Friday, December 28, 2012
Tuesday, January 1 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
EXHIBITIONS IN JANUARY INCLUDE:
Strange Matter - NEW! Opens January 26 - What's materials science? You might call it the study of stuff! Just about everything you use every day - the shoes you wear, the dishes you eat from, the bike or skateboard you ride - it's all made of different kinds of stuff. Get ready for more than a dozen hands-on experiences and exhibits that give you a close encounter with the amazing world of modern materials and materials science. Through May 5.
nano - Don't miss this special limited mini exhibition that engages family audiences in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. Hands-on, interactive exhibits present the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introduce some real world applications, and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology. Explore progressively smaller magnetic materials —magnetite sand, iron powder, and ferrofluid, build a giant model of a carbon nanotube and more. nano was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) with support from the National Science Foundation.
Explore More Stuff Lab - January's theme is Robotics: Challenge yourself to program Lego NXT robots while exploring different forms of input and output. Control a robotic arm, have fun building a Robotix creation, and drive strange mechanized creations with simple servo controllers.
Siemens Science Day: (January 26; 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) Siemens engineers and members of the non-destructive testing department will facilitate hands-on demonstrations of magnetism, infrared light and ultrasound.
Explore More Life Lab - January's theme is Infectious Disease and Inherited Disease: Have you ever wondered how germs spread? What do harmful bacteria do to our bodies, and what is a virus and how do our bodies react to them? Discover the unseen world of pathogenic microorganisms and how they can benefit and harm humans. Presented by Places of Hope.
**NEW this month in Explore More Life: A Focus Station featuring a blue tongued skink [Tiliqua scincoides], children's python, and cool invertebrates from Australia.
Microbiota Day: (January 12; 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m.) Use a microscope to safely get up close and personal with virus strains, which are genetic variants of a micro-organism, such as a virus, bacterium or fungus. Learn more about various types of contagious or communicable diseases and how they are spread from one person to another.
Explore More Collections Lab -Nature wears some of the most vibrant hues on the planet. Immerse yourself in a world of color with an all-new display of Museum collections and discover the many places color is found in nature. Many international cultures have even used natural inks and dyes to create colorful art based on environmental observations. Test your ability to decipher nature's colors at a special mystery station by studying the patterns of natural objects as they appear in black and white photographs.
National Australia Day: (January 12; 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m.) Learn about the official national day of Australia, celebrated there on January 26, and celebrate Australian culture, history and traditions. Learn more about aboriginal art and even make your own art to take home.
KidScience - KidScience is Discovery Place's early childhood exhibition where young children, ages 0-7, and their caregivers learn about science and math as they experiment, create and play together. January's theme is Alphabet Science: Learn the letter of the week and explore science wonders from A to Z. Monday-Friday; 11:30 a.m.-noon.
Discovery 3D Theatre - Hold on to your seat and your senses and get ready to experience Discovery 3D Theatre, the Museum's digital movie experience. With the help of 3D glasses, movies leap from the screen. Featured films are 15 - 20 minutes in length, show throughout the day and are free with Museum admission. Discovery 3D Theatre is currently showing:
The Majestic Lion
Climb aboard an open-air vehicle for a journey through diverse South African game reserves and come face-to-face with one of the continent's most intriguing creatures, the lion. This ultimate real-life adventure gives viewers a new appreciation for the beauty and grace of these wild animals and the importance of the many conservation efforts being made today to save them. Through November 2013.
The Little Prince
Relive the magic of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's endearing story in a fully immersive, spectacular journey as the Little Prince leaps from one fanciful universe to another in search of his beloved Rose, accompanied by his hilarious friend the Fox,. Fly alongside these fearless heroes as they scale instruments on the music planet, wake the friendly stone giant and dodge the metal claws of a ferocious dragon! Through June 1, 2013
**Movies in the Discovery 3D Theatre are free with Museum admission.
The Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre - The Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre is the largest screen in the Carolinas, spanning five stories high and 80 feet wide. The unique curvature of the IMAX Dome surrounds movie viewers with 15,000 watts of sound and light, creating the effect of being in the film! Note: There is an additional charge for IMAX films.
NEW! Flight of the Butterflies - January 18-Summer 2013
The amazing journey of the monarch butterfly takes flight on the giant screen this winter in a triumphant journey of perseverance based on a true story. The breathtaking new adventure tracks the voyage of hundreds of millions of butterflies between Canada and Mexico in a transfixing tale of scientific breakthrough, discovery, and one of the most incredible migrations on Earth. After debuting in New York and Los Angeles, Charlotte's Discovery Place will be one of only 50 exclusive institutions nationwide to show the film in 2013.
