Southwestern Commission 
News and Updates from around Region A
  The mission of the Southwestern Commission is to improve the quality of life in its seven county service area by assisting local governments in reaching their goals.
Southwestern Commission's Annual Dinner

The Southwestern Commission's Annual Dinner was held on July 21, 2017, at The Vineyards at Betty's Creek in Jackson County, NC. 2017 marked the Commission's 52nd year of service to the region, and we would like to thank all those who were able to attend and celebrate with us!  

The key note speaker for the event was Patrick Woodie, Executive Director of the North Carolina  Rural Center. We were also thrilled to have Senator Jim Davis and Representative Mike Clampitt address the group.  

Thank you to Cal Stiles, Cherokee County Commissioner and Chairman of the Commission Board of Directors, for leading such a tremendous event and for his leadership on our Board!

Thanks to our Annual Dinner Sponosors: Lazy Hiker Brewing Company, Entegra Bank, Vaughn & Melton, Western Builders of Sylva, BalsamWest, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, McGill Associates, and Duke Energy.  
We would  like to thank all of our sponsors who helped make this enjoyable evening a success!  
Regional Broadband Assessment Underway
The Southwestern Commission along with the MountainWest Partnership has begun work to conduct a Regional Broadband Assessment, funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and matched with investments from public and private sector partners.   ECC Technologies was selected as the consultant to work with Commission staff and broadband committees from each of our 7 counties on this phase of the project. The intent of the assessment is to aggregate demand for broadband services and work with the private sector to expand service to our region. 

Be on the lookout for more information regarding this project!

Commission hosts summit to address staffing shortages in Long Term Care Facilities in the region

On August 9, 2017 the Southwestern Commission's Area Agency on Aging and Workforce Development Departments hosted a "Staffing Summit" to address staffing shortages in the region's Long-term Care Facilities. In attendance were long-term care facility administrators, other long-term care staff, workforce development partners, NCWorks Career Center partners, community college nursing program representatives and Job Corps.

A presentation provided an overview of the current status of the region's long-term care facilities as well as the issues they face with regards to staffing. This information was expanded on with a presentation addressing an overview of medical training partners in the region, recruitment practices and opportunities, and retention practices and opportunities.

The attendees exchanged information, ideas and knowledge concerning the current and future staffing needs of long-term care facilities. This is an important discussion, particularly as the growth of our region's elderly population continues to outpace most other regions of the state. An emphasis was placed on the fact that the long-term care facilities do not have to deal with this issue all by themselves and that there are partners ready and willing to assist them with their staffing needs. The presentation qualified all Long-term Care Administrators in attendance to receive 4 continuing education units (CEU) toward their state CEU requirements at no cost to them. 

Town of Waynesville Receives Main Street America Recognition
The Town of Waynesville has been chosen to receive the prestigious Main Street America "accredited" status.  According to a press release from the NC Department of Commerce, this process evaluates local Main Street programs according to 10 performance standards and provides national recognition to those that meet these standards.

Congratulations to the Town of Waynesville for this prestigious recognition!

Read the full story HERE.
Fontana Dam Opens New Water Plant

The Town of Fontana Dam held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new Water Treatment Plant, a long awaited and much needed infrastructure improvement.  

The original water plant was constructed in 1942, and was only supposed to last about ten years!  It was made out of redwood, and 75 years after construction it was the last wooden structure sill in operation in the state. It was built to provide water to the 6,500 workers and their families who lived in the Fontana Village while building the dam. Now the Village is a thriving resort and major economic engine for Graham County, hosting up to 80,000 visitors per year.

The Town received a combination of grants and loans totaling $2,803,853, with application assistance from the Commission. 

Southwestern RPO Hosts Quarterly Meeting
Southwestern RPO (Rural Planning Organization) hosted the July NC Association of RPOs  meeting at Fontana Village Resort, bringing transportation planners from across the state to our region for the 2-day meeting.     

