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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Grateful Nation Pauses on Memorial Day

 "It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us Freedom of the Press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us Freedom of Speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the Freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial;
And it is the Soldier--who salutes the flag,
Who serves the flag, and
Whose coffin is draped by the flag--
Who allows the protester to burn the flag." 

American Cemetery and Memorial located in Hamm, LuxembourgOn Monday, Americans across this nation and citizens located around the world will pause throughout the day to observe Memorial Day. Since its first official observation on 5 May, 1868, when it was called Declaration Day, it has been a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed and died in our nation’s service. And while it was originally dedicated to honor Civil War soldiers, we know it today as a celebration in memory of all who have fought for and defended our right to freedom.

In 1968 the observation of this day was established to be the last Monday in May. Today it remains a time of observation to honor and to respect those who fought to protect the liberties that our Founding Fathers proclaimed with certainty in the Declaration of Independence and that were thoughtfully and carefully framed in the Constitution of the United States. In his proclamation to set aside this day in 1868, General Logan instructed there to be thoughts to “…cherish tenderly the memories of our heroic dead who made their breast a barricade between our country and its foes”.

To those who died securing peace and freedom; To those who served in conflict to protect our land, and sacrificed their dreams of the day to preserve the hope of our nation keeping America the land of the free for over two centuries we owe our thanks and our honor. It is important to not only recognize their service but to respect their devotion to duty and to ensure that the purpose for which they fought will never be forgotten.

From the soldiers who fought bravely during the American Revolution to the men and women of today’s Armed Forces, America’s fighting forces, have responded bravely to this nation’s call to duty. Both on the battlefield and in their assurance of readiness, members of the nation’s military remain bound to their duty. For more than 200 years, America’s Armed Forces have been the surest guarantee that Freedom will continue to ring across this land – From Sea to Shining Sea!

Flags Honoring the Fallen on Main Street in Franklin, NCThe lives of the men and women who fought in America’s battles, and who served their country in support of the military, made significant sacrifice in fighting for the freedom and liberty that we enjoy today. Too often we fail to remember those who gave their life, or those whose life today bears the scars as a lasting memory of that sacrifice and commitment. But there are many who remember vividly as the lives affected were sons, daughters, friends, coworkers and neighbors – and that their unselfishvsacrifice was made with the assurance that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness required the ultimate service to their nation.

~excerpt from a Memorial Day speech by Kelvin Drawdy [PDF]

Where ever you are today, please take a moment and remember the sacrifice of those who gave all their tomorrows for the freedoms we enjoy. Be grateful. Be glad that such men and women lived. 

Locally, the Memorial Day observance will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park of Macon County. [Directions]

Video of last year's observance at Woodlawn Cemetery in Franklin, NC:

2009 Memorial Day Commemoration in Franklin, NC from Thunder Pig on Vimeo.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Orange Butterfly

A female Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

I had to chase this camera-shy butterfly down in order to get a photo of it.

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KPRC News Documentary

This is a documentary filmed in 1966 and is a fascinating look at how a news station in Houston went about gathering the news in the 60s.

Frame Grab from the KPRC Documentary filmed in 1966Many of the jobs that once took several people now take only one or two people to accomplish. I got a kick out of seeing the old-style film editors at work.

It makes me consider the routines and methods I employ when gathering information for a blog post or when I prepare to cover a live event, or when I have the rare opportunity to webcast a live event.

One thing that is apparent to me is that most news organizations seem to still operate with the view that their conventional channel is the main target of their news gathering operations. That is to say, that TV Stations seem overly focused on items for broadcast, Radio Stations and Newspapers seems focused on their conventional distribution channel. Many of them have websites that are either afterthoughts or are very poorly designed advertisement platforms. WWNC-AM is one obvious example that comes to mind, especially after looking at the source code. Nearly every Clear Channel radio station website looks the same and isn't designed with standard SEO practices in mind that would help in making their material searchable on the web. 

They have neglected to change with the times and to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by the Internet and the multiple channels of distribution that have become available to them.

