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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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Macon County Commissioners Tap Derek Roland For County Manager

Derek Roland poses with the Macon County Commissioners
Front: Derek Roland, who starts his new job as Macon County Manager on December 16th.
Back: (L-R) Commissioners Ron Haven, Ronnie Beale, Kevin Corbin, Jimmy Tate and Paul Higdon

The Macon County Commissioners met tonight for less than half an hour, most of which was spent by the commissioners taking everyone through their thought process of selecting Macon County native Derek Roland to be the new manager of Macon County, then they voted 5-0 to offer the job of Macon County Manager to Derek Roland.

He will start his new job on December 16, 2013 and his base pay will be $100,000 a year and he will be allowed $500 a month for travel expenses. He will work out a notice with the Town of Franklin, where he is currently the Town Planner.


Here is a list of the local media organizations present at the meeting:
Macon Media -- Bobby Coggins
The Franklin Press -- Jessica Waters
Macon County News -- Brittney Burns

The Town website has a short bio of Derek that I will re-post here:

Derek Roland is a native of Macon County. Upon graduation from Franklin High School, Roland attended Western Carolina University, receiving a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Law in 2007. In the two years following his graduation, Roland worked for Unique Properties as a North Carolina licensed real estate broker. In 2009 he assumed the position of Macon County Planner, where he proudly served until March of 2012. Roland was hired by the Town of Franklin as Planner in late March 2012, and looks forward to serving the citizens of the municipality for years to come. Currently, Roland is completing his Masters Degree in the field of Public Administration at Western Carolina University. Roland is a member of the Franklin Rotary Club and was named Macon County Citizen of the Year for 2011.

Friday, November 22, 2013

SECU Foundation Awards Local Hospice House Foundation A $1 Million Challenge Grant

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Yesterday, the SECU Foundation awarded the Hospice House Foundation of WNC a million dollar challenge grant to help with the $3.8 million dollar project of establishing a six bed hospice facility in the old Dryman HOuse on Maple Street. The Hospice House Foundation is challenged to promptly raise $2.2 million before actually receiving the funds. The
House will include six spacious private patient suites, residential style living areas and other amenities including a family kitchen, dining room, chapel and exterior gardens. In honor of SECU Foundation’s challenge grant to HHF’s Capital Campaign, the facility will be named SECU Hospice House of Western North Carolina.

The Hospice House will need your help to raise the additional $2.2 million. If you are interested, please send your tax deductible donations to:

Hospice House Foundation of WNC
PO Box 815
Franklin, NC 28744

You can visit the Hospice House website at to learn more about their mission and even see their event calendar.

To learn more about the SECU Foundation, please visit their website at

Here is video taken at the event.

Here are some photos from the event:

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Monday, November 18, 2013

MAVEN Launch Coverage

MAVEN Launch Schedule
The newest mission to Mars, MAVEN, will be launching today at 1:28pm EST...provided the weather holds. I have embedded a video player that will show the launch live. I will replace with a recorded video of the launch later today. Below that is some information about the mission, beginning with a PSA by LeVar Burton.

More about the mission below:

MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN

Mission Briefing:

Features on Mars resembling dry riverbeds and the discovery of minerals that form in the presence of water indicate that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and was warm enough for liquid water to flow on the surface. However, that thick atmosphere was somehow lost to space. Scientists suspect that over millions of years, Mars lost 99% of its atmosphere as the planet’s core cooled and its magnetic field decayed, allowing the solar wind to sweep away most of the water and volatile compounds the atmosphere once contained.

The goal of MAVEN is to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space, providing answers about Martian climate evolution. By measuring the rate with which the atmosphere is currently escaping to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes, scientists will be able to infer how the planet's atmosphere evolved over time. MAVEN will have four primary scientific objectives:

•Determine the role that loss of volatiles to space from the Mars atmosphere has played through time.
•Determine the current state of the upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the solar wind.
•Determine the current rates of escape of neutral gases and ions to space and the processes controlling them.
•Determine the ratios of stable isotopes in the Martian atmosphere.

MAVEN is expected to reach Mars in September 2014. By then, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on board the Curiosity rover will have made similar surface measurements from Gale crater, which will help guide the interpretation of MAVEN's upper atmosphere measurements. MAVEN's measurements will also provide additional scientific context with which to test models for current methane formation in Mars.

More information can be found on the mission page at NASA

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 14, 2013

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This week on “NCDOT Now”:

•The leaves haven’t even finished changing color yet, and we’ve already seen snow flurries in parts of the state. See how our crews prepared for this first brush with winter weather.

•This time last year, NCDOT lost one of its own in a tragic accident on N.C. 12 in Dare County. We’ll show you how Brad Stevenson’s co-workers, family and friends created a lasting memorial in his honor at the maintenance yard where he worked.

•NCDOT dedicated the new I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River last week to veterans who have served our country in the past and those who continue to serve today. Hear why Secretary Tata said the bridge is a proper symbol to honor their sacrifice.

•Riding the train in North Carolina just got even easier. Find out how our new website makes buying your tickets quicker and more convenient.

