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Alabama

Birmingham

Birmingham: Introduction

Modern Birmingham calls itself the "Magic City," but this young city, which was founded after the Civil War, has seen its days of adversity. Early in its history it suffered from epidemics, crime, and violence.

Birmingham: Geography and Climate

Located 300 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico in north central Alabama, Birmingham lies in the Jones Valley between a ridge of hills running from northeast to southwest and the Red Mountain Range, which runs in roughly the same direction. A hilly city, Birmingham stretches for about 15 miles along the valley.

Birmingham: History

The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes hunted in the Jones Valley long before the first white man set foot there. The natives found a valley teeming with game and strikingly marked with giant outcroppings of red rock.

Birmingham: Population Profile

Birmingham: Municipal Government

Birmingham operates under a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is elected at large every four years; the nine council members are also elected at large, but on a staggered basis in odd-numbered years.

Birmingham: Economy

For many years Birmingham was a one-industry town, dependent on the iron and steel industry. Today, though, Birmingham's economy relies more heavily on the medical industry as well as trade, finance, research and government.

Birmingham: Education and Research

The Birmingham public schools offer the Education Program for the Individual Child (EPIC schools) with a population of 50 percent typical children and 50 percent children with developmental challenges; or 50 percent African American students and 50 percent white students; or 50 percent girls and 50 percent boys. EPIC schools aim to foster the individual student's sense of self-worth by helping students to communicate and understand one another.

Birmingham: Health Care

Internationally known as a medical center, Birmingham is a leader in the prevention and treatment of illness. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a leader in research and education.

Birmingham: Recreation

Visitors to Birmingham will enjoy the variety of parks throughout the city, including the 90-acre Highland Park with its modern sports complex and golf course; Roebuck Park, known for its beautiful golf course and wooded grounds; Avondale, with an amphitheater, duck pond, and formal rose garden; East Lake, with more than 50 acres of fresh water; and Magnolia, known for its flowing fountains. Birmingham's Vulcan Park features a towering statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge, the city's symbol.

Birmingham: Convention Facilities

The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex completed a $140 million expansion in 2000, creating even more versatile convention facilities. Located on seven square blocks in downtown Birmingham, the center is only ten minutes from the airport.

Birmingham: Transportation

Eight commercial airlines operating at Birmingham International Airport offer 154 daily flights to and from 25 nonstop destinations and 35 direct flight destinations. The airport is only ten minutes from downtown.

Birmingham: Communications

Birmingham is one of the few American cities that still have separately-owned competing daily newspapers. Birmingham's major daily newspaper is the Birmingham Post-Herald (afternoons).

Mobile

Head Official: Mayor Michael C.

Mobile: Introduction

Mobile, Alabama's oldest and third largest city, is also the state's only seaport, serving as a major industrial, shipping, and shipbuilding center. Located on the Mobile River at the head of the Gulf of Mexico's Mobile Bay, it was an important maritime site during the Civil War and both world wars.

Mobile: Geography and Climate

Mobile is located at the mouth of the Mobile River in southwest Alabama and stands at the head of Mobile Bay, 31 miles inland from where the bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Mobile: History

Represented on maps as early as 1507, the Gulf of Mexico inlet now known as Mobile Bay was navigated by European seafarers in 1519 when ships under the command of Spanish Admiral Alonso Alvaraz de Pineda sought a safe harbor in which to undertake repairs. The bay area was not really explored, however, until 1558.

Mobile: Population Profile

Mobile: Municipal Government

Mobile has a mayor/council form of government made up of seven council members plus the mayor who are elected for four-year terms.

Mobile: Economy

Benefiting from abundant natural resources, a diversified work force, and a prime location, Mobile enjoyed steady economic expansion throughout the twentieth century. Since 1990 the city has had its healthiest economy in decades, based on factors such as tax revenue, Port of Mobile tonnage, total employment, and residential sales.

Mobile: Education and Research

The Mobile County Public School System is the oldest in the state and encompasses five separate school districts. The system educates 65,000 students and employs more than 7,000 people.

Mobile: Health Care

Mobile offers a full range of basic and specialty health care in five general hospitals, a women's and children's hospital, both a public and a private mental health hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, outpatient surgery centers, and more than 850 physicians and 175 dentists. A designated regional trauma center, the University of South Alabama Medical Center has a Level I Trauma Center, an emergency helicopter, the region's only burn center, and a cancer center.

Mobile: Recreation

Visitors to Mobile may want to stop at the Fort Conde Welcome Center at 150 Royal Street in the Church Street East district. Built between 1724 and 1735, the brick fort was demolished 100 years later.

Mobile: Convention Facilities

Downtown Mobile boasts the 400,000-square-foot Mobile Civic Center Complex, which features a 10,000-seat arena and 80,000 square feet of exhibit space. There are also a 28,000-square-foot exposition hall, a 1,950-seat theater, and ample meeting rooms.

Mobile: Transportation

The Mobile Regional Airport is located approximately 14 miles from downtown Mobile. Air travelers are served by Delta, Northwest Airlines, Continental Express, and U.S.

Mobile: Communications

Mobile's largest-circulation newspaper is The Mobile Register, Alabama's oldest newspaper, dating back to 1813. The Mobile Press combines with the Register on weekends and prints as The Mobile Press Register.

Montgomery

Head Official: Mayor Bobby N.

Montgomery: Introduction

As the home of a fine art museum and highly respected Shakespeare Festival, the city of Montgomery combines a small town feel with an aura of cultural sophistication. Blessed with beautiful parks and gardens as well as a rich historical legacy, the city is both a tourist attraction and the administrative site of the Alabama state government.

Montgomery: Geography and Climate

Montgomery, located in the state's south-central region, lies on the south bank of the Alabama River in a gently rolling area with fertile soil. The city is 100 miles south of Birmingham and 172 miles southwest of Atlanta, Georgia.

Montgomery: History

Many centuries before Montgomery was founded, the land on which it sits was the site of two Indian towns called Ikanatchati and Towasa. Numerous mounds and burials sites have been uncovered there, proving it to have been an area thickly settled by ancestors of the Creek people, the Alibamu Indians, from whom the state took its name.

Montgomery: Population Profile

Montgomery: Municipal Government

Montgomery's municipal affairs are managed by a nine-member city council and a mayor, all elected for four-year terms.

Montgomery: Economy

Government at the local, state, and federal levels plays a major role in Montgomery's economy. It makes up one-fourth of the work force and lends a strong stability to the local economy.

Montgomery: Education and Research

Montgomery's school system includes nine magnet schools with specialized programs each with its own focus, including arts, technology, math, science, international studies, and advanced academics. The schools offer gifted and special education programs as well as a Career Tech program.

Montgomery: Health Care

The Baptist Health network operates not-for-profit clinics and hospitals throughout Montgomery. Baptist Medical Center East is a 150-bed full-service hospital that offers a wide variety of services, such as emergency care, obstetrics, surgical services, laser surgery, nuclear medicine, outpatient addictive disease care, and wellness programs.

Montgomery: Recreation

The Visitor Center, located in historic Union Station at Riverfront Park, offers maps and brochures for visitors to use in touring the city. Many of Montgomery's most important tourist sites are located in the city's downtown and are within walking distance of one another.

Montgomery: Convention Facilities

Montgomery offers a variety of sites for conferences and conventions. The Montgomery Civic Center features a main exhibition hall measuring 200 by 300 feet, with an acoustical ceiling 35 feet high.

Montgomery: Transportation

Montgomery Regional Airport, located six miles southwest of the city, supports civilian use and provides facilities for the Alabama Army and Air National Guard. Air carriers serving Montgomery include Delta, Northwest Airlink, US Airways Express, and beginning in 2005, Continental Express.

Montgomery: Communications

The Montgomery Advertiser is the city's only daily newspaper. The The Montgomery Independent is published weekly.

Arkansas

Fort Smith

Head Official: Mayor C. Ray Baker, Jr.

Fort Smith: Introduction

Located on the Arkansas River where the state of Arkansas meets Oklahoma, Fort Smith is the western gateway to Arkansas. The former military fort was situated with great purpose in 1817 to separate warring native tribes, and its location continues to serve Fort Smith today as a manufacturing and tourism destination.

Fort Smith: Geography and Climate

Fort Smith is located on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border, where it is bisected by the Arkansas River and sandwiched between the Ouachita and Ozark national forests. Built on the flats left by the meandering river, the city is level and green but enjoys easy access to mountains.

Fort Smith: History

The groundwork for Fort Smith's role in U.S. and Arkansas history was laid early and deep, as the native tribes that originally peopled the area during the Stone Age established communities in what later became valued and contested lands.

Fort Smith: Population Profile

Fort Smith: Municipal Government

Fort Smith operates under a city administrator form of government in which the governing body is composed of a mayor and seven board directors. Four of the directors represent wards of the City of Fort Smith, while the mayor and the other three directors are elected by the broader population of the city.

Fort Smith: Economy

Fort Smith is the manufacturing hub of Arkansas, with more goods produced in that vicinity than anywhere else in the state. National and international companies such as Weyerhauser, Gerber Foods, Whirlpool Corporation and Rheem Air Conditioning Products have facilities in Fort Smith and employ thousands of area workers to generate wood and paper products, food products, air conditioning system components and appliances.

Fort Smith: Education and Research

The Fort Smith Public Schools (FSPS) offers education services to students within the city's municipal boundaries, with students from outside the area eligible to apply to the School of Choice program. The student population increased slightly during the 2003-2004 school year, with the most marked growth in non-English speaking and economically disadvantaged students.

Fort Smith: Health Care

The greater Fort Smith Arkansas-Oklahoma metropolitan area of 11 counties is served by 5 hospitals and 23 clinics, with outpatient and specialty services being provided by 591 organizations and individuals in private practice. The primary provider of healthcare services locally is Sparks Regional Medical Center, established in Arkansas in 1887.

Fort Smith: Recreation

The best way to get to know the city is to begin at the Fort Smith National Historical Site on the grounds of the old military installation. Here visitors can trace the history of the area from Wild West fort to "Trail of Tears" waystation, to frontier justice courtroom.

Fort Smith: Convention Facilities

Central to the Belle Grove Historic District, the U.S. National Cemetery, the Riverfront Park, and other downtown attractions is the Fort Smith Convention Center.

Fort Smith: Transportation

The Fort Smith Regional Airport is located just outside the city limits to the south, at 6700 McKennon Blvd., and is served by American and Northwest Airlines. In 2002, the airport completed a new terminal complex with improved accommodations for waiting passengers.

Fort Smith: Communications

The city of Fort Smith's local daily paper, the Times Record is circulated throughout the Fort Smith metropolitan area and Sebastian County. A magazine detailing local events, Entertainment Fort Smith, is also published locally.

Little Rock

Little Rock: Introduction

Located in the geographic center of Arkansas, Little Rock is also the state's undisputed historic, cultural, and economic hub. The capital since 1821 (when Arkansas was still just a territory) and the seat of Pulaski County, Little Rock now finds itself to be a key link between markets in the southwest and the southeast.

Little Rock: Geography and Climate

Centrally located on the Arkansas River on the dividing line between the Ouachita Mountains to the west and the flat lowlands of the Mississippi River valley to the east, Little Rock experiences all of the air mass types common to North America. Winters are mild, but periods of cold weather can occur when arctic air moves in from the north.

Little Rock: History

The earliest inhabitants of the area that is now Little Rock were Stone Age people who—despite their lack of sophisticated tools, wagons, and domesticated animals—constructed huge earthen mounds that are still in existence. (Some of the most significant ones in the state are located just a short distance down the Arkansas River from Little Rock.) Used as public meeting places, living quarters, and burial chambers, these mounds have yielded numerous examples of pottery and other artifacts.

Little Rock: Population Profile

Little Rock: Municipal Government

Little Rock operates under a city manager/board of directors form of government. An 11-member board of directors—elected on a non-partisan basis for staggered four-year terms—employs the manager to supervise the daily operations of the city.

Little Rock: Economy

As the largest city in a primarily rural and agricultural state, Little Rock is the center of economic activity in Arkansas. For decades, cotton and then rice, soybeans, and other crops were the area's main source of income.

Little Rock: Education and Research

The Little Rock School District provides education to students within the city boundaries, as well as to students who live outside the city who opt to transfer to one of the magnet or interdistrict schools. Local schools are recognized for their multicultural diversity and high academic standards.

Little Rock: Health Care

Medical facilities in the Greater Little Rock area provide comprehensive, quality service for more than two million people in the metropolitan area and the state. Little Rock itself has 650 physicians and surgeons in 11 hospitals and 70 clinics, with bed space for more than 5,000 patients.

Little Rock: Recreation

A good place to begin a tour of Little Rock is Riverfront Park, located directly on the riverfront in the center of the city. The park is the site of numerous fairs and festivals during the year, and it also offers the visitor a place to relax or stroll along the promenade and read about the area's early history in an open-air pavilion.

Little Rock: Convention Facilities

With the development of Statehouse Plaza and its complex of meeting facilities and hotels, Little Rock has made a special effort to attract convention business. Situated along the Arkansas River, Statehouse Plaza is an eight-square-block area in downtown Little Rock that includes the Statehouse Convention Center and University Conference Center, Robinson Center, and several major hotels, including the Peabody, Capital, and Double Tree.

Little Rock: Transportation

The Little Rock National Airport is located within the city limits and is only three miles from downtown, thus making it one of the most convenient urban airports in the country. It is served by American Eagle, Comair, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Connection, Northwest, Northwest Airlink, Southwest, and US Airways Express.

Little Rock: Communications

Little Rock has one major daily newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a morning paper that is circulated statewide. The weekly publication Arkansas Times is a general lifestyle newspaper aiming to educate readers about life in Arkansas, and the Arkansas Business News serves readers on a weekly basis.

Delaware

Area: 2,489 square miles (2000; U.S.

Dover

Head Official: Mayor Stephen R.

Dover: Introduction

Dover is the capital of Delaware and the seat of Kent County. The city, which dates back to the 1600s, is acclaimed for its lovely tree-lined streets, preserved town green, and impressive Georgian and Victorian architecture.

Dover: Geography and Climate

Dover is located in central Delaware on the Delmarva peninsula and on the St. Jones River.

Dover: History

At the time of the arrival of the first white men, the Lenape Indians lived along the banks of the Delaware River. The land where Dover now stands was part of a much larger grant called Zwaanendael (Valley of the Swans), where a group of Dutch patrons attempting to colonize it were killed by the local tribe in 1631.

Dover: Population Profile

Dover: Municipal Government

Dover operates with a council-manager form of government. The mayor and nine council members serve two-year terms.

Dover: Economy

Dover, the second largest city in the state, is a center of government, commerce, and industry for Central Delaware. Long involved in agricultural trade, the city is home to Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble facilities.

Dover: Education and Research

In 1995 the Capital School District received one of 17 national Challenge Grants from the U.S. Department of Education in the programs's inaugural year.

Dover: Health Care

The medical needs of Dover's residents are met at the city's Kent General Hospital, a 231-bed facility. The hospital offers a variety of services including in-patient and outpatient care, neonatal special care, coronary care, same-day surgery, a modern imaging department, respiratory care and neurodiagnostics, and a 24-hour emergency department.

Dover: Recreation

A good place to begin exploring Dover is the Delaware State Visitor Center on Federal Street in the downtown area, which offers maps, brochures, and information. The center also features changing exhibits about the area.

Dover: Convention Facilities

The Dover Sheraton Conference Center is the primary conference site in the city. The center offers 21,000 square feet of exhibition space, a ballroom that can accommodate 1,500 for dinner, and 22 meeting rooms, as well as 156 hotel rooms.

Dover: Transportation

For many years, metropolitan Dover was a bottleneck, especially on the weekends, with visitors traveling to and from the Atlantic beaches. Relief arrived with the opening of a $100 million bypass around the city on Route 1.

