CaryCitizen Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Fri, 22 May 2015 18:32:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Food: Canning Strawberry Preserves Fri, 22 May 2015 18:25:13 +0000 strawberry

Cary, NC — If you’ve ever made (and canned) homemade strawberry preserves, then you know that it’s quite the process. I always make a mess but end with a success!

Canning Strawberry Preserves

Canning is definitely messy, but it’s well worth it. I, for one, seem to always underestimate how much room I have in my pot of boiling preserves. The sticky–but delicious–mixture almost always boils over and makes a huge mess. I may or may not have started a (small) stove-top fire this year.

Just make sure that the preserves only fill half of your pot (before boiling), and you’re set.

The Process

Put simply, canning strawberry preserves consists of these steps:

Set Up Your Station

Wash your canning jars, bands and lids well in warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly.

You can re-use jars and bands from year-to-year; just make sure they’re clean and in good condition. The lids (which seal to the jar) can’t be re-used.


Wash your jars, lids and bands well.

Then, set up your station on the stove. Set a small pot of warm water on the back burner (keep the lids and bands warm in there while you work), place a large pot on one front burner (to cook the preserves) and place a deep, large pot on the other front burner (for your jars).

Place your clean, empty canning jars in your deep pot, and let the water heat up. Once the water starts to boil, let the jars boil steadily for ten minutes to sterilize them.


Let your clean, empty canning jars boil steadily in a hot bath for at least 10 minutes.

Prepare Your Strawberries

Wash and cap your strawberries (leave as much strawberry as possible, but make sure stems and dark spots are removed). I let them dry on clean dish towels.

It’s a good idea to sterilize extra canning jars and have them at-the-ready in case you make more preserves than you thought you originally thought you would.


I used about double what you see here, but batch size is up to you!

Next, mush thee berries up! I like to use an “immersion blender,” but you can use a slotted spoon or food processor, too. I like to leave just a few pieces of strawberry in the mixture.


If you make too much pulp for your pot, and don’t want to bother with two batches, save this for smoothies.

Add Other Ingredients & Start Cooking

As you transfer this strawberry pulp to your large pot (remember, fill the pot no more than half way), measure how much you’ve added. You’ll need to know how many cups you have to know how much pectin and how much sugar to add in a minute.


At this point, your stovetop should look something like this.

I haven’t included the sugar-to-pectin-to-preserves ratio, because, depending on strawberry size and quantity, everyone makes a different amount. You can find the ratio online.

I use a large glass measuring cup to transfer the pulp to the pot. I also make sure I have my jars out of the boiling water, upright and ready, with hot pads nearby, before I begin cooking. The bands and lids can stay in the pot of warm water.

Cook the strawberry pulp on medium heat. Once it’s warm, turn the heat up and add your pectin. Stir rapidly so it doesn’t clump. One the pectin is dissolved and the mixture starts to boil, you can add your sugar. Add slowly, stirring as you go. Once you’ve added both the pectin and sugar, you’ll need to let the mixture stay at a rolling boil (one you can’t stir away) for one minute.

Finishing the Job

Remove the pot from the heat, and start filling your jars until they’re just below the brims (I use a funnel and a measuring cup to transfer the hot mixture to the jars).

Make sure the rims of your jars are clean by wiping each with a damp towel. This is a very important step in canning, because, if your rims are sticky, your lids won’t seal properly.

Attach your warm lids and bands to each jar of preserves. Make sure your large pot is full with enough boiling water that it will cover two inches above the jars when they’re placed upright. Boil the jars at a rolling boil for at least five minutes. Remove with tongs.

You’ll hear little “pings” as your jars seal. Try not to touch the lids for 24 hours.

If any of your jars didn’t seal (there will be a “bubble” in the lid if this is the case), no worries. Just place the jars that didn’t seal in your refrigerator, and try to use them in the next month. Sealed jars can be placed in the pantry until they’re ready to use.


Story and photos by Jessica Patrick. Lead photo by BellaEatsBooks.

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NCAA Baseball Comes to Cary This Week Fri, 22 May 2015 14:08:17 +0000 Baseball

Cary, NC — The 2015 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship comes to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary Saturday, May 23, 2015-Saturday, May 30, 2015.

NCAA Baseball Comes to Cary

Last week, we took photos at a Durham Bull’s game and wrote a story about the pleasures of baseball–now, you can enjoy a hot dog and that baseball spirit right here in Cary, too.

