Carrboro Commons

Meat market owner honored for store’s spirit

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Features,Latino Issues,Lifestyles by jock

By Carly Brantmeyer
Carrboro Commons Photo Editor

From rattlesnake to alligator meat, Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro, sells every kind of meat you could dream of, and on Feb. 22 he received a Pauli Murray Human Relations Award.

brantmeyer_clifffinal.jpg Cliff Collins, owner of Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro, 60, gives thanks for receiving a Pauli Murray Award on Sunday, Feb. 22, at New Hope Elementary School in Chapel Hill. The award honors Reverend Dr. Murray’s life by recognizing an individual, youth and business that have fostered and promoted human rights, diversity and equality in the Orange County community. Tim Peck of Carrboro, 53, nominated Cliff’s Meat Market for the award in the business category after witnessing the owner’s interaction and involvement with the Hispanic community. “My business has been an asset to me and hopefully it’s been an asset to you,” Collins said.
Staff photo by Carly Brantmeyer

The ceremony at New Hope Elementary School in Chapel Hill recognized a youth, a business and an individual who epitomized the legacy of Pauli Murray as a social justice advocate. Collins, a 60-year-old Chatham County resident, was recognized in the business category for Cliff’s Meat Market, which he founded in 1973 on 100 West Main St.

Tim Peck, 53, a general contractor and plumber for Peck and Artisans in Carrboro, nominated Collins for the award after witnessing Collins’ interaction and involvement with the Hispanic population during the 2008 presidential election.

“Cliff has really reached out to the Hispanic community,” Peck said. “He feels like they’re family, and he looks out for them.”

When Peck first entered Cliff’s Meat Market, he noticed Collins’ Spanish-friendly atmosphere, complete with Spanish labels, such as “Fruta y Vegetales” hanging above baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables. Peck also noticed a taco stand that Collins supported on his property during the election, in hopes that the Hispanic vendor would make extra money to provide for his family.

“The taco stand at my place added a little spice of life to downtown Carrboro,” Collins said. He said that he strives to make his store feel family-oriented and welcoming. Collins wants to learn more of the Spanish language and wants the Hispanic population to learn his.

With a booming business now in its 36th year, Collins expanded his staff to include Hispanic employees and developed meaningful friendships with his Hispanic customers. Tolo, a 31-year-old Hispanic employee at Cliff’s Meat Market, said he enjoys working at the store because he is able to provide for his family.

“Cliff is [a] good person,” said Tolo, who has worked for Collins for 13 years and who lives in Chapel Hill.

The Pauli Murray Award honors Murray’s life by recognizing those who have fostered and promoted human rights, diversity and equality in Orange County. Peck said the way Cliff lives his life reflects Murray’s character.

Barry Jacobs, chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, spoke Sunday about the life and legacy of Murray. Born in 1910, Murray was an African-American female who grew up in Durham. She risked her life as a sit-in activist in communities that were opposed to racial change. Despite the adversities she faced because of her race, Murray persevered and became a poet, lawyer, writer, teacher and ordained priest.

The Sunday ceremony highlighted the importance of how extraordinary so-called ordinary people can be. The Guiding Lights of St. John Holiness Church performed four soulful musical selections. N.C. State Senator Ellie Kinnaird, relatives of Pauli Murray and Orange County Board of Commissioners members were in attendance.

Collins hopes to continue to serve the Carrboro community however he can, to honor the legacy of Murray. “There’s a whole lot more behind winning the award than just winning it. It’s living it, and it’s been a joy living it, and it will continue to be so,” Collins said.

Collins’ expertise is not solely limited to meat. He remembers names, faces, stories and facts about his customers, and is an encyclopedia of knowledge. “I tell my customers where to fix their cars, where to buy new shoes and what restaurants are good,” Collins said. When it comes to Carrboro, the meat market owner knows what’s in, what’s out and where to get it.

Chapel Hill native Cheryl Edwards, 51, has been coming to Cliff’s Meat Market since she was a young girl.

“He’s always very friendly, and you get good quality meat,” Edwards said, explaining why she has returned to the store for so many years.

Meat market customers can attest to the fact that the loyal store owner helps his customers and individuals in the Carrboro community however he can. Collins recalls a customer who was a minister who came in years ago and told him, “You know what? You’re doing the best ministry in this store that anyone could do in their life, and you’re doing it every day.”

Carrboro aldermen vote to amend town charter

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Kelly Esposito
Spanish Language Coverage Team

A proposed amendment to the Carrboro charter would prohibit property deeds and homeowners association covenants from restricting the use of clotheslines and other energy-saving devices.

The Board of Aldermen approved two amendments to the Town’s charter in its Feb. 17 meeting. The amendments must now be presented to the N.C. General Assembly. Only the state legislature has the power to alter town charters.

