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News

The district attorney will seek the death penalty for the man accused of a brutal murder last year in the Cartoogechaye community of Macon County.

In a special session of Superior Court last week, assistant district attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch made official her office’s intention to seek capital punishment for Randy Boyd Fouts, 44, who in May was indicted by grand jury for one count of murder in the death of Thomas Larry Ramsey.

Ramsey, who was 61 at the time of his death, was found at his Johnson Road home in the Cartoogechaye community on the morning of Aug. 12. According to his autopsy report, Ramsey died from strangulation by asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head. The victim had also reportedly been bound by the hands and feet with electrical chord.

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Co-conspirator sentenced to prison for conspiracy to defraud Wachovia

Scott Welch, 48, of Mooresville, N.C., was sentenced Thursday, June 30, to 70 months in federal prison, to be followed by a supervised release term of three years, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. ordered Welch to pay restitution in the amount $11,221,462 to Wachovia and $1,713,083 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Welch’s co-defendant, John P. Cousar, Jr., 48, a retired Charlotte firefighter, was also sentenced today to 33 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Cousar was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,901,593 to Wachovia and $1,124,448 to the IRS.

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A report in the June 30 issue of the Macon County News stated that the Town of Franklin had considered the installation of artificial ground covering, or “astroturf” on the Nikwasi Mound, which caused some confusion in the community. Franklin Town alderman and Nikwasi Mound committee member, Bob Scott, says that the town has no intention of using a synthetic covering on the historic site in downtown Franklin. “We would never agree to put anything on the mound that was manmade,” Scott stated emphatically.

At a recent meeting, the suggestion was made to the Mound committee to use astroturf as an alternative covering, but was immediately dismissed because the turf would not be historically accurate and would be a clear violation of the property deed.

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Last Friday, Duke Energy Corporation filed a request with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to impose a 17 percent increase on power rate fees for residents and a 14 percent increase for commercial and industrial establishments.

The proposed rate hikes have met with disapproval from public officials in WNC, as they could add up to $19 to the average monthly residential power bill. If approved, the rate hike would likely go into effect by February of next year and would come on top of rate increases already planned due to rising fuel costs.

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Duke Energy Carolinas has filed a request with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to increase electric rates by approximately $646 million.

Approximately three-fourths of the request is driven by capital investments the company made in the Carolinas’ electric system over the past two years.

“Since 2009, we’ve spent $4.8 billion to modernize the system and comply with environmental regulations,” said Brett Carter, president, Duke Energy North Carolina.

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A fire broke out Friday morning causing severe damage to a local man’s two-story residence. An alarm was received around 12:38, July 1, from the home of Steve Tallent at 215 John Tallent Road. Steve Tallent lives alone and, fortunately, was not home at the time of the fire.

Clarks Chapel, Mountain Valley, Cullasaja, Cowee, and West Macon Fire departments responded to the alarm. After the fire was extinguished, the firefighters were treated by Macon County EMS to prevent heat exhaustion. The outside temperature at the time was 89 degrees.

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At its last meeting, the Macon County Board of Commissioners appointed school board member Gary Shields to fill a vacancy on the Southwestern Community College’s Board of Trustees.

Pending his acceptance of the appointment and approval by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Shields, former principal of Franklin High School, will complete the term of Charles Leatherman, who resigned from the SCC board effective June 1. The term expires on June 30, 2012.

Franklin resident Jerry Sutton was recently reappointed to the board by Gov. Bev Purdue. Sutton, who has served on SCC’s Board of Trustees for 28 years, including seven terms as chairman, is a former director of the Governor’s western office, a retired dairy farmer, former Macon County Commissioner and a part-time real estate broker.

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Both held on $30,000 bond in Swain and Macon

Officers with the Franklin Police Department arrested two women last Thursday on charges stemming from the theft of an woman’s purse last month in the Holly Springs Shopping Center on US 441 North.

On the evening of June 18, authorities responded to the report of a purse that was stolen out of 61-year-old Julie Frances Rose’s car, which was parked in a handicapped parking space near Ingles supermarket. The purse was recovered and returned to Rose.

 

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At a recent meeting, Franklin Board of Aldermen discussed establishing a policy that would provide criteria and a priority ranking system for the grant application process for non-profits seeking funds from the town. Aldermen came to no decision on the matter.

“There is no real rigor to it,” said Town Manager Sam Greenwood of the current grant application process, in which organizations are only required to verify that they are a non-profit along with the structure of their organization in the initial grant application form issued by the town.

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With a special ribbon cutting ceremony held last Tuesday, the Macon County Airport Authority celebrated the official expansion of its airport runway.

Joined by state and local leaders, transportation officials and longtime airport supporters, Authority Chairman Milles Gregory lauded the long awaited completion of the runway expansion as a critical economic asset to the county.

“I believe this will have quite an economic impact on Macon County, but also other adjoining counties,” said Gregory. “It’s been a long time coming but we’re delighted that we’ve reached this point and it’s a milestone in the history of Macon County to have a 5,000-foot runway.”

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