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.

nullspace for future use

nullspace for future use


Monday, November 28, 2011

Photos and Video of the 2011 Franklin Christmas Parade

Here are the photos and video I took of the 2011 Franklin Christmas Parade. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them.


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

And for those who don't have time to watch the whole parade, here it is in two minutes...

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Notice of Special Meeting of the Macon County Commissioners


Notice of 12.01.11 Special Meeting


The chairman of the Macon County Commissioners, Brian McClellan was arrested for DWI in Jackson County recently and he has resigned his position effective December 1, 2011.

Read more about that at The Smoky Mountain News

I will be at this special meeting and will have video and photos of the meeting afterward. I will also be covering the meeting live on Twitter.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Watch Mars Science Lab/Curiosity Rover Launch Live

**update** Here is video of the launch:

Come August of next year, there will be seven minutes of terror when the vehicle reaches Mars. I hope to be able to provide you with live coverage of that event as well.

The Mars Scie3nce Lab is scheduled to launch between 10.02 and 11.45am Eastern Time today. I have embedded video players for you to watch the launch live.

JPL animation of the journey and landing of the Mars Science Lab.

The Mars Science Laboratory is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission with the aim to land and operate a rover named Curiosity on the surface of Mars. The MSL is scheduled to launch November 26, 2011 (between 10:02 am - 11:45 am EST/usa) and to land on Mars at Gale Crater between August 6 and August 20, 2012. It will attempt to perform the first-ever precision landing on Mars. The rover Curiosity will help assess Mars' habitability, that is, whether Mars is, or ever was an environment able to support microbial life. It will also analyze samples scooped up from the soil and drilled powders from rocks.

Curiosity will be five times as large, and carry more than ten times the mass of scientific instruments as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit or Opportunity. The MSL rover Curiosity will be launched by an Atlas V 541 rocket and will be expected to operate for at least 1 Martian year (668 Martian sols/686 Earth days) as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.

Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of Mars, and is a project managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology for NASA. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.5 billion.
Source: Wikipedia

The Mars Science Lab is scheduled to launch today and I have embedded some video players for you to watch it on (after the launch, I will replace them with video of the launch so that you may return anytime and re-watch the launch).

NASA TV HD Player (click here to watch on a mobile device)

Curiosity Cam 5 a.m. PT (8 a.m. ET): - NASA's Mars Curiosity Launch NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft with the Curiosity rover is set to launch to the planet Mars aboard an Atlas V rocket on Nov. 26, 2011 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one hour and 43 minute launch window opens at 7:02 a.m. PST (10:02 a.m. EST).
Coverage of the launch will begin at 5 a.m. PST (8 a.m. EST) and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Atlas V occurs 53 minutes, 49 seconds after launch.

Follow the Curiosity rover on Twitter (@MarsCuriosity) and Facebook. Other places for launch coverage: NASA Launch Blog Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Republican Candidates Debate Foreign Policy

The candidates in the Republican Party 2012 Presidential nomination race participated in a forum at Washington, D.C.’s, Constitution Hall last night, an event that was billed as the "Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy." It was sponsored by CNN and the Heritage Foundation.

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A Town Hall with NC Senator Jim Davis

Here is a Town Hall that was held by NC Senator Jim Davis last night in the Community Facilities Building in Franklin, NC. It is one of a series of town halls he is holding across the district to update people on this past legislative session in the North Carolina General Assembly.

I also took some photos and here they are:

Previous coverage of Jim Davis:

NC Governor Vetoes State Budget

NC Senator Jim Davis Discusses State Budget

Jim Davis Wins Close Race For NC Senate #50 Seat

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Franklin Aldermen November 21, 2011 Meeting

**2.30am** Here is the video of this meeting:

Here is a copy of the presenation by Andrea Leslie. Use it to follow along with the presentation while the video plays:
NC DENR Watershed Presentation to The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

**8.25pm** Here is the audio of tonight's meeting:

Download MP3

The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen are meeting at 5.30pm this evening and I will be there as usual, recording video and tweeting from the meeting...this time without my laptop. I'll be test driving my Kindle Fire tablet to see how it holds up during the meeting. You can follow along using the hashtag #MaconGov on your favorite twitter client, or on the widget I have installed at the bottom of this post.