Carrboro resident and Camellia Forest Nursery employee Rachel Byrne, 24, takes down a sheet from the clothesline in her backyard. “I like the process of hanging things on the clothesline,” Byrne said. “Plus it saves energy.” A proposed amendment to the Carrboro charter would prohibit property deeds and homeowners’ association covenants from restricting the use of clotheslines and other energy-saving devices.
Staff photo by Kelly Esposito

One of the amendments would authorize the board to create ordinances that could supersede deed restrictions or homeowners association covenants if the deeds or covenants prohibited the implementation of sustainability features. These features include clotheslines, solar panels and rain barrels. It passed 5-2, with board members Joal Hall Broun and Randee Haven-O’Donnell dissenting.

The amendment drew public comment from residents who were concerned about the broad authority it would provide.

Carrboro resident Richard Anstine, who spoke at the meeting, said that he has no problem with saving energy and going green, but the language of the proposed amendment is alarming.

“There are no limitations to this,” he said. “It’s just wide open.”

Anstine is concerned with the possible voiding of deed restrictions and homeowners association covenants, which he said are put in place primarily to protect property values.

“They are the thing that keeps people from painting polka dots all over their house or building a garage in their front yard,” he said.

Carrboro resident Robert Kirschner also spoke at the meeting. He said that he thinks town officials are overstepping their bounds with the proposal, and he was in favor of continuing the public hearing on a later date so the issue could be explored further and more people could have the opportunity to comment.

“This is far more complicated than it appears,” Kirschner said. “I was asking them to pause, which they did not do.”

Agent advocates conservation, immigrant rights

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Features,Growth and development,Latino Issues,Uncategorized by jock

By Kelsey Kusterer
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Carrboro has grown significantly economically and culturally in recent decades, and Gary Phillips, a resident of Silk Hope, has been there to observe the town’s changes.


Gary Phillips, partner and broker at Weaver Street Realty, sits in the office of the real estate business he founded in 1982. A man of many hats, Phillips said he chose real estate as a profession because “environmental real estate was a good idea. It would allow me to impact the land in a way I wouldn’t be able to outside the process.”
Staff photo by Kelsey Kusterer

“I liked it from the beginning,” Phillips said about Carrboro.

Phillips is a broker and partner at Weaver Street Realty, located at 116 E. Main St., which he founded in Carrboro in 1982. He is known in the community for his diverse interests and involvement in town affairs, which include serving as a lay preacher, being a former Chatham County Commissioner and working as an auctioneer, among several other community roles he’s played.

Jay Parker, partner and broker-in-charge at Weaver Street Realty, became Phillips’ friend while Phillips was working as a bartender. After Phillips founded Weaver Street Realty, Parker started working with him at auctions.

“He’s got a tremendous amount of energy, and he’s developed a tremendous amount of disciplines,” Parker said.

Jackie Helvey, Phillips’ friend and CEO and owner of UniqueOrn Enterprises, located at 118 E. Main St. in Carrboro, met Phillips at an auction he was running.

Proposed connector road creates heated debate

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Elisabeth Arriero
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer


A proposed road connecting Colfax Drive to Homestead Road has caused some residents to become concerned that their quiet neighborhood streets will soon turn into busy shortcut roads
Staff photo Elisabeth Arriero

The Board of Aldermen again postponed the decision on a proposed connector road from the Claremont subdivision to Colfax Drive.

The proposed road would connect the two newest phases of the Claremont development with Wexford via Colfax Drive. The connection would provide access from Homestead Road to Hillsborough Road.

The road was proposed in accordance with the town’s Connector Roads Policy, which creates roads that not only disperse new traffic, but also create a sense of unity among residents.

The Colfax Connection was originally discussed at the board’s Jan. 27 meeting. More than 20 people spoke at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Opponents of the Colfax Connection said that the road would create a traffic burden for residents of the Wexford, Williams Woods, Cates Farm and Cobblestone neighborhoods and not a sense of unity.

“This plan will not disperse traffic, but instead focus and funnel it through narrow streets never intended to carry a high volume of traffic,” said Scott Christie, president of the Williams Woods Homeowners’ Association.

Opponents said that not constructing the connector road would do a better job of meeting the Connector Roads Policy’s goal of creating a sense of connectivity among residents.

“Bike paths encourage interactions between people more than putting in a road does,” Wexford resident Dennis Haines said.

Opponents also said the connector road could harm the environment.

“There are negative aspects to connectivity,” resident Michael Krasnov said. “You create more pavement, more asphalt and more impervious surface. Instead, walking paths could be created with pervious surface.”

But advocates of the Colfax Connection said that a connector road would be good for the community because it would reduce the number of miles that people drive.

My first one-night stand for UNC Dance Marathon

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in A&E,Editorials/columns,Features by jock

By Corey Inscoe
Carrboro Commons Co-Editor

Members of the overall committee of the UNC Dance Marathon hold signs above their heads spelling out “$394,278.94!!!” the total amount of money raised. Since 1999 the event has raised more than $2 million for the N.C. Children’s Hospital.
Staff Photo by Carly Brantmeyer

Sitting on the floor in Fetzer Gym B, I didn’t know what to expect. Hundreds of other dancers were sitting around me organized into 24 teams, each wearing a different color T-shirt. Countless colorful banners with random quotes, statistics and jokes covered the walls. Butch Davis, the UNC-Chapel Hill football coach, stepped onto the miniature stage at the front of the room and thanked us all for what we were about to do.

