Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mayor's Youth Employment Program Seeks Small Business Participation

The Mayor's Youth Employment Program (MYEP) was launched in 1986 as a
means for the City of Charlotte to provide meaningful employment
opportunities for youth. The program partners with community
organizations that refer students, ages 16-18 to be placed with host
employers from the public and private sector.

The MYEP is located in the City's Economic Development Office (EDO), a
division which also manages the Small Business Opportunity (SBO)
Program. As we move into another year in which we face certain
economic challenges, the City continues to work fervently to offer
opportunities for our community to progress and grow. One such
opportunity is the Mayor's Youth Employment and SBO Program. This
partnership will offer City-certified Small Business Enterprises
(SBEs) an opportunity to hire MYEP participants through a City funded
internship, allowing our youth to gain a greater understanding of
career demands and develop skill sets to compete in today's global
The MYEP, SBO collaboration, will both promote and support small
businesses and youth development. The MYEP will provide a $1200
subsidy to youth working with partnering SBEs. Subsidy requirements
are listed as follows:

· Youth participants must work with SBEs for a 6-week
internship from June-August (City funded)

· SBEs must be willing to employ youth participants for 2
weeks prior to the start of the City funded internship (at SBEs expense)

· Interns must be paid at a rate of $8 per hour

· Participants must work a minimum of 20 hours a week

SBE Host Employer Partnership

As an SBE youth employer, the SBE firm will receive:

· A pre-screened intern who has completed a job skills
training course, background test/drug screening

· Direct support and monitoring of the intern through regular
communications with program staff

· Increased productivity from having interns employed in
meaningful task and project work

· Community recognition

· FREE assistance from a motivated, committed youth

SBE Host Employer Requirements

SBEs are required to attend an orientation breakfast meeting with
Mayor Foxx prior to the start of the program. The SBE must identify a
supervisor who will be able to devote significant time to mentor the
intern, provide a clear job description for the intern and provide the
intern with an orientation and any specialized training required.

SBEs who are interested in becoming host employers must complete an
employer registration form and provide a detailed letter summarizing
your employment needs, along with an outline that includes the job
framework for the youth participant. Contact the Mayor's Youth
Employment Program to request an application for an intern.
Applications and must be completed and returned to the Economic
Development Office by May 30, 2010.

Economic Development and MYEP staff will match SBEs with youth
participants according to the career interest of the youth and the
needs of the SBE host employer.

MYEP Interns

All youth who are interested in participating in the MYEP must be a
Charlotte Mecklenburg high school student 16-18 years of age; referred
by one of our community partners. Youth must show that they are
motivated, demonstrate work experience or extracurricular activities;
provide a professional/personal reference; and be able to articulate
their chosen career interest in a short 500 word essay.
For more information or to apply for the program contact:

Dawn M. Hill

Mayor's Youth Employment Program

704.336.4445 or

Board of Education examines budget-cutting options

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education held a work session on
the budget March 30, with two major areas of discussion. District
staff announced a plan to reorganize the learning communities for next
year and asked for guidance on eight budget-cutting opportunities.

Final budget numbers for the district are not yet available, but CMS
has set a target amount for reductions in the 2010-2011 budget of
$73.6 million, the superintendent and chief financial officer said.

"This number includes an assumption – and right now, that's all it is
– that our county cut will be 6.5 percent and our state reduction will
be 4 percent, " Dr. Peter C. Gorman told the Board.

Ann Clark, the district's chief academic officer, presented a plan for
the learning communities that will create five zones, instead of the
current six geographic areas and the Achievement Zone. The plan will
reduce learning community staffing from 55 positions to 30, with a
total expected savings of $3.6 million.

Clark said that the district's Title I department will be reorganized
to provide supplemental support to Title I schools in alignment with
the zones.

The new zones and their area superintendents are: Northeast Zone to be
led by Scott Muri; East Zone, led by Joel Ritchie; Southwest Zone, led
by Monique Gardner-Witherspoon; Central Elementary Zone, led by Tyler
Ream and Central Secondary Zone, led by Curtis Carroll.

Under the reorganization, which takes effect July 1, the Title I
department will support the Central Elementary and Secondary zones.
Metro and Morgan schools will continue to be supervised by Dr. Jane
Rhyne. The district's pre-kindergarten centers will be assigned to
the Central Elementary Zone and will be supervised by Ream.

District staff also reviewed the most recent budget scenarios with the

"As of now, we have identified $66.7 million in cuts, so we need to
find another $6.9 million," Gorman said. "We are asking Board members
to tell us whether they would support any of eight different cost-
cutting measures."

The first option discussed was cutting CMS-TV, the district's
television station, entirely. The Board asked for more information and
directed staff to continue research on possible partnerships with the
county and the city for a shared broadcast operation, as well as data
about CMS TV viewership. Board Chair Eric C. Davis, who represents
District 5, said he would also discuss it with the city and county.

A second option was a two-day furlough for all employees. The Board
directed staff to pursue the possibility of a furlough aggressively
with the North Carolina legislature. At present, the district does not
have the authority to issue a furlough.

A third option was delaying the opening of two new high schools next
year, Mint Hill High and W. A. Hough High. The Board did not support
this option.

A fourth option was the addition of shuttle stops for elementary
students who attend a magnet school. Citing concerns with student
safety, the Board did not support this option.

A fifth option was closing some schools. The Board did not support
this option, although some members noted that this was an issue that
could be examined later.

A sixth option was reducing the formula used for weighted student
staffing, which directs extra resources and staff to schools with high
numbers of students in poverty or who are learning English. The Board
did not support lowering the number used for weighted-student staffing.

A seventh option was additional staff reductions, to be accomplished
by increasing the number of students per classroom, lowering the
number of teachers and other staff needed. The Board did not support
this option.

Finally, the Board discussed salary reductions. District
staff advised the Board that such reductions raise legal issues. If
the cuts are made for every employee, some CMS employees will fall
below the state-required minimum wage. The number of such employees
rises as the percentage of the cut increases. The Board did not
support this option.

"The dollars are getting harder to find," Dr. Gorman told the Board,
echoing an earlier comment by a Board member that the last $7 million
in cuts for next year will be more painful than the first $70 million.

Upcoming speaker at Davidson will explain lure of the media

One of the nation's leading scholars in media and communication
studies, Jennings F. Bryant, will present the annual McGaw Lecture at
his alma mater, Davidson College, on Tuesday evening, April 13.

There is no charge to attend the talk, titled "Why Did I Just Watch
That?" which begins at 7 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall. For
more information call 704-894-2445.

Bryant is the Distinguished Research Professor and Associate Dean of
the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the
University of Alabama, and Director of its Institute for Communication

In his talk at Davidson, Bryant will combine research findings with
theoretical concepts from Aristotle, Freud and recent communication
and cognitive psychology to explain the appeal of traditional and new
types of media. He will also indicate some relatively unknown
rationales for "guilty pleasures" in the entertainment arena.

Bryant, a 1967 Davidson graduate, earned a Master of Divinity degree
in Communications and Counseling summa cum laude from the Louisville
Theological Seminary. He received his Ph.D. in Mass Communication,
again summa cum laude, from Indiana University.

A prolific and distinguished scholar who has published more than 200
articles in leading journals, he was instrumental in the formative
stages of the Children's Television Workshop and Sesame Street. He
served as President of the International Communication Association and
has been named a Distinguished Scholar of the Broadcast Education
Association. A superb and lively public speaker, he has won several
teaching awards, including this year's Burnum Distinguished Faculty
Award from the University of Alabama.

His varied background allows him to bring valuable professional
experience into the classroom. In his younger years, he was a Spencer
Fellow at Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) where
he worked on Sesame Street and The Electric Company. He wrote for
children's television programs throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He also
founded and sold two companies that produced specialty television
programs, and through the years served as a consultant to more than 45
major media companies.
From 1990 through August 2004, under Bryant's leadership the
University of Alabama's Institute for Communication Research worked
with federal and state agencies, foundations, and more than 60
corporate clients and performed about $8 million in studies to help
them address a wide range of communication issues and problems. The
institute presented more than 200 reports to clients including the
United States Department of Education on the TI-IN United Star
Network, to Lawrence Erlbaum Associates on textbook curriculum
analysis, to the Children's Television Workshop on television violence
issues, to Nick Jr. on the effects of viewing particular programs, and
to Southern Progress Corporation on readership studies.

