CaryCitizen Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:06:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 2015 Cary Snow – Photos & Recap Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:18:49 +0000 Large snowflakes began to fall in the Triangle Wednesday, February 25, 2015 and, by Thursday morning, Cary had become a Winter Wonderland.

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Cary, NC — Large, heavy snowflakes began to fall in the Triangle Wednesday, February 25, 2015. They didn’t stick at first but, by Thursday morning, Cary was a Winter Wonderland.

Snow Recap

North Carolina, along with other southern states, usually sees the most snow in February. True to tradition, this year’s February snowfall will surely be remembered.

Last Week

The activity started last week, when snowflakes began to fall on February 16, 2015 (starting late Monday night and continuing into Tuesday). The snowflakes were beautiful, quickly covering the roads, but, as soon as the snow started, it was followed by freezing rain.

The result? Icy, hazardous road conditions, delays, closings and cancellations in schools and workplaces throughout the community, and less-than-optimal playing conditions–it’s hard to build a snowman with a thin layer of ice-covered snow.

Cary roads were clear by mid-week, but many other roads in Wake County stayed icy until just before the weekend. Since I live 25 minutes away from Cary, I worked from home most of the week but was back at work by Friday. By the weekend, snow was nowhere to be seen.

This Week

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 really threw the Triangle for a loop. I had an early-morning appointment that day and, when I walked out the door at 7 am, I was surprised to see the roads covered in snow. Along with many other working adults, I went to work as planned but, by mid-day, roads were backed up with commuters trying to get home.

Students in Wake and other surrounding counties were already on school buses when the call was made that school was canceled for the day. Interestingly enough, since buses had already been deployed, Tuesday does not require a make-up day. The other days will be made up later.

Tuesday’s snow was a surprise, but the huge snowfall predicted to hit the Triangle Wednesday night had grocery stores packed with people stocking up and preparing to be snowed in. Snow-lovers weren’t disappointed. A deep, powdery snow (that was at least five inches deep where I live) provided optimal snowman making, snow cream eating, and sledding for many families across the Triangle.

Snow Photos

Impending snow make-up days, hazardous roads, canceled meetings, and the stress of rescheduling plans around work and kids…it’s no secret that this month’s wintry mix caused tension for much of the Triangle.


But, when I walked outside Thursday morning to this striking view, I couldn’t help but feel calm. Enjoy these photos, taken in Cary and Raleigh, of this year’s snowfall.













Photos from Readers

Thank you to all our readers who shared photos with us on Facebook. We’re sorry that we couldn’t share them all!


Snow ballerinas by Chris Barry


Sledding kiddos–by Jennifer High


Gorgeous snowflake by Lynette Mittendorf


Wow! Stunning view by Mark Shelton


Too cute–by Lauri Van Oostrum-Reed


Snow Bunny by Carolyn Suddaby


Brick by brick by Laurel Walther


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos by CaryCitizen staff and readers.

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Papa Spud’s: Local Food at Your Doorstep Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:47:50 +0000 Rob Myer founded Papa Spud's--a farm-to-fork operation that brings locally grown, raised, and made food right to the doorsteps of Triangle residents.

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Papa Spud's

Rob Meyer, Founder of Papa Spud’s

Cary, NC — Eating a variety of healthy foods (and knowing where they come from) is becoming increasingly more important to families and households. That’s why Rob Meyer founded Papa Spud’s–a farm-to-fork operation that brings locally grown, raised, and made food right to the doorsteps of Triangle residents.

Buy Local Without Leaving Your House

That’s right–each week, from the comfort of your home, you can order high quality produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods all grown and made by local farmers and food producers.

Meyer and his team do all the work for you by working with a variety of farmers and food producers throughout the state to offer local products through home delivery. Food from the Papa Spud’s warehouse in Cary is delivered to homes and workplaces all across the Triangle.

Papa Spud’s refers to itself as an “online farmer’s market.” That’s because, after you join Papa Spud’s, you can log on to their website every week–or less, according to your needs–and customize your own box of local food.

How Does It Work?

Papa Spud’s farmers communicate regularly with Meyer and his team to tell them what’s in season, what’s growing, or what’s new in their kitchen. Customers then log on to the Papa Spud’s website and pick which products, and how much of each, they’d like that week.

Papa Spud's

The Papa Spud’s team personally places items in each box according to that customer’s order.

The options change throughout the year, depending on what’s in season, but Papa Spud’s ensures that here’s always a wide range of items. Berries, tomatoes, onions, goat cheese, coffee, baked goods, chicken, and even lamb, are just a few of the goods offered at different times throughout the year.

When I met Meyer and toured the warehouse, I got to try strawberries that were grown under solar tunnels only 50 miles east of the Triangle and muffins made by JP’s Pastry, a gluten-free based-out-of-a-home bakery that also offers Papa Spud’s customers unique items like baklava.

