Resolve To Experience Orange County In 2016!

With the new year now upon us, lots of folks are making big plans for big trips and exotic experiences in 2016. But this year, you might also resolve to stay in Orange County – and take advantage of the experiences available right in your back yard.

Laurie Paolicelli of the Orange County Community Relations Department came up with a list of 10 things you can do in our community this year. How many can you check off in 2016?

Listen to Laurie’s conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


1. Take in a show at Memorial Hall. Carolina Performing Arts has a full calendar of shows, including Lil Buck @ Chapel Hill, A Jookin’ Jam Session in mid-April. Visit for a list of shows, showtimes and tickets.

2. Work out at Meadowmont. YMCA of the Triangle has a Meadowmont location and there’s a UNC Wellness Center there as well. (Try a day pass for starters.)

3. Spend a day at resale stores. The PTA Thrift Shop for starters, but also check out Club Nova, Goodwill, and the Habitat ReStore. Good inventory and good products.

4. Spend time on campus! Grab drinks at Carolina Inn and then walk campus and see the Old Well. Goodnight Carolina is a free guide and app that I use to show family highlights.

5. Check out Riverwalk in Hillsborough. Afterwards, head to Hillsborough Wine company, sit and window watch and have a glass of wine. Or enjoy hot tea at Weaver Street Market. (Inside tip: Bandido’s has the best guacamole around.)

6. Honeysuckle Tea House is a must-do for 2016, especially if you’ve never been. One of Orange County’s greatest hidden treasures.

7. Ice cream at Maple View. ‘Nuff said.

8. Take a class. We all get busy, but learning something new expands the brain and is a depression buster. The ArtsCenter in Carrboro offers courses in ceramics, dance, healing arts, jewelry making, photography, theater, improv, writing, and youth arts. Or take in a lecture at the Friday Center or on campus. (The GAA’s popular Civil War series is a good bet.)

9. Spend the evening at Timberlyne! Enjoy dinner at vegetarian restaurant SAGE and take in a movie at the Chelsea.

10. Take in a show! Head downtown and check out the DSI Comedy Theater on West Franklin Street, one of the best improv theaters in the entire country…or if it’s a movie you’re after, head to Silverspot in University Place.

Carolina Inn: Holiday Short List Winner

Carolina Inn is the winner of our Holiday Short List.  We asked Chapelboro readers and WCHL listeners to vote for their favorite holiday outing and The Carolina Inn came out on top.short list feature 150

The Carolina Inn has been a fixture on the UNC campus for 90 years, and today combines delightful traditions and modern amenities for any visitor to Chapel Hill.  But, it much more than just an “inn.”  Award-winning cuisine is available at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar.  It is also a great spot for distinctive corporate and incentive meetings, and for romantic and special occasions.

The Carolina Inn

The Carolina Inn is all dressed up for the holidays!

During the holidays, the Carolina Inn offers several special events like Holiday Afternoon Teas, horse-drawn carriage rides, and Santa even comes to town.  They celebrate the season with decorations inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Also making the Short List is Southern Season.

Southern season is a popular destination for specialty food, gift and entertaining items.  A good spot to find a Christmas gift or something to make your holiday pop.

Time Out Restaurant, holiday parades, and the Holiday House Tour rounded out the Holiday Short List.  Since you are here, check out photos from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade.

Friday, Community Home Trust Is “Opening Doors”

On Friday, the Carolina Inn will play host to “Opening Doors 2015,” a major annual fundraiser for Community Home Trust.

The event (Vegas-themed!) will feature casino-style games, dancing, Rat Pack music, a silent auction, and magic from Joshua Lozoff – plus food and drinks from the recently-remodeled Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar. It’s all to benefit the Community Home Trust, a local nonprofit that provides homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.

CHT’s Camille Berry joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week, along with homeowner Gail Markland.


To learn more about Community Home Trust and its mission, visit this page.

To purchase tickets for “Opening Doors 2015,” visit this page on EventBrite.

On Thanksgiving, There are Seats at the Table for Those in Need in Chapel Hill

Thanksgiving is a time for showing kindness to those who are lonely, or less fortunate than some of us.

Here in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, there are plenty of organizations offering food and companionship to people who could use a break on Thursday.

“While many of us have an awful lot to be thankful for, and are able to supply a holiday meal for our families and our friends, there are a lot of people in the community who just don’t have that option,” said John Dorward, executive director of the Inter-Faith Council.

The IFC has a lot planned for Thanksgiving Day.

“We will have a Thanksgiving meal served, with turkey and all the trimmings at the Community Kitchen,” said Dorward. “The United Church here in Chapel Hill has done that for a number of years, and they’ll be coming back over to the community shelter and doing that again this year.”

