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Both the Franklin Police Department and the Macon County Sheriff's Department have received funding from the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program for the 2013 year. The Governor's Highway Safety Program is dedicated to promoting highway safety awareness with the intent of reducing the number of traffic crashes and fatalities in the state of North Carolina through the planning and execution of safety programs. Each year, the program prepares a Highway Safety Plan as a guide for the state's federally funded safety activities.

Last week, county commissioners approved a local matching grant in the amount of $19,328 based on a 70/30 split to allow the sheriff's office $45,099 in federal dollars for a Governor's Highway Safety grant renewal.

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Gov. Pat McCrory has requested a federal disaster declaration to help 16 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recover from this summer’s heavy rains, landslides and severe flooding.

The record-breaking rainfall damaged roads, bridges, culverts, public utilities, parks and even some schools in many western counties. If approved, the governor’s request would help these communities pay for the infrastructure repairs and debris removal and also cover the costs for emergency protective measures. Those areas that were most heavily impacted include: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.

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This year saw major changes to North Carolina’s elections law, with the final bill taking up 57 pages. Its various provisions are wide-ranging, setting new standards for voter identification, making it easier to mount voting challenges, trimming the number of days off the early voting period and eliminating same-day registration, straight-ticket options and initiatives to increase registration among young, first-time voters.

While the controversy over what is arguably one of the biggest rewrites of voting rules in the country simmers and legal challenges proceed, the various changes under the new law will begin taking effect over the course of the next two election cycles.

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WNC Agricultural Options' 10th annual grant cycle is under way. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions will award a total of $153,000 to diversifying farmers in western North Carolina in 2014. Farmers have until Dec. 13 to submit an application for a $3,000 or $6,000 grant.

"The 2014 funding cycle will represent a decade of service to our agricultural industry through farmer grants, educational seminars and technical assistance," said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. "Since 2004, more than 350 farmer grants and several community grants have been awarded. We are extremely grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as the sole funder of this program since its inception."

The commission has helped ensure that farmers continue farming during changes in the tobacco industry in the past 25 years.

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published: 10/18/2013
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