Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team

Committee Reports - May 18, 2017



Education and Workforce Development Committee

·        Special Olympics – On April 28, 2017, Graham County Schools hosted over 350 Special Olympic participants. This regional event was a huge success!

·        School Supply Drive – Graham County Schools will host a School Supply Drive again this summer. If you would like to donate, please consider focusing on one item such as wide-ruled paper, #2 pencils or a monetary donation. This will aid in providing consistent materials to each classroom. You may deliver your donations to the GCS Central Office at 52 Moose Branch Road.

·        FREE Fill Dirt – Graham County Schools has a large amount of free fill dirt available. You must be willing to load and haul this dirt from the site. Please contact Rex Smith at 479-9820 if you are interested.

·        Mountain Grind Coffee Shop Project – Robbinsville High School’s Exceptional Children’s Program has started a new school-based, student business on campus. The business is Mountain Grind Coffee Shop and offers a specialty coffee/latte drink each week.

·        RHS Carpentry Class – The Carpentry classes continue to make progress on Millcreek House #3. The house is ready for drywall, vinyl siding, porches, and sidewalks to be completed.

·        Chromebooks – Graham County Schools has received a Golden Leaf Foundation grant in the amount of $174,000 for purchase of Chromebooks at Robbinsville Elementary and Robbinsville Middle Schools.

·        Dolly Parton Imagination Library –

o       204 currently registered

o       557 graduated

o       878 served

GREAT Health and Social Committee Report

·        Community Health and Wellness Fair – The Health Department is holding a Health and Wellness Fair again this year, on June 23rd at Robbinsville High School. There are over 20 vendors who have committed to coming.  There will be a free hot dog lunch to the first 150 people.  We will also be giving out 250 full sized cans of Cutter insect repellant with information about the Zika virus. The Health Fair is 10:00 to 2:00, we encourage everyone to come by.  

·        Graham County STEP UP Diabetes Coalition – There is a lunch meeting at the Health Department on June 30 at 12:00 to discuss plans to revive the Coalition. Currently there are  11 who have signed up for lunch, please let Leann know if you would like to be a part, you can call 479-7900.

·        Diabetes Prevention Program – Our current Diabetes Prevention Program is in week 13 of their 16 weekly meetings. We have two Diabetes education classes that recently started, they are only 6 weeks long.

·        Senior Center - We continue to lead an exercise class at the Senior Center twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays at 1:00. WE do exercises targeting balance and flexibility to help reduce the impact of accidents and falls on our senior citizens.

·        Men’s Health Month – June is Men’s Health Month and the health department wants to encourage all men to come by in June and pick up some information about men’s health on schedules of which tests and screenings need to be done at what age. We also encourage young men to come by and talk to our family planning nurse about what services we have for men.   

·        Relay for Life - the health department has raffle items which will be given away at the health fair. We have two Dollywood tickets, a wooden bowl, two afghans, and four themed baskets: get outdoors, get cooking, movie night at home, and toys. Please stop by and buy a ticket. We will also sell tickets at the Stecoah festival this Saturday and at the Relay walk on June 16.

·        Nourishing North Carolina Grant – A $3,000 grant will provide vegetables and fruit grown at Robbinsville's Stoney Hollow Farm to needy families.  The County Health Department and the Emergency Food Pantry will be gifting vouchers to needy families,  The $3000 grant will allow 40 vouchers for $15 of free food and vegetables each for five months!

Tourism and Mountain Culture Committee

·        Solar Eclipse Event – Several locations will be having eclipse events on August 21. Additional information is included in the packet. Locations include Stecoah Valley Center, Fontana Village and Tapoco Lodge. Support and promote the upcoming solar eclipse event on August 21 and welcome visitors to Graham County.

·        Wayfinding Signage Project – Funds are being secured to develop a plan that would provide high quality and quantity of signage directing residents and tourists to attractions, points of interest and local businesses to enhance the tourism economy in Graham County and its towns.

Natural Resources, Recreation and Water Quality Committee

·        NRRWQ Meeting – the committee met on May 10, 2017 with eight present. The vacant position for the chair of this committee was noted.

·        CCC Trail – Work day planned on Monday, May 15 at 9 am. Have commitments from 4 volunteers to work. Work will involve leaf blowing, weed eating, and raking to clean paved trail surface and original Camp Santeetlah rock imbedded sign. Plan to partner with USFS on NC Recreation Trails program grant proposal to get ¼ mile trail re-paved. Will work on signing plan with USFS folks when they return from extended firefighting assignments out of state.

·        Clean Sweep – efforts involved approximately a dozen volunteers picking up 156 bags of trash along roadsides across the county. The Lake Santeetlah shore trash clean-up day on 3/31 was cancelled due to bad weather.

·        Overlooks – Most overlooks appear to be in fairly good condition and additional clearing work will not resume until next fall.

·        Partners of Joyce Kilmer – The workday on April 4th was successful with 12 volunteers trimming the 2 miles of loop trail, cleaning debris/accumulated soil off the parking area and minor maintenance on the picnic sites. Light trimming and debris removal was completed on the ½ mile entrance road.

·        RHS Sweetwater Creek Restoration Project – Five volunteers completed most of the invasive privet removal along the RHS 1.5 mile greenway/fitness trail on April 1.

·        Updates – Information was received from the USFS, Brookfield, Partners of JK and Marshall McClung:  Lindy Ammons announced his retirement from Brookfield effective at this months end. The FS and Partners reported that three, 6 to 10 person SAWS trail crews, have begun work primarily on the fire damaged trails in JK-Slickrock Wilderness. They will be working here about 3 weeks. The Partners (Dick Evans) reported a day long difficult trail clearing effort by 4 volunteers on the Stratton Bald Trail was completed. A few days later Marshall and three others removed several trees that were blocking the same trail.

·        Frank Findley Memorial - There was a brief discussion about plans being made for a memorial to Frank Findley.

·        Next meeting – scheduled for July 12 at 10 am at the Cheoah Ranger District Office.

Revitalization and Infrastructure Committee

·        Graham County Broadband Infrastructure Proposal – A proposal in the amount of $100,000 has been submitted to the Appalachian Regional Commission to address the lack of local telecommunication infrastructure in specific communities of Graham County including Beech Creek, Pinhook, Gladdens Creek, Cochrans Creek and Meadow Branch.

·        Region A Broadband Initiative – The Southwestern Commission is coordinating an effort to conduct a regional analysis of broadband needs. Southwestern Commission staff and consultants will work with each county's broadband committee to conduct the assessments.