Remembering 9/11 :: September 11, 2001

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Since the resignation of former Economic Development Director Trevor Dalton last September, Macon County has actively pursued a viable replacement. The county’s Economic Development Commission subsequently hired Tommy Jenkins, a Macon County native, on Nov. 1 to help in their efforts to attract and retain businesses throughout the county.

This position is particularly important considering the high rate of unemployment throughout Western North Carolina, with Macon County’s unemployment rate still hovering at 10 percent.

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An assault on a recycling center employee last weekend has authorities searching for a faceless culprit or culprits.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:43 p.m. on Saturday evening, when Otto Recycling Center employee Pam Keyser was preparing to shut down the facility for the day.

“I went out to turn on the [trash] compactor, like we always do toward the end of the day,” she recalled. “I turned it on and as I knelt to pick up some loose trash in front of the compactor, I felt something grab what I think were my overall suspenders from behind ... I was being pulled from behind.”

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According to Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland, the sheriff’s office is currently investigating Board of Education member Tommy Baldwin for recent allegations that Nantahala community members claim may include inappropriate conduct with a minor or similar allegations. “We can confirm that we are aware of the allegations and have initiated an investigation, and the investigation is ongoing,” said Sheriff Holland.

During the Board of Education meeting Monday night, Board Chairman Tommy Cabe issued a statement verifying that the board is currently aware of the investigation and informed the public that any questions and comments should be directed to the Sheriff’s office. Baldwin was not present at the meeting.

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Macon County’s Planning Board voted in unison to approve the final plat of the Clubhouse/Cabin Phase of the Wildflower Subdivision during its regular scheduled meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17. Although several members of the planning board believe there are problems with some components of the subdivision ordinance, they all agreed that the developer of the Wildflower subdivision had met every requirement laid out in the county’s existing ordinance.

The planning board approved the preliminary plat of the clubhouse/cabin phase of the Wildflower Subdivision in early September.

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The “Go Big” effort spearheaded by Congressman Heath Shuler and Republican Representative from Idaho, Mike Simpson, continued to gain momentum, evolving from a bipartisan effort to a bicameral effort with the support of nearly 150 members of Congress, before being ignored by their colleagues.

The bicameral group of lawmakers joined Wednesday in a press conference to urge the 12 member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s supercommittee to “go big” and strike a deal to reduce the nation’s debt by as much as $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

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Sara Epperson is the new director of the Macon County Humane Society.

In a recent presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Franklin, Epperson explained how adoption rates have increased, from averages of 10 cats and dogs per month in years past to a very good average of 30 pets per month, including a record month of 41 adopted in October.

Most of the pets are taken in cooperation from the Macon County Animal Shelter to minimize the amount of animals euthanized.

 

 

Macon County honors past and present heroes of Nation’s military with parade and ceremony

The citizens of Macon County came out early Friday morning in downtown Franklin to pay tribute to surviving veterans during a parade and memorial wreathlaying ceremony, which honored veterans who have passed on.

Led by Boy Scout troops, veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Grenada, Panama, Korea, Vietnam, and WWII marched from town hall to the Franklin Town Square, while citizens lined the streets cheering and thanking them for their service.

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During the Highlands Town Board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening, Kevin O’Donnell of Nova Energy Consultants Inc., Highlands’ consultant for electrical utility information, discussed recommended amendments to the town’s contract with Duke Power. “Everything we do is in response to Duke’s cost increases,” O’Donnell told the commissioners. The proposed amendments deal with two areas.

The first involves REPS (Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards). According to state statute, all electricity providers in the state must use a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy sources. This year that percentage is .001%.

O’Donnell says that it is possible for the town to go out and purchase the renewable energy itself. “However,” he said, “this would be quite a hassle and would probably end up being very expensive. The statute specifically requires a portion of this renewable energy to be burnable chicken waste and a portion to be burnable hog waste. Finding such waste for a town the size of Highlands will not be easy.

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Henry David Thoreau, the great 19th century transcendentalist author and thinker, would have been proud of the group of Nantahala High School students who presented their case for a public beach access area at Lake Nantahala during last week’s commissioners meeting. Macon County Commissioners certainly commended their actions in appearing before the board and eloquently laying out their opinions.

Although the students were not practicing Thoreau’s civil disobedience per se, the tenets of their arguments against Duke Energy coincided nicely with his take on injustice. In this case however, a corporation was being scrutinized rather than the government.

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Verizon still making its case for the Gaston St. location.

A month after Franklin’s Town Planning Board unanimously voted to reject Cellco Partnership/Verizon Wireless’ special use permit application, Franklin’s Town Aldermen heard testimony from Verizon representatives and members of the Pennington Law firm, to potentially override the Town Planning Board's recommendations. Verizon’s argument continued to attempt to justify the need to build a 140-foot telecommunications tower to solve capacity issues at 60 Gaston Street in Franklin, also referred to as the “Wild Mint” site. After agreeing that Verizon’s special use permit application still remained incomplete, the Board voted to continue November’s board meeting to allow the wireless provider additional time to meet the Town’s requirement.

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