Carrboro Commons

Aldermen see final plans for second fire station

Posted on April 17th, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Elisabeth Arriero
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Carrboro residents can soon feel twice as safe when it comes to fires.


Only one fire station, located at 301 W. Main St., serves all of Carrboro. But by next year, Carrboro should have a second fire station at 1411 Homestead Road.
Staff photo by Elisabeth Arriero

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen accepted the final plans for a second fire station in town at its Tuesday night meeting.

Kenneth Newell of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects, the company that created the design, updated the board on some minor changes to the new station, which will be located at 1411 Homestead Road.

“This is just a stunning plan,” said Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell after the board heard Newell’s update.

The Board of Aldermen plans to budget $3 million for the new station during the 2009-10 fiscal year. That figure does not include funding for the estimated 12 new staff positions that the station would create.

Carrboro town manager Steve Stewart said that due to the recent economic downturn, now is the best time to plan for such a construction project.

People with disabilities find work in Carrboro

By Sarah Shah
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
Every Wednesday morning, Luke Glatz collects raffle tickets from people attending a business leaders meeting. Later, he reads out ticket numbers to announce the lucky winners.

shah_evfinal.jpg Luke Glatz, 20, collects a raffle ticket from Margaret Cannell, executive director of the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, at Extraordinary Ventures. Luke is just one of 18 people with disabilities employed by Extraordinary Ventures, located at 200 S. Elliot Road in Chapel Hill.
Staff photo by Sarah Shah.

Despite having a developmental disability, the 20-year-old Glatz is one of the young adults who are employed at Extraordinary Ventures.

The Arc, the world’s largest community based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, estimates that the unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities is nearly 75 percent.

Extraordinary Adventures is a Chapel Hill non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities ages 15 years and up.

“It’s important for them to have a sense of accomplishment, and know that they are worth something,” director of Extraordinary Ventures, Marc Roth said.

Roth said he rents out a 3,000 square feet conference center in Chapel Hill at which businesses and organizations can conduct meetings. The proceeds go directly to the employment of young adults with disabilities, who work at the center by helping to set up and clean up for events.

April Artwalk draws a crowd despite rain

Posted on April 17th, 2009 in A&E,Carrboro Connections,Features by jock

By Amelia Black
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Consistent rain did not deter patrons of this month’s 2ndFriday Artwalk in Chapel Hill and Carrboro; in fact, April 10 was one of the busiest evenings that many store owners had seen in a while.


Ken Meardon shows off his photo art to Jon Broch, who visited 2ndFriday Artwalk for the first time on April 10. With 24 participating venues, the Artwalk has become a thriving entertainment option for patrons of downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill.
Staff photo by Amelia Black

On the second Friday of every month, 24 stores in Chapel Hill and Carrboro participate in the Artwalk. The stores open their doors from 6 to 9 p.m. for patrons to view art exhibits that local artists have created. A reception is held where people can meet the artists, and light refreshments are usually served.

The art typically stays in the store throughout the month. Some venues, like the Century Center and Town Hall, hang exhibits for two months.

“I really thought the rain would make more people stay inside,” said Erin Schultz, an employee at the Jesse Kalisher Gallery in Carrboro for three months.

“We’ve been very slow over the last few weekends, even though the weather was nice, but this is the busiest Artwalk I have seen in a while,” Schultz said. “I attribute it to people just wanting to get out of the house because the weather has been so nice over the last few days.”

The gallery, which features Kalisher’s black and white photography, rotates in a new exhibit at every Artwalk.

“It’s near-free exposure for artists and gets people in stores they might not normally go to as a patron,” Shultz said. “It’s kind of like having an open house every month.”

Restaurant mural to be repainted

Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Features by jock

By Kelly Esposito
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

A large blank canvas in downtown Carrboro is about to get a makeover, again.

Local artist Emily Weinstein said the outside wall of Jade Palace Chinese & Seafood Restaurant, located at 103 E. Main St., will soon feature a new mural.

Local artist Emily Weinstein is designing and coordinating the painting of a new mural on the outdoor wall of Jade Palace at 103 E. Main St. in downtown Carrboro. She will enlist the help of local children to paint the Jade Palace mural. This mural in her driveway was painted by kids in her neighborhood, located off Ephesus Church Road in Chapel Hill. The original community mural on the outside wall of Jade Palace was painted in 2001, but it was mysteriously painted over in 2007. The new mural will feature elements of the Chinese zodiac.
Staff photo by Kelly Esposito

“We are going to get started as soon as the paint comes in and everything gets organized,” Weinstein said.

