Andrews North Carolina man arrested in homicide investigation

Murphy, NC—The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office reports the June 26, 2022, arrest of 24-year-old Hayden Drake Norris, who provided an Andrews North Carolina address for Murder.
During the early morning hours of June 25, 2022, Cherokee County Emergency Communications received a call indicating an individual at a Marble North Carolina residence was deceased. Personnel from the Cherokee County Emergency Medical Services and Deputies of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office were directed to respond to a residence on High Falls Road, Marble North Carolina. Upon entry to the residence the apparent lifeless body of Erick Lowe was discovered.
The scene was secured, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was requested to assist in the investigation.
Later in the afternoon information was discovered that allowed Detectives with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to arrest Norris.
Hayden Drake Norris is currently incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center under no bond. Norris is scheduled to be in Cherokee County District Court on June 28, 2022.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated “We thank Cherokee County Emergency Service, Cherokee County Emergency Communications and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for the invaluable assistance. The investigation is ongoing, and we ask that anyone that may have information pertaining to this case please call the Tip Line and leave your name and number and an investigator will get back with you.”
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at [email protected]

New Cherokee resident tests positive in isolation

Health, News
resident work-related death

CHEROKEE COUNTY, N.C. PRESS RELEASE – One resident of Cherokee County has tested positive for COVID – 19 and is currently isolated in their home in Cherokee County. This individual was tested after presenting to a local Emergency Department requesting care for a respiratory type illness and has remained isolated since being tested. The Cherokee County Health Department is performing a contact investigation in an effort to identify close contacts of this individual and perform testing, as indicated. This individual has not had contact with anyone known to be infected with COVID-19 or linked to other ongoing investigations.

Recent contact investigations related to (previously) reported cases in Cherokee County have left no clear source of infection and are an indication that community spread is occurring. According to the CDC, community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

In an effort to slow community spread, Cherokee County Health Department is continuing to urge anyone who does not have an essential need to go out into the public to Stay at Home and limit all unnecessary contacts.

Cherokee County Health Department also emphasizes that anyone who becomes ill with a respiratory type illness to isolate until the following criteria are met:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

It is also recommended that household and close contacts of persons with a respiratory type illness should quarantine to the extent possible for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of a respiratory illness. If household or close contacts become sick during the 14 day monitoring period, it is advised that they then isolate until the criteria for discontinuation of isolation (listed above) are met.

In addition to isolating as instructed above, if you become sick with a respiratory type illness and are in one of the following categories, please contact the Cherokee County Health Department at 828-837-7486 or your primary care provider to determine if you need to be tested:

  • Healthcare worker
  • 65 years and older
  • Underlying health conditions such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; serious heart conditions; people with weakened immune systems, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, liver disease.
    • First Responder
    • Essential worker

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, individuals should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow. It is also recommended that all individuals only go into public areas for essential activities. The CDC now recommends that cloth face coverings be worn in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like Cherokee County Health Department, CDC, and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at and NCDHHS’ website at, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

Cherokee County Health Department regularly updates our Facebook page with accurate and current information regarding COVID-19, we encourage the public to check our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

Symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, and other lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath). If you are having a mild respiratory illness, isolate yourself from others until the criteria above is met. If your illness becomes severe requiring urgent or emergent health care, call and inform your health care provider or emergency services of your symptoms prior to arrival.
If you have questions, you may call the Health Department at 828-837-7486 during regular office hours which are Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM.

Cherokee County NC chooses Advanced Disposal Mineral Bluff for temporary waste transfer


MURPHY, N.C. – The Cherokee Board of Commissioners has agreed to allow its Solid Waste Department to transfer materials to Advanced Disposal Waste Transfer Station in Mineral Bluff.

Robert Ward, Cherokee County NC Solid Waste Director speaks to Commissioners urging immediate waste transfer to Mineral Bluff, GA.

Robert Ward, Solid Waste Director, stated there had been an 11 percent increase in local waste in the last five years, helping to fill the current cell faster than was originally planned. But, until the new Phase Five cell can be constructed, waste was needed to be transferred out to another location to ease the burden on the current landfill.

