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News General

Fifty-one years ago, torrential rains pounded the southeastern United States, causing dams to give way, rivers to swell, and floods to destroy communities. Franklin was not spared from rains streaming from Hurricane Hilda, which wreaked havoc on the east coast in 1964 from Sept. 28 throughout the first week of October. The storm caused 38 deaths and did an estimated $126 million in damages.

In 2004, 40 years after Hurricane Hilda put Franklin underwater, Hurricane Ivan dumped almost 12 inches on Western North Carolina in a few hours causing catastrophic flooding and land slides resulting in four deaths. The 2004 rainfalls triggered the landslides that caused the Peeks Creek disaster.

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A state program that was implemented to cover the cost of electronic waste, or e-waste, recycling is in dispute and according to Chris Stahl, director of the Macon County Solid Waste Department, could cost the county thousands of dollars a year.

Stahl first cautioned commissioners about the state program expiring a few years ago, but now as of this year, Macon County will begin to foot the bill for recycling e-waste such as televisions.

In the past, the manufacturers’ responsibility law was written into the same legislation as the landfill ban on various electronic devices and the bans were phased in over the ensuing couple of years.

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With more funds available for Macon County education in federal and state dollars this year, Macon County Schools (MCS) finance director Angie Cook presented members of the board of education with a 2015-16 budget resolution which highlighted a few areas in which funds have been able to be increased this school year.

A few years ago, in the midst of budget cuts across all levels of funding, the board of education made the hard decision to no longer pay for officials for sporting events out of the school district's local budget. Schools then became responsible for funding the officials, which are mandatory to hold athletic events. Some schools turned to their respective athletic budget reserves while others turned to booster clubs and PTO organizations. With additional funds available for the 2015-16 school year, Cook informed members of the board that half of the funds needed for officials would be placed back into the budget this school year.

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Macon County’s Business Development Center (BDC) was established in 2009 to help budding entrepreneurs build on their work to create viable, competitive businesses in Macon County. With success stories like Tektone, which started in the business development center in 1989 with six employees and has since grown to a national brand employing 75 people, the business development center offers low rent and resources to get businesses started in their respective industries.

Last week, Macon County Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins presented commissioners with a lease agreement for Vitrum La Collezione, which was unanimously approved. With the lease agreement and Vitrum La Collezione locating to the business development center, the center is now at capacity with five tenants.

The BDC was originally constructed as an incubator facility in the late ’80s. Although funded in part with Appalachian Regional Commission and Economic Development grants with the intent of fostering a business development center, the facility was seldom used for its intended purpose and over time has been used in various capacities – as a warehouse, a community college space and as storage for local manufacturers. The county wanted to revamp the space in 2009 and provide a service to local business hopefuls.

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