Carrboro Commons

Local coffee shop has eyes everywhere

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Carrboro Connections by mtomsic

By Katie Spencer
Carrboro Commons Writer

In the green mountains of Honduras, Chapel Hill resident Hunter Barbee found the familiar logo of his favorite coffee shop. And it wasn’t Starbucks. It was Carrboro’s own Open Eye Cafe.

spencer_coffee1.JPG Scott Conary and Guillermo Calderon talk coffee at Finca Santa Rosa in Copan, Honduras. Conary spent a couple of days in August training the staff in roasting and preparing quality coffee.
Photo courtesy of Scott Conary

Barbee, 22, was touring a coffee farm in the small highland village of Copan with a group that spent the week building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
“I just walked in, and the first thing I saw was an Open Eye sticker on the office window,” Barbee said. “I did a double take.”

Excited, Barbee had trouble communicating the coincidence to manager Guillermo Calderon because of language differences.

“I’m sure he actually understood what I was saying, but I just explained myself over and over,” he said.

Luckily, Barbee didn’t need words. He bears the Open Eye logo on his person: a small tattoo on his wrist that gets him a free cup of joe in exchange for a little advertising. The image broke the language barrier.

“I ran around showing the tattoo on my arm and pointing to the picture,” he said.

Calderon, 35, has known Open Eye co-owner Scott Conary since August, when Conary traveled to Honduras to share his knowledge of quality coffee roasting.
“It surprised him to find an espresso machine in the middle of coffee farmland,” Calderon said in an email.

At home in Carrboro, Conary is involved in as much of the process as possible, from roasting at Carrboro Coffee Co., which he co-owns, to retail at Open Eye and Caffe Driade. But the climate needed to grow coffee limits his participation: You can’t grow coffee in Carrboro. This fact connects Conary to places like Copan.

Youth poetry contest set to spark creativity

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in A&E by jock

by Stephanie Kane
Carrboro Commons Writer

In an initiative to promote youth in the arts, the Town of Carrboro is conducting its first Carrboro Youth Poetry Contest. Submissions are due by April 4.

kane_poetry1.jpg Recreation supervisors Dana Hughes (left) and Kim Andrews have developed programs to support writing and poetry among Carrboro citizens.
Staff photo by Stephanie Kane

Three winners from the elementary, middle and high school levels will be announced on May 4 in conjunction with festivities for the 13th annual Carrboro Day. The awards ceremony will include public readings of the winning poems as well as publication in The Carrboro Citizen and the distribution of various other prizes.

Kim Andrews, a recreation supervisor of the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department, is currently receiving the poem submissions. However, she credits Neal McTighe, Carrboro poet laureate, with proposing the competition.

“It was Neal’s prerogative as poet laureate to get youth involved in poetry,” Andrews said, adding that the Parks and Recreation Department would support this initiative however they could.

McTighe and the Carrboro Day Committee will be judging the poems.

Though this is the pilot year for the event, both Andrews and McTighe said they anticipate the contest becoming an annual tradition, one that might spark additional youth poetry programs in the future.

Most Carrboro High School English classes incorporate poetry into the crowded curriculum, although educators and students believe more could be done.

Cohousing: More than a neighborhood

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Growth and development by evansda

arcadia.jpg Arcadia, photographed from the air by Arcadia resident, pilot and Carrboro Citizen publisher Robert Dickson.

by Allie Maupin
Carrboro Commons Writer

With its landscaped footpaths and open space, Arcadia feels more like a small country hamlet than a residential neighborhood off busy Hillsborough Road in Carrboro.

The custom-built homes are positioned on small lots in close proximity to each other and cars are parked around the perimeter of the area, creating an atmosphere of community that is unparalleled in other neighborhoods. The concept, known as cohousing, is changing the way residents view where they live.

“The idea is to bring us together as more than just people that happen to live near one another,” said Giles Blunden, the architect behind Arcadia and a resident of more than 10 years. “Cohousing is living with intent as opposed to just buying real estate.”

Robert Dickson, who has lived in Arcadia for the last three years, said the biggest change in going from suburban living to cohousing is the increased interaction with neighbors.

