Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sir Walter Wally makes official weather prediction Thursday, Feb. 2

Newly elected Mayor Nancy McFarlane makes her official debut as Groundhog Whisperer

Weather in North Carolina is certainly unpredictable, but Sir Walter Wally is almost always right. Come tothe North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the 15th annual Groundhog Day celebration. The free event is Thursday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the shadow ceremony beginning promptly at noon on Bicentennial plaza in front of the museum. The ceremony will be held in the museum’s auditorium in case of inclement weather. Newly elected Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will join museum educator John Connors—who will be outfitted in top hat and tails—to assist Wally with the forecast.
Each year, crowds wait in anticipation to see if Wally sees his shadow. If he does, we're in for six more weeks of winter. Although not as well-known nationally as Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, Wally has gained nationwide recognition for his amazing accuracy and is regularly featured on The Weather Channel's list of national representatives. Following the ceremony, Wally moves inside to his special station where those with cameras can pose for pictures alongside the famous weather predictor.
Visitors can also take advantage of educational stations on the first floor of the museum. There will be information on animal hibernation, signs of spring, the history of Groundhog Day and more, as well as fun games and activities including the hog toss. For kids 6 and younger, there will be special programs about animals in winter at 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Windows on the World theater on the third floor.
Students and teachers across North Carolina will also be keeping a close eye on Wally’s prediction. Anyone can download a free Groundhog Day Kit from naturalsciences.org, which includes a Weather Watch Activity Guide for grades K-8. For more information about Groundhog Day, contact Miranda Wood at Miranda.Wood@ncdenr.gov or (919) 733-7450, ext. 523.

Parents can help children stand up to bullying

Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina offers bullying prevention tips for parents

All children deserve to grow up in nurturing environments that foster their healthy growth and development. Bullying disrupts those environments and affects everyone involved. Witnessing bullying can be as detrimental to a child as actually being bullied. They may feel afraid and believe if they interfere they will become the bully’s next target. Research shows, however, that when witnesses intervene, the bullying is more likely to stop.
Parents can be a child’s best ally when it comes to helping the child stand up to bullying. One of the best things a parent can do is to take time on a daily basis to talk to their child. Children who know their parents support them are more likely to come to the parent for help in difficult situations. Parents can also support their child by role playing to help them practice what to say in difficult situations and encouraging them to talk to their friends. Studies show that children are more likely to take a stand against bullying when they know their friends also think it is wrong.
Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina believes strong families are the foundation for strong communities. The organization has created an online resource center to help families work together to stand up to bullying. The resource center offers free tools, tips and information for parents, educators, teens and children. To learn more, visit www.preventchildabusenc.org.

Monday, January 30, 2012

US Department of Labor announces supplemental funding to help North Carolina residents looking for work cover health insurance payments

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a $2 million National Emergency Grant supplemental award, in the form of a National Emergency Grant, to provide an estimated 1,175 additional jobless workers in North Carolina with partial premium payments for health insurance coverage. The state qualified for funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
An initial award of $2 million was approved on Aug. 11, 2009, to serve about 1,800 people. A supplemental award of $2.2 million was provided on June 30, 2010, to serve an additional 2,400 individuals. January 2012's $2 million supplement brings the total funds awarded to date to $6.2 million and the number of jobless workers served to 5,375.
“Health insurance is an important benefit for millions of American workers and their families,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These additional funds will ensure that these North Carolinians keep their health insurance while they search for new jobs.”
Awarded to the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment and Training, the funding will be used to make payments for unemployed individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit. The “gap filler” payments enabled by this funding cover up to three months, which is the amount of time it takes to complete Internal Revenue Service enrollment, processing and first payments under the Health Coverage Tax Credit program. Through the credit, eligible individuals can receive 72.5 percent of premium costs for qualified health insurance programs.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG.

‘Solo Takes On 3’ features one-person performances

“Solo Takes On 3: Story, Identity & Desire,” a festival of one-person performances, will be presented Feb. 3 through 14 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The performances in rotating repertory are sponsored by the communication studies department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Single tickets are $5 for students and seniors, $10 for the public. A solo pass, with admission to all performances, is $10 for students and seniors, $20 for the public. To purchase tickets, call (919) 962-1449.
All performances are in Swain Hall, Studio 6, with the exception of “No One Hurts You More than S/Mother,” which is in Hill Hall, Room 107.

Performances include the following:
• “I Was the Voice of Democracy,” by visiting artist and University of New Mexico professor Brian Herrera, is the humorous autobiographical tale of a young, gay New Mexican man facing the consequences of winning the national Voice of Democracy contest. Performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 3, 7 p.m. Feb. 4 and 2 p.m. Feb. 5.
• “Sketches of a Man” is an adaptation by graduate student Kashif Powell of the iconic work “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. Performances are 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9, 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11, 2 p.m. Feb. 12 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13.
• “F to M To Octopus,” by honors undergraduate student Sam Peterson, is an unexpected and surprising look at the process of changing gender. Performances are 9 p.m. Feb. 4, 8 p.m. Feb. 10 and 5 p.m. Feb. 12.
• “No One Hurts You More Than S/Mother,” by graduate student Shannon Wong Lerner, is a one-woman opera about our first love, our mother. Performances are 7 p.m. Feb. 11 and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
• “Stories are Lies (That We Tell to Get Other People to Like Us and Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves)” is a series of adaptations of 60 short stories in 70 minutes, presented by the Performance Collective, a group of local artists and UNC faculty, students and staff. Performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 9. and 10 p.m. Feb. 11.
Additional support for the festival is provided by Teatro Latino/a, the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, the Latina/o Cultures Speakers Series, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, assistant professor of dramatic art Ashley Lucas and the Honors Undergraduate Research Fund.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Transactors Improv holds shows, classes

Transactors Improv has shows for adults and for families as well as classes in improvisation coming up.

