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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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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 2014 Meeting of Macon County Board of Education

A Migration Celebration poster created for a project that was presented 
to the school board by local students. 
The butterfly pics are courtesy of Jeffrey Pippen.​

Here is the agenda packet that was released to the local media.

The full video of the October 2014 meeting of the Macon County School Board is below.

Here is a briefing of what transpired during the meeting, starting with a roll call of local media outlets represented at the meeting.


Macon Media (me)
Macon County News and Shopping Guide 
The Franklin Press

Spotlight on People and Programs

The board recognized the Franklin High School Exchange Student Program. Donna Bell presented five foreign exchange students to the board and spoke about the program, thanking the various people involved in the program for their assistance, including the families who host the students during their stay in the United States.

Sandra Rippetoe presented information on the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month and the winners of a poster contest held in the Macon County Schools. Several winners were present and spoke about their entry to the board members.

Jennifer Love presented information about the Coweeta LTER Schoolyard Program that is part of the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research Program and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Several students spoke about the research during a slide show. The project is also on Facebook.


No one from the public signed up to speak during this month's meeting.


Sheriff Holland spoke to members of the board about an upcoming Active Shooter Symposium that will be held at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on November 10, 2014. 

Here is an excerpt from the webpage devoted to the course on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety:

One of the primary goals of the symposium is to provide an overview of the roles of school personnel, mental health providers, students, law enforcement and other emergency response providers in order to reduce violence in our schools. This overview along with discussing the expectations of those involved will serve to strengthen and maximize a uniformed streamlined approach thereby reducing and minimizing injuries in the event of an active threat. In summation, a dialogue will be fostered among all stakeholders to facilitate and enhance preparedness through a “whole community” approach as recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security addressing school violence.

Course Objectives:

•Mental Health Issues in Schools & Assistance
•Reducing the Amount of Casualties
•Risk Assessment
•Law Enforcement Tactics
•Role of the School Resource Officer
•School Administrators Response
•Profile of the Active Shooter
•Active Shooter History
•Crisis Negotiations

If you are a stakeholder in the school system or an emergency responder and would like to register for the course, click here.

I covered an active shooter drill at WCU in 2009 with the permission of WCU Staff and local law enforcement. I posted video and photos as the drill took place, simulating live coverage of a shooting event.

The Daily record in Wooster, Ohio recorded video during a similar drill in 2013 and is posted below:

And here is a active shooter response training video produced by a public school just northwest of Cincinnati, Ohio:

Fore more information on the A.L.I.C.E. training shown in the above video, please the A.L.I.C.E. Training Institute Youtube page or website. The Departmnet of Homeland Security has a lot of resources on their website for members of the public who want to know more and to help them prepare for their own safety if they encounter a situation (in or out of school) where an active shooter is present.

There were numerous requests for over or out of district trips and requests to engage in various fund raising programs and personnel notifications presented and approved by the board.


The board approved a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with R.E.A.C.H. of Macon County that "formalizes the commitment" of the two organizations "to work together to provide age appropriate prevention focused education for students, employees, and/or parents." The goal is to prevent sexual violence and to respond appropriately to those ho have been victimized.

The board approved a Clinical Psychologist Contract with Dr Reva Ballew.

The board heard and approved the first reading of proposed revisions to Board Policy #810 and #800. (Hyperlinks lead to the documents).

The board also approved an application for a $25,687.80 reimbursement from the Child and Adult care Food Program for food (afternoon snacks) delivered to various after school programs.


Carol Arnold presented an update on the Title I Program in Macon County.

Learn more about what Title I is at the following websites:

NC Dept of Public Instruction

NC Public Schools

Todd Gibbs presented information on renewing Macon Early College's participation in the Cooperative Innovative High School Program. The board approved.

Learn more at the following links:

NC General Statute Authorizing the program

Nancy Cantrell presented a College and Career Promise update.

Some of the information follows:

Macon county students are taking a total of 1,800 semester hours of credit, saving an estimated $135,000 in tuition, activity and tech fees based on $75 per semester hour of credit.