He conducted a major research project in 1989 funded by the National
Association of Broadcasters about the effects of TV violence on young
viewers, and continues to research on this topic, as well as the
effects of the use of entertainment in educational television. He has
also researched and provided commentary on the commercialization of
children's television and the use of children's programming to sell

Bryant's contributions in terms of media effects include coediting
with Dolf Zillmann the 2002 volume Media Effects: Advances in Theory
and Research, which is used in mass communication theory classes
worldwide. His 1983 book with Dan Anderson titled Children's
Understanding of Television: Research on Attention and Comprehension
is still one of the most frequently cited books on media and children.
In 2001 Bryant and his daughter Alison wrote the second edition of
Television and the American Family. He continues to be among the most
prolific of scholars, publishing four books during the first half of
2006 alone.

He also coedits a series of scholarly books and advanced textbooks for
the publishing firm of Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, many of which have
won major awards.

His visit to Davidson, which will include a workshop for faculty about
how digital media has altered the way young people think and act, is
sponsored by the college's Public Lectures Committee.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for
1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C.
Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has
graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson
Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the
nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages,
giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson
competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding
Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

Bank of America Completes Installation of Talking ATMs

As part of its long-standing commitment to customers with visual
impairments, Bank of America today announced that every Bank of
America ATM in the country has been equipped with voice-enabled
technology. Visually impaired customers can now access more than
18,000 Bank of America ATMs, the largest network of bank-owned ATMs in
the U.S.

Talking ATMs provide audible instructions in English or Spanish to
persons who cannot view information on an ATM screen. These machines
make it easier for people with visual impairments to withdraw cash,
deposit money and perform other ATM transactions. The ATMs have audio
jacks that deliver spoken instructions privately through standard
headsets to protect the security of users who are blind or have low-

"Bank of America has long been a leader in understanding the needs of
blind and low-vision banking customers," said Jeff Thom, president of
the California Council of the Blind, an affiliate of the Arlington,
Virginia-based American Council of the Blind. "From talking ATMs, to
accessible online banking, to Braille bank statements, we are proud to
have partnered with Bank of America for almost 15 years."

In 2001, Bank of America was the first bank in the United States to
announce a comprehensive plan to install talking ATMs across the
country. The bank was also the first to make its Web site and online
banking conform to Web accessibility standards.

"Bank of America is pleased to offer talking functionality in over
18,000 ATMs across the country," said Rob Aulebach, ATM Channel
Management executive. "This is just one of many services we continue
to offer to our visually impaired customers. We are proud to offer
innovative solutions at our ATMs so all of our customers have the
control and choice to manage their everyday finances effectively."

In addition to talking ATMs, Bank of America is the first major bank
to equip all of its deposit-accepting ATMs throughout the country with
deposit imaging technology. This technology is now available at 13,800
Bank of America ATMs. Deposit Image ATMs allow customers to feed
checks and cash directly into the ATM slot, eliminating the need to
fill out deposit slips and stuff envelopes. For cash deposits,
customers can deposit up to 40 bills at a time and receive immediate
credit if the transaction is made on a business day by 8 p.m., subject
to certain exceptions explained in our account agreements. Deposit
Image ATMs calculate deposits automatically and display information on-
screen or via audio for verification.

To locate a Bank of America ATM, visit

California Council of the Blind

California Council of the Blind is a state-wide consumer-based
advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired
Americans. CCB and its members are dedicated to improving the quality
of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who
have visual impairments. CCB has a long history of commitment to the
advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence
for people who are blind and visually impaired. CCB has been working
with Bank of America for nearly fifteen years on issues of banking
accessibility, and issued its first press release about Bank of
America Talking ATMs in 2000. More information about CCB and about
Talking ATMs can be found by visiting and

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions,
serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and
large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset
management and other financial and risk management products and
services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United
States, serving approximately 59 million consumer and small business
relationships with 6,000 retail banking offices, more than 18,000 ATMs
and award-winning online banking with nearly 30 million active users.
Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management
companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking
and trading across a broad range of asset classes serving
corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the
world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to more than 4
million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-
use online products and services. The company serves clients in more
than 150 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a
component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New
York Stock Exchange.


Next Tuesday's free domestic violence Lunch and Learn program, Housing
Services for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence, will explore
how Mecklenburg County is addressing shelter and housing needs of
domestic violence victims and survivors.

Panelists include Deronda Metz with Salvation Army's Center of Hope,
Kelly Forney with United Family Services' Shelter for Battered Women,
Erin Concelman with Mecklenburg County's Community Support Services'
Women's Commission DV Transitional Housing Program and Rebecca Stickel
with the YMCA's Women In Transition & Families Together program.

Certificates of Completion will be provided.

The program is presented by Mecklenburg County Community Support
Services Women's Commission and its partners on the Domestic Violence
Advocacy Council (DVAC). Participants are encouraged to bring their

When: Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Hal Marshall Building, 700 North Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202
Auditorium 1

Please note the new location is Mecklenburg County's Hal Marshall
Building at 700 North Tryon Street. Free parking is available in the
main parking lot and in the College Street overflow lot. A free
trolley runs the length of Tryon Street every seven minutes from
center city.

These free monthly seminars are open to the public and are held on the
first Tuesday of each month. Representatives from local help agencies
serve as presenters. The DVAC will continue to organize these
workshops as an ongoing effort to broaden the public's awareness of
the issues surrounding domestic violence. For more information on this
ongoing series and other events, go to

For more information on the effects of domestic violence in our
community, call Community Support Services at (704) 432-SAFE (7233),
CSSWomen's Commission at (704) 336-3210, or United Family Services'
Shelter for Battered Women 24-hour hot line at (704) 332-2513.

Northwest School of the Arts needs instruments, donations

Northwest School of the Arts (NWSA), an arts magnet in Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Schools, will begin a drive April 1 to collect gently used
or new musical instruments for students at the school who cannot
afford them. The school's instrument drive, called "Recycle the Gift
of Music," will end May 5.

At present, students must rent or buy instruments from area music
stores in order to participate in the band or orchestra. There are
students at the school who want to participate, but cannot because
their parents can't afford instruments and the school does not have an
extra supply. The school needs financial resources to purchase new
instruments or to fix those that are damaged, so NWSA is also seeking
financial donations during the drive.

Dr. Barry Bowe, the principal at NWSA, says he's looking forward to
the day when his school has enough instruments so that every child can

"It's terribly sad to see students turned away because their parents
can't afford to rent or purchase an instrument and we can't provide
them with one," said Dr. Bowe. "I want every student to have the
opportunity to experience the gift of music."
Dr. Bowe believes being 'green' can also apply to recycling instruments.

"As we look at ways to conserve resources, recycle and reuse goods,
donating an instrument is also a smart and worthy investment in our

The school needs stringed, wind and percussion instruments. Each costs
about $600, and it costs $200 to repair a damaged instrument. Last
year, NWSA received a $10,000 donation from Fidelity Bank to purchase
larger instruments, such as tubas, cellos and string basses. NWSA
music teachers Michael Sanders and Felicia Sink say that the donation
has already made a difference, and even more students will be helped
by the instrument drive.

"I began playing the violin in the fourth grade and my first early
experiences in the orchestra fostered a passion for music that has
enriched my life," said Sink, who is the orchestra teacher at the
school. "Every interested child should have the opportunity to
discover the joy of music."

New and gently used instruments or financial donations can be brought
to the school (1415 Beatties Ford Rd.) or the CMS Central Learning
Community (324 N. McDowell St.) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.
until 3 p.m. All donations are tax-deductible and checks should be
made payable to Friends of Northwest.

The school will partner with several local music-related businesses
and arts organizations during the instrument drive. The public may
call 980-343-5500 or e-mail for more

Dr. Bowe knows first-hand the importance of music education. He says
music changed his life.

