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- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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The Macon County Airport will soon be getting much needed improvements to the runway. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and DOT (Department of Transportation) approved Macon County for a $2.9 million grant to ensure the airport continues to meet federal and state standards.

In order to get the $2.9 million grant, the airport would need a 10 percent local match from the county, which amounts to $290,556. Commissioners voted to approve the funding in their last regular board meeting.

Macon County's airport is one of 76 airports in the state and has been identified by the FAA as needing the grant to make much needed improvements to the facilities infrastructure. According to Airport Authority Chairman Milles Gregory, the monies were allocated to the county to resurface the runway. During the FAA's last bi-annual inspection, the airport was rated as in fair condition, but the strength of the runway's surface was nearing the poor condition side. “It’s been years since the runway has been resurfaced, and the strength of it is deteriorating,” said Gregory. “That is why we were able to get the funds, because of the recognizable need for improvements.”

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Mission Health President and CEO Dr. Ron Paulus informed employees in a letter at the end of August that the hospital will be laying off some employees as part of an effort to reduce costs.

According to the letter, the hospital is being forced to eliminate about 70 positions to reduce the hospitals overall operating costs. “There will be some caregivers (fewer than 70) who are nonetheless impacted by a job loss,” reads the letter.

Paulus explained that the 70 positions do not necessarily mean 70 individuals, as the hospital will try to save as many jobs as possible through attrition. “For any job elimination, we will work hard to find an alternative role that is appropriate for the skills and experience of that individual,” the letter states.

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In anticipation of receiving a $500,000 grant from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) later this year, Macon County commissioners voted to allocate $21,000 from the county's fund balance to begin Phase I of the project.

Funds totalling $17,000 will be used to pay the project engineer Mike LoVoy of Civil Engineering Design of Asheville, to design a rough grading and storm drainage plan for Phase I of the project. Phase I of the project will cover the development of the adult ball fields and parking area of the recreation facility.

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Commissioners pass a resolution on Nikwasi Mound.

With County Manager Jack Horton ending his 36-year career in local government administration on September 30, the Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Mike Decker as interim county manager. Decker, who currently serves as both the Human Resource Director for the county and the Deputy Clerk to the Board of Commissioners, will serve as county manager for the month of October.

“Mike will be the county manager effective Oct. 1 and if the search for a permanent replacement for Jack goes beyond that, Horton has agreed to return to the county to work on a contract basis until no later than Jan. 1,” said County Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin.

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It's that time of year again. Local non-profit groups made their annual grant requests to the Town Board of Aldermen Tuesday night and and now the officials will decide if and how much they can spare for each request.

This year, Franklin officials have put aside $40,000 in a community funding pool. The aldermen will disburse the money out as grants to local non-profits who provide a public service to the residents of Franklin and meet a set criteria. The organization must be a non-profit; funding provided will not be given on a reoccurring basis; the organization must meet the public purpose doctrine; and all of the awarded funding must be spent within the fiscal year. Organizations cannot receive more than $5,000.

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SCC president speaks to Town Aldermen about expanding Macon Campus

Southwestern Community College (SCC) is looking to expand and according to President Don Tomas, the Macon County campus is just the place for targeted growth.

Tomas spoke to the Franklin Board of Aldermen during Tuesday night's meeting to inform them that SCC is looking to expand and due to a 7.3 percent increase in the number of students attending SCC from Macon County, the Cecil Groves Macon Campus is in need of expansion.

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Earl and Shirley Dillard were awakened to the sound of a loud crash and a motor revving early Saturday morning. At around 2:30 a.m., a truck owned by Mickey Bingham, 28, was driven through the Dillards’ yard and into the their two car garage that sits apart from their home.

“We woke up when we heard him trying to get himself loose,” said Earl. “You can see the tire marks at the top of the yard and they go all the way across our front yard and into the garage. Then when he backed out he hit that bush before finally getting the truck back on the road.”

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Macon County law enforcement spent most of last Wednesday searching for an Otto man wanted for charges of robbery in Rabun County, Ga. 

On Wednesday morning, Aug. 21, Franklin Police Officer Jonathan Bean attempted to arrest Jeffery Alan Tedesco, 30, of Coweeta Lab Road, at C&R Lube on the Highlands Road in Franklin on Wednesday morning, he fled from officers.

Tedesco was wanted by the Rabun County Sheriff's Office on a fugitive warrant for burglary charges. He fled onto the greenway behind C&R Lube.

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Planning Board to consider surplus county properties.

The Macon County Planning Board held its monthly meeting on August 15 to discuss the ongoing issue of the floodplain ordinance.

As a result of a request made by Wells Grove Baptist Church, county commissioners tasked the board with looking at possible changes to the ordinance. The current ordinance disallows the use of fill in a floodplain.

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The Macon County Airport Authority board held its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon. Erik Rysdon was in attendance to provide updates to the board about a variety of issues. Rysdon, a project manager at W.K. Dickson, an engineering, planning, and design firm out of Charlotte, is leading the runway widening project. The contract was recently awarded to Reeves Construction. He is also the board's go-to when other issues arise or new projects come about.

As far as the widening project is concerned, Rysdon told the board that the Division of Aviation (DOA) had not gotten back to him about approval as of yet, but that it should be coming soon.

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published: 10/18/2013
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