Theater performances
Transactors for Families" will run Saturday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Cost for ArtsClub members is $7; general admission is $8 in advance or $10 day-of. Student or senior tickets cost $5 in advance and $8 day-of. For more information, call (919) 929-2787 or visit http://artscenterlive.org/.

The Love Show" will run Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Cost for ArtsClub members is $12; general admission is $14 in advance or $16 day-of. Student or senior tickets cost $7 in advance and $9 day-of. For more information, call (919) 929-2787 or visit http://artscenterlive.org/.

The Professor: Episode 4" will run Friday, March 2, at 8 p.m. at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. General admission is $14. Student or senior tickets are $10. For more information, call (919) 698-3870 or visit http://cgtheatre.com/.

Taffy: Transactors for Families" will run Saturday, March 10, at 11 a.m. at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. Cost for adults is $7. Student or senior tickets are $5. Children younger than 2 are free. For more information, call (919) 698-3870 or visit http://cgtheatre.com/.

Spring Fling" will run Friday, March 23, at 8 p.m. at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Cost for ArtsClub members is $12; general admission is $14 in advance or $16 day-of. Student or senior tickets cost $7 in advance and $9 day-of. For more information, call (919) 929-2787 or visit http://artscenterlive.org/.

The Professor: Episode 5" will run Friday, April 13, at 8 p.m. at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. General admission is $14. Student or senior tickets are $10. For more information, call (919) 698-3870 or visit http://cgtheatre.com/.

Taffy: Transactors for Families" will run Saturday, May 12, at 11 a.m. at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. Cost for adults is $7. Student or senior tickets are $5. Children younger than 2 are free. For more information, call (919) 698-3870 or visit http://cgtheatre.com/.

Acting classes
Intermediate improv course taught by Transactors Improv’s Anoo Brod will run Mondays, March 5, 12, 19 and 26 and April 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Cost is $101 or $91. For more information call (919) 929-2787 or visit http://artscenterlive.org/event/education/902.

Advanced improv and performance course taught by Transactors Improv’s Anoo Brod will run Mondays, April 16, 23 and 30 and May 7 and 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Cost is $101 or $91. For more information, call (919) 929-2787 or visit http://artscenterlive.org/event/education/903.

Environmental assessment approved for I-95 improvement

The N.C. Department of Transportation has received final approval of the Environmental Assessment for improvements along Interstate 95 in North Carolina. The EA is part of the I-95 Corridor Planning and Finance Study, which began in 2009 and focuses on improving the safety, connectivity and efficiency of all 182 miles of I-95 through North Carolina.
The following recommendations have been made in the EA:
• Widen I-95 to eight lanes (four lanes in each direction) from exit 31 to exit 81;
• Widen the remaining sections of I-95 to six lanes (three lanes in each direction);
• Make necessary repairs to pavement;
• Raise and rebuild bridges;
• Improve interchanges; and
• Bring I-95 up to current safety standards for interstates.
The total cost for making these improvements is $4.4 billion. Current funding only covers about 10 percent of the costs of these improvements. In order to cover the cost of the improvements, the EA recommends tolling the interstate.
Should the department be granted permission from the Federal Highway Administration to toll the road, NCDOT is preparing a phasing plan for improvements. Phase 1, which includes widening I-95 between exit 31 and exit 81, would begin in 2016. Construction on the remainder of the corridor is proposed to begin in 2019.
The completed EA, including all of the department’s study information to date, is available for viewing online and at various locations along the I-95 corridor. To view the study or find a location, visit www.driving95.com.
Several public hearings will take place regarding the project beginning Feb. 7 and ending Feb. 27. Project data will be presented, and NCDOT staff will be on hand to answer any questions. For information on meetings near you, visit www.driving95.com.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four-way stop being installed at U.S. 70 Business and Lawrence Road in Hillsborough

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the N.C. Department of Transportation will modify the intersection of U.S. 70 Business at Lawrence Road in Hillsborough to install a four-way stop.
The work will be done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Different lanes will be closed as the work progresses.
Stops signs now halt traffic on Lawrence Road. This work will involve adding stop signs on U.S. 70 business as well as pavement markings on both roads.
This intersection is being converted to a four-way stop following an NCDOT investigation that found traffic volumes, crashes and other factors warranted installing the additional stop signs.
If inclement weather affects the area, NCDOT will postpone making the changes until the weather permits.
As drivers approach the intersection, they are advised to follow these right-of-way rules:
• The first vehicle to the intersection has the right of way ahead of any vehicle that has not yet arrived;
• When two or more vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way;
• The vehicle with the right of way may move straight ahead or, if legal and after signaling, turn left or right;
• When two facing vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, both drivers can move straight ahead or turn right. If one driver is going straight while the other wants to turn left, the driver who wants to turn left must wait. The driver who is traveling straight ahead has the right of way; and
• Even with the right of way, remember to use the appropriate turn signals and be careful to avoid hitting other vehicles and pedestrians.
For information on navigating four-way intersections, consult the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook. To get a copy, call 1-877-DOT-4-YOU or visit the website.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit online or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.