One of the few examples I can think of that don't fall into this mold is the Mountain Xpress in Asheville. It is a weekly paper that is mostly filled with entertainment news and some news stories of local interest. Their website is a much better source of information because they have used crowd sourcing techniques that allow people in the community to participate in the news gathering process.

This is something that the Asheville Citizen-Times has tried to do over the years and has failed miserably with each attempt, usually through no fault of their reporters. I place the blame with a very poor management style that seems to take a top-down approach to news gathering that reminds me of the old Soviet Politburo method of Command and Control and centralized decision making.

WLOS-TV is more of the same in regard to web design and news distribution, although it is a step above the Citizen-Times.  One glaring omission from the website is the ability to watch the newscast live or on demand. They have individual stories, but not the whole product.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Infamous Amityville House Is Up For Sale

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Josh Allem is a gifted communicator and I really enjoy his website, Founding Word and Radio Show of the same name. He is currently undertaking a synchronized study of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

I Am Israel

Hat Tip: American Power

The enemies of Israel are my enemies. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Annual Reagan Lecture Delivered by Mitt Romney

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered the Annual Reagan Lecture at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday, May 25, 2010. In his latest book, Governor Romney proposes simple solutions to rebuild industry, create good jobs, reduce out of control spending on entitlements and healthcare, dramatically improve education, and restore a military battered by eight years of war.

For more information please visit President Reagan's Foundation

NC General Assembly
05-27-2010 Legislative Calender

According to the NC General Assembly's legislative calender, the Senate will be in session today, beginning at 9am.  

9:00 AM
Session Convenes (Senate) [LISTEN LIVE]

Senate Chamber

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Critter Diner

When I quipped earlier today "film at 11", I had no idea that the Commissioners Meeting would last as long as it did. That meeting lasted for 4 hours, and I'll post it in sections as I can.

This video is of a Cardinal, Chickadee and a Chipmunk as they visit my bird feeder in quick succession...

NC General Assembly
05-27-2010 Legislative Calender

This is the legislative Calender for today in the North Carolina General Assembly.

8:30 AM
Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (House)

643 LOB
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (House)

1425 LB
9:00 AM
Appropriations Subcommittee on Capital -- CANCELLED (House)

424 LOB
10:00 AM
Judiciary I (House)
Collect DNA Sample on Arrest. (H1403)
1228 LB
10:00 AM
Session Convenes (Senate)

Senate Chamber
10:00 AM
Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources(House)

423 LOB
Education/Higher Education (Senate)
Pooled Trusts/Medicaid Reimbursement. (S704)
1027/1128 LB
11:00 AM

415 LOB
12:00 PM
Session Convenes (House)

House Chamber
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (House)

421 LOB

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Watch the STS-132 Land Live
The Atlantis Lands for the Last Time

**9.00am** Video of the landing has been added to the bottom of this post...

The end of an era is upon us. The Atlantis will landing for the last time today, barring use as an emergency vehicle later this year. The landing is planned for 8.48 AM EDT today, and, courtesy of SpaceVidCast, you can watch it live here...

While you wait, you can watch a video of the launch and review the accomplishements of this mission:

NC General Assembly
05-26-2010 Legislative Calender

This is the legislative calender for today in the North Carolina General Assembly.

To listen to the meetings below, right-click and open link in new tab. You should be able to listen in your default media player. If you have trouble getting the links to work, please visit the General Assembly Audio Broadcast Page for help.

8:30 AM AND 1:00 PM
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (House)

