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Macon County’s Economic Development Commission met for the first time this year on Tuesday, Jan. 17. EDC Director, Tommy Jenkins, offered a review of his latest efforts to retain and attract businesses to the area, while welcoming Macon County’s JobLink Career Center manager, Dale West, to the meeting. West attended the meeting to inform EDC board members about their organization’s latest initiative to put people back to work.

The new liaisons to the EDC board, Commissioners Ronnie Beale and Jimmy Tate, attended the meeting. Commissioner Beale, county manager Jack Horton, and Dale West gave their support to Jenkins, stating that they are really pleased with what Jenkins has done so far as the leader of Macon County’s EDC.


Some good news for a change, at least nationally, as the unemployment rate dipped to 8.5 percent last week while the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs. The statistics produced by the U.S. Department of Labor on Jan. 6 show a slowly improving economy, and marks the sixth consecutive month the U.S. has posted a net gain of at least 100,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate is at it lowest point since February of 2009.

Meanwhile, Macon County’s reported unemployment numbers for the month of November were not as positive, and that holds true for most of Western North Carolina (WNC). In November, 1,624 Maconians were listed as unemployed, out of a labor force of about 15,737 citizens, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission. In October of last year the county’s unemployment rate was 9.7 percent.


After months of waiting for the Legislature to officially end the 2011 Long Session, the NC League of Conservation Voters released its annual Conservation Scorecard. NCLCV has been scoring NC Legislators on environmental issues since 1999 and this year’s scores are the lowest they have ever been. The Scorecard is a valuable tool voters can use to evaluate which legislators best represent their environmental values. The Conservation Scorecard gives each state legislator a score of 0 to 100 based on his or her votes on key environmental bills in the recent session of the General Assembly.


Federal legislation that would allow businesses such as debt collectors to make robocalls to consumers’ cell phones would interrupt people’s privacy and leave them stuck paying for unwanted calls, Attorney General Roy Cooper said recently.

“Robocalls are disruptive and annoying, and consumers shouldn’t have to listen to them if they don’t want to, much less pay for them,” Cooper said.


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