Advances to 2-A Western Regional championship
The Franklin High School Lady Panthers have made school history. After becoming the 2-A sectional champions last Friday when they defeated the Lexington Yellow Jackets, 62-46, the girls made their return to Greensboro where they lost last year to the Tuscola Mountaineers. This year, experience and skill would help the Panthers achieve a different outcome.
On Tuesday night, after making the four hour drive to the University of Greensboro, Franklin took on the (23-3) East Rutherfordton Cavaliers in the 2-A Western Regional semifinals.
A former Macon County youth sports coach was sentenced to 33 to 50 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to sex crimes against a child. Christopher Lee Burk was sentenced in Macon County court and will be spending at least the next three decades incarcerated by the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
“Burk pled guilty to three counts of sexual offense on a child by an adult, three counts of first degree sexual exploitation of a child, one count of child abuse by committing a sexual offense, and three counts of indecent liberties,” said Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch. “He received an active sentence of 33 years minimum to 50 years maximum. On the three indecent liberties charges he received three, 16 to 29 month sentences and those were suspended and he will be on five years of supervised probation on those if he lives long enough to serve his active sentence. He must be on satellite based monitoring for life and must register for 30 years after his release as a sex offender.”
Schools throughout Macon County are celebrating reading this week. Iotla Valley Elementary celebrated Read Across America Day with students and teachers dressing up as their favorite book character.
Guest readers like School Board member Tommy Cabe, and Macon County Children's Librarian Maggie Kennedy visited the school to read some of the children's favorite books.
Iotla Valley decorated the school from top to bottom with themes from Dr. Seuss books and others, coinciding with Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2.
Iotla Valley will end their Reading Celebration Week on Friday with Hidden Reader Day.
Charles Nichols files challenge with board of elections.
Macon County’s commissioner candidate line-up could be changing. Tuesday morning, Debbie T. George, Interim Director for the Macon County Board Elections sent out a public notice regarding the calling of candidacy.
On Monday, March 3, Charles Nichols challenged the candidacy of Commissioner Ron Haven. Haven is seeking re-election to his District 2 commission seat.
Town board agrees to discuss resolution of ownership.
The debate regarding the Nikwasi Indian Mound may soon see a resolution. Monday night, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Michell Hicks spoke to the Franklin Town Aldermen in hopes of beginning talks regarding the preservation of the historic landmark.
“I have a simple request … obviously the Eastern Band feels, for many reasons, that the mound should be back in the name of the Eastern Band,” said Hicks. “I understand that may not be a simple task as it relates to the history of the mound and the responsibility of the town. One of the things that is important to us as a tribe is to make sure that we are at least part of the process of protecting these lands, these areas that are so rich from a spiritual and cultural perspective. I feel a true responsibility as a tribal leader. As requested by many of our tribal leaders, we want to do our best to do the right thing.”
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.