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Lilly Knoepp

Thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail currently attempting to cover its over 2,000 miles are being asked to get off the trail because of COVID-19. 

March is usually when hikers from across the world are coming through Western North Carolina on their trek from Georgia to Maine.  But on Wednesday, they were asked to stop – for now. 

Here’s Jordan Bowman, spokesperson for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). 

Lilly Knoepp

Ever since the Franklin-based bank Entegra announced its sale to First Citizens in April, rumors have been swirling that locals will lose their jobs once the sale is finished. Here’s an update as the year ends. 

CEO Roger Plemmons says that Entegra’s sale to First Citizens Bank can’t be finalized until three local branches are sold.  Plemmons explains that without the sale First Citizens would have had more than 50 percent of the market in Macon County and that isn’t legal:

Courtesy of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy has announced that it will be closing its Labor and Delivery services the first week of December. The OB/GYN practice will then close on December 31.  

Courtesy of WOW

 Waynesville holds its annual Apple Harvest Festival this weekend.  In between fruits and other fall treats, one booth is really hoping to "Wow" attendees.  

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees chose 3 candidates for chancellor to send along for consideration to the UNC System Board at their most recent meeting.

Interim UNC System President Dr. William Roper, who has served since Margaret Spelling stepped down, will consider the candidates.

WCU has been in search of a chancellor since 2017 when the late chancellor David Belcher stepped down after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

 

Photo courtesy of Southwestern Community College

  There isn't just a lack of hospitals in rural Western North Carolina. There is also a need for more trained medical professionals to care for the population from doctors and nurses to CNAs.

 

This summer, Southwestern Community College secured over $20 million dollars from the federal, state and county governments for a new health sciences building.

 

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

  Some locations shine in summer or winter but arguably the mountains are the best when there is a chill in the air and bright colors are on the trees.  

 

Now that summer is winding down, we can expect the leaves to start changing says Beverly Collins, a biology professor and the proclaimed autumnal soothsayer of Western Carolina University.

 

Courtesy of Mission Health

Mission Health says its sale to a for-profit company will come with a big payout for all six of its regional hospitals.  The foundations for each of those facilities would receive $15 million dollars each once the sale is completed.

Mission Health Board Chair Dr. John Ball says a contract with for-profit HCA Healthcare should be ready by the end of September, with the sale being completed by the end of the year. The funds will be distributed over the next 3 years. The first $5 million dollar check will come when the sale is finalized.