N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher February events

For more information or to register for a program, call (910) 458-7468 or visit ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher. For all programs, children ages 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult, except for camps. All programs require pre-registration and fees.

Behind the scenes
Aquarist apprentice runs Saturday, Feb. 11 and 25, at 2 p.m. Check out a dirty job you’re sure to love. Join staff on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about aquarium animals, what they eat, how they live and how to care for them. Then, assist aquarists with food preparation and help feed the animals. Participants also observe aquarists during daily care and maintenance tasks. This limited opportunity is only open to 10 participants.
Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to smell fishy. For ages 10 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee is $25 for ages 13 and older and $23 for ages 10 to 12. Aquarium admission is included. Pre-registration is required.

Behind-the-scenes tour runs Thursday, Feb. 9 and 23, at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday, Feb.12 and 26, at 1 p.m. Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an aquarium? Space for animal holding, husbandry, life support systems and access to exhibits is hidden behind the aquarium walls. If you have ever cared for a home aquarium, you may have some idea of what it takes to operate a collection of salt and freshwater exhibits with hundreds of animals. Accompany aquarium staff on a guided tour of animal quarantine, life support, food preparation and access areas. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Children younger than 8 are not permitted. Children ages 8 to 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Fee is $15 for ages 13 and older and $13 for ages 8 to 12. Aquarium admission is included. Pre-registration is required.

Extended behind-the-scenes tours will run Friday, Feb. 10 and 24, at 2:00 p.m. It’s feeding time, and you’re invited to watch. Visit the top of our largest exhibit, the Cape Fear Shoals, during an expanded tour behind the scenes. Get a birds-eye view of this 235,000 gallon tank as sharks, stingrays, moray eels and other fish swim below. Aquarists feed the animals during the tour, offering a unique opportunity for close-up viewing. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Children under 8 are not permitted. Children ages 8 to 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Fee is $20 for ages 13 and older and $18 for ages 8 to 12. Aquarium admission is included. Pre-registration is required.

For children and parents
Children's discovery time will be held
• Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. featuring spiny-skinned animals
• Thursday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. featuring crabs
• Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. featuring reptiles
Creatures come alive in this story-telling and critter-creating program for ages 3 to 5. Fee is $11 per child. Aquarium admission is included. Parents pay admission only. Pre-registration is required.

Daddy and me will run Saturday, Feb. 11, at 9 a.m. Dads and their children interact and learn together about aquarium animals. Afterwards, you can enjoy free playtime in our Freshwater Wonders Room, which will be reserved just for program participants. The program is for adults and kids ages 1-2. Fee is $13 for one adult and one child ($1 for each additional child) Admission to the aquarium is included. Pre-registration is required.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located just south of Kure Beach, a short drive from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 for ages 13-61; $7 for seniors; $6 for ages 3-12. Free admission for children 2 and younger, registered groups of N.C. school children and N.C. Aquarium Society members. General information can be found online.

February programs at the N.C. Museum of History

February is Black History Month, and several programs at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh will highlight the experiences of African Americans in North Carolina and beyond. From a children’s program about educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown to a lively performance by blues musician Boo Hanks, there is something for all ages.
During another February program, watch out when the notorious pirate Blackbeard and his crew take the stage. Don’t miss the wild pirate dance, sea chanteys and more in the participatory play A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard, Pirate of the Carolina Coast.
Admission is free unless otherwise noted. Parking is free on weekends. Take advantage of February programs at the Museum of History.

History Corner: The Correct Thing
When: Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 10 to 11 a.m.
Ages: 6 to 9 with an adult
Cost: $1 per person
To register, call 919-807-7992.
Educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown taught not only the basics—reading, writing and arithmetic—but also polite behavior. Learn how knowing the proper etiquette benefited her students. The program is presented with Cameron Village Regional Library.

History Hunters: The Whirligig Man
When: Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 10 to 11 a.m.
Ages: 10-13
Cost: $1 per person
To register, call 919-807-7992.
Learn about Wilson County craftsman Vollis Simpson and the park that is being created to show off his giant whirligigs. Make a small whirligig of your own.

African American History Tour
When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Explore the lives and accomplishments of African American North Carolinians from the antebellum period to the Civil Rights era. For example, in the exhibit Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker. Learn about this free man of color who owned and operated one of North Carolina’s largest cabinet shops prior to the Civil War. See approximately 70 pieces of furniture crafted by this accomplished artisan and entrepreneur from Milton, Caswell County.

A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard, Pirate of the Carolina Coast
When: Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 3 p.m.
Presented by Raleigh Little Theatre’s Storytellers to Go!
Join the adventure with Blackbeard and his crew. A wild pirate dance, storytelling, a sea chantey and puppets will draw you into this participatory play that is appropriate for all ages. Help the notorious Blackbeard search for his hidden treasure and the crew of his flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. Along the way, meet interesting people that he knew and learn about North Carolina’s 18th-century coastal history. Judy M. Dove created the play.

Time for Tots: Clay Creations
When: Tuesday, Feb. 7 or Feb. 14, from 10 to 10:45 a.m.
Ages: 3 to 5 with adult
Cost: $1 per person
To register, call 919-807-7992.
People have been making items out of clay for thousands of years. Find out about North Carolina’s pottery traditions and make your own clay creation.

