Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring 2011 'Get Going Guide' Ready Online

The spring 2011 issue of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation's Get
Going Guide is now available online. This is the third edition of the
guide's new online-only format. This issue features a comprehensive
list of Park and Rec summer camps that are now available for

The Get Going Guide is posted as a PDF and linked to download from
other County sites. The new format allows for fresher content in each
issue as well as quicker access to program and event registration
since it will be linked directly to E-Parks. And, for extra
convenience, the Get Going Guide is easy to download and save to your
computer desktop for reference or printing.

"We are pleased to be able to continue to offer our most popular
publication, the Get Going Guide, and keep residents of all ages up-to-
date on our outstanding programs and services," said Jim Garges,
director of Park and Recreation. "The online version of the Guide
takes us to a newer level of convenience for our customers, and to a
higher level of environmental responsibility."

The summer 2011 issue will be available in May and cover June, July
and August. Learn more at

Grapevine's Third Annual Beertopia To Benefit Pints For Prostates

Beer lovers in the Charlotte region and surrounding areas of York
County have a great reason to celebrate St. Patrick's day a little
early this year at grapevine's Third Annual Beertopia to benefit Pints
for Prostates.
Who: Pints for Prostates, a 501(c)3 campaign that uses the universal
language of beer to reach men with a critical health message.
What: grapevine's Third Annual Beertopia, an event that will feature:
more than 40 different breweries and 150 craft beers; live music;
delicious local food, vendors and prizes
Where: grapevine, located in Baxter Village, 1012 Market Street, Fort
Mill, SC
When: Saturday, March 12th from 2 - 6 p.m.
How: General admission tickets are $25 and special VIP tickets are
$35. VIP tickets allow beer fans into the event one hour early, for
the chance to meet the brewers and sample the most popular beer styles
first. Get tickets today:
Why: grapevine will donate $1 from each ticket sold to help fight
prostate cancer. Attendees may also visit the Pints for Prostates
booth at Beertopia to purchase t-shirts, hats, and make a donation for
the chance to win a guided nine night trip for two to Prague, Bamberg
and Munich for Oktoberfest 2011.
About Pints for Prostates

Pints for Prostates, a campaign that uses the universal language of
beer to encourage men to take charge of their health, was founded by
prostate cancer survivor and beer writer Rick Lyke in 2008. The
grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of
regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at
beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. According
to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 218,000 new prostate
cancer cases were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010, which is 25,000 more
than the number of expected new cases of breast cancer. Sadly, more
than 32,000 American men died from the disease last year. More
information is available at Pints for
Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter
About grapevine
grapevine opened in 2007 as an independent retail shop and bar with
the goal to create a comfortable atmosphere in which to offer a unique
and disdinctive mix of wines and specialty beers with value. Shortly
after the First Annual Beertopia held in March 2009, owners David and
Melanie Sills added draft beer by the glass at the bar and in growlers
to-go and have maintained one of the highest ratings of beer stores
and bars in The Carolinas. Often described as the local "Cheers"
grapevine donated over $26,000 to various charities in 2009-2010, one
of which was Pints for Prostates. For more information on fundraising
opportunities at grapevine, please see
grapevine also maintains a presence on facebook and twitter

Mayor to Kick Off Inaugural "MYEP Career Discovery" Days

The City of Charlotte's Mayor's Youth Employment Program (MYEP) has
joined forces with Discovery Place to present a monthly youth workshop
series titled, "MYEP Career Discovery". The workshop series will give
MYEP participants the opportunity to explore the various industries
and sectors that Charlotte has identified as growth sectors – the jobs
of the future that drive our local economy. These industries include
Health Care, Energy and the Environment, Finance, Manufacturing,
Defense, Tourism and Motorsports. Youth will have the chance to engage
with industry representatives as they gain a greater understanding of
the qualifications necessary for different careers.

There will be five "MYEP Career Discovery" days held in 2011.
Approximately 150 youth, ages 16-18 years, will participate in each
workshop. Mayor Anthony Foxx will be present to welcome students to
each career day and discuss the importance of career exploration at an
early age.

The first "MYEP Career Discovery" day will focus on the Health Care
industry and will be held on Tuesday, February 22nd from 4:00 p.m. –
6:00 p.m. at Discovery Place (301 N. Tryon Street). Industry
representative, Carolinas HealthCare Systems, will engage youth
through seven interactive displays designed to showcase various
careers in the Health Care industry. This summer, over 40 youth
participating in the MYEP will be placed in internships related to the
healthcare sector to continue their education and experience.