He told the commissioners that as of April 12, 2019, there “was only 12 weeks of air space left”. He further added the loss of the compactor within the last year is the main reason the landfill was being filled to capacity. Landfill track hoes simply “could not compact trash as needed” as a compactor does.

County Manager Randy Wiggins agreed with Ward saying, “The loss of the compactor result(ed) in the loss of air space.”

Ward said immediately transferring waste would be at a cost of $56.14 per ton to the Mineral Bluff facility where Advanced Disposal agreed they would accept all loads.

It was further agreed Cherokee County could cancel the transfer at any time thus not tying the county to a long-term obligation.

A new compactor has recently been purchased, but has not come in time to alleviate the air space situation which is in its critical phase at this time.

Hauling to Mineral Bluff will begin next week. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email [email protected].

Deputy Chief Mark Thigpen terminated


Press Release

On March 27, 2019 Cherokee County finance made Sheriff Palmer aware of an issue that concerned the use of a county issued cell phone.  Chief Deputy Mark Thigpen was in charge of the issuance of county issued cell phones to employees of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Palmer questioned Chief Deputy Thigpen if he allowed the use of a county issued cell phone to be used by an ex-employee.  The employee in question was his wife Libby Thigpen who was terminated from employment December 20, 2018.  Chief Deputy Thigpen acknowledged that he in fact allowed her to continue to use a county cell phone for personal use approximately three months after her termination.  Sheriff Palmer immediately terminated Chief Deputy Thigpen’s employment.  Chief Thigpen immediately surrendered his firearm and credentials and was escorted from the property.

This conduct is in direct violation of county policy and procedure regarding the conduct and use of county issued property.  See below for county policy:

From page 23 of County Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual


Section 4.        Use of County Property

Cherokee County NC Sheriff Derrick Palmer

Use of property owned or leased by the county is intended for official county business only.   Property including supplies, tools, materials, & equipment are not for personal use and should not be removed from
county premises except in the conduct of official county business.



Former Chief Deputy Thigpen made inquiry to County Manager Randy Wiggins office as to the amount of reimbursement to the county for the use of the cell phone.  On March 28, 2019 Former Chief Deputy Thigpen made reimbursement to Cherokee County in the amount of $190.07.  Attached are all known emails and a receipt for reimbursement.

Sheriff Derrick Palmer
577 Regal Street
Murphy NC 28906
[email protected]




2019 Night to Shine – A night unlike any other


Shine Like the Stars in the Universe

There is one night a year when stars above look down in awe. Friday, February 8, 2019, was that special night.

Excitement filled the air as paparazzi and crowds gathered for the red carpet event hosted by First United Methodist Church of Union County (FUMC) in Blairsville. Honored guests from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee County, SC, would soon arrive.

On this “Night to Shine”, 108 Kings and Queens in their finest attire were escorted through the cheering crowd by students from Young Harris College, volunteers from FUMC, and from the community. Just the beginning of a very special evening for memories to last a lifetime.

The royal guests were delighted to be pampered by hairdressers or to have their shoes shined before heading off on a thrilling ride in a stretch limousine. Then it was time for dancing, what many attendees had been looking forward to and so they danced the night away.

As the evening came to a close each King and Queen received a gift bag along with a t-shirt commemorating the event.

Former NFL quarterback, Heisman winner, and current New York Mets outfielder, Tim Tebows’ Night to Shine is now in its 5th year. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation website, this special night’s history began in 2014 with a simple vision, “work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”

In 2015, the first Night to Shine was held with help from 15,000 volunteers among 44 participating churches in 26 states and 3 countries to make 7,000 honored guests feel like royalty. In 2019 the event now has over 600 churches from around the world to make a memorable event for an estimated 100,000 Kings and Queens with the help of 200,000 volunteers!

This is the second year First United Methodist Church of Union County hosted the event.

