Monday, August 25, 2008

Global Victories Unite in Chapel Hill and Beyond

By Elizabeth Shugg

As the 2008 Olympic Games in China come to a close and the athletes return home,
Turning Point Gallery of Chapel Hill is extending the celebration of Chinese culture and folklore Sept. 12 during the 2ndFriday ArtWalk with “Moonlight Madness,” an art event commemorating the Chinese Moon Festival.

International artist Simon Bull returns to Turning Point Gallery Nov. 14 and 15 to remarque new releases at special prices purchased now through the Moonlight Madness event, as part of an effort to launch a new Angels Among Us fundraising program for 2008-2009. Three years ago, Bull worked with Turning Point Gallery to help Sherry’s Angels—a fundraising support team for Angels Among Us—raise $40,000 for brain tumor research funds. Click here for the full story. Bull and Turning Point Gallery hope to bring home the gold again for this important cause.

Deep Dish Theater Company’s 2008-2009 season offers a great sampling of international culture as well. Artistic Director Paul Frellick says this season will feature work from four of the theater’s most acclaimed playwrights. “From the revolutionary plays of Italy’s Carlo Goldoni and Russia’s Anton Checkhov, to the contemporary work of the Pulitzer Prize-winners Wendy Wasserstein and August Wilson, our audience will have the chance to encounter four of the most distinctive and resonant voices ever heard on stage,” he says. View Deep Dish Theater’s 2008-2009 season line-up here.

A Humbling Cause

More than 9,000 Olympic athletes representing 203 countries participated in the 2008 Olympics. Burma contributed six. In 1988, Burma’s military regime put an end to pro-democracy protests then irrationally held an election in 1990. The result was a victory by the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, a leading independence figure assassinated in 1947.

According to the National Review Online, “The government put Suu Kyi under house arrest, suppressed her party, loosed thugs upon democracy advocates, and closed the universities. Despite periodic hope for a more moderate course in Rangoon, the self-styled State Peace and Development Council always returns to repression.”

Not surprisingly, Burmese refugees have been forced to flee their homeland in fear of persecution by Burma’s ruling military junta for participation in pro-democracy movements. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are home to more than 300 Burmese refugees who have many needs—from housing and medical care, to employment and cultural adaptation. Vacuum Cleaner Hospital of Chapel Hill wants to help by providing reconditioned vacuum cleaners to new refugees in the area. If you’re interested in providing a used vacuum cleaner or volunteering your help, contact Flicka Batement at or (919) 967-8358.

Be sure to check out the new and discounted products at Vacuum Cleaner Hospital as well, like this M.D. Manufacturing Central Vacuum.

Equestrian Excellence

As the American Olympic equestrian team took gold in the stadium jumping competition Aug. 18, Bright Horse Farm and Art Studio in Pittsboro created memory-making equestrian moments for day campers through interaction with gentle, well trained horses in activities designed to enhance self-confidence, teamwork and problem solving. Campers spent the rest of the day with Art Director Kim Greene, who offered art instruction in a wide variety of media.

“Summer camps were a great success this year,” says Bright Horse Equestrian and Facility Manager Cindy McWilliams. “Parents commented on how much their children changed through their week-long adventure in experiential learning. One girl returned for the whole summer, having enjoyed her first week so much.”

New horses, like “Inky” the Appaloosa and “Deby” the thoroughbred mare, joined Bright Horse’s summer staff, and the clay studio’s kiln and pug mill cooked up fantastic creations. The fun continues. Fall’s revitalizing weather and beauty provide the perfect atmosphere for riding lessons. Be sure to take that opportunity by the reins before available spaces fill up. Kim Greene will continue offering clay classes every Saturday in the clay studio through fall and winter, and she will teach after school classes at the Chapel Hill YMCA and at Woods Charter School in association with the Pittsboro YMCA.

Bright Horse Farm corporate team development workshops and retreats are also available and will be led by new affiliates Renee Potere, Peter Metzner and Sheila Dempsey. Workgroups can enjoy a half-day session or stay overnight to experience the team-building benefits of working with equine specialists. “Bright horses really shine when they team up with adults!” McWilliams says.

Winning Work Environments

Team building is just one component of creating an ideal workplace. Bikas Building of North Carolina LLC also considers the necessary physical features. Below, the Austin Business Journal assesses what it takes to construct a productive, healthy work environment.

“The physical environment in which we work has a far greater impact on our psyche than most realize. Environmental features such as lighting, temperature, noise, privacy, color and even issues related to security all have a profound impact on the productivity, satisfaction and health of employees. It affects communication, efficiency and effectiveness of the organization as a whole. It can even affect the potential for renting or selling space." —Austin Business Journal

Bikas Building of North Carolina LLC works with clients to retrofit and build out health clinics, wellness centers, restaurants and other businesses offering this ideal physical environment. Learn more here.

Spacious, organized closet space also contributes to an ideal working environment—no matter what the industry. Carolina Closets Plus of Chapel Hill is expanding to serve the Raleigh-Cary market with a brand new showroom at 5215 Capital Boulevard, just south of I-540. This new showroom, set to open Oct. 6, will also accommodate an expanded product line. Structured wiring, home security, beam central vacuum, home audio/video components, and whole-house HEPA air purifications will all be available to customers in the new showroom.

Carolina Closets recently promoted Mark Sharpe to general manager and is partnering with Murphy Beds of America, makers of the new horizontal wall bed on display during the Southern Ideal Home Show. Carolina Closets Co-founder and President Mike Hoffer will also display this wall bed in the new showroom.

By the way, if you enjoyed watching Michael Phelps at the 2008 Olympics, try year-round swimming. Mike Hoffer has been involved in Chapel Hill’s swimming scene for over 15 years. Contact Mike at for more information about getting involved in Chapel Hill swimming, and click here for some swimming basics.

As a new resident of Chapel Hill, community connections such as these can acquaint you with all the area has to offer. New Resident Solutions’ member businesses remain dedicated to serving and connecting you with the community around you—a winning combination worthy of Olympic gold.