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Rally Calls on Navy to Abandon Site for Proposed Landing Strip

Seeking to shoot down the Navy's plans for an airstrip in eastern North Carolina, hundreds of people gathered in front of the state capitol Tuesday to urge state and national lawmakers to put an end to the project. The Navy's proposed air field would cover 30,000 acres across rural Washington and Beaufort counties, giving pilots a runway to practice difficult aircraft carrier landings.

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Newspaper Article

Rally Calls on Navy to Abandon Site for Proposed Landing Strip

BY Mike Baker

Seeking to shoot down the Navy's plans for an airstrip in eastern North Carolina, hundreds of people gathered in front of the state capitol Tuesday to urge state and national lawmakers to put an end to the project. The Navy's proposed air field would cover 30,000 acres across rural Washington and Beaufort counties, giving pilots a runway to practice difficult aircraft carrier landings.

05/16/2006
Cable-Style TV Regulation Proposal Could Change Service, Rates

Chapel Hill's cable public access channel thrives on a shoestring $140,000 budget thanks to volunteers in a college town where conviction and creativity breed shows like "Free the Mind 101," and "Speak Out!" "First come, first serve, First Amendment," said Chad Johnston, executive director of The People's Channel, the nonprofit that runs Channel 8 for about 20,000 cable subscribers in Orange County. "This is one of the few places where a community has the chance to speak to itself through the media."

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Newspaper Article

Cable-Style TV Regulation Proposal Could Change Service, Rates

BY Gary Robertson

Chapel Hill's cable public access channel thrives on a shoestring $140,000 budget thanks to volunteers in a college town where conviction and creativity breed shows like "Free the Mind 101," and "Speak Out!" "First come, first serve, First Amendment," said Chad Johnston, executive director of The People's Channel, the nonprofit that runs Channel 8 for about 20,000 cable subscribers in Orange County. "This is one of the few places where a community has the chance to speak to itself through the media."

04/24/2006
U.S. role in world scrutinized at forum

A discussion of America's role in the world came to Charlotte on Wednesday, sparking debate about globalization, outsourcing and the United States' international reputation. Several hundred people attended "The People Speak" town hall meeting, a project launched last year by the Washington-based United Nations Foundation to engage Americans in a discussion about global issues. The forum took place at UNC Charlotte.

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U.S. role in world scrutinized at forum

BY EARNEST WINSTON

A discussion of America's role in the world came to Charlotte on Wednesday, sparking debate about globalization, outsourcing and the United States' international reputation. Several hundred people attended "The People Speak" town hall meeting, a project launched last year by the Washington-based United Nations Foundation to engage Americans in a discussion about global issues. The forum took place at UNC Charlotte.

09/30/2004
Ballantine affirms no-new-tax pledge

Republican gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine has signed a second no-new-taxes pledge. Ballantine made the promise to the advocacy group FreedomWorks/Citizens for a Sound Economy. It says: "I pledge that in order to keep the burden of taxation in North Carolina no higher than its present level through the year 2008, I will not support new tax increases!"

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Ballantine affirms no-new-tax pledge

BY ANNA GRIFFIN

Republican gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine has signed a second no-new-taxes pledge. Ballantine made the promise to the advocacy group FreedomWorks/Citizens for a Sound Economy. It says: "I pledge that in order to keep the burden of taxation in North Carolina no higher than its present level through the year 2008, I will not support new tax increases!"

09/24/2004
Watchdog group out of business

STATESVILLE Iredell Citizens for Integrity in Government announced that it disbanded Tuesday night after 10 years as a watchdog group on county government. Buddy Hemric, the group's chairman, said he announced his resignation and made the motion to disband the organization. In part of his motion, Hemric said that "the time has come to go into other endeavors of politics. I want to thank all of you that have stood united in the fight for better government over the past 10 years."

