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I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.

Photoblog

Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

I haven't decided what to put here yet, so look at this pretty photo.

Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Vietnam Veterans Day in Franklin, NC


On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Chapter #994 of the Vietnam Veterans of America held a parade and ceremony in observance of Vietnam Veterans Day, a holiday that started here in 2009.

Veterans marched in a parade from town hall to the Gazebo at the corner of Main Street and Iotla Street, where speeches and ceremonies were held. Videos and Photos of the complete event are posted below for those of you who either didn't know of the event or could not attend.

Slideshow
View a slideshow of photos either below or on Flickr.






The Parade



Part 1

Welcome -- Gary Shields
Opening Prayer -- Sam Hastings
Pledge of Allegiance -- Sgt Maxwell
National Anthem -- Dwayne Cabe



Part 2

Introduction -- Bob Scott
Remarks -- Ronnie Beale
Remarks -- Jim Davis



Part 3

Introduction of Speakers -- Gary Shields
Guest Speaker -- Nat Henry
Guest Speaker -- Thomas Pyle



Part 4

Awards to the Media for Coverage
Presentation of Awards -- Gary Shields
Award Acceptance -- Michael Parks for The Franklin Press
Award Acceptance -- Betsey Gooder for Macon County News and Shopping Guide
Award Acceptance -- Harry Taylor for series on Vietnam Veterans

Closing Remarks -- Rick Norton


Part 5 End of Ceremony

Wreath Laying -- VVA Chapter #994
Rifle Salute -- VVA Chapter #994
Taps -- VVA Chapter #994
Closing Prayer -- Joe Hastings


Rifle Salute

Here is a view of the rifle salute performed by Chapter #994 of the Vietnam Veterans of America from a different angle.


May we never forget to honor the veterans who served in Vietnam.


CROWD FUNDING EFFORT

Macon Media currently does not recently thousands of dollars a month in advertising like the other news outlets in Macon County.

Please consider giving a dollar a month to my Patreon Campaign so I can can continue providing this type of news coverage indefinitely and to add significant improvements and will potentially allow me to hire reporters and other personnel to better cover news and events in Macon County.
 
Visit www.patreon.com/MaconMedia to see my current budget and for instructions on how you can support the effort.

By giving a dollar a month, you can gain access to updates that only patreon supporters get to see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Macon Co School Board -- March 2015


The Macon County Board of Education met in Highlands, NC for their March 2015 meeting. An agenda packet and video of the complete meeting are posted here for your information. The sound has been enhanced so some low talkers may be heard, this has resulted in other sounds being amplified too much. I apologize for the inconvenience.



During the meeting, the board attorney, John Henning, Jr, relayed to the board that another bid has been made on the Cullasaja School property in the amount of $139,700. This opens up an upset bid period from March 20th to March 30th at 5 pm. Minimum bid is $146,735.

The bid history is listed below:


n  Initial bid: $75,000.00
n  By: Jim Bell
n  Date: December 1

n  Upset bid: $80,000.00
n  By: Van’s Electric
n  Date: December 12

n  Upset bid: $84,100.00
n  By: Jim Bell
n  Date: December 22

n  Upset bid: $88,355.00
n  By: Fred Crane
n  Date: January 9

n  Upset bid: $99,000.00
n  By: John Martin
n  Date: January 16

n  Upset bid: $105,000.00
n  By: Jim Bell
n  Date: January 26

n  Upset bid: $110,300.00
n  By: Fred Crane
n  Date: February 9

n  Upset bid: $115,865.00
n  By: Jim Bell
n  Date: February 13

n  Upset bid: $133,000.00
n  By: John Martin
n  Date: March 2

n  Upset bid: $139,700.00
n  By: Fred Crane
n  Date: March 16





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Minor earthquake in Cherokee, NC


A minor earthquake with a preliminary rating of magnitude 2.1 with the epicenter at a depth of 3.2 miles below the surface occurred at 11:14 pm last night 1.9 miles ESE in Cherokee, NC. This information is temporary and may be revised after being reviewed by a seismologist.

The map shows the quake near Cherokee (to the northeast of Franklin) and one that occurred on March 5th in Hiawassee, Georgia (to the southwest of Franklin). The quake registered on the Helicorder at Lake Jocassee, SC and I have included that display in the map.

Franklin Main Street Board Goes Inactive


The Franklin Main Street Program Board of Directors met last night. Macon Media was there and a text play by play of the meeting may be seen on Facebook [LINK].

