CaryCitizen http://carycitizen.com Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:16:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Guide: New Year’s Eve 2015 in Cary http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/19/guide-new-years-eve-2015-cary/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/19/guide-new-years-eve-2015-cary/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:16:45 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63278 This list of events features a wide range of options--Cary offers celebrations for all ages from casual to elegant. The events are sorted by type, so take a look to go ahead and firm up your plans! Just remember to have fun and stay safe.

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New Year's Eve 2015

Cary, NC — If you don’t already have plans for New Year’s Eve, check out this list of things to do in Cary. From specials at bars to events at hotels, there is something in town for everyone’s taste.

Your Guide to New Year’s Eve 2015 in Cary

This list of events features a wide range of options–Cary offers celebrations for all ages from casual to elegant. The events are sorted by type, so take a look to go ahead and firm up your plans! Just remember to have fun and stay safe.

In Bars

Doherty’s Irish Pub, 1979 High House Road, Cary. The pub will feature DJ George for New Year’s Eve and, of course, lots of great food and drink. An $80 fee per couple includes a four course meal, a champagne toast, and live entertainment with DJ George at 10 pm. Seats are limited, so call 919-388-9930 to reserve.

UnVined Wine Bar, 201 W. Chatham Street, Suite 103, Cary. This classy downtown wine bar is hosting a New Year’s Eve Bash. For $25 a person, guests will enjoy party favors, a midnight champagne toast, appetizers, and entertainment by the Andy Hawks Jazz Band. Interested? Make reservations online or call 919-481-0881.

Casual Dining

Mac’s Tavern, 1014 Ryan Road, Cary. The tavern is ringing in the new year with a party kicking off at 9 pm. A $10 cover will include party favors, a jello shot toast at midnight, and live music by The Band featuring John Custer.

Rally Point Sport Grill, 1837 N. Harrison Avenue, Cary. The grill’s New Year’s Eve Party will feature safe rides for patrons, a live band (The Amateur’s), and, of course, lots of delicious food.

Chef’s Palette, 3460 Ten Ten Road, Cary. This restaurant and bar will ring in the new year with The West Street Band and a special a la carte menu–complete with party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Dining reservations are recommended; call 919-267-6011.

Elegant Dining

Academy Street Bistro, 200 S. Academy Street, Cary. This restaurant is the perfect place for a date night. For $62 a person, the bistro’s new year’s dinner and champagne toast includes a variety of gourmet options and a dessert trio. Call 919-377-0509 for reservations.

An, 2800 Renaissance Park Place, Cary. Bring in 2015 with an elegant dinner at An–there will be a tasting menu at $75 a person and a wine pairing at $25 a person. Some of the entrees offered include roasted duck and seven-spiced sea bass. Call 919-677-9229 for reservations.

For Kids & Families

Jellybean’s Super Skate Center, 1120 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. This popular rollerskating rink is hosting a special “Roll the Bean” New Year’s celebration. A $20 admission covers skate rentals and 1 roll of toilet paper–at midnight, there will be a countdown, a balloon drop, and everyone will toilet paper the inside of Jellybeans. Festivities begin at 8 pm.

Tribute Pizza Place, 107 Edinburgh South Drive, Cary. This is the perfect night out for families who want to celebrate the new year. Tribute’s Masquerade Party for Kids will feature a magic show at 6 pm, Disney trivia, and a masquerade costume contest for the little ones. There will also be activities, prizes, and a $18.95 special that includes a large pizza and a pitcher of soda.

Buffalo Lanes, 151 High House Road, Cary. Families can ring in the new year at Buffalo lanes with special packages that include shoe rental, bowling, and more. There will be a special countdown to 2015, and prices and packages vary by location. It all kicks off at 10 pm.

Hotels and Convention Centers

The Umsted Hotel, 100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary. The hotel is hosting an elegant New Year’s Eve Celebration starting at 9:30 pm and continuing into the morning hours of the new year. Guests must be over 21 years of age and, while black tie dress is optional, jacket and tie are required. Tickets are $185 per guest; call 919-447-4000 for reservations.

Fitness Challenges and Runs

Bringing in the new year is fun, but many of us also look forward to this time to make new resolutions and give back to the community–and to ourselves. A few Cary fun runs and fitness challenges may be just the way to do this. Just check the dates–only one run is actually on New Year’s Eve.

The Miracle League Midnight 5K Run/Walk
Wednesday, December 31, 2014, 11:45 pm
at the Cary Towne Center Food Court, Cary

In its 5th year, this event benefits the Miracle League of the Triangle. This Run in the New Year (or RITNY) includes both a 5K and a 1.5 mile fun run along with a family-friendly celebration for all participants, regardless of ability. The race begins at the food court and continues through a well-lit course. Register online.

