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New cats in town

GREENSBORO — As tiger brothers Rocky and Jagger padded around the rocks and grassy areas of their new home, cameras clicked and admirers oohed and ahhed.

The two Sumatran tiger brothers made their public debut Thursday at the Greensboro Science Center.

The center has been without a tiger since the death of Axl in 2017. His sister Kisa died in 2016 after emergency surgery. Officials have since been working to bring new tigers to Greensboro as part of a breeding program. The hope is to acquire a female tiger later.

Rocky and Jagger are living in a renovated habitat, which now includes waterfalls, bridges, rocks, scratching posts, climbing structures, shade areas and a cave.

The tiger facility was rebuilt to support a breeding pair of tigers. It includes four separate rooms that can be combined to make larger rooms, including denning space and a separate area for mom and cubs if needed.

Find more photos at greensboro.com.

The story behind Greensboro's iconic sit-ins photo the world almost didn't see

GREENSBORO — Newspaper photographer Jack Moebes captured the first image of the Greensboro Four, striding down the sidewalk outside the Woolworth store on the first day of the 1960 sit-ins.

His iconic photo has appeared in text books, documentaries, websites, murals, the Smithsonian, International Civil Rights Center & Museum and several times on the TV quiz show “Jeopardy!” It also inspired the February One Monument, a larger-than-life bronze representation of the four N.C. A&T freshmen.

But Moebes’ photo, snapped after Woolworth’s closed that day — and after the deadline for the afternoon paper — didn’t publish that day.

Or that week.

Even that year.

It didn’t appear in print until 10 years later.

In a time when newspapers typically published a single photograph with an article, Moebes had moved on the next day to snap another iconic image — four students, including two of the original demonstrators, at the lunch counter inside Woolworth.

“That’s what they (the editors) wanted to use, pictures at the counter,” Moebes told reporter Jim Schlosser for a recorded oral-history project in the late 1990s.

That one did appear in print, though not on the front page.

Moebes joined The Greensboro Record and the Greensboro Daily News in 1946 and worked there until he retired in 1976.

For several years, he was the only full-time photographer for both newspapers, but for a few — including 1960 — Moebes worked only for the afternoon paper.

The photo departments reunited later in the 1960s. Had the merger happened sooner, the sidewalk photo surely would have appeared in the morning paper.

It wasn’t easy getting either of those historic photos.

Moebes was alerted by beeper to what was happening that Feb. 1, 1960, afternoon when he was at another assignment.

The doors were closed when he got to Woolworth’s, but the young men were still inside.

He didn’t know which door they were going to come out of, so he watched both doors from the corner of Elm Street and Sycamore Street — aptly renamed February One Place in 1990.

“So happens they came out on the Sycamore side,” he told Schlosser. “I figured I had to get something, so I got the four of them walking down the sidewalk.”

The next morning, when Moebes headed back to Woolworth’s, he warned his boss that he’d be trespassing and might need to be bailed out of jail.

Though he wasn’t arrested, store manager Clarence “Curly” Harris told him “You can’t take any pictures in here.”

Moebes tried to reason with him about how they both had a job to do.

Harris “put his hands up in front of the camera, and I’d move over a little bit ... and he’d put his hands up in front of the camera,” Moebes said. “So finally, I took the camera, held it up over both of our heads and started clicking. I don’t know whether I got anything or not because I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. But evidently, he thought I was, so he went on back to the back of the store, and I just waited and took my pictures.”

Moebes said he understood why the sidewalk photo didn’t run. The Day 2 goal was pictures at the counter.

The significance of the sit-ins — and that iconic photo — wasn’t evident right away.

“So the 10th anniversary, (the photo) took on significance, the fact that they were the originators,” he told Schlosser. “That’s when they started using that picture.”

In 1997, Sit-In Movement Inc. recognized Moebes as an “unsung hero” who documented the lunch counter sit-ins.

“These pictures have been seen across the world,” Dr. George Simkins, past president of the Greensboro NAACP, said in presenting the award. “Without his contribution, the true pictures of the sit-in demonstration would never have been recorded.”

McArthur Davis, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s first executive director, echoed those sentiments when Moebes died in 2002.

“He gave us rights to use that picture without asking anything in return,” Davis said. “... He felt as though the project should be in the forefront of downtown Greensboro, and he wanted to help.”

An interesting article in today's newspaper

Cancer ordeal: “I had to step away and trust in other people,” Northern Guilford coach says. Page C1

Community, meet creativity: High Point officials hope Congdon Yards will reignite the city's furniture manufacturing

HIGH POINT — Imagine budding entrepreneurs designing products using state-of-the-art equipment, participating in a development program like on the television show “Shark Tank” or grabbing a cup of coffee and hearing a TED Talk — all under one roof.

Thanks to a $30 million donation, such a place will become reality.

Welcome to Congdon Yards.

The project, located at West English Road and Pine Street, is being developed around the city’s new BB&T Point baseball stadium.

What was once the Adams-Millis Hosiery Mill became Congdon Yards through a nexus of HP365 — an initiative to revitalize downtown — and the Congdon family’s commitment to make that happen.

At an event Wednesday night to announce the project, David Congdon talked about why the campus is important to the city’s future.

“We need to rebuild business and grow jobs. That’s part of what we’re doing here,” said Congdon, the board chairman of Old Dominion Freight Line, which his family founded. “I believe that Congdon Yards is going to be a catalyst for downtown High Point that we’ve been dreaming about and talking about for years.”

Congdon, through his family’s foundation, purchased the 87-year-old mill last year.

