Below is a collection of notifications from a variety of sources regarding COVID-19, or coronavirus. Any information received after 5 p.m. Tuesday will be posted on our Facebook page. If you know of any cancellations or other responses to the coronavirus, email us at news@thesylvaherald.com.

 

Be Safe Bags

The Department on Aging is collecting items for “Be Safe Bags” to help homebound seniors in the community. They’re asking for Kleenex, disinfectant spray or wipes, pop top canned goods, soap, crossword puzzles, toilet paper, crackers, peanut butter, paper towels and canned meat.

These items will be packed into bags and delivered to the seniors in need.

Donations can be dropped off on the metal shelving unit located under the awning at the front entrance of the Department on Aging. Call the department at 586-5494 with questions.

 

Community Table

The Community Table is canceling the April Blue Plate Special and April MANNA Express. The Empty Bowl Fundraiser has been postponed indefinitely. See their Facebook page and website for the latest updates.

 

State Parks

North Carolina state parks are suspending operations. The state’s 34 parks, four recreation areas and three natural areas are closed, including visitor centers and campgrounds. Trails and restrooms will remain open to the public.

 

Peebles

Stage Stores, owners of Gordmans and Peebles, has adjusted store operating hours to 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Stage is transitioning Sylva’s Peebles to a Gordmans. The Gordmans grand opening planned for March 31 has been postponed.

 

SECU

State Employees’ Credit Union branches statewide will temporarily transition to drive-thru only for the majority of its services. Members who need to access safe deposit boxes, drop off tax return information or inquire about a loan should call the branch to schedule an appointment. SECU remains open for business to make loans, take deposits and provide other financial services to its members.

Members can conduct most SECU business via other service channels: the SECU website, www.ncsecu.org; the SECU Mobile App, available for download from the Apple App and Google Play stores; 24-7 Member Services Support via phone at 888-732-8562; ASK-SECU Voice Response services at 800-275-7328; and at CashPoints ATMs.

 

ARF 

ARF spay/neuter trips to the ASPCA are canceled until further notice.

 

City Lights reading canceled

Sylva Herald nature columnist Brannen Basham has canceled his appearance at City Lights Bookstore scheduled for Saturday.

He is instead offering virtual opportunities with Spriggly’s Beescaping.

A “Native Bees and Beneficial Insects Virtual Talk + Q&A” is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.

“Native Plants and the Pollinators They Support + Q&A” follows at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

Tune into Facebook.com/sprigglys for these Facebook Live presentations with the creators of the book “A Guide to the Wonderful World Around Us: Notes on Nature.”

Virtual participants can leave questions in the comments throughout the programs which will be collected and answered at the end of each presentation.

 

Special Olympics

Special Olympics North Carolina has canceled all events and practices through May 15.

 

Summer camp

The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department has postponed registration for the Fun 4 Kids Day Camp until 11 a.m. Saturday, April 18. Registration will still be online only. They will only be requiring a $100 registration fee on that day. This camp is open to all who have completed kindergarten through those that have completed sixth grade. The Fun 4 Kids Day Camp meets from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday at the Recreation Center in Cullowhee. Space is limited to the first 30 to register. For more information call Dora Caldwell at the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department at 293-3053 ext. 5.

 

Small business help

The Jackson County Tourism and Development Authority compiled resources from Region A, the Small Business Center, Economic Development and others all into one website: www.lovejacksonnc.com/community-resources.

As this list will grow, see updates on the LoveJacksonNC.com page.

 

Library closed, material available

The Jackson County Public Library is closed, but visit the website at www.fontanalib.org for information on eBooks and other electronic resources that remain available even when libraries are closed. Currently they plan to reopen on April 1.

Overdue fines for materials due during this time will be waived, and all due dates have automatically been extended. Patrons are asked to not return any items at this time.

eResources, including eBooks, eAudiobooks and streaming video via Kanopy and NCLive are still available at www.fontanalib.org. If fines blocked the use of cards previously, try again now, as limits have been increased so that more people can get to the electronic resources they need. In addition, the Library’s eBook collection has been expanded to help meet increased demand. For people without internet access at home, public Wi-Fi extends around the perimeter of library buildings and can generally be picked up from sections of the parking lots.

 

UCM food pantry

The United Christian Ministries Jackson County Food Pantry is still open on the same schedule. (Monday 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.; Tuesday 12:30-5 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.) at 191 Skyland Drive in Sylva.

They are conducting business as usual, but handling it by social distancing on the outside of the building. No one will be able to enter the building.

Pull vehicles up to the ramp area, call 586-8228 and someone will answer questions and give further information. Those without a cell phone should make themselves or their vehicle visible through the large window and someone will come out to assist.

