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Each year, about 150,000 accidental drug overdoses occur in teens in the United States, according to teendrugaddiction. com. One local organization continues to work to make sure youth in Macon County are educated about the risks involved in drug use.

Gilliam's Hope is the Franklin Branch of Gilliam's Promise, a drugfree coalition, that was started in Highlands nearly five years ago after Bill and Eleanor Cheney's grandson Gilliam took his own life while battling drug addiction.

Gilliam's Hope allows students to earn money toward a college education. Students participating in Gilliam's Hope are afforded the opportunity to earn $1,000 per year to be placed in an escrow account to be used for college or vocational training expenses upon graduation.


Highlander Peter Ray won top honors in an “historic” photography contest. “Secret Falls” won Best in Show in Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust’s Sunsetennial Photography Contest Professional Division which was judged by Sallie Taylor, Executive Director of The Bascom.

The contest was held in honor of the Land Trust’s “Sunsetennial: 100 Years of Conserving Ravenel Park, home of Sunset and Sunrise Rocks in Highlands.” The Land Trust celebrated this historic anniversary throughout 2014 and this division of the photo contest marks the final event of their Sunsetennial year.

The award winning photo is on display at Highlands’ Hudson Library.

To learn more about Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and their mission to conserve valuable land resources for all generations, visit


More than 40 agencies from Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary packed into the Burrell Building on Southwestern Community College's campus for SCC Cares' first annual Volunteer Fair.

With the intent on connecting volunteers with organizations in the community, despite a date change due to snow, the Volunteer Fair was a success.

"The Volunteer Fair was a great success, especially for our first try," said Amanda Allen with SCC Cares. "We had over 150 guests connecting with agencies they were genuinely interested in learning more about. We also had non-profits networking with each other to better serve their clients. It was beneficial to every who came."

Macon County has been awarded federal funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.

Macon County has been chosen to receive $16,028 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county. The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by DHS/FEMA and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high need areas around the country.


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