Wednesday, December 30, 2009

JANUARY 5, 2010 - LAST DAY TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES WITHOUT INTEREST

Mecklenburg County residents are reminded that property tax payments
must be paid on or before January 5, 2010 to avoid interest charges.
If mailed, the payment must be postmarked by the United States Postal
Service on or before that date. Taxpayers are urged to pay their tax
obligations immediately to avoid a penalty.

Property owners whose payments are received or postmarked after
January 5 will be charged 2-percent interest for the month of January
2010 and an additional ¾-percent every month thereafter until paid.

All unpaid taxes will be advertised in local newspapers and an
additional advertising fee will be added to each bill. Unpaid taxes
are subject to collection action including garnishment, seizure of
property, and foreclosure. North Carolina's set-off debt program also
authorizes Mecklenburg County to seize N.C. income tax refunds to
satisfy delinquent taxes.

There are several ways to pay your tax bill:

· Online: Visit http://paytax.charmeck.org and use your credit
card, debit card or eCheck.*

· By phone: Call 1-877-533-0072 and use your credit card, debit
card or eCheck*

· By mail: Mail your check using the return envelope in your tax
bill.

· In person: Pay in person between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.:
- Robert L. "Bob" Walton Plaza, 700 East Stonewall
Street.
- West Service Center, 4150 Wilkinson Blvd.

* Make checks payable to the Mecklenburg County Tax Collector. A
convenience fee is assessed when using the credit/debit option. Credit/
debit/eCheck payments are not accepted when paying in person.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Taxpayers with questions about their bill,
property listings, or real estate valuations can call311. Taxpayers
calling from outside Mecklenburg County should dial 704-336-4600. More
information is also available athttp://tax.charmeck.org.

What is taxed? Property taxes are levied on real property (land and
buildings) and personal property (boats, aircraft, income-producing
business personal property, and unlicensed motor vehicles, etc.) The
Tax Collector bills for licensed motor vehicles based on the monthly
registration data from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

You pay taxes to Mecklenburg County and the municipality in which you
live. If you live in Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville,
Matthews, Mint Hill or Pineville, you receive one tax bill for both
county and municipal taxes. Property owners in unincorporated
Mecklenburg County pay additional taxes for their share of police
services through the Law Enforcement Services District Tax.

Tax bills were mailed to the owner of record at the address shown on
the listing as of January 1, 2009. According to North Carolina law,
failure to receive a tax bill does not invalidate the tax or interest
charges.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Community invited to provide input on updating Morehead school name

The community is invited to help make recommendations for updating the
name of John Motley Morehead Elementary School. On Nov. 12, 2008, The
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted to expand the math,
science and environmental studies magnet program at Morehead
Elementary and convert it to a K-8 program focusing on Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Beginning with the
2010-2011 school year, Morehead will add one grade each year until it
reaches the eighth grade.

Since the school will be serving both elementary and middle school
students, the district wants to update the school's name to accurately
reflect the student population and STEM focus. Community members are
invited to visit the school's Web site to provide input or they can
call the school at 980-343-5775 or e-mail Principal Chris Triolo atchris.triolo@cms.k12.nc.us
with suggestions and comments by Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010.

Triolo has appointed a School Name Advisory Committee that will
review, research and select the three names to be presented to the
superintendent. Those recommendations will then be sent to the Board
for a vote on Jan. 12, 2010.

NEW YEAR BRINGS IMPORTANT COUNTY TAX DEADLINES

Mecklenburg County residents and businesses that own boats,
manufactured homes (mobile homes), farm tractors, airplanes,
machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures, supplies and any other
income-producing personal property and unregistered motor vehicles as
of January 1, 2010, are reminded that they must list these items with
the Mecklenburg County Assessor's Office soon.

Tax listings may be made by mail, or at the Assessor's Office, Bob
Walton Plaza, 700 E. Stonewall St., Suite 103, between 8 a.m. and 5
p.m. The tax listing process will begin Friday, January 4, 2010, and
end on Monday, February 1, 2010. All tax listings made by mail and
postmarked by midnight February 1, 2010, will be accepted without
penalty. Listings received after that date will be assessed a 10
percent penalty.

For those who qualify, several tax-relief programs are available:

Low Income Homestead Exclusion: North Carolina excludes from property
taxes $25,000 or 50 percent (whichever is greater) of the assessed
value for specific real property or manufactured homes occupied by
owners as their permanent residence who meet the following
qualifications as of January 1 preceding the taxable year for which
the benefit is claimed. To qualify, homeowners must be:

1) At least 65 years old or totally and permanently disabled;
2) Report income for the preceding calendar year not more than
$27,100 (income is defined as all money received from every source
other than gifts or inheritances from a spouse, lineal ancestor or
lineal descendant. For married applicants residing with their
spouses, the income of both spouses must be included, whether or not
the property is in both names);
3) Listed on the title as of January 1 as legal owner;
4) A resident of North Carolina.

Circuit Breaker Property Tax Deferment (payment postponement): This
plan limits property taxes to a percentage of the owner's income. For
an owner whose income does not exceed the annual income eligibility
limit for the Low Income Household Exclusion explained above, owners'
taxes are limited to 4 percent of their income.* For owners whose
annual income exceeds the limit by not more than 150 percent, taxes
will be limited to 5 percent of their income. The taxes exceeding the
applicable percentage of the owner's income will then become deferred
(postponed) along with interest. To qualify, applicants must meet the
following requirements:

1) They must be least 65 years old or totally and permanently
disabled;
2) Have an income for the preceding calendar year of not more
than $40,650;* (150 percent of Low Income Homestead Exclusion);
3) Be the legal owner listed on the title as of January 1 for the
past five years;
4) Must be a resident of North Carolina;
5) ALL owners of the property must apply and elect to defer the
applicable portion of their taxes;
6) Application is required ANNUALLY.

Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans: North Carolina excludes
from property taxes the first $45,000 of assessed value for specific
real property or manufactured homes that are occupied by the owner as
their permanent residence. To qualify, applicants must meet the
following requirements:

1) Must be honorably discharged veterans who have 100 percent
total and permanent disability that is service connected;
2) Must have Veteran's Disability Certification (NCDVA-9) and be
able to provide a DD214 or DD215 form;
3) An applicant can be the unmarried and never remarried spouse
of a qualifying deceased veteran;
4) An applicant can be a qualifying veteran with specially
adapted housing per 38 U.S.C. 2101.

NOTE: Disability pensions are not service-connected.

* Income is defined as all money received from every source other
than gifts or inheritances from a spouse, lineal ancestor or lineal
descendant. For married applicants residing with their spouses, the
income of both spouses must be included, whether or not the property
is in both names.

You may obtain an application by calling CharMeck 311. The deadline to
apply for these exclusion programs is June 1, 2010.

For more information, visit the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor's
Office Web site at http://bit.ly/1ZHyFi.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Charlotte-Mecklenburg FOP hosts Christmas Cops and Kids

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9 will hold
its annual Christmas "Cops and Kids" on Saturday, December 19, 2009.
This year's event will be held at the Target Store located at 8120
University City Blvd. beginning at 9:00 am.

The Fraternal Order of Police takes kids shopping during the Christmas
season for toys and clothes they might otherwise not see. All the kids
are referred to the FOP though various community resources. We hope
that by helping them with purchases of Christmas gifts they will have
a happy holiday and start the New Year on a positive note.

Randy Hagler, Lodge #9 president notes "Each year the program grows
and it's a great opportunity to see the kids warm up to the officers
by the end of the shopping experience."

"Christmas Cops and Kids" would not be possible without contributions
from the community to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of
Police throughout the year. Thank you for your support!

"Ultimately it benefits the children and their families," says Ben
Pepitone, Lodge #9 committee chair, "but I have to tell you the
officers get a lot out of it too."

The FOP is the largest law enforcement officer organization in the
country with more than 325,000 members nationwide. Locally the 1500
member FOP Lodge is made up of men and women serving in the law
enforcement community in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Members
proudly serve in all capacities of law enforcement including
municipal, county, state, and federal agencies.

N. C. Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco Visits Union County, Praises Local Innovations

N. C. Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco Visits Union County, Praises Local
Innovations

STALLINGS, N.C.. Dec. 18, 2009 - Keith Crisco, N.C. Commerce
Secretary, on Thursday praised innovations in economic development and
technical manufacturing in Union County, as he visited CEM Corporation
in Stallings in connection with the Union County Partnership for
Progress.

Crisco had high praise for CEM Corporation, a global leader in
microwave-based scientific technology, where he held a 10 a.m. press
conference. "Here's a company that started from zero right here in a
garage, has doubled in size in the past five years to $70 million in
annual sales, and expects to double again in less than five years.
They are achieving this through innovation, and 75 percent of their
sales are outside of North America, including millions to China. All
the manufacturing jobs are staying here. This is very impressive."

