MURPHY, NC, December 18, 2017 - The U.S. Forest Service has selected Brandon Houck to fill in as Acting District Ranger on the Cheoah and Tusquitee Ranger Districts of the Nantahala National Forest beginning January 8, 2018.
Houck will temporarily replace Angela Gee, who has accepted a District Ranger position on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in Colorado which started December 11. The Forest Service is in the process of hiring a permanent replacement for Gee.
"Working in North Carolina has been an incredible experience," Gee said. "I met and worked with a lot of wonderful people who care deeply about our National Forests. While I look forward to my new position, it was hard to say goodbye. I'll truly miss working with the National Forests in North Carolina."
Houck is currently a zone wildlife biologist on the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. He is responsible for developing and leading the Shoshone Landscape Aspen and Early Seral Habitat project. Before working for the Forest Service, Houck served for 14 years as Western Director of Conservation Operations for the National Wild Turkey Federation.
"I'm really looking forward to this challenging new responsibility of supporting the Nantahala National Forest," Houck said. "I'm most excited about engaging with the local communities to find out what people value about their National Forest, and how we can work together."
Born and raised in Kansas, Houck graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and received an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Mississippi State University.
The following press release has been issued to Hiawasee Police Department. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On November 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm, the Hiawassee Police Department responded to an armed robbery at the Save-A-Lot at 236 N Main St. It was reported that a masked man armed with a handgun, locked one employee in a cooler, while the other emptied the safe at gunpoint. The suspect reportedly fled the scene on foot.
Following an extensive investigation, an arrest warrant was issued on December 4, 2017 for Chelsea Alferink, the assistant manager at Save-A-Lot, for the offense of False Statements and Writings. She was taken into custody without incident. The following day, arrest warrants for the offense of Armed Robbery were issued for Alferink and her boyfriend, Daniel Walls.
Alferink is being held at the Towns County Jail without bail. At the time of this release, Daniel Walls has not yet been apprehended. The attached photo of him is from an earlier arrest.
This investigation is still ongoing, with the possibility of further charges being filed. Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Detective Brandon Barrett at (706) 896-2888 ext. 3.
The following information has been provided by Andrews Police Department:
The Andrews Police Department would like to inform the community that there was lockdown at Andrews High School due to a domestic situation that arose out in the county earlier this morning.
Andrews Police Officers were on the scene investigating a secondary incident and following up on the lockdown when a 911 call came in that a subject with a gun was in the building. The reporting parent rushed to advise Andrews officers that they had just received a text message from the child that an armed subject was in the school. Andrews officers and SROs reacted immediately to the threat and began an immediate search of the school. The school was cleared and secured rapidly and Andrews Police Department officers along with School Resource Officers and the school staff had the situation under control. There were no armed individuals located in or around the school and no injuries were reported.
The school superintendent responded and requested the Sheriff respond with secondary support for the incident. The superintendent with the sheriff made the decision to release school for the day. Andrews officers along with SROs and CCSO deputies remained on scene to provide security for children and families while school let out.
Andrews Police Department would like to commend the students, teachers, and parents of Andrews High for their cooperation and understanding in a high-stress situation.
Scroll to the bottom for:
1) Online Link to take survey, or
2) A .pdf that you can download and print. You can leave completed survey in the Drop Box outside WKRK's office door at 90 Tennessee Street, Suite B, Murphy, NC (no later than December 22, 2017.) We will get the paper copies into the right hands to make sure they are included.
Please share this with those who may be having issues with internet service or have no internet at all.
Information about the survey:
The Southwestern Commission, in conjunction with MountainWest Partnership, is asking local citizens and businesses to participate in a broadband assessment for the region. To participate, please start by entering your home or business address to the right and clicking the "Search for My Address" button.
This survey will verify availability of services in our counties, identify actual speeds available, and collect information on demand for services from respondents. While some counties have conducted individual broadband surveys already, this regional effort gives all counties the chance to participate. We hope residents in all seven counties will participate in this effort so the entire region will have uniform data. Data from the county-specific demand surveys (such as Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain) will still be considered in our overall broadband planning.
Initial data collected will provide valuable information to the Southwestern Commission and MountainWest Partnership, as well as state and local partners working towards broadband and Economic Development planning for the region. Anonymized data may be shared with broadband providers or planning partners with the goal of improving Internet services throughout the region.
The Southwestern Commission is one of the 16 regional councils of government for North Carolina and represents Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties. MountainWest Partnership is the Economic Development Partnership for the seven counties in the southwestern region and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Link to the survey: http://mountainwest.baat-campaign.com/campaigns/master#Main
For questions on the survey, please contact Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Town of Murphy Police Department would like to remind everyone that we are seeing an increase in various counterfeit currency, mostly $20's and $50's, here in Murphy. We have taken possession of this counterfeit currency from some banks and businesses here in town. This currency may pass through many hands or businesses before it is found.
