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Richard Collings resigned as president of Southwestern Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and the resignation was effective as of Wednesday, Feb. 9. The board of trustees is moving forward to begin the search for a new president, according to Conrad Burrell, chairman of the SCC board of trustees.

The reason for Collings’ resignation is not known at this time, but sources close to the college have alleged that serious medical problems may have forced the decision on Collings, who had suffered health issues after starting the new position six months ago.

 

 

 

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With the full support of his board, County Commissioner Ronnie Beale has announced that he will be running for the second vice-president seat in the North Carolina Association for County Commissioners. A successful bid will give Beale an executive seat on the NCACC board of directors, put him in line for the presidency, and give Macon County as well as the Western North Carolina region a greater voice in the organization.

The NCACC is a statewide local government association and one of the most effective lobbying groups in the state, advocating for local issues before state legislature as well as the executive and judicial branches of government. Boards of commissioners in every county are eligible for membership in the association.

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Retiree benefits also under scrutiny

In the future, Macon County may offer its employees an option when they sign up for the county’s insurance program. During the a mid-year work session on Jan. 29, the board of commissioners discussed the possibility of adding a Health Savings Account (HSA) plan to the county's program that would be optional for employees. At the same meeting the board also discussed possible modifications to the current employee policy regarding retiree benefits that could affect post-retirement insurance benefits for future county employees.

An HSA is pre-taxed medical savings account that is available to individuals enrolled in high deductible health plans (HDHP). In most such plans, unused funds roll over and accumulate year to year. HSAs are owned by the individual and may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses and medications at any time with federal tax liability.

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Last week at a joint meeting with the Macon County Planning Board, commissioners reviewed currently active planning projects and set the board’s priorities for the coming year. At the top of the list is the completion of the county’s comprehensive plan, a general document that will give elected officials guidelines in planning for future growth and development in the county.

At the Feb. 9 meeting, members of the planning board presented current projects as well as projects which the board and county administrators believe should be addressed in the future. The meeting concluded with discussion by the commissioners about which projects should be prioritized and recommended timelines.

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A Macon County man struck a Jackson County teen with his car in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 6.

At approximately 4:42 a.m., officers of the Sylva Police Department responded to a call advising that a pedestrian had been hit by a car traveling eastward on West Main Street. The incident occurred near Mark Watson Park.

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N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle driver license offices will be closed on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 21, while the National Driver Registry is updated. The system update will affect driver licensing transactions around the country through the President’s Day weekend, but is expected to curtail business in North Carolina for just one day.

Appointments for driver improvement clinics will not be accepted on Feb. 21; however, hearings already scheduled to take place at driver license offices will be held.

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The potholes on Wayah Street are reaching epic proportions, according to W.H. Derrick.

Due to an abundance of winter weather with low temperatures, rain and snow, coupled with heavy trucks and many cars, the potholes are multiplying.

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Volunteer groups and other participants removed more than 4.2 million pounds of litter from North Carolina roadsides during the N.C. Department of Transportation’s 2010 fall and spring Litter Sweeps. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 1.9 billion cigarettes, 134 million soda cans or 42,000 couches. Participants filled more than 288,000 bags with roadside litter, and nearly 40 percent of those were filled by volunteers.

Totals included:

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Business owners in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties have a new loan product option. The New Economy Fund – the latest offering from The Sequoyah Fund – provides loans of $50,000 - $250,000 for green, knowledge- based or creative economy businesses located in the seven farwestern counties of North Carolina. Loans are available for start-ups or ongoing businesses.

The Sequoyah Fund is no ordinary commercial lender. As a nonprofit, independent Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Sequoyah Fund focuses on assisting individuals who are good candidates to open businesses and pay back loans, but are not having their needs met with traditional bank loan products. The Fund can also partner with banks in offering loan products, especially larger loans. In addition to lending,

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A Dawsonville, Ga., man died accidentally Sunday afternoon while rappelling at Cullasaja Falls in Macon County.

Macon County 9-1-1 received a call at 4:17 p.m. advising that a  person had fallen an estimated 150 feet near the top of Cullasaja Falls near Highway 64 East. The man was identified Monday afternoon, following notification of his family, as 19-year-old Gregory Cooper.

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published: 10/18/2013
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