2019  Events

Big City Boom/Rural Recession:

Local Leaders Evening the Odds

Affordable housing, types of jobs and wages in the area


Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

The September program looked at the economic reality of our 4 county area.

  • Darren Harper, Program Manager for the Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville and Ricky Hill, Community Engagement Coordinator at Hinton Center

    Download PDF of presentation



A River Runs Through It

Water Quality In Western North Carolina and North Georgia


Towns County Senior Center, 954 N Main St, Hiawassee, GA 30546

The May program explained what we can do to insure a local clean water supply

  • Callie Moore; Executive Director, Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition



Medical Cannabis

The Therapeutic and Economic Potential for Georgia and North Carolina


Towns County Senior Center, 954 N Main St, Hiawassee, GA 30546

The April program explained how medical cannabis can  be used to benefit our population. Watch the full video of this presentation at Our Youtube Channel (see above).

Down Home North Carolina

Organizing in a Rural Community


Towns County Senior Center, 954 N Main St, Hiawassee, GA 30546

The March program focused on how to effectively organize a community for positive change.

  • Chelsea White, Down Home North Carolina

Tools of the Trade for Effective Advocacy 

Knowledge, strategy, collaboration, engagement


Towns County Senior Center, 954 N Main St, Hiawassee, GA 30546

Download PDF of Presentation >

The February program focused on how to effectively approach and influence our state and federal legislators.

  • Mary Lightner, President, Public Policy Network of Western North Carolina and North Georgia

2018  Events

Knowledge is Power: Becoming an Informed Voter 

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

Download Event Press Release > 


Learn About the Positions of Candidates for Office in Western NC and North GA—What Do Our Candidates Think about Healthcare, Financial Security, and the Environment?
Get Informed about the Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Dr. Steven Harvey
Alexandria Douglas-Bartolone
Luis Toledo



The Opioid Crisis:  Prevention, Treatment and Compassion

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

Download PDF of Presentation >

The September program focused on the causes of the drug epidemic, prevention and treatment of pain.  It included three speakers:

  • Stephanie Johnson, MPH, MBA, Public Health Director of the Clay County Health Dept, and formally a Public Health Advisor with the Centers for Disease Control, will discuss the public health factors contributing to opioid addiction in the area, how we can better treat and care for people with addiction and prevent it in the first place.
  • Dr. Teresa Heavener, physician with Chatuge Family Practice and Medical Director of Good Shepherd Hospice, will discuss the changing face of drug abuse and the laws governing prescription drugs. She will discuss options and alternatives to opioids for chronic pain treatment.
  • Terri Thrower, holds a Ph.D. in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling. Terri has lived over 50 years with disability and chronic pain and will describe her experiences and what has worked for her.

The Impact of Opioid Addiction in our Area

This program will focus on law enforcement and the court and will feature Barbara Honikar, Court Coordinator for the North Enotah Drug Court and Sheriff Derrick Palmer, Cherokee County NC.

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909



On September 9th the discussion on opioids will continue, with emphasis on treatment and prevention

PPN Potluck Picnic

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

PPN had its first annual summer picnic on July 8 at the Hinton Center.  The local folk group, Butternut Creek and Friends provided music.  We enjoyed the lake, the food, the camaraderie, and the songs!

What Happened to the American Dream? How Runaway Inequality Impacts All of Us

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

For years, popular television shows such as The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, and Eight is Enough shaped the nation’s definition of the American Dream: a loving family, even if quirky or at times dysfunctional, who could afford a comfortable home, decent transportation, college education for the children, and the occasional splurge, perhaps a vacation to Disney World or a time-share in the mountains. Those days are over. The definition of the American Dream is up for grabs–and it’s about time, many would argue, because Americans should be free to shape their own versions of the desirable life. But whether your dream is a lovely suburban home with a spouse and children or camping across America as a single retiree, every dream needs resources in order to blossom. So what happens to your American Dream if access to those resources is unequal?

Dr. Daniel Buffington is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. His teaching and research interests center on stratification and inequality, with a focus on race and immigration.

Sarah Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her professional experience has been in nonprofit management, most recently in the areas of sustainable agriculture and food insecurity

Their lecture demonstrated the connection between growing inequality and some of the most pressing social issues of the day – from environmental degradation to lack of access to affordable healthcare – making the case that inequality is the ultimate culprit in the demise of the American dream, as well as our current economic and political crisis.

