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.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lame Theater:
Heath Shuler vs. Nancy Pelosi

Yes, it's lame.I enjoyed the dig at the Progressive Democrats as the albatross around Heath Shuler's neck, though. I'm hoping that their deeds in Washington will cost Congressman Shuler his seat this November...

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Macon County Commissioners Meeting
09-27-2010 Full Video

Title Card for the 09-28-2010 meeting of the Macon County Commissioners 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This is the full video of the Macon County Commissioners meeting that took place on the afternoon of September 27, 2010 in Franklin, NC.

If you are on dial up and cannot watch the video of the meeting, here is the audio of the meeting for you to listen to:

Here is the Press Packet for the meeting, it includes the draft minutes for the previous meeting of the County Commissioners:
MCC 09-27-2010 Press Packet

Meeting Notes

During this meeting of the Macon County Commissioners, Ronnie Beale announced that he has made a formal request to the NCDOT to hold a public hearing in Macon County regarding the Needmore Road Project. The NCDOT held a public hearing in Swain County, but hasn't scheduled one for Macon County. He reported that the request would be considered.

#MaconGov #MentalHealth Brian Ingraham, CEO of Smoky Mtn Cent... from a photo posted on TwitpicBrian Ingraham of the Smoky Mountain Center for Mental Health made a report to the Commissioners, including an update on the effort to pry loose funds from the Evergreen Foundation. Doug Trantham and Duncan Sumpter accompanied him and provided additional information and assisted in answering questions from the Commissioners.

The Commissioners than opened a public hearing regarding an authorization for the Macon County Housing Department to pursue a CDBG 1010 Scattered Site Rehabilitation grant in the amount of $400,000. No one from the public signed up to speak. John Fay of the Macon County Housing Dept spoke to the Commissioners regarding the grant and answered their questions. The Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the pursuit of these federal funds. For more information on the Community Development Block Grant program visit the US Dept on Housing and Urban Growth.

#MaconGov #MentalHealth Debbie Roberts (NAMI) puts a face on ... on TwitpicDebbie Roberts of the National Alliance for Mental Health shared her story in order to put a face on mental health for the Commissioners. She spoke of the importance of Crisis Intervention Training [CIT] with local law enforcement. She praised the participation of the Macon County Sheriff's Dept under the guidance of Sheriff Robbie Holland. 

#MaconGov Commissioner Bob Simpson asks Mr. Mussachio (sp?) r... on TwitpicThe Macon County commissioners next took up questions regarding bid specifications and qualifications of the low bidder on the Security System for the Macon county Detention Center. There was considerable back and forth, with questions regarding whether or not the contractor had (or needed) a special license to install the system. After much discussion, the Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the bid, with Commissioner Bob Simpson voting against.

#MaconGov Kim Angel of Macon Co #Transit makes a report regar... on TwitpicKim Angel, Director of Macon County Transit, appeared before the Commissioners to request policy changes as requested by the NCDOT Public Transportation Division. Under federal Regulations, a transit service may not provide services that compete with those of private providers, in particular, providing charter services. Macon County transit was also directed to have "an approved System Safety Program Plan which includes provision for local system safety data collection and reporting". Commissioners unanimously approved her requests. 

Verlin Curtiss, of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen, reported to the Commissioners that the State of North Carolina was going to put up a 474 feet  VIPER Tower at the end of Ivar Street [see Google Earth map], just north of The Sunset Restaurant. The Alderman said that this was in the local flight pattern for the Macon county Airport and was inappropriate for a residential area. He asked the Commissioners to contact the state and urge them to place the tower in another location. Ronnie Beale directed Jack Horton to pursue the matter further. 

The Consent Agenda was discussed, and passed, including a resolution concerning US Senate Bill S510 relative to local farmers, tailgate sales, etc. [see the above pdf document for the text of the resolution]. A video of a presentation by Macon County residents can be seen on You Tube. Bob Simpson asked that the resolution be sent to every county in North Carolina and Jim Davis promised to hand deliver a copy to senator Richard Burr at an event on October 2, 2010.

Under Appointments, on the Board of Adjustments, the term of Ben Swafford and alternates, Byron McClure and Charles Thun were renewed until April 2013. 

After brief comments from commissioners, the meeting was adjourned.


Here is the local media online coverage of the meeting:

Macon News and Shopping Guide

Food safety bill threatens small growers, producers

The Franklin Press

Town voices opposition to 471-foot tower (subscribers only for full article)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jim Davis for North Carolina State Senate

Jim Davis is a Macon County Commissioner and is a candidate for the North Carolina State Senate in District 50 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

Jim Davis now has a commercial running on television as part of his effort to win election this November in the NC Senate 50th District.

