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Harvey Gantt, an architect and civil rights activist who formerly served as mayor of Charlotte and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, will be the keynote speaker for a daylong symposium at Western Carolina University – “North Carolina in Dialogue: Our Past, Present and Future.”

Set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 10, the interdisciplinary symposium will provide a platform for the public and WCU’s students, faculty and staff to learn from a lineup of distinguished scholars and public activists and intellectuals who will offer perspectives on North Carolina’s history, politics and culture, said Rob Ferguson, an assistant professor in WCU’s Department of History who co-organized the event with Chris Cooper, head of WCU’s Department of Political Science and Public Affairs.

“Our hope is that we have brought together a wide array of scholars and activists who can offer thoughtful and compelling perspectives on our state,” Ferguson said. “Perhaps more importantly, we want the audience to engage the panelists and each other in productive dialogue regarding the future of North Carolina.”

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Warmer weather across North Carolina means an increase in activity along highways, both in terms of travelers and the number of N.C. Department of Transportation projects to improve our roads and bridges. That means it is even more important for drivers to pay attention and be careful while on those roads. That is especially in work zones, and as a reminder to motorists it is National Work Zone Awareness Week through Friday, March 27.

In 2014, more than 4,000 crashes occurred in work zones, killing 22 people and injuring almost 2,000. The National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign aims at preventing work zone fatalities and accidents by encouraging safe driving through highway work zones and construction sites.

And it is not just for the safety of the workers out on the roads.

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Drug maker Daiichi Sankyo will pay North Carolina $281,735.37 for allegedly offering kickbacks to get doctors to prescribe the company’s drugs, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

“Drugs should be prescribed because they are the best choice for the patient, not because the company offers the best benefits to the doctor,” Cooper said. “Offering kickbacks doesn’t put patients’ interests first.”

Under the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will pay $39 million to states and the federal government to compensate Medicaid, as well as other fines and restitution. The settlement resolves allegations that Daiichi Sankyo offered lavish meals and speaker program honoraria as kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe its drugs Azor, Benicar, Tribenzor, all used to treat high blood pressure, and Welchol, used to treat high cholesterol.

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With the 2016 elections fast approaching, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles continues its collaborative effort with the North Carolina State Board of Elections to issue no-fee voter ID cards and register qualified voters at all driver license offices statewide.

As directed by the General Assembly in accordance with the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA – House Bill 589), effective January 1, 2016, North Carolina will require all voters to present valid photo identification to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections.

“The Division will continue to support the process of registering North Carolinians to vote and issuing no-fee voter ID cards,” said NCDMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “We want to remind everyone that you can complete this process as a priority service at any of the 114 driver license offices across the state. Don’t wait until the last minute.”

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