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.


Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Macon County Public Schools Start Today
Safety Tips and School Calendars

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Today, August 24th, is the first day of the 2015-2016 school year in Macon County. Be careful and watch for children on the side of the road who may dart into the road and watch for school buses. Give the buses plenty of lead room in front of you and know when to stop for school buses

Here are links to download the school calendars for the 2015-2016 School Year:

Highlands School (New school day is 8:00am to 3:10 pm)

Nantahala School (New school day is 8:00am to 3:10 pm)

Here is a press release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation with tips about safely driver when schools are in session.

Governor McCrory Stresses Staying Safe When Traveling Back to School

Raleigh, N.C.  – More than 1.5 million students across the state will head back to the classroom next week, and North Carolina officials want to make sure those students arrive safely and ready to learn.

With more cars, buses and pedestrians packing North Carolina roadways, Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol urge motorists to stay alert and exercise caution on the road, especially around schools, crosswalks, school buses and bus stops.

“Safety, especially the safety of our students at this time of year, is our number one priority, and we want all drivers to stay alert and slow down as more children will soon be standing at bus stops, crossing the road to get on buses and walking or riding their bikes to schools,” said Governor McCrory. “We also want to remind all drivers, particularly our teen drivers, to put their phones away, keep their eyes on the road and avoid all distractions and slow down.”

In Wake County during the first month of the last school year, one student was hit and killed while waiting for the bus, and two teens were killed in crashes on their way to school. Seven students statewide were hit and injured crossing to get on the bus or at the bus stop during the entire 2014-2015 school year.

“These tragic accidents can be prevented if drivers, parents and students practice simple safety measures. Rushing to save a few minutes or a distraction of a few seconds can trigger life-altering or life-ending consequences,” said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson.

While texting, the average time your eyes are off the road is five seconds. That's enough time to drive the length of a football field blindfolded when traveling at 55 mph. With more than 14,000 school buses traveling North Carolina highways daily, paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions can help keep everyone safe.

“As we begin the school year, our troopers will be closely monitoring school buses. Our number one goal is to ensure the safety of the public but particularly our children,” said Col. Bill Grey, Commander of the Highway Patrol. “To accomplish this goal, we must work together to keep our school children safe and to educate all drivers on the importance of school bus safety.”
Back-to-school safety tips for students and parents:

  • Cross in crosswalks.
  • Watch for and obey crossing guards.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic.
  • Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Pay attention. When walking, avoid distractions like cellphones.
  • Obey signs and signals.
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can.
Back-to-school safety tips for drivers:
  • Know when to stop for school buses. (
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Obey all posted school zone speed limits.
  • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  • Before turning, be sure the path is clear.
  • Slow down near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
  • No drinking and driving.
  • Buckle up.
  • Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices.
  • Texting while driving is illegal. 
North Carolina has stiff penalties for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules.
  • There is a $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, and a five-point penalty on their driver license.
  • A driver who passes a stopped school bus and strikes someone will face a Class I felony and be fined a minimum of $1,000.
  • The penalty increases to a Class H felony and fine of $2,500 if someone is killed.
Additional driving tips for teens:
  • Don’t speed.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Cellphone use is illegal for drivers under 18.
  • For provisional license holders, no more than one passenger at a time.
For more information, visit the Watch for Me NC campaign website to learn more about what you can do to keep roads safe for everyone.
Download the Back to School Safety Tips PDF for more information.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Superior Court Cases
Afternoon Session August 17, 2015

Superior Court for Macon County was called into session for the afternoon of August 17, 2015 with the Honorable William H. Coward presiding.

Macon Media and The Franklin Press were the only local media organizations with reporters physically present in this session of court.

This article contains a list of dispositions and decisions in chronological order, augmented with with information from notes taken while the court was in session. Any errors are mine and all defendants are presumed innocent until their cases have been adjudicated. Where possible, hyperlinks have been added that may help promote understanding of the legal process in North Carolina. I have also not reported material that identifies the victims or family members of sexual abuse victims.