Check Out the following places on the Internet:

Campaign Website

Facebook Page

Twitter Account

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University of Texas (UT) Shooting in Progress
Multiple Updates...
All Clear Signal Given

screencap from the university of Texas website

A shooting has occurred at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Here are some quick details:

AUSTIN (KXAN) - There are two suspects in Tuesday morning's incident at the University of Texas.
The first gunman entered the Perry Castaneda Library at the UT campus with an automatic weapon, UT Public Information Officer Rhonda Weldon said he shot himself, and he is dead.
There is a second suspect authorities are looking for. They are not sure of the person's identity, and they don't know if the person is a student. They are trying to get more information.
There are no other injuries reported. An ambulance could be seen just before 9 a.m. Tuesday in front of the library with its sirens on, though no people were coming out of the library.
Police have the entire scene covered, and students were seen exiting the exhibition hall neighboring the library.
The library is located on 21st Street and Speedway Avenueand is just across the Jester Residence Hall and the Gregory Gym.
Students who live on campus are being asked to stay inside the building, and the campus is on lockdown.
Text messages were sent to students that read the following:
At 8:28 a.m.
  • "Armed subject reported last seen at Perry Castaneda Library on 9/28/2010. Details to follow."
At 8:58 a.m.
  • "Again, armed subject reported at Perry Castaneda Library. Shelter in place. Stay where you are at. More information to follow."


My prayers go out to the students, faculty and their families.

**10.33** Fox News has live stream from the University of Texas.

**10.46** An update from UT (Austin):

September 28, 2010 at 9:46 am
The university is closed.
A suspected shooter in PCL library is dead. Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect. If you are off campus, STAY AWAY. If you are on campus, lock doors, do not leave your building.


More information is available from The Blotter blog.


Here is a series of posts I did on the Disaster Drill that Western Carolina University held in March of 2009.


From Twitter:

 Jenni B.
RT @: RT @: Reports that the second gunman is barricaded in the Calhoun building.  


It looks like things are relatively calmed down. The police are clearing the perimeter one building at a time and escorting students off the campus. 


A live blog of the events at UT-Austin.


Source: TwitLonger

**12.09pm** An official update on the UT website has been posted:

September 28, 2010 at 11:09 am
The university is open.
The university is locked down. All organized classes for today, Sept. 28, are canceled. If you are off campus, stay away. If you are on campus, lock your doors and do not leave your building. Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect.
Announced September 28, 2010 at 11:00 am


Now, officials have closed the campus again:

September 28, 2010 at 11:39 am
The university is closed.
The university is locked down. All organized classes for today, Sept. 28, are canceled. If you are off campus, stay away. If you are on campus, lock your doors and do not leave your building. Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect.

Announced September 28, 2010 at 11:20 am


Reports via online video feed on scene indicate that the all-clear has been given, and students are being allowed to leave their buildings and evacuate the campus and are being processed out. Ronald Weldon, PIO of UT-Austin. Perimeter has been tightened to the PCL (library) and the investigation is continuing.


Another update from UT:

September 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm
The university is closed.
Due to the events of today, the campus is closed. Unless you are needed for essential operations, all faculty, staff and students are urged to leave campus. Students who live on campus may return to their residence halls.

Because the area around the Perry Castenada Library (PCL) is an actively investigated crime scene and due to the difficulty of navigating that portion of the campus, it is urged that area be avoided. As you leave the campus, please exit the campus from north exits. Employees who ride buses to work may catch the bus at Dean Keeton or at on 23rd and San Jacinto. If you are in buildings near the PCL, please exit buildings from exits away from PCL.

On time sheets, please list time away from campus today as Emergency Leave. Also, please check the campus Emergency Web site ( ) for additional updates.

All other campus employees are urged to continue at work and to exercise care until the all clear is given.

Please direct any questions to or call 471-HRSC (4772)

Announced September 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm

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A Visit to Dry Falls

I visited Dry Falls yesterday afternoon to check out the waterfall and see what it looked like after a quick couple of inches of rain had fallen.

The waterfall looked completely different than when I had last visited in July of 2009. A couple of videos from that visit is below for your comparison:

I took a number of photos and here are a few of them, roll your mouse over the photos for a description:

Dry Falls as seen from the observation deck 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

A view of Dry Falls with my video camera in the foreground 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

A look back up the path to Dry Falls 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

One of the rock outcroppings on the path down to Dry Falls 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

I couldn't resist filling the frame with the water fall near the top 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This is the view looking down the river from Dry Falls 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

More frame-filling waterfall goodness! 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This is a shot of Dry Falls from inside the cave 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This is the view of Dry Falls from the other side, once you pass beneath the water fall 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This man climbed over the fence in an effort to get a better shot of the waterfall, putting his life at risk 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

I have to admit that I was rather pleased when he dropped his camera and it bounced into the water. Maybe he will learn from that experience not to leave the beaten path 
Photo and Commentary by Bobby Coggins

I enjoyed this little excursion to the southern end of Macon County, and would like to visit the falls in the winter time to get a look at the icicles...but I very seriously doubt that I'll ever brave Highway 28 in that kind of weather. I'll leave that task to other, braver, people. ʘ‿ʘ

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Macon County Commissioners 09-27-2010
Meeting Agenda and Live Coverage

Live coverage of the Macon County Commissioner meeting today 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

Welcome to the only place where you will find live coverage of the Macon County Commissioners meetings via Twitter!