Farm to Fork in Under 36 Hours

After you place your order, Papa Spud’s communicates to the farmers which items they need delivered to the Cary warehouse–and this is one of the neatest parts, since the farmers often pick the items the day they are shipped. Once the products arrive at Papa Spud’s, the team separates them in boxes and gets them ready for customers throughout the Triangle.

Most of the produce arrives at Papa Spud’s on Tuesday morning and, then, the boxes are delivered to Triangle homes on Tuesday and Wednesday. The turn around from the farm to your doorstep is, literally, 12-36 hours.

The Papa Spud’s Story

After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005, Meyer spent three years in The Peace Corps–and that’s where he got the inspiration to start Papa Spud’s. He worked in Ecuador for three years with kids and their families and, while he was there, he learned a lot about their food system and about how it works.

The mothers worked in farmer’s markets or, essentially, food markets–massive places where everyone bought their food–and no one went to the grocery store. Meyer explained that:

It’s a small country, so they’re not importing food–it’s too expensive to do that, and they’re tropical, so they can pretty much grow year-round. Their food system is really complex–and the more [Papa Spud’s] evolves, it reminds me of how things are done back in Ecuador. You’ve got all these different pieces; there’s no massive food distributor that’s got everything. It’s this much more all-over-the-place network that just, somehow, works.

After Meyer got back to the states, he got the idea to start something similar. When Papa Spud’s first opened, Meyer had 20 different subscribers ordering food from only six farmers. Now, in 2015, Papa Spud’s has over 2,000 customers–and food comes from close to 100 local farmers.

Less Waste, More Goodness

Since customers can pick exactly what they want–and how much of it they plan to use–each week, the Papa Spud’s system dramatically reduces food waste when compared to purchasing from a grocery store. Meyer explained that:

The secret sauce to the whole thing is our ordering schedule. Unlike a grocery store, where you’re kind of guessing what people will want day-to-day, week-to-week, and season-to-season, you actually order the products while they’re still in the fields.

Each week, Papa Spud’s donates any leftover food to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. “All the products are in good condition–they’re just-delivered, top-quality products that just didn’t get into our boxes,” Meyer said.

Buy Local with Papa Spud’s

By working with Papa Spud’s, you’re not only serving your family locally-grown food–you’re also supporting local farmers, many of which run operations so small that, without the Papa Spud’s system, wouldn’t get to reach so many customers. Papa Spud’s delivers to residents and businesses all over the Triangle–Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Raleigh, Holly Springs, Fuquay, Garner, Wake Forest, Durham, and parts of Chapel Hill.

The annual fee to join Papa Spud’s is only $10–then, each week, you can log in and pick your items. The smallest box is $20, but you can pick as much or as little food as you’d like per week. If your items don’t amount to the price of the box, the money carries over and can be used on future orders. Meyer emphasized that, “You only pay for what we send you.”

Get In Touch

In a 30 minute tour, I got to see the goodness of not only the food from Papa Spud’s farmers, but also of the close-knit team that works hard each week to deliver fresh, top-quality food to Triangle families. Visit the Papa Spud’s website to sign up and start ordering, or stay in touch with what’s new by liking them on Facebook.


Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.

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Go Green in Cary with 3 Spring Events Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:34:00 +0000 Sarah Justice, Environmental Outreach Program Coordinator, was excited to tell CaryCitizen about three upcoming opportunities that help Cary residents "Go Green" with the Town.

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Go Green

Cary, NC — To address the the growing Green movement, the Town of Cary’s Public Works Department has geared up with expanded Spruce events this Spring. Sarah Justice, Environmental Outreach Program Coordinator, was excited to tell CaryCitizen about three upcoming opportunities that help Cary residents “Go Green” with the Town.

Go Green with Spruce Events

The Town of Cary’s Spruce series is a volunteer-based program designed to connect citizens to beautification, litter reduction and environmental service projects in our community. As a resident of Cary, you can take advantage of workshops and events that help make Cary the green and beautiful town that it is. Here’s how:

Compost Giveaway Workshops

If you’re like me, then you are tired of going to the garden center to pick up soil to enhance the poor quality clay dirt we have here in the Piedmont. Composting is a great way to both eliminate waste going to the landfill (or down your disposal) and to take trash and make it treasure!

However, many people get frustrated because they don’t know what the proper ingredients are in compost, they lack a place to compost, or they have tried it only to have lots of fruit flies everywhere. Here’s your chance to learn how it’s done.

Public Works holds composting education classes in the Spring and the Fall after they receive the annual shipment of compost from partners McGill Environmental. From March 5-7, 2015, Cary residents can register and participate in their choice of seven free sessions. There, you’ll learn the best practices in how to make and utilize the compost that is created.

Event Details

Compost Giveaway Workshops, March 5-7, 2015
at the Compost Education Center in Bond Park
View time slots and pre-register online

After the 30 minute session, everyone can take home three 1 cubic yard bags (about the size of a bedroom pillow) of compost to enhance their own garden soils. The Town even helps the participants load the bags into their trunks!

