Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Changing Relationship With Work

This blogger is a fan of Anderson Cooper on CNN. Through twitter, I follow his blogs and news stories and I occasionally watch his show Anderson Cooper 360. He has some interesting observations about the world and the people in it.

Today, I saw a blog that peaked my interest greatly. He had a blog written by David Gewirtz, author of the upcoming book, How to Save Jobs, about the current financial situation and how the past financial decisions have created our current financial crisis.

You can read the blog here:
Anderson Cooper Blog

This will be a series on the Anderson Cooper blog that delves deeper in how we can improve our financial economy, create jobs, and reawaken the American dream that this country is known for.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hiking for Fall

As the weather gets colder, many people are beginning to board up for the winter. Don't let the weather affect your exercise! As a Fit Community, Central Park NC and STARworks NC supports activities that get people out doing healthy activities.

The Bear Creek Hiking Club, organized in 2009, was inspired by Bear Creek hiking trails in Robbins, North Carolina. They get together groups to go hiking on the many trails in our region. They promote low impact hiking that is great for the environment.

For more information, please go to

Only Four Days!

October 29, 2009

There are only four days until Central Park NC's greatest event of the year, our Annual Gathering! This year's event is promised to be better than ever.

We are starting the day with a workshop by Michael Shuman, author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition, where he will be talking about how our communities can benefit from small, locally-owned businesses. In addition, Mr. Shuman will be doing a book signing.

For the evening event, there promises to be lots of food, drink, and merriment to be had by all. Music will be provided by a great jazz band, the Joe Robinson Quartet. There will be food and wine from all over the Central Park region, including Lexington barbecue.

Remember that registration is required at both events.

Register at

See you there!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Want to Start a Small Business?

Starting a small business requires work and lots of knowledge. Many who have started small businesses can tell you that they learned many lessons while trying to start their business from marketing to business plans to legal matters. The Small Business Center at Montgomery Community College offers free classes and workshops that could help you fulfill your dreams of owning your own business.

Classes in October:

Legal Considerations for Small Business Owners
October 13

Tax Implications for Starting a Business
October 15 (Taught by the NC Department of Revenue)

Marketing Your Small Business
October 15

The Small Business Center also offers personal development classes to help make you stronger in the workforce.

Classes in October:

How to Write an Effective Resume
October 13

Get Ready, Get Set, Get S.H.A.R.P.!
October 15

Job Seeker Interviewing Skills
October 16

For more information about classes, please call The Small Business Center at 910-576-6222 or go to

1932 Video of Star and Fiddler's Convention

We received an email today with a very interesting video of Star from 1932.

This is a short clip of supposedly authentic North Carolina Piedmont "Old Time Music" recorded in Star on April 3, 1932.

What I found interesting about this video is the building behind the fiddlers. It looks like the fiddler's convention was held at a schoolhouse. I believe that this might have been the school building that is at the center of our STARworks building. Let me explain more...

In the late 1800s, The Carolina Collegiate and Agriculture Institute was built in Star. The school housed students and included many buildings, including dorms and the president's home. The name changed to the Country Life Academy. The school existed until the early 1940s when the building was taken over and made into a hosiery mill.

We take pride in the history of this old building. Today the building sits in the middle of the mill. A new roof has been put on the building and Central Park NC and STARworks NC are hoping that with funding, we can one day tear down the offices in front of the building. This will allow the original building to be viewable from the street. I am personally excited for this renovation to take place. As a newbie in the building, I have only briefly explored all of the spaces of this huge former mill. I have gone into the school building and have fallen in love with the history that pours from every wall and floor.

I will leave you with some pictures from the Country Life Academy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Looking forward to a great October

Wow, it is October. If you are like me, I am utterly amazed at how fast the year has gone by.

The hot days of summer are gone and now we have the crisp days of fall to look forward to. I will let you in on a little secret...I have never been a fan of fall. It is usually the end of beach season and golden fun. This year, though, some type of transformation is happening to me. I went out one morning to walk my dogs and it was cold and I found that I actually welcomed the change. I grabbed my favorite shawl and sat on my porch, listening to the wind go through the trees and enjoying the sun rising.

My only explanation of this change has to be the area that I am living in. I have now lived in the Central Park NC area for eight months. During this time, I have gone outside more than I have since I was a child. I have become interested in the culture of this area. I have gone to wine tastings in actual vineyards. I took a swim in a lake. I have watched pottery being made. And now I can say that I have learned to relax enough to enjoy a cool, fall morning. I have learned to love my region and everything about it.

Coming to the Central Park region, you will meet two types of people. The first is the native who has lived here all of their lives and can tell you about every town, secret fishing spot, and good restaurant. Their wisdom has helped me learn my way around so well in the time that I have been here. Their stories of the history of the region will keep you interested and make you want to explore more. They take pride in the region because they have roots that run deeper than any tree in the Uwharries.

