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News State / Region

Energy costs across the state are once again increasing as Duke Energy Carolinas was awarded another overall 4.5 percent rate increase by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The rate increase, which stands as Duke Carolinas’ third since 2009, will increase to 5.1 percent after two years. That increase will allow the utility to make a 10.2 percent shareholder profit and a capital structure of 53 percent equity in a challenging economic climate.

“I feel the same why about this increase as I have about all the others,” said Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale. “In this environment, we have to do what is best for our citizens and they cannot afford another increase. We have a large population of elderly residents and people on fixed incomes. I don't know of any other business that has gotten to raise rates three times in two years.”


Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry is using the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Floyd to encourage North Carolina families, businesses and schools to take steps to prepare themselves for all types of emergencies. While many recall the devastating flooding that followed Hurricane Floyd, the current flooding in Colorado shows that it does not take a hurricane or tropical storm to cause major damage. Secretary Perry urges every family to have both an emergency plan and kit.

“The devastating Colorado floods are a somber reminder of the destruction that two thirds of our state endured following Hurricane Floyd,” Perry said. “In North Carolina, we typically associate major flooding with hurricanes or tropical storms, but the floods we’ve experienced this summer in the western part of the state weren’t caused by any tropical system. For me, that’s a serious reminder that we need to be ever ready for any disaster.”


After approving the 2013-14 school year budget resolution that sits hghghgh less than last school year and does not include any sort of pay raise for teachers and approving 14 different fund raisers to generate money for this from field trips to school uniforms, the Macon County Board of Education were given daunting news regarding teacher salaries in the state.

While North Carolina has been identified as 46th in the state for overall teacher pay, Angie Cook informed the board Monday night that based on research published in December 2012 from the National Education Association (NEA), North Carolina sits dead last in teacher salary growth.


Earlier this month, the North Carolina General Assembly reconvened for the purpose of overriding the two vetoes that Governor Pat McCrory made concerning House Bill 392 and House Bill 786.

House Bill 392, which was originally passed by the General Assembly on July 10, will require applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to be drug tested if a social services worker suspects that they are abusing drugs.

TANF, or Work First as it is called in North Carolina, is a federally funded grant program that allows states to create and administer their own assistance programs. It is a program where parents can get short-term job training and other services to help them become employed and selfsufficient. Most recipients have two years to complete the program. Macon County is one of seven counties in the state that utilizes the program.


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