In May, the DSI Comedy Theater – a fixture of the Carrboro arts scene for nearly a decade – became a fixture of the Chapel Hill arts scene when it moved from Carr Mill Mall to a new, larger location on West Franklin Street.
The move was initially prompted by a crisis (Carr Mill Mall elected not to renew DSI’s lease), but theater owner Zach Ward chose to see it as an opportunity – and now, just a few months later, he says the company is thriving in its new spot.
In those few months, DSI completely renovated the old Mansion 462 club at 462 W. Franklin, rebuilding it on the inside from the ground up. Now, the theater occupies about four times the space it had in Carrboro, including an expanded bar and (for the first time) its own separate rehearsal facility. In the process, the theater has added to the burgeoning cultural/commercial scene on West Franklin Street – which now includes newcomers like Al’s Burger Shack and the soon-to-arrive Carolina Ale House alongside older establishments like Local 506, the Cave, Carolina Brewery, and West End Wine Bar.
Zach Ward and DSI company members Ashley Melzer and Vinny Valdivia joined Aaron Keck (who’s also a DSI company member) on the WCHL Afternoon News.
As part of the move, DSI is inviting special guests to perform from around the country. This Friday and Saturday, the theater is welcoming Junior Varsity, an improv team from New York’s renowned Magnet Theater – and next month, the theater is hosting the hip-hop-based improv team North Coast as well as a one-night-only performance by nationally-acclaimed standups Myq Kaplan (a veteran of the TV show “Last Comic Standing”) and Zach Sherwin (a writer and performer on the popular YouTube series “Epic Rap Battles of History”).
Andrew Neal, the longtime owner of Chapel Hill Comics, has announced he’s selling the business to Ryan Kulikowki, effective Monday, July 14.
Neal has worked at the store for two decades and owned the store for 11 years.
To mark the change of hands, Neal says the store will throw a party on Saturday, July 12, with visits (and signings) from comic artists Jim Rugg, Ed Piskor, Tom Scioli, and Chris Pitzer. (And the store is also holding a “thank you” sale on Friday of this week, to celebrate Chapel Hill Comics’ recognition by Indyweek as “Best Comic Book Store in the Triangle.”)
Andrew Neal joined Aaron Keck on the Monday afternoon news.
CHAPEL HILL – About 400 political and business leaders gathered at the Friday Center on Thursday for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, to honor outstanding local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals.
Meg McGurk of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership set the tone in her keynote address. “Downtown has reached a tipping point,” she told the attendees. “The private sector is investing in downtown on unprecedented levels, the public sector has taken a new pride in engaging in our downtown…(and) you are the ones that are making that change happen.”
The highlight of the annual meeting was the awarding of the Chamber’s annual Business of the Year honors:
• The Micro-Enterprise Business of the Year award went to Sweeps, a company that matches UNC students with locals in need of moving, cleaning, tutoring, and other odd jobs.
And the Chamber also recognized three individuals as well. Longtime volunteer Irene Briggaman won the Ambassador of the Year award; UNC Executive Director of Real Estate Gordon Merklein won the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service award for his work not only with UNC, but also with various local service organizations. And outgoing Chamber board chair Paige Zinn recognized former Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton with the Chamber’s award for Leadership in Public-Private Partnership.
“Mark has demonstrated that you can support economic and community development without forswearing your interest in the environment and social justice,” Zinn said of Chilton.
Attendees at the meeting included state government officials, the three mayors of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, and all but one member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
By presenting the recommendation to the Board of Trustees this week, Chancellor Carol Folt and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean approve the selection made by the search committee led by J-School dean, Susan King.
Listen to Shackelford’s conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.
Information provided by the Kenan-Flagler Business School
With the confirmation by the BoT, Shackelford will replace Jack Evans who has been serving as interim dean since Jim Dean was chosen as UNC’s Provost last year. Although the search was international, the internal hire marks the second in a row for Kenan-Flagler as Jim Dean was promoted from senior associate dean.
Shackelford graduated from UNC in 1980 with a business degree. In the mid to late 80s he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He’s served on the faculty since 1990. His research and teaching focuses on taxes and business strategy. He’s held the position of associate dean on the MBA@UNC since 2010.
