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News

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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SBI director says Feds should continue to help N.C. law enforcement clean meth sites

Federal funding for toxic chemical clean-ups should continue across North Carolina or local governments could face the job alone, SBI Director Greg McLeod said recently.

In February the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration notified law enforcement in North Carolina and across the country that it would no longer pay for hazardous waste clean-up at methamphetamine sites as it has for more than 10 years. Since February, the State Bureau of Investigation has covered the costs, but within days that funding will be exhausted.

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It’s official — Macon County tourism promoters have approved funding for a smart-phone application or “app” that will promote area businesses, events and attractions.

At its May 19 meeting, the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Commission (TDC) reaffirmed their vote to approve investing in the mobile phone program jointly with Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority (TDA).

After several months of deliberations, both boards, funded by county and town occupancy tax receipts, have agreed to pay $5,500 each to fund the endeavor, at a total cost of $11,000.

 

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On Tuesday, May 18, a public hearing was held to elicit comments on a Comprehensive Plan that is designed to establish a set of guidelines and recommendations for future development in Macon County. Not to be confused with the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, the Comprehensive Plan covers various sectors which will be impacted by growth, from healthcare to education to land use.

Of the thirteen citizens that signed up to speak at the hearing, eight spoke in support of the plan and five in opposition to it in whole or in part. Almost all the speakers addressed the plan as a whole, with few comments on specific recommendations in the plan. However, slope development recommendations stood out as one issue that garnered both support and opposition.

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A two-car collision on the Hwy. 441 Bypass claimed the life of a young Franklin woman on Monday evening. Officers from the Franklin Police Department, the Franklin Fire Department and Macon County EMS responded to a call to 9-1-1 dispatch which reported the accident at 7:50 p.m.

According to Lt. Steve Apel of the Franklin Police Department, nineteen-yearold Kathleen Stewart was driving a 2003 Toyota Camry when she failed to check for traffic before pulling out from Cat Creek Road across the northbound lanes of the bypass. Stewart pulled into the path a 2007 Jeep Commander driven by Alana Wilson, 25, of Highlands.

Stewart's Camry, struck by the jeep on the driver's side, flew across the median before coming to a stop near the southbound lanes of the highway. The Jeep continued traveling another 150 feet before coming to a stop. Both vehicles were destroyed.

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Fallen N.C. law enforcement remembered at Law Enforcement Memorial Day

A solemn service to remember North Carolina’s law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty was held at the gazebo in the Franklin Town Square last Friday. Local officials and representatives of the various branches of law enforcement in the county attended the memorial event hosted by Lodge No. 81 of the Fraternal Order of Police of Macon and Jackson Counties.

“Let us never forget but always remember, not only on this day, but every day, our fallen brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price,” entreated Al Caiata, retired deputy chief of Cape Coral Florida Police Department and guest speaker at the event.

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A man suspected of killing his estranged wife and another man in Sylva was arrested in South Carolina.

On Friday, at approximately 1:15 p.m., officers with the Sylva Police Department responded to a shooting at the Sunrise Park neighborhood in Sylva. Upon arrival they found the bodies of Melody Nicole Conger, 20, and Kevin Shawn Frady, 25, who had been shot to death. Conger and Frady were both residents of Sylva.

According to a statement by SPD detective Jenni Rumsey, the suspect, 23-year-old Matthew Wayne Moore turned himself into the Easley Police Department in South Carolina at 7:40 p.m. later that evening. Moore has been charged with two counts of murder and is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bond.

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Since Alderman Jerry Evans passed away in February, his seat on Franklin’s Town Board has remained vacant. At the board’s continuation meeting on Monday, the seat was finally filled.

The Board voted unanimously to approve Farrell Jamison as the new alderman to assume the remainder of 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.

Jamison, who has worked for Franklin Fire and Rescue for 34 years, now works part-time as a fire and rescue training coordinator for Southwestern Community College, along with serving as the county fire investigator.

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