Last week, the Franklin Town Board met with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) to discuss the Nikwasi Indian Mound located in the center of town. Based on the belief that the mound was part of Cherokee heritage, the EBCI has expressed a desire to possibly own the mound once again. The belief was that a resolution could be reached between the town and the Cherokee, possibly pursuant to some sort of partnership concerning the mound. That feeling of goodwill changed the day after the meeting when a resolution on behalf of Chief Michell Hicks and the Tribal Council went public demanding for the return of the mound.
“We met with the tribal council on Wednesday and had no idea that this was coming,” said Franklin Mayor Bob Scott.
Macon County residents will take to the polls this November to cast their ballot to fill multiple offices up for reelection. Candidates for commission seats, school board, and other local, state and national seats will be appearing on the ballot this year. With early voting starting Oct. 23, The Macon County News is running weekly profiles of each open seat.
The Macon County Board of Education has two open seats that will be decided in November. District II, currently held by incumbent Tommy Cabe, and District IV, which was left open when Gary Shields decided not to seek re-election.
Cabe will face off against Bill Taylor for the District II seat and Fred Goldsmith and Carroll Poindexter will both be seeking votes for the District IV seat.
Cash mobsters descend on downtown Sylva
The fountain at the bottom of the old Jackson County courthouse was a sight to see last Friday, as more than 150 people gathered all waving $20 bills. Shoppers from Franklin and Sylva all joined together to support Main Street Sylva businesses affected by an August 16 fire that still has a portion of the street blocked off.
Organized by Macon County grass-roots group Venture Local Franklin, the event was deemed a cash mob with the intention of pushing a ton of business into the downtown economy all over the span of a couple of hours, for a short, quick, financial boost for businesses.
Traveling exhibit educates parents on what to look for.
Last Thursday, the P.E.A.C.E Foundation brought its "Bedroom Project" to Franklin. The presentation took place at Tartan Hall of the First Presbyterian Church. The organization's mission is to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drugs and empower them with the knowledge to recognize and stop abuse before it starts.
P.E.A.C.E, or Prescription Education Abuse Counseling Empowerment, was founded by Shannon Rouse Ruiz whose own personal tragedy helped fuel the call for action. On June 21, 2011, her 16-year-old daughter Kaitlyn suffered a fatal overdose.
On Saturday, April 13, a group of about 50 volunteers comprised of a diverse group of citizens from the Franklin and Highlands areas joined forces to clean up the Cullasaja River Gorge's roadsides and river banks.
This initiative is one of the Highlands Chamber of Commerce's ongoing annual projects to help keep area natural resources clean. The cleanup takes place every spring during the NCDOT's clean sweep week and has been headed up by the Highlands Chamber for the last 10 years.
This year, members of Venture Local Franklin, Franklin Chamber of Commerce staff/board members, Stay And Play in the Smokies, and others joined in to make an even bigger impact on this stretch of the “Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.” Of the 50 volunteers on Saturday, 20 volunteers represented Franklin.
"Franklin and Highlands market this same stretch of scenic highway for tourism and recreation purposes, and its very important for both communities to keep the roadsides of Highway 64 as beautiful as the natural assets that surround them,” said volunteer Matt Bateman. “So we decided to reach out to Jennifer Smathers at the Highlands Chamber Visitor Center to join forces."
Bateman, who is a member of Venture Local Franklin (VLF) and tour guide, believes it is important to build a mutual cooperation to take full ownership in maintaining the natural beauty of the roadside. "One of VLF's goals is to continue to reach out to other groups and entities within Franklin and beyond, so we can work together on moving Franklin forward in a positive direction," said Bateman.
The combined effort bagged litter from just above Cullasaja Falls, all the way up to the city limits of Highlands. More than 100 bags were filled by volunteers and hauled away by the U.S. Forest Service.
Main Street Coffee & Tea in downtown Franklin donated coffee for the volunteers of Franklin, while Bill and Sharon Van Horn donated bagels from Dills Creek Bagel Co. also of Franklin.
To finish the day, volunteers were treated to a cookout provided by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce at the Cliffside Lake Recreation Area.