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Commissioners gathered in a packed board room on August 12 with a long list of names signed up to speak during the public comment period. Macon County residents flooded the board room and all seemed interested in the topics up for discussion: a proposed cell phone tower on Old Murphy Road; a proposed cell phone tower off of Bud Perry; and the topic of hydraulic fracturing known as fracking.

Separate hearings were held on the two proposed cell phone towers, and residents who stand to be impacted in the respective areas came out in droves to voice their opinions, the majority being not against the increase in cell reception coverage, but the manner in which the current proposals outlined to do so.

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Town manager making plans to get program back on track

Last week, it was announced that the Town of Franklin would be contracting with Tony Angel of Tony Angel Media for some added support in regards to the Main Street Program.

The Main Street Program was originally formed to rekindle and reinforce the economic vitality of the downtown district of Franklin — the business district to be specific.

Though the program was ambitious at its inception, according to recent comments from some Main Street business owners, it has grown stagnant as of late. In an attempt to put it back on track, town manager Summer Woodard is moving to shake things up a little.

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Pandora, Charlotte Chamber.com and Facebook among options

Franklin's Tourism Development Authority met on Monday evening to discuss the 2014-2015 budget, but before they hammered out a plan, acting chairman Summer Woodard provided the board with print outs of last year's budget and the room occupancy tax report that provided monthly collections figures.

With a budget of $100,000, tax collections were reported at $99,648.38. Out of the budgeted amount, $80,413 was spent leaving a balance of $19,586.93.The balance is a result of a decrease in festival funding requests and a smaller amount being spent on Facebook ads and Google Ad Words than had been budgeted.

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Board members expound on the life of a public servant.

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two part series about the time, effort, and knowledge it takes to be a commissioner in Macon County. You can view part I here.

In addition to working 40-plus hours a week at their day jobs, tending to their families, and being individual members of the community, the Macon County Board of Commissioners spend a great deal of time serving in their role as an elected official. All five of the commissioners agree they don’t do it for the money, but instead because of a love for their community and a desire to serve their neighbors.

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Local law enforcement authorities continue the investigation into the incidents that ensued as a part of the escape of Macon County Detention Center inmate Charles Cochran. Cochran, who was being held by local authorities on minor trespassing charges in Colorado, escaped from the Macon County Detention Center on July 30. Five days after his initial escape, authorities were able to locate Cochran and take him back into custody without incident.

While Cochran was on the run from authorities, a house in the Burningtown Community was burned down, resulting in one death, of a victim who has yet to be identified, and a middle of the night shooting occurred within Franklin city limits. Although Cochran is believed to be connected to both incidents, authorities have neither confirmed or denied his involvement as of yet.

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The Town of Franklin is experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. Forums are being held to consider the town's future, the Tourism Development Authority has turned its attention towards marketing the town to potential visitors, and various committees and civic groups have popped up in an attempt to overhaul the brand that stands behind Franklin.

But what is that brand exactly? It may be safe to say that it is jumbled at best. Franklin is still the “Gem Capital of the World” though the economic boom that was once experienced as a result of mines in the area has decreased over the years. Features like antique stores can fill a day or two visiting, plus weekend festivals, vibrant colors that paint the mountains during the fall months, not to mention the vast array of outdoor attractions like waterfalls, scenic highways, and hiking trails.

All of these characteristics are used in advertising to garner attention for the community. With such lively examples of what the town has to offer, some are left wondering if the town seal that is being used to represent the town in its board room and on many of its town vehicles may be lacking.

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Sheriff Robert L. Holland released the following statement in regards to the trustee program and the Macon County Sheriff's Office (MCSO).

“MCSO “Trustee” Program inmates in just the year of 2013:

• Spent 1,078 hours utilized in the collection of 4,480 pounds of roadside litter. This totals 242,512 pounds of trash picked up since Sheriff Holland established the program in 2002.
• Spent 921 hours devoted to improvements and maintenance of county buildings.
• Spent 30 hours to non-profit and civic organizations such as CareNet, Relay for Life, Scottish Heritage Day, The Greenway, The Veteran’s Park and more.

read more of the statement after the jump!

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The Town of Franklin has entered into a contractual agreement with Tony Angel Media to serve as a consultant for the Franklin Main Street Program.

"The Town of Franklin is pleased to have Tony Angel Media serve in a consulting role for the Franklin Main Street Program,” said Summer Woodard, Town Manager. “Mr. Angel has a long history with Main Street and we’re looking forward to working with him to provide guidance to the program during this period of transition.”

The Franklin Main Street Program is currently without an Executive Director.

“I’m delighted to be working with Ms. Woodard and the Town on this project,” said Tony Angel.

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According to the World Health Organization, recent global figures indicate that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

With the statistics of violence against women in the United States alarmingly high, organizations such as RAD – Rape Aggression Defense – have sprung up to help women take control of their lives.

Since taking on the role as Franklin Police Chief David Adams has made it his mission to hold RAD courses for individuals in the county. A program he built during his tenure in Hendersonville, RAD is a national, innovative self-defense course for women designed to help them avoid becoming the victim of a sexual assault. It helps women enhance situational awareness and develop confidence so they can thwart an attacker and escape quickly from a bad situation.

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Monday night, Macon County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO) ended a five-day search for inmate Charles Andrew Cochran without incident. The MCSO SWAT was able to take Cochran down at a residence with a little struggle, but no injuries.

Cochran escaped from the detention center Wednesday around 9 p.m. while on trash detail for the Sheriff’s Office trustee program.

According to a statement released by the MCSO on Thursday, during the evening of July 30 at approximately 9 p.m. detention officers were utilizing two inmates to do routine maintenance in and around the Macon County Detention Center. After completing the tasks assigned, a detention officer took the two inmates out to dispose of the garbage, as is done on a daily basis. It was at this time that inmate Charles Andrew Cochran, 21, of Franklin, ran into a deeply wooded area next to the detention center and disappeared.

 

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published: 10/18/2013
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