Carrboro Commons

Redevelopment stalls on 300 E. Main St.

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Hannah Sharpe
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Carrboro residents have always held that quirky, eclectic vibe defining their community close to their hearts. So when the biggest redevelopment project the town has ever faced proposed to alter that vibe, there were considerable concerns for residents to address.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided to delay its decision to approve modifications to a conditional use permit for the 300 East Main Street renovation project after hearing many community concerns and questions at the project’s second public hearing Sept. 16. The board will vote based on more definitive conditions presented by Main Street Properties on Sept 30.

Carrboro Commons staff writer Hannah Sharpe shot this video that portrays the sheer size of the 300 E. Main project, heading west down E. Main Street from Padgett Station to the railroad tracks. P.S. Someone else was driving.

The board approved the final measures of Phase A in June of last year, permitting the construction of a five-story building on the corner of Roberson and Main streets. Now, Main Street Properties, the company proposing the project, is seeking to add on a hotel, a five-story parking deck and 500,000 square feet of business space as Phase B of the project. Construction on Phase A is set to begin in November.

Dear Carrboro: a letter from the editors

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Caroline McMillan and Lindsay Britt
Carrboro Commons editors-in-chief

To whom we greet with open arms:

There aren’t many towns where you’ll find a sandcastle outside a grocery store, a no-strings-attached “free market” or the first national Hula Hoop conference. And there aren’t many towns chock-full of educated, accomplished residents who can boast of communal oak trees and miles of well-traveled sidewalks.


This fall’s Carrboro Commons co-editors, (left to right) Lindsay Britt and Caroline McMillan, put the finishing touches on the first edition.
Photo by Jock Lauterer

This is no New York City, my friends. It’s Carrboro.

But you already know this. You know how unique Carrboro is, how people can transplant from all across the nation and still feel at home here. It’s a community that embraces innovation and good ol’ rest and relaxation – all in the same breath.

In the words of Kirk Ross, editor of the Carrboro Citizen: “The New York Times didn’t invent everything.” And despite its larger-than-life aura of journalistic excellence, the New York Times can’t cover everything, either. It talks Wall Street, national politics and international tragedy. But does it tell your story? Does the New York Times highlight your child’s first prom or profile a local war veteran? Does the New York Times run photos of your precious puppy’s jaunt through the dog park?

OK, enough with the rhetorical questions. You get the picture.

Like our sister publication, the Carrboro Citizen, we want to show Carrboro as the gem that it is by covering and capturing that which intrigues you— your stories.

And we want to hear them. This semester, the Carrboro Commons staff is striving to inform, to entertain, and above all, to be enlightened. We want to intimately know Carrboro as if it were our own hometown. So, please, grace us with your stories and ideas. (To our future interviewees: we thank you!) And feel free to give us feedback; after all, we’re only an e-mail or short car (uh, bike) ride away.

Best wishes,

Caroline McMillan & Lindsay Britt, co-editors

Carrboro Music Festival bigger and greener

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

Gerry Williams, left, Carrboro Music Festival coordinator, and Kim Andrews, Recreation supervisor from the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department, hold up this year’s poster for the annual music festival set for Sunday, Sept. 28, all throughout the town.
Staff photo by Lyndal Wilson

By Lyndal Wilson
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

The annual Carrboro Music Festival is back this month for its 11th year of fun and entertainment.

This free event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 28, and feature over 160 diverse artists, performing in a variety of venues throughout the town. The festival will showcase everything from rock, country, classical, to electronic styles of music.

Carrboro Music Festival Coordinator Gerry Williams said there are about 10 to 15 new performers this year, with one particularly unique electronic duo playing at The Open Eye Café.

Alex Kotch and Ben Crawford will be performing experimental electronic dance music, and incorporating things from peoples’ cell phones into their music, Williams said.

“The audience can call them or contact them on their computer and they can incorporate it into their music,” he said. “It’s really interactive…and pretty unusual, and we haven’t had that before.”