To The Arctic - Through April 18, 2013
An extraordinary journey to the top of the world, the documentary adventure To The Arctic tells the ultimate tale of survival. Narrated by Oscar® winner Meryl Streep, the film takes audiences on a never-before-experienced journey into the lives of a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home.
Science After Dark: Improv, We'll Make it Up As We Go Along - January 12; 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Two premier Charlotte improv groups, the Chuckleheads and Synergismo, will present a night of laughter, creativity, and fun. In addition to a live performance, participants will have the opportunity to take part in improv exercises and games led by Chuckleheads, Synergismo, and Discovery Place performers.
The Chuckleheads perform classic improvisational theatre activities/games made famous on the television game show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and/or the national and international improvisational theatre troupes, "Second City," "The Groundlings," and "Upright Citizen's Brigade."
Sinergismo is a performing arts ensemble formed in 2003 at Winthrop University and is comprised of dancers, artists, poets, and musicians using collaboration as a means to produce performance. Sinergismo has performed at venues throughout the southeast including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Sumter Museum of Art, Southern Holiday, NC Dance Festival Saturday Series, Winthrop University, Gettys Art Center, the Democratic National Convention, Twenty-Two Art Gallery and the Charlotte Dance Festival.
Reservations are encouraged. Admission is $5 per person in advance. For more information or to make a reservation call 704.372-6261 x300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 3:49 PM
Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.
The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices. In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012.
Read or download the full report:http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/12/27/e-book-reading-jumps-print-book-reading-declines/
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 3:44 PM
"While many may be focused on talk of the fiscal cliff and next tax season, it's important for taxpayers to know there are still tried-and-true tax strategies they can use in the final weeks of 2012 to reduce their tax bill," said Laura Johns, CPA at H&R Block.
As taxpayers watch to see if any eleventh hour changes to the tax code are made, they can make the following money-saving moves.
• 1. Take care of health needs to meet lower deduction threshold
Starting in 2013, in order for taxpayers under 65 to be able to claim medical expenses, they must exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income, an increase from 2012. Some impacted taxpayers may want to consider purchasing high-dollar items like eyeglasses and contact lenses so these eligible costs can be paid in 2012 to take advantage of the current 7.5-percent threshold.
• 2. Give to others to get a tax deduction
Taxpayers claimed nearly $180 billion in charitable donations (cash and non-cash) in 2010, and this time of year charitable functions and gift-giving take center stage.
It's important for taxpayers to remember for charitable donations to be tax-deductible, they must be made to qualified, tax-exempt organizations (IRS-approved nonprofit religious, educational or charitable groups), and claimed as itemized deductions on tax returns. Use the Salvation Army donation guide to estimate the value of used clothing and household items, and be sure to keep receipts and pictures as needed to substantiate donations.
• 3. Pay some 2013 bills early
Taxpayers may want to consider pre-paying expenses to ensure they take full advantage of some tax breaks, especially if they might expire this year.
Those who haven't met the $2,500 maximum of the American Opportunity Credit, which is set to expire Dec. 31, should consider paying spring college tuition now to get the maximum credit.
Also, taxpayers could pre-pay their mortgage payment due in early January or make an additional student loan payment to claim the highest possible interest deduction (up to $2,500) on their 2012 tax return.
• 4. Offset capital gains with capital losses
Those with a large net capital gain in 2012 could reduce their tax liability by selling stock before Dec. 31 if it would generate a loss. Also, capital losses don't just offset capital gains; if capital losses exceed capital gains, up to $3,000 of capital losses can be used to offset wages.
• 5. Maximize retirement plan contributions
Taxpayers who have not contributed the maximum to their 401(k) may consider increasing contributions for the remainder of the year; contributions are made pre-tax, which reduces taxable income and potentially the overall tax bill.
Also, taxpayers eligible to deduct IRA contributions can make traditional IRA contributions to decrease 2012 income until April 15, 2013, and thus reduce tax liability on 2012 tax returns.
"With so much uncertainty about what taxes will look like next year, taxpayers need to focus on what they can do right now to claim as many tax breaks to which they are entitled before they go away," Johns said.
For more information about last-minute ways to improve tax outlook, contact a local H&R Block tax professional. To find the nearest H&R Block office, visit www.hrblock.com or call 800-HRBLOCK.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 3:39 PM
Friday, December 7, 2012
The sculpture, which is titled "Time Line," was created by Asheville artist Robert Winkler and sits on the island at the intersection of Romany and Dilworth Roads between Latta Parks. The piece recognizes the founding of the neighborhood's first electric streetcar line in 1891 by Edward Dilworth Latta.
