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Just a few weeks after assuming the duty of the county's animal control office, Macon County Health Department's Dr. Jimmy Villiard updated members of the board of health on sweeping changes and improvements to the facility. On Nov. 1, 2015, Macon County Public Health (MCPH) took on the additional responsibility of overseeing Animal Services in Macon County.

According to Villiard, the administrative change within the county means the health department is now in charge of animal control, the animal shelter, and the county's rabies control programs. One of the primary goals is to respond quickly and resolve animal issues, and to prevent rabies exposure of residents of Macon County, explained Villiard.


It has been more than a year since Charles Andrew Cochran escaped from custody at the Macon County Detention Center which resulted in a five-day crime spree that left one woman dead. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Cochran appeared in court with his Asheville-based lawyer, David Belser.

The purpose of Cochran's court appearance was to set an administrative date of March 21, 2016, to allow Cochran's second court-appointed lawyer, which is required because the state is seeking the death penalty. District Attorney Ashley Welch informed Superior Court Judge Bill Coward that the state would be seeking the death penalty in August in pursuit of justice for Day Williamson, the woman found strangled and burned in her Burningtown home after an encounter with Cochran on Aug. 2, 2014.


Just as the county's landfill was set to reach capacity, the Macon County Solid Waste Department secured the necessary permits to begin constructing the new landfill project, which will extend the life of the facility by 40 years.

In October 2014, Macon County commissioners gave the solid waste department the go ahead to move forward with purchasing two parcels of land – totaling 22.9 acres -- for $1.5 million.

"We have received approvals and permits from all of the required regulatory agencies to permit construction of Phase III, Cell 1 of the new landfill," said Chris Stahl, director of solid waste. "This cell lies entirely within our already permitted landfill boundary. We are now in the process of pre-qualifying general contractors to bid on construction of the cell. We hope to select a firm and make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners for their approval at the January meeting."


In a unanimous vote last week, the Franklin Board of Aldermen voted to begin the process of rejoining the National Flood Insurance Program.

Joining the program will allow property owners located within the city limits and in flood hazard zones to receive subsidized flood insurance. Participating in the program also makes it possible for the town of Franklin to receive assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Assistance) in the event of a disaster.

The board's vote doesn't automatically put Franklin into the program; it is just the first step of several to come in the following months.


In the early morning hours last Friday, Franklin Police Department responded to a call involving a missing woman in town who had wandered away from home. According to Franklin Police Chief David Adams, the call came in shortly after midnight and involved an elderly woman who had been lost from home before. His officers, with the assistance of the county's Project Lifesaver program, were able to locate the missing woman shortly after being notified of her disappearance. She was located just 50 yards away from her home.

According to Adams, it was the first time he can recall Project Lifesaver being used, but touted the program's help in safely and swiftly returning the woman to her home.

Project Lifesaver is a search and rescue, rapid recovery program that targets persons enrolled in the program that have the tendency to wander due to Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia, Down-Syndrome and other age macular degeneration (ARMD) related conditions or disorders.


The Second Annual "Read Local" Book Fair at Macon County Public Library was celebrated Saturday, Nov. 7, with people listening to readings, having lively conversations and meandering among colorful exhibits. Thirty-one authors and designers covered a wide range of topics. Many people walked out with purchases, and kids hugged new books tightly to their chests.

Library staffer Kristina Moe said they had researched fairs and travelled to Rowan County to learn more before they started this event last year.

“We realized that while a large audience might not come for one author, for several authors more people might come. This has brought in people who wouldn’t normally come in to the library. This is your library. If you live here, visit here, we try to have something for everyone.”


In one of the largest county sponsored events, "Halloween in the Park", last week's trick or treat celebration drew a crowd of around 5,000 people to the Macon County Recreation Park.

With 30 businesses, organizations, and non-profits on hand to pass out candy, with a kids section full of bounce houses and a hayride around the park, Halloween in the Park has continued to grow into the second largest county sponsored holiday event, second only to Fourth of July.

"I am always amazed at the turnout for Halloween in the Park," said Macon County Recreation Director Seth Adams. "It is a great night for our department and for the county. We are already looking forward to next year."


With three open seats on the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen, 15.5 percent (518) of the town's 3,343 registered voters showed up at the polls to elect three new faces to the board. Six candidates appeared on the ballot, including two incumbents, Joyce Handley and Verlin Curtis vying for re-election.

Newcomer Brandon McMahan was the top vote getter in Franklin with 227 votes. McMahan, a Macon County Schools educator is looking forward to working with residents and business owners to make plans for the future.


Following the county commissioners' unanimous vote to affix the official motto of the United States, "In God We Trust," to county buildings, Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland approached his deputies about the possibility of adding the motto to patrol vehicles. After a staff meeting and giving deputies the option of signing up to receive decals stating "In God We Trust," all Macon County Sheriff's Offcie patrol deputies opted to display the motto.

"During our recent agency meeting I brought up the subject and passed around a document for the deputies to read and sign if they wanted to take part," said Sheriff Holland. "I made it clear to all present this was an individual decision and there would be no repercussion for opting out of participating.


One-stop voting for the 2015 municipal elections which will fill three seats on the town of Franklin Board of Aldermen and three seats for the Highlands Commission will end on Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. One-stop voting may be done at the Macon County Courthouse and the Highlands Civic Center. The Macon County News provides profiles for candidates for the Franklin Board of Aldermen election for our readers. All six candidates seeking office were given the opportunity to answer the same questions. As of press time, Verlin Curtis and Joyce Handley had not responded.

Adam Kimsey

Local business owner Adam Kimsey is once again seeking a spot on the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. He had previously run for alderman in 2013. Kimsey owns and operates The Rathskeller, a small coffee shop and pub in downtown Franklin. Before becoming a local business owner, Kimsey worked as a training and development coordinator for Caterpillar here in Macon County. He attended Franklin High School, Southwestern Community College, and Western Carolina University.


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