1425 LB
10:00 AM
Local Government I (House)
Ashe Fox Trapping. (H1662)
Caswell Beach Sewer Treatment Fee. (
Allow Hamlet to Operate Motorized ATVs . (
City of Locust/Delinquent Sewer Fees. (
425 LOB
10:00 AM
Sen. Stein [LISTEN LIVE]
Would like it outside if Weather is good
Press Room LB
10:30 AM
Rules and Operations of the Senate (Senate)
Cancer Screening Awareness Month. (H1251)
Clarify the New NC Drought Response. (
414 LOB
11:00 AM
Transportation (House)
Turnpike Authority Toll Enforcement Changes. (H1685)
Motor Vehicles Law Changes. (
DOT Powers and Duties Changes. (
1228 LB
11:00 AM
Brevard Charter Amendment. (H1664)
Davie School Board. (
Davie County Omnibus Occupancy Tax. (
Red Oak Deannexation. (
Watauga/Sunday Bow Hunting Exemption. (
Cabarrus Fire District Boundary Validation. (
1425 LB
11:00 AM
Aging (House)
Medicaid Dental/Special Needs Population. (H1692)
Develop Special Needs Dental Care Workforce. (
Update Long-Term Care Statutes. (
Adult Day Care Criminal Record Check Process. (
415 LOB
11:00 AM
Science and Technology (House)
Education Cabinet Est. STEM Priority. (H1699)
425 LOB
11:00 AM
Health Care (Senate) [LISTEN LIVE
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (S1151)
Study Child Nutrition Program. (
Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity. (
Modify CABHA Certification Process. (
Modify MHDDSAS Reporting Requirements. (
Extend and Expand First Commit Pilot. (
Examine and Adjust Rates/Clubhouses. (
544 LOB
11:00 AM
Rep. Womble/Press Conference
Ref: People of Color
Press Room LB
12:00 PM
Agriculture (House)
Expand PUV. (H1909)
1228 LB
1:00 PM
Finance (Senate) [LISTEN LIVE
Increase Drivers License Restoration Fee. (S655)
Red Oak Deannexation. (
Keeping NC Competitive Act. (
Rev. Laws Technical & Admin. Changes. (
No Nonvoted Local Debt For Competing System. (
Build North Carolina's Future Act. (
544 LOB
1:00 PM
Commerce, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship (House)
Restore Prior Appt. Process/Auctioneers Comm. (H978)
1228 LB
1:00 PM
Ways and Means/Broadband Connectivity (House)
Comsn. on Children with Special Needs-Dentist. (H1694)
E-NC Connectivity/Economic Development Funds. (
Domestic Violence Training for Judges. (
Remove Sunset/e-NC Authority. (
415 LOB
2:00 PM
Session Convenes (Senate) [LISTEN LIVE]

Senate Chamber
2:00 PM

424 LOB
2:00 PM
Marine Resources and Aquaculture (House)
Promote North Carolina Seafood Marketing. (H1709)
Fishery Management Plan Supplements. (
Study FMP Development Process. (
Extend Credit for Oyster Shell Recycling. (
Improve Success of FMPs. (
Suspension and Revocation of Fishing Licenses. (
Observer Coverage Gear Permits. (
425 LOB
3:00 PM
Session Convenes (House) [LISTEN LIVE]

House Chamber

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Graveyard at Sunset

Gravestone Lens Flare

Graveyards are cool places near sunset if you have a camera...


Franklin Aldermen Budget Discussion

Here is a widget for you to follow along with the discussion this evening...under the Twitter Hashtag #MaconGov.

Macon County Commissioners Meeting
May 24, 2010 Full Video

Here is the full video of the Macon County Commissioners meeting that took place on May 24, 2010. It includes the 2pm meeting and the 6pm Public Hearing on the QZAB loan for the Nantahala School renovation. The agenda for the meeting is below the video.

MAY 24, 2010 - 

  1. Call to order and welcome by Chairman Beale
  2. Announcements:

    1. Meeting will recess until 6 p.m. on May 27th in Board Room
    2. Public hearing on the budget June 7th at 6 p.m. in Board Room

  3. Invocation
  4. Pledge of Allegiance
  5. Public Hearing - 6 p.m.

    1. Financing for Nantahala School Renovations
      (Note: Hearing will convene at
       6 p.m.)

  6. Public Comment Period
  7. Adjustments to and approval of the agenda
  8. Reports/Presentations:

    1. Presentation of the FY 2010/2011 Budget and Message
    2. Macon County Historical Society

  9. Old Business:

    1. Highlands Library

  10. New Business:
  11. Consent AgendaAll 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. 

    1. Minutes
    2. Finance
    3. (1) NC Education Lottery Funds (2) Budget revisions.
    4. Tax releases
    5. Franklin 4th of July fireworks display

  12. Appointments
  13. Closed session - Attorney/Client Privilege
  14. Recess to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 27th in the Board Room on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse. 

