakened immune systems are still at high risk for infection,” said TDH Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “The measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine is safe and widely available. Call your health care provider to check your immunization status and schedule your vaccine if you haven’t had one.”
All Tennesseans are urged to ensure they are up-to date on MMR vaccine. Anyone who believes they or a loved one has measles symptoms should call first before going to a health care facility to keep others from being exposed.
People with questions about what to do to protect themselves against measles should call a health care provider, the local health department or a hotline established to provide answers to questions from the public about measles. The hotline number is 865-549-5343; calls to the hotline will be answered from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central time/8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time daily until further notice.
Tennessee has had only 15 cases of measles in the last decade due to relatively high vaccination rates. All children should have their first measles vaccinations at age 12-15 months, followed by a second dose at four to six years of age. Teens and adults should check with their doctors to make sure they are protected against measles. Talk with your health care provider about vaccination before leaving for international trips.
For more information about measles, visit www.cdc.gov/features/measles/index.html.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.
The following is an official release from the Town of Murphy Police Department. All suspects are presume innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On April 15th, 2019, at approximately 11:58 am, the Cherokee County 911 Dispatch Center received a call in reference to an unknown problem occurring at the Days Inn, located at 754 Hwy. 64 West here in Murphy. The Telecommunicator was able to determine that a heroin overdose had occurred according to the information given by the reporting party at the time. After arriving on scene, Cherokee County EMS was able to assist in the recovery of the person who had overdosed, Mr. Brian John Majercik.
Upon Patrol Officer Brandon R. Morgan arriving on scene to assist, shortly thereafter joined by Assistant Chief Dustin D. Smith and Patrol Sgt. T. Ryan Cunningham, consent was given by the other party involved, Ms. Leslie Marie Cartwright, for a search of the room and their motor vehicle. During this time a large amount of Methamphetamine and Marijuana was located. Ms. Cartwright was then placed under arrest for her various offenses and their motor vehicle, a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, was towed from the area. Mr. Majercik was transported by ambulance to Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital for treatment. However, Mr. Majercik was arrested later the same afternoon at a residence in the Dogwood Estates area after being released from the hospital.
On April 16th, 2019, a search warrant was executed on the defendant's motor vehicle listed above that had been stored at the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. In total, 939 grams of Methamphetamine and 165 grams of Marijuana was seized, as well as other drug related paraphernalia.
Mr. Majercik was charged with the following offenses: Traffic In Methamphetamine (2 Counts), Possess With Intent To Manufacture, Sell and Deliver Methamphetamine, Maintain Place Controlled Substance and Possess With Intent to Manufacture, Sell or Deliver Marijuana.
Mr. Majercik is currently being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center under a $560,000.00 secured bond. He has an initial court date on April 25th, 2019, at 9:00 am.
Ms. Cartwright was charged with the following offenses: Traffic In Methamphetamine (2 Counts), Possess With Intent To Manufacture, Sell and Deliver Methamphetamine, Maintain Place Controlled Substance and Possess With Intent to Manufacture, Sell or Deliver Marijuana.
Ms. Cartwright is currently being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center under a $560,000.00 secured bond. She has an initial court date on April 25th, 2019, at 9:00 am.
Both Mr. Majercik and Ms. Cartwright gave Murphy, NC, addresses. Their inmate profiles can be found on the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office website under their In Custody link. Due to the pending investigation in this matter, this is all the information that can be released at this time.
"I want to thank all assisting law enforcement officers and commend all of the other public safety agencies involved in this matter. Taking this amount of Methamphetamine off of the streets will have a drastic effect on the current drug problem that we experience here in Cherokee County and surrounding areas. However, it will be short lived."
"We count on the public to report any and all drug related or suspicious activities that they may witness to their local law enforcement agency. Unfortunately, we all have been directly or indirectly touched by someone, whether a family member or friend, experiencing a drug or substance abuse problem. We continually strive to make this a better and safer place to live and work by arresting any and all individuals responsible for this problem."
Justin J. Jacobs
Chief of Police