Watauga's 'hard to count'
Watauga County has an "elevated" risk of its residents not mailing in their U.S. Census forms, which are hitting local mailboxes this week.
According to an analysis by Democracy North Carolina, a nonpartisan advocacy group promoting voter participation, Watauga County is ranked 50th in the state for having a "hard-to-count" population and is ranked near the bottom third of counties likely to have low mail responses.
The census forms are important in determining U.S. House of Representative seats, legislative redistricting and the disbursement of $400 billion in annual federal funding. The data is also used for placement of hospitals, schools, public transportation and roads.
The county has adopted a resolution supporting the census and encouraging people to mail in their forms after answering the 10 questions. Each mailed form saves up to $70 in tax money by saving a personal visit by an enumerator.
Watauga County's mail-in response rate was 55 percent in 1990 and 54 percent in 2000. The final response rate across the nation was 67 percent, while North Carolina's average was 64 percent in the last census.
Every person living in the residence, whether related or not, should be listed on the census forms. People should be counted in the residence where they most often sleep.
Census form responses are confidential and personal information can't be shared by census workers, with an unlawful disclosure punishment of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison.
- Scott Nicholson
Conference on world history, economics March 20
Dr. Miles Taylor is the keynote speaker for the fifth annual conference in world history and economics to be held at Appalachian State University March 20. The theme of this year's conference is "Cost and Politics of Empires."
Taylor is director of London's Institute of Historical Research and a world-renowned scholar of comparative social and political history, as well as the history of the British empire.
The conference will include presentations by scholars from Europe, Azerbaijan and the United States, as well as an undergraduate/graduate panel presentation and a panel for teachers on world history topics.
Conference organizers say the event will be of particular interest to community college teachers, high school teachers and graduate students, and will provide an opportunity for attendees to become acquainted with the most recent world history scholarship and trends.
The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. Registration is $50 for general participants, $20 for graduate students, and free for Appalachian faculty and students.
Register online at regstg.com/Registration/Introduction.aspx?rid=9202cad5-c462-4aca-be70-a5534abc8fbd
Passport Fair in Blowing Rock March 25
The Blowing Rock Post Office will hold a Passport Fair on Thursday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in its lobby at 977 Main St., Blowing Rock.
Applicants are encouraged in advance to print an application online at http://www.usps.com/passport and have it completed prior to going to the post office.
Currently, the State Department is proposing new fees for passport books, cards and other passport services that could increase the cost by up to $35 per adult. Following the public comment period, which ended March 11, the department may announce. For more information, visit travel.state.gov/passport/get/fees/fees_4734.html.
At present, most passports cost $100 for adults and $85 for children 15 years of age and younger.
To help the passport application process run smoothly and efficiently, the Postal Service recommends the following:
? Bring in proper proof of American citizenship. This must be either: a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state; a previous U.S. passport; a certificate of citizenship; or a naturalization certificate. (Note: A hospital-issued birth certificate alone is not acceptable.)
? Bring in proof of identity. This must be either: a previous U.S. passport; a naturalization certificate; a certificate of citizenship; or a current valid driver's license, government ID or military photo ID.
? The passport application requires two identical color photographs of the applicant, which are available at the post office for $15.
For additional information, contact the Blowing Rock Post Office at (828) 295-3589.