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A state loan weighing in just shy of $3 million is one step closer to being secured for Macon County Schools. Tuesday night, County Manager Derek Roland informed the board of commissioners that the $2.9 million QZAB (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds) loan needed to repair Union Academy and Highlands School is moving forward.

After concerns surrounding collateral for the loan and the required in-kind match, Roland informed the board that those issues were resolved and the project is moving forward. Commissioners voted to send the QZAB application on to the Local Government Commission for consideration.

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Just days after bringing a child into the world, you strap them up and put them in a car seat for the journey home. Whether it is your first child or your fifth, making sure you are up-to-date and educated an proper car seat safety will be one of the first responsibilities you have to your newborn.

Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car accidents. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 650 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 148,000 were injured in 2011.

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Last week, in honor of National Public Health Week, the Macon County Board of Commissioners signed a resolution proclaiming April as Public Health Month in Macon County.

The resolution, which was presented to the board by the health department, encourages families in the community to get active. "We call upon the people of Macon County, NC to observe this by helping our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and leaders better understand the value of public health and adopt preventive lifestyles habits in light of this year's theme, "Public Health: Start Here.""

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New regulation to ease enforcement.

On average, one percent of the Macon County Sheriff's Department's monthly calls are related to nuisance noise complaints. With 13,000 calls a month, about 13 calls placed to dispatch are to report loud music, disruptive neighbors, and other aggravating noises in the county. Until last week, MCSO had no authority or way to handle those calls, resulting in conflicts between neighbors across the county.

"Without a violation of any ordinances It did not matter how loud or how long it went on there was nothing we could legally do," said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “Our officers were frquently told there was nothing preventing them from doing what they were doing and they did not care what their neighbors thought. My officers were simply left with leaving the area without resolving the issue.”

Now, with the passing of the county's nuisance Sheriff Holland, believes his deputies have the backing to address those issues more effectively. While some argue that the new ordinance, which is effective 24 hours a day and clearly defines what noises are considered to be in violation, may cause more work for law enforcement, Holland believes it will actually reduce the time his officers are spending on noise related calls.

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Macon County's CareNetwork (CareNet) is upgrading its food pantry to give its clients more options when it comes to shopping. Instead of boxing up clients' monthly pantry items and giving them pre-selected items each month, CareNet is in the process of implementing a client choice option that allows visitors to shop through the pantry once a month for items they need.

"We’re excited about our new manner with which we can serve families, here in Macon County, with a more personable approach," said Shaina Adkins, executive director of CareNet."That said, the CareNet Client Choice Pantry provides families with an opportunity to choose the foods they would eat and like to provide for their family."

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By mid-2014, self-published authors began taking home the bulk of all ebook author earnings generated on Amazon.com, while authors published by all of the Big Five publishers – Penguin Random House, Harper- Collins, Hachette, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – combined slipped into second place, according to the January 2015 Author Earnings Report.

While self- or indie-published authors closely follow the costly dispute between Amazon and Hachette over retail and wholesale ebook pricing, titles of all genres are faced with increasingly competitive markets, says publishing sales coach Kim Staflund.

“ISBNs – International Standard Book Numbers – continue to experience enormous growth with each successive year, and in the past decade we’ve seen a gold rush-style of exponential growth due to the self-publishing movement,” says Staflund, founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, which supports a business model in which authors take a proactive, entrepreneurial approach.

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Dogs play a special role in a home, bringing laughter, love and warmth. But dog ownership comes with great responsibility and there are certain things to consider before beginning the adoption process.

Getting your home ready

Just as a home needs to be prepped for the arrival of a new baby, you must also make preparations for dog adoption. In fact, many shelters will even check whether your home is suitable for dog ownership with a site visit before approving your application.

If you’re a homeowner, be sure to take steps to make your home more dog-friendly.

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There is nothing like getting thrown into the trenches on your first day of work to give you all the on-the-job training you need, and one Macon County Sheriff's Deputy knows that all too well.

Last Wednesday, Matthew Bowman suited up for the Macon County Sheriff's Department for his first day on the job. Within the first hour of his shift, he was called out to assist other deputies with an "urgent call for assistance."

Bowman, who was accompanied by other deputies as part of his field training, walked into the Otto home that was the subject of the call and found himself in the middle of a situation where the suspect was holding a rifle to his chin, threatening suicide. What started out as a routine call to the Otto home to make an arrest for back child support, turned into deputies talking down a suspect threatening to lodge a bullet in his own head.

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About five years ago, Franklin became the first town along the Appalachian Trail to be designated as a trail town. Now, following in Franklin's footsteps, more than 30 towns from Georgia to Maine have earned that designation and have started shaping their town to best accommodate hikers.

With 47 miles of the Appalachian Trail within Macon County and Franklin falling just 111 miles north of the AT's trailhead at Springer Mountain, Ga., Franklin makes for the ideal stopping point for hikers to resupply before heading to the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, N.C.

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Major league ballparks across the country opened on Monday as baseball season was officially kicked off. It won't be long before Macon County's own ball fields will have the greenest grasses, the smoothest baselines, and perfectly sculpted mounds ready for pitchers of all ages to take the stage at the Parker Meadows recreation complex.

With stadium lights being hoisted up, all underground electric work completed, and the pump house updated, ball players in Macon County are expected to have their gloves in the dirt by summer.

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