Breakdown by school: (School/Semester Hrs Credit/Est. cost savings)

Macon Early College  1,374 hrs credit for $103,050 of savings

Highlands School  73 hrs credit for $5,475 of savings
Nantahala School 33 hrs credit for $2,475 of savings
Franklin High School 320 hrs credit for $24,000 of savings

Dr Chris Baldwin, Superintendent of Macon County Schools, pointed out that the $75 per credit hour is what community colleges charge per credit hour. He said that WCU charges $300 a credit hour and other schools charge even more, some being triple that the savings would depend on what school the student attended.

Learn more about this program at the Dept of Public Instruction.


The board approved a request by Highlands Country Club to use a bus and discussed carpet replacement bids at Union Academy and Nantahala School. The board also approved shutting down the Owen House due to a failed inspection by the county Fire Marshal. Bringing the building up to code would be cost prohibitive, so the board directed Terry bell to investigate demolition options, including possible use by SCC during a live fire training class.

Board members also heard another update on the septic system at the old Cullasaja Elementary School. The school board has had the property for sale and is trying to maintain the septic system in order to help the property attract potential buyers.

The board discussed ongoing problems with the Drivers Education Car and voted to replace the car with a car that used to be used for Drivers Education and repair the current Drivers Education car and return it to the Board of Education fleet.

Maintenance Supervisor Tracy Tallent informed the board that his crew has salvaged $4,600 of scrap and requested that the amount be credited to his department for the purchase of tools. He mentioned that there would be additional salvage, as it was an ongoing process. The board approved  up $5,000 for that purpose.


The board voted to disburse $39,722 to the county for a School Resource Officer grant and amended the 2014-2015 Budget Resolution, a copy of which is below:


Dr Chris Baldwin shared information regarding the Franklin High School FFA Quiz Bowl Team competing on a national level. The board changed the November meeting date to December 15th at Nantahala School.  The board then voted to approve a proposed meeting calendar for 2015, a copy of which is posted below:

Dr Baldwin and the board also scheduled the swearing of board members who win the election on December 1st at 9 am. 


The board then went into closed session under NCGS 143.318.11 (a)(6) (click here to read the state statute that governs when public bodies can meet in closed session) and returned to open session 59 minutes later. Upon coming back into open session, Stephanie McCall motioned, and Melissa Evans seconded that Devon Deal, currently an Agricultural Teacher at Franklin High School,  following a closed session of the Macon County School Board, that a change in status for Devon Deal, Agriculture Teacher, Franklin High School,  to be named as Lead Teacher of Mountain View Intermediate School, effective date to be subject to naming her replacement at Franklin High School.


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Macon County Airport Authority October 2014 Meeting

The Macon County Airport Authority met on October 28, 2014. Among the items discussed was closing out the runway construction project and beginning the taxiway improvement. Also mentioned were bids for a rotating beacon and a discussion about the helipad lights and AWOS Radio System that no longer work.

The Airport Authority meets on the last Tuesday of the month.

Friday, October 24, 2014

NCAE School Board Candidates' Forum

The Macon County chapter of the North carolina Association of Educators sponsored a forum for candidates running for the school board.

Video of the full forum is posted below.

The Little Free Library on Main Street

The Macon County Public Library, a member of the Fontana Regional Library, and the Friends of the Library installed their first Little Free Library at the Franklin Town Hall yesterday.  The Little Library was initially stocked with books donated to the Friends of the Library and children’s books donated to Read2Me.

The Little Library, built by a dedicated volunteer Jim Hartje, was inspired by the architecture of the Macon County Public Library.    Everyone is encouraged to use the Little Library to find something to read, where they can “take a book and return a book.”

Learn more:

Little Free Library 

Macon County Public Library 

Friends of the Library


Here is a video and a slideshow of the event:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marine helicopters refuel at airport


Two UH-1Y Venoms and six AH-1W Super Cobras stopped to refuel at the Macon County Airport in Franklin, NC on October 16, 2014 and I was lucky enough to be able to capture the event on video and take a few photos while the Marines went about their duties.

