Pictures: Cary Band Day 2010

Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree

Cary, NC – The sun was shining and the excitement was high on Saturday for the 52nd Annual Cary Band Day. Read more

History: Desegregating Cary

Author Peggy Van Scoyoc and Gwen Mattews at "Desegregating Cary" event

All photos by Brooke Meyer

Cary, NC – The turbulent Civil Rights Era was experienced right here in the Town of Cary, but many of us don’t know about it.

Real Life Stories

Peggy Van Scoyoc, Cary’s oral historian,  recently published a book titled “Desegregating Cary” to tell real life stories about people that lived through these times in Cary. In her book, Peggy records the oral histories of 43 people.

Five of those individuals spoke as part of a panel discussion on Monday, October 23 at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center.

Charlie Adams speaks of his father's commitment to desegregation

Charlie Adams is the son of Henry Adams, the original pharmacist and owner of the drugstore that later become Ashworth Pharmacy. Charlie remembers those times when his father was not popular in town.

Henry served on both the local Cary School Board and the Wake County School System’s board.

Henry knew in the early 1960’s that desegregation was coming and firmly believed in it. He thought  there should be a plan and it should begin with his own town. He became one of the chief architects of that plan.

At times friends shunned him and threats were made. Mr. Adams stuck to his beliefs and Cary became one of the first towns in North Carolina to institute such a plan  – and do so peacefully and voluntarily. One of Cary’s elementary schools,  Adams Elementary, is named so in his honor.

In 1963, Cary High School was the first formerly “all white” school to allow African-Americans to voluntarily enroll, and 6 girls did so. The plan went smoothly, and became a model for other schools in Wake County and then spread to other areas in North Carolina. Other areas in the south called upon Cary to help with their own plans. Imagine – Cary only had 5300 residents then and was a civil rights model for the country!

Other members of Monday night’s panel included several of those early students.

Lucille Evan Cotten was one of 6 students to integrate Cary High School in 1963

The Six Young Women Profiled

Lucille Evans Cotten and Gwen Matthews were two of those first six students. They spoke about what they endured as they attended Cary High School at a time when few wanted them there. Gwen later went on to become the first black woman to graduate from Meredith College in 1971.

Debrah Matthews Wright was one of the first black students at Swift Creek Elementary in 1965

Gwen’s younger sister, Deborah Matthews Wright was one of four black students to attend Swift Creek Elementary School in 1965. Deborah told of her bus rides with all ages riding the same bus – elementary schoolers along with high schoolers – and how she had to stand in the bus and endure ridicule on these rides for three years.

Carolyn Rogers was one of the first black school teachers in Cary in 1969.

Carolyn Rogers was one of three black teachers hired in 1969 to teach the predominantly white school children. She experienced an uphill battle not only with the students, but with the parents and faculty. There was a predominant  opinion that she was not qualified to teach the children.

The Raleigh City School System merged with the Wake County School System in 1976 to become the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) that we know today.

The evening was always inspiring and often emotional.

“History informs us of past mistakes from which we can learn without repeating them. It also inspires us and gives confidence and hope bred of victories already won.” – William Hastie

Harold’s Blog – Business, Justice and Go Cart Racing

From the blog of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 24, 2010.

Cary, NC – This week was a busy week for not being a council meeting week. It included a Mayor’s Association outing, a few speaking engagements, and entertaining a group from Le Touquet, France. Read more

History: Cary Library Celebrates 50 Years on Friday

Cary, NC – The Cary Library is having a party and everyone’s invited!

The Cary Public Library celebrates it’s 50th birthday this Friday, October 22nd.  At 7 p.m. a special after-hours event will celebrate the past, present and future of the Cary Library. Refreshments will be served and music will be performed by Chris and Gail Anderson. Read more

Harold’s Blog – Education, Park West and the Sound of Rock & Roll

From the blog of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 11, 2010.

Cary, NC – This week was my first week back from my fractured vertebrae injury. I had a full week including a council meeting and several weekend events. Read more

A Short Drive From Cary: The New Napa?

Story by Matt Young

Cary, NC – I grew up around grapes. Many of my relatives in Northeast, PA (yes, that’s the name of the town) had vineyards. When my family moved when I was a boy, I was surprised to learn that there were people that had never seen a vineyard or tasted home made wine. Standing in a vineyard is something very personal to me. I still make wine in my garage.

“We’re a short trip from the hottest wine-making region in the country and I’m going to write a story,” I told the publisher.

“You can’t expense a trip to California, Matt” he said.