The initial phase of the project was sparked by a $1.5 million state grant. That grant was then matched with private money from High Point University and others.

Patrick Chapin, president and CEO of Business High Point — Chamber of Commerce, said the campus is intended to be a magnet for small-time furniture entrepreneurs.

“There’s an eco-system in the furnishings industry that is very prevalent,” he said.

Just a couple of decades ago, High Point was a world leader in furniture manufacturing before those jobs went overseas.

HP365 aims to bring that focus back to the city, but in a forward-thinking way with new entrepreneurs and innovation. Congdon Yards is meant to be a piece of that.

“This will be a million dollars’ worth of equipment,” Chapin said. “It’ll be equipment that small to medium-sized furniture designers would never have the ability to have access to.”

The campus consists of two buildings totaling 225,000 square feet. One, formerly the mill’s Plant 1, is now called The Factory.

The other building — the heartbeat of the campus — retained it’s original name of Plant 7. Renovations of the four-story building, with it’s distinct mushroom-shaped white columns, has begun. When it is completed late this summer, it will include a state-of-the-art fabrication facility, meeting hall, library and common area where people can have coffee and share ideas.

Work on The Factory is nearly complete. It houses a fourth-floor event center and a first-floor space for a restaurant or café.

Through a previous agreement, Bermex, a home furnishings company, will continue to operate showrooms on the second and third floors. Chapin said those floors will eventually become a place for Plant 7 entrepreneurs to showcase their work.

Chapin said the chamber is so impressed with the project that it plans to sell its Main Street building and move into Congdon Yards.

And he thinks he’ll have company.

“It’s where community and creativity come together,” Chapin said.

U.N. agency declares global emergency over virus from China

GENEVA — The World Health Organization declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries as a global emergency Thursday after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week.

The U.N. health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December. To date, China has reported 9,692 cases including 213 deaths. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.

Experts say there is significant evidence the virus is spreading among people in China and have noted with concern instances in other countries — including the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea and Vietnam — where there have also been isolated cases of human-to-human transmission.

North Carolina has no confirmed cases of the virus. Last Saturday, state officials announced test results were negative for a person with symptoms of the illness who had flown in to Raleigh-Durham International two days earlier. State health officials said Wednesday they will no longer announce when someone in North Carolina is being tested for the coronavirus, a policy change aimed at protecting the privacy of people who are being evaluated. Instead, the state plans to disclose the number of positive test results on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the worrisome spread of the virus between people outside China.

“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,” he said. “Our greatest concern is the potential for this virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”

“This declaration is not a vote of non-confidence in China,” he said. “On the contrary, WHO continues to have the confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.”

A declaration of a global emergency typically brings greater money and resources, but may also prompt nervous governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries. The announcement also imposes more disease reporting requirements on countries.

In the wake of numerous airlines canceling flights to China and businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Tedros said WHO was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.

“There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,” he said. He added that Chinese President Xi Jinping had committed to help stop the spread of the virus beyond its borders.

“During my discussion with the president and other officials, they’re willing to support countries with weaker health systems with whatever is possible,” Tedros said.

On Thursday, France confirmed that a doctor who was in contact with a patient with the new virus later became infected himself. The doctor is now being treated in an isolated room at a Paris hospital. Outbreak specialists worry that the spread of new viruses from patients to health workers can signal the virus is becoming adapted to human transmission.

China raised the death toll to 170 on Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical tests and even isolation.

Russia announced it was closing its 2,600-mile border with China, joining Mongolia and North Korea in barring crossings to guard against a new viral outbreak.

It had been de facto closed because of the Lunar New Year holiday, but Russian authorities said the closure would be extended until March 1.

Meanwhile, the United States and South Korea confirmed their first cases of person-to-person spread of the virus.

The man in the U.S. is married to a 60-year-old Chicago woman who got sick from the virus after she returned from a trip to Wuhan, the Chinese city that is the epicenter of the outbreak.

The case in South Korea was a 56-year-old man who had contact with a patient who was diagnosed with the new virus earlier.

Although scientists expect to see limited transmission of the virus between people with close contact, like within families, the instances of spread to people who may have had less exposure to the virus in Japan and Germany is worrying.

In Japan, a man in his 60s caught the virus after working as a bus driver for two tour groups from Wuhan. In Germany, a man in his 30s was sickened after a Chinese colleague from Shanghai, whose parents had recently visited from Wuhan, came to his office for a business meeting. Four other workers later became infected. The woman had shown no symptoms of the virus until her flight back to China.

“That’s the kind of transmission chain that we don’t want to see,” said Marion Koopmans, an infectious diseases specialist at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands and a member of WHO’s emergency committee.

Koopmans said more information was needed about how the virus was spread in these instances and whether it meant the virus was more infectious than previously thought or if there was something unusual in those circumstances.

Mark Harris, a professor of virology at Leeds University, said it appears that the spread of the virus among people is probably easier than initially presumed.

“If transmission between humans was difficult, then the numbers would have plateaued,” he said. Harris said the limited amount of virus spread beyond China suggested the outbreak could still be contained, but that if people are spreading the disease before they show symptoms — as some Chinese politicians and researchers have suggested — that could compromise control efforts.

The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, a cousin of the new virus.

Both are from the coronavirus family, which also includes those that can cause the common cold.

The latest figures for mainland China show an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases for a total of 7,736 confirmed cases.

Of the new deaths, 37 were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, and one was in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Outside China, there are 82 infections in 18 countries, according to WHO.