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


Friday, April 26, 2013

BizWeek 2013 Banquet Honors Local Businesses, Keynote address given by Tony Almeida, senior advisor to Governor Pat McCrory on jobs and the economy

BizWeek 2013 Video Coverage

BizWeek 2013 wrapped up last night in the fellowship hall of Holly Springs Baptist Church, with several local businesses being recognized for their contributions to Macon County.

Among those honored were, Angel Medical Center, JC and Frankie Jacobs, Old Edwards Inn and Span and Raymond Page.

The keynote address was given by Tony Almeida, senior advisor to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on jobs and the economy. 

This was the third BizWeek hosted by the Macon County Economic Development Commission and the second one to honor the contributions of local businesses to the local economy.

For more information on the Macon County EDC please visit their website at

This is the playlist that includes all the speakers and honorees that participated in BizWeek 2013.

Below are the individual videos in chronological order:

Opening Ceremonies

Presenting was Franklin Mayor Joe Collins and accepting was James Bross, CEO of Angel Medical Center.

Presenters were Rob Gasbarro and Cory McCall, co-owners of Outdoor 76 and accepting was JC Jacobs of People's Department Store.

Presenting was Macon County Commissioner Jimmy Tate.

Accepting for Old Edwards Inn and Spa was President Richard Delaney.

Presenting was Johnny Mira-Knippel of TekTone Sound & Signal and accepting was Raymond Page.

Keynote Address by Tony Almeida, Senior Advisor to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory at the BizWeek 2013 Banquet in Franklin, NC.

Video of the closing remarks of Macon EDC Director Tommy Jenkins at the Biz Week 2013 Banquet.

Monday, April 22, 2013

SDO: Three Years of Solar Observing in Three Minutes

SDO Three Years in Three Minutes

Here is a beautiful thing:

From the video description:

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.

SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin. In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun's 25-day rotation as well as how solar activity has increased over three years.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Such stability is crucial for scientists, who use SDO to learn more about our closest star. These images have regularly caught solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the act, types of space weather that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth and interfere with satellites in space. SDO's glimpses into the violent dance on the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions -- with the hopes of some day improving our ability to predict this space weather.

There are several noteworthy events that appear briefly in this video. They include the two partial eclipses of the sun by the moon, two roll maneuvers, the largest flare of this solar cycle, comet Lovejoy, and the transit of Venus. The specific time for each event is listed below, but a sharp-eyed observer may see some while the video is playing.

00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon

00:31;16 Roll maneuver

01:11;02 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle

01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011

01:42;29 Roll Maneuver

01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon

More information about this video, as well as full HD version of all four wavelengths and print-resolution stills are public domain and can be viewed and downloaded at:

This video is public domain and can be downloaded.

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA's Goddard Shorts HD podcast:

Or find NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Facebook:

Or find us on Twitter:

Macon County Board of Education 04-22-2013

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

And here is what happened at the end of the closed session:

1. Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan announced the reassignment/transfer of Kris Reis, Principal, Union Academy, transfer/reassignment to Assistant Principal, Franklin High School, effective July 1, 2013.

2. On a motion made by Gary Shields and seconded by Tommy Cabe, the board tabled action on the administrator contracts as well as the one year probationary, lateral entry, or provisional certification contracts that were listed on the consent agenda.

3. On a motion made by Gary Shields and seconded by Tommy Cabe, the board approved the remaining consent agenda items as submitted.

4. On a motion made by Gary Shields and seconded by Melissa Evans, the board moved to continue their meeting to Monday, May 13th at 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the Macon County Schools Administrative Offices at which time various matters of the board will be considered.

5. On a motion made by Gary Shields and seconded by Tommy Cabe, the board adjourned at 9:24 p.m.

Macon County Board of Education 04-22-2013

I'll be at the school board meeting tonight and will post the video sometime tomorrow. There will be no live play by because there is no Public Internet Access at the administrative offices.