Go Green

Prevent Fruit Flies

Sarah Justice gave CaryCitizen this tip to rid your kitchen (or garden compost area) of these pests. Take a small container (the size of a shot glass). Create a mixture of half liquid dish detergent (like Dawn) and half white vinegar. Pour into the container and place near your pail or in the room with the fruit fly problem. This mixture attracts and traps the fruit flies, then they die and cannot reproduce. Problem solved!

What to Compost

Only use vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and egg shells. Do not add bread or meat! These not only attract critters but can add pathogens to your compost which can cause disease.

How to Turn Compost

Sarah shared this simple tip with me. If you have a large bin, sometimes it is hard to turn the compost so that the decayed material on the bottom gets air. You can either add a cylinder standing upright in the bin to help aerate the mixture, or you can lift the bin up off the pile. Place it to the side. Then shovel the top of the mixture back into the bin. This effectively “turns” it as the top is now at the bottom and vice versa.

Here are a few other events that the town sponsors to help educate and involve its citizens in being more environmentally conscious.

Plant Trees For Arbor Day

The Town of Cary, a designated Tree City USA for the past 32 consecutive years, celebrates Arbor Day on March 21. This year the celebration will take place on the grounds of the historic Ivey Ellington Waddell House on West Chatham Street (close to Ashworth’s Drugstore).

Every year the town plants a tree to mark the occasion. New to the event last year, they honored Kay Struffalino, a past Home Town Spirit award winner, by planting the tree in her honor. Joy Pike, another past Hometown Spirit award winner, is being honored this year.

Event Details

Cary’s Arbor Day Celebration, March 21, 2015, 11 am-2 pm
at 135 West Chatham Street
Find more information online

The Arbor Day fun includes a tree identification scavenger hunt, crafts for the kids, booths for local environmental groups, live entertainment on the porch, and refreshments.

Litter Sweep

As clean as we think Cary is, there are still areas where trash seems to accumulate. To help make Cary a more beautiful place, the Town hosts two annual Litter Sweep events (one in April and the other in October). The Town provides all the supplies including safety vests, gloves, and bags and drops volunteers at locations and picks them up when they are finished.

There are four designated shifts of 2 hours each which start as early as 8 am and end at 6 pm. This is a great project for families, individuals, and groups of all sizes. I have participated in this event, and also take part in the sister program, Adopt-A-Spot. In two hours we pick up lots of trash and also meet other civic-minded friends while doing so.

Event Details

Spring Litter Sweep, April 11, 2015
View time slots online

Volunteers must register in advance by emailing or calling (919) 469-4301. The town requests that all volunteers be at least 15 years of age or accompanied by an adult.

Help Keep Cary Green

These are just a few ways you can go green and help your yard, your neighborhood and your town become a better place. Here are some Spruce facts:

  • Since Spruce was founded in 2009, they have hosted over 2,525 projects with the generous support of over 16,000 volunteers.
  • In 2014, Spruce volunteers collected 27,085 pounds of litter, spread 782 yards of mulch and planted over 1,600 trees, flowers and shrubs.
  • Last year’s Compost Giveaway gave out 80 yards of compost and Arbor Day gave away 200 trees.

Have other ideas that you would like to share? Contact Sarah Justice at the Public Works Department in Cary.


Story by Lindsey Chester. Photos by szczel and Lily of the Valley.


Community coverage is sponsored in part by Waves of Change, offering counseling, hypnosis and wellness services on Maynard Road in Cary.


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The Sculptures of Downtown Cary Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:58:31 +0000 Last year, on a hot July day, I walked up and down Academy Street interviewing the artists of twelve sculptures which line the streets of Downtown Cary.

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Cary, NC — Last year, on a scorching July day, I spent four hours walking up and down Academy Street in the hot sun–but I didn’t mind. I was busy collecting quotes from eleven sculpture artists while they supervised the installation of their structures in Downtown Cary.

The Sculptures of Downtown Cary

Have you seen the sculptures? If you haven’t, or if you’ve only passed by, now is the time to pay them a visit. They’ll be taken down on April 17, 2015 but, prior to that, Cary Visual Art–the nonprofit that placed them–will host a special event to promote interaction with the sculptures.

A lot of us in Cary don’t realize that these sturdy sculptures are not just decorations–they’re meant to be touched, studied, and, most of all, enjoyed. Whether you bundle up and take a self-guided tour with family or friends–or whether you decide to participate in the March sculpture event listed below–don’t miss your opportunity to see them before they’re gone.

The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

Cary Visual Art is proud to commission the placement of these sculptures through their biggest event of the year. The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, or OSE, is an annual program that invites artists from all across the nation to submit their sculptures and stories for consideration.

