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N.C. Logistics Task Force Meets at WCU

Friday, June 25th, 2010

CULLOWHEE, NC – The North Carolina Governor’s Logistics Task Force stopped Thursday, June 24, at Western Carolina University to learn about Western North Carolina’s economic assets and existing transportation and technology infrastructure that make the region unique from other areas of the state.

The task force, chaired by Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, was in Cullowhee as part of a series of statewide meetings designed to provide members with a chance to hear from a variety of economic development and transportation experts about regional needs across North Carolina.

“We are looking at roads, airports, ports, rail and technology,” Dalton said in opening the meeting. “It has not been since 1989 that we have had one large strategic statewide initiative like this. We are here to listen to you and to listen to the needs of Western North Carolina.”

Ken Flynt, associate dean of WCU’s College of Business, said that the meeting will arm elected officials with the information needed to make future decisions regarding infrastructure improvements in North Carolina.

“We are gratified to have the task force here on our campus, and to have this kind of attention being paid to the needs of the western part of the state,” Flynt said.

Many speakers at the half-day event discussed the unique logistical attributes of WNC, including a tourism-based economy that depends more on moving people from point to point than on moving goods, and the region’s rugged terrain that can hamper highway, rail and airport development.

“The solutions to the state’s issues are not one-size-fits-all,” Michael Smith, WCU professor of global management and strategy, told the task force. “We need to realize that we need to take distinctive, regional approaches in order for all areas of the state to prosper.”

Also speaking to the task force were Michell Hicks, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Mickey Duvall, director of planning and development for the Eastern Band; Olivia Collier of the Appalachian Regional Commission; Dan Danieley of the Burlington Regional Airport; Pat Simmons of N.C. Department of Transportation’s rail division; J.B. Setzer, Division 14 engineer for N.C. DOT; and Inhyuck “Steve” Ha, WCU associate professor of economics.

The mission of the Logistics Task Force is to ensure that North Carolina has the necessary foundation to remain competitive in the global economy over the long term. The members of the task force are focusing on developing a strategic list of statewide priorities for continued job creation. The task force is studying the critical relationship between commerce and infrastructure. It expects to develop a plan for the seamless movement of people, goods and information throughout the state and beyond.

The task force was established in December by an executive order signed by N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue. The Logistics Task Force is reviewing transportation systems in North Carolina, including roads and highways, airports, ports, multimodal transportation and railroads. The review will focus on giving North Carolina a competitive advantage in economic development by maximizing existing transportation systems and defining priorities for future transportation investments.

Among the task force members attending the WCU meeting were N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti and N.C. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Dee Freeman.

WCU’s Heritage Center Jam Series to Feature Laura Boosinger

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

CULLOWHEE, NC – Western Carolina University’s “First Thursday” Old-Time and Bluegrass Jam Session Series will continue Thursday, May 6, with a performance by Laura Boosinger, followed by a jam session in which local musicians are invited to participate.

A singer and banjo player, Boosinger will get the music started at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center. Performers of old-time and bluegrass music are invited to bring their instruments and take part in the jam session that will follow her performance.

Boosinger studied banjo under Grammy Award-winner David Holt at Warren Wilson College, and she now performs as a member of Holt’s group, the Lightning Bolts. Her latest album is “Most of All.” In addition to the banjo, she plays the guitar, Appalachian dulcimer and finger-style autoharp, and she also teaches shape-note singing.

The concerts and jam sessions are free and open to everyone. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, and the events also are open to those who just want to listen.

,p>The Mountain Heritage Center is located on the ground floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building. For more information, call the museum at (828) 227-7129.

WCU to Host Annual Jazz Festival, April 9-10

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

CULLOWHEE, NC – Free performances by premier jazz musicians highlight Western Carolina University’s annual Jazz Festival, taking place Friday, April 9, through Saturday, April 10, on the WCU campus.

This year’s festival headliners are Jason Marsalis, drummer and member of the legendary Marsalis family of jazz musicians; Steve Haines, standup bassist and director of the Miles Davis program in jazz studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and North Carolina-born saxophonist John Ellis.

Marsalis, Haines and Ellis will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center. The concerts are free and open to the public.

“Jazz is the only true American art form,” said Pavel Wlosok, WCU assistant professor of jazz and event organizer. “This year we have a very high level of musicianship coming our way. Jazz is still very much alive in the 21st century, and the festival is our way of making sure the WCU community knows this.”

Friday night the guests will perform with the students of WCU’s Jazz Ensemble. That concert also will include a performance by SW3, a trio featuring music faculty members Steve Wohlrab on guitar and Dan Gonko on drums and music student Danny Iannucci on bass. Saturday’s concert will feature Marsalis, Haines and Ellis with Wlosok on piano performing three compositions each by Ellis and Wlosok. Three WCU jazz combos and student performances will open that show.

A series of free workshops and open rehearsals also are offered throughout the WCU Jazz Festival. For more information about the festival events, contact Wlosok at 828-227-3261 or [email protected]