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News

Final product includes 2 cent tax increase for 2014-15.

With a new fiscal year set to begin on July 1, the Franklin Board of Aldermen was tasked with adopting a 2014-2015 budget before the end of June. The process has gone smoothly, as the board unanimously adopted a budget at last Monday night's town meeting.

Though the budget overall was fairly straightforward, there was one difference that the board knew may raise some eyebrows — a 2 cent tax increase.

In the budget message that was presented by then town manager Warren Cabe, he said that a one cent tax increase would not only sustain a healthy fiscal future for the town but would provide funding to accomplish various projects that would be required in the future.

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A three-vehicle accident that happened Tuesday morning closed down both north and southbound lanes of 441S.

Doug Ledford, driver of a white F150 Ford truck, ran the stop sign at Belle Dowdle Rd., entering oncoming traffic on 441. He crossed the road hitting a red Chevy Cobalt driven by April West who then hit a white Lexus.

After hitting West, Ledford crossed back over into the southbound lane resting on the curb. The Cobalt came to rest in a ditch on the northbound side of 441 and the Lexus stopped in the northbound lane.

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The Town of Franklin's Tourism Development Authority met on Monday afternoon to discuss a variety of issues and to set a date for its upcoming budget retreat.

To kick off the meeting, D'Anne Maddox from Premiere Marketing gave the board a rundown of the effectiveness of their marketing strategy that has been in place over the last year. Presenting the spreadsheets to the board, she illustrated how the online marketing campaign has worked.

“As you can see, Charlotte has moved to number one,” she said of the website visitors. “But I also put together the top 10 places that site visitors live and as you can see there are even people from New York that are visiting your page.”

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This year marks the fifth time runners will line up on the starting line for the annual Braveheart 5K. Held in conjunction with the Taste of Scotland Festival held in Franklin on Father’s Day weekend, the Braveheart 5K stands as a substantial fundraiser for Franklin’s Scottish Tartans Museum.

“As with a lot of nonprofits, funding has steadily been decreasing,” said Ronan MacGregor, museum director. “In order for us to remain open and serve the public we need to supplement the loss through fund raising efforts such as the Braveheart 5K and the Taste of Scotland Festival.”

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What began as a small meeting with curious teachers ballooned into quite the forum for North Carolina Senator Jim Davis who represents Macon County and seven other WNC counties in the state's legislature.

Davis met with a room full of teachers, teachers' aids, and other school personnel at South Macon Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon at the personal invitation of the educators.

Since Governor Pat McCrory assumed office in early January 2013, the state's education system has begun to see a major overhaul being launched by the legislature who at the moment sits at a veto proof Republican majority.

Davis, who is one of the 31 Senate Republicans, attended the meeting in hopes of clearing the air about his history of supporting the changes being implemented by the state such as ending tenure for veteran teachers, cutting a salary bump for earning a master's degree (becoming the first state in the U.S.), and eliminated a cap on class size ... 

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Cost of property cleanup unlikely to be recovered.

The Town of Franklin will be acting on two nuisance violations that have taken place inside the city limits as a result of Monday night’s meeting.

The town's nuisance ordinance states that any owner, lessee, or occupant of any property within the town shall keep such property clean and clear of defined nuisances as well as all weeds, wild growth and grass over 10 inches in height. It also says that every owner, lessee, or occupant will keep such property free and clear of filth, open wells or containers, and all refuse materials of every kind and description.

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Two Macon County inmates spent nearly 15 hours on the run Friday morning after scaling a fence at the Macon County Detention Center in the wee hours of the morning.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, Buster Lee Biddix and Richard Frank Sanford Jr., scaled a fence at the detention center using the handle of a plastic spray bottle to hold down the Constantine razor wire that lines the jail’s fencing.

The two men were considered “trustees” and were on work detail at the jail when they made the escape. “At night 'trustees' are used to clean the facility, such as mop, wash and dry clothes, clean food trays from supper that are hauled back in the morning when they deliver breakfast, cleaning of the law enforcement center and various other cleaning that needs to be done and cannot be done during regular hours...”

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The ballot for Jackson County Sheriff contained a full spate of candidates vying for the seat that came open earlier this year when longtime sheriff Jimmy Ashe announced he would not be seeking re-election. During the primary election held earlier this month, voters had three Republican candidates and six Democratic candidates from which to chose.

While the Democratic candidate was decided on election night with Chip Hall, the Republican election was too close to call. Curtis Lambert received 424 votes, more than both Mary Rock and Jimmy Hodgins, but did not receive the 40 percent needed to secure his place on the November ballot, meaning either of the other two candidates could request a runoff. Rock and Hodgins were separated by a single vote, with Rock receiving 375 and Hodgins receiving 376.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is making a historic $78 million investment in local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises.

"The 2014 Farm Bill has given USDA new tools, resources and authority to support the rural economy," Vilsack said. "Consumer demand for locally-produced food is strong and growing, and farmers and ranchers are positioning their businesses to meet that demand. As this sector continues to mature, we see aggregation, processing, and distribution enterprises across the local food supply chain growing rapidly. These historic USDA investments in support of local food give farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provide consumers with more choices, and create jobs in both rural and urban communities."

Vilsack said that $48 million in loan guarantees for local food projects is now available through USDA 's Rural Development's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, and $30 million is available through competitive grants via the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program.

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The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen are considering adding a K-9 unit to the Franklin Police Department. The addition would allow the department to have its own drug sniffing dog.

In the proposed 2014-2015 fiscal year budget, $29,000 is set aside for supplies to the police department and within that, is $3,800 more set aside for the addition of a canine.

“You have some things to consider,” said Summer Woodard, acting town manager for the town. “You could scrap the idea all together; $3,800 isn't going to get you too far with a canine. However, if you feel that there is a need for a K-9 unit, my recommendation is that you look at a puppy that could be put through the proper training requirements. Just direct me how you would like to go there. We can eliminate it and put the money back in for tazers, radios, and whatever else may need to be purchased or we can pursue the K-9 unit.”

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