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The coronavirus is the big news, but it's surely not the only news

... And, in other news.

I know that since the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19 or whatever series of letters they're using as the name of this pandemic, those four words that began this column are not words that you've heard too often.

And, to be honest, that's for good measure.

For all the legitimate news that reliable organizations have gathered, researched and disseminated for the benefit of an informed public, there are tons of people who think the media is just as inflammatory as this rapidly spreading virus.

To those folks, I say hooey.

But, that is not the point of this column.

The point of this column is to remind folks that while the coronavirus has this world in a grip -- and rightfully so -- there are other bits of news in Franklin County that certainly don't need to get lost in all of this.

Since I don't want to be accused of playing favorites, I'll provide these important news bites in alphabetical order.

• Let's start with Bunn.

Earlier this month, the town approved a subdivision ordinance.

In the grand scheme of things, it might not sound like much, but, for a community that's growing, it's important to develop and use tools that will play a role in what that growth and development looks like.

Town Mayor Marsha Strawbridge said as much when the board approved the ordinance by unanimous decision.

"This is important for the future of the town," she said. "This allows us to be ahead of the game and not be playing catchup."

During that same meeting, Planning Board Chair Russ Vollmer advised commissioners that they will soon need to update the town's land use plan.

The current document dates back to the 1990s and, while in my mind, the 1990s just took place 10 years ago, it's been about 30 years ago.

So, yeah, it's time to update the thing.

• Centerville (Northern Franklin County)

Since I have to pick a point for the Northeast Franklin County Revitalization Committee, I choose Centerville, because that's where the group met a week or so ago before touring Tim Fisher's gold mine property in Nash County (the story and pictures will be in next week's edition).

The group is intent on drumming up interest, tourism and development in the area and have hitched those dreams to developing an attraction of some sort through the gold mine properties that populate that area.

There have been wilder ideas that worked and this could be one of them.

Fingers crossed.

• This is sort of a two-fer. Franklinton, just like Youngsville a few weeks before, adopted a resolution that puts a bit of heat on Franklin County to find ways to bolster its water supply.

Both towns sold their utility systems to Franklin County for fiscal reasons in 2013 and 2014.

While they may have been the right decisions at the time -- there were fervent arguments on both sides -- the end result is that both towns gave up control of how, when and where they can develop.

That's because, if you don't have the water, or the ability to control it, it's pretty difficult to grow.

Most recently, both towns were impacted when two developments in their respective towns were denied water allocations.

And, essentially, the response has been to craft resolutions that urge Franklin County to update its local water supply plan and speed up efforts to retain the water it has and find new sources.

In November 2019, Franklin County commissioners agreed to bring on a consultant that would conduct a water supply study in hopes of identifying and securing more of the resource.

The results of that study are pending. I think it's fair to say, though, that Franklinton and Youngsville are keeping the heat on.

• Franklin County has put intense heat on the folks behind the multi-million dollar emergency radio system that, basically, hasn't worked right since it was put in place. One deadline has already passed and officials were underwhelmed at Harris Corporation efforts. The next deadline is at the end of this month, then the end of April.

It's becoming clear what type of recourse the county could have -- a lawsuit -- but I'm not exactly clear how successful the action would be. Stay tuned to the other news, too.


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