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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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As of press time, Superintendent Dan Brigman confirmed he is still in the running for the position of superintendent of Huntsville City Schools. Last Monday and Tuesday, May 23 and 24, Brigman traveled to Huntsville, Ala., to participate in the second round of interviews for the position.

Three candidates were invited for second interviews, but according to recent reports, Brigman's main competition is Casey Wardynski, chief financial officer of the Aurora (Colo.) school system. Wardynksi is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and graduate of a 10-month executive training program at the Broad Superintendents Academy in California.

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The Macon County Board of Commissioners have revised the county Planning Board’s comprehensive plan draft on May 31. The 164-page comprehensive plan applies to the development and growth of the county for the next 20 years, and was submitted to the board last April after nearly two years in the making.

Before a packed room of Macon residents and advisory subcommittee members, commissioners reviewed the language of the plan, from pages 64 to 133, which covered “the meat of the program,” as chairman Brian McClellan called it. Commissioners deliberated over supporting economic development and public services and improving sewer, water, land use policies and construction regulations.

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Jeff Pruett of the North Caroina State Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Memorial Day holiday, which is set aside to honor deceased men and women from the Armed Forces, is expected to be a busy one and officially kicks off the summer vacation season in North Carolina, This means more people will be on the highways, increasing the chance of traffic crashes

Troopers across the state will increase patrols on all interstates and major four lane highways during the holiday weekend. Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state.

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The May 26 issue of The Macon County News mistakenly reported that a building had been destroyed in the vicinity of a debris fire which broke out on Hwy. 441 South in the Otto community on Wednesday afternoon.

Smoke from the fire was visible from miles away, but the blaze remained contained to a small area and did not reach any of the structures of nearby businesses, including the Archery Barn and the Carolina Wood Pellet Plant off Riverside Drive.

According to David Key of Macon County Emergency Services, some construction materials on the property were consumed in the blaze, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury, but no other serious damages or injuries were reported.

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On Monday, May 23, a grand jury indicted a Franklin man on one count of murder, stemming from the brutal death of a Cartoogechaye man last year.

Randall Boyd Fouts, 44, has been charged with the first-degree murder of Thomas Larry Ramsey. Fouts was arrested on Tuesday.

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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Superior Court judge sentences Franklin man for death of Mathis in vehicular accident

Counts include felony death by vehicle, serious injury

Superior Court Judge Phil Ginn handed down his sentence for a Franklin man who lost control of his truck and drove off a road last October, killing 19-year-old Parker Mathis and seriously injuring Jesse Welch, 23.

Donald Thomas Courtney, 20, of Hidden Valley Road pled guilty to one felony count of death by vehicle, one felony count of serious injury by vehicle and one misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.

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The workgroup tasked with drafting an ordinance regulating slope development in Macon County has completed the technical content of the proposed statute. At a meeting last Thursday, members of the workgroup presented the proposed ordinance to the county planning board, which will now review the document before sending it on to the county’s board of commissioners for consideration.

The workgroup, a sub-committee of the planning board, has been studying the issue of slope development regulation for almost two years. After a joint meeting in February, commissioners directed the planning board to make drafting the ordinance one of the top priorities for the year.

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Superior Court Judge Phil Ginn handed down his sentence for a Franklin man who lost control of his truck and drove off a road last October, killing 19-year-old Parker Mathis and seriously injuring Jesse Welch, 23.

Donald Thomas Courtney, 20, of Hidden Valley Road pled guilty to one felony count of death by vehicle, one felony count of serious injury by vehicle and one misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.

Courtney was sentenced to serve 20 months of incarceration in a North Carolina Department of Corrections facility for his injury by vehicle charge. Courtney received a suspended sentence of three years of supervised probation for the charge stemming from Mathis’ death and must serve two days in the Macon County Jail for five consecutive years on the anniversary of Mathis’ death.

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