Article Published: Jun. 24, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Census takers still on the move

The current door-to-door phase of the 2010 Census is about 94 percent complete, but census workers may drop by your home in the coming weeks.

Since May 1, about 550,000 census employees have been going door-to-door nationwide to obtain completed census questionnaires from more than 47 million households that failed to return a form by April 16. About 3 million remain to be visited.

Until mid-August, households will be called to clarify answers provided on the census questionnaire -for example, the number of people listed at an address doesn't match the number of names provided.

In July, census workers will double-check vacant households and those deleted as "nonexistent" on April 1, the reference date for the 2010 census. Workers also will visit housing units from which the census received blank or incomplete forms.

During August, census workers will visit households for which a form has been received but whose address does not match an address in its master file. This visit also seeks to resolve suspected duplicate addresses within the same block.

Some households that mailed in a form have received a visit from a census worker. Reasons include incomplete or conflicting answers or forms received after the deadline.

Census takers will have an official ID badge and many will also carry a black bag marked with the words "U.S. Census Bureau." Census takers will never ask to come into your home, or ask for bank, credit card, or Social Security numbers.

Nationwide, 72 percent of U.S. households mailed back the form on time. The mail participation rate for North Carolina was 74 percent. Watauga County's mail-in participation rate was 68 percent.

- Scott Nicholson

County puts Sunday bow-hunting to a vote

A bill that would allow Watauga County to opt out of any law allowing Sunday bow hunting has passed the House of Representatives and is in a Senate committee.

The bill was introduced by N.C. Rep. Cullie Tarleton upon the request of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. Opinions expressed at public hearings were divided, with some saying hunting was traditionally not allowed on Sunday and might disturb peace and quiet as well as create a danger to those hiking in the woods.

Supporters of Sunday hunting said it allowed them another day to hunt, would create economic benefits, and showed that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission had no records of accidental deaths resulting from bow hunting. They also warned that banning Sunday hunting might violate the U.S. Constitution because it might suggest religious favoritism and restrict the right to bear arms.

The bill allows the county to hold a referendum that could decide the issue within its jurisdiction. Under the House version, Watauga is the only county included, though representatives from other districts have also expressed interested in opting out of the rules chance.

Tarleton said on the House floor that "There was a lot of concern on this issue in Watauga County... the commissioners felt the best thing they could do was put it to the vote of the people and let them decide for themselves, should the rule become effective."

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission changed the rules to allow Sunday bow hunting, but the change was challenged and now will be decided by the General Assembly. If the state upholds the rules change and allows Sunday bow hunting, then Watauga could hold a referendum.

The Watauga commissioners would have until Aug. 15 to schedule a referendum in time for the November General Election.

State jobless rate drops

The N.C. unemployment rate dropped from 10.8 percent to 10.3 percent in May, with an increase of 12,900 jobs.

The biggest increase in non-farm jobs was in government, with 16,100 jobs added, while 2,900 manufacturing jobs were lost. In the past year, the state has lost 3,300 jobs.

In May 2009, the state unemployment was 10.9 percent.

The national unemployment rate last month was 9.7 percent. Local figures will be released Friday.

- Scott Nicholson

CCCTI fundraiser continues

The Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is in the final weeks of its annual campaign to raise funds to support local students, and a team of volunteers is working hard to reach the Watauga goal of $45,000.

The overall annual fund goal is $310,000, and a team of volunteers is also working in Caldwell County to assure that this goal is met.

To date, about $35,000 of the $45,000 goal for the Watauga Campus has been donated, leaving about $10,000 yet to be raised before June 30, the campaign deadline.

The team of volunteers working on the campaign are Jason Triplett, Clayton Cooke, Rita Davis, Scott Eggers, Susan Jones, Joseph Miller, Julie O'Dell-Michie, Jan Watson, Pat Wilkie and Wade Wilmoth.

More than $40,000 in support from Watauga County businesses and individuals was raised during the 2009 campaign to help meet the overall goal of $300,000. Anyone interested in making a donation to support Watauga students may call any of the volunteers or Patty Wheeler at 295-7253.

For additional information, contact Anita Broach, foundation executive director, at 828-264-7670, ext. 2203.

N.C. Film Office debuts online movie location resource

North Carolinians may now showcase their properties as prospective locations for a movie or TV show, thanks to a new online resource announced today by the N.C. Film Office.

The web-based portal allows residents statewide to submit their residences, businesses, farms and other property, at no charge, for possible use by film crews.

The Film Office, along with Charlotte-based ReelScout, a national film location management company, launched the online feature on the Film Office's Web site, The system, called a location submission engine, lets residents showcase properties for use in movies, TV series and other productions.

The new web page will further expand the number and type of locations available statewide. Residents may use the online film location resource to submit various types of housing, historical sites, landscapes and other properties for film production use.

The website offers tips for photographing property, as well as film industry preferred standards. Once images are loaded, the Film Office will ensure that all information is complete and then activate the listing. Productions interested in particular locations will first contact the Film Office, which will then contact the owner and start negotiations for property use.

The motion picture industry brought more than $326 million in direct spending to North Carolina over the past three years, also employing thousands of people statewide. The state is home to the CW Network's One Tree Hill, as well as the upcoming feature, Main Street, starring Orlando Bloom and Colin Firth. In addition, the state serves as a background for hundreds of commercial and industrial productions each year.

The N.C. Film Office, part of the Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, is an agency of the N.C. Department of Commerce. The Film Office belongs to the Association of Film Commissioners International.

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