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Gem shows could seemingly be found around every turn this past weekend in Franklin. Set up on the Highlands Road, Georgia Road/441S, and two locations on the Sylva Road, visitors and locals alike were able to check out a variety of vendors specializing in jewelry, gems, fossils and a ton of other things.

Booth operator Mary Lou Brock, owner of Mary Lou's Jewelry in Asheville has attended the whole-sale show on the Sylva Road for the last 15 years and every year she finds a good turnout.

“It's something that I look forward to. We're constantly going to these shows. We come here and we go to New Orleans, Florida, and out west. It's just a big network,” she said. “Every year we benefit from coming. We wouldn't keep doing it if we didn't.”

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A former Muslim, Iraj Ghanouni, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1978 and became a naturalized citizen in 1992, is a recognized authority on the religion and history of Islam. Iraj will speak at the Aug. 6 luncheon sponsored by the Mountain High Republican Women’s Club at Trillium Links and Lake Club.

Ghanouni often lectures and teaches in different churches and Christian organizations around the world. He is a university graduate in his home country, with post graduate studies in England in the field of computer science; and in the U.S. in electronics, law, and Christian theology. Ghanouni has been a guest on radio and TV (domestic and international) and has published numerous articles. He developed the outline and syllabus for a 16-week college level course study titled “Understanding Islam.”

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Local author Pamela Duncan will present a reading of her works on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library Complex. This program is free of charge.

Duncan was born in Asheville and raised in Black Mountain, Swannanoa and Shelby, N.C., and currently lives in Cullowhee, N.C., where she teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University. She holds a BA in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in English/creative writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

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Otto School Class of 1977 held its 36-year reunion last Saturday at the Otto Community Building.

The 1977 class was the last 8th grade that attended the school. A picnic was held earlier in the day with dinner that evening.

Class members are planning on holding another reunion next year.

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