“I lived in a suburban area in Fayetteville for 27 years,” Dickson said. “I drove my car into my garage and there was not much interaction. Here it is everyday. I generally have more interaction in one day in Arcadia then I would have had over a month in Fayetteville.”

Students from Carrboro contribute to Dance Marathon

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Carrboro Connections by jock

by Kate Searcy
Carrboro Commons Writer

Out of the almost 1,100 dancers hopping, skipping and twisting to the beat the night of Feb. 22 at the Dance Marathon in Fetzer Gymnasium, about a dozen have something in common with one another besides the love of dance — they are all from Carrboro.

“I’ve been pretty busy just being out-of-control excited,” said Taylor Shirley, a junior linguistics and Spanish double major at UNC-Chapel Hill.

searcy_dancemarathon.jpg Student “moralers” encourage to the dancers at the kickoff of the UNC Dance Marathon on Friday night, Feb. 22. Coaches Roy Williams, Butch Davis and Sylvia Hatchell also spoke at the marathon, which raised more than $320,000 for the N.C. Children’s Hospital.Staff photo by Kate Searcy

The Dance Marathon, now in its 10th year as a fundraiser for the N.C. Children’s Hospital, saw a record number of participants. All of the money raised will pay for expenses such as phone cards and gifts for children in the hospital.

Students called “moralers” were on stage to encourage the dancers throughout the night. Some of the events planned were kept secret before the marathon in order to surprise the volunteers. However, the first thing the dancers learned was a humorous song to the tune of Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy.”

“Tyler (Hansbrough), your contact fell out,” the dancers sang. “You need solution, but we’re in a drought.”

The participants who live in Carrboro were from different parts of the town, from North Greensboro Street to N.C. Highway 54.

Shirley lives on Sue Ann Court in Carrboro, and she said she had been tirelessly preparing for the marathon.

“I’ve been walking around barefoot on gravel to prepare my feet and lower back for the physical stress of the event,” she said jokingly. “In all seriousness, I’ve done nothing to prepare except to worry about finding someone who will be willing to let me take a nap with my head on his or her shoulder.”

Several hundred dancers had already arrived in the gym about 15 minutes before the marathon was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. A disco ball rotated in the middle of the ceiling, throwing light on the walls as colored shapes swirled across them and rap music poured from huge speakers. The mood was considerably high-energy, as visitors crowded in to watch, and moralers wearing shirts modeled after UNC basketball uniforms got the dancers pumped up.

East meets South at Country Junction

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Features by jock

szarek_junctioncouple.JPG Elwood and Sandy Fearrington enjoy a late breakfast at Country Junction on Weaver Street. The retired couple drives to Carrboro from their home near Jordan Lake for this “little treat,” Sandy said.
Staff photo by Leah Szarek

by Leah Szarek
Carrboro Commons Writer

The Moulin Rouge print on the wall says French bistro. The porthole windows suggest a fresh catch. The Korean husband and wife duo behind the counter imply a more exotic cuisine. But the squat building on Weaver Street bears the surprisingly appropriate name of Country Junction.

The menu is all Southern country-fried classics, and this unassuming spot in the heart of Carrboro really is a bustling crossroads, a place where people from all walks of life come together over the $2.99 Breakfast Plate.

“Try their Chuck Wagon, it’s delicious,” said CW route bus driver Joyce Wilson.

This tip conjures up images of a flour dusted Southern grandmother dishing out old family recipes, including Wilson’s favorite, which is a sandwich of breaded beef with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.

Co-owner Kim Lee, looking out from under a bold sweep of electric blue eyeshadow, could not be a more unlikely purveyor of buttery grits and Chuck Wagons.

Greenbridge splits Chapel Hill and Carrboro

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Growth and development by lilliang

by Kennedy Carruthers
Carrboro Commons Writer

One would think that North Carolina’s most sustainable building would be applauded by Carrboro residents.

But for some concerned Carrboro residents, the Greenbridge development’s sustainable features have not outweighed its downsides.