"Playing my father's trumpet taught me to appreciate and love music.
Music education is sound learning," said Dr. Bowe. "I know the people
of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are generous, and NWSA is grateful
for and appreciative of their kindness and support to help our kids

Northwest School of the Arts, a county-wide visual and performing arts
magnet school in CMS, has a strong academically-focus curriculum while
encouraging students to develop special talents and passion for
creative and visual arts, theatre, music and dance. More than 1,200
students in grades six through 12 attend NWSA. Of those students,
currently 350 participate in the band or orchestra. Click here for the
school's Web site.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Opera Carolina and Community School of the Arts Partner to Launch Music-Drama Workshop for Young Artists

Opera Carolina and Community School of the Arts announce a unique
educational opportunity for young singing actors in the Charlotte
region. This summer, they will host a week-long, music-drama workshop
featuring hands-on instruction, coaching and training by professional
artists highlighted by three special Master Classes conducted by
internationally recognized opera stars.
Opera Carolina Academy - 2010 Music-Drama Summer Workshop – to be held
at Spirit Square, June 21-25 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – is open to
students who have completed grades 6-8 or grades 9-12. The next
auditions for the workshop are on Sat., May 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
and from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Space
is limited and students must register for an audition at by Wed., April 30.

Students are not required to have prior private artistic instruction
but the comprehensive curriculum is geared toward individuals with a
strong desire to pursue a high level of music-drama training and a
propensity to achieve goals and exceed expectations.

"We are thrilled to be able to provide professional instruction to
young people in our region and to partner with Community School of the
Arts." said James Meena, General Director and Principal Conductor.
"This is an exciting opportunity for aspiring young artists to work
first-hand with exceptionally gifted opera artists who bring a wealth
of knowledge and experience from their years of performing on the
world's great stages. Opera Carolina is committed to creating
exciting, high quality professional educational opportunities for
young people."

About the Curriculum

The Music-Drama curriculum will include instruction in
stage combat, stagecraft skills, theater exercises and games, musical
interpretation, orchestral improvisation and movement. The vocal
instruction curriculum will include basic training in proper
breathing, laryngeal positioning and relaxation, practice exercises
and tactics, diction, song interpretation and care of the voice. All
vocal study is geared to the healthy production of acoustic solo
singing. In addition to regular class instruction, students may also
qualify (if they choose) to participate in master classes with
internationally recognized opera stars.

About Opera Carolina

Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of
volunteers, today Opera Carolina is the largest professional opera
company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.3 million
for the fiscal year 2009. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire
the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent
Opera, Operetta, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the
quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community
resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/
Mecklenburg and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by
the state of North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.

About Community School of the Arts

Founded in 1969, Community School of the Arts provides
music and visual arts programs to more than 2,000 students each
year. Through music lessons, art classes, summer camps and extensive
outreach programs at more than a dozen Mecklenburg County studios, the
School fulfills its mission to transform lives and inspire community
through outstanding, accessible arts education.

Community School of the Arts is supported by the Arts & Science
Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg and the North Carolina Arts Council,
an agency funded by the state of North Carolina.

Randolph OB/GYN Opens New Office In Uptown Charlotte’s EpiCentre

Randolph OB/GYN, one of Charlotte's most experienced obstetrics and
gynecology practices, has opened a new third location in the EpiCentre
in uptown Charlotte.

They will share space with First Charlotte Physicians on the second
level (Suite D-230) of the EpiCentre complex, built on the site of the
former Charlotte Civic Center. The location is at the southeast corner
of the complex, at the intersection of East Fourth Street and the

"We are attracting an increasing number of patients who work and live
uptown, and now are coming to our main office at 2711 Randolph Road,"
said Dr. John McNamara, a partner in the practice. "This new location
will be much more convenient for them, and we hope to attract other
patients in the uptown area as well."

This will be Randolph OB/GYN's second satellite office. The first one
at 18515 Statesville Road in Cornelius opened in 2000. Dr. Cathryn
Crosland, who joined the practice in 2009, is now the primary
practitioner there, and others in the eight-physician practice also
work in Cornelius at scheduled times.

Randolph OB/GYN was founded in 1976 in its Randolph Road location and
currently serves thousands of patients in the greater Charlotte area.
Personal attention and caring for each individual is one of the
practice's core values. More information at

Friday, March 26, 2010


Because of a significant decrease in permits resulting in revenue that
is 33 percent below projected levels for fiscal year 2010, Mecklenburg
County Code Enforcement has notified its employees that 45 full-time
positions will be eliminated, reducing the department's staff from 175
to 130.

The staff members who are affected by this reduction in force –
including inspectors, plan reviewers and administrative personnel –
were notified this week. Their last day of work will be May 4.

These cuts reflect a long-term drop in construction in Mecklenburg
County. In fiscal year 2007 (the 12-month period from July 2006
through June 2007), Code Enforcement performed more than 372,000
inspections on construction valued at more than $4.5 billion. Since
then, the number of inspections has decreased significantly. In fiscal
year 2009, 225,000 inspections were performed on construction valued
at $2.7 billion. During the first half of this fiscal year, which
started July 2009, only 90,845 inspections were performed.
Construction value is now down 67 percent, and permit value down 59
percent, from 2007.

Code Enforcement is a fee-funded agency, which means it relies largely
on income from fees for the services it provides to fund department
operations. Director James N. Bartl said the reduction in force is a
drastic but essential measure in order for the department to balance
its budget.

"We're only doing this because it's absolutely necessary," Bartl said.
"These are productive and highly skilled staff. I greatly regret that
it's come to this."

Mecklenburg County Human Resources is offering transition services for
the affected employees, including resume and job-search assistance.
The County also provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help
employees and their family members cope amid loss and change.

The reduction in staff should not affect the quality of service the
department offers. The staff cuts mirror the drop in business.
Inspection response times have remained rapid amid the changes in the
department over the past few years, including a department
reorganization that is under way this spring. Moreover, Code
Enforcement's technological advances have streamlined the permitting
and plan review processes, making them faster and more efficient for
customer service staff as well as customers.

For more information on Code Enforcement's services, go to

Follow Code Enforcement on Twitter at


Mecklenburg County will have a new director of Internal Audit
beginning next month. Joanne Prakapas has been hired by County Manager
Harry L. Jones, Sr. for the position. She will begin work on April 7.

She comes to Charlotte from Phoenix, Arizona, where she was chief
internal auditor of the Arizona Department of Revenue. She previously
served as senior internal auditor for the Automotive Club of Michigan
in Dearborn, and auditor/analyst for the Arizona Office of the Auditor
General, in Phoenix.

Prakapas holds a Master of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of
Business Administration in Finance from Eastern Michigan University.
She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor
(CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and is also Certified in
Financial Forensics (CFF).

Prakapas will be responsible for planning, organizing, directing and
controlling the internal audit and appraisal function for Mecklenburg
County. The Internal Audit Department performs operational, financial-
related and information systems audits designed to furnish the Board
of County Commissioners and management with independent assessments of
departmental operations and recommendations that strengthen the
County's risk management and fiscal control processes.

Mecklenburg County's Internal Audit department has a staff of five and
budget of more than $500,000. Although Jones is projecting
significant cuts elsewhere in the organization next fiscal year, he is
recommending that Internal Audit department's staffing be increased by
three positions. Prakapas will be responsible for establishing and
implementing this new staffing plan. Her experience includes creating
a new audit division in the Arizona Office of the Auditor General and
a new internal audit unit for the Arizona Department of Revenue.

"Ms. Prakapas has exceptional knowledge and experience to lead our
internal audit function and enhance its capacity and capabilities,"
said Jones.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Mecklenburg County government offices and agencies will be closed on
Friday, April 2, for Good Friday and open on a normal schedule Monday,
April 5. This includes all units of the Department of Social Services,
the Tax Office, Elections Office, the Register of Deeds Office, and
the Land Use and Environmental Services Department. The Department of
Social Services will also be closed on Saturday, April 3. CharMeck
311 is available 24 hours a day, and seven days a week for assistance.

Mecklenburg County Substance Abuse Center (Detox) is open 24 hours a
day, seven days a week.

The Department of Social Services Care Line (704-336-CARE or
704-336-2273) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive
reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children and elderly or
disabled adults.

The Health Department will be closed on Friday, April 2.

The Main Library and all library branches will be closed on Easter
Sunday, April 4. All libraries will be open on Friday, April 2, and
Monday, April 5.

Solid Waste's administrative offices and the Foxhole Landfill will be
closed on April 2. All recycling and yard waste facilities will be
open normal hours on Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3.

