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.

Co-op Employee Democracy

As a ten-year active advocate for worker rights within our very favorite local grocery co-op, Weaver Street Market, I am making this appeal for help from any of the some 18,000 Weaver Street consumer-owners listening to this commentary.

Friday, October 16, Weaver Street employees received notice of proposed changes to the Weaver Street Board Policy ‘Treatment of Staff,’ which changes would remove the right of Weaver Street workers to be included in Weaver Street decision-making which affects our workplace. Objections need to be registered before October 26.

If you are a Weaver Street consumer-owner, please write now to the Weaver Street Board ( and the Weaver Street General Manager (, and request that any proposed changes to the Weaver Street Board Policy ‘Treatment of Staff’ be delayed until all Weaver Street owners (consumer and worker) have been informed of the proposed changes, and their opinion has been sought.

Listen to Geoff Gilson’s commentary here.

Weaver Street Market is a worker-consumer hybrid co-op not because it sells local food and has dancing on its lawn, but because it is supposed to practice the principle that economic decisions are made inclusively and democratically.

An essential element of that economic democracy is that workers are included in decision-making that affects our workplace. Weaver Street management are now attempting to erase the Board Policy that enshrines and protects that right of workers to be included in decision-making.

Any and all progressive Weaver Street Market consumer-owners hearing this commentary should want to stop Weaver Street management diminishing any Weaver Street worker rights.

So again. Please write now to the Weaver Street Board ( and the Weaver Street General Manager ( and request that any proposed changes to the Weaver Street Board Policy ‘Treatment of Staff’ be delayed until all Weaver Street owners (consumer and worker) have been informed of the proposed changes, and their opinion has been sought. My thanks in advance.

Well, that’s my take. And this is Geoff Gilson.


Weaver Street Market Removes Eden Foods

Weaver Street Market has decided to remove any and all Eden Foods products from their shelves in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling that allows employers to exempt certain types of birth control from workers’ insurance plans.

Orange County Commissioner, Penny Rich, says that as a long-time member of the Weaver Street community she is in full support of the co-op’s choice.

“I actually think it’s a good decision,” says Rich. “I think people do have a choice to buy Eden soy products or not, but I think that it shows that the members of Weaver Street, the way that they spoke so strongly about it, that the Board is listening, and that it was a good move on their part.”

Despite the requirements by the Affordable Care Act, Founder of Eden Foods, Michael Potter, has claimed to be strongly against covering particular birth control options under his company’s health insurance plan. Eden Foods has sued the Department of Health and Human Services as Potter on the grounds of “unconstitutional government overreach,” and described contraceptives as “lifestyle drugs.”

Rich says that companies like Eden Foods that continue to ignore the basic healthcare needs of their female employees they are destined to wind up in a risky position.

“I think companies that are not in tune with women’s needs and women’s rights are going to find themselves in trouble as time goes on,” says Rich. “You can’t deny women health care, you can’t make women second-class citizens, and if companies continue to do that, then I have no problem with dropping them out of a co-op, which is owned by people that shop there.”

Weaver Street General Manager Ruffin Slater declined to comment on the decision, but issued this statement on the co-op’s website:

Thanks for taking the time to write to us about Eden Foods. We value your feedback because it gives us an opportunity to align our product offerings more closely with the desires of our owners.

Your feedback has caused us to evaluate how Eden products fit at Weaver Street Market. Our conclusion is that we can better meet owner needs by focusing on similar products from other producers, so we will no longer be offering Eden products.

Our goal is to sell products that meet owners’ tastes and that also meet cooperative values. We are proud when we can offer great tasting products that are also from local and small producers.

Although we were able to react to this situation, we recognize that there are other cases where producers still fall short of our ideals. Product selection balances many factors including quality, price, and farming practices in addition to producer business practices. We constantly seek the best available choice for our owners without restricting access to important product categories.

More than anything, a situation like this causes us to redouble our efforts to improve our buying power, develop alternative suppliers, and to make more food ourselves–so that we can control the ingredients, quality, and business practices.

Again, thank you for your feedback. The deeper the partnership we have with our owners, the more effective we can be in jointly sourcing the best food options. By attracting more people to food co-ops, we can increase our impact on the community and the world.

Whole Foods, one of Weaver Street Market’s closest competitors, has stated that they have no plans to discontinue selling Eden Foods’ products and will instead allow customers to “vote with their dollars.”

Weaver Street Market has been in business for over 25 years and has 18,000 consumer-owners with three locations in Orange County.

For more information on the Weaver Street Market co-op, click here.

Panzanella To Close In December

CHAPEL HILL – Your local trattoria, Panzanella, will close at the end of this year, after 14 years in service.

Trattoria is Italian for an informal restaurant or tavern.

When Panzanella first opened, it was one of the few restaurants to offer locally produced food.  Since then, several other restaurants have opened offering local food.  General Manager for Weaver Street Market, Ruffin Slater, says declining sales and rising costs are the main reason for closing Panzanella.

“As a result, sales have declined and costs have continued to increase,” Slater says. “We have about 25 fewer customers than we did in 2008, so it’s just no longer feasible to operate.”

Part of the Weaver Street Market Cooperative, Panzanella will not renew its lease in Carr Mill Mall. The cost of the space at Carr Mill was originally split between a bakery and office space, but since opening the Food House in Hillsborough, Panzanella now pays for the empty space.

