Parade marks 42 years since troops left Vietnam Disneys The Aristocats Kids

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News General

After 20 years in Macon County, Caterpillar Precision Seals (CAT) will be closing their doors and moving to Mapleton, Illinois, taking 150 jobs with it.

Since 1995, Caterpillar has operated a plant in Macon County at the county’s Industrial Park off 64W. Generations of family members have worked for the plant and as of Thursday, will now have to find some other means to make ends meet.

The announcement doesn't mean the plant is closing tomorrow, instead it gives a timeline to have the Franklin location closed by 2016. The news was a surprise for local residents.

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A fourth grader at East Franklin Elementary School thought he was just showing off his Christmas gift of a BB gun. While officials quickly determined there was no ill intent, the student will still be facing possible legal implications from his decision.

“We want to ensure the public that we are confident that the student who brought the gun did not have any bad intentions," said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. "The gun was not loaded and the student involved, by all reports, is a fine young man who has never had any behavioral issues of any kind while at school. All school and law enforcement officials did an outstanding job handling the situation without interfering in the normal activities of the students. Having said that, any time a weapon is brought into one of our schools we consider it to be a serious offense and must be dealt with appropriately and consistently.”

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Every year seems like a battle as rural school districts across the country eagerly wait to see if they will receive federal funding from the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRSCA) or Secure Rural Schools (SRS). This year, Macon County awaits word on $180,000. While the amount of funds from the federal programs have decreased a little each year, the funds have always come, but maybe not this year.

SRSCA has historically provided federal funds which are used to directly fund teachers salaries and crucial education programs throughout the county. Any decrease in funding could lead to a loss in teaching positions, as well as continued decrease in programs such as More at Four and after school programs. The $180,000 Macon County hopes for equates to three teacher salaries.

Despite a bleak look on whether or not the federal funds would be included for 2015 at all, the federal government announced last Thursday that monies would be provided to the rural counties historically receiving SRSCA funds. While funds will be provided, they have drastically decreased.

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While counties throughout Western North Carolina have passed anti-fracking resolutions, and have sent messages to the state declaring their objection to the state's plan to allow it, Jackson County took it a step further.

"Commissioner Vickie Greene made the motion to adopt the resolution and indicated that this was consistent with what many surrounding local governments had done," explained Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten. "She also indicated that she had unsuccessfully tried to get a similar resolution approved by the previous board."

Instead of only passing an anti-fracking resolution last week, Jackson County commissioners also instructed the county's planning board to immediately review the county's current law in order to change the current language, or even develop a new ordinance that would essentially prohibit the practice in Jackson County.

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