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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nullspace for future use


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meeting Agenda Franklin Town Board of Aldermen
September 2, 2014 Meeting
Updated with video

**update 10:45am 09-03-2014** Here is the video of the meeting:

You can read the play by play I posted as the meeting happened on Facebook.

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The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen will be meeting Tuesday night at 7pm instead of the usual Monday night because of the Labor Day Holiday.

The public agenda and the agenda packets have been released to the local media outlets and they are posted below in the interest of transparency. The agenda is a full one, so there will be a continuation meeting scheduled for September 15th at 5:30pm, provided all the Aldermen agree. See video of the July 7th meeting.

Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen


September 2, 2014

7:00 p.m.

l. Call to order- Mayor Bob Scott

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Adoption of September 2, 2014 Proposed Agenda

4. Approval of the August 4, 2014 Board Minutes

5. Public Session

6. New Business
...A.) Proclamation for Job Corp Day- Mayor Bob Scott
...B.) Proclamation for Constitution Week- Mayor Bob Scott
...C.) Presentation by Applicants for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Non- Profit Funding Pool
...D.) Set Public Hearing for Rezoning Petition for One (1) Parcel on Highlands Road- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser
...E.) Set Public Hearing for Rezoning Petition for Three (3) Parcels on Traces Place- Land Use Administrator Justin Setser
...F.) Resolution Authorizing Town Manager to Apply for State Revolving Loan Funds for the Town of Franklin Water Plant Expansion- Town Manager Summer Woodard
...G.) Budget Amendment for the Tourism Development Authority- Town Manager Summer
...H.) Update on Memorial Park Crawford Branch Riparian Restoration Project- Town Manager Summer Woodard
...I.) Discussion on Town of Franklin Logo-Mayor Bob Scott

7. Legal
...A.) Tax Release- Town Attorney John Henning Jr
...B.) Discussion on Business License Ordinance- Town Attorney John Henning Jr
...C.) Update on Property Located at 415 Forest Avenue- Town Attorney John Henning Jr
...D.) Macon County Tax Bill for Old Town Hall Property- Town Attorney John Henning Jr

8. Set continuation meeting for Monday September 15, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Macon County Commissioners 08-26-2014

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Last night, the Macon County Commissioners reconvened a meeting that was recessed on August 12th. The agenda that was released to the general public is posted below, and below that is the agenda that was released to the local news media.

The bulk of the meeting was taken up discussing changes that were made to the Parker Meadows Recreation Facility due to the discovery of a tooth during archaelogical investigation of the site. It is estimated that it will cost in excess of $260,000 to make the changes to accomodate the gravesite. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian will also likely be building some sort of memorial onsite.

1. Reconvene and welcome – Chairman Corbin

2. Tax Releases – Tax Administrator Richard Lightner

3. Budget Amendments #26 and #27 – Finance Director

4. Insurance Proceeds for CHAF Property – County Attorney

5. Update on Parker Meadows Recreational Complex – County Manager

6. Discussion regarding resolution honoring Prentiss Baptist Church

7. Adjourn

Macon County Airport Authority 08-26-2014

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The Macon County Airport Authority met on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. Among the items discussed was the passage of a resolution honoring the late Harlod Corbin as an eternal friend of the Macon County Airport. I will post a copy of that as soon as it is provided to me.

Here is the video of the proceedings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MAMA-2 at Cullasaja Assembly of God

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Video and photo essay of MAMA-2 landing at the Cullasaja Assembly of God on the Highlands Road at around 10:30am this morning. This spot is often utilized by the Cullasaja Gorge Volunteer Fire Department as a safe place for MAMA-1 and MAMA-2 to medevac patients from the area to Memorial Mission Hospital. The patient being transferred today was a medical patient.

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These photos are also on my personal Flickr account.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Highlights from the 2014 Riverfest Raft Regatta

The Franklin Daybreak Rotary sponsored a series of fundraisers this past Saturday. Here are highlights from the Raft Regatta. 

The photographic highlights may be seen on by clicking the arrow buttons on the above photo or on Flickr.

A video montage from the event is below. I look forward to this becoming an annual tradition, and may enter it next year.

Highlights from the Riverfest 2014 Ducky Derby

The Franklin Daybreak Rotary sponsored a series of fundraisers this past Saturday. Here are highlights from the Ducky Derby. About a thousand ducks were dropped from the town bridge and were allowed (herded, mostly) down to Crawford Branch. The photo graphic highlght may be seen on by clicking the arrow buttons on the above photo or on Flickr.

Highlights from the 2014 Riverfest 5K

The Franklin Rotary Daybreak sponsored a series of fundraisers this past Saturday. Among them was a 5K Run held on the greenway that started and finished at the Tassee Shelter. Macon Media was the only member of the local press present for the duration of the event. Here are the video highlights:

You can see some of the photos I took on Flickr

School Starts Today in Macon County:
School Bus Safety Tips

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School starts today in Macon County, so be on the lookout for children at bus stops, getting on and off buses and be on the lookout for the buses themselves and don't be passing stopped school buses whether they are in your lane or not! It could cost a child his or her life or a $500 fine and 5 points on your driver's license.

