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Archive for January, 2012

Wilmington starts 24/7 collections at downtown parking decks

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you want to park in one of the City of Wilmington’s downtown decks, you have to pay 24 hours a day.

Over the weekend, new machines went online to let drivers swipe their credit card at the two parking structures. It’s part of an overall effort to begin collecting fees in city decks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drivers can make payments via credit card when there is no personnel on duty.

Park Wilmington staff will continue to collect fees after the bars close on Friday and Saturday nights and for major downtown events.

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Wilmington kids celebrate Chinese New Year

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It may be late January, but it’s New Year’s Day in China.

Here in Wilmington, children explored Chinese culture and celebrated the start of the Year of the Dragon at the Children’s Museum. The kids celebrated the eastern culture by making paper lanterns, writing lucky red secret messages and tasting their own sesame noodles using kid friendly chopsticks.

“We’re passing out papers, and what they’re doing is, they get to write sentences and symbols from China that mean words, and they can actually see the words. We’re kind of just doing it for fun,” participant Skylar Kelly said.

Chinese New Year, known in China as the Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.

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Plane leaving Wilmington diverted after malfunction

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

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High-speed Internet finally available in Columbus County

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — In October 2010 Rep. Mike McIntyre announced that southern Columbus County had received a federal grant to bring high-speed internet to the area. Today McIntyre, local leaders and businessmen celebrated the near completion of the service just outside Whiteville.

“It’s a miraculous change for this whole region,” McIntyre said.

More than a year ago ATMC received $16 million in federal funds to bring high-speed internet to southern Columbus County. Now the program is 80 percent complete.

Rep. McIntyre says it benefits more than 8,700 people and is both creating and saving jobs.

“We remember when President Clinton came (to Columbus County) back in the year 2000. We talked about bridging the digital divide,” McIntyre said. “Well, today and since then, we’ve been working constantly to make sure that people have opportunity.”

Rural broadband in the area will stretch between 35 community institutions. More than that, it will positively impact several businesses and even the next generation.

“Rural broadband is going to help here in Columbus County so that our kids can have the same opportunity as any kid you’ll find in the more metropolitan areas like a Charlotte or Greensboro or New York even,” USDA NC Director Randall Gore said. “It’s going to allow them an opportunity to do homework in real time. It’s going to allow farmers or other suppliers in the area to sell there wears in real time and compete.”

Rural broadband is already having a positive affect on hundreds of businesses in Columbus County, especially Gore’s Trailers, which hosted Monday’s event.

“The tremendous advantage is that we are able to communicate with our customers now because most all of our customers want to do e-mails,” Gore Trailers President Jackson Gore said. “Before we were on dial-up, which was almost impossible.”

Gore has been led the company for 46 years. He says it has had the high-speed connection since Christmas and that he can now share with his wide range of customers the progress of their work in real time.

“Now we just have to learn more and add more to it but at least we have high-speed,” Gore said.

Customers in Columbus County who want high-speed internet at home can subscribe through ATMC.

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Remebering Joe: Penn State loses its legend

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I didn’t grow up a PennState fan. I didn’t grow up idolizing Joe Paterno. Sure, I knew who he was — saw him on ESPN, knew he’d won a whole bunch of football games — but I didn’t really know much about the man some called "a living legend." That all changed when I rolled into State College for my freshmen year at PennState in 2005.

Today, I and other Penn Staters are sad. Sad not for the loss of a football coach, but for the loss of a man who meant much more to us than others can probably understand. I’ll try my best to explain it from our perspective, and why he made PennState a special place to be.

I’d picked Penn State for a number of reasons. It had pretty much everything I was looking for: a top notch meteorology program, an excellent marching band, a picturesque setting and the quintessential “college town” atmosphere.

I arrived on campus as a na├»ve freshman, reporting early for tryouts for the Penn State Blue Band. After making it through the attrition of the audition process, I found myself quickly on the fast track toward becoming a full-fledged Penn Stater. In only a few short days, I knew the fight songs, knew my music and drill for my spot on the field, and could recite the alma mater if asked – all before the other students had arrived on campus.

We had our first performance at a pretty informal event at the end of that week called “Be a Part From the Start.” It was basically designed to get the incoming class involved in activities on campus right away. We played fight songs, the cheerleaders led some cheers and some student leaders said a few words to get the students motivated to take on the world.

As it turned out, the keynote speaker for this rally was none other than Joe Paterno. The crowd went crazy as the then-78-year-old stepped up to the podium. I honestly had no clue he would be speaking. After all, it wasn’t a football rally. Why would Joe be the one to give the speech? 

Despite the noise and excitement, a hush came over the crowd as Joe began to speak. He told us that these were the days that we’d never forget. He told us that the choices we made now would shape and mold our futures. He told us there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do, and that we’d better set our goals high. He told us most of all, that as of that moment – we were PennState, and we were family.

No mention of football ever left his mouth. Instead our football coach was telling us to study hard, reach for our dreams, never to settle for anything less than our best, and challenging us to make an impact. Words of wisdom from the football coach. I quickly realized that Joe was much more than a coach, and that this was much more than just a place where I would get my degree.

Over the years I saw Joe indirectly on a regular basis. Football games, pep rallies, university events or just walking through campus. Sure, I never got much more than the occasional high five in the tunnel as we were getting ready to take the field, but I – along with most other Penn Staters – felt like we “knew” him. 

He was always the same. He was always challenging us to do more, always stressing the academics that he so firmly believed in and constantly giving back to the university that he himself had already given so much – setting the example for us to live by.

He coached his football players on the field, sure. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you he was tough as nails. But he coached them off the field just as hard if not harder. Joe’s players graduated at an unprecedented rate among major programs. Some of his players went on to become professional football players, but many more went on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and fathers. He cared about their lives after football and checked up on them throughout the years. In many cases he stayed around long enough that he often got to coach their sons.

He’d been through it all; our very own window to the past. “When Joe started…” was a common phrase. When Joe started, the football field seated 30,000 and was on the other side of campus. When Joe started, Eisenhower was president. When Joe started, there were fewer than 20,000 students. The list goes on and on. As the university and the world changed, Joe stayed the same – that’s why we trusted him.

Since he’d been there so long and seen so much, Joe had such a fatherly influence on the whole school. In the way that you look up to your grandfather for advice, alumni and students saw him as their mentor for over four decades. He was the voice of reason.

Joe made PennState what it is today, and PennState made all of us alumni what we are today.So Joe is a part of who we are.

That’s why we’re so sad today. That’s why we were so devastated in November, when the horrible news broke of the allegations of child abuse on campus. It put a chink in the armor of our idol and role model. It made us feel as though a part of us was gone, broken; unable to be restored.

The months that have followed the scandal have brought some clarity, some soul searching and some healing. Now, we’ve come to realize that this doesn’t change our PennState family, and that our values and ideals inspired by Joe still hold true. Even if we are heart broken by the mistakes that happened, we can band together and take action to help others going forward, fighting against abuse anywhere.

Now that Joe has passed, almost undoubtedly an indirect result of this scandal, it feels that another part of us is missing too. No more speeches telling us to study hard, no more challenging us to change the world, no more "We Are! PennState!" chants from the biggest cheerleader the school has ever known. Those have come to pass, as they inevitably had to someday. But the ideals and values of a man larger than life will live on.

When Joe Paterno told his father that he wasn’t going to go to law school and that he instead was going to go stay in central Pennsylvania to coach football, his father asked him, “Are you making an impact?”

Looking back at that question now, it might better be asked, “Who has ever made such an impact?”

-TB

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