She is in the last stages of designing the mural, which will feature elements of the Chinese zodiac. She has ordered special paint that resists the wear and tear that sometimes plagues outdoor murals.

The actual painting process will be coordinated by Weinstein. She plans to enlist the help of local children through Volunteers for Youth, an organization that finds volunteers and mentors for children in Orange County.

“We’re going to set up a spring or summer program with the kids,” Weinstein said.

History of the mural

The wall used to be home to another mural that was painted in late 2002. It was the brainchild of Kimberli Matin, who owned the Zodi Gallery that was located next to Jade Palace. Local businesses and residents were able to purchase squares of the quilt-like design and participate in the painting process, said Jackie Helvey, owner of UniqueOrn Enterprises.

Weinstein oversaw the project, which featured the theme, “What does community mean to me?” The money earned from the project was donated to Club Nova, a non-profit organization in Carrboro that helps adults with mental illnesses, Helvey said.

Carrboro architect designs freedom monument

Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Features by jock

By Kafi Robinson
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

In the heart of Raleigh, residents anticipate the completion of one of the state’s most historical and highly revered monuments. Carrboro residents can proudly say that much of the project’s planning and preparation takes place in the center of their own town in a small mill house on East Carr Street.

robinson_freedommonument_afinal.jpg David Swanson, 52, is the owner of Swanson and Associates, an architect firm located on 100 East Carr St. Swanson is on the design team working on the Freedom Project in Raleigh, a monument honoring African Americans in North Carolina. Once this project is complete, Swanson says he wants everyone to “think about what freedom really means to them in this day and age.”
Staff photo by Kafi Robinson

David Swanson, a 52-year-old registered landscape architect from Chapel Hill, is the founder of Swanson and Associates, P.A. Even with more than 28 years of experience in this field, Swanson feels especially honored to be a part of the planning and designing of Raleigh’s Freedom Monument.

“This is a very unique project,” Swanson said, “and the collaboration between the artist and landscape architect makes this special and especially rewarding.”

The Freedom Monument will be a public art display honoring the African-American experience in North Carolina. Across from the Legislative Building, the Freedom Monument will be a contemporary interpretation of a freedom grove, a place where slaves would come to learn and converse with each other.

“This particular project is both specifically sited and suited for the location in Raleigh,” Swanson said.

The monument will be an open park-like space, displaying pieces of art, sculptures, statues and other commemorative works of art.

The goal of the Freedom Monument is to unite people of all backgrounds and help them appreciate freedom, something that many of their ancestors never had. Once this project is complete, Swanson wants everyone to “think about what freedom really means to them in this day and age.”

Even though Swanson works from an office in Carrboro, he finds his location very convenient, stating that most professional offices can work and relocate anywhere. “[I] just prefer the small scale of Carrboro,” says Swanson.

Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Swanson has been a resident of Chapel Hill since 1965. In 1983, Swanson graduated from North Carolina State University’s department of landscape architecture in the College of Design and later taught in the same department. He has worked in North Carolina since 1984 as a registered landscape architect, establishing his firm in 1988.

Swanson previously worked as a town planner in several small North Carolina communities and actively participates in local planning efforts. His work emphasizes both historical and environmental preservation. Some of his projects include the stormwater pond and green for the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Visitor’s Education Center for the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.

Customers reluctant to trim salon visits from budgets

Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Economy,Lifestyles by jock

By Virginia McIlwain
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

On a recent Friday morning, a steady stream of customers filtered through the side door of 102 Center St., greeted by the familiar snip of sharpened scissors and faint roar of a hair dryer echoing through the wide wooden hallway of the century-old mill house.

mcilwain_paulettefinal.jpg Stylists Angela Iamuzzella (left), of Chapel Hill, and Beverly Mauney (middle), of Hillsborough, pose with Curl Up & Dye owner Paulette Wilkie, of Pittsboro. According to Wilkie, the recent economic downturn has had little effect on the salon’s business. “I think hairstyling is one thing people will give up very last,” she said.
Staff photo by Virginia McIlwain

A brief glance at the day’s headlines is all it takes to recognize that times are tough for many, as the nation’s economy continues its precipitous decline. Yet, here at Curl Up & Dye, a fixture in Carrboro’s hairstyling community for more than two decades, business is good.

