Friday, February 22, 2013

Discovery Place KIDS - Rockingham Opens February 23

The final countdown is on to the blast off of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, the new children's museum that will offer a whole new world of creative play and educational opportunities. The Museum officially opens to the public Saturday, February 23, at 9:00 a.m.
Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham grand opening ceremonies will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and the Museum will remain open until 5:00 p.m. Operating hours on Sunday, February 24 will be noon - 5:00 p.m. To celebrate, admission on both days will be half price; $4 for adults and children age one and older (younger than age one are free). Admission proceeds from the weekend will be designated to a fund that will provide future access to the Museum to those without the financial means to support a visit. The fund is not available for use during opening weekend.

"Discovery Place KIDS' home in this community would not have been possible without the generosity, hospitality and diligence of the people that live and work here," said John Mackay, president and CEO, Discovery Place, Inc. "But the most important part of this story—the young visitors who will soon walk through our doors—fed our inspiration for the project and are the pioneers who get to discover, create and learn. We can't wait to welcome them."

Exploring the theme of I CAN, Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham offers developmentally-appropriate activities for children ages birth -10 with activities intended to develop cognitive, motor, language, social and critical thinking skills. As a community-based organization, the Museum features connections to the culture and heritage of the Sandhills including an emphasis on farming and agriculture. Exhibits encourage experimentation, role-playing, innovation and physical activity, and live programming includes story time, puppet shows and lab experiments. Educational classes, summer camps and birthday parties are also available.

"Play is a way for children to discover more about themselves like how to cooperate, solve problems and make their own decisions," said Katie Rohleder, director, Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham. "Play is extremely important work and it helps enable our little ones to develop skills to be successful later in life."

Discovery Place KIDS explores the concept of I CAN, encouraging children to gain confidence, build muscles, expand their worldview and begin lifelong learning. The Museum has five theme areas which include:

I CAN Grow: Specially-designed for the Museum's youngest visitors; children from birth through 36 months can toddle, touch, take risks and explore a sensory world

I CAN Be Anything: Role play in careers that children see daily such as firefighter, veterinarian, cook, actor, mechanic or farmer.

I CAN Wonder Why: Explore, experiment, discover and uncover while building an understanding of the relevance of science to everyday life.

I CAN Imagine: Using water, air, blocks and "garbage," young minds are stretched to innovate, communicate, generate and celebrate.

I CAN Be Healthy: Celebrate a healthy, active lifestyle and get moving in an unstructured play environment that showcases the outdoors.

The Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham project was launched by a leadership gift of $6.6 million from the Cole Foundation and the Richmond Community Foundation, a visionary contribution that was facilitated by Foundation For The Carolinas. Their funds are intended for the long-term sustainability of the Museum. The City of Rockingham is the facility partner, purchasing the former McKenzie Furniture building in downtown Rockingham to be renovated as the permanent home of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham. As the Museum partner, Discovery Place, Inc. developed the exhibitions and educational components and will manage day-to-day operations. A campaign cabinet led by honorary chairmen Russell Bennett and Neal Cadieu guided the community funding effort on behalf of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, raising awareness of the project and garnering widespread support from corporations, foundations, professionals and individuals throughout the Sandhills. Discovery Place also received a $2 million challenge grant in early 2012 from The Leon Levine Foundation.

"We are very excited that our community was such a great fit for Discovery Place, Inc.'s expansion outside the Charlotte market," said Steve Morris, mayor of Rockingham. "We know this new museum will change the face of Rockingham with a reach far beyond the Sandhills region and we anticipate a long, successful partnership."

"Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham has been a community project and would not have been possible without extraordinary widespread support from foundations, organizations, individuals and corporations in Rockingham, Richmond County and the entire Sandhills region," said Gene McLaurin, N.C. senator and former mayor of Rockingham. "Discovery Place, Inc. has more than 60 years' experience developing and operating museums large and small, and their expansion into this region provides a new learning adventure for our young people."

Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham's regular operating hours will be Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sunday noon - 5:00 p.m., Monday closed. Admission to Discovery Place KIDS is $8, younger than age one are free. All children must be accompanied by an adult throughout their visit. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. For more information about the Museum please call 910.997.5266 x300, visit or email

About Discovery Place KIDS
Discovery Place KIDS is an innovative model in regional children's museums developed by Discovery Place, Inc., the parent company of Discovery Place and Charlotte Nature Museum. Discovery Place KIDS is built on the theme of "I CAN" and offers unique opportunities for learning through play for children and their parents or caregivers. For more information about Discovery Place KIDS, call 704.372.6261 or visit

About Discovery Place
One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage the public in the active exploration of science and nature. More than a half-million people from all over the United States visit Discovery Place, its IMAX® Dome Theatre and Charlotte Nature Museum each year. In June 2010, the Museum completed an 18-month, $31.6 million renovation, resulting in a completely transformed and re-imagined Museum with all-new interactive exhibits. Discovery Place is supported, in part, with operating support from the Arts & Science Council. Connect with Discovery Place on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube. For more information about Discovery Place, call 704.372.6261 or visit

Friday, February 8, 2013

Charlotte City Council Moves Forward with Carolina Panthers Negotiations

Charlotte City Council during the 2013 Mayor & Council Retreat Friday endorsed business terms as outlined in a City/Carolina Panthers/State of North Carolina partnership proposal for Bank of America Stadium and ancillary facilities. The proposal ensures that the Carolina Panthers remain in Charlotte and continue to generate an estimated $636 million in economic impact and nearly 5,000 jobs to the region annually. The proposal offered is one of the least costly set of public/private NFL major stadium improvements overall, and one of the least costly amounts of public participation in the last 20 years in the NFL.

Now that the basis of an agreement has been endorsed by the City Council, it is the City's desire to clarify all the considerations that have gone into keeping the team in Charlotte and making valuable fan friendly improvements to Bank of America Stadium.

The facts and the business case of the proposal terms upon which the City Council based its decision are outlined in the attached document (four pages). Highlights include:

• Total City investment is $143.75 million over 15 years
• Carolina Panthers contribution will be $96.25 million over 15 years
• The City and the Carolina Panthers have requested $62.5 million from the State of North Carolina
• The City's contribution is intended to be covered by the proceeds of a proposed 1% addition to the prepared food and beverage tax in Charlotte
• In consideration of this partnership, the Carolina Panthers will be tethered to Charlotte for 15 years

The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the agreement before City Council takes final action later this Spring.

Home Sales up 40 percent across the Charlotte region

Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association reports that sales in January soared, with closings up 40.4 percent compared to January 2012. In January 2013 there were 2,163 closings compared to 1,541 last January.

With a year of gains in 2012, both the median and average sales prices continued to post increases in the first month of 2013. The average sales price in January 2013 ($189,007) was up 0.6 percent compared to January 2012 ($187,803), and the median price ($150,000) was up 2.6 percent over January 2012 ($146,200).

The average list price in January 2012 ($252,586) increased 2.6 percent over January 2012 ($246,197), bringing the percent of original list price received measure to 92.6 percent compared to 90.2 percent last January. Demand across the region was quite strong in January 2013; pending sales totaled 2,925, an increase of 62.3 percent over the previous period when contracts totaled 1,802.

New residential listings are nearly unchanged from last year at 3,838, a decrease of 1.3 percent over January 2012. Inventory continued to fall, decreasing 29.4 percent compared to January 2012, leaving the CarolinaMLS region with a 5-months' supply of homes for sale.

2013 Association/CarolinaMLS President Eric Locher said, "With inventory decreasing and new listings down, we are seeing continued upward pressure on prices. We are a couple of months ahead of the selling season and it's a good time for sellers to prep homes for listing, keeping in mind that the property still needs to be realistically priced for what the market will bear."

The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 155 days, which is a decrease of 10 days compared to January 2012. Days on Market (DOM), the metric that accrues for "Active" and "Under Contract-Show" statuses only, totaled 108 days compared to 122 days for the same period last year.

