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Like Macon County, Jackson County commissioners are considering a salary increase for all employees. According to Jackson County Human Resources Director Danielle Wittekind, the county is currently considering a two percent increase for all employees based on the Consumer Price Index and the associated increase in the cost of living.

The last increase Jackson County employees received was during FY 2012-2013. “This was a one-time payment of $650 to employees who earn less than $40,000 per year,” said Wittekind. “Prior to this there has not been any pay increase (step, merit, COLA or otherwise) since the Mercer salary study was implemented that had planned adjustments in FY 2008-2009 and FY 2009-2010 based on aligning Jackson County salaries with the results of the survey.”


On Monday, March 4, the Town Board of Aldermen held its monthly meeting for the public to comment about their concerns and to discuss a variety of different issues. Among the agenda items were the possible opening of an indoor firing range and the approval of an updated nuisance ordinance.

Indoor firing range

Bob Simpson, owner of Bob Simpson Contracting and Mountain Firearms located on East Main Street, approached the board during the public comment period to discuss the proper route needed to take in order to open a sound proof indoor firing range. Simpson proposed using 10,000 square feet of the old Burcliff Industries building located on Ulco Drive. According to Simpson, the closest indoor ranges are located in Asheville and Brevard.


Jackson County Sheriff’s Office employee Major Shannon Queen has been accused of domestic violence. According to court documents on file at the Jackson County Clerk of Courts Office, Major Queen's wife, Katherine Queen, filed a Feb. 20 complaint alleging that her estranged husband threatened her and mistreated their children.

According to Katherine's signed statement, “Shannon had a weekend visit with our children the weekend of Feb. 15-17. On Feb. 19 my daughter (a 5-year old) showed me a mark across her right thigh she said was caused by Shannon hitting her leg,” she writes. “(My daughter) said she is scared of her dad but does not want him to get into trouble but she is afraid he will hit her again.”

In addition, Katherine Queen writes in the complaint that in February 2012 Shannon Queen “grabbed my arm and left bruising.”


On Saturday, Southwestern Community College’s Public Safety Training Center in conjunction with the Franklin Fire Department conducted a training exercise at 2235 Georgia Road which culminated in the demolition of a structure by fire.

This exercise allowed local fire departments an opportunity to train in realistic firefighting scenarios.

Photo by Vickie Carpenter

From local boards, to state legislators, to members of Congress, elected officials are all ultimately put in positions of power because voters chose to put them there. While state and congressional salaries are fixed amounts across the board, local governments establish their own pay requirements for elected officials. Compared to neighboring Jackson and Rabun counties, Macon County falls right in the middle of the pay grade for elected offices.


The local attorney arrested last week for charges including misdemeanor counts of simple physical assault, was re-arrested on Saturday by Officer Danny Burrows with the Macon County Sheriff's Office for violating a court-ordered Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO).

William Shilling was originally arrested on Feb. 14 after local magistrate Miciah Leatherman signed a warrant because of alleged abuse Shilling inflicted on his son. “The physical injury inflicted caused a red mark on the victim's abdomen, and was inflicted by other than accidental means,” reads the original arrest warrant.


The North Carolina Democratic Party will hold annual precinct organizational meetings in Macon County on March 5th at the following locations.

— North Franklin, Macon County Courthouse, Franklin NC, 6:00PM

— South Franklin, Franklin Police Department, 218 West Palmer Street, Franklin, 7:00PM

— East Franklin, Macon County Environmental Resource Center 1624 Lakeside Dr., Franklin, 7:00PM

more after the jump!


Last Thursday, William Shilling, 51, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of simple physical assault and simple non-physical assault. Shilling is an attorney with the Macon County Department of Social Services.

According to documents on file at the Macon County Clerk's office, an arrest warrant signed by magistrate Miciah Leatherman states that there was probable cause to believe that Shilling inflicted physical injury to his child, who is less that 16 years old. “The physical injury inflicted caused a red mark on the victim's abdomen, and was inflicted by other than accidental means,” reads the warrant.


With the uncertainty of what the state's future plans for public education are, Macon County's Board of Education is once again turning to commissioners to fill the void left by state budget cuts. Each year, the school system develops a capital outlay budget to address maintenance concerns in the district.

While general statute identifies public education to be a state responsibility, there are exceptions to the rule, such as infrastructure and maintenance to buildings, that fall under the county's responsibility. In order to meet those needs, year after year the county has designated a pocket of money known as capital outlay specifically designated to infrastructure renovations and development.


The League of Women Voters hosted guest speaker Kevin Corbin, Chairman of the County Commissioners on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Corbin gave updates of the goings on within the board of county commissioners and allowed the audience a chance to ask questions and make comments.

The discussion began with an update regarding the situation of Whitley Products Inc., the local manufacturing plant that closed down recently and that has since reopened for production. The company is currently in a state of‚ “receivership,” which means that the company can no longer pay its bills and therefore becomes bank owned. The bank then puts a third party in charge to run it until it is sold. The commissioners have worked with the Economic Development Commission (EDC) and County Manager Jack Horton to keep the factory up and running. Commissioners, the EDC, and the Town Board have since held meetings with an engineering firm who has shown interest in purchasing the company. Corbin was unable to disclose the name of the potential buyer.


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