Business as usual was a difficult thing to achieve at the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees meeting Friday, Dec. 1.

The black glass Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center is an iconic structure on the Western Carolina University campus, but it will soon have a much different look following the WCU Board of Trustees’ Dec. 1 endorsement of a $3.9 million project.

A unanimous vote from the Jackson County commissioners will allow construction of a 185-foot radio tower in Cullowhee to move forward, but the decision came after vocal opposition from six of the seven county residents who spoke at a 3 p.m. public hearing on Monday, Nov. 27.

After battling brain cancer since April 2016, Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher announced Nov. 27 that his treatment is no longer working. He will go on medical leave and does not expect to return to his position.

What began as an effort to give Western Carolina University’s campus radio station broader coverage could end with construction of a 185-foot tower capable of expanding coverage for emergency communications, broadband and cell service in the Cullowhee area.

It’s hard to find a place inside Western Carolina University’s Catamount School that isn’t buzzing with activity.

Before white settlers corrupted the name to Cullowhee, the land along the Tuckasegee River south of Sylva was known to the Cherokee people as “Joolth-cullah-whee,” or Judaculla’s place.

Through careers as students, teachers and administrators, David and Susan Belcher have marked the milestones of their lives in college campuses, but their 2011 arrival to Western Carolina University was the day they discovered their home. 

“It was kind of instant. It was kind of love at first sight,” Susan said. “It’s not the (natural) beauty. It’s the people. And it’s the community also. This region takes care of each other, through and through.” 

Charges against two Charlotte teens arrested following the shooting of 21-year-old Jacob Alexander Ray, of Hendersonville, have been upgraded from attempted murder to first-degree murder as of Monday, Oct. 16.

A late-night shooting near the Western Carolina University campus Friday, Oct. 6, has left a student dead.

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