Foreclosures and short sales within CarolinaMLS continued to fall. Distressed properties accounted for only 11.1 percent of new listings compared with 14.4 percent in January 2012. 18.1 percent of all closed sales in January 2013 were distressed, which is down from 21 percent in January 2012.

For more residential-housing market statistics, visit and click on "Market Data." For an interview with 2013 Association/CarolinaMLS President Eric Locher, please contact Kim Walker.

The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association is a trade association that leads, educates and equips members to be productive. It provides more than 6,300 Realtor® members with the resources and services needed to conduct ethical, professional, successful and profitable businesses. The association is dedicated to being the region's primary resource for residential real estate information. The association operates the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CarolinaMLS), which has approximately 7,100 Subscribers and is the private cooperative Realtors® use for access to tens of thousands of residential listings in North and South Carolina, including the Charlotte area.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Biographer Will Deliver Davidson Lecture Feb. 26

Davidson College invites the public to a talk on Tuesday evening, February 26, by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert A. Caro. Caro has won virtually every major literary honor in American letters for his five major works.

The first Pulitzer honored The Power Broker, Caro's 1975 study of New York politician Robert Moses. His second Pulitzer came in 2003 and honored Master of the Senate, the third volume of Caro's four-volume examination of former United States President Lyndon B. Johnson. The other volumes of Caro's books on President Johnson are titled The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, and The Passage of Power.

The lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall, and will be followed by a reception and book signing. Admission is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Free tickets are available for pickup in person at the box office in the Alvarez College Union from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. They will also be free and available at the door if any remain at the time of the lecture. Reserved tickets are also available for a $3 handling fee online at<> or by telephone at 704-894-2135.

Caro's honors include two National Book Critics Circle Awards for best nonfiction book of the year, the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the National Academy of Arts, and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians for the book that "best exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist." He also received the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama.

The Power Broker was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century, and by Time magazine as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time. The Years of Lyndon Johnson was called by the London Times "the greatest biography of our era."

In writing his first book, The Power Broker, Caro spent seven years tracing and talking with hundreds of men and women who worked with, for, or against Robert Moses, including top aides. He also examined mountains of files never opened to the public. Fellow author David Halberstam it is "surely the greatest book ever written about a city."

To research The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Caro and his wife, Ina, moved to the Texas Hill Country and then to Washington, D.C., to live in the locales in which Johnson grew up and built his political machine. Caro spent years examining documents at the Johnson Library in Austin and interviewing men and women connected with Johnson's life.

Endowed through an anonymous gift, the Conarroe Lectureship seeks to enhance the literary experience of Davidson students by bringing a renowned literary figure to campus each year. It honors Joel Conarroe, a 1956 Davidson graduate and life-long contributor to the literary arts. Conarroe served as chair of the John Simon Gugenheim Memorial Foundation, president of PEN American Center, executive director of the Modern Language Association and as Chair of the English department and Dean of Arts and Sciences at University of Pennsylvania. Past Conarroe Lecturers at Davidson have been Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Cunningham, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Michael Chabon, Russell Banks, Margaret Atwood, W.S. Merwin and Edward Hirsch.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

Watch artist Motoi Yamamoto at work at Mint Museum Uptown

The public is invited to take part in an unprecedented event at Mint Museum Uptown as internationally renowned artist Motoi Yamamoto visits to create a temporary large-scale work out of salt in the building's atrium over two weeks in late February.

Motoi, who calls his native Japan home, will be in the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium creating his saltwork, to be entitled Floating Garden, from February 18 through March 1 and the public is invited to watch him at work during regular museum hours. Atrium access is free, although visitors must pay admission to experience the saltwork from higher vantage points within the five-story space. The museum is normally closed on Mondays but will also grant free public access to the atrium level on February 18 and 25 (no other areas of the museum will be open those days). The museum will also continue to grant free access to all levels each Tuesday from 5-9 p.m., the Mint's normally scheduled free hours. The work will be celebrated at a "First Look Friday" on March 1 at 6:30 p.m., remain on view March 2, and then be dismantled on March 3.

"Japanese installation artist Motoi Yamamoto's residency here in Charlotte is another opportunity for the Mint to present to our community innovative works by an international roster of artists," said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint.

