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News

‘On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive’

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division are combining efforts to save lives this summer. Whether on the road or on the water, law enforcement officers will be on the look out for impaired drivers by conducting DWI checkpoints near recreational boating areas as well as educating motorists on the dangers of drinking and driving.

“On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign is a multi-agency initiative that combines law enforcement resources to ensure that all motorists can safely travel on highway and waterways during the summer months.

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Three North Carolina nonprofits have filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that the North Carolina court system has failed to provide interpreters for individuals with limited English proficiency in civil and some criminal court proceedings. Without an interpreter, many plaintiffs and defendants do not understand critical court proceedings.

The complaint – filed by the Latin American Coalition, Muslim American Society and Vietnamese Society of Charlotte – requests an investigation into the state’s justice system to determine whether the lack of foreign language interpreters violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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U.S. Secret Service advises merchants to be diligent in examining bills

Last week, several Franklin area banks and businesses received visits from U.S. Secret Service agents who were in town to alert merchants to a recent spike in counterfeit currency that has been detected in the area and to provide them with information to help them identify forged notes that come into their possession.

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Colleagues, community grieve loss of inspirational leader

On Sunday, May 8, Robbie Newton, principal of Nantahala School, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Newton, 39, was loved and respected by the students and teachers at Nantahala School, and on Monday colleagues from around the county spoke of the positive role-model and inspiration he had been.

“It’s a great personal loss for me,” Franklin High School principal Chris Baldwin said of Newton’s passing. Before moving to FHS this year, Baldwin had been principal at Nantahala School and had worked with Newton for a number of years.

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For the second time in as many months, the Macon County Board of Commissioners has taken an official stance on a proposed Department of Transportation project.

Last month the commissioners passed a resolution calling for the department to consider a compromise plan for controversial improvements to Needmore Road. On Tuesday, the board passed a second resolution, this time on the subject of the proposed dismantling of the historic McCoy Bridge.

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Horton ‘guardedly optimistic’ that state won’t pass its own budget crisis on to counties

County manager Jack Horton has proposed a balanced budget of $42.4 million for Macon County for Fiscal Year 2011/2012. In a presentation to the board of commissioners on Tuesday, Horton presented a budget proposal which he said was essentially a “flat, no-growth budget.” The proposed budget is one percent (0.98%) higher than the original budget for the current fiscal year, however it is 1.37 percent lower than the current year’s revised budget (which is now just above $43 million). No property tax increase is requested or recommended in the proposal.

Though the state budget is still uncertain, Horton told the commissioners that he is “guardedly optimistic” that counties won't be forced to bear the brunt of the state's own financial crisis. “We have been assured by our legislators that the state will not balance their budget on the backs of the counties this year,” Horton said. He cautioned, however, that “with the General Assembly still in session, we remain concerned that the state will shift additional responsibilities and/or reduce county funding to correct its budget crisis. We hope that is not the case, but we can only wait and see.”

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As American consumers are increasingly replacing their “old fashioned” cell phones with state-of-the-art smart-phones, Franklin tourism promoters have decided to invest in a smart-phone application that will promote area businesses, events and attractions.

Smoky Mountain Host, a tourism and marketing organization for the seven western- most counties of North Carolina, is looking to launch a new smart-phone application this month that will give visitors information to plan their trips and guide them on tours of the mountain region while they are here.

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The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) of Franklin recently held its monthly meeting on Monday at the Boiler Room.

Biker rally advertisements in sight

Authority members unanimously voted to award a grant to Sylvia Cochran, president of U.S. Rider News and national editor for U.S. Rider News, a motorcycle enthusiast publication. Cochran organizes several motorcycle rallies around the country, including the annual Reunion Run in Helen, Ga., held in the first week of June. The Helen event is now in its 11th year. Cochran’s request was for $4,000, which would pay for promotional expenses. The TDA sponsored Biker Rally event is scheduled for August 27-29 of next year.

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For new recipients of Social Security, other federal benefits

Plan estimated to save taxpayers $1 billion

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is retiring the paper Social Security check for millions of baby boomers and others applying for federal benefits, a move that will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years. Beginning May 1, 2011, anyone newly applying for Social Security, Veterans Affairs or other federal benefits will need to choose an electronic payment method – paper checks will no longer be an option. People currently receiving their federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has recently charged seven individuals for larcenies which involved removing telephone lines from their poles. The individuals have been linked with four separate occurrences where telephone lines were taken, stripped and sold.

Two separate telephone companies — Frontier Communications and AT&T — have been victimized during this series of events dating back to March 27, 2011. Four individuals have been apprehended and three are still being sought by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Those arrested are:

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