The Carolina Railhawks are returning Cary this summer! I’ve posted their schedule in many different formats for easy downloading to iPhones, Android Phones, Outlook, Google Calendar, and many, many more!
The calendars are available in the “Calendars” tab found at the top of the page at Gogoraleigh. Scroll down to “Carolina Railhawks Soccer 2012” and select your desired format.
Tomorrow morning (Monday) the Broughton Band will take another long-awaited step into the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. The Golden Regiment first marched this parade in 2008 and ever since rumors have floated about the actual retirement date of the band’s director, Jeff Richardson (“JR”). It was this second shot for which JR held out, and it was completely worth the wait, according to JR. After becoming active in the hosting process of the parade in recent years, the band was invited to not only return to the parade, but to march in the parade’s coveted final band slot. JR’s retirement is for real, this time, however, as his replacement will take the reins on February 1..
The parade will be aired from 11am to 1pm. While NBC is the more prominent network covering the event, HGTV (TWC Channels 1350 and 350) blows NBC’s coverage away year after year. Not only is their commentary about the craft of each float superb, they also show the marching bands for more then 5 seconds each.
Take a look at the Broughton Band during their first pass of the Raleigh Christmas Parade six weeks ago:
As another year draws to a close, it is always nice to reflect upon what changes Raleigh saw and consider their long term impact. It was another slow year, coupled with another business project for me (that gobbled about 90% of my free time since summer started). Hopefully we’ll see more fun stuff in 2012. Here are the Top 40 stories of 2011:
- RDU Terminal 2 Phase II Opens
- Scotty McCreery Wins American Idol
- Raleigh Hosts NHL All-Star Game
- Business and Building Losses – This is the first year in the blogging era when significant losses impacted Raleigh, losing several people, buildings, businesses, and identities: Lorenzo Charles, John Baker, Bart Ritner, Jolly’s Jewelers (130 years old), Tyler House, Fosters/Nelsons, “Hudson” Belk, Wachovia, Restoration Hardware, Blockbuster Video (most stores), Amedeo’s North, Borders, Cold Krispy Kreme in City Plaza, Chockey’s, Duck & Dumpling, The Diner; The Brewery, The Ballantines building in Cameron Village, 1720 Canterbury Drive, The Green House and Jackpot Bar;
- Tornado Rips Through Downtown Raleigh
- Local Election Yields Landslide Wins for Non-Conservatives
- Triangle Expressway Opens as NC’s First Toll Road
- Rembrandt Exhibit Opens at NCMA
- Food Truck Rules Change for Downtown Raleigh
- Webb Simpson Finishes Second in PGA Earnings
- Jeff Skinner Wins Calder Trophy
- Duke’s Kyrie Irving Selected #1 in NBA Draft
- WRAL Dismisses Pam Saulsby, Hires Jackie Hyland
- NCSU Fires Lowe, Hires Gottfried
- Coach K Sets NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I Wins Record
- Canes Fire Paul Maurice, Hire Kirk Muller
- Mayor Charles Meeker Retires
- Cameron Village Chick-Fil-A Breaks Ground
- Stall, Ward, Skinner Named to NHL All-Star Team
- GoLive Attempts To Unite Triangle Transit
- Glenwood South Hampton Inn Breaks Ground
- Edison Complex Redesigned
- Bobcats/Canes Swap Exhibition Games, Bobcats Cancel Game
- RBC Center Gets New, Red Lower Level Seats
- The Umstead Wins AAA Five Diamond Award
- Ed Mitchell Leaves The Pit
- ACC Expands to Include Syracuse and Pittsburgh
- Verizon LTE Service Launches in Triangle
- Rocky Top Hospitality Closes Red Room, Bogart’s, Michael Dean’s, opens Cantina South, Tribeca Tavern
- Tommy Bahama Store Opens in Crabtree
- Gonza Tacos y Taquila Opens
- City Council Endorses Light Rail Plan
- Meat House Opens in Quail Corners
- Renaissance North Hills Wins AAA Four Diamond, Best Marriott Award
- Mandolin Opens to Rave Reviews
- Green Square Complex Opens
- Fai Thai Opens, Abruptly Closes
- First Night Brings Ferris Wheel to Fayetteville Street
- Raleigh Restaurants Featured on LudoBites TV Show
- 96 Rock Changes Format
OpenTable Diners have spoken, and they have named Raleigh’s Solas among their list of best late night eats in the country. No other restaurants in North Carolina won the award.
With a new CD coming out in September, The Pixies are hitting the road this fall, and have planned a stop at Greensboro’s War Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, November 8. Surfer Blood opens. The ticket presale is currently running (password DOOLITTLE) thru Thursday (7/14) at 10pm.
Note: the new CD coming September 6 will be a Black Francis solo CD with songs by him and Reid Paley. It will be named Paley & Francis.
Since the park’s opening in 1973, Carowinds has entertained people for much of the Charlotte area. The only problem is that the park didn’t stand up the offerings by other parks 4-5 hours up/down Interstate 85. Therefore it simply could not compete for customers beyond an hour’s drive away. Those days are over.
Built as a celebration of the Carolinas, Carowinds offered just the basics typically offered by a regional amusement park. Even with the acquisition by the Taft Corporation and later Paramount, the park remained the bastard child to siblings Kings Dominion, Great America, Kings Island, and Canada’s Wonderland. In 2006, however, the parks were all purchased by Cedar Fair, the operator of Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio), the coaster capital of the world. Cedar Fair acquisition isn’t always a blessing, as the company disbanded a nice Geauga Lake park in Aurora, OH. Rides from that park were sent to the remaining parks, including Carowinds. Luckily, though, Carowinds was the recipient of intense attention from Cedar Fair, and the park now stands as a peer to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, and Six Flags Over Georgia. In fact, the park has some advantages over each of those listed.
