Thursday, March 26, 2009

Operation Medicine Drop This Weekend At Harris-Teeter Stores

Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Emerson with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Special Agent in Charge James Bowman with the State Bureau of Investigation's Diversion & Environmental Crimes Unit, announced Thursday plans for a weekend "drug drop off" at area Harris Teeter stores. 

The drop off will take place on Saturday, March 28, 2009, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., at seven Harris Teeter locations within Mecklenburg County.  The purpose of the event is to provide members of the community a drop off location for any unused or outdated prescription medicine that they wish to discard. 

  • With the misuse of prescription drugs second only to marijuana as the Nation's most prevalent drug problem, the annual average number of people using pain relievers non-medically for the first time exceeds the number of new marijuana users, according to a recent study released by SAMHSA. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • More than 2.2 million youth in the United States aged 12 to 17 used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in the past year to self-treat physical or mental distress, improve appearance or performance, catch an energy wave, or simply mellow out.
  • 70% of teens who abuse prescription drugs admit to easily obtaining the drugs for free, primarily from friends and relatives
  • The prescription drugs most abused by teens are "opioid" pain relievers such as Darvon, Dilaudid, OxyContin, Vicodin, and products containing codeine or morphine
  • Teen abuse of prescription drugs also includes sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants such as Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall, which are known for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Every day, 2,500 kids age 12 to 17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time.
  • Drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to 2005.

Listed below are the sponsoring Harris-Teeter Stores:

Southpark - 6701 Morrison Blvd.

Stonecrest - 7852 Rea Road

Steelcroft Shopping Center, 13000 South Tryon Street

Arboretum - 3333 Pineville-Matthews Road

Park Road Shopping Center - 4101 Park Road

Old Towne Mall, 4100 Carmel Road

Cochran Commons - 2720 W. Mallard Creek Church Road


Thursday, March 19, 2009

CMS staff presents adjusted budget options

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dr. Peter C. Gorman unveiled an adjusted schedule of
cost reductions for the 2009-2010 school year at a work session of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education March 19. The new proposal
pushes the reduction of teaching staff further back in the proposed
series of tiered reductions, so that additional cuts in other areas
will be made first.

The adjusted budget proposals call for $51.3 million in spending
reductions, which would flatten the district's funding request to the
county so that no increase over last year is requested. Those
reductions would allow the district to cover the costs of sustaining
operations, growth, new schools and new initiatives without asking for
additional money from the county.

If the district is required by shortfalls in county and state funding
to reduce spending even more, the new schedule of reductions
establishes four consecutive tiers of reductions. Taken together with
the $51.3 million in cuts, the tiers could cut district spending by
$86.4 million.

"We have spared schools as much as possible and we are making the
largest cuts to schools in the last tiers, not the first," Dr. Gorman
told the Board. "This amended reduction proposal is intended to give
us the needed reductions while still allowing us to be flexible and
agile enough to restore positions if we do not end up with the worst-
case scenario. We do not want to reduce the number of teachers in our
schools, and we do not want to lay off employees – but both may be
necessary and we want to do this in a careful, well-thought-out way if
indeed we have to do it."

The new proposals were the latest development in the district's budget
process. A final decision on a proposed budget will be decided by
Board vote May 12. The final decision on the amount of county funding
the district receives will be made by the Mecklenburg Board of County
Commissioners in June.

The basic reduction proposal would trim $51.3 million in all from the
budget, with $17.6 million coming from central support and operations,
$15.4 million from academic services and $18.3 million from schools.
That represents 4.8 percent of the $1.07 billion in state and county
funding the district received in 2008-2009.

The basic reduction would also trim 534 positions across the district.
It would trim 91 (7.5 percent) of 1,211 positions in central
operations funded by state and county money. It would trim 133 (5.5
percent) of 2,440 positions funded by state and county money in
academic services, and 310 (2.4 percent) of 12,921 position in schools.

Tier 1 would make reductions in transportation, furniture and staff
development costs, and change the formulas for allocating third-grade
teacher assistants and assistant principals at all levels. It would
cut $11.5 million in costs and trim 244 positions.

Tier 2 would change teacher staffing formulas to increase teacher/
pupil ratios in grades nine through 12, remove all teacher assistants
in the third grade and change teacher/pupil ratios for kindergarten
through third grade in high-needs schools. It would reduce costs by
$8.3 million and trim 232 positions.

Tier 3 would increase teacher/pupil ratios in grades six through eight
and further increase the ratios in grades nine through 12. It would
reduce costs by $7.6 million and reduce 157 positions.

Tier 4 would further increase teacher/pupil ratios in elementary
schools and in grades six through eight, further increase teacher/
pupil ratios in grades nine through 12 and change the formula for
assistant principal staffing at all levels. It would reduce costs by
$7.7 million and trim 149 positions.

If all four tiers are used, the district would eliminate 367 teacher
positions in all.

CMS staff also provided several other options to the Board of
Education to reduce costs, including reducing the local supplement
(equal to the state-mandated increase) paid to keep CMS teacher
salaries competitive. This would keep teacher salaries flat at
2008-2009 levels. The option would also eliminate transportation for
grandfathered students. Those reductions would total $13.7 million,
according to staff calculations.

Arts & Science Council Announces Cost-Cutting Moves

(Charlotte, N.C.) -- The Arts & Science Council (ASC) announced
Thursday that it is re-structuring and shrinking its organization in
the face of revenue challenges in the coming fiscal year.

