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North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

The researchers have also developed technology that can be used as an “invisible fence” to keep the biobots in the disaster area.

“In a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors,” says Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and senior author of two papers on the work.


The Read2Me Essay Contest is an annual contest open to all students in Macon County, including homeschoolers, in grades 3-8. This year, each contestant will be writing an essay describing an award-winning book, and its impact on the student, using scenes and quotes from the book or from other works to illustrate the book’s impact. The Read2Me Essay contest is sponsored by The Rotary Club of Franklin and The Macon County News.

The Rotary Club and the Read2Me program applaud all of Macon County’s young readers. The goal of this year’s essay contest is to encourage students to read exceptional literature, and write an essay using critical thinking skills to convey how the book was important, influential, or thought-provoking.


State DPI warns school districts about likely shortfall.

After spending last week with representatives from school districts across the state, Macon County School's finance director Angie Cook, had disappointing numbers to report to the board of education.

Cook told the board that the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) informed local districts that by the school year's end, the state as a whole is facing a $271 million shortfall for the state's $21 billion budget.

North Carolina state economist Barry Boardman and Nathan Knuffman of the fiscal research division in the Office of State Budget and Management released a statement on the shortfall last week, citing a decrease in tax collection revenues as the cause. The state economists are predicting the gap between actual and expected tax collections to be 1.3 percent of the anticipated revenues.


With budget cuts to education continuing year after year, Macon County School officials are exploring every cost saving avenue possible. One unique expenditure Macon County faces is funding two of the state's three K-12 schools.

To discuss the hardship faced each year in Macon County, Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin met with state representatives Sen. Jim Davis and Rep. Roger West last weekend in hopes of getting legislative support.

Based on the formula used by the state when funding teachers, Macon County spends about $1 million a year just to provide teachers for Highlands and Nantahala. That is $1 million in local funds above and beyond what the state allocates.

The state allocates one teacher per 18 students in kindergarten classrooms. With 23 kindergarten students in Highlands, the state provides funding for 1.28 teachers. For grades 1-3, the state provides one teacher for every 17 students. With 85 students in grades 1-3 in Highlands, the state funds the five teachers currently assigned to those grades.


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