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News State / Region

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Division of Law Enforcement Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) are once again combining efforts to save lives on the roadways and waterways this summer through an aggressive enforcement and public outreach campaign entitled “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink & Drive”.

The program will consist of numerous driving while impaired checkpoints near boating recreational venues. The goal of this project is to prevent injuries and loss of life due to drinking and driving during the upcoming summer months.

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Macon County is taking the lead on a $50,000 award that will enable communities in Western North Carolina to revitalize the local economy. The America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition is a $10 million initiative to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities across the country. Macon, as well as Graham, Swain, and Clay counties who all applied together, was selected as one of 50 communities across the country.

“There was a competitive application process for the initiative,” said Ryan Sherby with Region A. “We focused the narrative on knowledge based technology economic development for the region. There are four counties in the region (Macon, Graham, Swain, Clay) as one of the parameters was population based, under 100,000.”

The 50 quarterfinalists will receive $50,000 to develop comprehensive strategies to revive the local economies and improve quality of life for residents. Over the next six months, the four counties will work together to shape and refine their revitalization plans for the chance to win up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life.

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Since before Congressman Health Shuler left office in 2012, school officials in Macon County have been petitioning the federal government to fully restore funds allocated to states based on the amount of forest service lands within the county. Most of the funds, so-called SRS or Secure Rural School funds, were promised to states across the country based on the amount of Forest Service lands within their county borders.

What originally started as allocating 25 percent of revenue generated within the National Forests to the respective counties, the funds have been cut by the federal government year after year. Last year North Carolina received $1,800,539, but earlier this year, according to the United States Forest Service, the state was notified that they would only receive $482,093, which was expected to be distributed to all counties that contain Forest Service lands, which includes Macon County.

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The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly less active than the overall averages from 1950 to the present, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

The 2015 season should see four to six named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State. This number is lower than the 1950 to 2014 average of approximately 11 named storms.

Of those named storms, one to three may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and only one may become a major hurricane.

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