Hot Chocolate Run and SPCA Doggie Dash
Sunday, January 4, 2015, 10 am-12 pm
at Fred G. Bond Metro Park, 801 High House Road, Cary

This event, back by popular demand, allows runners (and their dogs) to choose from a recreational and competitive 5K, a recreational mile, or a “sleep in” run. All runners that reach the end receive hot chocolate in a beautiful mug that they can take home after the race.

The run, brought to Cary by Fit & Able, encourages families to be healthy and have fun together–and it also benefits the Wake County SPCA. Registration closes January 3, 2015, so check out their website for fees and to sign up.

Across the Triangle

First Night, Downtown Raleigh. Each year the Raleigh Acorn is lowered to ring in the new year at midnight on December 31, 2014–but you can also purchase a $10 “All Day Pass” to gain access to the many performances and venues open throughout the day and evening. These passes can be purchased at Harris Teeter stores, Rite Aid Pharmacies, and online at etix.

Bull City New Year’s Eve, 1101 W. Chapel Hill Street, Durham. This exciting, carnival-themed celebration at The Cookery in Downtown Durham will feature music by DJ Elbruque and a variety of food stations including hot doughnuts, artisan sliders, corn dogs, a champagne toast, and an open bar. Festivities start at 8 pm, and tickets are $80/person or $150/pair. A portion of ticket sales benefits the Food Back; call 919-933-1551 to purchase.

New Year’s Eve 2015 at the Pittsboro Road House, 39 W. Street, Downtown Pittsboro. Starting at 9 pm, guests can enjoy the NC Revelers Orchestra, a heavy Hors D’Oeuvres buffet, and a champagne toast at midnight. Reserve your spot by calling 919-542-2432.

Happy New Year from CaryCitizen

Did we miss an event? Send me an email, and I’ll add it to the guide. Happy New Year!

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Guide by Jessica Patrick. Photo by Nana B Agyei.

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The New Year’s Guide is sponsored in part by RallyPoint Sport Grill, Waverly Place and by Tribute Pizza.

 

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Don’s Blog: Transit and a Worksession http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/dons-blog-transit-worksession/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/dons-blog-transit-worksession/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:02:35 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63413 Improved bus service makes sense. It utilizes existing infrastructure. It is far more cost effective than rail service and, unlike rail, routes can be adjusted or moved based on demand. Once the rail tracks are down that’s it – you ain't moving them.

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Cary, NC — Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Got your shopping done yet? Ya, me neither. I had the privilege of attending the Heart of Cary Association’s Old Time Winter Festival and the Town of Cary’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony last week.

Holiday Events in Cary

Unfortunately, Mother Nature was a Grinch as it was cold and rainy pretty much all day. This was the first year I can remember that we had to host the tree lighting festivities inside town hall. It was the most people we ever had inside council chambers that weren’t angry. ;-)

The council also participated in the 35th annual Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Cary. We all rode together on a float (fancy term for my decorated car trailer) again like we did last year. Not only is it a lot more fun than riding separately in cars, we also believe it sends a positive message to the community that we all genuinely like each other and work well together.

I can’t think of any other local governing boards that can really say that. Thanks to everyone with the Heart of Cary Association, the Cary Jaycees and Town Staff for all your efforts to make these wonderful events a success.

Please also don’t forget that the Jewish Cultural Festival will be held on December 22, 2014 at the Cary Arts Center from 4:30-9:00 pm.

Wake County Transit Advisory Committee

Council member Lori Bush and I were selected to serve on the Wake County Transit Advisory Committee. It was the council’s feeling that if we were going to appoint two council members to serve, that it would be best to pick two with somewhat opposing views regarding public transportation.

Lori is the ying to my yang…or am I ying and she’s yang? I don’t know. Maybe there’s an app for that? If so, Lori’s got it. ;-)

Now don’t get me wrong. I support bus service for public transportation. Rail not so much. Actually, rail not at all. Billion dollar boondoggle if you ask me. And quite frankly it really bothers me that the planners behind this are pushing communities to alter their land use plans and development standards to better accommodate rail.

Are they trying to design a rail system to better serve our communities, or are they trying to redesign our communities to better serve rail? What is the focus here?

Improved bus service makes sense. It utilizes existing infrastructure. It is far more cost effective than rail service and, unlike rail, routes can be adjusted or moved based on demand. Once the rail tracks are down that’s it – you ain’t moving them.