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Watchdog group out of business

STATESVILLE Iredell Citizens for Integrity in Government announced that it disbanded Tuesday night after 10 years as a watchdog group on county government. Buddy Hemric, the group's chairman, said he announced his resignation and made the motion to disband the organization. In part of his motion, Hemric said that "the time has come to go into other endeavors of politics. I want to thank all of you that have stood united in the fight for better government over the past 10 years."

12/14/2003
WHY BUY QUOTAS ON TOBACCO?

The article "R.J. Reynolds protests Dole assessment plan" (Aug. 25) suggests that North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) endorses the proposed buyout of the federal tobacco quota. However, CSE, a grassroots organization that advocates lower taxes, less government and more freedom, does not endorse the buyout.

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WHY BUY QUOTAS ON TOBACCO?

BY PAUL BECKNER

The article "R.J. Reynolds protests Dole assessment plan" (Aug. 25) suggests that North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) endorses the proposed buyout of the federal tobacco quota. However, CSE, a grassroots organization that advocates lower taxes, less government and more freedom, does not endorse the buyout.

09/10/2003
R.J. Reynolds protests Dole assessment plan;

Copyright 2003 The Charlotte Observer. All rights reserved. Monday, August 25, 2003 Local WINSTON-SALEM The largest cigarette maker in North Carolina says its disagrees with a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., to charge cigarette companies an assessment to pay for a proposed buyout of federal tobacco quota. A buyout could pump at least $4 billion into the state's rural economy, but officials at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. say the assessment breaks the spirit of Dole's pledge not to support tax increases.

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R.J. Reynolds protests Dole assessment plan;

BY Associated Press

Copyright 2003 The Charlotte Observer. All rights reserved. Monday, August 25, 2003 Local WINSTON-SALEM The largest cigarette maker in North Carolina says its disagrees with a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., to charge cigarette companies an assessment to pay for a proposed buyout of federal tobacco quota. A buyout could pump at least $4 billion into the state's rural economy, but officials at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. say the assessment breaks the spirit of Dole's pledge not to support tax increases.

08/25/2003
Notebook

Two citizens groups to join forces Iredell Citizens for Integrity will join forces with Washington, D.C.-based Citizens for a Sound Economy to bring a stronger source of information on government to Iredell County, said Buddy Hemric, president of the local group. "With the strength of CSE and their network of a Speakers Bureau, we will have access to a large source of information to keep (residents) better informed about what is taking place in Raleigh and Washington," Hemric said in a written statement last week. Citizens for a Sound Economy also has a Raleigh office. The group's objective is less government and lower taxes. Details: Hemric at (704) 876-4922. * Humane Society's 'Kindness' effort The Iredell County Humane Society will offer a summer program called "Kindness to Animals." The society will educate children of all ages during the summer on proper animal treatment, at camps, Bible schools, summer schools, day-care centers and other locations. Details: Maxine Middlesworth at (704) 872-5340. * Hooper Center receives award The Winnie L. Hooper Center recently received an award from the nonprofit I-Care Inc. for partnering to serve youth in Iredell County. One of the youth recognized for her achievement was Reneta Stewart, a sophomore at Mooresville Senior High School. Reneta is a member of the National Vocational Technical Honor Society at N.F. Woods Technology Center. She also is a member of her youth choir, New Life, at United Church of Christ. Reneta is the daughter of Terri Howard and Barry Stewart of Mooresville.

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Notebook

Two citizens groups to join forces Iredell Citizens for Integrity will join forces with Washington, D.C.-based Citizens for a Sound Economy to bring a stronger source of information on government to Iredell County, said Buddy Hemric, president of the local group. "With the strength of CSE and their network of a Speakers Bureau, we will have access to a large source of information to keep (residents) better informed about what is taking place in Raleigh and Washington," Hemric said in a written statement last week. Citizens for a Sound Economy also has a Raleigh office. The group's objective is less government and lower taxes. Details: Hemric at (704) 876-4922. * Humane Society's 'Kindness' effort The Iredell County Humane Society will offer a summer program called "Kindness to Animals." The society will educate children of all ages during the summer on proper animal treatment, at camps, Bible schools, summer schools, day-care centers and other locations. Details: Maxine Middlesworth at (704) 872-5340. * Hooper Center receives award The Winnie L. Hooper Center recently received an award from the nonprofit I-Care Inc. for partnering to serve youth in Iredell County. One of the youth recognized for her achievement was Reneta Stewart, a sophomore at Mooresville Senior High School. Reneta is a member of the National Vocational Technical Honor Society at N.F. Woods Technology Center. She also is a member of her youth choir, New Life, at United Church of Christ. Reneta is the daughter of Terri Howard and Barry Stewart of Mooresville.

