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One dead in officer-involved shooting

Two Franklin Police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after a gun battle resulted in the death of Clay Alan Lickteig, 52, of Hayesville.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, two Franklin police officers, who are not being identified at this time, were attempting to serve Lickteig with a felony probation violation warrant for arrest, when Lickteig became confrontational and brandished a weapon.

The FPD officers met Lickteig in the driveway of a residence at which he had been staying, and when ordered by officers to show his hands, he refused. According to Police Chief David Adams, the officers first attempted to subdue the suspect with a taser gun, which was deployed twice. Lickteig then opened fire on the officers.

Macon County School Board leaves positions unfilled

Uncertainty on the state level has led Macon County School leaders to leave a slew of positions unfilled for the coming school year. Monday night, Terry Bell, a consultant working with Macon County Schools handling responsibilities such as school personnel, informed board members that the school system had a long list of vacancies, some of which will have to remain unfilled in the coming school year due to the lack of guidance from the state’s budget.

Out of the roughly 19 vacancies within the district, Bell informed board members that at least eight will go unfilled in the coming school year, many of which include teacher assistant positions.

Kimsey, Shields awarded highest honor in N.C.

Order of the Long Leaf Pine recipients honored

"Here’s to the land/ of the long leaf pine, The summer land/ where the sun doth shine, Where the weak grow strong/ and the strong grow great, Here’s to “down home”, the Old North State!”

When it comes to being a North Carolinian, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor the state can bestow on one of its citizens. The award, doled out by the governor of the state, is a prestigious recognition that has been earned by some of history’s greatest individuals. The honor, which was first established in 1965 has since been awarded to about 15,000 people in the state which include the likes of Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, and Andy Griffith.

Longer days added to school calendars

Highlands, Nantahala planning ahead for snow days.

Winter weather has always been difficult for all Macon County students, causing school to be cancelled or delayed several times a year, but for students attending school at Highlands and Nantahala, winter always seems to hit a little harder and disrupt the annual calendar a little more.

With a calendar waiver approved during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, students in those areas of the county will see some relief when it comes to the school calendar next year.

Click for Franklin, North Carolina Forecast

Highlands Chamber, Franklin Chamber and Venture Local teamed up during NCDOT’s clean sweep week.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."

Volunteers tracked the roadsides up the Cullasaja Gorge at Saturday’s cleanup.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.





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