Here is the law in North Carolina regarding when drivers are required to stop for school buses:

When a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway, or public vehicular area shall bring that other vehicle to a full stop and shall remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass, or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move.

If you see someone violating the North Carolina School Bus Law (NCGS 20-217), please download and use these documents after you have called *HP on your cell phone. Report of violation of School Bus Law (G. S. 20-217)
(MS Doc file) or (PDF file)

For more information on North Carolina’s Stop Arm Law, please go to the following link:

Here are some tips from the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

RALEIGH – It’s back to school time for nearly 1.5 million students across the state Monday, which means North Carolina’s roads will be jam-packed with cars, buses and pedestrians.

As we prepare for the new school year, the N.C. Department of Transportation urges students and motorists to stay alert and exercise caution on the road, especially around crosswalks, school buses and bus stops.

Each year in North Carolina, more than 2,000 pedestrians are injured and 160 are killed in collisions with vehicles. In the last two school years, five students have been killed either crossing the road to or from a bus or while standing at a bus stop.

“ Keeping our students safe is a priority and these tragic accidents can be avoided if we all practice simple safety measures, “said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We urge students to be careful when crossing the street and drivers to do their part by keeping a close eye on students who are getting on or off school buses, as well as students and teachers who are walking to and from school.”

NCDOT offers students a few basic rules of safety as they head back to school:

• Cross in the crosswalk.
• Look for cars in all directions—including those turning left or right—before crossing the street; never
assume a driver will stop.
• Be careful when crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
• Pay attention to where you’re walking and take the focus off your cell phone or other electronic device. A
moment of distraction could have disastrous consequences.
• Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road—obey signs and signals.
• Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
• Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can.

NCDOT reminds motorists of these basic driving tips as the new school year approaches:

Always stop for a stopped school bus. If the lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, you must stop,
including in the following situations:

• If you are traveling a two-lane road, all traffic in both directions must stop.
• If you are traveling a two-lane road with a center turn lane, all traffic from both directions must stop.
• If you are traveling a four-lane road without a median separation, all traffic from both directions must stop.
• If you are traveling a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation, only traffic following the
bus must stop.
• If you are traveling a road with four or more lanes with a center turn lane, only traffic following the bus must stop.
• Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
• Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
• Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians.
• Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
• Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices.

North Carolina has stiff penalties for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules.

• There is a $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, with the possibility of
license revocation.
• There is a $250 penalty for speeding in a school zone in North Carolina.
• Passing a stopped school bus can cost motorists five points on their driver’s license and eight points for
commercial vehicles.

I also posted some information about stopping for school buses last year.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Public Education -- Reform or Decline?
Panel Discussion hosted by the League of Women Voters

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The Macon County League of Women Voters hosted a panel discussion entitled "Public Education in North Carolina -- Reform or Decline?"
Susan Ervin, the President of the local League of Women Voters, moderated the panel.

Panelists included:

Chris Baldwin - Superintendent of Macon County Schools

Gary Brown - Iotla Valley Elementary Principal

Stephanie Laseter - Parent

Melissa Faetz - Region 8 Teacher of the Year

Tyler Faetz –Franklin High School AP English teacher

John deVille - NCAE local representative

The panelists discussed how budget cuts and their affect on local schools. They also discussed education standards, class size teacher presence and the needs of students. Local elected officials were also allowed to make a brief statement and several members of the audience also added to the discussion. The meeting lasted a little over two hours.

Here is the full video of the panel discussion:

Susan Ervin announced that the next two meetings of the board would be focused on upcoming elections. On September 11th at noon, a forum featuring NC Senator Jim Davis and his opponent Jane Hipps will take place. On October 8th at noon, a forum for candidates for County Commissioner will take place.

Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings to hear where the candidates stand on the issues.


I'm still trying to raise money to take this thing to the next level. Visit my Patreon page to find out more at 

Franklin Main Street Board Called Meeting 08-19-2014

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The Franklin Main Street Board held a called meeting to hear from Liz Parham, the Director of the Office of Urban Development, on what a successful Main Street Program is supposed to be doing.

This was the first Main Street Program meeting that I have covered because I have been told in the past that this board is not subject to open meeting laws and I was not welcome to record the meetings. This information was backed up by the town attorney, so I didn't bother. If you want more back story on this watch this video to hear what some of the merchants have been saying about the Main Street Board.

Linda Schlott, the previous Director of the Franklin Main Street Program, retired from her position and the job was split into two part time jobs, one of a Festival Coordinator, and the other of the Director of the Main Street Program. The former Director of the Main Street Program and is currently the festival coordinator for the town. Tony Angel is the new part time director of the program.

