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Archive for April, 2012

Ripken brothers could get into Wilmington’s baseball game

Friday, April 13th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The city’s effort to bring a baseball stadium to the Port City now includes another big hitter.

Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham proposes the city should hire Ripken Design, founded by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. and his brother Bill, to manage Wilmington’s baseball project. The proposal also asks for additional funds to hire a project manager.

“We are asking for them to determine whether we think baseball is good fit for Wilmington or not, you know, overall,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Saffo says that’s the main goal when it comes to finding a company to manage the city’s baseball project. Ten companies put in a bid, six fit the city’s requirements, and after a series of interviews, city staff members feel Ripken Design will fit like a glove.

“Our role is going to be to help the city, work with the city to get everybody’s head wrapped around the project and the size and scope of the project before the project moves into its next phases,” Ripken Design Director of Projects Jim Arnold said.

Arnold said their company plans to do an in-depth feasibility study, visit all the proposed sites and determine the overall level of public support. Arnold said Ripken Design will not discourage or encourage; they will simply do a thorough study and present the results.

“We have worked with projects in the past where we’ve looked at projects and changed the scope of the project,” Arnold said. “Not necessarily a no, nothing will work, but what you were planning may not have worked. Here are other options.”

“They’ll have a pretty in-depth evaluation of the process so that when we make a decision from the council that we will have all the information necessary to make a good decision,” Saffo said.

The proposal for Tuesday night’s council meeting also suggests the council approve spending another $55,000 from next year’s fiscal budget on top of the approximately $150,000 it set aside this year to hire a project manager.

If Ripken Design is approved to manage the baseball project, analysis will start in June. Arnold said the Ripken brothers are very involved in all of their projects and will likely make several trips to the Port City.

More: continued here

Azalea Festival in full bloom

Friday, April 13th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The queen has been crowned. Gardens across Wilmington are prepped and ready to go and the ribbon has been cut. The 2012 North Carolina Azalea Festival is officially in full bloom.

“All of our hard work that comes into this one day for the ribbon cutting and then followed by two more days of actual garden tours,” said Garden Tour Vice Chair Susan Nettleman. “We’re very blessed. We couldn’t ask for anything nicer than the weather that we have this weekend.”

Although most of the azaleas have come and gone, organizers say the show must go on.

“Even though the azaleas came early this year the gardens have other flowers planted,” said Nettleman. “There are statues in the gardens. There’s something of interest in every garden.”

Visitors say they are looking forward to the other flowers that are blooming.

“We’re expecting the roses the tulips and whatever other floral arrangements that these homes have to offer to be in full bloom,” said visitor Ron Volpe.

All the hard work and dedication of the Garden Club and the belles has finally paid off.

“I’m so excited to finally be here,” said belle Marianna Baggett. “It’s so nice. It’s kind of sad though because I don’t want it to be over.”

And as soon as it’s done, organizers say it’s only the beginning of the planning for next year.

The Azalea Garden tour gardens are open Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm. Tickets will be available at each garden.

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Azalea Art Show puts Wilmington talent on display

Friday, April 13th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington has a wealth of artists, many of whom get to showcase their talent at the 30th Annual Azalea Festival Juried Art Show and Sale.

This year’s show includes more than 130 pieces of art by more than 90 different artists. Both photos and paintings were submitted. Internationally-acclaimed artist Lois Griffel judged the paintings and said Wilmington’s art community is full of amazing talent.

“The city is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous,” Griffel said. “The quality in here was remarkably good. I have judged a lot of shows, and I’ve been in a lot of shows. Obviously the art scene here is incredibly active.”

The paintings depicted scenes of beach life, nature and downtown Wilmington among other subjects. The show and sale continue tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Saint James Episcopal Church downtown.

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Garden Tour kicks off with fanfare

Friday, April 13th, 2012

"This is a Wilmington tradition no matter what happens."

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Irene retired from tropical storm name list

Friday, April 13th, 2012

MIAMI (AP) — Irene is being retired from the list of storm names because the 2011 hurricane killed 49 people and caused more than $15 billion in damage.

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the name will be replaced by Irma. Irene was retired Friday from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical storm names by the World Meteorological Organization’s hurricane committee.

The report says storm names are reused every six years unless retired for causing considerable casualties or damage. Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.

Five people were killed in the Dominican Republic after Hurricane Irene stormed through the Caribbean last August. Three
died in Haiti. And 41 died in the US when Irene barreled up the Eastern Seaboard.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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