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Since before Congressman Health Shuler left office in 2012, school officials in Macon County have been petitioning the federal government to fully restore funds allocated to states based on the amount of forest service lands within the county. Most of the funds, so-called SRS or Secure Rural School funds, were promised to states across the country based on the amount of Forest Service lands within their county borders.

What originally started as allocating 25 percent of revenue generated within the National Forests to the respective counties, the funds have been cut by the federal government year after year. Last year North Carolina received $1,800,539, but earlier this year, according to the United States Forest Service, the state was notified that they would only receive $482,093, which was expected to be distributed to all counties that contain Forest Service lands, which includes Macon County.

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The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly less active than the overall averages from 1950 to the present, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

The 2015 season should see four to six named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State. This number is lower than the 1950 to 2014 average of approximately 11 named storms.

Of those named storms, one to three may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and only one may become a major hurricane.

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Jill Westmoreland Rose is now the Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina (WDNC), following the departure of U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins on March 9. Rose served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney to Tompkins.

Rose has been an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the Western District since 1999. During her 16-year tenure with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rose has served as lead attorney for WDNC’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program, Deputy Criminal Chief, Chief of the Criminal Division and First Assistant United States Attorney.

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There are a slew of bills moving through the legislation right now geared toward changing the way local elections are handled, and Macon County officials are speaking out against them.

House Bill 325 is written to make all school board elections in the state partisan elections, instead of the nonpartisan balloting which is currently employed. Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, the bill's primary sponsor, has been quoted saying the intent of the partisan measure is to allow voters a better feel for the candidate they are voting for, something school officials in Macon County do not agree with.

In addition to the house bill to make school board elections partisan, a similar measure is passing through the senate to go a step further to change city councils and judgeships to partisan races under Senate Bill 650.

 

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