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As a result of last week's torrential rainfall accumulations, a portion of road on the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway connecting Cherokee and Tennessee, was swept away in a landslide. The first assessment of the landslide which occurred along Newfound Gap Road in North Carolina shows that the landslide is approximately 90,000 cubic yards of material or 350-400 feet — around the length of a football field — and 45-50 feet deep.

According to Molly Schroer with the National Park Service Public Affairs department, as of Tuesday, the slide is still active and an assessment team has observed debris continuing to fall.


In keeping with the goal of open, bi-partisan communication for the people of Macon County, commissioners held their mid-year review retreat last Saturday. The meeting, which is held midway through the fiscal year (which runs from July 1-June 30) is intended to evaluate the county's to-date progress and look toward planning for the upcoming year.

County manager Jack Horton began the meeting by giving commissioners a brief summary of on-going and new projects in the county. Horton noted that the upgrade to the water and sewer system, a project that has taken more than a decade since it began, is nearly complete, and other projects such as renovations to the Highlands School are just about to begin. “There are several projects both new and old that the county has taken on,” said Horton. “Regardless of the project, these things are necessary improvements to the infrastructure of our county.”


Franklin's Tourism Development Authority, (TDA) which has seen revisions to its operating procedures, will be developing a marketing strategy in 2013 to allow the board to better promote tourism and development in the Town of Franklin.

During the TDA's monthly meeting on Jan. 13, the board voted to table discussion of granting $10,000 to the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (SMCPA).

During the Dec. 10 meeting, Nikki and Scotty Corbin went before the TDA to request funds for advertising SMCPA events planned for March 2013. The pair explained that the March 2013 lineup was expected to enhance tourism in the Town of Franklin, drawing people from other areas to the community. Acts such as country music singer Easton Corbin, an Angelina Ballerina play and a performance by the Lovin Spoonful are all scheduled for March.


Beginning February 1, vehicles located inside the city limits will become subject to the Town of Franklin's new Junk Car Ordinance.

According to a fact sheet sent from the desk of Franklin's Town Planner Derek Roland, the newly established ordinance will allow law enforcement to dispose of three categories of vehicles left within the city limits.

The ordinance states that three types of vehicles, identified as abandoned, junked motor or nuisance vehicles will be subject to removal by town officials.


Western North Carolina continued to be deluged by rain Wednesday afternoon. Record rainfall has caused rivers and streams to bulge beyond their banks and overflow into roadways.

Macon County Schools called for a two-hour delay Wednesday morning to allow time for the rain to taper off and travel conditions to be safer.

“Our transportation guys went out this morning around 4:30 a.m. [Wednesday] and came back with a report that the rain was really heavy in Otto,” explained Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan.


Newsmakers and Top Headlines of the Year - Part Three


Town refinances loan

As reported by The Macon County News (MCN) on Sept. 6, the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen voted to approve the refinancing of town loans in the amount of $4,350,000 by Sun- Trust Equipment Finance & Leasing Corp at its Sept. 3 meeting. According to Town Manager Sam Greenwood, refinancing the town's loan saved taxpayers $360,000 over the term of the leasing contract.


Highlands School slated for $1.5 million renovation.

Despite looming budget cuts and uncertainty of what mandates will be handed down from the state level, members of the Macon County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education met Tuesday night to discuss the county's commitment to the students in the community.

The Joint Facilities Review Committee, which is comprised of commissioners Ronnie Beale and Kevin Corbin and Board of Education members Stephanie McCall and Tommy Cabe, along with other stake-holders from both entities, is designed to promote open communication and cooperation between the two boards.


Continuing rain has delayed completion of the move.

The recent rainfall hitting Western North Carolina has put a damper on the Sylva Police Department's plan to move into its new location on Main Street in Sylva. Originally, the police station had hoped to begin moving into its new location, which is the former site of Jackson County's Library, on Monday, but record rainfall has delayed plans and according to Sylva's Chief of Police, Davis Woodard, the move will hopefully be completed by this weekend.


Archaeological study ordered at site of new rec park.

During a recessed meeting of the Macon County Board of Commissioners on Monday night, county officials voted to allow an additional 60 days to complete the due diligence phase of determining whether or not the Parker Meadows Property can be used to build a recreation facility for the community.

As clarified by Commissioner Chairman Kevin Corbin on Monday, the board has already voted to enter into a purchase agreement to move forward with acquiring the property.


In light of the recent Sandy Hook tragedies in Newtown, Conn., Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland recently gave presentations to both the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners regarding the district's school safety plans.

As Holland explained during both presentations, his concern is not a “knee-jerk” reaction in the wake of the killing of 26 individuals, but that school safety has always remained a constant priority for him and his department.


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