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


Not for publication

May 15, 2003 -- No. 282

Local angles: Louisburg-Bunn, Clayton-Smithfield,
Wrightsville Beach-Wilmington

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty to visit tobacco and hog farms, coastal areas Monday, May 19

Opportunities to learn about tobacco farming and hog breeding – and the changing faces of these longtime economic mainstays for North Carolina – will be the first experiences offered 33 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the 2003 Tar Heel Bus Tour.

They will visit Steve and Irene Mitchell’s tobacco farm in Bunn and the tobacco farm of their neighbors, John and Betty Vollmer. The farm owners will discuss the effect the 1998 tobacco settlement has had on their operations.

Participants also will visit Barham Hog Farm in Zebulon. (Note: Sows are susceptible to many diseases carried by humans; bus tour participants and media representatives will not be able to go inside barns). Owners Julian and Elaine Barham will discuss innovations they have added to the hog-breeding farm to limit odors and generate electricity.

The Tar Heel Bus Tour will then travel to the Wrightsville Beach area to see how researchers are tackling the issue of water encroachment near Mason Inlet, which has migrated a half-mile south in the last 15 years.

Tour background:  The 1,040-mile tour’s 13 educational stops through May 23 are designed to teach new faculty about North Carolina’s people, geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The privately funded tour, which began in 1997, aims to help new faculty better understand the cities and towns where 82 percent of Carolina undergraduates grow up. They also see UNC outreach projects already under way and have opportunities to learn how their own research, teaching and public services activities tie in with the state’s needs.

Others participating in this portion of the tour include Chancellor James Moeser; Matt Tepper, student body president; and Dr. Judith Wegner, chair-elect of the UNC faculty and a law professor. Michael Smith, dean of the UNC School of Government, will serve as tour leader.

Monday's Carolina connections: Franklin County is home to 47 Carolina students and 327 UNC alumni; Johnston County, to 118 Carolina students and 1,017 alumni; New Hanover County, to 381 students and 3,159 alumni.

Monday’s schedule, highlights:

Interviews: Tour leader Michael Smith, dean of the UNC School of Government, and participants are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops. Media access will be unrestricted except where otherwise noted. During the tour, call Deb Saine of UNC News Services at (919) 962-8415 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or interviews. Or call News Services in Chapel Hill at (919) 962-2091.

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Contacts: For print inquiries, call Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415 or For broadcast-related inquiries, call Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595 (office) or (919) 218-2467 (cell).