Crisco also promised increased support for Legacy Business Park, a
planned 5,000-acre development in eastern Union County, being
coordinated by the Union County Partnership for Progress, the county's
economic development organization. "This is a great innovation to
transform this area," he said. "I have appointed my Deputy Secretary
Dale Carroll to be the specific point person to work with and support
Project Legacy. We'll use every tool we can to ensure its success."

"More and more people in North Carolina are trying to promote
innovation, and Gov. Bev Perdue recently announced the creation of a
N.C. Innovation Council," Crisco said. "Bev Perdue is also very
focused on economic development. In the past year I have asked her to
make 46 appearances for economic development purposes, and she hasn't
turned me down once."

Crisco said there were "three to five comparable announcements in the
pipeline" similar in size to this week's announcement that Electrolux
was moving its U.S. headquarters to Charlotte. "Now they seem a little
more likely to close the deal as the economy improves."

CEM President and CEO Michael Collins, Ph. D., gave a demonstration of
his company's new Sprint Rapid Protein Analyzer. In two minutes it
performs protein analysis in foods like milk that used to take six
hours with standard chemical analysis techniques.

"Our equipment is water-based and generates no hazardous wastes,"
Collins said. "It is truly green technology. Traditional methods used
around the world are estimated to generate 15 millions pounds of
hazardous waste per year. That's why the EPA recognized our technology
with a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award."

Collins said the Sprint System was purchased by the USDA Agriculture
Research Service at N. C. State University, and he hopes it will soon
be used statewide.

# # #

[For more information contact Buck Lawrimore at 704-332-4344,
Buck(at)Lciweb.com, or Michelle Horn (Marketing Manager, CEM) at
704-821-7015, Michelle.Horn(at)CEM.com.] [Attached photo shows Crisco
speaking at CEM Thursday morning. Other images available.]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Registration open for CPCC's fast-track, professional and career enhancement programs

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) continues to hold open
registration for its JobsNOW, fast-track, professional and career
enhancement programs through January 9, 2010. Dislocated workers or
others looking for new career opportunities are encouraged to enroll
in these classes which help individuals complete job training in six
months or less.
CPCC offers more than 15 JobsNOW programs that focus on a variety of
in-demand fields such as education, healthcare and sustainable
technologies. The programs are open to any individual paying tuition.
Persons who qualify for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding as a
dislocated worker or meet the WIA Adult Services Program requirements
may take these classes free-of-charge. To see if you qualify or to
view a complete list of updated classes, please visit www.cpcc.edu/changingcareers
.
Enrolling at CPCC has never been easier; residents may register online
or in-person at any one of the College's six convenient campus
locations. For campus maps, please visit
http://www.cpcc.edu/campuses.
Registration is also currently in progress for the College's
curriculum and Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE) programs.
Individuals interested in enrolling in for-credit classes may go to
schedule.cpcc.edu to register. Persons seeking personal enrichment
classes or workforce training programs may visit www.cpcc.edu/cce to
register for non-credit courses.
Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in
North Carolina, offering close to 300 academic degree, customized
corporate training, market-focused continuing education, and special
interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically
accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the
National Alliance of Business named CPCC the Community College of the
Year for its response to the workforce and technology needs of local
employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training
strategies.
Funding for the JobsNOW 12-in-6 program is supported by the Federal
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the N.C. Department of
Commerce, the Division of Workforce Development and the Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB).

KEEP MECKLENBURG BEAUTIFUL EARNS NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Mecklenburg County's efforts to reduce litter and increase
recycling awareness have garnered national recognition.

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful, a division of Mecklenburg County Solid
Waste Services, has earned the 2009 President's Circle
Recognition Award from Keep America Beautiful, KMB's parent
organization.

The President's Circle award goes to Keep America Beautiful
affiliates that promote community beautification by tuning in to the
community's individual needs, maintaining an active advisory
council, participating in training opportunities and upholding high
standards of accountability to the national organization.

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful's efforts include:

● Its tailgate recycling program, a community partnership that
encourages Panthers fans to recycle cans and bottles before heading
into the stadium. More than 20 tons of recyclable materials have been
collected so far this season.

● Recycle and Win, the recycling promotion in Mecklenburg County
that rewards residents for proper recycling. Winners receive a $50
gift card to Harris Teeter. The program is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

● Swat a Litterbug, which encourages residents to report
littering as they see it happen by calling a County hot line.
Litterbugs receive a gentle reminder in the mail that littering is
illegal. For more information, go to www.swatalitterbug.com.

"Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful is striving to get the environmental
message out there so that we can make a difference in our own back
yard," says Jake Wilson, executive director of Keep Mecklenburg
Beautiful.

Keep America Beautiful Inc. is the nation's largest volunteer-
based community improvement and education organization. Participating
organizations engage citizens to prevent litter and reduce waste
through reuse and recycling. Millions participate annually in programs
to clean up and beautify their neighborhoods. To learn more about Keep
America Beautiful, visit www.kab.org.

Since 2003, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful has empowered residents of
Mecklenburg County to take greater responsibility for enhancing their
environment. To learn more about this and other waste reduction
programs, go to www.wipeoutwaste.com

MECKLENBURG COUNTY ANNOUNCES CLOSINGS FOR CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S DAY

Mecklenburg County government offices and agencies will be closed on
Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, for Christmas and on
Friday, January 1 for the New Year holiday. This includes all units of
the Department of Social Services, Tax Office, Elections Office,
Register of Deeds Office, and Land Use and Environmental Services
Agency.

DSS Holiday Weekend Closures:
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Health Department: The Health Department will be closed on Thursday,
December 24 and Friday, December 25, for Christmas, and January 1 for
New Year's.

Substance Abuse Services Center (Detox): Open 24 hours a day, seven
days a week.

DSS Care Line 704-336-CARE (2273): Operates 24 hours a day, seven days
a week to receive reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children
and elderly or disabled adults.

Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: The Main Library
and library branches will be closed Thursday, December 24 and Friday,
December 25 for the Christmas holiday. The library will be closed on
Friday, January 1 for the New Year's holiday.

Solid Waste and Recycling: Solid Waste administration offices and the
Foxhole Landfill will be closed on Thursday, December 24 and Friday,
December 25. Staffed recycling centers and Compost Central will be
closed on Friday, December 25, but will operate on a normal schedule
on Thursday, December 24 and Saturday, December 26. All offices and
facilities will be closed on Friday, January 1.

Park and Recreation: Administrative offices will be closed Thursday,
December 24; Friday, December 25 and Friday, January 1. Parks and
greenways are open each day during daylight hours. Other facilities
are as follows:

Recreation Centers:
December 25: Closed
January 1: Closed (Holiday hours on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve
may vary depending on local events.)
Nature Centers:
December 25: Closed
January 1: Open
Aquatic Center & Marion Diehl Pool:
December 24: 8am-5pm
December 25: Closed
December 26: 8am-5pm
December 31: 8am-5pm
January 1: 8am-5pm
Ray's Splash Planet:
December 25: Closed
December 24, 26, 31: 10am-6pm
January 1: Open 10am – 6pm

Fitness center remains open, except December 25.

Air & Waste Management Association and Water Environment Federation To Meet in Charlotte

The Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) and the Water
Environment Federation (WEF), in cooperation with the North Carolina
Water Environment Association, will present "Odors and Air Pollutants
2010," March 21-24, 2010, in Charlotte, NC.

As communities grow in size and population, more municipal,
industrial, and agricultural facilities are confronted with issues
related to odors and air emissions. Held every two years, this
conference will bring together environmental professionals from around
the world to discuss the latest developments in odor and air emissions
management, foster informed decision-making, and encourage the use of
innovative technologies.

"Odor impacts from a wastewater treatment plant are the primary
measure of an operations' success," said Ray Porter, Chair of WEF's
Air Quality and Odor Control Committee. "This year's conference
provides an excellent forum to learn about the latest developments and
share knowledge on this evolving and important topic."

Based on real-life experiences and lessons learned, the well-rounded
technical program will include oral presentations, interactive
discussions, workshops, and exhibits on the following key topics: odor
control planning and monitoring; methods of sampling; measuring and
estimating emissions; design of odor control systems; biological odor
control; collection systems odor and corrosion; sustainability and
greenhouse gases; dispersion modeling; and innovative technologies,
operations, and agriculture.

Practitioners, engineers, research & development staff, scientists,
facility owners and operators, teachers and professors, public
administrators, regulatory agencies, collection systems managers,
consultants, maintenance staff, division managers, and executive
managers are encouraged to attend.

For more information, or to register, visit http://www.wef.org/oap/.