In December of 2013, the NCAA named Cary as a host city for multiple championship games, including the NCAA Division II Baseball Championships. This is the seventh consecutive year Cary will host the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship, making it the third longest run of any city in the 45-year history of the championship.

12-15 games are held at Cary’s USA Baseball Training Complex over an eight-day period, where eight regional winners will compete for the National Title.

Fireworks this Weekend

Fireworks will kick-off the baseball season at the last game on May 23, 2015, and, on Memorial Day, past and present military personnel will be admitted for free.

Kids run the bases after the last game on May 24, 2015, and Saturday, May 30, 2015 is Dollar Day, which means ice cream sandwiches, hot dogs and drinks can be purchased for only $1.



Tickets & Parking

Tickets are $12 for an adult and $32 for a Championship Pass.

They can be purchased online (on etix or through NCAA) or at the National Training Complex prior to each game. Walk-up tickets are $7 for ages 12 and under and for seniors 55 with $7 Wake County and Cary resident tickets and $1 Championship Day tickets for all.

Gates open 1 1/2 hours before the games. Parking is free; seating is first come, first served.

Full Schedule

The full schedule for baseball in Cary is below.

Saturday, May 23, 2015
3 pm – Henderson State University vs. Angelo State University
7 pm – Wilmington University vs. Catawba College (Post Game Fireworks)

Sunday, May 24, 2015
3 pm – Truman State University vs. Mercyhurst University
7 pm – Cal Poly Pomona vs. University of Tampa (Kids Run the Bases after 7 p.m. game)

Monday, May 25, 2015 – 3 pm & 7 pm games (Rawlings Key Chain- first 500)
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – 3 pm & 7 pm games
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – 3 pm & 7 pm games
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – 3 pm & 7 pm games
Friday, May 29, 2015 – 3 pm; If Game @7 pm
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 3 pm; Championship Game; If game @ 7 pm (Dollar Day)



Story by staff reports. Photos by Hal Goodtree.

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Choose Your Transit: 4 Plans for Wake County Thu, 21 May 2015 18:02:55 +0000 Transit

Cary residents view Wake County transit plan options

Cary, NC — On Tuesday evening, May 19, 2015, Cary residents had their first opportunity to view four different mass transit plans put together by The Wake County Transit Strategy group.

Cary’s Choose Your Transit Meeting

The meeting allowed attendees to provide input and to ask questions to planners from the strategy group that includes members of Go Triangle, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), The City of Raleigh, The Town of Cary, Research Triangle Foundation of NC, NC State University and the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority.

A 76-member Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) that represents all the Wake County municipalities was created to develop the broad vision that shaped each of the plans. This meeting was one of several being held this month to gather much needed public feedback before the plans move forward with a possible 1/2 cent sales tax referendum.

Light Rail Off the Table

When initial discussions took place about mass transit in the Triangle, Light Rail had been a big buzzword. That is now off the table in favor of two other ideas that will use existing corridors and cost less. Those ideas are Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Rail Rapid Transit (RRT).

The Four Plans

The four plans have different aims in an effort to balance the diverse needs of the entire Triangle region. Two plans are Rapid Rail-based and two plans are Rapid Bus-based.

In each of these categories, there are two models–one focused on covering the most area so that all Wake residents have access (coverage), and one focused on serving high-density areas where more people will utilize transit (ridership).

Attendees to this meeting were presented with four large maps to review and discuss. Then, we rated the top three priorities that we felt must be addressed in the future of transit planning.

All of the plans focus heavily on the major East-West corridor between Downtown Raleigh – Downtown Cary and RTP. The coverage plans include towns on the perimeter with less frequent service (possibly as long as once per hour), while the Ridership plans focus mainly on that corridor using Downtown Raleigh and Downtown Cary as hubs for additional spur routes.

Ridership vs. Coverage

The ultimate plan will need to balance ridership with coverage. The plan must strike a balance of getting riders (a profitable model) but must also be fair to smaller out-lying towns that are helping to pay for these projects and have needs too (an equitable model). In the future, these outlying towns will see their car commute times double. If we put plans in place for them now, they will have options. It will also allow car-less employees to work in downtown areas.

