Facebook opens Rutherford data center

Published 3:50 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

Facebook has begun operation at its new data center in Rutherford County. The center, which Facebook started constructing about 16 months ago in Forest City, N.C., will be the company’s first “live test” of an outdoor air-cooling design. The facility is expected to match the energy efficiency of Facebook’s data center in Oregon.
Facebook plans to construct a second data center on the property later this year. The $450 million Forest City data centers are located on about 135 acres off Hwy 74.
The new centers, expected to create about 250 construction jobs and 35 to 45 full-time and contract jobs,  will handle some of the traffic for Facebook’s 845-plus million users.
– source: www.tweaktown.com, 4-20-12; www.engagdet.com, 4-21-12
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Western North Carolina is home to four colleges on “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” Appalachian State University, UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson College and Western Carolina University made the list.
The Princeton Review also notes that its survey of 7,445 college applicants found that nearly seven out of 10 said information regarding a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to attend the school.
This year was the first time that UNC-Asheville made the list. The university has reduced petroleum usage by more than 45 percent from 2005 and has made significant improvements in green building and infrastructure on the campus.
Western Carolina made the list for the second year in a row. The university launched a campus-wide energy conservation program called “Reducing Our Carbon Paw Print,” reduced petroleum usage and constructed a new Health and Human Sciences Building that will be eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Appalachian State features North Carolina’s largest wind turbine, offers free mass transit and uses a state-of-the-art composting facility. The university reports that more than 80 percent of its departments and 50 percent of faculty are involved in research relating to sustainability.
Warren Wilson College has been named one of the greenest schools in the nation by the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Foundation, GreenLivingOnline.com and The Princeton Review. The college, which uses green building standards for all new construction and retrofitting, has an Environmental Leadership Center offering sustainability-focused events and programs for students and the community.  The college is working to reduce campus-wide emission by 80 percent by 2020.
Warren Wilson’s EcoDorm is the first LEED Platinum residence hall in the nation. The dorm was built by students with wood repurposed or sustainably harvested on campus and includes solar panel window awnings, composting toilets, rainwater catchment systems and other energy efficiency features.
– source: Asheville Citizen Times, 4-24-12)
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In the first test of North Carolina’s new Racial Justice Act, Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks ruled that race played a part in the prosecution of Marcus Robinson and he should be removed from death row. A jury that included nine whites, two blacks and one American Indian convicted Robinson of murdering 17-year-old Erik Tornblom in 1991. Judge Weeks said prosecutors’ decisions were influenced by race.
The state’s Racial Justice Act, adopted in 2009, allows prisoners who are sentenced to death to seek a reduction to life in prison without parole if race is found to have played a role in the conviction.
Judge Weeks said race played a “persistent, pervasive and distorting role” in jury selection as black jurors were eliminated twice as often as white jurors. A Michigan State University study, used by Robinson’s defense, found that 31 of 160 people on North Carolina’s death row had all-white juries and 38 had only one person of color.
Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly say they will continue fighting to repeal the new Racial Justice Act, which they claim is effectively a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina.
– source: www.newsobserver.com, 4-20-12
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North Carolina ranks third in the nation for growth of women-owned businesses in the past 15 years, according to the State of Women-Owned Business Report from American Express Open. The report found that North Carolina has approximately 256,400 women-owned businesses in 2012, with the highest concentration found in health care and social assistance.
Nationwide the report found there are more than 8.3 million businesses in the country that are owned by women, which is up 83 percent since 1997. North Carolina trailed only Georgia and Nevada for growth in women-owned businesses.
– source: www.examiner.com, 4-5-12
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A dozen of the top 100 golf courses in North Carolina are located in the western part of the state. North Carolina’s Golf Panel released its annual ranking of the top courses in the state, which was topped again this year by Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C.
While the Pinehurst area is home to five of the courses in the top 10, Western North Carolina had numerous courses make the list, including Bright’s Creek Golf Club in Mill Spring. Bright’s Creek was the seventh ranked course in the western part of the state and the 25th overall.
The top ranked course in the western part of the state was Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, N.C., ranked second overall in the state.
The North Carolina Golf Panel is a 135-memger organization that includes journalists, golf professionals, college coaches, noted amateurs and business leaders.
– source: Charlotte Business Journal,  4-21-12
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Greenville, S.C. will host its first international film festival this weekend. The 2012 International Film Festival, held at multiple locations downtown, began on Thursday, April 26 and continues through Saturday, April 28.
The nonprofit event, aimed at bringing together film enthusiasts and film makers, will feature about 50 independent films from around the U.S. and the world. The films will be shown in blocks of four to six films in a two- to three hour-period.
For more information, visit www.gviff.com.
– source: www.examiner.com, 4-23-12