"We are happy to partner with the Dilworth community to support the arts and help bring this project to fruition," said Trent Haston, chief executive officer of Andrew Roby. "This is a great way to commemorate the founding of Charlotte's first streetcar suburb."
Preserving an important part of Dilworth history, the project used the original train tracks from the neighborhood's old streetcar line, which were discovered along East Boulevard during a road improvement project in 2009.
When the tracks were found under East Blvd., the Dilworth Community Development Association (DCDA) organized an effort to preserve the abandoned tracks by creating the neighborhood's first public work of art. The sculpture was installed Nov. 30. To prepare the site, Andrew Roby dug the footings and poured the concrete foundation after coordinating with community leaders.
Andrew Roby, the premier custom residential contractor in the Carolinas, specializes in remodeling, kitchen and bath renovations, new homes and handyman services. The company was founded more than 60 years ago as a one-man remodeling firm and has grown into the largest in the Charlotte metro area with offices in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Boone and Atlantic Beach, N.C. With fine materials, unsurpassed craftsmanship and commitment to customer service, Andrew Roby produces one-of-a-kind homes that feature style, luxury and comfort. Visit www.andrewroby.com.
In photo: Asheville artist Robert Winkler and Heidi Weilbaecher, Andrew Roby Marketing and Business Development.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:47 PM
The Men's Shelter is dedicated to providing safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man. The organization's vision is to serve as the catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness in our community.
Mattress Firm embraces local community efforts and needs. Giving back is engrained in the company culture and takes place on a local and national level. "We are committed to making our communities better and allowing others to sleep happy through volunteer efforts and in-kind donations," said Steven Hoppensteadt, district manager for Mattress Firm in Charlotte. "The Men's Shelter of Charlotte has been helping homeless men for over 30 years. We are honored to support their mission by providing a safe and comfortable place to sleep."
Mattress Firm is very active in communities across the country. Since February, employees have given over 4200 hours of their personal time to organizations in their hometowns. This year, Mattress Firm will donate over $1 million in mattresses. This donation in Charlotte is valued at approximately $7,000.
About Mattress Firm
Houston-based Mattress Firm (NASDAQ: MFRM) is a high growth specialty retailer, recognized as one of the nation's leading specialty bedding companies, offering a broad selection of both traditional and specialty mattresses, bedding accessories and related products from leading manufacturers. With more than 1000 stores across 28 states, Mattress Firm has the largest geographic footprint in the United States among multi-brand mattress specialty retailers. Mattress Firm offers customers comfortable store environments, guarantees on price, comfort and service, and highly-trained sales professionals. More information atwww.mattressfirm.com
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:45 PM
Lennar will introduce one new community - Franklin Meadows in Matthews - and begin building in three existing neighborhoods: Pecan Hills in Mooresville, Waterford Hall in Kannapolis and Walnut Creek in Indian Land, S.C. The news comes on the heels of the builder's September announcement to add more than 700 homes in four other communities, demonstrating Lennar's surging momentum in the Queen City area.
"As the Charlotte housing market continues to show signs of recovery, we're committed to staying ahead of consumer demand by developing communities in the metro area's most desirable locations," said Jon Hardy, Lennar Charlotte division president. "Our strength as a leading national builder, with access to its own capital, means we can ensure consistent inventory levels to meet the needs of more homebuyers, and offer unsurpassed
value and quality."
Franklin Meadows will consist of 86 single-family homes ranging from 2,700 to 3,400 square feet, with prices from the $240s. Located off Weddington Road just minutes from the Providence Road exit off I-485, the community will feature two- and three-story homes with four to six bedrooms, all with easy access to the shopping, entertainment and other conveniences of one of south Charlotte's most popular suburbs.
Lennar will build the remaining 44 home sites at Pecan Hills, a popular neighborhood located off Shinnville Road just east of U.S. Highway 21 in Mooresville. Pre-sales are currently underway for Lennar's 2,200 to 3,200-square-foot single-family homes, which will feature four to five bedrooms and two and a half to three and a half baths. Prices will start in the low $200s, making Pecan Hills perfect for everyone from first-time homebuyers to move-up buyers seeking more room for a growing family.
