Friday, October 30, 2009

Charlotte-area event tied to Veteran's Day

What Do Charlotte and M*A*S*H Units Have In Common? Find Out At Free
Film Screening
Charlotte – During World War II, Charlotte was home to a pioneering
Army medical unit that stormed the beaches in North Africa during
Operation Torch and took care of countless casualties at Anzio,
Italy. This unit, the 38th Evacuation Hospital, was the prototype for
later MASH units and became internationally known in magazines such as
Time and Life.

The idea for the 38th Evac began at a dinner hosted by Martin Cannon
at The Duke Mansion in Charlotte. So it's with particular pride that,
in honor of Veterans' Day, The Mansion will host a free screening of a
film that captures this exciting history.

Join us for If They Could See Us Now: The Story of Charlotte's 38th
Evacuation Hospital by documentary filmmaker Chris Hudson. The free
screening is Sunday, November 8, 3 pm, at The Duke Mansion, 400
Hermitage Road in Charlotte.

Hudson will be a special guest at the screening and will describe the
creative process behind the making of the film. Invited guests will
include Martha Mitchell, a nurse in the unit, and families of the
doctors from the 38th Evac. If They Could See Us Now was an official
selection of 2008 New York Short Film Festival and the Philadelphia
Documentary and Fiction Festival.

The afternoon is part of the Explore History! Series co-sponsored by
Levine Museum and The Duke Mansion. Levine Museum historian Dr. Tom
Hanchett will emcee. For more details, call 704/714-4400 or visit

Built in 1915 and tripled in size by its most famous owner, James
Buchanan Duke, The Duke Mansion has been home and host to leaders of
the 20th century. Duke's most lasting legacies including Duke
University, Duke Energy, and the Duke Endowment took shape at the
home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Mansion
is now operated as a nonprofit with all proceeds being used to
preserve and protect this community treasure.

Charlotte's Pam Pompey of the Ujamaa Institute to be featured on TV philanthropy special

On November 9, 2009, Charlotte-based economic development specialist
Pam Pompey will be featured in a new documentary called North Carolina
Giving: Philanthropy Across Cultures & Communities, premiering on UNC-
TV from 10-11pm. North Carolina Giving, which features an introduction
from Bill Friday and narration by Ambassador James Joseph, will travel
across North Carolina uncovering stories of "ordinary people changing
lives in extraordinary ways." (The trailer can be seen at

This special broadcast will include stories from a wide variety of
North Carolina communities. From Charlotte, Pam Pompey (a self-
proclaimed "philanthropist from the hood") talks about the Ujamaa
Institute, an initiative she founded to help young African Americans
become thoughtful, responsible and accountable philanthropists.

Theirs and other stories make up the North Carolina Giving documentary
project, commissioned by the statewide organization NCGives to
recognize and celebrate the diverse giving practices found throughout
the state. "These stories of giving are representative of how North
Carolinians are generous in their support of each other, through both
the good times and the bad times," said Donna Chavis, NCGives'
executive director. "And though we actually began this project before
the economic downturn, these stories may now resonate with North
Carolinians even more."

The project is the result of an 18-month process, during which
producers at Minnow Media traveled around North Carolina capturing
numerous giving stories on film. The full set of documentaries, which
will be available from NCGives in early 2010, includes the one-hour
piece that will broadcast on UNC-TV as well as six shorter
documentaries that look at specific populations (women, young people,
African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Latinos and
American Indians).

In tandem with the upcoming TV broadcast, NCGives has invited all
North Carolina residents to enter the North Carolina Giving Contest.
The grand prize is a Flip Video Camera plus $100 for "your charity of
choice." To enter, participants must watch the documentary on November
9 and answer several related questions, either by mail or online. More
information can be found online at or by
calling 1-877-NCGIVES (1-877-624-4837).

NCGives ( is a statewide organization dedicated to
celebrating and strengthening the giving of time, talent and treasure
in North Carolina—particularly among women, young people and
communities of color—by sharing stories, research and tools.

Minnow Media, LLC ( is a full-service, Emmy award-
winning multimedia production company based in North Carolina with a
commitment to enrich public discussion around issues of individual
growth and social transformation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Charlotte, N.C. - Applications for the North Carolina Low Income
Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) will be taken Monday, Nov. 2, 2009,
through Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. The program, which is administered by
the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS), assists
Mecklenburg County residents who need help paying their heating bills
this winter. Residents must apply in the counties in which they reside.

Application Details

Dates: Nov. 2, 2009, through Nov. 14, 2009

Times: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays

Locations: Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services,
Kuralt Centre
301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, NC 28211

Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services
Chapin Hall at the Valerie C. Woodard Center
3205 Freedom Drive, Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28208

Eligible households must meet an income requirement, be responsible
for its heating bills and not have assets exceeding $2,200. Households
must also include a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. Each
approved household will receive a one-time payment in February 2010 to
help pay their heating costs.

Some households receiving food stamps are automatically eligible for
LIEAP and have been notified. If your household is not automatically
eligible, please apply in person at the dates and times listed above.
Residents who are disabled or elderly may send a representative to
apply on their behalf, or they may call 704-353-1500 for assistance.

Applicants should bring the following information when they apply:

• Name, date of birth and Social Security cards of each household
• Items to verify identity (such as passport, Social Security card,
driver's license)
• Pay stubs, bank statements (checking and savings) and child care
receipts from October
• Unearned income in October (such as award letters)
• Verification of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, savings certificates,
retirement funds (such as IRAs, 401(k)s, Keogh accounts)

"Forecasters are expecting this winter to be colder than usual in the
Carolinas, which could force many people to choose between heating
their homes and feeding their families," said Gloria Robinson, the
LIEAP coordinator at DSS. "The LIEAP program is designed to remove the
burden of that choice from our most vulnerable citizens, and DSS is
privileged to administer this beneficial program."

Earlier this year, 18,855 households in Mecklenburg County received an
average of $175 in assistance, totaling more than $3.3 million.
Statewide, almost 258,000 households received payments totaling more
than $45 million.

For more information, call the Customer Information Line at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alex Dickey joins Charlotte Headquartered Carlisle & Gallagher

Consulting Industry Veteran Tasked with Executing the Firm's New
Growth Strategy

CHARLOTTE, NC - Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a management
and technology consulting firm, today announced that Alex Dickey has
joined the company as senior vice president and chief operating
officer, reporting to company President and CEO Bob Gallagher. Dickey
will lead and execute the firm's new vision and strategy.

This executive hire is the latest in a series of moves that the
company has made in the execution of its new strategy, which includes
expanding the depth and breadth of its business and technology
solutions to better serve clients in the financial services and
healthcare industries, and creating new and challenging career
opportunities for employees.

Dickey brings superior experience and leadership expertise in the
management consulting industry to Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting
Group (Carlisle & Gallagher). Prior to joining the firm, Dickey spent
over 20 years at Accenture and retired as a Managing Director in 2007.
While there he filled several key roles including managing director
for Management Consulting across North America, managing director for
a $200 million-plus portfolio of clients, and client partner for
several of the world's leading financial services firms. Dickey is an
expert in several key areas including customer relationship management
(CRM), merger and acquisition (M&A) and retail banking front-office
Dickey is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill where he received a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He
has been involved in a number of entrepreneurial, non-profit and
educational endeavors. As an adjunct professor, he teaches a business
planning course at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a member of the Board at Big
Brothers & Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, and is active in his
church's outreach efforts while also serving as a youth coach.

"I am thrilled to welcome Alex to Carlisle & Gallagher's leadership
team as I have known him for over a decade and have admired his
business and leadership acumen," said Bob Gallagher. "Alex has been
advising our leadership team as we built our new strategy and vision.
Now he will play a pivotal role in taking Carlisle & Gallagher's
business to the next level as we develop and deliver compelling and
innovative business solutions that help clients achieve world-class
"Carlisle & Gallagher has the proven ability to drive measurable
business benefits for leading firms in both the financial services and
healthcare industries," said Dickey. "I look forward to working with
the entire Carlisle & Gallagher team as we develop more impactful and
differentiated management and technology consulting capabilities, and
deliver innovative industry-specific business solutions for our

Dickey will succeed Tom Carlisle, executive vice president of
Corporate Services at Carlisle & Gallagher. Tom Carlisle will
transition his day-to-day responsibilities to Dickey over the next few
months. He will remain as the lead director of the Board of Directors
and will continue to work closely with the leadership team to guide
the firm's business strategy.

About Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group is a management and technology
consulting firm that helps C-level executives identify, plan, and
execute their strategies. Focus areas include management consulting,
program management and technology delivery for large financial
services, healthcare, energy and software companies. Founded in 2002,
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group is headquartered in Charlotte,
NC, and operates throughout the United States. For more information,
please visit

Real Tooth Fairy Joins Local Dental Practice

Norwood, N.C. -- And you thought tooth fairies didn't exist.
Believing may be a little easier now that Laura Barringer, DDS, has
joined Norwood Dental Clinic, in Norwood, N.C. She spends her free
time as a fairy with the Charlotte Renaissance Festival.

"I've always had a fascination with fantasy-type things. Then I saw an
advertisement to be a fairy and well, I just couldn't resist! I get
to dress up, put on wings, pointy ears and glitter, then play with
little kids every weekend. It's the most fun I've ever had with a job!"

"It's exciting for us," says Dr. Mark Lassiter, practicing partner of
Norwood Dental Clinic. "We get a wonderful dentist and the tooth fairy
all rolled into one!"

Dr. Barringer graduated with honors from UNC School of Dentistry and
will begin accepting patients on November 3. She practices all facets
of general dentistry including crowns, implant restoration, cosmetic
dentistry, extractions, dentures, partials and many other services.

Dr. Barringer considers herself a people person and loves to work with
children. "My favorite part of dentistry is getting to know people and
developing quality relationships. I grew up in a small town and I
guess I've always loved the feeling of caring and family associated
with them. I've been looking to move to a town that still has a Main
Street and Norwood already feels like home."

Although she will have to stop short of sneaking into houses and
putting hard-earned money under pillows in exchange for teeth, Dr.
Barringer is sure to be a positive professional addition to Norwood
Dental Clinic and the patients in her practice.

Norwood Dental Clinic has been providing high quality oral care for
families in the Piedmont area of North Carolina for over 40 years.
Conveniently located at 311 South Main Street (Hwy 52 North) in
Norwood just blocks from Lake Tillery, the Norwood Dental Clinic was
founded in 1963 by Dr. Julian Trail. For more information on services
or to schedule an appointment, please visit

# # #

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Your Identity is Not For Sale on Black Friday

From shoes and jeans to computers and grills, many items will be on
sale come Black Friday and Cyber Monday-don't let your identity be one
of them! The No. 1 crime in America, identity theft runs rampant
during the holiday season.

An identity is stolen every three to four seconds. Yours will not be
one of them if you follow these tips, courtesy of Scott Stevenson,
Founder and CEO of Eliminate ID Theft, an identity theft protection
and credit-monitoring agency.

Beware of Skimming - During the holidays, stores use temporary workers
to accommodate the shoppers who crowd the malls. These workers often
go through a much-less thorough screening process than full-time,
salaried workers. Often paid hourly at a minimum wage, these workers
can be lured by the promise of quick money that skimming credit card
numbers offers.
- Know what a skimmer looks like. Google Images has plenty of
pictures. Skimmers are small machines that look similar to other
credit card technology, and thus can easily be overlooked even when
used out in the open.
- When possible, use cash. That way, you won't be a target of
identity fraud.

Be on the Lookout - From an experienced thief to a proprietary
teenager, anyone can steal a credit card number and use it to ruin
your finances and credit.
- Watch to make sure no one copies down your card numbers. Shred
all receipts, as many of these contain credit card expiration dates,
as well as the last four digits of the card numbers.

Protect Your Information - The National Retail Federation estimated
that nearly half of consumers would shop online in 2007; more than 61
million people would do so from work, potentially spreading their
financial information on more than one computer.
- Erase all cookies. Make sure no one can sit down at your
computer and access your information.
- Use a shredder. Destroy old credit card bills and opt out of
unsolicited credit card offers ( <
>). This reduces the chance of someone sifting through trash and
discovering your personal financial numbers.

Think Before You Click! E-mails containing links to online stores
often contain phishing software that records your personal information
as you type. Find reputable online stores using a search engine, such
as Google, and add these stores to your favorites so you don't have to
trust e-mail advertisements.

Look for the Lock, the padlock that is. This icon at the bottom of an
Internet window, along with the "http" or "https" at the beginning of
a Web site, denotes security. Other indications that a site is
trustworthy include notations from TRUSTe, Verisign, The Better
Business Bureau and McAffee Secure. Additionally, when a site has
Extended Validation SSL (a higher level of security) the address bar
turns green and the organization's name is displayed to show that it's
been certified. You can also check to see if the company is Visa CISP
(Cardholder Information Security Program) compliant.

Use Temporary Credit Card Numbers, provided upon customer request by
many credit card companies, for online shopping. Even legitimate Web
sites sometimes get hacked into; by using a temporary credit card
number, you can avoid thieves racking up additional charges on your
regular card.

Avoid Fakes. Some shopping sites that offer deep discounts really are
too good to be true. These sites allow you to add items to your
virtual shopping cart and enter your payment information upon check
out, just like any reputable site, except the products never arrive-
they never existed in the first place, and now the criminals have your
money and your personal information! When possible, order through well-
known sites like, and Yahoo. Check to see if
smaller sites have contact information that connects you to a live
person, rather than just an online form. If a company skimps on
contact information, it might be a sign to steer clear.

Shop in Private from your personal computer rather than one at work, a
friend's house, a hotel or the airport. You never know what cookies or
hacking tools may accidentally be on public computers, and you don't
want your information stored where others can see it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

North Carolina Litigation Attorneys Receive National Recognition

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Moore & Van Allen is pleased to announce that the
Firm's litigation practice has received the highest marks in the
Benchmark Litigation 2010 listing of North Carolina firms.

Moore & Van Allen's North Carolina litigation team was recognized for
its exceptional quality of litigation work in 2009. In addition to the
Firm recognition, several litigation attorneys were spotlighted for
their superior contributions to the Firm's litigation practice over
the past year. These attorneys include: Greg Murphy, James McLoughlin,
Jr., Paul Peralta, Tom Myrick, Brian Heslin, Jeffrey Young, Bobby
Bowers, Scott Tyler and Valecia McDowell.

Benchmark Litigation is the only legal publication in the market to
focus exclusively on litigation in the U.S. According to the
publication, the Firm is recognized as a "state leader" in several
litigation areas including commercial, environmental, construction and
intellectual property. This year's guide, which is the publication's
third edition, has surpassed all previous efforts on terms of breadth
of coverage, firm participation, and expected distribution.

Benchmark Litigation is published by the Legal Media Group, which is
part of Euromoney Institutional Investor, PLC. The publication does
not categorize litigation attorneys by strict practice areas, instead
pinpointing the best all-around "bet-the-company" trial attorneys at
both the local and national levels.

The rankings and editorial content for this year's edition can be
accessed free of charge on their website, at

Restaurant Group Closes Charlotte Location

CHARLOTTE – Asheville, NC-based WR Hospitality Group announced today
the closing of theCharlotte location of Flat Rock Grille. The
significant decrease in sales and traffic at the Ballantyne area
restaurant led to the decision to close this store and to refocus the
group's resources on the Hickory and Asheville locations.

"There are absolutely no plans to close our other two locations in
Hickory and Asheville," said Andy Walker, CEO of WR Hospitality
Group. "We appreciate the years of success we have enjoyed in this
market and especially our Charlotte patrons, but the down economy has
had a significant impact on our sales at this particular location."

Any Gift Cards purchased at the Charlotte Flat Rock Grille will be
honored at either the Hickory or Asheville locations. TheHickory and
Asheville restaurants will introduce new lunch and dinner menus over
the next few weeks, and both locations also will begin serving brunch
items on Sundays. These locations will also offer special event menus
for events in the private dining rooms.

Flat Rock Grille is an upscale-casual seafood and steak restaurant
with several locations throughout the Southeast. WR Hospitality Group
owns and operates two Flat Rock Grille restaurants in Western North
Carolina. For more information about Flat Rock Grille, visit


Charlotte Douglas International Airport will hold the 3rd Annual
Runway 5K Run on Saturday, October
31, 2009, with proceeds benefiting LifeSpan.

This very exciting and unique 5K Run will take place at one of the
nation's most unique locations and busiest airports. The event
guarantees exciting views of airplanes and aircraft activity.
Participants will start this certified Run/Walk at 5020 Hangar Road
and proceed onto one of the Airport's runways. The course falls within
the Airport's fenced area and offers
a very flat and smooth surface, making it wheelchair accessible and
stroller friendly. The Runway 5K
Run is open to all runners, walkers and families. A variety of
interactive aviation displays will be on hand.
Top overall Male and Female winners will receive a pair of airline
gift cards-good towards the purchase
of airline tickets or associated travel fees.