All workshops will be held at Discovery Place from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
• February 22, 2011
Health Care Professions – Presented by Carolinas HealthCare Systems

• March 22, 2011
Nanoscience/Material Science Professions

• April 26, 2011
Energy Professions

• May 24, 2011
Motorsports Professions

• June 14, 2011
Finance Professions - Presented by Bank of America and the National
Association of Financial Planners
MYEP Summer Internship Kick-off Event
Host Employer-Intern Meet and Greet

For more information on MYEP, please contact Dawn Hill, Program
Manager, at 704-336-4445 or visit

Composting Classes Set: Learn How to Make Your Own 'Black Gold'

Warm weather is almost here, and with it comes wheelbarrow loads of
landscaping leftovers like grass clippings, hedge trimmings, weeds and
other yard wastes. Instead of hauling all that stuff to the curb or
dumping it into the garbage, why not put your yard waste to good use
in your own backyard? Mecklenburg County will even show you how to do
it for cheap.

Composting is easy to do. You can make an inexpensive bin on your own
with some simple wire fencing in corner of your back yard, or purchase
a commercial composting unit. After that, build your pile right and
let nature take its course. Before you know it, that bin will be full
of rich, black compost (also known as "black gold," the kind you pay
$5 a bag for at the garden store), ready to use in your garden.

Mecklenburg County can help. Enroll now in classes to learn how to use
those yard scraps to save money and give your yard a beautiful and
environmentally friendly makeover. The basic Home Composting Workshop
is a 2-hr. hands-on workshop. Topics include home composting and
residential recycling, soil preparation and management, toxicity
reduction, grasscycling and mulching. This class is suitable for

Classes are limited to 20 people per class, and required for anyone
wishing to participate in the advanced Master Composter program.
Classes are held from 10:00 a.m. to noon (unless otherwise noted) at a
cost of $10 each, at many locations throughout Mecklenburg County.
They are held outdoors so please dress appropriately. Closed-toe shoes
are required for safety reasons.

Pre-registration is required and may be completed online. The deadline
for registration is the Wednesday before the class. Please select a
workshop and complete the registration form for online registration or
register by phone 704-336-4304.

Arts & Science Council to Receive Top International Fundraising Honor

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will bestow its
highest fundraising honor, the Campbell & Company Award for Excellence
in Fundraising, Small Category (five or fewer individuals in the
fundraising department) to the Arts & Science Council (ASC) of

The award, which honors an organization that has developed campaigns,
initiatives, projects or techniques that have grown and increased its
fundraising infrastructure, program and results, will be presented at
AFP's Awards for Philanthropy Banquet during the International
Conference on Fundraising on Monday, March 21, 2011, in Chicago

ASC is being honored for its tremendously successful Campaign for
Cultural Facilities, which raised more than $82.5 million to support
the operating endowments for the Levine Center for the Arts in
Charlotte that include the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American
Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater, Mint Museum-
Uptown and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The campaign also endowed
financial support for significant structural and programmatic
renovations of Discovery Place (a science museum), and important
operating support and an endowment for the Charlotte Symphony, as well
as funding for a new facility for North Carolina Dance Theatre.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious award from AFP based on
our work for this important community vision," said ASC President
Scott Provancher. "This campaign faced many highs and lows, but
through the hard work and dedication of many individuals and the
generosity of our community it was successfully completed, and now
thousands of residents and visitors can experience new arts and
cultural exhibits and programs."

The cultural organizations involved in the ground-breaking campaign
all worked under ASC, requiring an immense amount of coordination and
leadership, especially as the different organizations continued to
raise funds on their own for other projects. In addition, the
financial crisis of 2008 significantly affected the campaign's
fundraising, as the personal wealth of many of Charlotte's leading
philanthropists were tied to banks and other financial institutions.
Several of the campaign's corporate chairs left their positions during
the campaign, and ASC's former president retired before the
fundraising efforts were complete.

Peter Fissinger, president of Campbell & Company, stated, "On behalf
of the entire Campbell & Company team, I want to congratulate the Arts
& Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg for receiving this
prestigious award. It is inspiring to see one organization unite an
entire community to strengthen its broad array of cultural
institutions. The campaign represents a compelling vision, a
commitment toward collaboration, outstanding leadership and remarkable
philanthropic spirit."

The campaign saw tremendous results from individual philanthropists,
which is especially noteworthy in a community known more for corporate
philanthropy. One third of all of the campaign's major gift prospects
responded with gifts and pledges. While lead gifts from Bank of
America, Duke Energy and Wachovia/Wells Fargo Foundation totaling $35
million gave the campaign a strong start, the campaign reached its
goal through a $15 million naming gift from Leon and Sandra Levine of
The Leon Levine Foundation, with an additional $5 million gift by Duke
Energy made in honor of the Levine's.