Each year, a specially selected juror is chosen to pick twelve artists and their sculptures from this large pool of applicants. Following many exciting events, the OSE sculptures are installed all along Academy Street. The placement of these sculptures showcases the artists’ work while giving the town an enchanting and cultivated feel.

The sculptures you’ll see below (and on Academy Street right now) are part of the 2014 show. They’re usually taken down in June and replaced with a new show in July, but, due to the upcoming Academy Street construction, they’ll be taken down early this year. The good news is that CVA has already planned some great events revolving around the new sculpture installment–coming later in the year. I’ve listed the March event–along with these–below.

Photos & Quotes from Artists

If you’re not familiar with the current sculptures, here’s your preview. I collected quotes–listed here–from eleven artists (one submitted two sculptures) both during the installment and after, in the evening, at the OSE reception. You can hear the artists’ voices, and find out more about their sculptures, through the CVA website.

Beyond the Sun

Beyond the Sun by Tripp Jarvis

I would like them [the viewers] to get a sense of completeness and wholeness in their spirit and emotions.


Icarus by Bobby Donovan

Trained as a minimalist, I prefer using the inherit qualities of materials to create constructed forms using simple techniques. My sculptures incorporate the traditional materials of wood, steel, and stone. Using recycled materials, nearly all my sculptural expressions are non-representational.

Wind Blown

Wind Blown by Eric Troffkin

Wind Blown is a pair of red and white communication towers. Satellite dishes that, if the wind is strong, will blow around in the breeze. I’ve found that some people notice them as they drive around and some people don’t. I see those red and white communications and cell phone towers everywhere that I go–on the tops of buildings, in cities, on highways. And, now, so will you.

Two Witnesses

Two Witnesses by Shawn Morin

Much of my work incorporates metaphor and/or double meanings. This is one of those pieces where the viewer gets to interpret or contribute to its meaning.


Harlequin by Christian Hansen

I’m hoping people will enjoy the playful nature of the reflective surface, and that it will make people curious and attracted to the Page-Walker garden.


Farmstead by Rudy Rudisill

Farmstead is my take on the farm buildings I saw traveling in the North East. The farms in the North East seem so neat and compact, as if the buildings are stacked up on each other.

Dancer III

Dancer III by Bob Doster

Dancer is abstraction of fluidity experienced when observing dancers’ motion. Movements are precision, but appear to be influenced by outside stimuli, much like creations of visual artists. Dancer moves naturally with wind or earth shifts, reflecting our environment.

Core 5

Core 5 by Adam Walls

There’s a Core 1 and a Core 5. I was very much thinking about nature and things in nature. Starting off from the seed form and then germinating and having things grow out of them. I was thinking about the core of most fruits–sort of like the core of a peach–and how if you were to cut it open and see it, the growth will pop out for new life. It also looks like a jellyfish. If you study it long enough you can begin to think of other objects in nature it resembles–both large scale and microscopic.


Azure by Phil Hathcock

I assemble stones that are found, split, and laid out into some type of figure–this one being a butterfly–then we find a way to put it all together in a place that can be seen.

7 Piece Ring

7 Piece Ring by James Burnes

I was in a wood yard, playing with cutting up wood, and I started thinking about the geometric nature of the logs–the even tapers that trees have–so I started cutting and rotating and putting one piece next to the other.


Ark by Charles Pilkey

My work is a reaction to the central issue of our times – our relationship to technology.

Upcoming Sculpture Events

Times and locations for these fun events haven’t yet been set, but the dates are on the calendar. Visit CVA on Facebook to stay up-to-date with current news and upcoming events.

  • March 28, 2015 – Sketching with the Sculptures
  • August 28, 2015 – Yoga with the Sculptures
  • September 25, 2015 – Sculpture Scavenger Hunt
  • October 30, 2015 – Moonlight Sculpture Tour

Selfie with a Sculpture

New to CVA this year is the “Selfie with a Sculpture Project.” By following the instructions found online, you can take your own selfie alongside one of the twelve sculptures and see it on the CVA website.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Steve Muir and Cary Visual Art.


Downtown coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Heart of Cary Association.

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Weekend: Art Loop & Teddy Bear Clinic Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:38:21 +0000 With all the snow and iffy road conditions we've had in Cary this week and last, you might be desperate to get out of the house. You won't need to travel far--the calendar is full with several events to get you out and about this weekend.

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Cary, NC — With all the snow and iffy road conditions we’ve had in Cary this week and last, you might be desperate to get out of the house. You won’t need to travel far–the calendar is full of events to get you out and about this weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2015

It’s Final Friday, so don’t miss the Downtown Cary Art Loop in and around Ashworth Village (at the corner of Academy and Chatham Streets) starting at 6 pm. This month, there will be a new exhibit opening with an artist meet and greet and snacks at the Village Art Circle gallery.

The Turkish Association of NC will present Sights and Sounds of Istanbul, a free event complete with images, food, poems, songs, and a Turkish chorus at 303 E. Durham Road in Cary from 7-8 pm.

