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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.


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.


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.


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.


One-stop voting opened today (Thursday) for the 2015 municipal elections which will fill three seats on the town of Franklin Board of Aldermen and three seats for the Highlands Commission. Voters can cast their ballots early for the municipal elections with one-stop voting locations located at the Macon County Courthouse and the Highlands Civic Center.

Early voting will run until Saturday, Oct. 31, at 1 p.m. Candidates for the Franklin Board of Aldermen election will be profiled over the next two weeks for Macon County News readers. All six candidates seeking office were given the opportunity to answer the same questions.


Just before 8 a.m. on Monday morning, authorities in Rabun County received a call reporting a fire at popular Clayton, Ga., restaurant Mama G's. Authorities reported no one was in the building at the time of the accident and despite the Italian restaurant being a complete loss, no one was injured.

The building was completely engulfed in flames by the time the fire department arrived on scene and the only piece of property that was salvaged was a storage facility out back. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.


In attempt to improve efficiency, the county's Animal Control department will be moved under the administrative control of the Macon County Public Health Department.

"Over the past few months, I have put a lot of thought and deliberation into possible ways for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Macon County's Animal Control," said County Manager Derek Roland. "I feel the employees in this department do an excellent job serving the citizens of Macon County. At the same time however, I am confident that a change in departmental structure will result in a higher level of public service."

With Roland's recommendation, commissioners unanimously voted to move animal control to the health department where it will be overseen by Dr. Jimmy Villiard, a licensed veterinarian and public health employee.


For the first time in the program's history, the Macon County Community Funding Pool allocation was increased from $50,000 to $75,000, allowing more non-profits in the community to apply for grants for the year.

The Community Funding Pool (CFP) was established to help the Macon County Board of Commissioners allocate tax-generated funds to local non-profits in a fair and efficient way. The CFP Task Force is comprised of citizens chosen by the board of commissioners to consider applications and make recommendations to the board, who make final funding decisions.

The Community Funding Pool received 20 applications from 19 agencies which totaled $123,909. The requests in 2015 were up from 2014 when 15 agencies applied for funding, with a total requested amount of $94,500.


Marcos Lopez may have returned to Mexico.

Macon County law enforcement are asking the public help locate Marcos Lopez, also known as Marcos De La Cruz Lopez, 51, who is wanted for multiple sex crimes against children.

Over the weekend, the Highlands Police Department released a photo and description in hopes the public can help determine his current whereabouts.

The Highlands Police began investigating allegations against Lopez in the last few weeks and during the investigation, Lopez disappeared.


With a unanimous vote, Macon County Commissioners took the first step needed to display "In God We Trust," the national motto of the United States, on county-owned property.

Macon County attorney Chester Jones read a resolution that would pave the way for the motto to be displayed in Macon County:

"'In God We Trust' became the United States national motto on July 30, 1956, shortly after our nation led the world through the trauma of World War II; and whereas, the words have been used on United States currency since 1864; and whereas, the same inspiring slogan is engraved above the entrance to the Senate Chamber as well as above the Speaker's dais in the House of Representatives; and whereas, in both war and peace, these words have been a profound source of strength and guidance to many generations of Americans; and whereas, the county desires to display this patriotic motto in a way to solemnize public occasions and express confidence in our society. Now, therefore, upon a Motion by Commissioner Gary Shields and seconded by Commissioner Paul Higdon, and duly approved, be it hereby resolved by the Macon County Board of Commissioners as follows: Resolved, that Macon County does hereby determine that the historic and patriotic words of our national motto, 'In God We Trust,' shall be permanently and prominently displayed on the courthouse at Macon County, North Carolina and to remain there in perpetuity."


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