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Charlotte O’s social media conference

You know the media world has definitively changed when the local daily newspaper announces its hosting a social media conference.

The Charlotte Observer will host their day-long conference on Jan. 23 at Queens University:

Throughout the day, you’ll hear from some of the most forward-thinking social media gurus in the region, including Jeff Elder, Lisa Hoffman, Crystal Dempsey, Scott Hepburn and Jason Silverstein. Observer Editor Rick Thames will deliver the keynote address. Capping it all off will be a panel discussion on “The Next Hot Thing in Social Networking.”

The event is only $30, but there are only 200 spaces open. If you want to go, you’d better register quick. Get more info and register at ObserverSocialMedia.com.

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Did that week really just fly by?

What happened to last week? A full five work days felt more like two. And, I was doing so well on posting here at the old personal pad again. Can’t control the news cycle, or the news makers, it seems.

Last week kept me busy at the day job, reporting on Mecklenburg County’s decision to extend health and leave benefits to same-sex partners of county employees. Then, I was kept busy still reporting on the antics of Republican Commissioner Bill James. All of this on top of our usual production week for the Dec. 26 print issue.

Christmas is almost here and New Year’s is just around the corner. I’m excited to get Q-Notes‘ last print issue of the year out on the news stands this week. Click over to Q-Notes and sign up for our email newsletter to get a preview of our year-end wrap up. We’ll announce our Person of the Year and Person of the Decade in the issue, too!

Dr. Michael Brown, founder of several Charlotte-area ministries including the activist Coalition of Conscience, says he has “serious concerns” about the anti-gay Ugandan law that would punish homosexuality by death.

His statement was emailed to me as I was writing an article on the subject for Q-Notes. Despite his “concern,” his statement falls far short of a outright condemnation of the law. More below the fold…

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Anti-gay pol to step down in N.C.

North Carolina state Sen. David Hoyle (D-Gaston) announced Dec. 9 he’d step down at the end of his term in 2010. Hoyle, chairman of the Senate’s Finance Committee, had been considered the third most powerful member of the Senate’s leadership, after President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight and former Majority Leader Tony Rand.

One advocate thinks the senator’s consistent, conservative social views might have played a key role in the body’s slow progress on pro-equality issues.

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Public prayer losing ground in North Carolina?

buncombecountysealCounty commissioners in the sleepy, liberal town of Asheville, N.C., have made a “consensus” decision to end public prayer at their meetings.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are set to bring the topic up for official discussion on Jan. 5. They’ll likely vote to stop opening board meetings with prayer. The move comes after a federal magistrate recommended a similar public prayer policy in Winston-Salem, N.C., violated the the First Amendment.

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Nat’l org salutes Triad Equality Alliance

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Freedom to Marry, a national advocacy and education organization on marriage equality issues, is saluting North Carolina’s Triad Equality Alliance for their media advocacy efforts. The organization has funded several LGBT awareness building billboards in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Freedom to Marry writes:

Freedom to Marry salutes the Triad Equality Alliance for their brilliant work in delivering effective messages to their North Carolina community that have put a face and personal spin on the marriage equality debate!

[Disclosure: I’ve appeared on two billboards for the organization.]

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Yes, but will he lead like Terry Sanford?

Former N.C. State Sen. Cal Cunningham, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-native living in nearby Davidson County, has announced his challenge to Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, also of Winston-Salem.

Other than the interesting regional connection between the two pols and what that means for the continued East-to-West political shift in the Tar Heel State, I was also intrigued by a portion of Cunningham’s announcement. More below the fold…

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appstatelogoThere used to be a time — and that time, in many respects, might still be now — when most people thought of urban areas as the only places in to find any sort of measurable or visible LGBT presence. As gays move forward in our movement for civil and social equality, attention on our issues and recognition of our communities are starting to mount up in even the most unlikely of places.

An oral history project at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., researching and documenting the LGBT communities of the Appalachian Mountains received a $6,531 grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a private statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Not in the least bit surprised

Sing with me… It’s that time of year, when I sit at my desk and research the year, sifting through… o-old stories of important ga-ay news!

I was in the office late last night putting our Dec. 12 print issue of Q-Notes to bed. I wanted to get in the office and start work on our last issue of the year. Our Dec. 26 print issue will include a run-down of the LGBT Carolinas’ most important news and happenings over the past year, as well as a profile on Q-Notes‘ Person of the Year 2009.

This will be my third “retrospective,” year-end issue since joining the staff in the fall of 2007. As with the previous two years, I’m looking forward to and will enjoy sifting through each of the preceding 25 issues of this year’s papers.

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