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Sandhills Clean Energy Summit Helps Us to “Think Green” PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Monday, 08 February 2016

The right thing isn’t always the easiest – or most economical or efficient thing. But what if it was? Picture this: What if getting solar panels on your home meant the electric meter would run backwards and you could pocket the savings? What if food waste from restaurants and colleges was used to create biofuels – and for a profit? What if dirty cooking oils from restaurants could be cleaned up and refined to power commercial fleets of trucks and buses? It would save money and resources and create new jobs. It’s not just a pipe dream. These things are happening. Right now. In the Sandhills. The Sustainable Sandhills Clean Energy Summit on Saturday, Feb. 20, brings together government officials, educators, industry and small businesses for an open discussion about clean energy and what it means for the community’s schools, homes, jobs and businesses. It’s free and there is offsite children’s programming as well.

The summit opens at 11 a.m. for registration and the Clean Energy Business Pitch and Networking Coffee. Dr. Cindy Burns of Fayetteville Technical Community College and Tamara Bryant of the Small Business Center will speak.

At noon, N.C. Representative John Szoka presents the keynote speech “The Energy Freedom Act.”  Hailed as a bill that goes above and beyond by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, this legislation, of which Szoka is a sponsor, seeks to promote opportunities for homeowners and businesses to “generate more renewable and affordable energy on their own property.” “Representative Szoka will be talking about the future of energy in North Carolina,” said Sustainable Sandhills Executive Director Hanah Ehrenreich. “He is a Republican and a conservative and he has really embraced renewable energy. He sees it as good socially, economically and educationally.” 

The remainder of the day’s programming is broken up into three tracks: business/entrepreneurs, energy professional and job seekers and residents. While the topics are geared for different groups of people, attendees are welcome to go to any of the sessions they choose. 

Ehrenreich is excited about the speakers and said that she is expecting about 300 people to attend. “We have several excellent presentations planned,” she said. Topics include things like how to grow your business by getting on a national board. “Gary Bilbro served on the Carolina Recycling Association and the National Recycling Coalition. He runs Smart Recycling. He runs a main street composting program in Charleston that is unbelievable. And he just got a contract with Fort Bragg to take compostable waste from DFACs. He also does school recycling from dining halls at Coastal Carolina and ECU. His business model is sound and it is growing, which is really exciting to see.”

Grease for Good recycles cooking oil. The company is based in eastern North Carolina. The company works with schools and businesses to bring clean burning locally-made biodiesel to run fleets of trucks and buses.

Fayetteville State University’s Dr. Juan Ma teaches public policy related courses and is leading the effort to integrate sustainability into academic programs.

Jay Blauser is UNC Pembroke’s first Sustainability Director. As such, he works to make UNC a leader in sustainability both operationally and academically.  Under his watch, the campus is the first college in the state to partner with the  U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.

NC Warn is a 26-year-old nonprofit in Durham that focuses on climate change. Sally Robertson is the Solarize Coordinator at NC Warn and will present at the Solar as Social Justice session during the three 0’clock hour.

Mark Brown will represent PWC, Fayetteville’s Hometown Utility at the Sustainable Sandhills Clean Energy Summit during the discussion about the state of power in the Sandhills.

Sometimes energy trends are obvious and sometimes they are a bit more extreme and creative. “We have a tiny house that will be shown from Carolina sustainable structures,” said Ehrenreich. “The gentleman who is joining us will present it and talk about tiny houses. There will also be electric vehicles for people to look at and learn about.”

Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center is partnering with Sustainable Sandhills for this event and is set to provide children’s programming from noon until 4:30 p.m. “They are going to do kitchen science and construction projects,” said Eherenreich. “They are going to do some good stuff. It is for ages 8-12 and the library does require that parents pre-register their children.”

The Clean Energy Summit takes place at New Century International Elementary School at 7465 Century Circle. Doors open at 11 a.m. Visit http://www.sustainablesandhills.org/ to register or for more information.

Last Updated ( Monday, 08 February 2016 )
Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections Opens at Me PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Many people travel great distances to see the works of masters like Auguste Rodin, whose pieces are routinely shown in premier museums like New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum in Paris. The David McCune International Art Gallery at Methodist University and Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation have arranged to make Rodin’s works available for viewing in Fayetteville. The exhibit Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections opens with a reception from 6 -9 p.m. on Feb. 11. The exhibit is open until May 7. The opening reception features Executive Director of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation Judith Sobol as the guest speaker. She will speak at 7 p.m. The reception and the exhibit are both open to the public. 

“I am confident that viewers will find this show’s 17 bronze Rodin sculptures to be a stunning installation featuring works that span the artist’s long career,” Art Gallery Director Silvana Foti explained. “The exhibition includes Rodin’s famous depictions of writers Victor Hugo and Honore de Balzac; of the musician Gustav Mahler; and of the artist Claude Lorrain. Also included in the show is a photographic portrait of Rodin by Edward Steichen.”

Francois-Auguste-Rene Rodin was born in  Paris in 1840. Well-known for his works “The Thinker” and the uncompleted “Gates of Hell,” Rodin didn’t blossom as a sculptor until later in life. As a youngster, he struggled in school. He was nearsighted but did not realize it. He turned to drawing as a way to ease his academic frustrations. By the time he was a teenager, Rodin was taking formal art classes. His confidence still suffered though, and when he was 17 he applied to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts only to be rejected not once, but three times. 

