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Macon County Board of Commissioners are taking a closer look at enacting term limits for county advisory boards, with the intent on negating the influence of politics in how appointments and reappointments are made. Chairman Brian McClellan and Commissioner Ronnie Haven brought the idea to the board’s attention at their regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 11.

“I just don’t think it is right for someone to be serving on a board, and be eligible for reappointment, and when the make-up of the board changes they get thrown aside because of politics,” said McClellan. “I think term-limits would go a long way in preventing something like that from happening.”

Commissioners did differentiate between some advisory boards, admitting how hard it can be to get people to serve on some boards. Also, some advisory boards have a greater influence on policy decisions in comparison to others, which is why commissioners directed County Manager Jack Horton to narrow the list down for the body to examine in the future.

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President Obama flew into the Asheville Regional Airport on Monday for his first stop on a three-day tour of North Carolina and Virginia to promote the American Jobs Act, which he believes will get America back on track during a time when most citizens can't afford to wait. 

After Air Force One landed, President Obama was greeted by Asheville Mayor, Terry Bellamy and North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan. “President Obama's visits helps the economic development opportunities in our community,” said Mayor Bellamy. “We saw an increase in the number of people in restaurants and the downtown area. In the past, because of his visits, more people have come to Asheville which has helped small businesses related to tourism.”

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The Franklin Tourism Development Authority (TDA) unanimously voted to recommend local businesswoman Karen Bacon as its next TDA member to the Town of Franklin. If appointed, Bacon would fill the final seat in the TDA, representing another business that is “tourist related.”

Bacon, owner and operator of Macon Furniture Mart, Buck’s Furniture and Karen & Co. Boutique, was approved for recommendation after she was asked by TDA members last month whether she had an interest in joining. Bacon did not wish to indicate which TDA member asked her to join.

“I’ve been in business for 24 years and I know a lot about the things that are going on in this town,” said Bacon, conveying an interest in overseeing the promotion of tourism in Franklin. “I really want to see the town grow.”

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By a 3 to 1 vote, last week Highlands commissioners took the first step toward abolishing ETJ [Extra Territorial Jurisdiction] for the Town of Highlands. It was only the first step because creating or abolishing an ordinance requires a super majority. Such a majority would have to have been either 4 to 1, or 5 to 0. Failing to reach a super majority means the Board will have to vote again at the next meeting, Oct. 18. Another 3-1 or 3-2 simple majority will then abolish the ordinance creating the ETJ in Highlands.

Town Attorney Bill Coward explained to the packed board room that the rule requiring a super majority was not a Highlands rule, but rather a state statute. ETJ was established in Highlands in November 2005.

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Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a dog park along the Little Tennessee River Greenway at October’s regularly scheduled board meeting. Steve Philo approached the board on behalf of the Friends of the Greenway to request using a portion of property owned by the county for a dog park. Philo assured commissioners that Friends of the Greenway would finance the project, which is estimated to cost $6,000. The board agreed to allow Friends of the Greenway to begin fencing in the area located behind Big Bear Park, near the playground located just off of the Greenway. The organization plans to build fencing for approximately one acre of land and construct a gate to secure the area for dogs and are also charged with maintaining the property for citizens.

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Macon County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Franklin man and woman after uncovering a marijuana production operation in the county.

According to arrest reports, Terry Lynn Choppy, 35, and Robert Drew Houston, 33, both of Hatfield Road in Franklin, were arrested on Oct. 2 and confined to the Macon County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bonds respectively.

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Duke Energy has received a new 30-year operating license for its Franklin Hydroelectric Project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC approved Duke Energy proposals for a canoe portage around the dam, a boating access area, wood duck nesting boxes, protecting an endangered plant, and a long-term sediment management plan.

The Town of Franklin built the hydro project in 1925 and sold it to Nantahala Power & Light in 1933. Duke acquired the facility when it purchased NP&L from Alcoa in 1988. About half of the reservoir is in Franklin on the Little Tennessee River.

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“Wow! We didn’t realize just how intense it would be!” said first-timers participating in a critical incident drill recently on Southwestern Community College’s Jackson Campus.

“We were behind closed doors but the shots were still so loud.”

“As I heard the shooter race down the hall it made my heart race, too.”

“Even though I knew it was just a drill, I was so glad when I heard the deputies arrive.”

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Twenty-nine year old Daniel Wayne Forse of Cashiers was airlifted to Mission hospital in Asheville after obtaining serious, but non-life threatening injuries during a two vehicle collision at approximately 12:15 p.m. on Friday afternoon on the Highlands Road in Franklin.

According to Trooper Crawford of the N.C. Highway Patrol, Carol Johnson, 74, of Franklin, was attempting to make a left turn into the Highlands Road Convenience Center (recycling center) when Forse was headed west toward Franklin on a Honda motorcycle.

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For a variety of reasons, the Macon County Board of Commissioners decided to adopt a resolution to push back the revaluation process until 2015. The decision came after a special meeting in September where county tax administrator Richard Lightner explained the costs and benefits of prolonging the process two more years, from the scheduled 2013 to 2015. The board also decided to go back to the county’s traditional eight year revaluation cycle.

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