There are also a few different venues this year that have allowed the festival to increase the number of performers. The Station and Southern Rail, on East Main Street, are involved this year. They’ll have a large stage out in the middle of the parking lot, with music inside The Station, and Southern Rail’s back beer garden will be open as well.

Moonlighting musician set to play at music festival

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

Charles Cleaver practices his accordion in his backyard in Chapel Hill to prepare for the upcoming festival. He said playing his accordion gets him warmed-up for his shows.
Staff photo Anshu Gupta)

By Anshu Gupta
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Although he’s no stranger to music, Charles Cleaver will be meeting the Carrboro Music Festival for the first time.

Cleaver, a UNC- Chapel Hill 2008 graduate, majoring in music, is set to play with three of the many bands scheduled for the annual music festival on Sunday, Sept. 28.

“I’m kind of nervous,” confessed Cleaver, originally from Greensboro. “I’ve played a bunch of shows but I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s my first time playing there, so I’m very excited. It will be a great showcase of local music and I’m really honored to be invited to participate.“

Cleaver, who also plays the accordion, specializes in piano jazz. He recently started his own company called “Jazz by Chaz” in which he plays piano for most any occasion.

“It’s basically just a name to put on a business card,” he said. “So that I can try to get my name out there, for lessons, or if anyone needs piano players for any occasion: weddings, restaurants, or a band that needs a piano player to fill in just for one show. I just am trying to build as many contacts as possible.”

“After I graduated, I just wasn’t getting the kind of jobs I wanted,” he said. “I contemplated working for a temp agency or something like that, but I knew it wouldn’t make me happy. I have my eyes half open for a traditional job, but I plan to go to graduate school for a year. I’m just trying to save as much money as possible by doing what I’m doing, teaching and playing freelance in the Triangle area.”

Local filmmaker contributes talent to community

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

Tinkham shoots a scene for a short film using a 16 mm film camera. Cinematography, he says, is one of his favorite parts of the filmmaking process.

Photo courtesy of Todd Tinkham
Photo by Mary Cates

By Hillary Vandewart
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Todd Tinkham always knew he wanted to be a filmmaker, he just didn’t know the first thing about making films.

He grew up in a small fishing community in Massachusetts, and after graduating from high school, Tinkham worked on a commercial fishing boat for two years.

“I would write poetry on the fishing boat and dream of something else,” he said.

It would be years before Tinkham made his very first film, “And Then There Were Nun,” a four-minute-long dark comedy filmed in one weekend in Carrboro.

In between working on the fishing boat and becoming a successful filmmaker, Tinkham received an English degree from Long Island University and worked with at-risk children and incarcerated men in various outdoor and residential treatment programs.

After both his parents died when he was in his early forties, Tinkham realized that he wanted to pursue his dream before it was too late.
“I didn’t want to die without making at least one film,” he said.

Tinkham took various film classes in Maine and North Carolina before settling down in Carrboro in 2000. And though he recently moved to Chapel Hill, he still does much of his filmmaking work in Carrboro.

Since his first film in 2005, Tinkham has started his own production company, TinkhamTown Productions, and made 21 short films—about 10 of which he has sent to festivals. Those 10 films have been screened at more than 250 festivals worldwide.

The Third Annual Carrboro Film Festival will be accepting submissions until Monday, Sept. 22. Films must be no longer than 20 minutes (including title and end credits). For other submission guidelines and more information regarding the festival, please visit the Web site at If you have a film that you would like to submit, contact Selena Lauterer directly at [email protected].

For the most part, Tinkham works with a core group of people in the Carrboro film circuit—writers, directors, musicians and actors. This group, which includes Carrboro Film Festival founder Nic Beery, shares ideas, equipment and support.

At least every other weekend, Tinkham said, “We are shooting something for someone.”

