On Tuesday afternoon during heavy rainfall, a 2008 Honda Civic driven by local woman Erin Moffitt was traveling on Rabbit Creek Road when it went off the road and into Rabbit Creek.
Gabriel Bolick and Darren Worley called 911, and along with the help of Jeff Paris, were able to get the door of the car open and get Moffitt to safety. Franklin Fire and Rescue arrived shortly thereafter and transported Moffitt up the steep embankment.
According to N.C. Highway Patrolman Clay Cogdill, Moffitt was immediately rushed to Mission Hospital in Asheville. She has since been released in what is considered a positive outcome for what could have been a grim situation.
Editor’s Note: This is the last of the candidate profiles for the 2014 midterm election. Early voting begins Oct. 23.
Both candidates vying for the open 30th Judicial District Attorney seat have more than a decade of experience each as assistant district attorneys under the current DA Mike Bonfoey and are ready to face the challenges in representing Western North Carolina.
“Prosecutors in this district spend a lot of time in the car traveling from county to county because of the vastness of our district,” said Macon County resident and DA candidate Ashley Welch. “Some districts in the state only include one county. Several others are made up of two or three counties. With seven counties, this district is one of the largest in the state…
Despite a few bumps in the road, Macon County’s Parker Meadows Recreation Complex is on track, and currently $21,000 under budget.
County Manager Derek Roland updated commissioners during the October board meeting Tuesday night, informing them that weather permitting, all grading on the project should be wrapped up in the next two weeks allowing for building construction to begin on Nov. 1.
“Everything is moving along great,” said Roland. “If things continue the way things are going and weather permitting, if the people who are working on this project have anything to do with it, we will be knocking the doors down come Spring.”
Red Herring Puppeteer conducts workshop at East Franklin
Lisa Sturz with Red Herring Puppets held a workshop at East Franklin School on Tuesday.
Kayla Schulte’s kindergarten class learned how to make shadow puppets. They traced Halloween shapes, cut them out, added color and a stick. After they had made their puppets, the kids put on a puppet show.
The award-winning Red Herring Puppets will present “The Big Dipper: Calendar, Compass & Clock,” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., in the Franklin High School Fine Arts Center. The performance will include more than two dozen beautifully crafted marionettes and twice as many shadow images.
The saga of the Duke Energy rate hikes will continue when the North Carolina Utilities Commission hears expert testimony on July 8 in Raleigh.
Two weeks ago, Duke proposed a settlement of an overall 4.5 percent rate increase that will grow to 5.1 percent in two years, about half of what was originally requested. The higher rate would result in an increase in residential power bills, averaging about $7 a month.
This will be the third increase since 2009 and according to the group, Consumers Against Rate Hikes (CARH), the latest increase would bring household rates to a level 30 percent higher than in 2009; 25 percent higher for small and medium businesses, while the largest industrial customers would only see an increase totaling around three percent. The North Carolina Utilities Commission still has to approve the increase.
At a public hearing held in Franklin on May 21, Duke officials pointed to its ability to keep rates low for large customers like Apple, Google, and others like those companies as a way to bring companies in to N.C. and provide jobs to its citizens. CARH contends that Duke shifts the costs of new power plants needed as a result of this business migration to its smaller customers. By offering extremely low rates and other incentives, Duke entices high-load, low-jobs data centers into the state, driving up demand for even more power plants that otherwise would not be needed—raising small customer rates.
Officials at the organization are also asserting that Duke Energy and Progress Energy have begun to push state politicians to enact legislation that would “make customers pay years in advance for power plants that aren't needed and might never be built.”
The state of Florida recently enacted a similar bill that would increase rates yearly which led to Florida Senator Mike Fasano (R) to pen a letter to N.C. legislators expressing his opinions of such a bill.
“We've learned the hard way here in Florida that allowing utilities to recover the costs of a new power plant before [it is built] is unfair to consumers and bad public policy,” he said.
Citizens have been turning out all across the state to give their opinions on these increases. Some have attended meetings to voice their support while the majority has fervently opposed the increases and cited a variety of reasons.
"I don't think it's fair to the residents of North Carolina," said Chris Evans, a native of Franklin. "There's still people who are struggling throughout the state from the economic downturn, not to mention older people who may be on fixed incomes. I'm just not convinced that Duke is considering these people."
AARP-NC has long opposed these rate increases while pointing to older customers, who, while paying higher energy bills, have yet to see an increase in Social Security that can compensate the rising costs for power.
“For older customers, many of which are on fixed incomes, Social Security increases have not kept pace with the size of the rate increase proposed,” said AARP State Director, Doug Dickerson. “Older and limited-income consumers pay a higher percentage of their income for electricity than do other households. With the seventh highest poverty rate in the nation, programs that provide energy assistance cannot keep up with the demand for assistance. Funds established by Duke Energy for further assistance are appreciated, but will only make a tiny dent in the true need.”
Dickerson is referring to the offer that Duke officials made saying that the company will contribute an additional $20 million to help low-income customers in the state pay their energy bills and provide training that improves worker access to jobs and increases the quality of the workforce.
“We understand there is never a good time to increase rates,” said Newton. “However, we believe this [settlement] will allow us to keep the rate increase to customers as low as we reasonably can, and still recover the investments we've made to modernize our system and to ensure safe, reliable and increasingly clean electricity in the future.”
Another dialogue that has been fueling the public hearings is the concern that many people have about the environment.
"It's the 21st century and they are still focusing on producing energy from fossil fuels," said Corey Picklesimer, another Franklin resident. "I think it's time that they quit throwing money towards these damaging fossil fuels and nuclear plants and start looking to cleaner alternatives like wind and solar."
On Monday, Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has taken on previous rate increases in the past, filed with the N.C. Supreme Court to appeal a 7.5 percent rate hike by Duke.
"Many people are already hard pressed to pay their bills, and now isn't the time to ask them to pay more so utilities can make bigger profit," said Cooper.