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With plans to expand Macon County's landfill in order to increase capacity, Solid Waste Director Chris Stahl presented commissioners with an analysis of alternative landfill sites within the county during February's monthly meeting.

Stahl's presentation to the board, which was completed with the help of McGill Associates, a consulting engineer firm out of Asheville, was state mandated.

"In accordance with General Statute 153-136(c), a landfill that is seeking to expand its volume by more than 10 percent is considered a new landfill," explained Stahl. "Even though most of the Phase III landfill has been permitted for almost 20 years, with the proposed expansion, and since none of the Phase III area has been developed as a landfill, all of an expanded Phase III would be considered a new landfill."


Panhandlers could soon be back on the streets in Franklin. Despite an ordinance passed by the Franklin Board of Aldermen earlier this year, a group of people who line the intersection of the Highlands Road and East Main Street may soon be out again with buckets in hand.

According to Franklin Police Chief David Adams, the group that is known for frequenting the intersection claiming to be a church group with ties to both Kentucky and Florida stopped by the Franklin Police Department to show proof of a $2 million insurance policy as required by the town's new ordinance.

The group also paid the newly adopted $25 application fee and received the application from the police department for the privilege of collecting funds in that intersection. According to Adams, the application has yet to be returned and approved, but so far, the group has done everything outlined in the town's new ordinance in order to be approved to solicit funds in Franklin streets.


Many apps can track your location and share your information

You just had a flat tire along a dark country road. Luckily, you downloaded a flashlight app into your cellphone and now can put it to use.

But that flashlight, handy as it is, may be just one of many doors you unwittingly opened to let spies take up residence inside your phone.

“Most free flashlight apps are creepware,” says Gary S. Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall (, a company that specializes in cybersecurity.


Older employees more focused on the satisfaction of a job well done

America's aging workforce is a good thing for employers and the economy, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, noting that a new Gallup poll shows that "employee engagement increases with age, even well into workers' 60s and 70s."

The poll concluded that older workers are more "involved in and enthusiastic about their work and more productive members of their workplace — than younger workers."

Weber said it is no secret that over the next 20 years Americans will be turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day. "It's not surprising, therefore, that seniors are staying on the job much longer than in the past. Some seniors continue to work well past traditional retirement to make ends meet; many stay because they find fulfillment in their jobs."


For the last 11 years, the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County (FHAMC) has worked to bring the annual Franklin Folk Festival to Main Street each year. With the intent of preserving the county's culture and heritage, volunteers established historically significant demonstrations such as Harold Corbin's infamous moonshine still, hand crafted quilts and art, cultural dances and music and other memories that remind and resurrect residents of Franklin's past as part of the July festival.

Each year the festival has grown, to the point two years ago, that the Folk Heritage Association reached out to the town for help putting on the event. The town formed a partnership with FHAMC and helped coordinate the event through the town's Event Coordinator Linda Schlott.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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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