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In a move to save Macon County taxpayers money, the local Board of Elections petitioned the state last week for the termination of Director Kim Bishop. While the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of more than $50,000 continues, members of the Board of Elections are turning to the state for help.

“The board took the action available to us by state statue and we expect a State Board of Elections decision within about three weeks, said board member Gary Dills. “I do not presume their decision nor the status of the on-going SBI investigation.”

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Franklin's Tourism Development Authority met at Town Hall on Monday for its monthly meeting in order to consider various funding requests as well as listen to two presentations concerning local events that could be eligible for grants at next month's meeting.

At last month's meeting, Main Street Program Director Linda Schlott went before the board to request a total of $1,500 for the 11th annual Folk Festival that is set to take place on July 19. The money would be used to advertise on the radio and various regional publications.

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Flat Stanley is currently visiting Macon County from Mrs. Palmer's second grade class at Pinecreek Elementary School in Brookville, Pennsylvania. His good friend Moriona Ruffalo sent Flat Stanley on a bumpy ride in his envelope to Franklin, N.C.

One of Flat Stanley's first trips after arriving in Franklin was a visit to The Macon County News to learn how an independent newspaper is published and operated. Flat Stanley visited with Macon County News reporter Travis Tallent and learned the ins and outs of being a good reporter. A visit with editor Teresa Tabor introduced Flat Stanley to page layout designs and article editing. Flat Stanley even rode around with advertising representative Erin Morgan to visit local businesses and help sell some ads. Once the ads were sold, Flat Stanley learned how to create eye catching advertisements with a little help from graphic designer Matt Nelson.

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Former Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James U. Downs, announced his return to the practice of law after a lengthy and successful career as a North Carolina Superior Court Judge. Judge Downs was first appointed to the bench by then Governor James B. Hunt and ran for election four times without opposition. During his time in office, Downs presided over numerous capital murder trials and hundreds of complex civil trials across the state.

Recognized throughout North Carolina as a competent, hard working trial judge, Downs is known for his fairness and integrity. “I am happy to return to the law practice after a career as a judge. I look forward to representing individuals and small businesses in western North Carolina,” said Downs.

Downs has joined the Hickory law firm of Sigmon, Clark, Mackie, Hanvey, and Ferrell, P.A. a general practice firm. He will maintain an office in Franklin and participate in law suits with the firm and other law firms and single practitioners.

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At Tuesday night's county commissioner meeting, Luke Bateman who serves as the Chairman of the Macon County Board of Elections was tasked with approaching the board to request a budget amendment to the 2013-14 fiscal year budget to the tune of just over $41,000 – a sum required to carry out the primary election set to take place in May.

According to Bateman, the shortfall is a result of an incident that occurred back in January when it was discovered that a sum of $50,000 had been paid out to various individuals with little or no verification. An investigation is still being conducted by the State Board of Elections and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.

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Warren Cabe is leaving his role as the Franklin Town Manager as of May 2, a year after he began. The move was announced at Monday night's Board of Aldermen meeting after the board went into a closed session to discuss personnel matters. Upon returning, the board made a motion to accept Cabe's letter of resignation.

“I am thankful for the Town of Franklin and my time working for this board. I have learned a lot during my time as manager. The reason that I am leaving is in no way an ill result of my time working as manager,” said Cabe. “An opportunity has presented itself and it's one that I need to pursue.”

Before becoming town manager Cabe served as Macon County Emergency Medical Services Director and then shifted to the Town of Franklin. Now it looks as though he will be returning to the county as the EMS director once again.

 

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The Franklin Board of Aldermen met on Monday for its monthly meeting to discuss a lengthy agenda that included a lease for a new brewery, discussions about the Gazebo on town square and stop sign updates.

After a short public session, the proposed lease of the old town hall property was brought up for discussion and action. Local residents, Ken Murphy and Lenny Jordan approached the board last month to propose a lease that would allow them to install Franklin's first brewpub. The business would brew beer onsite as well as allow locals to sample and enjoy the custom brews on the property.

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In the early morning hours of April 7, 2014, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) was requested by the Cashiers Fire Department to come to Blue Ridge School. The Fire Department was already on scene for a fire alarm activation.

Suspects had forced entry into the school and thousands of dollars of damage to the interior of the building was done. Damages included spray painting and flooding.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident and is asking for anyone with any information to contact Detective Rick Buchanan.

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Since the Town of Franklin's annual retreat back in January, there has been a buzz around Main Street concerning the gazebo located at town square. A design was presented to the board which was later released to the public and drew criticism from many local residents, business owners and performers.

As a response to the outcry, the League of Women Voters along with Venture Local Franklin hosted a “town hall” style meeting at Tartan Hall of the First Presbyterian Church on Monday night to give the public a chance to hash out various ideas. Some members of the public also submitted architectural designs for consideration.

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Editor’s note: This article was published with several inaccurate statements. The Employment Security Commission characterized in the headline as “ESC” has been renamed the North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions. Jim McMahan spoke to the Macon County Board of Commissioners regarding a county-owned property that could be utililized by the employment office at no cost. The article stated they were looking for a place to rent. That statement was incorrect. It also stated the Southwestern Community College had been paying the rent but could no longer afford to pay it. In fact, the rent has been paid through June 2014 by the Southwestern Workforce Development Board.

Due to a $30 million reduction in funding – or nearly 50 percent – employment offices across the state may close or reduce hours as part of a major restructuring following cuts in federal funding.

Local Employment Security Office manager Dale West spoke to commissioners last week to make them aware of the cuts and to ask for help. As a result, some offices of the North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions – formerly known as the Employment Security Commission, but renamed after a merger of two Department of Commerce divisions – may reduce the number of days they’re open, and others may close entirely, depending on their proximity to other agencies offering the same services, said West.

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published: 10/18/2013
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