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ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named in honor of King Charles I of England. NICKNAME: The Tar Heel State and Old North State. CAPITAL: Raleigh. ENTERED UNION: 21 November 1789 (12th). SONG: "The Old North State." MOTTO: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem). FLAG: Adjacent to the fly of two equally sized bars, red above and white below, is a blue union containing a white star in the center, flanked by the letters N and C in gold. Above and below the star are two gold scrolls, the upper one reading "May 20th 1775," the lower one "April 12th 1776." OFFICIAL SEAL: Liberty, clasping a constitution and holding aloft on a pole a liberty cap, stands on the left, while Plenty sits beside a cornucopia on the right; behind them, mountains run to the sea, on which a three-masted ship appears. "May 20, 1775" appears above the figures; the words "The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina" and the state motto surround the whole. MAMMAL: Gray squirrel. BIRD: Cardinal. FISH: Channel bass. DOG: Plott hound. REPTILE: Eastern box turtle. INSECT: Honeybee. FLOWER: Dogwood. TREE: Long leaf pine. VEGETABLE: Sweet potato. BEVERAGE: Milk. SHELL: Scotch bonnet. PRECIOUS STONE: Emerald. ROCK: Granite. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Easter Monday, March or April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November, and the day following; Christmas Eve, 24 December; Christmas Day, 25 December. TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.
North Carolina has a humid, subtropical climate. Winters are short and mild, while summers are usually very sultry; spring and fall are distinct and refreshing periods of transition. In most of North Carolina, temperatures rarely go above 100°F (38°C) or fall below 10°F (–12°C), but differences in altitude and proximity to the ocean create significant local variations. Average January temperatures range from 36°F (21°C) to 48°F (9°C), with an average daily maximum January temperature of 51°F (11°C) and minimum of 29°F (–2°C). Average July temperatures range from 68°F (20°C) to 80°F (27°C), with an average daily high of 87°F (31°C) and a low of 66°F (19°C). The coldest temperature ever recorded in North Carolina was –34°F (–37°C), registered on 21 January 1985 on Mt. Mitchell; the hottest, 110°F (43°C), occurred on 21 August 1983 at Fayetteville.
As of 2002, forests covered 19,302,000 acres (7,812,000 hectares) in North Carolina, or about 62% of the state's land area. North Carolina's forests constitute 2.5% of all US forestland, and 97% of the state's wooded areas have commercial value. The largest tracts are found along the coast and in the Western Mountains, where most counties are more than 70% tree-covered. Hardwoods make up 53% of the state's forests. Mixed stands of oak and pine account for an additional 14%. The remaining 33% is pine and other conifers. More than 90% of the acreage harvested for timber is reforested.
National forests cover 6% of North Carolina's timberlands, and state and local governments own another 2%. The remainder is privately owned. In the days of wooden sailing vessels, North Carolina pine trees supplied large quantities of "naval stores"—tar, pitch, and turpentine for waterproofing and other nautical purposes. Today, the state produces mainly saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, and Christmas trees.
In 2002, lumber production totaled 2.55 billion board feet, 7th in the US.
In 2002, there were an estimated 3,707,129 units of housing in North Carolina, of which 3,207,447 were occupied; 68.6% were owner-occupied. About 64.2% of all housing units were single-family, detached homes; 17% were mobile homes. Nearly 36% of the entire housing stock was built between 1970 and 1989. The most common energy source for heating was electricity. It was estimated that 141,700 units lacked telephone service, 16,346 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 16,752 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household size was 2.51 people.
Also in 2002, 79,824 new privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $121,181. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,071. renters paid a median of $590 per month. During 2002, North Carolina received over $112.6 million in community planning and development aid from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
There are three major league professional sports teams in North Carolina: the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, and the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League, who relocated to Raleigh from Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997. The Charlotte Hornets, now located in New Orleans, left North Carolina in 2002. Minor league baseball's Carolina League is based in North Carolina, and 14 minor league teams call the state home. Additionally, there is minor league hockey in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Asheville, and Greensboro. Two other professional sports that figure prominently in the state are golf and stock-car racing. The Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in April is a major tournament on the Professional Golfers' Association tour. The North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham hosts the Dura-Lube/KMart 400 and the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 annually on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, while the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte is the home of The Winston, the Coca-Cola 600, and the UAW-GM Quality 500 on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit.
College basketball is the ruling passion of amateur sports fans in North Carolina. Organized in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Wake Forest University, and Duke University consistently field nationally ranked basketball teams. North Carolina won the NCAA Championship in 1957, 1982, and 1993, North Carolina State captured the title in 1974 and 1983, and Duke won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992.
Other annual sporting events include the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Southern Pines in April and the National Hollerin' Contest in Spivey's Corner, which tests farmers' ability to call livestock.
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