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Macon County at 13.3 percent for January 2013.

The start of 2013 saw unemployment rise in each of the state’s 100 counties in January, data from the N.C. Division of Employment Security released last week show.

Graham County, one of the 18 westernmost counties in the state, posted the state’s highest unemployment rate for the month, at 20.4 percent. Its neighbor to the east, Swain County, was third highest, at 19 percent. Henderson County had the region’s lowest unemployment rate at 7.9 percent.

Macon County’s unemployment rate was 13.3 percent as compared to 12.7 percent in January 2012.


More than 12 million doses of prescription drugs collected across the state

More than 12 million doses of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected across North Carolina last week during Operation Medicine Drop, breaking previous records, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced.

“North Carolinians cleaned out their medicine cabinets and turned in more unused prescription drugs than ever before,” Cooper said. “This is a great way to help keep potentially dangerous prescription drugs away from those who could abuse them.”


Do Not Call, lending, and telemarketing fraud top the growing list of complaints

A total of 23,205 consumers filed complaints with the Consumer Protection Division of Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Office in 2012. Cooper encouraged consumers to learn about the top sources of complaints as a way to avoid costly problems.

“If you think you’ve been ripped off or just didn’t get what you paid for, let my office know about it. Even better, we’d like to help you avoid trouble in the first place by helping you learn to avoid common problems,” Cooper said.


Gov. Pat McCrory released his first budget last week, proposing a balanced budget for fiscal years 2013-2015 on the premise of claiming to continue his administration’s focus on finding longterm solutions to fix North Carolina’s economy, transform education and make government more efficient.

The governor’s spending plan totals $20.6 billion over the next two years and states that “Governor McCrory’s fiscally responsible budget strengthens North Carolina's foundation for future generations and moves the state closer to fulfilling and even exceeding its potential.”

North Carolina House of Representative Democrat Joe Sam Queen and North Carolina State Senate Republican Jim Davis have differing views on the governor's budget. While certain aspects of the budget both Davis and Queen could not be further apart on such as education, the Western North Carolina representatives can agree on the budgets neglect of funding to the rural part of the state.


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