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A Macon County man charged with murder was given a $200,000 bond last Wednesday.

"In the criminal justice system, we have judges and magistrates who are required to set the bonds of defendants,” Sheriff Robbie Holland said of the bond. “While I may or may not agree with the amount set, the fact still remains that bonds are entirely at the discretion of the judicial officials."

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Macon County commissioners voted Tuesday night to change engineers for the Parker Meadows recreation project.

After soliciting bids for the remaining portion of the project, commissioners elected to cut ties with the Asheville based firm Civil Engineering Design, and instead contract with the Franklin-based CEtech Engineering.

The county has worked with Mike LoVoy of Civil Engineering Design since the inception of the recreational complex. LoVoy completed all the preliminary design and engineering work for the proposed project. After county leaders voted to complete the recreation project all at one time instead of in phases over the next few years, they decided to bid out the engineering portion of the project.

The two bids considered, one from LoVoy and the other from Larry Lackey of CEtech, were relatively similar in bidder cost. Although LoVoy’s bid of $49,500 was slightly less than Lackey’s $49,750, LoVoy’s contract left out elements such as travel expenses that would result in additional costs.

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As in the case of Commissioner Ron Haven’s candidacy challenge, another candidate for commissioner was challenged regarding his place of residence. Candidate for county commissioner in District II, Gary Shields, was made aware of a challenge to his residency last week.

Macon County voter Vic Drummond filed the candidate challenge, citing that based on reasonable suspicion and belief, Shields does not meet the requirements for county commissioner office due to not living within the district in which he filed. Drummond filed on Wednesday to drop the challenge.

The document, filed and notarized, states “I, Victor L. Drummond, being a qualified voter in the Macon County Commissioner District II and duly sworn, do hereby file this withdrawal of challenge to the declared candidacy of Gary Mack Shields for Macon County commissioner of District II, and withdraw that challenge not only as to the qualifications of Gary Mack Shields as a candidate of the 2nd District Commissioner race, but also withdraw the challenge to Gary Mack Shields’ qualifactions as a voter in the Precinct of Millshoals.”

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The question regarding Commissioner Ron Haven’s residency was answered Tuesday morning when the Macon County Board of Elections unanimously decided to not uphold a candidacy challenge filed by Macon County District II resident Charles Nichols.

“I am thankful for all of the support I have received from so many Macon County Citizens from all parties,” said Haven in a statement. “I will continue to serve Macon County to the best of my ability with our other commissioners in obtaining the best place to live on earth.”

With the aid of local attorney Orville Coward Jr., Haven testified under oath to the Board of Elections and in front of a packed courtroom that although he owns property at 750 Mill Creek Road, he resides at 433 East Palmer Street in Franklin.

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A fatal stabbing Sunday afternoon in Franklin leaves one local man dead and another behind bars.

On Sunday afternoon, Macon County dispatch received a call around 1 p.m. regarding a fight that had broken out at 21 Kirkland Road. The 911 report shows that emergency personnel were advised that they were responding to a patient who was hemorrhaging. First Responders from the Franklin Fire Department and ambulances from the Macon County EMS, along with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department immediately reported to the scene.

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Two candidates explain why they want the job.

With the conclusion of the filing period for the 2014 election, candidates are gearing up for the campaign season. While many candidates will not see their name on the ballot until the November general election, several local and state offices will have a primary in May to decide between candidates of the same party.

The Macon County News will cover candidate profiles on all primary candidates between now and May, and will then profile candidates vying for seats in November.

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A former Macon County youth sports coach was sentenced to 33 to 50 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to sex crimes against a child. Christopher Lee Burk was sentenced in Macon County court and will be spending at least the next three decades incarcerated by the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

“Burk pled guilty to three counts of sexual offense on a child by an adult, three counts of first degree sexual exploitation of a child, one count of child abuse by committing a sexual offense, and three counts of indecent liberties,” said Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch. “He received an active sentence of 33 years minimum to 50 years maximum. On the three indecent liberties charges he received three, 16 to 29 month sentences and those were suspended and he will be on five years of supervised probation on those if he lives long enough to serve his active sentence. He must be on satellite based monitoring for life and must register for 30 years after his release as a sex offender.”

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Charles Nichols files challenge with board of elections.

Macon County’s commissioner candidate line-up could be changing. Tuesday morning, Debbie T. George, Interim Director for the Macon County Board Elections sent out a public notice regarding the calling of candidacy.

On Monday, March 3, Charles Nichols challenged the candidacy of Commissioner Ron Haven. Haven is seeking re-election to his District 2 commission seat.

 

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Town board agrees to discuss resolution of ownership.

The debate regarding the Nikwasi Indian Mound may soon see a resolution. Monday night, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Michell Hicks spoke to the Franklin Town Aldermen in hopes of beginning talks regarding the preservation of the historic landmark.

“I have a simple request … obviously the Eastern Band feels, for many reasons, that the mound should be back in the name of the Eastern Band,” said Hicks. “I understand that may not be a simple task as it relates to the history of the mound and the responsibility of the town. One of the things that is important to us as a tribe is to make sure that we are at least part of the process of protecting these lands, these areas that are so rich from a spiritual and cultural perspective. I feel a true responsibility as a tribal leader. As requested by many of our tribal leaders, we want to do our best to do the right thing.”

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A former Macon County Educator was arrested by the State Bureau of Investigations last week and charged with statutory rape of a 15 year-old-girl. Following an investigation, David Milhous Peterson, 32,  was charged with felony statutory rape. At the time of the investigation, Peterson was employed as a deputy with the Swain County Sheriff’s Office assigned as a school resource officer (SRO) at East Swain Elementary.

Peterson was arrested by the SBI and was placed in the Macon County Detention Center. Peterson posted bond at $50,000, according to Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. The case remains under investigation by the SBI.

According to Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran, Peterson was new on the job. “The SBI is still investigating and we won’t have anything until the investigation is completed, however Peterson was only employed with us for approximately three weeks and was under supervision during this time,” said Cochran.

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published: 10/18/2013
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