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Western Carolina University will honor its fall graduating class, and recognize a group of graduates who received their degrees after this year’s summer school sessions, as the university holds fall commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.

The ceremony at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center is open to everyone and no tickets are required for admission. Chancellor David O. Belcher will preside over his first commencement as the university’s chief executive officer and deliver the charge to the fall semester degree candidates and summer graduates.

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Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) needs caring adult volunteers to make Girl Scouting possible for all girls and provide new experiences and knowledge.

“If more adult volunteers are able to give some of their time, more girls will be able to participate in exciting Girl Scout programs,” Christine Ritch, director of recruitment for Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, said. “Volunteering can be tailored to one’s skill set and how much time a volunteer can give. Locally, we have as many as twelve girls on a waiting list.”

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Local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group offers community, mothering support and hope to mothers of young children.

Although mothering preschoolers is at times a lonely challenge, MOPS is providing a welcome break for moms; a chance for moms to make new friends and an opportunity for moms to know they are not alone in the struggles and joys of raising young children. It is also an opportunity to enjoy a special speaker and light fare at each of our monthly meetings.

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After a lengthy debate between Governor Beverly Perdue and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a new 30-year gaming compact has been developed and was signed by the Governor and Principal Chief Michell Hicks on Monday in Raleigh. The new agreement will bring vegasstyle gambling to the Cherokee Reservation, which is anticipated to inject additional funding directly into classrooms, and create 400 new jobs in western North Carolina by expanding the Cherokee’s gaming enterprises.

“My top priorities are strengthening our schools and creating jobs, and this agreement does both,” Gov. Perdue said. “This will mean additional dollars going directly to school districts, and it will provide an economic boost for western North Carolina. I urge the General Assembly to act so that we can quickly start receiving the benefits of this expansion.”

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McClellan resigns following second DWI in two years.

Brian McClellan, Chairman of Macon County’s Board of Commissioners, submitted his letter of resignation last week after being arrested for a DWI in Jackson County on Nov. 18. McClellan’s resignation will become effective on Thursday, Dec. 1.

“I am resigning my position as the District 1 representative on the Macon County Board of Commissioners. This will give the county time to complete any immediate business before I vacate the seat,” wrote McClellan in his resignation letter. “I must refocus my priorities on my family and personal issues. Serving Macon County has been a high honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity. At this time I need to concentrate all of my energies on taking care of those things and people most dear to me.”

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“After quite a number of candidate interviews, he was our final choice,” says Highlands Mayor David Wilkes. On Monday, the Town of Highlands announced it had offered the Town Manager’s position to Robert A. (Bob) Frye.

“With a few details yet to be worked out, we have offered him the job, and he has accepted,” said Wilkes.

Frye spoke by phone with Macon County News shortly after the announcement, saying, “I am looking forward to becoming Highlands’ Town Manager.”

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When the Highlands Town Board convenes on Tuesday, Dec. 6, two of the three commissioners being sworn in will be brand new. Although they are newly elected commissioners, Brian Stiehler and Eric Pierson will bring a wealth of community experience to their positions.

Highlanders voted on three of the five seats on the Highlands Town Board during the Nov. 8 election. Since all Highlands Town Board members serve at large, voters had the opportunity to cast their ballots for three candidates. The top three vote getters were thus elected.

 

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Fred Alexander of Duke Energy presented Amy Ammons Garza with the 2012 Duke Citizenship & Service Award on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce's Holiday Reception.

The award is given annually by Duke Energy to honor a citizen for their volunteer leadership and is a tribute to individuals who make a difference in their communities by using their time, talents and compassion to positively impact the lives of others.

Garza was nominated for her outstanding community service by Catch the Spirit of the Appalachia Board member, Norma Clayton.

Since the resignation of former Economic Development Director Trevor Dalton last September, Macon County has actively pursued a viable replacement. The county’s Economic Development Commission subsequently hired Tommy Jenkins, a Macon County native, on Nov. 1 to help in their efforts to attract and retain businesses throughout the county.

This position is particularly important considering the high rate of unemployment throughout Western North Carolina, with Macon County’s unemployment rate still hovering at 10 percent.

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An assault on a recycling center employee last weekend has authorities searching for a faceless culprit or culprits.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:43 p.m. on Saturday evening, when Otto Recycling Center employee Pam Keyser was preparing to shut down the facility for the day.

“I went out to turn on the [trash] compactor, like we always do toward the end of the day,” she recalled. “I turned it on and as I knelt to pick up some loose trash in front of the compactor, I felt something grab what I think were my overall suspenders from behind ... I was being pulled from behind.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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