Please remember that I am an amateur in reporting on the court system. If you see errors in my reporting, let me know at or send me a private (or public message on my Macon Media facebook account at

Here are links to some documents to help you understand how the court system works and some of the legal jargon in the coverage:


Mann, Logan 14CRS51174 Assault by strangulation, assault on a female, assault in the presence of a minor
Represented by Bryson, Crystal

A plea of Not Guilty was entered and a trial date set for December 14, 2015.

Royse, Christopher
Represented by Beyer, Nikki

Case was continued to November 16, 2015 for another administrative setting.

Holt, Raymond 14CRS050188 Sex Offender/Child Premises
Represented by

Called and failed to appear. Order for Arrest was issued and bond raised to $30,000 cash secured. (The defendant appeared later in the session and the order was struck)

Timpton, Jeremy Probation Violation (In arrears over financial obligations)
Represented by

The defendant was given an extra 12 months of probation. (I could not find this case on the calendar, perhaps I did not understand the name of the defendant)

Roberts, David 14CRS050498, 14CRS050499, 14CRS 050500 Third degree sexual exploitation of a minor
Represented by Devereux, Sean

Case continued to 11-16-2015.

Holt, Raymond 14CRS050188 Sex Offender/Child Premises

Case was continued to 11-16-2015 at which time the State instructed the defendant to plea guilty or go to trial. The judge ordered the arrest order rescinded.

Moses, Chad Probation violation (could not find this case on the calendar)

Found in violation. Sentenced to 90 day CRV then terminate probation.

Jorge, Susan (could not find this case on the calendar)
Represented by (not represented)

The judge appointed Nikki Beyers and set next appearance at 11-16-2015.

Ward, Roberta Probation Violation (could not find this case on the calendar)
Represented by (waived right to an attorney)

Judge extended probation 12 months.

Hathcock, Preston 14CRS050590 Breaking and/or Entering
Represented by Beyers, Nikki

Continued to 11-16-2015.

The reporter for The Franklin Press arrived in the courtroom.

McKinney, Gavin 15CRS050552, 15CRS050553 Forgery and Obtain Property by False Pretenses and Uttering Forged Instrument
Represented by Neumann, Scott

Sentenced to 2 consecutive sentences 6 to 14 months with 26 days jail credit, active sentence suspended for a term of 24 months on probation, pay $200 fine, restitution to victim for checks, have no contact with the victim and $240 for attorney fees.

McConnell, Jeffrey 15CRS05065, 15CRS050652 Possess firearm by a felon, possession stolen firearm
Represented by Norwood, Gina

Continued to 11-16-2015.

Frazier, Steel 15CRS050759, 14CRS 050760, 14CRS050761 2nd Degree Burglary, Stolen good, larceny after B&E, larceny of Motor Vehicle, Possession of Stolen Motor vehicle
Represented by Norwood, Gina

Continued to 11-16-2015.

Burr, Jerimy 14CRS050881 Traffick in Methamphetamine and other related charges
Represented by Lay, Frank

Continued to 11-16-2015.

*note* There were several cases at this time I missed because I did not hear a name or complete case number called out as they were handling them rapid-fire.

Jones, Christopher (The case number was not on my calendar) Conspiracy to commit felony, possession of methamphetamine, etc.
Represented by Lepre, Stephanie

The defendant was sentenced and ordered to pay $7,409 in restitution.

10 to 21 months suspended for 36 months probation. Defendant sentenced to serve 90 days minus 17 days jail credit. Ordered to pay $900 in attorney fees, $7,409 in restitution, serve 48 hours community service, enter treatment for substance abuse and have no contact with co-defendant or victim during term of probation.
(This was a complicated sentence, so I have likely got part of it wrong).
This case resulted from the theft of the the days receipts of Cowee Convenience Store on August 4, 2014.

Hensley, Adam 14CRS50281 2nd Degree Murder
Represented by Belser, David

The defendant entered a plea of guilty according to a plea arrangement with the State and was sentenced to 48-67 months with 16 days jail credit with recommended work release.