"In Japan, salt is a symbol of purification and is also used in funeral ceremonies. Motoi's remarkable body of work was born out his grief following the death of his young sister in 1994 from brain cancer. It was at that point Motoi adopted salt as his primary medium and for almost twenty years, he has developed a unique artistic expression that celebrates both life and remembrance," said Brad Thomas, the Mint's curator of modern & contemporary art. "It is not until you experience Motoi and his work in person that the true impact of his singular, yet universal, journey is felt."

The "First Look Friday" from 6:30-11 p.m. on March 1 is free to Mint members and tickets are available to non-members for $15 per person. The night will also celebrate the openings of two other special exhibitions at Mint Museum Uptown, F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) and Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today, as well as including a multicultural "Mint to Move" dance party (more details on all exhibitions and events available at

The community is also invited to help dismantle the saltwork at a special ceremony on March 3 at 1:30 p.m. Visitors may collect salt in specially designed containers to be released back into a body of water so that it may re-enter the natural cycle. Participants are encouraged to document their own personal ceremonies and upload images to Motoi's website at, and the Mint's Facebook page,

Motoi Yamamoto was born in Onomichi, Hiroshima in 1966 and received his B.A. from Kanazawa College of Art in 1995. He has exhibited his award-winning creations in such cities as Athens, Cologne, Jerusalem, Mexico City, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toulouse. He was awarded the Philip Morris Art Award in 2002 as well as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2003.

The saltwork's creation leads up to the opening of the exhibition Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto, which will be on view in the Modern & Contemporary galleries of Mint Museum Uptown from March 2 through May 26. The exhibition features a smaller saltwork along with a series of recent works on paper, mixed media works, a video about the artist, and a 170-page color catalogue documenting twelve years of the artist's saltworks around the world. The catalogue includes essays by Mark Sloan, director and senior curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at College of Charleston School of the Arts, and Mark Kurlansky, author of the New York Times best seller Salt: A World History. 

Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto is presented to the community with generous support from Sapporo USA Inc. and Tryon Distributing. Organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston School of the Arts. Learning and engagement programming for the exhibition is generously underwritten by the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

Aquaponic Garden Takes Root at JCSU

Philip Otienoburu, visiting professor of biology at Johnson C. Smith University, joins his students as they introduce tilapia into the university's first aquaponic garden. This sustainable system of farming entails growing crops and cultivating fish in a closed loop environment. The system in place at JCSU will serve as a prototype, whose technology will be transferred to Mahanaim village in Haiti this summer, working in partnership with Joseph's Exchange, a Charlotte-based non profit.

The garden is part of the Duke Endowment's Sustainability Initiative at Johnson C. Smith University and sponsored by sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow's diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 23 fields of study to more than 1,600 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university's excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook (www.facebook/smithites) and Twitter (@JCSUniversity).

M/I Homes To Build New Community in Tega Cay Area

M/I Homes of Charlotte, the top builder in Mecklenburg County last year based on number of building permits issued, is expanding in South Carolina and in southwest Charlotte.

The company will soon begin development of Hawk's Creek at Tega Cay, a community in York County, S.C., located on Highway 160, and has also agreed to purchase 59 home sites under development in Huntington Forest, a community in southwest Charlotte.

Hawk's Creek is expected to feature 159 home sites. Two different home plan collections will be available, including the M/I Homes Traditional Series with 3 to 5 bedrooms, 2 or 2 ½ baths, and 2-car garages. "Homes in this series have been popular with homeowners in Ardrey Woods in Ballantyne," says Tamara Lynch, vice president of marketing.

The company will also introduce a new Cottage Series in Hawk's Creek, with ranch-style homes from 2,000 to 3,200 square feet, featuring 3 to 5 bedrooms, 2 to 4 baths, 2-car garages, and two-story bonus space. The community is expected to include a pool and cabana. It's near Lake Wylie and close to I-77 and I-85. Fort Mill schools serve the area.

