61st Annual Macon County Fair :: September 17-20 @ Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center - 441 South, Franklin, NC

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

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation has postponed the selection of a final design alternative for improvements to Needmore Road in Macon County to allow time for the study of additional design concepts. According to the state, approximately 18 months will be needed to complete these additional studies.

Needmore Road is considered a picturesque, gravel road that connects Macon to Swain County along the Little Tennessee River through a 4,500 acre region of preserved game land. The road improvement project has been a source of much controversy since last summer when NCDOT began its public input process.

Originally, five basic alternatives, from alternative A (do nothing) to its preferred alternative E: widening and paving the road to upgrade it to secondary road standards, which would cost more than an estimated $13 million, were given by the NCDOT as possible actions to take on improving the road.

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Public comment hearing scheduled for August 9

Following closely on the heels of a recently approved general and comprehensive development plan for Macon County, this week county commissioners officially received a draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP). The transportation plan, the result of nearly two years of public input and committee work, looks to meet the transportation needs for the county as it grows over the next 25 years.

At Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Ryan Sherby, a Region A planner with the Southwestern Commission and the primary facilitator of the committee’s work over the past year presented the plan, giving an overview of the process, review of the plan itself, the adoption process and how the plan will be utilized in the future.

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Investigators are looking into a series of suspicious fires that have taken place at one Otto residence over the past several weeks, including two fires this week which completely destroyed a mobile home on the property.

On Tuesday, July 19, the Otto Fire Department responded to a call shortly after 10 p.m. reporting a fire behind the residence at 151 Tiffany Lane. The caller said that a white truck had been seen leaving the property at a high rate of speed immediately before smoke was noticed coming from behind the mobile home on the property. 

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New faces challenge incumbent commissioners

The race for seats on the Sylva Town Board is on. The deadline to file to run for Sylva’s town board elections was Friday, July 15.

Current board members, Harold Hensley, Ray Lewis, and Chris Matheson are all up for re-election. Candidates include all three of the current board members, a former board member, Lynda Sossamon, and newcomer John Bubacz. The election will be held Nov. 8.

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Officials quiet about details

On July 6, the Town of Highlands terminated its Town Manager, Jim Fatland, during a closed session portion of a board meeting.

According to the Town Manager’s office had “cause” to let Fatland go, but no town officials will go into details as to the reasons why.

“There have been no new developments since the decision was made,” commented Highlands Commissioner Gary Drake on the matter.

 

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Franklin resident Kathleen Wood is currently enrolled in a class entitled “Global Climate Change: The Science, Social Impacts and Diplomacy of a World Environmental Crisis” at Harvard University.

The course is an intensive seven-week seminar that addresses the latest scientific research, social implications and diplomatic response to global climate change.

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During last week’s statewide “Booze it or Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign, state and local law enforcement officers throughout North Carolina cited 1,192 motorists for driving while impaired, said State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, in a recent press release. During the statewide campaign, which ran from June 27 to July 4, a total of 42,997 traffic and criminal citations were issued statewide.

“The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, along with state and local law enforcement officers worked hard during this campaign to remove drunk drivers and other violators from our roads,” Conti said. “Safety is our top priority and this effort shows there are serious consequences to drinking and driving.”

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Lifelong Jackson County resident Steven D. Lillard, a Gulf War veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, is Western Carolina University’s new assistant chief of police.

A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and a 1996 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Lillard comes to the position from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, where he was operations major. He was also formerly a detective and criminal investigator with the Sylva Police Department.

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Two years after the death of a 22-year-old Highlands woman, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office has been ordered to release witness statements collected in the course of its investigation to the woman’s father.

Elizabeth Coram died at the home of an acquaintance on July 9, 2009, due to a lethal dose of prescription drugs combined with alcohol. In September 2010, Coram’s father, Jennings B. Coram of Scaly Mountain, Ga., filed a civil suit complaint of wrongful death against two witnesses in the case: Larry Murray and Adam Hicks.

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The staff attorney from a national organization dedicated to preserving the Constitutional separation of church and state has sent a formal letter to Macon County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Dan Brigman, requesting that he “take immediate steps to ensure that religious ritual and proselytizing” are kept out of high school graduation ceremonies from now on.

The letter from the nonprofit organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is in direct response to the sermon delivered last month by Rev. Daniel “Cowboy” Stewart during a commencement address given last month at Nantahala School. The graduation ceremony was held on June 4 in the gymnasium of the small, K-12 school in the mountainous northwest corner of Macon County.

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