This case resulted from the March 9, 2014 death of Larry Wilt during a fight at 21 Kirkland Road. More on the incident can be seen at **note** The audio will not play because DivShare, where the audio is being housed, is undergoing restructuring. I have no idea when, or if, the audio will become available again.

Notes from the courtroom

The judge noted that the class D Felony the defendant is charged with exposes him to a possible 204 month maximum sentence.

The judge noted the plea arrangement and sentencing guidelines put the defendant in the mitigated range for a 48-70 month sentence (the judge later corrected the 70 to 67).

assistant District Attorney Eric Bellas, prosecuting for the State, reported the facts of the case for the record. They include:

On March 9, 2014 the Macon County Sheriff Office was called out to to a fight in progress at 21 Kirkland Road. The defendant was found with blood on his face and clothing. Larry Wilt was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

On March 10, 2014 an autopsy performed on the deceased found that the cause of death was several stab wounds.

Witnesses at the scene said the two were lifelong friends and had a disagreement while drinking and a fight started and escalated and moved outside. The State noted that the victim was stabbed with a weapon of opportunity after his nose was avulsed (bitten off).

He further reported that the defendant said he was defending himself and that witness testimony to investigators gave varying accounts of the incident, both implicating and exonerating the account of the defendant.

The mother of the victim made a statement to the court. She said the two 9Henskey and Wilt) had been friends for a long time. Most of her information on what happened came from Facebook and friends. She said that her son's children had no father and that her 6 year old grand daughter wanted to die so she could be with her daddy. She said Hensley just got back from the beach and has had rights and freedoms that have been denied her son, who she said walked away three times to avoid a fight the day he was killed.

David Belser, Attorney for the Defense, said this has been a horrible situation for the victim' family and for the defendant's family. He said Larry Wilt had lived with the Hensley's on and off since the 6th grade. He participated in family vacations and family reunions with the Hensley family.

He said the defendant had a good work history listing jobs held as a dishwasher and for a couple of paving companies. He said the Defense would like for the defendant to get work release at the earliest opportunity if it pleased the court.

The judge found the defendant guilty of a Class D Felony. Voluntary Manslaughter, and would be sentenced in the mitigated range because the mitigating factors outweighed aggravating factors. The sentence is 48-67 months, with credit for 16 days jail credit and work release would be recommended.

At this point, there was an outburst from someone sitting with the family of Larry Wilt. A young man shouted “How is this justice? I hope you wake up every morning and see your disfigured face.” The judge ordered the person removed from the court room.

The judge then continued with the sentence, requiring that a DNA sample be submitted.

Hensley was handcuffed and taken from the courtroom.

The judge directed the audience to exit in a peaceful manner or face 30 days in jail or a $500 fine. He noted that inside the courtroom is not the place to demonstrate against a verdict.

Court was dismissed for the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

State Seeks Death Penalty for Charles Andrew Cochran

The State will be seeking the death penalty for Charles Andrew Cochran for the murder of Day Williamson, of Franklin, NC after numerous attempts to get the defendant to accept a plea deal for life without parole that avoided the death penalty. The State will file paperwork by 5:00 pm today to get that process moving and get an additional attorney appointed to assist Belzer in the defense of his client.

An additional administrative hearing has been scheduled for November 16th, during which time a Rule 24 hearing may take place or be scheduled at another time in the future. *correction* A Rule 24 hearing did take place. My apologies for the error. 

*note* This post has been edited to include information that the deal included life without parole.

*note 2* This was published during the second day (ever) of covering the court system, so expect errors on my part. These guys do not do business like an elected body, making sure the audience understands what is taking place. As long as the Judge and Attorneys know what is going on, they're going to do whatever it is that they're doing. If you're one of those few inititiates who do know what is going on, please do not hesitate to let me know. Since the web provide for the website is having issues, the normal email address of is not working, so send me a private message on the facebook page or comment on the post where the story has been linked. My intent is to cover the court system, in particular the superior courts, by being there during the entire session and not just parachuting in just for the big or interesting cases and ignoring the vast majority of the interaction between the public and the courts.

