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Macon County Board of Commissioners held their regularly scheduled July meeting Tuesday night at the Macon County Courthouse. After having a moment of silence to remember several county employees and their relatives who had passed away in the weeks prior to the meeting, Vice-chairman Bobby Kuppers led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The meeting began with a public hearing regarding the Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) application. Although no one signed up to speak for or against the application Transit Director Kim Angel informed the board that the application was for funding to cover three individual transportation programs involving a total of $133,374 in funding for the county. With no one present to speak to the motion, commissioners unanimously voted to approve the application.

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Lightning illuminated the sky Sunday near Western Carolina University as thunderstorms rumbled through the area bringing much needed rain.

Weather has made the news across the nation as record high temperatures have produced sweltering conditions in the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic region.

Locally, Sunday night’s storm resulted in power outages for more than 2,000 homes and some downed trees.

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During their June meeting, Sylva's Town Board said good-bye to two-term Commissioner Stacy Knotts. Knotts, who informed the board in January she would be leaving in June, is leaving the board to move with her husband Gibbs Knotts who accepted a position as a Political Science Department Chair at the College of Charleston.

“I want to thank my fellow board members, the outstanding staff at the Town of Sylva, and the residents of Sylva for the support,” said Knotts. “It has been an honor to serve in this position.”

According to Knotts, she first campaigned to work toward making Sylva an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. “I accomplished many of my goals during my time in office,” said Knotts. “My three proudest accomplishments were the roles I played in getting curbside recycling, the much needed sidewalk from Sylva to Dillsboro, and the Bridge Park, which has been a great gathering place for the community.”

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Colonel Michael Gilchrist, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol announced the No Texting, Just Driving educational awareness campaign at a press conference recently at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The new campaign is a safety initiative designed to educate the motoring public on the dangers of distracted driving, particularly texting while driving with the hopes of reducing traffic fatalities and injuries.

Troopers across the state will focus on the dangers of texting while driving to the public through various means such as radio and television public service announcements, “No Texting, Just Driving” presentations, as well as the distribution of educational awareness literature to include campaign specific posters, windshield stickers, pledge cards and other informational items.

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After six years in Macon County, Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman sat with members of the Macon County Board of Education for the last time during Monday night's regularly scheduled board meeting.

Dr. Brigman, who has served as superintendent since 2006, will assume his new position in Catawba County as their superintendent on July 1.

On behalf of the board, School Board Chair Tommy Cabe presented Dr. Brigman with a plaque Monday night recognizing his dedication and service to the students and school system.

“Thank you Dr. Brigman for everything that you have done for the students in Macon County,” said Cabe. “I came to the board right before Dr. Brigman and under his leadership this board has been able to make great strides for public education in our community.”

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Two candidates for the Macon County Board of Education filed with alacrity in hopes of grabbing one of the three seats on the board that are up for election this November.

The seats up for election this fall are District I (Highlands) currently held by Stephanie McCall; District III (Nantahala) currently held by Tommy Baldwin; and District IV (Franklin) currently held by Jim Breedlove. The board's five members, which are elected to four-year staggered terms, represent the three school districts and the county at large.

As of press time on Wednesday, according to the Board of Elections, incumbents Jim Breedlove of District IV Franklin and Tommy Baldwin of District III Nantahala, are the only residents who have filed for school board. McCall spoke with the Macon County News Wednesday morning and said she plans to file for re-election before the July 6 deadline.

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According to Macon County's dispatch CAD report, Tuesday afternoon at approximately 2:21 p.m. a four-year-old child from Andrews was injured in a car accident that resulted in a DWI arrest.

According to a report from the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the toddler was “in the door” of a parked vehicle driven by Susan Klocke of Otto at Loafer’s Glory when a second vehicle, driven by Jamie Gregory of Franklin, backed up and collided with the parked vehicle. The CAD report states that the caller “advises child has been hit by a vehicle at Loafer’s Glory. Caller advises she [the child] is awake and her dad is carrying her and she looks to have a leg injury.”

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Shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, Macon County residents were slightly rattled when an earthquake struck a few miles northeast of Franklin near the Jackson County border. Several residents thought the short “boom” was thunder.

According to David Key, Macon County’s Emergency Services Director, several residents reported hearing a large “boom” and called trying to find out what caused it. Key reported that no damage has been reported as of press time.

Teresa Burns of Sylva said she thought someone had crashed into her garage. “I was about to get in the shower and heard a loud boom,” said Burns.

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Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen passed the proposed town budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 earlier this month, wherein board members resolved the contentious issue of establishing municipal water and sewer rates for Maconians tapped into the utility.

The June 7 meeting was a continuation from a budget workshop held just days before, where officials held little debate over most of the proposed $8.4 million budget laid out by Town Manager Sam Greenwood. The proposed flat budget included no increase on the valuation tax rate, and introduced a small raise in base pay for town employees.

Aldermen and Mayor Joe Collins could not however decide on setting a water and sewer rate schedule. The proposed budget levied for an average increase of six percent for water and 14 percent for sewer services to compensate for a shortfall in utility revenue.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $9.6 million for the creation of two new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas in New York and North Carolina, and the expansion of an already established BCAP project area in Arkansas. The announcement provides the opportunity to expand the nation's non-food, energy crops used in the manufacturing of liquid biofuels and to help meet state mandated Renewal Portfolio Standards (RPS).

“Increasing the production of renewable, home-grown fuels is vital to reducing our country’s reliance on foreign oil, while creating good-paying jobs and diversifying the agriculture economy,” said Vilsack. “These projects are the foundation for an even stronger energy future in rural America.

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