According to Paulette Wilkie, the salon’s owner, customers are willing to trim a lot of things from their budgets, but don’t ask them to give up their salon visits.

“I think hairstyling is one thing people will give up very last,” said Wilkie. “Even now, people who have lost their jobs are still coming in before they go to interviews.”

As unemployment continues to rise and consumer spending wanes, many beauty salons are proving to be resistant to the nation’s bleak economic forecast.

In recent months, buzz has once again surrounded the “lipstick effect,” an economic theory credited to Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder Companies. Lauder hypothesized that, in economically trying times, high lipstick sales reflect an increase in consumer demand for cheaper cosmetic products as people look for less expensive ways to treat themselves.

Job seekers turn to job search adviser

Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Economy,Employment by jock

By Sarah Shah
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Jennifer Hartzog, a marketing and communications specialist from Chapel Hill, said she was eliminated from her job at a publishing company last November.

And Bruce Gingerich, a product line manager from Pittsboro, said he was recently laid off by his company, which has gone through a few downsizes.

shahkomives1final.jpg Bob Emslie (left), a software development professional from Carrboro, consults with Mike Komives, a career and job search adviser whose office is located at 605 W. Main St. in Carrboro. Komives said he’s been helping a lot more people as a result of the economic downturn.Staff photo by Sarah Shah.

With the February unemployment rate in North Carolina soaring to a record 10.7 percent, according to a North Carolina Employment and Securities Commission report, Hartzog and Gingerich are just two of many people turning to networking opportunities and professional job search advisers like Mike Komives for help.

“I help people search for jobs in this tough environment,” said Komives, a Carrboro-based career and job search adviser. “And now, I am finding out how elastic I am. I’m really going 24/7 and helping a lot more people.”

Komives said he often hosts workshops such as the one held at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill on March 28th devoted to the topic of interviewing.

The workshop, which had more than 30 people in attendance, featured four human resources professionals from places like GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Duke University’s Fuquay School of Business.

“What they did was talk about all the process of interviewing, how to prepare for it, how to conduct it and what to do after,” Komives said.

First, though, each person had to give a “thirty-second elevator speech” describing his or her current job situation.

Komives said many people who have recently been let go are afraid to talk about it, and are bitter and embarrassed.

“They’re afraid to talk about it, and they really should not be because they are not alone,” he said. “The best thing to do is say, ‘hey, I got let go and I am valuable, I have skills and I am very productive.’”

shahkomivesfinal2.jpg Wyatt Isabel (seated left to right), a product manager, Melissa Park, a public health researcher, and Sonya Cato, an environmental engineer all from Chapel Hill conduct a mock interview as facilitator Teri de Leon from Duke Univiersity’s Fuqua School of Business provides feedback. The mock interview was part of a St. Joseph Jobs Network workshop held at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill on March 28th. The workshop, attended by more than 30 people, focused on the process of interviewing.
Staff photo by Sarah Shah

Attendees also got to participate in mock interviews with one another. “It was good that I could go into a mock interview and now I can go home and reflect on it,” Gingerich said.

Gingerich added that he’s known Komives for three years and now sees him on a regular basis. “He’s been very helpful, and he kind of prods you along,” he said.

Komives, a self-described “glass half-full kind of person,” said part of his job is building confidence and empowering people. “The job search is emotionally the pits at first,” he said. “So it’s important to talk about strengths, motivations and values.”

Komives added that it was also extremely important for job seekers to network as much as possible. “You know more people than you think,” he said. “And there are a lot of good groups out there like TAFU [To Avoid Future Unemployment] and the Triangle Networking Group.”

Sujan Joshi, a senior communications major at UNC-Chapel Hill from Raleigh, said she planned on networking more. “It’s really unfortunate that I’m graduating at a time when there are so few people hiring,” she said.

Nonetheless, she remained optimistic and confident. “The good thing is that there’s help on the way, and things can only get better,” she said.

Treasure hunters flock to 2nd Annual Collector’s Fair

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Features by jock

By Allison Miller
Carrboro Commons Co-Editor

The vendors brought their comic books, action figures, dolls, trading cards and even some glass telephone pole insulators.

miller_collectorsfairbestfinal.jpg Becky Stern and her 8-year-old son Caleb McElreath, both from Carrboro, look at a car during the 2nd Annual Collector’s Fair, held in the Carrboro Century Center. “I had a hunch that someone would have old cars,” says Stern. “My son loves cars.”
Staff photo by Allison Miller

The 2nd Annual Collector’s Fair, held at the Carrboro Century Center on Saturday, Feb. 28, drew 10 vendors and 140 customers.

