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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Grant goes to teapot display

by David Rice
The foundation that receives half of North Carolina's tobacco-settlement money voted this week to award $10.8 million in grants to 54 projects across the state, including $220,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum.
"These grants are focused on getting jobs, on other options for people who want to stay in agriculture - very much about preparing people for whatever new economy is coming," said Valeria Lee, the president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. "We looked for those possibilities that would show up in a person's pocketbook."
The foundation receives half of the proceeds from the state's 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry to try to assist development efforts in tobacco-dependent communities.
The foundation provided $380,000 last year to the $10 million project to build a teapot museum in Sparta, which intends to house a Los Angeles millionaire's vast teapot collection.
The museum prompted controversy and wisecracks in floor debate when state legislators included $400,000 in taxpayer dollars for the project in the state budget in August.
Lee said that despite the skepticism, "We are convinced that it will be a draw for people who would just be driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway ... who would stop and want a driving break. We just believe that the Kamm collection ... will be a continuous draw."
Original article in full

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