Flue-cured solar power

This is not your father's North Carolina.

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On my trip last weekend to southern Virginia, I passed by this business park in Roxboro, NC in Person County. The county sits immediately north of Durham County, home of the Research Triangle Park, and runs to the Virginia border.

This is a microcosm of today's North Carolina. Tobacco is still relatively strong, particularly as smoking continues to grow in Asia, thereby allowing us to slowly kill a whole new market. However, tobacco jobs pale in comparison to what they once were with many people out of work.

But I credit the state's best economic development minds in science & technology and other areas with their long-range plans to replace tobacco with other crops - hops, muscadine grapes, medicinal plants - and adapt the state's well-known technological innovations to provide jobs for those displaced in the furniture, tobacco, and textile industries, particularly in the large rural areas of the state.

One of the most interesting parts of living in the American South is the juxtaposition of technology and tradition - this photo captures one of those moments for me.

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