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Article Published: Apr. 28, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

State unemployment rates decreases in past year

North Carolina gained 13,900 non-farm jobs in March, while the state's unemployment rate decreased to 9.7 percent, according to a report from the Employment Security Commission (ESC) of North Carolina.

This is the third consecutive month of non-farm jobs increasing.

"It's encouraging to see job growth in each of the first three months of the year," ESC chairman Lynn R. Holmes said. "We will continue to collaborate with our workforce partners in keeping with Gov. Perdue's mission to grow jobs in North Carolina. Our offices statewide also remain committed to providing resources to those looking for work and those needing unemployment benefits."
Seasonally adjusted total non-farm industry employment, as gathered through the monthly establishment survey, increased by 13,900 to 3,894,700 in March.

The largest over-the-month employment increase occurred in professional and business services (+6,000). The largest decrease was in other services (-1,600) and manufacturing (-600). Over the year, non-farm industry employment has increased by 36,500 jobs.

The number of people employed (seasonally adjusted) increased by 13,402 to 4,043,437. The number of people unemployed decreased by 1,949 workers, to 434,996. Since this time last year, the number of people unemployed has decreased by 80,359 and the number of workers employed is down 3,038. The state unemployment rate in March 2010 was 11.3 percent.

ASU student newspaper judged first class

The Appalachian, the student newspaper at Appalachian State University, was recently judged First Class in the Associated Collegiate Press's annual critique of member newspapers.
In addition to the First Class designation, the newspaper received three Marks of Distinction for Coverage and Content, Writing and Editing, and Leadership.

"Overall, this is an outstanding paper that has great content and appears to clearly understand its audience," said Vincent F. Filak, Ph.D., who critiqued the newspaper for the fall and spring semesters.
Filak, an assistant professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., is the faculty adviser to the Ball State Daily News and author of "Convergent Journalism an Introduction: Writing and Producing Across Media."

Filak cited The Appalachian's "amazingly good array of stories" and the "strong ties to student life" reflected in many stories.

In his critique of editorials and opinion pieces, Filak said, "The editorials were great. You hit on things that were local and that mattered, such as the health of your chancellor, election coverage, and religion on the mall. These things all had strong local ties, and you made compelling arguments about them. These were short, tight and strong pieces."

"I am extremely proud of our students' accomplishments," said David W. Freeman, director of student publications at ASU. "This critique shows the dedication our students bring to the practice of the craft of journalism."

Freeman said in his 21 years at Appalachian, the student newspaper has been critiqued annually and has achieved either All American, the highest level, or First Class, the next highest level in the ACP critique of college newspapers. In only two of those 21 years has the paper failed to win any Marks of Distinction. "Our student staff this year has continued that tradition of excellence and has much to be proud of," Freeman said.

The editorial board this year includes: William Liles Neal, editor in chief; Brittany Penland, associate editor for editorial content; Emily Melton, associate editor for online and production operations; Nash Dunn, news editor; Mary Elizabeth Robertson, lifestyles editor; Randi Kitts, sports editor; Justin Herberger, multimedia manager; Laura Turner, chief graphic designer; and Zack Wilson, chief photographer.

Wanted: Volunteer Weather Observers

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS), is looking for new volunteers across northwest North Carolina.

The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain spotters with a goal of providing a high density precipitation network that will supplement existing observations.

CoCoRaHS was born in 1998 with the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense storms. As more volunteers participated, rain, hail and snow maps were produced for every storm showing fascinating local patterns that were of great interest to scientists and the public.

North Carolina became the 21st state to establish the CoCoRaHS program in 2007, and by 2010, the CoCoRaHS network had reached all 50 states with eight to 10,000 observations being reported each day.

Through CoCoRaHS, thousands of volunteers, young and old, document the size, intensity, duration and patterns of rain, hail and snow by taking simple measurements in their own backyards.

How does one become a CoCoRaHS observer? Visit and click on the "Join CoCoRaHS" emblem on the upper right side of the main website.

MT Cutest Pet Contest ends April 30

The Mountain Times' Cutest Pet Photo Contest, sponsored by The Pet Place, is coming to a furry finish.

The contest ends April 30, but it's not too late to vote or register. For a $10 registration fee, readers can submit photos of their pets and let readers decide who's the cutest. Upon entering the contest, participants immediately receive a $5 coupon to The Pet Place, located at 240 Shadowline Drive, Suite Aa10.

Voting costs 10 cents per vote and is available in blocks of 25 ($2.50), 50 ($5) or 100 ($10). Proceeds benefit the Watauga Humane Society.

Winners - or, at least, their owners - will receive more than $200 in gift certificates to The Pet Place, with first winning $125, second $75 and third $25.

The results will be published in the May 5 issue of The Mountain Times.

To participate, visit

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