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News

Order of the Long Leaf Pine recipients honored

"Here’s to the land/ of the long leaf pine, The summer land/ where the sun doth shine, Where the weak grow strong/ and the strong grow great, Here’s to “down home”, the Old North State!”

When it comes to being a North Carolinian, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor the state can bestow on one of its citizens. The award, doled out by the governor of the state, is a prestigious recognition that has been earned by some of history’s greatest individuals. The honor, which was first established in 1965 has since been awarded to about 15,000 people in the state which include the likes of Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, and Andy Griffith.

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The Macon County News has learned of a possible scam taking place in the Franklin area.

A resident reported seeing what looked to be someone injured or dead lying on the side of the Georgia Road with a black SUV nearby. The person stopped, locked the car doors and called 9-1-1. Shortly thereafter, the person lying on the side of the road got up and got in the SUV and drove away.

Persons encountering such a situation are urged to notify law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.

MCSO hosts outreach programs to better serve the community

“As law enforcement, the sheriff’s department's job is to work on behalf of all the citizens and to continue improving programs and services to ensure that the community is best being served,” said guest speaker District Attorney Ashley Welch during the Macon County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy graduation ceremony last Thursday. “Citizens Academy is a great program that is reaching out to the community and offering residents an inside look at law enforcement and all it takes to keep our community safe. Not only do I commend the sheriff’s department for putting the program on, but I commend you as citizens for wanting to spend your time learning more about law enforcement.”

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A routine traffic stop over the weekend led to four arrests, and the confiscation of a large quantity of methamphetamine.

“After a traffic stop along 441, our officers pulled over two vehicles, which resulted in the arrest of four individuals,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “We did retrieve a large quantity of meth at the time and the investigation into the incident remains ongoing. At this time, we do expect additional charges to be forthcoming as we complete our investigation.”

Jeremy Kenneth Stanley, 19; James Fred Hurst, 41; Elizabeth Anne Tice, 18; and Adam Joshua Sanders, 28, all of Franklin, were arrested and each charged with one felony count trafficking methamphetamine, one felony count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute, a scheduled II controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of maintain a vehicle or a dwelling place for a controlled substance.

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Based on court documents on file at the Macon County Clerk of Court’s office, Debbie Mosteller, former Nantahala Volunteer Fire Department (NFD) treasurer, may have taken a Disney vacation and secured $20,000 worth of new computers, all at the expense of Macon County taxpayers.

Based on search warrants filed on June 11 by State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent J.M. Schick, the Nantahala Volunteer Fire Department, specifically Mosteller, is being investigated for embezzlement that allegedly began in 2009. The investigation, which was launched in May 2014, has already uncovered 74 checks endorsed by Mosteller from 2009 to 2013, which are thought to have purchased $20,000 worth of Dell products and $6,500 for a Walt Disney World Vacation.

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For as long as he can remember, Macon County Sheriff’s Office Major Andy Shields only wanted to be one of three things when he grew up: a farmer to be able to spend his days outdoors working with his hands, a garbage man because nothing was cooler than being able to ride on the back of the truck all day, or a police officer, to help other people. When he was just five years old, an encounter with the local police chief solidified what he wanted to be when he grew up, and gave him a role model that would shape his 30 year career in law enforcement.

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Summary reports that suspects were tased five times.

Nearly two weeks after law enforcement officers arrested Adam Conley and Kathryn Jeter on the campus of South Macon Elementary, a “Use of Force” Investigative Summary offers additional clues into the confrontation the two suspects had with law enforcement officers before being taken into custody.

According to the investigative summary, officers deployed their tasers five times attempting to place Conley and Jeter under arrest.

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High rates just not feasible in a struggling economy.

Commissioner Paul Higdon is putting his 30 years of industry experience and 10 years of experience serving on county’s health board to use in lobbying for lower permitting fees for citizens. During budget discussions, Higdon asked commissioners to consider looking at the county’s current environmental fee structure and look at reducing the fees for citizens, to make it easy on taxpayers.

“Environmental Health fees that I and other people think need restructuring are the onsite wastewater (OSW), or septic system, and well fees,” said Higdon. “First the OSW permits are dual in the fact that a Improvements Permit (IP) and Construction Authorization Permit (AC) are needed prior to building a house or any structure where municipal or community sewer is not available.”

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With two weeks until filing opens for the 2015 municipal elections, Macon County Board of Elections Director Debbie George reminded voters within the city limits that they have about four months to update their address with the Board of Elections office to be able to vote in November.

“If anyone has moved into the city limits and not changed their address, they will need to update their address before Oct. 9, 2015,” said George. “Municipal elections are held in November during odd-numbered years and are non-partisan. Registered voters living within the city limits are eligible to vote in municipal elections and only candidates that live within the city limits are eligible to file for office.”

Franklin aldermen and Highlands town commissioners, as well as mayors for both municipalities are chosen in municipal elections. This year, Franklin will choose candidates for three alderman seats and the mayor seat. The seats up for election in Franklin are currently held by Joyce Handley, Farrell Jamison, and Verlin Curtis. The mayor seat, currently occupied by Bob Scott, will also be on the ballot this November. Of the elected officials in Franklin, only Mayor Scott has confirmed that he will seek another term.

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In an effort to better serve customers, the Division of Employment Security (DES) is changing its debit card provider to Bank of America beginning Aug. 1, 2015. Unemployment claimants will continue to choose either direct deposit or debit card to receive their benefits. This change will only affect those claimants who have elected to receive unemployment benefits via debit card.

From June 15 through late July, those eligible to receive unemployment benefits via debit card will receive a transition package from DES. This package will outline what they should do with their old MasterCard debit card in preparation for receiving their new VISA card from Bank of America.

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