ASC announced last week that its annual fund drive raised 37% fewer
dollars than the previous year. The organization's endowment, like
many nonprofit endowments, will provide fewer earnings in the year
ahead after having been impacted negatively by the securities
markets. ASC also receives public funding from the state of North
Carolina, Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte and CMS, support
from which is uncertain for the coming year.

Sharply lower revenues will mean fewer dollars available for
organizations and activities receiving funding from ASC. The
organization will have to shrink its operations as well.

"ASC is a steward of public and private community resources, and
exists to serve the community. If resources entrusted to us by the
community decline, then ASC must re-size its organization in order to
maximize dollars being invested back into the community," said
President and CEO Lee Keesler.

To cut operating costs, ASC will implement a two-week furlough of its
staff, will reduce its contribution to its employees' 401(k) plan, and
will require employees to bear a larger share of the cost of its
healthcare benefits plan. ASC will also undergo a workforce reduction
to shrink by eight positions --- roughly 31% --- and outsource or
suspend some activities. Workforce reduction impacts have already
been announced internally.

Granting processes for organizations and activities in FY 2010 are in
motion and will conclude in May and June with approval by ASC's board
before being distributed beginning in July. Dollars available for
investment across the community will be substantially reduced from the
current year in direct proportion to the overall loss in revenue.
Most granting processes are competitive, so some organizations will be
less affected than others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Learning Rx Hosts Free Seminar to Improve Attention and Memory for Adults 55 and Older

Charlotte – You may think your mind will inevitably slow as you age.
But it doesn't have to.

Learn how to keep your brain sharp at a free class from Learning Rx,
Charlotte's brain training center. Learning Rx will host an
ActiveMinds class for adults 55 and older on Tuesday, March 24 from
10:30 am to noon.

Participants will learn how the brain works and try games and
techniques to improve attention and memory, including simple,
entertaining computer games. Light refreshments will be provided.

Learning Rx is located at 7221 Pineville Matthews Road, Suite 100. If
you would like to attend the free class, please RSVP by Monday, March
23 to 704/541-1373.

The class is a free sampler of ActiveMinds, a 12-week brain training
program for active adults 55 and older. During ActiveMinds, certified
brain trainers help you increase your cognitive abilities by improving
your memory and increasing your overall processing speed. ActiveMinds
uses a combination of instructor-led small group brain fitness
procedures and computer-based training. It's designed to be an
exciting, fun, and social program.

For more on Learning Rx in Charlotte, see


Thursday, March 12, 2009


Charlotte, NC – A one-day event to provide military veterans who are
homeless with assistance, services, and community resources is set for
Friday, March 13, 2009, at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte.

Veterans from Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area who
participate in the 2009 Mecklenburg County Homeless Veterans Stand
Down will receive breakfast and lunch, have an opportunity to use the
shower facility and receive medical, mental health and dental
screenings from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other services include employment
assistance, hair cuts, clothing and information about housing and
applying for benefits. The event includes an opening ceremony, music,
entertainment and a special POW/MIA Ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

More than 50 service providers from local, state and federal agencies,
departments, nonprofits and organizations will offer their help and
information to the veterans. Mecklenburg County Community Support
Services (CSS) is the County's lead agency for the event through its
Homeless Support Services and Veterans Services Office divisions. Area
sponsors and donors helped make the Stand Down possible with monetary,
in-kind, and other donations.

Organizers anticipate 250 to 300-plus veterans to attend the Stand Down.

On its Web site, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans explains
the Stand Down concept: "The original Stand Down for homeless veterans
was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War
to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations.
At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal
hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and
dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of
friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary
(troops) the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall
sense of well-being."

The Stand Down event supports Mecklenburg County's strategic goals to
increase citizen self-sufficiency and to reduce health risks and

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ASC 2009 Annual Fund Drive Brings In Over $7 Million

(Charlotte, N.C.) – The Arts & Science Council (ASC) announced today
that its 2009 Annual Fund Drive raised $7,043,407. This represents a
37% decrease from the campaign's goal of $11.2 million. Campaign
dollars help support arts education, artists, neighborhood cultural
projects and arts, science, history and heritage organizations.

While the campaign is over, people are still invited to donate to ASC

"We knew this campaign was going to be challenging due to the current
economic environment and fundraising climate," said ASC President &
CEO Lee Keesler. "We are very grateful for those individuals,
businesses and corporations who gave what they could to support the
cultural community through a gift to ASC."

The Annual Fund Drive was led by Sue Gorman, owner, Sue Gorman
Interior Designs and James Jackson, executive vice president, premier
banking and investment southeast division executive, Bank of America.

Founded in 1958, ASC has been raising dollars to help shape a vibrant
cultural life for all and is expected to invest over $14.5 million to
support the cultural community during fiscal year 2008-2009. These
investments were made possible through donations to the 2008 Annual
Fund Drive along with grants from the City of Charlotte,
MecklenburgCounty, Mecklenburg municipalities, North Carolina Arts
Council, a state agency, and ASC's endowment earnings.

ASC is a non-profit organization that serves and supports Charlotte-
Mecklenburg's cultural community through grant-making, planning,
fundraising, programs and services to creative individuals,
neighborhood cultural projects, cultural education and institutions
reflective of our diverse population to ensure a vibrant community
enriched with arts, science, history and heritage.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009