The effort has also laid the groundwork for future cultural
fundraising campaigns and raised the bar on personal philanthropy in
the Charlotte community.

"The challenges that faced ASC in Charlotte were about as significant
and far-ranging as I've ever seen in a campaign, and they came through
it all with flying colors," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE,
president and CEO of AFP. "The success of the campaign is a testament
to the leadership of ASC and their ability not only to organize the
different organizations and fundraising events, but keep them all
energized and inspired. It truly was an outstanding effort."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'MyNextMove' online tool launched for jobseekers

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has unveiled a new online tool
called My Next Move. The tool is aimed at providing jobseekers with
information on more than 900 occupations, as well as local job
openings and training opportunities in a simple, user-friendly format.

Accessed at, My Next Move is intended to
assist all jobseekers. It may be especially useful for students, young
adults and other first-time workers as they explore potential careers
based on their interests. The new tool complements the department's
"mySkills myFuture" site at, which is
designed to help those with previous work experience match their
existing skills to new occupations.

"This administration is committed to expanding opportunities for all
Americans. That includes ensuring all workers — those with years of
experience and those just entering the workforce — have the
information they need to make informed career decisions and get good
jobs," said Secretary Solis. "By leveraging technology in a user-
friendly tool, My Next Move will help those seeking career guidance
learn more about work opportunities in fields that are of interest to
them and that are likely to have job openings today and well into the

The new website allows users to search for jobs by occupation, by
industry and using the "O*NET Interest Profiler," which matches an
individual's interests with suitable occupations by asking 60
questions. Since 2001, the department's Occupational Information
Network, or O*NET, has used a 180-question version of the profiler
that could be printed out or downloaded to a personal computer. The
new, streamlined version is available online for the first time as
part of My Next Move.

Users can also search for jobs in three categories: careers with a
"bright outlook" in growing industries, jobs that are part of the
"green" economy and occupations that have a Registered Apprenticeship

Each occupation that a user selects has an easy-to-read, one-page
profile, including information about what knowledge, skills and
abilities are needed; the occupation's outlook; the level of education
required; technologies used within the occupation; and other, similar
jobs. In addition, each occupation page includes direct links to
local salary information, training opportunities and relevant job

Easter Seals UCP Starts First Specialized After School Program for Children

Easter Seals UCP will launch Charlotte's first specialized after
school program for children with and without disabilities in
kindergarten and first grade starting February 7, 2011. The five-star
Easter Seals UCP Irwin and Carol Belk Children's Center will
accommodate the new after school program, which offers children
dedicated teachers to assist with homework, and educational and fun
activities from 2:15 – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.

"While there are numerous after school programs for children without
special needs, there is a shortage of programs for children with
special needs," said Courtney DeTemple, Easter Seals UCP program
manager for Mecklenburg County Early Childhood and Family Services.
"We found that many parents have to adjust their work schedules or
hire someone to help take care of their child once they start
elementary school. We already have the foundation of our five-star
Children's Center and our space offered the opportunity to fill this
needed void."

The Easter Seals UCP Children's Center is an inclusive preschool
serving children ages six weeks through Pre-K. The center supports
children with and without disabilities – 50 percent of the center's
enrollment is made up of children without disabilities – and provides
age-appropriate educational activities as well as specialized services
including speech, occupational and physical therapies to children who
need them. The new after school program will serve children in
kindergarten and first grade.

To learn more about the Easter Seals UCP After School Program, please
contact Courtney DeTemple at (704) 522-9912.

About Easter Seals UCP
Headquartered in Raleigh, NC with programs and services throughout
North Carolina and Virginia, Easter Seals UCP is a lifelong partner to
families managing disabilities and mental health challenges. The
nonprofit serves more than 20,000 individuals and their families
annually through an array of services. Easter Seals UCP enhances the
quality of life for individuals and maximizes their potential for
engaging in their communities. For more information on Easter Seals
UCP North Carolina & Virginia, visit

Davidson String Band Will Play Modern Interpretation of Lost Music of Ancient Greek Tragedy

Davidson presents an impressively diverse range of musical
performances on campus, but an upcoming concert developed in the
classics department might be among the most uniqueever.

The public is invited on Tuesday evening, February 15, to a concert by
a student string band interpreting the music of ancient Greek drama.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Tyler-Tallman Hall of Sloan Music
Center, and there is no charge to attend.

