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Jackson authorities are investigating the case of a 14-year-old white female who was reportedly raped earlier this month.

The incident occurred on Sept. 8 in the Sylva area, according to reports, which resulted in the subsequent arrest of suspect, 19-year-old Jonathan Tyler Pitts on Sept. 15.

“In this case, the investigation has determined the suspect made friends with the victim via the internet social networking site, Facebook,” reads a statement released by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office last Friday. “Further investigation has determined the name used during this correspondence was an alias used by the suspect to avoid detection.”

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After months of inquiries, Macon County officials have opted not to contest the Census results revealed earlier this year, after the findings revealed that Macon was no longer the fastest growing county in Western North Carolina.

Last May, officials expressed their skepticism of the findings and their intent to re-examine those figures with federal workers. County Manager Jack Horton noted that the preliminary population figures released last year proved lower than the final count of the Census. “We thought that was unusual, given the fact that most of the preliminary estimates in other counties actually ended up being lower than what their final count was,” said Horton at the time.

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Several grants were approved at last Monday’s Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen continuation meeting. Alderman Billy Mashburn was absent from the meeting due to family obligations.

But the aldermen were cautious in the process, favoring nonprofit applicants to others, following months of talks in establishing a new grant funding process — a policy that would establish a grant ranking system for community nonprofits.

In fact, Karen Stiwinter, on behalf of the Macon County Community Foundation, offered her organization’s services as an entity that distributes 100 percent of all grant funds it collects to non-profits. Stiwinter came with local architect Tom Ritter, the foundation’s president for next year.

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Last Friday Macon County Commissioners formally submitted a bid of $247,000 for the old Cartoogechaye School property. County Manager Jack Horton and board Chairman Brian McClellan updated the board on the bid to possibly obtain the school located on U.S. 64 west of Franklin.

The old Cartoogechaye school was considered surplus in October 2007 after a new school was built. McClellan explains the bid to retain the school as being a service to the taxpayers in Macon County who paid to build the new school site. County commissioners voted to bid on the school just before the 10-day “upset period” was set to expire, upsetting an earlier bid of $235,000 which was placed by a farmer with plans to use the land adjacent to Cartoogechaye Creek for tomato fields.

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Town of Franklin Mayor Joe Collins signed a proclamation encouraging citizens to observe Constitution Week Sept. 17-23.

Regent of the Battle of Sugartown Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Judy Hughes and Carmen Jessup, Vice Regent of the chapter presented Mayor Collins with the proclamation.

Constitution Week was signed into law (Public Law #915) by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Aug. 2, 1956, after the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside a week for the Constitution.

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Assistant District Attorney Heather Baker dismissed the charges against a Cashiers man accused of rape late last month, for lack of conclusive evidence.

On the evening of August 30, Jackson County Sheriff’s Officers arrested 30-yearold Efrain Ubera Morales, of Amethyst Drive in Cashiers. According to JCSO Major Shannon Queen, the suspect was arrested without incident while trying to pay a traffic ticket. “He tried to pay the ticket and an officer recognized him while he was in the magistrate’s office,” said Queen.

The arrest followed an investigation that began on Aug. 14, when officers received a report of a sexual assault that had occurred in the Cashiers area. According to reports, the victim was a 34-yearold Caucasian woman from Cashiers. The primary suspect in the case was described as about 5’6 to 6’0 tall Hispanic male, brown eyes, and black spiked hair.

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In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, R.E.A.C.H. of Macon County is sponsoring a talk and book signing by Angela Dove, who is the author of “No Room for Doubt.” Her book is a nonfiction account of her family’s history and the investigation of her stepmother’s death.

Dove will be featured at two locations on Oct. 6. The first will be at St. Agnes Episcopal Church at 66 Church Street in Franklin, from 10 till 11:30 a.m. This is a tea and light brunch.

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The N.C. Department of Transportation is urging North Carolinians to turn their attention to local roadways with a two-week long litter-prevention celebration.

Litter Sweep is scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 and encourages volunteers to clean up North Carolina roadsides, working toward a litterfree state. Volunteers were essential to the 2011 spring Litter Sweep, responsible for removing more than 1.6 million pounds of roadside litter.

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Operation North State (a 501(c)3 nonprofit/all volunteer organization) will be sending 1,500 Christmas gift boxes to North Carolina’s deployed troops filled with North Carolina products/goodies. The boxes will feature 30 items related to North Carolina.

This month Operation North State (ONS) will begin accepting the names of N.C. deployed troops to receive the boxes. ONS defines a N.C. deployed troop as an individual from any branch of military service from North Carolina that won’t be home with their loved-ones this Christmas.

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The person engrossed in a text message or game on their cell phone; the person oblivious to anything but the music playing through their earphones on an MP3 player – these have become common sights in North Carolina as the use of mobile technology has grown. But while electronic devices can be a welcome distraction, they can also be a dangerous one.

Paying attention while crossing the street is a safety rule that is applicable for all age groups, but serves as a particularly important reminder at the start of the school year when the number of middle, high school and college pedestrians increases.

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published: 10/18/2013
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