So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was that after a 3 ½ hour meeting on public transportation, rail was not mentioned once. Now maybe we just haven’t gotten to that part yet, I don’t know, but so far so good if you ask me!

A large portion of the meeting was spent designing our own bus transit system in a fictitious city. Each table was given a map of the city and different color wax sticks that represented bus routes. The different colors represented route frequency – red sticks were 15 minute routes, blues 30 minutes and green 1 hour.

You were only given a certain number of wax sticks to represent a budget – once you ran out of sticks you ran out of money. The fictitious city had a high density downtown, a university, employment centers, suburbs, and a low income area.

Each table engaged in a priorities discussion about where their transit system should go and why, and then proceeded to place the wax sticks on the maps to represent bus routes. It was an interesting exercise as, out of 16 tables with the exact same map and number of wax sticks, no two transit proposals were the same with some being worlds apart.

We then had a group discussion about the reasoning behind each table’s transit system and the pros and cons of each. Consultants and planners will use the group’s input as they continue to work on Wake County’s transit plan. This was our first meeting – we have more to come. I’ll keep you posted.

Worksession

The council held a worksession this past week where we discussed a number of topics to include whether or not to appoint a replacement for the soon to be vacant District D seat, tree protection enforcement, land development topics, mass grading, lot sizes and density, townhome recreation standards, connectivity and a partridge in a pear tree.

District D Council Seat

The council decided not to fill the vacancy created by Gale Adcock’s election to the North Carolina House of Representatives. You, the voters, will decide next fall. The majority thinking was that by the time we got through the holidays, took applications, conducted interviews and ultimately made a decision, we would be into spring.

Candidates would be gearing up for council campaigns in summer. This would not leave much time for a newby to come up to speed before they had to turn around and run for election…assuming they’d still want the job. ;-) The council also expressed concerns about giving someone a leg up in next year’s elections.

Some council members also felt that with three at-large council members – one of which lives in District D – that district is still well represented on the council. And the reality is that all council members represent every district in town. Heck, 80% of the stuff I vote on isn’t in my district – same with everyone else. The concern about possible tie votes wasn’t really an issue either, as we rarely ever have 4-3 votes now.

Tree Protection Enforcement

This discussion was to provide staff with better direction regarding the council’s expectations regarding the responsibility of land owners to replace damaged or removed vegetation and any associated fines. We have had a few instances where either a developer or land owner has removed vegetation or denuded a buffer either accidentally or intentionally.

The general thinking among council members was to clarify the existing ordinance to remove any ambiguity, revisit the appeals process and better inform property owners of Cary’s tree protection requirements.

Connectivity

The council’s favorite topic! Staff was seeking further direction on potential changes to the town’s connectivity ordinance and presented a potential tiered approach to when the town would require road connections to adjacent properties or neighborhoods.

The town’s existing connectivity ordinance was created in 1999. Properties developed prior to that weren’t really designed with future connectivity in mind. This has caused problems when a new development is proposed next to an older development and the town is requiring street connections. Connecting a new road to an existing cul-de-sac tends to tick people off – and rightfully so.

Newer developments after 1999 however have had to plan for future connectivity with many neighborhoods having street stubs where a future road would one day connect. Council is looking for flexibility regarding connectivity to older developments while maintaining public safety and traffic flow. We are also looking for the connectivity issue to be addressed earlier in the development process to ease citizen concerns.

Land Use Densities, Lot Sizes and Mass Grading

This is a very complex topic given the number of local and state development rules and regulations that impact the amount of land available for developing in a site. The bottom line, however, is that the council and our citizens have concerns regarding lot sizes and mass grading in low density single family housing development.

Are 8,000 square foot lots really what we are looking for in low density development? And how is it that we are still having problems with mass grading given our existing ordinances?

What the town has discovered is that smaller lots are more likely to get mass graded while larger lots are not. Makes sense really. With a tiny lot you almost need to clear the whole thing to have any room to work. Larger lots not so much. Existing rules allow a builder to grade after the building permit is pulled.

Well, it turns out that builders are pulling permits for multiple lots at the same time and then grading them all at the same time. It saves them and, ultimately, the end buyer money. It also totally changes the character and topography of the land and removes mature trees.

The council has directed staff to first investigate requiring minimum lot sizes of 12,000 sq. ft. in low density neighborhoods. The thought is we kill a few birds with one stone – preferably geese. ;-) It would hopefully eliminate mass grading of multiple lots, reduce densities and put lot sizes more in line with the intent of low density zoning.

Townhome Recreation Standards

Believe it or not, we have discovered that the open space and recreation requirements we enacted in 2012 regarding townhome communities are actually working better than expected. I know right? We were shocked too.