The project began last summer as a Davidson Research Initiative
project between Keyne Cheshire, Professor of Classics, and Jon
Springfield '11. Cheshire had just completed two years' work on a new
English translation of Trachiniae ("Women of Trachis"), a play by the
ancient Greek dramatist Sophocles. The Trachiniae is one of just seven
surviving plays written by Sophocles in the fifth century BC.

In the time of the ancient Greeks, dramas such as the Trachiniae were
performed in front of crowds of thousands of people representing all
social strata. Cheshire believes that too many translatorstoday aren't
true to the original popular appeal of Greek drama, and present the
works in high style that is not appealing to audiences.

Cheshire was frustrated at the staid way ancient tragedies are
typically performed today, noting that the long monologues in most
translations test the patience of both the audience and the actors.

He crafted his translation to be relevant and entertaining to a modern
audience, incorporating vernacular, colloquial English dialogue. For
example, the character Heracles is renamed"Herman Leroy Kilman," his
wife, Deianira, is renamed "Deanna Kilman." Zeus has been recast as
God, and the name of the setting, Trachis, was changed to "Jagged
Rock." Cheshire titled his translated drama The Passion of Herman
Kilman in part to highlight points of correspondence between this
tragedy and the story of Christ. Heracles was the son of Zeus, the
Greeks' supreme god, and the conclusion of the play focuses on his
extraordinary suffering prior to his death.

Greek dramas also included musical accompaniment, and Cheshire wanted
to include that in his translation. But while the original text of
Trachiniae was available for translation, no record remains of the
music that accompanied it. So Cheshire discussed the idea with
Springfield, a political science major from Raleigh and talented
musician. Springfield liked the idea, and the two collaborators were
able to secure funding for their work from the Davidson Research
Initiative (DRI).

Springfield brought an impressive musical background to the effort. He
has played violin since his childhood, and has studied piano, guitar,
and banjo. He performedwith the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra
for two years, and co-founded a locally popular folk-rock group called
You and Your Effects.

Cheshire finalized the text translations before he and Springfield
began scoring music for eight songs in July. They decided to employ a
frontier folklore style of sound, and listened to a lot of Gillian
Welch, Johnny Cash, and Bill Monroe in their studies. They were
careful to create music that would elicit the emotions that Sophocles
had most likely intended. Springfield explained, "The eight songs have
a definite arc across the play, transitioning from folk music
toincreasingly universal and surreal instrumentation as the hero
approaches his eventual demise."

After they agreed on the rough sketches, Springfield recorded the
individual parts himself one at a time (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass,
fiddle, and percussion). His friends Sarah Connette '11 and Michael
Mellody '11 lent their vocal talents to several of the songs.

Springfield said, "The collaborative process was challenging but
definitely rewarding. Dr. Cheshire and I each had our visions for the
project, and finding compromise even for single lines of lyric often
took several sessions of long discussion. But the final product is
definitely better than anything we could have produced as individuals.
Having almost constant access to his creative input was a lot of fun."

The presentation of the work on February 15 will be the first full,
staged performance of the work. For more information about it, call

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 artscolleges 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.

Revaluation Notices Mailed Now; Appeal Deadline: March 10

Mecklenburg County Assessor Garrett Alexander has announced that
revaluation Notices of Value are being mailed Feb. 8 to nearly 300,000
County property owners.

The notices reflect the new value of these residential properties
based on a thorough review of home sales as of January 1, 2011. The
notices will have a date of Feb. 8, 2011, and the last day to appeal
at the informal level is March 10, 2011. This mailing contains 297,584
parcels totaling $58.9 billion in value (263,704 improved properties
and 33,880 vacant parcels).

The State of North Carolina requires counties to revalue property at
least every eight years. The last time property was reassessed in
Mecklenburg County was in 2003. The estimated increase in the
countywide property tax base is 6% to 8% after all the appeals have
occurred. Whether a property's value goes up or down depends on a
variety of factors, and many neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures
and slow sales may see their values drop.

Revaluation is the process of equalizing the tax value and the market
value of residential and commercial properties. The Revaluation Team
has several online tools available to residents who may have questions
about how the assessor arrived at their new value:

· Website –
· Frequently asked Questions with answers at the website
· Series of short videos explaining different aspects of
· Real Estate Look-up updated with new values by Wednesday,
Feb. 9, 2011
· Dial CharMeck 311 within Mecklenburg County for additional

Residents who wish to start the appeal process should follow the
directions on their Notice of Value. This tear-off form should be
completed and mailed to the Assessor's Office. The Revaluation Team
has used all the latest techniques and technology available to
calculate home values, so residents will need a valid reason to appeal
the revaluation.

