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When it comes to fishing, Western Carolina University art professor Jon Jicha is happy angling in all kinds of waters.

But recently, Jicha painted a couple of his favorite fish for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to use in two new vehicle plate designs. The designs show native brook trout (the state’s official freshwater fish) and red drum (the official state saltwater fish) in their natural habitats.

More than just attractive car tags, the plates serve to reinforce the necessity of maintaining the state’s natural resources – especially those that tend to get caught and eaten in large numbers.

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Work is under way to ensure that the needs of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations are addressed during disasters. Nearly 70 emergency management planners, first responders, state agencies, partner organizations, family members and self-advocates gathered Wednesday, Nov. 12, to hear details of a technical plan and discuss next steps to improve emergency preparedness for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

For the past year these stakeholders met to determine specific ways to better prepare and serve the needs of the whole community. To address those unmet needs, North Carolina Emergency Management embarked upon the Emergency Preparedness Initiative, a four-year program to identify and prioritize action items needed to better prepare people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for emergencies.

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The key to economic and community development in Western North Carolina is for leaders of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to reach beyond town limits and county lines to embrace a more regional approach, steeped in a spirit of cooperation and partnership.

That was the message heard again and again Wednesday, Nov. 12, from speakers and participants at LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.

Approximately 275 business leaders, chamber of commerce representatives, elected and appointed officials, educators, economists and entrepreneurs gathered in the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center for a day of discussion centered on six sectors of the region’s economy – education, tourism, health care, innovation and technology, the creative arts and natural products.

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NC State University will join the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a commitment to improve campus health by formalizing guidelines around food, nutrition, physical activity and programming.

Through the PHA’s new Healthier Campus Initiative, NC State units agree to implement or strengthen 23 wellness-related guidelines over the next three years. They include:

  • Offering more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing the amount of fried food offered in campus dining halls and eateries.
  • Continuing implementation of a bicycle and pedestrian accommodation policy, and/or participating in a national bicycle or pedestrian recognition program.
  • Providing all students 16-hour-per-day access to at least one fitness/recreation center during the academic year without an additional user fee beyond student fees.

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