Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Temperatures are Dangerous for Pets - Here are safety tips

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Animal Care & Control
Division is reminding pet owners that it's once again the time of year
we hear fireworks, firecrackers, thunderstorms and experience hot
temperatures! Please be mindful how this affects your pets as the 4th
of July holiday approaches and summer thunderstorms and heat waves
roll through our region.

"July 5th is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters. Dogs are
found miles from their homes, confused, disoriented, and exhausted.
People call hoping to locate a missing dog that, terrified, crashed
through a window, jumped a high fence, or broke its leash or chain."
-The American Humane Association

Animal Care & Control advises that you secure your pet in an area of
your home where it feels safe and secure. This will help avoid
unnecessary stress on your pet or possible injury and accidental escape.

• If your pet is upset by a door slamming or other loud noises
consider consulting with your vet for a type of sedative.
• Some animals become destructive when frightened, so be sure that
you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be
harmful to your pet if chewed or consumed.

• Leave a radio or television on at normal volume to provide your pet
• Make sure your pets are wearing identification or microchipped so
they can be returned if they do get lost. Animals found running at-
large should be taken to the Animal Care & Control at 8315 Byrum Drive
in Charlotte, where they will have the best chance of being reunited
with their owners.

Animal Care & Control recommends microchipping your pet. It's
permanent identification for your pet. All of our Animal Care &
Control Trucks are equipped with microchip scanners and every animal
that is picked up is immediately scanned for a microchip. If a chip
is located the animal can be returned home immediately, without having
to come to the shelter. Animal Care & Control also encourages
everyone who has a pet that's microchipped to register your pet in our
local database for FREE.
To register online go to

Lastly, to look for a lost pet, first check the lost pets section on
our website
We also suggest coming to the shelter to walk through our stray kennels.

Hot weather can be deadly for your pets. In daily activities or when
vacationing with Fido, remember to protect them from the summer heat!

• Walk or exercise your pets in the early morning or late evening.
• Monitor them frequently as you are walking and cut back the level
and length of time you are exercising them.
• Be mindful of the humidity as it also makes it harder for pets to
• Certain breeds are more susceptible to having breathing issues.
(Brachycephalic or dogs with short snouts)
• Pugs
• Boxers
• Bulldogs
• Boston Terriers
• Pekingese
• Shar pei
• Shih Tzu

• When walking dogs, do not let your dog stand on hot asphalt,
pavement or sand. Paw pads are sensitive and will burn easily.

• Never leave pet in vehicle, even if you are just running into the
store for a minute.
• Parking in the shade does not help.

· In extreme temperatures, bring pets inside.
· Provide plenty of fresh, cold water.
• Provide shade and shelter such as a dog house or dog igloo.
• Place a kid pool in a shaded area and fill with fresh water every
day. This will allow the dog to cool itself.

• It's Mosquito, Flea & Tick season. It's imperative that dogs are
on heartworm and flea/tick preventative.
• Heartworms are very prevalent in this region and are deadly if not
• A once a month heartworm pill will save your dog's life.

• Be alert for signs of heat stress. Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a
rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red
or purple tongue.
• If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower her body temperature
• Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all
over the body to gradually lower temperature
• Apply ice packs or cool towels to your pet's head, neck and chest
• Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes
• Take your pet directly to a veterinarian!

Make it a safe and happy holiday and summer season for you and your


Register Kids for Youth Soccer or Flag Football in July

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation invites parents with children
interested in playing soccer, ages 4-6, 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12; or flag
football, ages 4-6 and 7-8 to register for the upcoming fall coed
recreation season. Space is limited, so register early! Birth
certificate is required for proof of age determined as of August 1.

Registration fee is $65, which includes league play and uniform. The
deadline for individual players to register is Tuesday, July 31.
League play runs September to October with practices beginning in
August. Game sites for Flag Football will include E.B Moore Park,
Sugaw Creek Park and Elon Park while soccer game sites will be Elon
Park and Harrisburg Road Park.

Teams interested in registering must do so through Revolution Park
Sports Academy 704- 432-4963 by Saturday, July 21. Team registration
fee is $400. Groups that register as a Team must provide their own
uniforms and secure their own practice sites.

To register, go online to , click on "EParks,"
"Program Registration," "find School Level," and finally, click on
"Athletics" to see league offerings. You may also call 311 or go to
your nearest recreation center and staff can assist you.

All Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation coaches are trained and
certified through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association and
undergo a background check by the department. If interested in being a
volunteer coach, please contact the recreation center closest to you
or Lori Saylor, volunteer coordinator, at 704.353-0504.

Among the benefits of participation in the department's youth leagues
are increased physical fitness, positive socialization, and learning
the basic fundamentals of the sport and sportsmanship in a safe and
fun environment. About 4,000 youth participate in Park and Recreation
organized youth athletic leagues annually.

This activity supports Mecklenburg County's strategic goal to improve/
expand parks, open spaces, greenways and recreational activities.

Cooling station opens as temperatures climb in Charlotte area

A cooling station will open now through Sunday to provide relief from
the extreme heat expected throughout the weekend in the Charlotte
area. Volunteers with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army
will be on hand to provide water, light snacks (no meals) and a cool
place to stay.

The cooling station is located at the Homeless Resource Center in the
Hal Marshall Annex, 618 North College Street. Hours are noon through 8
p.m. Friday through Sunday. Hours on Monday are to be determined based
on developing weather conditions.

The Charlotte Fire Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency
Management urge everyone to stay alert by being aware of the current
weather conditions and warnings in effect; stay safe by exercising
extreme caution when grilling outdoors, utilizing tiki torches and
smoking outdoors; and stay alive by staying hydrated, limiting your
exposure outdoors, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-
related medical emergencies.

Please look out for the well being of elderly neighbors, children and
pet by following the same applicable safety measures mentioned above.

The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 700,000 residents.
The City's focus areas are Housing and Neighborhood Development,
Community Safety, Transportation, Economic Development and the
For the latest news about city government, visit the Citywide Newsroom
From our website, you can sign up to receive email updates on City
topics that interest you through the Notify Me service.

Showmars Gives $300,000 to Levine Children's Hospital

Showmars, the Charlotte-based Greek restaurant chain, is proud to
partner with Levine Children's Hospital through a $300,000 donation.

"For the past 30 years Showmars has experienced an astonishing amount
of support and we are extremely grateful to our friends, family and
community. To celebrate our 30th anniversary we want to continue to
give back to our community and we are honored to partner with the
Levine Children's Hospital," said the Showmars Team.

On Thursday, June 28, at 11 a.m. Showmars presented Levine Children's
Hospital with a check at the Partnership for Pediatric Hearts Press

Pictured in the attached image from right to left is Konstantine
Zitsos President and CEO of Showmars, Martha Whitecotton President of
Levine Children's Hospital, George 'Mr. C' Couchell Founder of
Showmars, and David Prosser and Dean Peroulas Partners with Showmars
Food Service.

Levine Children's Hospital is dedicated to caring for children from
birth through young adulthood. Levine's mission is to ensure excellent
children's healthcare by building partnerships between caregivers and
families. The Hospital leads the region in offering more than 40
specialized pediatric services including kidney, liver and heart
transplants; blood and marrow transplant, cardiac and cancer care;
neurosurgery; rehabilitation service; and the highest designated level
of neonatal intensive care. By investing in research and education,
Levine ensures its professionals and technology are at the leading
edge of medical advancements - all with the ultimate goal of being
able to better care for the children of the Carolinas.

Showmars serves fresh, made-to-order food fast in a casual, family-
friendly environment. With a diverse mix of Greek, Southern and
American flavors, Showmars caters to a wide customer base with
signature items such as gyros, Souvlaki, pita burgers, fresh salads
and its famous World's Best Fillet of Flounder. Founded in Charlotte
in 1982, Showmars has proudly served the southeast for 30 years. With
its reputation of offering a broad selection of quality food at a
great value, exceptional customer service and a comfortable
atmosphere, it's easy to see why everybody loves Showmars!

County Announces Closings for 4th of July

Mecklenburg County Government offices and agencies will be closed
Wednesday, July 4, for the Independence Day holiday.