He attributes his success to the local filmmaking community and his relationships with the people in it.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” he said.

Selena Lauterer, chair of this year’s Carrboro Film Festival, calls Tinkham “a force.”

Society must adjust to the “browning of America”

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Stefani Price
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

America is becoming a “majority of minorities,” said an award-winning investigative reporter and author.

Paul Cuadros, who is also an assistant professor of journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill, told a group at The Chapel Hill Institute for Cultural and Language Education (CHICLE) about the North Carolina Community College System’s changes in policy regarding the admission of undocumented immigrants.


Paul Cuadros, right, talks with audience member Jerry Markatos of Pittsboro after his presentation on the educational future of undocumented immigrants in North Carolina.

Staff photo by Stefani Price

On the third floor of the Weaver Street Market is the office of CHICLE. The organization reserves its Sunday afternoons for introducing speakers to discuss key topics primarily on the issues of immigrants, language and cultures.

On Sunday, CHICLE hosted Cuadros, author, investigative reporter and assistant professor at the UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communication who lives in Pittsboro. Cuadros’s literary work focuses on the issues of Latinos while his day-to-day activities involve teaching journalism, mentoring and coaching both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Jordan-Matthews High School in Chatham County.

Cuadros has become very close to several of the Hispanic teenagers with whom he works; so when in June of this year some of those young students were denied acceptance into community colleges due to their lack of U.S. citizenship, Cuadros empathized with their feelings of rejection and exclusion.

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) has gone back and forth on the issue of enrolling undocumented immigrants into its institutions, according to Cuadros’s research and records on the NCCCS Web site.

Dr. Martin Lancaster, former president of the NCCCS until his retirement in 2007, supported the notion that the system should remain open and accessible to any and all students, including undocumented students.

El Centro Latino hires new executive director

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Dioni L. Wise
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

El Centro Latino admits any new face who enters its doors. And on Sept. 2, the non-profit welcomed the new executive director, Victor Meléndez.

Meléndez, a 58-year-old native of Puerto Rico, is the fifth person to hold the post since El Centro Latino opened in July 2000. He replaced Ben Balderas who stepped down on July 11 after serving two years as executive director.


Victor Meléndez began his first day as El Centro Latino’s executive director on Sept. 2. He said he finds helping others rewarding. “If I see people doing well, I’m happy,” he said. “If I don’t see people doing well, I’m unhappy.”

Staff photo by Dioni L. Wise

“(Balderas) has his master’s [degree] in social work,” said Paula Gildner, chairwoman of the board of directors. “He was really interested in getting back into a more direct path of social service.”

Gildner, of Chapel Hill, said the board posted the job opening on Web sites and received an “overwhelming response” from dozens of applicants. The board vetted applicants in a string of interviews and surveys before Meléndez was hired mid-August.

“It was a pretty heavy process,” Gildner said. “It was not something that was taken upon lightly.”

Meléndez said he is getting used to the rhythm of El Centro Latino, likening its operations to a moving train.

“Because the train is in movement, you have to do certain things to keep it moving,” he said of his work behind the desk thus far. “I’m kind of making sure things keep on a roll until I get acquainted.”

Meléndez emigrated from Puerto Rico to the United States 36 years ago. He has worked with non-profits that benefit both the Anglo and Latino communities in New York, Connecticut and Raleigh for all but two of those years.

Inaugural Dog Show Expo free to public

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Brittany Jackson
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

There is something for every four-legged and two-legged creature – dogs and dog lovers, that is – at the first-ever Dog Show Expo of Carrboro at the Hank Anderson Park dog park.


Picture Caption: Daphne Charlot, 8, plays with her beagle, Besse, at the Hank Anderson Park dog park. Daphne and her mother plan to bring Besse to the Dog Show Expo on Sept. 27.
Photo by Brittany Jackson

On Saturday, Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 15 vendors from around the Carrboro area will line up booths along the outside of the dog park fence to provide free exhibits, educational presentations and concessions to the public, as well as the chance to ask veterinarians questions.