Slater says management will spend the next few months working with the staff to help place them either in another position at Weaver Street Market, or will help them find work elsewhere and provide severance pay.  Slater says one of the key resources the company wants to help people maintain is their health coverage.

“Severance pay if people prefer to move on, as well as assistance in maintaining continuous health insurance coverage, Slater says. “We want to make sure the staff can continue that coverage.”

Panzanella is one of the few restaurants to offer health coverage to employees.

Slater says the trattoria will remain open until December 22 and continue to provide great service to customers.

For more information click here.

The Story of Weavestock

The Adam DeCaulp and Greg Sconce band was awesome!

(photos by SP Murray)

Finding some free outdoor music in Carrboro isn’t hard to do, and Weavestock was just another one of these great events in the area.  An outdoor music event on the lawn of Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, Weavestock created a fun environment to relax and wind down.

All of the bands that performed were people from the area ranging from instrumental jazz piano and soft-rock to the musical sing-alongs with Pop Vox.

By the time I arrived at the event a couple performers had already gone up, including the jazz piano with Greg and an interesting duo of slam poetry with jazz piano titled “Let’s Entertainment”.  I was disappointed to not have seen them perform together because the blend of the two genre’s creates a mellow atmosphere with thought provoking words to inspire and question.

Canine Heart Beats also performed before I had arrived, but I managed to find Matt McElroy and another band member in the crowd.  I asked them about their band and how they thought their show went. Interestingly, I ended up learning that the members of the band all knew each other from Wisconsin and that all of them moved to the area at different times and decided to start playing together again.  After hearing them talk I’m now determined to see them perform.

Steve Carter and his band were playing when I got there so I kicked off my Weavestock outing with some soft-rock music that really got me in the mood to relax and talk with people around me. His show played through well and gave a sense of experience by how smooth their whole set was.  Steve’s claim that he has “been in twenty bands you’ve never heard of, and probably at least one that you have” definitely showed through his confidence in playing and the band’s performance.

During the event, a lot of people were enjoying a meal from Weaver Street and relaxing out on the picnic tables, while others were sitting on towels right in front of the stage — some were even dancing along right in front of the performers.

Bruce Thomas is famous for dancing at Weaver Street Market-001

(photos by SP Murray)

Right out in front the store, beer and other drinks were being sold to accommodate the people sitting in the lawn so they didn’t have to miss any of the music to grab refreshment for the summer day. Weaver Street catered to the crowd that was there for the show, and helped make the atmosphere even more relaxed.

The most unique performer to go up was probably Geoff Gilson, or Pop Vox.  I had heard from several people that his show was a spectacle, as we would get to see him dance around and sing with the crowd, but I was still surprised by the energy he put out.  Using the other performers and large boards with lyrics, Geoff got several people to dance and sing along to his musical styling.  Several kids and adults joined Geoff right in front of the microphone to dance to the catchy tunes and good rhythms.

Although not exactly a “Woodstock,” Weavestock was a great time with good music and atmosphere.  The final performance with Radar’s Clown of Sedation, led to a calm ending for the show.  Their style of blues blended well with the other performers and closed out the day.  The sun set as they concluded.  Lingering attendees talked with friends and finished meals and drinks before heading out.

I later asked Geoff how he would describe Weavestock. “It’s suppose to be kind of like Woodstock, just without all the drugs,” he said. I thought Weavestock did a great job at this as it was very family friendly, but still had a unique atmosphere and blend of musical styles.

After going to Weavestock it’s clear that many talented artists and performers work at Weaver Street Market.  It was a great time, and I hope they hold the event again.

Here is a list of the bands for y’all who couldn’t make it:

– Canine Heart Sounds 
- Matt McElroy (Southern Village WSM)
 Vocal/instrumental gorp rock: 
These party boys try to put the fear back in dancing

– Radar’s Clowns ofSedation – Pete Pawsey (Hillsborough WSM)
 This is the blues kids used to sneak away from their parents to hear. 
This is the blues that used to get banned from the .

Three Torches – Steve Carter (Southern Village WSM)
 Junkyard Jazz, including Steve (the drummer) who claims he has “been in twenty bands you’ve never heard of, and probably at least one that you have.”.

– Greg Sronce 
(Southern Village WSM) Classic Jazz pop piano: color through black and white.

– Let’s Entertainment! 
Adam DeCaulp & Greg Sronce 
(Southern Village WSM)

 Crooning vocals and American vernacular prose, with Shibuya side-street jazz.

- Geoff Gilson (Southern Village WSM) Hi-energy, interactive Beach Pop
”a cross between Jimmy Buffett live and a Richard Simmons work-out.”

Photos by SP Murray

Panzanella: On your schedule tonight and Monday

 Is it too early to sit out on the patio and enjoy a beer? Heck no, says me! Tonight at Panzanella, all local beer pints are only $3. While chillin’, think about signing up for the upcoming Eco Farm dinner, which takes place on Monday, August 29th. At 5:30 this Monday evening, Cindy Econopoly and John Soehner of Eco Farm will provide the ingredients for a multi-course feast prepared by Chef Jim Nixon. 

Fans of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market should immediately recognize John and Cindy…their stand at the market always draws me, I have serious love for their brats and arugula, which will be featured in two separate menu items next Monday. 

“All items are a la carte, select items from the regular menu are available as well. Parties of 6 or more should call (919) 929-6626 for reservations.”

Back on point – you can’t beat those $3 local pints tonight. I’m heading straight for the Fullsteam. What local beer are you most likely to inquire about tonight?