Here is the agenda:

APRIL 22,2013

Pledge...Students from East Franklin Elementary

I Spotlight on People and Programs
A Recognitions
• Deavan Lombard
• Duke University Talent Identification Program Students
• James Watson
• New Energy Savings

B Historical Highlights

C Presentations
• FHS Foods Class
• Knights of Columbus

II Public Comment

III Consent Agenda
A Resignations/Retirements
B New Personnel
C Change in Status
D Transfer of Personnel
E Substitutes
F Overnight/Out of District Trip Requests
G Student Transfers
H Recommended Renewals and Non-Renewals
I Miscellaneous Items

• 2013 Summer Workout Coaching Assignments

IV Personnel

A Approval Items
• Vacancies with ongoing interviews
? Assistant Principal, Franklin High School
? Men's Basketball Coach, Highlands School
? Child Nutrition Director, Macon County Schools
? School Psychologist, Macon County Schools
? Speech/Language Pathologist, Macon County Schools

V Policy
A Approval Items
•Cartoogechaye Elementary School PTO Fundraiser...Randy Shepherd
•Franklin High School Fundraiser-Skills USA.......Dr Chris Baldwin
•Highlands School Sophomore Class Fundraiser.......Brian Jetter
•Macon Middle School FCA Fundraiser...............Scot Maslin
•Mountain View Intermediate Fundraiser............Mark Sutton
•East Franklin Elementary School Handbook.........Shirley Parks
•Macon Early College Student Handbook.............Todd Gibbs
•Transportation Contract..........................Paula Ledford
•2012-2013 Drug Testing Results...................Dan Moore
•Athletic Drug Testing Program Cost Analysis......Dan Moore/John Henning

B Discussion
•Summer Edventure Camp............................Lenora Clifton
•Out of District Students.........................Dr Jim Duncan
•Athletic Expenditure Assessment..................Dan Moore

VI Curriculum and Instruction

A Approval Items
•School Improvement Plans.........................Nancy Cantrell
• Highlands School
• Macon Early College
• Macon MIddle School
• Union Academy
• Nantahala School

B Discussion Items
•Elementary Class Size Assessment as of March 22, 2013...Dan Moore

VII Building and Grounds

A Approval Items
B Discussion Items

VIII Business and Finance

A Approval Items
•Fund Redistribution - FHS..........................Angie Cook
•Budget Amendments..................................Angie Cook
•Public School Building Capital Fund................Angie Cook

B Discussion Items

IX Board of Education Information

A Approval Items

B Discussion Items

X Superintendent Information

A Discussion Items
•Coming Events.......................................Dr Jim Duncan

XI Closed Session

•NCGS 143-318.11.(a) (6) To consider the qualifications, competence, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employeee or prospective public officer or employee;

The John Batchelor Show for 04-19-2013
The Tsranaev Brothers and Deep Background on Chechnya

The John Batchelor Show


The John Batchelor Show is an essential tool for understanding the new order in the 21st Century. The world is now facing a dangerous and fanatical enemy determined to destroy Western civilization on both political and military fronts. In this, the first great ideological battle of the new millennium, it is imperative to know the major players and the theaters in which they operate.

The John Batchelor Show features a multitude of distinctive elements. John's themes cover every detail - from military battles, presidential campaigns, planetary exploration, and Hollywood politicos to his own international travel. John has broadcast from many corners of the world and in his program he calls out to all points, including New York, Jerusalem, Des Moines, Kazakhstan, Orlando, Manchester, Morocco, Boston, Taipei, Washington, and Baghdad.


For people who aren't necessarily familiar with the Chechens and the Boston Marathon Bombers, a listen to the four hours of The John Batchelor Show that aired on Friday will go a long way to informing you with a considerable deep background in this area...

Hour One 
Download MP3  
Show Notes 

Hour Two 
Download MP3  
Show Notes 

Hour Three 
Show Notes 

Hour Four 
Show Notes 


For more information on The John Batchelor Show, please visit the following websites: 

You can live stream all four hours of the New John Batchelor Show, 9 PM Eastern Time to 1 AM Eastern Time, on 630 WPRO-AM in Providence, NewsRadio 1330 KNSS in Wichita, and AM 1230 WFAS in Westchester (weekdays). You can subscribe to the new podcasts (more data, better music) of the New John Batchelor Show on ITunes or with the RSS Feed

Wikipedia Article on John Batchelor  

My previous articles on the show 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Flag Flown Over US Capitol Building Now Flies in Macon County

Title Card

Dr Jim Duncan, the Superintendent of Macon County Schools, presided over a flag raising ceremony on Monday, April 15th that was attended by employees of the scool system and members of the school board at the central offices of the Macon County School System that was flown over the US Capitol on December 11, 2012. The flag was obtained by Dr Duncan through the office of US Senator Richard Burr.