Also on Friday evening, Applause! Cary Youth Theatre will present The Secret Garden at the Cary Arts Center at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the show, which repeats on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon as well, are available through etix.

Friday nights are some of the best of the week for nightlife in Cary. Try a TGIF party at Corner Tavern & Grill, family karaoke at Havana Grill, or live jazz at UnVined.

More Friday details on the calendar.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Panther Creek will host their second annual percussion and winter guard indoor band competition on Saturday starting at 10 am. 45 different groups from area middle schools and high schools will be dancing and performing pieces to diverse musical genres.

Tickets are $10 at the door.

Spend your Saturday or Sunday at Chatham Hill Winery and be a part of their next wine tasting event called Does a Glass Make a Difference? Attendees will taste wine in both a crystal glass and a souvenir glass. Events start at 11 am.

Barnes & Noble on Maynard Road will host a Black History Storytime for children on Saturday from 11 am-noon. The readings and activities will feature stories of Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.

More Saturday details on the calendar.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Participate in a Hemlock Nature Quest, a salamander and frog survey, at Hemlock Bluffs from 2-4 pm on Sunday afternoon. For $12, attendees will assist staff with off-trail biological surveys for salamanders and frogs. Call 919-387-5980 to register or for more information.

Warm up from this chilly weather and attend The Art of Belly Dancing at West Regional Library on Sunday from 3-4:30 pm. Learn about the rich history and symbolism of the dance and watch a demonstration.

More Sunday details on the calendar.

Across the Triangle

The Laurie Berkner Band, known for its “kindie rock” music for children that doesn’t bore adults, will perform at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 11 am-1 pm. Tickets range from $28-$55

Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill is hosting a Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday from 10 am-2 pm. Healthcare professionals will help children learn about and feel less afraid of and medical procedures and equipment as they examine a brought or borrowed doll or stuffed animal. EMS staff will also be on hand in the parking lot to answer questions and let kids explore ambulances.

Expect the unexpected with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, four self-proclaimed eccentric “lunatics” that spice things up with a zany showcase filled with laugh-out-loud comedy, wild theatrics, arcane errata, and astonishing juggling feats. Tickets start at $32. Showtimes are at 2 pm and 8 pm on Saturday at the Carolina Theatre of Durham.


The calendar of events is edited by Lindsey Chester. Photo by longzijun.

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How To Prevent Damage from Frozen Water Pipes Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:37:39 +0000 Temperatures dropped into the single digits in Cary last week, causing frozen water pipes and, in return, big problems for many homes and businesses in the Triangle. Here are the facts of frozen water pipes and how to prevent them in the future.

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Frozen Water Pipes

Cary, NC — Temperatures dropped into the single digits in Cary last week, causing frozen water pipes and, in return, big problems for many homes and businesses in the Triangle. Here are the facts of frozen water pipes and how to prevent them in the future.

60 People Without Water in Cary

WRAL recently released that last week, on Friday, February 20, 2015, Town of Cary crews responded to more than 60 calls from people without water.

Raleigh received over 100 complaints.

Needless to say, frozen water pipes pose a problem–both during freezing temperatures and after, when pipes begin to thaw. When do water pipes freeze, why do they become damaged, and how can you prevent that and/or and water loss during cold weather? The American Red Cross shares some helpful advice to prepare for future freezes.

Why are Frozen Pipes a Problem?

Water expands as it freezes, putting pressure on the pipes containing it. Expanding water can cause even metal pipes to break, especially those exposed to harsh, low temperatures. While outdoor pipes are the most likely to break, damage can occur in your home, too.

Water pipes in unheated areas like garages, basements, attics, or kitchen cabinets are the most common of victims. Pipes can freeze in temperatures as low as 20 degrees, but last week’s single digit temperatures caused many instances of frozen pipes.

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

Prior to the onset of freezing weather, take these precautions to avoid pipe damage:

  • Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses.
  • Close indoor valves that support outdoor hose bibs.
  • Open outdoor hose bibs and keep them open.
  • Check water supply lines under kitchen and bathroom sinks, in basements, and in other unheated areas. Hot and cold water pipes in these areas should both be insulated.
  • Consider installing products to insulate at-risk water pipes.

The work doesn’t stop once the cold weather surfaces. During freezing temperatures:

  • Keep garage doors closed to protect water supply lines.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing (be careful to remove products that could be harmful to young children or pets).
  • Let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.
  • Don’t reduce thermostat temperatures overnight.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If you turn on your water and only a trickle comes out, the pipe is probably frozen. WRAL explains that, “If a pipe is frozen on the utility’s side of the meter, then the town is required to fix it, while the area from the meter to the building is considered private property.” Private property pipes need to be fixed by the owner or by a plumber.

