Today’s Email Announcements

Published Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 11:21 am

Global Opportunities Conference Begins Friday at App State

Appalachian State University’s 2016 Global Opportunities Conference: Problems to Possibilities will be held on Friday, April 8, beginning at 9 a.m. in Plemmons Student Union. The conference will explore the role that innovative business and pioneering entrepreneurs can take in addressing pressing environmental and social issues.

Keynote speaker will be Erin Meezan, vice president of sustainability for Interface, a global leader in the design and production of carpet tiles. She will share the vision of her company, which the 2014 Sustainability Leaders Report ranked third among companies leading the way on sustainability – right after the clothing and gear company Patagonia.

For a traditional carpet company turned sustainable to make this list is testament to the vision of founder and chairman Ray Anderson, who initiated major changes in company practices as early as 1994.  Since then, Interface has reduced waste to landfill by 91 percent, cut down water intake by 86 percent and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 73 percent. Currently, 50 percent of Interface’s total raw materials are recycled or bio-based and 45 percent of their energy use comes from renewable sources. Mission Zero, the company’s visionary goal, is to source 100 percent of energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The Interface story is part of the documentary “So Right, So Smart.”

Meezan gives voice to the company’s conscience, ensuring that strategy and goals are in sync with the aggressive sustainability vision established more than 20 years ago. She leads a team that provides technical assistance and support to the company’s global business, addressing sustainability at all levels – from operations and management, to employees and customers, and in policy forums. She also keeps a finger on the pulse of the company’s transformed culture, a by-product of sustainability thinking that has been critical in driving innovation and retaining and attracting talented employees. She and her team are focused on nourishing and reinforcing the company’s culture and documenting its evolution.

Other conference speakers will be Dr. Dan Fogel, director of graduate sustainability studies at Wake Forest University, and Dr. Jeremy Ferrell, assistant professor of sustainable technology at Appalachian State, on “Nature’s Price” and “Turning Waste into Resource in Latin America.” Students will present stories of innovative and sustainable thinking abroad drawn from their experiences in Cambodia, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Taiwan and South Korea.

The Global Opportunities Conference is presented by Appalachian’s Walker College of Business with additional support provided by the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), University College, the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department, and James E. Holshouser Distinguished Professor of Ethics.

Avery Habitat Golf Tournament Set for May 13, Register by April 15

Linville Golf Club at Eseeola Lodge will host this year’s Avery County Habitat Spring Mountain Classic. As one of the top ranked courses in NC, this Donald Ross design is the original Avery County course and a welcome host to the inaugural spring edition of the Mountain Classic!

Prizes will be awarded in both gross and net divisions.

Shotgun start is set for 12:30 p.m. on May 13. $200 per player, Texas Scramble format. Call 828-733-1909 or visit for registration forms. Register by April 15. All contributions are tax deductible and all proceeds will benefit Avery County Habitat for Humanity.

Kid-Friendly Fun at High Gravity Adventures

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the High Country and experience high-flying aerial adventure at High Gravity Adventures located in Blowing Rock, N.C. High Gravity Adventures is a place the whole family can experience adventure together, and kids as young as four-years-old are welcome to enter the vertical world on their very own Kids’ Course. Below is a run-down of what guests with kids can expect at High Gravity Adventures for the perfect family outing that you can share with your readers. The park just opened its doors for the 2016 season on March 18!

·         Designed for Kids – The Kids’ Course itself was built lower to the ground with young explorers in mind. Utilizing state-of-the-art systems and leading technology, the park prides itself on adhering to industry leading standards for construction, inspection, equipment and staff training. “Ground School” is also an important first step that each guest must complete before entering the course. This staff-led orientation is where climbers will be introduced to the equipment and course procedures before taking to the air. Parents are also welcome to join their child during this orientation.

·         Explore Independently or Together – For kids ages four to seven, a responsible adult (i.e. parent, chaperone, teacher, etc.) must be present while they are exploring their new found aerial playground. This means after the “Ground School” orientation, parents have the option of heading over to the Kids’ Course for an adventure together with their child or taking pictures from Adirondack chairs from the spacious observation desk – the decision is entirely up to them. The purchase of an additional kid’s ticket is required for parents to explore the course with their child.