“NCDOT Now” is posted every week. A video podcast version is available via iTunes. People with digital media players, such as iPods or iPads, as well as smartphones, can download “NCDOT Now” directly to their devices and play them back anytime, anywhere and get automatic updates of new programs. Subscribe for free by clicking here.

“NCDOT Now” is also available on the department’s YouTube page. Current and past editions of the broadcast are easily accessible by clicking on “Playlists” and selecting “NCDOT Now.”

An RSS feed of the program is also offered for those who want to subscribe and receive automatic updates via email each time a new edition is posted.

Beyond Earth: Removing the Barriers to Deep Space Exploration
A Panel Discussion Hosted by Marshall Institute and the Space Enterprise Council

It has been a while since I've had time to post something just for the fun of it, so here goes...

Space Launch System Photo by NASA/Jay Westcott

On Tuesday, November 12, the Marshall Institute and the Space Enterprise Council convened a panel discussion to consider the challenges facing the U.S. space exploration program.
William Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, moderated the panel.
Panelists included:
  • Julie Van Kleeck, Vice President, Space Programs, Aerojet Rocketdyne
  • Charlie Precourt, Vice President & General Manager, ATK Space Launch Division
  • John Elbon, Vice President & General Manager, Boeing Space Exploration
  • Jim Crocker, Vice President & General Manager, Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Video of the panel discussion is below.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 Election Results Infographic: The Pie Chart Edition

Those of you who know me know how much I love the opportunity to express data in visual formats, like charts and maps and so on. So, here are a series of graphs showing the results of Tuesday's election in visual terms.

Most of the pie charts should be self-explanatory, but I added a brief description below most of them anyway.

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Mayor Results

Vote split between the different Aldermen. People could vote for a maximum of three candidates in this race.

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Voter Turnout expressed as a percentage.

Voter participation in the Aldermen races. There are 2618 registered voters and there was a maximum number of 7854 possible votes in those races, so if someone only voted for one or two Aldermen, there other votes still counted as not participating in the election.

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Voter participation in the Mayoral race. I counted the three write ins as not participating because the votes were not cast for a declared candidate.

Votes by method of voting in the Mayoral race:

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Votes by method of voting in the Aldermen races (in order of finish):

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Election Results in Franklin, NC

The last three hours have been hectic, so please forgive me for not updating the blog until now.



Bob Scott -- 493 -- 72.82%
Sissy Pattillo- 181 -- 26.74%

ALDERMAN (Top three are seated)

Barbara McRae -------- 373 -- 19.88%
Patti Halyburton Abel -- 337 -- 17.96%
Billy Mashburn -------- 292 -- 15.57%

Video of Bob Scott at The Rathskeller:

Today is Election Day in Franklin
Scroll Down for Updates

Election 2013


Today is election day and I'll be in town from 6am until probably after 9pm today and will be providing updates throughout the day on social media using the hashtag #FranklinNC on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

I will also be adding updates here from time to time today, so if you don't use social media, please check this article every couple of hours or so.

I have several friends in the local races for Mayor and Aldermen seats on the Franklin Town Board and I would like to see them all win, even if there are more of them than there are available seats. The ones that don't win tonight, I'd like for them to keep in mind that there will be three Aldermen seats open in 2015.


Perfect voting weather today with mostly sunny with highs in the 60s and light winds. For those of you who are registered to vote in Franklin and Highlands...there is no excuse not to vote today. Unless you voted early.


Updates will be posted in reverse chronological order so you won't have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see if I have posted anything new.

Update #4 Blogger won't let me add the update to this post, so click here to see the fourth update.

Update #3 4:00pm

I spent about an hour at the town hall this afternoon and conducted an exit poll, but will not be releasing the results until the polls close at 7:30pm tonight.

39 people voted in the hour I was there and 252 so far had voted as of 3:20pm this afternoon. Many of the candidates continued to work the polls, and at one time or another today, all of them have been present.

Here are a few of the photos I took while I was there:

Update #2 8:30am

According to poll workers, as of 8:30 am, only 28 people had voted. 327 had participated in early voting.

Here are a few of the photos I took while I was at the town hall:

 Franklin Town Hall and Candidates for Office

Campaigning for Office
From left to right: Alderman Bob Scott (running for Mayor), Angela Hubbs Moore (running for Alderman), Emmanuel Carrion (running for Alderman), Donnie Abel (husband of Patti Abel), Patti Halyburton Abel (running for Alderman) and Adam Kimsey (running for Alderman).

Pastries and Coffee
Angela Hubbs Moore baked some snacks and made some coffee to hand out to voters.

Campaign Signs
Here is a look at the campaign signs in daylight

An air ambulance landing at Angel Medical Center
This is not election related, but the Town Hall is next to the landing pattern for MAMA-2 and I can't help myself when it comes to taking photos of aircraft.

Update #1 7:30am

I was at the polling location at the town hall before they opened this morning and took a few photos. Poll workers told me that less than 300 people took the opportunity to vote early in this election.

Here they are, in no particular order (click on any of them to see a larger version):

The polls are open in Franklin

Campaign Signs

More campaign signs

And even more campaign signs

This guy was at the town hall before I was

Angela Hubbs Moore setting up a table at town hall

Bob Scott was there early putting balloons on his sign

The Campaign Dead Zone