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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:00

News in brief

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Coats for Kids warm up for winter

The 6th Annual Coats for Kids of Jackson County is currently conducting the 2014 coat drive. This local mission project helps to ensure local children stay warm this winter season. Coats for Kids of Jackson County is sponsored by Cullowhee United Methodist Church.

The project is seeking new or gently used donations of kids coats, warm clothing, hats, gloves, and shoes; donations can be dropped of at Cullowhee United Methodist Church, Sylva Habitat for Humanity Re-Sale Store or Sylva Wal-Mart (inside the store) until Sept. 30.

Along with warm clothing items, Coats for Kids will offer additional help to families who attend the Saturday, Oct. 4, distribution event with food assistance through Ingles Gift Certificates (will state “food only”). Donations for food assistance or warm clothing can be mailed to Cullowhee United Methodist Church, c/o Coats for Kids, P.O. Box 1267, Cullowhee N.C. 28723 until Sept 30. Please be sure to specify on memo line: Coats for Kids; Warm Clothing; or Ingles Cards.

Distribution Day will be from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 4 at First Presbyterian Church of Sylva for local families with children. Children should be present with an adult to receive items. This will be a first come first serve event.

This local mission project helping local children is made possible through donations from the community, area churches and businesses, and volunteers. If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please email Coats for Kids of Jackson County Director Christy Rowe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Public Cullowhee planning meeting

Approximately one year ago, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners appointed members to the Cullowhee Community Planning Advisory Committee. The Committee was charged with recommending boundaries for a proposed community planning area for Cullowhee and with preparing draft development standards to guide growth and development within the proposed planning area. 

With the tasks assigned to the committee completed, public input — particularly from property owners —  is being sought on the proposed planning area boundaries and the proposed development standards.

As proposed, the recommended planning area boundaries would encompass a large area around Western Carolina University. The proposed development standards drafted by the committee would establish standards for residential and commercial development within the proposed planning area. The draft map divides the proposed planning area into districts, or zones, with land uses in each district limited to those identified in the development standards. The recommended planning area district designations and the proposed development standards are on the Jackson County Planning Department website ( 

The Cullowhee advisory committee has scheduled two community meetings to gather input. The meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 7 and 23 in the Hospitality Room of the Ramsey Center at WCU. Those that are unable to attend the public meetings may mail or email comments to the Jackson County Planning Department. Mail to 401 Grindstaff Cove Rd., Sylva, N.C. 28779 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


SCC class to host debate series

The mere mention of words like “political debate” may cause some college students’ eyes to glaze over. That’s not the case with members of Dr. Bucky Dann’s Social Problems class at Southwestern Community College.

Since the start of the fall semester, students enrolled in Dr. Bucky Dann’s Social Problems class at Southwestern Community College have been studying up on regional and statewide issues in preparation for a series of debates that will be hosted in the Burrell Building conference center at SCC’s Jackson Campus over the next few weeks. Dr. Dann’s students will select and ask all questions of candidates at each event.

“A lot of times, debates are for older people,” said Gabrielle Beam, a 19-year-old Bryson City resident who’s pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at SCC. “I don’t think many people expect a teenager to care, much less know about these kinds of issues. So it’s cool to have this opportunity.”

The first debate, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 25, will feature the six candidates (Jack Debnam - Unaffiliated; Republicans Doug Cody and Charles Elders; and Democrats Boyce Deitz, Brian McMahan and Joe Ward) who are vying for three seats on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. On Oct. 9, Democratic N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D-Waynesville) will debate Republican challenger Mike Clampitt (R-Bryson City). And on Oct. 30, N.C. Senator Jim Davis (R-Franklin) will face challenger Jane Hipps (D-Waynesville).

The public is invited to attend all three, and WRGC radio (540 AM) of Sylva plans to broadcast each one live.

“It’s really important to be unbiased,” Beam said. “The great thing is that our classmates are really diverse. We all come from different backgrounds, and we’re all going to have input into which questions are asked. I think it’ll be fun.

Another of Dr. Dann’s students, 16-year-old Early College student Kendra Graham, said she and her classmates are taking seriously the responsibility of being granted such significant roles at the debates.

“I’m a little nervous to be honest,” said Graham, who lives in Cullowhee. “But it’ll be nice to surprise people who may not think 16- or 17-year-olds are engaged in the political process.”

“We want to style our questions so that each candidate can answer from a neutral zone and know that they’re not being picked on,” Graham added.


WCU to host Silent No More Week on campus 

Western Carolina University will host Silent No More Week to encourage community members to speak up against sexual violence and help individuals realize personal responsibilities to end sexual violence.

The week is part of WCU’s Red Zone campaign and is hosted in cooperation with the WCU Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The “red zone” refers to the period of time when students are most at risk of unwanted sexual experiences, and the WCU Department of Intercultural Affairs is coordinating Red Zone activities sponsored by associated departments and organizations across campus.

During Silent No More Week, scheduled for Sept. 22-26, students will be encouraged to discuss “red flags” or signs of unhealthy relationships, the cycle of violence, the effects of victimization and the power and importance of speaking out against sexual violence. 

On Sept. 22, the film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” will be screened on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University and followed by a discussion. The rain site will be the lounge of the Department of Intercultural Affairs on the third floor of the University Center.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, a panel discussion centered on the effects of victimization and sexual violence will be held in the University Center’s Multipurpose Room at 6:30 p.m. Panelists include Karen Arias, a bilingual victim advocate and outreach coordinator for the 30th Judicial District Domestic Violence-Sexual Assault Alliance; Mickey Randolph, professor of psychology; Cyndy Hughes, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice; Marilyn Chamberlin, associate professor of anthropology and sociology; and Rebecca Lasher, assistant professor of social work.

Events continue on Wednesday, Sept. 24, with the screening of “Brave Miss World,” the first film in a series called V.I.E.W.S., which stands for Voicing Injustices Experienced Without Shame, at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room.

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