“No, it’s right here in North Carolina,” I said. “An hour and a half away in the Yadkin Valley.”

North Carolina Has A Long History as Wine Country

The wine history here  in North Carolina is long.  In 1840, North Carolina was the number one wine producing state in the Union according to the U.S. Census. Over the course of a couple hundred years it was shut down and started back up for a number of reasons – some examples include The Civil War and prohibition. In the late 1990’s, land turned from tobacco to grapes. The Yadkin Valley was named as the state’s first American Viticultural Area shortly after that.

“(North Carolina) wine would be distinguished on the best tables in Europe, for its fine aroma, and chrystalline transparence.” – Thomas Jefferson

The State of North Carolina now ranks 7th in the nation in wine production. A nice history can be found at VisitNCWine.com. But the North Carolina wine and grape industry is not just muscadines, scuppernongs and sweet wines anymore. Our friends just to the west are growing the grapes and making and selling cabs, merlots, zins and chardonnays.

Making up stuff about wine. Photo by Trish Prestia.

Taking One for the Team

I planned a day-trip to Yadkin Valley – gathered up 3 other couples and my bride, we hired out a limo (about $100 a head, but it can surely be done for less). Sounds like a lot of money, but its something you may do once only every 5 years, and its what you might pay for a two-hour concert or a day at the State Fair.

Truth be told, I would have done this whether I worked with CaryCitizen or not. I chose Weathervane, Childress, Junius Lindsay, Native Vines and RayLen to visit.

Here’s the down-low in a nutshell:

Weathervane: Quaint, nice little gift shop, knowledgeable staff, informal. Tastings are $5 (you get a glass to keep).

Childress: Touristy, but great wines, huge selection and a great bistro for lunch. There was live music when we were there and a big crowd. Huge gift shop. Very knowledgable staff. Tasting are expensive at $10 and up, but you get a glass to keep. Great views.

Junius Lindsay – Small, outdoor tasting bar. Beautiful surroundings. Friendly staff. Wines feature Syrah and Viognier. Tastings are $5 (you get a glass to keep).

Native Wines – Very rustic. Down-home surroundings. Friendly, very informal staff.   They claim to be the first “American Indian Owned and Operated Winery in the US”. Tastings are $5 (no glass).

Ray-Len – This was my favorite, although all of the wineries had their own “personality.” Amazing, sensibly priced wines, huge vineyard and the staff was great. Highly recommended.

Of course, it wasn’t just about the wine. The scenery was beautiful. We had a lot of laughs as you can imagine. We were with good friends. We drank a lot of wine – a lot. But in small amounts over the course of 6 hours – we all had our wits about us on the ride home.

Yadkin Valley Wine Region Map

Here’s  Google Map of the Yadkin Valley Wine District. Rollover the dots to see the wineries.

View Larger Map

Feel free to email me at matt.young@carycitizen.com if you want some advice on planning a trip of your own or have a favorite NC winery to recommend. We are also interested in covering other “Short Drives From Cary.” Shoot me a line with your ideas!

“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one’s present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.” – Latin Proverb


2 Solar Farms (and 8 Sheep)

SAS-SolarFarm

Story and photos by Leslie Huffman

Cary, NC – Everyone in town knows at least one person who works for SAS Institute here in Cary. The company has won many awards for it’s innovative technology and family friendly work environment.

But SAS Institute is also changing the environment with the production of clean, renewable energy for our community. I was invited this week for a tour. Read more

Hidden Giant: Confero’s Mystery Shopping

 

Cary, NC- Elaine Buxton never imagined she’d be the CEO of a company, let alone one that specializes in “mystery shopping”. Her company, Confero, was recently named a Top 50 Family Friendly Company by Carolina Parent and is the subject of latest installment of Hidden Giants. Read more

The Mayor’s Blog: My Aching Back

Editor’s Note: Starting this week, we’ll be republishing Mayor Harold Weinbrecht’s blog in CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC –  This week was a week of rest and recuperation from my fractured vertebrae injury. Read more

Garrison Keillor Likes Ashworths

L-->R Keillor, Watkins, Show Band Pianist Rich Dworsky, Linda and Robin Williams.

Story by Hal Goodtree. Photos by Joshua Steadman.

Cary, NC – Guy Noir needed a raincoat Saturday night as Garrison Keillor brought A Prairie Home Companion to Booth Amphitheatre.

The sky drizzled all evening with umbrellas periodically opening and closing across the great lawn like a field full of moths. But the weather couldn’t dampen the fun for the packed house, there to hear Keillor’s witty and nostalgic show. Read more