Superior Court Cases
Morning Session on August 17, 2015

Macon County Courthouse photo 100_5885_zpsad6781ca.jpg

Superior Court for Macon County was called into session with the Honorable William H. Coward presiding.

Macon Media and The Franklin Press were the only local media organizations represented in this session of the court.

Here are a list of most of the court dispositions and decisions that took place on the morning of August 17th, augmented with brief notes taken while the court was in session. Any errors are mine and all defendants are presumed innocent until adjudicated by the court. Where possible, hyperlinks to material that may help promote understanding of the legal process in North Carolina.

Here are links to some documents to help you understand how the court system works and some of the legal jargon in the coverage:

A Citizen's Guide to Structured Sentencing

NC Superior Court Judges' Benchbook

The cases are listed in the order in which they appeared.

Anglin, Paula 14CRS050535 Dissemination to minors under the age of 16 years.
Represented by Hensley, Robert

The Defense entered a plea of guilty as part of a plea arrangement with the prosecution that exposed the defendant to a maximum of 59 months in the NC DOC (North Carolina Department of Corrections).

The judge sentenced the defendant to 15 to 27 months, suspended for a 24 month term of probation and a $500 fine and 12 hours of community service. The physical evidence in this case is to be destroyed and the defendant must register for 30 years as a sex offender.

Cowart, Jessie (numerous case numbers, primarily unindicted)
Represented by Gillette, Jeffrey

The State noted that the defendant was before the court regarding an April case and was currently unindicted in a recent case. After a discussion on the particulars, the judge set September 8th for a bond hearing and to handle other matters in the new case.

Waldroop, Gergory 14CRS050866 Driving While Impaired
Represented by Stewart, J.

This defendant was listed in error for this session and was scheduled for trial on 12-14-2015.

Moore, Thomas 15CRS050237 Traffick in Methamphetamine
Represented by Gillete, Jeffrey

Trail date of 12-14-2015.

Ortega, Janet Gonzales 14CRS051399, 14CRS051401 to 14CRS051403 (various fraud charges)
Represented by Hensley, Robert

The Prosecution noted that this defendant needed an interpreter and none were available today.
The case was continued to 11-16-2015 for a plea.

Prince, Christopher (not listed on the published court calendar)
Represented by Hensley, Robert

The case was continued to 11-16-2015.

Bush, Ryan Wesley 15CRS000115 Possess Drug Paraphernalia
No representation

The defendant filed for a court appointed attorney. Norwood was appointed.

After a brief recess, the court continued with numerous probation violation cases that required administrative action.

Stone, Mark Anthony 14CRS051722
Represented by Cassady, Rich

The defendant failed to appear when called. An order for arrest was issued by the court and a cash bond of $70,000 was set. (The defendant appeared later in the session and the order for arrest was canceled).

Rousselle, Jeffrey Todd 14CRS050525 Indecent Liberties with a Child
Represented by Beyer, Nikki

The Defense motioned for the defendant to be allowed to purchase a flip type phone so his employer could tell him where to go during his job. The conditions of his probation denies him the use of a cellphone capable of browsing the internet, sending photos or text messages as the crime he was convicted of was committed with this type of device. After a lengthy discussion on the particulars, the Defense withdrew the motion.

Ellenburg, Julius Phillip 13CRS051053 & 13CRS051054 Indecent Liberties with a Child
Represented by Cassady, Rich

A trial date of 12-14-2015 was set.

Cabe, Aaron Paul 14CRS051100, 14CRS 051101 and 15CRS 000205
(various drug and gun charges)
Represented by Cassady, Rich

The case was continued to 11-16-2015.

Browning, Erica Annette 14CRS000076 to 14 CRS000078 Embezzlement
Represented by Foster, Mark

This case was dismissed by the Prosection.

Garrison, Phylis Rena 14CRS000234, 14CRS000235, 14CRS050367, 14CRS050418, 14CRS050419 and 15CRS050003 (Charges include B&E, Larceny, possession of Stolen Goods and various drug charges that include Methamphetamine Possession)
The defendant waived the right to have an attorney.