05/18/2003
Budget Would Curtail Land Buys

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund, North Carolina's premiere source of land-conservation money, is once again the target of budget-slashing legislators. N.C. House members last week shaved 75 percent off the $100 million that, by state law, the fund is due. But the fund is also an example of this session's special brand of in-your-face environmental legislation. Some bills, for the first time in memory, have attempted to eliminate the jobs of "adversarial" state regulators. Others would place critical limits on key existing environmental laws. A provision attached to the House budget, for example, prevents trust-fund acquisitions in counties where state or federal governments own 40 percent or more of the land. Swain and Macon counties, site of one of the state's highest conservation priorities, fit that description. The trust fund board last week gave initial approval to a $6 million grant to help buy the 4,400 acres of wilderness there, along the Little Tennessee River. The trust-fund measure was later softened to allow acquisitions if county commissioners approve. Broad public support has greeted the purchase of the Needmore tract, as the mountain property is known, making the budget provision an unlikely handicap. Rep. Roger West, the Cherokee County Republican who sponsored the provision, said he's against more government acquisitions in mountain counties dominated by national forests and parks that are exempt from county property taxes. West made another point via legislation. This one was about state environmental officials, who he said are too slow to issue permits and too fast to levy fines. He sponsored a budget provision that would eliminate the job of a regional air-quality supervisor who fined a contracting company from West's district $78,000 last year. West said he filed the provision because Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials wouldn't discuss the fine with him. The House co-speakers killed his measure last week. West's name also appeared on a bill, sponsored by Rep. Connie Wilson, R-Mecklenburg, that would essentially fire two "adversarial" state wetlands officials. That measure will be withdrawn, West said. "It seems like they're not pro-environment but anti-progress," West said of the environmental officials. "I'm hearing from people in the mountains who can't get development projects done. It seems like there's a problem that needs to be looked into. They're holding up progress, and progress is something I like." Advocates haven't seen so many anti-environmental measures since 1995, when property-rights supporters threatened to block legislation, said Molly Diggins, state director of the Sierra Club. One possible explanation: A large number of new legislators and the unusual situation of co-speakers leading the House, she said, may give interest groups higher hopes of influencing lawmakers. Diggins attributes chafing over environmental permits, in part, to chronically understaffed state agencies. Permit fees, which help pay for staff, haven't increased since 1989. "Most often," Diggins added, "it's people not really wanting to abide by their permits." It's deja vu for some measures emerging this spring. Wilson sponsored a bill that requires state agencies to consider the economic impact of new rules on small business, and forbids state rules that are tougher than federal law. The last provision reminds old-timers of the so-called Hardison amendments, which forbade stronger state environmental rules than the feds' rules. The legislature repealed those limits in 1991. In the mid-1990s, responding to pollution from hog farms, the state adopted new tougher rules that Wilson's bill would have prevented. Property rights also bubbled up again this year, for the sixth time, by Diggins' count. A bill Wilson co-sponsored would make local governments pay "just compensation" for billboards or other structures they want removed. It also says giving billboard owners a period of years in which to remove their signs, a typical approach, doesn't count as compensation. The anti-tax group Citizens for a Sound Economy rallied around property rights in recent years as the state Environmental Management Commission moved toward requiring buffer zones on the Catawba River. It's now exhorting its members to attend public hearings on state stormwater rules, which CSE charges would be stricter than the federal government requires. "The environmental lobby and the EMC seem to have tremendous power, whether it's highways or buffers," said CSE state director Jonathan Hill. Bill Holman, a longtime environmental lobbyist and former DENR secretary, said the environment is usually in the middle of a legislative tug-of-war. Now executive director of the Clean Water fund, Holman said he doesn't detect a backlash as much as a need to educate House members about the importance of environmental programs. Last year, state law called for the fund to get $70 million a year. Statewide cutbacks reduced the appropriation to $66.5 million. State law says the appropriation is supposed to rise to $100 million for each of the next two fiscal years. The House budget set it at $25 million. The Senate still must act. The fund is reviewing about $100 million in grant requests, including projects to clean up Charlotte's Little Sugar Creek, protect the city's water intake and buy shoreline on the South Fork Catawba River. Holman expects new requests totaling a similar amount later this year. The state needs to spend $176 million more each year to reach its goal of conserving 1 million acres by 2010, says a new study by UNC Chapel Hill's Environmental Finance Center. "It's hard times" in the state budget, Holman said. "But I think it also shows we have work to do in the House to make investments in clean water more important."