Park and Recreation administrative offices will be closed Friday,
April 2. County parks, recreation centers, aquatic facilities and
nature preserves/centers will operate regular hours April 2 – 5.

Enjoy the holiday!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kyle Petty encourages Dream Teams to benefit Charity Ride Across America

The 16th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is
challenging community members along the 2010 Ride route to take part
in a grassroots awareness and fundraising effort. The funds raised
through the Charity Ride Dream Team Challenge will support Victory
Junction, a year-round camp for children with chronic medical
conditions or serious illnesses and other children's charities. Teams
are encouraged to register at

Led by NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the Ride will
depart Indian Wells, Calif., on May 1, and travel east, making
overnight stops in North Las Vegas, Nev.; Richfield, Utah; Durango,
Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Texarkana, Texas; Choctaw, Miss.; Chattanooga,
Tenn.; and Asheville, N.C.; before reaching Victory Junction on May
9. Prior to the Ride's arrival in these cities, community members are
invited to form "Dream Teams" to raise funds for and awareness of the
Ride and its beneficiaries. Dream Teams will be invited to present
donations to Kyle Petty and Ride participants at special events along
the Ride route.

"Communities are encouraged to spread the word about the Ride prior to
our arrival and assist us in getting these Dream Teams excited about
helping kids," said Petty. "The funds collected will go towards
providing life-changing opportunities for deserving children and their
families. Every little bit helps. It's all about making a difference
in a kids' life."
In 2009, donations from The Dream Team Challenge totaled more than

Teams of all ages and sizes are welcome to participate in the Charity
Ride Dream Team Challenge and may register on the Kyle PettyCharity
Ride Web site. Registration is free. Registered teams will receive
"Dream Team Packs" containing background information on the Charity
Ride and Victory Junction, as well as ongoing updates and fundraising

Fundraising efforts should begin after a team has selected a captain
and team members have reviewed the information in the Dream Team
Pack. Then, the sky is the limit! From bake sales and lemonade
stands to black-tie galas and silent auctions, teams should choose
fundraising activities that align with individual members' interests
and strengths.

Teams from around the country are encouraged to participate, and those
along the Ride route may join riders at pre-determined stops.
Collected donations should be mailed to Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc.,
125 Floyd Smith Drive, Suite 45, Charlotte, NC 28262. Checks should
be made payable to "Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc."

Since Victory Junction's inception, the Charity Ride has sent more
than 7,000 children to the life-changing camp at no cost to their
families. Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded Victory Junction in
Randleman, N.C., in 2004. The year-round camp serves children, ages
six to 16, with a variety of health issues that would typically
prevent them from attending camp. The camp operates solely on the
donations of corporations, organizations and individuals.

For more information on the Charity Ride Dream Team Challenge and the
16th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, visit
. Fans are also encouraged to become a fan via Facebook (Kyle Petty
Charity Ride Across America andKyle Petty) and follow us on Twitter at
(@kpcharityride and @kylepetty).

About The Kyle Petty Charity Ride
Led by NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the Kyle Petty
Charity Ride Across America raises awareness of and funds for Victory
Junction and other charities supporting chronically ill children. The
Charity Ride is one of the most successful and popular charity events
in the country. Now in its 16th year, the Charity Ride has donated
more than $13 million to Victory Junction and other children's
charities, with 6,400 participants logging more than 9.1 million
cumulative motorcycle miles. In 2010, celebrities, ride sponsors and
motorcycle enthusiasts will travel from Indian Wells, Calif. to
Randleman, N.C. from May 1-9. For more information about the Charity
Ride, please visit

About Victory Junction
Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children ages
six to 16 with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.
Founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam, the camp
is located in Randleman, N.C., with a second location opening soon in
Kansas City, Kan. Victory Junction offers programs for 24 disease
groups and maintains strong relationships with 26 partner hospitals.
Victory Junction's mission is to provide life-changing camping
experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and
medically-sound environment. As a not-for-profit organization, the
camp operates solely through the support of generous donors to provide
this experience at no charge to children and their families. For more
information about Victory Junction, please

NC Roads and Bridges Face $65 Billion Funding Shortfall

At a time when more than one-quarter of North Carolina's major roads
are deteriorated, nearly a third of the state's bridges are in need of
improvement and traffic congestion continues to choke major roads,
North Carolina faces a $65 billion transportation funding shortfall
through 2030. Unless the state is able to close the funding gap, it
will be unable to complete numerous projects that would improve road
and bridge conditions and safety, or widen key roadways to support
long-term economic growth in the state. Driving on roads that are
deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features costs
North Carolina motorists a total of $5.7 billion annually – $1,351 per
driver in the Charlotte area. This is according to a new report
released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation
research organization.

According to the TRIP report, "The Future of North Carolina's
Transportation System: Preserving and Maintaining North Carolina's
Economic Lifeline to Ensure Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,"
North Carolina will need an additional $65 billion in transportation
funding through 2030 to plan, design, build and maintain the state's
transportation system. The North Carolina Department of Transportation
(NCDOT) has identified numerous needed transportation projects
throughout the state that currently lack adequate funding to proceed.
In the Charlotte area, these projects include adding additional lanes
on I-85, I-77 and I-485; replacing the US 29 bridge over Mallard Creek
in Mecklenburg; and adding an 11-mile light rail line to extend the
existing LYNX Blue Line.
"Safety is of utmost importance. Additionally, we must address the
quality of our roads and all other congestion-related issues to ensure
we maintain the quality of life the Charlotte region is known for,"
said Ned Curran, president and CEO of The Bissell Companies.
"Transportation infrastructure is directly tied to our ability to
recruit jobs, which is what it will take to recover from the recession."

The TRIP report finds a total of 27 percent of major roads in the
Charlotte area in poor or mediocre condition, the same as the
percentage of poor and mediocre roads throughout the state. In
addition to deteriorated road conditions, 14 percent of North Carolina
bridges are structurally deficient and an additional 15 percent are
functionally obsolete.

"This report emphasizes what the NC Chamber and it's employer members
already know – significant transportation needs in our state require
attention and action from elected leaders to keep, create and attract
jobs now and in the future," said Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the
North Carolina Chamber.
Traffic congestion is a growing burden in North Carolina. According to
the TRIP report, 54 percent of the state's major urban roads are
congested during peak travel times and the average Charlotte driver
loses 40 hours each year stuck in traffic.

Between 2004 and 2008, 7,783 people were killed in traffic crashes on
North Carolina's roads. The state has a traffic fatality rate of 1.41
fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, higher than the
national average of 1.25. North Carolina's rural, non-Interstate roads
are particularly deadly, with a traffic fatality rate that is more
than four times higher than on all other roads in the state.

With 79,288 miles of state-maintained roadway, North Carolina has the
second largest state-maintained roadway system in the nation. Seventy-
six percent of roadways in North Carolina are maintained by the state,
the fourth highest share in the nation. Despite the large size ofNorth
Carolina's state-maintained roadway system, per-mile capital spending
on state-maintained roads in North Carolina is the fourth lowest in
the nation.

The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided
approximately $838 million in stimulus funding for highway, bridge and
transit improvements in North Carolina. This funding has created jobs
and served as an important down payment on needed road, highway and
bridge improvements but is not sufficient to allow the state to
proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface
transportation system. The current long-term federal surface
transportation legislation, which expires on December 31, 2010,
remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and
transit improvements in North Carolina. With the current federal
transportation program set to expire, Congress has an opportunity to
approve a new federal surface transportation program that could
include a significant boost in funding for highway and transit
improvements in North Carolina.

"Unless North Carolina is able to close its $65 billion transportation
funding gap, many additional needed projects will remain stranded on
the drawing board because of insufficient funding," said Will Wilkins,
executive director of TRIP. "It is critical that North Carolina's
transportation system is adequately funded at the state and federal
level. Thousands of jobs and the state's economy are riding on it."

Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte and Earth Hour-This Saturday Evening

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte will join with families and businesses
across the globe to celebrate international Earth Hour from 8:30 to
9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27.

Founded by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is a global phenomenon
during which millions of people extinguish their lights for one hour
in support of a cleaner, safer, less energy-intensive future. A record
20 states, 65 cities and 11 counties in the United States are expected
to dim their lights on March 27 for Earth Hour 2010.

