Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

N.C. supports Obama, stimulus and sin taxes

According to the latest Elon University Poll released today, N.C. residents support Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, the stimulus package recently approved by Congress and increasing “sin taxes.”

A rundown:

  • Stimulus: 52 percent supported the stimulus
    39 percent disapproved
    54 percent said they think the stimulus will affect the economy positively
  • Barack Obama: 54 percent approve or strongly approve of Obama’s handling of the economy
    59 percent said they approve or strongly approve of Obama’s handling of the
    presidency overall
    46 percent said they trust Obama more than Congress
  • Increase to sin taxes: Liquor tax: 78 percent support increase, 18 percent oppose
    Wine tax: 76 percent support increase, 20 percent oppose
    Cigarette tax: 73 percent support increase, 23 percent oppose
    Beer tax: 72 percent support increase, 23 percent oppose

The poll was conducted between Feb. 22 and Feb. 26 and surveyed 758 North Carolinians. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.


February 27, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , | Leave a comment

Play 3-on-3 hoops

images1Communities in Schools of Lee County is sponsoring a three-on-three basketball tournament on Saturday March 7 at Lee County High School. The competition is open for students in grades three through 12. Teams must have between three and four players and will be placed in a division appropriate for their age.

The cost is $50 per team, and proceeds will go toward CIS, which helps fund school programs.


  • 20 teams maximum per division
  • There will be one official at each court monitoring and calling the fouls.
  • Each possession begins at the top of the key with “one pass in” to start the possession.
  • Every change of possession must be cleared to the 3 point line.
  • Every game is played on half court.
  • Substitutions can be made at any dead ball.
  • Scoring is by 1’s for a regular 2 point basket and 2’s for a 3 point goal.
  • “Losers out” If team A scores, team B gets the ball out front.
  • Game is over when one team reaches 15points (win by 1). Or 25 minutes, whichever comes first.
  • Players fouled in the act of shooting who miss the basket, will retain possession of the ball.
  • Players fouled in the act of shooting that make the basket, basket counts and opposing team gets possession.
  • 1 time-out per team per game allowed.
  • Be at your court 30 minutes prior to your game, be prepared to start early.  If we can run ahead of schedule we will.
  • Players are expected to display good sportsmanship.

Contact CIS at (919) 718-5426

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , | Leave a comment

Giving up fast food

Well, there are 40 days to go until Easter, so that means it is time for Lent, when people of different religious persuasions give up something in their lives.

This year I will be giving up fast food. Yes, the greasy deliciousness that I partake in several times a week. There were several reasons I had for making this decision. One, it’s not particularly good for my body, especially more than once a week. Also, it’s not good for my wallet. It’s way more cost-effective for me to pack my lunch and plan ahead.

One of my friends asked me how I was going to define fast food (she was actually my inspiration for choosing this). My definition is basically anything that has a drive-through, i.e. McDonald’s, Arby’s, etc. I would not include a place that I can get takeout from such as Java Express.

I think this is going to be a pretty difficult task. When I’m tired or just feeling lazy, this is usually my fallback plan. The past two years I have given up soda, which is also a bad addiction of mine because of the caffeine. I found it much easier the second year.

So help keep me honest. If you see me around town with a big ‘ol container of french fries, let me have it!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Sanford | , | Leave a comment

Sanford ready for smoking ban?

600px-no_smoking_sign_svgSo do you think this town would embrace a smoking ban in places like public restaurants and bars? It might be forced to if a bill in the N.C. General Assembly becomes law.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson) in the General Assembly would change the law and introduce a strict smoking ban in most public places, including bars and restaurants. The state has to introduce any changes. Local governments cannot make any bans, excluding buildings owned or leased by local governments or ones that are used for school purposes.

Lee County seems to be moving closer in this direction. The county instituted a ban in government buildings this fall; Central Carolina Community College banned smoking on school grounds as of Jan. 1; Lee County Parks and Recreation wanted to introduce a ban on park grounds but couldn’t because of state law.

What do y’all think? Is Lee County ready? Vote below!

As for me? I personally don’t smoke and think it could be nice. But there are a lot of problems with enforcement, and even if the state passes this law, it might not mean that much change. I’m from Cincinnati, and Ohio passed a statewide ban by a referendum vote about two years ago.

My hometown paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer, published a great story in December about the effort. An analysis by The Enquirer found that only 5 percent of complaints resulted in citations and fines. About 40 percent of complaints went uninvestigated.

February 24, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , | 1 Comment

Sanford church hunting

I’ve been living in Sanford for about three and a half months now and am still searching for a church to call home. So far, I’ve visited a few churches. While I haven’t ruled either out (both were Methodist), I’m still looking to see if I can find a perfect fit.

My goal is to settle on the right one by Easter. The search can be difficult especially when you have to attend church by yourself and don’t know anyone. Do you introduce yourself to people? When is the right time to ask questions of a minister and and chuch staff about their congregation?

