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Money generated from the timber industry within America's national parks is once again up for debate in Congress, and this time, Congressman Mark Meadows is taking a proactive approach to ensuring his districts are fairly compensated from the government.

Meadows introduced the bipartisan PILT and SRS Certainty Act along with Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) last Tuesday, which would reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools Program (SRS) for five years and extend and provide funding for Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) for five years at an annual level of $450 million.

"PILT money is very important to Macon County and all the western counties," said Macon County Chairman Kevin Corbin. "To Macon County, it means over $300,000 and to the seven western counties the amount is well over $2 million."


North Carolina consumers will soon have access to technology that can block annoying robocalls, Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced.

“Instead of being driven crazy by robocalls, consumers will soon be in the driver’s seat and able to slam the brakes on unwanted calls,” Cooper said. “Call-blocking technology can help consumers free their phone lines from these frustrating calls.”

The Federal Communications Commission voted recently to allow phone carriers to offer consumers technology to block robocalls. Technologies now exist for phone carriers to find and block automatically dialed, pre-recorded calls, but several major phone companies claimed legal barriers to using it. After receiving the letter from the attorneys general as well as dozens of petitions about unwanted calls, the FCC voted to clarify its interpretation of federal telecommunications statutes to permit call-blocking technology and strengthen existing law.


More people in North Carolina will receive help preparing for jobs in high-demand occupations, thanks to a $5.25 million federal grant awarded to the state. The money will be used to create and implement a new program called NCWorks Certified Career Pathways.

The state received a Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to support education and training programs, such as on-the-job and classroom training, for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own or have struggled with longterm unemployment. This funding will help more job seekers gain meaningful employment, as well as ensure that employers have access to a steady pipeline of talent. North Carolina was one of 27 states to win the competitive grant award.

“This grant will support our ongoing efforts to find out what employers need from us and align our workforce services to meet those needs,” said Will Collins, Executive Director of NCWorks. “By working collaboratively with our partners, we’re creating the best workforce in the nation and making North Carolina a top destination for business.”


Including those at Mountain State Fair, state and county fairs

State Veterinarian Doug Meckes and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has announced that all North Carolina poultry shows and public sales will be suspended from Aug. 15 to Jan. 15 due to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. This includes the N.C. State Fair and Mountain State Fair poultry shows, bird shows at county fairs, live bird auctions and poultry swap meets.

The current strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been found in 21 states, mostly in the Midwest, and has not been detected in any state along the East Coast. This strain has not been found to affect human health and does not affect food safety. The virus is thought to be carried by migratory fowl, so veterinary officials are bracing for possible introduction of the virus during the fall migration.


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