Designed and constructed to attain LEED® Gold certification, The Ritz-
Carlton, Charlotte will support Earth Hour by working via candlelight
in its Lobby and porte cochere areas on March 27 – an evening practice
which is celebrated regularly at the environmentally-focused hotel in

The inauguration of Earth Hour took place in Sydney, Australia on
March 31, 2007, when more than two million people and two thousand
businesses across the city switched off their lights and appliances
for one hour. From its modest beginnings, the Earth Hour message has
swept the planet, and this year, Earth Hour aims to reach one billion
people in 1,000 cities across the globe.

Center for Sustainability to host free classes at 2010 Charlotte Clean and Green event

Central Piedmont Community College's (CPCC) Center for Sustainability
(CFS) recognizes that environmental sustainability contributes to the
overall well-being of the surrounding community and that as Charlotte
grows, it will become increasingly more important for each individual
to do their part and choose green.

That's why the CFS will host a variety of FREE classes at this year's
Charlotte Clean and Green celebration, being held in conjunction with
CPCC's week-long celebration of the arts - Sensoria. The following
classes will be held on Sensoria Saturday to teach local residents how
to be more environmentally friendly, while reducing their carbon
footprint and living a more sustainable lifestyle.

· Energy Savings 101

· Green Building and Remodeling 101

· 25 Ways to Go Green for Under $50

· Making the Queen City a Green City

· Residential Solar

· Certified Green – What Does it Mean?

· Rain Gardens for Your Yard

· Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Trees, An Asset You Can Help Preserve

· Tax Rebates and Incentives for Homeowners

· Green Jobs/Green Careers

· Making Organic Vegetable Gardening Easy!

· Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

· Green Schools and CMS Initiatives

For a complete schedule of classes, complete with class times and
locations, please visit

WHERE: CPCC Central Campus, 1201 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte

WHEN: Saturday, April 17; 10 a.m.

CONTACT: To learn more about the event, please visit

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in
North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification
programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing
education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically,
financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of
Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named
CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the
workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers
through innovative educational and training strategies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Federal Reserve Official Will Speak at Davidson March 24

Davidson College invites the public and media representatives to
attend an economics lecture with Donald L. Kohn, vice chairman of the
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, on Wednesday
evening, March 24. Kohn will deliver the annual Cornelson
Distinguished Lecture in Economics, speaking on the topic, "Homework
Assignments for Monetary Policy Makers."
There is no charge to attend the talk, which begins at 8 p.m. in The
Lilly Family Gallery of Chambers Building. For information call

Kohn was elected to the Board of Governors in 2002 and was appointed
its Vice Chair in 2006. He previously served on its staff as adviser
to the Board for Monetary Policy (2001-02), secretary of the Federal
Open Market Committee (1987-2002), director of the Division of
Monetary Affairs (1987-2001), and deputy staff director for monetary
and financial policy (1983-87). He also held several positions in the
Board's Division of Research and Statistics.

Kohn began his career as a financial economist at the Federal Reserve
Bank of Kansas City (1970-75) after earning his Ph.D. in economics at
the University of Michigan. He earned his BA in economics at the
College of Wooster.

Kohn has written extensively on issues related to monetary policy and
its implementation by the Federal Reserve. These works were published
in volumes issued by various organizations, including the Federal
Reserve System, the Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of Australia,
the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the National Bureau of Economic
Research, and the Brookings Institution.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for
1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C.
Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has
graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson
Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the
nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages,
giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson
competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding
Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

24 Hours of Booty Adds Janet Ervin to Team

Janet Ervin has joined 24 Hours of Booty, Inc., which runs the
Official 24-Hour Cycling Event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and
the only national 24-hour road cycling charity event in the country,
as marketing director. In her new role, Ervin will develop and execute
marketing strategies to support fundraising efforts and the
positioning of the 24 Hours of Booty brand.

A Statesville, N.C. native and cum laude graduate from Appalachian
State University, Ervin previously worked at the Multiple Sclerosis
Society where she served as development manager.

About 24 Hours of Booty

24 Hours of Booty, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity
located in Charlotte that provides extraordinary cycling events that
are safe, fun, and open to all levels of cycling ability. Its mission
is to conduct 24-hour cycling events that increase public awareness,
funds, and support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and local cancer
organizations. Local organizations include The Keep Pounding Fund at
Carolinas Medical Center and the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas in
Charlotte, and the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults in Columbia, Md.

The Ninth Annual 24 Hours of Booty in Charlotte is scheduled to roll
on the "Booty Loop" in Myers Park from 7 p.m. Friday, July 30 to 7
p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2010. In addition, 24 Hours of Booty will also
host the Second Annual 24 Hours of Booty of Columbia, Md. at Gateway
Business Park "Booty Loop" on Aug.28-29 and its inaugural event in
Atlanta on Oct.2-3.

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

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


National Guard FLW College Fishing is headed to Mountain Island Lake
March 27 for the first of four stops in the Northern Division series.
Forty collegiate teams will be competing for a top award of $10,000 to
be split evenly between the school and bass fishing club.

"Mountain Island Lake is a miniature Lake Norman," said FLW Tour pro
Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., who has won more than $670,000 in
FLW Outdoors competition. "It will fish just like Lake Norman. Guys
will be fishing riprap, secondary points with a crankbait as well as
jigs or a spinnerbait.

"The water temperature is in the 50s and has some color to it,"
Baumgardner added. "Ten pounds should be a good stringer there."

Anglers will take off from Riverbend Access located at 199 Eddie
Nichols Rd. in Mount Holly, N.C., at 7:30 a.m. Weigh-in will be held
at Riverbend Access beginning at 1:30 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are
free and open to the public.

Schools competing in this week's tournament include: Carnegie Mellon
University, Central Michigan, Chestnut Hill College, Christopher
Newport, Concord University, Cornell University, Denison University,
Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Hampden-Sydney
College, Kent State University, Lebanon Valley College, Longwood
University, Lynchburg College, Mansfield University, Messiah College,
Michigan State University, N.C. State University, Ohio State, Ohio
University, Penn State, Plymouth State College, Radford University,
Ramapo College, Rensselaer, RIT, Shepherd University, Slippery Rock
University, State University of New York-Plattsburgh, UNC–Chapel Hill,
UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, Vermont Technical College, Virginia
Tech, VMI, Wake Forest University, Wayne State University, West Point,
West Virginia University and Western Michigan.

The top five teams from each tournament will qualify for the regional
championship where the first-place team wins $25,000 cash for their
school and a Ranger 177TR bass boat for their fishing club. The top
five teams from each regional advance to the national championship
where the first-place team wins $50,000 for their school and $25,000
cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat for their fishing club.

FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along
with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time
undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and
members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of
Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the
world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for
millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has
also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the
largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors
memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including
Player's Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its
tournaments, visit or call (270) 252-1000. For more
information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit

Visit the FLW Outdoors Media Center at for
additional information.

Sharon Corners Welcomes New Anchor, HomeGoods

Sharon Corners, one of Charlotte's most established shopping centers,
located across from the city's prestigious SouthPark Mall, welcomes
HomeGoods as a new retailer to its array of restaurants and boutiques
including Harper's Restaurant, Jesse Brown's Outdoor, Destination
Maternity and Baoding Chinese Restaurant. The home décor retailer will
be located next to Men's Wearhouse and is planned to open in early
Fall of this year. This is the second HomeGoods in the Crosland

HomeGoods (23,344 sf) features a full display of trend-right, eclectic
home décor and fashions at prices that are 20-60 percent less than
fine-catalog, specialty and department store prices. Designed to offer
an ever-changing assortment of unique and distinctive home fashions,
including home décor, decorative accents, tableware, gourmet kitchen,
bedding and bath, children furniture and accessories, home office and
seasonal products, HomeGoods' merchandise is coordinated by department
and displayed to showcase decorating ideas and trends, ensembles, and

"We are very excited to welcome HomeGoods to Sharon Corners," said
Susan McGuire, senior vice president of retail at Crosland. "Sharon
Corners already has an exciting mix of great specialty stores,
restaurants and services. HomeGoods will be a great anchor and
further enhance the shopping experience."