The Community Kitchen is located at 100 West Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill. In addition, 350 families will receive a turkey and all the fixin’s needed for a holiday meal from the food pantry on Main Street in Carrboro.

Homeless veterans will benefit from a holiday food drive co-sponsored by the American Legion Post on Legion Raod in Chapel Hill and UNC’s Carolina Veterans Organization.

American Legion Post Commander Lee Heavlin credits the CVO for doing the hard work.

What they’ve done is reached out to students and local people, and small businesses, and large businesses, to provide non-perishable foods that they, in turn, are going to distribute to the TABLE in Carrboro, and to the Carolina Food Bank for Eastern and Central North Carolina.”

The TABLE is a non-profit group that provides food to children in need.

Loneliness can be a hardship around this time of year, too.

For the second year in a row, The Carolina Club is doing something this Thanksgiving for UNC students that can’t make it home that day.

The restaurant is ready to provide hundreds of meals for out-of-state and international students, in partnership with the UNC Office of Student Affairs, the Student Leadership Advisory Committee, and the Educational Foundation.

For more information on that event, call 919-962-9578.

Sat Night Break-In At Carolina Inn

UNC police are searching for a suspect in a reported breaking and entering at the Carolina Inn Saturday night at around 10:00 p.m.

A message from Alert Carolina described the suspect as a black male in his twenties, wearing a UNC baseball cap, dark blue windbreaker, blue jeans and a white t-shirt, last seen carrying a white Carolina Inn laundry bag. The same man is also suspected of trespassing Friday evening in Craige Residence Hall.

If you have any information, contact the UNC Department of Public Safety at 919-962-8100.

The full Alert Carolina message is below:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Public Safety is seeking information about a reported Breaking and Entering that occurred at the at Carolina Inn on May 3rd, around 10:00 pm. The suspect is described as an African-American male, 20-30 years old, wearing a UNC Baseball cap, Dark Blue Windbreaker, Blue Jeans and a White T-shirt. The suspect is believed to be carrying a Carolina Inn Laundry Bag, white in color.

The subect is also suspected of trespassing at Craige Residence Hall in the evening hours of May 2nd. In that instance, the subject tailgated behind a student to gain access to Craige Residence Hall, where he roamed the lobby and asked a student on site for a cab ride. The student went to seek assiatnce from an RA, prompting the subject to leave the Residence Hall.

The subject is still At-Large.

The Alert Carolina website will be updated as soon as more information is available. It could take hours for police to resolve a situation depending upon the circumstances. Meantime, if you are directed by police or University personnel to take specific action (evacuate a building, stay out of a certain part of campus, go to your residence hall and stay there), please comply immediately.

If you see suspicious activity, call 911. But do not call 911 or the Department of Public Safety merely to ask for information about the current incident. Police phone lines need to be kept open for emergency communications. Anyone with information about this incident should call the Department of Public Safety 919-962-8100.

Honors, Tours, And Curiosities!

Congratulations to Desaray Rockett, Judith Blau, and Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe–winners of this year’s Pauli Murray Awards.

The Orange County Human Relations Commission gives out the Pauli Murray Awards each year to a youth, an adult, and a business in Orange County “who serve the community with distinction in the pursuit of equality, justice, and human rights for all residents.”

This year’s winners were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, February 23, at 3:00 in the Central Orange Senior Center. Also honored were Judah Kalb and Nathan Bell – both students at Smith Middle School, and both winners of the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s 2013 Student Essay Contest.

As part of a class on African American Studies, Kalb and Bell wrote about the lasting impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kalb won first place in the essay contest; Bell took second.


UNC has honored Roberto G. Quercia, chair of the City and Regional Planning department, with the university’s 2013 C. Felix Harvey Award.

Awarded by the Provost’s office, the honor recognizes “exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects one of UNC’s top priorities and addresses a real-world challenge.” It includes a $75,000 prize, which Quercia will use to develop the Bridges2Success Scholar Athlete Support Program, an academy that trains middle and high school coaches to promote academic success among male athletes of color.

To learn more about the program, visit


You’re invited to the annual meeting of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Wednesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Carolina Inn.

Speakers will include Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and Al Bowers, the owner of Al’s Burger Shack.


Before there were art museums and science museums, there were “Cabinets of Curiosities”: densely packed rooms where scholars and nobles displayed rare and fascinating items from shells to gems to old relics and bizarre devices.

Now, UNC’s Wilson Library is celebrating those old exhibits with an exhibit of its own, “Rooms of Wonder,” on display through April 20. The exhibit features rare books and catalogs from the old rooms–as well as items from the UNC Rare Book Collection’s own “cabinet of curiosities,” including ancient Babylonian tablets, an Egyptian papyrus roll, and an “Incan record-keeping device consisting of intricately knotted threads.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public.