The Runway 5K Run will begin at 8:00 a.m. for runners. The Walk will
follow at 8:02 a.m. Awards will
be given in all age groups. Free parking is available. Children ages 7
and under are free and must be
accompanied by an adult. Visit to register or
phone 704-359-RWAY(7929) for
more information.

Runway 5K Run sponsors include: Charlotte Douglas International
Airport, US Airways, JetBlue Airways,
Turner Construction, Edison Foard, Inc., The AeroClinic, Wilson Air
Center, Toyota Scion of Concord,
HMSHost, ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, Wingate by Wyndham, 107.9
The LINK, and Carolina Printwear.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calling all green thumbs - Hands on Charlotte Day

Calling all green thumbs
Hands on Charlotte Day helps to beautify four schools

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 21, 2009—Thousands of volunteers. Hundreds of
garden supplies. One mission: to create better learning environments
for students. Community members will celebrate Hands on Charlotte
Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at Starmount Pre-K Center and
Merry Oaks, Shamrock Gardens, Oakhurst, Sterling and Pinewood
elementary schools.
The main focus of each project is to clean out flower beds and plant
new flowers. At Shamrock Gardens, volunteers will work with the
Parent-Teacher Association to make room for the school's new butterfly
"It really means a lot to have community members who don't have
children in our school take an interest in Shamrock Gardens," said
Principal Duane Wilson. "Their time and support is greatly
Hands on Charlotte Day volunteers will also restock shelves at
Classroom Central, clean up the Elmwood Cemetery and sort donations at
Second Harvest Food Bank and Crisis Assistance Ministry.
"People across the country and especially here in Charlotte are
embracing volunteering and service with enthusiasm," said Hands On
Charlotte associate director Bob Young.
The event will conclude with a Celebration of Service from 12:30– 3:30
p.m. at the EpiCentre that includes live music, food, beverages and
prizes. The activities are being sponsored by US Airways. For more
information or to volunteer, visit or call
Hands on Charlotte Day will be held at the following schools:
Starmount Pre-K Center: 1600 Brookdale Ave.
Shamrock Gardens Elementary: 3301 Country Club Dr.
Merry Oaks Elementary: 3508 Draper Ave.
Pinewood Elementary: 805 Seneca Place
Oakhurst Elementary: 4511 Monroe Rd.
Sterling Elementary: 9601 China Grove Church Rd.

Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants Donates $25,000 to RMH of Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Oct. 21, 2009—The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of
Charlotte announced it has received a $25,000 donation from Southeast
Anesthesiology Consultants (SAC).

The announcement was made by Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director
of the RMH of Charlotte. SAC sponsored the B. B. King concert held on
Oct. 6, 2009 at the Fillmore Theater. For every concert ticket sold,
$12.50 was donated to the charity, and this was all made possible by
SAC partnering with Live Nation and the Fillmore Theater.

"On behalf of all of us at the Ronald McDonald House, I want to thank
SAC and all the fans of B. B. King for this wonderful donation,"
Johnson-Gibson said. "We're thrilled the concert goers enjoyed the
show, and I know they are proud that a portion of their purchase went
to brining a House to Charlotte."

RMH of Charlotte's goal is $11 million in funds ($7 million will pay
for the House's construction, and the remaining money will furnish,
maintain and operate the House for 1 year), and the charity is inching
ever closer to its goal. Within the last month, RMH of Charlotte
received a $250,000 donation from the Wells Fargo Wachovia Foundation
and $100,000 from The Cannon Foundation.

"We're committed to giving back to our community, particularly to
children-focused groups," said Jeannette Anselmo, Senior
Administrative Director of SAC. "We're glad that this event brought
both donations and awareness to this very important organization in

SAC chose the RMH of Charlotte for this unique giving opportunity
because of their corporate commitment to children's health issues in
the Charlotte community. Several years back, SAC gave $1 million to
the Levine's Children's Hospital.

About Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants
Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants is an 80+ physician, anesthesia
and pain management practice serving more than 100,000 anesthesia and
more than 45,000 pain management patients each year in North Carolina,
South Carolina and Virginia. For more information, please visit

About the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
Currently, Charlotte is the only major US city that does not have a
RMH. The RMH of Charlotte is scheduled to open sometime in 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 hopefully begin in this year. 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

Film, video, distribution add $468.5 million annually to regional economy

Last year, film and video production and distribution contributed
nearly a half billion dollars to the 16-county Charlotte area economy.
And that was in the midst of a recession.

According to a new study conducted by UNC Charlotte Economics
Professor John Connaughton, the film and video production and
distribution industry in Charlotte USA had a regional economic impact
of $468,518,967 in 2008. Of this, $117,799,236 was for employee
compensation for 2,453 full-time equivalent jobs, jobs that paid an
average of $48,032, a 30 percent premium over the average compensation
in the Carolinas. Connaughton says that's about the size of
professional sports, with a bigger economic impact than the NBA's
Charlotte Bobcats and about the same impact as the Speedway, which
draws tens of thousands of people each year to NASCAR and drag races.

"We knew that the film and video production and distribution industry
was important to our region, but we didn't realize just how big it
is," said Ronnie Bryant, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional
Partnership. "The study not only highlights the industry's economic
impact, but underscores our deep regional talent pool and physical
assets that can support local companies as well as big, outside

Bryant said that if the industry has nearly a half billion dollar
impact in a down year, it really will take off when the incentives
rise from 15 to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2010. Those incentives, coupled
with the region's diverse locations, and strong crew base and support
businesses, will help the Charlotte Regional Film Commission attract
more feature films, independent movies, documentaries, commercials,
television series and still photography to the region. The Film
Commission is a division of the Charlotte Regional Partnership.

The study's researcher emphasized Charlotte USA's enviable position.
"Charlotte has this video production and distribution industry that's
not rivaled in that many other places in the country in terms of its
size, and we have a lot of major players here," Connaughton said. "But
more importantly, we have a very unique labor force. It's very
talented and hard to find in other regions."

The complete study is available

Story about 20-year-old Charlotte woman who suffered severe reaction to antibiotics

20-year-old Caitlin Hughes of Charlotte lost 90 percent of her skin
after suffering a severe reaction to antibiotics prescribed for acne.
This is the story of her remarkable recovery.

Written by Elizabeth Swaringen for the UNC Medical Center News Office

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Finally, 20-year-old Caitlin Hughes' acne is gone,
but getting her new skin nearly killed her.

A reaction to an antibiotic of last resort – prescribed to rid the
University of North Carolina junior from Charlotte of life-long acne –
caused Hughes to contract Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a rare
disorder in which skin and mucous membranes react severely to
medications or infection.

But Hughes' diagnosis was even more worrisome – a severe form of SJS
called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) – meaning that at least 30
percent of her skin was blistered, dying and shedding. Her skin
sloughing progressed rapidly to ultimately involve more than 90
percent of her entire body.

The medical emergency landed Hughes in the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center at
UNC Hospitals. About 50 of the nearly 800 patients admitted to the
burn center annually are SJS/ TEN patients because their damaged skin
and membranes mimic that of burn patients.

"This is a mysteriously devastating disease," said Bruce A. Cairns,
M.D., medical director of the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center. "Patients can
present with a rash and within 24 hours nearly all of their skin can
slough off. And sloughing can affect other mucosal surfaces, including
the mouth, the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal system and the

Fortunately, TEN is relatively rare – about three in a million – but
can develop as a severe reaction to a number of medications. In the
most severe cases, the mortality rate from SJS/TEN can be as high as
30-50 percent.

The principal treatment is essentially supportive, Cairns said,
meaning that, "We have to let the disease run its course and help
support the patient during that crucial time. Sometimes it takes
weeks, but many times it takes months. In Caitlin's case, once she
began to improve, she healed rapidly, and she was out of the hospital
in weeks."

Caitlin believes her near-record recovery speaks to the "developed
expertise and innate compassion" of her health care team. "I've never
seen people smiling more when they should be crying," she said.

Caitlin had planned to spend the fall term in Chapel Hill pursuing her
psychology major and continuing a research project about non-suicidal
self-injury among girls. That after a six-week, eye-opening summer
study abroad in genocide-ridden Rwanda.

Physically, she was in the best shape of her life, returning from
Africa to work out regularly at the YMCA. She delayed the new acne
regimen until after Rwanda because she thought the vaccinations
required for life abroad might interfere with its effectiveness. It
was a decision that saved her life.

"I would have been on the plane when the rash began, and I would have
died because the rash and blisters moved with such speed," Caitlin said.

