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When there weren't enough members to take action on anything at last week's county planning board meeting, the members who were present discussed a variety of topics for a short time before adjourning; one of them being the possibility of a new farmer's market at the Cowee Heritage Center. An organization called MountainWise was commended for their efforts in trying to make that happen, spurring the question, who exactly is MountainWise?

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The Macon County Board of Education voted Thursday to join legal action against the state, challenging the constitutionality of a law passed back in July.

The complaint, which was originally filed by the North Carolina School Boards Association in Wake County Superior Court on Dec. 16, challenges the General Assembly’s July decision to provide $4,200 per student in annual taxpayer funds to cover the cost of school vouchers for students electing to attend private schools.

“The Macon County Board of Education was invited, along with all of the other school districts in North Carolina, to join in the North Carolina School Boards Association's challenge to the recently adopted voucher system,” explained Macon County Board of Education attorney John Henning Jr.

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Mayor seeking legal ways to get input from the public.

At last week's Franklin Board of Aldermen meeting, elected officials seemed to be at odds concerning a variety of issues, notably the use of liaisons at East Franklin School and monthly “town hall” style meetings.

Mayor Bob Scott had attempted to establish two liaisons, one for East Franklin Elementary and another for people seeking information about recreation in the area, but the school appointment issue stole the show.

Scott's attempt to place Alderman Barbara McRae as the link between the school that sits inside the city limits in an attempt to build goodwill between the school and the town board was brought into question by Alderman Billy Mashburn.

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At Monday night's Franklin Tourism Development Authority, members were presented with an update of the marketing plan that is being implemented by local marketing firm, Premiere Marketing. Jessica Mason, who has been handling the TDA's account, set to work describing the effects the plan has had so far for the Discover Franklin website.

“As you can see since we started the marketing plan, there's been about 5,000 visits to the site each month,” said Mason. “The number dropped in the winter months and we expected that to happen.”

In the month of September the number was 4,539; in October it was 4,845; and in November, it began dropping with 3,311 visitors and 2,964 in December as the temperatures got colder.

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According to data released by N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, the state saw a record number of methamphetamine lab busts in 2013. Of the 561 “labs” that were taken down by law enforcement — the vast majority being very small operations — 62 were located in North Carolina’s 18 westernmost counties.

The previous year, 460 such busts occurred statewide, 55 of them in those WNC counties.

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On January 11, Joe Otis Norwood, 24, of Franklin, N.C., was arrested in the Cartoogechaye area when he fired a gun outside of a home while aggressively knocking on a resident's front door according to Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland.

911 dispatchers received a phone call from a homeowner claiming that gunshots had been fired outside his home and the man was still outside.

“I want to note that the caller absolutely did the right thing by calling 911 instead of trying to handle the situation himself,” said Holland. “He stayed inside with the doors locked, where it was safe until officers arrived on the scene to apprehend the suspect.”

Authorities believe that Norwood obtained the gun from one of the two vehicles parked outside of the home where the 911 call came from. After firing the initial shots he then knocked on the door of the home before firing more shots and then disposing of the pistol in the bushes next to the residence.

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With unprecedented low temperatures across the country, at least 45 daily record lows were set on Tuesday morning. A deadly cold snap caused by bitterly cold air straight from the Arctic, brought the coldest weather in decades to Western North Carolina.

In North Carolina, several cities across the state reported record low temperatures on Tuesday. Asheville recorded a record low of -1, with the previous record of 3 degrees. Macon County was not able to avoid the frigid temperatures reporting temperatures below zero late Monday night and into Tuesday afternoon.

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July

Town board explores future water options

The Franklin Board of Aldermen looked at the future of the town's water system at its July meeting.

Brian Tripp from the consulting firm W.K. Dickson was at the meeting and provided a presentation on a plan that would expand the current infrastructure of the town's water system to meet the demand up to and beyond 2035.

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On Monday night the Franklin Board of Aldermen held its first meeting of the new year. On the agenda was a variety of issues to be discussed, but the extremely low temperatures kept two presenters – representatives of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Venture Local – from attending the meeting. As a result of the reduced agenda items, the meeting was shortened significantly, but produced some significant highlights before adjourning for the evening.

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At Monday night's Franklin Board of Aldermen meeting, Town Manager Warren Cabe announced that Macon County employee Justin Setzer would be serving as the new Town Planner of Franklin.

“I'm honored to receive this opportunity,” said Setzer following the announcement. “I'm looking forward to working with the administration, the town board and the citizens of Franklin.”

Setzer, a Franklin native, will officially begin his duties on Jan. 29. In the meantime, he will finish up his stint with Macon County. The Franklin High School and Haywood Technical College alumnus began working with the county in 2006 in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department as a GIS Analyst. He also serves as Lieutenant for the Franklin Fire Department and spent some time with the Town of Franklin Planning Board.

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published: 10/18/2013
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