Monday, December 15, 2008

Quick hits: N.C. Christmas trees and ECSU's name are in trouble

Can foreign firs save N.C. trees?

"Christmas begins on the mountain slopes of North Carolina, where farmers grow Fraser firs from seedlings to decorate millions of East Coast homes – including the White House.

"An estimated 50 million Fraser firs are under cultivation, and North Carolina ranks second in the nation (behind Oregon) in the number of Christmas trees harvested," says the News & Observer.

"With the rapid increase in fir plantings have come problems, such as the spread of a highly destructive rot, called Phytophthora, that infects the roots of Frasers and kills thousands of trees each year. It costs N.C. growers an estimated $5 million to $6 million a year.

"The exotic pathogen doesn't just kill the trees. It leaves the soil unusable for growing more Frasers. Left unchecked, that poses a serious threat to a state industry that relies on the signature Fraser.

"But help may be on the way from Turkey.

"More than 50,000 Turkish firs are now growing on mountain slopes in North Carolina. ..."

ECSU should study name change
"A state lawmaker plans to ask the Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees Monday to study a possible name change for the university to reflect ECSU’s regional appeal," says the Daily Advance.

"State Rep. Bill Owens, D-Pasquotank, emphasized Saturday that his recommendation is only that ECSU officials study a name change. He said the idea has been talked about for two decades but never formally studied.

" 'I’m not suggesting anything other than they look into it and weigh the pros and cons,' Owens said.

"It’s unknown what type of reception Owens will get. However, four key alumni leaders have signed a letter opposing changing the school’s name.

"The letter from Charles D. Cherry, president of the ECSU National Alumni Association, Curtis Bryan, chairman of the NAA Board of Directors, Kenneth Henshaw, chairman of the ECSU Foundation, and Hezekiah Brown, chairman of the ECSU Board of Visitors, also opposes 'any major revision to the mission statement that excludes an acknowledgement of (ECSU’s) rich heritage as an historically black college and university.' ..."

(Photo of the Fraser Firs near Grandfather Mtn. from; photo of the 1899 ECSU class from

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