The central offices are located at 1202 Old Murphy Road in Franklin, NC.

Here are a few photos I took during the ceremony:




Flag 1

Flag and Sign

Monday, April 15, 2013

Franklin Aldermen and Staff Hold Annual Retreat for 2013

2013 Aldermen Retreat

Here are the videos arranged by topics of discussion during the retreat that was held this past Saturday by the Town Board of Aldermen and Staff. It began Saturday morning at 9am and was over at 11am. I posted a play by as the meeting happened on Google Plus [LINK].

The only reporters that attended the meeting were a reporter from the Macon County News and myself. The Franklin Press did not send a reporter, so if they do post a'll know that they didn't get the information first hand.

THE VIDEOS (In chronological order and topic of discussion)

1. Budget Considerations
A) Fund Balance
B) Future Revaluation

2. Capital Projects
A) Sewer Plant Extension
B) Water Treatment Plant Renovation/Expansion

3. Properties
A) Old Town Hall
B) Whitmire Property

4. Personnel

5. Ordinances

6. Miscellaneous Town Projects
A) Gazebo
B) Streets
C) Other

7. Other Considerations/Discussions

Franklin Garden Club Keeps Rankin Square Beautiful

Rankin 6
Members of the Franklin Garden Club Caught in the Act of Beautifying Franklin

I had a serendipitous encounter with the Franklin Garden Club this morning and here are a few photos of these volunteers at work keeping our town beautiful!

The club will be having their Annual Plant Sale during the Airing of the Quilts Festival on Saturday, May 11th from 8:30am to 1:00pm at the Clock Tower. The types of plants they will be selling (for very reasonable prices) are ornamentals, vegetable plants, Mother's Day Planters & Baskets.

Proceeds of the sale go to benefit the Beautificiation of Franklin.

For more information, call Nancy Tara at 524-8673.

Here are more photos of the volunteers from the Franklin Garden Club working in Ranlin Square to beautiful downtown Franklin.

Rankin 7

Rankin 1

Rankin 5

Rankin 4

Rankin 2

And, don't forget about the Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 11th!!!

Garden Club

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Macon County Commissioners 04-12-2013

Macon County Commissioners 04-12-2013

The Macon County Commissioner had recessed their Tuesday meeting [video] to Friday in order to complete their due diligence on the purchase of the Parker Meadows property. The meeting lasted about an hour. Read my play by play that I posted as the meeting happened on Google Plus.

The following is from the power point presentation given by Macon County Planner Matt Mason: (open the images in a new tab to view at a larger size)

Shovel Excavations

Overall View of Property

Floodway and Flood Plain

Planned Ballfields


• County staff conducted a Site meeting with David Brown, ACOE to discuss wetland delineations, and existing water features on the property.

• County staff met with Archaeologists to discuss potential historical sites that were present on the site.

• County staff made several site visits to ensure challenges were addressed in order to achieve compliances with all regulatory agencies.


• Our office is required to make sure that _all_ development with the Special Flood Hazard area (SFHA) is compliant with Macon County's Flood Ordinance.

•The site at Parkers Farms is partially located within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Therefore we are required to ensure full compliance with Macon County's existing Flood Ordinance.


•The preliminary layout for the Recreational Complex at Parker Farms will be in full compliance with Macon County's Flood Ordinance.

•We can accomplish the proposed development of the project without any fill material being placed in the SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area).


•Fields 1,2 and 8 are partially located with the SFHA.

•Fields 1 and 2 currently have 4'-5' of positive drainage from the home plate to the outfield and should be constructed, as proposed.

• Field 8 could be used as proposed (unable to verify drainage due to existing vegetation) or the field can be reduced in size to create a smaller field for tee ball, coach pitch, etc.

During the course of the discussion, Commissioner Higdon passed out a document [photo] that delineated his opposition to the project, some of which was invalidated due to the archaeologist verbally reporting during Tuesday night's meeting that no earth could be disturbed over the archaeological sites and his written report saying that the sites could be disturbed to a depth of 18 inches. Apparently, Commissioner Higdon was not given access to the written report but some county employees were. [I requested a copy of the archaeologist's written report Tuesday night, but he has not sent me a copy.]