Mid-August back in Charlotte, the rash started as three dots on
Caitlin's right wrist, spread to her stomach, into her mouth, down her
throat and into her esophagus. Her vocal chords were damaged. She was
hospitalized on Aug. 16, had a breathing tube placed in her throat to
keep her airway open and was placed in a medically induced coma so
that she was unaware of the pain of losing nearly all her skin.

Her head was shaved to manage the blisters on her scalp. Within three
days of having 30 percent abrasions on both corneas, her blistered
eyes healed, her sight returned and her depth perception is improving.
Only her hands and feet escaped the shedding skin.

"The fact that her hands and feet were spared gave her a head start on
rehabilitation because she didn't have to relearn how to use them,"
said Pam Hughes, Caitlin's mother. "We have seen so many miracles
with her, and God's hand at work in so many ways."

While Caitlin was hospitalized, her parents stayed at the SECU (State
Employees' Credit Union) Family House, a 40-bedroom hospital
hospitality house minutes from UNC Hospitals that provides
comfortable, convenient and affordable housing for adult patients
undergoing treatment for critical illness and trauma and their family
member caregivers.

"SECU Family House offered an excellent respite from being at the
hospital all day," Pam said. "Despite the circumstances, I am glad I
was able to be with Caitlin almost non-stop for a month. We cannot
say enough good things about the house and staff, most of whom are

Caitlin joined her mother at SECU Family House on Sept. 16 for three
weeks of outpatient rehabilitation before returning to Charlotte on
Oct. 9. Earlier that week, she was strong enough to participate in a
Fellowship of Christian Athletes outing that involved a rigorous
scavenger hunt. Caitlin's team earned second place and best group
picture honors.

"She's always been my independent child, the fighter," Pam said. "I
now know that was God preparing her for overcoming this illness. She
was in God's hands, she got excellent medical care, and she had a
strong will to survive. Her world is big, and she will be off to
tackle it."

Caitlin plans to be back in Chapel Hill as a student when the spring
term begins in January. And she plans to stop by the Burn Center to
see her new friends there and talk with the families of SJS patients
to help ease their journey.

"Caitlin's recovery is the kind of result we would love to have every
time," Cairns said, adding that Caitlin will continue to be followed
closely for any potential long-term problems related to TEN.

"I left the hospital with a shaved head, a tracheotomy scar, a bum
shoulder from some nerve damage, and all new skin which is clear and
smooth," Caitlin said. "I survived and I've got lots to accomplish.
And when I'm 40 years old, my skin will just be 20!"

Note: A photo of the family featured in this story is available at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Charlotte, N.C. – With the threat of H1N1 (swine) flu in our
community, healthy habits are now more important than ever before.

Throughout the winter months, people need to be especially mindful of
taking proper care of their bodies. This means staying educated and
informed on how to prevent illness, learning how it can spread and how
to improve one's overall health.

Washing your hands often and properly is one of the best ways to help
prevent the flu. But did you know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle
through rest, diet, exercise and relaxation is also a great way to
prevent the flu?

That's why the Mecklenburg County Health Department has launched the
online Fight the Flu with Fit City Challenge.

Joining the Fight the Flu with Fit City Challenge is easy, and
participants could win great prizes in addition to staying healthy
this flu season.

Visit to register, complete eight out of a
possible 10 healthy activities, and become eligible for grand prizes
including a free six-month membership to Massage Envy, a $50 gift card
from CVS and a Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Gold Card, which
offers a free round of golf, free admission to several Park and
Recreation attractions, and 50 percent discounts on shelter/pavilion

Everyone who signs up is automatically entered in a weekly drawing for
great giveaways, including a free massage from Massage Envy and $20
gift cards from CVS.

The Fight the Flu with Fit City Challenge is under way now and runs
through November 13, 2009, so join now.

Practicing healthy behaviors can help win the battle with the bug. So
take the challenge and be proactive in fighting the flu!

Budget Self Storage Introduces Grant Program for Nonprofits

Charlotte, N.C. - Budget Self Storage, which has 15 locations in the
Charlotte area, is offering 15 free storage units as part of a new
grant program. Each of Budget's Charlotte locations will award a free
10 ft. by 10 ft. storage unit to a qualifying local nonprofit for a
six-month period.

"With the slowdown in the economy, we have received numerous inquiries
from local nonprofits who are in need of storage space," Dan
Therriault, Budget's Regional Manager of Operations, said. "We want
to be good corporate citizens by assisting nonprofit organizations
with their space needs and decided to formalize our giving into a
grant program to cover the entire greater Charlotte area."

"With the sagging economy, nonprofit dollars have to stretch further
than ever before, yet the need for storage space continues regardless
of the economic climate. Many nonprofits have had to downsize their
office space, which often means there's a need for extra storage
space," Therriault added. "The 10 ft. by 10 ft. units that we're
offering are perfect for schools, churches, arts organizations and
other community groups that have a need for off-site storage."

"Although we can't supply a free storage to every nonprofit, we will
try to help as much as possible," he added. "In fact, all customers
can get a unit for as low as $12 a month. Our Web site even has
featured unit specials lower than that from time to time."

To apply for the storage units, grant seekers should call or stop by
any one of Budget's Charlotte locations. Only 501 (c) 3 organizations
may apply, and they must be based in the Mecklenburg or a surrounding
county. All applications are due by November 15, 2009. Budget will
review all applications and make determinations based on need.

Budget Self Storage offers storage units in daily, weekly and monthly
rental intervals and in a wide range of sizes. No deposit is
required, and units are available with or without climate controlled
space. Budget properties are equipped with security alarms and video
monitoring and offer 24-hour access and senior discounts. For more
information, please visit

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mez and Epicentre Theaters Host “The Last Passport” Charlotte Premiere

Award-Winning Charlotte Directors Kent Smith and David Temple Present
Their First Full Feature Film on Oct. 21, Proceeds to Benefit Goodwill!

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Following its critically-acclaimed premiere at the
Solstice Film Festival in Minneapolis, Minn., "The Last Passport",
an award-winning film by Charlotte-based directors Kent Smith and
David Temple, will make its hometown debut at the Epicentre Theaters
on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 each and all proceeds
from the evening will be donated to Goodwill Industries, Southern
Piedmont. To purchase your ticket, please call (704) 688-2400 or visit
the Epicentre Theaters website,

About The Last Passport
Created from start to finish in just 30 days using a $5,000 budget,
"The Last Passport" is the story of an elderly gentleman's one-
day experience inside a passport office. The movie shows viewers the
impact one person can create in another's life, if only one is open
to the experience. After premiering at the Solstice Film Festival less
than 45 days after it started production, "The Last Passport" won
awards for Best Actor (Jimmy Hager) and Best Directors (Kent Smith and
David Temple). The film was made in Charlotte and the entire cast and
crew are Charlotte-based with the exception of Jimmy Hager, who came
up from Charleston to film the movie. Other actors/actresses involved
in the film include Bonnie Johnson, Chris Crutchfield and Stephen
Monteserin. For more information, please visit

The Last Passport Cast and Crew
Lead actor Jimmy Hager has appeared in films like "The 27 Club" and
"The List" and in the television series "One Tree Hill." Bonnie
Johnson has been in a variety of films, including "Patch Adams,"
"Big Fish," "Mandy and the Secret," "Evan Almighty" and
"Blood Done Sign My Name." Chris Crutchfield, though relatively new
to the industry, has landed roles in major motion pictures set to
debut in 2009, as well as a variety of commercials and short films.
Stephen Monteserin starred in the short "Perfecto" that won the
Project Direct 2009 Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Steve Saxon was the director of photography on "The Last Passport."
Steve has an extensive résumé, with projects ranging from shooting
National Geographic, History Channel, and BBC projects to professional
athletics and national commercials like Travelocity. Steve shot the
film on the Red One™ Camera, the only one in Charlotte. It is one of
the most sought-after HD cameras in the business, and is the same type
that was used in the movies"Angels and Demons," the new Nicholas
cage film "Knowing" and "Jumper."

The film was scored by award-winning musician Kim Planert. Originally
from Germany, Kim studied at the University of North Carolina School
of Arts. Kim won a Gold Medal for Best Music in a Short Film at the
Park City Film Music Festival in January 2008 for the short film
"Nest of Spiders." Other accomplishments include writing additional
music for the movie "Into the Blue 2" and original music for the
television series "The Unit."

