Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team

Committee Reports - November 10, 2016



Education and Workforce Development Committee

·        Professional Development - On October 6, 2016, the entire staff of GCS attended Professional Development sessions with five other school districts on the campus of Cherokee Central Schools.

·        Physics Competition - Ben Davis’s Physics class built a trebuchet (catapult) and competed in a Pumpkin Chunkin’ event in Hayesville.

·        Math Conference - All middle and high school math teachers attended the state math conference to investigate the changes in the math curriculum

·        BBBS Program - Several teams from GCS participated in the Bowling for Kid’s Sake fundraiser for the Big/Brother/Big Sister program.

·        GEARUP Program - 7th and 8th grade students toured UNCA campus with the GEAR UP grant program to give them an opportunity to explore a college campus.

·        Day of Caring - RMS participated in a Day of Caring in October. Students assisted at Fontana, the food bank, Hope for Families, Forest Service, the Church Mouse, read to elementary students and helped set up for the Heroes of the Knight 5K for Special Olympics.

·        Family Fun Festival - GCS hosted the Family Fall Festival on October 31 with approximately 750 children and 3,000 total attendees.  42 community, business, or school booths were set up to greet the families with treats.

·        Dolly Parton Imagination Library - GREAT has been awarded $4,000 for the Imagination Library Project by the 2016 Catholic Charities Growing Opportunities Small Grant awards program. DPIL Numbers:

o       220 currently registered

o       528 graduated

o       862 served

·        Stecoah Valley Center Updates

o       The outside restroom is under construction near the playground in Stecoah.

o       There is currently a waiting list for after school programs at Stecoah Valley Center.

o       The STARS performance of The Wizard of OZ will be Nov. 19 at 5:30 followed by a pot luck dinner at the Stecoah Valley Center.    

o       The Artisan’s Drive About will be held Nov. 25 and 26. 

o       Breakfast with Santa at Stecoah Valley Center will be Dec. 3 along with “Christmas in the Mountains,” an indoor arts show and a great place for local Christmas shopping.


GREAT Health and Social Committee Report

·        Senior Center - We have been working with the Senior Center to help reduce the impact of accidents and falls on our senior citizens by offering the program A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls at the Senior Center to start Nov. 14th. We have 12 signed up for the program. 

·        Staff Development - We have two Diabetes Lifestyle Coaches who are going to be attending the 9th Annual World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes and Its Complications in Atlanta.

·        Diabetes Prevention Program - Our current Diabetes Prevention Program will complete their year-long classes in December. We are also working with the Senior Center to teach the Diabetes Prevention and a Diabetes Education class, both to begin at the Senior Center in January.   

·        Diabetes Education and Empowerment Program - Our first group has completed the Diabetes Education and Empowerment Program, although we only had two participants they reported that the class was beneficial and that they had learned more than they thought they would. We have a current class with three participants and have had a request to start a new class beginning Monday, Nov. 14th.   

·        Health and Wellness Fair -The Health Department is planning to hold a Health and Wellness Fair again this year, last year’s was successful, and we want this year to be even bigger with more vendors, demonstrations, and activities.

·        PlayPrints - We are still waiting on PlayPrints to come and the Health Department  is still working on implementing Faithful Families, an Eat Smart, Move More Faith based program for congregations; and working on a Work Site Wellness program outside of the Health Dept. in conjunction with Mountain Wise.

Tourism and Mountain Culture Committee

·        Graham County Map Asset Project – Work continues on the Asset Map Project with first round of revisions being submitted. Anticipated completion time is early January 2017. 

·        Emerging Opportunities Grant – Work continues on the Destination Branding Identity project funded by the Appalachian Region Commission. Community Imaging Workshops will be held during November 15-17.


Recreation, Natural Resources and Water Quality Committee

·        Partners of Joyce Kilmer

o       PJK committee members spent 174 personnel hours rehabilitating the Civilian Conservation Corp Trail and overlook across from the Massey Branch boat launch. Work consisted of cleaning, patching and sealing the paved trail, replacing the flooring and rails of the observation deck and clearing the observation deck view. More tree clearing, signage improvements, and additional trail sealing work will be completed in the near future.

o       Hosted and/or guided multiple hikes on county trails.

o       Provided volunteer assistance for the 27 participants of the father/daughter day at Joyce Kilmer

o       Partners of Joyce Kilmer reported a total of 1454 hours this year on trail projects in the county.

·        Clean Sweep - The October semi-annual roadside clean sweep netted 61 bags of litter off of county roads.

·        Benton-MacKaye - The Benton-MacKaye Trail Association reported a total of 2080 hours this year clearing and improving trails in the county.

·        SAWS - The Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards spent 136 hours clearing 24 downfalls on the Naked Ground Trail.

·        Volunteer Work – Two volunteers put in 10 hours clearing brush on 2 miles of the Belding Trail.

Revitalization and Infrastructure Committee

·        Internet Access Project –Deployment of fiber by BalsamWest is progressing. Anticipated completion date is end of November 2016. The Graham County Internet Access project is funded by the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) for increased internet access to serve the Tapoco/Meadow Branch area of the county.

Leadership and Government Committee

·        Graham County Leadership Training Project - The second session of the Leadership Project was held on October 26, 2016 at Stecoah Valley Center with twenty-six participants in attendance.  The project is a collaborative effort with the Graham County Extension Office and Tri-County Community College and the Southwestern Commission to provide leadership training sessions for Graham County residents and students. Session III will be held during the first quarter of 2017.