The Air & Waste Management Association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
professional organization that provides training, information, and
networking opportunities to thousands of environmental professionals
in 65 countries. For more information, visit www.awma.org.

Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-
profit technical and educational organization with 36,000 individual
members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water
quality professionals around the world. WEF and its Member
Associations proudly work to achieve our mission of preserving and
enhancing the global water environment. www.wef.org

CMS ranks second nationally with newly certified teachers

The National Board for Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS) has
announced that 221 CMS teachers have earned National Board
Certification this year. The district, ranked second nationally with
newly certified teachers, now has 1,439 National Board Certified
Teachers (NBCT) on staff. Click herefor the list of CMS teachers
earning their 2009 National Board certification.

According to NBPTS, North Carolina is ranked first with the highest
number of teachers achieving 2009 National Board Certification (1,509)
and is ranked first in the total number of teachers who have achieved
certification over time (15,695). CMS is ranked first among North
Carolina school districts for most certified teachers in 2009. Wake
was second with 197, followed by Guilford with 69, Buncombe with 42,
and Forsyth with 30.

Teachers who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous
standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment
and peer review. Completion of the two-part voluntary process for
certification can take up to three years. National Board Certification
requires a series of performance-based assessments, such as teaching-
portfolio reviews and thorough analyses of classroom teaching and
learning concepts. Teachers must also complete a series of written
exercises that assess subject knowledge and teaching ability. NBPTS
offers 25 certificates in a variety of subject areas and student
developmental levels.

North Carolina rewards board-certified teachers with a 12 percent
salary increase for the 10-year period of certification. For more
information on National Board Certification, go to www.nbpts.org.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Jar Wars" at Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel Benefits Children's Hospital

The Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel helped raise over $500 with
its "Jar Wars" campaign where guests and staff could turn their excess
change into points and paper money to benefit Levine's Children's
Hospital.

According to Assistant General Manager, Joseph Blewitt, "Sarah Miller,
who is on our Engineering staff came up with this great idea to turn
something we probably all have sitting at home into actual dollars to
help our community and make it a brighter Christmas for the Children
of Levine."

Sarah along with her Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark co-workers
continued their holiday fund-raising efforts by also working with the
Children's Miracle Network Reindeer Raiders program. Donning antlers
and kicking up their heels, they helped to generate excitement and
additional dollars for Lite102.9's 10th Annual Our Kids Come First
Radiothon, which broadcasts live from the Levine's Children's Hospital
and shares heartwarming stories of the children, their families and
caregivers to help raise money for the hospital through the Children's
Miracle Network.

ABOUT THE RENAISSANCE CHARLOTTE SOUTHPARK HOTEL
A very experience-focused hotel, guests are welcomed at check-in with
a mini martini and a fresh-baked brownie or chocolate chip cookie!
Newly renovated, this property is located in the affluent Southpark
neighborhood, just a few minutes south of uptown Charlotte, North
Carolina. The hotel has 264 guest rooms, an indoor pool, fitness
center, Fountain Grille Restaurant, and Lobby Bar.

For more information, visit www.RenaissanceCharlotteSouthPark.com or
call (704) 501-2510.

Lighting of "The Living Trees" Begins Holiday Season: Groundbreaking in Late January 2010

More than 100 volunteers and donors were on hand tonight to watch
Ronald McDonald himself light "The Living Trees," officially kicking
off the holiday season at the future site of the Ronald McDonald House
(RMH) of Charlotte.

With this year's holiday season now in progress, RMH of Charlotte
officials are already looking forward to hosting the event next year
inside the House. That's because an official groundbreaking is
expected to occur the week of January 25, 2010.

"The RMH will become a place for families to be with other families
that are dealing with life-threatening situations," said Mona Johnson-
Gibson, Executive Director of the RMH of Charlotte. "This House will
make it possible for families to travel to Charlotte so their sick
children can receive treatment at both Levine and Hemby Children's
Hospitals without the worry of finding a place to stay. Next year, we
can't wait to have this party 'inside our new House.'"

The three Living Trees (a 3-foot Evergreen, a 6-foot Holly tree
[shaped as a Christmas tree] and a 12-foot deciduous tree) were
illuminated with red and yellow lights. They will be illuminated
every night until the end of the year. The Trees are more than just
symbols of the upcoming holidays; they will serve as living icons –
beacons of hope – for children and families who will use the House
after it is opens. The trees will then become focal points in its
landscaping. Construction of the House is scheduled to be completed
in late 2010 on the one-acre parcel of land, donated by Carolinas
Medical Center (the 1600 block of East Morehead Street). The lot
currently contains two structures that will be removed, making way for
the state-of-the-art facility.

About the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
Currently, Charlotte is the only major U.S. city that does not have a
RMH. The RMH of Charlotte is scheduled to open in late 2010 and will
serve the families of children being treated at Levine Children's
Hospital and Hemby Children's Hospital. Located on the 1600 block of
East Morehead Street on land donated by Carolinas Medical Center, the
House will feature approximately 35,000 square feet of living space
complete with 28 bedrooms (one family per bedroom/suite), providing
more than 10,000 nights for the families. It is also scheduled to
have a community kitchen, great room, learning center, playground and
sitting porch. Construction will begin in early 2010. The RMH of
Charlotte is an independent 501 (c) (3) charity managed by a local
board of directors which will oversee construction and operation of
the home. The cost of building and operating the RMH of Charlotte
will come primarily from individual and corporate donations. The RMH
of Charlotte will be funded, constructed and operated by the Charlotte
community. The mission of the RMH of Charlotte is to provide the
families of children being treated in area medical facilities with a
safe, affordable and caring "home away from home." For more
information on RMH of Charlotte, visit www.rmhofcharlotte.org.

24 Hours of Booty to Open 2010 Event Registration Jan. 4 - Slots limited to first 1,200 riders

CHARLOTTE – 24 Hours of Booty, Inc., which runs the Official 24-Hour
Cycling Event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, announced today that
registration for The Ninth Annual 24 Hours of Booty in Charlotte will
officially open on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

The annual charity cycling event – geared for teams and individuals
and open to participants of all ages and skill levels – is scheduled
to roll on the "Booty Loop" in Myers Park from 7 p.m. Friday, July 30
to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2010. Event registration will be capped
at the first 1,200 registrants. Carolinas Medical Center's Blumenthal
Cancer Center is the presenting sponsor of this year's event where
participants gather at the Queens University of Charlotte athletic
fields for camping, food and fun. For more information about
fundraising commitments and to register for the event, visit www.24hoursofbooty.org
.

"24 Hours of Booty has become a great tradition in the Charlotte
community as we all join together to raise money for amazing cancer
organizations, so we are excited about kicking off the new decade by
launching our 2010 registration drive," said Basil Lyberg, executive
director of 24 Hours of Booty. "We anticipate the event registrations
closing early as in years' past and urge people to sign up now. We
appreciate the community's support and look forward to another
fantastic event this July."

In addition to the Charlotte event, 24 Hours of Booty will also host
the Second Annual 24 Hours of Booty of Columbia, Md. at Gateway
Business Park "Booty Loop" on Aug.28-29 and its inaugural event in
Atlanta on Oct.2-3. The location is still being determined for the
Atlanta event.

In 24 Hours of Booty's eight-year history, more than 6,000 riders have
raised more than $3.7 million. This year's event in Charlotte included
1,200 riders from 24 different states, and more than 250 volunteers.
Also in 2009, 24 Hours of Booty, Inc.raised more than $1 million with
events in Charlotte, N.C. and in Columbia, Md.

About 24 Hours of Booty
24 Hours of Booty, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity
located in Charlotte that provides extraordinary cycling events that
are safe, fun, and open to all levels of cycling ability. Its mission
is to conduct 24-hour cycling events that increase public awareness,
funds, and support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and local cancer
organizations. Local organizations include The Keep Pounding Fund at
Carolinas Medical Center and the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas in
Charlotte, and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and Johns
Hopkins Medicine in Columbia, Md. For more information, call
704-365-4417 or toll-free at 877-365-4417, or visit www.24hoursofbooty.org
.

Get updates and the inside scoop about 24 Hours of Booty! Follow us on
Twitter at www.twitter.com/24hoursofbooty and become a 24 Hours of
Booty "fan" on Facebook.

131 Main & Latta Pavilion Hosting Breakfast with Santa

Latta Pavilion and 131 Main Restaurant in Dilworth are getting into
the Christmas spirit by hosting a very special guest.

Santa Claus is taking time out of his busy schedule to be at Latta
Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, and he wants to have breakfast
with all the good boys and girls. A breakfast buffet will be served
between 10 and 11:30 a.m. at 131 Main Restaurant, located at 1315 East
Blvd. Breakfast is $3.95 for kids and $4.95 for adults. To put a
child's name on "Santa's list," please email social@131-main.com.