Information about sponsoring a 2020 attendee, volunteering or the mission of Tim Tebow foundation can be found online:

Churches wishing to join in the “worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs and the value of life” can find more information about hosting, fundraising and financial grants on the website.

Giggles, laughter and smiling faces beaming with pure joy were, without question no match for the heavenly stars on this “Night to Shine”.

Shine Like the Stars in the Universe
Linda Strickland on the Red Carpet
Jonathan Waters and Michelle Queen
Annette Freer on the Red Carpet
Rick Cruse and escort on the Red Carpet
Party Room
The stage is all set!
Kristell Hannah
Sonny Thomas and Shelby Bittenbinder
Amanda King wears her tiara proudly
Kari Castlen with her tiara
Rena Nelson
Eric Morris and Bailey Whitener
At 9 p.m., balloons fell on the Kings and Queens of Night To Shine ending the evenings festivities.
Gini Bell, Fannin County Special Olympics Co-ordinator attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit [email protected]

Cherokee County (NC) Board of Education meeting schedule for 2019

Cherokee County Schools, Community, News

The 2019 Cherokee County Board of Education meeting schedule is now available. For more information, please phone 828-837-2722 for times and school location addresses. You may also visit their website at for more details.

Flash Flood Warning until 12:30 p.m. today


Cherokee County North Carolina is facing up to 2 more inches of rain which may cause flash flooding.

The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Cherokee County in southwestern North Carolina and Clay County in southwestern North Carolina until 12:30 p.m. EDT.

At 9:29 a.m. EDT, Doppler radar indicated 1 to 3 inches of rain has already fallen across Cherokee and Clay counties over the last three hours. An additional inch or two will be possible over the next few hours as well, especially over northern Clay and Cherokee county border areas. As a result, flash flooding is expected to begin shortly.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Andrews, Murphy, Hayesville, Nantahala Lake, Shooting Creek, Tusquitee, Topton, Marble, Brasstown, and Culberson.

Severe – Significant threat to life or property

Immediate – Responsive action SHOULD be taken immediately

* AFFECTED AREAS: CLAY, NC … CHEROKEE, NC attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email [email protected].



Bicycle Helmets and Watch for Me NC

Press Release

It is Spring and may cyclists will be heading outdoors for a joyous afternoon of exercise and sunshine.

North Carolina Department of Transportation is reminding all motorized vehicle drivers to be on the look out for these cyclists.

Cherokee County is among many North Carolina counties who is participating in the ‘Watch for Me NC’ program.


RALEIGH, N.C.- A record number of children, more than 3,300, across the state will be receiving lifesaving bicycle helmets through the department’s Bicycle Helmet Initiative. The program is part of ongoing efforts to reduce bicycle injuries and deaths in North Carolina.

Helmets save lives. While less than half of all children typically wear a helmet while biking, they can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by nearly 90 percent.

NCDOT uses funds from the sale of the “Share the Road” specialty license plate to pay for the helmets, which are given to underprivileged children.

In addition to the helmet initiative, the department’s Watch for Me NC program is also working to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries.

Started in 2012, the program educates and engages the community in working to keep people safe on the road. Law enforcement officers are trained in ways to communicate, improve and enforce safety rules in their area. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706,276,6397 or email [email protected].

Cherokee County NC could experience severe thunderstorms


CHEROKEE COUNTY, N.C. – This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for portions of southwest North Carolina, east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Counties affected are: Cherokee, Clay, Scott, Campbell, Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Johnson, Morgan, Anderson, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Northwest Cocke, Cocke Smoky Mountains, Northwest Greene, Southeast Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Northwest Carter, Southeast Carter, Roane,Loudon, Knox, Jefferson, Northwest Blount, Blount Smoky Mountains, North Sevier, Sevier Smoky Mountains, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, Northwest Monroe, Southeast Monroe, Marion, Hamilton, Bradley, West Polk, East Polk, Lee, Wise, and Russell.

possible heavy rain fall ahead of cold front expected in Cherokee County NC

Strong to severe thunderstorms could impact the southern plateau and southeast Tennessee tonight ahead of a cold front. The main threat will be damaging straight,line winds in excess of 60 mph, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Locally heavy rainfall will accompany the showers and thunderstorms which could lead to localized flooding of low lying or poor drainage areas. Mountain wave enhancement of the winds is expected late today through tonight, with very strong and gusty winds across some of the higher elevations and foothills of the East Tennessee mountains. A high wind warning has been issued for these areas.