We looked at five townhome developments constructed after 2012. They were required to provide roughly 18,000 sq. ft. of open space/recreation facilities. What they actually provided was nearly 340,000 sq. ft. The council decided to do nothing further at this time and then went out to celebrate actually doing something that worked! Just kidding on that last part…maybe. ;-)

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading.
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From the blog of Don Frantz, Member of the Cary Town Council District B.

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Recipe: Braised Pork Chops http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/recipe-braised-pork-chops/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/recipe-braised-pork-chops/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:42:39 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63144 I always like to sear a piece of meat in a pan and then pour in some liquid and let it simmer for an hour. The meat has all the flavor you lose in boiling but is as tender as a four-hour stew.

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Cary, NC — My favorite method of cooking is braising. I just looked it up and found out this past weekend. Forthwith, here’s a recipe for Braised Pork Chops that is simple to make and will melt in your mouth.

Braised

I always like to sear a piece of meat in a pan and then pour in some liquid and let it simmer for an hour. The meat has all the flavor you lose in boiling but is as tender as a four-hour stew.

It turns out that’s called braising. Yeah, I looked it up.

Technically speaking, braising is a combination of two cooking methods: dry and hot (searing) combined with low and moist (simmering).

Searing caramelizes the surface of the meat, creating that rich, smoky flavor we associate with a grill steak. Simmering tenderizes the meat and infuses flavors from the cooking liquid.

Braising is often used for tougher cuts of meat, but Coq Au Vin (chicken in wine) is braised.

This recipe for Braised Pork Chops doesn’t require much time in the kitchen, and the results are mouth-watering.

Recipe: Braised Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 Pork Chops (with the bone)
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 tsp of dried Thyme or other savory herb (oregano, sage, marjoram)
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

1. Heat a pan to medium-high. Pour in a little oil to coat the surface.

2. Chop up the onion. Pat down the pork chops with a towel and season with the salt, pepper and dried herbs.

3. Put the pork chops into the hot pan.

Be careful, because if you’re doing it right, the meat should hit the pan with a sizzle. Don’t fuss with it. The meat should release from the surface of the pan when it is properly seared–about 2-3 minutes. Remember, you’re not cooking the meat all the way through at this stage. You’re just charring the surface a little.

4. While you’re waiting, heat up the chicken stock in the microwave. A Pyrex measuring cup is the perfect implement.

5. Pour in a tiny bit more oil and flip the chops. Add the onions to the empty spaces in the pan. You can stir around the onions a bit with a wooden spoon, but don’t touch the pork chops. Let ‘em sear.

6. After another two or three minutes, it’s time to add chicken stock. Be careful, because adding the stock to a hot pan produces a cloud of steam. Add the stock slowly and scrape off any brown bits that are sticking to the pan (called fond).

7. Continue scraping the bottom of the pan and adding stock. When everything is bubbling nicely, season once again with a little salt and pepper and dried herbs. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low – just bubbling, not a rolling boil.

8. Different cuts of meat require different amounts of time to tenderize via simmering. For braised pork chops, allow about 40 minutes of simmering.

While you’re waiting, have a glass of wine.

To Serve

Remove the pork chops to the plate. Top with the cooked onions from the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, for that restaurant finish, spray or drizzle the braised pork chops with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar.

Don’t forget your condiments. We like to add a dollop of mango chutney.

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Recipe by Hal Goodtree. Photo by Mallory Dash.

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The Food Column is sponsored in part by Thai Spices & Sushi, located in Preston Corners.

Click to visit

 

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Movie Review: Exodus http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/movie-review-exodus/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/18/movie-review-exodus/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:02:09 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63298 Exodus has the benefit of today’s technology to fully realize events like the parting of the Red Sea, but it lacks the spirit of wonder and awe that filled the classic sword and sandal epics.

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Cary, NC — Exodus: Gods and Kings comes from director Ridley Scott of Gladiator. The film tells the story of Moses and Ramses in the same vein as the biblical epics of old Hollywood like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. However, while Exodus has the benefit of today’s technology to fully realize events like the parting of the Red Sea, it lacks the spirit of wonder and awe that filled those classic epics. The result is a beautifully made but ultimately dull viewing experience.

Exodus is Beautiful to Look At, But…

Director Scott is a master filmmaker, period. Blade Runner. Alien. Kingdom of Heaven. Black Hawk Down. Thelma & Louise. And the sword and sandal genre is nothing new for the director, so it comes as no surprise that Exodus is very well put together and gorgeous to watch.