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Budget Would Curtail Land Buys

BY Bruce Henderson

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund, North Carolina's premiere source of land-conservation money, is once again the target of budget-slashing legislators. N.C. House members last week shaved 75 percent off the $100 million that, by state law, the fund is due. But the fund is also an example of this session's special brand of in-your-face environmental legislation. Some bills, for the first time in memory, have attempted to eliminate the jobs of "adversarial" state regulators. Others would place critical limits on key existing environmental laws. A provision attached to the House budget, for example, prevents trust-fund acquisitions in counties where state or federal governments own 40 percent or more of the land. Swain and Macon counties, site of one of the state's highest conservation priorities, fit that description. The trust fund board last week gave initial approval to a $6 million grant to help buy the 4,400 acres of wilderness there, along the Little Tennessee River. The trust-fund measure was later softened to allow acquisitions if county commissioners approve. Broad public support has greeted the purchase of the Needmore tract, as the mountain property is known, making the budget provision an unlikely handicap. Rep. Roger West, the Cherokee County Republican who sponsored the provision, said he's against more government acquisitions in mountain counties dominated by national forests and parks that are exempt from county property taxes. West made another point via legislation. This one was about state environmental officials, who he said are too slow to issue permits and too fast to levy fines. He sponsored a budget provision that would eliminate the job of a regional air-quality supervisor who fined a contracting company from West's district $78,000 last year. West said he filed the provision because Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials wouldn't discuss the fine with him. The House co-speakers killed his measure last week. West's name also appeared on a bill, sponsored by Rep. Connie Wilson, R-Mecklenburg, that would essentially fire two "adversarial" state wetlands officials. That measure will be withdrawn, West said. "It seems like they're not pro-environment but anti-progress," West said of the environmental officials. "I'm hearing from people in the mountains who can't get development projects done. It seems like there's a problem that needs to be looked into. They're holding up progress, and progress is something I like." Advocates haven't seen so many anti-environmental measures since 1995, when property-rights supporters threatened to block legislation, said Molly Diggins, state director of the Sierra Club. One possible explanation: A large number of new legislators and the unusual situation of co-speakers leading the House, she said, may give interest groups higher hopes of influencing lawmakers. Diggins attributes chafing over environmental permits, in part, to chronically understaffed state agencies. Permit fees, which help pay for staff, haven't increased since 1989. "Most often," Diggins added, "it's people not really wanting to abide by their permits." It's deja vu for some measures emerging this spring. Wilson sponsored a bill that requires state agencies to consider the economic impact of new rules on small business, and forbids state rules that are tougher than federal law. The last provision reminds old-timers of the so-called Hardison amendments, which forbade stronger state environmental rules than the feds' rules. The legislature repealed those limits in 1991. In the mid-1990s, responding to pollution from hog farms, the state adopted new tougher rules that Wilson's bill would have prevented. Property rights also bubbled up again this year, for the sixth time, by Diggins' count. A bill Wilson co-sponsored would make local governments pay "just compensation" for billboards or other structures they want removed. It also says giving billboard owners a period of years in which to remove their signs, a typical approach, doesn't count as compensation. The anti-tax group Citizens for a Sound Economy rallied around property rights in recent years as the state Environmental Management Commission moved toward requiring buffer zones on the Catawba River. It's now exhorting its members to attend public hearings on state stormwater rules, which CSE charges would be stricter than the federal government requires. "The environmental lobby and the EMC seem to have tremendous power, whether it's highways or buffers," said CSE state director Jonathan Hill. Bill Holman, a longtime environmental lobbyist and former DENR secretary, said the environment is usually in the middle of a legislative tug-of-war. Now executive director of the Clean Water fund, Holman said he doesn't detect a backlash as much as a need to educate House members about the importance of environmental programs. Last year, state law called for the fund to get $70 million a year. Statewide cutbacks reduced the appropriation to $66.5 million. State law says the appropriation is supposed to rise to $100 million for each of the next two fiscal years. The House budget set it at $25 million. The Senate still must act. The fund is reviewing about $100 million in grant requests, including projects to clean up Charlotte's Little Sugar Creek, protect the city's water intake and buy shoreline on the South Fork Catawba River. Holman expects new requests totaling a similar amount later this year. The state needs to spend $176 million more each year to reach its goal of conserving 1 million acres by 2010, says a new study by UNC Chapel Hill's Environmental Finance Center. "It's hard times" in the state budget, Holman said. "But I think it also shows we have work to do in the House to make investments in clean water more important."