Other issues will involve implementation. The rapid bus ridership (RBT) calls for use of dedicated bus lanes where possible to eliminate traffic hassles, yet many of the road in the plans have no room for widening (think Downtown Cary’s Chatham Street and Morrisville’s Chapel Hill Road).


This month, there will be other public meetings throughout the Triangle. Plan feedback will be complete in August 2015 at which time bill 148 has authorized the three governing bodies to move forward with a 1/2 cent sales tax to help pay for everything. Additional funds will be available through vehicle registrations to the tune of $70 million a year.

The timeline is a 10-year plan for complete implementation with some parts of the future plan being ready as soon as funds are available to increase existing bus routes. Higher infrastructure needs (right of way acquisitions and road widening or additional rail lines) would take longer to begin, but, with the goal, could be complete within a twelve year window.

Provide Input Now

To give your input, attend Cary’s next Choose Your Transit meeting:

Choose Your Transit Meeting
Tuesday, May 26, 2015; 10 am-11:30 am
Cary Senior Center, 120 Maury O’ Dell Place, Cary

If you would like to provide input but cannot make a meeting, visit to learn more about the four options and to take a transit survey.


Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.

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Memorial Day Services in Cary Thu, 21 May 2015 14:33:16 +0000 Memorial Day

Cary, NC — Memorial Day is Monday, May 25, 2015. We’ve listed a number of Memorial Day services taking place in Cary and around the Triangle.

Cary Memorial Day Services – Monday, May 25, 2015

It’s great to have a day off of work, but don’t forget why we celebrate Memorial Day. Two memorial day services are taking place right here in Cary on Monday. Both events are free, and guests are invited to bring lawn chairs.

American Legion Post 67  Memorial Day Service
May 25, 2015; 10-11 am
Hillcrest Cemetery in Cary (600 Page Street).

Attendees will experience an event of great reverence to include a flag ceremony, music and short speeches by Veterans in the tranquil setting of Hillcrest Cemetery. This Memorial Day Service is an annual tradition and presided by American Legion Post 67.

Cary’s Memorial Day Remembrance
May 25, 2015; 2:30-3:30 pm
Veteran’s Freedom Park, 1513 North Harrison Avenue, Cary

The Cary Town Band will perform patriotic music, and light refreshments will be served. Speakers will include Council Members Jack Smith and Don Frantz, Matt Segal (Triangle Chapter President of the Military Officers Association of America) and Chris Froeschner (Vice President of the USO of North Carolina). Parking is available across the street at Cary Academy.

Other Cary Events

Military Day at the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship
May 25, 2015; 3-5 pm
USA Baseball National Training Complex, 200 Brooks Park Lane, Cary

Past and present Military will be admitted free to this baseball game. There will also be a Rawlings Key Chain Giveaway for the first 500 attendees.

Raleigh Services

Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony
May 25, 2015; 11:30 am
NC State Capitol, 1 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh

Join the men and women of the Tar Heel Detachment Marine Corps League as they remember those service members that gave their lives for their country.

Raleigh Memorial Day Service
May 25, 2015; 4-5 pm
Historic Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh

This 45 minute ceremony takes place in the beautiful Field of Honor. Music will be provided by the US Army Ground Forces Band Brass Quintet, and the annual laying of the wreath at the Veterans’ Memorial will be placed this year by Betsy Hutchison, a World War II Army Nurse.

Durham Services

Memorial Day Remembrance
May 25, 2015; 10 am-4 pm
Bennett Place State Historic Site, 4409 Bennett Memorial Road, Durham

Veterans for Peace
May 25, 2015; 7 pm
Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth Street, Durham

The Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) will offer an evening of reflection in poetry, prose, and song. Local U.S. veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflicts will be among the presenters.

Chapel Hill Services

Memorial Day in Chapel Hill
May 25, 2015; 8 am-2 pm
American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Road, Chapel Hill

At 8 am, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a Memorial Day cemetery service. Displays and remembrances continue until a ceremony at 11 am, a guest speaker at noon and a wreath laying and band performance after.


Story from staff reports. Photo by Lindsey Chester.

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Gardening: Curb Appeal Thu, 21 May 2015 13:02:12 +0000 Curb Appeal

Editor’s Note: Melody Hughes, a North Carolina State Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, shares with us how easy it is to give your yard great curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Cary, NC — Having great curb appeal for any home is all about being neat and clean.