Following breakfast, Santa will be located outside between 131 Main
and East Boulevard Bar and Grill until 5 pm. During the day, several
Latta Pavilion establishments will be offering holiday specials
including 131 Main, Petal and Peek A Boo Couture. For more
information, please call 704.343.0131.

About 131 Main Restaurants
131 Main is an upscale casual dining restaurant serving updated
American classics with an emphasis on fresh food. Its relaxed
ambience, reasonably priced menu and extensive wine list have made 131
Main the ideal place for a business lunch, a quiet evening out, drinks
with friends, or dinner with the family. 131 Main has four locations
– Cornelius (Lake Norman), Charlotte (Blakeney and Dilworth), and
Asheville. A fifth location is scheduled to open in early 2010 in
Raleigh. Captiva Restaurant Group, formed in 2004, founded, owns and
operates 131 Main. Based in Cornelius, NC, Captiva Restaurant Group
was founded by its three principals: Joe Douglas (CEO), Michael Vaughn
(COO), and Chris Carlsen (CFO). For more information, visitwww.131-
main.com.

City of Charlotte Committee Assignments Announced

Charlotte, NC - Mayor Anthony Foxx announced committee assignments for
the 2009-2011 Charlotte City Council. Committees include five groups
to support Council's Focus Areas and three others to address budget,
government affairs and City government efficiency. These committees
evaluate and make recommendations affecting policy before they are
deliberated among the full council.

Housing and Neighborhood Development: This committee provides
comprehensive initiatives designed to foster economic development and
improve quality of life issues in Charlotte's neighborhoods and
business areas.

Committee members: James Mitchell (Chair), Warren Turner (Vice
Chair), Michael Barnes, Warren Cooksey, and Patrick Cannon.


Community Safety: This committee focuses on initiatives to
proactively identify and address issues related to crime, disorder,
and personal safety to ensure citizens feel safe in the areas where
they live, work, and spend their leisure time.

Committee members: Patrick Cannon (Chair), Patsy Kinsey (Vice Chair),
Susan Burgess, Andy Dulin, and Edwin Peacock.


Transportation and Planning: This committee focuses on the City and
region's transportation network including roads, mass transit,
pedestrian and bicycle connections as well as planning to address our
region's transportation infrastructure.

Committee members: David Howard (Chair), Michael Barnes (Vice Chair),
Warren Cooksey, Susan Burgess, and Patsy Kinsey.

Economic Development: This Committee works to provide direction that
supports development of an educated and trained work force, fosters
partnerships to aid local economic growth, retains and attracts
quality businesses, supports business development and contributes to
the economy.
Committee members: Susan Burgess (Chair), James Mitchell (Vice Chair),
Nancy Carter, Patsy Kinsey, and Andy Dulin.


Environment: This Committee focuses on City policies for air and
water quality, land preservation, and energy and resource conservation
by adopting best practices and delivering public services in a manner
based on sound environmental practices.

Committee members: Edwin Peacock (Chair), Nancy Carter (Vice Chair),
Susan Burgess, David Howard, and Andy Dulin.

Budget: This Committee works with City staff to review and prioritize
issues affecting the City's budget.
Committee members: Michael Barnes (Chair), Andy Dulin (Vice Chair),
David Howard, Edwin Peacock, and Nancy Carter.

Restructuring Government: This Committee examines policies and
programs in order to provide citizens the best service at the lowest
cost and highest efficiency.

Committee members: Warren Cooksey (Chair), Patrick Cannon (Vice
Chair), James Mitchell, Patsy Kinsey, and Warren Turner.

Government Affairs: This Committee discusses opportunities and
initiatives to pursue with State and Federal government in support of
City priorities.

Committee members: Nancy Carter (Chair), Warren Turner (Vice Chair),
Susan Burgess, Andy Dulin, and Patrick Cannon.

N. C. Secretary of Commerce Crisco to Speak at CEM Dec. 18

Matthews, N.C. - CEM Corporation, a leading global company
specializing in scientific solutions for critical laboratory
applications, will host J. Keith Crisco, the North Carolina Secretary
of Commerce, at the company's world headquarters in Stallings on
December 18, 2009 at 10:00 am.

Crisco will speak to local officials, community and business leaders
about the state and local economies and the proposed development of
the Legacy Business Park in Union County. His visit to the county is
being coordinated by the Union County Partnership for Progress, Union
County's economic development agency, which is also coordinating plans
for Legacy Business Park.

Crisco will also recognize CEM Corporation for winning the 2009
Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Greener Reaction
Conditions category for its Sprint™ Rapid Protein Analyzer. The media
are welcome and may ask questions.

"We are looking forward to Mr. Crisco's visit, which will in part
highlight some of the scientific innovation that exists right here in
North Carolina," said Michael J. Collins, president and CEO of CEM
Corporation. "It is essential that government, community, and business
leaders work together to create a climate that will attract more high-
tech companies to the state, and it is our hope that this visit by Mr.
Crisco will help promote a dialogue conducive to that goal."

"We also appreciate the recognition of the Sprint System as an
environmentally-friendly technology that can help eliminate millions
of pounds of chemical waste worldwide, including hundreds of thousands
of pounds currently produced in North Carolina by the performance of
conventional protein tests," said Collins.

A demonstration of the Sprint System and a tour of CEM's facility will
follow Mr. Crisco's presentation.

About the Sprint

The Sprint Rapid Protein Analyzer is a revolutionary technology that
will replace Kjeldahl as the primary method for protein determination.
Developed in 1883, Kjeldahl is a method for determining total nitrogen
content that utilizes large volumes of hazardous chemicals heated to
high temperatures for hours at a time, with the protein content
calculated from the nitrogen results. Sprint eliminates the need for
all of that by utilizing CEM's proprietary iTAG™ Technology to
directly "tag" the protein with a non-toxic, environmentally-benign
solution, yielding more accurate results in minutes. The adaptation of
the Sprint System for protein determination in foods will eliminate
the estimated 2.5 million kilograms of hazardous waste used in
Kjeldahl tests every year in the United States. The Sprint System uses
a method approved by AOAC International and the American Association
of Cereal Chemists (AACC).

About the Award

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award is presented by the
United States Environmental Protection Agency annually in five
categories. The award recognizes outstanding technological and
chemical design innovations that incorporate green chemistry
principles and can be effectively utilized in industry for pollution
prevention. CEM is the first instrumentation company to win the award.
Previous winners include Pfizer, DuPont, Merck, Battelle, Argonne
National Laboratory, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and BASF among others.

CEM Corporation is a private company based in Matthews, North Carolina
and the leading provider of microwave laboratory instrumentation
worldwide. The Company designs and manufactures laboratory systems for
bioscience, chemical synthesis, analytical, and compositional testing
applications, and in many instances, has helped reduce or eliminate
the amount of chemicals utilized in these applications. CEM's products
are used in the pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, environmental, and
food processing industries, as well as in academic research. The
Company has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and
France, as well as a global network of distributors.

Friday, December 11, 2009

UNC Charlotte Trustees Approve Financing Plan For Football

UNC Charlotte's Board of Trustees on Friday unanimously approved plans
to move forward with a football program in 2013. The proposal calls
for the university to borrow $40.5 million to construct a permanent
stadium and field house.

The decision came during the board's meeting at the new Student Union.

Prior to the board's approval, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said while
the financing plan does require imposing higher fees on students, it
also offers several distinct and tangible advantages over other options.

Most notably, he said, the plan approved by the trustees would permit
the university to take advantage of a favorable bidding environment
for construction and historically low interest rates.

Other advantages include eliminating the need for rentals for things
like temporary bleachers, concessions and restrooms. It also could
stimulate interest in season ticket sales and private fund raising
efforts with donors and sponsors.

Before the vote, Dubois said the university had a rare opportunity to
take advantage of extremely low interest rates and a highly
competitive construction bidding market. He also urged the trustees to
view the proposal as a long-term investment.

"I'm concerned about student costs, of course," he said. "But to delay
this would kill it (football). We would have a hard time convincing
people three years from now that we are serious."

Several trustees also spoke in favor of the plan.

"I endorse it without any reservation," said trustee Karen Popp.

Since he began exploring the possibility of fielding a football team
more than two years ago, Dubois has spoken frankly about the financial
challenges. Most of the costs of a football program would be borne by
students and private donors because state law prohibits the use of
public money for building athletic facilities such as a stadium.

"This is a long-term strategic plan that will pay huge dividends for
students, alumni, faculty and staff at this vibrant university,"
Dubois said. "It will foster a full university experience that many
students crave as undergraduates.