Dover: Communications

Dover's daily newspaper is the Delaware State News, published Monday through Sunday. Wilmington's The News Journal is also read in Dover.

Wilmington

Head Official: Mayor James M.

Wilmington: Introduction

After years of living in Philadelphia's shadow, Wilmington has emerged as a national banking center. Beginning with the du Pont family enterprises, the city has been a leading industrial and shipping hub since the nineteenth century.

Wilmington: Geography and Climate

Wilmington is located in the northeast corner of Delaware, on the western bank of the Delaware River where the Christina River joins Brandywine Creek. The city is part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which combines flat, low land at sea level with gentle, rolling hills that extend northward into Pennsylvania.

Wilmington: History

Lenni-Lenape Indians lived in the Wilmington area long before Europeans and Africans arrived on Delaware's shores. "Lenni" means pure or original, and "Lenape" means the people.

Wilmington: Population Profile

Wilmington: Municipal Government

Wilmington, the New Castle County seat, has a mayor-council form of government. Elected to a four-year term, the mayor is the city's chief administrator.

Wilmington: Economy

Companies working in service industries such as health care, banking, trade, and manufacturing remain Wilmington's largest employers. The Wilmington/Newark metropolitan area is home to some of the world's most prominent technology companies, including DuPont, AstraZeneca, W.L.

Wilmington: Education and Research

In 1976 the New Castle County School District was reorganized and divided into four separate districts: Brandywine, Red Clay Consolidated, Christina (the largest), and Colonial. Each district encompasses some part of Wilmington along with other suburban communities, and each elects a seven-member board of education to govern its elementary and secondary schools.

Wilmington: Health Care

Two of Delaware's largest medical facilities, Christina Care Health System and the Alfred I. du Pont Institute, are located in Wilmington.

Wilmington: Recreation

From the eighteenth-century homes in Wilmington Square to the country estates along the Brandywine, Wilmington's attractions are rich in history. Prominent among them is the legacy of one family.

Wilmington: Convention Facilities

The Wilmington area offers meeting planners more than 4,000 rooms plus meeting facilities that range from intimate country getaways to large world-class conference centers accommodating 1,000 people in a single room. The area's largest event and convention venue is the Bank One Center on the Riverfront, which offers more than 60,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, including an additional 45,000 square feet new in 2005.

Wilmington: Transportation

More than 580 flights arrive daily at the Philadelphia International Airport, making Wilmington (25 minutes away) easy to reach by plane. Door-to-door limousine service is available to all parts of the city.

Wilmington: Communications

One Wilmington-based daily newspaper, The News Journal, serves the state of Delaware. Other Wilmington publications include: Delaware Today, a general-interest monthly magazine; Big Shout Magazine, featuring entertainment information; The Dialog, published by the Catholic Press of Wilmington; Delaware Medical Journal; and Out & About, an entertainment monthly.

Florida

Area: 65,754.59 square miles (2000; U.S.

Jacksonville

Jacksonville: Introduction

Jacksonville is a cosmopolitan riverside city that is one of the largest cities in area in the United Sates. In addition to the miles of beautiful sea coastline nearby, tourists are drawn to this rapidly growing city by its sunny climate, recreational activities, culture, and a bustling downtown, as well as sites such as a restored Civil War fortress, America's oldest city (which is nearby), and the rich African American cultural heritage evident in many of its historical sites.

Jacksonville: Geography and Climate

Jacksonville is located in the northeast corner of Florida on the banks of the St. Johns River, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.

Jacksonville: History

Historians hold that the Timucua tribe lived on the site of today's Jacksonville since before the year 2000 B.C. The first documented European visitors to the area were a group of French Huguenots, led by Rene de Laudonniere, who sailed into the mouth of the St.

Jacksonville: Population Profile

Jacksonville: Municipal Government

The city of Jacksonville and Duval County voted in 1968 to establish a consolidated government designed to use all community resources in solving problems that affect the entire county area. The city's strong-mayor form of government is divided into 14 districts of nearly equal population, each of which is represented by a council member.

Jacksonville: Economy

With its diverse economic base, young, energetic population, and high quality of life, Jacksonville experienced substantial growth during the latter decades of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.

Jacksonville: Education and Research

Duval County Public Schools, the 20th largest school system in the nation, serves about 127,500 students. The system is run by a seven-member Board of Education, who are elected for four-years terms, and who appoint the superintendent.

Jacksonville: Health Care

Jacksonville's health care system has an approximately $2.5 billion annual impact on the local economy. There are more than 2,300 physicians in the area, 19 clinics, and 5 major general hospitals: University Medical Center, Baptist Medical Center, St.

Jacksonville: Recreation

The hub of Florida's First Coast has much to offer visitors with its theaters, museums, art galleries, riverboat cruises, beautiful fountains, outstanding musical events, and historic sites.

Jacksonville: Convention Facilities

The Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, formerly the Jacksonville Railroad Terminal, is the largest convention facility in the region.

Jacksonville: Transportation

Jacksonville International Airport (JIA), only minutes from the central business district, recently expanded its passenger terminal and expects to service more than 8 million passengers annually by the year 2009. Most major airlines provide more than 230 flights in and out of the city every day.

Jacksonville: Communications

Jacksonville's major daily (morning) paper is the Florida Times-Union. The Jacksonville Business Journal and the Jacksonville Daily Record are the area's business newspapers.

Miami

Head Official: Mayor Manuel A.

Miami: Introduction

Described as the "only great city of the world that started as a fantasy," Miami, with its subtropical climate, naturally protected harbor, and spectacular beaches, has traditionally been a haven for tourists and retirees. Since the late 1980s, however, the city has sustained unprecedented growth and, while transforming its image, has emerged as a center of international finance and commerce and as a regional center for Latin American and Haitian art.

Miami: Geography and Climate

Located at the mouth of the Miami River on the lower east coast of Florida, Miami is bordered on the east by Biscayne Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Further east, the islands of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach shelter the bay from the Atlantic Ocean, thus providing Miami with a naturally protected harbor.

Miami: History

South Florida was settled more than four thousand years ago by primitive people who had established a thriving culture by the time Spanish explorers led by Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513. The principal native tribe in the region that is now Miami-Dade County was the Calusa (renamed Tequesta by de Leon), whose members built villages along the Miami River.

Miami: Population Profile

Miami: Municipal Government

Miami's system of government is two-tiered: municipal and county. At the municipal level are a city mayor, five commissioners, and a city manager.

Miami: Economy

For most of Miami's history, its economy has been based on tourism. In fact, it was not so long ago that the city came to life only during the winter months when tourists from cold northern regions flocked to its beaches, hotels, and resorts.

Miami: Education and Research

Like all public schools in the state of Florida, the public elementary and secondary schools of Miami are part of a county-wide district. The Miami-Dade County district, fourth largest in the United States, is administered by a partisan nine-member elected school board that appoints a superintendent.

Miami: Health Care

Miami-Dade County, with 28 hospitals and more than 32,000 licensed healthcare professionals, has the state's largest concentration of medical facilities, which provide comprehensive human and social services through an array of programs. Hundreds of thousands of residents take part in a wide variety of county programs including emergency assistance, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and prevention, homeless shelter, veteran services, and other traditional social services.

Miami: Recreation

Visitors to Miami will find a variety of activities, from an adventure-filled day at a nature park to a nostalgic stroll through a historic district. The city's principal attraction is Miami Seaquarium, south Florida's largest tropical aquarium and home of Flipper, television's star dolphin.

Miami: Convention Facilities

With several convention centers, including a new ultramodern downtown facility, Miami is an attractive gathering place for large or small groups. Generous hotel space and a warm climate, coupled with a diverse range of available leisure activities, make the city an ideal spot for business mixed with pleasure.

Miami: Transportation

The visitor arriving in Miami by plane will stop at the Miami International Airport (MIA), an ultramodern facility only seven miles from downtown and served by more than 100 airlines. MIA is the one of the busiest in the world, and has the third highest international passenger traffic in the country.

Miami: Communications

Miami's major daily newspaper, the morning The Miami Herald is supplemented by two Spanish-language dailies, El Nuevo Patria and Diario Las Americas, a Spanish-language weekly, El Nuevo Herald(Sunday), and the Daily Business Review. The Miami Times is an African American community newspaper.

Orlando

Orlando: Introduction

Orlando's pleasant weather, affordable housing, and location at the center of one of the country's fastest growing markets, have helped make the city a boom town. New residents are drawn by the city's attractive setting among the inland lakes and citrus groves and by the short drive from the coastal beaches.

Orlando: Geography and Climate

Orlando is the seat of Orange County, though its metropolitan area also includes portions of Seminole, Lake, and Osceola counties. Located approximately 150 miles from the Florida/Georgia border, in an area surrounded by numerous citrus growers and 1,200 lakes, Orlando lies about 50 miles from the Atlantic to the east, 75 miles from the Gulf Coast to the west, and about 375 miles from the tip of the Florida Keys.

Orlando: History

The last 170 years have been a time of phenomenal change for what was once referred to as "The Phenomenal City." Prior to the arrival of the first European settlers in 1837, the area that is now Orlando was occupied by the Seminole tribe of Native Americans. Historians believe that the Seminoles, whose named is said to mean "wild and separate," inhabited the Central Florida region for 6,000 to 12,000 years.

Orlando: Population Profile

Orlando: Municipal Government

The city of Orlando has a mayor and six commissioners, each of whom are elected to four-year terms. The mayor is the full-time chief executive officer of the city and presides over all city council meetings.

Orlando: Economy

Orlando is known around the world for its major entertainment attractions, especially Walt Disney World, Epcot, and the film studios. Representing a 4.7 percent increase from the previous year, nearly 45 million tourists and conventioneers visited Orlando in 2003, pumping about $24.9 billion into the region's economy.

Orlando: Education and Research

In the state of Florida, each county is its own school district. The Orange County public school system is the twelfth largest district in the nation and is the fifth largest in Florida.

Orlando: Health Care

Florida Hospital, based in Orlando, is a private, not-for-profit network of 17 hospitals and 12 Centra Care urgent care facilities. Treating more than one million patients each year, Florida Hospital is the second busiest in the United States.

Orlando: Recreation

Orlando's many attractions, particularly its theme parks, bring visitors to the area from all over the world. In order to draw tourists and keep them coming back, new projects are always under development.

Orlando: Convention Facilities

As befits a city with a reputation as an exciting destination with plenty to do, Orlando is popular with meeting planners. Greater Orlando is capable of accommodating meetings and expositions both large and small.

Orlando: Transportation

Many travelers to the city arrive at the Orlando International Airport, one of the fastest growing major airports in the nation. Its 72 non-stop domestic destinations are the most of any airport in Florida.

Orlando: Communications

Orlando's daily (morning) newspaper is The Orlando Sentinel. The Orlando Times is a weekly newspaper focusing on the African American community, while the Orlando Business Journal speaks to the business community.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg: Introduction

St. Petersburg is a city so confident of its good weather that one of the local papers had a long tradition of giving away that day's edition anytime the sun didn't shine.

St. Petersburg: Geography and Climate

St. Petersburg is situated on the Pinellas Peninsula in southernmost Pinellas County.

St. Petersburg: History

Like much of Florida, the Tampa Bay area had been settled by Native Americans for generations before the first white explorer arrived. The region was visited in 1513 when Ponce de Leon of Spain anchored near Mullet Bay to clean barnacles from his ships.

St. Petersburg: Population Profile

St. Petersburg: Municipal Government

St. Petersburg has a strong mayor form of government, which combines a mayor with an eight-member elected council.

St. Petersburg: Economy

St. Petersburg's economy has traditionally been fueled by tourism.

St. Petersburg: Education and Research

Pinellas Public Schools is a county-wide system comprised of traditional public schools as well as several types of specialty schools. Seven fundamental elementary and middle schools emphasize parental involvement, daily homework assignments, and strict discipline.

St. Petersburg: Health Care

The hospital industry is one of Pinellas County's largest employers. The city of St.

St. Petersburg: Recreation

The center of St. Petersburg's tourist life is The Pier, five stories of shopping, restaurants, galleries, live musical entertainment, an aquarium, an art gallery, and a Children's Hands on Museum, right on the waterfront in downtown St.

St. Petersburg: Convention Facilities

The St. Petersburg area offers 5 large halls totaling nearly 300,000 square feet of convention space.

St. Petersburg: Transportation

The St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, close to the beaches, carries approximately one million commercial passengers each year.

St. Petersburg: Communications

The Pulitzer Prize-winning St. Petersburg Times, a morning paper, is frequently ranked as one of the top ten newspapers in the country.

Tallahassee

Tallahassee: Introduction

Tallahassee, which means "land of the old fields" in the Apalachee Indian language, still retains the feel of the Old South with its antebellum homes, historic churches, and Spanish moss-draped oaks. As the state capital, the city is a center of both government and education for the state of Florida.

Tallahassee: Geography and Climate

Nestled among the rolling hills of northwest Florida, Tallahassee is located in a region of the Florida panhandle known as the Big Bend. The city is set 20 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, 178 miles west of Jacksonville, and 200 miles east of Pensacola.

Tallahassee: History

As long ago as 10,000 B.C., Native Americans lived in the Red Hills of Tallahassee where they constructed temple mounds on the shores of what is now Lake Jackson (six of the mounds are preserved at Lake Jackson Mounds State Archaeological Site). Prior to the coming of the Europeans, Tallahassee had gained importance as a village of more than 30,000 people.

Tallahassee: Population Profile

Tallahassee: Municipal Government

Tallahassee has a council/manager form of government with a mayor and four council members elected at large who serve staggered four-year terms. The city commission appoints the city manager who oversees most city departments and administers the daily operation of the city.

Tallahassee: Economy

Government is the central focus of Tallahassee's economy, although education, printing and publishing, food processing, and the lumber industry play important roles as well. As Florida's state capital, Tallahassee enjoys a stable economy and a comparatively low unemployment rate.

Tallahassee: Education and Research

The Leon County School District offers programs in education for the gifted, physically and emotionally handicapped, and homebound, as well as programs in vocational education, special education, adult job preparation, and adult general education. Leon County students continue to score higher than students state-wide and nationally on the Scholastic Achievement Test.

Tallahassee: Health Care

Tallahassee is served by two local hospitals plus walk-in clinics and a mental health center. The Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, eighth largest hospital in Florida, is a 770-bed hospital that provides open-heart surgery and cardiac transplantation, renal dialysis, laser surgery, and lithotripsy.

Tallahassee: Recreation

Tallahassee offers the visitor a handsome vista of rolling hills, abundant trees, and an interesting variety of Southern architectural styles. The downtown district was formed according to the plan of William DuVal, governor of the Florida Territory.

Tallahassee: Convention Facilities

As the government center for the state of Florida, Tallahassee is the preferred headquarters location for most gatherings of Florida professionals. Tallahassee has more than 5,000 rooms in more than 50 hotels and motels.

Tallahassee: Transportation

Florida law requires that drivers must turn on their headlights when rain is heavy enough to use windshield wipers. A number of interstate and state highways converge in Tallahassee including U.S.

Tallahassee: Communications

The Tallahassee Democrat is the city's daily newspaper. The Capital Outlook, is an African-American weekly, while the Elder Update, published monthly, offers consumer information for senior citizens.

Tampa

Tampa: Introduction

Tampa is Florida's third most populous city, and its chief treasure is its diversity. The city today combines elements of the Italian, Spanish, Indian, Cuban, and African American cultures that reflect its historical development and give Tampa a cosmopolitan flair.

Tampa: Geography and Climate

Located midway down Florida's west coast, about 25 miles east of the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is bordered on the south and west by the Hillsborough and Old Tampa bays. Downtown is divided by the winding Hillsborough River, which originates northeast of the city and empties into Hillsborough Bay.

Tampa: History

When Spanish explorers first arrived in the Tampa Bay region in 1528, they encountered a native civilization that had flourished there for at least 3,500 years. Several different tribes dominated the Gulf Coast, including the Tocobaga, the Timucua, the Apalachee, and the Caloosa (also spelled Calusa).