It will be breezy today with strong to possibly severe thunderstorms and heavy rain tonight.

Rain could total 1 inches to 2 inches and localized amounts up to 3 inches.

Timing will be 10 p.m. tonight through 4:00 a.m. in the morning.

Winds could gust up to 30 mph. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email [email protected].

Cherokee County NC-Gun Sanctuary Resolution adopted


Cherokee County First County in North Carolina to become a Gun Sanctuary County

On March 14, 2019, in Dr. Dan Updates, by FreedomForum

At its regular meeting on March 4, 2019, the Cherokee County (NC) Commission passed a Resolution declaring Cherokee County to be a GUN SANCTUARY COUNTY.

The resolution is patterned after similar resolutions and ordinances already passed by counties in the states of Oregon, Washington, and Illinois and are also being considered in many other locations. 

The resolution passed in our county defines, explains, and affirms the moral and legal basis for local officials to uphold and support the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.  The resolution then designates Cherokee County (NC) as a Gun Sanctuary County to preserve the Second Amendment rights of its citizens as defined by the body of laws outlined in the preamble of the resolution and by governmental authority. 

The resolution concludes by prohibiting the government of Cherokee County from using taxpayer funds to support any actions that infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms as defined by law.  The resolution does not change any state or federal laws.

The Sheriff spoke at the commission meeting in support of the resolution, urging the commission to adopt it.  He further stated that, as a constitutional sheriff, he would not support or assist in actions that infringed on our Second Amendment rights as defined by law. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit [email protected]

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners 2019 meeting schedule

Community, Politics

Cherokee Board of Commissioners meet at the Cherokee County Courthouse, 75 Peachtree Street, Multi-Purpose Room 342, Murphy, NC. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit [email protected]

Winter Storm Warning for Cherokee and Clay Counties, North Carolina


Winter Storm Warning for Cherokee and Clay counties, North Carolina


Posted at 3:15 pm from the National Weather Service:

Accumulating snowfall expected on Friday across Southwest North Carolina and the mountains of Eastern Tennessee…



Light to moderate snow occurring. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the evening commute.

Additional snow accumulations of one to three inches are expected.


Additional Details

Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility at times.



A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions are occurring. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 511.


Ways to prepare and stay safe:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
    Prolonged exposure to cold can cause hypothermia.
  • Walk and drive carefully on icy sidewalks and roads.                                                                                           Many injuries and accidents are caused by slippery conditions.
  •  Before driving, let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival.
     If your car gets stuck, it’ll be easier to find you. 
  •  If you lose feeling and color in your nose, ears, hands or feet, cover the exposed area, avoid         rubbing your skin and seek medical help immediately.                                                                                             You may have frostbite.                                                                                                                                                         
  • When shoveling snow, take breaks and lift lighter loads.                                                                                 Working too hard can lead to heart attacks.                                                                                                                      
  •  Stay Dry.                                                                                                                                                                       Wet clothes makes you lose body heat, increasing your risk for hypothermia.                                                            

BOLO: Missing Teen from Andrews, N.C.


ANDREWS, N.C.- The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance in locating a 17-year-old caucasian male, Brenden Witt, who is listed as a runaway.

Current information is that Brenden may be in the Andrews community.

Anyone having information concerning the location of Brenden please call the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at 828-837-2589 or Cherokee County Dispatch at 911.

Andrews Police Department responds to lockdown at high school

Cherokee County Schools, News

ANDREWS, N.C.- Andrews Police Department released a statement via Facebook, about the lockdown that occurred at Andrews High School today. The statement posted on Facebook reads:

The Andrews Police Department (APD) would like to inform the community that there was lockdown at Andrews High School due to a domestic situation that arose out in the county earlier this morning.

