This month’s two full days of Tribal Council sessions included discussion on everything from research requests to drug policies to power bills, but one topic was noticeably absent from the agenda — the process for selecting a new vice chief.

Cherokee elders will no longer have power, water or sewer bills to worry about following a divided Tribal Council vote July 6 to pass legislation that former Principal Chief Patrick Lambert had put forward during his term.

A resolution that would have negated a 2007 vote to up Tribal Council’s pay by $10,000 was withdrawn last week following debate about what exactly the legislation’s impact would be.

When Ed Sutton first came to Cherokee in November to break ground on a new trail system, his directive was clear.

“We told him his marching orders were just make it great. Make it awesome,” said Jeremy Hyatt, natural resources and construction director for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

A bail bondsman who faces federal charges for sexual abuse of a minor has been detained at the Buncombe County Detention Center since his arrest May 10 after waiving his original detention hearing, but he will present a case for his release during a detention hearing scheduled for July 5. 

Cherokee hopes to combat the high Hepatitis C rates resulting from the heroin epidemic with a needle exchange program, aiming to have the program in place by Oct. 1.

Twelve people will face federal charges following an FBI investigation into an alleged marriage fraud ring based in Cherokee. 

The September ballot could include a special election for vice chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, pending a decision by the Cherokee Supreme Court. 

The snip of a ribbon declared the destination that mountain bikers are hailing as “amazing” and “world-class” to be open for business last week, when Cherokee officially opened its new 10.5-mile Fire Mountain Trail System. 

“There’s been a lot of hard work and dedication to make this a reality, to make this trail system a reality — and the reality we’ve created is a premier trail system for the region,” said Jeremy Hyatt, secretary of administration for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. 

Principal Chief Richard Sneed laid out communication, collaboration and community as the guiding principles of his new administration in an address to tribal employees Tuesday, June 6. It had been one week since tribal offices reopened following Tribal Council’s decision to remove former Principal Chief Patrick Lambert from office, and four months since Council took its first impeachment-related action.

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