History à la Carte: Operation Dixie
When: Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 12:10 to 1 p.m.
Bring your lunch; beverages provided.
James Wrenn, Phoenix Historical Society
Nearly 10 years before the Montgomery bus boycott, black workers in eastern North Carolina campaigned for civil rights in tobacco warehouses. Discover how thousands organized and secured union contracts in nearly 30 leaf houses.

Music of the Carolinas: Boo Hanks
When: Sunday, Feb. 12, from 3 to 4 p.m.
Drawing from a deep musical well, Hanks showcases his virtuosity in the delicate finger-style guitar of classic Piedmont blues. The performance is presented with PineCone, with support from the N.C. Museum of History Associates, Williams Mullen and WLHC-FM/WLQC-FM.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orange County artists’ salon to be held in February

The next Artists’ Salon—sponsored by the Orange County Arts Commission—will be held Friday, Feb. 3, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the West End Theatre at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Light refreshments will be served. Salons are free for artists of all kinds—performing, visual, literary, whatever. Come to meet, network and build a better arts environment for all area artists.
The topic for February will be “Shoebox Accounting.” Guest presenter will be Alex Lehmann, CPA, tax manager at McMillan, Pate & Company L.L.P. There will be time for lots of questions and answers.
The purpose of the salon is to bring together artists of all disciplines in a casual setting to share ideas, concerns and information. The Orange County Arts Commission works to not only bring the artistic community together but to facilitate closer ties between artists and the general community. One of the goals of the Orange County Arts Commission is to better serve the needs of artists. Artists often work in isolation, and salons can serve as a place to get feedback from peers as well as to share all of the problems and pleasures of being an artist with kindred spirits.
The Orange County Arts Commission thanks The ArtsCenter for allowing it to use the space for this series.
Those planning to attend should RSVP to the Orange County Arts Commission at (919) 968-2011 or email at arts@co.orange.nc.us.
The Orange County Arts Commission is a county agency that strengthens the arts in Orange County, which includes the townships of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough. Created in 1985 by a resolution of the Board of County Commissioners, the Arts Commission’s 15-member citizen advisory board meets the second Monday each month (except for July) from 6 to 7:30 pm. For more information, contact Martha Shannon at (919) 968-2011 or visit www.artsorange.org.

Orange County Animal Services—pet of the week

If you are the type who appreciates a kind, gentle soul, look no further. Jack is a 4-year-old lab mix who is as sweet and gentle as they come. He doesn’t ask for much and is appreciative for any and every thing he gets. Jack would do well in most environments but perhaps would be most fitting in a calm household where he and his owner could lounge on the porch or enjoy long walks and naps together.
Whatever type of home he does end up with, one thing is for certain—Jack will be a loyal and grateful life companion who will never forget to show his appreciation. Visit him today at Orange County Animal Services, 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. You can also see him and other adoptable animals online.

Record-level attendance at North Carolina State Parks continued in 2011

Visitation at North Carolina’s state parks and state recreation areas continued at a record level in 2011 with 14.25 million visits, matching the all-time record set in 2009 and posting a slight increase from 14.19 visits in 2010, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
Among 39 state parks and state recreation areas, 15 reported increases in attendance in 2011. Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Dare County reported the highest attendance at 1.32 million visits, down slightly from 1.47 million last year.
Eno River State Park, including the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area saw a 5 percent increase in attendance between 2010 and 2011 and a 54 percent change in the month of December from 2010 to 2011. Falls Lake State Recreation Area saw an 8 percent change from 2010 to 2011.
“State parks make a strong contribution to North Carolina’s tourism economy as well as to the economies of local communities in which they’re located,” said Lewis Ledford, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. “Their continued record attendance reflects the value that North Carolinians and visitors to this state place on outdoor recreation and our natural resources. In addition, families continue to benefit from the affordable recreation and education opportunities in these special places.”
A 2008 economic study revealed that travelers spend an average of $23.56 a day to enjoy the state parks. The analysis by North Carolina State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management estimated the state parks system’s total annual economic impact at more than $400 million.
During the past 25 years, the state parks system has seen a dramatic 102 percent increase in visitation. In 1986, 7 million people visited state parks and state recreation areas.
Several state parks that reported higher attendance in 2011 were able to offer new amenities to visitors. A new 700-foot swim beach and picnic area at Lake James State Park opened for its first full season, and the park experienced a 70 percent jump in visitation. Improvements at other state parks contributed to increased visitation, including a renovated marina at Carolina Beach State Park, a new equestrian trail network at Medoc Mountain State Park and a number of hiking trail projects, including a volunteer-built summit trail at Elk Knob State Park.
The state parks system manages more than 215,000 acres within state parks, state recreation areas and a system of state natural areas dedicated to conservation of rare resources. Through its New Parks for a New Century initiative, six new state parks have been added to the system since 2003.
For a complete list of 2011 attendance records, see the website.

