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Driving into towns across Western North Carolina, banners are hung across the street to welcome visitors to town, advertise upcoming events, or just pass on important information.

Dillsboro nearly always has a banner across the main road into town, and Sylva often utilizes a banner to promote festivals, and Bryson City does the same. The banners are eye catching and a great way to advertise to the countless number of motorists passing through each day. Although the town of Franklin currently prohibits banners to hang across main street, there was a time when they were allowed. Lifting that ban is something local resident Larry Hollifield hoped the town of Franklin would reconsider, but to his surprise, he was shot down.

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Franklin's newest restaurant opened its doors on Wednesday, offering diners a new, unique upscale dining experience. Serving Southern food with a twist, The Bowery has created a buzz since news broke it would be breathing new life into a vacant main street building.

Despite a huge amount of interest and upwards of $650,000 spent to completely renovate the building and get the doors open to serve dinner, The Bowery's tenure on main street may be short lived.

Monday night, town of Franklin attorney John Henning Jr. presented aldermen with a lease agreement for a strip of property adjacent  to The Bowery owned by the town.

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The Macon County Sheriff's office's newest recruit is starting his career early. At just nine weeks old, MCSO's newest deputy is already training for duty.

Chase is the newest member of the MCSO's K-9 unit. The nine-week-old Belgian Malinois was born Sunday, Nov. 30. MCSO Sergeant Clay Bryson, who heads the county's K-9 unit, donated the pup to the sheriff's department.

"I donated Chase to the Macon County Sheriff's Office and he was picked out of my current litter for his play drive and his lack of fear," said Bryson. "What I mean by that is everything we do in law enforcement we make it a game to the dogs, and the better the play drive they have the longer and harder they will work for their reward or praise. And the lack of fear just means that he doesn’t panic or spook easily to different situations such as riding in a kennel, being on slick floors, hearing loud noises, or being in close proximity to other animals."

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Project expected to take up to two years to complete.

Renovations to the town bridge in Franklin have officially been given a schedule by the N.C. Department of Transportation, with a completion date anticipated sometime in 2018.

The Department of Transportation is in the process of planning an improvement project for the older section of what is known as the town bridge. According to Town Manager Summer Woodard, the DOT plans to acquire easements needed for the project this month, accept bids on the project in March with plans to begin the project in May 2016. Once the project is started, the DOT anticipates it will take 18 months to two years to complete all of the renovations.

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An Amber Alert issued in South Carolina over the weekend resulted in Macon County law enforcement officers searchin the Oak Grove Community for 43-year old suspect Harland Donnell Melton Jr.

According to reports, Alexis Ann Deas, 14, from Chesterfield County, S.C., was abducted from her school on Friday morning around 10 a.m. Melton is accused of taking the girl from her school, and transporting her to Macon County. Melton is the stepfather of the victim.

A BOLO (Be On The Lookout) was issued for Melton and his 1999 Nissan Maxima on Saturday morning. The Amber Alert for Deas was cancelled after she was returned home to South Carolina on Sunday. Deas was transported from Macon County, back to South Carolina by Melton's father, Donnell Melton Sr.

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The Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of Western Carolina University has issued a request for qualifications for a project to develop a medical office building to be constructed near the university’s Health and Human Sciences Building.

The building will be the first privately developed structure to be built on WCU’s 344- acre West Campus as part of the university’s Millennial Initiative.

Expected to encompass at least 30,000 square feet of space, the building will become home to a mix of office space for health care professionals, along with space for health-related businesses, said Tony Johnson, executive director for the Millennial Initiative.

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Moses Danny BowenThe Franklin Police Department has identified a suspect in a string of convenience store fraud incidents which occurred last month.

Video surveillance footage revealed a white male suspect purchasing small items from convenience store clerks, then when the clerk returned his change, he would argue that he had given a larger bill than he actually did.

Bowen successfully defrauded several convenience stores in this manner. Franklin Police Department Sgt. Pellicer continued investigating the footage and was able to identify the suspect as 59-year-old Moses Danny Bowen.

Four arrest warrants have been issued in the case for obtaining property by false pretenses. Bowen has been entered into the Nation Crime Information Center (NCIC). According to Franklin Police Chief David Adams, Bowen has ties to Macon County as well as an address near Atlanta, Ga. Anyone who knows his whereabouts should contact Crime Stoppers at (828)349-2600 or the FPD at (828)524-2864.

Tara Renee Pheasant (L) and Frank Joseph McCoy (R)Recently the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) requested assistance from the public in regards to several breaking and enterings and larcenies in the Qualla/Whittier communities of Jackson County.

The suspects are: Tara Renee Pheasant, 38, aka Tara McCoy, Indian Female; and Frank Joseph McCoy, 21, Indian Male.

The JCSO has obtained arrest warrants for the suspects in some of these break-ins. The JCSO is asking for anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts to contact crime stoppers at (828)631-1125 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Frank is believed to be the son of Tara Pheasant and both have been charged in Haywood County on similar charges and are out on bond.

Local law enforcement officers are searching for any information in connection with a breaking and entering at the American Legion. On Jan. 23, American Legion Post 108 reported a breaking and entering in which two MI Grand Military Rifles were stolen.

Franklin Police Chief David Adams noted that the rifles were stolen from a coat closet and that the serial numbers for the rifles have been entered into the National Crime Information Center.

The rifles stolen from the American Legion are utilized during military funeral detail and carry a value of about $400 each.

Because there is no video surveillance, the Franklin Police Department currently have no leads on the case and are reaching out to the public for any information related to the crime. If you have any information on the incident, contact the Franklin Police Department.

Even though the last of the United States combat troops were pulled out of Vietnam on March 29, 1973, the official end of America’s commitment to the war in Vietnam came on April 30, 1975. On that day, forty years ago, the last of the civilians, some South Vietnamese military and a small contingent of United States Marines were removed from the American Embassy by a massive helicopter airlift effort.

It was thus that the United States evacuated Southeast Asia following more than two decades of warfare. The American involvement dates back to the 1950s with support given to the French in their resistance to the rising communist power in what was then called French Indochina. In the beginning, the French were supported by American Military Advisors and were provided American military equipment. By 1965, the United States had inherited the war effort and American military boots were on the ground, leading to hundreds of thousands of American soldiers serving in the Vietnamese jungles. In the end, the United States lost more than 58,000 young men (average age about 23 years old). Thousands more were maimed, mangled, wounded and held in Viet Cong prisoner of war camps.

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