Hayesville, NC - (August 28, 2019) The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received information late Wednesday afternoon of a potential threat to Clay County Schools, it was an immediate all available hands on deck response to put an end to it before it began. This was a rapidly evolving scenario that took a lot of effort to coordinate resources in a short amount of time. Ultimately those resources included School Administration, Clay and Cherokee county Sheriff’s Offices, NC State Highway Patrol, ATF, NC State Bureau of Investigation and ADAs from District Attorney Ashley Welch’s office.
Our students and community did an excellent job by reporting the information immediately, we are very thankful and fortunate that it was brought to law enforcements attention when it was. Not only did work immediately begin to identify and locate the source of the threat but efforts were being made to document and preserve evidence as well as setting a plan into motion to confront the source. As information developed every aspect of the scenario was considered and prioritized with the safety of our students the schools and the general public being of the highest priority.
Everyone involved was fully committed and remained on scene actively working their assigned responsibilities well into the early morning hours of Thursday. Law Enforcement in two separately organized groups simultaneously made contact at two locations approximately 10 miles apart. The suspect was located, identified and taken into custody without incident in the Andrews, NC area at approximately 12:30 AM and a search warrant was executed at that residence. A second person in the company of the suspect at the time was temporarily detained and later released when it was determined this person was not involved. Consideration was given to the possibility of more than one suspect; however, no information was developed to corroborate that as a credible scenario.
At this time the investigation is still ongoing and additional information will be released as it becomes available. As always, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is committed to keeping our community informed with timely and accurate information. Above all else though, the men and women of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to the safety of our community and stand ready at all times to answer that call.
CULLOWHEE – If the current long-range weather forecast of close-to-normal weather conditions pans out, the mountains of Western North Carolina should produce a typically bright display of fall leaf color this year – enough to satisfy both the region’s residents and the thousands of visitors who travel in for nature’s annual show.
That’s the word from Beverly Collins, Western Carolina University’s autumnal analyzer and fall color calculator. A professor of biology at WCU, Collins combines her knowledge of forest ecology with observations of weather trends to assess the potential for a strong leaf color season.
“After having unusually warm and wet conditions in the mountains from spring through mid-summer, precipitation returned closer to normal in late July,” Collins said. “The long-term forecast that extends through October is for average precipitation and warmer-than-normal temperatures. This forecast is closer to our historical weather, although a bit warmer than past years, and if the forecast holds, we should have our typical bright colors this year.”
Leaf fanatics want to know when the color will be at its peak. Chief among the factors that affect that timing is the declining daylight of fall, when sunrise comes later and sunset happens earlier as the angle of the sun sinks toward the south, Collins said. In the WNC mountains, some color can begin to appear in early September as that lessening light cues the appearance of color in species such as sumac and sourwood, she said.
Weather conditions also contribute to the timing of the color outbreak, with cooler nights resulting in less chlorophyll (or green) production in the leaves. So, if the long-term forecast holds and those cooler nights are delayed, peak color might hold off until the last weekend of October near WCU and many of the valley towns in the region that are about 2,000 feet in elevation, Collins said.
Speaking of elevation, that factor contributes to the variety of leaf color in two ways. Trees change color earlier at the typically cooler higher elevations and later at the warmer lower elevations, and the various species found at WNC’s wide-ranging elevations (2,000 feet to more than 6,000 feet) operate on different schedules, she said.
“In looking at the typical Southern Appalachian vista, the highest elevations that have fir and spruce trees stay dark green all year. Moving down in elevation, maple, cherry and birch trees of the northern hardwood forests often turn early, with predominately reds and yellows,” Collins said. “The mixed oak-hardwood forests often turn over a more prolonged time, with the reds, oranges and yellows of maples, birches and tulip poplar appearing earlier and the more muted yellows and reds of oaks appearing later. Sycamores, maples, walnut and birches along streams tend to turn yellow, then brown, and the leaves fall early.”
A wildcard in nature’s leaf color mix is the rogue hurricane remnants or big storms that could bring heavy rain and strong winds to the mountains and knock the leaves off the trees ahead of schedule, she said. Leaf color aficionados should cross their fingers and hope that doesn’t happen.
“Overall, the high species diversity and the varied topography of Western North Carolina usually combine to produce a pleasing variety of leaf color for anyone lucky enough to be traveling through the mountains from October into early November,” Collins said.
TCCC summer academic honors list
Tri-County Community College would like to congratulate the following students on being selected for academic honors on the President's and Dean’s list for the summer2019 semester.
Students are selected for the President’s list at the end of each semester in which they have earned 6 or more credit hours in a degree, diploma, or certificate program; have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or greater and a semester grade point average of 4.0.
Students are selected for the Dean’s list at the end of each semester in which they have earned 6 or more credit hours in a degree, diploma, or certificate program; have earned a current semester grade point average and cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or greater.
