Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick hits: North Carolinians are pretty happy, and WCU makes a banjo player a doctor

N.C. ranks 13th for happy Americans

"People in sunny, outdoorsy states -- Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida -- say they're the happiest Americans, and researchers say they think they know why," says the AP.

"A new study comparing self-described pleasant feelings with objective measures of good living found these folks generally have reason to feel fine.

"The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing such things as climate, crime rates, air quality and schools. ...

"Ranking No. 1 in happiness was Louisiana, home of Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking. ...

"Rounding out the happy five were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.

"North Carolina ranked No. 13 for happiness, while neighboring Virginia trailed at 27th.

"California is 46th.

"Last in happiness is New York state.

And ...

"So North Carolinians rank 13th as the happiest Americans?

"Well, yeah, we can work with that. Being in the top 20 is OK. It’s all right. Something to be happy about," says the News & Record's Eddie Wooten.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has measured happiness, talking to 1.3 million Americans from 2005 to 2008.

"The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things such as climate, crime rates, air quality, schools and taxes, The Associated Press reports. ...

Banjo master to get WCU doctorate

"Call it an early holiday gift that can't be beat — famed mountain banjo picker Marc Pruett is getting an honorary doctorate on Saturday at Western Carolina University," says the Citizen-Times.

"t's the cap on a memorable year for Pruett, one of the region's premier bluegrass stars, who plays with the group Balsam Range. This fall, the band had a No. 1 hit on the bluegrass charts with the cut 'Last Train to Kitty Hawk.”'

" 'You could have knocked me over with a feather,' Pruett said when he heard he was getting the degree. 'At first, I thought it was a prank. But it's a very humbling experience.'

"Pruett, raised in Haywood County, is a 1974 Western Carolina University graduate. The school usually bestows two honorary doctorates a year, said WCU spokesman Randall Holcombe. Pruett was selected for his 'achievements as a professional musician and in appreciation for … love of the traditional culture of the Southern Appalachian mountains,' the degree reads. ..."

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