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U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins has announced a federal grant totaling $900,000 to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in the Western District of North Carolina. The grant program is designed to enhance law enforcement practices and prevention of violence against women.

In announcing the grant U.S. Attorney Tompkins stated, “We are excited about this grant because it specifically targets violence against women within the reservation. Building and sustaining a safe and secure environment in our tribal region is a priority for my office and this grant will help put an end to the unacceptable rate of violence against women in Indian Country.”

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A motor home fire occurred on Cowee Mountain Tuesday, October 16. It is owned by Curtis Winkler of Anniston, Alabama.

A passerby alerted Winkler of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Franklin Fire Department responded to the call.

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Dates to remember:

— General Election is Tuesday, November 6
— Absentee ballots begin Friday, September 7
— Voter Registration (by-mail) deadline is Friday, October 12
— One-stop absentee voting and same day registration runs from Thursday, October 18 to Saturday, November 3
— Tuesday, October 30 is the last day to request an absentee ballot.

All Absentee ballots must be received by Board of Election by Monday, November 5.

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The Macon County News traditionally provides our readers with profiles of candidates running for office in the weeks prior to the election. This week the focus is on the candidates for the District III seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Bobby Kuppers – District III

Bobby Kuppers is the Democratic incumbent candidate for the District III seat on the Board of Commissioners. Kuppers has been a resident of Macon County since 1960, when he moved here with his family at the age of six years old.

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After 40 years going virtually untouched, the Macon County recreation pool complex will officially get an upgrade this fall. During their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, commissioners unanimously voted to award two bids totaling $546,000 to give a complete upgrade to Macon County's pool and pool-house.

Commissioners voted to award Augusta Aquatics the $338,500 contract for the pool portion of the project. Seth Adams, director of Macon County Recreation Department, said that the company originally submitted the lowest bid at $360,142, but he was able to negotiate the price down to save the county nearly $22,000. “Augusta Aquatics came highly recommended by Aquatics H2O, the firm that drafted the plans for the pool,” said Adams. “They are a larger company and said that this project will be the smallest project they do all year, which made me feel better about it.”

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More than 159 pounds of prescription drugs collected.

In an effort to make Macon County streets safer, Macon County's Sheriff's Office worked with the Franklin Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigation and Highlands Police Department to take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day last Saturday.

Lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration, law enforcement agencies in Western North Carolina posted locations last Saturday that gave the public the opportunity to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by safely disposing of the medications.

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Detectives with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Unit have charged four Macon County residents with numerous property crimes involving five residences in Macon County.

All of the residences were unoccupied when the crimes were committed and one of the crimes involved a stolen tractor that was recovered in Georgia.

Macon County detectives also contacted the Haywood County Sheriff's Office and provided information regarding additional crimes that occurred in Haywood County.

The defendants and current charges are as follows:

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What will happen to Holly Springs Plaza?

The Town of Franklin Planning Department has performed a site inspection of the new Super Wal-Mart site, and found it to be in compliance with the zoning regulations of the district, assuring that the store is on track to open its doors on Oct. 26.

The new plaza, which is expected to be a new destination for economic growth along the 441 highway corridor, according to Town Planner Derek Roland, already has five businesses ready to relocate to the new plaza. “Thus far the following businesses have submitted sign permit applications: Dollar Tree, Shoe Show, Cato, G2K Games and U.S. Cellular,” said Roland. “A Subway restaurant will also be located inside the Wal-Mart main building.”

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A Franklin man was sentenced last week to serve a max of 11.5 years in prison for various sexual offenses against minors.

At the September 25 session of Macon County Superior Court, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 48, of Shady Cove Lane, pled guilty to five felony counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two felony counts of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor. The sentence was part of a plea deal offered by the District Attorney’s office.

Kennedy was investigated and arrested in August 2011 following a complaint from a concerned citizen. Initially, Macon County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) detectives searched Kennedy's residence during an identity theft investigation. During the investigation, Kennedy admitted to having hundreds of pornographic images of children in his possession, according to search warrants from the time of his arrest.

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A young man was found unresponsive in the Fine Arts Building at Franklin High School Monday afternoon.

Emergency Medical Services were called out who transported the student first to Angel Medical Center and then to Asheville where he was pronounced dead later that night. The investigation into the cause is still ongoing at press time.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan was supportive of the response of the FHS faculty and in particular principal Dr. Chris Baldwin.

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