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Media Advisory

Not for publication

May 16, 2005 -- No. 240

Local angles: Deep Run, Farmville, Kinston

Tar Heel Bus Tour to see science bus
in action, hear tobacco farmer’s story

Tuesday, May 17

Destiny, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s traveling science laboratory, and a tobacco and hog farm will be the focus of the second day of the 2005 Tar Heel Bus Tour for 36 recent additions to the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and administration.

In Farmville, participants will visit Farmville Central High School, where they will see how students interact with UNC-Chapel Hill’s traveling science laboratory. In Deep Run, participants will hear one farmer’s insights into how the tobacco quota buyout legislation (included in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004) may affect his livelihood.

Chancellor James Moeser will be with the tour through the beginning of Deep Run visit; Dr. Judith Wegner, chair of the faculty and a law professor, will accompany the group all week.

Tour background:

The UNC-Chapel Hill group will travel more than 1,000 miles this week in a classroom on wheels to learn about distinctly North Carolina topics ranging from tobacco and hog farming to an economy in transition. The tour is designed to teach 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 and administrators better understand the state where 82 percent of Carolina undergraduates grow up. Participants learn about the university’s commitment to North Carolina and the people it serves. Many stops highlight UNC-Chapel Hill outreach projects. The participants also have opportunities to learn how their own research, teaching and public service can serve the state’s needs.

During the week, participants will learn about a UNC-Chapel Hill project in Burlington that shares information about cancer prevention with women through hair salons; a light rail system expected to open in 2007 in Charlotte; growth in North Carolina’s Hispanic population (on a stop in Siler City); UNC-Chapel Hill’s efforts to help the town of Spindale recover from a textile plant closing in 2003; a support program for families of military reservists and National Guardsmen, a collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill and the U.S. Department of Defense; wildlife ecology; and the lost colony of Manteo.

Carolina Connections: Pitt County is home to 256 UNC-Chapel Hill students and 1,861 alumni; Lenoir County, to 93 students and 620 alumni.

Tuesday’s schedule, highlights:

10 a.m., Farmville Central High School, 3308 E. Wilson St., Farmville

Participants will gather for a demonstration of how Destiny – featuring state-of-the-art science and technology equipment for wet-lab experiments, Internet exploration and classroom materials – brings the latest science and technology to students who otherwise might not see a high-tech laboratory or what a science career could offer.

Since hitting the road in 2000, Destiny has visited 97 N.C. counties, 104 school systems and 341 schools, in addition to training more than 1,000 educators and providing wet-lab experiences for more than 16,000 students onboard the bus or in the classroom.

Fanette Entzminger, science department chair and a biology teacher at Farmville Central High School; Valerie Galberth, vice principal and acting principal at the high school; and Betty Brown, Destiny program coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill, will be hosts for this stop. To reach Entzminger, call (252) 753-5138 or entzmif.fchs@pitt.K12.nc.us; Galberth, (252) 753-5138 or GalberV.fchs@pitt.K12.nc.us; and Brown, (919) 843-7618 or brownbw@email.unc.edu

12:30-1:30 p.m., Lunch at King’s Barbecue, 405 East New Bern Road, Kinston

1:45 p.m., Randy Smith’s Farm, Sandy Foundation Road, Deep Run

Tobacco farming has been in Smith’s family for four generations. He has diversified his farm, planting other crops, and he has begun raising hogs. He has two hog barns, each with space for 825 hogs. Smith has about 80 acres planted in tobacco this year and about 350 acres apiece in cotton, corn and soybeans. The tobacco quota buyout legislation, included in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, is eliminating the federal tobacco price supports and quotas. Beginning with the 2005 crop year, the buyout will wipe out the depression-era quota program that artificially propped up tobacco prices. Smith hopes the buyout will be a good thing for his farm in the long run, but only time will tell.

Smith, the host for this stop, may be reached at (252) 523-9751.

Interviews: Participants and tour organizers are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops. During the tour, call UNC-Chapel Hill News Services at (919) 962-2091 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or interviews.

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Note: Dr. Lynn Blanchard, director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Center for Public Service, is bus tour host and may be reached on the road at (919) 280-9434. Linda Douglas, director of community relations, is bus tour coordinator and may be reached at (919) 218-6947.

News Services contact: Deb Saine (919) 962-8415 or deborah_saine@unc.edu