The Defendant entered a Plea of Guilty and after some consultation with the Prosecution and defense over restitution, including a trip to the Judges Chambers, the case was continued to 11-16-2015 to determine the amount of restitution.

Starkweather, Mark 11CRS000699 Probation Violation (Original case was Indecent Liberties with a Child)
Represented by Cassady, Rich

The Defendant was sentenced to a 90 day CRV for a nonrevocable offense and will return to probation upon release.

Scott, Michael 15CRS050517 Burning Certain Buildings
Represented by Lepre, Stephanie

Continued to 11-16-2015.

Sutton, Joshua Lee 14CRS050521, 14CRS050522 and 15CRS000024 (charges include possession of various drugs, marijuana, Cocaine and Methamphetamine and gun charges)
Represented by Lepre, Stephanie

Trail date set for 12-14-2015.

The court recessed until 2:00 pm.

August 2015 Meeting Macon County Board of Education

The Macon County Board of Education held their regular August 2015 meeting at the central offices located at 1202 Old Murphy Road on August 17th.

The video above covers the meeting until the board went into closed session to discuss matters relating school safety under North Carolina General Statute § 143-318.11(7). Upon declaring that no further business would be discussed during open session, members of the media did not wait for the board to conclude its business in closed session and come back into open session to adjourn.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Merritt Founts Named Honorary Historian of Macon County

Pictured (L-R) are Macon County Commissioner Gary Shields, Margaret Ramsey, Barbara McRae, Merritt Fouts and Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale. Ramsey was recognized an an honorary historian in 2011, Barbara McRae in 2010 and Merritt Fouts in 2015.

Merritt Fouts was recognized Saturday at the Macon County Heritage Center (located at Cowee School) as a Honorary Historian of Macon County in appreciation for his efforts to preserve the heritage and history of Macon County.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Parker Meadows Grand Opening Set for August 25th

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Here is a copy of the press release from Macon County regarding the grand opening of the Parker Meadows Recreation Facility on August 25, 2015:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Macon County Commissioners
Regular August 2015 Meeting

**Update** Here is the full video of the meeting:

MEDIA ROLL CALL (media outlets with reporters at the meeting)

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

During the public comment section, Dr Gordon Mercer spoke about his church on Jim Mann Road, which is being used as a homeless shelter. He handed out copies of an article posted on the WECT-TV website

Karen Wallace, Director of the Fontana Regional Library System, spoke about the library's need for technology funding. She noted the computers at the library are outdated and still running on Windows XP, which Microsoft stopped supporting a year and a half ago. She shared a handout that included an infographic entitled "Technology Used at All Macon County Libraries." A photo of the handout is posted below. Click on the image to full at a larger size.

During the course of the meeting, Commissioners voted 4-0 to recognize Merritt Fouts as an Honorary Historian of Macon County. The honor will be presented to him during an event at Cowee School this weekend. A copy of the resolution is posted below. Click on the image to full at a larger size.


If you're of a mind, and can afford it, a dollar a month (or more) from enough people will make a huge difference in improving the quality of coverage of local meetings and events, as well as allowing remote weather stations and weather cams to be deployed throughout the county that you will be able to access online.

So far, 13 people have pledged $75 a month, and 8 of them are following through with $40 a month. This is a tremendous help. Please visit for more information on how to contribute.

Businesses can underwrite this coverage by day sponsorships, surplus equipment donations, etc. Inquire at for more information.

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The Macon County Commissioners will be having their regular August 2015 meeting at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, August 11th. The public agenda and the press packet are posted below. After the meeting, the video will be posted at the top of this page, plus any additional documents that may be provided to the press during the meeting. If you are interested, you may see the July 2015 meeting posted immediately below.