There has been no agenda posted. If memory serves, the plan was to continue the discussion of the 'Wild Mint' cell tower that Verizon Wireless wants to build. Lefties and hypochondriacs were, as usual, opposed to the idea. We'll see what happens tonight.

Andrea Laslie, from NC DENR, will be making a power point presentation regarding the Franklin to Fontana Watershed. If it is the same one she gave to the Macon County Planning Board on Thursday, you can click here to check it out.

You can also watch the video from the meeting two weeks ago by clicking here.

I will post the video and audio from this meeting as soon as I can. The audio will be before midnight and the video sometime tomorrow if the meeting doesn't run over two hours.

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The Macon County Republican Party and the Gem Country Republican Women's Club held a fundraiser this past Saturday, November 19th at the Trimont Christian Academy. Funds are to go toward the opening of a party headquarters during the 2012 elections. If you missed the fundraiser, it is not too late to donate [click here].

The guest speaker was Phil drake of Drake Enterprises. He spoke about the upcoming elections and the video of that is below:

Six of the nine candidates running in the 11th Congressional District Republican Primary attended the fundraiser and campaigned before and after the event. They all consented to making their case on video.

Here are those videos in the order in which I recorded them:

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Macon County Planning Board (November 2011 Meeting)

The Macon County Planning Board met on Thursday, November 17, 2011 and this is the video of what happened...

**note** I realize the date is wrong on the video. It would take 24 plus hours to encode it again to correct the mistake, so I'm leaving it as is and moving on.

Here are the slides that were used in the NC DENR Watershed Presentation during the meeting:

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Family Forum

Six of the eight Republicans running in the Republican Party 2012 Presidential Primaries met across a Thanksgiving dinner table in the First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa for a free-wheeling discussion led by Frank Luntz that focused on issues important to Christians and social conservatives. Mormons Mitt Romney and Jon Hunstman did not participate. 

Here is the full video of the discussion:

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Macon County EDC November 2011 Meeting

The Macon County EDV met on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 and heard a series of reports from the new EDC Director Tommy Jenkins. It sounds like he has hit the ground running and takes his position very seriously.

A reporter from The Franklin Press and myself were the only members of the media present at this meeting.

Here is the video I took of the meeting and associated meeting documents that were shared by the new EDC Director:

Macon County Economic Development Commission

Meeting Agenda

November 15, 2011 - 5.30pm

Southwestern Community College - Macon Campus

  1. Call to Order - Chairman Shatley
  2. Recognition of Guests - Chairman Shatley
  3. Approval of Minutes - Chairman Shatley
  4. Introduction and Remarks - Chairman Shatley/Tommy Jenkins
  5. INtroduction and Remarks - NC Department of Commerce Economic Developer (Bryson City Office) - Chairman Shatley/Jennifer Hogsed
  6. Introduction and Remarks - SCC Business and Industry Coordinator (Macon County) - Chairman Shatley/Tommy Dennison
  7. EDC Director Report - Tommy Jenkins
  8. 2012 EDC Meeting Schedule - Tommy Jenkins
  9. 2012 EDC Retreat - Tommy Jenkins
  10. Other Business
  11. Adjourn

Here is the the onformational packet from the meeting:

Macon County EDC 11-15-2011 Press Packet

The next meeting will be in January, although there is an informational update on local Fiber Optic availability planned for December 1st at SCC that I am planning to attend.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day 2011 in Franklin, NC

Marines Lead the Way

This is how my hometown observed Veterans Day on November 11, 2011

The Veterans Day parade:

The program and ceremonies observing Veterans Day:

Slideshow of some of the photos I took at the event:

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Republicans Debate at Wofford College in SC

The candidates in the Republican Party 2012 Presidential nomination race participated in a forum at Wofford College last night, an event that was billed as the "Commander-in-Chief Debate."

