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Students at Western Carolina University are stepping up to support Habitat for Humanity of Macon and Jackson counties.

This weekend, 52 students will be hosting a free event called the “Habitat for Humanity Spring Bloom and Build Festival,” from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in Dillsboro. The group of students has been organizing the event and are producing the festival as a service learning project in their “Tourism Planning & Development” course.

The community festival was planned as part of WCU's ongoing outreach efforts to support Dillsboro businesses. The class, which is taught by Dr. Barroll Brown, has been instrumental in working with the community to provide opportunities for students to gain event planning experience. Dr. Mary Morse is also assisting the class as festival coordinator for the event.

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Nearly 20 years after residents in Macon County first set out to create the Little Tennessee Greenway, the walking trail remains one of the premier outdoor recreation venues in Western North Carolina.

Meandering along the Little Tennessee River, the plan for a Greenway began in 1997 when Duke Energy set out to build a power line in Franklin. The almost fivemile long walking trail now sees more than 20,000 visitors in summer and has become an invaluable resource for the community.

On any given day, you can find Rose propped up behind the counter of the FROGs (Friends of the Greenway) Headquarters ready to serve a piping hot cup of coffee.

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Carey Patton Jr. was the youngest of seven children born to Carey Patton Sr. and his wife, Gertrude. He came into a family deeply rooted in Macon County, North Carolina, and in military service to the United States. His ancestors migrated to Western North Carolina in the 19th century, settling on 15 acres off Mashburn White Road during the late 1800s. About 1935 or 1936, the family moved to Bidwell Street in the town of Franklin. Carey and his wife, Nancy currently live in the family home place on Mashburn White.

His father served in World War I, and four of his brothers served in the United States Navy. All his brothers were in naval electronics, involved in anti-submarine warfare. His oldest brother, Claybourne, (26 years older than Carey) was killed in an airplane crash off Long Island, N.Y., during World War II. The airplane was taking off to investigate a reported submarine sighting off the east coast of the United States. The pilot objected to the mission because of a terrible electrical storm in the area. Shortly after take-off, the airplane was struck by lightning and crashed into the harbor.

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Plan will address sidewalk, bike lane issues downtown.

The town of Franklin has been awarded a 2015 NCDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant. Franklin was one of 10 municipalities awarded this grant across the state of North Carolina. This was the first time the town of Franklin has applied for this grant in the 12 of the grant’s existence.

In November, the Franklin Board of Aldermen voted to allow the town to apply for the full amount allowed of $36,000, with a 10 percent match from the town of Franklin. This grant will be used to develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Comprehensive Transportation plan for the town of Franklin. This plan will address new sidewalk routes, replacement of existing sidewalk, and development of bike lanes within the city limits of Franklin.

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