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News State / Region

Crews have begun working to repair a landslide on a portion of U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As a result of late January's first round of torrential rainfall accumulations, a portion of road on the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway connecting Cherokee and Tennessee, was swept away in a landslide. The first assessment of the landslide showed that the slide was approximately 90,000 cubic yards of material or 350-400 feet ?around the length of a football field ?and 45- 50 feet deep.


A road project in Jackson County has transformed from a somewhat small safety concern to a boiling issue that seems to have run over.

The project, dubbed R-5000, entails the construction of a connector road of 0.7 miles running from NC 116 through the Southwestern Community College (SCC) campus, and ending at US 107. For an institution that began as a single building on the side of a hill and has grown to nine buildings since, the need for safety of the student-body, faculty and staff has also grown. With only one entrance and one exit to the campus, concerns of a possible disaster began to surface and in 1994, plans to address the issue started to develop. The new road was included in SCC's Master Plan before tragedies such as the Columbine High School shooting and the attacks of 9/11, in hopes that another exit would alleviate the stress on a bottle neck evacuation of the grounds if a campus-wide emergency ever did take place.


Decline to pursue state-based health exchange and Medicaid expansion

North Carolina Senate leaders introduced legislation last Wednesday to opt out of participation in several costly provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) filed Senate Bill 2 to exempt North Carolina from establishing a statebased health insurance exchange or a state-federal partnership exchange.

The bill also directs the N.C. Department of Insurance to return unspent taxpayer funds awarded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month to create a state-federal partnership exchange.


Corbin and Beale travel to Raleigh to prioritize goals.

Macon County Commissioners Kevin Corbin and Ronnie Beale spent last week in Raleigh lobbying for changes to be made at the local level of government.

Corbin was selected as one of about 30 county commissioners throughout all 100 counties in the state to be a member of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Legislative Goals Committee.


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