Using information I've learned at a recent workshop held by +Carolina Public Press, I will be pursuing this public document request and will report back on the results.

Commissioner Haven made a motion to decline the purchase of the property, seconded by Commissioner Higdon, and after each commissioner had his say, the vote was called and the motion failed by a vote of 2 in favor and 3 opposed. Commissioners Haven and Higdon voted in favor of declining the purchase and Commissioners Beale, Corbin and Tate voted against declining the purchase.

So, the county will be moving forward to complete the purchase of the property.

The Commissioners recessed the meeting until Thursday night, April 18th, at 6pm at the Macon Bank Corporate Center in order to meet jointly with the Macon County Board of Education to discuss the Education Budget for the coming fiscal year.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Parker Meadows Purchase Gets Approval From County Commissioners

Parker Meadows

A motion to decline the purchase of the Parker Meadows property failed by a vote of 2-3 in a county commissioner meeting tonight. Commissioners Haven and Higdon voted to in favor if declining the purchase and Commissioners Beale, Corbin and Tate voted Not to decline the purchase, so the county will move forward in acquiring the property for use as a recreational facility.

I have have the full video of the meeting posted online in the morning.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Parker Meadows Discussion at the 04-09-2013 meeting of the Macon County Commissioners

Parker Meadows Disco 04-09-2013

It is my firm belief that one cannot properly report what happened during the hour long presentation and ensuing discussion (an hour of the 2 hour and 25 minute long meeting was devoted to this) about the Parker Meadows Property in the few short paragraphs local papers will devote to it. They will, by political design and/or space requirements, leave out crucial elements of the discussion and points raised by each county commissioner. After you watch the video I have embedded below, please take the time to read each of the local papers version of the events.

In particular, the main purpose the commissioners kicked the can down the road yet again and meeting again on Friday is to determine whether or not dirt can be moved from outside the floodplain to inside the floodplain on the same piece of property. Commissioners Beale and Corbin tried to phrase the question differently so that the question is not so narrow, but that is the crux of the whole thing.

Here is the video of the entire discussion so that you can see and hear it for yourself as if you were at the meeting and not having to rely on a very short summarizing report. I will replace this with an HD Video by early next week.

The commissioners will be meeting again on Friday night at 6pm and I'll be there to record that meeting as well.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Macon County Commissioners 04-09-2013

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

Macon County Commissioners

The Macon County Commissioners will be meeting tonight at 6pm. I will be there to cover it and will be posting a nearly live play by play on Google Plus.

I will embed the video of the meeting at the top of this article as soon as I can get it processed. 

The agenda is below and the press kit is embedded below that for your convenience.


1. Call to order and welcome by Chairman Corbin

2. Announcements

3. Moment of Silence

4. Pledge of Allegiance

5. Public Hearing(s) - None

6. Public Comment Period

7. Adjustments to and approval of the agenda

8. Reports/Presentations
  • Update on New Hope Cemetery project - Andrew Baldwin
  • Presentation of findings regarding archaeological study at proposed Parker Meadows Recreational Park - Paul Webb/TRC
9. Old Business

  • Consideration of the Classification and Compensation Study
10. New Business
  • Change Order No. 3 on the Swiss Colony Area Water System Improvements Project - County Manager
  • Consideration of "A Resolution to Maintain and Support the Current Integrity and Funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF)" - Commissioner Tate
  • Change Order No. 1 on the Macon County Dental Clinic - Finance Director
  • New Fees at Macon Public Health Center - Public Health Center Director Jim Bruckner
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.

  • Minutes of the March 12, 2013 meeting
  • Budget Amendments #148-#149
  • Tax Refund
  • Tax Releases
  • Monthly Ad Valorem Tax Report
12. Appointments
  • Board of Adjustment (3 seats)
  • Community Funding Pool (3 seats)
13. Closed session (if necessary)

14. Recess until Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6 p.m. at the Macon Bank Corporate Office at 220 One Center Court, Franklin, NC 28734 for a joint meeting with the Macon County Board of Education.

