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'Coal Ash Wednesday' adherents to protest Dan spill

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GREENSBORO − A local woman upset by Duke Energy's recent spill on the Dan River wants others to join her tomorrow in a "Coal Ash Wednesday" protest.

Kathy Clark of Greensboro is recruiting like-minded people to slash their power use Wednesday and send Duke Energy a message of dissatisfaction with the Feb. 2 coal ash spill near the utility's retired Dan River Steam Station in Eden.

"Unplug your appliances while you are at work.  Cut your heat off - or cut it down to 60 degrees. Read by candlelight. Take a break from television and home computers," Clark wrote in an email to the News & Record, listing some of the ways people can participate.

"Do this in remembrance of all the wildlife lost in and along the Dan River. Do this as a gesture of mourning or one of outrage. But do this with the intention of hitting Duke Energy where it lives: its profit margin."

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian season of Lent, a day often commemorated by a pastor applying ashes to the foreheads of worshipers to signify inner repentance.

Coal Ash Wednesday aims to make maximum impact from 7 to 7:30 p.m., when protesters plan to either cut off all electricity coming into their homes or otherwise reduce power use to a bare minimum, said Clark, (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at end of story 7 p.m. March 4) an artist who also works at a local grocery store.

Clark's initiative attracted nearly 9,000 invitees on Facebook by late afternoon today, with promises to participate from 770 people and 75 "maybes."

Contact Taft Wireback at (336) 373-7100, and follow @TaftWireback on Twitter.

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