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Republican Candidates Debate in Michigan

Here is the latest forum in which the Republican candidates participated in, this one occurred in Michigan.

Part One

Part Two

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Macon County Commissioners 11-08-2011

**6.34am, 11-11-2011** Here is the video of the meeting, which lasted over three hours: 

**6.44pm, 11-09-2011** Here is the audio of the meeting:

Download MP3

**Note** I will not be able to process the audio or video of this meeting until Thursday because I made the mistake of recording the Town Board of Aldermen meeting in HD and forgot how very long that resolution of video takes to process. I apologize for the mistake. It will also preclude my tweeting of this meeting on my @wpig account. I will be using @ThunderPig tonight.

The Macon County Commissioners will be meeting tonight at 6.00pm in the Commissioners Board Room. I will be there to tweet the meeting and record video, but will not be providing live video. You may follow my tweets at #MaconGov, using your favorite twitter client, or on the widget below. Once the meeting is over, I will replace the widget with a record of my tweets from the meeting, and I will upload video and audio from the meeting as soon as I am able to process it. Meanwhile, you can watch the last meeting.

Macon County Board of Commissioners
November 8, 2011

1.  Call to order and welcome by Chairman McClellan

2.  Announcements -- Introduction of Lori Hall as Finance Director

3.  Invocation

4.  Pledge of Allegiance

5.  Public Hearings -- None

6.  Public Comment Period

7.  Adjustments to and approval of the agenda

8.  Reports/Presentations
     A.  Update on improvements to Holly Springs Community Building
     B.  Presentation by Nantahala students regarding proposed Nantahala Beach

9.  Old Business
     A.  Exchange of real estate in Highlands (Fisher property)
     B.  NC Highway Patrol telecommunications facility
     C.  Committee appointments/term limits

10.  New Business
       A.  Adult Dental Services -- Jim Bruckner
       B.  Abandoned graveyard -- Jerry Sutton

11.  Consent Agenda
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.
       A.  Minutes
       B.  Budget revisions
       C.  Tax releases
       D.  Renewal of Interlocal Agreement with the Town of Highlands regarding recreation facilities   and services

12.   Appointments

13.  Closed session per General Statute 143.318.11(3) [download PDFto preserve the attorney/client privilege

14.  Adjournment/Recess

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen Meeting 11-07-2011

**2.04pm, 11-09-2011** Here is the video of the meeting:

**7.30am, 11-08-2011** I underestimated the time it will take for the video of this meeting to encode. It will not be ready until sometime on November 9th. I apologize for the error.

**11.44pm** Here is the audio of the meeting:

Download MP3

I recorded the meeting in HD, so it will probably be late tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night before I can get the video processed.

The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen will be having a meeting tonight at 7.00pm in the Town Hall. I will be there to tweet the meeting and record video, but will not be providing live video. I will post an agenda as soon as one becomes available. You may follow my tweets at #MaconGov, using your favorite twitter client, or on the widget below. Once the meeting is over, I will replace the widget with a record of my tweets from the meeting, and I will upload video and audio from the meeting as soon as I am able to process it. Meanwhile, you can watch the last meeting.

Monday November 7, 2011 - 7:00 p.m. 

 1. Call to order -Mayor Collins
 2. Public hearing 7:05 p.m. for Verizon Wireless Cell Tower special-use application
 3. Board consider on the following:
     Verizon Wireless Cell Tower special-use application
 4. Approval of October 3, 2011 meeting minutes
 5. Public Session
 6. Presentation on Little Tennessee Watershed from Franklin to Fontana- Andrea Leslie
 7. Sidewalk maintenance agreement- Mike Grubermann
 8. Board authorization to schedule a public hearing for truck route at the 
     December 5, 2011 Town Board meeting- Sam Greenwood
 9. Appointment of Karen Bacon to fill vacancy on TDA board- Sam Greenwood
10. Recognition of achievement of the Franklin sports program- Verlin Curtis
11. Lease on fire equipment- Sam Greenwood
12. Adjourn

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Colors and a Rainbow

The sun hit these trees just right at the same time there was a rainbow at the Community Facilities Building just south of Franklin, NC this morning.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Answering Machine Attacks and the Asheville City Council

Someone sent me this audio anonymously, but I guess they got tired of waiting on me to write up a post about it, so they went ahead and posted it online...then sent me the link to where they had uploaded it. 