Former UN ambassador to give Weatherspoon Lecture at Kenan-Flagler Jan. 30

Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will give a free public lecture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday, Jan. 30.
The 5:30 p.m. talk at the Kenan-Flagler Business School's Koury Auditorium is the annual Weatherspoon Lecture and kicks off the spring season of the Dean's Speaker Series. Free parking will be available in the business school parking deck. To RSVP to the lecture or for questions, call (919) 843-7787 or email kfbsrsvp@unc.edu.
Khalilzad served as the 26th U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2007 through 2009. He is the highest-ranking Muslim in federal government in U.S. history.
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, President Bush came to rely on Khalilzad's regional expertise in the early stages of planning to overthrow the Taliban. Khalilzad served as special presidential envoy to Afghanistan until 2003, when he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. He oversaw the drafting of Afghanistan's constitution and was involved with the country's first elections. Later, as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, he was instrumental in getting the Sunni Arabs to participate in the political process and move away from al-Qaida.
The Weatherspoon Lecture was created with a generous gift from longtime UNC-Chapel Hill and Kenan-Flagler supporters Van and Kay Weatherspoon. The series provides lectures by outstanding visiting scholars and world leaders from the fields of politics, education, business and government. The purpose of these lectures is to enrich the professional lives of members of the Kenan-Flagler community and provoke interesting discussion and debate.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway history now online

The history of the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's most-visited national park system site, is now online.
The new collection, "Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina," was created through a collaborative project based at the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Driving Through Time," available online, presents photographs, maps, news articles, oral histories and essays documenting development and construction of the parkway's North Carolina segment.
The site invites users to explore parkway history chronologically, geographically or by dozens of topics from access roads and automobiles to wildlife and workmen. An interactive maps feature layers historical maps atop current road maps and satellite images. The comparisons provide insight into the parkway's development and its impact on pre-parkway towns, farms, roads and topography.
The 469-mile parkway radically altered the landscape of 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties when it was built between 1934 and 1987, and its construction sparked intense controversy, said Anne Mitchell Whisnant, adjunct associate professor of history at UNC and the project's scholarly adviser.
Whisnant, author of the parkway history "Super-Scenic Motorway" (UNC Press, 2006) and the children's book "When the Parkway Came" (Primary Source Publishers, 2010), was often frustrated as she combed archives and historic documents and tried to translate conflicts about routing and land rights into words.
"I found myself thinking, 'If only I could see and show what and where they're talking about, it would be so much easier to explain the arguments,' " she said. "'Driving Through Time' makes the park's history visible and accessible to historians, planners, local communities, landowners and anyone who wants to know more about this American landmark."
At the heart of the project are thousands of items from three institutions that collaborated to create the site: The Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC; the Blue Ridge Parkway headquarters (a division of the National Park Service, located in Asheville); and the North Carolina State Archives.
Materials in the online collection include:
• Historic photographs showing construction of the parkway and images of communities it passed through;
• Maps depicting private land parcels purchased for the parkway, proposed alternate routes, landscape planning and the completed parkway;
• Letters and documents pertaining to the community of Little Switzerland in McDowell and Mitchell counties, which sued the parkway;
• Oral histories from parkway designers and laborers;
• Images by the late N.C. photographer Hugh Morton, depicting the parkway as it passed Grandfather Mountain, which he owned.
Eleven essays share more insight into the building of the parkway and its impact. Whisnant and her students wrote about issues including competition between the tourism and logging industries, the parkway's impact on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and selection of the parkway route.
Also included are K-12 lesson plans that faculty from the School of Education developed to help students use the site's extensive primary source materials and interpretive essays.
"Driving Through Time" was made possible by a $150,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, as administered by the State Library of North Carolina.

North Carolina expects positive effects from U.S. tourism initiatives

The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development applauded the initiatives President Barack Obama announced Thursday, Jan. 19, to boost international tourism.
“We've been actively positioning North Carolina as a preferred international travel destination for nearly 20 years,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. “Attracting international visitors to North Carolina is very important because they tend to stay longer and spend more of their money at North Carolina businesses.”
The president’s initiatives—which include national parks promotion, increased tourist visa processing and adding Charlotte Douglas International Airport and three others to the Global Entry program—are designed to bolster employment, which is at the heart of North Carolina’s tourism marketing activity.
“Today's announcement marks a turning point for our industry and provides us with unparalleled opportunity to work toward a national travel and tourism strategy,” Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding in the N. C. Department of Commerce, said Thursday. “These efforts to make it easier for international visitors to get here will have a positive impact on North Carolina's economy because their spending supports jobs and adds to tax revenues in the state.”
According to the U.S. Travel Association, international tourism represents a significant part of North Carolina’s $17 billion tourism industry:
• International travelers spend $590 million a year in North Carolina.
• That total accounts for 7,500 jobs in the state.
• The spending generates $98 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.
Elements of the new initiative carry special resonance for North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which routes travelers across 250 miles of scenery in the western part of the state, is the most visited section of the U.S. National Park System, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park. Other properties in the National Park System include the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores.
The addition of Charlotte Douglas (CLT) to the Global Entry program—created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection—makes the airport more inviting to international travelers. The airport, which ranks seventh in the world in takeoffs and landings, has nonstop direct service from more than 30 international cities.
Coinciding with the announcement of the new national tourism initiatives, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle was sworn in as one of 32 members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The board advises the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry.

Orange County extends tax listing deadline

The Board of County Commissioners for Orange County voted to extend the property tax listing deadline for 2012. The listing deadline is usually the last day of January. Due to a delay in mailing notifications, the deadline has been extended 30 days.
The deadline for Orange County property owners for listing property for taxation in 2012 has been extended until Feb. 29, 2012.