If you suspect a frozen pipe, try the following:

  • Keep the faucet open. Running water through the pipe will help melt any ice inside of it.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe by wrapping a heating pad or towels soaked in hot water around it. You can also use a hair dryer to melt the ice.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.

If you’re not able to restore water flow, if the frozen area is inaccessible, or if you can’t locate the frozen area, call a licensed plumber. 

Visit the American Red Cross online for more information.


Photo by Ginny.

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Ujima Group Brings Black History Month to Life Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:02:51 +0000 Historical dramatizations and a lively drum circle marked the 18th annual African-American Celebration of Black History month at The Cary Theater this past Saturday, February 21, 2015.

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Black History

“In Their Own Words: Enduring Slavery & Freedom”

Cary, NC — Historical dramatizations and a lively drum circle marked the 18th annual African-American Celebration of Black History month at The Cary Theater this past Saturday, February 21, 2015. The Ujima Group, Inc produced the event in partnership with the Town of Cary.

Opening Remarks

The event opened with a recitation by Vanessa Scott of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. This song has been called “the Black Anthem” and was also recited at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Next, Lester Thomas, president of Ujima, was introduced. He spoke about the many inventions that Black Americans have created including the air conditioner, the lawn mower, the electric lamp, the internal combustion engine, and the typewriter.

What is Black History Month?

The purpose of Black History month, and of this celebration in particular, is to remember that the processes of desegregation and achieving equality are not over for African Americans. But also, like we remember the Holocaust, it’s important to remember from these past experiences of slavery and the story of the black experience here in America. By doing so, we encourage tolerance and empathy between races.

Black History month was officially created in 1976 after the nation’s bicentennial, but it began much earlier. In 1925, Carter G. Woodson first introduced the concept of a Negro History Week. As a Harvard-trained historian, he came to realize that African-American contributions and inventions to the world were not found in traditional history books.

By Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had made much progress in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration and the contributions African Americans have made to making this country as great as it is.

I attended this event, as a non-black, partly out of curiosity. I had never been a part of a black history celebration, and I had heard the entertainment would be high quality.

I was not disappointed.

Stories of Slavery & Freedom

After Mr. Thomas spoke, and opened my eyes to new information that I never learned about in my own American History, five actors took their places on the stage. Then, they performed “In Their Own Words: Enduring Slavery & Freedom.”

Each actor portrayed a slave who had been liberated after the Civil War that was speaking decades afterwards as an old, free negro. They spoke of their experiences in a historical context based here in the Triangle.

One woman spoke of being a child on the plantation and how slaves were punished. She told of how her mammy and pappy had so many children and how they escaped during the war by riding in a mule wagon and hiding in the woods by day and traveling at night.

Another woman spoke of having been treated relatively well by her owners. They had held a big wedding in the yard for her and her husband but, afterwards, they were only able to see each other on Saturdays and Sundays.

Another actor said that he had no love of Abraham Lincoln. “He freed the slaves” but left them no choice but to stay on their former masters’ plantations to work, as there was no place for them to go to work after slavery. He said the problems he sees today have their roots in slavery, with the lack of a strong family unit, when, in the past, families were separated to be sold.

These stories, while historical fiction, helped people remember that this was the way of the South, as well as Wake County, not so very long ago.

The Bradley Simmons Ensemble

After a brief intermission, the Bradley Simmons Ensemble gathered on stage to delight the audience with rhythmic songs from their drum circle. They then explained their instruments and took questions from the audience. Three dancers in African-inspired dress joined them for one piece. They came down into the audience and encouraged folks to join them on stage.

Cary has a diverse population and a rich past. As a fairly new (16 years) resident of this area, I was curious and pleased to attend an event such as this, and I plan to attend again. It was both enlightening and inspiring to hear the stories and enjoy the music.


Story and photo by Lindsey Chester.

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Panther Creek Prepares for Winter Competiton Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:42:57 +0000 Time is of the essence as Panther Creek High School rushes to recover from being "snowed in" last week and prepares for this weekend's indoor band competition on Saturday, February 28, 2015.

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Panther Creek

Cary, NC — Time is of the essence as Panther Creek High School rushes to recover from being “snowed in” last week and prepares for this weekend’s indoor band competition on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Erin Simanskis, Panther Creek’s Communications Coordinator (and proud drumline mom), shares with us a “behind the scenes” look at this large-scale competition, which will host 45 student percussion and winter guard groups.

Time is Critical

Two giant clocks are painted on the corners of a plastic floor covering for Panther Creek High School’s upcoming winter percussion show. The clock faces fit the theme of “Time,” this season’s percussion show, but none of the students who painted the floor several weeks ago knew how critical the minutes would be this year.

The school is preparing to host 45 high school and middle school percussion and winter guard groups in its second annual Panther Creek Indoor Competition (PCIC) in Cary on Saturday, February 28, 2015. And, like the hosts, all 45 of these groups lost several days of valuable practice time when schools were closed last week because of snow and ice.

