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Gazebo remodel tops the list of upcoming projects.

At the Town of Franklin's annual board retreat that took place last Saturday, aldermen and town officials looked at a variety of issues that would probably surface over the next year. Some of the topics have taken center stage before while others were relatively new.

New plans for the Gazebo

The future of the Gazebo on Town Square has long been a topic of discussion among town officials. Renovations have been discussed at length, and at Saturday's meeting, Town Manager Warren Cabe presented to the board some sample drawings of what the area could look like in the near future.


With temperatures predicted to get to historic lows once again throughout the week, local churches and organizations are concerned about the homeless population in Macon County.

Determining the actual number of homeless individuals varies from organization to organization based on the definition used. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, homeless is defined as “an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (such as shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing. A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, or mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or nonpermanent situation.”


The Franklin Board of Aldermen held its annual retreat last Saturday to discuss actions that could be taken in the future to aid in the town's economic development.

Town-owned vacant properties, particularly the old town hall building, have received plenty of attention ever since last year's retreat. The board previously decided to try and sell the piece of property, but after only receiving one bid of $150,000, well below the tax value, the talks of selling it have gone quiet.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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