To learn more, read Les Leopold’s book, Runaway Inequality.

Slides from presentation 


Chemistry for a Greener Future

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

Chemistry plays an essential role in creating our modern society. However, chemical processes and products can are often harmful to humans and the environment. Green chemistry re-thinks how chemistry is done, in an attempt to minimize waste, toxicity, and resource use. Because of this, green chemistry will be a necessary part of creating a sustainable society. In this talk, Dr. Swor will give an overview of what green chemistry is and how it developed, examples of recent developments in green chemistry, and how he is training future chemists to “think green”.

Dr. Charlie Swor is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Young Harris College. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University in 2004, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 2011. His graduate work focused on developing new metal complexes for separating nitrogen from natural gas. During graduate school, he attended the 2007 Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute on Sustainability and Green Chemistry in Mexico City. He also spent three years as an NSF GK-12 Fellow, teaching hands-on science to elementary and middle school students.

Dr. Swor has been at YHC since 2011. His research interests are transition-metal chemistry, ligand design, catalysis and green and sustainable chemistry. In 2017 he gave a presentation at the Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference about how to teach toxicology to chemistry students. He is also on the board of directors of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition.

Charlie gave a great presentation on green chemistry,  You can see his slide show, including policy recommentations below.


Green Chemistry Presentation for PPN

Perspectives on Rural Health, Medicaid Expansion and the Patient and Affordable Care Act

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909
April 8, 2018

Brian Mitchell, MD, is a Board Certified Internist who has been in practice in Western NC since 1976. He graduated from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1974 and specializes in internal medicine.  He has a passion for caring for the people of western North Carolina and has spent a lifetime advocating for our well-being.


Thriving Communities Across NC:  How Budget & Tax Decisions Can Deliver on Shared Prosperity

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909
April 8, 2018

Alexandra Forter Sirota joined the Budget & Tax Center as a Public Policy Analyst in April 2010 and became project director in November 2010. Before joining N.C. Justice Center, Sirota coordinated research on child well-being and policy analysis on family economic security at Action for Children North Carolina.  Sirota has a broad range of experience at non-profit organizations and government agencies both in the United States and abroad in the areas of human rights, community development and anti-poverty programs and asset-building policy. Sirota received a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and a joint master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

This presentation addressed the current state of opportunity and prosperity in North Carolina with specific local data for Western NC counties as well as discuss the ways in a focus on tax cuts and trickle-down economics is hampering our ability to build thriving communities.

You Can View The Presentation on YouTube Here >

Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Your Legislator

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909

Suzi Herbert served in the NC House of Representatives from 1983- 1992.  She served as Chair, High School Dropout Committee, 1986-1988,  primary author of the Georgia Youth Apprenticeship Program (1999 ), was the lead author of Dual Enrollment legislation 1992 and served on the Rules committee 1990-1992.  Career experiences include 37 years as a secondary teacher, principal and system administrator; a consultant for Georgia Department of Education; and curriculum developer and trainer for an educational software company.

Her presentation addressed effective ways to advocate for your interests with your state legislator.


How Do We Develop Civil Dialog in a Divided Nation?

Hinton Center, Moore Hall 2330 Hinton Center Road Hayesville, NC 28909


In a democracy, which values the expression of differing views, we need to know how to do this so we don’t contribute to tearing the fabric that holds our society together.  If there was ever a time we needed to be talking to one another about politics and the state of our country, it’s now.

This presentation examined what makes us see the world the way we do, and why others see their world in their own way, and how we can bridge that divide so we can begin to have important conversations.  She drew upon The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathon Haidt.  View his presentation on YouTube here > .


Virginia Tinsley is a retired ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. She received her BA degree from Agnes Scott College and MA in Church and Community from Scarritt College. Her ministry has been devoted to serving people who are marginalized by society. She was Director of Action Ministries’ Atlanta Urban Ministry programs, which served homeless women and children and people with HIV/AIDS. Before her retirement in 2015, she served for 12 years as Director of the North Georgia United Methodist Housing and Homeless Council. In retirement, she volunteers as a chaplain at Lee Arrendale State Prison and serves on the Family Selection Committee of Habitat for Humanity of Towns/Union County. She teaches the class on Mission for the Course of Study at Candler School of Theology of Emory University.