- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Do you walk or ride a bicycle in North Carolina? If so, here’s your chance to tell the N.C. Department of Transportation how it can help improve your overall experience. The department is giving the public an opportunity to voice needs and concerns related to bicycle and pedestrian safety through an online survey launched this week.

“Building a safer transportation network is a primary goal of our department, and meeting the safety needs of our state’s bicyclists and pedestrians is a key part of that,” said Deputy Secretary of Transit Jim Westmoreland. “The feedback we receive from this survey will allow us to better plan to meet these needs, and in turn improve the overall biking and walking experience in North Carolina.”

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Robert Benjamin Smith, 24, of Cherokee, NC, has entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Bryson City on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to second degree murder in connection with his involvement in a Oct. 22, 2010, fatal stabbing incident which occurred on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

According to official court documents, on Oct. 22, 2010 after having spent the day together drinking beer and using drugs, the defendant and victim got into a fight which resulted in the victim being stabbed to death. On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Smith entered a guilty plea to one count of second degree murder, a lesser-included offense of first degree murder. The plea was offered pursuant to a plea agreement.

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As healthcare costs continue to rise across the state and nation, Town of Franklin Manager Sam Greenwood took time at Saturday’s annual retreat to explain to Aldermen the ailing state of affairs for town employee benefits. He proved to be the primary negotiator of this complicated topic as well as the chief mediator between the State and Town governments.

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October accident led to death of Parker Mathis

A 20-year-old Franklin man who lost control of his truck and drove off the road last October, killing one passenger and seriously injuring another, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with felonies related to reckless driving and driving after consuming intoxicating substances as a minor. The indictment handed down during the superior court session on Wednesday, Jan. 12, charges Donald Thomas Courtney of Hidden Valley Road with one felony count of death by vehicle and one felony count of serious injury by vehicle. 

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“Our mayor owns a retail business. He is very conscientious of customers and their needs. That conscientiousness rubs off on me and the rest of the town’s staff,” said Jim Fatland, Highlands town manager.

“We are all more aware of what is needed to take care of Highlands’ customers. We think about that in all of our activities.”

In an extensive interview last week, Highlands mayor David Wilkes looked back on his first year in office, and also projected areas where the town will concentrate in the coming months.

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The Town of Franklin will soon begin searching for a new manager. At last week’s retreat, the board of aldermen began discussions about seeking a new permanent manager to replace the current interim manager, Sam Greenwood, whose term is set to expire in April 2012.

The board decided to begin seeking a new manager no later than September. Board members also indicated that they would be most comfortable seeking a manager with experience in government in western North Carolina.

Greenwood is employed by the town for 1,000 hours per year and, according to his contract, is paid $68,270 annually with $10,000 contributed to his retirement plan and $500 provided monthly for travel.

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Aldermen meet for annual retreat to review issues for 2011The Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen gathered at Town Hall for their annual winter retreat Jan. 15, hunkering down for an extended planning session to discuss several issues that the town will face throughout the coming year. Alderman Jerry Evans and Town Planner Michael Grubermann were both absent from the meeting.

Town budget

The stability of Franklin’s budget is strong for the time being, but as Greenwood explained, is also dependent on the actions of lawmakers in Raleigh.

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...grants to N.C. agencies

In an effort to help families find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures, the Obama Administration today announced nearly $73 million in housing counseling grants to more than 500 national, regional and local organizations. As a result of the funding announced today, hundreds of thousands of households will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of the housing counseling and counseling training grants awarded today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Housing counseling agencies located in 29 communities in North Carolina will offer comprehensive services, and some will have specific funding, such as the $34,650 Outer Banks Community Development Corporation which was granted to provide assistance with mortgage scams and mortgage modification. See links below for detailed information on each grant.

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Angel Medical Center was a recipient of a $5,000 grant from Bi-Lo during their Gift of Giving Month. The grant will help fund a Cancer Patient Navigator who will work with patients who are diagnosed with cancer assisting them from diagnoses through survivorship. The Cancer Patient Navigator will also work with caregivers, and help patients and their families to access resources that are available from many sources.

The Franklin Bi-Lo is the sponsor for the joint endeavor between AMC and Macon County Public Health for a monthly health education program, Ladies Night Out.

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The recommendations from the state task force on ex-offender reintegration represent a big step toward safer communities and second chances for North Carolinians, observers say.

For two years, the NC legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Ex-Offender Reintegration into Society has debated how best to address the problems of recidivism and the reintegration of ex-offenders into society.

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published: 10/18/2013
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