04/20/2003
GASTON SOURCE

A chance to take a hand in Mount Holly's future PLANNING The first round of community forums about planning Mount Holly's future begins Monday. Charlotte architect and developer Ron Morgan will lead the sessions, to be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays this month. In November, Morgan led a city-sponsored forum to discuss ways of enhancing the city's image, which is expected to be affected by a new section of Interstate 485. Morgan will guide three committees through a four-meeting process to produce recommendations for a possible referendum June 3. The committees will focus on parks, greenways and riverfront; downtown and center city; and restaurants and entertainment. Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. as follows: Parks/greenway committee - Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27, at the First Presbyterian Church, 133 South Main St. Downtown/center city - Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28, at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters, 433 Killian Ave. Restaurants and entertainment - Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30, also at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters. To join a committee, come to its first meeting or call City Hall at (704) 827-3931. Committee, delegate nominations on tab GOVERNMENT The Belmont City Council on Monday will consider committee and delegate appointments. Also on the agenda is consideration of a recommendation from the Belmont-Mount Holly Soil Erosion Ordinance Committee. The council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 115 N. Main St. Lincoln health board will elect officers ELECTION The Lincoln County Board of Health will elect new officers at its meeting Tuesday. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Lincoln County Health Department, 151 Sigmon Road, Lincolnton. Property-tax penalty kicks in on Tuesday TAXES Monday is the last day Gaston County residents can pay their property taxes without being penalized. Payments postmarked after Jan. 6 are subject to a 2 percent interest fee. Beginning Feb. 1, .75 percent is added each month until the account is paid. The county can collect delinquent taxes by garnishing wages or foreclosing on the property. To pay with a credit card online, visit: www.co.gaston.nc.us/TaxDept/index.HTM. Or, mail payments to: Gaston County Tax Department, P.O. Box 580326, Charlotte, N.C. 28258-0326. The tax office, at 212 W. Main St. in Gastonia, also accepts hand-delivered payments. Citizen panel asks no-tax-hike pledge TAXES The Lincoln County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy is asking county commissioners to promise not to raise taxes. The organization wants at least three commissioners to sign a "no tax" pledge to prevent a tax increase in fiscal year 2003-04. The pledges will be mailed to commissioners and are due by Feb. 10. In 2001, commissioners raised the tax rate by 22 percent, to 62 cents per $100 of valuation. Last year, commissioners voted to keep the same tax rate. But commissioners are now saying they may have to raise taxes to pay for an additional $1.1 million in needed school improvements. Applications invited for food, shelter aid GRANT Local nonprofit or community organizations may be eligible for federal money for emergency food and shelter programs. Gaston County received more than $165,000 from a national board headed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A local board made up of volunteers will determine how the money is distributed in Gaston County. Applicants must be private nonprofit organizations or government agencies, have an accounting system, be capable of providing emergency food or shelter, and have a board if they are a volunteer group. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17. Call Mary Ann Walker at the United Way of Gaston County at (704) 864-4554 ext. 14 or e-mail mwalkeruw14@hotmail. com.