Sharon Corners is located on the southwest corner of the intersection
of Sharon Road and Fairview Road, just across from SouthPark Mall. The
center features an array of boutiques, restaurants and services. For
more information, visit
Two National Retailers Join Shopping Center

Opening its doors in January is Verizon Wireless (1,500 sf). The
retailer offers industry-leading quality products and innovative
technology. Managing the nation's largest and most reliable wireless
voice and data network, Verizon Wireless boasts more than 80 million

Verizon also provides communications, information and entertainment
services across America's most advanced fiber-optic network and
delivers ground-breaking, seamless business solutions to customers
around the world. The retailer is occupying the space formerly leased
by Harpers to Go Go which was integrated into the adjacent main
AAA Carolinas, (2,400 sf) which relocated to Sharon Corners in 2009,
provides specialized services to members – such as emergency road
service and other benefits featuring members-only values and
discounts. AAA Carolinas also offers insurance, automotive and
financial services to its clients. Members can also take advantage the
travel agency services such as trip planning, cruise and tour packages
and personalized map routings offered by AAA Carolinas. There are 20
AAA Carolinas branch office locations throughout North and South
Carolina, all of which offer the provide members with the above
benefits with exceptional customer service.
About Crosland LLC

Founded in 1937, Crosland is one of the most prominent diversified
real estate companies in the Southeast and is recognized as a leading
community builder. Its expertise in retail, multifamily, office, land
development and general contracting enables it to be an innovator in
multi- and mixed-use development.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Crosland has offices in Raleigh,
Orlando, Tampa and Nashville, and develops, builds and manages
properties in the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and
Virginia. The privately held company has an asset portfolio and
projects underway that have a market value in excess of $1 billion.
For more details, visit

Institute for Entrepreneurship to host Small Business Week event April 13 on Entrepreneurial Success

In conjunction with U.S. Small Business Week, Central Piedmont
Community College's Institute for Entrepreneurship will host
"Entrepreneurial Success: Get Up and Grow," a free half-day conference
designed to provide new entrepreneurs and existing small business
owners with tips, tools and techniques to launch or grow a successful
venture, on April 13.

The event, sponsored by FranNet Carolina and The Bear and Horse
Company, will provide networking and exhibitor opportunities, and will
feature workshops presented by a variety of industry experts.

Scheduled sessions include:

Keynote Address, Fabi Presler

Come, listen and learn from an energetic entrepreneur and the
president of SPARK Publications, a thriving marketing-design powerhouse.

Alternative Careers in Business Ownership, presented by Mike Hall of
FranNet Carolina
Will 2010 be the year that you decide to own your own business and
control your career? Learn how to make a safe and informed decision
about business ownership.

Most Likely to Succeed: A look at what drug dealers know that you
don't, and how it can help your small business, presented by John
Casson of Bear and Horse Company

An award winning speech focused on how small businesses can take
advantage of all the resources of a team of professionals from
different industries (many of them free of charge) to form a "cartel"
for success.

Making "MAGIC" in Small Business: Secrets to create a Disney
experience and culture in your business, presented by John Formica,
the "Ex-Disney Guy"

Have you ever wondered how Walt Disney World Resort® continues to
produce a dynamic model on business excellence, leadership, working
environment and customer service? If Disney ran your business what
would it look like? John is known throughout the U.S. as the "Ex-
Disney Guy." He will share a few of his incredible experiences and
proven Disney success strategies to help your organization create a
"magical" customer experience and business culture. You will learn
best practices that can be applied right away to heighten your
marketing profile and beat out your competition.

Consider Alliances When Funding A Business, presented by Dan Gotte

In the current environment with tight credit markets, funding a
business whether a start-up or an existing business is daunting. Many
entrepreneurs overly focus on cash infusion as the main if not only
funding option. This seminar will explore the many different Alliance
relationship an entrepreneur may want to consider to help provide the
goods/services their business needs to grow.

Ask the Experts Q&A, presented by a panel of local business experts
specializing in business start-up, accounting, finance, marketing,
technology and legal issues.

If you are plagued with questions about starting, fixing, growing or
quitting your business this is your opportunity to get the answers to
your questions.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 13; noon – 6 p.m.

WHERE: CPCC Levine Campus, 2800 Campus Ridge Rd., Matthews, N.C.

CONTACT: The event is free and open to the public. Parking is
available on the Levine Campus, for directions, visit
. For more information on the event, please visit
or call 704.330.6736.

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in
North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification
programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing
education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically,
financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of
Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named
CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the
workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers
through innovative educational and training strategies.

CMS presents budget scenarios to Board of Education

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education held a budget work
session March 16 at the Education Center. Dr. Peter Gorman,
superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and district staff
presented a range of budget scenarios to the Board showing cuts
ranging from $11 million to $80 million and a reduction in force that
could be as few as 60 employees or more than 800.
Dr. Gorman also said that he has been advised by Mecklenburg County
Manager Harry Jones that a $6.3 million reversion in funding for the
current year's budget is likely.

Dr. Gorman and Sheila Shirley, the district's chief financial officer,
told the Board that although final funding is still uncertain, the
indicators are clear that cuts will be necessary.

The district receives slightly less than a third of its total
operating funds from Mecklenburg County and about two-thirds from the
state of North Carolina. Dr. Gorman told the Board that Jones, the
county manager, has indicated to him that at least a 6.5 percent
reduction in county funding is likely -- $19.7 million in the
operating budget and $1 million in the capital replacement budget.
On the state side, Shirley told the Board that the state is within $35
million of its projected revenues thus far, but that she is wary
because of a one-time corporate tax collection that brought in an
unexpected $272 million. That one-time addition could be masking a
state shortfall that will be apparent by the end of the fiscal year
June 30, she said – and she added that the last quarter of the year is
the most risky and hardest to predict.

"I would like some direction from the Board today, looking at the
scenarios," Dr. Gorman said. He and district officials are working to
prepare a budget to present to the Board April 13, he said, and need
to know if the Board supports the general direction of the scenarios
presented during the work session, or if a different direction is
Board members indicated mixed support for the scenarios – several
Board members said they didn't want to make cuts in the teaching ranks
-- but acknowledged that the cuts were probably inevitable.
"I don't like it," said Coach Joe White, an at-large representative on
the Board. "But we're looking at finding $80 million and I'm not sure
where else it is that you go."

Other Board members expressed discomfort with some cuts and asked CMS
staff to look at other options, such as across-the-board salary cuts
to prevent a reduction in force, furloughs, school closures or
consolidations, changes to magnet-school transportation and a change
in the weighted-student staffing formula.
Several Board members also indicated that fewer state requirements
would give CMS more flexibility to use innovation and creativity in
coping with the funding reductions.

"Flexibility is what we need," said Board Chairman Eric C. Davis, who
represents District 5.
The scenarios, similar to the tiers that CMS used in last year's
budget process, give the district flexibility by allowing reductions
to be considered in layers. As was the case in the 2009-2010 budget,
the scenarios call for cuts to be made in central administration and
support jobs first, with classroom cuts coming last.

"We can't cut $80 million and completely spare our classrooms,
particularly on top of the deep cuts we made for this year's budget,"
Dr. Gorman said. "We will feel these cuts in our schools."
The full Board will meet again to discuss the budget on March 30.


Amid continuing economic challenges, Mecklenburg County Manager Harry
L. Jones Sr. has directed County department directors to cut $13.2
million from the current budget, effective immediately. These
reductions address a revenue shortfall made worse by a decrease in
anticipated revenue from sales tax as well as fees for County services.

In addition to the cuts, the County will use $14.6 million from its
fund balance to help offset the overall reduction of budgeted revenue.
The County has also implemented an immediate hiring freeze, with the
exception of positions created to support Child Support Enforcement, a
mandate passed to the County by the State of North Carolina.

Jones will ask the Board of County Commissioners to approve a
reduction of $6.3 million from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
budget, and plans to cut Central Piedmont Community College funding by

As part of these reductions, 45 filled positions in Mecklenburg County
Code Enforcement will be eliminated as of May 5, 2010. This reduction
in force is driven by a severe drop in construction in Mecklenburg
County and accompanying decrease in building permit fees that fund
Code Enforcement services.

Jones also announced that he is preparing for an $85 million budget
shortfall for Fiscal Year 2011. He has instructed department directors
to make targeted cuts that total $95 million in order to bridge the
gap as well as replenish the fund balance used during FY 2010.

