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News

11 units evacuated due to chemical hazards

While responding to a complaint of suspicious activity last Thursday, officers with the Franklin Police Department discovered a laboratory used for manufacturing methamphetamines at a local apartment complex.

At approximately 4:45 p.m. officer Dwayne Cabe responded to a complaint of suspicious activity at building 400 of Orchard View Apartments on Orchard View Drive in Franklin. Upon his arrival, Cabe recovered a plastic bag containing several unused syringes in the parking lot.

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Two fatal single-vehicle motorcycle accidents and one non-fatal accident occurrd over the weekend. All three accidents did not involve any other vehicles and each was a result of the driver going off the road in a sharp curve and losing control.

On Sunday, June 26, around 10:24 a.m., Stephen Nashif II, 22, of Franklin was riding his 2001 Yamaha motorcycle on Old Murphy Road. Kristi Lynn Herring, 23, also of Franklin, was a passenger. According to Trooper Jeff Pruett, Nashif went off the right side of the road in a sharp curve and the motorcycle overturned and collided with a mailbox and a tree. Herring was pronounced dead on the scene and Nashif was airlifted to Mission hospital with serious injuries. As of press time he was recovering.

 

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Macon County is looking to acquire a new building in downtown Franklin to relocate offices from leased properties and prepare for possible expansion in the future. Last Tuesday, June 21, at a recessed meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Chairman Brian McClellan announced the county's intention to purchase the property on the corner of East Palmer Street and Patton Avenue in downtown Franklin for $300,000.

The two-story, bright yellow building, which sits on a 0.37 acre double lot, is actually comprised of three office suites with the addresses 16, 18 and 20 Patton Avenue. One of the three suites formerly housed the Franklin Police Department before it was moved to its new offices on West Palmer Street; the other two suites remain unfinished spaces. In total, the building will add approximately 10,000 square feet of office space for county offices.

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The entire debate between absolute historic preservation and increased historic knowledge hangs on one word contained in the deed for the Nikwasi Mound, that being the word “explore.”

Steven Rice, curator of the Macon County Historical Museum, says that the town’s current beautification plans are a direct violation of the property deed. “The deed is very explicit on what can and cannot be done,” Rice said. Town officials state that no definite plans have been made yet.

The deed, which was drawn up in 1946, clearly states that the Nikwasi Mound “shall be preserved for the citizens of Macon County and for posterity, and the same shall be kept as it now stands and shall not be excavated, explored, altered, or impaired in any way or used for any commercial purpose ...”

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A Franklin couple and a Highlands man feel very fortunate to have received only minor injuries after they were involved in a plane crash on Saturday.

Tony Shuler and his wife Janet were flying with veteran pilot Gary Schmitt from Franklin to Brasstown, N.C., in a small single- engine plane when the engine stalled around 5 p.m. Shortly after it crash landed in a field on Waldorf Drive in the Brasstown community.

Schmitt and the Shuler's were airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. The couple was released the following day, but as of Tuesday, Schmitt remained at the hospital in stable condition.

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In a stroke of serious luck, Darren Cagle, 45, of Waynesville, was miraculously saved from drowning last Saturday at Nantahala Lake.Cagle was canoeing with friend Ronnie McClure when he came up missing.

Christine Boyter, a Gastonia nurse, was nearby the ramp that McClure and Cagle were coming into and she noticed Cagle's hat in the water. 

McClure immediately went into the water to find Cagle.  McClure was finally able to locate him and bring him to the surface. 

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New water/sewer plan source of major conflict

Unbeknownst to most, a small civil war has been raging for several months in one of the quieter and more affluent corners of Macon County. Just west of Franklin, Mill Creek Estates has long been a favorite community for retirees and those seeking summer respite.

Tucked in a green valley cradled by the Nantahala National Forest, Mill Creek, with its shady bungalows, manicured lawns and 18- hole golf course, has always seemed more like a peaceful playground than a war zone. But last fall a battle broke out, waged mostly by email, that has threatened to spoil neighborhood relations and to strain the tranquility of lazy afternoons.

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Have the salaries of certified deputies with the Macon County Sheriff's Office kept up with other law enforcement agencies in the region? According to Sheriff Robert Holland, they have not.

During budget negotiations over recent months, Holland had recommended pay increases for the deputies in his department in order to make them more competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the Towns of Franklin and Highlands, as well as in Jackson County. At their June 14 meeting, the Macon County Board of Commissioners agreed to a compromise, raising the salaries of deputies an additional two percent above the three percent cost of living increase approved for all county employees effective July 1.

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Completion date for project set for November 2012

Trent Anderson, the construction supervisor with the NCDOT based in Andrews, is pleased with the progress of the work along Highway 28 North. He says that the work is moving along on schedule and the estimated completion date is set at Nov. 15, 2012.

According to Brian Burch, Division Construction Engineer, some complaints have been received from residents that live north of the project. The main residential concern has been that the road was being made into a four-lane, which Burch says is a “case of misinformation.”

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No charges will be filed in accident

An elderly woman was killed last Friday in a traffic accident on U.S. 441 in Franklin.

According to Franklin Police Department officials, Helen Chapman Hill, 89, was exiting the parking lot of the Macon County Community Facilities Building at approximately 4 p.m. after playing a winning game of bridge there for several hours.

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