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Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced today that state and local law enforcement officers cited 758 motorists for driving while impaired during the “Booze It & Lose It” Halloween campaign, which ran Oct. 28-31. A total of 20,786 traffic and criminal citations were issued statewide.

“It is important to remove drivers under the influence from our roadways,” Secretary Conti said. “The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, along with state and local law enforcement officers, is dedicated to preventing crashes and making our roadways safer.”

During the Governor’s Highway Safety Program campaign, officers statewide conducted 1,664 sobriety checkpoints and dedicated patrols. Counties with the highest number of DWI citations were Mecklenburg (58), Wake (51), Robeson (51) and Guilford (46).


Tickets are still available for the annual AdvantageWest Economic Summit, Monday, Nov. 14, at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, NC. The event starts with a networking reception at 5:30 p.m., followed at 7:15 p.m. by a panel discussion on the role of public-private partnerships in economic development.

Panelists for the summit are: Darold Londo, senior vice-president and general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel, currently overseeing a $633 million expansion that is reported to be one of the biggest in the nation's hospitality industry; former Western Carolina University chancellor John Bardo, who guided WCU through a period of unprecedented growth in student enrollment, campus construction and academic stature during his tenure; State Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), chair of the NC Senate Rules Committee; and State Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-Asheville), the current minority leader of the NC Senate.


Western North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler’s third quarter campaign financing report indicates that the 11th Congressional race may actually be competitive next fall, as the two term incumbent raised only $87,178. Meanwhile, two GOP candidates vying for his seat, district attorney Jeff Hunt and Jackson County’s Mark Meadows posted impressive gains in the last quarter, each taking in more than Shuler. Democratic challenger and Asheville City-Councilman Cecil Bothwell took in a surprising $16,500 from individual contributions as well, besting Shuler by more than $6,000 in that particular category.

The campaign cycle is still in its infant stages and Shuler has already raised over $400,000 for his reelection bid next year. Although it is difficult to make predictions about the 2012 Congressional race from one quarter of fundraising, we can at least take a deeper look into the campaign finances of Shuler and his opponents.


Congressman Health Shuler’s international outreach continued earlier this month when he returned to Sri Lanka for the second time since he has been in office. Shuler and two other members of Congress, Congressman Jack Kingston, (R-Ga.) and Congressman Ben Chandler, (D-Ky), visited the country to see first-hand the progress the government has made after finally ending a 26-year-long civil war against the terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also called the Tamil Tigers. Members of congress met with Sri Lanka President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 5th President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, who assumed his second term of office on Nov. 19, 2010, to discuss the country’s progess and future plans.

According to Shuler, he has remained active in following the progress of the Sri Lankan government, and he believes that the U.S. could learn a lot from the diligence and triumph of the foreign ally. “Sri Lanka is a long-time ally of ours and is accomplishing some incredible things right now,” said Cong. Shuler. “They are recovering from a civil war and making major investments in infrastructure and education. Their markets are exploding—U.S. exports are up 45% in 2011, and there are many promising trade and economic prospects that we are risking losing out on to China. There is a lot we can learn from Sri Lanka and a lot of opportunities we should be taking advantage of.”


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