Tampa: Population Profile

Tampa: Municipal Government

Tampa, the Hillsborough County seat, adopted a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government in 1945. Elections are held every four years, at which time city residents choose the mayor and seven council members.

Tampa: Economy

Early in the twentieth century, Tampa was unquestionably a one-industry town. From the late 1880s through the 1930s, cigar manufacturing and related activities—primarily box construction and lithography—dominated the economy.

Tampa: Education and Research

Like all public schools in the state, the public elementary and secondary schools of Tampa are part of a county-wide district. The Hillsborough district, third largest in the state and tenth largest in the country, is administered by a nonpartisan, seven-member school board that appoints a superintendent.

Tampa: Health Care

Well on its way to becoming one of the Southeast's premier centers for medical treatment of any kind, Tampa is home to more than a dozen major hospitals, a Children's Cancer Center, the University of South Florida's Medical Center (where teaching and research are combined with patient care), and the university's H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, a 162-bed hospital.

Tampa: Recreation

Visitors to Tampa can pursue a wide variety of activities, from the thrills of a day at a popular theme park to the quiet beauty of a leisurely walk along a waterfront boulevard. The city's premier attraction—and the state's second busiest, after Walt Disney World in Orlando—is Busch Gardens, a 335-acre entertainment center, jungle garden, and open zoo in which several thousand animals roam free on a simulated African veldt.

Tampa: Convention Facilities

Tampa's $140-million Tampa Convention Center complex is located near Harbour Island. It contains approximately 200,000 square feet of exhibition space and 60,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a 36,000-square-foot ballroom, a 600-room hotel, and office and retail space.

Tampa: Transportation

The Tampa International Airport (TIA), a modern facility 12 miles from downtown, was designed to be an optimally user-friendly origin-and-destination airport. It was the first airport in the country to use a people-mover system to transport passengers from remote buildings to terminals.

Tampa: Communications

Tampa's major daily newspaper is The Tampa Tribune, a morning publication. Residents also read the St.

Georgia

Atlanta

Atlanta: Introduction

Georgia's capital and largest city, Atlanta is a major Southern financial and cultural force and the focus of a metropolitan statistical area that covers more than 6,000 square miles and includes more than 110 municipalities. People from all over the country, joined by immigrants from other lands, have flocked to Atlanta's mild climate, physical beauty, and job opportunities.

Atlanta: Geography and Climate

Located in the foothills of the southern Appalachians in the north-central part of the state, Atlanta has a mild climate that rotates through all four seasons. The city's elevation and relative closeness to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean moderate the summer heat; mountains to the north retard the southward movement of polar air masses, thereby providing mild winters.

Atlanta: History

Until the early nineteenth century, the site near the Chattahoochee River where Atlanta is located (originally named the Standing Peach Tree for a peach tree on a small hill about seven miles away) was virgin territory sparsely occupied by Creek and Cherokee Native American tribes. The first permanent white settlers arrived during the War of 1812, when Fort Gilmer was built at the Standing Peach Tree.

Atlanta: Population Profile

Atlanta: Municipal Government

Atlanta, the Fulton County seat, is governed by a mayor and a 16-member city council that is managed by the council president. The mayor is chief executive officer and oversees administration of city government.

Atlanta: Economy

While the Coca-Cola Company wields considerable influence in Atlanta—much of it in areas outside its immediate manufacturing concerns—no single industry or firm truly dominates the local economy. Service industries employ the largest number of workers, but trade and manufacturing are also important elements.

Atlanta: Education and Research

The Atlanta system is located in the city of Atlanta, as well as in unincorporated portions of Fulton and DeKalb Counties. Policies are formed by the nine-member Atlanta Board of Education, all elected positions.

Atlanta: Health Care

A regional as well as a national leader in the field of health care, the Atlanta metropolitan area is home to more than 50 hospitals supporting 40,000 medical personnel and more than 10,000 beds. Twelve hospitals are located in the city proper.

Atlanta: Recreation

The Atlanta area offers extraordinarily rich opportunities for leisure, pleasure, and culture. A popular site within the city is Grant Park, which includes scenic walking paths, the Zoo Atlanta featuring a Giant Panda exhibit until 2009, and some Civil War fortifications.

Atlanta: Convention Facilities

Easy access to the city, a good public transportation system, an abundance of hotel rooms, and a mild climate have combined to make Atlanta one of the leading convention centers in the United States, by most accounts ranking just behind Chicago and Orlando. Atlanta's major convention facilities are the Georgia World Congress Center, which contains 3.9 million square feet of exhibit space and 76 meeting rooms and is among the 5 largest nationwide; the Georgia Dome, which seats 71,500 and has 102,000 square feet of exhibit space, and the Philips Arena, which offers an 18,000-seat and 17,000 square-foot facility for meetings, athletic events, and concerts.

Atlanta: Transportation

Often referred to as Atlanta's number-one economic asset, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been distinguished as "the world's busiest passenger airport." The huge, ultramodern facility, only 10 miles from downtown on 4,700 acres of land, is served by 25 passenger airlines that fly non-stop or one-stop to more than 200 national and international destinations along with 19 cargo airlines. Terminals are connected by an automated underground train system.

Atlanta: Communications

One major daily newspaper serves Atlantans: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The major weeklies include The Atlanta Bulletin, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and Mundo Hispanico (a Hispanic-oriented paper published since 1979).

Marietta

Marietta: Introduction

Marietta, located in Cobb County, approximately 20 miles from Atlanta, is one of the booming exurban job centers growing up around the country. Cobb County likes to market the area's recreational attractions by referring to itself as "the fun side of Atlanta," and Mariettans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars sowing seeds and planting trees and shrubs to promote beautification throughout the city.

Marietta: Geography and Climate

Marietta is located north of Atlanta, along the Chattahoochee River. The city is bordered by Lake Allatoona to the northwest, while its southern boundary lies south of Interstate 20.

Marietta: History

For many years, Cobb County was the home of the Creek tribe, descendants of the Mississippian tribes that inhabited the northwest section of Georgia from approximately 800 A.D. The Creeks were driven south of the Chattahoochee River by the Cherokees in the early 1800s.

Marietta: Population Profile

Marietta: Municipal Government

Marietta is governed by a mayor and seven-member city council who serve four-year terms, while the day-to-day administration is handled by the City Manager, who is appointed by the city council.

Marietta: Economy

Cobb County has a diverse business base that encompasses manufacturing and distribution, administrative headquarters operations, service industries, and retailers. The booming service economy and the large migration of Northern companies into the South have formed a new class of entrepreneurs.

Marietta: Education and Research

Marietta's city school system is governed by a seven-member elected Board of Education. Four of its 10 schools have been named Georgia Schools of Excellence along with one National School of Excellence, and in 2003 the system ranked in the top 15 percent of nationwide school systems.

Marietta: Health Care

The region supports four large hospitals; Marietta's largest is WellStar Kennestone Hospital with 493 beds. Kennestone has made treatment of minor illness and injuries more convenient to residents through its five satellite KenMed facilities throughout the community.

Marietta: Recreation

The first stop to make on a visit to Marietta is at the Welcome Center to pick up tour maps; the Center is in the renovated train station right off Marietta Square. The revitalized square is an entertainment mecca with several popular nightspots, restaurants, and the renovated Theater in the Square.

Marietta: Convention Facilities

Cobb County's Galleria Centre provides 320,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. The $40 million facility offers a 144,000-square-foot exhibit/arena space; a 25,000-square-foot ballroom; nearly 24,000 square feet of registration/prefunction space, and 20 meeting rooms ranging from 528 to 1,750 square feet.

Marietta: Transportation

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serves the greater metro area, including Marietta. Airlines serving Hartsfield-Jackson include domestic and international carriers, as well as commuter and freight lines.

Marietta: Communications

Marietta's daily newspapers are the Marietta Daily Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both published in Atlanta. East Cobber and Cobb Extra are published weekly.

Savannah

Head Official: Otis S.

Savannah: Introduction

"The most beautiful city in North America," is the way Paris's famed Le Monde newspaper describes Savannah. Visitors in growing numbers flock to experience the city's mild climate, old world charm and atmosphere, moderately priced accommodations, and unique historic downtown district.

Savannah: Geography and Climate

Savannah is located on the Georgia-South Carolina border where the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean are the natural boundaries of both the city and the state. In its semitropical location, Savannah usually has warm, and frequently hot, humid weather throughout the year.

Savannah: History

On February 12, 1733, James E. Oglethorpe and 114 colonists from Gravesend, England, arrived at Yamacraw Bluff on the Savannah River to found America's thirteenth colony, Georgia.

Savannah: Population Profile

Savannah: Municipal Government

Savannah has an elected mayor, eight alders, and an appointed city manager. Elections are held every four years.

Savannah: Economy

Savannah has a five-tiered economy consisting of manufacturing, the port and transportation, tourism, the military, and miscellaneous businesses such as health care. Retail and service businesses are also important factors.

Savannah: Education and Research

The Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools system consists of 49 schools and 9 educational centers educating 36,000 students, and featuring outstanding curricula as well as a number of special programs for students from K-12. The Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Academy Programs (formerly the Magnet program) offer students the opportunity to pursue specialized courses of study.

Savannah: Health Care

With its two major hospital systems and more than 600 private physicians in the city alone, Savannah is the healthcare hub of a 40-county area encompassing coastal Georgia and parts of South Carolina. St.

Savannah: Recreation

Visitors are attracted to Savannah for many reasons, the primary one being the opportunity to tour the city's beautiful Historic District, the country's largest historic urban landmark district. The Savannah Visitors Center, located at the The Gaston House.

Savannah: Convention Facilities

The $83 million Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is the centerpiece of a remarkable renaissance blending the best of the Old and New South into a unique meetings destination. The state-of-the-art, 365,000-square-foot complex features 100,000 square feet of customizable exhibit space with impressive vistas of Savannah's bustling waterfront.

Savannah: Transportation

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which is located 12 miles west of the city, is served by AirTran, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Express, Independence Air, Northwest Airlink, United Express and U.S. Airways.

Savannah: Communications

Savannah's major daily newspaper is the Savannah Morning News. Local weeklies include The Herald, Connect Savannah, Creative Loafing,Savannah Business Report and Journal, and Savannah PennySaver.

Kentucky

Frankfort

Head Official: Mayor William I. May, Jr.

Frankfort: Introduction

Frankfort, capital city of Kentucky, is one of the country's oldest and smallest state capitals. It is a quaint little town cut through by the Kentucky River.

Frankfort: Geography and Climate

Frankfort, county seat of Franklin county, is located in a beautiful valley in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. The city lies within an hour's drive of the major metropolitan areas of Louisville (to the west) and Lexington (to the east).

Frankfort: History

Before Europeans first began to explore the area where Frankfort now stands, the land was heavily forested and teeming with wild game. Shawnee, Delaware, and Cherokee hunting parties followed migrating herds of buffalo, deer, and elk across the Kentucky River near present-day Frankfort.

Frankfort: Population Profile

Frankfort: Municipal Government

Frankfort is governed through the commission-manager form of government. The members of the city commission are elected to two-year terms and the mayor is elected to a four-year term.

Frankfort: Economy

As the home of Kentucky's state government, Frankfort has long been a regional employment center. State government employment and private professional service firms doing business with the state have had a stabilizing effect on the area's economy.

Frankfort: Education and Research

Frankfort Independent Schools operates its elementary (Second Street School), high school (Frankfort High School), and alternative schools (Wilkingson Street School for troubled middle and high schoolers; EXCEL for skills enrichment; and the Panther Enrichment Program for additional learning opportunities) as a joint venture with the greater Franklin County Public School system. Frankfort schools open in early August, continue for nine weeks, then break for a three-week intersession.

Frankfort: Health Care

Frankfort Regional Medical Center, a 173-bed acute care facility, features a team approach and offers emergency care, maternity services, diagnostic imaging, and intensive care. The medical center provides outpatient service and treatment programs for substance abuse, as well as psychiatric care.

Frankfort: Recreation

The Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission's Visitors Center, located five blocks from the Kentucky statehouse, offers maps and information about local sites. Two good places to get a feeling for the personalities that formed Frankfort's history are the Corner of Celebrities, which is actually one square block behind Wilkinson Street in the north part of town, and the Frankfort Cemetery, located on a high cliff overlooking the city.

Frankfort: Convention Facilities

Nestled along the Kentucky River within short walking distance of downtown's shops and restaurants, The Farnham Dudgeon Civic Center Complex adjoining Capital Plaza seats 5,365 people in arena seating, 5,047 people for concerts, and 800 people for banquets. The adjacent Holiday Inn Capital Plaza is equipped with an additional 8,000 square feet of meeting/convention space offered in 10 flexible meeting rooms.

Frankfort: Transportation

Air travelers to Frankfort usually arrive at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport, 25 miles east of downtown Frankfort (a trip of about 35 minutes), then take a taxi to the city (fare about $42). Greyhound offers bus service into Frankfort.

Frankfort: Communications

The State Journal is Frankfort's daily newspaper. Magazines published in Frankfort include Kentucky Bench & Bar Magazine, and Kentucky Afield.

Lexington

Lexington: Introduction

In the heart of the nation's Bluegrass Country, Lexington, Kentucky, is a city that has artfully blended history, horses, culture, and industry to create a uniquely desirable quality of life. With its graciously restored downtown buildings complementing its modern office and convention facilities, Lexington exemplifies the benefits of a successful public-private partnership.

Lexington: Geography and Climate

Located on the lush, grassy plateaus of Kentucky's central Bluegrass Country at the edge of the Cumberland Gap, Lexington is the county seat of Fayette County. The fertile 283-square-mile region is dotted with numerous small creeks that run to the nearby Kentucky River.

Lexington: History

Pioneer Daniel Boone was one of the first white men to explore the territory known today as the Bluegrass Country. The births of the United States and the city of Lexington occurred at nearly the same moment in history.

Lexington: Population Profile

Lexington: Municipal Government

On January 1, 1974, Lexington and Fayette County made Kentucky history by merging their governments into a single system. Called the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Government, the consolidation was the result of nearly four years of study and eliminated many duplicate services as well as the need for two separate property taxes.

Lexington: Economy

Horses are a billion-dollar industry in the Bluegrass Country. Home to more than 450 horse farms, Lexington is surrounded by the greatest concentration of thoroughbred horse farms in the world.

Lexington: Education and Research

Historically known as an educational center in the South, Lexington has maintained its concern with providing excellence in education. The Fayette County Public School System was established when the Lexington and Fayette County Boards of Education merged in 1967.

Lexington: Health Care

Lexington offers a wide choice of quality medical treatment facilities to its residents. There are nine hospitals located in the city.

Lexington: Recreation

Lexington-area residents enjoy an abundance of cultural and recreational activities and attractions. A rejuvenated downtown features Triangle Park, a 1.5-million-acre oasis of pear trees and cascading waterways; Gratz Park historic area; Victorian Square, an entire city block of restored turn-ofthe-century buildings transformed into fine shops; and Dudley Square, a renovated 1800s schoolhouse with a craft center and restaurant.

Lexington: Convention Facilities

Lexington Center, an 11-acre downtown complex, is the city's largest convention facility. The center includes Rupp Arena, which can be configured to accommodate seating requirements ranging from 3,500 to 23,000 people.

Lexington: Transportation

Lexington's modern airport, Blue Grass Airport, is 5 miles west of the city and 10 minutes from the heart of downtown. It is served by 11 regional and national carriers, who together make about 120 direct flights daily.

Lexington: Communications

The Lexington Herald-Leader is Lexington's major daily newspaper. Several other specialty publications are based in Lexington, including Annals of the Association of American Geographers, The Blood-Horse, Horseman and Fair World, Kentucky Kernel, and State Government News.

Louisville

Head Official: Mayor Jerry E.