Wednesday, March 5, you’re invited to campus for a free screening of the documentary “Breaking Through,” chronicling the stories of LGBT elected officials across the country–including Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator.

The film begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in UNC’s FedEx Global Education Center. Director/producer Cindy Abel and editor Michael Bruno will be on hand, and the film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring North Carolina’s LGBT elected officials–including Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Town Council member Lee Storrow, Alderman Damon Seils, and State Representative Marcus Brandon.

You can watch the trailer online at


Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center just completed a successful canned food drive, collecting nearly 1,000 cans of food for the IFC by offering customers a $10 discount on oil changes if they brought in four cans of food.

IFC officials say those cans will be used to help about 450 different families in the area.

To learn how you can donate, visit


Chatham Habitat for Humanity is teaming up with the MassMutual Life Insurance Company to give away free $50,000 term life insurance policies to benefit children of working families in Pittsboro.

You are eligible to apply if you’re a permanent legal U.S. resident of good health between the ages of 19 and 42, with a total family income between $10,000 and $40,000, and a parent or legal guardian of a child under 18.

You can apply at a one-day public event on Saturday, March 8, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Chatham Habitat for Humanity office at 467 West Street in Pittsboro.


You’re invited to explore the history of Hillsborough on Saturday, March 8, with a one-hour guided walking tour hosted by the Alliance of Historic Hillsborough.

The tour begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Hillsborough Visitors Center and winds through the center of the Piedmont’s oldest town, visiting schoolhouses, old homes and cemeteries along the way.

Tickets are $5 per person; children under 12 are free.

Flood Assessments; Construction on W. Main; Local Chef in Competition

CHAPEL HILL – Beginning Thursday, night work is scheduled to begin on the W. Main St. roadway resurfacing.  The project is anticipated to be completed by or before August 13.

Motorists should expect delays and seek alternative routes along W. Main St. and connecting roadways.  Construction on W. Main St. from Jones Ferry Rd. to Hillsborough will take place both night and day.  Construction from Hillsborough Rd. to NC 54 will only take place during the day.


Executive Chef at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, James Clark, will compete in an “Iron-Chef” styled competition against Dean Thompson of Flights at The Renaissance (North Hills).  The competition will take place on July 15 at 1705 Prime located at 705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh.  The competition uses a mixture of judges and votes from the audience to determine the winner.

Tickets for all first round battles are $59 per person.  To reserve tickets click here.  The winner of this single elimination contest will be announced on August 19.

Pink Dollars

 I hope it is an underestimation to assume most of you are aware of the pink tint of much of our towns this month.  In case you’re among the few unaware of the flattering blush tone, it’s all part of “Turn the Town Pink” which is a fund (and awareness) raising effort by UNC Lineberger and its Comprehensive Cancer Support Program (CCSP).  

This column has seen a few rants about seemingly uncaring businesses but today, I write the opposite.  The business and community partners joining with UNC are proving that customer service comes in more than obvious ways.  And sometimes it wears pink.
The quantity and variety of businesses finding creative ways to donate and to help us donate is laudable but, to me, not surprising.  I’ve written before that I’ve lived in many places and never before have I lived in a community where good works and philanthropy is as celebrated as it is here.  
Here’s just a sample of participating local businesses:
  • Aveda Institute
  • Carolina Inn
  • Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
  • Chapel Hill Sportswear
  • Elaine’s on Franklin
  • Finn Facial Plastics
  • Galloway Ridge
  • O2 Fitness
  • Performance AutoMall 
  • Pure Barre
  • Shula’s 347 Grill
  • The Siena Hotel
  • A Southern Season 
  • Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry
  • Sugarland
  • Vietri
One business much beloved by me is donating 5% of the proceeds of all of next week’s (Oct. 17-21) Our Local Deals (this link will take you to the current offer, just look for the subscribe button to receive all of next week’s offers).  Make sure you look at each one with an eye toward holiday gift giving because more than one person will be the recipient.  
For a full list of how these and other businesses are participating, click here
What does all this buy? Here’s a sample:
  • Information: the vetted, clear, dependable kind.  A cancer diagnosis sends most people and their loved ones looking for answers.  The CCSP clears the underbrush of misinformation for patients.  
  • With too many families depleting savings to pay for care, this program provides wigs, hats and scarves to those for whom it’s a luxury.
  • Gas and parking.  Most of you reading this are fortunate to live close by but UNC Lineberger treats people from many miles away.  Raising just $25 can pay a patient’s gas bill. 
  • Food.  Yes, the kind no one wants but too many people need:  the kind that is in liquid form only and sometimes is delivered not by glass, but by tube.
If you know someone who’s been helped by these programs, and you feel comfortable doing so, please leave his or her (or your) story below.  Sometimes knowing real people benefit brings out the blush in all of us.  If you’d prefer I tell the story, write to me at
Wishing a very pink month to all of us.