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Despite a few bumps in the road, Macon County’s Parker Meadows Recreation Complex is on track, and currently $21,000 under budget.

County Manager Derek Roland updated commissioners during the October board meeting Tuesday night, informing them that weather permitting, all grading on the project should be wrapped up in the next two weeks allowing for building construction to begin on Nov. 1.

“Everything is moving along great,” said Roland. “If things continue the way things are going and weather permitting, if the people who are working on this project have anything to do with it, we will be knocking the doors down come Spring.”

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Editor’s note: All commission candidates were asked the same questions and were given ample time to answer the questions. After receiving the interview questions via e-mail, County Commissioner Ron Haven elected not to participate in the Macon County News’ candidate profile article and said via email, “Sorry, Not interested, I don't have any comments.”

Four candidates are vying for the two open seats for District II of the board of commissioners. With two open seats, the top two vote getters after the election will win the seats.

Gary Shields was born and raised in the Cartoogechaye Community of Macon County to Clara and Rev. W.K. Shields. He attended Franklin High School before moving to Walhalla, S.C., and then Waynesville, N.C., where he attended and graduated from Waynesville Township High in June 1966.

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Fifty years ago this week, torrential rain falls pounded the southeastern United States causing dams to give way, rivers to swell and floods to destroy communities in a three state area. With a month left in hurricane season and reports of Hurricane Isbell forming off toward Cuba, rains from Hurricane Hilda put Macon County underwater.

Hurricane Hilda wreaked havoc on the east coast in 1964 from Sept. 28 until Oct. 5, causing 38 deaths and $126 million in damages as a result of the 150 mile per hour winds and record-breaking rain accumulations.

With reports of water rising some five feet around local businesses such as the old De Soto Trail Restaurant building and stories like this one from Macon County resident Rick Franklin, the flood of 1964 will forever be a part of Macon County’s history.

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Undercover investigation went on for many months.

Topton, N.C. may be in the far reaches of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction but that doesn't mean they don’t keep an eye on the happenings there. That was proven when the Narcotics Unit carried out operations last Friday, Oct. 3, that resulted in a large-scale drug bust and four arrests.

Topton is located just beyond Nantahala and just short of Andrews, N.C. Topton is an unincorporated community and a small one at that. Sheriff Robbie Holland says that the size is one of the things that makes a drug sting operation difficult.

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Forest Avenue residents appreciate cleanup effort.

Rezoning areas in the town limits or those that are located inside the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) can be a drawn out process. Once a petition for rezoning is submitted and the Land Use Administrator reviews the details, the Board of Aldermen must vote to allow the town's planning board to take a look at the request, then the public — those who are affected by the change must be given the chance to speak against or for the change — and only then can the board decide if a parcel will be rezoned. Franklin's Board of Aldermen recently took up two rezoning petitions at its latest meeting.

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Ten local nonprofits share a total of $40,000.

On Monday night the Town of Franklin's Board of Aldermen continued its meeting from Sept. 2 to address the community funding pool allotment that would be awarded to community organizations. In all, the town had $40,000 to disperse and a total of nine applicants made requests that totaled $45,500.

A change was made to the Franklin Garden Club's request. Instead of funds coming from the funding pool, those funds will come from the town's beautification fund. The reason being that the Franklin Garden Club is not a certified nonprofit as required.

After the change was made, the town was left with $43,000 in total requests. The aldermen were tasked with making adjustments to what was awarded. The Macon County Public Library's request was cut in half because the Reading Rover program provides service to places beyond Franklin. In an attempt to remain fair, a total of $67.50 was subtracted from all of the remaining requests.

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Former DAR Regent delves into her family ancestry.

When Eleanor Kraus decided to relocate to Franklin a number of years ago, she had no way to foresee the convoluted journey upon which she was about to embark. She was leaving her native home of Greenville, S.C., and moving to Franklin to marry Bob Kraus and to make a life in the mountains. Yet, this was only the beginning of her trek. It was much more than moving furniture and personal belongings. She was embarking on an adventure into herself and her ancestry, a journey that would lead back through the branches of her family tree to the 18th century American colonies and to the very beginnings of the quest for freedom and independence from England.

Bob Kraus had left the mountains of his youth and moved away, but later found his way into the mountain community of Franklin, N.C. As the relationship progressed, he told Eleanor that he had left the mountains once in his life and he was not going to leave them again. If they were to be together, she would have to come to Franklin. She agreed to join him in Franklin, thus setting into motion the intricate series of circumstances leading her through her ancestry to the inception of the United States of America and back to the present generation.

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Western Carolina University (WCU) has scheduled a series of debates before the upcoming general election on Nov. 4. The first candidates to take the podium in the University Center are vying for the United States House of Representatives seat for North Carolina's 11th District that is currently held by Mark Meadows – R. The incumbent will be taking on Democratic challenger Tom Hill. District 11 includes Macon, Jackson, Clay, Buncombe, Haywood, McDowell, Madison, Polk, Transylvania, Yancey, Graham, Cherokee, Swain, and Henderson counties.

A brief biography of the candidates opened the debate. Hill hails from Hendersonville and grew up on an apple farm there. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill eventually receiving his PhD in physics with a focus in aerospace and rocket science.

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Friday afternoon, School Resource Officer Jay Wright spotted a suspicious vehicle driving on the campus of Franklin High School. Noticing that the vehicle, a black Ford Explorer with tinted windows, didn’t have a tag, the SRO stopped the vehicle to further investigate the situation. The SRO found the vehicle’s driver, Eric Ehlenfield, 27, to not have a driver’s license and to be wanted on a non-extraditable charge in Georgia. Ehlenfield listed being homeless, but of the Otto area, despite the charges revealed in Georgia. Ehlenfield had a female passenger identified as 28-year-old Heather Lucas. Lucas was not detained.

Ehlenfield, who was wanted on a probation violation was found to have a 12 gauge shotgun and several knives, including a machete inside the vehicle. He was arrested for one felony count of possession of a firearm on school grounds and was booked into the Macon County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

 

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A national referendum on whether Scotland should again be an independent country will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18. This vote is the second in recent years when it failed in 1979 by getting only 30 percent support.

After gaining permission from the British Government in the spring of 2014, political parties such as the Scottish National Party which has grown in the House of Commons, advocacy groups and individuals have been pressing for passage.The Friends of the Scottish Museum in Franklin, and museum directors voted sympathetically on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at their meeting.

Using red candies for remaining in the United Kingdom and blue candies representing the Scottish flag, the secret ballot revealed that 68.5 percent of those present voted for Independence and 31.5 percent voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. It remains to be seen how closely this parallels the real vote.

Submitted by Eleanor Swift, Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum.

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