Combined 100 Voice Choir Presents 'My Heart Longs for Christmas' :: Sunday, December 14 & Monday, December 15 at 7pm :: click here for more info!

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Nikki Giovanni, worldrenowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator, will be the keynote speaker for Western Carolina University’s annual celebration in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Giovanni, who has been called the “Princess of Black Poetry,” will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center. The address and most King celebration events at WCU are free and open to the public.

Giovanni’s first book of poetry, called “Black Feeling Black Talk,” was published in 1968 and launched her prolific writing career. Her later publications include “Gemini,” an autobiography that was a finalist for the National Book Award. She received the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry and was named the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award as well as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.”

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A free art class for children ages six and older will be offered by the Macon County Art Association on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

The class will be held at The Uptown Gallery located on 30 E. Main Street in Franklin. This fun class will introduce basic concepts of sculpture and some fundamental art language as they create a paper sculpture called “A Playground for the Eyes.” The class is limited to 12 children.

Additional Saturday morning classes will be offered February through May for a fee.

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Macon County's Human Resource Council will hold its annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration this Sunday at First United Methodist Church on Harrison Avenue in Franklin. The event, which is slated to begin at 3 p.m., will feature East Franklin Elementary Principal Shirley Ann West Parks as the guest speaker.

“It is an absolute honor to be chosen as the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration keynote speaker,” said Parks. “Not only because of the true momentousness of the occasion, but because of how respected Dr. King is by all of the people in our wonderful nation. Martin Luther King Jr. gave all of us a challenge to love, respect and nurture each other which is something that not only my speech, but my life is modeled after through my career in education.”

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On the evening of Nov. 15, Andy Shaw Ford in partnership with Ford Motor Company and local charity, Full Spectrum Farms, hosted a Go Further With Ford Night event. The event drew more than 100 community members, who just by showing up, raised $1,000 for Full Spectrum Farms. Each individual had a chance to win a new 2013 Fusion, audition for a “Guest Judge Experience” and VIP package from “American Idol,” and test drive the 2013 Ford Fusion.

“Ford Motor Company and Andy Shaw Ford donated $20 for each person who registered that evening, up to a thousand dollars,” said Larry Hinton, general manager at Andy Shaw Ford. “Each person was entered into a drawing for a new Fusion and a trip to Hollywood,” he added. “People also had the opportunity to test their judging skills with ‘American Idol’ and possibly win a VIP prize package,” said Hinton.

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