Fri07252014

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:38

Tapping the trough

coverA wall calendar edged with hot-pink swirls seems out of place in the Junaluska Sanitary District, where the back door of the office opens onto a double-bay equipment garage and work boots leave muddy tracks across the concrete floor.

“It’s the cheapest calendar I could find at Staples,” offered Jim Francis, an elected board member for the sanitary district. Saving money, after all, is a point of pride for the scrappy water and sewer system, and it goes hand in hand with keeping rates as low as possible for the 1,850 customers along its lines.

SEE ALSO: The slow leak: Junaluska Sanitary District rocked by embezzlement

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:09

Sylva comes out against fracking

The town of Sylva is now the second Jackson County locale to formally oppose hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within its boundaries. 

“I’m concerned about it,” said Commissioner Barbara Hamilton. “It’s not going to affect my life, but it will affect my children’s lives and my grandchildren’s lives, and I’m against it.”

fr macontracsA summer school horse therapy offering at South Macon Elementary School in Franklin will be sticking around once the school year starts, thanks to some successful fundraising efforts at Macon TRACs. The nonprofit, which provides horse therapy to children with special needs, had offered to come in on a trial basis during summer school with the hope that the program could become a permanent fixture at the school. Much of the decision on whether to do so rested on funding. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:04

Road to Nowhere bill advances

Swain County is one step closer to getting $4 million in “Road to Nowhere” funds after a bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., advanced through the House Committee on Natural Resources last week. Though the bill, H.R. 3806, is not yet on the House calendar, Meadows’ office expects it to come to a vote sometime this week. 

Property owners along the fringes of Sylva may soon have to adhere to town zoning regulations. The town board is considering expanding its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

A section of Johnson Street in Canton has been closed following complaints that parked vehicles — repair jobs from Blackbear Automotive & Transmission — were creating a traffic hazard. 

“We’re after a safety issue. We’re not trying to close his business, but he seems to think otherwise,”  Jerry Mcfall, a resident living near the area in question, said at a specially called town meeting July 16. “Safety is our primary issue, and that’s what we’re here for.”

fr claiborneShane Claiborne was a couple minutes late for his interview with The Smoky Mountain News, but for good reason. Claiborne and his entourage of Philadelphia friends-turned-family had encountered some crawfish that needed catching, and the job required a couple of extra minutes to splash in the creek. 

Jackson County voters will finally be able to see the shape of the November ballot with the close of a second primary for the Jackson County Sheriff Republican candidate July 15. Following the first primary, in which only 42 votes separated first and last place, results show former Sylva police officer Curtis Lambert coming out on top, beating runner-up Jim Hodgins 130-107.

No one knows for sure what motivated Scarlette Heatherly the first time she skimmed a little cash off the top of a customer’s water bill.

But once she figured out she could get away with it, she couldn’t seem to stop. Heatherly stole $210,000 from the Junaluska Sanitary District over a six-year period.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:37

Canton wins Camp Hope appeal

fr camphopeA two-year court battle over the ownership of Camp Hope concluded last week when the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the property belonged to the town of Canton.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:36

Macon County revisits Parker Meadows plans

Discovery of a Cherokee gravesite on the soon-to-be ballfield complex at Macon County’s Parker Meadows property will likely mean that the county has to tweak its design. Though no final decision has been made, a series of meetings between county and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians leaders has made it clear that the tribe wants the gravesite to stay right where it is.