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News

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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Riders in the Nantahala area to take the biggest hit.

Fare increases for Macon County Transit were approved by commissioners during last week's meeting. While County Commissioner Ronnie Beale opposed the rate increases, the new fares passed in a 4-1 vote.

Macon County Transit Director Kim Angel brought the rate increases before the board and explained that her request was based on changes in operational costs. “The reason we ask for fares and cost share are to meet match requirements on grants, and when grant money runs out, the money we collect from passengers keeps the system running," said Angel.

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At the August meeting of the Franklin Board of Aldermen, a public hearing was held for comments about suggested changes for sweepstakes parlors. The suggestion made by Town Planner Derek Roland would amend text of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and restrict sweepstakes parlors to C-3 Commercial areas should they ever become legal.

“The application that was sent down to the planning board has been expanded from its original version,” said Roland. “We didn't originally include a formal definition so the planning board recommended adding the amendment that would define the devices in a similar manner to the state's wording. They also recommended a portion of the text to set guidelines that are similar to ones followed by private clubs. That's where we stand right now.”

According to the UDO, that means sweepstakes parlors “shall not be located within a 500-foot radius of another establishment housing Electronic Machines and Devices for Sweepstakes, nor within 250 feet of a residential use or residential zoning classification.”

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) pleaded with the Macon County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night asking for help to get rights to the Nikwasi Indian Mound. Although the property is within Macon County, the lease to the mound belongs to the Town of Franklin.

Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Michell Hicks spoke Tuesday night saying that he was compelled to fight to "bring the mound home."

"The mound belongs to the Cherokee people and the deed needs to be back in our names," said Hicks. "It is time for that mound to come back home."

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published: 10/18/2013
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