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Each year, Duke Energy works with counties across the state to identify a member of the each community who has worked selflessly throughout the year to help others. In Macon County, Duke Energy works alongside the Chamber of Commerce to solicit nominations from the community identifying an individual who has gone above and beyond to help friends and neighbors. After nominations are narrowed down, one person is selected to be the recipient of the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award.

On Tuesday night, Lisa Leatherman presented Macon County resident Laura Vargas with the 2014 Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award.

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During the month of December, the Highlands Middle School Student Government Association held a fundraiser for the Appalachian Animal Rescue Center in Franklin. All students from kindergarten through 12th grade were asked to participate in this supply drive to benefit homeless animals of Macon County. The students were asked to bring contributions of pet food, pet supplies, cleaning products, linens, and toys to assist the shelter in its efforts to help the animals. The class that donated the most supplies was rewarded with an ice cream party. Mrs. Dooley’s kindergarten won the party.

Cathy Howman, the shelter director, was very grateful for the generosity of the students. “This is wonderful!” she said. “These supplies are really needed.”

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Pictured, from left, are Wesley Hirsch, Susan Hirsch, and Beverly Barnette, president Franklin Kiwanis.Susan Hirsch, raised-in-Franklin resident, presented her family Cherokee-connected history to the Kiwanis of Franklin Club Tuesday, Jan. 13.

The ancestor Hirsch focused on was Rev. Joshua Ammons (Hirsch's great-great grandfather).

Hirsch reported that Rabbit Creek Road was named after the Cherokee Chief Rabbit who was good friends with Joshua Ammons. Ammons was with the chief when he died. Ammons' entire household attended the chief's funeral.

A carving of solid silver hands was supposed to have been buried with the chief.

Hirsch gathered her information from family records and photos, the Historical Museum in Franklin, and Margaret Siler's book “Cherokee Indian Lore and Smoky Mountain Stories” which can be purchased at the Historical Museum.

Martha Wiltcher, a resident of the Eckerd Living Center (ELC), recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

Family and friends came from as far as Australia to celebrate her 100 years of life.

The Eckerd Living Center is an 80-bed skilled nursing facility physically attached the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands.

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