It was a trip to Italy in 1875 where Michelangelo’s work reignited Rodin’s artistic passion. In 1877, Rodin’s sculpture “The Vanquished,” which was later renamed “The Age of Bronze” premiered. The sculpture is of a nude man with clenched fists. The work was so realistic that some accused Rodin of using molds directly from the model’s body. By his 40s, Rodin had become established as an artist creating pieces like “The Three Shades,” The Old Courtesan,” and “The Thinker.” He died Nov. 17, 1917. Rodin is considered a pioneer in the world of modern sculpture.

The David McCune International Art Gallery provides an intimate space for patrons to enjoy the exhibit.  “Art students everywhere study Rodin,” Foti said. “I was fortunate to see Rodin sculptures in museums in Europe and large U.S. cities, and it’s nothing short of amazing that a gallery in Cumberland County will have the opportunity to exhibit his work.”

Since opening its doors in 2011, the David McCune International Art Gallery, housed in the William F. Bethune Center for Visual Arts at Methodist University, has hosted several exhibits featuring nationally recognized artists. Last year saw “Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics from the Rosenbaum Collection” at the gallery and fall 2013, the featured exhibit was “Igneous Expressions,” which featured the works of contemporary glass artists including Harvey Littleton, John Littleton, Kate Vogel and Mark Peiser. 

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation supports the arts through exhibitions and other programs that recognize and show appreciation for visual and performing arts. The foundation also supports medical institutions that focus on biomedical research and clinical care, especially those that focus on women’s healthcare.

Exhibit hours are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery can arrange “touch tours” for groups of visually impaired visitors. Admission is free. Find out more at http://www.davidmccunegallery.org or by calling 425-5379.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 February 2016 )
A Southern Girl’s Gotta Have It Marks the Return of Dinner Theatre PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Janice Burton   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Longtime Fayetteville residents will remember a time when dinner theatre was a regular part of the city’s social scene. But that hasn’t been the case for more than 30 years.

Back in the day, theatre patrons could routinely make their way to the Holiday Inn Bordeaux to catch a relaxing and entertaining evening of theatre coupled with a great dinner. As the old saying goes, all good things must end, and that was the case of dinner theatre in Fayetteville. But as the community begins talking about improving its quality of life, local businessman Bill Bowman, decided it was time to bring dinner theatre back to life in Fayetteville. 

“People always talk about the lack of things to do in Fayetteville, and then they head up to Raleigh or  Durham or Chapel Hill to experience things that could very easily be experienced here locally,” said Bowman. “Why can’t we have the ‘good stuff?”

With that thought in mind, Bowman reached out to the community, and what he found was many local partners who were excited about the idea of brining dinner theatre back to Fayetteville and welcomed the opportunity to be a part of it.

Bowman noted, that the enthusiasm with which the dinner theatre idea was greeted made him even more excited about making it a reality, Because he is about community, Bowman thought the best way to bring dinner theatre back was to bring it back by showcasing the work of a local playwright. So he turned to long-time friend Elaine Alexander - now a resident of Charlotte - but a hometown girl at heart. Alexander, a Westover graduate, with family ties that go back several hundred years, has gained success as a playwright in the Charlotte area, and was only too happy to bring one of her shows, A Southern Girl’s Got to Have It,  back home. 

For Bowman, the next step was finding a venue. For that, he had to look no further than a long-time friend with roots in the hotel industry: Romona Moore. Moore is the marketing director at the Holiday Inn I-95.

“They have a great venue out there and were one of our first partners,” said Bowman. “The hotel  is very excited and is putting together an elegant evening an wonderful meal to complement a great show.”

Because dinner theatre is such an intimate event, Bowman thought there was no better weekend to offer the show than Valentine’s Day Weekend.

“On Valentine’s Day, we are all looking for something unique an elegant to do with our Valentine,” he said. “Dinner theatre, complete with an overnight stay, makes a perfect gift for your special person.”

To that end, the Holiday Inn is offering special dinner theatre packages. The Hotel Sweetheart package includes two theatre tickets, a deluxe room, two complimentary breafkasts and a half dozen roses with each pair of tickets.

To make the evening even more unique, Bowman enlisted neighboring Lu Mil Vineyard to join the team. The family-owned vineyard located in Bladen County, will bring a sampling of its wines to the event for a wine tasting.

“There are a lot of things we are doing to ensure that this is a special night for those who attend,” said Bowman.

For those who do not have a sweetheart to celebrate Valentine’s with, the theatre  is sponsoring a Ladies’ Night Out on Friday, Feb. 12. Ladies’ Night Out includes a ticket, wine tasting and dinner, music and attendance to a champagne reception for the actors after the show.

On Friday Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 13, the doors will open at 6 p.m., followed by a wine tasting, dinner and the show. On Sunday, Feb. 14, the show is at noon, which includes a wine tasting and buffet lunch.

“We are really pulling out all of the stops to make sure that Fayetteville residents have the opportunity to enjoy a great night of dinner and theatre without having to drive an hour away to do so,” he said “With the upcoming bond referendum, there is a lot of talk about what Fayetteville residents deserve. And  I wholeheartedly agree that Fayetteville residents deserve to enjoy great quality of life venues and events. If we can make this event successful, we will look at other ways and venues that we can create to add to the quality of life for our residents.”

If the dinner theatre is successful, Bowman hopes to bring a Georgetown-based playwright down to present the next dinner theatre. 

Tickets are $75 and are available at the Holiday Inn, Up &Coming Weekly, the Crown Coliseum, Owen’s Florist and online at CapeFearTix.com. Discounts are available for seniors, active duty military and Cumberland County School Educators. 

For more information, call 391-3859.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 January 2016 )

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