Carrboro Commons

Gardening club more than a hobby for Karen refugees

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Features,School news by ERafferty

By Morgan Siem
Carrboro Commons Writer

The stillness that characterizes most elementary schools on Saturday mornings is missing at Frank Porter Graham Elementary. Julie Spomer makes sure of that.

siem_gardeningclub1.jpg The Karen refugees from Burma show off the friendships they’ve made in the gardening club at Frank Porter Graham Elementary, where many of the children are students. From left to right: Hsar Ree Ree Wei, 9; Iza Garayua-Tudryn, 7; Hla Win Tway, 10; Hsar Paw Paw Wei, 12; Mueh Pay, 10; and Kyew Shar Aye, 9.
Staff photo by Morgan Siem

Saturday has become her favorite day of the week since the inception of the gardening club with the Karen refugees, she said.

After being granted political asylum by the State Department through the efforts of Condoleezza Rice in the summer of 2007, a group of Karen refugee families now lives in Carrboro with help from Lutheran Refugee Services. They had been living in Mae La refugee camp in Northern Thailand after fleeing the militaristic government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“When we lived in Mae La, the Burmese hated us and would bomb our camps,” said MiH Too, who immigrated in September 2007 with her five children. Her 11-year-old daughter is a student at Frank Porter Graham and a member of the gardening club there.

On Saturdays, her daughter and the other Karen students come together, along with some of their parents, for gardening club meetings at the school.

The idea for the gardening club arose during a meeting in which community members discussed ways to help the Karen refugees feel more connected to the community.

“They wanted to give back to the school in a way that builds community and school pride, but they can’t financially,” said Spomer, who teaches English as a second language at Frank Porter Graham.

Slideshow: Collector’s Fair attracts vendors of all ages

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Features by campbellc

By Evelyn Greene
Carrboro Commons Photo Editor

From comic books to chamber pots, Carrboro’s Collector’s Fair offered a variety of wares to be bought and sold. For many of the vendors at the fair, collecting has transformed from a hobby into a full time profession. The fair provided a venue for the citizens of Carrboro to share their prized possesions with fellow collectors.

See below for an audio slideshow of the event.

Carrboro community offers tax services to Latinos

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Latino Issues by nhturner

By Leah Szarek
Carrboro Commons Writer

A confusing stack of forms laced with nonsensical terms like W1040EZ descends on mailboxes across the country each year. The tricky federal and state income tax paperwork can be enough to send even native citizens running to professional tax preparers and computer software. For recent immigrants with the added barrier of language, the race to April 15 can seem even more daunting.


Lady Liberty and Keith Crossland greet clients at the Liberty Tax Service office on Jones Ferry Road. Crossland, a veteran tax preparer, works with several bilingual colleagues to help local Spanish-speakers file their taxes.
Staff photo by Leah Szarek

The demand for bilingual tax help is particularly high among the burgeoning Latino population in Carrboro. Augusto Pasco, 21, commutes from Raleigh each weekday to operate the Latin American Tax desk in the offices of El Centro Latino on West Main Street. The New Jersey transplant said the Raleigh-based firm needed him in the field almost immediately after they hired him a year ago.

“Most people train for at least a week,” Pasco said. “I had two days, Saturday and Sunday, and then I was working with clients on Monday. The need was that great.”

Pasco said he has served more than 100 local clients since January. Many of his clients are noncitizens who are not eligible for social security numbers. These clients must file for tax identification numbers, which are provided to foreign-born residents regardless of legal status. Pasco said filers must present some form of photo identification issued by the United States or their home country. He said the process takes about a month.

These numbers are not shared with immigration authorities or used to identify people who may have entered the country illegally. But Nanette Efird, owner of Liberty Tax Service franchises in Cary and on Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro, said many potential filers remain hesitant to take advantage of this option.

“I think there is a lot of fear,” she said. “We have to work to build trust.”

Carrboro High women’s soccer team learning, growing

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in School news,Sports by rldecker

By Alexandra Mansbach
Carrboro Commons Writer

Even the pouring rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the women’s Carrboro High School soccer team on a recent game night.

Carrboro High School took on the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics on March 19 in a game riddled with rain, wind and power outages. But the team stayed strong, passing accurately and communicating clearly — eventually ending the game with a 1-1 tie in overtime. The Carrboro soccer squad appeared to be anything but a new team.

mansbach_soccer.jpg Coach Robin Bulleri talks to the Carrboro High School women’s soccer team during halftime of their March 19 game.
Staff photo by Alexandra Mansbach

“This is an entirely new program. The teams are actually very young,” said Scott Swartzwelder, president of the CHS Athletic Booster Club. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword.”

The newness of the program gives students who have little experience in sports a chance to play and, because there are no seniors at the school, no players will graduate at the end of this school year.

“There are lots of kids with little experience,” Swartzwelder said. “We’ve got some great athletes here, and a lot of these kids wouldn’t even get to play somewhere else.”