AUGUST 11, 2015

  • Call to order and welcome by Vice-Chairman Tate
  • 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
  • Old Business
  • New Business
    • Resolution Designating Merritt Fouts as an Honorary Historian of Macon County
    • Approval of cancellation of note and deed of trust on rehabilitation loan for Gelfund - 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 June 25, 2015 continued session, July 14, 2015 regular meeting and the July 23, 2015 continued session
    • Budget Amendments #15-#18
    • Tax Releases (None)
    • 2014 Tax Settlement Report
    • Public Health Fee Changes
    • Monthly ad valorem tax collection report (No report this month)
  • Appointments:
    • Economic Development Commission (3 seats)
  • Closed session (if necessary)
  • Adjourn/RecessAdjourn

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Refuse and Recycling Workers/Vehicles added to NC Move Over Law

Starting October 1st, workers collecting refuse and materials for recycling will be added to to the state's move over law that requires drivers to move over one lane away (when it is safe to do so) from police, emergency, public service, highway maintenance or utility vehicle that is parked within 12 feet of the highway and is flashing warning lights.

Failing to slow down or move over could result in a citation that comes with a mandatory fine of $250 (plus court costs and a possible increase in insurance points). Damage or injuries resulting from a failure to move over brings a fine of $500. If significant damage is caused to the area of the emergency vehicle — or if emergency personnel or utility crew members are injured — the person is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Serious injury or death caused by violating this statute can be punished by a Class I felony, along with a six-month license suspension.

The updated “Move Over” Law passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory on May 21. It becomes effective October 1, 2015.

Source: NC Representative Roger West 

Read the law on the NC General Assembly website 

Monday, July 27, 2015

It Can Wait


When you see the driver next to you looking at their phone, it’s no longer safe to assume they’re texting. New research from AT&T* shows nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And surprisingly, 1-in-10 video chat.

7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. But other smartphone activity use behind the wheel is now common. Among social platforms, Facebook tops the list, with more than a quarter of those polled using the app while driving. About 1-in-7 said they’re on Twitter behind the wheel.

AT&T will expand the It Can Wait® campaign from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone driving distractions that have emerged as our relationships with our devices have changed.

“When we launched It Can Wait five years ago, we pleaded with people to realize that no text is worth a life,” said Lori Lee, AT&T’s global marketing officer. “The same applies to other smartphone activities that people are doing while driving. For the sake of you and those around you, please keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.”

Smartphone activities people say they do while driving include:

Text (61%)
Email (33%)
Surf the net (28%)
Facebook (27%)
Snap a selfie/photo (17%)
Twitter (14%)
Instagram (14%)
Shoot a video (12%)
Snapchat (11%)
Video chat (10%)

Other unsettling findings include:

62% keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
30% of people who post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”
22% who access social networks while driving cite addiction as a reason.
Of those who shoot videos behind the wheel, 27% think they can do it safely while driving.

Since its launch in 2010, the It Can Wait campaign has:

·Helped drive awareness of the dangers of texting while driving to about 90% for all audiences surveyed.
·Inspired more than 6.5 million pledges not to text and drive.
·Worked with departments of transportation in Texas, Kentucky and other states on research that suggests a correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a reduction in crashes.

Visit to learn more.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage. We’re improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at and YouTube at

© 2015 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Franklin Garden Club at Work

The Franklin Garden Club is out today sprucing up Rankin Square and the Clock Tower area in downtown Franklin today. Here are a few pictures of them in action. If you see them, thank them for volunteering to help keep Franklin beautiful!.

For those who might be interesting in joining the Franklin Garden Club, they meet on the first Monday every month at 11 am in the Boiler Room

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12th through July 18th, 2015

If you have event announcements, or wish to inquire about a day sponsorship, email the information to An advertising fee will be required for events that either charge admission or charge for vendor participation.


11:30 am, the Battle of Sugartown Chapter of the North Carolina Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), will be meeting at the Boiler Room restaurant at 1024 Georgia Road. All DAR members and prospective members are welcome. For further information, contact (828)524-2673.

5:30 pm, the Franklin Tourism Development Authority will be meeting in the lower level of the Franklin Town Hall. Link to the Meeting Agenda/Press Packet.


1:00 pm in the large conference room of the Macon County Senior Center, a "Travel with Us" travelog DVD on the Great Wonders of the World will be shown.

