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News State / Region

County leaders from across the state made a statement earlier this month when 89 out of the state's 100 counties sent leaders to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) annual legislative goals conference.

Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, who serves as president of the NCACC, noted that the attendance of this year's conference is a testament to the dedication of local governments to work on behalf of their citizens.

“We had representatives from 89 of 100 counties, which shows how important this process is to our members,” said Beale. “We are so incredibly grateful for the participation of so many counties. Our work is just beginning. The NCACC has had a positive relationship with the General Assembly in recent years, and we look forward to working with the legislature on these goals.”

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Supreme Court to take up issue in April

The first two months of having same-sex marriage legalized in North Carolina didn't boost marriage licenses or the funds associated therein in Macon County. Same-sex marriage, which was legalized in North Carolina in October, has sent couples to the Register of Deeds office, with licenses being sought the day it became legal, but other than an immediate burst of business, hasn't caused any additional traffic for local offices.

In 2012, Macon County's Register of Deeds office issued 341 marriage license, which accounted for $20,460 for the office. In 2013, the office issued 363 marriage licenses, totaling $21,780. In 2014, the first year same-sex marriage was legal in the state, Macon County issued 358 licenses, 22 of which were for same-sex couples, for a total of $21,480, according to Jana Smith with the Macon County Register of Deeds office.

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U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins has announced that the Western District of North Carolina (WDNC) collected $22,164,212.92 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. Of this amount, WDNC collected $9,677,978.82 in criminal actions and $12,486,234.10 in civil actions.

Note that in measuring collections recovered in FY 2014, the figures necessarily include some cases that were resolved in previous years but the proceeds were collected in FY 2014. Similarly, the FY 2014 figures do not include some cases resolved in the 2014 fiscal year, for which collections will begin in FY 2015.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014. The more than $24 billion in collections in FY 2014 represents nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

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With the beginning of a new year, the State Highway Patrol will be placing an emphasis on DWI enforcement and the reduction of alcohol related collisions. The patrol will also be proactive in providing more educational programs to motorist about the importance of not driving while impaired, providing a special focus on teenage drivers.

In 2014, the Highway Patrol investigated 5,460 alcohol related collisions contributing to 3,697 reported injuries. Also as a result, 181 people were killed, reflecting a 20 percent decrease from the 228 people killed in 2013.

Throughout the state, troopers made 20,012 DWI arrests, averting an increase in the number of alcohol related collisions. Along with alcohol related violations, the patrol made 2,390 drug charges, some of which led to impaired motorist due to illegal drugs.

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