The meeting was almost three hours long, so I split it into three videos for easier processing and viewing.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

I have increased the audio of the last video because one of the board members would not speak loud enough to be heard.


I'm still trying to raise money to take this thing to the next level. Visit my Patreon page to find out more at 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NCACC Members Tour Macon County

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This past Thursday, county commissioners from across North Carolina toured Macon County as part of an activity during the annual convention of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners [NCACC] in Asheville, NC. Commissioner Beale was inducted as the President of the organization on Saturday night.

So, here is coverage of the tour presented in video excerpts at the various stops during the day.

Introduction by Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale

NCACC Members tor the Veterans Memorial Park

NCACC Macon County Luncheon

Phil Drake at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

NCACC Members Tour the Cullasaja Gorge

NCACC Members in Highlands, NC

I would like to recognize Goshen Timber Frames for providing a car for me to drive during this event while my truck was out of service. Without that assistance, this coverage would not have happened.

Please help me to continue providing video coverage like this of local meetings, news events and high school sports by pledging a dollar a month on my Patreon Campaign page. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rabun County Wildcats at Franklin Panthers 08-15-2014

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The Rabun County High School Wildcats met the Franklin Panthers at the the Panther Pit for a scrimmage game that lasted for two quarters on Friday, August 15th. The Panthers won 20-14.

Here is video of the game.


I'm still trying to raise money to take this thing to the next level. Visit my Patreon page to find out more at

Friday, August 15, 2014

Macon County Commissioners 08-12-2014

The Macon County Commissioners met Tuesday night and had a lot of material on the agenda. The two public hearings on proposed telecommunications tower (cellphone towers) took about an hour and public comment lasted about an hour as a number of people spoke for and against fracking. Overall, the meeting lasted a little over three and a half hours (not counting the closed session). After the closed session, Vice Chairman Ronnie Beale recessed the meeting until August 26th.

I divided the video into three parts:

Part 1 Public Hearings

Part 2 Public Comment

Part 3

The public agenda and the agenda that was distributed to members of the local media are posted below.

AUGUST 12, 2014
  • Call to order and welcome by Vice-Chairman Beale
  • Announcements
  • Moment of Silence
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Public Hearing(s) -
    • 6 p.m. - Telecommunication Tower Application from Cellco Partnership
    • 6:30 p.m. - Telecommunication Tower Application from Tower Engineering Professionals

    NOTE: Consideration of either or both applications would immediately follow the public hearings.
  • Public Comment Period
  • Adjustments to and approval of the agenda
  • Reports/Presentations
    • 2014 Small Health Department of the Year Award - County Manager
    • NCACC Liability & Property Pool's 2013 Safety Award - Charlie Eaton, NCACC Property & Casualty Program Specialist
    • Recognition of Habitat for Humanity - Commissioner Beale
    • Historic Preservation Week in Macon County - Barbara McRae
    • Region A Update - Ryan Sherby
  • Old Business
    • Fox Ridge Project Review Fee - Doug Johnson, Macon County Soil and Water Conservation
    • Revised Lease for Waterwheel Manufacturing, Inc. - County Attorney
  • New Business
    • Purchase of Electronic Health Record - Jim Bruckner, Macon County Public Health Director
    • Consideration of lease agreement with Harmony House Foods, Inc. - EDC Director Tommy Jenkins/County Attorney
    • Consideration of Interlocal Agreement for Recreation with the Town of Highlands - County Manager
    • Endorsement of "Sit for 60, Move for 3" Program - HR Director
    • Consideration of lease agreements for the Community Care Clinics in Franklin and Highlands - County Attorney
    • Consideration of agreement to provide recreation opportunities with the Scaly Mountain Historical Society, Inc. - County Attorney
  • 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 July 8 and July 24, 2014 meetings
    • Budget Amendments #16-20
    • Tax releases
    • Settlement report for Fiscal Year 2013-14 taxes
    • Monthly ad valorem tax collection report
    • Resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of Holly Springs Baptist Church
  • Appointments
    • Ratification of e-mail poll regarding appointments to the Highlands Tourism Development Commission
    • Commissioner appointment to the Smoky Mountain LME/MCO County Commissioner Advisory Council
  • Closed session (if necessary)
  • Adjourn/Recess

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Rally for Public Education 08-13-2014

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The local chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators hosted a rally for public education today at noon at the town gazebo in downtown Franklin, NC.

Educators and supporters gathered in parrallel with other rallies across the state to protest the edeucation policies of the North Carolina Legislature and the Governor.

Speakers at the local rally were:

John DeVille, President of the local chapter of the NCAE was the Master of Ceremonies.

Jane Hipps, candidate for the 50th District NC Senate seat, was the keynote speaker.

Tyler Faetz, English teacher at Franklin High School also spoke, reminding attendees of the education forum next Wednesday night at 7pm in Tartan Hall that will be hosted by the League of Women Voters.

The full video and some photos of the local rally are posted below.

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