The second type of person you will meet will be the new transplants. These people, like myself, have come to the region for some reason or the other. Some for new jobs, others are retiring to the area, and many just wanted to move somewhere for a quieter way of life. They have lived in big cities and small towns all over. They bring their knowledge to the area and have a fresh point of view that is always appreciated. They take pride in the region because they specifically picked the place to plant their roots.

No matter what type of person you meet, they will tell you about how much they love the area. With the leaves changing colors, I expect that the region that I love will become even more beautiful and as it does, my favorite shawl and I will be outside taking it all in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who Gets Your Grocery Dollar?

I was reading The Daily Yonder today and I read an article called "Who Gets Your Grocery Dollar?" This article talked about the percentage of food dollars that are trickled down to farmers in rural areas. With many food store chains offering sales in every aisle, the profits made by certain products has gone down over the past few years. In turn, the farmers and farm communities have been taking an ever-smaller share of the food dollar.

You can read the full article, here.

This article made me think about the focus that Central Park NC has towards buying local. When we buy local food from farmers they are getting 100% of the profit from the sale of their products. There are no middle men involved to buy their products and you are always guaranteed that you are getting fresh, local goods.

Here at Central Park NC, we have started projects that focus on our beliefs that local is best for our communities. Our project, STARworks Garden, not only grows food for our CSA, but it also brings in food and products in from other farmers in the Central Park area.

We as employees of Central Park NC even strongly believe in buying and using services and products from local merchants and farmers in our personal lives. Having lived in the Washington DC area, I once believed that vegetables and fruits could only come from a grocery store or Walmart. The idea of a garden seemed foreign to me because what could be considered a yard in my neighborhood of townhomes was a 4' x 7' square patch of grass. The first time I went to a local farmer's market in this area, I bought almost $50 worth of fruits and vegetables for my one person household. Everything was better than the stuff in Walmart and I could talk to the person who actually grew it with their own hands. In addition, I knew that the money that I gave this farmer would be used by him for his family and his next season's crop.

Support your local farmers and businesses. Your support and the continued support from Central Park NC will help revive our rural communities to what they once were.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Exciting Annual Meeting News

Central Park's Annual Meeting is on October 29, 2009! I am sure by now, you have RSVPed and are ready to have a great time, right?

Now we are pleased to announce that our Keynote Speaker for the meeting will be Michael Shuman, author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age. Mr. Shuman is the Research and Public Policy Director for The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), an organization that brings together small business leaders, economic development professionals, government officials, social innovators, and community leaders to build local loving economies. We are pleased to have him and look forward to hearing his speech.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Michael Shuman will be holding a localism workshop the afternoon of October 29th also! This workshop will be a chance for the public to hear an in-depth commentary from Mr. Shuman about how we can incorporate localism into communities. This will be followed by a question and answer session where you can ask Mr. Shuman all that you want to know about his book, localism, and how we can use this in our communities. This is a not-to-miss event!

The cost of the afternoon Shuman workshop is $15 for Central Park Stewards and $25 for the public. The Annual meeting is free so please feel free to stay afterwards.

To become a Central Park Steward and help continue programs like these, please click here. (Being a steward gets you discounts on future workshops and events as well.)

RSVP is required for both events. A registration page will be available soon. For now, you can RSVP by calling 910-428-9001 or by emailing

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Baby Boomers Are Coming!

More and more, we are hearing stories about how the baby boomers of America are picking up their roots and moving to small, rural areas. The allure for these individuals are lower crime rates, slower pace of life, and more of a connection to their community, just to name a few.

The Daily Yonder recently did a blog about this subject and I found it to be very informative. It gives many facts and stats about this migration.

To read this blog, please click here.

The Towns That Build Entrepreneurs

The Daily Yonder blog recently had a great article about towns that have rebuilt their communities up using entrepreneurship. Like many of the small towns in the Central Park region, these towns had gone through the disappearance of large manufacturers and economic downturns. They have found four ways that have helped them make their communities work.
  • A Heavy Emphasis on Main Street
  • Putting Aside Differences
  • Focusing on Assets
  • Diversifying
Read the full article by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clay Factory Assistant Position Available

STARworks Ceramics is looking for a part-time assistant for the clay factory.

If you are qualified or know of someone who is qualified, send resume addressing relevant experience to or by fax at (910) 428-1001. Candidates may also fill out an application at the front office of STARworks/Central Park NC at 100 Russell Drive, Star, NC 27356.


Events, Open Houses and Chaos

Chaos has begun at Central Park NC. Employees are gearing up for big things and the Central Park region will benefit from it! We have events, open houses, workshops, classes, and so much more to look forward to as Fall creeps up on us.