At Huntington Forest, located near Highway 49 in southwest Charlotte, home construction is expected to begin by mid-summer. Ranch and two-story homes will run from 2,300 to 4,000 square feet, featuring 3 to 6 bedrooms, 2 or 2 1/2 baths, and 2-car garages, according to Lynch. Outdoor amenities include a pool, community pavilion, playground and walking trails. Huntington Forest is close to Whitehall Business Park, the Town of Ayrsley, and Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with easy access to I-77 and I-485.

Homes in both communities will be 100% Energy Star Certified and will come with a 30-year Transferable Structural Warranty. Register to get more information about the two communities at or by calling 704-286-6498.

M/I Homes, Inc. is one of the nation's leading quality builders, having delivered over 80,000 homes. The Company's innovative, award-winning homes are marketed and sold under the trade names M/I Homes and Showcase Homes. In addition to Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, the Company has homebuilding operations in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio; Northern Kentucky; Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Tampa and Orlando, Florida; San Antonio and Houston, Texas; and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Crime Stoppers Offers New Mobile App

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has partnered with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers program in developing the latest tool in crime prevention. This innovative technology will allow our community the ability to assist the CMPD in reducing crime by using the Crime Stoppers mobile app.

Citizens now have the ability to submit crime tips anonymously through telephone, email, video, or photo. The technology also features some of the CMPD's most wanted and can guide citizens to the nearest law enforcement office, should they need assistance. The smart device application has one touch dialing to call Crime Stoppers or the nearest law enforcement office. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is the first Crime Stoppers organization in the southeast to employ this innovative technology.

Members of the Crime Stoppers board will be available to demonstrate the new app and answer any questions the media may have concerning the technology at 12:30 p.m., on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at CMPD headquarters.

For more information or to become a subscriber, please go to iTunes, Google Play or the Blackberry Platform and download the app for free.

Two Lupus Foundation Chapters in NC Create One Statewide Chapter

The Lupus Foundation of America, Piedmont Chapter and the Lupus Foundation of America, Winston-Triad Chapter today announced that they have joined forces and formed the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter.

The new chapter is headquartered in Charlotte and is led by statewide representation on the board, committees and staff. In addition, all current and existing programs and support groups will remain in existence, and will serve all 100 counties in the state.

"Fulfilling the mission of the Lupus Foundation of America in running the Winston-Triad Chapter for more than thirty years has been very rewarding," said Ruth Banbury, a lupus thriver and board chairman and the founder of the Winston-Triad Chapter. "This organization has been and will continue to be a big part of my life. We look forward to being part of the statewide chapter to ensure that lupus programs and services are available for all North Carolina residents."

The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter rollout plan includes the following immediate services to all state residents: patient navigation through the chapter help line, 13 regional support groups, financial assistance, and opportunities to volunteer and participate in fundraising. An eight-city Town Hall Tour is planned for early 2013 to share in person about the mission and services of the chapter, hear from community members about needs, and discuss how people can be involved. Information on the town hall tour and other future plans for the chapter can be found at

"This amazing consolidation of resources is the realization of a dream we've all longed to see fulfilled. Now the Lupus Foundation of America will proudly speak with one voice within North Carolina ensuring that no resident of our great state is turned away for service and support," said Christine John-Fuller, President & CEO of the North Carolina Chapter, who also headed up Piedmont Chapter for the past five years.

Adds John-Fuller, "We'd also like to commend Ruth Banbury, and her husband Jim, whose passion and dedication for the lupus community for more than thirty years is unwavering and is helping pave the way to increase awareness about and research to treat lupus. Their board will continue to be integral to our efforts in helping solve the cruel mystery behind lupus."

About Lupus:
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, hits out of nowhere, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive, and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to its scope and devastation. An estimated 45,000 North Carolina residents and 1.5 million Americans are estimated to have a form of lupus.

About the Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter
The Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter is part of the national force devoted to solving the cruel mystery of lupus while providing caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. We work with local health professionals and volunteers to provide information and programs to ensure people with lupus and their families get answers and health professionals know about new means to diagnose and manage the disease. The chapter now serves an estimated 45,000 living with lupus in North Carolina. For more information about lupus or the LFANC, visit or call (877) 849-8271. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.