We expect more to be identified now that people will be shopping for gifts given that Christmas is less than a month away. Depending on where the counterfeit currency is identified, we recommend you call the law enforcement agency that covers that area and report it to them. For further information please review the US Secret Service's website regarding counterfeit money at:
Thank You, Chief Justin J. Jacobs.
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga – Young Harris College recently received an extensive comics collection valued at more than $10,000 from Murphy, N.C., resident Andy Rowe. The Andy Rowe Comics Collection was presented during YHC’s annual Family Weekend on Oct. 21 in the Student Organization Loft of the Rollins Campus Center on the YHC campus.
Upon retirement, Rowe moved to Murphy, N.C., and began looking for an institution that would treasure his prized comics collection as much as he does. While settling into his new home, he encountered a service provider who took interest in his collection while installing a new internet connection. After further conversation, he explained to Rowe that his son, a YHC student, would be very interested in viewing the comics.
Rowe had the opportunity to invite that YHC student, senior communication studies major John Lyle Moore, of Rabun Gap, Ga., along with senior religious studies major Emily Todd, of Coral Springs, Fla., and junior art major Khalid Johnson, of Decatur, Ga., to his house to talk about the collection.
As he reflected on his encounter with the three YHC students, he remembered how incredible that time was and how much he admired these students’ passion. Through this connection, Rowe was able to meet Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of the Department Dr. Chris Richardson, who teaches courses at the College focusing on comics. Dr. Richardson explained that today’s comics are similar to retellings of Homer’s “Odyssey” to ancient Greeks in that they carry on storytelling traditions focusing on heroes, adventures, and overcoming social conflicts.
“Comics are a wonderful tool for acquiring deeper media literacy skills that allow us to better understand the messages we’re constantly dealing with—whether through advertisements, political campaigns, social media apps, streaming videos, or virtually anything else we see daily,” said Dr. Richardson.
During the unveiling ceremony, Rowe explained that before he and his brother learned how to read, he remembers looking through the comics and paying close attention to the pictures. Rowe first read these comics as stories, but later realized that they were developing his character. Rowe recalled that when he was younger, reading comics was looked upon negatively. He shared stories of his mother being criticized for letting her kids read comics. Her response was simply, “At least they are reading.”
Rowe enjoyed reading comics at such a young age and credits them with shaping him into the man he is today. These heroes would always do the right thing and they would never misuse their powers. This message was reinforced every day, every week, every month.
During a conference Rowe attended one year, he encountered someone wearing a Thor costume. Rowe went up to him and said, “How does it make you feel wearing that?” The young man stood up straight, held his hammer high and responded by saying he felt like a “true hero.” This encounter still moves Rowe and reminds him of the influence these heroes have on people.
Rowe’s collection was beneficial not only to him, but also to his family. His daughter was diagnosed with severe dyslexia at a young age and they were told that she would never be able to read. Today she holds a master’s degree and was recently named “Teacher of the Year” by her school. She gives credit to her father’s comics collection for helping overcome dyslexia. For her, it was exhausting to have to focus on words on a page for too long, but with her father’s collection, she was able to look at an image and read some words for short periods at a time.
Before donating the comics collection to the College, Rowe wanted to make sure the collection was going to be used to academically benefit students. “This collection provides academic opportunities for textual and visual analysis that will assist students in a variety of disciplines, including English, communication studies, popular culture, art and graphic design, gender studies, and many more,” said Dean of the Division of Humanities and Professor of English Dr. Mark Rollins. “The College is extremely fortunate to receive such a generous and valuable gift from Mr. Rowe.”
Students also understand the significant impact a collection like this will have on YHC in their own studies.
“I am most excited for this collection because I think it will give the community a chance to see the value in comics,” said Moore, who acknowledges how unique this collection is to the College. “We live in a relatively small community and to be given such a massive collection gives the school a particular image. As a liberal arts college, we value having diversity within each major. Because comics are applicable to most disciplines, we get to really show that positive image off at YHC.”
The Andy Rowe Comics Collection will be housed in YHC’s Zell and Shirley Miller Library outside of the special collections room. Students will be able to check out these comics throughout the year to use for their research.
“This comics collection can be used to trace story arcs, graphic designs, perform content analyses, and examine the works as material objects,” said Dr. Richardson. “It’s an incredible experience to behold this huge addition to our library. They reveal much about our culture, aspirations, social norms, and ideals. It’s thrilling to have a piece of that history here at Young Harris College.”
Many students, faculty, and staff have reflected this same genuine gratefulness for Rowe’s gift. Dr. Rollins said, “We are fortunate to have such generous donors as Mr. Rowe, as well as talented faculty like Dr. Richardson to spearhead the acquisition of this collection. This will benefit students and faculty for years to come.”
The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced that November 25th, 2017 arrest of Victor Thomas Jacob Runge, a 23-year-old Murphy, North Carolina man for charges involving illegal possession of drugs and a stolen gun.