5:30 pm, the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Committee will be meeting in the conference room at The Lazy Hiker (the old town hall). A Meeting Agenda/Press Packet has not been supplied.

6:00 pm, the Macon County Commissioners will be meeting in the Commissioners Boardroom in the Macon County Courthouse. Access will be via the rear of the building. Link to the Meeting Agenda/Press Packet.


4:00 pm, the Macon County Planning Board will be meeting at the Environmental Resource Center on Lakeside Drive for their July 2015 meeting. The board is currently working to revise the Telecommunications Ordinance for the county. No agenda/press packet has been shared with the media.


6:00 pm — Unmask Your Smarts– Heroes-Themed Trivia Contest in the Macon County Public Library Meeting Room. Be here for an exciting night of trivia! We're going to form teams, face-off at the buzzer board, run the scores across the big screen, and we’ll have prizes! We need a strong audience too, cheering the players on! Bring your family, bring your friends, bring your neighbors; all are welcome! We'll have some snacks and drinks too. 


This is the deadline to RSVP for A Gala to Support Student Scholarship at SCC at Harrah's Casino in Cherokee, NC. You are invited to pull on your blue jeans, put on your bling and come prepared to kick up your heels at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort. This gala is to assist the SCC Foundation in achieving its goal of raising $1 million for the Student Success Campaign in support of scholarships. A sponsorship of this exciting event will have tremendous impact upon those students it will ultimately support. RSVP by July 17th. For More Information, visit the SCC Foundation Gala Page.

The SCC Small Business Center also has a series of events/classes/seminars geared to the small business owner. You can access and register for them at the Small Business Center Network.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Filing for the 2015 Municipal Elections
Day One

Town Hall photo c96cf101.jpg

The filing for the 2015 Municipal election season began yesterday. Here is the list of candidates by office and order of filing:

Town of Franklin:


Bob Scott

Franklin Alderman

Angela Moore

Joyce Handley

Adam Kimsey

So far, no one has filed to run for offices in the Town of Highlands.

If you wish to keep up with the list of candidates, you can visit the Macon County Board of Elections website, which will be updated daily at the end of the day. [Candidate list maintained by Macon County Board of Elections]

A copy of the 2015 Election Calendar, courtest of the Macon County Board of Elections is posted below for your convenience:


Candidate filing opens for the Town of Franklin and the Town of Highlands Monday, July 6, 2015 at 8:00 am

Candidate filing closes Friday, July 17, 2015 at Noon

Filing fee for Town of Franklin: 

Mayor $72.00 
Alderman $36.00

Filing fee for Town of Highlands: 

Town Commissioner $5.00

Absentee by Mail begins October 2, 2015
[Click this link for an Absentee_Ballot_Request_Form]

Registration Deadline: October 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm
[Click this link for a NC Voter Registration Form]

One Stop Voting will begin October 22, 2015

Absentee by Mail ends October 27, 2015

One Stop Voting will end October 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Municipal Election Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Seats open for the Town of Franklin
Mayor: Bob Scott
Alderman: Verlin L. Curtis
Alderman: Joyce Handley
Alderman: Farrell Jamison

Seats open for the Town of Highlands
Town Commissioner: John (Buz) Dotson
Town Commissioner: Eric Pierson
Town Commissioner: Brian J. Stiehler

Mayors, Town Aldermen and Town Commissioners are chosen in municipal elections. Municipal elections are held in November during odd-numbered years and are non-partisan. Registered voters living within the city limits are eligible to vote in municipal elections. Only candidates that live within the city limits are eligible to file for office.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Press Conference on Officer Involved Shooting of June 30, 2015

Clay Alan Lickteig, 52, of Hayesville, NC 

Franklin Police Chief David Adams held a press conference for members of the media today at town hall regarding the shooting death of Clay Alan Lickteig while officers of the Franklin Police Department were attempting to serve a warrant for a felony probation violation.

Lickteig was had absconded from a probation for various drug charges, including trafficking heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia, for which he was to serve 24 months on supervised probation that began in May of this year.