"It also will help build closer relationships with our growing ranks
of UNC Charlotte alumni and the greater Charlotte community," he said.
"Despite the economic challenges facing us all, this university is
growing by leaps and bounds. We expect to have 35,000 students on
campus by 2020 and we have strong support for football. We expect that
will grow even stronger as we get closer to making it a reality."

Under the plan, students would begin paying an additional $50
operational fee beginning in the fall of 2011 for the football
program. That would increase by $50 per year to $200. An additional
$120 fee for debt service will begin in the fall of 2010 to cover the
costs to build training and practice facilities and a new stadium on
the campus.

Now the proposal must be approved by the UNC System Board of Governors
and it is also subject to review by the North Carolina General Assembly.

"We still have a long way to go, but this is an important first step,"
Dubois said after the vote was greeted by applause.

About UNC Charlotte UNC Charlotte is North Carolina's urban research
institution. With an enrollment ranking it fourth among the 17 schools
in the UNC system, it is the largest public university in the greater
Charlotte metropolitan region. A doctoral institution, UNC Charlotte
serves the region through applied research, knowledge transfer and
engaged community service. For fall 2009, approximately 24,700
students, including 5,300 graduate students, were enrolled in one of
the University's comprehensive doctoral, master's or bachelor's
programs. Follow us on the Web at www.uncc.edu, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/UNCCharlotte
, Twitter at UNCCLT_News and our blog at http://
unccltnews.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ray Evernham Makes Significant Donation, Joins RMH of Charlotte's Executive Board

CHARLOTTE - NASCAR legend Ray Evernham wants the Queen City and the
surrounding areas to get behind the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of
Charlotte.

Not only is he asking for the public's support, but wants to lead by
example. Evernham announced this afternoon he was making a $250,000
donation to the RMH of Charlotte. This announcement was made during a
press conference held at the future site of the House (the 1600 block
of East Morehead Street). Not only did Evernham make a donation, but
he also announced he would be joining the charity's Executive Board.

The RMH is more than a charity to Evernham; it supported his family 18
years ago when his son, Ray J., was diagnosed with leukemia.

"When I was getting started in NASCAR, we were in the middle of moving
to Charlotte from New Jersey when we learned that Ray J. had
leukemia," Evernham said. "He needed treatment at Memorial Sloan-
Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While Ray J. underwent his
outpatient treatments, the RMH put a lot of our concerns at ease and
allowed us to focus all our efforts on Ray J."

During a two-year period, Ray made 10 trips to New York City so Ray J.
could receive his treatments. Every time they arrived at the RMH,
they were always met "with open arms."

"We were treated like family," Evernham said. "That's why I urge
everyone to get behind this charity. The thought of having a sick
child is one of the most stressful feelings in the world; however,
that stress is reduced when you know you have a place to stay and
'friends' who will take care of you."

During the press conference, Evernham shared Ray J.'s story with the
crowd, who is now 18 years old, graduated from high school last May
and is cancer free.

Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director of the RMH of Charlotte,
thanked Evernham for his donation and dedication to the charity.

"Ray is an inspiration to us all," Johnson-Gibson said. "We welcome
him to our board and look forward to providing the same type of
support and comfort here in Charlotte that the Evernhams received in
New York City."

Construction of the House is scheduled to be completed in late 2010 on
the one-acre parcel of land, donated by Carolinas Medical Center. The
lot currently contains two structures that will be removed, making way
for the state-of-the-art facility. An official groundbreaking will be
announced soon and is expected to take place after the first of the
year.

About Ray Evernham
During his more than 30 years in racing, Evernham has visited victory
lane as a driver, crew chief and car owner. After winning numerous
Modified titles and serving a successful stint with the International
Race of Champions, Evernham teamed with Jeff Gordon at Hendrick
Motorsports to create one of the most successful organizations in
NASCAR history. In seven years, they claimed three NASCAR Cup
championships and 47 victories. Evernham's hard work, dedication and
commitment resulted in Dodge officials knocking on his door in 1999 to
oversee Dodge's return to NASCAR Cup racing in 2001. It was a venture
that launched his eight-year career as a NASCAR team owner. Today,
Evernham is exploring other ways of expanding his motorsports legacy,
including broadcasting races for ESPN, managing East Lincoln Speedway,
designing a vehicle to go after the land-speed record for a piston-
driven car, helping develop young drivers and overseeing a museum and
entertainment facility in Mooresville, N.C.

About the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
Currently, Charlotte is the only major U.S. city that does not have a
RMH. The RMH of Charlotte is scheduled to open in late 2010 and will
serve the families of children being treated at Levine Children's
Hospital and Hemby Children's Hospital. Located on the 1600 block of
East Morehead Street on land donated by Carolinas Medical Center, the
House will feature approximately 35,000 square feet of living space
complete with 28 bedrooms (one family per bedroom/suite), providing
more than 10,000 nights for the families. It is also scheduled to
have a community kitchen, great room, learning center, playground and
sitting porch. Construction will begin in early 2010. The RMH of
Charlotte is an independent 501 (c) (3) charity managed by a local
board of directors which will oversee construction and operation of
the home. The cost of building and operating the RMH of Charlotte
will come primarily from individual and corporate donations. The RMH
of Charlotte will be funded, constructed and operated by the Charlotte
community. The mission of the RMH of Charlotte is to provide the
families of children being treated in area medical facilities with a
safe, affordable and caring "home away from home." For more
information on RMH of Charlotte, visit www.rmhofcharlotte.org.

Mom Corps Opens in Charlotte with Former Wachovia HR Executives

Charlotte, N.C. - As jobless rates continue to climb across the
country, Mom Corps, a premier staffing solutions company, is expanding
and opening a franchise in Charlotte.

After working together for more than 16 years, three HR executives
recognized an excellent opportunity and a need in North Carolina to
open Mom Corps.

Bonnie Ceran, Stacy Keefer, and Gretchen Rost are the new Regional
Owners of Mom Corps Charlotte. A powerhouse team committed to
providing Charlotte area professionals a variety of contract work
opportunities and assisting area companies with the option of hiring
"on-demand" talent to meet their changing business needs.

Mom Corps provides companies direct access to top-tier experienced
professionals, not typically found through other channels, on a
contract or permanent basis. In turn, they provide professionals
challenging work in their respective fields through, contract,
flexible and permanent jobs that allow them to maintain greater work/
life balance.

"Mom Corps is an innovative, high quality brand and represents a niche
market previously untapped in the Charlotte area," said Keefer.
"Bringing this staffing model to our city is a natural fit for us, as
we bring a combined 60+ years of staffing and HR experience to the
business. Workplace flexibility will continue to become increasingly
more important both for professionals and for companies."

Prior to Mom Corps, the owners were colleagues at Wachovia in the
Human Resources Division.

The three partners previously managed the corporation's internal
contract staffing division known as FirstPlace. They developed and
implemented the function and expanded it to a $220 million line of
business that provided a key pipeline of talent and significant cost
savings to the organization.
Before joining Wachovia, each partner spent time in management roles
with national staffing and recruiting firms.


"We are excited to take our business to the next level and continue
growth through the development of our new franchise program in
Charlotte," says Mom Corps CEO and founder, Allison O'Kelly.
"Franchising is a recruitment strategy to attract motivated, invested
employees to Mom Corps."

The launch of Mom Corps' franchises is also timely considering the
predicted increase in demand for temporary staffing services this year
and in the future. "Uncertainty in the economy is making firms
reluctant to hire permanent employees," said Robert T. Sumichrast,
dean of the Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia.
"That adds to the demand for temporary and part-time positions, and
companies are increasingly relying on top quality staffing firms."

"Mom Corps is a progressive company. What we are doing today is going
to become commonplace in the future, as companies work to attract and
retain the best talent, while still keeping their cost structures in
line with changes in revenue. I am proud to be involved in this
cutting edge business model," says Ceran.

Mom Corps, founded in July 2005, provides professionals with tools and
information to evaluate their career choices as they seek non-
traditional employment. In just four years, Mom Corps' roster has
grown to more than 35,000 candidates nationwide seeking contract and
flexible work schedules, and its client base has expanded to several
hundred companies, including Fortune 500 firms. Despite current
economic conditions, O'Kelly expects both to double in 2010 through
business initiatives and the franchise arm.

"The Mom Corps system works because it supports both the needs of the
client and the candidate. The client receives cost effective, "just-in-
time" talent at the level of coverage needed, while supporting the
flexible working needs of professionals." says Rost.

The Charlotte team are active members of the Society of Human Resource
Management, Charlotte Area Professionals and the Charlotte Chamber in
addition to other community organizations.

For more information on Mom Corps in Charlotte, please email
momcorpscharlotte(at)momcorps(dot)com or visit the website at www.momcorps.com
.