At Waterford Hall, Lennar will build the final 233 single-family homes in the burgeoning Kannapolis community. Located off Shiloh Church Road along the meandering Rocky River, Waterford Hall features the low taxes and great schools of Cabarrus County, plus planned amenities including a swimming pool and cabana. Homes here will range from 2,700 to 4,200 square feet featuring two or three stories, four to six bedrooms and prices from the $250s.
Walnut Creek is Lennar's fourth community in the booming Indian Land, S.C., area. Plans call for 55 homes in Lennar's section of the multi-builder, master-planned neighborhood off Jim Wilson Road just on the South Carolina side of the border. The emphasis here is on affordability, with low South Carolina taxes and prices from the $170s for single-family homes with three to four bedrooms and ranging from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet. Planned amenities include more than 300 acres of green space and trails, plus a clubhouse, swimming pool, playground and a 60-acre county park boasting picnic areas, ballfields, and tennis and basketball courts.
All of these new Lennar homes are ENERGY STAR® 3.0 certified and feature Lennar's signature Everything's Included® program, which gives homeowners luxury features such as GE® stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and maple cabinetry as standard features in the home's base price, with no surprises or hidden costs. With other builders such features are typically offered as upgrades, often adding thousands of dollars to the cost of the home.
For more information on these or any other Lennar communities in metropolitan Charlotte, visit www.LennarCharlotte.com.
Lennar Corp., founded in 1954 and headquartered in Miami, is one of the nation's leading builders of quality homes for all generations. Building homes in 18 states, Lennar offers affordable, move-up and retirement homes in communities that cater to a variety of lifestyles. For more information, visit www.Lennar.com.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:41 PM
To participate in the contest, students had to create educational and Belk-bowl themed designs on school rocks or bulletin boards. The contest ran from October to December.
An additional 20 schools which participated in the contest will receive a $1,000 technology grant.
The schools will use the $25,000 technology grant in various ways. Hopewell will purchase supplies for its digital art and fine arts classes. Reedy Creek will buy LCD projectors and iPads. Quail Hollow has not finalized its plans for the grant.
The winning schools also will also receive tickets to the 2012 Belk Bowl which will be held on Dec. 27. Their work will be featured on the Belk Bowl FanZone page, Belk's Facebook page, The View Belk's internal publication and during the Belk Bowl FanFest and game.
· Hopewell students with check
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:35 PM
ACP will be given a new Toyota Sienna to help deliver donated supplies and essentials to children of homeless families and to transport them to much-needed afterschool activities. Blessed Assurance will receive a new Toyota Sienna Mobility Rampvan to help take senior and disabled adults to community events and specialized programs as well as supplement their existing transportation.
The dealership, located at 13000 East Independence Boulevard in Charlotte, N.C. will host the presentation of keys, which is open to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
"We are incredibly grateful to Toyota and all the supporters who voted for us on Facebook," said Annabelle Suddreth, ACP executive director. "It is still hard for us to believe that we won a Sienna minivan. Ninety percent of our homeless families are without a car, and this new minivan will enable us to provide them with transportation to buy clothing, school supplies and get to their healthcare appointments. The really cool part is that we'll also be able to take the children on fun and educational field trips. We simply can't thank Toyota enough."
In June 2012, Charlotte-Mecklenburg reported 4,922 homeless students enrolled in the county's public schools. Homelessness for children isn't just about where they lay their heads at night but where their heads are during the day while trying to focus on their studies. Founded in 1989, ACP works to eliminate the impact of homelessness on children and their education, reaching 2,228 students during the 2011/2012 school year. The nonprofit helps these underprivileged children have as normal a school experience as possible when life outside the classroom is strained, effecting attendance and progress.
"It is nearly impossible to imagine something more heartbreaking than a homeless child," said Chris Cady, general manager of Scott Clark Toyota. "The work A Child's Place accomplishes provides support and services that meet a critical need in this area. It is our sincere wish that the new Toyota Sienna helps the nonprofit in an immeasurable way."
Blessed Assurance was established through a compelling desire to provide its community's mentally and physically challenged adults with an alternative to long-term institutionalization. Directed by founders Nate and Vivian Huggins, Blessed Assurance provides participants structured faith-based and educational programs and services designed to promote their personal independence, social awareness and well-being. Reaching four counties, the nonprofit empowers caregivers to retain or pursue employment, provides a safe haven to special needs adults and comprehensively addresses hunger and healthcare needs within the population it serves.
