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News General

Members required to attend nine meetings a year

The Franklin Tourism Development Authority got some clarification on its operational practices Monday night during its monthly meeting. Although Town Attorney John Henning Jr. was unable to attend the meeting due to a scheduling conflict, he spoke with TDA member Summer Woodard to address several board concerns.

The TDA operates as an authority, meaning that while they operate under town leadership, they have their own rules and procedures adopted by the board. The TDA is funded through a room occupancy tax, meaning individuals who use lodging within the town of Franklin, pay a tax that is provided annually to the TDA. With new board members, the TDA sought to clarify rules and procedures from legal counsel to ensure they were in compliance with the session law which established the authority.

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Jackson County Sheriff's Department announced last week that Deputy James "Jimmy" Henry, was informed that his services were no longer needed with the law enforcement agency. Henry was suspended in October after an investigation into a party revealed he may have been involved in underage drinking and other activities.

Henry was placed on paid administrative leave on October 27 pending the outcome of the investigation. Henry's wife, Maria Henry, who worked as a dispatcher for Jackson County, was placed on paid administrative leave beginning Nov. 5, but returned to work for the county on Dec. 9, when she was given an administration assistant position within the Emergency Management Department instead of returning as a dispatcher.

Henry and his wife were both identified as being present at a Halloween party that occurred on Oct. 25 at Dillard Excavating in Jackson County. According to police reports, in addition to an investigation into underage drinking, an investigation was launched into an alleged rape that occurred that night.

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The search continues for a wanted Macon County man who led law enforcement officers on a chase through the Sanderstown community Monday afternoon.

Franklin Police Officer Kevin Breedlove attempted to pull over Michael Passafume, 45, Monday afternoon. Passafume was wanted for a probation violation for removing his ankle monitor. When Breedlove attempted to pull over Passafume, he fled, leading police to a chase into Sanderstown near the Wildflower subdivision. Passafume, who had an unidentified white female in the vehicle with him, eluded police after turning onto a logging road.

Road conditions prohibited law enforcement officers from driving up the road, forcing officers to continue on foot. While pursuing Passafume on foot, law enforcement officers found Passafume's Ford Expedition, which he had crashed while fleeing police. According to Franklin Police Chief David Adams, Passafume and the female suspect escaped into the wooded area surrounding the road. A search for the suspect was unsuccessful.

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Planning board defines exemptions

Over the last few months, Macon County's Planning Board has been working to develop a nuisance ordinance intended to regulate malicious noise in the county. If adopted by commissioners during their March meeting, the ordinance would regulate loud, unnecessary, and disturbing noise that occurs outside of the city limits of Franklin or Highlands.

After numerous complaints to commissioners regarding excessive noise, county leaders directed the planning board to look at an ordinance with "teeth" that would give law enforcement officers the means to resolve complaints. As its stands, with no ordinance, the sheriff's department can respond to noise complaints, but legally, have no recourse.

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