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The Big Bear Bark Park in downtown Franklin was closed temporarily starting May 1. The Friends of the Greenway, with a grant from the Nutro Dog Food Company Room to Run Project, and with technical help from Habitat for Humanity, closed the park in order to build a shelter over the “people” benches inside the Park.

Because the proposed construction would require the moving of some interior fencing, the dog park was scheduled to be closed during construction.

According to representatives with Friends of the Greenways, the shelter that was proposed would be located within a Duke Energy easement.

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The Town of Franklin had a discharge of untreated sewage of approximately 1600 gallons.

The discharge was first discovered on May 22 at 12 p.m. and lasted for nearly four hours. The untreated wastewater entered Cartoogechaye Creek.

The spill occurred because a directional drill went through the sewer line due to construction work.

This notice is required by North Carolina General Statues Article 21.

For more information, contact Assistant to the Town Manager, Summer Woodard at (828) 524-2516.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding an illegal dump site just off of Greens Creek Road. A large amount of used roofing materials were dumped in a hay field prior to May 12, 2013.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office inmate work crew assisted the property owner in the cleanup efforts to remove the dumped materials from the land and properly dispose of them.

The sheriff’s office is asking for assistance in locating potential suspects.

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The Franklin Farmer’s Market was up and running on Saturday morning. Held downtown on Palmer Street, the tailgate market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon throughout the growing season.

John Boertjens, one of the market’s founders, usually has all sorts of greens and vegetables to sell, but only had radishes this weekend. He said the weather is to blame.

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Local livestock farmers who have stressed about the mechanics of selling cattle in the past now have a reprieve. They no longer have to worry about hooking up the trailer or making the trek required to sell their cows. Rising fuel costs will no longer have a direct impact on when a farmer heads to the “sale” beyond Macon County because there is now a cattle pick-up Station for those interested.

The destination of the cows will be the WNC Regional Livestock Center located in Canton, N.C. For years, those who dealt in livestock like cattle, goats, sheep, etc... went elsewhere to sell off their herd. Towns in North Georgia like Eastanollee and Carnesville benefited from the southern migration of many WNC farmers, but in an attempt to keep money in N.C., several pick-up sites have been established.

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As this is being written, 31 Macon County teachers have their jobs on the virtual chopping block. They are awaiting word on whether their words will continue to be heard by their students. Budgetary downsizing is prompting the evaluation and possible elimination of these nontenured positions. While the present educational fiscal crunch is relatively new, the events leading up to it are not. Too much emphasis has been placed on “school” as a physical building at the expense of actual schooling.

Education, especially public/government education is consistently behind the curve in innovation which is an ironic position to say the least. Businesses are discovering that the big box, brick and mortar approach to retail may be going the way of the parachute pants. Our educational system has not received the memo that high overhead with bloated administrative and operational costs isn't the best way to run things, especially in a cash-strapped environment.

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On Tuesday, the public had its chance to voice any opposition they had towards Duke Energy and their proposed rate hikes. Duke Energy has proposed a 9.7 percent increase in its electric rates. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding hearings across the state to allow the public to have their say. Franklin was the site of one of these hearings — the only one west of Asheville — and people filled the courtroom designated for the hearing at the Macon County Court House Tuesday night.

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Macon County commissioners got their first glimpse at the 2013-14 proposed budget on Monday night during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the board of commissioners.

“Macon County continues to maintain a solid financial position compared with many counties in North Carolina,” said County Manager Jack Horton. “The county currently has the lowest ad valorem property rate among all 100 counties in North Carolina at 27.9 cents per $100, and our fund balance remains healthy. This continues to provide a high degree of financial security in terms of being prepared for unexpected emergencies and shortfalls in revenue.

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Grand Jury hands down 56 True Bills of Indictment

Fifty-six True Bills of Indictments were handed down against Christopher Burk of Franklin on Monday after a special called session of the Macon County Grand Jury was conducted.

According to Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland, investigators with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and State Bureau of Investigation provided testimony against defendant Burk during the session that resulted in 56 of 56 True Bills of Indictment being handed down by the Grand Jury.

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League of Women Voters hosts nostalgic forum.

The League of Women Voters hosted its monthly meeting at the Tartan Hall of the First Presbyterian Church last Thursday. The public was invited to the forum that saw a variety of past Macon County Commissioners from the 1970s to the early 1990s offer up stories, advice, and overall views of the current political climate in Macon County.

The meeting was well attended by members of the community who hoped to hear from the former officials, many of whom even worked with them in one form or fashion. In a role that mirrored his first job as county manager, Ron Winecoff started the event off providing a structure that would be followed by the five commissioners in attendance.

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