Two CMS programs to benefit from Wells Fargo donation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Wells Fargo had an early holiday gift for Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Schools on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The bank announced a $500,000
donation to Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education's School
Leadership Fund. The money will be split to support two CMS programs:
New Leaders for New Schools and Parent University.

"This was an incredible surprise," said CMS Superintendent Dr. Peter
C. Gorman. "This has been a difficult budget year for us, as well as
many other local businesses and community agencies. A donation of this
magnitude will help us reach more families through Parent University,
as well as train new principals to lead high-needs schools."

Wells Fargo bought Charlotte-based Wachovia last year. Wachovia, now a
Wells Fargo Company, has been a partner with CMS for years, providing
financial assistance as well as volunteers and mentors in schools. The
bank provided $250,000 in seed money to launch Parent University in
the fall of 2008.

"The Wells Fargo Foundation has a major focus on funding public
education programs that help drive outstanding student achievement in
the classroom," said Jay Everette, community affairs manager. "We know
that effective leadership is critical at the individual school level,
so we support the New Leaders for New Schools program. And we know
that parents and guardians play a huge role in ensuring the academic
success of their children. That is why we continue to fund Parent
University. It enhances the connection between teacher, parent or
guardian and student with improved academic performance as its end
objective."

Parent University was created with the goal of increasing parent
involvement in schools and helping parents raise successful children.
Since its launch, 14,150 people have participated in courses. In
addition, 12,000 parents participated in the fall and spring family
fun and information days offered through Parent University.

New Leaders for New Schools is a nationally recognized non-profit
organization which trains effective educators to become successful
principals in high-need schools. New Leaders announced its partnership
with CMS in December of 2008. The six-year agreement will bring CMS
and New Leaders together to recruit, select, train and support more
than 50 highly talented and motivated new principals to lead high-need
schools in Charlotte.

Wells Fargo announced the donation during its 2009 Spirit of Caring
Breakfast. The CMS donation was part of $6 million presented to 15
Charlotte-area nonprofits.

Lynn Daniel Joins WFAE's board

Charlotte - Lynn Daniel, president of The Daniel Group and an expert
in strategic business planning, research, and service quality
management programs, has joined the board of directors for public
radio station WFAE 90.7 fm.

Daniel previously worked with WFAE to develop its strategic plan in
response to rapid technological changes in the broadcast industry.
Daniel helped the staff revise the station's mission statement and
pinpoint the values that drive WFAE's priorities. As a result, the
station accelerated its plans to rebuild its web site and offer
streaming audio. This move provided a way to offer services to
younger listeners and those across the nation.

"We are delighted to have Lynn's expertise in bringing organizations
up to even higher levels of performance," says WFAE President and
General Manager Roger Sarow. "He's also an 'early adopter' of our new
transmission technology, HD Radio, and has paid special attention to
the future of public radio."

WFAE 90.7fm is a non-profit public radio station, licensed to the
University Radio Foundation Inc. With 90.3 in Hickory, 106.1 in
Laurinburg and 93.7 in Southern Pines, WFAE serves over 200,000 weekly
listeners in the Central Piedmont with an award-winning mix of local,
national and international news, and entertainment programs from
National Public Radio, American Public Media and Public Radio
International.

The Daniel Group, in Charlotte, N.C., provides customer loyalty
strategy, customer retention, and customer loyalty research services
to clients across the country. Its services are designed to help
companies find new customers and strengthen connections with existing
ones. For more, see http://www.thedanielgroup.com, call 877-967-4242,
or email info@thedanielgroup.com.

"How To Prepare For The Great Recovery" Discussed by Lawrimore on WFAE’s "Charlotte Talks"

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – "How To Prepare For The Great Recovery" was the
topic of Mike Collins' "Charlotte Talks" on WFAE Thursday, Dec. 10.
Buck Lawrimore, president of Lawrimore Communications Inc. (www.Lciweb.com
), spoke on how small businesses especially can prepare for and take
advantage of the coming recovery.

Other panel participants were Dr. John Connaughton, UNC Charlotte
economist, and David Swenson, Vice President of the Charlotte Regional
Partnership. WFAE operates at 90.7 FM.

"Small businesses in the Charlotte Region appear to vary widely in
their current state of financial health based on the market sectors
they serve," Lawrimore said. "Those fortunate enough to serve health
care, government, energy and other strong sectors of the economy
appear to be doing fairly well, and some have not seen any drop in
sales. Those who serve cyclical market sectors like real estate are
really suffering. This is especially true of architects. One estimate
is that over 40% of Charlotte area architects have no work at this
time. Other architects that specialize in serving health care,
government and education markets are doing much better.

"Certainly the Great Recession will be followed by the Great Recovery
in the next few years," he continued. "Those companies fortunate
enough to survive the Recession and wanting to take advantage of the
Recovery should consider guides for action like the following:

-"Keep your name out in the marketplace so when customers come looking
for a provider, they can find you fairly easily. The two most cost-
effective ways to do this are through internet marketing and public
relations."

-"The internet is the ultimate marketing tool because it is so
inexpensive. It is absolutely essential to have a website that is
search engine optimized so that people can find your business on the
internet. I am here today, and practically all the new business my
firm is receiving as the Recovery begins, is because our website is
highly search engine optimized."

-"Consequently we are finding a lot of companies that had unoptimized
websites are coming to us to rebuild their websites so they are highly
optimized. It used to be that a website was not essential for doing
business, but now it is. Likewise the time is coming where businesses
realize that an optimized website is essential. Google, Yahoo and Bing
will deliver you all the business you need if you are not locked into
a depressed market like commercial real estate."

-"What is so important about search engine marketing is that, unlike
many other forms of marketing, the potential customer is in the hunt
when he or she goes online to look for a provider. If you use
advertising, direct mail, or many other forms of marketing, most of
the people you reach, sometimes at great expense, have no interest in
your products or services. But when people are using a search engine,
they are searching for a solution. So you need to be sure your
solution can be found on the first page of search engine results."

Lawrimore pointed out, "A related very cost-effective way to prepare
for the Recovery is to get more and more information about your
business out on the web. Increasingly companies are realizing that
they don't have to depend on traditional media like newspapers,
commercial radio or TV to reach their target markets. They can
broadcast their news stories across the Internet. So when potential
customers come searching, the chances of them finding a story about a
new supplier might be even greater than finding their website. Of
course the right kind of Internet PR story will contain links back to
the website. This is also another way to increase search engine
rankings.

"Another way to prepare for the Recovery is with updated strategic
planning. Traditional strategic planning tends to be a failure because
it assumes the company has control over many external variables which
it does not have. New forms of strategic planning, what we call
dynamic strategic planning, places a lot of emphasis on monitoring and
adapting to the constantly changing market environment. Instead of
being internally driven, the new form of dynamic strategic planning is
more market driven. Having a dynamic plan will help any company think
creatively about the markets they have served, the markets they could
serve, what sort of signals or indicators to watch in terms of new
market opportunities, and much more. Involving the whole company, not
just the management team, in this kind of process can lead to all
sorts of innovations and increased energy, positive attitudes toward
positive change which is coming."

Lawrimore Communications Inc. is a full-service marketing and
strategic consulting firm based in Charlotte since 1979. The company
provides internet and traditional marketing, public relations, web
design, advertising, graphic design, strategic planning and related
services. The company has conducted surveys of the attitudes and needs
of small businesses in the Charlotte Region for Mecklenburg County and
the City of Charlotte's Economic Development Office.

# # #

[For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Buck
Lawrimore at 704-332-4344 or email Buck (at) Lciweb.com]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Twitter Users Giving Back for the Holiday Season

Ad.ly is a unique Twitter platform that is connecting Twitter users,
also known as publishers, with top-tier advertisers allowing for the
publisher to make money from ads sent through their Twitter feed.

Ad.ly works when a publisher signs up for the Ad.ly platform and
advertisers send them an offer to run four pre-approved, distinctly
marked tweets through their stream over the course of seven days.
Each publisher simply sets a price that they'd like to be compensated
for the ad, then they get the offer from the advertiser and approve
whether or not they want to work with that advertiser. Once the
publisher has approved the offer, the tweets are automatically sent
over the next seven days.

Each user can opt to donate their earnings to a charity of their
choice or keep the monies for themselves. Currently celebrity Ad.ly
users are using this opportunity to spread the word of their favorite
charities, while raising money through their Twitter accounts to
donate to these organizations. DJ Samantha Ronson chooses to donate
her money to Music Rising, which raises funds to provide instruments
to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, while "Heroes" star Greg
Grunberg shares his money with Talk About It, a charity aimed at
raising awareness for Epilepsy.

"Ad.ly is bridging the gap between advertisers and Twitter users and
although we feel that each user should be paid for the content that
they are producing on Twitter, we also feel that it is important for
these publishers to be able to give back to a charity of their
choice." said Sean Rad, founder and CEO of Ad.ly, "We know that not
everyone can afford to donate to the charity organizations that they
are most passionate about, so we have found a way to allow them to
combine their enjoyment of Twitter with the love of their favorite
cause."