Then, just a couple minutes after 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, we counted down from 10 and rose to our feet. When the count reached zero, the silver door connecting the two gyms opened and the mass of students charged through the tunnel and into the other room.

The 11th UNC Dance Marathon had begun.

Dinner unites Carrboro High community

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Features,School news by jock

By Virginia McIlwain
Carrboro Commons Education Writer/Editor

Students, teachers and community members came together on Thursday, Feb. 26, for an evening of song, dance, food and poetry at Carrboro High School.

mcilwain_unity-dinner1_final.jpg Members of Carrboro High School’s step team, Delta Alpha Omega, perform at the school’s first ever Unity Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 26. The evening’s talent, including appearances by members of local slam poetry group the Sacrificial Poets and performances by the school’s Jazz Ensemble and Latin Dance Club, touched on the themes of race, diversity and unity. Staff photo by Virginia McIlwain

The success of the school’s first ever Unity Dinner, the culmination of its Black History Month celebration, is indicative of the significant strides Carrboro High has made to address issues of race that troubled students, parents and staff not long after the school opened its doors in 2007.

Racial tensions mounted halfway through the 2007-2008 academic year after one student’s racially charged comments led to a fight on school grounds. In the weeks and months that followed, the Carrboro High community worked to bring parents, staff and students together to initiate a school-wide dialogue about race relations.

As part of their continuing efforts, staff members on the school’s Equity Team, along with Principal Kelly Batten, recognized this year’s celebration of Black History Month as a wonderful opportunity for the school to encourage students to engage in conversations with one another about race, equity and unity.

Throughout the month of February, Carrboro High students participated in a variety of activities highlighting different aspects of black history, including a poetry reading and follow-up discussion and a televised theatrical performance featuring student actors and actresses.

Teachers also worked to incorporate black history lessons into their classrooms. Art students created colorful displays showcasing the works of famous black artists, while history classes assembled informative posters about well-known black historical figures. All were on display at Thursday’s Unity Dinner, which Carrboro High students attended in droves.

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.

Beer store offers town sophisticated brews

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Beer,Features by jock

By Tom Nading
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

The Carrboro Beverage Co. holds a wide variety of beers for people who want to try something new and appreciate the sudsier tastes in life, according to manager Jason Cole.

nading_bottleshopfinal.jpg Manager Jason Cole (left) and Brian Stith, regional manager for Millennium Beverage, show off a few beers during a beer tasting on Feb. 26. The Carrboro Beverage Co. hosts a weekly beer tasting every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Staff photo by Tom Nading

Located near the intersection of East Main Street and Greensboro Street at 102-A E. Main St., the beverage company has a selection of over 300 craftbrew, microbrew and imported beers. But, before the “Pop the Cap” law took effect in 2005, at least 75 percent of their beers would have been illegal to sell in North Carolina. The law raised the legal alcohol-content limit in beer from 6 percent alcohol by volume to15 percent.

It really changed the way people have viewed beer,” Cole said. “It’s opened up people’s eyes to what beer can be.”

The store opened its doors in early August 2008, marking the third anniversary of “Pop the Cap.” Cole said the store was a pet project of Tyler Huntington, owner of Tyler’s Restaurant and Taproom, which sits right next door on East Main Street. Cole had worked as the beer buyer for Weaver Street Market before Huntington asked him to help with the project. As manager, Cole chooses all of the beers that go on the shelves of Carrboro Beverage Co.

“My philosophy is to bring in the quintessential beer styles, bring in what’s good,” he said.

Although the beverage company showcases a broad range of styles, its focus is European beers, specifically those from Belgium, Cole says. The selection includes as many North Carolina brews as possible, he added. The store also has 15 wines and 10 different specialty sodas. With a selection that is continually changing, the store always has something new for customers to try, Cole said.

“Customers always say, ‘There’s always something new in here,’” Cole said. “People in this area love new things; they love the adventure of trying new things.”

Mac Amos, a junior history and communications double major from High Point, N.C., lives just two blocks down the road from Carrboro Beverage Co. He tries to stop in at least once a week to sample a different brew.

“They’ve tried everything, and they won’t tell you about it unless they’ve tried it,” Amos said. “Going there has made me an even bigger beer fan, and it’s showed me a lot of beers I probably would never have heard of.”

Amos said he and his two brothers inherited their affection for beer from their father, who loves to seek out local beers when he travels. The three brothers have even tried brewing their own beer, Amos said, to further develop their appreciation for the carbonated concoction.

For Jason Cole, the love of craft-brew beer began with four different pints at the Sawmill Taproom in Raleigh. Cole has also tried brewing his own beer, brewing off and on for the past seven years.

“I see brewing as an art-form, taking raw ingredients and sculpting something out of it,” Cole said. “You have the artistic vision of what you want to make, but there is a scientific aspect to it … there’s a certain magic in it.”

Join the Carrboro Beverage Co. every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. for their weekly beer tasting.

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