A stand for cleaner air

Despite rainy weather, turnout was better than expected for Wednesday's Don't Drive Day, with more than 1,000 people confirming to officials that they chose to ride the bus, train or bike into work.

Megan Green, Charlotte coordinator for N.C. Air Awareness said that as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, 1,056 people had sent e-mails about their commute, and she expected many more to follow before the event ends Thursday.

The Charlotte region is considered an ozone non-attainment area. On 12 days last August, ground-level ozone levels exceeded federal standards, county leaders said in a news release. The Don't Drive Day program, with a contest, is designed to raise awareness of the problem and encourage alternative forms of transportation.

Eligible trips include taking the bus or Lynx blue line, using car pool or van pool, walking, telecommuting or biking. To enter, participants should send an e-mail describing how they got to work to: dontdriveday@yahoo.com by noon today. Entries must be from people who live or work in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Rowan, Iredell, Lincoln, Gaston and York counties.

Officials are giving away an iPod Touch, electric lawn mower and other prizes to lucky participants. Clay Barbour