Congratulations to  Rose Bauguess, Senior Planner and RPO Coordinator for Southwestern Commission, for coordinating a successful meeting in the mountains, and THANK YOU to Fontana Village Resort for being great hosts!  This was a great opportunity to show off our region to our colleagues from across the state!
Sequoyah Fund Offers Facilitation Tools Training
The Sequoyah Fund is offering a REAL Facilitator Tools Training for coaches, consultants, facilitators, managers, and team leaders seeking to add proven group facilitation tools to their toolbox.  These tools will help participants build group communication skills, set goals, build tighter teams, and achieve their team objectives.

This is a two-day training that takes place at the Chestnut Tree Inn in Cherokee on August 24-25.  Pass this along to anyone who might be interested!  
Several Partners Selected as Native American "40 Under 40" Award Recipients

Congratulations to Hope Huskey, Associate Director of the Sequoyah Fund, and Jacob Reed, Economic Analyst for the EBCI, on being selected for the list of 40 outstanding Native American leaders under the age of 40!  This prestigious award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their community.

Both Hope and Jacob and their respective organizations are tremendous partners, and it is great to see them recognized for their hard work!

Read the full story HERE

Congratulations to Cindy Miles as She Enters Retirement!
Please join us in sending our best wishes and congratulations to Cindy Miles as she begins her retirement journey!  Cindy was with the Area Agency on Aging for more than 12 years as the Family Caregiver Support Coordinator.  During her tenure at Region A, she assisted  many caregivers and their loved ones with information and assistance, respite, and needed supplies, which in turn improved the quality of life for both the caregiver as well as the care recipient.  Cindy also assisted with administrative tasks within the AAA and was certainly a team player for many events.  Cindy could always be counted on to provide an empathetic, compassionate ear for her coworkers as well as caregivers and their loved ones.

Cindy is a Nationally Certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, and she plans to continue that work in many ways in her retirement.  Cindy will continue working with her church and will be volunteering with the John and Dorothy Crawford Senior Center located in Macon County.

Please join us in wishing her well in the next aspect of her journey.  Thank you for your years of service, Cindy!

NCDOT Division 14 Update
NCDOT Division 14 Update on 2017 Solar Eclipse:

"The N.C. Department of Transportation has been planning and preparing for the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, that will be visible over a small portion of western North Carolina beginning at 2:33 p.m. The rest of the state will experience a partial eclipse of 90 percent totality or more.

Large numbers of people are expected to make their way toward the path of the total eclipse and there could be significant traffic impacts.

Be sure to:
Watch out for pedestrians,
Be aware of distracted drivers,
Avoid taking photographs while driving,
Avoid wearing eclipse glasses while driving,
Completely exit the roadway for safe viewing.

For your safety and for the safety of those around you, plan ahead, stay put and leave late."

For more information, visit ECLIPSE 2017 IN NC.

Regional Updates
  • Hope Huskey, Associate Director of the Sequoyah Fund, chosen as Native American "40-Under-40"
  • The Mountain West Partnership is now on Facebook and Twitter!
  • The Southwestern Commission is on Facebook! Be sure to "like" us for more regional information.
  • Mayor Bob Scott featured in NCLM publication, Southern City.
Upcoming Trainings and Events
  • The next Regional Mayor's Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12
  • The next City and County Manager's Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16.
  • NC Rural Center's REDI alumni gathering is Wednesday, August 23 at Southwestern Commission.
  • The next WNC Managers Association meeting is Friday, August 25th in Black Mountain.
  • A SOG course, Governmental Account and Financial Reporting, is Wednesday, September 27.
  • An Advanced FMLA Workshop is October 4-5 in Asheville.
  • An NC Magistrates Workshop is October 11-12.
  • A Procedural Rules Seminar is scheduled for Thursday, November 9.
  • Tickets on sale now for Show Me the Money Conference + Funding Expo October 9-10.

Share Our News!
Southwestern Commission is now offering regional e-newsletters, and our goal is to feature updates from across the region!  If you have news about your community, please send it our way!

Please share our e-newsletter with others within your organization and encourage them to subscribe so that they don't miss out on important and relevant information for our region!