These FY 2011 cuts include potential layoffs of more than 500
employees and possible elimination of more than 100 vacant positions.

"I want to emphasize that this is not my FY 2011 recommended budget,"
Jones said. "That recommendation will be provided to the Board in May,
with the Board making its final decision in June. Still, based on the
brutal facts regarding our current conditions, we need to prepare
ourselves for major change in the form of budget and service

For the first time in many years, Mecklenburg County is projecting no
growth in its property tax base. This means the County will collect
about the same amount in property taxes that it collected in FY 2010.
Additionally, other sources of revenue including sales tax and fees
for services are expected to decrease. At its strategic planning
conference in February, the Board of County Commissioners indicated
that it preferred not to raise property taxes.


Targets given to County department directors for FY 2011 include the
following reductions:

· Overall average cuts of more than 16 percent with some
departments cut up to 50 percent of the current annual budget
· Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Central Piedmont Community
College cuts of more than 6 percent
o CMS - $21.5 million
o CPCC - $1.5 million
· Total outside agency funding cut by 67 percent

Read the latest budget update from the County Manager's Office for
more details on how the reductions will affect County services and

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Local church hosts unique table setting fundraiser to benefit battered women

Excitement is building for Charlotte-area women counting down the days
to The Park Church's second annual Table Talk Banquet, which is set
for 5:00 p.m., Saturday, March 27, at The Park Expo and Conference
Center (2500 E. Independence Blvd.).

Hosted by the church's women's ministry known as Daughters of Divine
Destiny, this unique fundraiser gives table hostesses the opportunity
to display their artistic ability by decorating their own dinner
tables based on biblical themes. Participants will design place
settings for eight, using table coverings, dishes, glassware,
silverware and centerpieces. Tables will be judged based on
creativity and originality, and winners will receive prizes for their
individual creations.

"Having more than 40 tables set in unique themes and beautiful colors
adds a unique flair to the Table Talk Banquet and allows women to show
off their decorating skills – all for a great cause," said Minister
Kim Alexander, First Lady of The Park Ministries. "Because this
fundraiser is so different, we're excited that the event is growing in
popularity for women in our community."

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Battered Women's Shelter, a
non-profit organization that offers counseling, support and a safe
haven for women and their children who are in danger of abuse from
their partners.

"Domestic violence is an important issue, and it's one that our church
has zero tolerance for," said Alexander. "Through events like the
Table Talk Banquet, our women's ministry is able to raise much-needed
funds and awareness of this issue in our community. We support the
Battered Women's Shelter because they carry the load for hundreds of
women and their children every year, helping them break the vicious
In addition, Rev. Dr. Pamela Carrington Holder of New Faith Baptist
Church in Greensboro, N.C., will be the guest speaker at the Table
Talk Banquet. She is a teacher, preacher and psalmist, who has
ministered to women throughout the world for more than 10 years.

For more information on the Table Talk Banquet, contact Robin Brown at
704-606-0087, Annetta Foard at 704-451-1362 or


Registered voters in Mecklenburg County can vote from home via
absentee ballot now through April 27 for the May 4, 2010, primary.

Here is the information needed by the Mecklenburg County Board of

• Your name
• Your Mecklenburg County address
• The address where you want us to mail the ballot (if it's
• Your signature
• If you are registered as an unaffiliated voter, let us know
if you want a Democratic or Republican ballot
• Your birth date
• A phone number or e-mail address

The information must be mailed to:
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections
Absentee Department
P.O. Box 31788
Charlotte, NC 28231


Fax to: 704-319-9722. Requests must be signed and can be e-mailed if
the letter is signed, scanned and attached. If completing an absentee
ballot for a relative, additional information is required.

Details about absentee voting, early voting, candidates and the entire
2010 election schedule are available at the Board of Elections Web

Charlotte Craft Beer Week is March 18-28

Inaugural Charlotte Craft Beer Week
Kicks Off on Thursday with Ceremonial Keg Tapping

WHO: Brewers, retailers and beer fans.

WHAT: The inaugural Charlotte Craft Beer Week,
featuring tastings of rare and exotic brews, showcases for North
Carolina and East Coast breweries, food and beer pairing events,
educational experiences and the chance to meet brewers and industry

WHERE: Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant, 401 N. Tryon
St., Charlotte, N.C.

WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 7-9 p.m.

WHY: Ceremonial Keg Tapping kicks off 33 events
around the region highlighting craft domestic and imported gourmet
beers, the growth in beer culture in Charlotte and great retailers
that take beer seriously.

HOW: The tapping event is open to the public. Rock
Bottom will have special prices on select brews during the event.
Tickets for the various Charlotte Craft Beer Week events will be sold
at each of the host locations. Most events have limited space and may
sellout in advance. Contact the venues directly about ticket
availability. Charlotte Craft Beer Week urges you to drink
responsibly. Please designate a driver or use public transportation
when attending one of these great events.

Complete Schedule for the 11-day Charlotte Craft Beer Week celebration
of all things beer includes:

• March 18, 7-9 p.m.: Charlotte Craft Beer Week Tap the Keg Reception
at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery at 401 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
• March 19, 5-7 p.m.: Brew Dog & Stone Brewery Tasting at Total Wine
& More, 440 E. McCollough Dr., Charlotte.
• March 19, 6-9 p.m.: Flying Dog 20th Anniversary Beer Dinner at Café
Central, 1401 Central Ave., Charlotte.
• March 19, 7-10 p.m.: Brewery Night featuring Victory, Brooklyn,
Oskar Blues, Terrapin and Heavy Seas at The Flying Saucer Draught
Emporium at 9605 North Tryon St., Charlotte.
• March 20, 2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m.: Brewery tours at the Olde
Mecklenburg Brewery, 215 Southside Dr., Charlotte.
• March 20, 3-6 p.m.: Beasts of the East Big Beer Tasting at The
Liberty Gastro Pub at 1812 South Blvd., Charlotte, featuring Terrapin,
Victory, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, Schmaltz, Brooklyn and Sweetwater. A
portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit Pints for
• March 20, 7-10 p.m.: Highland Brewery Night at Eastfield Bar &
Grill, 8709 Arbor Creek Dr., Charlotte.
• March 21, Noon-3 p.m.: Abita Cajun Brunch at Tavern on the Tracks,
1411 S. Tryon St., Charlotte.
• March 21, 3-7 p.m.: North Carolina Brewers Guild Tasting at The
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. A portion of the proceeds will benefit
the North Carolina Brewers Guild.
• March 22, 6-9 p.m.: Hugh Sisson Beer School at Dilworth
Neighborhood Grille, 911 E. Morehead St., Charlotte. Featuring Brewer
Hugh Sisson of Clipper City Brewing and Heavy Seas Ales of Baltimore,
• March 22, 5-8 p.m.: Redhook Keep the Pint Night at Brick House
Tavern, 209 Delburg St., Davidson.
• March 22, 6-9 p.m.: Olde Mecklenburg Fruh Bock Dinner at The
Liberty Gastro Pub.
• March 22, 7-10 p.m.: Magic Hat Brewery Night at The Pizza Peel &
Tap Room, 4422 Colwick Rd., Charlotte.
• March 23, 5-8 p.m.: New Belgium and Bison Brewing Sustainability
Beer Dinner at Vintners Wine Market in the Arboretum, 8128 Providence
Rd., Charlotte.
• March 23, 6-9 p.m.: Catawba Valley Brewing Meet the Brewer Tasting
at Ed's Tavern, 2200 Park Rd., Charlotte.
• March 23, 6-9 p.m.: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Celebration
featuring Bigfoot Barleywine at Pizza Peel & Tap Room.
• March 23, 6-9 p.m., Stone Brewery Dinner at The Common House, 1101
Central Ave., Charlotte.
• March 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Abita Beer Dinner at Zink American
Kitchen, 201 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
• March 24, 5-9 p.m.: German Bier Fest at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.
• March 24, 5-9 p.m.: Hop-A-Palooza at The Common Market, 1515 S.
Tryon St., Charlotte, featuring Double and Imperial IPAs loaded with
• March 24, 7-9 p.m.: Stone Brewery Keep the Growler Night at The
Flying Saucer.
• March 25, 5-8 p.m.: Beers & Basketball at Stool Pigeons, 214 N.
Church St., Charlotte, featuring Kona, Widmer Brothers and Redhook.
• March 25, 7-10 p.m.: Freak Fest at The Common Market featuring
freaky beers, live circus freaks and live rock and roll music.
• March 26, 4-7 p.m.: Bison Burgers & Bison Beers at Ed's Tavern.
Four course beer dinner using locally sourced ingredients and matched
with Bison's organic ales.
• March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Michigan Breweries Double Header Part I
with Bell's, Founders and New Holland at Total Wine & More, Park Towne
Village, 1600 E. Woodlawn Ave., Charlotte.
• March 26, 8-11 p.m.: Michigan Breweries Double Header Part II with
Bell's, Founders and New Holland at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille.
• March 26, 8-11 p.m.: Dogfish Head Beer Tasting at Pizza Peel & Tap
• March 27, Noon- 4 p.m.: Carolina Beer Co. Tour & Tasting, 110
Barley Park Lane, Mooresville.
• March 27, 1-5 p.m.: 5+1 Cask Beer Festival, Duckworth's Grill &
Taphouse, Park Towne Village, 1600 E. Woodlawn Rd., Charlotte. Cask
conditioned beers from Foothills, Founders, Highland, Duck-Rabbit, New
Holland and Rock Bottom.
• March 27, 2 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.: Brewery tours at the Olde Mecklenburg
• March 27, 6-10 p.m.: Stone Brewing Most Arrogant Bar in America
Celebration, Tilted Kilt, 13230 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte.
• March 27, 7-10 p.m.: Black & Blue at Visualite with Brawley's.
Visualite Theater, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte. Black beers with
bluegrass music.
• March 28, 2-5 p.m.: Charlotte Craft Beer Week Last Call, Common