He spent some time off campus in the private sector before returning to teach. From 1981 to 1985 he worked as a senior tax consultant for Arthur Anderson & Co. in Boston and Greensboro.
President Obama Introduces Innovation Institute At N.C. State
RALEIGH - Your local economy is already one of the best in the state, but President Barack Obama traveled to N.C. State University Wednesday afternoon to announce the future of American jobs.
“I’m pleased to announce America’s newest high-tech manufacturing hub, which is going to be focused on the next generation of power electronics, is going to be based right here in Raleigh, North Carolina,” President Obama said.
That announcement received a standing ovation in N.C. State’s J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
***Listen to President Obama’s Remarks at N.C. State***
The Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute is the second of its kind. The first was started more than a year ago in Youngstown, Ohio and focuses on developing 3D printing technology.
President Obama said Raleigh-Durham’s innovation institute will focus on energy efficiency through this partnership of universities and businesses.
“Bringing together leading companies, universities, and federal research all together under one roof,” President Obama said. “Folks at this hub are going to develop what are called wide band gap semiconductors.”
The President likely addressed many engineers as he pointed out that he was on the campus of a university with one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country.
He said the wide band gap semiconductors will revolutionize energy conservation.
“They’re special because they lose up to 90 percent less power,” President Obama said. “They can operate at higher temperatures than normal semiconductors. So that means they can make everything from cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster, and cheaper. There are going to (still be) applications for the traditional semiconductors, but these can be focused on certain areas that will vastly improve energy efficiency (and) vastly improve the quality of our lives.”
President Obama said this is just the start of where he wants to see the United States go with these partnerships. A year ago in his State of the Union address, he told congress he wanted to see bills passed to allow for 15 institutes in the U.S. Now he says he wants congress to approve the funding for 45.
“Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced bills that would get this going,” President Obama said. “That’s good. But they haven’t passed the bills yet. So, I want to encourage them to continue to pass the bills that would create 45 of these manufacturing hubs. In the meantime, I’m directing my administration to move forward where we can on our own.”
While the Triangle has the best unemployment rate in North Carolina, the state itself if still struggling. It currently ranks 35th in the U.S. at 7.4 percent as of November.
However, President Obama says this will institute will create job opportunities and provide a major boost to the state’s economy, and he says he hopes that it will spread nationwide.
“This can be a breakthrough year for America,” President Obama said. “The pieces are all there to start bringing back more of the jobs that we’ve lost over the past decade.”
And he says he’s seeing signs of other countries sending jobs back to American and that he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity.
“A lot of companies around the world are starting to talk about bringing jobs back to the United States, brining jobs back to places like North Carolina—partly because we’ve got cheap energy costs; we’ve got the best workers in the world; we’ve got the best university systems in the world; and we’ve got the largest market in the world,” President Obama said. “So, the pieces are there to restore some of the ground that the middle class has lost in recent decades.”
President Obama kept his focus on the economy, job creation, and the new innovation institute. He did not mention Democratic Senator Kay Hagan during his time at N.C. State. She’s running for re-election this year and has distanced herself from the President in recent months.
***Correction: President Obama mentioned Senator Hagan at the beginning of his speech by thanking her for the hard work she’s doing in Washington and that he was sorry she couldn’t make the trip.
She told the media that she felt it was important to stay in Washington while the Senate was in session. However, the Replublican party has criticized her for her support of President Obama, especially during the struggling times of Obamacare and its website troubles.
However, Sen. Hagan has tried to show that she wants to keep the president honest when she asked the Obama Administration for a full investigation of HealthCare.gov. She also asked the administration to extend the filing period for Americans since there were many problems.
Celebrating The Inaugural CH-Carrboro Business HoF Class
CHAPEL HILL – They are the establishments which have shaped our local business economy, each in a unique way—A Southern Season, Mama Dip’s and Fitch Lumber, to name a few. The leaders and entrepreneurs behind these staples of the community were honored Wednesday as the inaugural class of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Business Hall of Fame.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce recognized 12 individuals during the gala at the Carolina Inn. The class included Ted and Edward Danziger of the Restaurateurs; Orville Camplbell of The Chapel Hill Weekly; and Frank Kenan of Kenan Oil and Kenan Transport.