Panther Creek

Panther Creek’s Jr. Varsity Winter Guard performing “Angels”

Now, all the students are racing the clock to learn music and drill to deliver a polished show at PCIC. Indoor percussion and winter guard shows are performed in school gymnasiums, but weekend competitions are still affected when school boards cancel extracurricular activities as bad weather makes traveling to a competition difficult.

Many Triangle groups come by car, but some from distant North Carolina counties and from three Virginia schools will be busing their performers to Panther Creek High School.

2,000 Performers and Fans

Competition organizers are hoping to get the same size crowds as last year, when 2,000 performers and spectators attended the event. Most fans are families and friends of the performers. They fill Panther Creek’s gymnasium bleachers to watch the performances and then the award ceremonies.

Percussion trophies are given out halfway through the day while the Winter Guard groups, which are more numerous, will get their results at 10 pm Saturday night.

Classic, Rock, and Contemporary

Fans can expect to see a competition that showcases the musicianship and dynamic intensity of the percussionists playing stationary instruments like marimbas and synthesizers while drummers and cymbal players march complicated drills on the floor at the same time. The themes for each school vary and the music can range from classic to rock to contemporary.

This clip shows last year’s gold-winning percussion performance by the Panther Creek band.

Winter guard is the indoor version of color guard with the visual excellence and rhythmic master of both female and male dancers performing to pre-recorded music. This clip show’s Panther Creek’s bronze-winning winter guard performance.

Extra Practices

Panther Creek indoor percussion will be holding extra practices this week, eager to defend their gold medal won during last year’s Atlantic Indoor Championship in Raleigh.

The group made a strong start taking first place and high score of the day at their first competition (at Wakefield High School) two weeks ago. The school’s Winter Guard teams are under the same time crunch, spending extra rehearsal time, eager to continue the season’s pace. So far, this season, Panther Creek’s Junior Varsity guard’s show “Angels” scored first and Varsity’s “Siren Song” captured second in their first competition.

This is the first year that Panther Creek has added a JV group, and several students who ordinarily play other instruments during marching band season are now dancing and spinning flags and rifles.

Panther Creek

Panther Creek’s Varsity Winter Guard presenting “Siren Song”

A Team of Volunteers

A band booster committee has been planning PCIC for several months.

Dozens of local businesses have sponsored ads in the event program while several restaurants like Cary’s Chick Fil A and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint are donating food for the judges and instructors’ hospitality rooms.

Hundreds of parent volunteers, most of whom don’t have children enrolled in the percussion or winter guard program, will pitch in to welcome visiting schools, direct parking, and sell concessions on Saturday.

Our band parents are incredibly generous with their time even when their students are not directly involved. They know it is the year’s second biggest fundraiser and that it benefits not just Panther Creek’s indoor percussion and winter guard programs but the marching and concert band programs as well.

As the clock ticks towards the competition, time and temperature may be on Panther Creek’s side–by Saturday the weather may hover around freezing with some sun…and luckily, no snow. Come out to support the hard work of Panther Creek students, teachers, and volunteers–as well as other schools–this weekend.

Event Details

Panther Creek Percussion & Winter Guard Indoor Competition
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Panther Creek High School Gymnasium, 6770 McCrimmon Parkway

Percussion competes from 10:30 am-1:30 pm
Winter guard competes from 5-10 pm
$10 admission; $5 for children under 5


Contributed by Erin Simanskis, PCIC Promotions and Communications Coordinator.

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Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:25:48 +0000 There is no pie in Shepherd's Pie. Just a bottom layer of meat and vegetables and a top layer of mashed potatoes.

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Cary, NC – The snow and ice had me thinking about hearty winter dinners from ingredients I already have lying around the kitchen. Then I remembered Shepherd’s Pie.

Cleaning Out the Refrigerator on a Snowy Day

The weather has been dicey, as you know. At my house, we’ve made fajitas, soup, stews and stir fries between visits to the grocery store.

Then it hit me: Shepherd’s Pie. Me and the missus used to make it before the picky-eaters joined the family.

There is no pie in Shepherd’s Pie, however. No pastry crust whatsoever. Just a bottom layer of meat and vegetables and a top layer of mashed potatoes.

The variations are endless, but the concept is simple. I’ll give you the basic recipe here and you can adapt to whatever’s in your pantry.

Shepherd’s Pie: Ingredients

Serves 6   |   20 minutes prep   |   30 minutes bake

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce or paste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Shepherd’s Pie: Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bring the potatoes to boil in a large pot of salted water and cook for about 20 minutes until fork-tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the ground meat, onions, celery, carrots and garlic over a medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper.

More traditional recipes call for ground lamb, but ground beef is okay. So is ground turkey or chicken. Ground deer is fine, too, if you have some in the freezer.

When the meat is cooked and the veggies soft (about 10 minutes), pour off any excess fat. Sprinkle the meat and vegetables with the tablespoon of flour. Season again with salt and pepper. Mix it in and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.

