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As the school year begins, more than 700,000 students will be transported on school buses each day across North Carolina. Nationally, more than 450,000 public school buses travel about 4.3 billion miles a year to transport over 23.5 million children to and from school and school-related activities. Macon County students go back to school on Monday, Aug. 26.

The most dangerous part of the school bus ride is when children get on and off the bus. Loading and unloading is where children are in the most danger of not being seen by the bus driver.

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Patrol unit demonstrates procedure for DWI arrest.

The patrol division of the Sheriff's Office is comprised of 24 officers who are on call for citizens of Macon County 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when they are not actively on duty patrolling all the roads in the county, each officer is afforded a take home vehicle that allows officers to be reached around the clock if needed. Under Lieutenant Ken Lane, the patrol unit works continuously to patrol the streets of Macon County to keep the community safe. The patrol unit is separated into five divisions of the county and officers are assigned to a different division each shift.

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The Macon County Heritage Center at Cowee School celebrated its official opening Saturday. Formerly known as Cowee Elementary School, the center was open to the public for a chance to see what the future of the old building would be like and organizer Stacy Guffey was impressed by the turnout.

"The turnout exceeded my expectation," he said. "I was especially impressed by how many people were in the school at times. There were moments where you couldn't even move down the hallway."

On the inside, visitors could find a different display or demonstration in every classroom.

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Members of Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild presented 100 baby quilts to Holly Crawford of Haywood and Jackson County’s Head Start programs Monday, Aug. 12. Mary Krishnamurty, head of the Baby Quilt Bee, announced that members have made around 368 baby quilts so far this year. Many guild members live in Jackson County, and the guild's board agreed that the group's outreach programs should expand to include that region.

Crawford told guild members how much the children love having quilts and soft blankets to sleep with while they are in the Head Start facilities. Jackson and Haywood County Head Start facilities currently assist 220 children in their programs. These programs not only take care of children ages birth to five years of age, but also focus on getting them ready to go to school. She related how sometimes the facility provides the most stability and security in a child's life. “Sometimes these children don't know where they are going after they leave the (Head Start) building.”

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