“Andrews police officers were on the scene investigating a secondary incident and following up on the lockdown when a 911 call came in that a subject with a gun was in the building. The reporting parent rushed to advise Andrews officers that they had just received a text message from the child that an armed subject was in the school.

“Andrews officers and SROs (School Resource Officers) reacted immediately to the threat and began an immediate search of the school. The school was cleared and secured rapidly and APD officers along with SROs and the school staff had the situation under control.

“There were no armed individuals located in or around the school and no injuries were reported.

“The school superintendent responded and requested the sheriff respond with secondary support for the incident. The superintendent (along) with the sheriff made the decision to release school for the day. Andrews officers along with SROs and CCSO (Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office) deputies remained on scene to provide security for children and families while school let out.

“Andrews Police Department would like to commend the students, teachers and parents of Andrews High for their cooperation and understanding in a high-stress situation.” attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit [email protected]

The Murphy Bulldogs snatches The Cherokee Braves Undefeated season record 35-12!

Cherokee County Schools, Murphy Bulldogs, Murphy High

Cherokee, N.C.- The Murphy Bulldogs game Friday night against The Cherokee Braves was an intense game no doubt! Previously, Cherokee was undefeated until the Bulldogs came in and handed them their first loss of the season. A few weeks ago, I interviewed Murphy’s Coach Nelson, a statement I remember was the coach answering with “These boys are a second half team. They come back stronger.” Well, that statement proved to be true.

In the 2nd Q, it was Murphy’s #32, Slade McTaggart who score the first touchdown followed by #3 Katelyn Jones making good on the PAT. It wasn’t until the 3rd Q when the game started to pick up. Murphy scored two more touchdowns, while Cherokee was just making their first touchdown of the game by #5 I Evans. PAT by #30 T Pete was no good. The 4th Q Murphy came in even stronger by scoring three more touchdowns with every single PAT being good. Cherokee was finally able to score their last and final touchdown, again, by #5 I Evans. That PAT was blocked however.

This Friday, The Murphy Bulldogs will have a home non-conference game against South Stanly (5-6,4-3) from Norwood, N.C. @7:30 pm November 10th, 2017. Come cheer on The Murphy Bulldogs and show that Bulldog pride!

The Murphy Bulldogs dominate The Rosman Tigers 48-22

Murphy High, Sports, Team FYN Sports

Murphy, N.C.- Friday night, The Murphy Bulldogs (8-2,4-1) hosted a conference game against The Rosman Tigers (2-8,1-4) for their Senior Night. For many of the players, this would be their last home game as a Senior at MHS. Lot’s of proud parents walked their children onto the field with a look of pure joy. The coaches gleamed with pride and proudful expressions as the Seniors walked onto the field. It was bittersweet.

It was a cold night temperature wise, but the Bulldogs wasted no time at warming up the field with their impressive win against the Tigers. The final score was 48-22! The first TD was scored by #10 Keivon Allen for 16 yds followed by a PAT by #3 Katelyn Jones. In the 2nd Q, #28 Devonte Murray was handed the ball and scored a 21 yard TD. QB #1 Joey Curry followed up with three more TD passes with #3 Katelyn Jones making good on 3 of the 4 PAT’s. The 3rd Q, Murphy score 2 more TD’s bringing them to a score of 48. Despite Rosman’s 3 TD’s and 3 onside kick recoveries, they fell all too short to The Bulldogs dominating defense.

When I asked The Bulldogs, Coach Gentry how he prepared the boys for this game, he stated that he felt he didn’t need to over work them. That you would only over work the players had they not tried in their previous game. Fact is, the boys did try, and they worked hard. However, you may not win every game. Obviously this coach knows what he’s talking about because The Bulldogs came back with a vengeance and took victory over The Rosman Tigers

This Friday, November 3rd, come out and show your Bulldogs support when they face off against Cherokee in a away game. Kick off starts @7:30pm!

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