The awards were designed by metal sculptor Mike Roig
Michael Fox, Missy Fox, Casey Saussy, Virginia Fox, Bart Fox
Patricia Fredrick, Ray Fredrick
To view Chapelboro’s complete gallery from the ceremony, click here.
Kenan’s son, Tom, spoke on behalf of his late father who led what was at one time the largest petroleum transportation company in the Southeast. A proud UNC alumnus, Kenan supported Carolina with generous donations throughout his lifetime.
“My father’s favorite words were, ‘The best speech is the shortest speech.’ So, I am not going to disappoint him tonight. He loved Chapel Hill; he loved this University; and he is still with us. I think he tells us what to do at least once a week,” Tom Kenan said.
A Southern Season started out as a one-man operation for tastemaker Michael Barefoot. Now it is one of the largest specialty-food retailers in the United States. Barefoot, who opened A Southern Season in 1975, attributes his success to the community’s loyalty.
“We didn’t create anything. We just planted a seed, and the local folks helped us grow it,” Barefoot said.
North Carolina State Senator Valerie Foushee was a presenter during the ceremony. She proudly welcomed Mildred Council, known as “Mama Dip,” a trailblazer in serving Southern cuisine, to the stage.
Council was greeted with evening’s first standing ovation.
“For her part in putting Chapel Hill on the culinary map and her generous support of local organizations, and her leadership in the minority business community, we proudly induct Mildred “Mama Dip” Council into the Business Hall of Fame,” Foushee said.
Mildred Council, Valerie Foushee
In 1976, Council opened Dip’s Country Kitchen with three employees and $64 to buy ingredients, according to the gala pamphlet. Decades later, her restaurant is still thriving, and Council said she hopes to expand.
“That is all I’ve ever done—is cook in my restaurant. It has really been successful. And I know so many of these people [fellow inductees]!”
WCHL’s own Jim Heavner was given a special introduction from Top of the Hill Proprietor Scott Maitland.
“Jim Heavner is Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s first media mogul,” Maitland said. “Parlaying a small town radio station into the flagship of a national sports broadcasting network, a cable TV company, an advertising circular, a university phone book publisher, and so much more.”
Sandy McClamroch, Jim Heavner, Bob Woodruff
Heavner thanked his mentor, Sandy McClamroch, Chapel Hill’s longest-serving mayor and former owner of WCHL.
“As mayor of this town for eight years during the Civil Rights crisis, he set the standard for community service that we were expected to follow,” Heavner said. “He gave me the room to screw up and to learn how to do it. He changed my life. Sandy, thank you.”
Chamber President Aaron Nelson commented on the all-star class of business innovators.
“We are in a room with legends. It is incredible to hear the stories of the places where I take my children to now,” Nelson said. ”The folks that started [those places] have forever shaped our community.”
Nelson added that the Chamber will induct three to four new members to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Hall of Fame annually.
Presenter Rick Steinbacher, UNC’s Senior Athletic Director and former Carolina football player, remarked on the other noteworthy attendees of the event.
“I got to my table and the ultimate surprise was that I was sharing a table with Sally Brown, wife of Coach Mack Brown [a former UNC Football Coach], one of the greatest teachers I ever had in my entire life. Welcome home, Sally,” Steinbacher said.
Full List Of Inductees:
WCHL’s own Jim Heavner
Stein, Bill, and Jesse Basnight Sr. of S.h. Basnight & Sons, INC
Launch Chapel Hill; Book Sale; Chapel Hill Transit
CHAPEL HILL – Launch Chapel Hill is accepting applications for the Winter 2014 Accelerator program through November 22.
The program, designed to build successful start-ups, runs 22 weeks from January 6 – June 6, and kicks off with a three day accelerator boot camp. Two information sessions will take place to inform people about the applications process and tour the space. The first will be held on Monday, October 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the second will be on Tuesday, November 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Orange County Public Library has announced that Friends of the Carrboro Branch Libraries will host its annual book sale on November 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and November 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at McDougle Middle School.
Proceeds from the sale allow Friends of the Carrboro Branch Library to support library programs and purchase material.
