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News General

Machines are based on skill not chance, say owners.

North Carolina law makers and law enforcement officers have been battling the legality of sweepstakes machines in the state for several years now. Each time a new law is passed and implemented, businesses operating sweepstakes gambling machines tweak their operations just enough to be in compliance. That is the case in Macon County.

Over the last few weeks, sweepstakes parlors, which offer slot machine style gambling machines have once again resurrected along the Georgia Road. With flashy signs and the promise of free food to bring in visitors, the establishments feature gambling machines, that due to a loophole in the state's ban on gambling, are legally allowed to operate, for now at least.

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Measures include workforce training opportunities.

For the last three and a half years. Macon County's Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins has been working to improve the county's economic environment. Jenkins, who was hired in November 2011 to replace Trevor Dalton after he resigned, is a Macon County native who has made improving his hometown not only a professional mission, but also a personal priority.

Jenkins works year round with the county's Economic Development Commission to brand Macon County to all types of businesses and industries from across the nation.

"The EDC works to bring jobs to the county in various ways," said Jenkins. "Our website works as a lead generator, and we receive leads from various sources such as the N.C. Dept of Commerce, Duke Energy, commercial realtors and consultants. In addition, we work directly with small businesses and entrepreneurs in locating and building their businesses. We have been involved with a couple of projects in downtown Franklin that will greatly contribute to the revitalization of the community. We are also actively engaged in pursuing a buyer or tenant for the 72,000 sq ft. SKF facility in the Macon County Industrial Park, having worked with several potential prospects the last few months."

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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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