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Board agrees to exempt owner-occupied dwellings

On Monday at Town Hall, aldermen narrowed down a desirable minimum housing code draft. The purpose of a minimum housing code is to hold all dwellings within city limits to certain standards in the interest of public safety. Prior to the meeting, aldermen were considering two versions of the ordinance, one excluding owner-occupied dwellings to code standards and the other holding all dwellings under code standards.

Since a draft of the code was first broached by Henning last year, in response to the town’s inability to respond to safety and aesthetic complaints by residents, aldermen have finally affirmed their desire to exclude owner-occupied dwellings from code standards

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After several months of discussion and two public hearings on the issue, the Macon County Board of Commissioners has asked the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to consider a compromise on its planned improvements of Needmore Road. Last week the board unanimously passed a resolution indicating its support of a compromise alternative to the controversial $13 million option the NCDOT has put forward as its “preferred” option.

The improvements to Needmore Road – a picturesque, gravel road that runs from Macon to Swain County along the Little Tennessee River through a 4,500 acre tract of preserved game land – have been the source of much controversy since NCDOT began its public input process on the project last summer.

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Macon County and the Town of Franklin will seek to name a bridge after a local man and veteran of the Vietnam War who was held for six years as a prisoner of war.

At their last meeting, the Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution requesting that the North Carolina Department of Transportation designate the Bridge over Highway 441 South Business/U.S. 64 bridge near Westgate Plaza as the “Nathan B. ‘Nat’ Henry Bridge.” The Town of Franklin is expected to pass a similar resolution in the near future.

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The city of Asheville recently hosted its third annual HATCH Experience which broke loose throughout the downtown area, bringing together creative professionals from all over the world. Hatch began in Bozeman, Montana in 2003 and is held every October 5-9. It was brought to Asheville in 2009 and is held from April 14-17.

A lofty concept, HATCH is a four-day festival, featuring panels, workshops and events in architecture, film, music, photography, journalism, fashion and design and technology.

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The State Highway Patrol has completed its Operation Slow Down Initiative that began on March 28 and ended on April 3. The purpose of the operation was to reduce speed related collisions on North Carolina Interstates. Last year 1,110 motorists died on North Carolina highways. Of those, 279 deaths were attributed to speed.

During the week long initiative, troopers stepped-up enforcement and patrols across the state, focusing on motorists speeding on interstates and major four-lane highways.

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Macon Bank sponsored The Rathbun Center’s fundraiser, The Best of the Best, held on Friday, March 18, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. A big “Thank You” to all who donated money, time or talent for this important fundraiser.

Music was provided by The Dueling Pianos (Cathey Gray and Michael Conard), WestSound of Asheville, The Rye Holler Boys and Sheri Lynn & Mountain Friends. The Franklin High School Cheerleaders got everyone into the spirit by doing a cheer on stage and then passed the donation buckets through the crowd.

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N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to replace the bridge on Mirror Lake Road over the Cullasaja River near Highlands in Macon County.

A $577,544 contract was awarded to Dane Construction Inc. of Mooresville. Work can begin as early as April 25 and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

The bridge, constructed in 1960, needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.

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The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division has made safety improvements at a railroad crossing in the Jackson County community of Balsam.

NCDOT installed crossing signals and gates at the intersection of Old Balsam Depot and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. This $247,643 improvement project was paid for with 90 percent federal funding and 10 percent state funding. Maintenance for the project will be divided equally between the state and Norfolk Southern Railroad.

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Form will add vehicle property tax information in 2013

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is now mailing a larger, more detailed vehicle registration renewal form designed for easier reading and offering additional information about payment, inspections and plate recalls. The new form has also been designed so that vehicle property tax information can be added in compliance with a law scheduled to take effect in 2013.

The renewal notices provide information about passing vehicle inspections no more than 90 days before the license plate expires. They also notify vehicle owners when their license plate is slated for replacement because of age or wear. Exchanging old plates ensures proper visibility and is required by law.

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The N.C. Department of Labor provides labor law posters free of charge to the public, but that has never stopped private poster companies from trying to make a buck off businesses by threatening them with huge fines. Be aware that poster companies have recently added email messages and phone calls to their toolbox of tricks.

“This is my annual reminder to ignore the ridiculous solicitations,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “Your tax dollars have already purchased your business a poster, so save your money and call NCDOL for your free set.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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