The effects are top notch, and there is a sense of scale appropriate for a film of this size. Scott even went so far as to have numerous sets built instead of just relying on CGI to enhance everything. At 2.5 hours, the film moves along at a nice pace. It even stars one of my very favorite actors, Christian Bale (American Hustle, The Fighter), as Moses.

Adds Nothing New to Classic Story

I consider it strange, then, that Exodus seems so empty and lackluster. It hits all the big and important points of this familiar story and even threatens to become interesting with its handling of the politics between Moses and Ramses in the first half of the film.

But, once Moses becomes exiled, the film begins to just go through the motions. This is extremely frustrating, because it seems like that would have been a good place for Scott and company to really sink their teeth into things and explore the toll that leadership took on Moses–or spend more time on the conflict between Ramses and Moses.

Instead, the film feels like it’s racing to the finish line. The ten plagues, some of the most important aspects in the story, are barely touched on. The part is there, of course, and, visually, it’s one of the best moments in the film. Unfortunately, Scott breezes through it–never once allowing the viewer to get an idea of how the plagues really affected the people.

Honestly, it seems like Exodus needs an extra 30-45 minutes to tell its story, to let things breathe a little more, and to have more of an impact.

Skip it and Watch the Classics Instead

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a frustrating experience. Visually, it’s a stunning piece of film-making filled with a supporting cast that includes John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and Joel Edgerton. Director Scott hits all the story beats he should but, in the end, the film doesn’t have anything new to say with these characters.

Exodus isn’t a terrible movie by any means, but it’s also not worth the price of admission. Stay home and watch the classics instead.

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Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews

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Weekend: Holiday Cheer for the Whole Family http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/weekend-holiday-cheer-whole-family/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/weekend-holiday-cheer-whole-family/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:22:21 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63346 A Victorian Christmas in the Square will be held under the Crossroads Plaza Christmas tree from 6-8 pm on Friday evening. Attendees can enjoy free hot chocolate, coffees, crepes, appetizers, and music from professional carolers dressed in authentic Victorian costume.

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Cary, NC — It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and there’s so much to do. Check out the calendar to take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle, because this weekend is a great one for family-friendly events in and around Cary.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Need help wrapping your holiday gifts? Volunteer “elves” from the National Charity League and Linda Craft Realty will be wrapping presents in Crossroads plaza, between Petco and Marshall’s, from 12 pm-9 pm starting on Thursday and continuing into the weekend. They only ask for a donation to benefit Second Chance Pet Adoptions–a no-kill animal rescue organization.

More Thursday details on the calendar.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Victorian Christmas in the Square will be held under the Crossroads Plaza Christmas tree from 6-8 pm on Friday evening. Attendees can enjoy free hot chocolate, coffees, crepes, appetizers, and music from professional carolers dressed in authentic Victorian costume.

That same night, don’t miss Cary Ballet’s A Very Cary Christmas at the Cary Arts Center at 7 pm. The show will be performed again on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Visit the Cary Ballet website for ticket information.

More Friday details on the calendar.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Join Cary Ballet again on Saturday morning at 10 am for A Mini Very Cary Christmas. In only an hour, guests will enjoy holiday jazz performances, Nutcracker dancers, and a special ballet demonstration. This event is perfect for children because, after the show, little ones can decorate their own tea cup at a special Ballerina Tea. The combined package is $16; visit Cary Ballet online to reserve your tickets.

Families will also have a blast at the White Christmas Interactive Movie Sing-Along at the Cary Theater on Saturday. $5 tickets include a “sing-along kit” and instructions that enable viewers to follow along with this classic movie. Showtimes are 2 and 7 pm.

Support Cary’s basketball team, The Cary Invasion, at Herb Young Community Center at 7 pm on Saturday night as they play against the Robison County Showstoppers. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Finally, wrap up your weekend with some silly fun. Doherty’s Irish Pub on High House Road in Cary is hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest at 9 pm. There will be live music, great food, and the winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to the restaurant.

More Saturday details on the calendar.

Across the Triangle

A Holiday Market at the Plantation Point Farmer’s Market in Raleigh will take place on Saturday from 9 am-2 pm. There will be holiday treats, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and more.

Starting on Thursday and continuing into Sunday, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be at the Duke Energy Center for the performing arts. Tickets for the musical range from $20-50 and showtimes vary by day; check the schedule for more information.

Additionally, don’t miss this Raleigh holiday classic–the Ira David Wood III showing of A Christmas Carol at the Durham Performing Arts Center this weekend, Thursday through Sunday. Tickets range from $30-80 and are on sale through ticketmaster.com.

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Weekend update by Jessica Patrick. The calendar of events is edited by Lindsey Chester. Photo by laserbub.

