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During a joint meeting between Franklin's Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and Macon County's Tourism Development Commission (TDC) members expressed discontent in the investment made by both entities in April 2011 in a regional tourism phone app.

Pitched by members of the Smoky Mountain Host, the app – called “Ugo Tour NC Mountains” – was pitched to be the first of its kind in North Carolina. Smoky Mountain Host partnered with Asheville-based Story Point Media to develop the content for the app, which purportedly created rich content totaling more than 200 videos and included informative text, photos, video, web links, phone links and GPS mapping locators for Western North Carolina.

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In the words of Franklin resident Adrian Martinez, drug use in Macon County has become an epidemic, but the problem is not only in the case of illegal drug use, but includes “legal” drug use. Specifically, synthetic marijuana or “incense”, that can be bought at some local shops in Franklin.

Martinez and Cassady Ledford are tired of seeing friends and other young people hurt themselves with the use of the synthetic marijuana and have decided to do something about it. Last Friday they conducted a meeting with Senator Jim Davis and Sheriff Robbie Holland in an attempt to steer their attention towards the problem, and garner their support in ridding the town of the potentially dangerous substance.

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As I travel our state, I regularly meet farmers across North Carolina who are working day in and day out to fuel our state’s thriving agriculture economy.

Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, and as a U.S. senator, it is my job to make sure federal policies work for our farmers. Too often in my conversations with farmers across the state, I hear about the burdensome rules and regulations that they must comply with that distract from their ability to operate their farms.

Take Allen McLauren, a cotton farmer in Laurel Hill. Allen has spoken with me about a redundant Environmental Protection Agency regulation on pesticides. Because pesticides are already strictly regulated under a different set of rules, this regulation has little or no environmental or public health benefits. It does, however, require Allen to spend time and money to receive a permit before applying pesticides on his farm.

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Government has truly become Big Daddy in many people’s minds. Nothing proves this claim more than recent arguments on the floor of the North Carolina Senate regarding SB 594. The proposed legislation is simple. It requires a drug test in order for individuals to receive Work First cash benefits and job training. However, to hear liberal politicians rail against the law, one would think that supporters of the legislation were forcing the poor into the streets.

Instead, the bill goes out of its way to protect the rights of qualified individuals to receive temporary assistance for their needy families and to provide job instruction under this federally funded, staterun program. The number one qualification is that applicants not abuse drugs.

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