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News General

Friday afternoon, School Resource Officer Jay Wright spotted a suspicious vehicle driving on the campus of Franklin High School. Noticing that the vehicle, a black Ford Explorer with tinted windows, didn’t have a tag, the SRO stopped the vehicle to further investigate the situation. The SRO found the vehicle’s driver, Eric Ehlenfield, 27, to not have a driver’s license and to be wanted on a non-extraditable charge in Georgia. Ehlenfield listed being homeless, but of the Otto area, despite the charges revealed in Georgia. Ehlenfield had a female passenger identified as 28-year-old Heather Lucas. Lucas was not detained.

Ehlenfield, who was wanted on a probation violation was found to have a 12 gauge shotgun and several knives, including a machete inside the vehicle. He was arrested for one felony count of possession of a firearm on school grounds and was booked into the Macon County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

 

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A national referendum on whether Scotland should again be an independent country will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18. This vote is the second in recent years when it failed in 1979 by getting only 30 percent support.

After gaining permission from the British Government in the spring of 2014, political parties such as the Scottish National Party which has grown in the House of Commons, advocacy groups and individuals have been pressing for passage.The Friends of the Scottish Museum in Franklin, and museum directors voted sympathetically on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at their meeting.

Using red candies for remaining in the United Kingdom and blue candies representing the Scottish flag, the secret ballot revealed that 68.5 percent of those present voted for Independence and 31.5 percent voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. It remains to be seen how closely this parallels the real vote.

Submitted by Eleanor Swift, Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum.

After several residents in the county issued complaints of noisy neighbors, the Macon County Board of Commissioners tasked the planning board with looking into the possibility of what a noise ordinance might contain. Commissioner Jim Tate, who serves as the commissioners liaison to the planning board, directed Planning Board Chair Chris Hanners to work with its members to explore rules and regulations surrounding a noise ordinance, as well as work with county attorney Chester Jones to analyze effective noise ordinances that are already in place elsewhere.

Tate made it clear that the planning board isn’t to draft an actual ordinance, but instead investigate a direction that the county could go to develop one in the future.

The decision to move forward with a noise ordinance comes after residents came before commissioners in August expressing concerns with late night parties and loud neighbors. In September, a different couple spoke to commissioners about similar concerns. Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland explained that his department is limited on the actions they can take regarding noise complaints.

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The Macon County Sheriff’s Department is one School Resource Officer away from completing the goal to have an officer at every school site in the district. Tuesday night, commissioners gave the sheriff the go ahead to accept a grant to place an SRO at Nantahala School, which means all but one school in the district has a full-time officer. This will allow the use of money previously allocated for Nantahala’s officer to go towards Iotla Valley Elementary’s SRO.

Sheriff Holland was made aware of the grant while working with his colleagues from across the state on the Governor’s Safe Schools task force. “As soon as I found out about the grant, I literally walked out of my meeting and called [Superintendent] Dr. Baldwin and we started to get to work on it,” said Holland.

The grant provides the district with 75 percent of the funds ($39,722) needed for the position, leaving the county needing to match the remaining 25 percent ($18,185). Sheriff Holland assured commissioners that he had been working with County Manager Derek Roland to find funds available within the existing budget so the county would not need to appropriate any additional funds for the position.

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