Summer was very relaxed and we were able to get lots of projects completed. We have a new deck in the back of our building, the biofuels plant is getting a good cleaning for the new equipment, and the garden has been in full bloom and supplying the building and the community with fresh, organic vegetables. Now with August ending, it is time to focus on ending the year with a bang.


So today in our weekly staff meeting here in the STARworks building, we have finalized the date for our annual meeting. It is....drum roll....October 29! It will be on a Thursday from 5:30 to 8:00pm. You NEED to be at this event this year because with all of the creative, crazy, and fun ideas that were being thrown out there during our brainstorming session, this event can be nothing but a blast.

Our theme this year is Localism. In my opinion, this theme represents everything that Central Park NC stands for. We are all about local living from buying our supplies from local merchants to getting food from local farmers to making fuel that will be used by the community. That is what will keep our towns and cities thriving. We want this localism theme to grow and spread all around our eight county region.

I hope to see lots of people there as we eat, drink, dance, and be merry. I bet you did not know that we can have a lot of fun!

You must RSVP for the event. RSVP by emailing or by calling our offices at (910) 428-9001.


In another part of our building, the Ceramics staff are getting ready for their open house being held this Friday, August 28, from 5-7pm. Takuro and Santiago have been making our local North Carolina clay all week in order to have samples ready for all of our visitors. This clay has been so popular with potters that it has sold out and people are asking everyday for us to make more. During the open house, you can partake of complimentary food and beverage, tour the clay factory, or talk with some of the Central Park and STARworks staff.

There is so much going on at Central Park and STARworks that one blog just isn't enough. Go to our websites to find out more!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Central Park NC is now on Facebook. Become a fan and receive lots of information about your favorite region in North Carolina!

Central Park NC on Facebook

Explore Our Small Towns: Mt. Gilead, NC

Lately, I have been hearing about all of the great things going on in the small town of Mt. Gilead, NC. This small town located in Montgomery County is making a name for itself in the area. This weekend, we will go in search of adventures in a small town of about 1400 people located along the banks of Lake Tillery and the Pee Dee River.


The Town of Mt. Gilead began as the Providence settlement. This settlement was named by the leaders of the First Methodist Church. In 1855, the community's name was changed to Mt. Gilead, and in 1898 the Town was incorporated by the North Carolina General Assembly. From its inception through the 1930's, cotton was the biggest cash crop in Mt. Gilead. In the 1930's, as cotton farming waned in its importance, the textile industry emerged as the focal point of the local economy. Textiles dominated the local economic picture through the mid 1990's. Today in the abandoned cotton fields there springs forth another source of wealth for the Town: pine trees. This area has no shortage of timber, and the lumber industry has never been more important to the local economy than it is today.


No matter what region you visit in the United States, you will find evidence of the great Native American culture that established our country. Here in the Mt. Gilead area, they are lucky in having an organization that brings that culture to life.

The Town Creek Indian Mound is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina and is located a short distance from Mt. Gilead.

"Town Creek Indian Mound is an unusual phenomenon in the history of North American archaeology. Most archaeological sites are investigated for a few years and then archaeologists move on to new locations. Here long-range research has been conducted under several directors and different research plans. Town Creek, situated on Little River (a branch of the Great Pee Dee in central North Carolina), has been the focus of a consistent program of archaeological research under one director for more than 50 years.

This research has contributed to scientific understanding of the original inhabitants of our continent and has provided educational opportunities for many anthropology graduate and undergraduate students. Moreover, these scientific and high education contributions were made as the site contributed directly to public education."


The best part about the small towns of the Central Park region are their festivals and events. These annual events bring people together to celebrate all that is important in small towns and are so much fun, I look forward to going to as many as I can.

September Fest-

On September 12, 2009, bring the family to Mt. Gilead's September fest. This event will feature music, crafts, art, and lots of activities for everyone. For more information, please call the Mt. Gilead town hall at (910) 439-5111.

Town Creek Heritage Festival-

In September 12, this annual event with “Pow Wow” atmosphere includes singing, dancing, drumming, craft and food vendors. Fee charged: $4, adults, $1, 4-12 and three and under free. 12-5p.m. Come out and experience the history of the Native American culture.

Uwharrie Mountain Festival-

Although not held in Mt Gilead, this event, held the second Saturday in October, brings families and businesses from all across Montgomery County and beyond to enjoy the ancient Uwharrie Mountains. Believed to be one of the oldest mountains in America, this mountains and its forests are the pride of every small town in the area.


For regular readers of this blog, you know that this writer loves giving the insight on the best places to eat!

Ford Place Restaurant
Come to Mt. Gilead and you will hear all the buzz behind there newest establishment, the Ford Place. Owned by the people who bring you Henry's Tonight, this establishment has gotten a reputation by the locals as having some of the best food. And remember what I always say, the locals know there stuff, always ask! The owners are even putting in a 4000 foot event center for functions.

Check out their website for events, drinks specials, and loads of history about their building.