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News General

Amidst a loss of leadership and in an attempt to regroup, the Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors voted last Wednesday to place the program on inactive status.

“At this point, I feel it would be the right time for the board to step back and assess how it wants to proceed,” said board member Sissy Pattillo. “I have been involved with the Franklin Main Street Program since it became active again. If you look where we were and where we are now, we have made great strides. Many projects have been accomplished and the master plan for our town is a great example. Phase one has been completed and phase two is under way.”

The Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors includes Christine Basey, Judy Chapman, Joyce Handley, Ken Murphy and Sissy Pattillo. Over the last few months, four board members have resigned from their posts. In addition to board members' resignation, the MSP was also dealing with the lack of a Main Street coordinator, a paid position with the town.

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In the fall of last year, Franklin's Main Street Program (MSP) coordinator Linda Schlott ended her tenure with the town. Historically, one aspect of the Main Street coordinator position was to help facilitate cooperation between the town and events occurring on Main Street. As festivals and events began to grow downtown, as the Main Street coordinator, Schlott began taking on more and more responsibilities to ensure that festivals and events kept Main Street happening all year long.

When Schlott left her position with the town, she left a void in terms of festival planning and coordination. So much so, independent festivals are having to take a step back and regroup in order to have 2015 events, while others have been cancelled altogether.

Last month, news broke that after 11 years, the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County's annual Franklin Folk Festival would not be happening in 2015. The main factor cited by members of the FHAMC as to why there would not be a festival this summer, was due to the fact that the town no longer had a MSP coordinator to help independent festivals.

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Gary Shields' name is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable names in Macon County. Like most Vietnam veterans, he loves the United States, he loves North Carolina, and he loves Franklin and the people who live here. He is passionate in his desire to help other people and to serve his community and his nation.

Upon graduating from high school, Shields enlisted in the military in October 1966. He did his basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C. He then went to Fort Gordon, Georgia, for his radio communication school. He also cross trained in mortars and infantry. In Vietnam, he served with the United States Army Airborne, attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. When his unit was in a fire-fight, it was his responsibility as Radio Communications Officer to call in support for them, whether artillery, jets, or mortars.

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At 5.4 percent, North Carolina's unemployment rate for January remained unchanged from December and below the national average of 5.7 percent.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce's report released on Tuesday, North Carolina’s January 2014 unemployment rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than a year ago. The number of people employed increased 22,658 over the month to 4,397,927, and increased 65,854 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 1,161 over the month to 248,866, and declined 57,145 over the year.

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