HAPPY LABOR DAY! :: Monday, September 1, 2014

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By a 3 to 1 vote, last week Highlands commissioners took the first step toward abolishing ETJ [Extra Territorial Jurisdiction] for the Town of Highlands. It was only the first step because creating or abolishing an ordinance requires a super majority. Such a majority would have to have been either 4 to 1, or 5 to 0. Failing to reach a super majority means the Board will have to vote again at the next meeting, Oct. 18. Another 3-1 or 3-2 simple majority will then abolish the ordinance creating the ETJ in Highlands.

Town Attorney Bill Coward explained to the packed board room that the rule requiring a super majority was not a Highlands rule, but rather a state statute. ETJ was established in Highlands in November 2005.

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Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a dog park along the Little Tennessee River Greenway at October’s regularly scheduled board meeting. Steve Philo approached the board on behalf of the Friends of the Greenway to request using a portion of property owned by the county for a dog park. Philo assured commissioners that Friends of the Greenway would finance the project, which is estimated to cost $6,000. The board agreed to allow Friends of the Greenway to begin fencing in the area located behind Big Bear Park, near the playground located just off of the Greenway. The organization plans to build fencing for approximately one acre of land and construct a gate to secure the area for dogs and are also charged with maintaining the property for citizens.

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Macon County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Franklin man and woman after uncovering a marijuana production operation in the county.

According to arrest reports, Terry Lynn Choppy, 35, and Robert Drew Houston, 33, both of Hatfield Road in Franklin, were arrested on Oct. 2 and confined to the Macon County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bonds respectively.

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Duke Energy has received a new 30-year operating license for its Franklin Hydroelectric Project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC approved Duke Energy proposals for a canoe portage around the dam, a boating access area, wood duck nesting boxes, protecting an endangered plant, and a long-term sediment management plan.

The Town of Franklin built the hydro project in 1925 and sold it to Nantahala Power & Light in 1933. Duke acquired the facility when it purchased NP&L from Alcoa in 1988. About half of the reservoir is in Franklin on the Little Tennessee River.

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“Wow! We didn’t realize just how intense it would be!” said first-timers participating in a critical incident drill recently on Southwestern Community College’s Jackson Campus.

“We were behind closed doors but the shots were still so loud.”

“As I heard the shooter race down the hall it made my heart race, too.”

“Even though I knew it was just a drill, I was so glad when I heard the deputies arrive.”

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Twenty-nine year old Daniel Wayne Forse of Cashiers was airlifted to Mission hospital in Asheville after obtaining serious, but non-life threatening injuries during a two vehicle collision at approximately 12:15 p.m. on Friday afternoon on the Highlands Road in Franklin.

According to Trooper Crawford of the N.C. Highway Patrol, Carol Johnson, 74, of Franklin, was attempting to make a left turn into the Highlands Road Convenience Center (recycling center) when Forse was headed west toward Franklin on a Honda motorcycle.

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For a variety of reasons, the Macon County Board of Commissioners decided to adopt a resolution to push back the revaluation process until 2015. The decision came after a special meeting in September where county tax administrator Richard Lightner explained the costs and benefits of prolonging the process two more years, from the scheduled 2013 to 2015. The board also decided to go back to the county’s traditional eight year revaluation cycle.

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Doctors transfer child to Atlanta to be closer to family and friends

Kirsten Simpkins, the 28-month-old victim of a brutal attack which occurred in Dillsboro on Aug. 31, was released from Mission Hospital in Asheville last week to be transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to continue the recovery process closer to her family. “She is making progress everyday, she isn’t the same little girl as before this attack, but she is better than what she had become after the attack,” said Kirsten’s mother, Jennifer Hart, of Kirsten’s current condition.

Kirsten was originally transported to Asheville Mission via helicopter in critical condition. Amongst other visible injuries to her face and body, Kirsten suffered from a hematoma and extensive damage to the left side of her brain. She had to undergo surgery to have the left bone flap of her skull removed to reduce the swelling of her brain. Kirsten’s injuries are a result of alleged attacks that occurred over a three-day period while in the care of her step-grandmother.

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Listen to any politician talk these days and they will tell you that their number one concern is jobs, jobs, and jobs. Unfortunately, their concern has not translated into higher employment numbers. North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 10.3 percent in August, as 471,319 North Carolinians are currently out of work. Macon County’s numbers are also bleak, with unemployment increasing from 10 percent in July to 10.3 percent in August. A listed 1,613 Maconians were out of work in August, compared to 1,577 people in July. Macon County’s unemployment rate has increased nearly one percent since August of 2010.

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Macon County superior court convened last week to hear cases ranging from possession of methamphetamine to the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Jarrett Dane Holland faced numerous felony counts of possessing and selling methamphetamine to undercover police officers on more than one occasion in 2010. Holland made a plea bargain with the court to plead guilty to said charges as well as evading officers while they were serving a warrant for his arrest of previous breaking and entering charges. Holland was also listed as a habitual offender from 2003, 2006 and 2009. All other charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. While Judge Sharon T. Barrett clearly stated that Holland could have received 24 years, she only sentenced him to spend 10 and a half years in prison and to pay $1,800 in restitution.

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published: 10/18/2013
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