Here is a video of the entire meeting:



First on the agenda was a presentation by the Chairman of the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Committee on what the organization has been doing. After this, the town manager, Summer Woodard, announced the resignation of four members from the Main Street board.

They are: Bo Bryant (Chair), Janice Cummings (Vice Chair), Jane Hopper (Secretary) and Tommy Jenkins (Macon EDC Director).

The remaining members of the board that were present, Sissy Patillo, Christine Basey (Treasurer), Joyce Handley (Town Alderman), Ken Murphy and Judy Chapman then discussed the future of the board and what steps were necessary to go inactive for a time. Board members Tony Hernandez (Town Merchants) and Donald Holland (Franklin Chamber of Commerce) were not present.

The board voted 5-0 to go inactive and discussed the trip two board members (Judy Chapman and Ken Murphy) were taking to the 2015 Main Street Conference being held next week in Morganton, NC.

Tony Angel, consultant to the board, announced that the town was expanding the July 4th celebration an hour. The festival would be from 10 am to 2 pm and he said he thought it could grow to become a larger festival like Pumpkinfest. He also mentioned that there would be a free concert on the evening of July 3rd in town called "An Evening of Red, White and Blues in Downtown Franklin."

The board then voted to return the remainder of its funds, a little over $18,000, to the town. Summer Woodard, the Town Manager, also discussed with the board the procedure for reactivating the board. 


MEDIA ROLL CALL
Macon Media (me)
The Franklin Press
Macon County News and Shopping Guide

I try to include a listing of which media organizations are present at these meetings so you can know which local press organizations are actually attending these meetings or not.

Here is a Press release from the town regarding the decision by the Franklin Main Street Program to go to inactive status:


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Macon County Commissioners March 2015



The Macon County Board of Commissioners met last night in a meeting that lasted, minus a break and a closed session, just over two hours and 36 minutes. You can read the text play by play I posted on Facebook [LINK] for the general gist of the meeting if you're unwilling or unable to watch the video posted above.

The public agenda is posted immediately below and the agenda that is shared with members of the press can be read blow that. A copy of the proposed Nuisance Ordinance, aka Noise Ordinance is posted below the agenda that is shared with the press.


The board recessed the meeting until 6 pm on March 31st.

MEDIA ROLL CALL (members of the local press who were present)

Macon Media
Macon County News and Shopping Guide
The Franklin Press
WNCC-AM/WFSC-AM
The Smoky Mountain News



MACON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MARCH 10, 2015
AGENDA 

  • Call to order and welcome by Chairman Corbin
  • Announcements
    • NCACC Update Video
  • Moment of Silence
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Public Hearing(s) - None
  • Public Comment Period
  • Adjustments to and approval of the agenda
  • Reports/Presentations
    • Flag Presentation to Paul Carlson of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee
    • Request for update on relocation of buoy and no wake zone at Nantahala Lake- Daniel Lopp
    • Proclamation for Colon Cancer Awareness Month - Michelle Brooks
    • Program Impact Report - County Extension Director Alan Durden
    • Presentation of proposed Noise Ordinance- County Planner Matt Mason, Planning Board Chairman Chris Haners
    • Highlands track and softball field renovation presentation- TBD
  • Old Business
    • Approval of recommended site for landfill expansion - Solid Waste Director Chris Stahl
    • Presentation of due diligence findings - Chris Stahl
  • New Business
    • Resolution regarding Designation of Applicant's Agent - County Attorney and Emergency Services Director Warren Cabe
    • Resolution and renewal of lease with Drawbridge Secure Network Solutions - County Attorney and Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins
    • Audit contract for Fiscal Year 2014-15 - Finance Director
    • Request from Macon County Schools regarding use of supplement funds - Finance Director
    • Consideration of Courthouse 4th floor "Attorney Access Procedure" - County Attorney
    • Consideration of Mutual Aid Agreement between Macon County Sheriff's Department and WNC Counties- County Attorney
  • Consent Agenda - Attachment #11
      All items below are considered routine and will be enacted by one motion. No separate discussion will be held except on request of a member of the Board of Commissioners.
    • Minutes of the February 10, 2015 regular meeting
    • Budget Amendments #127-128
    • Tax Releases
    • Monthly ad valorem tax collection report
  • Appointments
    • Macon County Heritage Center
  • Closed session (if necessary)
  • Adjourn/Recess





Monday, March 2, 2015

Franklin Aldermen March 2015 Meeting

Aldermen Meeting Agenda Title Card photo AldermenMeetingAgenda_zps1eaafee4.jpg

The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen will be meeting tonight at 7pm in the town hall on East Main Street. The public agenda and the press packet shared with the local media are posted below in the interest of transparency.

