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The WCU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a revision to the university’s tailgating policy that adds an additional parking lot to areas in which alcohol may be consumed on campus as part of fans’ pregame festivities. Approval of the change came during the board’s regularly scheduled quarterly meeting Friday, March 6.

Beginning this fall, the Belk Building parking lot, which previously had been designated as an alcohol-free zone, will be among the alcohol-permissible tailgating areas.

The move became necessary because of increased interest in pregame tailgating at WCU in the wake of recent improvements to the football program. In 2014, the WCU football team enjoyed its first winning regular season since 2005, earning a second-place finish in Southern Conference play.


Amidst a loss of leadership and in an attempt to regroup, the Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors voted last Wednesday to place the program on inactive status.

“At this point, I feel it would be the right time for the board to step back and assess how it wants to proceed,” said board member Sissy Pattillo. “I have been involved with the Franklin Main Street Program since it became active again. If you look where we were and where we are now, we have made great strides. Many projects have been accomplished and the master plan for our town is a great example. Phase one has been completed and phase two is under way.”

The Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors includes Christine Basey, Judy Chapman, Joyce Handley, Ken Murphy and Sissy Pattillo. Over the last few months, four board members have resigned from their posts. In addition to board members' resignation, the MSP was also dealing with the lack of a Main Street coordinator, a paid position with the town.


In the fall of last year, Franklin's Main Street Program (MSP) coordinator Linda Schlott ended her tenure with the town. Historically, one aspect of the Main Street coordinator position was to help facilitate cooperation between the town and events occurring on Main Street. As festivals and events began to grow downtown, as the Main Street coordinator, Schlott began taking on more and more responsibilities to ensure that festivals and events kept Main Street happening all year long.

When Schlott left her position with the town, she left a void in terms of festival planning and coordination. So much so, independent festivals are having to take a step back and regroup in order to have 2015 events, while others have been cancelled altogether.

Last month, news broke that after 11 years, the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County's annual Franklin Folk Festival would not be happening in 2015. The main factor cited by members of the FHAMC as to why there would not be a festival this summer, was due to the fact that the town no longer had a MSP coordinator to help independent festivals.


Gary Shields' name is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable names in Macon County. Like most Vietnam veterans, he loves the United States, he loves North Carolina, and he loves Franklin and the people who live here. He is passionate in his desire to help other people and to serve his community and his nation.

Upon graduating from high school, Shields enlisted in the military in October 1966. He did his basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C. He then went to Fort Gordon, Georgia, for his radio communication school. He also cross trained in mortars and infantry. In Vietnam, he served with the United States Army Airborne, attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. When his unit was in a fire-fight, it was his responsibility as Radio Communications Officer to call in support for them, whether artillery, jets, or mortars.


At 5.4 percent, North Carolina's unemployment rate for January remained unchanged from December and below the national average of 5.7 percent.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce's report released on Tuesday, North Carolina’s January 2014 unemployment rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than a year ago. The number of people employed increased 22,658 over the month to 4,397,927, and increased 65,854 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 1,161 over the month to 248,866, and declined 57,145 over the year.


Macon County Sheriff's Department is currently taking applications for the third Citizens Academy course. The course, which is set to begin on Thursday, April 9, will be a 10-week educational program geared toward building community relations.

"Our academy gives citizens an opportunity to learn who they have serving at their Sheriff's Office and an insight as to what goes on in the MCSO and in their community," said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. "It also allows citizens to learn how they help us make our community even better. It also allows us an opportunity to hear from community members of how we can better serve them."


The Macon County Board of Elections showed their appreciation to Russell Bowling, past board member and to Agnes DeHart in honor of her husband, Turner DeHart.

Russell Bowling and Turner DeHart served on the board for many years, the presentation was made at the March 10 meeting.







The Smoky Mountains “Spring for Success” Career Fair is scheduled for Friday, March 13, at the Robert C. Carpenter Building (former Macon County Community Building).

A dozen groups and businesses have come together to make the event happen. With a portion of the event being focused on employing veterans, organizations affiliated with veterans joined on to make the event a success. Event sponsors include American Legion Post 108, Macon County Economic Development Commission (EDC), Macon County NC Works Career Center, Southwestern Community College, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 994.

"Mark Schuler, veterans employment consultant with NC Commerce, contacted the Macon County EDC about partnering with the Division of Workforce Solutions (DWS), veterans organizations and Southwestern Community College to hold a job fair," said Macon County Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins of how the event came to fruition.


On the front door of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Smokey Mountain Chapter 994, is the logo of the VVA and the motto, “Never Again Shall One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another.” The door opens to a group of unfamiliar faces, faces of men who share in a brotherhood not known to any other generation of American Military men. This small gathering was a microcosm of the American men who were used by their government to fight an unpopular war ? men who many times were reviled by their countrymen for their participation in the war. These are men who have stood, unwavering in their loyalty to and pride in the United States of America.


Officials turning to state lawmakers for policy change.

Earlier this year, Henry Te petitioned the town of Franklin to have his property on 441 South annexed into the town limits. Town Clerk Chad Simons was instructed to examine the issue and found a state law that would prohibit Te's request from being granted.

"We found that this property did not meet one of the necessary standards to be eligible for annexation into the Town. It is and was part of a subdivision, which per statute, requires all portions of the subdivision to join in the petition for annexation, or the town would be prohibited from annexing it," explained Franklin Attorney John Henning Jr.


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