Louisville: Introduction

Noted for the Kentucky Derby, mint juleps, and southern charm, Louisville preserves the best of the past while looking forward to the future. The city's economy is in transition, combining a reliance on traditional industries with redevelopment to attract new business enterprises.

Louisville: Geography and Climate

Louisville is located on the south bank of the Ohio River, about 377 miles above its confluence with the Mississippi River. Beargrass Creek and its south fork divide the city into two sectors with different types of topography.

Louisville: History

One historian has noted that chances of a settlement being established where Louisville now stands—adjacent to the Falls of the Ohio on a plain along the Ohio River—for a long time appeared unlikely because of treacherous rapids that had forced many prospective Native American, French, and Spanish settlers to turn back. In 1773, Thomas Bullitt was sent with a small surveying party to the site to plan a town, but they remained for less than a year.

Louisville: Population Profile

Louisville: Municipal Government

In January 2003, Louisville became the first major metropolitan city in three decades to merge its city and county governments. The Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government, dubbed "Louisville Metro," is led by Mayor Jerry E.

Louisville: Economy

The geography of Louisville, specifically its river accessibility, central location, and mild climate have contributed to its importance as a center for industry and commerce. Kentucky has historically been a mining and agricultural state, but Louisville has greatly diversified its economic base in recent years.

Louisville: Education and Research

The public elementary and secondary schools in Louisville are part of a county-wide district operated by the Jefferson County Board of Education. The school system offers students a variety of optional programs including advanced programs for gifted students; career/technological programs for middle school students; magnet programs; strict, traditional school curriculums; trade schools; Learning Choice schools offering specialized instructional areas; and special programs for handicapped students.

Louisville: Health Care

Greater Louisville offers world-class medical facilities; the health care industry employs more than 45,000 people, many of whom work in downtown Louisville's medical center, hospitals, and related facilities close to the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Health care costs remain below the national average, and the city was one of the first in the nation to guarantee health care for the indigent.

Louisville: Recreation

Louisville offers a variety of recreational activities, from a leisurely steamboat excursion on the Ohio River to a fun-filled day at a theme park. The city's most famous attraction is Churchill Downs, the site of the Kentucky Derby, held annually on the first Saturday in May.

Louisville: Convention Facilities

Louisville's largest meeting facility is the Kentucky International Convention Center, expanded and renovated at a cost of $72 million. The expansion part of the project increased the facility's exhibit space to 200,000 square feet and added a 360-seat theater and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

Louisville: Transportation

Louisville International Airport is located fifteen minutes from downtown and enjoys easy access to interstate highways. It is served by 10 passenger airlines and a commuter line and offers nearly 100 flights daily.

Louisville: Communications

Louisville's major daily newspaper is the Courier-Journal (morning). The Voice Tribune is a weekly business newspaper.

Louisiana

Area: 51,839.7 square miles (2000; U.S.

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge: Introduction

Baton Rouge, the state capital of Louisiana and the county seat of Baton Rouge Parish, has been described as "a happy blend of Cajun joie de vivre and progressive American know-how." Situated on the Mississippi River in the heart of the state, the city is an important center in the Sun Belt market. Moderate year-round temperatures and a relaxed environment make Baton Rouge a desirable place to live.

Baton Rouge: Geography and Climate

Located on the east side of the Mississippi River and situated on the first series of bluffs north of the river delta's coastal plain, Baton Rouge is about 60 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Louisiana. The city's subtropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, except for occasional brief winter cold spells.

Baton Rouge: History

The second largest city in Louisiana, Baton Rouge was established as a military post by the French in 1719. The present name of the city, however, dates back to 1699, when French explorers noted a red cypress tree stripped of its bark that marked the boundary between Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds.

Baton Rouge: Population Profile

Baton Rouge: Municipal Government

Baton Rouge operates under a city-parish form of government, administered by a mayor/president and a twelve-member council.

Baton Rouge: Economy

Baton Rouge has one of the nation's largest deep-water ports, equipped to handle both ocean-going vessels and river barges. A 45-foot channel on the lower Mississippi River has established the region as one of the nation's most attractive locations for large-scale industrial development.

Baton Rouge: Education and Research

Public elementary and secondary schools in Baton Rouge are part of the East Baton Rouge Parish (county) system, administered by a school board that appoints a superintendent. The system offers specialized programs for gifted students as well as arts, English as a second language, magnet, Montessori, college preparatory, and vocational programming.

Baton Rouge: Health Care

The Baton Rouge region includes seven general hospitals providing more than 2,100 beds plus 28 nursing homes providing nearly 3,000 beds. Woman's Hospital specializes in care for mothers and newborns but offers services to women of all ages.

Baton Rouge: Recreation

Baton Rouge offers a variety of recreational activities. A visitor can experience the city's past by touring the elegant plantations in the area.

Baton Rouge: Convention Facilities

Louisiana's hotel room demand is fourth in the nation, with 63.6% of rooms sold. The principal convention facility in Baton Rouge is The Baton Rouge River Center, which is located downtown on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Baton Rouge: Transportation

Located off Interstate 110 approximately 5 miles north of downtown Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is served by 4 major airlines. The recently renovated facility provides direct service to 24 cities, with connecting service also available through major southern cities.

Baton Rouge: Communications

Baton Rouge's major daily newspaper is The Advocate, a morning paper. News is also available in The Baton Rouge Post, an online only news daily.

New Orleans

Head Official: Mayor C.

New Orleans: Introduction

An international seaport with direct water connections to half the United States, New Orleans would not exist without the Mississippi River. Its roots are deep in the saturated soils of the delta; its history is a pageant of canoes, rafts, paddle-wheels, and barges from mid-America converging with sails and steamships from around the world.

New Orleans: Geography and Climate

With miles of waterfront in three directions, New Orleans is partly peninsular. The heart of the city spreads around a curve of the Mississippi River—source of the nickname "Crescent City"—while edging Lake Pontchartrain on the north.

New Orleans: History

The first Europeans known to travel past the site of New Orleans were followers of Hernando Cortez, a Spanish soldier of fortune who died on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1543. One hundred forty years later French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, led an expedition from Canada that traced the Mississippi, called "Father of Waters," as far as the Gulf of Mexico, and boldly claimed all land between the Alleghenies and Rockies for his sovereign, France's Louis XIV.

New Orleans: Population Profile

New Orleans: Municipal Government

New Orleans operates under a mayor-council form of government; the mayor is elected for a four-year term, as is the seven-member city council.

New Orleans: Economy

The New Orleans economy is dominated by four major sectors: oil/gas and related activities, tourism, the port and ship/boat building, and aerospace manufacturing. The presence of universities, hospitals, legal/accounting and other professional services, together with key installations of the U.S.

New Orleans: Education and Research

Public schools in the New Orleans area are noted for their dedication to excellence. For instance, the Ben Franklin public high school produces a high number of National Merit scholars among its college-bound graduates, while the public New Orleans Center for Creative Arts is designed to provide special instruction to artistically gifted students.

New Orleans: Health Care

Internationally known as a center for medical care and research, New Orleans is home to 25 acute care hospitals, with approximately 5,200 staffed beds and 1,800 medical and surgical specialists, serving the health care needs of a multi-state area as well as Latin America and other foreign countries. One of the largest medical complexes in the United States is located in the city's central business district and consists of the U.S.

New Orleans: Recreation

Visitors can tour New Orleans by bus, boat, seaplane, streetcar, or horse-drawn carriage, whether seeking a general-interest excursion or a specialized trip. Points of interest include Cajun country; picturesque homes, plantations, and gardens; and historic sites.

New Orleans: Convention Facilities

A central location, spacious facilities, and famous off-hour activities make New Orleans an extremely popular choice for trade show and professional conferences. More than 21,000 hotel guest rooms are available downtown, and more than 37,000 are found in the metropolitan area.

New Orleans: Transportation

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is located west of the city in Kenner, provides full service on 20 carriers to every part of the United States with flights to and from South and Central America and Toronto and Mexico City. Private planes and corporate and charter flights often prefer to use Lakefront Airport, on the Lake Pontchartrain coast near the central business district.

New Orleans: Communications

The Times-Picayune is the city's leading newspaper. Other periodicals originating from New Orleans are the Clarion Herald, Gambit (covering local politics, dining and entertainment), Offbeat, a free monthly music magazine, Naval Reservist News, and Louisiana Weekly and New Orleans Data News Weekly (both covering the African American community).

Maryland

Annapolis

Head Official: Mayor Ellen O.

Annapolis: Introduction

Annapolis is a cosmopolitan American city with a small-town atmosphere. For more than 350 years it has played an integral part in national affairs.

Annapolis: Geography and Climate

Annapolis is located in central Maryland on the south bank of the Severn River, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It is 27 miles south-southeast of Baltimore and 27 miles east of Washington, D.C.

Annapolis: History

Before white settlers arrived in Maryland, the Algonquin and other Native American tribes occupied the region. By the time Annapolis was settled in 1649, the Algonquins were gone from the area, forced out by raiding parties of the Susquehannock tribe.

Annapolis: Population Profile

Annapolis: Municipal Government

Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and the seat of Anne Arundel County. The Annapolis city council includes eight aldermen, who serve four-year terms and the mayor, who presides at meetings.

Annapolis: Economy

Annapolis has long had its economic base in federal, state, and local government, aided by its quick access to Washington, D.C. But in more recent years Annapolis is rapidly becoming a center for high-tech industrial development as well.

Annapolis: Education and Research

Annapolis students attend the Anne Arundel County Public Schools, ranked in 2005 as the 41st largest school system in the United States and the 5th largest school system in Maryland. In addition to basic academic subjects, the school system offers classes in computer education, music, art, health, physical education, foreign languages, library media, and technology.

Annapolis: Health Care

Annapolis is served by the city's Anne Arundel Medical Center, which treats patients at its location at the Carl A. Brunetto Medical Park.

Annapolis: Recreation

Charming Annapolis boasts more surviving colonial buildings than any city in the country, and the entire downtown is a registered National Historic Landmark. More than 60 eighteenth-century structures survive in the Annapolis downtown area.

Annapolis: Convention Facilities

The Historic Inns of Annapolis's Governor Calvert Center provides meeting rooms for groups from 10 to 250 people. Governor's Hall can handle a banquet for 210 people or a reception for 300 people, as well as offering theater-style seating for 250 people.

Annapolis: Transportation

Major highways to Annapolis include U.S. 50/301 (I-595) and Maryland Route 2/170/450.

Annapolis: Communications

The Capital is Annapolis's daily paper.

Baltimore

Baltimore: Introduction

Baltimore's fortuitous location on the northern Chesapeake Bay has been at the heart of its social and economic development. Farther inland than other eastern seaport, the city is convenient to landlocked areas.

Baltimore: Geography and Climate

Located on the Mid-Atlantic coast, Baltimore was built at the mouth of the Patapsco River, which empties directly into the Chesapeake Bay. The city is protected from harsh weather variations year-round by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Appalachian Mountains due west.

Baltimore: History

The geology at the mouth of the Patapsco River determined the location of Baltimore. The area lies on a fall line where hard rocks of the piedmont meet the coastal plains of the tidewater region.

Baltimore: Population Profile

Baltimore: Municipal Government

Baltimore is the only city in the state of Maryland not located within a county. It is governed by a mayor and a sixteen-member city council who are elected to four-year terms.

Baltimore: Economy

Baltimore's heritage as a strategically-located East Coast port is drawn upon by its developers today. The city's revived downtown and central location among major East Coast cities has made it increasingly attractive to new or expanding businesses.

Baltimore: Education and Research

The Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) serves the largest number of low income and special needs students in the state of Maryland. It is struggling to create an effective educational environment for its children despite disastrous financial problems.

Baltimore: Health Care

Thirty accredited hospitals offering a wide range of general and specialized services are located within the Baltimore city limits. Cardiac rehabilitation units, hospice programs, extensive psychiatric and drug rehabilitation programs, and neonatal intensive care are among the special services available in various Baltimore hospitals.

Baltimore: Recreation

With its extensively developed waterfront, overhead sky-walks, and numerous plazas and promenades, downtown Baltimore is ideally geared to the pedestrian tourist. Many visitors begin their tour of the city at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, easily the city's most picturesque area.

Baltimore: Convention Facilities

With its mid-Atlantic coast location and easy access by air, rail, or automobile, Baltimore has long been a strategic choice for convention-holders. The recent redevelopment of the city's downtown Inner Harbor area has made Baltimore even more attractive to conventioneers, who enjoy the many fine restaurants, retail centers, and cultural attractions on or near the water.

Baltimore: Transportation

The recently expanded Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, located just 10 miles from downtown Baltimore, is one of the fastest-growing major airports in the country. BWI has 18 carriers that provide more than 600 daily flights, including nonstop flights to 72 cities in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.

Baltimore: Communications

Baltimore is served by one major daily newspaper, The Baltimore Sun. The Daily Record provides daily business and legal news, and The Baltimore Business Journal and The Jeffersonian (Baltimore County) are business weeklies.

Mississippi

Biloxi

Head Official: Mayor A. J.

Biloxi: Introduction

Biloxi, with its 25 miles of white Gulf Coast beaches, is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Historically a sleepy resort town, originally serving vacationers from Mobile and New Orleans, it is noted for its oyster and shrimp fisheries.

Biloxi: Geography and Climate

Biloxi is located on a little peninsula between Biloxi Bay and the Mississippi Sound on the Gulf of Mexico. It is 70 miles northeast of New Orleans, 70 miles southwest of Mobile, and 150 miles west of Jacksonville.

Biloxi: History

An area across Biloxi Bay from the city, called Old Biloxi, was first visited by French explorer Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville in 1699. The explorer, who was looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River, was instructed by the King of France to claim the coastal region.

Biloxi: Population Profile

Biloxi: Municipal Government

Biloxi has a strong Mayor-Council form of government, with council members elected by each of seven local districts. The mayor and council members serve four-year terms.

Biloxi: Economy

Gaming and tourism is Biloxi's most important industry. By the end of the twentieth century, there were 12 Las Vegas-style casinos in the region, nine of which were in the city of Biloxi.

Biloxi: Education and Research

The Biloxi Public School District reorganized its schools in 2002. Upon completion of the new Biloxi High School, the three junior high schools were consolidated.

Biloxi: Health Care

Biloxi has two hospitals, while the entire Gulf Coast region has seven general hospitals with more than 2,450 beds. Services at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center, which has 153 beds, include a cardiac intensive care unit, an emergency department, an outpatient care center, HIV services, a medical surgical intensive care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit, oncology services, pediatric intensive care, physical rehabilitation, psychiatric care, and a radiation department.

Biloxi: Recreation

Biloxi's bygone eras are captured in a number of historical structures. Visitors to Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, only president of the Confederacy, can see where he lived, worked, and entertained the notables of his day.

Biloxi: Convention Facilities

The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers total convention space in excess of 500,000 square feet and more than 18,000 hotel rooms. The largest beachfront meeting and convention center in the South is the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, which has 180,000 square feet of convention space, up to 32 meeting rooms, and a 15,000-seat arena.

Biloxi: Transportation

More than 816,000 passengers moved through GulfportBiloxi International Airport in 2002. By 2006, upon completion of a $25.4 million expansion that will allow more airlines to operate at it, the airport is expected to serve 2.2 million passengers.

Biloxi: Communications

The Sun Herald, Biloxi's daily paper, is published every morning. Weeklies include the Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, Gulf Pines Catholic, and the Keesler News, which is produced at Keesler Air Force Base.

Jackson

Head Official: Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr.

Jackson: Introduction

Jackson, Mississippi's capital and largest city, is still essentially a proud Southern city where the living is gracious and activities move at a relaxed pace. But Jackson is also a financial center and a rapidly growing major distribution center, with interstate highways and railroads affording access to all parts of the Sun Belt.

Jackson: Geography and Climate

Standing on the west bank of the Pearl River about 150 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, Jackson is about 45 miles east of the Mississippi River. The city is the seat of Hinds County, though parts of Jackson are also located in Rankin and Madison counties.