Ad.ly was developed on the basis of allowing Twitter publishers to
monetize their Twitter accounts through advertising. The founders
consider each publisher as an influencer in their own right and feel
that they should be compensated for their time and effort when using
Twitter. Currently advertisers such as Nestle, Microsoft, NBC,
Universal and Sony are using the Ad.ly platform to connect with their
target demographic.

Ad.ly is a privately held company that has recently raised a round of
financing from GRP Partners, who have invested in companies like
Overture, Bill Me Later, DealerTrack, Costco and Starbucks. For more
information on Ad.ly visit www.ad.ly.

TAE KWON DO STUDENTS TO DONATE $5K TO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

On Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 3:00 PM, 15 Black Belt students from
King Tiger Tae Kwon Do will present a check in the amount of $5,100.48
to the Levine Children's Hospital.

The 15 Black Belt students were all part of the Fall 2009 Black Belt
Candidate program at King Tiger Tae Kwon Do. In addition to daily
training in forms and sparring the candidates were also required to
complete many other challenges during the 10 week cycle including
running a total of 105 miles, completing 10,000 pushups, 10,000 sit
ups, 240 random acts of kindness, and one community service. In this
case the community service was to hold a "kick-a-thon" and raise money
to help the Levine Children's Hospital. The Kicks for Kids event was
held at King Tiger Tae Kwon Do on Saturday, November 7.

On December 5 a representative from the Levine Children's Hospital
will be present to receive the check. December 5 also marks the day
that the candidates will participate in a traditional Korean Tea
Ceremony and where they will be receiving their new belts denoting
their new rank.

The candidates and their newly earned belt levels are: James Thamm,
3rd Dan; Joseph Hamel, 3rd Dan; Mark Kenna, 3rd Dan; Duchess Ave 1st
Dan; Robert Hird, 1st Dan; Scott Schneider, 1st Dan; Nitika Arora, 1st
Dan; Lauren Hackett, 1st Poom; Alex Tabaczynski, 1st Poom; Carlo
Ortega, 1st Poom; Nikhil Arora, 1st Poom; Missy Wisniewski, 1st Poom;
Jalyn Martin, 1st Poom; Taylor Wilkerson, 1st Poom; Jessica Schneider,
1st Poom.

King Tiger Tae Kwon Do is located at 3016-B Prosperity Church Rd,
Charlotte NC at the Mallard Crossing shopping center. For more
information you may call 704-717-0903.

Peter Gilchrist Decides Not To Seek Re-election

Statement from District Attorney Peter Gilchrist on Thursday Dec. 3:

"I have been privileged to serve as Mecklenburg County District
Attorney for 35 years. Today I met with my staff to announce that my
current term, ending December 31, 2010, would be my last term, and
that I will not file for reelection in February 2010.

I am proud of the many outstanding attorneys and staff members who
have worked in this office through those years to carry out our
responsibility: representing the State of North Carolina in criminal
prosecutions in Mecklenburg County. Seventeen of my former assistant
district attorneys later became judges in Federal or State courts.


Many other former assistants have been selected to work for the U.S.
and N.C. Departments of Justice, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg
County, other public agencies and private practice. All carried with
them the mantra of the District Attorney's Office: "do the right thing.
In an office with such broad responsibility, our goal has always been
to do what is right based on the evidence and the law in each
individual situation. We have looked at the evidence objectively in
each case and have avoided making rash or rushed judgments or
promises. The District Attorney's responsibility in felony cases is to
review the results of investigations by law enforcement officers and
agencies to decide what charges, if any, will be presented to the
grand jury. There is an important distinction between what is
required to make a lawful arrest and to support a verdict of guilty.


Arrests are based on "probable cause" – that is, a crime "probably"
has been committed and a particular defendant "probably" committed it.
Convictions in our courts require a finding of "beyond a reasonable
doubt."
Currently we have 79 assistant district attorneys daily making
decisions on the 12,000 felonies and over 200,000 other filings in the
criminal district courts of this county each year. With such an
enormous number of cases and a finite amount of resources, we have to
make difficult decisions every day. Which cases will meet the higher
"beyond a reasonable doubt" standard for conviction? Which cases
should we try even if the evidence is not as strong because the
defendant represents a clear danger to the community? Of course, we
need to – and have – constantly pushed for more resources. But there
will never be enough prosecutors, judges or jail cells, to have jury
trials in anywhere near all of the cases brought to the District
Attorney's Office
For the past 35 years I have worked to ensure this office carries out
its responsibility to our community. I am proud of our
accomplishments. While we still have our challenges, I believe the
District Attorney's Office now has the best staffing and is in the
best shape ever. It is time for someone else to assume its leadership.
I believe the upcoming election will present an opportunity for the
citizens of Mecklenburg County to reflect on the role of the District
Attorney and to learn more about the statutory regulations that create
and govern the position, so that each citizen can make an informed
choice. I hope voters look for candidates who understand the
statutory, ethical and practical boundaries of the job – and are wary
of headline-grabbing and unrealistic campaign promises. In my last
year in office, particularly over the next few months before the
election filing deadline, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss
the office, its duties and its challenges.
Most of all, I would like to thank the citizens of Mecklenburg County
for reelecting me for the last nine terms as your District Attorney.
It has been my honor to serve you."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

HEALTH DEPARTMENT BEGINS OFFERING H1N1 VACCINE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC

Charlotte, N.C. - The Mecklenburg County Health Department is now
accepting appointments for anyone who wishes to be protected from the
H1N1 virus.

Appointments are available beginning Monday, December 7, 2009, and can
be scheduled now by calling (704) 432-5100between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or
online 24 hours a day at www.meckhealth.org.

The appointment system allows our clients, particularly those in
vulnerable populations, to receive the vaccine without having to stand
in long lines.

Vaccine shipments have become more plentiful in recent weeks, allowing
the health department to advance to the next level in keeping the
community safe.

Parents are reminded that children through age 9 should get two doses
of vaccine about a month apart. Older children and adults need only
one dose.

Residents are still encouraged to check with their personal medical
provider for vaccine availability. Many pharmacies and grocery store
pharmacies are also receiving limited quantities of the H1N1 vaccine
for public distribution.

Prevention and good personal hygiene can help you stay healthy this
flu season. Frequent hand-washing, covering your cough and staying
home when sick are keys to good health.

For more information about the flu and protecting yourself and your
family, go to www.meckhealth.org. In Mecklenburg County, call 311.

CPCC Opera Theatre to Present "The Pirates of Penzance" Jan. 15-17


Central Piedmont Community College's (CPCC) Opera Theatre is pleased
to bring "The Pirates of Penzance" to the Halton Theater stage in
January. This hilarious operetta, written by Gilbert and Sullivan, is
a family-friendly production that individuals of all ages will enjoy.
Give the gift of laughter, song and dance this holiday season and
purchase tickets to this must-see production.
Join CPCC Opera Theatre's stellar cast as it tells the tale of a young
pirate apprentice, Frederic (Skipper Johnson), who is about to be
freed from his indentured lifestyle. The honorable Frederic, who has
been apprenticed to the Pirate King (Jeffrey Braaten) and his pirates,
has decided to leave the pirate life, and upon arriving on-shore
instantly falls in love with Mabel (Jenny Chen), one of the daughters
of Major-General Stanley (Buddy Nash). Comedy ensues when the
remaining pirates arrive and want to marry the rest of Major-General
Stanley's daughters without his consent.
CPCC's Opera Theatre is proud to serve as a community partner that
brings affordable cultural events to the Charlotte metropolitan area.
The theatre's productions are renowned for quality talent and diverse
content that enrich the economic, social and cultural fabric of the
city of Charlotte and beyond.
WHERE: Halton Theater, Overcash Center, CPCC Central Campus, 1206
Elizabeth Ave.
WHEN: January 15 and 16; 8 p.m.
January 17; 2:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Ticket prices are $16 or $18. CPCC Students may attend for $5
(limit one ticket per student and present a student ID). To order
tickets, please visit http://tix.cpcc.edu/ or call 704.330.6534 for
more information.
Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in
North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification
programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing
education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically,
financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of
Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named
CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the
workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers
through innovative educational and training strategies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Football Rematch: Butler vs. Independence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Students, parents and staff are pulling out their
green, gold, red and black gear this week as they prepare for a
rematch between Butler and Independence high schools. On Friday night,
Dec. 4, the teams will face each other at the Providence High School
stadium in the regional round of the North Carolina High School
Athletic Association (NCHSAA) playoffs. The winner of Friday night's
game will play for the state championship on Saturday, Dec. 12, at
N.C. State University.

