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The State Highway Patrol has completed its Operation Slow Down Initiative that began on March 28 and ended on April 3. The purpose of the operation was to reduce speed related collisions on North Carolina Interstates. Last year 1,110 motorists died on North Carolina highways. Of those, 279 deaths were attributed to speed.

During the week long initiative, troopers stepped-up enforcement and patrols across the state, focusing on motorists speeding on interstates and major four-lane highways.

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Macon Bank sponsored The Rathbun Center’s fundraiser, The Best of the Best, held on Friday, March 18, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. A big “Thank You” to all who donated money, time or talent for this important fundraiser.

Music was provided by The Dueling Pianos (Cathey Gray and Michael Conard), WestSound of Asheville, The Rye Holler Boys and Sheri Lynn & Mountain Friends. The Franklin High School Cheerleaders got everyone into the spirit by doing a cheer on stage and then passed the donation buckets through the crowd.

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N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to replace the bridge on Mirror Lake Road over the Cullasaja River near Highlands in Macon County.

A $577,544 contract was awarded to Dane Construction Inc. of Mooresville. Work can begin as early as April 25 and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

The bridge, constructed in 1960, needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.

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The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division has made safety improvements at a railroad crossing in the Jackson County community of Balsam.

NCDOT installed crossing signals and gates at the intersection of Old Balsam Depot and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. This $247,643 improvement project was paid for with 90 percent federal funding and 10 percent state funding. Maintenance for the project will be divided equally between the state and Norfolk Southern Railroad.

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Form will add vehicle property tax information in 2013

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is now mailing a larger, more detailed vehicle registration renewal form designed for easier reading and offering additional information about payment, inspections and plate recalls. The new form has also been designed so that vehicle property tax information can be added in compliance with a law scheduled to take effect in 2013.

The renewal notices provide information about passing vehicle inspections no more than 90 days before the license plate expires. They also notify vehicle owners when their license plate is slated for replacement because of age or wear. Exchanging old plates ensures proper visibility and is required by law.

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The N.C. Department of Labor provides labor law posters free of charge to the public, but that has never stopped private poster companies from trying to make a buck off businesses by threatening them with huge fines. Be aware that poster companies have recently added email messages and phone calls to their toolbox of tricks.

“This is my annual reminder to ignore the ridiculous solicitations,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “Your tax dollars have already purchased your business a poster, so save your money and call NCDOL for your free set.”

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Classes start three weeks earlier to end first semester before Christmas

At a meeting of the state board of education last Thursday, a calendar waiver for Macon County Schools was approved that integrates two, week-long periods for catch-up or enrichment of students in various subjects. The alternative calendar for the 2011/12 school year, which was approved by the county school board at a February meeting, begins classes on Aug. 4, three weeks earlier than last year's calendar and the Aug. 25 start date proscribed by North Carolina law.

 

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A small, lazy fishing village on the northeastern coast of Japan, Rikuzentakata was the kind of town memorialized in the sentimental “enka” pop songs of the postwar 60s and 70s. The graceful cedar trees which lined the harbor helped to shield the town from the cool sea breezes that constantly blew in from the Pacific Ocean. Behind the trees, a 20-foot high concrete embankment with gigantic flood gates spanned the bay-shore and gave the citizens of Rikuzentakata assurance of protection in the event of a tsunami, the ocean waves frequently triggered by earthquakes.

Before moving to Franklin and reporting for Macon County News, I lived in Japan for almost eight years. During that time, I had the privilege of visiting Rikuzentakata on numerous occasions.

 

 

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Facilities expansion continuing as Airport Authority seeks financing

As the Macon County Airport continues to develop the extension of its runway, the Airport Authority is now looking to increase its water supply. Obtaining the additional water supply is something Authority officials said they have been seeking since 2008.

At a recent meeting of the Airport Authority, Chairman Milles Gregory said that the current well water supply the Airport has is inadequate, and asked County Commissioner Bob Kuppers whether the county could extend its water supply from the Riverbend community, along Hwy. 28 North, to the airport property.

 

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Local businessman Tim Hubbs has announced that he will retire as CEO of Angel Medical Center in the next six months in order to pursue other business interests.

Hubbs stepped in as Angel’s CEO in July 2008, following a period of upheaval at the hospital. “Tim had the local knowledge and the business acumen we needed,” said Randolph Bulgin, chairman of the Angel Medical Center Board of Trustees. “But Tim also made it clear that the time would come when he would turn his attention to other pursuits. That time has come.”

Upon assuming the role of CEO, Hubbs focused his attention on stabilizing operations and adding services.

 

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published: 10/18/2013
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