Jackson: History

The earliest inhabitants of the Jackson area were of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Native American tribes. During the late eighteenth century, a French-Canadian named Louis LeFleur began operating a trading post on a high bluff along the west bank of the Pearl River.

Jackson: Population Profile

Jackson: Municipal Government

Jackson has operated through a mayor-council form of government since 1985. Its seven councilmen are elected by districts while the mayor is elected at-large for a four-year term.

Jackson: Economy

Known as the "Best of the New South," Jackson is a major business force in Mississippi. Its diversity of business and industry and its position as the state capital help insulate the metropolitan area from the economic downturns experienced by other cities.

Jackson: Education and Research

Public education in Jackson is provided by Jackson Public Schools, the largest school district in Mississippi. Jackson is notable for being the city where Parents for Public Schools was founded in 1989.

Jackson: Health Care

With 11 hospitals and nearly 3,200 beds available for patient care, Jackson is a fully equipped regional health care center. Two of the largest facilities are the Mississippi Baptist Health System and the Central Mississippi Medical Center, with 642 and 429 beds, respectively.

Jackson: Recreation

As the capital of the Magnolia State, Jackson offers visitors several buildings of historical interest. The New Capitol, built in 1903 in the Beaux Arts style of architecture and patterned Construction on the Mississippi State Capitol building was completed in 1903.

Jackson: Convention Facilities

In November 2004, voters decided that Jackson would no longer be one of the only capital cities without a convention center. The Capital City Convention Center will have a $40 million economic impact on the city by creating 700 new jobs and attracting convention delegates, thereby boosting tourism and hospitality revenue.

Jackson: Transportation

Most air passengers arrive in Jackson through Jackson-Evers International Airport. American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta/ASA/Comair/SkyWest, Northwest/Airlink, Southwest, and US Airways Express serve the airport, transporting a total of nearly 1.2 million passengers in 2004.

Jackson: Communications

The Clarion-Ledger publishes an evening paper seven days a week. Weekly newspapers include the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi's oldest African American newspaper; Mississippi Business Journal, Mississippi's only statewide business publication; and Northside Sun, serving 9,500 paid subscribers.

North Carolina

Charlotte

Charlotte: Introduction

Charlotte, known as the "Queen City," offers a fascinating mix of southern culture and growing business mecca. A major economic center with growing finance and defense industries, the city's economic base continues to develop at a rate more than twice that of the rest of the country.

Charlotte: Geography and Climate

Charlotte is located in southwestern North Carolina's Piedmont region of rolling hills. The city is about 85 miles south and east of the Appalachian Mountains, and about 180 miles northwest of the Atlantic Ocean.

Charlotte: History

The first colonial settlers—German, Scotch-Irish, English, and French Huguenot—in the region that is now Charlotte encountered a friendly, peaceful native tribe, the Catawba. The area's fertile soil brought more settlers, and by 1761 the Catawba were restricted to assigned territory in South Carolina.

Charlotte: Population Profile

Charlotte: Municipal Government

Charlotte-Mecklenburg County is governed by two elective entities: an 11-member city council with an elected mayor, all of whom serve two-year terms; and a professional city manager, a position appointed by the city council.

Charlotte: Economy

Distribution and banking are the two major forces responsible for the emergence of Charlotte as a major urban center where economic growth and business development are flourishing.

Charlotte: Education and Research

Charlotte is at the forefront of innovation in education today. The public school system, which implemented court-ordered busing to achieve desegregation in 1970, is now considered a model for the entire country in terms of race relations.

Charlotte: Health Care

The importance of the availability of quality, cost-efficient health care has long been recognized by Charlotte's citizens. Early recognition in the community of future cost problems and cooperative efforts to keep cost increases under control have resulted in reasonable costs, thoughtful use of services by physicians, and efficient hospital management.

Charlotte: Recreation

Sightseers in Charlotte enjoy the Mecklenburg County park system, which includes 175 parks with more than 14,000 acres, plus an extensive growing greenway system. Latta Plantation Nature Preserve—1,290 acres off Mountain Island Lake in northern Mecklenburg County—is a prime example, and the park is becoming a major recreational center in the Southeast.

Charlotte: Convention Facilities

Boasting more than 23,000 hotel rooms, Charlotte has become the major business travel center in the Carolinas and a prime meeting and convention center in the Southeast. The Charlotte Convention Center offers 850,000 square feet and hosts trade shows, conventions, conferences, and expositions.

Charlotte: Transportation

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, a U.S. Airways hub, is about twenty minutes from uptown and is ranked among the nation's busiest airports (thirteenth in operations and seventeenth in passengers in 2003) averaging more than 500 daily departures serving about 25 million passengers every year.

Charlotte: Communications

The Charlotte Observer is Charlotte's major daily newspaper (morning). Also published in Charlotte is SportsBusiness Journal, a national tabloid-size glossy weekly that reports on the glitzy and the mundane of sports business.

Greensboro

Head Official: Mayor Keith A.

Greensboro: Introduction

"It is perhaps the most pleasing, the most bewitching country which the continent affords." So wrote J. Hector St.

Greensboro: Geography and Climate

Located in the northern Piedmont section of North Carolina, near the headwaters of the Haw and Deep rivers, Greensboro enjoys a relatively mild climate, partly due to the moderating influence of the mountains to the north and west of the city. Freezing temperatures occur on more than half the winter days; zero degree days are virtually unknown.

Greensboro: History

Greensboro is the county seat of Guilford County, which was founded in 1771 and named after England's first Earl of Guilford, Lord Francis North. Perhaps the first thing that newcomers notice about Greensboro is how green the city is.

Greensboro: Population Profile

Greensboro: Municipal Government

Greensboro adopted a city council-manager form of government in 1921. The council consists of the mayor and eight members, all of whom are elected on a nonpartisan ballot for two-year terms.

Greensboro: Economy

For decades, the products of Greensboro's approximately 500 factories, such as Kent cigarettes and No Nonsense pantyhose, were known better than the city itself. However, an increasing number of companies have since discovered its award-winning quality of life, a low crime rate, and its thriving business climate including low lease rates and facility costs, below-average wages, and moderate overall costs appealing and have moved in or expanded their existing business.

Greensboro: Education and Research

The Guilford County Schools (GCS) system was created on July 1, 1993, when the former Greensboro, High Point, and Guilford County school systems merged to form the third largest school district in North Carolina. The system continues to grow each year by approximately 1,200 new students.

Greensboro: Health Care

From lifesaving open-heart surgery to the newest diagnostic technologies, Greensboro is a city where advanced medical technology is available. The city and surrounding area has specialized and general physicians, representing virtually every specialty and most subspecialties.

Greensboro: Recreation

A tour of Greensboro might begin with Blandwood Mansion, a 19th-century Italian villa in downtown Greensboro, which is a National Historic Landmark and former home of Governor John Motley Morehead. Not far from Blandwood is the William Fields House, a Gothic Revival-style structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Greensboro: Convention Facilities

The city-owned Greensboro Coliseum Complex, the largest facility of its kind in the state, seats 23,500 people in its Coliseum Arena; the War Memorial Auditorium has 2,376 seats. The special events center has 120,000 square feet for trade and consumer shows featuring three wings, a pavilion, and 12 meeting rooms while seating 4,300 for concerts and sporting events.

Greensboro: Transportation

Greensboro is proud of its convenient and efficient transportation network. The city is located at the juncture of two major arteries, the east-west Interstate 40 and north-south Interstate 85, and major U.S.

Greensboro: Communications

Greensboro's major daily (morning) newspaper is the News & Record. Several weekly or biweekly newspapers are published in Greensboro, including Carolina Peacemaker, for the African American community, and The North Carolina Christian Advocate.

Raleigh

Head Official: City Manager J.

Raleigh: Introduction

Blessed with beautiful residential areas, expansive parks, and historic buildings, the city of Raleigh exudes southern charm. Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, it is the largest city of an area in central North Carolina known as the Research Triangle.

Raleigh: Geography and Climate

Raleigh is located in the gently rolling pine woods of the central Piedmont section of North Carolina, midway between the Great Smoky Mountains to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, each about a three-hour drive. Temperatures average around 38.9 degrees in mid-winter, 59.3 degrees in mid-spring, 78.1 degrees in mid-summer and 59.7 degrees in mid-autumn.

Raleigh: History

In 1771 a new North Carolina county was created by the state assembly. They named the county Wake, in honor of Margaret Wake, wife of Governor William Tryon.

Raleigh: Population Profile

Raleigh: Municipal Government

Raleigh has a council/manager form of government with a mayor and seven council members, two elected at large and five from districts.

Raleigh: Economy

Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park area consistently rank among the nation's best economies year after year. Unemployment remains low and per capita income remains high.

Raleigh: Education and Research

The Wake County Public School System is a comprehensive system with 134 schools serving the entire county. The system is the 2nd largest in the state and the 27th largest in the nation.

Raleigh: Health Care

The Raleigh area offers world-class care and state-of-theart technology in the health field, in part because of the proximity of nearby pharmaceutical, nursing, and medical schools at the University of North Carolina and Duke University at Durham. Raleigh itself is served by 518.4 physicians per 100,000 people.

Raleigh: Recreation

Visitors to Raleigh should start their explorations with a trip to the Capital Area Visitor Center, which provides free brochures, maps, and a film about the city's offerings. Tours are available of the North Carolina Executive Mansion, a masterpiece of Queen Ann Victorian architecture completed in 1891.

Raleigh: Convention Facilities

The City of Raleigh and Wake County have approved plans to build a new 500,000-square-foot downtown convention center. The existing convention center, which is just east of the new convention center site, will be demolished.

Raleigh: Transportation

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), located 15 miles from downtown Raleigh, is served by 14 major airlines and 10 regional airlines that offers more than 200 daily departures to 41 nonstop destinations. Recent improvements include renovations, expansions, roadway widening, and a new 6,000-space parking garage.

Raleigh: Communications

Raleigh's daily (morning) newspaper is The News and Observer. About nine weekly and semimonthly newspapers are published there, including Triangle Business Journal, The Independent, and The Carolinian, an African American community newspaper.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City: Introduction

From its birth at high noon on April 22, 1889, Oklahoma City, the state capital of Oklahoma, has grown to become one of the nation's largest cities in terms of area. A low unemployment rate, continuing steady economic expansion, and a prime Sun Belt location are attractive to new businesses.

Oklahoma City: Geography and Climate

Surrounded by gently rolling prairie and plains along the North Canadian River, Oklahoma City is at the geographic center of the state. With a climate influenced by the Great Plains region, Oklahoma City is one of the sunniest, windiest cities in the country.

Oklahoma City: History

Inhabited by Plains tribes and sold to the United States by France as a part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, much of what is now Oklahoma was subsequently designated as Indian Territory. As such, it was intended to provide a new home for tribes forced by the federal government to abandon their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States.

Oklahoma City: Population Profile

Oklahoma City: Municipal Government

Oklahoma City has a city manager-council form of government. Its mayor and eight councilmen are elected to staggered four-year terms.

Oklahoma City: Economy

Although in its early days oil dominated the economy, Oklahoma City today hosts a wide range of businesses and employers. Agriculture, energy, aviation, government, health care, manufacturing, and industry all play major roles in the city's economic well-being.

Oklahoma City: Education and Research

Oklahoma City Public Schools is the second largest public school district in the state. The district offers specialty programs at all grade levels, including Spanish language immersion programs, international studies, performing arts, media/communications and even a Montessori-based education program.

Oklahoma City: Health Care

With 20 general medical and surgical hospitals, four specialized hospitals, and two federal medical installations with a combined total of more than 5,000 beds in the area, Oklahoma City has become a leading health referral center in the Southwest. The state-owned OU Medical Center and The Children's Hospital of OU Medical Center merged with Oklahoma City-based, for-profit Presbyterian Hospital in a private-public partnership called University Health Partners in 1998 to form the largest medical care and research center in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City: Recreation

Oklahoma City offers the visitor a full range of sights and activities. Frontier City Theme Park offers more than 50 acres of rides and western shows.

Oklahoma City: Convention Facilities

A sunny climate, abundant hotel space—more than 14,000 rooms in Oklahoma City and the metropolitan area—and a wide range of leisure, cultural, and recreational opportunities make Oklahoma City attractive to large and small groups of convention-goers.

Oklahoma City: Transportation

Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, just 10 miles northwest of the city, is served by 12 commercial carriers that carry more than 3.2 million passengers a year. As of 2005 construction was underway on a five-year expansion project totaling more than $100 million and expected to add 9 new gates, bigger ticketing and lobby areas, and better traffic flow to handle capacity requirements into 2012 and beyond.

Oklahoma City: Communications

Oklahoma City has one morning daily newspaper, the Oklahoman, and one business newspaper, The Journal Record. More than a dozen weekly, semiweekly, and bimonthly newspapers are published there, including The Black Chronicle and Capital Hill Beacon, and The Sooner Catholic.

Tulsa

Tulsa: Introduction

Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma. From its earliest ranching and oil boom days to the present, Tulsa has recognized the need for economic diversity and has continually taken appropriate steps.

Tulsa: Geography and Climate

Located 90 miles northeast of Oklahoma City and surrounded by gentle hills stretching toward the Ozark foothills, Tulsa lies along the Arkansas River at a latitude providing a moderate climate. Winters are generally mild with light snowfall, and the high temperatures of mid- to late-summer are often moderated by low relative humidity and southerly breezes.

Tulsa: History

French traders and plains-culture Osage tribes occupied the region now surrounding Tulsa when the United States bought the land from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Soon the federal government sought to remove communities of the Five Civilized Tribes—Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole—from their traditional lands in the southeastern United States to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma.

Tulsa: Population Profile

Tulsa: Municipal Government

Incorporated as a municipality on January 18, 1898, Tulsa operates under a mayor-council form of city government. Nine council members are elected to two-year terms.

Tulsa: Economy

Tulsa's central location in the United States makes it a desirable place to locate nearly any type of business, from manufacturing to retail, telecommunications, and service-oriented industries. Operating costs generally run well below the national average.

Tulsa: Education and Research

The largest public school system in the state of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) system has received national acclaim for its voluntary desegregation plan, which includes magnet schools and open-transfer. Tulsa Public Schools offers a wide range of curriculum to students living in a 172.78 square mile radius, spread throughout Tulsa, Wagoner, Osage and Creek counties.

Tulsa: Health Care

Metropolitan Tulsa has 25 hospitals providing a full range of medical treatment including Tulsa Life Flight, 24-hour emergency helicopter service to and from the region's hospitals. Six general hospitals serve Tulsa: Doctors' Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center, St.

Tulsa: Recreation

Tulsa boasts one of the nation's largest city-owned parks, 2,800-acre Mohawk Park. Along with picnic and recreation areas, the park contains the Tulsa Zoological Park with its Nocturnal Animal Building, Chimpanzee Colony, Children's Zoo, and North American Living Museum showcasing Native American artifacts and replicas of dinosaurs.

Tulsa: Convention Facilities

A moderate climate, abundant hotel space—approximately 9,000 rooms in Tulsa and the metropolitan area—and a wide range of leisure, cultural, and recreational opportunities make Tulsa attractive to large and small groups of convention-goers.

Tulsa: Transportation

Visitors arriving by air will touch down at Tulsa International Airport, just nine miles northeast of downtown—approximately 15 minutes by taxi. Employing more than 17,000 people, the modern 22-gate facility is served by 10 passenger air carriers and supports about 170 daily arrivals and departures.

Tulsa: Communications

Tulsa's morning and Sunday newspaper is the Tulsa World. In addition, an African American community newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, two business newspapers, and several suburban and metro area weeklies serve the city.

South Carolina

Charleston

Head Official: Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Charleston: Introduction

Charleston is the flagship city of three South Carolina counties: Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley. They share social, economic, and political ties, and cover 2,600 square miles of what is called the low country.

