61st Annual Macon County Fair :: September 17-20 @ Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center - 441 South, Franklin, NC

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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The Macon County League of Women Voters hosted a candidates forum last Thursday for the 50th senate district of North Carolina. Incumbent Jim Davis and challenger Jane Hipps squared off and fielded questions posed by league members.

Although not a native to Macon County, Sen. Jim Davis got his start in politics as a county commissioner. Davis was born in 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He grew up in a military family, his father a sergeant in the US Air Force, and his mother a homemaker. He has lived on military bases in Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, Delaware, Morocco, and England.

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North Carolina's Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) held the last of a fourpart public comment series last Friday at Western Carolina University's Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Proponents and opponents alike were on hand for the event where a panel made up of three members from the MEC listened to concerns from the citizens.

Hydraulic fracturing has been subject of much concern across North Carolina with multiple forums across the state being packed out ever since a moratorium was lifted that would allow the extraction of natural gas by injecting high pressure fluids thousands of feet deep into the ground in order to break up shale formations and release natural gas.

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Hordes of people shuffled into the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday night to hear from experts in the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” industry.

The forum, which was moderated by N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, (R-50th District), was intended to address shale energy rulemaking, and exploration and development in North Carolina. The forum began with Lee County commissioner James Womack – who is past chairman and current member of the state’s Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) – presenting a powerpoint describing the statutory guidelines from the North Carolina General Assembly, about the process the MEC is currently reviewing during the rule making process, and myths about fracking.

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A Wake County judge has cast down a decision that puts a hold on the N.C. General Assembly's attempt to move forward with its voucher program or the “Opportunity Scholarship Program."

The ruling puts state officials at odds regarding funding opportunities for private or religious schools through the proposed opportunity scholarships. On Thursday, Aug. 21, Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the 2013 law that permitted the use of public tax dollars through opportunity scholarships – more commonly known as school vouchers – to pay for private institutions, was unconstitutional.

The ruling said, in part, that state funds “should be exclusively used for establishing a uniform system of free public schools. ... the General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.”

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