“I see no positive side of this for the town,” Alderman Jacquie Gist said of the Greenbridge development.

carruthers_greenbridge.JPG UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jenna Nash, 22, stops en route to Carrboro, where she frequents on weekends, to survey the construction site of the future Greenbridge development.
Staff photo by Kennedy Carruthers

The $50 million Greenbridge project will sit on West Rosemary Street between North Merritt Mill Road and North Graham Street. Although the site is located between Chapel Hill and Carrboro, it falls in Chapel Hill’s zone jurisdiction. The project replaces properties that had been the Queen of Sheba Ethiopian restaurant and the former Mason Motel.

Once completed, Greenbridge is expected to reach 136 feet—10 stories of condominiums with initial asking prices between $350,000 and $1 million. Retail space will assume the entire first floor, according to Greenbridge development’s Web site.

But Gist said Greenbridge is too tall and that it does not comply with Carrboro’s height standards.

“I do not like it. I feel it is right on our town line,” she said. “Carrboro will be greatly impacted…it’s just going to loom over Carrboro.”

Gist is also unhappy with the asking price and said the “10 stories of condominiums for rich people” will draw a different crowd to the Carrboro area.

“Yeah, it’s sustainable, but how can you call it sustainable if you market to elite?” she said.

Alderman Lydia Lavelle, who joined the Board of Aldermen in January, was on the Carrboro Planning Board when Chapel Hill presented Carrboro with plans for the development.

Lavelle said the Greenbridge developers came to Carrboro and sought the opinions of aldermen and planning board members.

“They talked about the scope of the project and asked for input,” she said.

Carrboro’s Monet showcases photos

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in A&E by anna.larew

By Allison McNeill
Carrboro Commons Writer

“One publication in National Geographic would be worth 20 scientific publications,” says Dave Otto, a photographer and retired research scientist. Otto’s exhibit of nature photos from the Bolin Creek area opened at Carrboro Town Hall Feb. 8, and the photographer is thrilled.

mcneill_ottobest.jpg Dave Otto, photographer, has fond memories of the day he took “Monet a Bolin Creek.” As he says, “I was surprised to see a Monet painting floating on the surface.”
Staff photo by Allison McNeill

The show, titled “Bolin Creek and Woodlands: Natural Treasures,” includes numerous pictures of the creek, as well as local plants and wildlife. The exhibit will be on display through March 28.

The photos, which were taken over the last few years, have been printed on canvas using the giclée method, which gives the photographs the appearance of paintings.

Although he has not always been a professional photographer, Otto said that he has been interested in photography since childhood. “My mom gave me a Brownie Bucks camera when I was 8 years old and I have been taking pictures ever since,” Otto said.

Rather than make photography his career, Otto decided to work for the Environmental Protection Agency. He retired last year after 40 years with the government.

“I’m delighted to be retired to be able to devote my time to things I love,” Otto said.

Originally from Massachusetts, his work with the EPA brought him to Raleigh. He then settled in Carrboro in the late 1970s after working on a study that focused on the effects of lead exposure on the cognitive functions of children.

The photography display in Carrboro Town Hall is Otto’s first official exhibit.

Trinidad native brings Caribbean music to Carrboro

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in A&E by angelatchou

by Shera Everette
Carrboro Commons Writer

As a fire blazed in the background and conversations filled the dimly-lit room on Feb. 22, diners at Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Raleigh were treated to sounds from the Caribbean.

everette_reggaebest.jpg Mickey Mills of Carrboro captivates the crowd at Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Raleigh with music from the Islands, mix of reggae and Caribbean.
staff photo by Shera Everette

“I love coming here and listening to his music,” said Mary Truesdale, who was having dinner with friends on the restaurant’s outside deck. “I’ve never met the musician, but I’ve seen him a lot, and hearing him in this setting is like being in the islands. I’ve never been before, but I imagine it’s just like this.”

The musician Truesdale was referring to is Mickey Mills of Carrboro. Every weekend, he serenades the crowd at Bahama Breeze with a blend of Caribbean, soca and reggae music played on his steel drums and electric keyboard.

