‘American Idol’ David Cook to play Azalea Festival

The N.C. Azalea Festival and “American Idol” are getting together again.

Organizers announced Friday that the singer David Cook, who won the seventh season of hit TV show “American Idol” in 2008, would be one of two concert headliners for the 62nd annual Azalea Festival, set to be held April 1-5.

Cook will perform April 2 in Trask Coliseum. Carrie Underwood, also an “Idol” winner, performed at the Azalea Festival in 2006.

“We were getting calls (from the public) weeks and months in advance wanting us to get David Cook,” said Sherman Criner, president of the 2009 festival.

The announcement of the Azalea Festival’s other headliner is expected in the coming days.

“One thing we’ve run against this year is the (Academy of Country Music) awards are, I think, the same week as the festival,” Criner said, hinting that a country singer might fill out the festival bill.

Cook is a rocker who wowed “Idol” judges (and audiences) with hard-edged interpretations of such songs as Lionel Richie’s “Hello.” In a pairing dubbed “The Battle of the Davids,” Cook defeated the favored David Archuleta on “Idol” in May. Just two weeks later, Cook had 11 songs from his independent album “Analog Heart” in the Billboard Hot 100, a record.

His self-titled major label debut for RCA, released late last year, peaked at No. 3. The album features collaborations with the likes of Chris Cornell, formerly of the band Soundgarden.

Aquarium on Wheels

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher unveiled the newest instrument for their outreach program Jan. 27.

They have created an aquarium on wheels which allows people to touch and learn about sea stars, hermit crabs, and other marine invertebrates.

The outreach program currently brings marine invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians to schools, libraries, camps, and community groups.

By outfitting a large truck, educators will be able to bring the coast to students who live in the mountain or piedmont areas.

The van includes a life support system so the aquarium can go on the road for weeks at a time.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina gave a grant of $15,000 to help the aquarium acquire the vehicle.   The NC Aquarium Society raised the rest of the money that was used.

Here Now: Veterans group to bring Wall replica to Ogden Park

When I sat down with a group of veterans at the Disabled American Veterans’ local chapter, most of the men and women around the table there had served during the Vietnam era.

The DAV is an organization whose members provide services to all veterans and their families. They run three vans, ferrying veterans to VA clinics in Fayetteville, Durham and, occasionally, Salisbury. They help veterans with or without disabilities file claim forms and other paperwork. They loan wheelchairs and other medical equipment. Continue reading

Current Mortgage Rates!

Here is a quick update on current mortgage rates.  All rates assume a 720+ credit score and are subject to change.

On a $270,000 loan for a $300,000 home (90% Loan-To-Value) the current rate would be approximately 4.625% with 1% origination fee, or 5.125% with no fee.

Each loan is different and based on the borrowers credit history and score so please call an Alpha Mortgage Loan Officer today for more information or visit us on the web at www.AlphaMortgage.com.

Existing home sales post surprising gain!

Sales of existing homes rose 6.5 percent from November to December, closing out the worst year for the U.S. real estate market in more than a decade, an industry trade group said Monday.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose to an annual rate of 4.74 million in December, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.45 million in November.

December’s sales had been expected to fall to a pace of 4.4 million units. according to Thomson Reuters. Continue reading

Testimonial for Sarah Dobbin

Q: Is there anything that was important to you that we did not address?

A: No, Sarah was so helpful, she made sure that we understood everything!

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving the level of our service?

A: Couldn’t have asked for better service!

Testimonial for Greg Frank

Q: Is there anything that was important to you that we did not address?

A: No.  Everything was addressed property and efficiently, in fact your team (Dianna & Greg) even addressed anticipated issues and crossed every T.

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving the level of our service?

A: Greg Frank & Dianna Simmons provided us with OUTSTANDING service!  They were extremely courteous and professional, kind knowledgable and diligent.