11th Annual FRANKLIN FOLK FESTIVAL :: Saturday, July 19 from 9am - 4pm in Historic Downtown Franklin

- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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The town-sponsored biker rally, planned for August of next year, now officially has a name.

At its monthly meeting last Monday, members of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) unanimously voted on the name after hearing from event promoter Sylvia Cochran, publisher of U.S. Rider News.

After trying to figure out what to call the rally, Cochran, along with the help of her husband and business partner Scott Cochran, finally decided on “Smoky Mountain Rumble.” After little deliberation, the board approved the event name.

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Authorities in Macon County are searching for a man wanted for sex crimes against a minor.

Jose Manuel-Portillo Espinal, 30, is wanted on several charges including statutory rape, sexual offense, indecent liberties with a minor, kidnapping and second degree rape.

According to a statement by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, a Mexican male, worked for a painting company until recently. Authorities are unable to locate Espinal at this time. He was said to have been working in the Franklin, Highlands and Cashiers area recently.

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County Commissioner Ronnie Beale will be traveling to Raleigh on Friday after receiving an invitation to here the recommendation of the Medical Facilities Planning Section and the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council regarding the petition for a certificate of need for a dialysis center in Macon County.

If the petition is approved, a Certificate of Need will be issued for Macon County, allowing a dialysis center to be started and operated in Franklin.  Commissioner Beale has taken on the responsibility of bringing the dialysis center to Macon County, and is hopeful of the results he will be given on Friday. “We are very hopeful that we will get a positive recommendation on Friday, and that the report will be in our favorite,” explained Beale.

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Company’s Franklin station continuing its broadcasting

Nothing but static can now be heard on Sylva’s WRGCAM (680) radio station. Late last Wednesday night (Aug 30), the radio station went off air and a notice from station management posted on its website informed listeners it is uncertain if or when they will return.

The notice cited that “incredibly difficult economy has made it impossible for us to secure the local advertising support needed to continue providing Jackson County a full service community radio station.”

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Ten local organizations seeking grant funding for various projects over the next fiscal year will have to wait for approval by the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. The board made no decision on the matter at Tuesday’s meeting.

The wait follows a policy that would establish a grant application priority ranking system for community nonprofits.

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A car crash at the intersection of Wayah Street and Depot Street was the result of a brief police chase. Wade Russell Oliver, Jr., 27, of Franklin, tried to evade police Thursday evening, Sept. 1, in a white pickup truck.

Police report that Oliver was driving left of center and recklessly. Officer Dereck Jones stated that he was in the area between Hot Spot and the Mulligans Bar and Grill parking lot when a white pickup truck came at him on the wrong side of the street. Jones had to pull off the road and watched as the pickup truck raced past going from one side of the road to the other.

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A Dillsboro woman suspected of assaulting her granddaughter earlier this week was arrested by Jackson County authorities on Friday.

Lisa Plank Hart, 45, of Cat Tail Drive, faces felony counts of child abuse with serious bodily injury, assault inflicting serious bodily injury and negligent child abuse with serious bodily injury.

Hart's charges stem from an incident that occurred last Wednesday, when Jackson County Sheriff's Officers responded to a report of an in regards to an unconscious 28 month old female. Deputies were assisted by Med West Emergency Medical Services and Sylva Fire Department First Responders.

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First Chief in five decades to do so

Principal Chief Michell Hicks won Thursday's election of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians with 2,124 votes to secure his third four-year term as Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. He is only the second individual to serve three terms in the Tribe's history.

Hicks beat out his challenger, Patrick Lambert, by a narrow 135 votes. Write-in candidate, Susan Toineeta, received 80 votes overall.

Lambert, who serves as the executive director of the Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission, first ran against Hicks in the 2007 election, where he lost by a mere 13 votes.

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Jackson County authorities have arrested a man suspected of raping a Cashiers woman last month.

On the evening of August 30, Jackson County Sheriff's Officers arrested 30-year-old 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 August 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-year-old 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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Residents speak out against proposed Verizon wireless tower location

It was tense in the conference room of Town Hall last Wednesday, during a public hearing about the Verizon Wireless proposal to build a supplemental tower on Gaston Street in Franklin. Residents within a 1,500-foot radius of the site were invited to the Aug. 24 hearing to learn more about the plan and to voice any concerns that they may have.

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published: 10/18/2013
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