Butler is the home team for the game, which will be played at
Providence High's 6,000-seat stadium. The home stands seat about 4,000
fans and the visitors' side seats about 2,000. Tickets will cost $8
and will not be available in advance.

"Both of these teams have incredible fans and we expect this game to
sell out," said Vicki Hamilton, CMS director of athletics. "Providence
is one of the largest stadiums in the area and has more parking on
campus than most of our schools. Access will be tight on Friday night,
and we're recommending fans carpool to the game."

The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Save Money and Give Back to Local Charities with Every Online Purchase

CHARLOTTE - As a result of the economy and because of a national drop
in donations, individuals are looking for innovative and free ways to
help their favorite charities.

More than 85,000 nonprofits have partnered with the online shopping
mall, GoodShop.com, and Yahoo! powered search engine, GoodSearch.com,
to enable their supporters to generate funds simply by shopping online
and searching the Internet. What makes the system so compelling is
that it doesn't cost the users (or the organizations) a thing. It's a
form of philanthropy that works for everyone in this tough economy!

Organizations benefiting in the Charlotte area include:

Mommies Network, 704-470-4291
Push America, 704-504-2400 ext. 122
Carolina Raptor Center, 704-875-6521
Jeff Gordon Foundation, 704-455-0625
Down Syndrome Association – Charlotte, 704-536-2163
Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region, 704.375.0100
Childrens Theatre of Charlotte, 704-973-2800

Consumers are helping their favorite causes by shopping at
GoodShop.com where they can choose from more than 1,400 well known
retailers including Target, Apple, Macy's, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble,
Gap, and PETCO among others. The shopping experience and the prices
are exactly the same as going to the retailer directly, but by going
through GoodShop, up to 30% of the purchase price is donated to the
user's favorite cause. GoodShop also offers coupons and free shipping
deals, so not only are the consumers helping their favorite non-
profits, but they are saving money while doing so!

Similarly, with every search conducted on Yahoo!-powered
GoodSearch.com, approximately one penny is donated to the user's
favorite charity. It's used exactly like any other search engine and
the pennies add up quickly! Just 500 people searching four times a day
will earn around $7,300 in a year! And, again it doesn't cost the
users a thing!

Individuals can even add the GoodSearch toolbar to their browser,
allowing them to automatically generate donations every time they
search or shop online – without going to GoodSearch or GoodShop first.

GoodSearch and GoodShop have quickly spread via word-of-mouth, the
blogger community, and a number of celebrities and their foundations
including Jessica Biel, Montel Williams, Jeff Bridges, Faith Hill and
Tim McGraw among others.

To give you a sense of how this has worked:

· Supporters of the ASPCA, to date, have raised over $30,000
to help animals in need.

· The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has earned over $12,000 in
pursuit of finding a cure.

· The National Inclusion Project, which helps children with
disabilities, has used the money it's earned to send more than 100
children to summer camp.

· A single purchase placed at Gaiam.com resulted in a $284
donation to the Motion Mania Dance Theater in Maryland!

Internet users have found GoodSearch and GoodShop to be a compelling
idea. Leslie Philips, a veterinarian in Tennessee, uses GoodSearch
and GoodShop to support The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee – the
nation's largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for
endangered African and Asian elephants. "There's no reason not to use
GoodShop! It makes me feel so good knowing that when I'm buying my
friends and family gifts this season, a portion of that money will go
towards endangered species. And with the new toolbar and coupons,
it's a no-brainer!"

The GoodSearch and GoodShop team is revolutionizing online
philanthropy so that no one is denied the opportunity to support the
causes most important to them. "The response to this idea has been
truly overwhelming," said Ken Ramberg, Co-Founder of GoodSearch and
former President of JOBTRAK, the largest online career site for
college students (which was acquired by Monster.com). "More than 100
new nonprofits and schools register daily and GoodSearch and GoodShop
are making a difference in communities across the country. They are
alleviating the strain in resources and making it possible for
everyone, regardless of how much time or money they have, to give back."

Salsarita's Launches Unique Coupon Swapping Holiday Promotion

Charlotte, NC - Salsarita's Fresh Cantina, one of the nation's fastest
growing, fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains, is celebrating
December with a special "Spin the Wheel" promotion at the Ballantyne
Quad location on 14021 Conlan Circle in Charlotte. Guests are
encouraged to bring in any valid coupon and trade it in for a chance
to spin the wheel to win a menu discount.

"During the holidays consumers are inundated with coupons they don't
use or need. Salsarita's is offering our Ballantyne customers a
chance to trade any coupon in at checkout for a chance to win a free
menu item or discount," said Patricia Morris, brand manager,
Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. "You can bring in a coupon for an oil
change, dry cleaning or even another restaurant as long as it is valid."

The promotion is being tested at this single corporate location for
the month of December and if successful, will be rolled out to
franchisees nationwide in 2010. Prizes include various discounts off
entrée menu items, a complimentary meal or a free cookie. Guests
landing on the grand prize spot will be entered into a weekly drawing
in which they'll have the chance to win a year's supply of free
burritos. Typically, in-store promotions are piloted at selected
corporate locations and then expanded systemwide based on the
campaigns' effectiveness.

"Many chains discourage couponing, which we feel is counter intuitive
for our fast casual offering since customers are seeking ways to save
on restaurant meals now more than ever," said Paul Mangiamele,
president and CEO, Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. "Ultimately, we want our
customers to become lifetime guests and this unique promotion is
focused on delivering value, while exposing our guests to our
legendary food and hospitality."

Salsarita's specializes in serving made-to-order burritos, tacos,
tortilla pizzas and taco salads. Prepared fresh-daily in each
restaurant, guests can enjoy high-quality dishes featuring ground
beef, grilled chicken, grilled steak, or pork, grilled shrimp and
fresh vegetables. Salsarita's also offers a choice of 13 delicious
fillings and four homemade salsas. Every order is prepared in full
view of customers in a 700-square-foot display kitchen with a
contemporary Hispanic motif.

With new locations opening across the country, Salsarita's is one of
the leading fast-casual fresh-Mexican restaurants in the United
States, and is quickly gaining brand recognition and a reputation for
quality and legendary hospitality.

"In today's tough economy, we thought this would be a unique and fun
way to offer our loyal guests a price break over the holiday season,
said Morris. "We invite family and friends to stop in and take
advantage of the promotion and enjoy our delicious Fresh-Mexican fare."

Salsarita's is currently looking for qualified candidates with food
service, operations or real estate experience to join its team as area
representatives, area developers or single-unit franchisees. The
estimated initial investment for a traditional restaurant is between
$296,700 and $577,100 depending on the real estate selection ranging
from 2,200 to 2,700 square-feet, which includes a $25,000 franchise
fee. The company's comprehensive training and support program
includes a three-week Burrito Boot Camp at the corporate headquarters,
pre- and post-grand opening on-site support and ongoing business
coaching.

About Salsarita's Fresh Cantina
Founded in 2000, Salsarita's Fresh Cantina is one of the fastest-
growing Mexican fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains, recognized for
its people, food and world-class hospitality. Customers can create
delicious made-to-order meals from a flavorful Mexican menu that
offers burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, tortilla-crusted pizzas
and salads with a wide selection of meats, fresh vegetables and
homemade salsas in lively, family-friendly environment. The company
is currently closing in on its first hundred restaurants with the goal
of opening 200 restaurants by the end of 2012. For general
information, please visit www.salsaritas.com or call 704-540-9447.
For franchising information, please visithttp://www.salsaritasfranchising.com
or call 866.61SALSA.

Monday, November 30, 2009

N. C. Commerce Secretary Crisco To Visit Union County Dec. 18, Speak At CEM In Stallings

MONROE, N.C. - Keith Crisco, North Carolina Department of Commerce
Secretary, will visit Union County Dec. 18, meet with local officials,
tour a leading local industry and provide an update on local and state
economic developments.

Appointed by N. C. Governor Bev Perdue, Crisco oversees the state
department responsible for economic development and industry
recruiting. His host will be the Union County Partnership for
Progress, the economic development organization for Union County.

Crisco will arrive at CEM's facility in Stallings in the morning
(details to be announced). CEM is a leading provider of innovative
microwave systems and solutions for laboratory applications. It
recently won a 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award,
presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for its Sprint™
Rapid Protein Analyzer.

His visit will begin with a concise presentation for the media and
other guests on the North Carolina economy, the Union County economy,
and the Legacy Business Park proposed for eastern Union County. The
event will be held in CEM's conference room, 3100 Smith Farm Rd.,
Stallings (also listed on maps as Matthews).

Crisco will then take a brief tour of the high-tech CEM facility, led
by CEM President Dr. Michael Collins.