Orange County commissioners oppose North Carolina Constitutional amendment defining marriage

The Orange County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution on Tuesday, Jan. 24, opposing a North Carolina constitutional amendment to appear on the May 8 ballot.
The ballot will offer voters the option to vote for or against a “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

The full text of the BOCC resolution is printed below:
WHEREAS, Amendment #1 will appear on the May 8, 2012 primary ballot asking voters to decide for or against a North Carolina constitutional amendment that provides that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State”; and
WHEREAS, Orange County adopted social justice goals of which one goal is to foster a community culture that rejects oppression and inequity, thus the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race or color, religion or philosophical beliefs; sex, gender or sexual orientation; national origin or ethnic background; age, military services; disability; and familial, residential, or economic status; and
WHEREAS, Orange County along with its local municipalities has adopted the Orange County Civil Rights Ordinance with the purpose and policy to promote the equal treatment of all individuals; prohibits discrimination in Orange County based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, familial status, and veteran status; to protect residents’ lawful interests and their personal dignity so as to make available to the County their full productive and creative capacities, and to prevent public and domestic strife, crime, and unrest within Orange County; and
WHEREAS, Amendment #1, if approved by the voters, would prohibit marriage between people of the same gender, and further prohibit the recognition of any other form of domestic legal union; and
WHEREAS, Amendment #1, if approved by the voters, would be inconsistent with Orange County’s commitment to equal rights and opportunities for its residents and employees and would impact the County’s and its local municipalities’ domestic partner registry and benefits;
NOW, THEREFORE IT RESOLVED, that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners re-affirms its commitment to social justice, equal rights and equal opportunity for all residents of Orange County.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners opposes the proposed Amendment #1 that will appear on the May 8, 2012 North Carolina primary ballot.

2012 low-cost rabies vaccination clinics begin

Orange County’s Animal Services Department will hold its first $10 low-cost rabies vaccination clinic of the year on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill.
Authorized by North Carolina State law, such clinics provide pet owners with substantial savings and allow cats and dogs to remain up to date on their vaccinations. This year, Animal Services will offer 1-year vaccinations at each of the clinics scheduled.
The vaccination fee is $10. Dogs must be on leashes, and cats must be in individual carriers. Animals that may be nervous or unsettled should be kept inside a vehicle for their vaccination. The Animal Services Center is located at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.
The next clinics are:
• Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Animal Services Center from 1 to 4 p.m.
• Thursday, March 22, at the Public Market House on Margaret Lane in Hillsborough from 5 to 7 p.m.
• Thursday, April 19, at the Animal Services Center from 1 to 4 p.m.
• Thursday, May 10, at the Public Market House in Hillsborough from 5 to 7 p.m.
• Saturday, June 16, at the Animal Services Center from 10 a.m. to noon
See the website for a full list of the 2012 low-cost rabies vaccination clinics.

Did you know?
• It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 4 months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times.
• Orange County’s ordinance also requires that all pets wear a rabies vaccination tag.
• Pets with current rabies vaccinations that may have been exposed to rabies must be revaccinated within five days (120 hours) or they will be treated as unvaccinated pets.
• Unvaccinated pets that may have been exposed to rabies must either be destroyed or quarantined at a veterinary office for six months at the owner’s expense.
• Orange County had 11 positive rabies cases during 2011 and 2010.
• Rabies can be transmitted through secondary exposure as well, so do not touch your animal without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to a rabies vector.
• If a rabies suspect is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal. Keep visual contact with the animal until Animal Control arrives.
• If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area.
• Always call Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your residence even if there is no evidence of a bite.

Orange County Rape Crisis Center seeks volunteers

The Orange County Rape Crisis Center is accepting applications for our upcoming volunteer training classes that will begin in early February. The center seeks dedicated individuals with diverse backgrounds to volunteer.
Volunteer positions include community educators and crisis companions. Community educators prevent sexual violence in our community by presenting educational programs to students in local schools. Crisis companions provide support and resources to survivors by responding to our 24-hour help line.
The deadline for applications is Friday, Jan. 27. Spanish-speakers and individuals with daytime and weekday availability are strongly encouraged to apply. Training will be provided and begins Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Center relies on volunteers to help provide our core programs and services. We have approximately 100 volunteers at any given time. Executive Director Shamecca Bryant says, “Community participation is crucial for the center. With a diverse volunteer pool, students in our education programs are able to learn from community members who share their background and experiences.”
Volunteer applications can be downloaded or completed online. Detailed information about volunteer positions and training schedules can be found at www.ocrcc.org/volunteer. Interested individuals can also contact the Orange County Rape Crisis Center at (919) 968-4647, visit the website or email info@ocrcc.org.
The Orange County Rape Crisis Center is a nonprofit agency that provides services to survivors of sexual violence and offers prevention education to the community. Services include a 24-hour help line (1-866-WE LISTEN), support groups, therapy referrals, Latino outreach and educational programs. The OCRCC is a United Way of the Greater Triangle Member Agency of Excellence.

President Obama's State of the Union Address

(Note, this is a press release containing the written transcript of what President Obama said during the State of the Union Address.)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought -- and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. (Applause.) For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. (Applause.) For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. (Applause.) Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. (Applause.) Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. (Applause.) My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share -- the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. (Applause.) What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.

Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.

It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.

Those are the facts. But so are these: In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. (Applause.)

Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again. (Applause.)

The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now. As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place. (Applause.)