·         Juniors and Young Adults – Juniors, from ages seven to 10, can even explore the Adult Course as long as they are accompanied by an adult. An adult must be present to help kids who may not be tall enough to move through all areas of the course by assisting with equipment transitions. Young adults, from ages 11 to 13, are allowed to be in the course on their own, but a responsible adult must be preset on the observation deck. Only kids ages 14 and older can climb at High Gravity Adventures without a chaperone present.

·         Activities on the Course – There are many exciting elements on the course from which kids can choose, such as walking over aerial bridges, crossing tight-rope walks, swinging through floating foot loops and traversing giant spiders’ webs from a height of their choosing. Unlike zip lines or canopy tours, individual climbers can decide what route to take and the height with which they’re comfortable. Whether your kid wants to stay at 15 feet at the Kids’ Course or climb up to 50 feet in the adult course, the decision is entirely up to them at High Gravity Adventures.

CCC&TI Offers Free Citizenship Prep Course

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s College and Career Readiness Division will be offering a free U.S. Citizenship Preparation Class for students interested in sitting for the U.S. Citizenship Exam.

The class will run April 12 to June 28 and meets Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Caldwell Campus. An intermediate level of English is needed for the course.

According to CCC&TI’s English as a Second Language Director, Melissa Darling, those who think they may be interested in sitting for the exam in the near future should take advantage of the opportunity for the free class. “The class is only offered once or twice a year as demand in the community dictates, but it’s a great resource for anyone who plans to apply for U.S. Citizenship,” said Darling.

For more information or to register for the class, call CCC&TI ESL Director Melissa Darling at 822-726-2246.

Carolina Farm Credit Releases Annual Report

Vance C. Dalton, Jr., CEO of Carolina Farm Credit announces that the association recently published its 2015 annual report. The report’s theme celebrates being Farmer Strong.  The report highlights the AG Biz Planner and Corporate Mission Fund programs.

The report also discloses Carolina Farm Credit’s 2015 financial performance. Carolina Farm Credit reported net earnings of $29.9 million in 2015.  These earnings generated a strong return on assets of 2.10%.  Loan volume grew just under 2% in 2015.

Carolina Farm Credit returned $18.8 million in cash to members in 2015: $5.71 million in patronage refunds paid in in the spring and $13.1 million paid as surplus allocated refunds in the fall.  This marked the 28th consecutive year of patronage refunds.  Members received these checks at customer appreciation events held by each of the 34 Carolina Farm Credit branch offices.

“2015 was a very good year for Carolina Farm Credit,” said Carolina Farm Credit CEO, Vance C. Dalton, Jr. “Operating as a cooperative enabled us to return a significant portion of our earnings to the farmer members to be invested back into their operations and local communities.”

Carolina Farm Credit’s 2015 annual reports were mailed to each stockholder/member at the end of March. Visit Carolina Farm Credit’s website to view the report online.

Carolina Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative providing financing to full and part-time farmers and agricultural-related businesses and also provides financing for the construction and purchase of homes in 54 counties through 34 branch offices.  Other financial services available are credit life insurance, appraisal services, leasing programs and financial planning.

For 100 years Farm Credit has been supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services.

Carolina Farm Credit serves over 9,200 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.4 billion.  The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Boone, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Concord, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Siler City, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Wadesboro, Waynesville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, and Yanceyville.

Carolina Farm Credit was recognized as a 2015 Best Employer in North Carolina.  The list of theBest Employers in North Carolina was created by Business North Carolina, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – NC State Council and Best Companies Group.

Directors for Carolina Farm Credit are L. Kim Starnes, Chairman, Salisbury; W. Rex Bell, Vice-Chairman, Statesville; John M. Barnard, Statesville; E. Bernard Beck, Seagrove; Mark A. Bray, Lawsonville; David M. Coltrane, Pleasant Garden; Susie J. Gambill, Sparta; Joseph A. Lail, Shelby; Clark M. Newlin, Haw River; Thomas E. Porter, Jr., Concord;  Tony L. Ragan, Sanford; D. Kaleb Rathbone, Waynesville; Lewis E. Smith, Lincolnton; Vickie N. Smitherman, East Bend; Dr. Alton Thompson, Summerfield.

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