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 Agency.

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 704-336-2773) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a
week to receive reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children, the
elderly or disabled adults.

The Health Department, Main Library and all library branches will be
closed on July 4.

Solid Waste's administrative offices and all facilities, except
Compost Central, will be closed. Compost Central will operate from 7
a.m. to 4 p.m.

Park and Recreation administrative offices and Recreation Centers will
be closed. Nature Centers will operate on a normal schedule. Ray's
Splash Planet will operate from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. The Mecklenburg
County Aquatic Center will be open from 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Naomi Drenan
Rec Center Grayson Skatepark will operate 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

As a reminder, CharMeck 311 remains open and available to the public
on holidays and weekends.

Charlotte novelist to celebrate release of new thriller at Park Road Books July 11

Charlotte novelist Mark de Castrique will celebrate the release of his
new thriller, The 13th Target with a book signing at Park Road Books
in Charlotte (4139 Park Road, Phone: 704-525-9239) on Wednesday, July
7, 2012 beginning at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

A tense, timely and provocative thriller set during an age of Wall
Street corruption, financial meltdowns, and the downgrading of the
U.S. credit rating, The 13th Target takes aim at the secretive Federal
Reserve. Long the target of conspiracy theorists, the Federal Reserve
controls the nation's money supply. But who controls the Federal
Reserve? And what if those in the shadowy corridors of power would
target anything - or anyone - who threatened their interests?

About The 13th Target: After his wife dies of cancer, Rusty Mullins
quits the Secret Service to repurpose his life. When he joins a
Washington, D.C. private protection company, Mullins is assigned to
guard Paul Luguire, a Federal Reserve executive and its chief liaison
with the U.S. Treasury. Mullins and Luguire form a strong
friendship. So when a police detective calls in the middle of the
night with word of Luguire's suicide, Mullins doesn't buy it. His
doubts are only reinforced by Amanda Church, a former Secret Service
colleague now in the Federal Reserve's cyber-security unit. Amanda
has uncovered a suspicious financial transaction initiated by Luguire
only days before his death.

Even stranger, Amanda finds that the transaction has been erased from
Federal Reserve records and the money was wired from an offshore
account in Rusty Mullins' name. Someone is setting Rusty up. And
when the president of the receiving bank is murdered, Mullins rockets
to the top of the suspect list. Dogged by a tenacious reporter
developing leads, Mullins follows a conspiratorial trail of killing
and kidnapping that leads from a shadowy mastermind to the possible
destruction of America's financial system. Twelve targets are known.
But the clock is ticking. . . and only Rusty Mullins holds the key to
what - or who - is the thirteenth target.

A pulse-racing political thriller that sizzles from first page to
last, The 13th Target will leave readers wondering where fact ends and
fiction begins.

A native of North Carolina, Mark de Castrique is an award-winning film
and video producer whose work has been broadcast on PBS, HBO, and
network-affiliate stations. He is the author of the Sam Blackman
mystery series, the Buryin' Barry series, and two mysteries for young
adults. His books have garnered starred reviews from Publishers
Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The 13th Target is de
Castrique's first standalone thriller. He lives in Charlotte, North
Carolina. Visit Mark de Castrique online at:

The 13th Target (Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, ISBN:
978-1-59058-615-0, $24.95, 306 pages/Trade Paper, ISBN:
978-1-59058-617-4, 306 pages, $14.95/Large Print Trade Paper, ISBN:
978-1-59058-616-7, $22.95, 430 pages) will be released on July 3,
2012. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Poisoned Pen Press (
) is one of the largest publishers of hardcover mysteries in the world.

Members of the news media wishing to request additional information
about author Mark de Castrique or an advance review copy of The 13th
Target are kindly asked to contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone – (615)
297-9875, or by email –

Community Blood Center of the Carolinas Needs Donors to Fill Supply

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC) has announced that
there is a shortage of blood in the community, especially the O blood
group (O positive and O negative types), and is urging O donors to
donate blood as soon as possible.

"While much of the country is facing a summer shortage, our local
community is also in short supply and we expect this to continue as we
approach the July Fourth holiday," said Martin Grable, president and
CEO of the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas. "Summer is a
particularly difficult time for all blood centers, supply drops and
demand often goes up. CBCC is the blood supplier to 21 of the
region's hospitals. These hospitals and patients rely on local donors
to meet the blood needs of our community. We need your help."

According to CBCC, treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease
continue as usual, while trauma often increases during the summer
months, pushing demand up. People are busy during the summer and
students – who account for about 20 percent of the blood supply – are
out of school resulting in a drop in supply drops.

Anyone 16 and older who weighs at least 120 pounds is encouraged to
donate at one of the five CBCC centers located in Charlotte, Concord,
Gastonia, Hickory and Monroe or at one of CBCC's many mobile blood
drives, which can be found at For more
information or to make an appointment, call 704-972-4700.

The following are the CBCC Donor Center locations and hours:

Charlotte Center
4447 South Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28209
Sunday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Concord Center
363 Church Street North, Suite 170, Concord, NC 28025
Saturday*, Sunday*, Monday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Closed: Wednesday and Friday
* The Concord Center is open the second and fourth Saturday and the
first and fifth Sunday.

Gastonia Center
2524 East Franklin Blvd, Suite E, Gastonia, NC 28056
Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Monday, Wednesday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Closed: Thursday and Friday

Hickory Center
2217 Highway 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602
Sunday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Monday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Tuesday: Alternates between 7:30am – 5:00pm and 10:00am – 8:00pm
Closed: Wednesday-Saturday

Monroe Center
600 Hospital Drive, located in the Pavilion area, Monroe, NC 28112
Tuesday and Friday: 7:30am - 5:00pm
Closed: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

About Community Blood Center of the Carolinas
The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC) is a non-profit
community-based blood center and the primary blood supplier to 21
regional hospitals, serving 16 North Carolina and three South Carolina
counties. CBCC focuses exclusively on gathering red blood cells,
platelets and plasma from volunteer donors to save locallives – every
drop of blood collected remains here to help people in the Carolinas.
CBCC is a member of America's Blood Centers, North America's largest
network of community-based, independent blood centers providing more
than 50% of the nation's blood supply.

For more information on hosting a blood drive or donating blood in
your area, visit or call 704-972-4700.

Follow the Community Blood center of the Carolinas on Facebook
and on Twitter at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Charlotte Council members Autry, Howard, Kinsey, Mayfield and Mitchell Release CIP Reduction Proposal

The Charlotte City Manager's recommended $926.4M CIP is supported by a
3.6 cent property tax increase. A new CIP proposal from several
Council members reduces the CIP to $797.4 million ($129.0M reduction)
and reduces the property tax rate increase to 3.16 cents. To achieve
the reduction, this proposal would defer consideration of a 2018 bond
cycle – and any associated funding components – to a future CIP
discussion. In other words, the CIP would cover three bond cycles
(2012, 2014, and 2016) instead of four (out to 2018). A summary of the
changes to achieve the reduction are outlined below:

• Reduced and deleted project funding o Idlewild Rd./Monroe Rd.
Intersection: ($4.0M) from 2018. Project deleted
o Sidewalk and Bikeway Improvements: ($2.0M) from 2018
o Sidewalks and Pedestrian Safety: ($15.0M) from 2018
o Traffic Control and Bridges: ($14.0M) from 2018
o Sweden Rd. Maintenance Yard Replacement: ($21.75M) [$18.75M from
2018; $3.0M from 2016]. Project deleted.
o Northeast Equipment Maintenance Facility ($8.25M) [$2.0M from 2014; $
$6.25M from 2016] Project deleted
o Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program ($20.0M) from 2018
o Affordable Housing: ($15.0M) from 2018
o I-85 North Bridge #1 Project ($15.0M) [$3.0M from 2012; $12.0M from
2016]. Project deleted
o UNCC Informatics and Innovation Partnership ($10.0M) from 2012.
Project deleted
o Land Purchase for Future Fire Stations ($4.0M) from 2014. Project
• Shifted project funding from 2018 to 2016 o Northeast Corridor
Infrastructure (NECI): $26.25M from 2018 to 2016. Total NECI funding

o Police Station: $9.0M for Independence Division Station in 2018
moved up to 2016 for a total of $29M in 2016 (Police station total
remains $56.5M for 6 stations)

• Shifted project funding from 2014 to 2016 o 26-Mile Cross Charlotte
Multi-Use Trail: $35.0M from 2014 to 2016. Total funding unchanged

'Alive After Five' Returns to EpiCentre in July, Other Events Set

Every month new and exciting events are happening at the EpiCentre
making it the ultimate destination in uptown. Live music, art and kid
friendly events are not in short supply this summer.