The full text of the press release and a few photos taken are posted below.

Town of Franklin
PO Box 1479
Franklin, NC 28734

Franklin, NC—-Franklin Police Chief David Adams released details of an officer involved shooting Tuesday night in which a man identified as Clay Alan Lickteig, 52, of Hayesville, NC was shot after he shot at two police officers serving a felony probation warrant on him.

The incident happened at approximately 9:30 PM at a residence near the intersection of Woodland Hills Drive and NC Highway 28. One officer received a slight injury and was treated and released at a local hospital.

Officers had turned into the driveway to serve the warrant and saw Lickteig standing in the driveway. When Lickteig saw the officers he called a threat to them. Officers called to him to show his hands which he would not. Officers then fired a taser twice to Lickteig. Lickteig then pulled a handgun from his back and fired at the officers. Officers then returned fire, Adams said.

Lickteig was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lickteig has a prior record in Macon County for various offenses.

The investigation is now in the hands of the State Bureau of Investigation which is standard procedure in an officer involved shooting. An autopsy is to be performed later this week. The officers have been placed on administrative leave, with pay, which is also standard procedure in these instances, Adams said.

Additional information will be released following the SBI investigation, Adams said.

Display Window at Historical Museum

Copyright 2015 by Bobby Coggins

A display window at the Macon County Historical Society Museum on Main Street in Franklin, NC.

Photo taken on July 1, 2015 by Bobby Coggins.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Appalachian Trail Community Committee Holds Annual Meeting
Officers Elected

The Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Committee met for their annual meeting at The Lazy Hiker due to their space being double booked by the Town of Franklin.


Chairperson..........Rob Gasbarro
Vice Chairperson...Matt Bateman
Sec/Treasurer.......Kristina Moe

MEDIA ROLL CALL (media outlets present for the meeting)
Macon Media (me)

Here is the video of the meeting:


AT Community Committee Meeting
Annual Meeting

June 9, 2015
10:00 - 11:30 am

1. Welcome: (Matt Bateman)
    New members

2. Review minutes of May 12, 2015 meeting (Kristina)

3. Old business:
    TDA and/or TDC issues
    AT Community Conference Nov 2015
2    013 Hiker Service Brochure corrections/updating
    Hiker Survey for 2016 Questions and survey locations

4. New business:
    Council nominating recommendations for Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary/Treasurer, discussion and vote
    Focus of effort going forward

5. Updates from Committee members

6. Next meeting date (July 14, 2015)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Franklin TDA June 2015 Meeting and Board "Retreat"

Update: The video has been added.

Meeting in Brief

Matt Bateman resigned from the board, PRiemiere Marketing made their annual budget presentation to the board. Doug Morton of The Taste of Scotland Festival spoke to the board, wanting additional funds. He said an article in a local paper stating the festival had made a profit of $1,000 last year had cost them donations this year. After a lengthy conversation with Morton, the board denied the festival additional funds.

David Linn spoke to the board regarding a 5K to raise funds for the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, SC. He will be back at a later meeting with an updated budget to present to the board.

The remaining 5 members of the board approved the budget prepared and presented by PRiemerewith the addition of $3,500. $3,000 to pay for an audit and $500 to pay for the Finance Officer's bond. The total 2015-2016 budget is $113,700. For reference, the 2014-2015 budget was $118,400. 

2015-2016 Franklin TDA Budget

Pandora (Mobile Audio/Advertising)
Trip Advisor (2 runs @ $10,000 ea/Advertising)
Asheville Citizen
Google Ad Words
PRemiere Marketing Services
A/V Media
Internal Audit/Finance Officer Bond

The board will meet again on July 13th at 5:30 pm in the lower level of the Franklin Town Hall.

MEDIA ROLL CALL (Media outlets with reporters present)

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

The Franklin Tourism Development Authority will be having the June 2015 meeting today at 5:30 pm in the lower level of the town hall. The meeting will also serve as the annual "retreat" for the board. The public agenda and the press packet have been posted below and the video will be added sometime after the meeting.