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News

SBI director says Feds should continue to help N.C. law enforcement clean meth sites

Federal funding for toxic chemical clean-ups should continue across North Carolina or local governments could face the job alone, SBI Director Greg McLeod said recently.

In February the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration notified law enforcement in North Carolina and across the country that it would no longer pay for hazardous waste clean-up at methamphetamine sites as it has for more than 10 years. Since February, the State Bureau of Investigation has covered the costs, but within days that funding will be exhausted.

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It’s official — Macon County tourism promoters have approved funding for a smart-phone application or “app” that will promote area businesses, events and attractions.

At its May 19 meeting, the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Commission (TDC) reaffirmed their vote to approve investing in the mobile phone program jointly with Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority (TDA).

After several months of deliberations, both boards, funded by county and town occupancy tax receipts, have agreed to pay $5,500 each to fund the endeavor, at a total cost of $11,000.

 

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On Tuesday, May 18, a public hearing was held to elicit comments on a Comprehensive Plan that is designed to establish a set of guidelines and recommendations for future development in Macon County. Not to be confused with the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, the Comprehensive Plan covers various sectors which will be impacted by growth, from healthcare to education to land use.

Of the thirteen citizens that signed up to speak at the hearing, eight spoke in support of the plan and five in opposition to it in whole or in part. Almost all the speakers addressed the plan as a whole, with few comments on specific recommendations in the plan. However, slope development recommendations stood out as one issue that garnered both support and opposition.

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A two-car collision on the Hwy. 441 Bypass claimed the life of a young Franklin woman on Monday evening. Officers from the Franklin Police Department, the Franklin Fire Department and Macon County EMS responded to a call to 9-1-1 dispatch which reported the accident at 7:50 p.m.

According to Lt. Steve Apel of the Franklin Police Department, nineteen-yearold Kathleen Stewart was driving a 2003 Toyota Camry when she failed to check for traffic before pulling out from Cat Creek Road across the northbound lanes of the bypass. Stewart pulled into the path a 2007 Jeep Commander driven by Alana Wilson, 25, of Highlands.

Stewart's Camry, struck by the jeep on the driver's side, flew across the median before coming to a stop near the southbound lanes of the highway. The Jeep continued traveling another 150 feet before coming to a stop. Both vehicles were destroyed.

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Fallen N.C. law enforcement remembered at Law Enforcement Memorial Day

A solemn service to remember North Carolina’s law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty was held at the gazebo in the Franklin Town Square last Friday. Local officials and representatives of the various branches of law enforcement in the county attended the memorial event hosted by Lodge No. 81 of the Fraternal Order of Police of Macon and Jackson Counties.

“Let us never forget but always remember, not only on this day, but every day, our fallen brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price,” entreated Al Caiata, retired deputy chief of Cape Coral Florida Police Department and guest speaker at the event.

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A man suspected of killing his estranged wife and another man in Sylva was arrested in South Carolina.

On Friday, at approximately 1:15 p.m., officers with the Sylva Police Department responded to a shooting at the Sunrise Park neighborhood in Sylva. Upon arrival they found the bodies of Melody Nicole Conger, 20, and Kevin Shawn Frady, 25, who had been shot to death. Conger and Frady were both residents of Sylva.

According to a statement by SPD detective Jenni Rumsey, the suspect, 23-year-old Matthew Wayne Moore turned himself into the Easley Police Department in South Carolina at 7:40 p.m. later that evening. Moore has been charged with two counts of murder and is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bond.

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Since Alderman Jerry Evans passed away in February, his seat on Franklin’s Town Board has remained vacant. At the board’s continuation meeting on Monday, the seat was finally filled.

The Board voted unanimously to approve Farrell Jamison as the new alderman to assume the remainder of Evans’ term, which ends in November. At that point, a partial two-year term will be up for election, along with three other seats, to finish out Evans’ four-year term, starting in December. The other positions will be four-year terms.

Jamison, who has worked for Franklin Fire and Rescue for 34 years, now works part-time as a fire and rescue training coordinator for Southwestern Community College, along with serving as the county fire investigator.

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Committee members agree that only specific projects should be included in final plan

During a meeting of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) Committee last week, the decision was made to eliminate a list of 22 minor widenings that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has said could be considered for upgrading to current design standards. At the meeting committee members were reviewing public input on the plan that has been collected over the past month.

The CTP is a long-range plan which identifies major transportation improvement needs in Macon County and develops longterm solutions for the next 25 to 30 years. It is a joint effort between the Towns of Franklin and Highlands, Macon County, the NCDOT and the Southwestern Rural Planning Organization.

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Officials skeptical of population figures

Macon County is no longer the fastest growing county in Western North Carolina, according to population figures released by the U.S. Census earlier this year. But Macon officials are skeptical of the census findings, and are preparing to examine them with federal workers in the coming months, said County Manager Jack Horton on Friday.

“The preliminary population figures were higher than the final count of the census. We thought that was unusual, given the fact that most of the preliminary estimates in other counties actually ended up being lower than what their final count was,” said Horton.

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House budget proposal would cut support for Small Town Main Street Programs

Highlands town manager Jim Fatland believes that in these economic times, it is more important than ever to support local small businesses.

“When you have a down economy, you need to be proactive in stimulating jobs,” said Fatland. “We feel the Main Street Program does just that.”

The Town of Highlands, which was selected a year ago to participate in the North Carolina Small Town Main Street Program, has made great strides in moving its downtown forward, in part through the strong support from staff who coordinate the program in the Western North Carolina region, says Fatland.

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