Every Thursday night during the month of July Alive After Five rocks
the Queen City from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the EpiCentre. Live music is
played in both The Plaza of the EpiCentre, as well as at the Pavilion.
Bands from across the country come to be a part of this Charlotte
tradition. As the city's largest weekly happy hour and free
entertainment celebration, Alive After Five provides a destination for
friends and co-workers to gather and unwind, while enjoying great live
music, tasty beverages, including a variety of local and specialty
wines, all in a fun, casual environment.

With its introduction last month, every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2
p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Plaza Commons Artisan Showcase
is making itself at home at the EpiCentre. A select group of artisans
will be featuring and offering delicious foods, artisanal breads,
fresh snacks, flowers and so much more.

On the Fourth of July, there is no better place to be than the
EpiCentre. On Wednesday, July 4, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. the Family
Fourth Celebration kicks-off. There will be old-fashioned fun fourth
activities, watermelon seed spitting, hotdog eating contests, pie
eating contests and of course live music. Children's patriotic crafts
are also available.

On Friday, July 13, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. the 2nd Friday Art Walk
is taking place. Visit with local artists in a relaxed and laid back
setting with refreshments, live music and much more.

In honor of the Olympics, EpiCentre's Family Olympics will be held
Saturday, July 28, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Teams of parents and
their children compete for prizes in fun games of skill. Just like the
Olympic medals, prizes will be awarded to participating teams at the
end of the event.

EpiCentre is located at 210 E Trade Street in uptown Charlotte.

EpiCentre is the Southeast's hub for dining, entertainment,
recreation, nightlife and hospitality. Featuring an innovative design
and accommodating layout, EpiCentre is home to over three dozen unique
concepts encompassing over half a million square feet. The
restaurants, shops and nightspots at EpiCentre are perfectly situated
around an open air pavilion offering dramatic views of the Charlotte
skyline. Located at the intersection of Trade and College Streets,
EpiCentre is in the heart of vibrant uptown Charlotte, just blocks
away from prominent businesses and venues such as Bank of America
Corporate Center, Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte Convention Center
and the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Museum. Best of all, EpiCentre is
easily accessible from anywhere, including a convenient stop on the
LYNX Blue Line. EpiCentre is proudly managed by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Hot Dog Concept JJ's Red Hots Opening July 4 on East Blvd

JJ's Red Hots, an original restaurant concept, will bring premier
handcrafted, chargrilled hot dogs and sausages to 1514 East Blvd.
starting Wednesday, July 4.

Award-winning Nation Ford High School Drum Line will perform before
the 2 p.m. official ribbon cutting. A soloist willplay The National
Anthem to commemorate July 4, 2012 being the 200th anniversary of The
Star Spangled Banner. Lucky customers will be able to win free hot
dogs for a year throughout the day.

"JJ's is about classic American ideals like quality, value and hard
work," Co-founder and Concept Designer, Jonathan Luther said. "We are
especially thrilled to continue the rich history of this 75 year old
building by serving our guests the best hot dog thay have ever had in
their life."

The JJ's team has extensive restaurant industry background anchored by
father and son co-founders, Luther and Jon L. Luther. Strategic
advisor, Jon L. Luther has a rich background in the restaurant
industry. After joining Dunkin' Brands in 2003 as CEO he led the
transformation, revitalization and global expansion of Dunkin' Donuts
and Baskin Robbins.

JJ's features smokehouse hot dogs from Sahlen's Packing Company in
Buffalo, N.Y., which are chargrilled over an open flame. JJ's is also
proud to serve the highest quality ingredients including, Fontanini
Sausage, Martin's Famous Potato, Mt. Olive Pickles and Webers's Mustard.

The menu features eight signature dogs including, the "No. 1 Red Hot"
and dogs representing the best of the best from east to west. A
sampling includes: The Char Heel (N.C.) – (chili, slaw, diced onions,
deli mustard), Sonoran (Ariz.) – (Borracho Beans, fire-grilled salsa,
diced onions, jack cheese, cilantro) and Maui Gold (H.I.) – (Vidalia
onions, grilled pineapple salsa).

Other menu items include chicken and herb sausage, salmon sausage,
freshly tossed salads and soups. JJ's will offer a special kids menu
that features PuppyDawgs (chopped frankfurters battered and fried to
order), Roasted Chicken Drum Sticks and sides like chips, fruit salad
and apple slices.

JJ's will also serve hand-spun milkshakes, fresh made orangeade and
lemonade, wines by the glass and local craft beer.

Experience one of the largest rooftop decks and newly added take-out
window from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday.

Formore information, visit

About JJ's Red Hots
JJ's Red Hots is the premier purveyor of handcrafted chargrilled hot
dogs and sausages in Charlotte. Our rallying cry is simple: "Don't
'Dis the Dog!" JJ's features made from scratch sides and toppings.
JJ's is proud to serve quality American brands including: Weber's
Mustard, Sahlen's Hot Dogs, Mt. Olive Pickles and Martin's Famous
Potato Rolls. At JJ's, we believe that there is no greater joy than a
kickass hot dog. For more information, visit

Johnson C. Smith University Honored Nationally for Community Service

Johnson C. Smith University is among 642 schools across the nation
honored in 2012 by The Corporation for National and Community Service
and the U.S. Department of Education. The university joins the
nation's leading colleges and universities, students, faculty members
and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through
community service and service learning.
Johnson C. Smith University was admitted to the Honor Roll for 1,109
of its students completing 15,270 hours of community service on
programs such as Soul of the Northwest Corridor Initiative and others
promoting learning for kids.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of
exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their
communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who
traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf
Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the
transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the
higher education community.

"Community service is highly encouraged at our university," said
Sherrill Hampton, director for applied leadership and community
development. She said a major part of community engagement focuses on
revitalizing Charlotte's Northwest Corridor which covers more than 34
historic neighborhoods. "Our university has taken a leadership role in
the revitalizing efforts by implementing the Soul of the Northwest
Corridor Initiative, a new community planning model patterned after
the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community Project," said Hampton.

Another community service project at JCSU promotes learning for
children of various age groups through tutoring, parent advocacy and
mentoring. Special services offered include a Saturday academy, a
tutoring program for children in grades three to five, writing
workshops for high school students and a West Charlotte High School
mentoring program.

"Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation
of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create
positive impacts in the community," said Robert Velasco, acting CEO of
CNCS. "We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students
for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the
classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement
while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to
solve challenges within their communities."

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has
administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted 642 schools to
colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and
neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that
total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition
of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and
five received the Presidential Award. For a full list of recipients,

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal
agency that engages more than five million Americans in service
through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America
programs, and leads President Barack Obama's national call to service
initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

About Johnson C. Smith University
Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is the premier
independent urban liberal arts university located in the heart of
Charlotte, N.C. It offers a progressive liberal arts curriculum with
23 fields of study to more than 1,600 students. The University
prepares students for success through excellent academic programs with
a focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global

Red Lobster Set to Open in Matthews

The newest Red Lobster will open at 9801 Independence Pointe Parkway
in Matthews, N.C. on Monday, June 25 at 11 a.m. The 5,900 square-foot
restaurant will create 180 new jobs and accommodate seating for 212

Restaurant Design
The design of the Matthews Red Lobster is inspired by the New England
coast and gives guests the feeling of dining by the seaside. Exterior
features include a stone tower that is similar to the architecture
used throughout New England; ship lanterns to welcome guests;
Adirondack-style chairs to encourage mingling outside; unique window
graphics that hint at some of the great tasting seafood guests can
enjoy inside; and a plaque featuring the name of the restaurant's
general manager.
The interior features expanded seating for large parties and nautical
décor such as signal flags and seaside-inspired artwork to create a
warm, inviting, seaside-inspired atmosphere.