"Thanks to God and the many people who voted for us who know the challenges we experience trying to provide transportation to our disabled veterans, seniors and special needs adults," Huggins said. "This minivan will have a direct and positive impact on our participants, their families and our community in many ways. We are very grateful to Toyota for being there when we needed them most. Our new Sienna is the vessel by which we can address the problems our senior and disabled adults face daily."
"Nate Huggins and his extraordinary team are doing remarkable work to improve and enrich the lives of local seniors and handicapped individuals," Cady said. "We trust the special purpose mobility van will make it easier to deliver the vital care and attention that the Blessed Assurance recipients need."
Scott Clark Toyota has been an active member of the community since 1972. The dealership has partnerships with charitable organizations including the Siskey Family YMCA, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Zenith Gymnastics Booster Club and other neighborhood athletic programs.
"At Toyota, we appreciate what a significant impact a new car can have for nonprofits in their work," said Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "All 100 of the winners of the 100 Cars for Good program are providing extraordinary and much-needed services, and we thank Scott Clark Toyota for its role in delivering both organizations' vehicles to help them with their important work."
The selection process began May 14, 2012 by profiling five finalists at www.100carsforgood.com. Individual members of the public were able to vote for the nonprofit they believe can do the most good with a new vehicle. The charity with the most votes at the end of each day became the winner of one of six Toyota models. Additionally, each runner-up will receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.
A six-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty will also be provided for each vehicle, compliments of Toyota Financial Services. To learn more about the100 Cars for Good program, please visit www.100carsforgood.com.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:33 PM
"We count it a blessing to be able to provide much-needed assistance to individuals and families right now," said Rev. Tony Marciano, Executive Director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. "The generosity of our community has meant that we have the resources to offer practical help and real hope during the holidays, a time of year that can be very difficult for people on any lower rung of the poverty ladder."
The survey, conducted among approximately 19,000 people served at Charlotte Rescue Mission and more than 100 other organizations, provides a clear picture of who is seeking assistance from rescue missions. One statistic that frames the situation is that nationally, 83 percent of the participants reported being homeless, as opposed to having accommodations elsewhere but seeking food, clothing, or other aid. Locally, 100 percent of men and 81 percent of women surveyed defined themselves as homeless.
Among those who were homeless, 26 percent across North America had experienced homelessness once previously, 17 percent had been without a home twice in the past, and 22 percent reported being homeless three or more times before arriving at a mission. Of the people Charlotte Rescue Mission surveyed, 41 percent of men and 19 percent of women told the staff they had not been homeless in the past, 22 percent of men and 31 percent of women said they had been in their situation once previously, 2 percent of men and 19 percent of women had experienced homelessness twice before, and 34 percent of men and 31 percent of women had gone three or more times without a place to call home.
For many people in the midst of homelessness, it is a long-term problem. Of those across North America who reported they were homeless, 27 percent (17 percent of men and 46 percent of women locally) had been in their situation for more than a year. Fewer (20 percent) had been in need of a home for six months to a year (12 percent of men and 0 percent of women locally); 24 percent (39 percent of men and 54 percent of women locally) have been homeless for three to six months. About a third (30 percent) - and 31 percent of men and 0 percent of women at Charlotte Rescue Mission - said they had been homeless fewer than three months.
The study shows that the most prevalent homeless population is single individuals (81 percent of the total surveyed, and 33 percent of men and 25 percent of women surveyed at Charlotte Rescue Mission). The North American statistics also show that women with children are the most common family unit to visit missions for help, representing 51 percent of total families.
The Snapshot Survey also revealed that one in four people (50 percent of men and 100 percent of women at Charlotte Rescue Mission) who seek aid at rescue missions have experienced physical violence within the past year. This appears to be the beginning of a trend that AGRM has been following in recent years - one that is very troubling. Again, it could reflect people's ability to cope with their economic situations.
Charlotte Rescue Mission sees those who are 36-46 years old most often. At rescue missions across North America, most people served (81 percent and 100 percent locally) say they prefer a mission with a spiritual emphasis.
About Charlotte Rescue Mission
The Charlotte Rescue mission provides a free 90-day Christian residential program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and are predominantly homeless. For more information, visit www.charlotterescuemission.org or call 704-333-HOPE.
About Association for Gospel Rescue Missions
Founded in 1913, the Colorado Springs-based AGRM is North America's oldest and largest network of independent crisis shelters and rehabilitation centers, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus. With approximately 275 member missions, AGRM exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused and addicted, and to accelerate quality and effectiveness in member missions. For more information, visit www.agrm.org or call (800) 4RESCUE.
Posted by Buck Lawrimore at 5:31 PM