What Would Jack Do?
Vote Chuck DeVore!

Visit Chuck DeVore for US Senate and see how you can help him win the primary and go on to retire Senator Barbara Boxer in the fall. 

NC General Assembly
05-25-2010 Legislative Calender

Here is the Legislative calender for today's activities in the General Assembly.

8:30 AM
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (House)

421 LOB
8:30 AM AND 1:00 PM
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (House)

1425 LB
9:00 AM
H.E.L.P. Small Business Act. (H1721)
Collection of Offender Fines and Fees. (S388)
544 LOB
9:00 AM
Appropriations Subcomittee on Health and Human Services (House) [LISTEN LIVE]
SHP/ Age-Out Dependents; Tobacco Use Testing. (H1707)
643 LOB
9:30 AM
Sen. Phil Berger
Press Room LB
10:00 AM
Judiciary I (House)
Collect DNA Sample on Arrest. (H1403)
Amend Domestic Crim. Trespass. (S140)
1228 LB
10:00 AM
Judiciary III (House)
Susie's Law. (H1690)
1425 LB
10:00 AM
Judiciary II (House)
Municipal Tax Certification. (H1673)
Extend Joint Study Comm. Pres. Bio. Evidence. (H1680)
Limit Liability/Domestic Violence Shelters. (S144)
Pooled Trusts/Medicaid Reimbursement. (S704)
421 LOB
10:30 AM
Sen. Neal Hunt
Press Room LB
11:00 AM
Education (House) [LISTEN LIVE]
Ban Corp. Punish. for Children W/Disabilit. (H1682)
Amend Sunset/Children w/Disab. (H1683)
Career Acad. as Coop. Innov. High School. (H1700)
Comparative Effectiveness Task Force. (S1022)
643 LOB
12:00 PM
State and Local Government (Senate)
Carrboro Energy Efficiency/Renewable. (S1113)
Chapel Hill Energy Efficiency/Renewable. (S1114)
Burlington Economic Development. (S1120)
Burlington Charter/Real Property Sale/Lease. (S1121)
Cabarrus Fire District Boundary Validation. (S1146)
Abolish Rutherford County Coroner. (S1238)
1124 LB
12:00 PM
Health (House) [LISTEN LIVE]
Update Statewide Nutrition Standards. (H1756)
Physical Education and Activity in Schools. (H1757)
Electronic Funds Transfers/Farmers Markets. (H1776)
Amend Public Health-Related Laws. (S675)
544 LOB
12:00 PM
Environment and Natural Resources (House) [LISTEN LIVE]
NC Sustainable Communities Task Force. (H1701)
Clean Marinas Amendments. (H1708)
Extend Zoo Funds & Org. Study Committee. (H1720)
Study - NC Programs That Impact Environment. (H1803)
Funds to Assess/Monitor NC Climate Change. (H1805)
643 LOB
1:00 PM
Financial Institutions (House)
Homeowner and Homebuyer Protection Act. (S1015)
1425 LB
1:00 PM
Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House)
Pitt County's 250th Anniversary. (H1722)
Honor Randolph County Honor Guard. (H1869)
Honor Mickey Hutchens. (H1900)
Honor George Holmes. (H1901)
421 LOB
1:00 PM
Rep. Earl/Press Conference
Rev: HIV Advocacy
Press Room LB
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (House)

2:00 PM
Session Convenes (Senate) [LISTEN LIVE]

Senate Chamber
2:00 PM
Water Resources and Infrastructure (House)
Local Government Comm. Review Water Systems. (H1743)
Water Funding Priorities. (H1744)
Survey Ag. Water Infrastructure Needs. (H1745)
Water Infrastructure Database/Task Force. (H1746)
1228 LB
2:00 PM
State Government/State Personnel (House)
Reed Gold Mine Revolving Fund. (H1863)
424 LOB
3:00 PM
Session Convenes (House) [LISTEN LIVE]

House Chamber