So I’m hoping y’all out there in Sanford can give me some help and advice. Some basic religious background about myself:

  • I was raised going to Baptist churches in Ohio. I am not opposed to going back to a Baptist church if it’s the right congregation since those are my roots and what I identify most easily with. However, a few Baptists churches I have been to (note: I haven’t visited any in Sanford), have been too political for me.
  • I’m looking for a church that is mainly about that personal spiritual connection. I like a minimum of rituals and like time that is spent really personally connecting, reading scripture and hearing interpretations and encouragement.
  • I’m 23 years old, so I’m also looking for a church that has some young members that I can relate to. Bible studies for younger women are a plus.
  • Above all, I’m looking for a church that really makes me feel welcome and feel God’s love!

Please leave your comments for me, and I’ll let you know how the search goes.

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Sanford | , | 6 Comments

Bill in N.C. Senate would ban illegal immigrants

A bill in the N.C. Senate titled “Community Colleges Can’t Admit Illegal Aliens,”  would ban illegal immigrants from attending community colleges. The measure was introduced last week by Sen. Phillip Berger (R-Rockingham).

The bill is in response to swelling community college enrollment and continually strained budgets. It also continues an ongoing fight in the state about if illegal immigrants have a right to education at community colleges.

The N.C. attorney general’s office told the state’s Community College system in May that it should restrict admitting illegal immigrants based on its take on federal law. The community college system has hired a consultant to study the issue and expects to have results of that study sometime in April.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Idol mania

OK, confession: I am a huge American Idol fan. I’ve been watching since season 1 (some of my favorites through the years have been Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and David Cook).

This year I’ve had an extra incentive for my ultra-fan status: My UNC classmate Anoop Desai is competing. He sang Tuesday in the top 36, choosing “Angel of Mine,” a song he previously sang as a UNC Clef Hanger.

My take? I thought he was pretty good. I think he’s capable of singing better, but considering it was his first try in front of a live national television audience, it was a great effort.

My other favorites of the night?

  1. Danny Gokey: I think he definitely could win the whole show. He has a unique sound. Plus, he seems so genuinely nice and has an amazing story — his wife died weeks before he decided to audition for Idol this summer. Tuesday night he sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” and definitely pulled at the heartstrings.
  2. Alexis Grace: She’s a petite blonde 21-year old with a soulful voice. She sang the Aretha Franklin hit “Never Loved a Man.” I like her a lot — and it’s not because of the cute pink streaks in her hair. She really connects with the songs.
  3. Ricky Braddy: He is the other North Carolina native in the competition (from Elizabeth City). He sang “Song for You.” I don’t think he’s as charismatic as he needs to be, but he can work on that. His voice is fantastic, however.

Tune in tonight to Fox to see who gets through to the top 12. The top male and female vote-getters will be safe, as well as the person with the third highest vote total.

Here is Anoop from last night:

February 18, 2009 Posted by | American Idol | , , | Leave a comment

Debating sex education

A bill under consideration by the N.C. General Assembly would give parents two options for how their children would be taught sex education in local schools. If the bill passed, parents could choose between the current curriculum, which stresses abstinence, and a comprehensive approach, which would provide more information about disease and pregnancy prevention.

The state currently mandates that sex education and information about STDs and HIV be taught. However, it also mandates that abstinence be stressed.

The new bill is being sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams, (D-Greensboro), Rep. Susan Fisher, (D-Buncombe County) and Rep. Bob England, (D-Rutherford), who is a doctor.

Lee County Health Director Howard Surface termed teenage pregnancy in the county as an “epidemic” at the last Lee County Commissioners meeting, where he delivered an assessment of county health. “Since 2002, the average teen pregnancy rate (in Lee County) has been approximately 96 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19,” Surface wrote in his report. “The state average has been much lower at 64.9 per 1,000 females.”

The Lee County’s teen pregnancy rate has averaged 48 percent higher than the state rate since 2002.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Martial arts at Ingram

karateThe Lee County Board of Education took one interesting item off of this week’s agenda in order to more fully research insurance issues involved with the proposal.

That proposal would introduce a martial arts program partnership at J.R. Ingram Elementary School. The nonprofit organization Vision Foundation wants to team up with the school, First Calvary Church and G-Force Kempo Karate to help give kids “physical and mental discipline through martial arts.”

Students in grades two through five would be allowed to apply for the program and would be selected based on teacher recommendations (test scores and discipline referrals would be looked at to see which students would be helped most, as well as financial need). It would only cost $5 a month for 30 students who would be selected.

The children would get a snack and be required to do their homework before class begins each Tuesday and would have to have positive progress reports to participate in the lesson, according to documents from the school board.

It sounds like a positive idea to me. I’ll update you when the board makes a decision and hopefully be able to check in with the students to see how it works out.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , , | Leave a comment

2009-10 school year calendars approved

The Lee County Board of Education approved Tuesday 2009-10 school year calendars for traditional and year-round schools, as well as Lee Early College.

The calendar passed with little discussion, though board member Ellen Mangum noted that the week in January with Martin Luther King Jr. holiday could be tough since students will have Monday off, as well as Thursday and Friday of that week for teacher work days.

Board members said overall the plan was good considering a lack of scheduling flexibility because of state law. Here are the calendars:

Year-round schools 2009-10:

View this document on Scribd

Traditional calendar 2009-10:

View this document on Scribd

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , , | Leave a comment