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Canes End Their Horrible Road Trip http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/canes-end-horrible-road-trip/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/canes-end-horrible-road-trip/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:23:22 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63382 The problem is that the Carolina Hurricanes don't play much better at the PNC Arena than they do while away, as they scored just five goals in their last four home games. The Canes scored two goals in their only win and scored just a lone goal in all others.

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Raleigh, NC — Normally, after a road trip in which you go winless and score just three goals in three games, you would be longing for home ice.

The problem is that the Carolina Hurricanes don’t play much better at the PNC Arena than they do while away, as they scored just five goals in their last four home games. The Canes scored two goals in their only win and scored just a lone goal in all others.

Mr. Grinch Has a Handle on the Canes

To paraphrase a line from the Mr. Grinch Christmas Song: There are 3 words to describe the Canes’ play during their three game road trip: Stink, Stank, Stunk.

Sure, not every player was bad all the time, and some actually played well. Despite losing every game he was in, Cam Ward played very well. Ward was actually one of the three stars in a 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay that started off the road trip. Both goals were back breakers–the first one was a bad deflection off the station between glass panels. Ward was going behind the net to control the puck for a defense-man when the puck took a weird bound to right in front of an empty net.

The last one had 30 seconds to go in a 1-1 tie when a centering puck bounced off Ron Hainsey’s skate from six feet in front of the net to the open part of the net. Justin Faulk scored on a bomb blast to add to his team leading point total.

A Forgetful Game in Philadelphia

The 5-1 loss in Philly was one to forget. The Flyers scored 53 seconds into the game and, from the body language shown by every Cane, the game was over at that point. The only bright spot was a nice power move by Eric Staal on a power play. The defense must have been on a tour of the Liberty Bell, as they sure weren’t on the ice.

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Chris VandeVelde #76 of the Philadelphia Flyers lays on the ice and looks on after being checked by Brad Malone #24 of the Carolina Hurricanes on December 13, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Anton Khudobin was in net–the poor soul has yet to get a victory this season. He may have been a touch rusty, but the game was film material for describing the term “left out to dry” by the defense.

Young Guns Show Hope for the Future in Montreal

There were a few bright spots in the last game against Montreal. The Young Gun line of Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Elias Lindhlom had speed, skill, tenacity, and that shoot-first mentality. The defense played better, but better still isn’t good enough.

After the Canadiens got off to a fairly quick 2-0 lead, the Canes started playing hockey. The Canes had their most effective shots and scoring chances in the past six games, but they ran into a red hot goalie–Carey Price. Victor Rask was credited with the Canes lone goal, but replays showed that it belonged to Skinner.

Canes

Alex Galchenyuk #27 of the Montreal Canadiens faces off against Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre on December 16, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Montreal broke the game open with two goals late in the third, sending the Canes reeling with their sixth consecutive loss–and their score of only one goal in each of those losses. No defense, no offense, no grit: Stink, Stank, Stunk. It can only get better from here.

Next game is at the PNC Arena this Thursday against Toronto.

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Canes coverage by Bob Fennel. Photos from the Carolina Hurricanes. Read more Canes coverage.

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Sports coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Title Boxing in Cary.

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3 Steps to Protect Your Pet During the Holidays http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/3-steps-protect-pet-holidays/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/17/3-steps-protect-pet-holidays/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:34:21 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63015 The holiday season is the most dangerous time of the year for our pets. Read on, and learn how to protect your dogs and cats from poisoning, extreme temperatures, and emotional and physical distress.

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protect-your-pet-holidays

Cary, NC — The holiday season is the most dangerous time of the year for our pets. Read on, and learn how to protect your dogs and cats from poisoning, extreme temperatures, and emotional and physical distress.

Protect Your Pet

Holiday decorations, unattended food, and cold weather all pose risks for our dogs and cats in December and January. The ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, recommends the following to protect our pets during the holiday season.

1. Decorate Safely

The decorations that fill our homes with delight and beauty during the holidays can endanger dogs and cats.

We’ve heard that poinsettia leaves can be deadly if ingested by animals–but ASPCA veterinarians have recently discovered that consumption seems to only cause upsets in digestion. Still, it’s best to keep poinsettias, along with mistletoe and holly, away from your dogs and cats.

Many cats love tinsel–after all, it’s sparkly and fun to bat around. But, if swallowed, tinsel can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, vomiting, or possible surgery. 

2. Keep Rich Food Away From Pets

It’s okay to sneak your furry friend a snack or two under the table, but watch out for dangerous holiday foods. We already know to not feed our pets chocolate, but this sweet temptation seems to spread throughout the house even more during the holidays. Make sure chocolate advent calendars and other candies are sealed and out of reach to pets.