For those with a limited attention span, here is a short video:

and for those of us who can't get enough of this stuff, here is nearly 17 minutes of over an hour of footage:

The helicopters where there about two hours in the late morning and early afternoon. You can see the photos I took on Flickr.

For those who want a little more information on the helicopters and their roles in combat, click on the links below.

UH-1Y Venoms



Bell Helicopters

AH-1W SuperCobras



Bell Helicopters

Macon County Planning Board October 2014

 photo PlanningBoard20141016_zpsa58cae9a.jpg

The Macon County Planning Board met yesterday afternoon at the direction of the county commissioners to investigate a potential noise ordinance for the county. The bulk of the meeting consisted of a conversation with Sheriff Robbie Holland, who shared some statistics with the board.

He said according to the Macon County 911 Center, Macon County Deputies answered 13,443 calls in 2011, 13,337 calls in 2012, 14,125 calls in 2013 and 11,239 calls in the first ten months of 2014. The Sheriff said that each year one percent or less of those calls have been calls related to loud music and disruptive neighbors and many of those calls were multiple calls were to the same locations.

Gavel to gavel video of the meeting is below.

The board will meet again next month on November 20th at 4pm to hear some statistics on Animal Control response to loud animals and to hear from the county attorney. (He has been asked several times to attend a meeting to relay information and answer questions, but never has as long as I have been covering these meetings. The board will also been inquiring from jurisdictions that have noise ordinances about enforceability issues.


Macon Media (me)
The Franklin Press
Macon County News and Shopping Guide

If you read or hear a report about this meeting from another news organization, ask them where they got their information about the meeting.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dedication of the Robert C. Carpenter Building

Dignitaries at the Robert C Carpenter Building Dedication
Photo Copyright 2014 by Bobby Coggins

Family friends and local dignitaries gathered at the Community Facilities Building to mark the renaming of the building in honor of the life and legacy of the late Bob Carpenter, who served eight terms in the North Carolina General Assembly and was very active in the community.

People shared their stories about Bob's life and a resolution passed by the Macon County Commissioners was hung in the entry and then dignitaries posed for photos. The above video is of the main event, and you can check out some photos I took over at Flickr.

More information:

Video of Bob speaking at the 2010 convention of the Macon County Republican Party:

My post marking his death

Wikipedia article

He is in some of the photos I took at an election rally for Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

Friday, October 10, 2014

League of Women Voters Host Candidates for County Commissioner

 photo LWVForum10-09-2014_zps45a07659.jpg

The Macon County League of Women Voters hosted a forum for candidates for county commissioner Thursday at noon in Tartan Hall. I posted a live play by play on Google Plus and Facebook and recorded the event on video. The video is embedded below so you can see the entire forum and hear word for word the questions and the answers to each.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Aldermen pass resolution reaffirming ownership of Nikwasi,
willing to work with tribe on maintenance

During the October 6, 2014 meeting of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen, the board passed a resolution reaffirming the ownership of the Nikwasi Mound and their desire to preserve it according to the deed for the citizens of the Town of Franklin and Macon County.

Here is a short video of the Mayor reading the resolution into the record and the 5-0 vote of the Aldermen approving it:

Here is the resolution:

WHEREAS, the ownership of the Nikwasi Mound shall remain with the Town of Franklin.

WHEREAS, the deed to Nikwasi Mound as written and recorded in October 1946 shall remain with the Town of Franklin and shall be preserved for the citizens of the Town of Franklin and Macon County.

WHEREAS, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has requested the Town of Franklin to allow them to maintain the mound.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen that the board is open to discussion of maintenance of Nikwasi Mound by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Town Board of Aldermen is honoring the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians offer of assistance of maintenance of Nikwasi Mound.