Curb Appeal – It’s Easy

You don’t have to have a weekly lawn service or break your back to make your home look great. Most often, when we talk about curb appeal, our minds render thoughts of red doors, curvy walkways and glossy hardware. Your plants can make just as much of an impact–and probably more–with a bit of care and planning.

First, don’t worry about how many plants you have; you don’t have to have expensive ornamentals or lots of containers overflowing with perfect flowers.

Just start off by making sure your walkway to the main entry is not obstructed and the view of your door from the curb is not blocked.

Try to have a base garden of shrubs, perennials or trees that will last years with little care, and then leave yourself space to add annuals, flowers and/or pots for lots of color.

Move Your Plants Around

Don’t be afraid to move a plant or remove a plant completely. Plants grow just like everything else and will, often, outgrow an area. In my neighborhood, it is very common to see glossy American Holly shrubs on either side of your door.

When homes are newly built, landscapers often choose plants that offer instant impact and that are cheap, attractive year-round and low maintenance.

That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean forever. That American Holly at your doorway can get five feet wide and nine feet tall–much too big for most entries. Remove it! Often, you don’t need to replant. So don’t be afraid to move a plant or remove a plant completely.

Keep it Neat

Second, try to keep your lawn and garden well-trimmed. If your thumb isn’t green, or any variation thereof, you can buy low-maintenance plants that need little care. Some gorgeous new shrubs for small areas are Purple Pixie Lorepetalum or Sunshine Ligustrum.

You can also add ground covers that are somewhat slow growing and that need little pruning such as lambs ear, creeping phlox, vinca, creeping thyme or lamium. These can be dug up, split and planted in new area during spring. Free plants!

Here are some examples of what ground cover can look like:

Ground Cover

Ground Cover

Have a Landscape Plan

Lastly, if you are starting from scratch or are fed up with your lack of curb appeal, have a landscape design created just for your front yard. A landscape plan is not only helpful and smart; it will also help save you money. Remember, this is not only your time and effort but also an investment that will add significant value to your home.

Resources for Help

The Wake County Cooperative Extension Service manages quite a few demonstration gardens that offer great ideas for your home. They include the:

  • Oakview Herb Garden
  • Crowder Park Prairie Garden
  • Fairgrounds WaterWise Garden
  • Lake Crabtree WaterWise Garden

Mel’s Tip of the Month

Watch out for these scale egg sacks!

Scale eggs

Look now for small white egg sacks, which resemble a Q Tip, that have hundreds of scale eggs inside. These insects are very hard to see and have numerous species. They will feed on trees and shrubs during spring and summer, lay eggs and start over again.

Scale weakens plants and cause them to yellow and brown, grow slowly and become susceptible to other problems. If you see these egg sacks just pull off the leaf and throw it in the trash. It will help your plants be healthy and beautiful all summer.

Happy gardening!


Story and photos by Melody Hughes, a North Carolina State Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.


The garden column is sponsored in part by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.

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Weekend: Live Music, Baseball & Fireworks Wed, 20 May 2015 19:35:58 +0000 Fireworks

Cary, NC — If you’re not leaving town for Memorial Day weekend, there’s plenty to do right here at home. Check the calendar for baseball, fireworks, live music and more.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Erin Mason will perform at this week’s Live at Lunch in Downtown Cary on Thursday from 11:30 am-1:30 pm at the Fidelity Bank Plaza. Bring your lunch or stop by Ashworth’s for a hot dog and enjoy free entertainment and sunshine.

The Cary Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business of Women Luncheon on the third Thursday of every month. The program is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members and includes a motivational speaker. The event starts at noon at Prestonwood.

The LIVE in the District music series continues at Park West Village tonight as well.

More Thursday details on the calendar.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Do you work from home? If you’ve been waiting to try coworking, now’s your chance. On Friday, from 9 am-5 pm, bring your laptop for a free day of coworking at Cary Coworking, 145 West Chatham Street. The Humble Pig food truck will make an appearance at 4:30 pm.

A free Barrowburn concert will take place in the Page-Walker gardens at 7 pm on Friday evening. The band performs both classical and contemporary ballads from the Celtic tradition as well as lively Irish pub songs and shanties. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

It’s a great weekend to hear live music from local musicians. Check out The Whiskey Runners at Woody’s (9 pm) and Three Beer Sally at Doherty’s (10 pm).

