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Jackson County Commissioners are working on the final stages to begin construction of phase one (a 1.5 mile tract) of a Greenway for county residents. The Greenway is planned to be a piece of land that stretches along the Tuckaseegee River in Cullowhee and will be available for pedestrians and bicyclists. If funding allows, construction of phase one of the Tuckasegee River Greenway could be completed as early as late fall.

According to Jackson County Planning Director Gerald Green, the initial Greenway master plans were prepared by Equinox Environmental working in conjunction with the County Recreation and Parks Department and the Greenway Committee. After soliciting bids for the project, the detailed construction plans were prepared by the local company, Stillwell Engineering.

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Macon County’s REACH office stepping up to fill void after closing

Up until last week, REACH of Jackson County served victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the county for 33 years, and offered 10 distinct services to clients; including emergency shelter for victims, HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved transitional housing for up to three years, counseling and legal advocacy, and assistance with work readiness and life skills. Citing financial difficulties, the organization was forced to close its doors. Jackson County victims are now being directed to the Macon County REACH Office.

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Steep slope maps removed from subdivision ordinance

In a 4-1 vote, the Macon County Board of Commissioners approved term limits for the planning board Tuesday night, Feb. 15. The board’s approved amendment to the planning board ordinance is somewhat different than what was proposed last month by Republican Commissioner Ron Haven. Board members voted on the measure after a lengthy public hearing session which saw 33 Maconians voice their opinions on the recommended changes to the county’s planning board ordinance.

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A Macon County couple was discovered dead by their family when they returned home last Thursday evening in a case that investigators are referring to as an alleged murder-suicide.

Emergency dispatchers received a phone call last Thursday evening, Feb. 2, from the address of 909 Little Hogback Mountain Lane in Highlands. The caller, who identified himself as the couples son-in-law, told dispatchers that he had discovered his inlaws, Kenneth and Fran Simmons, along with the family dog, dead in their home from apparent gunshot wounds. The caller believed his mother-in-law had shot Mr. Kenneth Simmons and the dog, and later killed herself.

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The owners of several towing companies came together during February’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Aldermen to lodge a formal complaint with both Town and County officials regarding the wrecker service rotation used to respond to traffic accidents throughout Franklin.

“Tonight we would like to bring to your attention the ongoing situation regarding how towing companies are dispatched when there is an accident inside the city limits of Franklin,” said Lloyd Cox, Owner of Ambassador Auto in Franklin. Cox was one of two men who addressed the Town Board on behalf of the majority of towing companies operating in Franklin.

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During Monday night's meeting of the Franklin Board of Aldermen, Town Manager Sam Greenwood announced that the Town of Franklin has selected a replacement for Police Chief Terry Bradley.

Bradley announced last October that after 25 years of service to Macon County, he would retire effective March 1, 2012. Shortly after his announcement, Ashley Hyder, Human Resources Officer for the Town began searching for Bradley’s replacement. “The Town is excited that we have been fortunate to have several highly trained and educated candidates, and we feel that we have selected a Chief that will serve our community very well and will bring great value to the Town of Franklin,” said Hyder.

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A public hearing regarding recommended changes to the county’s planning board is scheduled on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Macon County Commissioners will decide on enacting retroactive term limits to the planning board, among other proposed amendments to the board, after the public hearing session. Commissioner Ron Haven proposed enacting term limits of two consecutive three-year terms, retroactively, to the planning board at last month’s continuation meeting on Jan. 14.

According to county attorney Chester Jones, the public hearing session will also encompass the county’s landslide hazard maps.

 

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Great-aunt arrested for murder of 15-month-old niece.

A little more than a year after the death of 15-month-old Aubrey Littlejohn, an arrest was made on Friday, Feb. 3, by the Swain County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Ladybird Powell, Aubrey's great aunt, was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder, two counts of felony child abuse, kidnapping, extortion, and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

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Congratulations to Larry Rogers from Lamplighter Realty who was voted by his peers as the 2011 Realtor of the Year. This designation is given to the Realtor who exemplifies professionalism and support for his Fellow Realtors.

Voted for induction into the Realtors Foundation were Jamie Stamey and Deanna Stager of Unique Properties and Hubert Hendrie of Carolina Mountain Properties. This award is given to Realtors who have been in the Franklin Board of Realtors for 15 years or more and are well respected by their fellow Agents for their service.

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Republican candidates and Republicans from throughout Jackson County joined Jackson County GOP Officers and Executive Committee members in officially opening the group’s new North Jackson County GOP Headquarters located at 58 D Sunrise Park Dr. in Sylva, a retail complex opposite the intersection of Highway 107 and the Asheville Highway. For easy recognition of the location very visible signage has been installed however a sign in keeping with those found on other businesses in the complex is on order according to Ralph Slaughter, Jackson County GOP Chair.

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