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Archive for April, 2009

Fifth annual event brings vintage vehicles and more downtown

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Hot rods and motorcycles will be taking over downtown Wilmington on Saturday along Front Street. It’s the fifth annual Rims on the River, vintage car and hot rod show.

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The Goodnights dedication to improve education in NC public schools

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

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For decades, one North Carolina couple has spent countless dollars and hours to improve education for children in public schools. Now, thousands of children have access to a better education thanks to James and Ann Goodnight. That is why this philanthropic couple is a 2009 UNCW Razor Walker Award winner.

All it took was being a parent for James and Ann Goodnight to realize something was seriously lacking in a child’s public education. “We were very disappointed in the fact the classrooms were so large that the teachers seemed to be concentrated only on keeping kids in order and there were lot of disciplinary issues,” said James.

That led to a discussion James and his wife had with his partner at SAS, a global software company. “Why don’t we build our own school, a middle school, high school,” he asked. “We can really experiment and see the effect of smaller class sizes and using more technology in the schools.”

That is how Cary Academy got started in 1995. But building a new school was not enough. The Goodnights also developed curriculum pathways at SAS, an online resource that provides teachers with more than 15,000 different items they can use and teach to their classes, for free.

“Right now, competitively, in this global, knowledge based economy that we are, the country as a whole is at risk to maintain quality of life and success of children so I think it is critical we make education a priority,” said Ann.

The Goodnights helped push through a construction bond in Wake County to fund 17 new schools and renovate more than a dozen others. They also supplied students at several high schools with their own computers. The Goodnights hope to see a day when technology is brought into every classroom, since children today are completely wired.

“When they go to school, they have to leave all that behind and it is just, they’re bored. They’re not accustomed to sitting at a classroom watching a teacher at a blackboard all day,” James said. “The only way to really get these kids involved is to give them the tools that they’re used to having around them all the time.”

As to why they began this philanthropic mission, “I think it’s our civic, moral responsibility as citizens and I believe it is in our best economic interest to stay involved,” said Ann.

We will have four other Razor Walker Award winners to introduce to you over the next few days.

All of this year’s Razor Walker Award recipients will be honored at a banquet Monday night at UNCW.

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videoFor decades, one North Carolina couple has spent countless dollars and hours to improve education for children in public schools. Now, thousands of children have access to a better education thanks to James and Ann Goodnight.

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Associated poll

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School abandons idea of year-round middle school

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Insufficient interest and shrinking funds mean that plans for a year-round middle school in New Hanover County are tabled for the time being.

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Employment screening firm to expand near Mayfaire

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

A nationwide employment screening firm is more than doubling its space in Wilmington and plans in the next 12 to 18 months to nearly double its work force.

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City officials believe spending taxpayers’ money on conference worth the expense

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

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Despite facing a projected $6.6 million budget deficit Wilmington city officials believe the trip to the National League of Cities annual conference was worth it.

All seven Wilmington City Council members, the city manager, and the city clerk attended the conference. Officials say the trip may have already paid for itself.

The nightly cost for each room at a DC hotel was about $300. Dinners at Ruth’s Chris and Georgia Brown’s for nine Wilmington officials, some spouses and guests totaled $1,000.

That being said, attending the National League of Cities annual conference was priceless, according to those who attended.

“This is a very important congress and a very important stimulus package and once it’s gone it’s gone and you’re not going to be able to go back and get any more,” stated Mayor Bill Saffo.

For taxpayers, the total cost of the trip was $19,000.

City residents wonder if they couldn’t have trimmed the cost.

“They might have taken half the city council, instead of the entire city council, and have achieved just the same thing for half the money,” said Wilmingtonian Carol Hernandez.

Council members say given the economic climate it was important to have many voices supporting Wilmington.

“There is money coming through the economic recovery package, and we want certainly our share and frankly if you’re not there to ask you may not get what you’re looking for,” explained Laura Padgett, Wilmington City Council member.

Padgett said the trip helped get $1.5 million in stimulus money for the Nesbitt Court demolition.

Residents say they appreciate the support for the port city… To a point.

“If you’re going to try to get money to try and help us, a $300-a-night room doesn’t look good,” said Wilmington resident Bill Wilson.

Council member Ron Sparks says staying in the hotel where the conference took place was expensive, but helpful. “We felt it was so important for us to be in Washington, we said yes it’s going to cost us $20,000 or so, but we need to be there.”

The council hopes spending money now will help save and create jobs later.

Sparks pointed out the city canceled a November trip to a National League of Cities event in Orlando because of the economy.

As for the spouses, they did not pay to attend the conference and there was no extra hotel charge.

Padgett would not comment on her feelings about bringing spouses on the trip, but said at least one council member’s spouse paid for her own meal.

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The nightly cost for each room at a DC hotel was about $300. Dinners at Ruth’s Chris and Georgia Brown’s for nine Wilmington officials, some spouses and guests totaled $1,000.

That being said, attending the National League of Cities annual conference was priceless, according to those who attended.

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Associated poll

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