More Friday details on the calendar.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

You can catch the NCAA Division II Baseball Championships at both 3 pm and 7 pm on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The later game will feature post-game fireworks.

Saturday is also opening night for the NC Symphony Summerfest at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Rhapsody in Blue & Dvorak’s New World Symphony kick things off at 7:30 pm.

The Lounge Doctors, a duo of electric keyboards and guitar with stunning vocals, will play at Georgina’s in Morrisville on Saturday evening from 6:30-9:30 pm, while Sherman Lee Dillon & The Mississippi Sound will play at Doherty’s at 10 pm.

More Saturday details on the calendar.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The NCAA Division II Baseball Championships continue same times/same place, on Sunday. After the 7 pm game, kids will be invited to run the bases.

Another neat event will take place at 7:30 pm on Sunday at Koka Booth. The Triangle Wind Ensemble will present “At the Movies,” a family-friendly concert featuring memorable musical moments from film favorites that have thrilled and touched American film-goers for decades.

More Sunday details on the calendar.

Across the Triangle

The first outdoor movie of the returning PNC Downtown Raleigh Movie Series kicks off this Friday, May 22, 2015 at 6 pm in Raleigh’s City Plaza. Enjoy a free showing of Ghostbusters on a huge 100 foot screen. Other 80s classics will be shown every Friday evening in May and June with festivities like DJ music, food trucks and a beer and wine garden.

Enjoy improv comedy for only $10 at ComedyWorx in Downtown Raleigh on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10 pm. This week, in a game show, “contestants” will compete in a variety of games to show off their quick wit.

Go back in time to 1815 with A Ball at Ayr Mount House. This English country dance will take place on Saturday evening from 7-10 pm in Chapel Hill. There will be bagpipers, dance lessons, light fare and costumers. Period costume is admired but not required.


The calendar of events is edited by Lindsey Chester. Photo from Steve Jurvetson.


CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce.


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How Much Will You Need for Retirement? Wed, 20 May 2015 18:04:24 +0000 Retirement

Editor’s Note: Briant Sikorski, from Stratos Wealth Partners in Cary, contributed this article.

Cary, NC — Even though calculating a retirement savings goal is key to pursuing and maintaining a confident financial outlook, just 46% of American workers have figured out how much money they will need to accumulate for retirement.* More than half admit that they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement.

Planning Matters

It’s important to realize that the exercise of calculating a retirement savings goal does more than simply provide you with a dollars-and-cents estimate of how much you’ll need for the future. It also requires you to visualize the specific details of your retirement dreams and to assess whether your current financial plans are realistic, comprehensive and up-to-date.

These action-oriented strategies will help you identify and pursue your retirement savings goals.

Double-Check Your Assumptions

Before you do anything else, answer these important questions:

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • How much money will you need each year?
  • Where and when do you plan to get your retirement income?
  • Are your investment expectations in line with the performance potential of the investments you own?

Use a Proper “Calculator”

The best way to calculate your goal is by using one of the many interactive worksheets now available free of charge online and in print. Each type features questions about your financial situation as well as blank spaces for you to provide answers.

An online version will perform the calculation automatically and respond almost instantly with an estimate of how much you may need for retirement and how much more you should try to save to pursue that goal. If you do the calculation on a paper worksheet, however, you might want to have a traditional calculator on hand to help with the math.

Remember that your ultimate goal is to save as much money as possible for retirement regardless of what any calculator might suggest.

Contribute More

Are you among the almost three quarters of retirement savers who say they could set aside an extra $20 each week? If so, here’s some motivation to actually do it: Contributing an extra $20 each week to your plan could provide you with an additional $51,389 after 20 years or $130,237 after 30 years, assuming 8% annual investment returns.**

At the very least, you should try to contribute at least enough to receive the full amount of your employer’s matching contribution. It’s also a good idea to increase contributions annually, such as after a pay raise. Retirement will likely be one of the biggest expenses in your life, so it’s important to maintain an accurate price estimate and financial plan.

Make it a priority to calculate your savings goal at least once a year.

*Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, 2013.
**This example is hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Investment returns cannot be guaranteed.


Briant Sikorski is a Wealth Advisor at Stratos Wealth Partners. Photo by Images Money.

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Editor’s Journal: Cars, East Meets West & More Wed, 20 May 2015 12:52:39 +0000 Wheels on Academy

Editor’s Note: The weekly editor’s journal is a collection of photos, thoughts and events from last week that didn’t make it into a story of their own.

