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Area veterans honored in 9/11 tribute at Franklin High School

Before last Friday night’s football game, citizens of Macon and Swain Counties came together to remember and thank their local veterans for their sacrifice and service. The event recognized area veterans from every United States wars since- World War II inlcuding, Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ceremony also included a special commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

The event was organized by Franklin’s Rhonda Blanton, Tommy Cabe, and the Booster Club. Local veterans and their guests were allowed a free entrance into the football game. Hundreds of veterans were at the ceremony, in what was an emotional event.

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The Macon County Democratic Women’s Club hosted a rally for state and local party officials last Thursday night at the Otto community center. The Democratic Women’s Club, led by President Margaret Perry, held the rally for former N.C. State Senator John Snow, who lost his reelection bid against Sen. Jim Davis in 2010 by a slim margin of 161 votes. After a moment of prayer and a recital of The Pledge of Allegiance, Democrats began to discuss how they should approach the 2012 campaign season.

Democrats in attendance were hoping to witness Snow announce his candidacy to unseat Sen. Jim Davis in 2012, but were somewhat disappointed when Snow said he is still undecided. Snow’s reluctance to make a decision is due to redistricting issues that may force him and former Sen. Joe Sam Queen to decide amongst themselves about which candidate will run.

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Don Willis and his canine partner, Christine, with the crime scene unit of Macon County’s Sheriff's office assisted Jackson County’s emergency management department in an early Monday morning fire. Christine was on scene to offer her expertise in accelerant detection during the investigation. Although Willis could confirm that Christine was there to look for accelerant, because the investigation is ongoing, he could not confirm whether or not she found any.

The Fireplace Tavern (formerly known as Annie’s Food & Spirits) burned to the ground early Monday morning. The State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) arson unit is working with Jackson County’s fire marshal, Alan Farmer, and the emergency management team to determine the cause. A search warrant was issued for the tavern late Monday afternoon.

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The town-sponsored biker rally, planned for August of next year, now officially has a name.

At its monthly meeting last Monday, members of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) unanimously voted on the name after hearing from event promoter Sylvia Cochran, publisher of U.S. Rider News.

After trying to figure out what to call the rally, Cochran, along with the help of her husband and business partner Scott Cochran, finally decided on “Smoky Mountain Rumble.” After little deliberation, the board approved the event name.

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Authorities in Macon County are searching for a man wanted for sex crimes against a minor.

Jose Manuel-Portillo Espinal, 30, is wanted on several charges including statutory rape, sexual offense, indecent liberties with a minor, kidnapping and second degree rape.

According to a statement by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, a Mexican male, worked for a painting company until recently. Authorities are unable to locate Espinal at this time. He was said to have been working in the Franklin, Highlands and Cashiers area recently.

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County Commissioner Ronnie Beale will be traveling to Raleigh on Friday after receiving an invitation to here the recommendation of the Medical Facilities Planning Section and the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council regarding the petition for a certificate of need for a dialysis center in Macon County.

If the petition is approved, a Certificate of Need will be issued for Macon County, allowing a dialysis center to be started and operated in Franklin.  Commissioner Beale has taken on the responsibility of bringing the dialysis center to Macon County, and is hopeful of the results he will be given on Friday. “We are very hopeful that we will get a positive recommendation on Friday, and that the report will be in our favorite,” explained Beale.

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Company’s Franklin station continuing its broadcasting

Nothing but static can now be heard on Sylva’s WRGCAM (680) radio station. Late last Wednesday night (Aug 30), the radio station went off air and a notice from station management posted on its website informed listeners it is uncertain if or when they will return.

The notice cited that “incredibly difficult economy has made it impossible for us to secure the local advertising support needed to continue providing Jackson County a full service community radio station.”

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Ten local organizations seeking grant funding for various projects over the next fiscal year will have to wait for approval by the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. The board made no decision on the matter at Tuesday’s meeting.

The wait follows a policy that would establish a grant application priority ranking system for community nonprofits.

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A car crash at the intersection of Wayah Street and Depot Street was the result of a brief police chase. Wade Russell Oliver, Jr., 27, of Franklin, tried to evade police Thursday evening, Sept. 1, in a white pickup truck.

Police report that Oliver was driving left of center and recklessly. Officer Dereck Jones stated that he was in the area between Hot Spot and the Mulligans Bar and Grill parking lot when a white pickup truck came at him on the wrong side of the street. Jones had to pull off the road and watched as the pickup truck raced past going from one side of the road to the other.

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A Dillsboro woman suspected of assaulting her granddaughter earlier this week was arrested by Jackson County authorities on Friday.

Lisa Plank Hart, 45, of Cat Tail Drive, faces felony counts of child abuse with serious bodily injury, assault inflicting serious bodily injury and negligent child abuse with serious bodily injury.

Hart's charges stem from an incident that occurred last Wednesday, when Jackson County Sheriff's Officers responded to a report of an in regards to an unconscious 28 month old female. Deputies were assisted by Med West Emergency Medical Services and Sylva Fire Department First Responders.

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published: 10/18/2013
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