Inside WNC: Cherokee County

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Inside WNC is a permanent feature from Carolina Public Press that profiles each of the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina. This is your guide, including direct links, to elected officials, key agencies and departments, plus information on the county’s wages, housing, education and more.

Cherokee County, N.C., map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, via Wikipedia.

Cherokee County

Geography and Population

North Carolina’s westernmost county, Cherokee County is bordered by Graham, Macon and Clay counties to the east, Georgia to the south and Tennessee to the west.

U.S. Census Bureau maps

Land area in square miles: 455.43

Persons per square mile (2010): 60.3
Population, 2012 estimate: 26,992

Map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.

American Indian or Alaska Native: 1.4 percent
Asian: 0.5 percent
Black: 1.4 percent
Hispanic or Latino origin: 2.7 percent
White non-Hispanic: 92 percent
People reporting two or more races: 2.4 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


U.S., State and Local Officials, Key Agencies

U.S. elected officials

U.S. Senate
Sen. Richard Burr (R)
Washington address: 217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3154
Fax: (202) 228-2981
Email contact form

Asheville address: Federal Building, 151 Patton Ave., Suite 204
Asheville, N.C. 28801
Phone: (828) 350-2437
Fax: (828) 350-2439

Information on Burr’s support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

Sen. Kay Hagan (D)
Washington address: 521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6342
Fax: (202) 228-2563
Email contact form

Asheville address: 82 Patton Ave., Suite 635
Asheville, N.C. 28801
Phone:  (828) 257-6510
Fax: (828) 257-6514

Information on Hagan’s support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

U.S. House: 11th Congressional District
Rep. Mark Meadows (R)
Washington address: 1516 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6401
Email contact form

Hendersonville address: 200 N. Grove St.
Hendersonville, N.C. 28792
Phone: (828) 693-5660

Information on Meadows’ support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

N.C. Elected Officials

N.C. Senate District 50
Sen. Jim Davis (R)
Address: N.C. Senate
16 W. Jones St., Room 2111
Raleigh, N.C. 27601-2808
Phone: (919) 733-5875 and (828) 342-4483
Email: Jim.Davis@ncleg.net

N.C. House District 120
Rep. Roger West (R)
Address: N.C. House of Representatives
16 W. Jones St., Room 1229
Raleigh, N.C. 27601-1096
Phone: (919) 733-5859 and (828) 837-5246
Email: Roger.West@ncleg.net

County Officials and Agencies

Cherokee County Commissioners
County Commissioners Chairperson: Lorraine Meltz
Address: Cherokee County Courthouse
75 Peachtree St., Suite 112
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-5527
Email: lorraine.meltz@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

County Manager: Randy Wiggins
Address: Cherokee County Courthouse
75 Peachtree St., Suite 107
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-5527, Ext. 814
Email: randy.wiggins@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

Sheriff: Keith Lovin
Address: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department
577 Regal St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2589
Email: n/a

Cherokee County Department of Social Services
Director: Donna Crawford
Address: 4800 W. U.S. 64
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-7455
Email: donna.crawford@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

Cherokee County Health Department
Director: Jim Higgins
Murphy office address: 228 Hilton St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Murphy phone: (828) 837-7486
Email: jim.higgins@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

Andrews office address: 84 Main St.
Andrews, N.C. 28901
Andrews phone: (828) 321-4167

Member of the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission (Southwestern Commission), which covers the westernmost part of the state, specifically Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties


County Seat

Murphy
Population (2010): 1,627
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Town Government Office Address: 5 Wofford St., Murphy, N.C. 28906

Murphy Town Council
Mayor: William N. Hughes
Address: Murphy City Hall
5 Wofford St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2510
Email contact form

Town Manager: Anna Payne
Address: P. O. Box 130
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2510
Email: town_of_murphy@frontier.com

Chief of Police: Justin J. Jacobs
Address: Murphy Police Department
93 Peachtree St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2214
Email: jjacobs@murphypolice.com