Printed certificates are available by request. Please email your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a certificate.
The students who achieved President's and Dean’s list status for the summer 2019 semester at Tri-County Community College are listed below.
Abigail J. Odell, Aleayah F. Cox, Alejandra F. Rodriguez, Alyson R. Palmer, Alyssa D. Jones, Amy N. Estep, Anderson K. Sutton, Andrew S. Bryson, Annie D. Brooks, Brionna G. Sparks, Cameron D. McClure, Carissa P. Long, Chase D. Roberts, Chloe E. Roe, Christopher M. Brown, Cleta H. Hughes, Cynthia F. Roe, Daniel O. Ledford, David B. Carroll, Dezeray K. Adams, Emily R. Kephart, Erika R. Sena, Erin I. Ledbetter, Evan T. Gluyas, Gage J. Gillespie, Grace A. Hill, Gracie F. Ledford, Gracie W. Mock, Hailea L. Rickett, Hailey L. Rhoney, Heather J. Woodward, Ivy N. Anderson, James F. Maennle, Jared D. Melillo, Jasmine H. Payne, Juliana K. Aiken, Julie A. Wooten, Katlyn N. Stiles, Kayla M. Murray, Kiara T. Anderson, Kimberly N. Bond, Laguna P. Bateman, Lauren E. Turner, Matthew Gomez, Matthew L. White, McKensie R. Pinder, Morgan E. Glenn, Natalie E. Gray, Natalie K. Nicholson, Nicholas T. Selwyn, Novalee V. Stalcup, Sarah E. Jump, Sarah J. Grubb, Savanna G. Annis, Savannah G. Bas, Shawna F. Vasser, Spencer B. Bateman, Stephanie P. Reid, Sydney L. Harris, Tara L. Eller, Tiffany P. Trentham, Tilya A. McGaha, Timothy S. Crawford, and Zeel Desai.
Amber N. Johnson, Angela R. Owenby, Anna T. Chandler, Anthony R. Monroe, Brooklynn D. Jones, Harlie A. Fannin, Jennifer H. Rayfield, Johnathan Jones, Jordan M. Pendergrass, Karlie M. Curtis, Kennedy C. Colbert-Carr, Madison J. Palmer, Madison P. Huskins, Paige A. Lindley, Ryanna B. Johnson, Samuel I. Herman, Shawn W. Jones, and Victoria F. Diaz.
Erlanger physician assistant one of three in state to earn wound management certification
Murphy, N.C. – Bernadette Shilling, physician assistant with Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital’s (EWCH) Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Center, recently earned the certified wound specialist professional designation from the American Board of Wound Management (ABWM). Shilling is one of only three physician assistants in the state of North Carolina to have this accredited certification.
According to the ABWM, a certified wound specialist can help “get to the heart of the needs of an institution’s wound care program and can identify and give guidance in the reduction of costs associated with the management of chronic wounds.”
“This certification requires a great amount of time and effort to pass a very difficult and rigorous examination, especially on the first attempt, as Bernadette did,” said Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital CEO Mark Kimball. “We congratulate her for her commitment to excellence. This is a noteworthy achievement that will greatly benefit our patients in our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Center.”
For more information about EWCH’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Center, please call 828-835-4692 or visit erlanger.org/westerncarolina.
The U.S. Forest Service has completed an environmental analysis for the Buck Project on the Nantahala National Forest's Tusquitee Ranger District in eastern Clay County. Once implemented, the project will provide important young forest habitat for wildlife through commercial timber sales that over time will also result in more oaks and hickories providing acorns and nuts. The project will also promote unique Serpentine Barrens within the project area through the use of prescribed burning and it will aim to improve water resource conditions through stream improvement projects.
"I appreciate the engagement from state agencies, conservation and environmental organizations, and the public as we developed this project. Everyone is able to find parts of the project where their input made significant impacts but like all compromises no one is getting everything they want," said Tusquitee District Ranger Andy Gaston. "Ultimately we all want a healthy, diverse forest that sustains wildlife and the Buck Project will achieve that by creating young forest that is now largely absent in this area."
Removing patches of older trees gives young trees access to sunlight and water allowing them to sprout and grow. In these openings fruit, nutritious leaves, and flowers attract pollinators and other insects and support small mammals that are prey for larger animals. Openings can be created by natural processes such as storms or intense wildfires but without these disturbances openings need to be created through active management.
Jonathan McCall, Southern Mountains Wildlife Forester for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, was a collaborative partner on the Buck Project. "I am happy to see it moving forward. This area is in dire need of sustainable management work and the Buck Project will help create critical habitat for many of our declining wildlife species," said McCall. "New young forests are vital to many species ranging from the humble honey bee to golden wing warblers and even some game species such as ruffed grouse and turkey. We are committed to helping sustain as many of these species as possible by continued creation of new young forests while moving toward a more natural distribution of all forest age classes. I'd like to thank all of the partners who have helped move this project forward!"