Charleston: Geography and Climate

Prior to 1960, Charleston proper was limited to the South Carolina peninsula bounded on the west and south by the Ashley River, on the east by the Cooper River, and on the southeast by an excellent harbor almost completely land-locked from the Atlantic Ocean. The city has expanded to include other areas, but most residents still think of Charleston as the peninsula.

Charleston: History

In April 1670, the first English colonists sailed into Charleston harbor. This band of some 150 men and women soon established themselves on what they called Albemarle Point on the Ashley River.

Charleston: Population Profile

Charleston: Municipal Government

Charleston is governed by a mayor and a twelve-member city council. Council members are elected on a single-member district basis for four-year terms.

Charleston: Economy

The economy in the Charleston region rests upon several sturdy bases. The military has traditionally been the major industry in the area since 1901 when the Charleston Naval Shipyard was founded.

Charleston: Education and Research

There are four school districts serving about 87,500 students in the Charleston Metropolitan Area. Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester II, and Dorchester IV collectively operate 134 schools serving grades K-12.

Charleston: Health Care

Medical University of South Carolina, a leading teaching and research center, has 775 beds and 8,200 employees. The hospital has announced plans for the construction of a new four-story diagnostic and treatment center, state-of-the-art cardiology center, and a seven-story patient tower.

Charleston: Recreation

Visitors to Charleston are greeted with a delightful array of sights and activities all year around. The colonial port city is famous for its horse-drawn carriage tours that take visitors over cobblestone streets through quaint colonial neighborhoods.

Charleston: Convention Facilities

The largest meeting facility in Charleston is the Charleston Convention Center Complex. The center boasts a 76,960 square foot exhibition hall, a 25,000 square foot ballroom, 20 meeting rooms, and the attached 2,300-seat Performing Arts Theater.

Charleston: Transportation

Visitors arriving at the Charleston International Airport will appreciate that the air exits, baggage claim area, and ground transportation facilities are all on one level for speedy accommodation to and from the terminal complex. The airport is located in North Charleston adjacent to the Charleston Air Force Base and uses the airport facilities and runways jointly with the USAF.

Charleston: Communications

One major daily (morning) newspaper serves the area: The Post & Courier. Publications for the African American community are the Charleston Black Times, The Charleston Chronicle and Charleston Trident Black Pages.

Columbia

Columbia: Introduction

The capital city of South Carolina is a major industrial, cultural, and educational center located in the heart of a fertile farm region. The romance of the nineteenth century is writ large in the buildings and historical markers that grace its broad, tree-lined streets.

Columbia: Geography and Climate

Columbia is situated near the geographic center of South Carolina, midway between New York City and Miami. Set near the "fall line" dividing the South Carolina Piedmont and Coast Plains, the rolling hills surrounding the city slope from approximately 350 feet above sea level in the city's northernmost part to 200 feet above sea level in the southeast.

Columbia: History

Located at the middle of South Carolina, the city of Columbia was carved out of the countryside by order of the state legislature, which wanted to establish a new capital more centrally situated than Charleston. By that time, the area had been important in the state's development for more than a century.

Columbia: Population Profile

Columbia: Municipal Government

The city of Columbia has a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is elected at large and there are six council members, four elected from districts and two elected at large; all are elected to staggered four-year terms.

Columbia: Economy

Columbia prides itself on a diverse and stable economy based on jobs in local and state government, manufacturing, and services and on being the site of the Fort Jackson military base. In recent years, distribution, manufacturing, and research and development have increased that diversity.

Columbia: Education and Research

Richland County has three school districts: Richland School District One and Two and School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties. Richland School District Two is a suburban school district serving the rapidly growing northeast section of Richland County.

Columbia: Health Care

The city of Columbia prides itself on being a regional leader in providing quality health care services. The University of South Carolina's School of Medicine adds invaluable research and training resources.

Columbia: Recreation

Columbia has an interesting array of historical, cultural, and recreational sites to delight both visitors and residents. Consistently rated as one of the top travel attractions in the Southeast, the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to more than 2,000 mammals, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates.

Columbia: Convention Facilities

The newest jewel in the city's crown is the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center which opened in summer 2004 in the historic downtown Vista area. It features 120,000 square feet of space including a 25,000 square-foot exhibit hall, 18,000 square-foot ballroom, divisible meeting rooms, and a full banquet kitchen.

Columbia: Transportation

Columbia is centrally located and easily accessible from cities throughout the state and the nation. Six airlines serve Columbia Metropolitan Airport, which is located eight miles from downtown.

Columbia: Communications

Columbia's daily (morning) newspaper, The State, is also South Carolina's major paper. In addition, the city publishes three weekly newspapers including the Columbia Star, which covers human interest and legal news, Free Times, Columbia's free paper, and Columbia Black News.

Tennessee

Area: 42,143 square miles (2000; U.S.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga: Introduction

Located in the heart of the beautiful Tennessee Valley, Chattanooga is a small industrial city rich in history. It is becoming well known today for its commitment to sustainable economic growth and quality of life.

Chattanooga: Geography and Climate

Chattanooga is located at the juncture of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, in a valley in southeastern Tennessee between the Appalachian and the Cumberland mountain ranges. The city lies on both banks of the Tennessee River at Moccasin Bend and is bordered by Signal Mountain on the north and Lookout Mountain to the south, with Missionary Ridge running through the eastern section of the city.

Chattanooga: History

In 1663 the British established the colony of Carolina, which included all of the Tennessee country. The French from the Mississippi Valley also claimed the land at that same time.

Chattanooga: Population Profile

Chattanooga: Municipal Government

The city of Chattanooga government consists of a full-time mayor elected at-large and a nine-member city council elected by districts. The mayor and council serve four-year terms.

Chattanooga: Economy

Chattanooga, the hub of a thriving economic region, is located at the crossroads of three states: Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Among the city's economic advantages are abundant natural resources (chiefly iron and steel), a strong tourism industry, a trained labor force, and a centralized location.

Chattanooga: Education and Research

The Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) is the largest employer in Chattanooga. HCDE was formed in 1997 upon the merger of Chattanooga Public Schools and Hamilton County Schools.

Chattanooga: Health Care

Among the health services available to Chattanooga residents are public and private mental health facilities, drug and alcohol abuse recovery facilities, rehabilitation centers, a sports medicine center, speech and hearing services, facilities for the handicapped, free standing emergency medical centers, and community hospitals. Erlanger Medical Center, the region's largest and oldest public hospital with 818 acute-care beds and 50 long-term beds, offers Miller Eye Center, T.

Chattanooga: Recreation

More than four million people visit Chattanooga annually to explore the city's past, take part in activities, and enjoy the region's unique sights and diversions. The $45 million Tennessee Aquarium, the world's largest freshwater aquarium, takes spectators everywhere a river goes—from small mountain streams, to raging currents, to deep reservoirs, to the sea.

Chattanooga: Convention Facilities

Chattanooga offers several facilities designed to hold such diverse events as trade shows, conventions, meetings, banquets, or any other special event. The Chattanooga/Hamilton Convention Center and Trade Center underwent a $56 million renovation completed in the summer of 2002.

Chattanooga: Transportation

Three interstate highways, I-75, I-24, and I-59 converge near the city. I-75 runs southwest toward the city from Knoxville, and north-northwest from Atlanta; I-59 runs north, then east from Birmingham; and I-24 runs south, then east from Nashville.

Chattanooga: Communications

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is the city's daily morning paper. The Chattanoogan.com is a daily internet-only news source available at www.chattanoogan.com.

Knoxville

Knoxville: Introduction

Just 30 miles north of the country's most visited national park, Knoxville, Tennessee, has long been known as the "Gateway to the Smokies." The greater Knoxville area has won accolades for its "livability"—a combination of qualities that encompasses such factors as economic outlook, climate, cost of living, education, transportation, and the arts. The corporate hub of east Tennessee and home to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville's main campus, the city is not yet among the South's urban giants.

Knoxville: Geography and Climate

Knoxville is located at the headwaters of the Tennessee River in a broad valley between the Cumberland Mountains to the northwest and the Great Smoky Mountains to the southeast. Both mountain ranges modify the type of weather that plains areas at the same latitude experience by slowing and weakening cold winter air from the north and tempering hot summer winds from the west and south.

Knoxville: History

Archaeological evidence suggests that the first humans to live in what is now Knoxville were of the Woodland tribe, a group of hunters and trappers driven south from the Great Lakes region by climatic changes, probably about 1000 B.C. Their simple culture eventually gave way to that of the more sophisticated mound builders, whose influence was felt throughout most of the South.

Knoxville: Population Profile

Knoxville: Municipal Government

Knoxville operates via a mayor-council form of government. The mayor and nine council members are elected to four-year terms.

Knoxville: Economy

The stable economy of the Greater Knoxville Area is one of the region's major assets. It is highly diversified with no one employment sector accounting for more than 22 percent of the area's total employment.

Knoxville: Education and Research

Knoxville public schools are considered models of quality. They recently received an A + rating from the Tennessee State Department of Education.

Knoxville: Health Care

Quality, affordable health care is available through the Knoxville region's five general-use hospitals, offering about 2,590 beds and providing practically every imaginable specialty, including many that are generally not found in communities of this size. In addition, Knoxville's East Tennessee Children's Hospital devotes itself exclusively to prenatal and intensive care, pediatrics, and children's surgery.

Knoxville: Recreation

A good place to begin a tour of Knoxville is at Volunteer Landing on the riverfront, the site of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, which recounts the first 100 years of women's basketball, and the new Gateway Regional Visitor Center, 500,000 square feet of total space showcasing information about the scenic beauty surrounding Knoxville. In the four-county Knoxville area are hundreds of thousands of acres of parks and recreational space, including 800 miles of forests, 800 square miles of trout streams, and seven major Tennessee Valley Authority lakes that provide more than 11,000 miles of shoreline and 1,000 square miles of water surface.

Knoxville: Convention Facilities

Knoxville played host to the world in 1982 when the city staged a highly successful World's Fair. Situated within World's Fair Park is the Knoxville Convention Center, a sparkling, technologically-advanced facility boasting a 119,922 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,300 square-foot divisible ballroom, 14 functional meeting rooms seating attendees in theater style, a lecture hall with seating for 461, and three luxury conference rooms.

Knoxville: Transportation

Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport, located 12 miles south of downtown, is served by three national carriers and six regional carriers. The city's other major facility is down-town's Island Home Airport, which is a base for smaller general aviation traffic and privately-owned planes.

Knoxville: Communications

Knoxville has one daily (morning) newspaper, The Knoxville News-Sentinel. Numerous other weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly publications are published in Knoxville, as well as quarterly academic journals on such topics as mental health nursing, education for the gifted, nematology, economics, and journalism.

Memphis

Head Official: Mayor Willie W.

Memphis: Introduction

Situated on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee, has historically served as a commercial and social center for western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas, and is considered by many to be the true capital of the Mississippi River delta. The city's rich history includes eighteenth-century French and Spanish forts, colorful riverboat traffic, and a driving economic force—cotton.

Memphis: Geography and Climate

Located in southwestern Tennessee on the east bank of the Mississippi River, Memphis is surrounded by slightly rolling countryside. The area, while subject to frequent changes in weather, experiences few temperature extremes.

Memphis: History

Lush wilderness covered the Mississippi River bluffs (now known as the Memphis metropolitan area) when Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto encountered the area's Chickasaw inhabitants in 1541. In 1673, French explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette explored the region, called the Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs, which in 1682 was claimed for France by Robert Cavelier de La Salle as part of the vast Louisiana Territory.

Memphis: Population Profile

Memphis: Municipal Government

Since 1966 Memphis has operated via a mayor-council form of government. The thirteen council members serve four-year terms; six are elected at-large, and seven are elected by district.

Memphis: Economy

At the center of a major distribution network, Memphis works from a broad economic base as it continues to diversify its employment opportunities. Historically a trading center for cotton and hardwood, Memphis is the headquarters for major manufacturing, services, and other business concerns.

Memphis: Education and Research

The Memphis City Schools is the largest school system in the state of Tennessee and the 21st largest metropolitan school system in the nation. All Memphis City Schools are accredited; in comparison, 60 percent of elementary and 62 percent of secondary schools statewide are accredited.

Memphis: Health Care

The Memphis and Shelby County region supports numerous hospitals, including Methodist and Baptist Memorial health systems, two of the largest private hospitals in the nation. Methodist Healthcare system operates seven hospitals as well as several rural clinics; it is the largest healthcare provider in the Mid-South.

Memphis: Recreation

Sightseeing in Memphis encompasses historical and modern attractions. At Chucalissa Archaeological Museum and Village in south Shelby County it is easy to step back in time—via slide shows, case exhibits, and village reconstruction—and learn about the Indian farmers, craftsmen and artists who lived in the area from 1000 to 1500 A.D.

Memphis: Convention Facilities

The advantages of Memphis's meeting sites include accessibility, adequate space, elegant places for overnight visits, leisure sites to visit, and fine dining. Located at the north end of Main Street Mall, the recently expanded, 350,000 square-foot Memphis Cook Convention Center offers 190,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Memphis: Transportation

Located minutes from downtown, Memphis International Airport is served by international, regional, and commuter airlines. Expansion efforts in the late 1990s valued at $100 million included improvements to the concourse, taxiways, control tower, waiting areas, ticketing operations, parking facilities, and servicing systems, as well as land acquisition for further development.

Memphis: Communications

Memphis is served by The Commercial Appeal, a morning-circulated daily newspaper. Business and local news is reported weekday mornings in The Daily News, while the Memphis Business Journal and Tri-State Defender are published weekly.

Nashville

Nashville: Introduction

Nestled in rolling hills in the part of the state known as Middle Tennessee, Nashville is often called the "garden spot of the world." The lush natural vegetation, changing seasons, and mild climate of the area make a pretty picture that is the setting for miles of green neighborhoods, shaded shopping districts, thick forests, and wide-open pastures, all inside the city limits. It is a city large enough to be headquarters for scores of international corporations, yet small enough for the neighborhood banker to call his customers by name.

Nashville: Geography and Climate

Situated in the center of middle Tennessee on the Cumberland River, Nashville is rimmed on three sides by an escarpment rising three to four hundred feet. The city ranks with Houston, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, as one of the nation's largest cities in terms of area.

Nashville: History

The first settlers in the area that now forms Nashville were attracted by the fertile soil, huge trees, plentiful water, and an abundance of animal life. Native Americans such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee hunted throughout Middle Tennessee in the 1700s, but ongoing fighting over hunting rights kept them from establishing any permanent settlements.

Nashville: Population Profile

Nashville: Municipal Government

Since 1963, when Nashville merged with surrounding Davidson County, Nashville has operated via a consolidated metropolitan mayor-council government. Voters elect 40 council members, 35 of which serve separate districts.

Nashville: Economy

Nashville's strength as a community truly rests on one solid foundation—its economic diversity. The city is a great "neighborhood" of private and public business and industry, where people are as likely to go to work each morning in banks, hospitals, or government offices as to drive trucks, punch cash registers, or work on assembly lines.

Nashville: Education and Research

In 1855 Nashville became the first southern city to establish a public school system. A program started in Nashville in 1963 became the prototype for Head Start.

Nashville: Health Care

Nashville boasts more than 350 health care companies operating in the city, 21 of which are headquartered in the city. More than 2,700 doctors work in Nashville's 30 hospitals, medical centers, and specialty centers.

Nashville: Recreation

A roster full of sports, the unspoiled countryside, and an endless choice of attractions have made Nashville one of the most popular vacation spots in the nation. Foremost among the city's historical attractions is The Hermitage, home of the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson.

Nashville: Convention Facilities

Convention business and tourism form one of the Nashville area's most important industries, launched primarily by the growth of country music and entertainment. One of the most versatile convention-oriented hotels in Nashville is the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, offering more than 600,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.

