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One inmate learned the hard way Saturday morning, that unfortunately, the Macon County Detention Center does not store their phones in the jail's ceiling.

Cameren Paul Shaffer, 21, crawled into the drop ceiling of his cell and disappeared into the crawl space. When asked what he was doing, Shaffer informed officers that he was only attempting to find a phone to make a phone call.

While attempting to book five individuals into the jail, a loud noise was heard at Macon County Detention Center, alerting officers of an attempted escape in progress.

“At the time of the incident, detention officers had a total of five individuals (inmates) waiting to be processed," said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland in a statement. "The detention officer went to investigate a strange noise and discovered that inmate Shaffer had crawled up into the drop ceiling of his cell and had disappeared into the crawl space."

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Community asked to report suspicious behavior

Thieves once again stole copper cable from Frontier Communications, this time in the Nantahala area on Jan. 2, and in Needmore on Dec. 30, disrupting communications services and placing local residents at risk, General Manager Ken Maxwell said.

The thefts are the latest in a rash of six copper theft incidents in the four weeks prior to the latest incidents that have left hundreds of customers without telephone and broadband service in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon or Swain counties, Maxwell said.

“These criminal acts affect hundreds of Frontier customers who depend on their telephones and broadband to stay in contact with family, friends and emergency responders,” Maxwell said. “Copper theft disrupts commerce and creates significant inconveniences for entire communities. Some of these thefts have also included stolen or damaged fiber optics cable, which increases the extent of the damage and the risk to local residents and businesses. These outages leave customers unnecessarily exposed in the event of an emergency.”

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The last of 18 members of a methamphetamine trafficking organization was sentenced on Wednesday, Dec. 17, to 46 months on drug charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Angela Leigh Wike, of Bryson City was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision.

In May 2013, 18 members of the drug ring were arrested as the result of a joint law enforcement investigation conducted by DEA, ATF, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Swain County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin Police Department, and Cherokee Indian Police Department.

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In 2011, Macon Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center set out to prove the facility's exemplary standards through achieving various awards with the American Health Care Association's National Quality Award Program. In just a few short years, Macon Valley accomplished something that takes most facilities more than a decade.

"We completed an application on the Organizational Profile for our organization, submitted it for review, were notified in October 2011 that we were a recipient for the Bronze Award 'Commitment to Quality,'” said Richard Brady, Administrator at Macon Valley. "Then for the next three years, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 we changed our operational procedures, processes and focused on our clinical programs and outcomes. We completed the 25-page Silver application and were awarded the Silver Award Achievement in Quality in October 2014."

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