Kent Smith, who has made Charlotte his home for over 20 years, and
Dave Temple, who has been here for 12 years, co-wrote, co-produced,
and co-directed the movie. Both are accomplished, award-winning
artists in their respective industries. Kent's photography work has
been featured in over 200 magazines, movies, and major ad campaigns.
He has also worked for HBO, Disney, and ABC. Dave is a two time award-
winning writer/producer and director, winning Best Short for both
"Rewind" and "Poke the Sleeping Bear" at the Asheville and
Solstice Film Festivals, respectively. He is also an actor and
National Voice Over artist. This is their first full feature film,
both as directors.

About Mez and the Epicentre
Voted Best New Restaurant and Bar by Charlotte Magazine in 2009, Mez
is a contemporary dining experience that entertains the palate with
global fare from Chef Klime Kovaceski. The adjoining Epicentre
Theaters offer the best in theater entertainment, and guests can enjoy
cuisine from Mez while enjoying the latest feature films. The
restaurant and theaters are located at 210 East Trade Street in
Charlotte, and Mez serves lunch and dinner daily. For more
information, visit or

Monday, October 12, 2009

We are family - CMS program promoting health habits

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 12, 2009 – Parents and teens are invited to
participate in a free program to help them increase positive
interaction with each other. Family Nights debuted last year to help
families learn to develop healthy habits and spend more quality time

Participants will also learn about the risk factors that lead to binge
drinking and other substance-abuse problems. The program will start at
Myers Park High on Oct. 13 and at Turning Point Academy on Oct. 14.
Additional classes will be held this fall at Hawthorne and North
Mecklenburg high schools, and other locations are being planned for
the spring. Each location will hold a series of meetings.

Families who are interested should contact Shirnell Addison, program
secretary, at 980-343-2612 for specific meeting times and to reserve a
space in the group. Students do not need to attend CMS in order to
participate, but families must pre-enroll in the program. To qualify
for participation, families must have at least one child enrolled in
public, charter or private high school in Mecklenburg County. The
program is funded with federal money.

Developed by the school district's High Risk Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Program, Family Nights will provide dinner and gift-card incentives
for participating families and child care and/or tutoring services for
younger siblings who attend. The program will also engage parents and
students in activities related to developing positive behaviors,
critical- and creative-thinking skills, goal setting, and the
importance of investing in family life. Follow-up services will also
be provided to the families who participate.

Data collected last year shows that parents felt more confident in
their parenting skills after participating in the class. For
additional information on the program, please contact Danielle
Doskocil at 980-343-2610.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Statewide Economic Outreach Project Launched

The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development
(Institute) announced a statewide outreach project to increase
minority business access to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA) contracting opportunities in North Carolina. The project is a
partnership between the Institute's Minority Business Enterprise
Center (NCMBEC) and the US Department of Commerce's Minority Business
Development Agency (MBDA).

The MBDA selected five states in which to launch this special outreach
initiative: California, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and
Pennsylvania. "Minority‐owned firms play a significant
role in the nation's economic growth," MBDA National
Director David Hinson said. "President Obama and the entire
Administration are committed to ensuring that minority businesses
receive their fair share of contracts in rebuilding our economy. This
effort is designed to put them into a position to do just that."

Over the next 90 days, the NCMBEC Recovery Outreach Project team, in
collaboration with organizations across the state, will host meetings
and programs to share information on ARRA opportunities. They will
work closely with governmental agencies to ensure that minority
businesses have access to contracting opportunities created by
stimulus funds. The outreach is also aimed at supporting state
government efforts to meet or exceed the goal of 10 percent of state
purchases and services from historically underutilized
businesses. "We have to work together to ensure that minority
businesses have access to the opportunities provided through our
state's recovery activities," said Andrea Harris,
President, the Institute. "Information is an absolute necessity.
It is not only essential to minority businesses, it is essential to
all businesses and to all communities across North Carolina." Minority
business owners can find out more about the outreach project, ARRA
contracting opportunities, and information about getting registered
for opportunities by or calling

About the NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
The Institute is a statement organization promoting partnerships,
collaboration, and investment in underdeveloped neighborhoods,
underutilized businesses, and small businesses. Through research and
information, education and training, and business development, the
Institute works to build the state's business asset base and its
people. The Institute partners with major corporations, public and
private sector entities, such as the US Department of Commerce's
Minority Business Development Agency.

About the Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department
of Commerce is the only federal agency dedicated to advancing the
establishment and growth of minority‐owned firms in the United
States. Through a network of minority business centers and strategic
partners, MBDA works with minority entrepreneurs who wish to grow
their businesses in size, scale and capacity. These firms are then
better positioned to create jobs, impact local economies and expand
into national and global markets. MBDA has spent more than four
decades increasing the competitiveness of minority firms.

Fwd: Media Release: High School Leadership Summit on Health & Fitness

Charlotte, N.C. - The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission (CRSC) in
partnership with Johnson & Wales University (JWU) and Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Schools, is proud to announce the 12th High School
Leadership Summit on Health & Fitness which will be held at JWU on
Wednesday, October 14, 2009.

This year, the CRSC has partnered with Johnson & Wales, Mike Rucker
Health & Wellness, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and the Compass
Group to expand the traditional High School Leadership Summit to
explore the powerful connection between leadership and health and
fitness. Speakers have been chosen to accentuate the connection
between nutrition and performance in order to maximize the abilities
of all athletes. This, in turn, will give these student-athletes a
competitive edge and the opportunity (and expectation) to share these
lessons with their teammates back at school. This event is free to the

The Summit will introduce Charlotte's finest ninth- through twelfth-
grade student-athletes from 23 area Charlotte-Mecklenburg public and
private high schools to some of Charlotte's most prominent and
influential business and health professionals. Sporty Jeralds, of the
Charlotte Bobcats Sports & Entertainment group, will serve as emcee,
and will be joined by former Carolina Panthers player Mike Rucker
throughout the program.

Leading off the summit at 9 a.m., Rucker will talk to the students
about the importance of leadership and its link to health. During the
summit, students will learn how to create healthy menus and what foods
to focus on for success. From 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., students will break
into groups to tour the JWU campus and participate in a hands-on
smoothie-making demonstration. At the end of the sessions, at 11:35
a.m., students will gather for a wrap-up and summary with Jeralds and
Rucker that will include video taken throughout the day.

Also, for the first time, from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., coaches and/or
faculty representatives will have their own breakout session with Dave
Marsh and Dr. Andrew Shanely, focusing on modeling nutrition and
health into performance. Dave Marsh heads up the USA Swimming Elite
program in Charlotte and in addition to his numerous other
championships, has won seven men's and five women's NCAA National Team
Championships and has been named National Coach of the Year nine
times. Dr. Shanely is assistant professor of exercise science in the
Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus,

A healthy, nutritious lunch will be provided for the attendees and is
sponsored by the Compass Group and Johnson & Wales University.


Charlotte, NC-- As we honor National Mental Illness Awareness week,
veterans with mental health concerns in Mecklenburg County will soon
be receiving additional support from a federal grant intending to
divert veterans to community-based services and improve overall
service delivery. These funds will support the jail diversion model in
our community, Recovery Solutions, and help ensure that mentally ill
veterans receive appropriate treatment and placement.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
announced the award of six grants totaling more than $10 million over
five years to support local and statewide expansion of jail diversion
programs for people with post traumatic stress and other trauma-
related disorders. A priority for this program is to provide needed
services to veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan. Grantee states
will implement a diversion program in a pilot community and expand
successful programs to other communities in the state.

North Carolina was awarded $303,390 for the first year. The program
will be piloted in Mecklenburg County to divert an anticipated 1,089
veterans to community-based services to include trauma informed mental
health and substance abuse treatment, case management, employment
services and veteran specific peer support services. Continuation
awards are subject to availability of funds and progress achieved by

Mecklenburg County has the second largest number of military personnel
in the state. As many as 20% of service members returning from Iraq
and Afghanistan may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and
most go untreated. Related symptoms of irritability and angry
outbursts can lead to contact with law enforcement and the criminal
justice system.

Mecklenburg County Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator, Sarah Greene
believes the grant "will enable us to better identify these men and
women who have served their country and ensure they receive the
appropriate treatment they certainly deserve."

The grant also funds training and consultation on evidenced based
interventions, so service providers will increase their capacity to
provide trauma treatment. The goal of introducing grant funding in
Mecklenburg County is that best practice jail diversion models will
eventually result in improved services across the state. The pilot
program will be called Operation Recovery.

Connie Mele, director of Area Mental Health's Provided Services
Organization, says the funding will "be giving vets the treatment that
they need and certainly deserve after serving our Country. In many
cases, it should prevent them from being incarcerated, which is not
only the right thing to do, but will assist with the overcrowding
problem at the Jail."

