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News General

Some 1,250 members of Western Carolina University’s spring graduating class will be honored as the university holds a trio of commencement ceremonies, May 6-7, at Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Commencement for WCU’s Graduate School will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6.

Commencement for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions, and Fine and Performing Arts will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, followed by a 3:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Business, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Kimmel School of Construction Management.

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Folks in Macon County got a chance to sit down with U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) when she visited Franklin last week as part of her tour of the region to meet with constituents and listen to their concerns. The “Conversations with Kay” tour on April 20 and 21 stopped in Andrews, Robbinsville, Bryson City, Franklin, Sylva and Marshall.

On Thursday morning, a small room in the Macon County Senior Center in Franklin was filled to beyond capacity with citizens interested in meeting the senator, who circulated and visited each table in the room during the hourlong event.

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Bill well-intentioned but misled, say critics

CEO of Franklin’s Angel Medical Center, Tim Hubbs, says that a bill recently introduced by N.C. Senator Jim Davis (R-Franklin), if passed, would block a planned affiliation agreement between the regional hospital and Asheville-based Mission Health Systems.

“There’s no question, that if it passed without change, it would postpone any ability by Angel and Mission to move forward with the affiliation or do more together than we're doing today,” Hubbs said on Monday. Angel and Mission have been exploring a merger agreement for almost two years.

The bill would modify the Certificate of Public Advantage agreement, or COPA, which was granted to Mission in the mid 1990s when the hospital took over its main competitor in the area, St. Joseph’s Hospital. The agreement was intended to protect consumers against rising costs and reduced access to healthcare that could come of the loss of competition resulting from the merger.

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On Tuesday, May 3, the Cowee School Heritage Group will meet to introduce and discuss the results of an August workshop which collected public input on possible future uses of Cowee School.

Built in 1943 by Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WDA), the Art Deco-inspired, native-stone school building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last three WDA project schools from the Depression era still in operation. The school building has been a center for the north Macon County community for generations, but after the completion of the new K-4 Iotla Valley School, Cowee School is scheduled to be decommissioned.

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