“Steampunk” subculture invades WCOM airwaves

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in A&E,Features by jock

By Colin Campbell
Carrboro Commons Co-Editor

Failed inventions, Victorian dress, literature and a variety of music have become common features on Carrboro radio station WCOM-FM 103.5 in recent months.

campbell_steampunks.jpg Emma Cabrera, left, and Kara O’Dor, known to listeners as Emmett and Klaude Davenport, host “The Clockwork Cabaret” Tuesday nights on radio station WCOM-FM 103.5 in Carrboro.
Staff photo by Colin Campbell

The eclectic mix is a part of “The Clockwork Cabaret,” a new radio show that represents the many facets of a new subculture called “steampunk.” The program airs on Tuesdays at midnight.

Hosts Kara O’Dor and Emma Cabrera, known to listeners as sisters Klaude and Emmett, said they hope the show helps the expansion of the steampunk movement’s local following.

“Carrboro is totally steampunk and it doesn’t realize it,” O’Dor said. “This is a great, artsy town, and a lot of people would jump on it.”

The steampunk subculture is characterized by an affinity for the fashion and literature of the Victorian era as well as modern and futuristic technologies, leading some to describe it as “neo-Victorianism.”

“The Clockwork Cabaret” features readings and book reviews of literature, as well as music from a mixture of styles and periods that evoke an “old-time” aesthetic.

“It’s easy to find songs that fit the genre really well,” O’Dor said. Recent programs have included music from Irish rock band Flogging Molly, Goth musicians In Tenebris and 1950s pianist Joe “Fingers” Carr. Often the music centers around a theme, such as Paris or the sea.

To listen to “The Clockwork Cabaret,” check out this podcast.

O’Dor and Cabrera said they each own more than 1,000 CDs, and all songs on the show come from their collections, built from years of experience as nightclub disc jockeys.“This is going to help broaden people’s musical horizons a bit,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera and O’Dor have created detailed personalities for their on-air alter-egos, the Davenport sisters.

“They’re pretty much extensions of our own personalities,” O’Dor said.

Annual Victorian Ball set for Saturday night

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in A&E,Lifestyles by jock

By Shera Everette
Carrboro Commons Writer

Life and scenes from the Victorian era will be re-created on Saturday, March 29, when dozens of people dance the night away at the Carrboro Century Center.

The Triangle Vintage Dance will host its 6th Annual Victorian Ball, showcasing a gamut of Victorian dances, from the waltz and polka to the foxtrot and tango.

everette_vintagebest.jpg Dancers wear vintage regalia during the 2007 Victorian Ball at the Carrboro Century Center. Many will be on hand Saturday at the 6th Annual Victorian Ball. (Photo courtesy of Triangle Vintage Dance)

“It’s always a lot of fun,” said Dawn Imershein, who co-instructs Triangle Vintage Dance with her husband, Chris. “The costumes are sometimes amazing for the people who go all out.”

Dawn Imershein said about a quarter of the dancers get into character and dress in Victorian-era costumes, while most dress in modern dance attire, including prom dresses, gowns and tuxedos.

She also said that the skill of the dancers ranges from those with two left feet to experienced dancers. There is a warm-up lesson from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Triangle Dance Studio, 2603 S. Miami Blvd. in Durham.

“Some dances are more difficult than others, and everybody has different methods of learning, but we’ve taught it enough to be able to help everyone,” Dawn Imershein said. “I’m sometimes really surprised to see faces I’ve never seen before come to the ball. But for the people who take lessons, their improvement level is just amazing.”

Weaver Street Market hosts compost advocate

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Lifestyles by pharenb

By Stephanie Kane
Carrboro Commons Writer

kane_compostoverall.jpg Muriel Williman, right, education and outreach specialist for the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department, leads a workshop on composting March 22 at the Weaver Street Market in Carrboro.
Staff photo by Stephanie Kane

Muriel Williman, wearing a “Compost Happens” shirt at the Weaver Street Market lawn, hosted an interactive demonstration on the importance and ease of at-home composting on behalf of the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department March 22.

About 30 local residents came out for the presentation, which focused on motivating residents to compost, using outdoor and indoor methods.

“It’s phenomenal when you see the amount of waste we can reduce when we’re being conscious of the material that passes through us,” Williman, an education and outreach specialist, said after the event.

According to N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina’s estimated 420,000 tons of food waste are buried or burned each year at considerable financial and environmental costs.

Williman brought examples of compost-friendly materials to the demonstration in addition to her personal at-home compost bins. She also distributed literature to highlight the benefits of composting such as the decrease of household garbage, reduction in odor and fewer pests that arise with garbage containers. Composting also conserves water and energy used by kitchen sink garbage disposal units and waste management trucks.