On or about November 25th, 2017 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was assisting the North Carolina Highway Patrol who was operating a Driver’s License Checking Station. As Runge, who came through the checking station, was questioned concerning his driver’s license, Runge was observed reaching for something in the center console. During a search of the vehicle incident to arrest, a stolen semi-automatic pistol was located which later was identified as being stolen from Athens, Tennessee. Additionally in the search, a quantity of suspected methamphetamine was seized along with U.S. Currency. Additional investigation revealed that Runge had previously been convicted of a felony and was not allowed to have a firearm in his possession.
Runge was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center where the North Carolina Magistrate set a $30,000.00 secure bond for the following charges: Felon in Possession of Firearm. Possession of Stolen Firearm, Possession of Methamphetamine, Carrying Concealed Weapon, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Rung is expected to appear in Cherokee County District Court on December 5th, 2017.
Sheriff Palmer stated, “This had the potential of a very bad ending. We do not know what this individual’s intentions were by reaching toward the console where the gun was found, but alert officers were able to diffuse the situation and get drugs and guns off the street. This is a great example of the team work we enjoy with fellow agencies in Cherokee County. We appreciate the cooperative effort of the Troopers and all the law enforcement agencies that help keep Cherokee County Safe and Secure.”
Sheriff Palmer asks if you should have any information concerning this case or any other case to report suspicious activity and suspected violations of the law to please call 828-837-3144 or submit a tip at email@example.com.
The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC — Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced that November 20, 2017 arrest of Lilyaunna Helene Kiff-Hall, a 17-year-old Murphy, North Carolina woman for charges involving injuries to an infant .
On or about November 15th , 2017 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a Physician at TC Thompson who stated that earlier in the day an infant was flown from the Martins Creek Community of Cherokee County to their hospital as the child was experiencing breathing issues. The physician further explained that after examining the infant there were injuries that were consistent with child abuse. The information provided was given to Investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the Cherokee County Department of Social Services.
Upon receiving the information, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office commenced an investigation that included search warrants for the residence of the infant. During the search, items of evidence were collected which included at least one cellular device .
Lilyaunna Helene Kiff-Hall was arrested at the Cherokee County Detention Center on November 20th , 2017 and presented to the North Carolina Magistrate who set a $50,000.00 secure bond for Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Injury. Lilyaunna Helene Kiff-Hall is expected to be in Cherokee County District Court December 5th , 2017 at 9 am .
Sheriff Palmer stated, “This is a very sad situation, especially this time of the year. We appreciate the cooperative effort of the Cherokee County Department of Social Services who are partnering with us. Our investigation is far from over and we expect additional charges as we progress .”
Sheriff Palmer asks if you should have any information concerning this case or any other case to report suspicious activity and suspected violations of the law to please call 828-837-3144 or submit a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org .
On Friday November 17, 2017, law enforcement officers and their K9 partners from surrounding agencies in Western North Carolina converged on the Warne Community Center for a day of training and information sharing hosted by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. The training combined both indoor and outdoor scenarios of vehicle and building searches. The searches were for narcotics, articles (such as firearms or property), and tracking.
There was also classroom discussion that consisted of legal updates and court room testimony presented by a representative from the District Attorney’s Office. Policy, procedure, training and recertification were also a classroom topic discussed by participants of the training.
The focus of this event was not only the training but to also create an opportunity to bring K9 officers together from around the 30th Judicial District (the seven western counties) to share knowledge, experience, and resources for the benefit of everyone.
Ed Able, of P.A.W.S. K9 in Young Harris, volunteered his time to help with the training scenarios. Ed has extensive experience in law enforcement and K9s and helped to provide valuable, practical training.
This was a first of more training to come for Clay County K9 officers as they continue working to improve their skills. Since March, twenty seven arrests have been made on drug related charges resulting from traffic stops and the use of Clay County K9s.
Special thanks to Ed Able of P.A.W.S., the Warne Community Center, Warne Fire Department, and Charlie Shelton of Southern Auction for their help and support to make this regional training a success.
The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On November 25, 2017, at approximately 8:15 PM, a Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy encountered Dustan Dee Barnard at the Big D on Hwy 64 West. The deputy knew Barnard to have warrants and placed him under arrest.
Sheriff Davis said while the deputy was searching Barnard, Barnard pushed pass the deputy and attempted to flee. After a brief chase behind the building, Barnard fell into some bushes. Another deputy had arrived at this point and they got Barnard under control and placed him in a patrol car.
During a search of Barnard’s property more than 19 grams of methamphetamine was discovered, along with some marijuana, and scales.
Barnard was arrested and charged with Felony Possession with Intent to Manufacture Sell or Deliver Methamphetamine, Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Jail, Possession of Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia, and Resisting Public Officer. He was also served a warrant for Misdemeanor Larceny.
At the time of this release he had already made a $12,500 bond and has a December 11, 2017 court date.
Sheriff Davis said this is another example of something that was seemingly “routine” that turned out to be something big and got more drugs off the streets.