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News General

With about 25 months left on the county’s current landfill lifespan, Macon County commissioners voted during the October meeting to move forward with allowing the solid waste department to purchase two parcels of land totaling $1.5 million.

As an enterprise agency, the funds to purchase the property will come from the solid waste department, and not from the county budget. Chris Stahl, the county’s solid waste director, informed commissioners that by purchasing the property now to complete the expansion, more than 40 years will be added to the life expectancy and save the county $36 million in operating costs over that time.

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Panel to speak from individual perspective, expertise.

A panel of Western Carolina University faculty members, including an environmental health professor who has studied the spread and control of infectious agents such as Ebola for more than two decades, will take part in a discussion about the virus on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Part of WCU’s Global Spotlight Series, the event will be held in the auditorium of the Forsyth Building from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Faculty members Burton Ogle, Jen Schiff, Rebecca Dobbs and Saheed Aderinto will offer environmental health, political, geographic and historical perspectives of Ebola based on their expertise and participate in a question-and-answer session.

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Each budget process, county officials set aside $50,000 for the community funding pool for the purpose of awarding grants to local charities.

The Community Funding Pool was established to help the Macon County Board of Commissioners allocate tax-generated funds to local non-profits in a fair and efficient way. The CFP Task Force is composed of citizens chosen by the board of commissioners to consider applications and make recommendations to the Board, who make the final funding decisions.

Organizations applying for CFP funds must provide financial statements such as budgets and federal tax-exempt reports, organization goals and objectives and program/service description. Fifteen agencies applied for funding through the county this cycle, with a total requested amount of $94,500.

“Each year, the Community Funding Pool Task Force members review the grant applications,” explained Karen Wallace, who has served on the CFP Task Force almost since its inception. “We meet as a group, using an evaluation process to determine our recommendations.”

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Changes to a state law are doubling the cost some Macon County parents are now paying for child care. The change, which took effect across the state on October 1, altered the way North Carolina determines eligibility for child care subsidies and has affected thousands of low income families across the state.

“We are confused and disappointed when the young families who are trying their hardest by working and remaining in school are the families who lose services,” said Sheila Hoyle, director of Southwestern Child Development Commission. “It seems to me that these are the families that our public policy makers would want to offer a hand to. These are families who have a chance of becoming self-sufficient.”

Before the legislation change, all children under 13 qualified for child care subsidies if their parents earned less than 75 percent of the state median income or about $50,244 for a family of four.

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