- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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The 2011-2012 budget called for extensive cuts across North Carolina in an array of different sectors, most of which provided a public service to the citizens of the state. With the controversy surrounding the spending reduction of the public educational system, as well as health and human services, other cuts went largely unnoticed. Here in Macon County, one that has had a subtle, yet significant impact on the citizens has come with the de-funding of the Highlands Magistrate position.

The Town of Highlands has a population of around 1,500 in the winter months which in the past, required the magistrate to preside only a few times during the week. That number grows significantly to more than 20,000 in the summer months and before the budget cuts took effect, required the service of a magistrate every day. With these latest cuts, Highlands has been left without a magistrate, for the first time in 30 years.

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Since the late 1990s the citizens of Macon County have steadily embraced the idea of recycling and as the wait for a new Solid Waste Management and Materials Report begins, the county anticipates another high showing and hopefully even a number one ranking in the state for its efforts in recycling.

According to the Macon County Solid Waste Department, 80 percent of waste is recyclable or compostable. Some of these recyclable materials include corrugated cardboard, newspapers, various types of plastics, aluminum cans, glass, metal, etc. Some centers also accept materials such as used oil and used anti-freeze, tires, electronic waste, and used car and truck batteries.

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More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. To combat that problem, the State Highway Patrol is reminding motorists across the state to be vigilant of all emergency vehicles on the sides of highways and interstates.

To date, 43 states have enacted Move Over laws in the hopes of preventing needless deaths and injuries along the nation’s highways.

North Carolina is not immune to these deaths and injuries. Since the Patrol’s inception, two troopers have been struck and killed while countless others have been injured while conducting traffic stops. Just recently, Trooper Matthew Mitchell, stationed in Madison County was struck during a traffic stop on US19. Trooper Mitchell had exited his vehicle and was speaking to the driver when a passenger car struck him, knocking him several feet. As a result, Trooper Mitchell sustained critical injuries. He has since made immense improvements but the road to recovery is on-going.

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Some remain open in defiance of deadline for closure.

Late last week, sweepstakes gambling establishments in Macon County re-opened their doors after a mandatory state shutdown on Jan. 3. While several establishments have begun operating again, according to Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland, they may be operating illegally.

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published: 10/18/2013
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