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News General

“Keep your hands where I can see ‘em!” Scott Buttery, a patrol lieutenant with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, repeated the order – but the individual who’d been breaking into a car wouldn’t comply. Instead, the suspect reached into his back pocket then swung his right arm forward.

Before less-seasoned onlookers could determine whether the item in the suspect’s hand was a weapon or something less ominous, Buttery fired his weapon. Had the officer waited an instant later, the subject would have pulled the trigger on his own pistol.

Fortunately, the perpetrator was an actor projected onto a screen. The pistol was a modified Glock with no live ammo. The entire 20-second scenario was part of a “use of force” training session arranged by Southwestern Community College on Thursday, March 19, in a training room of the sheriff’s office.

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The WCU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a revision to the university’s tailgating policy that adds an additional parking lot to areas in which alcohol may be consumed on campus as part of fans’ pregame festivities. Approval of the change came during the board’s regularly scheduled quarterly meeting Friday, March 6.

Beginning this fall, the Belk Building parking lot, which previously had been designated as an alcohol-free zone, will be among the alcohol-permissible tailgating areas.

The move became necessary because of increased interest in pregame tailgating at WCU in the wake of recent improvements to the football program. In 2014, the WCU football team enjoyed its first winning regular season since 2005, earning a second-place finish in Southern Conference play.

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Amidst a loss of leadership and in an attempt to regroup, the Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors voted last Wednesday to place the program on inactive status.

“At this point, I feel it would be the right time for the board to step back and assess how it wants to proceed,” said board member Sissy Pattillo. “I have been involved with the Franklin Main Street Program since it became active again. If you look where we were and where we are now, we have made great strides. Many projects have been accomplished and the master plan for our town is a great example. Phase one has been completed and phase two is under way.”

The Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors includes Christine Basey, Judy Chapman, Joyce Handley, Ken Murphy and Sissy Pattillo. Over the last few months, four board members have resigned from their posts. In addition to board members' resignation, the MSP was also dealing with the lack of a Main Street coordinator, a paid position with the town.

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In the fall of last year, Franklin's Main Street Program (MSP) coordinator Linda Schlott ended her tenure with the town. Historically, one aspect of the Main Street coordinator position was to help facilitate cooperation between the town and events occurring on Main Street. As festivals and events began to grow downtown, as the Main Street coordinator, Schlott began taking on more and more responsibilities to ensure that festivals and events kept Main Street happening all year long.

When Schlott left her position with the town, she left a void in terms of festival planning and coordination. So much so, independent festivals are having to take a step back and regroup in order to have 2015 events, while others have been cancelled altogether.

Last month, news broke that after 11 years, the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County's annual Franklin Folk Festival would not be happening in 2015. The main factor cited by members of the FHAMC as to why there would not be a festival this summer, was due to the fact that the town no longer had a MSP coordinator to help independent festivals.

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