After the meeting, the video will be posted here so you can see for yourself what transpired.



Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 

Agenda 

Monday March 2, 2015 7:00 p.m.



    1.    Call to Order- Mayor Bob Scott 
    2.    Pledge of Allegiance- Vice Mayor Verlin Curtis 
    3.    Adoption of March 2, 2015 Proposed Agenda 
    4.    Approval of the February 2 and February 23, 2015 Board Minutes 
    5.    Public Session 
    6.    New Business         
    A.)    Street Closing Request for the Arts Council- Town Manager Summer Woodard         
    B.)    Discussion on Banners- Mayor Bob Scott         
    C.)    Set Public Hearing for Re-Zoning Petition for three (3) parcels on Siler Road- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser         
    D.)    Forward Special Use Permit Application to the Town Planning Board- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser         
    E.)    Update on Various North Carolina Department of Transportation Projects- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser         
    F.)    Update on Town Bridge Design- Town Manager Summer Woodard & Land Use Administrator Justin Setser         
    G.)    Re-Appointment of Candy Presley to the Tourism Development Authority Board- Town Manager Summer Woodard         
    H.)    Set Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Town Budget Schedule- Town Manager Summer Woodard          I.)    Water Line Easement for Industrial Park Road- Town Manager Summer Woodard 

     7.    Legal         
    A.)    Resolution to Appoint Town Manager to the Tourism Development Authority Board- Town Attorney John Henning Jr         
    B.)    Annexation Policy- Town Attorney John Henning Jr         
    C.)    North Carolina Department of Transportation Deed for Highway Right of Way- Town Attorney John Henning Jr.         
    D.)    Minimum Housing Code Violation at 14 Brittany Lane- Town Attorney John Henning Jr 
     8.    Announcements         
    A.)    Town Hall Offices will be closed Friday April 3, 2015 in observance of Good Friday 
     9.    Adjourn 
 The press packet:


Friday, February 6, 2015

Franklin Aldermen February 2015 Regular Meeting

Aldermen560 photo Aldermen560_zpsa73258a9.jpg


Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 


Agenda 


Monday February 2, 2015 7:00 p.m.


1.       Call to Order- Mayor Bob Scott
2.     Pledge of Allegiance- Vice Mayor Verlin Curtis
3.     Adoption of February 2, 2015 Proposed Agenda
4.     Approval of the January 5 and January 24, 2015 Board Minutes
5.     Public Session
6.     New Business
A.)  Proclamation for Hunger Awareness Month- Margaret Freeman
B.)  Presentation of Sufficiency Notification for 44 Lowery Lane- Town Clerk Chad Simons and Land Use Administrator Justin Setser
C.)  Board Authorization for the Advertisement of Real Property Tax Liens for Current Year 2014- Tax Collector Jessie Wilkins
D.)  Budget Amendments- Town Manager Summer Woodard
E.)  Replacement of Town Bridge- Town Manager Summer Woodard
F.)   Town of Franklin Travel Policy- Town Manager Summer Woodard
G.)  Update on State Revolving Loan Fund for Town of Franklin Water Plant Upgrade and Expansion- Town Manager Summer Woodard
H.)  Forward Re-Zoning Petition for three (3) parcels on Siler Road to the Town Planning Board- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser
7.     Legal
A.)  License Agreement for Bowery Restaurant- Town Attorney John Henning Jr and Town Manager Summer Woodard
8.      Set Continuation Meeting for February 16, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen met on February 2, 2015 for their regular February 2015 meeting at the town hall. The video and public agenda of the meeting are above and the agenda packet that is shared with members of the media is at the end of this article. The next board meeting will be on February 16, 2015 in the town hall at 5:30 pm.

Immediately below is a video of the License Agreement discussion between the Town Board and the owner of The Bowery restaurant, which has been the source of some controversy. [See Macon County News article]





MEDIA ROLL CALL

Macon Media (me)
The Franklin Press
Macon County News and Shopping Guide
WNCC-FM/WFSC-AM



And here is the agenda packet that is shared with the media. I include it here in the interest of transparency.




Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhog Day 2015
Early Spring, Late Winter or Bitten?


Groundhog Day is here and the groundhogs, and a white squirrel have made their prognostications.

Here is the list of the predictions from several groundhogs in the United States. Canada has several, but I ignored those because it's always winter in Canada.