More details on the Charlotte Craft Beer Week are available at

Robbins-Gioia Moving Financial Services Headquarters to Charlotte

Robbins-Gioia, Inc. (R-G), a leading provider of management consulting
services, announced today that its financial services consulting group
will make its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Previously, R-G
supported the banking sector throughout its various locations
nationwide. The company plans to support its new and existing client
relationships in the banking and financial services sectors from its
201 South Tryon Street offices.

The decision to centralize in Charlotte enables R-G to implement a
strategic decision to grow its financial services consulting expertise
with experienced banking professionals from the mid-Atlantic and
Southeast banking community who have been displaced by the economic
downturn. "We look forward to being a growing part of, and a
contributor to, Charlotte's vibrant civic and business community,"
said John Marselle, Robbins-Gioia CEO.

Robbins-Gioia also announced that Robert D. Piontek, executive vice
president of R-G's Financial Services Group, will lead the Charlotte-
based practice. Piontek has spent 30 years inCharlotte with two of the
city's premier financial services firms: the Wachovia Corporation
(formerly First Union) where he was senior vice president and managing
director/treasurer of the bank's corporate investment bank; and KPMG/
BearingPoint Consulting, where he was partner and managing director in
the financial services consulting group. "We are delighted to have
someone of Bob's stature in the banking community leading our
financial services group in Charlotte," said Woody Mewborn, president
of Robbins-Gioia's Commercial Group. "His extensive knowledge of the
industry he serves combined with his dedication to his clients and the
community in Charlotte make him ideally suited for our consulting

"This is a perfect time to rethink the traditional consulting model in
banking, where the success of our banks is so crucial to the success
of the communities they serve," said Piontek. "We believe that by
breaking away from the traditional "long distance" classically trained
consulting model and deploying experienced and regionally based
banking professionals from all disciplines, we can deliver a more
immediate and cost-effective impact to many of the challenges facing
our banks in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. It is especially
meaningful to be asked to spearhead an approach to consulting that can
have such far-reaching civic and business value from a town that's
been home to my career and my family for the past 30 years."

About Robbins-Gioia, Inc.—an Informa business
Robbins-Gioia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Informa PLC, London, UK,
since 2004, has been dedicated to delivering management consulting
solutions to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies for 30
years. Robbins-Gioia combines defined methods, innovative practices,
industry expertise, and integrated tools to help global customers
optimize their business processes, accelerate change, and establish
time, cost, and quality improvements to transform their businesses.
For more information, please call Robbins-Gioia, LLC at 800-663-7138,
Bob Piontek at 704-714-6382, or visit the website at

About Informa PLC (LSE:INF)
Informa PLC is the leading international provider of specialist
information and services for the academic and scientific, professional
and commercial business communities. Informa has more than 150 offices
in more than 43 countries and employs 8,500 staff around the world.
Notably, R-G's publishing affiliates Datamonitor, the International
Centre for Business Information, and Informa Finance provide highly
valued industry research, news, and analysis of emerging trends and
technologies and regulatory and compliance issues affecting the United
States, United Kingdom, and international finance markets, from tax
and accounting to pensions and from banking technology to combating
fraud and money laundering.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Floods are the most common natural disaster in the nation and in
Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Since 2005, there have been 17 significant
flood events in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, causing nearly $9 million in
insured losses, and an estimated $9 million in additional losses that
were not covered by insurance. In just the past year, there were five
significant flood events locally.
Nationally, 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding.
Floods also cause more deaths nationwide than any other weather event.
Last year, floods in the United States caused $5.6 billion in damage.
Most local flooding is caused by intense thunderstorms, tropical
storms or hurricanes. If it rains hard enough, flooding can happen
anytime, anywhere. Floodwater can overwhelm low-lying areas or push
streams out of their banks.
March 15 – 19 is National Flood Safety Awareness Week. Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Storm Water Services reminds you:
• Flash floods happen quickly with very little notice.
• Pay attention to flood watches and flood warnings. Be ready to move
to higher ground.
• Heavy rain can cause any low-lying area or street to flood, even if
it's not near a creek.
• Buy flood insurance. Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover flood
• Don't walk or drive through floodwater. Eighty percent of flood
deaths happen in vehicles.
Some areas of Charlotte-Mecklenburg are in mapped, regulated
floodplains. Use the interactive Floodzone Map to find out whether
your property is in a regulated floodplain. Keep in mind that flooding
is unpredictable, and it does happen outside of the mapped floodplain.
"The most important aspect of flood safety is recognizing the risk,"
says Tim Trautman, head of Storm Water Services' Flood Mitigation
Program. "Any time there is heavy rain, there is a very real risk of
flooding. The first and most important part of flood safety is for all
residents to be prepared."

CPCC receives additional stimulus funding to serve more displaced workers

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) announced today that it has
received $85,000 in new federal stimulus money from Governor Perdue's
JobsNOW program, an initiative that strives to provide workers with
job training skills in six months or less. As a result, CPCC will
create nine new fast-track job training courses which will help more
than 150 additional displaced workers complete job training faster.
Classes will be available to the public now through the end of the
year, and will focus on such in-demand fields as healthcare, transport
technology, motorsports and office administration.

In August 2009, CPCC received $500,000 in federal stimulus funding
from the Governor's JobsNOW program, the funding is supported by the
Federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the N.C.
Department of Commerce, the Division of Workforce Development and the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB). These funds
helped the College develop close to 15 fast-track programs that have
succeeded in preparing students for careers in welding, sustainable
manufacturing, autobody painting and refinishing, and others.

"Our fast-track classes have been a tremendous asset to the local
community and workforce," said Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of CPCC.
"Since last summer, more than 750 individuals have completed our fast-
track programs, gaining invaluable job skills and the competitive
advantage needed to succeed in today's workforce. The new state
funding will allow us to serve even more local residents and produce
trained professionals who are ready to enter the labor force."

CPCC's fast-track classes are open to any individual paying tuition.
Persons who qualify for Workforce

Investment Act (WIA) funding as a displaced worker or meet the WIA
Adult Services Program requirements may take these classes free-of-
charge. To apply for WIA assistance, individuals must meet certain
criteria and complete the "Eight Steps to WIA Funding" being offered
through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB).
Interested individuals can visit for
information on the steps to funding.

To view a complete list of available fast-track programs, visit
or call 704.330.2722 for more information.

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in
North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification
programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing

education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically,
financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of
Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named
CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the
workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers
through innovative educational and training strategies.

Funding for the JobsNOW 12-in-6 program is supported by the Federal
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the N.C. Department of
Commerce, the Division of Workforce Development and the Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (WDB).