Here is a copy of the deed to Nikwasi (recorded 68 years ago today):

The tribe has been attempting to gain ownership of the mound for about three years now, and here are a few links to what has happened during the course of this local saga:

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen Meeting 10-03-2011 

Franklin Aldermen React to Article in Smoky Mountain News 

Franklin Aldermen 06-07-2012 

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen 08-06-2012: Updated with Audio 

Chief Hicks at the June 2013 Hall Mountain celebration where the tribe purchased the Cowee Mound:

Macon County Commissioners 08-13-2013: Updated With Video 

Chief Hicks and members of the tribe address the town board on the mound in March 2014:

The tribe has also recently passed a resolution that stated their unhappiness with the way the mound has been cared for and accused the town of "significant disrespect." read more about that at the WFSC-AM website.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Press Release: Ruby Cinemas changes ownership

 photo New-Title-Bar-2013-3_zps0780c2ec.jpg


David L Parlier
Owner / General Manager
Ruby Cinemas
Ruby Cinemas changes ownership

After working as the Manager of Ruby Cinemas for the last 15 years, as of Friday October 3, David Parlier will assume ownership of Macon County’s movie theater.

Parlier officially became owner of the theater on Friday and purchased the theater from James Dzurus and Harvey Gibbs, who have been part of the ownership since Ruby Cinemas first opened its doors in 1983.

“Becoming both the owner and general manager of Ruby Cinemas will allow me to make necessary decisions quickly to ensure that Ruby Cinemas is delivering the highest possible theater experience to our patrons.”
Now as the owner and General Manager of the theater, Parlier has a vision to revitalize the venue and offer the best entertainment experience possible for customers.

“Over the next 12 to 24 months our patrons will see a variety of changes under the new ownership of Ruby Cinemas,” said Parlier. “Some of these changes include a roll-out of a patron rewards program, visual improvements along with a larger variety of foods at our concession stand, a continued roll-out of new seating, showing of various alternative content (sporting events, gaming tournaments, etc), and an expansion of our free movie program various times throughout the year. Some other exciting plans will be announced at a later date.”

Parlier is wasting no time introducing new fun, free community events. The new owner plans to expand the theaters free movie program, which runs on select days throughout the summer, to upcoming holidays.

“This Halloween I am planning on two special events,” said Parlier. “The first is the kids "Flick or Treat" program that will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at 11 a.m. since schools are out. There will be free family appropriate Halloween movies, candy, costume contests with prizes, and more. This will be followed by the "Halloween Film Festival" just before midnight on Halloween Night with Halloween movies for adults, costume contests with prizes, and more. I encourage everyone to visit our Facebook page for more information on these events. I appreciate everyone's support for Ruby Cinemas and that I look forward to delivering the best possible movie experience for everyone in our great town. See you at the movies! ”

About Ruby Cinemas

Ruby Cinemas first opened its doors in 1983 as Ruby Twin with the purpose of offering everyone in Macon County first run movies throughout the year. The theater featured two screens and instantly got to work brining the biggest hit to Franklin. A third screen was added t the venue around 1988 and the name was changed to Ruby Cinemas. In 1998 a fourth screen was added to accommodate growth in the area along with a change in how movies are distributed by the film studios. In 2009 Ruby Cinemas begin the process of transitioning to all digital and was the first theater in Southwest NC to offer a digital and 3D presentation.


Ruby Cinemas is located at 2097 Georgia Road and also has a website and Facebook page that are operated for your convenience so you can check showtimes. 

WCU Debate Series:
Senator Jim Davis faces Jane Hipps

Davis v Hipps at WCU on October 2nd Photo Copyright 2014 by Bobby Coggins

The third debate in the series of debates sponsored by the Public Policy Institute and the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University wrapped up last night with incumbent NC Senator Jim Davis facing Jane Hipps in the new College of Health and Human Sevices Building on Little Savannah Road in Cullowhee, NC. The event was moderated by WLOS-TV Anchor Frank Fraboni. Both candidates were impassioned and forceful in making their points. Candidates were interrupted at times by members of the audience who disagreed with what was being said in the debate.

The candidates will face off again at the Burrell Building at Southwestern Community College on October 30th at 7pm.

Video of the full debate is posted below below for those of you who could not attend.