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The N.C. Department of Transportation wants more input from the public as it develops the statewide transportation blueprint known as the 2040 Plan.

NCDOT is urging citizens to take part in a second survey, and will use the results to help determine the top priorities for transportation projects in the state. An earlier survey asked people to offer their thoughts on the future of transportation and how they use it. The new survey asks people to prioritize transportation programs and asks for suggestions on funding projects.


United States Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC) announced that she is cosponsoring two key pieces of legislation to help expand and permanently protect North Carolina’s forests and public lands. In an effort to safeguard funding for the state’s national parks, recreational areas and waterways, Hagan cosponsored the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act. Hagan joined 20 Senators Nov. 18 in introducing the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2011 to shield some of America’s premier public lands from development, including 723 acres of roadless area in Southern Appalachia.

“From the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the west to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the east, North Carolina is home to a great diversity of parks, forests and refuges,” said Hagan.


A sparse crowd was on hand late last week at the community building in Franklin where state Senator Jim Davis held his first town hall meeting since being elected to office. Senator Davis plans to schedule town hall meetings in all eight counties within Senate District 50 in the next several months.

The Nov. 22 meeting was promoted as a non-partisan event, as Macon County GOP chairman Chris Murray announced when introducing Senator Davis to the podium. Murray did invite Macon County’s Democratic Party chairman Ben Utley to the meeting, but Utley declined due to a scheduling conflict.

Ed Trull, pastor of Holly Springs Baptist Church, delivered the invocation and The Smoky Mountain Marine Corp League presented the colors before the meeting commenced. After WWII Navy veteran Richard Robb led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Davis took questions from his constituents for the next hour and a half.


AG Cooper says it’s still too high

After holding public hearings across the state, Duke Energy Carolinas and the North Carolina Public Staff have recently reached an agreement which calls for a rate hike of 7.2 percent instead of the original request of 15 percent. Public Staff, an organization affiliated with the N.C. Utilities Commission, opposed Duke Energy’s initial 15 percent rate hike. After hearing from Tar Heels across the state, North Carolina’s Public Staff and Duke Energy agreed to the aforementioned rate reduction.

If approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the increase would become effective beginning in February of 2012.


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