No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker. (Applause.) Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. (Applause.) Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity. (Applause.)

So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. (Applause.)

We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it.

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. (Applause.) That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. (Applause.)

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. (Applause.) From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America. (Applause.)

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers. (Applause.)

So my message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away. (Applause.)

We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule. (Applause.) And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago. (Applause.)

I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration –- and it’s made a difference. (Applause.) Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.

Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. (Applause.) There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -– America will always win. (Applause.)

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. It’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.

Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. (Applause.) My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need. It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work. (Applause.)

These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.

For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning -- the first time that’s happened in a generation.

But challenges remain. And we know how to solve them.

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives. Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies -- just to make a difference.

Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. (Applause.) And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making. (Applause.)

We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state -- every state -- requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18. (Applause.)

When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. (Applause.)

Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years. (Applause.)

Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.

Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that. Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly. Some use better technology. The point is, it’s possible. So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. (Applause.) Higher education can’t be a luxury -– it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.

That doesn’t make sense.

I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. (Applause.)

But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away. (Applause.)

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.

After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. (Applause.) Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year. (Applause.)

Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. (Applause.) Right now -- right now -- American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right -- eight years. Not only that -- last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years. (Applause.)

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. (Applause.) A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.) And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. (Applause.) Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. (Applause.) And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. (Applause.)
Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”

Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. (Applause.) I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. (Applause.) It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs. (Applause.)

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well, tonight, I will. I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year. (Applause.)

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs. (Applause.)

Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.

During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home. (Applause.)

There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt. So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline. And while government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.

And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates. (Applause.) No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust. (Applause.)

Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom. No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.

We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them. That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. (Applause.) Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices -- these don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.

There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. (Applause.) I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years. We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. (Applause.) Absolutely. But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago. (Applause.) I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean. I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men. (Applause.)

And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules. The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose: Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits. You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail –- because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again. (Applause.) And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices -- those days are over. Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them. (Applause.)

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. (Applause.) This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy. But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.

Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. (Applause.) People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay. Let’s get it done. (Applause.)

When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else –- like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.

The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.

But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. (Applause.)

Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. (Applause.) You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference -- like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know that’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last. (Applause.)

Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care. But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now: Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.

Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?

The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco?

I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad -- and it seems to get worse every year.

Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let’s take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow. (Applause.) Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa -- an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.

Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything -– even routine business –- passed through the Senate. (Applause.) Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. (Applause.) For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days. (Applause.)

The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. (Applause.) That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy, so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people. (Applause.)

Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common-sense ideas.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. (Applause.) That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.

On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.

The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress. With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there’s nothing the United States of America can’t achieve. (Applause.) That’s the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America. (Applause.)

From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Ten thousand of our troops have come home. Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America. (Applause.)

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli. A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators -– a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone. And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied. (Applause.)

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings –- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. (Applause.)

But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our ironclad commitment -- and I mean ironclad -- to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history. (Applause.)

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. (Applause.)

That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years. Yes, the world is changing. No, we can’t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs –- and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way. (Applause.)

That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget. To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats. (Applause.)

Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. (Applause.) As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us. That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned –- which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President. (Applause.) And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.

With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we’re providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets. Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her. (Applause.)

Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates -- a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary -- and Hillary Clinton -- a woman who ran against me for president.

All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job -- the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other -- because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s somebody behind you, watching your back.

So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Column: Does time heal all wounds?

By D.G. Martin
UNC-TV host

Will John Edwards someday be the new Newt Gingrich?
Where did this crazy question come from? To get the answer, read on.
First, we should wrestle with the questions political experts have been stuttering over since Gingrich’s stunning upset of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary last weekend.
How can a candidate like Gingrich get over the deathblows his campaign suffered in Iowa and New Hampshire?
How can he sidestep the disgrace from the damning condemnation of his colleagues in the House of Representatives who censured him for misconduct 15 years ago?
How can he get around the moral consequences of his conduct in the breakup of two earlier marriages?
How does he get around the lack of support from people who worked with him when he was House speaker?
How does he get around the panic shown by so-called establishment Republicans who believe his nomination for president would lead to a disaster for their party in the fall?
How can these questions be answered? It would be easy to say, simply, that South Carolina voters are different. From John C. Calhoun to Strom Thurmond, South Carolinians have shown a fondness for brilliant, confrontational, no-holds-barred, attack- dog politicians. Newt fit their bill. But what about other states?
Both Calhoun and Thurmond had fans in other states. How about Gingrich? We will begin to find out next week in Florida.
Whatever the results in Florida and elsewhere, Gingrich has shown that time really can heal old wounds in politics. Even the most conservative religious voters in South Carolina showed that they were willing to forgive the sins of a seemingly penitent person.
The South Carolina results show us that, after the passage of time, voters are not bound by earlier judgments about a politician’s sins.
John Edwards may be trying to take advantage of this lesson.
The health problem that was the basis for the delay in his trial is a real one. An irregular heartbeat has bothered Edwards for many years. Still, delay may be part of his trial team’s strategy.
Every delay puts the management of the trial further away from the influence of the zealous investigation and prosecution led by former U.S. Attorney George Holding. He is running for Congress rather than continuing to lead the determined effort to put Edwards in jail.
Greater and greater distance from Holding increases the possibility that less-driven prosecutors will see the benefits of making a deal with Edwards that would free them to concentrate their efforts on getting other criminals off the streets.
Every delay works to distance the minds of potential jurors from the heavy and negative publicity that accompanied Edwards’s downfall. With the passing of time, jurors may be less likely to punish Edwards simply for being the bad person the news stories made him out to be.
Every delay lessens public interest in the case and the strength of any public demand that he be held accountable.
Every delay puts the public’s memory further away from his relevance as a public figure whose extraordinary gifts almost made him a vice president, almost a president.
Thus every delay could increase the chances that Edwards will win an acquittal if the case ultimately goes to trial or, even more likely, that there will be an acceptable plea bargain offer from prosecutors.
Back to our opening question: If Edwards does walk away from his legal troubles, could he, with the passage of time—say 10 years from now—bring his gifts of persuasion and charisma back into the political arena and have some of those who have written him off today declare him to be the new Newt Gingrich?

