Monday, May 08, 2017

All over the web: N.C. first-graders spin for a new state symbol

It's not very often that we get to talk about a potential new state symbol. Heck, the last time we addressed it was about a decade ago. (That effort apparently didn't result in the bullfrog being named the state amphibian. But we did gain a state frog a few years ago.) 

But some first-graders in the AVL know that we have been missing out. Students in Miss Patti Evans' class at Dickinson Elementary would like a creepy crawly to be designated that official state spider.

In groups of two, the students studied a dozen of the state’s most common spiders including the trapdoor spider, which hides underground to wait for prey. They also studied the jumping spider and the wolf spider.

The students made posters and compiled facts about each spider. They then voted on their favorites.

The day of the crucial classroom vote, students stood up and talked about their spiders, trying to win over classmates. In the end, the golden silk spider came out on top.


Among the rationale: the spider's bites aren't poisonous, AND they eat mosquitoes. Of course, aren't mosquitoes the state bird? (I keed, I keed.)



Best of luck to the students!

(Apologies for the headline. That was the best I could do with spider puns on a Monday.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Are we losing beach music?

Thanks to the power of social media, some friends and I had a very nice time the other day reminiscing about beach music and the memories that those songs conjure up. Songs like "With This Ring" and "Carolina Girls" and " You're More Than A Number In My Little Red Book" and so on. Beach music is arguably the one style of music that is most synonymous with the Carolinas. The Shag dance itself, some say, originated off the Carolina Beach boardwalk.

For some of the older folks in the discussion, the conversation took them back to times shaggin' in Myrtle Beach or Atlantic Beach. For me, it was more about thinking back to the songs we listened to while spending summer evenings in my grandparents' cottage on Topsail Island and then, later, enjoying concerts at various college events featuring General Johnson and the Chairmen of Board, the Embers and even Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts. (My wife and I even learned the Shag for our wedding reception.)

But the discussion also touched on something else: is beach music dying? As one person commented on Facebook, "My big thing is how much all this great stuff has faded into history. The new generation needs to be educated. How about we form a 'Beach Music Revival Society?' "

Thankfully, through conversations like this and through events like the North Hills Beach Music Concert schedule in Raleigh, beach music continues to live on. (The N.C. State University marching band even plays "Hey Baby" in-between the third and fourth quarter of football games, which results in a stadium singalong.) Even some of those same bands continue to tour and perform. But let's do our part to keep it alive. In fact, we've created a Spotify playlist that is open; feel free to add appropriate beach music songs.

In the meantime, enjoy these oldies and (definitely still) goodies.














Monday, February 20, 2017

This weather is awesome ... unless you're a ski resort

I'm not gonna lie, y'all -- the ability to be out in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of February is pretty amazing. There were even some previously-scheduled indoor activities that I had agreed to this past weekend that made me feel guilty that I wasn't outside. (They seemed like great ideas at the time.) But you know who probably doesn't like this weather? Our good friends at the North Carolina ski resorts.

To wit ....

"[U]nseasonably warm weather has caused headaches for ski resort operators in North Carolina ..."

" 'This weather is crazy,'  said Chris Green, mountain manager at Sapphire Valley, about an hour south of Asheville. "When it's this warm no one's thinking about going skiing. We have a short time to cover our bills. Skiing on the East Coast is a very short season. Any time we lose skiing it hurts us."

Keep in mind, those comments were made almost a month ago. I doubt things have improved much since. Which is a shame, since the ski resorts offer some great economic benefits to the state. According to this article, a November 2015 economic value report commissioned by the North Carolina Ski Areas Association showed that the six ski areas contributed $197.2 million to North Carolina's economy during the 2014-15 season. In addition, the study found that the region's six ski areas had more than 650,000 visits, provided 87 year-round jobs and 1,787 seasonal jobs and generated nearly $40 million in gross revenue from ski area operations.

There's still hope. We still  have March to go. And it's not uncommon for us to get some white stuff then.