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News

Law enforcement officials are still trying to apprehend the suspect accused of raping a female on Sunday, Sept. 25, in the Nantahala National Forest. The incident occurred at the intersection of Forest Service Road and Wayah Road. The female told authorities that she stopped after seeing a man she thought was incapacitated on the side of the road. She attempted to give the man aid, but upon approaching the suspect, the female told authorities that she was subdued with a firearm and forcibly raped.

The USDA Forest Service is working in conjunction with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) to ascertain and capture the person suspected of the rape.

 

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Jackson County Commissioners approved $179,000 in Economic Development Commission (EDC) funds and $110,000 in Revolving Funds Loan (RFL) to be loaned to Roy Burnette to bring the WRGC radio station back to the air. According to Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten, Burnette approached the county four or five weeks ago requesting a loan, as did other residents. “We had a couple of inquiries about a loan ... however, those parties chose not to pursue the purchase of the radio station,” noted Wooten.

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Highlands’ Jimmy Tate to replace McClellan

Jimmy Tate, a sixth generation Highlander, has been selected by Macon County’s Republican Party to replace Brian McClellan, former chairman of the Macon County Board of Commissioners. Tate will serve out McClellan’s term as the District I representative of Highlands, but will be up for reelection in 2012, as mandated by the North Carolina General Statutes. Tate challenged Brian McClellan for the seat in the May 2010 primary, losing by 226 votes.

The executive committee of Macon County’s GOP had to pick a replacement for McClellan after he resigned from the board following a DWI arrest in Jackson County on Nov. 18. The Board of Commissioners unamiously accepted Mc- Clellan’s resignation during a special meeting on Dec. 1.

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At its Monday meeting, the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen, along with the Macon County Clerk of Court Vic Perry, swore in Joe Collins as Mayor, along with Verlin Curtis, Joyce Handley, Farrell Jamison and Bob Scott for their renewed positions of the board.

 Photos by Davin Eldridge.

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Dozens of people gathered to wish former Franklin Fire and Rescue Chief Pete Haithcock a fond farewell last Friday at a retirement reception held at Town Hall in his honor.

After a total of 34 years of working at the department, starting as a regular fireman, Haithcock officially retired from a long career with a reputation for leaving his post in top notch condition. For the last 15 years, he has reigned as chief of the department.

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Although an overwhelming majority of Macon Bank’s members approved of the institution’s plan to convert to stock ownership during a special meeting on Nov. 8, 2011, the Bank’s Board of Directors decided not to move forward with the conversion due to the nation’s economic woes and financial problems in Europe, a banking crisis that some analysts predict will disintegrate the European Union. Macon Bank’s Board of Directors unanimously adopted a plan to convert the company to stock ownership on Jan. 19, 2011. Their decision to postpone the conversion was attributed to the poor performance of U.S. bank stocks in the market this year.

After filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June, Macon Bank began to offer shares in September at $10 a share. After the Board of Directors halted the bank’s transformation to stock ownership, Macon Bank’s CEO Roger Plemens sent a letter to stock subscribers stating that Macon Bank would return their funds.

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In an effort to cut down the amount of heavy truck traffic in downtown Franklin, Town Aldermen voted unanimously to ban commercial thru-trucks with three axles or more on Wayah Street.

The vote followed a public session in which two residents along Wayah Street spoke in support of the ban.

“You don’t need all that weight and noise on that street,” said Wayah Street resident William Howell Derrick before the board. “The trucks have gotten bigger and heavier and every 90 days the DOT fills the holes and cracks [in the road]… You just don’t need all that traffic.”

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State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced that state and local law enforcement officers will be out in force as part of the Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign.

Checkpoints and stepped-up patrols will be conducted beginning Saturday, Dec. 3 through Monday, Jan. 2, across North Carolina in an effort to remove impaired drivers from the roads.

“Please plan ahead and designate a sober driver this season so everyone can make it home safe over the holidays,” Conti said.

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State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced that more than 3,600 drivers and passengers were cited for seat belt and child passenger safety violations during the Thanksgiving “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which was held Nov. 21-27.

“The department is committed to educating motorists about the importance of wearing a seat belt,” said Conti. “Campaigns such as this one are imperative to getting this message out, and I thank all of the law enforcement agencies for participating in this campaign aimed at saving lives.”

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Need help, but don’t know where to turn? Now thanks to a joint effort between the Duke Energy Foundation and the county commissioners in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, there is a simple place to turn to get answers. Call NC 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 service is operated by the United Way of North Carolina and is available from any cell phone or land line in Western North Carolina.

2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call is free and the information you provide is confidential. Any language you speak can be translated. By dialing this simple number, you can speak to a referral specialist who will help you find services such as food, housing, utility assistance, counseling, health care, child care, senior services, and volunteer opportunities.

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