“I am a lifetime coin collector and really enjoy it as a hobby,” says Brendan Moore, event organizer and facilities administrator for the town of Carrboro. “My thought was that it would be a good event to introduce kids to all the things they could collect.”

Inside a big room in the Century Center, sellers sit behind their collectible-covered tables as people trickle in and out. J.C. Phillips Jr. of Chapel Hill sells and trades baseball and basketball cards.

“I first started when I was 7 or 8 years old,” he says. “I just had a friend who collected them, and I had never seen them before. It was about the time I discovered baseball on TV.”

After attending UNC-Chapel Hill in the 1970s, he started collecting basketball cards featuring former UNC-CH players. Now Phillips also looks for cards with former North Carolina State University and Duke University players.

At the fair, Chapel Hill resident Ian Hagans picks up a clear plastic sheet with basketball cards from Phillips’ table.

Soccer league co-founder ushers in 37th season

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Features,Growth and development,Sports by jock

By Erica Satten
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

On Saturday, Feb. 21, Vicky Brawley sat in front of a large group of new soccer coaches on the Rainbow Soccer fields, located on Cleland Road, and gave a coaching speech that she knew by heart. Brawley, who has directed Rainbow Soccer for 37 years, was kicking off yet another spring season.

satten_rainbowfinal.jpg Caption: Vicky Brawley, director of Rainbow Soccer, introduces new coaches to the league during a coaching clinic on Saturday, Feb. 21. Brawley is starting another spring season after managing Rainbow Soccer for 37 years.Staff photo by Erica Satten

Since Brawley helped create Rainbow Soccer in 1972, it has become a large recreational league for residents of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas. The league has more than 1,500 players every season. Nine of the program’s coaches and 133 of its players live in Carrboro.

Brawley’s emphasis on the recreational aspect of Rainbow Soccer makes the league different from other soccer programs. “Rainbow Soccer is not all about winning, like many other competitive leagues,” Brawley said. “It’s about making sure that everyone has a fun time.”

According to Brawley, the important part of Rainbow Soccer is that it gives participants an opportunity to spend time outdoors, meet friends and exercise. “Vicky calls herself the guardian of the Rainbow Soccer spirit,” said Alan Grier, who has helped Brawley manage the league since he moved to Chapel Hill in 2001. “She really is strong about maintaining the recreational style of the program and welcoming all kids no matter what.”

Although Brawley co-founded the program, she never played soccer and did not know the rules of the sport while growing up in Winston-Salem. Her former husband, Kip Ward, became passionate about soccer as a child. When Ward moved to London because of his father’s military position, his soccer skills helped him become friends with other teenagers.

The Sun: “…sort of a miracle.”

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Features,Lifestyles by jock

By Katie Reich
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Without regard to the standards of conventional magazines, The Sun, a locally published national magazine, has been producing its ad-free publication for more than 35 years, and its readership continues to grow.

reich_sunfinal.jpg (Left to right) The Sun’s associate publisher, Krista Bremer from Carrboro, and managing editor, Tim McKee from Bynum, sit on the front steps of the magazine’s office on Roberson Street and skim through the pages of their publication. Bremer said it was the “Readers Write” section that first drew her to the magazine. Staff photo by Katie Reich

“Personal. Political. Provocative. Ad-free.” These four words from The Sun’s Web site sum it up completely. It’s more than the ad-free policy of The Sun that sets it apart from other magazines.

Krista Bremer, The Sun’s associate publisher from Carrboro, said that the magazine “unpack[s] this whole different reality that’s not seen in mainstream media.”

The Sun, now releasing issue 399, is read by people all around the world. It has more than 70,000 subscribers and receives about 1,000 submissions per month.

Since 1974, The Sun has been compiled, designed and published from its office at 107 Roberson St. The first issue consisted of 200 copies handed out for free by editor and founder, Sy Safransky from Carrboro.

“In terms of small magazines, it’s really been sort of a miracle,” Safransky said.

Since the magazine does not sell advertisements, The Sun has survived solely on support from its loyal readers through donations and subscription purchases. Bremer said Safransky envisioned a magazine as an intimate conversation between the reader and writer. “He wanted to create a sacred space … with no interruptions,” Bremer said.

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