The new restaurant also features a number of sustainable design
elements, including recycled building materials, enlarged windows to
increase natural light, LED lighting, low-water landscaping and energy-
efficient equipment. These enhancements are part of the Sustainable
Restaurant Design initiative launched by Darden Restaurants, Red
Lobster's parent company.

Red Lobster's menu provides guests with affordable, high-quality and
great-tasting seafood. For example, the Today's Fresh Fish Menu
provides guests with five to eight selections of fresh fish daily. The
restaurant also features Red Lobster's signature wood-fire grill that
is operated by a specially trained Grill Master. Wood-fire grilling
locks in the flavor and sears in the juices of seafood, steak and
chicken. The "Quick Catches Lunch Menu" offers great value, with items
starting at $6.99.And, of course, all entrees come with a choice of
salad, unlimited signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits and a choice of a side

The menu at the Matthews Red Lobster will also feature limited time
offers like the Four Course Seafood Feast for $14.99, which includes
one of the restaurant's signature soups, a fresh salad served with
unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits, the guest's choice of one of seven
entrées – like the new Jumbo Coconut and Pineapple-Grilled Shrimp –
and a dessert. The Four Course Seafood Feast is available through
August 10.

Red Lobster servers are trained and certified as Seafood Experts and
can share information with guests about all the types of seafood
offered on the restaurant's menu.

Red Lobster has appointed Charlotte resident Keisha Black as general
manager of the Matthews restaurant. Black has been with Red Lobster
for 16 years, most recently as general manager of the Red Lobster in
Spartanburg, S.C.
"We bring guests friendly, attentive and personalized service to
ensure their time together at Red Lobster is memorable," said Black.
"The great thing about Red Lobster is that there's a meal for any
taste. We look forward to providing our guests with a high quality,
great tasting meal in an atmosphere that's inspired by the New England
In addition to creating new jobs, the new Red Lobster also intends to
have a positive impact on the community, before it even opens. Black
said the restaurant will host a pre-opening "family and friends" event
for crew and their family members and friends and some of the proceeds
will be donated to the Matthews Habitat for Humanity chapter. As with
all locations, the Matthews Red Lobster will raise the American flag
before it opens the doors to serve guests for the first time.
Red Lobster is now accepting applications for employment at the
Matthews restaurant. To be considered for an interview, please apply

About Red Lobster
Red Lobster is the leader among seafood and casual dining restaurants,
with more than 700 Red Lobster locations in North America. Red Lobster
is a member of the Darden family of restaurants (NYSE:DRI), the
world's largest full-service restaurant operating company. In 2012,
Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list
for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant
company to ever appear on the list. Red Lobster is committed to
making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As
part of this commitment, the Matthews Red Lobster will participate in
the Darden Harvestprogram, which has donated more than 50 million
pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For
more information, visit

Charlotte Installs Solar-Powered Compacting Bins for Waste Collection

The City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services (SWS) has installed five
BigBelly solar waste stations in Uptown as a pilot to further reduce
litter, encourage recycling and enable the City to deliver essential
services at a reduced cost.

Two of the solar waste stations are for garbage only and are at the
following locations:

· Price's Chicken Coop at 1614 Camden Road

· Charlotte Area Transit bus stop at 715 Charlottetown Avenue

Three stations in the following locations allow for the disposal of
recyclables and garbage:

· Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on the 4th Street side

· Time Warner Cable Arena at the 300 block of E. Trade Street

· Time Warner Cable Arena at the 300 block of 5th Street

Combining solar-powered remote monitoring and on-site compaction, the
BigBelly solar systems use data and increased capacity to reduce the
need for collection trips by 80% - conserving fuel, saving money and
reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The BigBelly Solar solution gives us an efficient way to manage our
on-street waste collection that demonstrates the City's overall
commitment to sustainability," said Victoria O. Johnson, SWS Director.
"The management console will enable us to improve operations and
deliver tremendous efficiencies by significantly reducing collections
– with no risk of overflow or litter."

Not only do the solar waste stations reduce collection trips and
litter in Uptown, they also reduce the City's carbon footprint by
minimizing fuel consumption and diverting recyclables from the waste
stream. The solar stations compact garbage – allowing for five times
more capacity than regular containers – and include receptacles for
collecting plastic bottles, newspapers, glass and other recyclables.
The systems also send notifications to staff when full, so crews know
when to provide collection.

The results from the one-year pilot will determine if SWS explores
installing additional BigBelly stations in other areas of the city.

For more information on Solid Waste Services, visit

About BigBelly SolarBigBelly Solar is the pioneer and industry leader
for delivering financial and environmental savings to the public space
waste and recycling collection process. Combining solar-powered remote
monitoring and on-site compaction, the BigBelly Solar system uses data
and right-sized capacity to empower municipalities, universities and
other organizations to reduce their collection frequency and increase
public space recycling. With nearly 1,000 customers worldwide, the
award-winning BigBelly Solar Intelligent Waste & Recycling Collection
System has saved communities tens of millions of dollars in fuel and
labor costs while reducing their carbon footprint. BigBelly Solar
products are "Assembled in the USA" and recognized as a best practice
by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Clinton Climate

Opening June 30: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, and Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

Two exhibitions illustrating diverse and thought-provoking views of
what it means to be an American will open June 30 at Mint Museum
Uptown. The community is invited to engage with the museum during
special events associated with each exhibition.

The exhibitions mark the beginning of a spectacular lineup The Mint
Museum will have on display when tens of thousands of visitors arrive
in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention in early
September. More news of other exhibitions and special projects will be
arriving in the coming weeks.

"The eyes of the nation and world will be on Charlotte soon, and the
Mint is prepared to lead the way in displaying the depth and breadth
of our city's ascending cultural scene," said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson,
President & CEO of the Mint. "We are proud to be able to bring two
such significant exhibitions to our community and visitors."

Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial
30 June – 30 September 2012
"All truth is hard truth. We're in the darkness now, and we got to
accept the hard truth to bring on the light. You can hide the truth,
but you can't get rid of it. When truth come out in the light, we get
the beauty of the world." –Thornton Dial

An artist raised in the rural South, Thornton Dial (in photo0 is a
keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption
and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the
last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture
in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a
major survey of Dial's work, an epic gathering of over fifty large-
scale paintings, sculptures, and wall assemblages that address the
most compelling issues of our time.

The Mint is kicking off the exhibition with a pre-opening reception,
"Get DIAL'd In," on June 27 from 6-10 p.m. at Mint Museum Uptown. The
event will feature a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Carolina
Chocolate Drops, and Dial himself is scheduled to be present as a
special guest. Tickets are $50 for Mint members, and $75 for non-
members, and proceeds will benefit the Romare Bearden Society, which
supports acquisitions of works by African American artists. (

The exhibition and opening reception are brought to the community with
generous support from Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo is proud to provide
major funding to bring this compelling exhibition to the community,"
said Jay Everette, the chair-elect of The Mint Museum's Board of
Trustees and the Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Manager
for Greater Charlotte for Wells Fargo. "And we are especially excited
to host the opening community celebration. We invite our neighbors and
friends to join in previewing these highly significant works by Mr.

Added Brad Thomas, the Mint's curator of contemporary art: "Since I
joined the Mint team in January, it has been my distinct pleasure to
work with our staff and many supporters on bringing this remarkable
body of work to our museum. This retrospective exhibition shines a
well-deserved light on one of the most original and prolific American
artists of our time."

The Mint decided to engage both its campuses in the exhibition. In
addition to the large-scale assemblages on display at Mint Museum
Uptown, a selection of drawings by Dial will be on display at Mint
Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road in Charlotte, in the Dickson
Gallery for the duration of the exhibition.

Dial spent his childhood toiling in the farm fields of western
Alabama, followed by decades spent as a laborer in the region's
factories and heavy industry. A working-class man whose art was weaned
in the unheralded expressive practices of the black vernacular South,
Dial speaks in a voice long overlooked in the canons of modern art and
culture. Since his discovery in the late 1980s, critics have likened
Dial's complex and tumultuous creations to the renowned works of such
artists as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer.

