Published 7:46 pm Friday, October 9, 2009

Public meeting Wednesday for trail planning

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) will launch “Innovate: Trails,” a multi-county trail planning effort with a meeting at Harmon Field on Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. The meeting, co-sponsored by BnESCO Young Entrepreneurs of Polk County, is designed to gather public input that IPDC will use to develop a regional plan for trails connecting Polk County with other counties in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Everyone is invited to attend and share their ideas. For more information contact Josh King of IPDC at 828-287-2281 ext. 1264.

FENCE 25th Anniversary Gala

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The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) is planning to hold its 25th Anniversary Gala on Friday, october 23 under the FENCE Covered Arena. The “Top Hats and High Boots” celebration will include an evening of dining and dancing under the area, presented by Julie Gordon.

North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowships

The North Carolina Arts Council will accept applications for the 2010-11 Artist Fellowship awards for visual arts, craft, film/video and choreography until November 2. The fellowship award is $10,000. Fellowship guidelines can be found at www.ncarts.org. The program is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly and supports creative development and the creation of new work for artists in North Carolina.

New protections from foreclosure, unfair debt collectors

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper reports that a new law that took effect on October 1, provides new protections from foreclosure and unfair debt collectors in North Carolina. The Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009, which Cooper worked with state legislators to enact, requires lenders to explain in detail their efforts to resolve delinquent home loans without resorting to foreclosure. Clerks of Court now have the authority to ask what steps have been taken to prevent foreclosure and to

continue the hearing for up to 60 days to allow homeowners and lenders more time to negotiate a solution. For more information on the new rules affecting foreclosures and unfair debt collections visit www.ncdog.gov.

Shuler supports Travel Promotion Act to boost tourism

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) voted for the Travel Promotion Act last week to help attract more international visitors to the U.S. Shuler says tourists spent more than $1.8 billion in Western North Carolina last year and supported more than 21,000 jobs. The new bill will provide up to $100 million to accompany funds provided by the tourism industry to promote international travel to the U.S. In addition to funding provided by the tourism industry, overseas visitors who enter the U.S. under the visa waiver program will pay a $10 fee to further fund the program. “Our region has the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the nation, as well as a host of other parks and attractions that will appeal to overseas visitors,” says Shuler