Mills said he enjoys the atmosphere at Bahama Breeze, especially on the enclosed deck where he plays. He said the deck, dotted with tropical plants, is more relaxing and serene than the main restaurant.

“It has a very nice vibe here,” he said.

When he is not at “The Breeze,” Mills is busy with other engagements, either by himself or with his band, Mickey Mills & Steel. On Feb. 9, the band teamed up with Jamrock, Dub Addis, Cayenne and the G-Toy Band to celebrate the seventh annual Bob Marley Birthday Bash at Cat’s Cradle. Mills said the event was a huge success and gave honor to his greatest musical role model.

“Bob Marley has been one of my inspirational guides because of his music,” Mills said. “He has prophetic music that can be helpful now and speak to people, or that can speak to the future. That’s what my music is.”

The Trinidad native began playing the steel drums as a child, and when he was 12 years old he became a steel-drum soloist with Trinidad’s Solo Harmonite Steel Orchestra. The group toured all over the Caribbean and America. In 1970 his father sent him to America with the band to pursue his dream as a successful musician. Mills eventually settled in New York, where he worked with musicians, including Mick Jagger. Mills also worked with Harry Belafonte on an educational program in Brooklyn that introduced inner-city students to various types of music.

Greenhouse renovation benefits elementary students

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in School news by ERafferty

by Morgan Siem
Carrboro Commons Writer

Visitors to Frank Porter Graham Elementary School might notice a change of scenery at the “Home of the Lions.” Along the sidewalk of painted lion paws is the greenhouse, which until last week was in obvious disrepair. Now it is ready to welcome classes of young scientists after being renovated on Saturday.

siem_greenhousebest.jpg Luke Martin, 20, and Danny Randolph, 21, use rakes and shovels to move gravel on the floor of the greenhouse so they can place down plastic sheeting to prevent weeds from growing.
Staff photo by Morgan Siem

“It looks beautiful,” science teacher Livy Ludington said Monday. “It was so nice to come in to school today and see it like that.”

Going Above and Beyond

The renovation project began after Ludington asked her classroom aide, Randall Berg, if he might be able to do some minor repairs to the greenhouse, which has a base of 12 square feet and a height of 8 feet.

“He ended up exceeding all expectations,” she said. “He really took it on and found friends to help.”

Berg, a 20-year-old from Miami, is studying history and the “Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense” at UNC-Chapel Hill while preparing for medical school. He volunteers on Tuesdays with Ludington’s science classes.

“I think it’s great for the kids to have the experience growing things,” Berg said. “Because it was one of my favorite things when I was in elementary school. I liked watching things grow and continue on. Some students will even get the chance to eat what they’ve grown.”

Nia class gives Carrboro new exercise option

Posted on February 29th, 2008 in Lifestyles by jamiew1023

by Sean Umstead
Carrboro Commons Writer

Ninja flying through space may sound intimidating to most, but Kate Finlayson may have the answer in an alternative exercise built for anyone.

Finlayson, a Pittsboro resident, teaches Nia at the Carrboro Century Center. Nia is a fusion exercise that combines teachings of nine different disciplines including Yoga, modern dance and Tae Chi.

umstead_nia.JPG Instructor Kate Finlayson of Pittsboro leads the class in a “fighting cry.”
Staff photo by Sean Umstead

“The idea was to do something that didn’t impact the joints,” Finlayson said. “[Nia] works with them.”

When the music starts an older woman raised her hands slightly and the younger women threw them high above their heads. Each participant follows Finlayson’s lead but lets their bodies move and work comfortably to each individual.

Nia, neuromuscular integrative action, holds a core philosophy to offer a fitness skeleton of low impact cardiovascular exercise that allows participants to find create their own Nia to fit their own needs.

It is easy to see why she has over 40 members between her two classes. The music plunges from high energy to laid-back relaxation. Didgeridoos gently let the mind drift to wherever anyone wants to go. Finlayson molded the art into her own form, Nature Nia, which, she says, is an outward fusion of passions in her life, dancing, nature, and acting.

“Nia lets you explore yourself within the movement,” Finlayson said.

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