Law Enforcement Agencies

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
Address: 577 Regal St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2589
Email: crime.tips@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

Murphy Police Department
Address: 93 Peachtree St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2214
Email: jjacobs@murphypolice.com


Voter Information

Cherokee County Board of Elections
Director: Leighsa R. Jones
Address: 40 Peachtree St., Suite B
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-6670
Email: cherokee.boe@ncmail.net

Chair: Gary Kilpatrick
Address: n/a
Phone: n/a
Email: n/a


Court System

Judicial District 30A
Cherokee County Courthouse
Address: 75 Peachtree St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2522

Clerk of Superior Court: Roger D. Gibson
Phone: (828) 837-2522
Email: n/a

District Attorney Michael Bonfoey
Phone (Murphy office for Cherokee and Graham counties): (828) 837-7818
Email: n/a


Economy and Employment

Unemployment rate, January 2013: 14.1 percent
Unemployment rate, January 2012: 14.5 percent
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce – Labor and Economic Analysis Division

Top three industries, by employment (2010, most current):
Health care and social assistance: 1,529
Retail trade: 1,433
Manufacturing: 1,046
Source: County Business Patterns, U.S. Census Bureau

Largest Employer (Second quarter of 2012, most current): Cherokee County Board of Education
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
805 W. U.S. 64
Murphy, NC 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2242
Email: info@cherokeecountychamber.com


Wages, Housing, Poverty and Education

Per capita money income in past 12 months (2010 dollars) 2008-2012: $19,008
Persons living below poverty level 2008-2012: 15.1 percent
Median household income 2008-2012: $34,981
Median owner-occupied housing value: $150,100
High school graduates, age 25+ (2008-2012): 83.0 percent
Bachelor’s degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 15.6 percent
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts

Number of homeless (January 2012 point-in-time count, most current): 25
Source: North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Child poverty in Cherokee County: 37.6 percent in 2012.
Screen-Shot-2014-03-04-at-7.42.37-AMSource: NC Child

Cherokee County Schools
Four-year cohort high school graduation rates, as of September 2012: 91.7 percent
Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction

Cherokee County Board of Education
Address: 911 Andrews Road
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2722
Email: n/a

School Board Chair: Erik Brinke
Address: 240 Drew Taylor Road
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: 828-837-5519
Email: ebrinke@brmemc.net

School Superintendent: Stephen Lane
Address: 911 Andrews Road
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-2722, ext. 212
Email: stephen.lane@cherokee.k12.nc.us


Higher education*

Tri-County Community College

Address: 21 Campus Circle
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-6810
Email: n/a
Enrollment: n/a


Top Healthcare Providers*

Cherokee County Health Department
Director: Towanna Roberts
Murphy office address: 228 Hilton St.
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Murphy phone: (828) 837-7486
Email: towanna.roberts@cherokeecounty-nc.gov

Murphy Medical Center
Address: 3990 E. U.S. 64 Alternate
Murphy, N.C. 28906
Phone: (828) 837-8161
Email: n/a
HCAHPS Patient Perceptions Survey 4/2012-3/2013 rankings:
Rate 9 or 10 Overall: 65 percent
Always Clean and Quiet: 62 percent


Crime and Law Enforcement

Crime Rate Per 100,000 (2012): 3,191.7
Violent Crime Rate: 188.4
Property Crime Rate: 3,003.3
Number of registered sex offenders: 59
Source: N.C. Department of Justice


*Listings are for entities headquartered in the county and do not include satellites, branches or other service information for others with operations in the county.

Contributors Kathleen O. Davis and Micah Wilkins supplied additional research to this report.

This page will be regularly updated. Contact us with updates or questions.

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About the Author

Hank Shell

Hank Shell is a contributing reporter and photographer with Carolina Public Press. Contact him at shelljh@email.appstate.edu.

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