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North Carolina lawmakers will not be considering laws that would amend the legal age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 this year. So far, no bill on the matter has been introduced this legislative session, and it is likely no bill will be passed, say officials, as budget cuts in Raleigh are paramount for many legislators.

Currently, any person 16 years of age or older who has committed a crime of any kind is charged as an adult in North Carolina courts. Eleven states have set the age at 17, while the other 37 states have set the age of adulthood at 18. New York is the only other state to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for criminal matters.

Bills pushing for the age change have died in finance committees in the last two sessions, due to the high price tag that would come with them. Adding 16- and 17-year-olds to the cases handled by the juvenile justice system would require more case workers and funding. “In this budget year, it just doesn’t seem likely that that will happen,” said Chuck Mallonee, Chief Juvenile Court Counselor of the seven westernmost counties of N.C. Mallonee is in favor of increasing the age of adulthood.

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AG awards money recovered in price fixing case to food banks

Food banks across North Carolina will get more than $740,000 in grant funds to help fight hunger, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Tuesday at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina in Winston- Salem.

The money comes at a time when the state’s food banks are working harder than ever to meet the needs of North Carolina families hit by the economic downturn. North Carolina food banks have seen a 30 percent increase in need since 2006, according to the NC Association of Feeding America Food Banks.

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The North Carolina Department of Insurance has approved the postcard mailer describing a low-cost Medicare Supplement insurance plan now available to North Carolina seniors. The postcard will be mailed to senior citizens who are eligible for Medicare Supplemental insurance.

State Mutual President and CEO, Delos Yancey III, said that North Carolina residents of Medicare age now have access to the lowest cost Medicare supplement insurance available anywhere in the nation.

Yancey said that State Mutual Insurance Company will allow Medicare-age consumers to apply for the supplemental Medicare insurance policy online, without having to talk with an insurance agent.

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State budget cuts being proposed by North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue for the coming year have Macon County Department of Social Services concerned about its own budgets. Statewide, DSS directors are scrambling to come up with budgets that will anticipate these cuts, yet still be able to fund the public services they are mandated to provide. Macon County is no different.

The Macon County Department of Social Services met Monday, Feb. 14, to discuss upcoming budget concerns involving possible cuts to its revenue due to budget cuts from the state legislature. The Macon County DSS board has three members and is comprised of Chair Wendy Dalton, businessman Jim Garner and past county commissioner Mark West. DSS Director Jane Kimsey is a non-voting member and secretary to the board.

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