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News

On Friday, July 24, agents of the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, the Macon County, Sheriff’s Office, and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation took action in an ongoing methamphetamine trafficking investigation.

Agents executed three search warrants in North Carolina which resulted in the seizure of approximately 11.5 ounces of crystal methamphetamine (street value of $32,890).

These arrests were the result of an extensive investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

 

 

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For kids at Summer Edventure Camp, Fridays means learning and building in woodworking class. Otto resident Paul Chew is the instructor and has a lifelong affinity for working with wood.

For more than 30 years, Chew has been helping children enjoy woodworking. It began when his church started a program called Nifty Gifty for Christmas. Parents helped children make gifts to give away each Christmas.

“Nifty Gifty challenged me to come up with a new idea each year and to design the projects so even the littlest kids could be successful,” said Chew.

His background in teaching middle and high school industrial arts or “shop” came in handy.

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Three seats are up for grabs this November, when voters are expected to head to the polls to elect new members of the Franklin Board of Aldermen. Two out of the three incumbents on the board, Verlin Curtis and Joyce Handley, filed for reelection, while Farrell Jamison, who has served on the board since 2011 did not file for office. Jamison was appointed to the board in February 2011 after the passing of Alderman Jerry Evans.

Incumbents Curtis and Handley will have some competition this year, as four newcomers added their names to the ballot. Brandon McMahan filed for alderman for the first time and joins Angela Moore and Adam Kimsey, who both filed for the open seats last election. Former Mayor Joe Collins also filed for election, but instead of mayor, Collins filed for one of the open alderman seats.

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From local businesses such as Duotech using the Macon County Airport for day-today business operation, to citizens chartering private flights to other regional airports, to organizations such as the State Bureau of Investigation and Forest Service using it for training, the local airport proves to be an invaluable resource for the citizens of Macon County.

To better inform the public of the airport's role in the community, the Macon County Airport Authority will be holding an open house on August 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature music from Curtis Blackwell, and refreshments for the public.

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‘Stepping Up’ initiative addresses issue, raises awareness and increases services

Since becoming president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), Ronnie Beale has been working to bring the state's mental health crisis to the forefront. Seeing the struggles mental health issues cause locally in Macon County, Beale has made it a state priority to address the issue, and increase awareness and services for those affected.

Last week, the Macon County Board of Commissioners (BOC) passed a resolution in support of the National Association of Counties "Stepping Up" initiative.

"The Stepping Up initiative is a state and nationwide effort to get mental health services to those who are incarcerated," said Beale. "Our local jails and state prisons have become overrun with citizens needing this help."

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Macon County's homeless population was top priority on Tuesday night when members of the community addressed commissioners. While it is hard to determine the actual number of homeless individuals in the area, recent studies conducted in the region show that there are more than 20 homeless individuals in Macon County. That number varies based on circumstances, but despite the fluctuating homeless population, one thing remains true, there are Macon County residents who do not have a place to sleep at night.

Lowell Monteith, pastor of Father’s House, signed up for public comment period to speak to commissioners regarding a recent notice from the county regarding the building he is operating as not being up to code.

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Board looking at $500k reduction in revenues this year.

Three years ago, the state lawmakers implemented a plan to withhold 10 percent of North Carolina counties' Medicaid Cost Settlement funds, while reviewing local departments' programs. After three years, those funds were expected to be released back to local departments. According to Macon County Board of Health Director Jim Bruckner, when it came time to release those funds, the state failed to do so. For Macon County, that means $125,000 over three years that the health department is having to scramble to make up. The 10 percent withholding, paired with the fiscal year 2015 Medicaid Cost Settlement funds that have yet to be released to the county, has left the local health department looking at an unanticipated $484,121 reduction this budget year.

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Mayor wants to address issue before problems occur.

July's Franklin town board agenda covered everything from approving a new antenna for an existing cell tower, to sending items to the planning board for review before final approval by the board.

The board unanimously voted to allow wireless provider T-Mobile to add an antenna to the cell phone tower located on Cunningham Road. Justin Setser, Franklin's Town Land Use Administrator reviewed TMobile's request and recommended its approval to the board. T-Mobile will be adding three new antennas and associated appurtenances to the existing tower, which will boost cell reception for the phone provider within Franklin.

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Grant funding builds transit bus stops around Franklin

Macon County Transit has been busy this week putting the final touches on Franklin's first two bus stops. Located on East Main Street near Hot Spot and on Siler Farm Road by the Macon County Public Library, Franklin's first two transit bus stops are intended to better serve residents who rely on the transportation service.

"In an effort for the Mountain Gem Route to have the look and feel of the public transportation service that it is," said Kim Angel, Macon County Transit Director. "We also felt that adding the shelters in certain locations would encourage ridership on the route. The cost to operate this route is much less than our traditional door to door service we offer..."

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Citizen cites violation of the fourth amendment.

Monday night the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen were presented with agenda items regarding minimum housing code and nuisance ordinance violations for properties within the city limits. While the town board was addressing enforcing the ordinances, one Franklin resident was questioning the constitutionality of their existence.

Angela Moore, who has run for town board in the past and has filed to run again this November, signed up during public comment to express her concerns regarding the town's regulations.

"The enforcement of the minimum housing ordinance as it is written is a gross violation of the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution," claimed Moore. "Violating the rights of people to be secure in their persons and their homes against unreasonable searches and seizures is personal. If you are violating the rights of even one person you are trampling the freedom of all of us."

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