Cancer top cause of death in N.C., heart disease leads in mountains

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For the first time in about 10 years, cancer is the leading cause of death in North Carolina, according to data released by the states Division of Public Health. Heart disease remains the leading cause in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Data shows the most deadly forms of cancer in North Carolina are, in order: lung, throat, colorectral and breast.

The state reports that 17,476 people died from cancer last year, while 17,133 died from heart disease. Combined, the two diseases were linked to about 45 percent of the deaths in North Carolina last year. The number of people dying from both diseases has declined in recent years, although deaths from heart disease have declined faster.

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Dr. Amy Denham, medical director for the states prevention and control branch, says those declines may be attributable to greater awareness.

People are maybe getting messages about healthy lifestyles, getting in for care and recognizing the early warning signs of heart disease, says Denham. There is some progress to be made with cancer and helping people understand how to prevent cancer.

Heart disease remained the leading cause of death in every county in Western North Carolina except Jackson and McDowell counties, where cancer was the leading killer.

In Western North Carolina, heart disease remained the leading cause of death in every county with the exception of Jackson and McDowell counties, where cancer is the No. 1 killer. Gibbie Harris, director of the Buncombe County Health Department, says she has seen declines in the number of deaths from heart disease and cancer in recent years. However, she warns that rising obesity rates in the region could lead to more deaths from the two diseases over the next 12 to 15 years.

We are continuing to see the number of individuals who are obese or overweight increase and the impact on these types of diseases like heart disease and cancer are going to come later on, said Harris.


N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that Facebook, the worlds leading social networking service connecting more than 500 million people, will locate a multi-million dollar data center near Forest City in Rutherford County.

The facility is expected to create more than 250 construction and mechanical jobs during its 18-month building phase. When construction is completed, the data center will employ around 35-45 full-time and contract workers.

Facebook is expected to invest about $450 million dollars in the new data center. Additional construction phases may be possible in the future, depending on business needs.

We are proud that Facebook chose to make North Carolina a friend. The feeling is certainly mutual, said Gov. Perdue.

Perdue said the state has been working with Facebooks representatives for about a year to help bring together the land, utilities and incentives to make the project a success.

After a rigorous review of sites across the East Coast, we are pleased to locate our new data center in Rutherford County. The team we will hire here will help us provide faster, more reliable and more robust service to people around the world who rely on Facebook to connect and share, said Tom Furlong, director of site operations for Facebook.


The U.S. Forest Service is turning to some new weapons in its battle against an invasive bug that has decimated much of the hemlock population in the North Carolina mountains. Forest Service workers have begun using explosives to knock down dead hemlocks, including about 150 that threaten to fall on a heavily traveled trail in Graham County. At the same time, the forest service is identifying hemlocks that it will try to save with a new round of chemical treatment. The chemicals will be deployed by helicopter to keep the invasive bug away from the surviving hemlocks.


“Newsweek” magazine has named the Raleigh-Durham area one of the countys New Silicon Valleys in its recent report on the 10 American cities best situated for the recovery. The magazine notes that the population of Raleigh-Durham grew faster than in any major U.S. metropolitan area during the recession and its poised for continued, strong job growth as the nations economy recovers.

Raleigh-Durham was the only location in the Southeast to make the list, which also included Salt Lake City, northern Virginia, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis and Des Moines. “Newsweek” says the areas offer high-paying high-tech jobs and housing prices well below those in coastal California.


Southwest Airlines has announced one-stop flights from Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP) Airport to Boston, Denver and Las Vegas beginning next year. The Boston flight will go through BWI, while the Denver flight will stop in Nashville and the Las Vegas flight will stop in Chicago.

The low-cost airline previously announced plans to fly from GSP to Chicago, Nashville, Houston, Orlando and Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Service is expected to begin in March.


Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) has obtained Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its new general aviation terminal. The 5,000-square-foot-building uses 38 percent less energy and 75 percent less water than a standard building of the same size. The building, used by business and other travelers flying on turboprop planes or small jets, uses solar technology for its water heating system and lighting. The terminal was constructed using eco-friendly materials, including recycled steel, and 98 percent of construction waste material was recycled.