The actual property tax bill you will pay will be determined by the
tax rate adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in June.
Property Tax bills with the new value and new rate will go out in

Charlotte Realtors Assoc. Reports Sales Up for Jan. 2011

Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association reports that the number of
closings for January 2011 (1,414) was up 3.7 percent compared to
January 2010 when closings totaled 1,363. Compared to December 2010
(1,885), closings were down 25 percent.

The average sales price for January 2011 ($188,147) was down 6.2
percent compared to January 2010 ($200,592), and was down 3 percent
compared to the December 2010 average sales price ($193,910). The
average listing price in January 2011 ($217,809) was down 5 percent
from last year's average listing price of $229,214, and was down 1.1
percent from the December 2010 average listing price of $220,130.

The residential pending contracts figure for January 2011 (1,419) was
down 22.6 percent compared to January 2010 (1,833). This figure
decreased 4.1 percent compared to December 2010, when pending
contracts totaled 1,479.

New residential listings in January 2011 totaled 4,006. The average
number of days a property was on the market from the time it was
listed until it closed (list to close) was 159.7, which is 8.3 days
longer than last month. The average number of days a property was on
the market (days on market), excluding the days the property was off
the market or pending, was 116.7 days, which is about 2.3 days longer
than last month.

In January 2011, CMLS changed its reporting structure to report data
from the first day of the month to the last day of the month. Prior
to this, data was reported from the fifth of the month to the sixth of
the next month. CMLS has done everything possible to ensure the
accuracy of its statistics; however, we may discover very slight
anomalies that will require adjustments and corrections over time.

For more residential-housing market statistics, visit the
association's website at and click on "Community
Data." For an interview with 2011 association/CMLS President Laurie
Knudsen, please contact Kim Walker.

The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association is a trade association
that leads, educates and equips members to be productive. It provides
more than 6,500 Realtor® members with the resources and services
needed to conduct ethical, professional, successful and profitable
businesses. The association is dedicated to being the region's primary
resource for residential real estate information. The association
operates the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS), which
has approximately 7,300 Subscribers and is the private cooperative
Realtors® use for access to tens of thousands of residential listings
in a 10-county service area, including the high-growth Charlotte area,
as well as listings outside this service area.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Charlotte Selected to Host 2012 Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Committee today announced that Charlotte has
been selected from four finalists to host its 2012 convention. The
other three outstanding American cities being considered were
Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; and Minneapolis, Minn.

"We're honored that the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte
to host its 2012 convention," said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
"Thanks to the hard work and support of so many throughout our
community, we have an unmatched opportunity to show the world what a
beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building in
Charlotte. As we tell the story of Charlotte, and what a great place
our city, state and region are to live and do business, we also will
tell the story of America to our fellow citizens and our neighbors
around the world."

Duke Energy Corp. CEO Jim Rogers, who co-chairs the Charlotte In 2012
organizing committee with Mayor Foxx, added, "Charlotte's selection
clearly elevates our city to a new level in national and world
stature. Only a few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and
worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a
presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the
Olympics. The economic and reputational significance of being chosen
for this honor cannot be overstated."

The convention, scheduled during the week of Sept. 3, 2012, will
attract an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 delegates, national and
international media and key policy and political leaders.

Charlotte's walkable, well-designed center city will offer delegates
and visitors easy access to a wide variety of restaurants,
entertainment and attractions, ranging from the four-venue Levine
Center for the Arts to the newly completed NASCAR Hall of Fame.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue and other political leaders in North
Carolina and South Carolina played key roles in supporting Charlotte's
bid for the convention. "Today's decision is fantastic news for North
Carolina regardless of your political party," said Gov. Perdue,
honorary chair of Charlotte In 2012. "A national political convention
is a keystone event that will boost North Carolina's economy, while
showcasing Charlotte and our state to the nation and the world. What
they will see when they get here is what hundreds of businesses
already know – Charlotte's smart investments in infrastructure,
cultural attractions and amenities have produced a climate perfect for
work and play."

Charlotte's bid also was backed by Republican leaders. "Some issues
are partisan. This one is not," wrote former North Carolina Gov. Jim
Martin and former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot in a Charlotte
Observer opinion column. "We are proud Republicans. But we are also
proud advocates of Charlotte and North Carolina, and believe that
bringing the 2012 Democratic Convention to Charlotte represents an
unprecedented economic development opportunity."

Will Miller, acting executive director of Charlotte In 2012, said
there will be a multitude of opportunities to participate in planning
and hosting the convention.For details, watch for updates on
, Facebook ( and Twitter