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Wine Making, Health Care and Energy Issues Featured on “Appalachian Perspective”

032405winemaking_dl.jpgBOONE – Wine making, health care and energy – three areas in which Appalachian State University is responding to North Carolina’s changing economy with research and new course offerings – are the featured topics on the latest “Appalachian Perspective.”

Hosted by Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, the 30-minute program includes separate interviews with Chemistry Professor Grant Holder, who proposes an on-campus lab to assist local wineries in conducting chemical analyses of their products; John Turner, director of the university’s new Institute for Health and Human Services; and Dennis Grady, director of The Energy Center at Appalachian, which assists policymakers on energy-related issues.

The wine industry in North Carolina is growing rapidly. The state has 350 vineyards – half of which developed in the past five years – and 42 wineries that produce half a million gallons of wine each year, Holder says. The industry is driven largely by tourism, and experts predict it could mature into a $1 billion industry in the foreseeable future.

Holder discusses a new wine-making course introduced at Appalachian this spring, and collaborations with Surry Community College on a proposed enology lab at Appalachian and possible advanced courses to complement the community college’s associate degree program in viticulture and enology.

The state’s nursing shortage is driving the creation of a nursing program at Appalachian. The university’s new Institute for Health and Human Services is developing ways that Appalachian can offer advanced courses so that nurses with an associate degree can work toward their bachelor’s degree at Appalachian, Turner says. Other programs, such as radiological sciences, respiratory therapy and health information management and administration, may soon follow. The institute is also working to enhance Appalachian’s 30 existing health-related programs – such as music therapy, health promotion, and counseling – to make them more accessible for students interested in the helping professions.

As concern grows over how much energy Americans consume and where they get it, Appalachian is partnering with N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University to enhance energy research initiatives across the state and nation. Appalachian is well known for its faculty expertise in renewable energy and construction technology, and Grady says an inter-university institute will allow greater outreach, research and education.

Grady also offers tips on how North Carolina consumers can help conserve energy and reduce the state’s dependence on coal imported from other states and petroleum imported from overseas.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of the university’s Office of Public Affairs and the Department of Communication. It airs on 12 cable outlets across North Carolina.

The episode titled “Wine Making, Health Care and Energy” airs locally through mid-April. In Watauga County, “Appalachian Perspective” can be seen on Charter Communication’s Channel 21 weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and on MTN’s Channel 18 at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The program can also be viewed online at www.perspective.appstate.edu.

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