Cary, NC — This week, we’ve put together some photos from Morrisville’s East Meets West Festival, the Wheels on Academy car show in Downtown Cary and more.

East Meets West

Morrisville’s East Meets West Festival took place on Saturday, May 16, 2015 on Town Hall Drive. The annual event, which is full of music, performances and food booths, celebrates Morrisville’s status as Wake County’s most diverse community.

East Meets West

East Meets West

East Meets West

Wheels on Academy

Likewise, Saturday’s Wheels on Academy car show in Downtown Cary was a hit. Model T assembly demonstrations, concessions, entertainment and kids’ crafts made this event fun for anyone. Check out some of the pictures we took of both old and new cars.

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Wheels on Academy

Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage Grand Opening

Though Cary’s new beer shop and bar opened weeks ago, they threw a grand opening party on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Pizza, can specials and kegs were all part of the festivities.

Like Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage on Facebook to stay up-to-date on future events.




Photos by Lindsey Chester.


CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by the Waverly Farmers’ Market.

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Cary Chamber Co-Sponsors Global Trade Discussion Tue, 19 May 2015 18:26:23 +0000 Renee Ellmers

Raleigh, NC — On Monday, May 18, 2015, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC, District 2) moderated a panel discussion about the importance of exporting and importing goods overseas to boost North Carolina’s economy and to stay competitive in the global market.

The Importance of Exports to NC

This panel discussion took place at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce in Downtown Raleigh. The Cary Chamber co-sponsored the event.

In her opening remarks, Congresswoman Ellmers discussed some facts about importing and exporting overseas. Trade supports more than one in five American jobs, and jobs tied to trade pay between 13-15% higher wages than others.

The ability to manufacture and sell goods to outside markets boost NC and benefits workers here at home. If we want to create more opportunities and higher paying jobs, that means we need to sell more NC products overseas.

The Panelists

Congresswoman Ellmers serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is Chairwoman of the Republic Women’s Policy Committee.

She represents the Second District of North Carolina which stretches from Cary in the east to Asheboro in the west and Fort Bragg to the south.

Other panelists included Jenny Fulton, Alan Kelly and Rick Hill. Fulton and Kelly utilize the export and import of goods in their businesses, and Hill is the Director of International Trade Relations for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

The panel discussed the following benefits of global trade.

Small Businesses & Job Creation

Hill revealed that, last year, North Carolina exported a total of 31.3 billion dollars with the help of EXIM, or the Export-Import Bank of the United States. That’s the equivalent to 150,000 jobs that are supported by exports in North Carolina.

Ellmers explained that EXIM Bank doesn’t only benefit large businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses are also impacted. Kelly, a Plant Leader at GE Aviation, stated that his company makes 2,000 jet engines per year. Those engines go to customers all over the globe with 60% of the business being international.

Fulton, the third panelist, created Jenny’s Pickles five years ago. She exports her pickles to share NC products with places like China, Canada, the UK and Germany. “Without EXIM Bank,” she said, “my little company would not be exporting.” Fulton believes that, if she can no longer export her pickles, her company will go out of business.

All panelists agreed that EXIM Bank is especially important to North Carolina, since we’re a leader in agriculture and in exporting, among other reasons. Without EXIM Bank, many U.S. companies could not afford to export their products.

Competition in the Global Market

Ellmers stated that, over the last five years, EXIM bank has brought two million dollars back to the U.S. treasury. She then explained its global significance:

We live in a global society. 96% of the market is outside of the US. If the EXIM Bank is not reauthorized, products are going to be purchased from other countries. We will be taking ourselves out of the game if we let that happen. People want American goods; they know they’re high-quality.

The point was also made that, if the EXIM bank is not reauthorized, many companies may move their businesses to other countries so that they can continue exporting and importing.

The Argument Against EXIM

While this discussion panel, who were all in support of EXIM, explained its benefits and necessity to our economy, Ellmers emphasized that, right now, in Washington, many are against its re-authorization. She explained that:

Discussion from those who would like to see EXIM expire is the much larger discussion that’s taking place in Washington. When a voice of opposition starts, many, rather than going out there and seeking the true story, just have a “knee jerk mentality.” What we need is common sense and political courage.

