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Jackson County Republican Mark Meadows, a real estate developer who served one term as chairman of Macon County’s Republican Party, recently announced his candidacy to unseat Democratic Representative Heath Shuler.

Meadows has been married to his wife Debbie for 32 years. The couple resides in Cashiers and has two children together, Blake and Haley.

His decision to run makes him one of four other Republican challengers who have thrown their names in the hat to take on Shuler, in what is setting up to be a hotly contested Congressional race. Local district attorney Jeff Hunt, tea-party candidate Dan Eichenbaum, retired Army officer Spence Campbell, and economic development consultant Chris Petrella will also be opposing Meadows in the 2012 primary.


Western Carolina University faculty member and writer Ron Rash is one of six North Carolinians chosen to receive the state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award.

Rash, Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture at WCU, will receive the award Thursday, Nov. 10, at the N.C. Museum of History with a group of distinguished North Carolinians that includes musician Branford Marsalis and former congressman H. Martin Lancaster.

Recipients were announced Sept. 29 by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. “Each year, the North Carolina Awards are a chance for us to honor men and women who reflect the very best in imagination, exploration, creativity and humanitarian service,” said Linda A. Carlisle, state cultural resources secretary.


The UNC School of Government has announced that Michael Lemanski has been named director of the School’s new Development Finance Initiative. The initiative was funded with a $1 million grant from Local Government Federal Credit Union and will create opportunities for economically distressed communities in North Carolina by increasing their access to and use of innovative development finance instruments.

The School of Government will work intensively with local governments and nonprofit development entities to increase their capacity to take advantage of complicated development finance products and services including tax credit programs, self-financing bonds, secondary market and securitization programs, and others. The initiative will allow the School to test innovations in the field of development finance in partnership with social entrepreneurs across North Carolina.


State budget cuts reduce troopers available to enforce highway safety in WNC

North Carolina’s public sector is being scaled back significantly, attested by the 2011-2013 state budget, which imposed cuts to numerous programs and state agencies. One such agency, The North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCHP), is facing large budget reductions that could potentially transform the way the agency operates.

Troopers across the state, including those in Macon and Jackson counties, will be forced to cope and adapt to declining resources, as it may represent the new permanent reality of the public sector environment.


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