Nashville: Transportation

East of the city, the Nashville International Airport, located just eight miles from the central business district, is approximately a 12-minute ride away. Passengers landing in Nashville may choose from any number of commercial vehicles to take them to their destinations.

Nashville: Communications

The Tennessean, the daily paper, is published every morning and prints the Opry lineup in its Friday edition. Nashville Scene, a weekly alternative newspaper, offers the most in-depth coverage of local events.

Texas

Area: 268,580 square miles (2000; U.S.

Austin

Austin: Introduction

Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Austin strikes a balance between nature, education, the arts, and commerce. Austin, the Texas state capital and the Travis County seat, is fueled by an entrepreneurial attitude that has resulted in the city's placement at the top of numerous business and cultural lists.

Austin: Geography and Climate

Austin is located in south central Texas, where the Colorado River crosses the Balcones Escarpment, separating the Texas Hill Country from the black-land prairies to the east. The Colorado River flows through the heart of the city, creating a series of sparkling lakes that stretch for more than 100 miles.

Austin: History

Lured to the area by tales of seven magnificent cities of gold, Spanish explorers first passed through what is now Austin during the 1530s. But instead of gold, they encountered several hostile Native American tribes; for many years, reports of the natives' viciousness (which included charges of cannibalism) discouraged further expeditions and restricted colonization.

Austin: Population Profile

Austin: Municipal Government

Austin operates via a council-manager form of government. The mayor and six council members appoint the city manager, who is the chief administrator for the city.

Austin: Economy

Austin's role as a center for high technology made it particularly vulnerable to the recession that struck the nation's economy in the early 2000s. For three consecutive years, Austin suffered layoffs and job reductions; even the city government slashed 1,000 jobs.

Austin: Education and Research

The Austin Independent School District (AISD), the largest public school system in the metro Austin area, was ranked one of the nation's top eight public education systems by Forbes magazine in March 2004. Magnet schools such as the Science Academy and the Liberal Arts Academy serve outstanding students from throughout the school district.

Austin: Health Care

Austin offers the best that modern medicine can supply and serves as a base for innovative technologies such as remote telecommunications uplinks and telephonic monitoring systems that carry health services into outlying areas or extend it to the home. With a total of 2,500 beds, the area has 12 major hospitals, including the Austin Women's Hospital that opened in 2004.

Austin: Recreation

Austin beckons the tourist with its carefully maintained natural beauty, historic buildings, art museums and galleries, and vibrant night life. On a walking tour of the downtown area, highlights include the Texas State Capitol, a pink granite structure with a magnificent rotunda, and the ante-bellum Greek Revival Governor's Mansion.

Austin: Convention Facilities

With its mild climate, many restaurants and live entertainment, and proximity to other Texas cities, Austin offers convention planners an attractive package. Its facilities, which include more than 12,000 hotel rooms, are well suited to the needs of large gatherings.

Austin: Transportation

Located eight miles from downtown, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport offers nonstop flights to 32 destinations, including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Detroit. Total passenger traffic exceeded 7.2 million in 2004, up eight percent from the previous year.

Austin: Communications

Austin's major daily newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman, a morning paper. Readers also have available the Austin Daily Herald.

Dallas

Dallas: Introduction

Nestled in the rolling prairies of north-central Texas, Dallas is a sophisticated, bustling metropolis that has earned its reputation in the marketplace of the world. Dallas is separated from its Fort Worth neighbor by less than 30 miles, leading many to link the two cities and their surrounding suburbs in the term "Metroplex," but each retains a distinctive identity.

Dallas: Geography and Climate

Dallas is located in north-central Texas, 70 miles south of the Oklahoma border, 174 miles west of Louisiana, and approximately 250 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The city is situated on the rolling plains near the headwaters of the Trinity River in an area known as the black-land prairies, midway between the Piney Woods of east Texas and the Great Plains.

Dallas: History

Since its pioneer days, Dallas has grown from a fledgling frontier trading post to a bustling city of more than one million people. Dallas was founded in 1841 when a bachelor lawyer from Tennessee, John Neely Bryan, settled on a small bluff above the Trinity River to open a trading post and lay claim to free land.

Dallas: Population Profile

Dallas: Municipal Government

Dallas is the third largest city in the country with the council-manager form of government. Citizens adopted this form of municipal government in 1931.

Dallas: Economy

Dallas boasts a broadly diverse business climate, with technological industries in the lead. Major industries include defense, financial services, information technology and data, life sciences, semiconductors, telecommunications, transportation, and processing.

Dallas: Education and Research

The Dallas Independent School District is the 12th largest school district in the nation, covering 351 square miles and 11 municipalities. Its commitment to student success and a progressive learning environment is reflected in a challenging core curriculum and special programs, such as career education, character education, advanced placement, talented and gifted, science and engineering, fine arts, and multilingual and multicultural enrichment.

Dallas: Health Care

The Dallas area has an extensive network of public and private hospitals, including six major hospital systems with more than 13,000 beds.

Dallas: Recreation

Dallas is rich in entertainment opportunities. Whether one's preference runs to culture, sports, nightlife, or family fare, the Metroplex—including Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie, the "Mid-Cities," and many suburbs—has plenty to offer.

Dallas: Convention Facilities

Dallas ranks among the top cities in the nation in convention and meeting attendees, with more than 3.8 million people attending more than 3,600 conventions and spending more than $4.2 billion annually. With more than 65,000 hotel rooms available in a variety of hotels throughout the city, the Dallas metro area is the top visitor destination in the state.

Dallas: Transportation

Most visitors to Dallas arrive via the Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport, located approximately 17 miles from the downtown areas of both cities and is served by 22 airlines. DFW is four hours or less by air from nearly every major North American market, with direct service to more than 165 nonstop destinations worldwide.

Dallas: Communications

Dallas is served by one daily newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, and by the weeklies Dallas Observer and Dallas Business Journal. Residents are able to subscribe to a variety of suburban and neighborhood papers, and numerous magazines, such as D Magazine.

El Paso

El Paso: Introduction

The county seat of El Paso County, El Paso is located on the far western edge of Texas on the north bank of the Rio Grande. At Mexico's border, El Paso and its Mexican sister city, Ciudad Juárez (in Chihuahua, Mexico), have downtowns that are within walking distance from one another.

El Paso: Geography and Climate

Located in the westernmost corner of Texas, El Paso resides in the Chihuahuan Desert at the confluence of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, nestled between the Franklin Mountains and the Rio Grande. With only about 8 inches of precipitation per year, a summer high of 95 degrees and mild winter temperatures, El Paso residents enjoy sun about 300 days of the year.

El Paso: History

Inhabited for centuries by various Indian groups, El Paso saw its first Europeans when Spaniards passed through in the mid-1500s. During 1540 to 1542, an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado explored the area now known as the American Southwest.

El Paso: Population Profile

El Paso: Municipal Government

El Paso operates under a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is elected every four years; the eight council members are also elected and serve staggered twoor four-year terms.

El Paso: Economy

More than 70 Fortune 500 companies call El Paso their home, including Hoover, Eureka, Boeing, and Delphi.

El Paso: Education and Research

El Paso County is served by nine school districts. Of those nine, El Paso city public schools are divided into three districts: the El Paso Independent School District, Ysleta Independent School District, and Socorro Independent School District.

El Paso: Health Care

El Paso's 9 hospitals, with approximately 2,200 beds total, serve the general public and the military in El Paso and bordering areas of Mexico. The Las Palmas Regional Healthcare System's facilities include the Las Palmas Medical Center and Heart Institute hospital, the Rehabilitation Hospital, the Life Care Center, the Regional Oncology and Wound Management Center, the Diabetes Treatment Center, and the Del Sol Medical Center.

El Paso: Recreation

The El Paso area's attractions celebrate the region's rich history and culture, as well as its natural resources of the Franklin Mountains and the Rio Grande.

El Paso: Convention Facilities

The El Paso Convention & Performing Arts Center's Judson F. Williams Convention Center was remodeled and expanded in May 2002.

El Paso: Transportation

The El Paso International Airport offers passenger services and air cargo services and is the gateway to West Texas, southern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. El Paso International Airport is served by American Airlines, AeroLitoral, Frontier, America West, Continental, Delta, Southwest, and United, and provides an average of 136 daily arrivals and departures.

El Paso: Communications

El Paso's major daily newspaper is the El Paso Times. The Prospector is a weekly newspaper published by the University of Texas at El Paso.

Fort Worth

Head Official: Mayor Michael J.

Fort Worth: Introduction

Fort Worth, western anchor city of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, identifies itself as "Where the West Begins." Proud of its colorful western heritage and rowdy past, the city carefully preserves its history even as it plans for the future. Within its downtown, cowboys, cattle auctions, and horse-drawn carriages coexist with cultural centers and modern office towers.

Fort Worth: Geography and Climate

Fort Worth is located in the rolling hills of the Great Plains region of north-central Texas. It is the seat of Tarrant County and the major city in the western half of the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex.

Fort Worth: History

Fort Worth's wild and wooly past began in 1849 when Major Ripley Arnold led a small detachment of U.S. Dragoons to the banks of the Trinity River and established an outpost to protect early settlers from Native American attack.

Fort Worth: Population Profile

Fort Worth: Municipal Government

Fort Worth has a council-manager form of government with a mayor elected for a two-year term, an eight-member council, and an appointed city manager. The city is the seat of Tarrant County.

Fort Worth: Economy

Fort Worth has traditionally been a diverse center of manufacturing, and the city had demonstrated strong economic growth since the 1980s. However, an economic slowdown in the sector accounted for job losses for the first time in many years between 2001 and 2003.

Fort Worth: Education and Research

The Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) is the largest of the 20 school districts in Tarrant County. With a dedicated administration, in less than a decade the district saw a massive 833 percent increase in high-performing schools, from only 6 in 1994 to 59 in 2002.

Fort Worth: Health Care

The Southside Medical District, located south of Fort Worth's Central Business District, encompasses approximately 1,400 acres and includes the area's major hospitals, medical institutions, and support services. It has more than 30,000 employees, representing the second largest employment center in the City of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth: Recreation

Fort Worth and the Metroplex rank high on the list of U.S. tourist destinations.

Fort Worth: Convention Facilities

The Fort Worth Convention Center in downtown Fort Worth is the city's major facility. The center has 253,226 square feet of exhibit space, 41 meeting rooms, a 28,160 square foot ballroom, a 3,000-seat theater, and a 14,000-seat arena.

Fort Worth: Transportation

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is located approximately 17 miles from the downtown areas of both cities. With a U.S.

Fort Worth: Communications

Fort Worth's daily newspaper is the morning Fort Worth Star-Telegram,. Other newspapers and magazines focus on horses or cattle, including Christian Ranchman, which covers Cowboys for Christ events; several others deal with nurseries, gardening, and religious topics.

Houston

Houston: Introduction

During the late 1970s Houston epitomized opulence, glitter, and opportunity. The city's major industry, petrochemicals, rode the crest of a boom "in the oilpatch," as Houstonians say.

Houston: Geography and Climate

Houston lies near the Gulf of Mexico and sprawls westward from the shores of Galveston Bay on the coastal prairie of eastern Texas. Major waterways include the San Jacinto River, part of which is encompassed by the man-made Houston Ship Channel, and an intricate network of meandering creeks and bayous, the largest of which are Buffalo Bayou and Bray's Bayou.

Houston: History

Inhabited by cannibals, visited by Spanish explorers and missionaries, a base for pirates, former capital of a fledgling nation, and site of a battle that ultimately added millions of acres to the United States—all of this can be said for the rich and varied history of the Houston area.

Houston: Population Profile

Houston: Municipal Government

Houston, the Harris County seat, has a mayor-council form of government. The mayor, 14-member city council, and city controller are elected concurrently to two-year terms.

Houston: Economy

Energy has been the primary factor in the Houston economy since oil was first discovered in the region in 1901. Even during the oil and gas bust era of the 1980s and the recession of the early 2000s, the expertise, technology, and resources remained in the area, providing the crucial base required to meet current national and international market demands while laying the groundwork for future growth.

Houston: Education and Research

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest in Texas and the seventh largest in the United States. In 2002 HISD was named the nation's top-performing urban school district by the California-based Broad Foundation, due in part to its success in narrowing the achievement gap between economic and ethnic groups.

Houston: Health Care

With more than 85 hospitals within the metropolitan area, Houston is a world leader in medicine and boasts the world's largest medical complex. Approximately 5.2 million patients—more than 10,000 of them foreign—are treated each year in the Texas Medical Center alone, a centralized facility begun in 1943.

Houston: Recreation

As the nation's fourth largest city, Houston offers a wide selection of recreational opportunities, ranging from professional football, basketball, and baseball to permanent companies in opera, ballet, theater, and symphony. Houston's retail offerings are world class, with several major shopping malls and urban entertainment centers.

Houston: Convention Facilities

The $165-million expansion of the George R. Brown Convention Center was completed in late 2003.

Houston: Transportation

With two major airports and several regional air facilities, Houston ranks as a central transportation hub. Nearly 45 million passengers passed through the Houston Airport System in 2004.

Houston: Communications

Houston's major daily, the Houston Chronicle, is joined by four smaller-circulation dailies and by the weeklies Houston Business Journal and Houston Press, an alternative paper. Campus newspapers include the Houston Cougar (University of Houston), the Thresher (Rice University), and the UHCLidian (University of Houston-Clear Lake).

San Antonio

San Antonio: Introduction

San Antonio, the Alamo City, is often regarded as the Heart of Texas, for its illustrious past and its cosmopolitan present have come to symbolize the rich heritage of the state. The oft-quoted humorist Will Rogers is said to have called San Antonio "one of America's four unique cities," and this Sun Belt metropolis takes pride in its reputation.

San Antonio: Geography and Climate

Commonly known as "the place where the sunshine spends the winter," San Antonio is situated in south central Texas between the Edwards Plateau to the northwest and the Gulf Coastal Plains to the southeast. The city's gently rolling terrain is dotted with oak trees, mesquite, and cacti, which flourish under the clear or partly cloudy skies that prevail more than 60 percent of the time.

San Antonio: History

Crossing six miles of city blocks, the San Antonio River is the focus of the city, just as it has been ever since the surrounding valley drew wandering Coahuitecan tribes seeking respite from the heat. Members of the Payaya tribe who camped on the river's banks named the region Yanaguana, or "Place of Restful Waters." But written records of these tribes' presence are minimal, and it was not until 1691 that the first visit to the river valley was made by a European.

San Antonio: Population Profile

San Antonio: Municipal Government

San Antonio, the Bexar County seat, is administered by a council-manager form of city government. City council members are elected from 10 districts and the mayor is elected at-large.

San Antonio: Economy

As of February 2005, San Antonio has seen 13 consecutive quarters of economic growth and has earned a top ranking among large Texas cities. The largest employment sectors in San Antonio are services, manufacturing, and government.

San Antonio: Education and Research

Unlike many school systems elsewhere, the San Antonio area's 19 school districts (the largest of which—the Northside Independent School District—is the sixth largest in Texas) function as separate, independent entities. Each has its own superintendent, its own elected board of education, and its own taxing authority.

San Antonio: Health Care

The 900-acre South Texas Medical Center (STMC) includes the prestigious University of Health Science Center at San Antonio, nine major hospitals including a veterans hospital, two physical rehabilitation centers, and two psychiatric hospitals. Approximately 25,000 people are employed at the facilities of STMC, which is recognized worldwide by medical and health care professionals for the impact of its advanced research, patient diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, degree programs, and state-of-the-art physical structures.

San Antonio: Recreation

San Antonio's most popular tourist destinations are the Alamo and the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk. The River Walk is a one and a half mile winding waterway of landscaped cobblestone paths and bridges set 20 feet below street level.

San Antonio: Convention Facilities

San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, in the heart of San Antonio's historic district along the riverwalk, is the city's largest convention facility.