Carefully pour in the chicken stock – it will create a cloud of steam when the liquid hits the hot pan. Scrape off the brown bits (fond) on the bottom of the pan and continue to add liquid, stirring and scraping until the bottom of the pan is clear and the juices have thickened into a gravy.

Stir in the tablespoon of tomato sauce or paste. Stir in the peas. Season with salt and pepper and bring everything back to a bubble.

Pull the pan off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and pour the meat and vegetable mix into a 12″ oven-proof baking dish.

Drain the cooked potatoes and mash with milk, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat and vegetables, spreading and smoothing to make an even surface that goes all the way to the edges of the baking dish.

Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serve Shepherd’s Pie with a salad and fresh or canned fruit like applesauce or pineapple. Goes well with heartier beers like stout, porter and bock.


You can vary the recipe to your own tastes or depending on what you have in the house. Here are a few ideas.

Meat Lovers

Top with bacon. Lots of bacon.

Mashed Vegetables

Cut out three of the potatoes and mash some other vegetables into the mix, like cauliflower, carrots or turnips. Starchy, root vegetables work well, but each may require a different cooking time to become mashable.


Substitute corn starch for the flour as a thickener. Or just leave it out and use a little more tomato paste.

Decorate the Top

Omit the shredded cheese from the recipe and decorate the top of the mashed potatoes with a fork prior to baking.  You can also try a line of fresh tomato slices down the center before putting the dish in the oven.

Or, go buck wild and run out in the yard and collect some wild garlic chives (ubiquitous in Cary). Chop them up and sprinkle on top of the casserole when it comes out of the oven.

Grammatical Note

Why the apostrophe in Shepherd’s Pie? Because the Oxford English Dictionary says so, that’s why.

Of course, Shepherd Pie would suggest a dish made from actual shepherds. And Shepherds’ Pie would imply a dish that is shared amongst a group of shepherds (which seems unlikely, as they are a solitary bunch by trade).

Similarly, Ploughman’s Lunch (a meal of bread, cheese, pickle and salad according to OED) has an apostrophe, preventing any confusion that the repast is made from people.

Just don’t go all wobbly on adjectival nouns, as in sports club, customs duties and writers conference (a conference of writers that does not belong to any individual or group of writers). Adjectival nouns do not get an apostrophe.

Now get back to your Shepherd’s Pie.


Recipe by Hal Goodtree. Photo by Veronique.

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Movie Review: McFarland, USA Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:12:43 +0000 Kevin Costner, once again returning to the genre he’s most known for, stars in McFarland, USA, a true story based on the cross country high school team that defied all the odds and expectations and became a genuine threat to win the California championship.

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McFarland, USA

Cary, NC — Kevin Costner, once again returning to the genre he’s most known for, stars in McFarland, USA, a true story based on the cross country high school team that defied all the odds and expectations and became a genuine threat to win the California championship.

A Winning Experience

If that sounds familiar, well, that’s because it is. McFarland, USA hits all the beats you’ve seen a million times before but, thanks to the always watchable Costner and a good old fashioned underdog story, McFarland, USA proves to be a winning experience.

Costner Brings His A-Game

I like Kevin Costner. Actually, I really like Kevin Costner. I love the way he just embodies “America.” I’m especially grateful that he’s had a bit of a resurgence as of late starring in Man of Steel, Draft Day, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, just to name a few. Not all of them are winners of course, but still I like watching the guy work.

In McFarland, USA he plays a stubborn coach who gets the crazy idea to form a cross country team in the poor community where he just moved with his family. It’s familiar territory for both him and the audience, but Costner really believes in these kinds of stories–true stories about people who worked hard and did everything they could to succeed.

And, because he believes in it, you go right along with him. Heck, there’s a scene in the movie where Costner talks to his on-screen daughter during her 15th birthday party, and he begins to choke up. It’s not a huge moment in the film and, as a whole, it’s pretty slight, but doggone if I didn’t find myself choking up right along with him.

It helps that Costner has a real chemistry with the kids in the film. Throughout, the team rags on Costner quite a bit, all of it harmless of course, but there is a lot of time spent on scenes showing them all bonding. That goes a long way in getting you to care about what happens to these kids.

Loses Steam When Not Focused on Sports

On the flip side, McFarland, USA is just a tad too long, running a little over two hours. Anytime the film focuses on anything other than sports, it immediately begins to drag. Most of those scenes involve Costner and his family, and, while they aren’t entirely pointless, it’s just less time we get to spend with the team.

Uplifting and Worth a Look

Still, I find myself hard pressed to not like a Kevin Costner movie, much less one involving sports. The fact of the matter is that he does everything he can to sell this movie…and it works. McFarland, USA is an entertaining and uplifting movie, made all the more credible by Costner.

Definitely worth a look.


Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Photo from Facebook. Read more Movie Reviews.

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