Recovery Solutions is a collaborative committee of various
stakeholders that has been working for over two years to develop a
community response to mental health consumers who come in contact with
the criminal justice system.

"Every year, thousands of service members depart from the military and
rejoin their families and civilian communities. As a nation, we must
understand that our veterans – while heroes in every sense of the word
– are people first, people who sometimes need help," said SAMHSA
Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. "Through these new
grants we can help put more services in place and be ready for those
in need when they return home."

Grayce Crockett, Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health director,
believes the grant will support Mecklenburg County Area Mental
Health's goals for the community, including, "to build a safe, healthy
community, create strong mental health partnerships, and to treat
mental health consumers with best practice approaches and with dignity."

Recovery Solutions is a collaborative committee of various
stakeholders that has been working for over two years to develop a
community response to mental health consumers who come in contact with
the criminal justice system.


Charlotte, NC – The NO SWIMMING advisory that was issued October 5,
2009, for a portion of Lake Wylie at the Yachtsman Development located
at 13818 Queens Harbor Road has been lifted.

The "no swimming" advisory was issued after an unknown amount of
partially treated sewage discharged to Lake Wylie from a privately-
owned wastewater treatment plant operated by Utilities, Inc. The
malfunctioning plant was discovered on October 5, 2009, by Utilities,
Inc. staff. Since then, the plant has been inspected by the N.C.
Division of Water Quality and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water
Services. The plant has been repaired and is currently functioning

Water samples were collected from the lake yesterday by Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Storm Water Services staff in the area of the plant's
discharge. The laboratory results of those samples indicate that
levels of fecal coliform bacteria are well below 200-colonies/100 ml,
which is the level determined to be safe for swimming. No Swimming
Advisory signs and buoys will be removed from the lake today.

Epicentre Theaters Offer Monday Night Football on the Big Screen in HD

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ---The Epicentre Theaters are offering a one-of-a-kind
sports experience each Monday night, with football on the big screen!
Located adjacent to Mez, the theaters will offer the most exciting
seats in town for all the Monday night action. Where else can you get
access to great food like pizza, burgers and the cheese-stuffed
signature Illegal Bread and a full service bar while cheering on your
team? Seating will start at 8 p.m. each Monday, with kickoff at 8:30.
Entrance is free and parking is validated.

Trivia questions will liven up the commercial breaks, and a grand
prize raffle to win Bud Light products will take place after the game.
Mez is offering $2 beer specials and half-price sliders to keep sports
fans fueled and ready to cheer on their team. During half time, enjoy
the newest movie trailers and half-price shots from the bar! Cocktail
waitresses will be on hand in the theater during the game to take
orders so guests won't miss a moment of the action. Half-time will
include half-price shots and first run movie trailers as well!

Voted Best New Restaurant and Bar by Charlotte Magazine in 2009, Mez
is a contemporary dining experience that entertains the palate with
global fare from Chef Klime Kovaceski. The adjoining Epicentre
Theaters offer the best in theater entertainment. The restaurant and
theaters are located at 210 East Trade Street in Charlotte and serves
lunch and dinner daily. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Charlotte, N.C. – Have you ever watched in dismay as construction
materials or other items – such as furniture, mattresses and bags of
garbage – jostled out of a truck or trailer bed onto the highway? Or,
worse yet, has it ever happened to you, forcing you to stop and dodge
dangerous traffic to pick them up?

Every piece of debris that lands on the road poses a threat to the
environment and the people and vehicles around us. Furthermore, it's
illegal to haul an unsecured load. Materials that are blown, scattered
or spilled are considered litter, and penalties include a fine of up
to $2,000 and community service.

Don't place your loads at the mercy of fast speeds and stiff breezes.
Help make Mecklenburg roads safer, cleaner and greener by picking up a
free tarpaulin, courtesy of the North Carolina Department of
Transportation and the North Carolina chapter of Keep America
Beautiful, to secure your loads. Tarps are strong, flexible and water-
resistant, thereby protecting your possessions as well as fellow
motorists and the environment.

Volunteers from Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful and the Waste Management
Advisory Board will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct.
10, 2009, to distribute free tarps at the North Mecklenburg Recycling
Center, 12300 N. Statesville Road, Huntersville, and West Mecklenburg
Recycling Center, 8440 Byrum Drive, Charlotte.

Tarps' retail price at home-improvement stores can range from about
$10 to more than $100, depending on size. Supplies of these free tarps
are limited, so come early to ensure you get your free tarp.

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful coordinates countywide efforts to reduce
littering and empowers residents to take greater responsibility for
enhancing their environment and improving the quality of life in
Mecklenburg County. To learn more about the initiative, go to

Can We Talk? Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is encouraging all
parents to attend parent-teacher conferences scheduled for Oct. 29 and
Oct. 30. To help families plan ahead, Parent University is offering
the free workshop "Can We Talk?" to provide tips and suggestions on
having a successful conference. The workshop is being held throughout
the month at different locations around the county. The next workshop
will be held at Pawtuckett Elementary (8701 Moores Chapel Road) on
Thursday, Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Click here to view the schedule
of remaining workshops.

"Keeping the lines of communication open between home and school is
critical to your child's success in school," said Jerri Haigler,
executive director of Family and Community Services/Parent University.
"This workshop will provide parents with the skills they need to stay
in touch with the school and keep the conversations going throughout
the year."

During the course, attendees will receive a packet that includes a
check list with questions to help them prepare for the conference.
They will also learn about common myths that keep parents from
attending their child's conference.

Research shows that student achievement increases when parents,
students and teachers work as a team. Parents should bring a checklist
of questions to help them remember what to ask during the meeting.

Here is a list of suggestions:
• Is my child performing on grade level?
• How well is my child performing on tests?
• Is my child behaving in class?
• Is my child adjusting socially?
• What are the most important assignments coming up in class?
• What is the best way for me to communicate with you?

Tips for a good conference
· Start the conference on a positive note.
· Before you arrive, write down the items you want to discuss
during the conference.
· During the conference, take notes so you won't forget what
was said.
· At the end of the conference, recap what was talked about.
· Commit to listening with an open mind. Even if there are
problems to discuss.

Parents will be notified from their child's school about dates and
times for individual conferences. School will not be in session during
the parent-teacher conferences since the meetings will be held
throughout the day. Parents should contact the school if they have any
questions regarding the conferences.


The upper level roadway in front of the Charlotte/Douglas
International Airport passenger terminal will undergo maintenance
beginning October 7. In an effort to reduce operational impacts, all
work will occur at night. The roadway
will be closed Monday through Saturday from 9:00 p.m. until 4:30 a.m.
The work will last
approximately four weeks.

Each night, operational adjustments will be in place to accommodate
the project. During the
designated closure times, all vehicular traffic will be diverted to
the lower level in front of the
passenger terminal. All Airport and tenant shuttles will continue
offering passenger pick up
drop off, with both services occurring on the lower level Commercial
Lane. All pedestrians should
access the upper level terminal by entering the building through the
baggage claim area.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Alex's Legacy: West Charlotte High to host national student summit against violence

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 7, 2009— Twenty years ago, West Charlotte
student Alex Orange was killed while trying to stop a fight at an off-
campus party. His classmates turned their anger into something
positive. In 1989, they formed the Students Against Violence
Everywhere (SAVE) organization at West Charlotte High School. The
club teaches members about alternatives to violence and encourages
them to practice what they learn through school and community service

The club is now a national organization with nearly 200,000 members.

This year, West Charlotte will hold the 13th annual National Students
Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Summit and celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the founding chapter Oct. 16-17.

"It is fitting that we are conducting the National SAVE Youth Summit
at the birthplace of SAVE, West Charlotte High School in Charlotte,
NC," said Dr. Pamela L. Riley, executive director for the National
Association of SAVE.

West Charlotte's chapter has been involved in the planning of the
national summit. Students and advisor Tabitha Miller worked with the
national group to set up workshops, activities and invite guests.

"My mom knew Alex Orange and remembers when the club started," said
ninth-grader Alexis Watson and member. "She told me about SAVE and
encouraged me to join."

John Scott, a junior and president of West Charlotte's SAVE Chapter,
has been named to the National SAVE Youth Advisory Board. The 10-
member board will meet throughout the year to discuss school violence
issues, develop action plans for SAVE chapters and lead the national

"I've had to persuade my own friends from fighting," said Scott. "If
other people strive to do the same, there would be much less violence."

On Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., West Charlotte students will hold a
vigil at the school. Alex's mother and several of his classmates will
attend and make remarks. The national chapter will also dedicate a
bench to the school that will be placed in the peace garden.