The most famous goundhog of them all, Punxsutawney Phil, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

Here is a list of the groundhogs who agree with him:

Mount Joy Minnie Lancaster County, PA
Poor Richard York, PA
Chuckles Manchester, CT
Holtsville Hal Holtsville, NY
Malverne Mel Malverne, NY
Chattanooga Chuck Chattanooga, TN
Sir Thomas Hastings Hastings, NE
Queen Charlotte Charlotte, NC



And here are the groundhogs who disagree with Phil and say we're in for an early spring:

Staten Island Chuck Staten Island, NY
Dover Doug Dover, PA
Octorara, Orphie Quarryville, PA
Cocalico Cal Ephrata, PA
Dunkirk Dave Dunkirk, NY
Buckeye Chuck Marion, OH
French Creek Freddie French Creek, WV
General Beauregard Lee Lilburn, GA

There were more ground hogs on a list I found, but I could not find what they've had to say. Brevard, NC has a White Squirrel called Pisgah Pete who agrees with the prediction of 6 more weeks of winter.

And last, but not least, there is the ccontroversysurrounding Jimmy the Groundhog. His handlers say he says 6 more weeks of winter, but the Mayor of Sun Prairie, WI says that Jimmy told him that an early spring is in store. Jimmy also bit the Mayor, so maybe the Mayor lied. LOL

Until next year, stay safe and watch out for those groundhogs....you never know...one of them may be able to forecast the weather next groundhog day


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Macon County Planning Board Continues Work on Noise Nuisance Ordinance


The Macon County Planning Board met on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 to continue work on the proposed noise ordinance. It has morphed into a nuisance ordinance that is concerned with noise.

MEDIA ROLL CALL (Reporters from local media organizations at the meeting)

Macon Media
The Franklin Press
Macon County News and Shopping Guide

A video of the full meeting is above, and copy a copy of a draft copy of the Nuisance Ordinance the planning board members amended is is below.







The next meeting of the planning board will be Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 4 pm in the Environmental Resource Center, then on the 17th, they will be holding a joint meeting with the Macon County Commissioners at the Macon Bank Corporate center at 6 pm..


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mid Year Budget Review and Work Session Scheduled for January 20, 2015

 photo 88729678-1-7-6.jpg

The Macon County Commissioners will be holding their annual mid-year budget review and work session on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 20th. It is scheduled to last a little over 4 hours. The agenda for the meeting has been posted below and you can check out what went on at last year's meeting by clicking this link.





Macon County Board of Commissioners
January 20, 2015 – 12:30 P.M.
Work Session Agenda

12:30 – 12:40 Welcome – Chairman (Kevin Corbin, Chairman)

12:40 – 1:00 2014 Year in Review (County Manager, Tommy Jenkins, Economic Development Director)

1:00 – 1:30 Mid – Year Financial Review (Lori Hall, Director of Finance)

1:30 – 1:40 Proposed Budget Calendar for FY 2015/2016 (County Manager)
•Budget Challenges and Goals for FY 2016

1:40 – 2:00 NCACC legislative goals (Ronnie Beale, Kevin Corbin)

2:00 – 2:20 Health Department  (Jim Bruckner, Health Director)
•Medicaid Cost Settlement Revenue Adjustment

2:20 – 2:50 Public Safety (Sheriff Robbie Holland, EM Director Warren Cabe)
•Future projects and needs

2:50 – 3:20 Public Schools (Dr. Chris Baldwin, Superintendent of Macon County School System)
•Macon County School Needs Assessment

3:20 – 3:30 Macon County DSS (Jane Kimsey, Director of Social Services)
•Successful  Implementation of NCFAST in FY 15

3:30 – 3:50 IT (Andy Muncey, Director of Information Technology)
•Phone System/Security System upgrade and  Implementation of SAN Data Storage

3:50 – 4:10 Tax Office  (Richard Lightner, Tax Administrator)
•Update on Revaluation

4:10 – 4:30 Recreation Department (Seth Adams, Recreation Director)
•Operating costs associated with Parker Meadows

4:30 – 5:00 Goals and expectations for FY 2015/2016 (Board of Commissioners, County Manager)

5:00 – 5:15 Wrap-up and closing comments (Kevin Corbin, Chairman)


Friday, December 19, 2014

Macon County Planning Board
Video of December 2014 Meeting




The Macon County Planning Board met for the regular December 2014 meeting last night at the Health Department. Commissioner Jimmy Tate reflected on his time served on the board for the last 5 years, he introduced Commissioner Gary Shields, who would be taking his place as liaison to the planning board.

Two citizens spoke during public comment. James Wright shared his noise and nuisance problems that had been ongoing for over two years without resolution. Donna Majerus also shared some of her problems for the last few years with a noisy neighbor.

