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At its Monday meeting, the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen, along with the Macon County Clerk of Court Vic Perry, swore in Joe Collins as Mayor, along with Verlin Curtis, Joyce Handley, Farrell Jamison and Bob Scott for their renewed positions of the board.

 Photos by Davin Eldridge.

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Dozens of people gathered to wish former Franklin Fire and Rescue Chief Pete Haithcock a fond farewell last Friday at a retirement reception held at Town Hall in his honor.

After a total of 34 years of working at the department, starting as a regular fireman, Haithcock officially retired from a long career with a reputation for leaving his post in top notch condition. For the last 15 years, he has reigned as chief of the department.

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Although an overwhelming majority of Macon Bank’s members approved of the institution’s plan to convert to stock ownership during a special meeting on Nov. 8, 2011, the Bank’s Board of Directors decided not to move forward with the conversion due to the nation’s economic woes and financial problems in Europe, a banking crisis that some analysts predict will disintegrate the European Union. Macon Bank’s Board of Directors unanimously adopted a plan to convert the company to stock ownership on Jan. 19, 2011. Their decision to postpone the conversion was attributed to the poor performance of U.S. bank stocks in the market this year.

After filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June, Macon Bank began to offer shares in September at $10 a share. After the Board of Directors halted the bank’s transformation to stock ownership, Macon Bank’s CEO Roger Plemens sent a letter to stock subscribers stating that Macon Bank would return their funds.

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In an effort to cut down the amount of heavy truck traffic in downtown Franklin, Town Aldermen voted unanimously to ban commercial thru-trucks with three axles or more on Wayah Street.

The vote followed a public session in which two residents along Wayah Street spoke in support of the ban.

“You don’t need all that weight and noise on that street,” said Wayah Street resident William Howell Derrick before the board. “The trucks have gotten bigger and heavier and every 90 days the DOT fills the holes and cracks [in the road]… You just don’t need all that traffic.”

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State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced that state and local law enforcement officers will be out in force as part of the Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign.

Checkpoints and stepped-up patrols will be conducted beginning Saturday, Dec. 3 through Monday, Jan. 2, across North Carolina in an effort to remove impaired drivers from the roads.

“Please plan ahead and designate a sober driver this season so everyone can make it home safe over the holidays,” Conti said.

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State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced that more than 3,600 drivers and passengers were cited for seat belt and child passenger safety violations during the Thanksgiving “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which was held Nov. 21-27.

“The department is committed to educating motorists about the importance of wearing a seat belt,” said Conti. “Campaigns such as this one are imperative to getting this message out, and I thank all of the law enforcement agencies for participating in this campaign aimed at saving lives.”

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Need help, but don’t know where to turn? Now thanks to a joint effort between the Duke Energy Foundation and the county commissioners in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, there is a simple place to turn to get answers. Call NC 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 service is operated by the United Way of North Carolina and is available from any cell phone or land line in Western North Carolina.

2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call is free and the information you provide is confidential. Any language you speak can be translated. By dialing this simple number, you can speak to a referral specialist who will help you find services such as food, housing, utility assistance, counseling, health care, child care, senior services, and volunteer opportunities.

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Western Carolina University will honor its fall graduating class, and recognize a group of graduates who received their degrees after this year’s summer school sessions, as the university holds fall commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.

The ceremony at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center is open to everyone and no tickets are required for admission. Chancellor David O. Belcher will preside over his first commencement as the university’s chief executive officer and deliver the charge to the fall semester degree candidates and summer graduates.

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Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) needs caring adult volunteers to make Girl Scouting possible for all girls and provide new experiences and knowledge.

“If more adult volunteers are able to give some of their time, more girls will be able to participate in exciting Girl Scout programs,” Christine Ritch, director of recruitment for Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, said. “Volunteering can be tailored to one’s skill set and how much time a volunteer can give. Locally, we have as many as twelve girls on a waiting list.”

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Local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group offers community, mothering support and hope to mothers of young children.

Although mothering preschoolers is at times a lonely challenge, MOPS is providing a welcome break for moms; a chance for moms to make new friends and an opportunity for moms to know they are not alone in the struggles and joys of raising young children. It is also an opportunity to enjoy a special speaker and light fare at each of our monthly meetings.

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