Still no budget for ASU
With the start of the next fiscal year beginning July 1, Appalachian State University still has no budget news.
Chancellor Ken Peacock issued a memo to update ASU faculty and supporters on the current legislative negotiations, but uncertainty still remains. However, ASU budget cuts are virtually assured.
"Last week, members of the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate began meeting to negotiate a final budget proposal to present to Governor Beverly Perdue," Peacock said.
"These members of the Conference Committee fully intend to submit a balanced budget to Governor Perdue by June 29 in order for a new budget to be in place by the beginning of the new fiscal year, July 1.
"However, many differences remain between the House and Senate regarding funding priorities, particularly priorities of the UNC System. The most significant is the magnitude of the 'Management Flexibility Reduction,' or overall budget cut.
The House budget allows for a cut to the UNC System of $146 million, which would translate to over $9 million for Appalachian State University; the Senate budget allows for a $50 million cut to the universities translating to approximately $3 million for Appalachian. Budget cuts are a certainty; the amount is still being debated."
Peacock also said the amount of federal funding sent to North Carolina could also affect the overall state budget and the steepness of cuts. Without full Medicaid funding, the state may be facing an additional $500 million shortfall.
Peacock also encouraged ASU supporters to lobby for university spending: "In the past month, Appalachian faculty, staff, alumni, parents and students have met with legislators in Raleigh, including Senator Marc Basnight, Speaker Joe Hackney and our Watauga County delegates, Senator Steve Goss and Representative Cullie Tarleton.
"Like UNC System President Erskine Bowles, I remain extremely concerned about the state budget, but feel hopeful that the Conference Committee members understand the importance of a strong higher education system and will adopt a budget that is less detrimental to the university than the House budget."
Peacock told the ASU trustees on June 18 that university leaders should remain focused on the long-term goals and the core mission of the university despite financial challenges.
- Scott Nicholson
ASU monitors off-campus problems
Appalachian State University has begun identifying off-campus areas that yield high numbers of neighborhood complaints.
Kendal McDevitt from the ASU Office of Student Development reported to the ASU trustees June 18 on the Town-Gown Committee, which created a student advisory council to help with neighborhood issues for off-campus students.
The committee has created maps to identify off-campus areas that have large student populations and to help track noise and alcohol violations.
"We have some ideas about possible strategies but our first step is to really evaluate and investigate these maps," McDevitt said. "That is what our focus is for the summer."
McDevitt said the initiative grew from neighborhood meetings with the Town-Gown Committee that identified concerns of disruptive behavior.
- Scott Nicholson
Herman named 2010 Woman of Vision
Jennifer Herman, executive director of OASIS for the past two decades, was named the Appalachian Women's Fund (AWF) "Woman of Vision" for 2010. The surprise announcement was made on Thursday, June 24, during the annual AWF Woman of Vision Award Luncheon and Silent Auction at the Blowing Rock Country Club.
Since 1990, Herman has been a driving force for OASIS, which is an acronym for Opposing Abuse with Services, Information and Shelter, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Watauga County.
Under Herman's leadership, OASIS has grown from a small women's shelter housed in the basement of a Boone church into a multi-facility operation helping hundreds of women and children every year.
The Appalachian Women's Fund is a non-profit charitable organization that annually raises tens of thousands of dollars for High Country agencies dedicated to bettering the lives of women and girls. Despite a difficult economy, the AWF distributed $55,000 in 2009 to nearly a dozen programs that assist women and girls in the Appalachian Mountain area.
- Jeff Eason
Introducing the Watauga Riverkeeper Festival
Hosted by the Upper Watauga Riverkeeper program of Appalachian Voices, the Watauga Riverkeeper Festival will take place on Saturday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valle Crucis Community Park in Valle Crucis.
Designed to bring the community together in appreciation of our waterways and celebrate the unique biodiversity found in Appalachia's mountains and rivers, the event will feature live music with local artist Melissa Reaves, games for children and catered food. Appalachian Voices Business League Members, along with other environmentally conscious vendors, will be in attendance selling crafts, gear, food and more.
In addition to activities on land, the family-friendly event will allow attendees to float along the Watauga River. Guests can bring their own flotation devices or rent them at the park.
Donna Lisenby, the Upper Watauga Riverkeeper, came up with the idea for the festival as a way to celebrate the rivers and the outdoors with the people involved in protecting them.
"Providing people with a safe, fun and family friendly opportunity to experience the wonderfully unique biological diversity of our Appalachian mountain streams and rivers is an amazing way to connect people and the environment," Lisenby said. "We value, protect and preserve what we know and love. So, bring your friends and family and join us on the banks of the Watauga River to celebrate our region's wild mountain rivers."
Appalachian Voices is a Boone-based environmental organization with a mission to protect the land, air, water and people of the Appalachian region. The Upper Watauga Riverkeeper is the watchdog for the Elk and Watauga rivers and focuses on protecting the water quality and ecological health of the local watershed.
For more information, visit riverfest.appvoices.org or call (828) 262-1500.