San Antonio: Transportation

San Antonio International Airport, a modern facility located 13 miles from the downtown River Walk, is served by 14 major carriers flying domestic and international routes, including nonstop flights to 28 destinations. The airport has an average of 248 daily departures and arrivals.

San Antonio: Communications

San Antonio's major daily (morning) newspaper is the Express-News. San Antonio has numerous community newspapers, among them the San Antonio Register which serves the African American community, and specialty papers such as Go!

Virginia

Norfolk

Head Official: Mayor Paul D.

Norfolk: Introduction

Norfolk, Virginia, one of the world's largest and busiest port cities, is the financial and legal center of southeastern Virginia. Water is central to the past, present and future of Norfolk, where the infamous Merrimac sea vessel was converted to the ironclad Virginia and where the National Maritime Center today recognizes the waterlogged character of this culturally and historically rich community.

Norfolk: Geography and Climate

Norfolk, nearly surrounded by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, is located near the southern border of Virginia, 18 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean and about 200 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. Immediately north is Chesapeake Bay and west is Hampton Roads, the natural channel through which the waters of the James River and its tributaries flow into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Norfolk: History

Beginning in about 9500 B.C., the area that is now Norfolk was called Skicoak, and was ruled by the Chesipean Indians.

Norfolk: Population Profile

Norfolk: Municipal Government

Norfolk operates under a council-city manager form of government. It has seven city commissioners, one of whom is elected mayor by the council members.

Norfolk: Economy

Norfolk serves as the business and financial center of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Shipbuilding and shipping are a vital part of Norfolk's economy, with the city's 45-foot-deep channel allowing it to accommodate very large ships.

Norfolk: Education and Research

The Norfolk Public School District is noted for its ethnic and racial diversity, largely as a result of the local military presence. Norfolk schools offer many special programs, such as gifted and special education programs and also utilize community-based education to reify the academic concepts being taught in classes.

Norfolk: Health Care

Norfolk is the site of Virginia's only free-standing, full-service pediatric hospital, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. The 186-bed facility serves more than 5,900 children as inpatients each year, with nearly 99,000 children receiving outpatient services.

Norfolk: Recreation

Visitors to Norfolk can observe giant aircraft carriers and guided-missile cruisers juxtaposed with sailboats and pedestrian ferries in the city's busy harbor. As home to the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, the port has many significant U.S.

Norfolk: Convention Facilities

Just blocks from Norfolk's waterfront is the SCOPE Cultural and Convention Center, which features the dome-shaped SCOPE Arena, Chrysler Hall, and a self-contained parking facility. SCOPE offers 85,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space, accommodates up to 11,300 delegates for a convention, and handles banquets for up to 3,650 people.

Norfolk: Transportation

The city has easy access to Interstates 64 and 264. Greyhound provides bus service to the city and train travel is offered by Amtrak.

Norfolk: Communications

The Virginian-Pilot is Norfolk's daily newspaper. The city is also home to military newspapers Flagship and Soundings.

Richmond

Head Official: Mayor L.

Richmond: Introduction

The capital of Virginia, Richmond is steeped in a history that spans nearly 400 years, dating back to 1607 when Jamestown colonists identified the site. During the Revolutionary War era, it was the locale of several important conventions at which such notables as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry sounded the call for freedom and determined the course of a fledgling nation.

Richmond: Geography and Climate

Richmond is located at the head of the navigable part of the James River between Virginia's coastal plains and the Piedmont, beyond which are the Blue Ridge Mountains. The open waters of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the mountain barrier to the west are responsible for the region's warm, humid summers and generally mild winters.

Richmond: History

On May 21, 1607, a week after Captain John Smith and his party landed at Jamestown, a group led by Captain Christopher Newport set out from camp to explore the James River. Within a week, their travels took them to some falls and a small island where on May 27 they set up a cross.

Richmond: Population Profile

Richmond: Municipal Government

The city of Richmond operates under the mayor-council form of government, with council members serving two-year terms and each representing one of nine districts in the city. A mayor is elected by the general populace, and the council elects a vice-mayor and assistant vice-mayor from among its own ranks.

Richmond: Economy

The Richmond area has a strong and diverse manufacturing base that has helped the community remain resilient during economic recessions and even the Great Depression. Other factors that have contributed to this economic stability include the concentration of federal and state agencies, the headquarters of major corporations and bank-holding companies, numerous health facilities, and the concentration of educational institutions in the area.

Richmond: Education and Research

The Richmond public schools, one of four major systems in the area, are garnering a growing share of excellent achievement results, and the system has earned a reputation for innovative and highly successful new programs. The Special Achievement for Academic and Creative Excellence, or SPACE, program provides accelerated challenges for elementary, middle and high school students.

Richmond: Health Care

Richmond has obvious credentials to support its claim as one of the best medical/health-service areas in the country. Eighteen general and specialized hospitals employ 2,000 physicians in the metropolitan area.

Richmond: Recreation

Richmond boasts more than 100 attractions of interest to visitors. Among them are homes and other buildings from all eras of the city's history, as well as battlegrounds and cemeteries.

Richmond: Convention Facilities

The Greater Richmond Convention Center (GRCC) is the most capacious meeting and exhibition space in town, with 700,000 total square feet of room. Adjacent to the Richmond Marriott Hotel and close to sports venues, GRCC accommodations include 180,000 square feet of exhibit space, 32 meeting rooms and a Grand Ballroom that spans 30,550 square feet.

Richmond: Transportation

Six major carriers with nonstop and direct flights to more than 200 cities serve Richmond International Airport (RIA), which is located 10 minutes, via Interstate 64, from the center city. Airlines include American, Delta, US Airways, Continental, NWA and United.

Richmond: Communications

Richmond's daily newspaper is the morning Richmond Times-Dispatch. Of the nine other newspapers or tabloids published in Richmond, four are religious-oriented, several are related to business or the media, one is dedicated to Richmond nightlife, and one is aimed at the population over the age of 50.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach: Introduction

The city of Virginia Beach combines the elegance of a rich past with the energy of one of the most rapidly developing cities on the East Coast. Virginia Beach is part of a seven-city metropolitan area called Hampton Roads.

Virginia Beach: Geography and Climate

Virginia Beach is located on the ocean in the mid-Atlantic region in the southeastern corner of Virginia, with the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Chesapeake Bay on the north. It is part of the area known as Hampton Roads.

Virginia Beach: History

In spring of 1607, Captain John Smith and his band of explorers landed at Cape Henry at the northern tip of what is now Virginia Beach. Around them they saw expanses of white sand, rolling dunes, and pine forests.

Virginia Beach: Population Profile

Virginia Beach: Municipal Government

An eleven-member city council and a city manager govern Virginia Beach. Seven council seats are filled by individuals who reside in the seven boroughs of the city, and there are no borough residency requirements for the remaining four seats.

Virginia Beach: Economy

Virginia Beach has a diverse economy based on private enterprise, thriving tourism, and a strong military presence. In addition, many international corporations have established headquarters in the region.

Virginia Beach: Education and Research

The Virginia Beach City Public Schools is the second largest city school system in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the thirty-ninth largest in the country. Its motto, "Ahead of the Curve", conveys its dedication to being in the forefront of innovative educational programs.

Virginia Beach: Health Care

Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia, operates nine hospitals in the Hampton Roads area, with two of them in Virginia Beach. Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital is a 274-bed facility that houses the region's only Level 3 Trauma Center, plus a neonatal intensive care unit and a sleep disorder clinic.

Virginia Beach: Recreation

Virginia Beach is home to many interesting historical landmarks and recreational areas. The First Landing Cross marks the spot where America's first permanent English settlers, the Jamestown colonists, reached the New World in 1607.

Virginia Beach: Convention Facilities

In the summer of 2005 a new $202 million Virginia Beach Convention Center is scheduled to open its first phase, and the Pavilion Convention Center will be demolished. When finally completed in 2007, the new 500,000 square foot center will have a 150,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 31,000 square foot banquet room, 29,000 square feet of meeting space, and 2,230 free parking spaces.

Virginia Beach: Transportation

Air travelers to the city arrive at Norfolk International Airport, located less than a mile from the city limits. The airport is served by 9 carriers that offer more than 200 daily flights connecting to all major hubs and many major cities in the U.S.

Virginia Beach: Communications

Virginia Beach's daily newspaper, the morning The Virginian-Pilot, is published in Norfolk. The Virginia Beach Sun is the city's weekly community newspaper.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.: Introduction

During the nineteenth century, Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was considered so unbearably warm and humid during the summer months that foreign diplomats received hardship pay for serving there. Now, the district holds a worldwide reputation as a cosmopolitan city rich in museums, monuments, and culture—and crackling with political power.

Washington, D.C.: Geography and Climate

Located on the Potomac River between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Washington is known for its hot, humid summers, pleasant springs and autumns, and mild winters with seasonal snowfall averaging just over 17 inches. Carved from south-central Maryland, Washington is bordered on three sides by that state and sits across the Potomac River from Virginia on its fourth side.

Washington, D.C.: History

When the U.S. Congress sought a new capital for the young United States in the late eighteenth century, it chose an obscure piece of undeveloped swampland on the Potomac River.

Washington, D.C.: Population Profile

Washington, D.C.: Municipal Government

Washington won the right to govern itself in 1975. Until then, Congress had complete jurisdiction over the District.

Washington, D.C.: Economy

A 2004 report by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce characterized the local economy as diversifying and growing, though still narrowly specialized and externally driven.

Washington, D.C.: Education and Research

The District of Columbia's public school system is among the largest in the country, serving approximately 68,000 students at 167 schools. A 2003 Newsweek study ranked three D.C.

Washington, D.C.: Health Care

The District of Columbia boasts one of the finest health care systems in the country. Its 14 hospitals, many of which are affiliated with major medical schools and research centers, include hospitals at Georgetown, Howard, and George Washington universities.

Washington, D.C.: Recreation

As a city with tremendous history as a worldwide capital, and also a place where news and historic events take place nearly every day, Washington, D.C. is one of America's most popular tourist destinations for American families, serious researchers, and foreign travelers.

Washington, D.C.: Convention Facilities

In 2004 the city opened its all-new Washington Convention Center in the heart of downtown, with 2.3 million square feet total and 700,000 square feet of exhibit space covering 6 city blocks. With the addition of this state-of-the-art facility, along with the city's proximity to the nation's government, powerbase, and riches of cultural and tourist destinations, Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.: Transportation

Washington is served by three major international airports. The closest, Ronald Reagan Washington National—across the Potomac in Virginia—is minutes from downtown Washington by car or the Metro subway system.

Washington, D.C.: Communications

The capital's major daily newspaper, and one of the most influential newspapers in the country, is the Pulitzer Prizewinning Washington Post, which is published in the morning. The Washington Post Company also publishes The Washington Post Magazine, a weekly covering Washington personalities and issues affecting the city, Virginia and Maryland suburbs, and the nation.

West Virginia

Charleston

Charleston: Introduction

Charleston, the capital of West Virginia and seat of Kanawha County, is a regional hub for transportation, finance, retail trade, commerce, government, and health care, and acts as a lively center for the arts and recreation while also serving as West Virginia's state capital. A vital urban area, the city also projects a comfortable charm that invites visitors and residents alike; its downtown is active and filled with people in the evening.

Charleston: Geography and Climate

Charleston is located in a narrow valley in the western Appalachian Mountains at the junction of the Kanawha and Elk rivers. Framed with green hills, the city and neighboring towns have developed along the Kanawha to the east and west, though some residential areas can be found on the surrounding hills and in nearby valleys.

Charleston: History

Centuries before the first white frontiersmen explored the area that is now Charleston, the Adena, a Native American tribe, inhabited the Kanawha Valley. The Adenas were mound builders, and one of West Virginia's largest examples of their unique earthworks is located in downtown South Charleston.

Charleston: Population Profile

U.S.

Charleston: Municipal Government

Charleston, the capital of West Virginia and the Kanawha County seat, has a mayor-council form of government. The mayor and all 27 council members are elected every four years.

Charleston: Economy

The Kanawha Valley owes much of its past and future prosperity to its reputation as a transportation and distribution hub. From river port to interstate hub, the sophisticated transportation routes have lured and kept industry in the region when other parts of West Virginia were troubled with the same economic doldrums that affected much of the nation.

Charleston: Education and Research

Public education in Charleston is provided by the Kanawha County Public Schools. The district is administered by a five-member board of education and a superintendent who follow policies established by the State Department of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education.

Charleston: Health Care

Charleston is the hub of West Virginia's health-care system. The area's largest major hospital, the Charleston Area Medical Center with 913 beds, has three locations in the city and is a major teaching facility, serving as the Charleston base for West Virginia University's School of Medicine.

Charleston: Recreation

Charleston's parks, museums, and music and cultural activities provide a variety of enjoyable and stimulating experiences. The state's Cultural Center at the Capitol Complex has a museum, performing arts, film and music festivals, and The Shop, which sells only West Virginia native crafts.

Charleston: Convention Facilities

In total, Charleston offers more than 173,300 square feet of meeting space, more than 4,000 hotel rooms, and easy access to shopping, dining, and recreation for visitors. One of the city's main meeting locations, the Charleston Civic Center, has more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space in its Grand Hall, North and South halls, and meeting rooms.

Charleston: Transportation

Arriving in Charleston by air, travelers land at Yeager Airport—a facility located 10 minutes from downtown that is a remarkable feat of engineering named for an even more remarkable man. First known as the Kanawha Airport, it was built in the late 1940s by shearing off mountaintops and filling in adjacent valleys.

Charleston: Communications

Charleston's two daily newspapers are the Charleston Daily Mail (evening) and the Charleston Gazette (morning). On Sundays they combine efforts to produce the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

Huntington

Huntington: Introduction

Huntington is the largest city in the Tri-State Region, being just across the Ohio River from Ohio and across the Big Sandy River from Kentucky. The city retains the charm of an earlier time, with century-old homes, historic districts, and nineteenth-century preserved villages.

Huntington: Geography and Climate

Huntington is located on the flood plain of the Ohio River, which acts as its northern border, and also sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the county seat of Cabell County, but parts of the city are also in Wayne County.

Huntington: History

The first known inhabitants of the Ohio River Valley were the Adena people, also known as the "mound builders" because of the artifact-laden mounds they built, some over 2000 years ago. Since the 1500s, different Native American tribes lived in the Ohio Valley and in the area now called Huntington, such as the Hurons, but the area was also used as hunting grounds by the larger Shawnee of Ohio and the Iroquois Confederacy from New York.

Huntington: Population Profile

Huntington: Municipal Government

The Huntington City Council has eleven members, one from each of the nine municipal election districts and two members elected at-large. The mayor and council members are elected for four-year terms in November, with primaries held in May.

Huntington: Economy

Huntington and Cabell County have long been known for their strong manufacturing base, although now the service sector makes up the largest percentage of jobs. Steel and glass were industries that grew in the city's Industrial Revolution origins, as did the transportation sector, which created the town.

Huntington: Education and Research

Cabell County Schools experienced a period of change in the mid-2000s. In 2005 the Superintendent of Schools was replaced when his contract was bought out.

Huntington: Health Care

The Tri-State area has seven hospitals that serve the community, with a total of 1,300 beds. The largest in the area, and second largest in the state, is St.

Huntington: Recreation

Huntington has a range of attractions for the history buff, the arts lover, and families. A number of the city's historic buildings are open to the public and available for tours.

Huntington: Convention Facilities

The Big Sandy Superstore Arena and Conference Center offers more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition, conference, meeting and ballroom facilities, and offers an on-site caterer and videoconferencing equipment. Marshall University's Memorial Student Center can be rented for conferences; its recital halls and the Joan C.

Huntington: Transportation

The Tri-State Airport is located only nine miles from Huntington, and is served by U.S. Airways Express and Delta Connection, making connections to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Huntington: Communications

Huntington's daily newspaper is the The Herald-Dispatch. Huntington Quarterly is a full-color magazine that features articles about the community and city.


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