 

GSMNP closes trails

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that all park areas, except the Foothills Parkway and the Spur, are closed through Monday, April 6. The park will continue to assess changing conditions and work with local communities to extend or terminate closures.

All access to the park, including trails and roads, will temporarily close in alignment with efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 across the region. 

Despite park efforts over the last week to comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance for social distancing, approximately 30,000 people entered the park daily resulting in congested conditions at popular locations such as Laurel Falls, Newfound Gap and Cades Cove. Visitors from across the country have flocked to the area due to spring break, wildflowers and warm weather conditions.

During the closure period, visitors can experience the park using digital tools including social media platforms and websites where near real-time views can be seen via park webcams at www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Park rangers can still help answer questions via email or phone during business hours at (865) 436-1291, 506-8620, or GRSM_Smokies_Information@nps.gov. The park will notify the public as they are able to resume operations and will provide updates on the website at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/conditions.htm and social media.

 

Campgrounds closed

The National Forests in North Carolina closed all campgrounds Monday. This includes all concessionaire operated campgrounds and all day-use areas associated with those campgrounds. Campgrounds will be closed until at least May 15, at which point they will be reevaluated.

The closed campgrounds in Nantahala National Forest are Appletree Group Camp, Balsam Lake Lodge, Bristol Fields Horse Camp, Cable Cove Campground, Cheoah Point Campground, Horse Cove Campground, Jackrabbit Mountain Campground, Kimsey Creek Group Camp, Rattler Ford Group Camp, Standing Indian Campground, Swan Cabin, Tsali Campground, Van Hook Glade Campground and Wine Spring Horse Camp.

Reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages of any changes affecting their reservation. Visitors will receive a full refund for their reservation.

Trails and roads may be open for use, but law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized activities that increase the chance of injury or distress should be avoided.

For an updated list of forest closures, visit the Alerts and Notices website at www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nfsnc/alerts-notices/?aid=56853.

 

Town services curtailed, parks closed

Sylva’s Public Works department has suspended all non-essential services due to COVID-19 preventative measures. Trash and recycling pickup will proceed as currently scheduled. Brush and metal pickup services are suspended until further notice. Poteet Park and Bryson Park will remain closed. Pinnacle Park is still open at this time.

 

Quilt show canceled

The Appalachian Women’s Museum has canceled the May 9 Airing of the Quilts. Organizers hope to reschedule for the weekend of Mother’s Day in 2021.

 

Democratic Party meeting

The Jackson County Democratic Party monthly meeting will now be held 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. It will be held virtually, using Zoom. Regular attendees and precinct officers will receive an email ahead of the scheduled time with a link to log on to the meeting. 

 

Forest plan meeting goes online

Conservation group MountainTrue has canceled its April 7 Sylva Forest Management Plan Comment Party at Lazy Hiker Brewing. Instead, from 5:30-7 p.m. on April 7 MountainTrue will host an online info session during which Josh Kelly, MountainTrue’s public lands biologist, will present the organization’s analysis of the draft management plan and the environmental impact statement for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests, answer questions from online attendees and give tips on how to craft effective comments.

RSVP at www.mountaintrue.org.

Anyone can comment and submit as many public comments as they like.

 

Church service canceled

East Fork Baptist Church has canceled services this Sunday. The special service by Renewed Hope Ministries will be rescheduled at a later date.

 

Litter pickup canceled

Cleaning up the Mountains, the annual litter cleanup spearheaded by the Jackson County Solid Waste Department, has been postponed. 

 

MST partially closed

Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail announced that much of the trail is open, except:

• All North Carolina State Parks offices, visitor centers, overnight accommodations (including campgrounds and backcountry campsites), and restrooms.

• All National Forest campgrounds.

• All campgrounds, picnic areas, and restrooms in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Anyone who knows of any additional closures affecting the MST, should let them know at jgrode@mountainstoseatrail.org.

 

Arnold Hill benefit concert

Local band Arnold Hill will be streaming a live acoustic show at 4 p.m. Saturday on Facebook. They are teaming up with The Community Table and The Giving Spoon to collect donations during the stream. 

They are encouraging people to donate electronically to their PayPal which will disburse the funds directly to these two local services. Find the event page on Facebook by searching on Arnold Hill Band Live Stream Benefit.

 

Pisgah Legal Services

Pisgah Legal Services continues to serve existing clients and is also available to people in the area with new and urgent needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak, Director Jim Barrett said. He added that steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of staff and visitors. “We have worked quickly to put technology and training in place that allows Pisgah Legal staff to provide services while working at home,” he said.