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News State / Region

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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Hordes of people shuffled into the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday night to hear from experts in the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” industry.

The forum, which was moderated by N.C. Sen. Jim Davis, (R-50th District), was intended to address shale energy rulemaking, and exploration and development in North Carolina. The forum began with Lee County commissioner James Womack – who is past chairman and current member of the state’s Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) – presenting a powerpoint describing the statutory guidelines from the North Carolina General Assembly, about the process the MEC is currently reviewing during the rule making process, and myths about fracking.

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