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The national celebration of Constitution Week Sept. 17-23, is a weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document and one of our country’s least known official observances. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American.

The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on Aug. 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

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Western Carolina University’s Public Policy Institute and Department of Political Science and Public Affairs are seeking questions from Western North Carolina voters to be asked during a series of debates in September and October.

Questions relevant to the races for the U.S. House of Representatives District 11, N.C. House of Representatives District 119 and N.C. Senate District 50 should be submitted to the Public Policy Institute prior to each debate. Questions must be submitted by registered voters in the district, should be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and must include the name of the sender and the county of residence.

The WCU Political Debate Series will get under way Thursday, Sept. 4, with opponents for the U.S. House of Representatives District 11 – incumbent Mark Meadows (R-Jackson) and challenger Tom Hill (D-Henderson). The debate will be held in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus.

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Macon County residents will take to the polls this November to cast their ballot to fill multiple offices up for reelection. Candidates for commission seats, school board, and other local, state and national seats will be appearing on the ballot this year. With early voting starting Oct. 23, The Macon County News will begin running weekly profiles of each open seat.

Macon County Register of Deeds

Jamie Cochran filed to run for Macon County’s Register of Deeds office to serve the people of the community in which he was born and raised.

“I currently serve the citizens of Macon County in various roles. I felt like it was time for a new face and new ideas in this position,” said Cochran.

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The Macon County Board of Commissioners seem to pass some sort of a resolution just about every month. A resolution honoring a local boy scout troop; a resolution recognizing a business that kept its doors open for 50 years; a resolution declaring a history week in October. The verbiage of the resolutions are all relatively the same. Whatever entity is being recognized, is named and an explanation is offered on what impact that entity has had on the community at large, and wraps up with the commissioners thanking or recognizing said entity for their accomplishment, whatever that may be.

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Building construction expected to begin in October

Despite a short hiccup in the Parker Meadows Recreation Facility project after finding what is believed to be burial remains, County Manager Derek Roland reported to commissioners Tuesday night that the project is still on time, and within the original budget.

In early July, while grading a portion of the outfield for one of the clover leaf ball fields, what is believed to be a tooth from a Native American burial site was uncovered. The project was temporarily halted and Macon County officials were careful to make sure the project remained in compliance with both the state’s archaeologist office, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

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Last Wednesday night, the League of Women Voters in Macon County organized their monthly meeting to take place later than its usual noon program so that local educators could attend and talk about education in Macon County.

Macon County Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin opened the meeting by giving an overview of the school system and the impacts that the newly passed state budget will have on the schools in the upcoming 2014-2015 fiscal year.

“First, the teachers received a welldeserved salary increase for the first time in several years. We're really grateful that teachers are earning more,” said Baldwin. “But it does impact our local budget due to our locally paid employees. We must provide the salary increase for our local employees out of our local appropriation.”

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Authority to decide what to do with leftover money.

On Tuesday evening the Macon County Airport Authority met for its monthly meeting to receive an update on the runway widening project and to get a run down of grants being awarded by the state.

Two weeks ago, the airport was forced to shut down for some essential work on the project, but now it's up and running.

“If you look out there now, you'll see that the runway is, in fact, widened,” said James Luther, Senior Project Manager of W.K. Dickson, the consulting firm who coordinates the airports projects.

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No charges have been filed; search warrant issued

Autopsy results released by the Macon County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday showed that the cause of death for the body found in the Middle Burningtown home on Saturday, Aug. 2, was strangulation. The body of Day Williamson, 71, was found in the upstairs back bedroom following a fire that destroyed the home. Although the body was recovered after the fire was put out, the findings of strangulation as a cause of death means that Williamson was deceased before the fire.

Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland said that Charles Andrew Cochran, the inmate that escaped earlier this month remains a prime suspect.

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Two charter buses rolled up town hill last Thursday, carrying county commissioners from across the state. As part of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Annual Conference being held in Asheville, commissioners from all across the Old North State ventured to Macon County, many of which did so for the very first time.

The NCACC's newest president, Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale spearheaded the event.

“The visit to Macon County by dozens of county commissioners, along with their families, was important for several reasons,” said Beale.

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Downtown businesses affected as traffic is rerouted.

As of Wednesday morning, the fate of Sylva’s Main Street remained uncertain after an early morning fire on Saturday wreaked havoc on local businesses.

Authorities got the call a little after 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, and firefighters from around the region immediately responded to Sylva’s Main Street. The building, built in the early 1920s, which according to Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson is owned by Joan Stearnes, had apparently caught fire due to what authorities would later rule as an electrical fire that started on the roof. The blaze could be seen for miles and more than 10 agencies and fire departments responded to extinguish the flames.

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