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News State / Region

Granting Progress Energy a 7.5 percent increase in power bills while many North Carolinians are struggling to make ends meet is wrong, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday.

“Many people are already hard pressed to pay their bills, and now isn’t the time to ask them to pay more so utilities can make a bigger profit,” Cooper said.

Cooper filed Monday, July 1, with the N.C. Supreme Court to appeal the rate hike by Duke Energy Progress, formerly Progress Energy, which was approved in May by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Cooper had previously opposed the rate increase before the Commission.

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It seems fitting that the section of Highway 107 from the Grassy Creek Road area be proclaimed the Orville and Kent Coward Highway by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Members of the Coward-Hooper family, the Coward brothers’ mother was a Hooper, settled, homesteaded and ultimately owned more than 1, 000 acres of the property along the present Highway 107. The Coward-Hooper property at one time stretched from the Moody Bridge up the Tuckaseegee River to Cashiers Township and to the top of Big Ridge. In the ensuing 150 years, the land has been home to family members, sold off for public use or considered for cultural and historical benefit.

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Tom Earnhardt, host of the television program “Exploring North Carolina,” will give a presentation highlighting the uniqueness of the state’s ecological heritage Thursday, June 27, at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.

The free presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

An attorney by profession, Earnhardt also is a conservationist and naturalist who serves as writer, co-producer and host for the “Exploring North Carolina” series, which focuses on the natural resources of North Carolina and the Southeast. The show airs on UNC-TV and has been nominated three times for an Emmy.

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U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC) today announced that the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Black Mountain will be receiving per diem grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs for each of its 100 nursing home beds. The Black Mountain facility will receive $85 per day per eligible veteran, reducing the out of pocket cost to veterans admitted into the home. The facility, which opened in October 2012, has a state of the art therapy center and offers a Memory Support Unit for Alzheimer’s patients.

“North Carolina is home to nearly one million veterans, and I am pleased to see the VA investing in facilities like the home in Black Mountain that offers more options for veterans in need of full service care,” said Senator Hagan.

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