Vendors for the expo, which started out years ago as a children’s dog show, will include Orange County Animal Shelter, Bayou Rescue and Blue Dog Creature Coaching, and Lucky, the Durham Bulls mascot, will make an appearance.

“I think it’s fantastic to live in an area that’s so pet and dog-friendly,” said Jenn Merritt, owner of Blue Dog Creature Coaching, a dog training organization based out of Efland. “It’s a great opportunity for those that are in a pet business to show people what our services are and what we offer.”

Dog Show Expo organizers Wendell Rogers and Robert Douglass, both of the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department, recognized the dog owners in Carrboro could appreciate this type of informational event focused on helping them be better pet owners.

“We have quite a few dog owners in Carrboro – responsible dog owners,” said Rogers, recreation supervisor for CRPD.

Those responsible dog owners will find new ways to enact the task of pet caretaking. Representatives from Four Paws Animal Clinic of Carrboro will be at the expo taking questions and offering to microchip dogs.

Carrboro High principal enthusiastic to be a Jaguar

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Kelsey Hamilton
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

With the start of the second year at Carrboro High School, Carrboro students were not only the new excited faces. Carrboro High is the new high school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.


Principal Kelly Batten says he is excited to begin his first year at Carrboro High School. He is ready to
establish a lasting tradition at the new school.

Staff photo by Kelsey Hamilton

Students, faculty and parents at Carrboro High welcomed new principal, Kelly Batten, to the Jaguar community. Batten, former assistant principal at Leesville Road High School in Wake County, was selected in July as the new principal at Carrboro High to replace Jeffrey Thomas.

“It has been a really fun start. I would have to say that the students and faculty at Carrboro High School are great,” Batten said.

Batten says he has felt encouraged by the amount of enthusiasm displayed by the students, parents and faculty. According to Batten, the community has been very welcoming, considering the school has been under the direction of two different administrators in its short history.

“The students at Carrboro have to be some of the most energetic, friendly and conscientious students that I have ever come across,” Batten said. “I’m just very impressed with the student body.”

Batten has transitioned from working at a large school for seven years to a small school in Carrboro. But his favorite thing about Carrboro High is the small size of the school.

“I really think that the district and the community have made a wise choice. They have made an investment in the future of the students here because they are committed to a smaller school setting,” said Batten.

Orange County Social Club: like a second home

Posted on September 18th, 2008 in Uncategorized by jock

By Heather Mandelkehr
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

The Orange County Social Club, sandwiched between Friendly Barber Shop and ACME on East Main Street, seems to be an ordinary storefront with tinted windows and plants outside the doorway.


Orange County Social Club owner Tricia Mesigian bartends on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Mesigian says that the close-knit relationship of both the employees and members makes the OCSC a place for friends to spend time together.

Staff Photo by Heather Mandelkehr

Enter, and find more plants from the Carrboro Farmers’ Market on the bar, a large portrait of Dean Smith on the back wall, and employees and members sitting at the bar, socializing and listening to the bartender’s music choices as DJ.

It’s formally a bar, yet the overall ease of the atmosphere blurs an official distinction.

Owner Tricia Mesigian said her vision of the Orange County Social Club (OCSC) was to be a place where people could come often and know they would get the same thing every time they came in. She cited great bars that were part of restaurant – where people would come just to socialize.

“There wasn’t a plain old bar in town,” Mesigian said of Carrboro.

Originally from Media, Pa., Mesigian studied business at Virginia Tech and moved in Carrboro in 1995. When she moved to North Carolina, she started at the Skylight Exchange and then worked at Merge Records in sales and tour promotion.

She joked that she knew that when she opened the OCSC, the people who she knew would come, but now her clientele is a mix of “extremely great people,” including students, professors, musicians, artists and former employees.

Next Page »