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News

With the New Year’s holiday being a time of celebration and new beginnings, once again this year, the Macon County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO) wanted to start the year off right by working to keep the roads as safe as possible by hosting the Operation Think Twice Program.

Each year, the MCSO holds Operation Think Twice on New Year’s Eve to provide a safe way for residents to get home after a night of celebration. With a “no questions asked” policy, anyone needing a safe ride home on New Year’s Eve was encouraged to call dispatch and an officer would take them home.

This year 30 individuals called and requested rides home and the MCSO worked with local businesses such as Mixers and Mulligan’s to ensure their customers would have a ride home if needed.

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A Macon County man was arrested on New Year’s Eve after allegedly firing a shot at his girlfriend’s head.

After a domestic dispute erupted in the Nantahala community of Macon County, 22-year-old Alexander Bryant, of Topton, was arrested by the Macon County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday night for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. According to police reports, Bryant shot a rifle toward his girlfriend, Ashley Slaton, following an argument. The victim was able to escape the scene to contact authorities, and after a search in the Nantahala community for Bryant, he surrendered himself to law enforcement officers.

The incident report on file states that Slaton called 911 to report that Bryant was shooting at her from a window at his residence in Topton. Slaton told police she went to Bryant’s to retrieve her car that was sitting in the front parking lot when he opened fire on her. Slaton was able to hide behind a tree to contact authorities, but informed dispatch that Bryant was watching her from his window.

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In the summer of 2011, state and local investigators broke up a large scale methamphetamine ring that was being operated out of the then-Budget Inn located off of Highway 441 in Jackson County that was owned by Michael James Taylor of Sylva.

The operation was led by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and assisted by the State Bureau of Investigation as well as the Macon County Sheriff's Office.

Since it was a federal investigation, the details of the case were not forthcoming.

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Since a new salvage yard reporting law went into effect a month ago, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ License and Theft Bureau has received 41 reports of stolen vehicles, stopping 22 from being sold to salvage yards and confiscating 19 following sales.

The new law requires salvage yards and metal recyclers to verify vehicle information before selling parts or crushing vehicles they buy. Of those identified, the Bureau and several local law enforcement agencies have recovered 33 vehicles and also uncovered three fictitious IDs still under investigation. Additionally, the Bureau is beginning to receive reports of illegal activities in buying and selling junked cars.

“This is a great example of how one new law has already made a big difference in a very short amount of time,” said Motor Vehicles Commissioner Kelly J. Thomas. He said the number of vehicles stolen in North Carolina during 2012 totaled more than 15,876.

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Another year comes to a close and the country as well as the state has experienced a year of ups and downs. We saw the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and President Obama's fight with the United States Congress to keep in moving forward.

We saw a house divided when it came time for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and their attempts to reach a deal on the budget in order to avoid default and we were helpless as the sequester tightened around various aspects of our lives.

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Recognizing the dedication and willingness to serve the residents of Macon County, each year the Macon County Sheriff’s Department holds an annual banquet to honor the outstanding men and women in law enforcement. In appreciation of local law enforcement, Congressman Mark Meadows attended the MCSO annual banquet at the Dillard House. Meadows thanked Macon County law enforcement officers for their sacrifices made by the officers and their families and assisted Holland in presenting the awards.

The Macon County Sheriff’s Department named Joshua Stewart Deputy of the Year during their annual banquet.

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Moody appointed to two-year term

When voters took to the polls in the Sylva Municipal election, they voted to elect Christina Matheson as the new mayor, but when it came time for Matheson to take her Oath of Office, she had other plans in mind. Matheson, who started her professional career as a lawyer, turned down the position as Mayor of Sylva to accept a position with the District Attorney’s Office.

Because Matheson decided against taking the mayor's seat, Sylva’s Town Board voted to unanimously reinstate long time Mayor Maurice Moody to another term in office. “Maurice will serve two years until the next election,” explained Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson. “In the 2015 election, someone will be elected to the mayor’s seat to serve the remaining two years of the term. In 2017, the election schedule will resume as normal.”

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Macon County Clerk of Court Vic Perry travelled to Highlands last week to officially swear in Highlands' new leadership. In addition to a new mayor, Perry swore in new town board member Donnie Calloway as well as Amy Patterson, who was able to retain her seat on the board.

Taylor replaces Mayor David Wilkes, who decided not to seek re-election and secured the position as mayor with 260 votes to Brain Stiehler's 174.

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Since being classified as operating with some of the oldest 911 equipment in the state, Macon County’s 911 center gained approval from commissioners last week to upgrade the system.

With a combination of state 911 funds and the reallocation of existing funds within the local 911 budget, Macon County will be purchasing a new phone switch that will allow text and picture messaging to be used in and for emergency communication.

Emergency Service Director David Key informed the board of commissioners during the December meeting that the current phone switch used in the 911 department is 20 years old, which stands as the oldest system in the state. Key explained that in the event the current phone switch failed, which is likely due to its age, residents would be unable to contact 911.

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The Macon County Planning Board held a special called meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, to review feedback from department heads concerning surplus properties currently owned by the county. At the October meeting, the board, at the request of the county commissioners, considered various county owned parcels of land and potential uses for them. At the conclusion of that meeting, the board members chose to approach various department heads to see whether the properties could be put to use by the different entities.

According to County Planner Matt Mason, an email was distributed to request feedback from three departments returning comments.

“The Health Department is not interested in the property, the Solid Waste Department is interested in a couple of pieces, including the old school, and Emergency Management is interested in the old school,” said Mason.

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