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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication May 13, 1999 -- No. 331


Local angles: New Bern, Rockingham

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty boat down Neuse River, take lap in pace car at North Carolina Speedway

Tuesday, May 18
A trip down the Neuse River from New Bern to see how the state is protecting this pollution-threatened waterway will begin the second leg of the Tar Heel Bus Tour. Later in the day, participants will take a lap around Rockingham’s North Carolina Speedway in a pace car and tour the pits.

Thirty-four new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are traveling throughout the state as part of the weeklong 1999 Tar Heel Bus Tour. The bus tour’s 15 stops are designed to teach newcomers about North Carolina’s geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The mobile classroom will cover 1,200 miles through 31 counties by Friday (May 21). Carolina is just one of a handful of major public universities that take new faculty and administrators on tours of their states.

Carolina is an internationally renowned research institution that attracts faculty from across the globe. Yet 82 percent of her undergraduate students hail from North Carolina. The privately funded bus tour allows new faculty -- some of whom have never stepped foot outside the Triangle -- to meet the people whose taxes support their paychecks and offers them insight into where their students come from.

Tuesday’s schedule:

7:45 a.m. UNC-CH Institute of Marine Sciences’ Neuse River Water Quality Program, New Bern

2:45 p.m. North Carolina Speedway, Rockingham

The Neuse River has been designated as one of the nation’s 20 most pollution-endangered rivers, thanks to industrial, residential and farm runoff. The trip down the Neuse, starting from New Bern, will highlight UNC-CH’s Institute of Marine Sciences’ Neuse River Monitoring and Modeling Project, which studies the health of the waters and animal life. This model will be used to help state government policy-makers decide how to preserve and protect the Neuse and other endangered state waterways.

The sport of auto racing has significant cultural and economic importance to North Carolina. The stop at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham will highlight these impacts and provide participants with first-hand experience of the sport with pace car rides and pit tours. The stop will discuss the role of the university’s Office of Economic Development in conducting an economic impact analysis for the speedway.

Media availability: Tour hosts and participants are available for print and broadcast interviews at stops or by cellular phone by calling Karen Stinneford at 919-218-2380, pager 919-216-4653. Reporters, photographers and videographers may ride on legs of the tour by advance arrangement with News Services.

Photos on the World Wide Web: To download photos posted daily from the tour, visit

For more information: For additional information about the university, the Tar Heel Bus Tour, tour participants, directions or site visits, call News Services at 919-962-2091. Or visit the Web site at

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