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The Swain County Department of Social Services was locked down early Tuesday morning by the State Bureau of Investigation.

According to unnamed sources, the SBI was conducting an investigation because of possible neglect by the Swain County DSS in the Jan. 10 death of 16-month-old Aubrey Littlejohn, of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The child allegedly died while in the care of a relative when the infant’s mother, Jasmine Littlejohn, was in jail following unrelated drug charges. Because the child lived in the county, and not on Indian land, her case came under the watch of the Swain County DSS.

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A man’s plan to turn his Macon County farm into a motocross track has his neighbors revving for a fight. During the public comment portion of a Macon County Planning Board meeting last Thursday, board members heard from neighbors and other county residents on the issue.

The vast majority – though not all – who attended the meeting were opposed to Herman “Bud” Talley’s plan to establish a motocross racing facility on the 45-acre farm that has been in his family since 1935. Talley, owner of Nantahala Meats in Franklin, says that building the racetrack is a way to save his dying Clarks Chapel community farm from being parceled out for development.

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Rumors of corporate prospects remain unconfirmed

After a process that has taken years, Macon County has finally achieved the designation of Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC) through an AdvantageWest program. Achieving the certification has been a main goal of the county’s Economic Development Commission and of EDC director Trevor Dalton since he was appointed to the position almost a year and a half ago.

AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, a non-profit organization commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly to promote economic development in the 23-county region of Western North Carolina, established the CEC program to encourage and support entrepreneurship in communities while also improving the business climate for existing companies.

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New look will include plantings, benches and pavers

At a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 4:00 P.M., the Highlands Town Board heard a proposal to revamp the sidewalk area at the intersection of Main and S. 4th Streets. The streetscape project would extend up the hill on S. 4th Street to the W. Church Street Alley. Currently the sidewalk is concrete and does not match the sidewalk area up S. 4th Street past the alley or across the street.

Moreover, the concrete is damaged and is deteriorating, with crumbled sections in the areas that experience the most foot traffic. Interim Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Mark Maxwell says the area presents a safety hazard.

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Town alderman Jerry Evans passed away on Thursday at the age of 55, due to complications relating to a respiratory illness. His passing was unexpected, according to  town officials.

Over a year ago, Evans was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring or thickening of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing. "He had a very substantial problem with his lungs," said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins. "It had been going on for a while.

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Synthetic marijuana sold under the guise of “herbal incense” is not the only “legal” product harming its users, say state and federal officials.

Now, synthetic stimulants added to certain products marketed as “bath salts” are reportedly being used as recreational drugs because they mimic the effects of cocaine, ecstasy and other illegal drugs.

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This week, low humidity and high winds combined to create ideal conditions for wildfires and out of control brush fires.

Three brush fires were reported in Macon County this week, including the one above, a possible brush fire which got out of control on Sylva Rd./US 441 endangering at least one structure.

Officials with the N.C. Division of Forest Resources have advised that residents not conduct outdoor burning as long as the dangerous conditions persist.

An apparently inebriated Macon County man was subdued by Sheriff’s deputies last Monday, while in a fit of rage.

At approximately 10 p.m., Officer Stephanie Robbins received a call from Mark Anthony Medlock, 51, who was threatening to end his life. As Robbins made her way to the location of the call, she was advised by dispatch that the caller was armed with a rifle, according to her report.

 

 

 

 

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Richard Collings resigned as president of Southwestern Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and the resignation was effective as of Wednesday, Feb. 9. The board of trustees is moving forward to begin the search for a new president, according to Conrad Burrell, chairman of the SCC board of trustees.

The reason for Collings’ resignation is not known at this time, but sources close to the college have alleged that serious medical problems may have forced the decision on Collings, who had suffered health issues after starting the new position six months ago.

 

 

 

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With the full support of his board, County Commissioner Ronnie Beale has announced that he will be running for the second vice-president seat in the North Carolina Association for County Commissioners. A successful bid will give Beale an executive seat on the NCACC board of directors, put him in line for the presidency, and give Macon County as well as the Western North Carolina region a greater voice in the organization.

The NCACC is a statewide local government association and one of the most effective lobbying groups in the state, advocating for local issues before state legislature as well as the executive and judicial branches of government. Boards of commissioners in every county are eligible for membership in the association.

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published: 10/18/2013
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