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perdue300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:11pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Gov. Bev Perdue promised during her campaign to hold her first town hall meeting as governor here in New Hanover County in mid-January. It took a couple more months, but she held that meeting Wednesday at Cape Fear Community College's North Campus, discussing education and economic development.

Questions from the audience forced Perdue to defend her recent budget plan. Most questions were about cuts to programs or complete elimination of them. Perdue admitted she had to make some tough decisions, but ones she believes are the best for the state.

"This is as troubling a time as we've seen since the Great Depression, and folks who are not able to understand that I hope will give pause and listen, because it's not the same as it's ever been," Perdue said. "We'll be fine at the end of the day. We'll move ahead. This is North Carolina. We're going to continue to educate our people and grow our work force.”

Perdue had hoped to announce growing the work force in our area earlier in the day. She was supposed to attend a hastily-assembled press conference at Screen Gems to make an economic development announcement. Crews took a break from building the new Dream Stage - the largest soundstage east of California - for the event. The studio's head and "One Tree Hill" star Hillary Burton were among the handful of folks gathered for what Perdue's office said was to be an announcement that would create hundreds of jobs in the area. But 15 minutes after the Governor was to arrive, her press secretary told reporters the event was off, because the announcement would be premature, and that the reason was beyond their control.

Sources tell WWAY the governor was going to announce the Disney-backed movie "The Last Song" would use the new soundstage, but that Disney was not prepared to say anything public. According to Variety, the movie is a Nicholas Sparks-scripted adaptation of a novel he wrote specifically to turn into a vehicle for Miley Cyrus, who is slated to star in the film.

Variety says the film will start production in June with the book hitting stores in the fall. There's no word on the status of the film at this time.

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