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News General

Town of Franklin alderman Jerry Evans passed away last Thursday at the age of 55, due to complications relating to a respiratory illness. According to town officials, his passing was completely unexpected. None of his fellow aldermen realized his illness was so serious, and they were not prepared for the news that he had died on Feb. 17.

More than a year ago, Evans was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring or thickening of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing. “He had a very substantial problem with his lungs,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins. “It had been going on for a while.”

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The Swain County Department of Social Services was locked down early Tuesday morning by the State Bureau of Investigation.

According to unnamed sources, the SBI was conducting an investigation because of possible neglect by the Swain County DSS in the Jan. 10 death of 16-month-old Aubrey Littlejohn, of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The child allegedly died while in the care of a relative when the infant’s mother, Jasmine Littlejohn, was in jail following unrelated drug charges. Because the child lived in the county, and not on Indian land, her case came under the watch of the Swain County DSS.

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A man’s plan to turn his Macon County farm into a motocross track has his neighbors revving for a fight. During the public comment portion of a Macon County Planning Board meeting last Thursday, board members heard from neighbors and other county residents on the issue.

The vast majority – though not all – who attended the meeting were opposed to Herman “Bud” Talley’s plan to establish a motocross racing facility on the 45-acre farm that has been in his family since 1935. Talley, owner of Nantahala Meats in Franklin, says that building the racetrack is a way to save his dying Clarks Chapel community farm from being parceled out for development.

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Rumors of corporate prospects remain unconfirmed

After a process that has taken years, Macon County has finally achieved the designation of Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC) through an AdvantageWest program. Achieving the certification has been a main goal of the county’s Economic Development Commission and of EDC director Trevor Dalton since he was appointed to the position almost a year and a half ago.

AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, a non-profit organization commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly to promote economic development in the 23-county region of Western North Carolina, established the CEC program to encourage and support entrepreneurship in communities while also improving the business climate for existing companies.

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