- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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When she heard that the assistant principal at her children’s school was going to be transferred to a new school on July 1, Debbie Hunter was alarmed. “I just don’t understand why they send him away when he does such a fabulous job at South Macon,” she said.

Randy Shepherd has been the assistant principal at South Macon Elementary School for five years, and according to Hunter, vice president of the school’s PTO, he has done such a good job that the parents don’t want to see him go. And they are going to fight to keep him.

On Friday afternoon, a group of parents and kids holding picket signs mounted a small protest across from the school as other parents were arriving to pick up their children. With signs that read, “Save Shep,” the protestors explained to passing cars that Shepherd had been informed earlier in the week that he would be transferred to fill the assistant principal position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School effective July 1.

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A Franklin man was arrested after leading authorities on a high speed chase on Tuesday, May 31.

At approximately 10 p.m., Macon County Sheriff’s Officers conducting a license checkpoint on Highway 28 North at the Big D Convenience Store noticed a motorcycle pull off into a work zone and turn its lights off just south of the checkpoint.

Officers Robert Young and Dereck Jones reportedly approached the vehicle right before the driver, Calvin Dale Hurst, turned back onto 28 heading back toward the Town of Franklin.

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It is now illegal in North Carolina to sell, manufacture or possess controversial synthetic drugs. North Carolina will join 28 other states in the ban on the substances.

On Wednesday, a law went into effect that bans the sale of synthetic marijuana and cocaine, sold under the guises of “herbal incense” and “bath salts,” which were reportedly used as recreational drugs. The two substances are now Schedule I controlled substances.

“I think it’s a good decision our legislators made,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland, who visited local businesses last January, asking them to stop selling the synthetic marijuana products.

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While keeping a nervous eye on Raleigh and Washington, the Macon County Board of Commissioners continues negotiations on its own fiscal plans with hopes that a status quo budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 will be adequate to maintain all essential services in the county without need of a tax hike.

The board has met numerous times over the past few weeks to hear from various heads of agencies and departments in the county and to make adjustments to the county manager’s budget proposal which was presented on May 10. At a public hearing on the budget at the county courthouse on Tuesday night, no members of the public elected to speak.

Last week, the board looked at budget requests from the public school system, the Department of Public Health, and the Sheriff's Office. Two county fire departments, Nantahala and Cullasaja, both approached the board requesting millage rate increases in their districts.

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On Monday, the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen swore in Farrell Jamison as their newest alderman.

Aldermen unanimously appointed Jamison to assume the remainder of former alderman Jerry Evans’ term, which ends in November. At that point, a partial two-year term will be up for election, along with three other seats, to finish out Evans’ four-year term, starting in December. The other positions will be four-year terms.

“I am worried about the different projects with the town,” said Jamison, citing economic development and its urgent need in Franklin as one of his many areas of concern as alderman. “I hope the board contiues to work on what the town will look like in the next 10 or 20 years... Now is the time,” he said.

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Franklin authorities have arrested a local convenience store clerk suspected of taking more than $15,000 from his place of employment.

Dennis Ray Mason, 54, of Hoffman Lane, was charged on May 29 with one felony count of larceny by an employee and one felony count of embezzlement. The charges stemmed from an incident reported on December 16 claiming that more than $10,000 went missing from the Automatic Teller Machine located inside the Village Trader convenience store, located on Hwy. 28 north of Franklin.

According to the incident report made at the time, Franklin Police Department Captain Steve Apel was provided with business deposit records by store owner Abdul Waliany.

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Karen Reed, president of the Jackson County Early College PTO, accepts a check from Larry Hinton, General Manager of Andy Shaw Ford, Inc, as Erica Bullock, Andy Shaw, and members of Early College look on.

The extension of the Macon County Airport runway is nearly complete, according to Airport engineer Eric Rysdon, who reported to Airport Authority members on May 29 that the project could be finished within a few short weeks.

The finishing touches of the extension will be applied while additional lights are installed to make the runway operational. “Paving is complete,” said Rysdon. “The painters are actually out there marking the temporary stripes.”

Rhodes Brothers Paving took on the paving project under the commission of Buchanan and Sons, Inc., based out of Whittier, who began the project last October at a price of $2.6 million.

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The history of the Macon County Airport has long been one of controversy and compromise, says Airport Authority Chairman Milles Gregory. At a recent meeting of the Aviation Historical Society, Gregory gave a presentation on that history in which he noted the many fits and starts since the airport was founded.

Born and raised in Franklin, Gregory told members of the society that after leaving town for a time as a young man, he returned with a vision to improve the opportunities for young people. Gregory served as a county commissioner for 8 years. Since 1999, Gregory has been the Chairman of the Airport Authority.

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On Saturday night, a Swain County man died after wrecking his motorcycle in Jackson County.

At approximately 6:40 p.m., 43-year-old Eric Stephen Smith reportedly collided with a guard rail after traveling on the Jackson County side of US 441 North, coming from Macon County.

The wreck occurred eight-tenths of a mile from the county line, according to the accident report from Trooper Rico Stephens of the Jackson County Highway Patrol. Riding as Eric’s passenger was his wife, 41-year-old Kelli Kitchin Smith.

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published: 10/18/2013
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