To create his art, Dial employs a vast universe of symbolically
charged materials — from plastic grave flowers, child's toys, bed
springs, and carpet scraps to cow skulls and goat carcasses. Salvaged
from garbage cans and trash heaps, these items reappear in dense
accumulations amidst the artist's fields of dripped paint and
expressionistic brushworks.

Over the years, Dial has tackled a wide range of social and political
subjects in his art, from gripping commentaries on the homeless, the
abuse of the environment, and the failings of global capitalism to
haunting meditations on the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the
tragedy of 9/11. Concerned with representing those otherwise rendered
invisible within the contours of history, he has also created many
works on the plight of women, labor, the rural poor, and the
impoverished underclass. Still other paintings and sculptures examine
the long history of racial oppression in America. Recounting the
atrocities of slavery and Southern sharecropping, the aspirations of
the Great Migration, the fight for Civil Rights, and other episodes in
black memory, these pieces form a powerful anthology on the human
struggle for freedom and equality.

A fully illustrated catalogue is available in The Mint Museum Shops
for $45. In addition to the support provided by Wells Fargo, Hard
Truths: The Art of Thornton Dialreceived additional support provided
by Duke Energy. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is organized by
the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
30 June – 23 September 2012

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used
her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The
Madeleine Albright Collectionreveals an intriguing story of American
history and foreign policy as told through former U.S. Secretary of
State Albright's jeweled pins.

"I am delighted that the pin exhibition will be at the spectacular
Mint Museum, particularly at such an important time for Charlotte,"
said Secretary Albright. "This is an exciting time for Charlotte
residents to share with the rest of the world the city's rich and
diverse cultural heritage."

Albright will visit Charlotte in July for a series of events to
promote community learning and engagement with the exhibition. On
Friday July 13, following a media event at the museum, Albright will
appear at a members-only reception at 6:30 p.m. (tickets are $150 per
person, $200 per couple; attendees must be Mint members to purchase).
On Saturday July 14, she will appear at a special educational program
for invited local students before conducting a public conversation at
Mint Museum Uptown at 1 p.m., followed by a book signing. Tickets to
the public event are $20, or $10 for members. (

The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and
democratic — sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish
and outspoken — and spans more than a century of jewelry design and
fascinating pieces from across the globe. The more than 200 works on
view are chosen for their symbolic value. While some are fine
antiques, many are costume jewelry. Together the pieces in this
expressive collection explore the power of jewelry to communicate
through a style and language of its own.

Albright told reporters during a visit to the Mint in February: "My
pin collection….would not exist if it had not been for Saddam
Hussein." Jewelry became part of Albright's diplomatic arsenal in 1994
when Saddam Hussein's government-controlled press referred to
Albright, who was at that time U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
as an "unparalleled serpent." At her next meeting on the subject of
Iraq, Albright wore a golden snake brooch, beginning a career-long
practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages.

"While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying 'Read my
lips,' I began urging colleagues and reporters to 'Read my pins',"
Albright has said. This traveling exhibition is accompanied by the
book "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box" (2009), which
is on sale now in The Mint Museum Shops ($40). Secretary Albright has
given the world an opportunity to explore American history and foreign
policy through the unique lens of jewelry.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection is brought to The Mint
Museum through the support of Perry's at SouthPark. Generous support
for the original exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the
exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Organized by the Museum of
Arts and Design in New York.

Calendar listings for media:

Wednesday June 27: "Get DIAL'd In:" Opening reception for Hard Truths:
The Art of Thornton Dial featuring performance by Carolina Chocolate
Drops. 6-10 p.m., Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts,
500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte. Tickets $50 for Mint members; $75
for non-members. Visit to purchase.

Saturday June 30: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial and Read My
Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection open to the public. 10 a.m.,
Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon
Street. A selection of drawings by Thornton Dial will also open at
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte.

Friday July 13: Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
members-only reception. 6:30 p.m., Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center
for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. Admission $150 per individual/
$200 per couple; must be Mint members to purchase. Visit for details.

Saturday July 14: "A conversation with former Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright." Public lecture and book signing. 1 p.m., Mint
Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street.
Admission $10 Mint members; $20 non-members. Tickets are sold out for
James B. Duke auditorium, but satellite seating in the Robert Haywood
Morrison Atrium is still available.

Levine Center for the Arts is one of Charlotte's key cultural
destinations, comprised of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B.
Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L.
Knight Theater, Mint Museum Uptown, and Duke Energy Center. The Levine
Center was made possible through the Campaign for Cultural Facilities,
the support of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and the
generosity of the Leon Levine Foundation, one of the country's largest
and most impactful philanthropic organizations.

The opening of Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial at the Mint
coincides with the opening of America I AM: The African American
Imprint at the Gantt Center.America I AM, on display 30 June 2012-1
January 2013, celebrates nearly 500 years of African American
contributions to the United States. The exhibition was developed in
partnership with Tavis Smiley and organized by Cincinnati Museum
Center and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI). America I AM is
made possible by Wal-Mart, which serves as its presenting sponsor.
Visit for more information.


As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, and the art museum with
one of the largest collections in the Southeast, The Mint Museum
offers its visitors inspiring and transformative experiences through
art from around the world via innovative collections, ground-breaking
exhibitions, riveting educational programs, and profound scholarship.
The Mint Museum is a non-profit, visual arts institution comprised of
two dynamic facilities: Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph.

Located in what was the original branch of the United States Mint,
Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 in Charlotte's Eastover
neighborhood as the state's first art museum. Today, in a beautiful
park setting, intimate galleries invite visitors to engage with the
art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, fashion,
European and African art, among other collections. Resources include a
reference library with over 18,000 volumes, a theater featuring
lectures and performances, and a museum shop offering merchandise that
complements both the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Mint Museum Uptown houses the internationally renowned Craft + Design
collection, as well as outstanding collections of American,
contemporary, and European art. Designed by Machado and Silvetti
Associates of Boston, the five-story, 145,000-square-foot facility
combines inspiring architecture with cutting-edge exhibitions to
provide visitors with unparalleled educational and cultural
experiences. Located in the heart of Charlotte's burgeoning center
city, Mint Museum Uptown is an integral part of the Levine Center for
the Arts, a cultural campus that includes the Bechtler Museum of
Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and
Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Duke Energy Center. Mint Museum
Uptown also features a wide range of visitor amenities, including the
240-seat James B. Duke Auditorium, the Lewis Family Gallery, art
studios, a restaurant, and a museum shop. For more information, check

How to Survive a Record Year of Nasty Mosquitos

You'll want to keep the mosquito repellent and medication for bug
bites close by this summer. The Centers for Disease Control is
predicting the summer of 2012 will be one of the worst mosquito
summers on record.

You can blame an unusually warm winter, a wetter than normal spring,
and a summer that so far is warm and damp. Because the insects did
not freeze to death last winter, the bugs got an early start on
breeding and have kept multiplying. Considering the amount of water
in a bottle cap can hold about 300 mosquito eggs, you can imagine what
North Carolinians are facing.

So Kerr Drug, a nationally recognized provider of pharmacy and other
healthcare related, offers these tips to safely ward off the summer

• Apply Insect Repellents with DEET wisely- Most people choose
repellents with low concentrations of DEET, especially for use by
their children, believing high percentages of DEET are dangerous.
However toxicity issues with DEET are related to the number of times
you apply the product, not the concentration. So it is safer to
choose the product that matches the amount of time you'll be outside.
The CDC cites a study showing repellents with 23.8% DEET provide about
five hours of protection while products with 4.75% DEET protect for
about one hour.
"It's better to use a product with a higher DEET concentration once
than with a lower concentration multiple times," says Anthony "Tony"
Civello, president and CEO of Kerr Drug.