Here is the agenda for today's meeting...

SEPTEMVER 27, 2010 2 P.M.

1. Call to order and welcome by Chairman Beale

2. Announcements
3. Invocation

4. Pledge of Allegiance

5. Public Hearing –
A. Community Development Block Grant……………….Attachment #5A
1. 2:30 p.m. Public Hearing
2. Authorization of grant application

6. Public Comment Period

7. Adjustments to and approval of the agenda

8. Reports/Presentations:
A. Mental Health
1. Update from Smoky Mountain Center
2. Declare October as Mental Health Awareness Month
9. Old Business:
A. Detention Center Security System Bids……………….Attachment #9A

10. New Business:
A. Transit Policies………………………………………...Attachment #10A

11. 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.

  1. Minutes………………………………………………...Attachment #11A

  2. Budget revisions……………………………………….Attachment #11B

  3. Tax releases……………………………………………Attachment #11C

  4. Senate Bill S510 (Local farmers, producers, etc)……Attachment #11D

12. Appointments…………………………………………………...Attachment #12

13. Closed session (If necessary)

14. Adjournment/Recess

And here is the Twubs Widget that will allow you to follow along with the meeting and view photos as I upload them to the Internet. You can participate by using the hashtag #MaconGov on Twitter, or by joining my twub.

I won't be doing video because the WiFi does not have enough bandwidth to support it. I will, however, continue to stream video of the Town Board of Aldermen, as their WiFi system is much more capable than the county system.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Pledge to America

The House Republican leadership has rolled out a new set of what should be common-sense proposals called Pledge to America. It is an echo of Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract with America.

You can download the whole document for yourself or read it below:

A Pledge to America

My personal opinion is that it is too little, too late. I do not trust Congressman John Boehner. I do, however, trust the Republicans to screw this up after they win the majority in November. What would be best for America is to not re-elect any Representative of Congressman for more than two terms. If two terms was good enough for George Washington as President, it ought to be good enough for them as well. We need to return to a citizen legislature, not a legislature that is populated with career politicians, who are like diapers, they both need changing regularly and for the same reason. 

And here are a few videos of the announcement, the Democrat response and a few talking heads discuss the pledge...

The preamble to the pledge. The sad thing is that all the things contained in it are (or should be) understood to be the default minimum position for any Republican. It is sad that they feel the need to say it out loud.

This is Representative John Boehner discussing the pledge.

Video from The Journal Editorial Report discussing the pledge (1st part of the show) and other issues of the day.

Video of the Democrat response to the pledge.

Bottom line: I'm sick and tired of career politicians. They should all be replaced  every other term and something should be done regarding barring them from ever working in the public sector or in politics. 

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Down the Cullasaja Gorge

Looking down the Cullasaja Gorge 
Photo by Bobby Coggins

This is video I shot of the trip back down the Cullasaja Gorge after attending a Memorial service for John Armor in Highlands. It was the first time I've been to Highlands since around 1995.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

John Armor Speaks About Teachers in His Life

John Armor, Defender of the US Constitution, at the 2008 Macon County GOP Convention. Photo by Bobby Coggins.

John Armor Memorial Service Information

John Armor spoke these words during a congressional debate in 2008. I've been thinking about putting together a video of things he said, concepts he expounded upon for the past month. It has just been too depressing for me to do it just yet.


Memorial Service for John Armor To Be Held Saturday in Highlands

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Federalist Number 1

For all the people who profess a love of the US Constitution, most of them are unfamiliar with the thought process and the thinking of the men behind the creation of that wondrous document. The Federalist, often called The Federalist Papers, was a series of 85 essays written by three men who wrote in defense of the Us Constitution and put forth their arguments for the ratification of the document that serves as the blueprint of our government.

These essays were written and printed from October 1787 until May 1788 to counter arguments of Antifederalists against ratification of the Constitution of 1787. Alexander Hamilton was the originator of this work and author of 51 essays; James Madison wrote 26 of the papers; three essays were jointly authored by Hamilton and Madison; and John Jay wrote five of the papers. However, when these essays appeared in The Independent Journal and other New York newspapers, they were attributed to "Publius" (this pseudonym referred to Publius Valerius Publicola, a great defender of the ancient Roman Republic).

Here is the first essay, written by Alexander Hamilton:


General Introduction

For the Independent Journal.

Written by Alexander Hamilton

To the People of the State of New York:

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.

This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many local institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little favorable to the discovery of truth.

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.

It is not, however, my design to dwell upon observations of this nature. I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men (merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion) into interested or ambitious views. Candor will oblige us to admit that even such men may be actuated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless at least, if not respectable--the honest errors of minds led astray by preconceived jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.

I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:
In the progress of this discussion I shall endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention.

It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole. This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance an open avowal of it. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.


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