The main topic of the meeting was the noise ordinance that the county commissioners had instructed them to create. Board members spoke at length about what they wanted and didn't want in the ordinance. County Planner Matt Mason handed out a copy of the as yet unadopted noise ordinance for neighboring Clay County for members to refer to and there was some discussion on that document and how it might be amended to fit Macon County.

Chariman Chris Hanners reminded the board that the terms of himself (2/2015), Susan Ervin (5/2015), Peggy Patterson (5/2015) and Mark West (11/2015) would be expiring in 2015, as well as that of the seat of the Town of Highlands (1/2015). The current occupant, John Underwood, indicated that he no longer wished to serve on the board and would only serve until a replacement had been located.

The next meeting on the board will take place on Tuesday, January 13th at 4 pm at the health department. The February meeting will be a joint meeting with the Macon County Commissioners at a location to be determined, but has in the past been held at the Macon Bank Corporate Center.

Here is a video of the meeting. The audio is amplified because there were a couple of members who do not speak loudly enough to be easily heard.



Here is the agenda for the meeting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tractor Trailer Rolls Over on Cowee Mountain


On December 16, 2014, a tractor trailer rolled over in Waterspicket Curve near the top of Cowee Mountain on US-441. Mountain Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Macon County EMS and the North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to the incident. Firefighters, EMS and bystanders extricated the driver of the truck and Macon County EMS transported the victims to Angel Community Hospital.

Here are some photos and video from the scene, with snippets of the radio traffic mixed into the video.



Photos can be viewed on Flickr.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Area law enforcement seeking subject wanted for several felonies, including kidnapping

**update** 12/05/2014: The manhunt is over and Jester has been taken into custody by the Rabun County Sheriff's Office at 1:45 pm on December 5th in a field near Yorkhouse Road in Mountain City. The manhunt had started around 10:30 pm the previous evening.



Law Enforcement in North Georgia and western North Carolina are on the lookout for a Phillip Norman Jester for kidnapping, grand theft auto, eluding arrest and several other felonies. The audio included with this post is of a BOLO (Be On the LookOut for) issued by the Macon County EOC just after 4 am this morning.

Jester has eluded capture in Rabun County and was last seen in the Rabun Gap area. They believe he may have stolen a vehicle.

Details on the individual are as follows:

Phillip Norman Jester
Age: 24
Brown Hair and Brown Eyes
Height: 5 foot 10 inches
Weight: 190 pounds
Considered armed and dangerous

Skylar Nichole Foster
Age: 14
Hair is black, shaved on the right side
Height: 5 foot 2 inches
Weight: 110 pounds
May be held against her will


Authorities believe that 24 year-old Jester is holding 14-year-old Skylar Nicole Foster against her will. He is a wanted felon out of Delaware, as well as Georgia and other states. Skylar met Jester on Facebook before he came to Georgia and ran away with him and it is believe she is now being held against her will.

Skylar is believed to be in danger. She is 5'2" and weighs 110 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans with leggings and an oversized blue zip-up hoodie and black shoes. Her hair is dyed black and is shaved on the right side.

If you see Jester or the couple, please do not attempt to apprehend them on your own call 911 and report their location and direction of travel.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Board of Education Swears In Fred Goldsmith and Tommy Cabe
Re-elects Leadership
Recognizes Service of Gary Shields

The Macon County Board of Education met this morning at 9 am.

The first order of business was to swear in Tommy Cabe and Fred Goldsmith to the board. The board then proceeded to re-elect Jim Breedlove as Chairman and Tommy Cabe as Vice Chairman.

The board then presented former board member Gary Shields with a plaque recognizing his service on the school board. Gary Shields did not run for re-election to the board of education and mounted a successful election campaign to join the Macon County Commissioners. He will be sworn into that office at 5:45 pm tonight at the Macon County Courthouse.



Here are a few photos from this morning's meeting:

(You may click the photos to embiggen)



Chairman Jim Breedlove directs meeting via phone
Board member Tommy Cabe sworn in for fourth term
Fred Goldsmith sworn for first term
Departing member Gary Shields recognized for service
Board member Melissa Evans participates in meeting via phone






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 Veterans Day Observance in Franklin


The Franklin Main Street Program hosted an event to honor local veterans on Veterans Day, starting with a parade, then a program that included patriotic music and a speech by David Adams, Chief of the Franklin Police Department, and a wreath laying ceremony in the courthouse plaza.

Video and photos from the event are posted below.