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In North Carolina more than 14,000 school buses travel state highways daily transporting children to and from school. Most motorists that meet school buses stop as required by North Carolina law. However; on an average school day in North Carolina nearly 2,300 motorists disregard school bus stop arms.

In an effort to promote traffic safety around North Carolina schools, school buses and school bus stops, the Highway Patrol will conduct Operation Stop Arm. The operation will be conducted from 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20, through Friday, Oct. 24.

Members will be scheduled to aggressively enforce violations of G. S. 20-217 (a) passing a stopped school bus while the bus was displaying its mechanical stop, signal or flashing red stoplights and is stopped for the purpose of receiving of discharging passengers and all traffic around schools in their districts.

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First licenses already being issued in Macon County.

All couples, regardless of sexual orientation, can now be married in North Carolina. Late Friday evening, United States District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. legalized same-sex marriage by ruling on a lawsuit filed by clergy which challenged the 2012 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Same-sex couples poured into the Asheville Register of Deeds office Friday evening to apply for marriage licenses. On Monday, the first marriage licenses were issued in both Macon and Jackson counties.

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The Macon County League of Women Voters hosted a candidates forum last Thursday for the 50th senate district of North Carolina. Incumbent Jim Davis and challenger Jane Hipps squared off and fielded questions posed by league members.

Although not a native to Macon County, Sen. Jim Davis got his start in politics as a county commissioner. Davis was born in 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He grew up in a military family, his father a sergeant in the US Air Force, and his mother a homemaker. He has lived on military bases in Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, Delaware, Morocco, and England.

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North Carolina's Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) held the last of a fourpart public comment series last Friday at Western Carolina University's Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Proponents and opponents alike were on hand for the event where a panel made up of three members from the MEC listened to concerns from the citizens.

Hydraulic fracturing has been subject of much concern across North Carolina with multiple forums across the state being packed out ever since a moratorium was lifted that would allow the extraction of natural gas by injecting high pressure fluids thousands of feet deep into the ground in order to break up shale formations and release natural gas.

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