Ellmers, while supportive on EXIM, didn’t neglect that abuses could have, potentially, taken place. “I want to see reforms that are needed for EXIM Bank if that is an issue,” she said. “But, at the same time, I don’t want to hold back the job creation and the ability to move forward in our economy as a result of trying to achieve that level of perfection.”

What’s Your Opinion?

Ellmers stated that, “If you have a strong feeling on global trade, your voice is necessary. Conversations about the re-authorization of EXIM are taking place this week in Washington.” She encouraged the audience to become involved in the discussion and said:

Reach out to your elected representatives and senators to find out where they stand on these issues. Ask not just, “How are you going to vote?” but, also, “Why are you going to vote that way?”

Learn more about supporting EXIM at


Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.

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Cary Singer/Songwriter Releases CD Tue, 19 May 2015 14:18:39 +0000 Erin Mason

Cary, NC — Erin Mason, a Cary singer/songwriter, just released a new CD on April 30, 2015. I interviewed her to find out more about her music and about her upcoming performance.

Q&A with Erin Mason

Erin is a junior business major at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She grew up in Cary and graduated from Cary High School.

Q: Erin, tell me a little more about your connection with Cary.

I love Cary High and had a lot of opportunities to sing there as part of the chorus, a capella groups and in shows where I could perform my original work.

They have a great program. In high school, I also played at charity events, at the tree lighting downtown, and at two of Cary’s Farmers Markets.

Q: What are you up to now as a junior in college?

Up at Appalachian I have connected with ASU’s student-run record label, Split Rail Records, which has done a fantastic job of helping to promote my music and me. I spend my weekends playing shows in Asheville, Wilmington, and everywhere in between and recently finished my first studio project, “Reckless” which we released in late April.

This summer, I will be in Nashville working with a music management company and spending time honing my songwriting. Then it’s back to class and bookings in the fall.

Q: When did you start singing and songwriting? 

I started singing as soon as I could talk. For some kids, singing is imitating everything they hear. For me, singing was creating music out of everything I knew. At age six, I began piano lessons with Renee McKee. Her first question for me was, “Why do you want to learn to play piano?” My response? “I make songs and I need to know how to write them down.”

My first original performance was at a recital that year when I wrote a lullaby for my baby sister. In high school, I was writing everything from classic country to piano ballads resembling the style of Adele.  I was emulating different styles as if I were trying on pairs of shoes, just wondering, “Which one will fit?”

Q: What can you tell me about your country/folk/pop style?

I’ve worked on creating music that has a focus on the lyrics and solid writing. There’s way too much music out there that holds no meaning or message or story; it’s catchy, but that’s all it is.

The stories I tell are inspired by my experiences and the experiences people have shared with me. The messages in the songs are my expression of the lessons I’ve learned and things I value. I’m fortunate that people like to hear what I like to play.

Erin Mason

Erin performing with Jake Kennedy, a good friend and fellow musician.

Q: Tell me about your new CD, “Reckless.”

I went through an interview process with potential producers and eventually worked with Mike Garrigan from Two Egrets Studios in Greensboro. He has a great reputation for working with developing artists, and his studio is in perfect spot between Boone and Cary.

Next was choosing which tracks to put on the EP, and I was definitely torn. I have written a lot of songs. With the help of family and friends, I was able to narrow it down to tracks that really capture my heart and soul. “Reckless,” the title song, tells of a girl who has found that her reckless spirit has caused her to become someone she never knew she could become, but in that realization there is redemption and hope.

Q: What would you like people to know about your new CD?

Music brings people together. We all have stories to tell and aches to heal. I hope that these songs can hit home for people, help put music to things people are already feeling and experiencing. [On this CD], tracks cross genres and delve into all different styles, a sprinkle of Pop here, a pinch of Country there, etc.

Genres are awesome—they help listeners classify the music that they like and find similar artists; they help producers, managers, and artists market their work to audiences who already find that style appealing. By creating a CD with multi-genre songs, I aim to share music that has not only comes from my heart but that reaches into everyone else’s hearts.

Hear Erin Perform Live

Erin Mason will perform this week at Cary’s new Live at Lunch series on:
Thursday, May 21, 201511:30 am-1:30 pm
Fidelity Bank Plaza, Downtown Cary

Purchase Erin’s CD on iTunes or stay in touch with her on Twitter, Facebook and Reverbnation.


Interview by Jessica Patrick. Photos courtesy of Erin Mason.

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