The national summit is Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at West
Charlotte High School. Students will discuss bullying, driver safety
and dating violence. They will also watch dramatic presentations
about peace and ending violence.

In 2009, the West Charlotte club was named SAVE Chapter of the Year.
The chapter was recognized for student involvement in promoting crime
prevention, conflict management and service-learning activities.

SAVE currently has more than 1,800 chapters in 47 states. Members
include college, elementary, middle and high school students. For
detailed information on the summit, visit

Friday, October 2, 2009

New-student enrollment opening for 2010-2011 school year

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 2, 2009 - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have
only been open for 27 days, but parents can already look ahead to the
2010-2011 school year. New students may begin enrolling in CMS on
Monday, Oct. 5.

New-student enrollment is for children entering kindergarten or older
students who will be new to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Students
must be enrolled by Dec. 14, 2009, to be eligible for the first magnet
lottery, which will be open from Jan. 8 – Feb. 8, 2010. Families who
are enrolled by the Dec. 14 deadline will receive a personalized
magnet-lottery instruction sheet in the mail during the first week of
January. Families who plan to send their child to their assigned home
school do not have to register by Dec. 14, but are encouraged to
enroll as soon as possible.

Children must be five years old on or before Aug. 31, 2010, to be
considered for kindergarten. Students must be four years old on or
before Aug. 31, 2010, to be considered for pre-kindergarten. Pre-
kindergarten screening will begin December 1, 2009.

In order to enroll students in CMS, families must provide three
documents to show proof of residency. There are three categories of
acceptable documents; parents must submit one document from each
category. Category one includes a copy of a lease and record of the
most recent rent payment, or a record of the most recent mortgage
payment. Category two includes a utility bill dated within the past 30
days, and category three includes a valid driver's license, vehicle
tax bill, or valid passport. Click here to see the complete list of
acceptable documents.

Parents or guardians must fill out a Safe Schools Enrollment
Declaration per North Carolina law. The declaration states whether the
student is under suspension or expulsion from any public or private
school, or whether the student has been convicted of a felony. Click
here to read the Safe Schools Enrollment document.

In addition to these forms, parents must also provide an official
birth certificate (with seal) and a copy of the student's current
immunization record. New student-enrollment forms are available on the
CMS Web site, at any school, learning community office, or the Family
Application Center (700 Marsh Road). For more information, please call
the Family Application Center at 980-343-5335 or e-mail


Charlotte, N.C. – The Mecklenburg County Tax Collector's Office has
eliminated the cost to taxpayers associated with making eCheck
property and vehicle tax payments online.

The County's eCheck payment option originally cost residents $2 – a
fee that went directly to the County's online payment vendor. Now,
the County has negotiated a lower fee with the vendor, making it
possible for the County to absorb the cost on behalf of taxpayers.
Convenience fees for credit card transactions continue to be charged
to taxpayers.

This change benefits both residents and the County on multiple levels.
It encourages higher use of the eCheck option by making it more
convenient and affordable. Payments made online also reduce
nonsufficient fund (NSF) transactions and promotes payments of taxes
before they reach delinquency. Online payments reduce the need for
manual payment processing by County employees, thereby increasing tax
office efficiency.

The County receives more than 1 million paper checks for payment of
taxes each year. For each paper check, staff members must:

● Find the bill in the tax system
● Post the payment
● Image the check
● Endorse the check
● Deposit the check

The eCheck system eliminates these steps. For an eCheck, the County
receives an electronic file that posts automatically.

Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA),
Park & Recreation, Geospatial Information Services (GIS), Register of
Deeds and the Health Department's vital records counter are either
already absorbing credit card and/or eCheck transaction costs or are
finalizing plans to do so.

The broader movement toward no-fee online payments marks a distinct
response to residents' desire for free Web transactions. It also
acknowledges that government can be made more efficient by automating
payment functions, eliminating human errors by residents and
employees, making tax payments quicker – and more secure.

For more information, go to

Families to learn about the hardcore facts on substance abuse

Parent University workshop to discuss
children and chemical dependency
DEA special agent to offer parents information on the hardcore facts
about drugs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Steven R. Peterson, special agent with the U.S.
Department of Justice, will present the session, "Substance Abuse -
The Hardcore Facts - Children and Chemical Dependency" on Tuesday,
Oct. 6, from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Muslim American Society (4301
Shamrock Drive). The free session, part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Schools' Parent University, is designed to help parents recognize
symptoms of chemical dependency in their children, spouse or other
family members.

The workshop will include a discussion about legal and illegal drugs
with an emphasis on nicotine, alcohol, methamphetamines, ecstasy,
inhalants and marijuana. Participants will also learn how to recognize
symptoms of chemical dependency and learn the importance of early
recognition and treatment of substance abuse.

"This workshop addresses a topic that touches our entire community,"
said Jerri Haigler, executive director of Family and Community
Services/Parent University. "It's critical that parents understand the
pressures their children are facing and how to detect the signs. Our
free workshops are designed to help parents help their children become
successful in school and in life."

Peterson has been a special agent with the Justice Department's Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) for more than 27 years. He has worked
hundreds of hours undercover and made over a thousand arrests during
his tenure. He has received dozens of awards in recognition for his
work with the DEA. Peterson has served as the DEA training coordinator
for the Atlanta Field Division for the past nine years and has trained
thousands of federal, state and local narcotic investigators
throughout the Southeast.

Two additional sessions have also been scheduled on this topic:
Thursday, Oct. 8 - Providence High School (1800 Pineville-Matthews
Road) - 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 3 - Coulwood Middle School (500 Kentberry Drive,
Charlotte, NC 28214) - 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Village Tavern Lends its Support to Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Hope-tini Cocktail

Charlotte, NC - Village Tavern invites the public to join the
restaurant in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sipping on
the special Hope-tini cocktail. Throughout the month of October,
Village Tavern will donate $2 from the sale of each Hope-tini to
support breast cancer research.

The refreshing Hope-tini is a blend of vodka, Tuaca Italian liqueur
and Malibu rum with a splash of cranberry juice and cream that makes
the Hope-tini match the famous breast cancer awareness pink ribbon.
Village Tavern is also offering a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail.

As Village Tavern continues to support a variety of charities on both
a local and national level, diners are encouraged to join the
restaurant's efforts to support breast cancer research in October.

Village Tavern Hope-tini
1 ounce vodka
½ ounce Tuaca Italian liqueur
½ ounce Malibu rum
Splash of cranberry juice
Splash of cream

About Village Tavern
Village Tavern is located at 4201 Congress Street, Ste. 190,
Charlotte, NC 28209. The restaurant serves lunch Monday through
Friday, dinner seven days a week and Sunday brunch. For more
information, please call 704.552.9983 or visit

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No-fuss Meals Charlotte Featured on Carolina Kids News Saturday October 3rd

CHARLOTTE, NC -- No-fuss Meals Charlotte, the region's premier source
for quick and healthy ready-to-cook family meals, hosted Carolina Kids
News at the store in the Myers Park/Cotswold area to tape an upcoming
segment to be shown on Time Warner Cable Channel 22. The crew from
Carolina Kids News filmed a recent "Kids Can Cook" session featuring
12 local children and their parents assembling ready-to-cook meals for
their families and having fun in the store.

The Carolina Kids News segment will air at 11:00 AM on Saturday,
October 3, 2009 on UNCCTV, Time Warner Cable channel 22.

"We were excited when Diana Davis of Carolina Kids News called and
asked if they could take part in a Kids Can Cook meal preparation
session and talk to our guests about their experiences," says Chip
Wilson, Co-Founder of no-fuss Meals Charlotte. "One of our primary
goals is to create opportunities for families to share time together
enjoying great, healthy meals and nurture those special relationships
that sustain us all throughout our lives. Kids Can Cook sessions play
a special part in this process because they create a unique
opportunity for kids to be actively involved in preparing family
dinners. We thought it was a great idea for Diana's Carolina Kids News
team to come interview our young Guests and get a firsthand account of
their experiences."

At Kids Can Cook sessions, Guests are welcomed to bring their children
(ages 7+) with them to assemble delicious, ready-to-cook family
friendly meals. During these sessions, children are invited to try
samples of several of the meals available each month, as well as no-
fuss Meals' kid-friendly staples, "no-fuss Mac and Cheese" and
"Totally Awesome Tenders". "Our Guests consistently tell us that the
experience of preparing family meals instills a great sense of pride
in their children," remarks Cindy Wilson, Chip's wife and business
partner. "And they always get excited about being able to share the
experience in our kitchen, where they don't have to clean anything up!"