D.G. Martin hosts UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Bookwatch," which airs Sundays at 5 p.m. For more information or to view prior programs, visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Burning Coal Theatre Company presents the classic musical 'Man of La Mancha'

Burning Coal Theatre Company continues its 15th season with Man of La Mancha by Darion, Leigh and Wasserman. The production will run Feb. 2 through 19 at the Murphey School, 224 Polk St. in Raleigh. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (Feb. 2, through 4, 9 through 11 and 16 through 18) and Sundays at 2 p.m. (Feb. 5, 12 and 19). Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 pm is the ‘Pay What You Can’ Day. That performance will also be Audio Described. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students, seniors and active military. All tickets are $10 on Thursday evenings. For reservations and information, call (919) 834-4001 or visit www.burningcoal.org.

About Man of La Mancha
Drawn from the Spanish novelist Cervantes’ great book Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha is a musical retelling of the story of a troubled man, Alonso Quixana, who believes he is in fact a knight named Don Quixote (Randolph Curtis Rand). He enlists a simple man to support his quest, Sancho Panza (David Henderson), and sets off to right the ills that he perceives in the world.
On his travels, he meets the strumpet Aldonza, who he imagines to be the lady Dulcinea (Yolanda Rabun). In the musical retelling of this tale, playwright Dale Wasserman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), along with lyricist Joe Darion and composer Mitch Leigh, imagined that the writer himself, Miguel de Cervantes, has been imprisoned for crimes against the church and state. Cast into a prison amidst a bunch of low-life criminals, Cervantes finds that he must create a beautiful story in order to convince them that he, as an artist, deserves to live. He spins the story of the “madman”, Alonso Quixana and his fictional persona, Don Quixote.

About the director
Tea Alagic is originally from Bosnia. Recent work includes: Lidless by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Soho Rep( NYC), Waking Up by Cori Thomas (Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC); Anonymous by Naomi Iizuka (Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque); The Marriage Of Maria Braun by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (ZKM, Croatia); Binibon by Jack Womack and Elliot Sharp (The Kitchen, NYC); Events with Life’s Leftovers by Alberto Villarreal Diaz (Dramafest, Mexico City); and Aliens With Extraordinary Skills by Saviana Stanescu (Women’s Project, NYC). She directed the world premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell McCraney at The Public Theater, NYC and later productions at The Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, and The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Her original devised work includes The Filament Cycle, which performed at La Mama ETC, NYC, the 4+4 Festival in Prague, BAC London, Philadelphia, Colorado, and Potsdam; and Zero Hour, about the Balkan War. Other directing work from this period includes Man Have Called Me Mad, One Day in Moscow, Cerebral Events and Sam Perspective. She was Associate Artistic Director of the Ensemble Company for the Performing Arts in New Haven, where she directed Woyzek by George Buchner, Self–Accusation by Peter Handke, Preparadise Sorry Now by Rainer Werner Fassbiner, Baal by Bertolt Brecht and Zero Hour. Alagic holds a BFA in acting from The Charles University in Prague and an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama.

About the cast and crew
Raleigh’s Scott McKenzie will serve as musical director. Debra Gillingham of Wilmington will provide choreography, and Chapel Hill’s Christine Zagrobelny will provide fight choreography. The assistant director is Nathan Adam Sullivan, and the production dramaturg is Eric Kildow.

Randolph Curtis Rand of Brooklyn, N.Y., [(The Seafarer (actor), To Kill A Mockingbird (director)] will play Quixana/Quixote. Aldonza/Dulcinea will be played by Yolanda Rabun of Raleigh (Crowns, Gee’s Bend). Sancho Panza will be played by Raleigh’s David Henderson (Rat in the Skull, Inherit the Wind). The cast also includes Jeff Aguiar of Greensboro, Raleigh’s James Anderson, Jeff Cheek, Fred Corlett, Ian Finley, Ashley Lorenz, Morgan Parpan and Jeff Vizcaino, Durham’s Jade Arnold and Wilmington’s Debra Gillingham. The understudy is Edward H. Cooke of Raleigh.
The scenery design is by Drew Boyce and the lighting by Joyce Liao, both of New York. Costumes are by Raleigh’s Jordan Jaked, and properties by Joncie Sarratt, also of Raleigh. Sound design will be by Michael Betts II of Raleigh. The technical director is Marcus Morphew of Raleigh, and the stage manager is Adam Budlong of Cary.
For further information, contact Burning Coal’s managing director, Simmie Kastner, at (919) 834-4001 or visit our website at www.burningcoal.org.