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GASTON SOURCE

BY JOE DEPRIEST, ALICE GREGORY

A chance to take a hand in Mount Holly's future PLANNING The first round of community forums about planning Mount Holly's future begins Monday. Charlotte architect and developer Ron Morgan will lead the sessions, to be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays this month. In November, Morgan led a city-sponsored forum to discuss ways of enhancing the city's image, which is expected to be affected by a new section of Interstate 485. Morgan will guide three committees through a four-meeting process to produce recommendations for a possible referendum June 3. The committees will focus on parks, greenways and riverfront; downtown and center city; and restaurants and entertainment. Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. as follows: Parks/greenway committee - Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27, at the First Presbyterian Church, 133 South Main St. Downtown/center city - Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28, at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters, 433 Killian Ave. Restaurants and entertainment - Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30, also at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters. To join a committee, come to its first meeting or call City Hall at (704) 827-3931. Committee, delegate nominations on tab GOVERNMENT The Belmont City Council on Monday will consider committee and delegate appointments. Also on the agenda is consideration of a recommendation from the Belmont-Mount Holly Soil Erosion Ordinance Committee. The council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 115 N. Main St. Lincoln health board will elect officers ELECTION The Lincoln County Board of Health will elect new officers at its meeting Tuesday. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Lincoln County Health Department, 151 Sigmon Road, Lincolnton. Property-tax penalty kicks in on Tuesday TAXES Monday is the last day Gaston County residents can pay their property taxes without being penalized. Payments postmarked after Jan. 6 are subject to a 2 percent interest fee. Beginning Feb. 1, .75 percent is added each month until the account is paid. The county can collect delinquent taxes by garnishing wages or foreclosing on the property. To pay with a credit card online, visit: www.co.gaston.nc.us/TaxDept/index.HTM. Or, mail payments to: Gaston County Tax Department, P.O. Box 580326, Charlotte, N.C. 28258-0326. The tax office, at 212 W. Main St. in Gastonia, also accepts hand-delivered payments. Citizen panel asks no-tax-hike pledge TAXES The Lincoln County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy is asking county commissioners to promise not to raise taxes. The organization wants at least three commissioners to sign a "no tax" pledge to prevent a tax increase in fiscal year 2003-04. The pledges will be mailed to commissioners and are due by Feb. 10. In 2001, commissioners raised the tax rate by 22 percent, to 62 cents per $100 of valuation. Last year, commissioners voted to keep the same tax rate. But commissioners are now saying they may have to raise taxes to pay for an additional $1.1 million in needed school improvements. Applications invited for food, shelter aid GRANT Local nonprofit or community organizations may be eligible for federal money for emergency food and shelter programs. Gaston County received more than $165,000 from a national board headed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A local board made up of volunteers will determine how the money is distributed in Gaston County. Applicants must be private nonprofit organizations or government agencies, have an accounting system, be capable of providing emergency food or shelter, and have a board if they are a volunteer group. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17. Call Mary Ann Walker at the United Way of Gaston County at (704) 864-4554 ext. 14 or e-mail mwalkeruw14@hotmail. com.

01/05/2003

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