Carrboro plans disc golf course

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Growth and development,Lifestyles by angelatchou

By Tracey Theret
Carrboro Commons Writer

By the end of next year, Carrboro residents who prefer to putt with a disc won’t have to venture out of town to get their golf fix.

The Carrboro Parks Project, a nonprofit that works to improve parks and open spaces in town, plans to raise money to install a disc golf course in Anderson Park off N.C. Hwy. 54.

“It’s a chill sport, but it has a competitive edge, too,” said Krista Moll, a Raleigh resident who travels to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Outdoor Education Center, the disc golf course closest to Carrboro.

theret_discgolfbest.jpg Raleigh resident and disc golf fan Krista Moll lands a toss in the target at the course closest to Carrboro, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Outdoor Education Center.
Staff photo by Tracey Theret

She and three friends spent a sunny Saturday traversing the course with a golden retriever named Jackson tagging along. Moll said the Chapel Hill course is their favorite out of the five they have played and that they will try out the Anderson Park course when it’s complete.

Much like the traditional game of golf, the objective of disc golf is to complete the course with the fewest throws of the disc, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association Web site.

Players toss the disc from the starting area of each hole, or the “teepad,” with the goal of landing it in the target. Targets often consist of a pole with a metal basket attached at the top, with chains running from the top of the pole to the bottom of the basket.

The proposed course will be free and open to the public, as are most courses .

“It’s a spontaneous kind of sport,” Moll explained. “No one judges you and you can come and go as you want.”

Eating locally grows in popularity

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Lifestyles by rburk

By Allison McNeill
Carrboro Commons Writer

Carrboro residents are taking the phrase “eat local” to heart. The trend, which encourages consumers to buy agricultural products from local farmers has caught on in the community.

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market features farmers from surrounding towns and counties who come to sell their local fare. From vegetables to wine, from basil to flowers, there is an abundance of locally grown items to choose from.

mcneill_eatlocal.jpg On a brisk Saturday morning, Carol Badgett (middle) purchased fresh sweet basil from Sun Meadow Greenhouses of Chatham County, N.C. Badgett beat the crowd that was soon to follow.
Staff photo by Allison McNeill

Sarah Bracklin, manager of the farmers’ market, attributed the growing popularity of buying local fare to “a combination of a lot of things.”

Bracklin says that buying local food is “community building,” and that it allows consumers to know more about what they’re eating. “People have been detached from knowing where their food comes from,” she said. Additionally, numerous books discussing the benefit of local foods and media attention are raising the awareness of eating locally.

Food scares play another large part in the trend, Bracklin said, as do concerns of using fossil fuels to transport food from different geographic areas.

Joan Holeman, a vendor at the Farmers’ Market and the owner of Flat River Nursery in Timberlake, in neighboring Person County, has witnessed and experienced the effects of the trend. “More and more people tell me they are eating locally each year,” she says.

One man told her that he rarely ever shops at the grocery store now, going instead to the markets.

Locally-owned photo store calls Carrboro home

Posted on March 28th, 2008 in Carrboro Connections by njorgens

By Evelyn Greene
Carrboro Commons Writer

Photography isn’t just a hobby. For the employees of Southeastern Camera, the art and process of taking pictures has become their business.

greene_southeastern-camera.jpg A friendly smile and helpful information are just a few of the qualities that keep Chris Johnson (pictured) and Southeastern Camera distinct from Internet companies. With every wall and counter crammed with items for sale, a photo enthusiast is sure to find the accessory he or she needs.
Staff photo by Evelyn Greene

“We do a little bit of everything, basically anything related to photography,” said Chris Johnson, manager of the Carrboro store. From the crowded countertops, lined with rows of lenses ready for purchase or repair, to the walls shelved and stuffed with boxes of film and paper, “everything” seems like an understatement.

When the store first opened on East Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill in 1994, regulars needing supplies and accessories to support their film cameras frequented Southeastern Camera, which is the only store of its kind in Carrboro. In today’s market camera sales are mostly digital.

“We have definitely seen a change from the digital world,” said Johnson, of Mebane. He said that while it started out slow, as the quality of digital cameras improved and the prices dropped, the digital trend rapidly grew.

While the average customer enjoys photography as a hobby, there are many professionals that still come to the shop. This, however, is slowly declining as digital takes over.

“With film, there was more of a need for regular supplies: film, paper and chemistry,” Johnson said.

As digital has become the preferred way of shooting, there is less of a need to go to a professional shop. Photographers can buy a body and a lens with one big purchase and get by without other accessories.

Since 1997, when the store shifted to 205 W. Main Street, Johnson has credited the business’s success with the staff’s willingness to do more than just sell cameras.

“We have to sell ourselves to the customer,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to the personal service, the instruction and the information they can gather from us. All of us are huge photo enthusiasts so we know the cameras, and we can answer just about any question thrown at us,” Johnson said with a proud smile.

Although people do appreciate having a store they can actually walk into, camera stores are slowly closing down across the state, Johnson said.

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