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The 60-unit housing complex being constructed behind the Westgate Plaze in Franklin recently received a $480,000 grant to help ease construction costs.

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan made the announcement that Southeastern Housing Preservation, Inc. will receive a $480,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Atlanta for the Westgate Terrace Apartment community in Franklin, which will be providing 60 rental units for very low- to low-income families earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

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Governor Pat McCrory issued the first veto under his administration last Thursday, rejecting legislation originally introduced by Sen. Jim Davis (R-50) that called for people applying for welfare benefits be required to pass a drug test.

Senator Davis was the primary sponsor on Senate Bill 594, which was the first piece of legislation to mention drug testing for the welfare program known as WorkFirst. Applicants for the federal assistance program would have had to pass a drug screen before being eligible for benefits. The bill, which passed the Senate in a 35-15 vote, was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration, where the wording was adopted and embedded into House Bill 392.

In addition to drug testing for Work First, House Bill 392 would have required Social Services to verify applicants' criminal history and share that information with law enforcement. The governor signed an executive order to carry out that portion of the bill.

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Macon Early College 2012 graduate Ethan Edwards went to Raleigh this summer to represent the Western North Carolina Early Colleges, specifically Macon Early College, at the annual New Schools Summer Institute Conference.

Edwards, 19, will return to North Carolina State University on Friday to prepare for his sophomore semester with the Wolfpack where he is studying mechanical engineering. Edwards began attending MEC in 2008 and graduated in 2012 as the class valedictorian. In addition to his high school diploma, because of the unique opportunities at MEC, Edwards also graduated summa cum laude with an Associates Degree from Southwestern Community College. While attending MEC, Edwards made a commitment to his community by becoming an active member of the Clarks Chapel Community Development Organization, Clarks Chapel United Methodist Church and was an Eagle Scout.

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Students in Macon County will now have to pay for the driver's education course. During the July meeting of the Macon County Board of Education, members unanimously voted to implement a $20 registration fee for the online driver's education course.

According to Macon County's driving instructor Alton Sutton, the school system was responsible for a a nonrefundable $20 registration fee per student to take the online course. "Since we started having to pay for the course in 2011, about 150 students have not completed the course for one reason or another, costing the school system to lose about $3,000," said Sutton.

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published: 10/18/2013
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