Avoid giving your dog chicken bones or other dangerous scraps that can splinter when chewed. Fatty, spicy human food can upset pets’ stomachs or create health problems later on. To protect your pet from discomfort and your wallet from vet bills, it’s best to stick to your animal’s normal diet throughout the season.

Lastly, be sure to keep unattended holiday cocktails away from your pet. Ingesting alcohol can cause pets to become weak or ill.

3. Protect Pets From the Cold

Some pets, like Huskies, Saint Bernard’s, and certain long-haired cats, are bred for cold weather, but many are not. Always clean snow and ice from your pets’ bodies and paws after walks to prevent chills or frostbite.

If cats run free in your neighborhood, get in the habit of tapping on your car’s hood before starting it. Cats will often climb under cars or around the engine to keep warm in winter months.

Be Safe But Have Fun

Yes, the above precautions are important, but don’t feel like you have to leave your pet out of your holiday festivities. The key is to not neglect your dogs and cats (many are left alone for extra hours during the hustle and bustle of the holidays) and to pay attention to their behavior and habits.

Humans shouldn’t feel badly about depriving their animals of holiday food–after all, who wants to stop and clean up a mess during a holiday party? Instead of simply excluding your pet from holiday treats, try this homemade recipe for peanut butter dog treats.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Dog Treats

This snack is safe for doggie tummies. It’s a fun recipe for the whole family, as kids can help to stamp the dough into dog bone or holiday shapes. Recipe from The Cookie Rookie.

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour (substitute rice or coconut flour if dogs are allergic to wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and the egg. Add peanut butter, water, honey and stir until you have stiff and sticky dough (you may need to use your hands).
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about ½ inch thick and use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. The treats barely spread and rise, so get creative with your shapes.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
  5. Keep in an airtight container or give as gifts.

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Story and photo by Jessica Patrick.

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Holiday coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Hopewell Academy in Cary.

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Cary’s Jewish Cultural Festival: Coming Dec 22 http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/carys-jewish-cultural-festival-coming-dec-22/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/carys-jewish-cultural-festival-coming-dec-22/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:07:03 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63248 The festivities will kick off at 5 pm on December 22 with the lighting of a nine-foot menorah. After, citizens of all ages can enjoy traditional and Kosher Jewish foods, entertainment by singers, a puppeteer, lots of hands-on activities for children, and a Klezmer band.

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Jewish Cultural Festival

Cary, NC — Cary’s Jewish Cultural Festival is back. On Monday, December 22, 2014, the Cary Arts Center will be filled with festivities to celebrate Jewish culture and the seventh night of Hanukkah.

Cary’s Jewish Cultural Festival

Anyone and everyone can attend this free celebration at the Cary Arts Center. The event will feature a range of exciting activities that will celebrate Jewish culture on the final night of Hanukkah.

Lori Bush, Cary Town Council Representative, reflects on her past attendance and states that:

What I love about the event is how it brings together our community–while still reflecting our diverse population. The story about Chanukah is about freedom and light, and we are blessed to live in a community that celebrates our diversity, demonstrating our strength and success in celebrating the talents that each of us offers.

Jewish Cultural Festival

Crowds gather in front of the Cary Arts Center as the nine-foot menorah is lit during a previous festival.

The festivities will kick off at 5 pm on December 22, 2014 with the lighting of a nine-foot menorah. After the lighting, citizens of all ages can enjoy traditional Jewish foods, entertainment by singers, a puppeteer, lots of hands-on activities for children, and a Klezmer band.

The festival is a great way to incorporate some diversity into your family’s holiday traditions. I’ll be trying something new as I take pictures and participate in my first-ever Hanukkah celebration, and I hope to see you there.

This event is presented by the Town of Cary, Chabad of Cary, Beth Shalom, and The Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary.

Event Details

Town of Cary’s Jewish Cultural Festival
Monday, December 22, 2014, 4:30-8 pm
Cary Arts Center, Dry Avenue, Cary, NC

Menorah lighting at 5 pm.

The event is free for everyone, but collections of hats and gloves will be taken for a donation to Note in the Pocket.

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Story by Jessica Patrick. Lead photo from the Town of Cary event page; Menorah lighting photo by Brooke Meyer.

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Recipes: Homemade Christmas Candy http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/recipes-homemade-christmas-candy/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/recipes-homemade-christmas-candy/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:37:52 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=63234 We've found that homemade candy is the perfect treat to give out as little gifts to neighbors, teachers, bus drivers, friends, and extended family around the holidays. Then, we save our "big dinner" for Christmas Eve and snack on the leftover candy and appetizers on Christmas Day.