Multiple studies have proven how important family dinners are to a
child's development. Not only have studies shown that are they more
important than play, story time or other events in the development of
vocabulary of younger children, but also that older children who
regularly eat family dinners have both a healthier perception of food
and a higher self-esteem. As a result, they are less likely to have
eating disorders or become involved with alcohol, drugs or tobacco as
they get older, and they tend to do better in school as well. The
Wilson's add, "That is why we are so passionate about making it easier
for busy families to share this important time together."

About no-fuss Meals Charlotte
no-fuss Meals Charlotte assists the local community in preparing and
enjoying healthy meals. Utilizing only the highest quality and
freshest ingredients, no-fuss Meals enables families and busy
professionals alike to enjoy restaurant quality meals at home for less
per serving than the cost of take out or unhealthy fast food. Guests
can order their no-fuss Meals one at a time, or a dozen at once,
whatever fits their lifestyle. no-fuss Meals can also be purchased in
sizes appropriate for either 2-3 people ("medium meals") or 4-6
people ("large meals"). Meals are made fresh to order, and are
conveniently packaged so that the meals can be frozen for up to 6-8
weeks so that healthy meals are on-hand for your family when you need
them, saving you time, effort and money. Guests can order in advance
or walk-in for a "Grab 'n' Go" to pick up fresh meals made to order at
our Providence Plaza location (2935 Providence Rd, corner of
Providence Rd and S Sharon Amity). To learn more about no-fuss Meals
Charlotte, visit

Or guests can schedule a time for their own individual or group in-
store meal assembly session. A wide variety of fresh, ready-made meals
are always available for Guests who drop in. Meal delivery options
are available to residences in South Charlotte, as well as to schools,
day care centers, businesses and other group locations throughout the
region (Individual deliveries are subject to a $10 delivery fee. Group
deliveries are made at no additional charge). Kids Can Cookä sessions
and private, in-store parties are can be scheduled by calling the
store at 704-365-4515. To take advantage of special offers, become our
fan on Facebook ( or follow us
on Twitter (

About 'Our Table' by no-fuss Meals Charlotte
Our mission is to Build Community, One Dinner Table at a Timeâ. In
addition to providing this service for our Guests, we have established
the "Our Table" program to serve less fortunate members of our
community. Through "Our Table", we make a meal for every ten that we
sell and donate these "eleventh meals" to those in need through our
local community partners. Thanks to our Guests, we have been able to
provide nearly 1,000 Our Table meals so far to families and small
groups who need them in Charlotte. To learn more visit

Charlotte’s Fisher Mortgage Adopts New Name, Becomes Approved For FHA Mortgage Lending

Charlotte's Fisher Mortgage Adopts New Name,

Becomes Approved For FHA Mortgage Lending


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Fisher Mortgage LLC is the new name for the Charlotte mortgage lender formerly known as First Trust Mortgage. The company has also become certified as a lender for FHA-backed mortgages.

"We chose the new name Fisher Mortgage to have a more unique brand name," said President Doug Bell. "Fisher is an old name in my family and starts with 'Fi' like our old name, so that makes it easier to remember.

"We also have expanded our loan offerings with FHA-guaranteed mortgages to help first-time homebuyers and others who may have difficulty getting conventional financing," Bell added. "FHA lending allows a loan up to 97 percent of the property value, and has raised the upper limit to $300,000, so it's useful for a lot more people."

Fisher Mortgage ( operates at 700 East Blvd. in Charlotte and also in Pawley's Island, S.C., where co-owner Leigh Reid serves coastal clients.

"We're a boutique-size firm focused on very personalized service," Bell said. "But we're able to operate a wide range of mortgage options, working with all the top U.S. lenders as well as the FHA to give clients the most competitive rates available. We walk people through the loan process with a lot of personal attention, which our clients truly appreciate."

Bell has worked in Charlotte for nearly three decades and is also the founder and owner of The Roasting Company, a popular Caribbean-style, healthy dining restaurant on Montford Drive.


[Contact: Doug Bell, dbell(at), 704-377-5177. Hi-res photo available from Buck (at)]

Exec Assessment Center launched by Coleman Lew & Associates

Charlotte, N.C. -- Coleman Lew & Associates' Leadership
Development Resources (LDR) team recently completed the design of an
executive assessment center for a national retailer with over 100
stores. Included in the assessment center are a business case role
play, a coaching case role play, a behavioral event interview, and
behavioral and ability assessments. The role plays and behavioral
event interview are centered on a competency model created
specifically for the organization and level of management. These
tools are based on the LDR team's extensive research and assessment of
existing high performing managers within the company.

The LDR team also administers the assessment center
process. Candidates for selection or promotion complete online
assessments prior to an in-person meeting. During the face-to-face
meeting, candidates participate in a behavioral event interview, a
business case and coaching case role play, and a supervised assessment
to verify online assessments. Coleman Lew then compiles a report that
integrates interpretations of the assessment results with scores on
the relevant competencies, as measured by the behavioral interview and
role play exercises. The assessment center is a very effective tool
for evaluating potential candidates and offers management information
that is helpful for selection, on-boarding, training, managing, and
developing the new members of the team.

Coleman Lew & Associates, Inc., founded in 1979 and
headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a national retained executive
search firm that recruits board members, officers, and senior level
executives for national and international companies, academic
institutions and non-profit organizations. The firm also provides
customized leadership development services to organizations seeking to
maximize corporate performance. Member, Association of Executive
Search Consultants (AESC).

Catawba Riverkeeper and Aquarius Spring! partner for community clean-up on October 3

Aquarius Spring! to award Catawba Riverkeeper with grant to recognize,
support and inspire local watershed conservation efforts
Community clean-up of Lake Wylie and Lake Norman planned for October 3

Aquarius Spring!™ natural spring water is on a mission this summer to
promote watershed conservation and encourage people to take action in
their local communities. The brand is providing large grants to
community organizations to facilitate consumer education and clean-up
events at watersheds in 10 markets. Next stop: Charlotte and a
partnership with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF), a non-
profit organization which advocates for and secures protection and
enhancement of the Catawba River, its lakes, tributaries and watershed.

On October 3, Aquarius Spring! will join forces with CRF volunteers
and staff to host the eighth annual Lake Wylie Riversweep and take
part in the NC Bigsweep on Lake Norman. Volunteers will remove
invasive plants, trash and recyclable items from the river, shores and
surrounding areas by land and by boat. The clean-ups will take place
from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., followed by a celebratory luncheon for
volunteers. Lunch, prizes and live entertainment will be provided as
well as membership incentives by local businesses.

In addition to the clean-up event, Aquarius Spring! will recognize CRF
with a large grant to support its clean water initiatives.
"The Aquarius Spring! summer mobile tour is motivating local
residents to take an active role in watershed conservation and
recycling efforts in their communities," said Regina Stone, Community
Coordinator, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. "Beyond the clean-up
events, the partnership grant will help provide opportunities
throughout the year for community involvement in the Catawba River

The centerpiece of the 20-week Aquarius Spring! summer tour is a
specially designed vegetable-oil powered bus that will invite local
residents to participate in the watershed clean-up events taking place
in each market.
"Aquarius Spring! was founded with a mission to hydrate, donate and
participate," said Brandon Leck, director of water brands, Coca-Cola
North America. "In addition to our 10-market tour and donations to
local watersheds, every Aquarius package and point of sale will direct
consumers where they can learn more about
water conservation efforts in their communities. Together we can make
a lasting contribution to local watersheds through this call to

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit operating in
the fourteen counties of the Catawba River watershed, flowing through
North and South Carolina. CRF trains and leads five locally based
Covekeeper Programs on Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Mountain Island
Lake, LakeWylie and Lake Wateree. Volunteers are trained through the
Covewatcher, Streamwatcher, Waterwatcher and Muddy Water Watch
programs. CRF is licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. For more
information on upcoming events or becoming a volunteer or member,

Aquarius Spring!, a natural spring water bottled fresh from four
abundant, well-protected springs across the U.S., is produced by Coca-
Coca-Cola places a high priority on water stewardship and has set a
goal to return to communities and nature an amount of water equivalent
to what is used in its beverages and their production. Efforts include
continually working to improve water use efficiency in operations,
recycling water used for manufacturing processes, and replenishing
water in communities and ecosystems through locally relevant projects
such as the Aquarius tour. For more about the Company's programs and
partners, visit:

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company,
refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along
with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the
Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands,
including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater,
POWERADE, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1
provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-
drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage
distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the
Company's beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day.
With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our
Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment,
conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the
communities where we operate. For more information about our Company,
please visit our Web site at