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News

The Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen are having a tough time figuring out whether or not they should adopt a floodplain ordinance for the town.

In the event of a major flood, the delay could cost property owners who do not qualify for federal protections from flooding. But the same property owners, wary of the extra cost of the FEMA program, dispute recent floodplain maps released by the federal agency.

On Monday, aldermen held a continuation meeting and explored the matter. Aldermen decided not to make a decision on whether they support adopting an ordinance, but commissioned another study to question the accuracy of FEMA’s designated floodplains.

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In an effort to draw more tourists from the Atlanta market, the Tourism Development Authority has launched the first of a series of TV spots advertising the highlights and attractions of the Town of Franklin.

Produced by local artist, Michael Rogers, in partnership with Tony Angel, a local web designer and marketing consultant, the first advertisement began airing last week and is set to run for three more weeks. The spot, which Angel calls a teaser, uses various still photographs and some video of local events, places of interest and the area's natural beauty to attract visitors Franklin.

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Extortion, imprisonment among the charges

Two Franklin men have been arrested and are currently in Macon County Sheriff’s Office custody after authorities received a call regarding the invasion of a home on Wild Meadows Road.

Officers Bryant Hodgin, Jonathan Phillips and Patrick Merrit responded to a call from the residence reporting extortion and imprisonment.

On Tuesday, Nathaniel Joshua Cabe, 27, and Ian Thomas Spies, 22, were arrested near South Macon Elementary after being stopped by Hodgin. After initially being spotted in a grey Mitsubishi car matching the victim’s description, both suspects attempted to flee Hodgin, who eventually captured Cabe.

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Board agrees to exempt owner-occupied dwellings

On Monday at Town Hall, aldermen narrowed down a desirable minimum housing code draft. The purpose of a minimum housing code is to hold all dwellings within city limits to certain standards in the interest of public safety. Prior to the meeting, aldermen were considering two versions of the ordinance, one excluding owner-occupied dwellings to code standards and the other holding all dwellings under code standards.

Since a draft of the code was first broached by Henning last year, in response to the town’s inability to respond to safety and aesthetic complaints by residents, aldermen have finally affirmed their desire to exclude owner-occupied dwellings from code standards

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After several months of discussion and two public hearings on the issue, the Macon County Board of Commissioners has asked the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to consider a compromise on its planned improvements of Needmore Road. Last week the board unanimously passed a resolution indicating its support of a compromise alternative to the controversial $13 million option the NCDOT has put forward as its “preferred” option.

The improvements to Needmore Road – a picturesque, gravel road that runs from Macon to Swain County along the Little Tennessee River through a 4,500 acre tract of preserved game land – have been the source of much controversy since NCDOT began its public input process on the project last summer.

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Macon County and the Town of Franklin will seek to name a bridge after a local man and veteran of the Vietnam War who was held for six years as a prisoner of war.

At their last meeting, the Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution requesting that the North Carolina Department of Transportation designate the Bridge over Highway 441 South Business/U.S. 64 bridge near Westgate Plaza as the “Nathan B. ‘Nat’ Henry Bridge.” The Town of Franklin is expected to pass a similar resolution in the near future.

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The city of Asheville recently hosted its third annual HATCH Experience which broke loose throughout the downtown area, bringing together creative professionals from all over the world. Hatch began in Bozeman, Montana in 2003 and is held every October 5-9. It was brought to Asheville in 2009 and is held from April 14-17.

A lofty concept, HATCH is a four-day festival, featuring panels, workshops and events in architecture, film, music, photography, journalism, fashion and design and technology.

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The State Highway Patrol has completed its Operation Slow Down Initiative that began on March 28 and ended on April 3. The purpose of the operation was to reduce speed related collisions on North Carolina Interstates. Last year 1,110 motorists died on North Carolina highways. Of those, 279 deaths were attributed to speed.

During the week long initiative, troopers stepped-up enforcement and patrols across the state, focusing on motorists speeding on interstates and major four-lane highways.

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Macon Bank sponsored The Rathbun Center’s fundraiser, The Best of the Best, held on Friday, March 18, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. A big “Thank You” to all who donated money, time or talent for this important fundraiser.

Music was provided by The Dueling Pianos (Cathey Gray and Michael Conard), WestSound of Asheville, The Rye Holler Boys and Sheri Lynn & Mountain Friends. The Franklin High School Cheerleaders got everyone into the spirit by doing a cheer on stage and then passed the donation buckets through the crowd.

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N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to replace the bridge on Mirror Lake Road over the Cullasaja River near Highlands in Macon County.

A $577,544 contract was awarded to Dane Construction Inc. of Mooresville. Work can begin as early as April 25 and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

The bridge, constructed in 1960, needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.

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