NOTE: Tentative plans call for a continuation meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 6 p.m. at a location to be determined to hold a joint meeting with the towns of Franklin and Highlands and to conduct other business as needed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Marking Yom HaShoah 2013

Germans being confronted with their legacy of murder by Allied troops

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day. It was inaugurated in 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Nisan(April/May), unless the 27th would be adjacent to Shabbat, in which case the date is shifted by a day. In other countries there are different commemorative days—see Holocaust Memorial Day.

Source: Wikipedia

Yesterday, Israel came to a stop for two minutes to mark the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust and remember the Jewish resistance.

The theme this year is 'Honoring Righteous Gentiles.' 

Learn more about the Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem

Here is a video from yesterday:

And here is an excerpt from Dan Curtis' adaptation of Herman Wouk's "War and Remembrance" depicting the gassing of a group of Jews by the Germans in the Second World War. It is a thing that we must never allow to happen again, or die trying to prevent happening to these people.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Franklin Aldermen 04-01-2013

Franklin Aldermen April 2013

The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen had their regular monthly meeting last night. Gavel to gavel video of the meeting is below:

I also provided a nearly live play by play of the meeting. You may read that on Google Plus.

The agenda and a downloadable press kit for the meeting is below for your convenience and in the interest of keeping our elected officials accountable to the electorate.

Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 
Meeting Agenda
Monday April 1, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. 
  1. Call to order -Mayor Collins
  2. Approval of the February 28 and March 4 , 2013 board minutes
  3. Public hearing 7:05 p.m. for re-zoning petition for section of Pauline Avenue
  4. Public session
  5. New business
    • Board decision on re-zoning petition for section of Pauline Avenue
    • Proclamation for Neuropathy Awareness Week
    • Proclamation for Lyme Disease Awareness Month
    • Application to amend text only of the Unified Development Ordinance for WNC Hospice House Foundation- Land Use Administrator Derek Roland
    • Application to amend text only of the Unified Development Ordinance for D.A. Investment Group- Land Use Administrator Derek Roland
    • Appointment of Cheryl Pullium to fill vacancy on Tourism Development Authority- Assistant to the Town Manger Summer Woodard
  6. Legal
    • Lease of Town property to Angel Medical Center- John Henning Jr
    • Update on gun range questions- John Henning Jr
    • Discussion on solicitors- John Henning Jr
  7. Announcements
    • Annual Retreat April 13, 2013 9 AM Town Hall Boardroom
  8. Adjourn

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tony Almeida to provide keynote at BizWeek 2013 Banquet


Macon EDC

April 01, 2013

The Macon County Economic Development Commission is pleased to announce that Tony Almeida, senior advisor to N.C. Governor Pat McCrory for jobs and the economy will provide the keynote address during the EDC Banquet during BizWeek 2013.

“It is truly an honor to have Mr. Almeida as our keynote speaker for this event,” said Tommy Jenkins, Director of the Macon County Economic Development Commission. “He is a dynamic speaker and we’re looking forward to his many insights for the growth of business and industry in North Carolina.”

Tony Almeida joined the McCrory Administration in January 2013, after serving as the economic development director for the governor’s transition team. In 2008, Almeida was named vice president, large business, of Duke Energy. As part of the retail customer services group, this large business team was responsible for managing business relationships and services to the company’s largest manufacturing, commercial and institutional retail customers across the Carolinas and the Midwest. He retired from this position in 2011. Prior to this, Almeida served as vice president of business relations and economic development for Duke Energy Carolinas from 2006 to 2008. He served as vice president, economic development, from 2003 to 2006. Almeida joined Duke Energy in 1979.

The Atlanta, Ga., native graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Almeida is past chair of the Charlotte Regional Partnership and also served as chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation Board. In addition, he serves as a trustee on that college’s board. He also served as past chair of the North Carolina Community College Foundation Board. He is also member of the board of trust of Hood Theological Seminary.

The Macon County Economic Development Commission Banquet will conclude the BizWeek 2013 celebration and will be held on Thursday, April 25 at 6:00 pm in the fellowship hall of Holly Springs Baptist Church. 

This event is free. However, registration is required and seating is limited. Register online at or call Tommy Jenkins at (828) 369-2306.


For more information on BizWeek 2013, please visit the Macon EDC website.