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Homemade Christmas Candy

Cary, NC — Like every family, mine has changed and evolved throughout the years–along with many of our Christmas traditions. However, each and every year, we always enjoy making homemade Christmas candy for friends and loved ones. 

Homemade Christmas Candy

I can’t remember a December when I didn’t spend at least several days in the kitchen with my mom surrounded by chocolate chips, nuts, sugar, flour, butter…you name it.

We’ve found that homemade candy is the perfect treat to give out as little gifts to neighbors, teachers, bus drivers, friends, and extended family around the holidays. Then, we save our “big dinner” for Christmas Eve and snack on leftover candy and appetizers on Christmas Day. These treats also make great stocking stuffers or snacks for Santa.

I’ve picked my two favorite homemade candy recipes and shared them below.

Recipe: Haystacks

These are so easy to make, and one batch makes quite a few haystacks to give out as gifts (for about 20 people). If you have time, I like to double this recipe to make sure I have plenty for others and for myself, too.

These are pretty rich, so try to stick to small teaspoonfuls.

These are pretty rich, so try to stick to small teaspoonfuls.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup shoestring potato chip sticks (these can be tricky to find, but most grocery stores have them)

Directions:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt both kinds of chips together and stir well (it’s best to stop and stir the mixture in 45 second intervals to make sure it doesn’t burn).
  • Immediately mix in the potato sticks and the peanuts (I like to add a little extra) until they are covered in the chocolate.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper and let them sit for 15 minutes or until set.

Store the haystacks in the refrigerator in an airtight container–they’ll start to melt if they are left out too long.

Recipe: Coconut Macaroons

My grandparents always loved these–they’re soft, lightly sweetened, and full of shredded coconut. Like the haystacks, they have minimal ingredients and are simple to make. This recipe makes about 24 macaroons.

These are not too rich, not too sweet, and so delicious.

These are not too rich, not too sweet, and so delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed with an electric or hand mixer until peaks form.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
  • Drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls (I like to use a small ice cream scoop) onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool and serve.

You can drizzle these with chocolate (my favorite) or put one cherry in the middle of each, but they are truly great without anything added to them.

Gifting Your Candy

It’s fun to arrange an assortment of Christmas candy on a plate or cupcake stand for holiday parties, and it’s also simple to make “goodie” bags to give away to friends and loved ones. These candies can make great presents when paired with cookies, holiday breads, or “trash”–a baked snack made with Chex cereal, peanuts, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, and Bugles.

The best part is that, in baking them, you’re spending time with family.

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Recipes and haystacks photo by Jessica Patrick. Lead photo by PV KS; macaroons photo by Stacy Spensley.

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Film Review: Because No One Else Would http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/film-review-no-one-else/ http://carycitizen.com/2014/12/16/film-review-no-one-else/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:29:32 +0000 http://carycitizen.com/?p=62755 Because No One Else Would is a half-hour documentary that tells the story of Durham's transformation from busted to boom town over the last decade.

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Because No One Else Would

Durham, NC – Because No One Else Would is a half-hour documentary that tells the story of Durham’s transformation from busted to boom town over the last decade. It’s airs this Saturday on WRAZ at 7 PM.

Durham Appeal

I spent two years living in Durham during my brief five years in North Carolina. I’m sorry to say that my wife and I didn’t get out to explore the town as much as we would have liked and that, in fact, we discovered most of our favorite spots in Durham once we moved to Raleigh.

Fullsteam Brewery, the Carolina Theater, and Durham Bulls Stadium are all places we discovered and fell in love with after we left. We visited Bulls Stadium the most (as baseball is about the only sport I can get into) so, of course, we found ourselves roaming around the newly renovated Lucky Strike factory pretty much every time we attended a game. It’s a beautiful spot populated with local businesses, restaurants, live music and tons of other things.

Because No One Else Would

So, imagine my surprise when I found out that CaryCitizen’s own Hal Goodtree produced a short documentary called Because No One Else Would: American Tobacco & The Durham Renaissance that details the rise and fall and rise again of one of Durham’s most famous spots.

The program is filled with interviews from local historians, citizens, and even the town’s mayor. Having been a temporary resident of Durham myself, I found the documentary’s shared history to be enlightening and interesting, and I even found myself wishing that I had taken more time to appreciate it.

I’m sure some of the information will be old news for longer term residents, but the slick presentation will keep you entertained and might even give locals a strong sense of pride for their town.

Because No One Else Would airs on WRAZ Fox 50 on Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 7 PM, so go ahead and tune in for a little local history!

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Jordan Hunt covers the movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.

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