• Be Careful Using Repellents with DEET on Children-The American
Academy of Pediatrics recommends products containing DEET should not
be applied to children under two months of age. The AAP also suggests
not using products with a higher DEET concentration than 30% on
• Other Repellents-Picardin- is a pepper-based compound that is as
effective as DEET with lower toxicity.
• Other Repellents-Lemon Eucalyptus- is also used as an insect
repellent and seems as effective as a low concentration of DEET.
• General Safety Advice for all Repellents-When applying repellent on
a small child, apply it to your own hands and run them on the child.
Also, do not apply repellent to children's hands because children tend
to put their hands in their mouth and eyes.
• Hydrocortisone Cream- This topical cream relieves stings, bites and
itchy rashes.
"While mosquitos will bite anytime during daylight hours, they are
most aggressive at dawn and dusk, so people should take special
precautions during those times," adds Civello. "It's also advisable to
look around where you live and remove standing water, clean birdbaths,
and get rid of the places where mosquitos breed."

Charlotte Named Fifth Best City in America for Happy Marriages

Planning a summer wedding? Hoping for a lifetime of wedded bliss?
The likelihood that your partnership will grow into a long, happy
marriage may depend on where you live. And according to the 2012
RealAge Report, folks who live in Charlotte have a great shot –
ranking #5.

Says RealAge: "One of HGTV's Top '20 Great Gardens' in the U.S., the
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a hotspot for weddings in the City of
Trees. We're guessing that's where the not-so-newlyweds in the
Charlotte area spend a chunk of their free time, too. If so, it could
be the secret to their marital bliss. Researchers have found that
spending just 5 minutes a day outside in a natural setting seriously
lifts your mood and your self-esteem, which makes both you and your
mate way more fun to be around."

According to the 2012 RealAge Report, the happiest marriages in
America hail from these top 10 cities:


"A happy marriage is a key factor in influencing RealAge, or your
body's individual 'health age,'" says Dr. Mike Roizen, founder of
RealAge and The RealAge Test®, and Chief Wellness Officer of The
Cleveland Clinic. A long-term, loving relationship can make a woman's
RealAge as much as 2.5 years younger and a man's 4.2 years younger.

Why? Says Dr. Roizen: "Happily married men and women enjoy better
overall health, are less depressed and anxious than single, divorced
or widowed Americans. And a happy marriage is even more important for
men - which helps explain why insurance premiums are higher for a
divorced or single man. Happily married people encourage healthy
behaviors - like eating well - and discourage unhealthy activities
like smoking. Add emotional support through good times and bad as
well as laughter to the equation, and you've got a recipe better
tasting than mom's apple pie."

Marriage is one of the 22 individual factors used to rank the youngest
and oldest metro areas in the country revealed in the 2012 RealAge
Report , an analysis of the 2011 regional data generated by the
patented RealAge Test® .'s landmark online assessment has
been taken by over 29 million people since its inception in 1998.

Wondering how your own marriage measures up? Take the online RealAge
Marriage Test and find out how you core on 7 essential marriage skills
- among them, setting ground rules, spending time together, and
resolving conflict. If you're married but sometimes feel as if you're
"no longer in love," or are afraid your relationship is in trouble,
the free assessment will help you to discover how to fall in love
again . . . with your spouse.

About RealAge is a leading health and wellness site centered around the
groundbreaking RealAge Test®, a scientific but simple-to-take test
that calculates how old your body thinks you are. The patented test,
which launched in 1998 and has been taken by more than 29 million
people, is backed by powerful new technology that allows it to be
constantly updated with the latest medical studies. Anyone who takes
the Test receives a personalized Grow Younger Plan designed to turn
back your body clock. The site also offers health tips; dozens of
other tests; and practical, inspiring information. RealAge
aggressively guards users' privacy and does not share its members'
identities with third-party advertisers. RealAge, Inc., is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Sharecare, the interactive health and wellness
social platform co-founded by Jeff Arnold and two-time Emmy®Award-
winning television host Dr. Mehmet Oz.
· Follow us on Twitter @RealAge
· Fan us on Facebook

About Sharecare
Launched in 2010 and based in Atlanta, GA, Sharecare is an
interactive, social Q & A platform that allows people to ask, learn
and act upon questions of health and wellness. Created by Jeff Arnold
and Dr. Mehmet Oz, in partnership with Harpo Studios, Remark Media
(NASDAQ: MARK), Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery
Communications, the company's innovative approach provides the
consumer access to a wide array of health and wellness experts ranging
from hospitals to doctors, specialists to non-profits, to healthcare
companies and active health consumers, creating a thriving community
where healthcare knowledge is built, shared and put into practice.

• Follow us on Twitter @SharecareNow
• Fan us on Facebook
• Read our Sharecare Blog
• Watch us on YouTube

Litter in Mecklenburg Drops to 9-Year Low

The annual Litter Index shows Mecklenburg County has less litter today
than at any time since 2003, according to Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful.
The Litter Index is an annual visual assessment of the types and
amount of litter present in the community.

The index is determined by sending volunteers to 50 locations over a
two-day period. Each site is one mile in length. Volunteers observe
the amount of litter present on a scale of one to four with one
indicating no litter and four to represent a lot. This year's record-
setting number is 1.22.

Jake Wilson, executive director of Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful, said
the score indicates there was less debris falling from fewer
construction trucks during the recession, and growth in the popularity
of the Adopt-A-Highway program.

"Our mission statement says Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful wants to
empower the citizens of Mecklenburg County to take greater
responsibility for enhancing their environment," said Wilson. I'm very
happy with the score and want to thank everyone for doing their part."

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful is a service of the County's Land Use and
Environmental Services Agency (LUESA). It was certified as an official
chapter of Keep America Beautiful in 2004. It serves to educate the
public about the benefits of properly disposing of litter and it also
organizes the local effort for national public clean-up events like
Litter Sweep, Swat-A-Litterbug and the Great American Clean-up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mayor Foxx Introduces Small Business Lending Guide at U.S. Conference of Mayors

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting Thursday in Orlando,
Florida, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx introduced his "Mayors' Access
to Capital Resource Guide." The brochure, sponsored by Bank of
America, is designed to serve as a tool for mayors around the country
as they work to help provide their small businesses with the lending
they need to get started and grow.

Foxx is Co-Chair of the Conference of Mayors Small Business and
Franchising Task Force.

"Small businesses are the engines of economic growth across the
country. In Charlotte, they employ 90 percent of our workforce," Foxx
said. "However, in order to prosper, small firms must have access to
capital and credit. In creating this guide, I sought to provide
information to municipal leaders nationwide about how they can help
small businesses in their communities do just that."

"At Bank of America we understand the vital role of small businesses
in the U.S. economy and we are happy to partner with the U.S.
Conference of Mayors to provide this informative guide," said Robb
Hilson, Bank of America Small Business Executive.

The "Mayors' Access to Capital Resource Guide" offers an overview for
mayors of federal programs that facilitate small business lending and
initiatives by large and small lenders to make capital more readily
available for small business start-up or expansion. It also contains
a summary of best practices by individual cities that provide a range
of services to help small businesses secure access to the capital they

Jersey Mike's to Open East Blvd. Location June 20 with Free Subs

Jersey Mike's Subs, known for its fresh sliced/fresh grilled East
Coast-style subs, will officially open the doors to its 25th location
in the Greater Charlotte area on June 20. Franchise owners Nick Smith
and Rodger Blake-Ward will hold a grand opening and free sub
fundraiser from Wed., June 20 to Sun., June 24 to support the Levine
Children's Hospital.

The new restaurant, located at 1300 East Boulevard, will circulate
10,000 coupons throughout the community, offering a free regular sub
for a minimum $1 contribution to the hospital.

Opened in 2007, the Levine Children's Hospital is a 234-bed children's
facility that combines the medical expertise the community already
relies on with a spectacular new state-of-the-art facility. The
hospital is designed to care for the physical and emotional needs of
children and their families.

Started at the Jersey Shore in 1956, Jersey Mike's continued its
steady growth in 2011 opening 69 new restaurants throughout the
country, a 15 percent increase overall. The popular sub shop wins
best sub awards in virtually every market it enters.

Nick Smith and Rodger Blake-Ward exemplify Jersey Mike's quest for
excellence as it selects franchise owners who share the company's
commitment to quality products and exceptional customer service and
who are dedicated to giving back to the local community. In 2011,
locations throughout the country raised more than $2 million for
worthy local charities and distributed more than 200,000 free sub
sandwiches to help numerous causes.