Building designers say the structure is a preview of what will be seen in the main terminal, which is scheduled to undergo a $99 million renovation.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted this week to close 10 schools and make other significant changes to cut costs. The 5-4 decision was met by protest from residents who claimed race was a factor, considering that only about 5 percent of the students in the schools that will close are white.

Superintendent Peter Gorman and board members who supported the closure said the decision, made after months of planning, was not based on race. They say the schools were selected due to low enrollment and academic weakness. They add that the school board is just beginning an effort to cut up to $100 million from its $1 billion budget for next year.


Wake County Schools has been sued by the National Womens Law Center, which claims the district has failed to provide high school girls with equal opportunities as boys in sports. Wake was one of 11 school districts in the country included in the federal discrimination complaint. The National Womens Law Center says Wake and the other districts have high schools with double digit gaps between the percentage of students who are girls and the percentage of athletes who are girls. Wake County athletic director Bobby Guthrie says the complaint was a surprise to Wake officials. He applauded the districts support for girls sports, citing 24 state championships won by girls at Wake schools in the past five years. Wake officials say schools in the district offer as many sports for girls as for boys.


A North Carolina building code committee is considering whether to raise energy efficiency standards for new homes that would result in lower monthly utility bills, but higher prices for homes.

Supporters of the higher standards say the savings from lower utility bills will far exceed the cost of improvements, such as energy-efficient lights, better insulation and programmable thermostats. They add that those costs are spread out over the life of the mortgage so they would amount to only about $13 per month.

However, opponents of the stricter building codes say the higher house prices would hinder an already weak housing market. The state is reconsidering the stricter standards after voting in September to delay them until 2015 due to the economy. The delay was approved after hearing complaints from home builders in the state.

Environmental groups urged Governor Bev Perdue to intervene and last month the building code council voted to revive the proposal for stricter standards.


Clemson University and Greenville Technical College have announced a partnership that will allow students to transfer seamlessly between Greenville Techs early care and education program to Clemsons early childhood education program. Leaders from both institutions said the agreement, which takes effect in the spring of 2011, will help improve the level of education of early care teachers and raise the number of certified teachers. Many of the students from Greenville Tech will enter Clemson after having gained experience working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers in lab settings and working with the Head Start program. Clemson has similar agreements with Spartanburg Community College, Piedmont Technical College and Tri-County Technical College.


Charleston, S.C. has been named the friendliest city in the nation, according to a survey in Travel + Leisure Magazine. The city, which sees more than four million visitors each year, also got top honors for bed and breakfasts, inns, and antique stores. Charleston was one of 35 cities in the country ranked by visitors and residents on culture, nightlife, shopping, restaurants and more. Last month Conde Nast Traveler magazine named Charleston the second best destination in the country behind San Francisco.


A ceremony was planned on Veterans Day in Charleston, S.C. to unveil a grave marker for Henry Benjamin Noisette, a black Union soldier. Noisette joined the U.S. Navy in 1862 after he escaped slavery and federal forces captured Port Royal near Beaufort. He fought on the USS Huron in battles against Confederate defenses on the Stono River near Charleston and the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Ga. The Huron also captured a confederate blockade runner. Descendants of Noisette planned to join reenactors and Citadel cadets in the ceremony at a Charleston ceremony Thursday.


Historians are seeking an accurate count of all the Tar Heels who died in the Civil War as part of an effort to compile information for the 150th anniversary N.C. Civil War atlas. An 1866 study estimated that more than 40,000 soldiers from North Carolina died in the Civil War. However, historian Josh Howard with the N.C. Office of Archives and History is working to establish a more accurate count. He says he believes a new count will be less than the figure in the 144-year-old study, but still will show that nearly a third of the men of military age in North Carolina died during the war. Howard is reviewing the military records of every Tar Heel who served in the war. He estimates the death total may be no higher than 36,000.

Even at the lower total North Carolina suffered far more losses than any other confederate state, including South Carolina, which had the second-highest death total at 17,682. The Civil War took an estimated 620,000 American lives, more than any other war in U.S. history. North Carolina is planning events, beginning next year, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war.