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News

Over 18,000 without power for days - Duke Energy struggling to repair area lines

A severe weather system moving through the Carolinas on Monday night and Tuesday morning caused widespread power outages and significant structural damage in the mountain region and as far east as Charlotte and Greensboro. More than 250,000 customers reportedly lost power in Duke Energy’s Carolinas service area. While power for many has already been restored, some customers should expect to wait until Friday or even the weekend before they have electricity again.

Sixty- to 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts and driving rain uprooted large trees and downed electric poles and power lines in various parts of the region.

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For the second time in less than a year, deputies with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office arrested a couple from the Ellijay community for operating a lab used for manufacturing methamphetamine. Authorities were assisted in dismantling the lab last week by the Cullasaja Fire Department and State Bureau of Investigation.

The lab belonged to David Lee Holland, 43, and Pamela Ledbetter Holland, 40, both of Ralph Taylor Road. The couple was arrested Thursday, March 31, at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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Franklin hosts hiker celebrations

The Town of Franklin kicked off its first festivities of the year last weekend by celebrating the Appalachian Trail and the thruhikers now passing through Franklin on their northbound trek to Maine. To open the weekend’s celebrations, a special ceremony was held at Town Hall Friday recognizing the AT’s positive impact on Franklin, as well as the individuals involved with the trail.

“Hikers are great,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins to more than 40 people at the ceremony. “When they come into town, it’s like a car on empty. They are needing things.”

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Franklin Board of Aldermen paid their respects to former alderman Jerry Evans Monday by presenting a framed memorial to his wife and family.

Alderman Evans passed in February at the age of 55. The memorial plaque recognized Evan’s years of service as an alderman — from 1995-2003, and then again from 2005-2011. Evans served as Vice Mayor of Franklin from 2001-2003.

Evan’s wife, Glenda, and children, Todd, Jeremy, Christopher and Christy Evans were all present to accept the memorial.

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Elderly woman waits for hours for assistance after escaping blaze

A 9-1-1 call placed shortly after 7 a.m., Wednesday morning, reported a house fire in progress at 679 Smith Road in Lower Burningtown off of Younce Creek Road. The blaze had apparently been started during a series of direct lightning strikes to the single story, tin-roofed home. The house and a storage outbuilding next to it were completely destroyed in the fire.

The lightning was the result of a severe thunderstorm that brought high winds and heavy rains to several areas in the county and left more than 10,000 residents without power Wednesday morning. Three fires in the county, including one on Watauga Road, were caused by downed power lines.

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Wilma Anderson retiring after 36 years with county

Over one hundred people gathered to wish Wilma Anderson a fond farewell Tuesday at a retirement reception in her honor in the Southwestern Community College annex behind the county administration building.

After 36 years of making sure Macon County government ran smoothly, Wilma (everyone knows her by her first name) is retiring from her long career as Assistant County Manager and Human Resources Director.

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Narcotics officers aren’t always the most upbeat and cheerful people. They often deal with the worst side of humanity, people whose lives have been torn apart by drugs and addiction. But this officer had good reason to be excited on this particular day. “We did better than I would have expected,” said the veteran lawman, even grinning as he took a moment from stacking up and sorting the super-sized freezer bags full of prescription drugs, “especially considering the weather today.”

It was one of those damp, rainy days with an overcast grey sky that makes people want to stay indoors, but on this day the narcotics officer — whose name is withheld for obvious reasons — was thrilled to see people coming together to keep kids safe and keep massive amounts of prescription drugs off the streets.

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Suspect charged with larceny and secret peeping

Officers with the Franklin Police Department arrested an alleged “Peeping Tom” in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 24.

At 1:56 a.m., officers Eli Kirkland and Timothy Lynn responded to a call advising that a male subject wearing a ski mask was peeping through the window of a residence on Bobwhite Lane, near Heritage Hollow in Franklin. According to reports, the home was occupied by 46-year-old woman, along with her two teenage daughters and grandchild.

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After almost two years of work, a committee of local stakeholders and officials have completed a preliminary draft of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) for Macon County. The plan looks at transportation needs for the county as it grows over the next 25 years and includes a number of specific recommendations for future road projects and other transportation infrastructure investments.

The committee is now asking for public input on the preliminary CTP. On Thursday, March 24, a public workshop for the plan was held in the boardroom of the Franklin Town Hall.

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Cousins Stephen Drake and Stephen Wright are spearheading an effort next month to send a group of abused and neglected children to summer camp through the Royal Family Kids Camp program.

During the entire month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the two Stephens will hold a fundraiser with the help of some local businesses. Proceeds will fund a camp trip for children from across the state between the ages of 7 and 11, who are currently in the custody of Social Services. Drake and Wright both began volunteering as counselors for the program two years ago, making this year their third.

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