"We wanted to support a charity that was close to home, and with the
Levine Children's Hospital being right around the corner we definitely
accomplished that," said Blake-Ward. "As business owners, we have a
great opportunity to make a difference in our community. We are
looking forward to our grand opening fundraiser and the chance to
continue giving back with Jersey Mike's."

Passionate Jersey Mike's fans crave their subs made Mike's Way™ with
onions, lettuce, tomatoes and a signature blend of olive oil, red wine
vinegar and spices. The company uses only private labeled meats and
cheeses that are sliced fresh for each sub sandwich and piled high on
in-store baked bread. Everything is quickly made to order for each
customer, just the way the first subs were made at the original Jersey
Mike's more than fifty years ago. The Jersey Mike's experience always
includes its trademark neighborly banter served up by a high-energy
Jersey Mike's team.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. You can contact
this store directly at (704) 910-1717.

Jersey Mike's, a sub sandwich franchise with more than 750 stores open
and under development nationwide, has a long history of community
involvement and support. Started at the Jersey Shore in 1956, Jersey
Mike's serves authentic East Coast-style subs on fresh baked bread –
the same recipe it started with over 50 years ago. The company's
mission is to bring its customers the highest quality, freshest made
sub in the industry and give back to the communities in which it
operates. A store locator and franchise information for Jersey Mike's
can be found at

Mayor Foxx Accepts Award for Innovative Power2Charlotte Energy Efficiency Initiative

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx accepted an award from the U.S.
Conference of Mayors (USCM) June 13 in honor of a unique, citywide
energy efficiency initiative during the Conference's annual meeting in
Orlando, Florida. The Power2Charlotte initiative, which is designed to
create jobs and save energy, earned the Queen City an honorable
mention in the large city category for the 2012 Mayors' Climate
Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by USCM and Walmart.

Charlotte was among five cities that received honorable mentions in
addition to one that was awarded first place in the large city
category, which was defined by cities with populations over 100,000.
The annual awards program is in its sixth year and recognizes mayors
for innovative practices in their cities that increase energy
efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel
of judges selected the winners from a pool of more than 100 applicants.

"It's an honor to accept this award on Charlotte's behalf and to
receive this recognition from the U.S. Conference of Mayors," Foxx
said. "Through programs like Power2Charlotte and Envision Charlotte we
are working to establish the Queen City as a national energy hub and a
global model for energy sustainability."

Power2Charlotte consists of 17 energy and energy efficiency projects
that focus on both internal city operations and community-wide
projects. The program's goals are to increase energy efficiency,
reduce greenhouse gases, create jobs, create programs with longevity
and leverage external resources. These projects fall into five
categories: energy investments in revitalization areas; catalyst
projects; air quality; public building energy efficiency; and energy
strategy implementation.

The City of Charlotte also maintains a proactive policy of
neighborhood-focused assessment, renewal and planning that works to
build upon neighborhoods assets, while addressing shortcomings. In
1993, the City began formally assessing quality-of-life conditions at
a neighborhood scale, with its recent EECBG-funded Green Neighborhood
Assessment Tool for environmental values, whereby variables will be
communicated through a dynamic online dashboard displaying available
community resources and identifying opportunities for residents to
improve their scores and enhance the quality of life in their specific

For more information on the initiative, please visit

NASCAR SpeedPark® in Concord Mills Hosts Safety Day June 16

Learn how to keep your kids safe this summer the fun way at NASCAR
SpeedPark® Saturday, June 16 beginning at noon. NASCAR SpeedPark® will
celebrate its third annual Safety Day this year with Cabarrus County
Sheriff's office, Concord Police Department, Safe Kids Cabarrus county
and K104.7 at NASCAR SpeedPark® Saturday, June 16th.

The Concord Fire Department will have the smokehouse onsite to train
adults and kids in Fire Prevention education. Come see McGruff the
Crime Dog and much more. General Admission of $16.99+tax is required
for guests participating in Safety Day. Guests are encouraged to
"Like" the park on facebook for a coupon off general admission, or can
purchase tickets online for a discounted price of $14.99+tax. General
Admission not only allows guests access to the Safety Day event and
activities, but also includes unlimited rides on five exciting go-kart
tracks, plus, unlimited use of bumper boats, kid's rides, lazer tag,
mini golf and indoor rock climbing wall.

Where: NASCAR SpeedPark® in Concord Mills Mall
8461-G1 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC

About NASCAR SpeedPark® Concord
The "Official Family Fun Park of NASCAR", NASCAR SpeedPark's four
exciting locations in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Concord, N.C., Sevierville,
Tenn., and St. Louis, Mo., are among North America's top tourist
attractions. Owned and operated by PARC Management, LLC, NASCAR
SpeedPark Concord offers five race tracks, miniature golf, kids'
rides, indoor rock climbing and play areas, laser tag and more.

Hunter Hayes Is Rocking Out At Whisky River With A Free Concert

Multi-talented 20-year-old Hunter Hayes is the latest phenomenon to
hit the country music scene with his current debut single topping
charts nationwide. Tuesday, June 19, Hayes, presented by WSOC 103.7
and the Redneck Yacht Club, will take the stage at Whisky River to
deliver one of the most spectacular shows of the summer season with
his hit songs 'Storm Warning', 'Wanted' and 'Somebody's Heartbreak'.

Originally from Louisiana, Hayes started his musical career at the
young age of two. At an early age he knew he wanted to go far and by
four he was performing both locally and on national television. In
2008 Hayes moved to Nashville to pursue his country music dreams. At
16-years-old, he was co-writing songs with Rascal Flatts and
eventually signed to Atlantic Records.

"I hope people half my age and twice my age will listen to my music-I
want it to live forever and for my audience to feel like they have a
friend in music," said Hayes. "Music is a spirit. It heals. It's an
amazing thing to be loved and appreciated."

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the free concert and 18 and up are welcome.
Space is limited so, first come, first entry.

Whisky River is located at EpiCentre, 210 E Trade Street in the heart
of uptown Charlotte.

Owned by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Whisky River is one of
Charlotte, North Carolina's most popular evening entertainment venues
in the heart of the vibrant uptown scene at the EpiCentre. With its
unpretentious charm and electrifying blend of live music performances,
celebrity guests and dynamic DJs spinning everything from rock to
country and more, Whisky River is the ideal destination for casual,
feel-good fun. So grab your friends and get ready for a revved-up time
at Charlotte's favorite place to unwind – Whisky River. Oh, and don't
forget to take a ride on the famous, and always entertaining,
mechanical bull – if you dare!

Monday, June 11, 2012

IMAX Tickets Now On Sale For The Dark Knight Rises at Discovery Place

Tickets are now on sale at Discovery Place for the release of The Dark
Knight Rises, the third film of the critically acclaimed trilogy that
introduces Gotham City's newest super villains, Bane and leading lady
Selina Kyle. Director Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated epic
conclusion opens in Discovery Place's The Charlotte Observer IMAX®
Dome Theatre and theatres worldwide on July 20.

While making the 2008 blockbuster The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan
was the first filmmaker to use IMAX® cameras in a major motion picture
release. Nolan employed the extremely high-resolution cameras even
more extensively on The Dark Knight Rises: The IMAX Experience® —
including the film's prologue — incorporating a record of more than an
hour of footage filmed with IMAX cameras. These specific sequences,
which will expand to fill the entire screen exclusively in IMAX, will
deliver unprecedented crispness and clarity and a truly immersive
experience for moviegoers.

"Director Christopher Nolan, Producers Emma Thomas and Chuck Roven,
and Cinematographer Wally Pfister's cinematic vision is unparalleled
and continues to set the bar for excellence," said Greg Foster,
Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "They are long-
term partners and we're happy to team with them and our friends at
Warner Bros. to offer IMAX fans an opportunity to experience this
highly-anticipated conclusion to the Batman trilogy the way it was
meant to be seen – in IMAX theatres."

