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The N.C. Department of Transportation is accepting proposals from communities for the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. In its 10th year, the program provides funding for municipalities across the state to develop comprehensive bicycle and/or pedestrian plans. Smaller communities with populations of less than 5,000 are encouraged to apply, and also have the option to develop combined bicycle and pedestrian plans.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. All applications must be submitted electronically. Award recipients will be notified in June 2015.

“Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans have a positive impact on the economy, health and safety; and are the first steps in laying the groundwork for future projects that promote options for bicycling and walking locally,” said Lauren Blackburn, Director of the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation.


North Carolina’s school voucher debate has reached a conclusion, at least for this year. After the state established the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a state fund that provides scholarships or school vouchers for students to attend private schools in the state, the program has been challenged, halted, appealed and now implemented.

On Sept. 26, just over $1 million was released by the state and distributed to 109 private schools in the state. The scholarships were given to 568 students who were accepted into the state administered program that was developed to help lower income students attend private schools if they so desired. To qualify, a child must be currently enrolled in a North Carolina public school and reside in a household that qualifies for federal Free and Reduced Lunch (about $44,000 for a family of 4).

The constitutionality of the law was challenged immediately after it passed, with groups arguing that tax dollars shouldn’t be allocated to private or religious based schools. Religious schools account for about 70 percent of the state’s private schools. Of the schools in the state who received funding through the program, the Greensboro Islamic Academy received the most money, $90,300 for 43 enrolled students. Word of God Christian Academy located in Raleigh received $54,600 for 26 students. The schools who received funding were identified as being primarily Christian, Baptist, Catholic or Islamic.


In North Carolina more than 14,000 school buses travel state highways daily transporting children to and from school. Most motorists that meet school buses stop as required by North Carolina law. However; on an average school day in North Carolina nearly 2,300 motorists disregard school bus stop arms.

In an effort to promote traffic safety around North Carolina schools, school buses and school bus stops, the Highway Patrol will conduct Operation Stop Arm. The operation will be conducted from 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20, through Friday, Oct. 24.

Members will be scheduled to aggressively enforce violations of G. S. 20-217 (a) passing a stopped school bus while the bus was displaying its mechanical stop, signal or flashing red stoplights and is stopped for the purpose of receiving of discharging passengers and all traffic around schools in their districts.


First licenses already being issued in Macon County.

All couples, regardless of sexual orientation, can now be married in North Carolina. Late Friday evening, United States District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. legalized same-sex marriage by ruling on a lawsuit filed by clergy which challenged the 2012 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Same-sex couples poured into the Asheville Register of Deeds office Friday evening to apply for marriage licenses. On Monday, the first marriage licenses were issued in both Macon and Jackson counties.


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