So, here is what I had prepared to provide context for the audio. I had more research to do, but I'm walking away from the project since they've posted it online elsewhere...

LTE in Asheville Citizen-Times dated Oct 5, 2011

Cecil Bothwell has, in my opinion, once again showed his total ignorance as to how a small business might work. Since he has never developed a successful business of his own, and loves to see his name in print, he decided to attack Jan Davis for providing tire service for the ABC vehicle fleet. He has retracted his statements, but I feel his intent to smear the good name of Davis was obvious. Mr. Bothwell, along with the new slate of left leaning progressive candidates for council, do not reflect the mainstream of thinking for the majority of Asheville citizens. Candidate Lael Gray has stated that automobiles need to be eliminated from city streets. Asheville voters need to ask candidates Pelly, Gray, and Hunt one simple question. “What portion of the city budget do they plan to cut in order to pay for their special agendas during the economic downturn?” Will it be police, firefighters, or basic city services? Or will higher taxes be their agenda?

Dr. Joe Dunn, Asheville
Dunn is a former Asheville city councilman

The above LTE generated a response from Cecil Bothwell, which was sent to me anonymously:

Download MP3

It also generated a response from fellow progressive Lael Gray in the Mountain Xpress.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life in a Day: July 24, 2010

Life In A Day is a historic film capturing for future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010.

Executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Life in a Day is a crowdsourced documentary film comprising an arranged series of video clips selected from 80,000 clips submitted to the YouTube video sharing website, the clips showing respective occurrences from around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010.
The film is 94 minutes 57 seconds long and includes scenes selected from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 140 nations. The completed film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2011 and the premiere was streamed live on YouTube. On October 31, 2011, YouTube announced that Life in a Day would be available for viewing on its website free of charge, and on DVD.

Source: Wikipedia

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Peter Schiff Speaks for 1 Percent at Occupy Wall Street

Peter Schiff waded into the Cesspool of Socialism, aka Occupy Wall Street, to engage some of the participants in conversations where he defends capitalism and tries to point out where these people should be directing their anger.

From the video description:

Last week, followed investment guru, radio show host, and unflappable defender of capitalism Peter Schiff as he spent three hours among the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.

An unapologetic member of "the 1 Percent," Schiff argued with all comers for the better part of an afternoon.

Schiff is no ordinary observer. As the prinicipal of the financial firm Euro Pacific Capital, he's a full-fledged and unapologetic member of "the 1 Percent." As an outspoken radio show host and commentator, he not only predicted the housing crash and financial crisis, he railed bank and auto-sector bailouts as they were happening. Schiff believes that capitalism offers is the only hope for young, frustrated people to have a vibrant and prosperous future. So he went to Occupy Wall Street to engage and debate the protesters.

Touring the Occupy Wall Street scene in New York with a sign that read "I Am the 1%, Let's Talk," Schiff spent more than three hours on the scene, explaining the difference between cronyism and capitalism, bailouts and balance sheets, and more. 

"The regulation we want is the market," said Schiff. "That's what works." 

Schiff describes himself as "sympathetic" to the plight of the OWS protesters, but thinks their anger is misdirected at legitimate business interests and should be better at the White House, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the crony capitalists they've bailed out.

Check out Schiff's Euro Pacific Capital at

Listen to his radio show online at

Buy his latest book, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, at

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Nathan Chaffetz.

Runs about 19 minutes. Go to for downloadable versions of our videos and subscribe to's YouTube channel for automatic notification when new material goes live online.

For a two-minute version, go to

For Reason's coverage of the Occupy movement in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and elsewhere, go to

Here's a playlist of's always expanding video coverage of the Occupy movement:

Source:  Reason TV on Youtube

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