Hardcover Books – $1
Trade and regular paperback books -$0.50
DVD’s and CD’s – $1
Coffee Table and Specialty books – as priced
VHS Tapes – FREE
Sunday Bag Sale – $3.00
For more information call Linda Browner at 919-969-8145.
During the evening of October 31, Chapel Hill Transit will end service early on the D, J, NS, and NU routes.
Due to the Franklin Street event on Halloween, safe ride buses will operate from 11:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. along detoured routes. No buses will operate from the park and ride lots to the Halloween celebration.
Chamber Unveils Chapel Hill-Carrboro Business Hall of Fame
CHAPEL HILL – Your Chapel Hill-Carrboro community is what it is because of the people who have made an impact, and the Chamber of Commerce is recognizing 12 individuals who have shaped the local business world.
“We wanted an organization, not only did they run a good business, but that it was impactful, that it shaped our community, that it was entrepreneurial, that they re-invested in our community,” Chamber President Aaron Nelson said. “And we looked at 40 or 50 candidates and we settled on these 12 for the inaugural class, and they are our community icons.”
When determining which business should be considered for the Hall of Fame, the Chamber needed to develop criteria for eligibility. Peter Tompkins said that there were a couple factors they thought were important.
“A couple of things just to be eligible in the first place was that they need to either be retired from what they’re doing or of a certain age, and of course their impact on the community,” Tompkins said.
In the future, Tompkins says many more businesses will be reviewed to join these great businesses in the Hall of Fame.
The inaugural class of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Business Hall of Fame includes:
Stein, Bill, and Jesse Basnight Sr. of S.h. Basnight & Sons, INC.
Michael Barefoot of Southern Season
Mildred Council of Mama Dip’s
Orville Camplbell of The Chapel Hill News
Ted and Edward Danziger of Restraunteurs
Mickey Ewell of Chapel Hill Restaurant Group
R.B. and Jenny Fitch of Fitch Creations
Mac Fitch of Fitch Lumber and Hardware
WCHL’s own Jim Heavner
George Wattes Hill, Sr. of Central Carolina Bank
Frank Kenan of Kenan Oil and Kenan Transport
Mel Rashkis of Mel Rashkis & Associates
To honor the inaugural class of the Business Hall of Fame, the Chamber will host a black tie event that includes a cocktail hour, live music, and a three course meal.
The induction will be on November 13, and tickets are available online by clicking here.
CHAPEL HILL- Last week the Chapel Hill Town Council approved changes to the town’scommercial sign ordinance, expanding the places where large signs can be erected and, in some cases, increasing sign heights.
The move re-ignited a debate over how to address the needs of local business owners while preserving Chapel Hill’s village-like charm.
Geoffrey Daniel Geist told the council he’s worried the proposed changes could have a major impact on the town’s appearance.
“What may appear to some as a relatively minor set of ordinances related to signage has many of us in the community concerned about the present and future implications of what our community will look like while driving, biking or simply driving down the road,” said Geist.
But Kristin Smith, speaking on behalf of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, said updating the town’s sign ordinance has been a high priority for many local business owners.
“To grow the tax base and improve the employment opportunities for citizens in this area, you have to make concessions to be attractive to business owners,” Smith said, quoting from a recent member survey. “Learn from neighboring cities and what’s working for their communities.”
In 2011 the council approved an ordinance change to allow large commercial centers such as Southern Village, Eastgate and University Mall to erect ground signs.
Under the new rules, commercial ground signs are now also permitted at smaller retail locations with at least four shops, such as Glen Lennox, The Galleria on Elliot Road, and Midtown Market on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Along roadways marked 45 mph, sign heights can now reach 17 feet, slightly higher than what’s allowed in neighboring municipalities. This concerned some on the council, including Laurin Easthom.
“I don’t see any reason why we have to go higher than Durham and Raleigh on our signs,” said Easthom. “While there may not be many times when that particular sign height is an issue, I just worry about implications unforeseen.”
The council unanimously approved the expansion of ground signs to smaller commercial centers, as well as a plan to allow more folding sandwich board advertising.
The vote on sign heights was split 6-3, with Matt Czajkowski, Laurin Easthom and Jim Ward opposed.
The council will review the sign ordinance within a year’s time.
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