Nearly 70 percent of national forest in the project area is over 81 years old. Across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, the trend towards older trees is increasing such that in 50 years nearly half of the forest will be comprised of trees older than 130 years. Only 0.5 percent of the project area is young forest, defined as trees up to 10 years old. Areas which have been identified for timber harvesting have been reviewed by a team of natural resource specialists. The work to be done must meet Federal, State, and local regulations for best management practices to protect soil and water resources.
The Buck Project will leave 96 percent of the 20,638-acre area untouched and will not use clear cutting. Instead it uses a silviculture treatment called "shelterwood with reserves" that leaves some large trees behind. In 30 separate stands over an area of 795 acres, most large trees will be cut to make room for young trees to grow. The average opening in each stand will be 26 acres.
"To do this work we need to harvest timber in areas that don't currently have roads and that has created some controversy," said Gaston. "This is one of the few places in this part of the Tusquitee Ranger District where we can create the young forest that's needed because the analysis area is bordered by wilderness and roadless areas. We've reduced the risk of sedimentation to streams through several measures including reusing old road beds wherever possible."
Other changes to the proposed project based on public engagement and interagency coordination include protections for sensitive areas, old forest communities, rare plants, seeps, streams, and boulderfields.
The Buck Project includes 17 stream improvement treatments to restore stream habitat quality and connectivity and reduce sediment to streams. Additional treatments include thinning and prescribed burning to improve ecological conditions in fire-dependent plant communities like the serpentine barrens.
The serpentine barrens is the rarest and most restricted habitat on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. True to its name the serpentine barrens once had fewer trees but fire suppression has resulted in a closed canopy of trees and shrubs. This unique community has over 20 state-listed rare plants and 4 state-listed rare butterflies. Two plants, Serpentine ragwort and Rhiannon's aster, are so rare that this is their only known location in the world. Restoring the serpentine barrens ensures the survival of species that literally have nowhere else to grow.
Work in the project area could begin in 2020 and will continue for 5 to 7 years.
The environmental analysis follows a deliberative, science-based approach with input from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The Buck Project was introduced to the public in 2017 through the National Forests in North Carolina website, by mail, and at a public meeting at the Hinton Rural Life Center on November 2, 2017. A draft environmental assessment was released for a 30-day notice and comment period on April 10, 2019.
More information is available at https://go.usa.gov/xV3Ew.
Tri-County welcomes new students
Tri-County Community College celebrated the start of a new academic year with more than 40 students attending new student orientation at the main campus on July 31, ahead of the official beginning of the fall semester on Aug. 15.
Stephen Wood, vice president for instruction and institutional effectiveness at Tri-County Community College, was present to welcome students to the college campus and encourage attendees to take advantage of all the services the college offers.
“Your goals and dreams led you to be on our campus today, and what matters to us the most is seeing each of you succeed during your journey here,” Wood said.
Students at the session gained the opportunity to meet with key staff members, fellow peers, and some faculty members, as well as to familiarize themselves with the main campus.
The focus of this year’s new student orientation session was “Start to Finish,” and the day-long session was designed to equip the new students with the tools and information they would need to succeed during their first semester.
Students at the new student orientation session culminated their introduction to the college by registering for their fall classes and obtaining their student identification badges.
Samantha Jones, academic advisor at Tri-County Community College, led the event and advised students interested in registering for the fall semester after their orientation session.
“We know that our students are busy people with jobs and family obligations, so we want their transition to college to be as smooth as possible,” Jones said.
One way the college is looking to assist in the transition for students is by offering a variety of fall classes, including day, evening, hybrid, traditional, and fully-online offerings.
“All of us at Tri-County love seeing new students on campus each year,” said Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of Tri-County Community College. “That's why our goal with orientation sessions is always to set students up for success before they even step foot in a classroom.”
Registration for the 2019 fall semester at Tri-County Community College will be held from Aug. 13-14 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For a full list of classes, visit www.tricountycc.edu.
FROM NCDOT: The N.C. Department of Transportation has been surveying the rail corridor boundaries along the Andrews-to-Murphy rail line. We started this work on Sept. 10, 2018. The survey is being done to determine the limits of the existing rail corridor. We needed to better understand the rail corridor boundaries because no survey had been conducted of the rail corridor since the state acquired the property from Norfolk Southern in 1988.
We understand some residents have been concerned about the survey work. We want people to understand that this survey is not related to any project and there are no plans to expand the corridor.
We’ve been reaching out to property owners, elected officials and others interested in our work to let them know what we’ve been doing and why we’ve been doing it. Staff in our agency made door-to-door contact with individual property owners starting in August 2018. We’ve also sent property owners letters (see the attached), issued a news release Sept. 4, 2018 and publicized a notice in the local newspapers.