Sequences shot in 35mm have been digitally re-mastered into the image
and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX
DMR®(Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images
coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital
audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if
they are in the movie.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale
("The Fighter") again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The
film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane;
Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose"), as Miranda Tate;
and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast,
Oscar® winner Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") plays Alfred;
Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar®winner Morgan Freeman
("Million Dollar Baby") reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The Dark Knight Rises has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of
violence and action, some sensuality and language. More

About IMAX
IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D
Experience® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX
Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook, Twitter

About Discovery Place
One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place
provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in
the active exploration of science and nature. The Museum brings
relevant, contemporary science to life through groundbreaking
exhibitions, interactive educational programming and hands-on
activities. Nearly a half-million people from all over the United
States engage with Discovery Place and its IMAX Dome Theatre each year.

Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon
Street. Convenient parking is available in the Museum's parking deck
– the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex – at the corner of Sixth and Church
Streets. For more information about Discovery Place, call
(704)372-6261, visit orconnect with Discovery
Place on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Discovery Place Inc. owns and operates Discovery Place, Charlotte
Nature Museum and Discovery Place KIDS and is supported, in part, with
funding from the Arts & Science Council.

300 Sisters of Mercy Push for Dream Act

More than 300 Sisters of Mercy are meeting in Concord, N.C. June 21-24
for their biennial Assembly and have set aside part of their time
together to fight for the future of young, undocumented immigrants in
the U.S.

Members of the Sisters of Mercy - South Central Community are calling
their unique initiative "Dial a Dream." At around 11:40 a.m. on June
22, they'll pull out their cell phones and devote 20 minutes to
calling their representatives in the U.S. Senate and House to urge
passage of the DREAM Act. Long stalled in Congress, the DREAM Act
would give current, former and future undocumented high school
graduates and GED recipients a pathway to U.S. citizenship through
college or the armed forces. An estimated 1.1 million students across
the United States could be eligible for legal status under the DREAM
Act, including more than 50,000 in North Carolina.

"These are our brothers and sisters," said Sister Rose Marie Tresp of
Belmont [in photo], director of justice for the Sisters of Mercy-
South Central Community. "God calls us to love them - especially the
children, who are here through no fault of their own. Matthew 25:35
tells us, 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me.'"

Dial a Dream will be one of the highlights of the 2012 Assembly of the
South Central Community of the Sisters of Mercy, set for June 21-24 at
the Embassy Suites in Concord, 5400 John Q. Hammons Drive NW. The
Assembly convenes every two years and is not open to the public.
Through the South Central Community, 630 sisters in 18 states, Guam
and Jamaica work to serve the needs of people who are economically
poor, sick and undereducated, with an emphasis on women and children.

The South Central Community is headquartered in Belmont, where the
Sisters of Mercy have been a beloved part of the Gaston County
community since 1892. Among its ministries there: Holy Angels for
developmentally disabled children and adults, the House of Mercy
outreach to those with AIDS/HIV, and Catherine's House, that serves
women and children in transition.

There are 4,000 members of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in the
U.S., Central and South America, the Caribbean, Guam and the
Philippines, and 10,000 worldwide, all advocating for social justice
while serving people who struggle with poverty and justice. The
Sisters of Mercy were founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831 by Catherine

In Concord, before the calls to Washington begin, Sister Rose Marie
will make opening remarks, stressing the importance of bringing about
broader lasting change through social advocacy, a focus of the Sisters
of Mercy. "For example," she says, "helping poor migrant workers who
pick tomatoes is admirable, but we can also change systems through
advocacy - by getting businesses to agree to pay more to tomato pickers."
Then she'll introduce two speakers: Sister Rosemary Welsh, executive
director of Casa de Misericordia, a domestic violence shelter for
abused women and children in Laredo, Texas, and Regina Moody,
president/CEO of Holy Angels in Belmont. Each will emphasize the
importance of pushing for permanent social change.

Sister Rose Marie has seen first-hand the challenges facing young
immigrants trying to build a better life in the United States. Before
coming to Belmont in 2008 to serve as director of justice of the
Sisters of Mercy of the South Central Community, the Texas native
spent seven years as director of ethics at Laredo Medical Center in
that Texas city on the Mexican border.

One of the many people she met whose story stirred her support for the
DREAM Act: The daughter of illegal immigrants who graduated from a
U.S. college with a teaching degree but couldn't get a teaching
certificate because of her undocumented status.
The DREAM Act (, introduced in 2001, permits
undocumented students conditional legal status and eventually
citizenship based on these provisions:
· Must have been brought to this country before age 16;
· Must have lived in the United States continuously for five
· Must have graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED;
· Must have no criminal record; and
· Must complete two years of college or military service.

In addition to the social justice dimension, Sister Rose Marie wants
people to appreciate that passing the DREAM Act makes good business
sense for a nation in need of an economic boost, as well as for young
people yearning to become citizens.

"They want to become productive members of the community," she says.
"And they have the skills and talents to be assets to our society. We
need them to become doctors, nurses and teachers. Economically, it's
good for our country."

It's a point, no doubt, that will be made when the Sisters of Mercy
take to the phones.

The Sisters of Mercy - an international community of Roman Catholic women
- dedicate their lives to God through vows of poverty, chastity,
obedience and service. For more than 150 years, motivated by the
Gospel of Jesus and inspired by the spirit of their founder Catherine
McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy have responded to the changing needs of
the times.

Through prayer and service, the sisters address the causes and effects
of violence, racism, degradation of the Earth and injustice to women
and immigrants. The sisters sponsor and serve in more than 200
organizations that work with those in need in the U.S., Central and
South America, Jamaica, Guam and the Philippines.

The Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community, which is headquartered
in Belmont, N.C., just outside of Charlotte, comprises 18 states, Guam
and Jamaica.
Share the mission of mercy. Discover how at

Thousands Throng Uptown for Taste of Charlotte

By Graham Moore
Charlotte Area News Reporter
Restaurants know the advantages of being featured at Taste of
Charlotte. With crowds exceeding 100,000, the exposure is undeniable.
Both new and old restaurants were featured at the festival June 8-10,
but it was obvious that it is an exciting opportunity to be one of the
few that are featured Uptown during the annual food festival that is
growing in popularity every year.

The three-day food festival took place on South Tryon Street between
Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Sixth Street. With 30 restaurants
featuring a variety of food, local wine and beers as well as sponsors,
live music, and street performers, this year's festival offered
something for everyone. The medium of exchange at the festival is
coins, which could be purchased at a few convenient places. The best
deal was to get the big basket of 15 coins for $20. Most food items
were one to three coins while beverages were priced at two to four

Mert's Heart and Soul knows the advantages of the exposure. While
featuring three menu favorites, the Soul Roll (similar to a spring
roll with chicken, black eyed peas, and collard greens) with spicy
honey mustard, Three Cheese Mac, and banana pudding, they were sure to
get some new customers. It is the goal of all the restaurants to have
new people fall in love with their food. Tia, a representative from
Mert's, said that they "always get someone who will try and sample,
then turn around and walk to Mert's to get a full meal." This is why
Mert's will keep coming back after already being a staple at the event
for over six years. It doesn't hurt that the banana pudding won best
dessert this year either.

E2, Emeril Lagasse's new uptown restaurant, was making its first
appearance and was excited to be a part of the event. Jeff from E2
said, "Just about a week ago a spot opened up and we were thrilled to
be able to take the spot" and be a part of the festival. As a new
restaurant, this was a great opportunity for new people to try some
food at a place they might not have known existed yet. They featured a
shrimp etoufee over rice, muffaletta sliders, and almond Cheerwine
pudding. The shrimp and muffaletta sliders were both big hits, Jeff

A third local restaurant that really enjoyed the Taste of Charlotte
experience and saw benefits from their presence at the festival was Ri
Ra's Irish Pub. They offered a Freuben (deep fried Reuben), Irish
potato cakes, and chicken wings with a Guinness sauce. All three are
popular items on the menu, and the wings were so popular this weekend
that they ran out Saturday afternoon.

There were nationally known restaurants there such as Hooters and Tony
Roma's as well as local chains such as Fuel Pizza and Hickory Tavern.
But it's the unique, locally owned restaurants which make the annual
festival so special and which makes people come back every year for
another taste.