There is good news for Verizon customers seeking the next level of wireless connectivity. On July 21 Verizon’s LTE will go active in the Triangle area. This includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Clayton, Morrisville, Chapel Hil, Carrboro, Gorman, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Garner and Smithfield. The company expects average data rates in real-world, loaded network environments to be 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink.
Of course, this comes on the heels of yesterday’s news about tiered data pricing Verizon will roll out on July 7. Those plans are rumored to offer 2GB/mo for $30, 5GB/mo for $50, and 10GB/mo for $80.
Therefore, if your are interested in getting an LTE phone on Verizon (like the Samsung Droid Charge, the HTC Thunderbolt, and the LG Revolution), it might be wise to make a move soon.
If you are interested in a new Android phone, you can always check out gogoraleigh’s Ultimate U.S. Android Phone Spreadsheet. It sorts out the carrier and pricing information for 44 Android phones that are either currently or soon-to-be available.
In a press release (.pdf) from earlier this week, Concord Hospitality Enterprises announced that their flagship hotel, The Renaissance Hotel at North Hills, was offered the Four Diamond award by AAA. The hotel was also named a Marriott International, Inc. 2010 Hotel of the Year.
Each year AAA awards Four and Five Diamond ratings to the finest hotels in the nation. The Resnaissance joins this list of Four Diamond hotels in North Carolina:
- ASHEVILLE: 1900 Inn on Montford (2009), Albemarle Inn (2003), Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville (2009), Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park (2010), Inn on Biltmore Estate (2001), The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa (2001),
- BOONE – Lovill House Inn (1997),
- CASHIERS – Innisfree Inn By-The-Lake (1994)
- CHAPEL HILL – Carolina Inn (1997), The Siena Hotel (1996)
- CHARLOTTE – Hilton Charlotte Center City (2007), Marriott Charlotte SouthPark (1989), Omni Charlotte Hotel (2001), The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte (2003), The Duke Mansion Historic Inn & Meeting Place (2005), The Westin Charlotte (2004)
- DURHAM – Arrowhead Inn Bed and Breakfast (2003), Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club (2000)
- GREENSBORO – Grandover Resort & Conference Center Golf & Spa (1999), O. Henry Hotel – (1999), Proximity Hotel (2008)
- HIGHLANDS – Old Edwards Inn and Spa (2005)
- LAKE TOXAWAY – Greystone Inn (1986)
- PINEHURST – Holly Inn (2002), The Carolina Hotel (1982)
- WILMINGTON – Graystone Inn (1999), The Verandas (2002)
The state has three Five Diamond Award winners:
- CARY – The Umstead Hotel and Spa (2007)
- CHARLOTTE – The Ritz-Carlton (2010)
- FEARRINGTON VILLAGE – The Fearrington House Inn (1994)
The iOS application Asheville Explorer’s Guide (iPhone, iPad) recently became a free offering from the Apple App Store. The app, traditionally at $2.99, is a fantastic tourist’s guide to North Carolina’s funky mountain city.
NOTE: The deal window has closed, and app is back to its $2.99 price.
Garner’s Scotty will appear on tonight’s episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The show starts at 11:30 on NBC.
President Obama was in the Triangle yesterday touting a new strategy for job growth. The multipronged plan comes from the advice of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a 26-member group populated largely by CEO’s of major corporations. The plan includes easier permitting and work visas, however the main thrust is on education and training. Unfortunately education is not the problem holding back America from expected productivity levels. The problem is seeded in a stagnant monetary system.
According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ over half of the private sector employees, produce 13X more patents per employee than large firms, and hire 40% of tech workers. Small businesses have generated 64% of new jobs over the past 15 years. Given that the GDP has been below its 30 year average for each of the last 4 years (an unprecedented dubious run in the modern era), it seems the key to job creation in this country is getting small businesses going. That cannot happen while banks are still sitting on cash.
While the Small Business Jobs Act has released some money into the private sector, it is largely an operation of the SBA and not by private sector lenders. Small businesses are still having an extremely difficult time securing funding for expansion and innovation, and business startups are extremely rare. Beyond small businesses, loans for new cars and for houses are still extremely difficult to secure even for those with excellent credit. The SBA can only back but so many cupcake shops. Private sector lending has to be in place.
“Investing in education” is, indeed, important for the long term outlook of America. However we have a short term problem that badly needs the correct solution. Releasing hundreds of thousands of “certified” factory trainees in this job market will only lead to huge increases of laborers seeking higher wages from jobs that aren’t there.
The president’s implication is that America has a talent shortage. In fact, there is a glut of unemployed talent. Where we need help is getting the banks to move their cash. Perhaps an increase of the Prime Rate would help. When banks can only get 4.5% on housing loans, they probably don’t have the incentive that they would have if they could get 7.5% or 8% on that money. Additionally the government needs to acknowledge these two rules of labor: 1) people create jobs and 2) they want to create jobs. The dirty truth to this, though, is that only certain people are the ones that create jobs. America’s economic woes will best vanish when those people have an easier time creating jobs. Burdening these people is only a recipe for a second dip. Trickle Down Economics is real, and what we are currently experiencing is Trickle Down Misery. As long as those who create jobs are miserable and lack confidence, those who don’t create jobs will suffer.
These are real issues. My stock broker has been fervent over the last 10 years about staying the course with the Long Term portfolio. When the Dow 30 closed at 6,547, a 54% drop over a 16-month period, in February of 2009, I continued to get letters about “staying the course”. Since that point the Dow 30 has returned to the 12,000 level, and much money has been made by savvy investors. Last week, however, I got a phone call requesting a meeting. It seems that there is an extremely strong feeling that the market is about to lose significant value again, and he advised pulling some money out of the market. “A 10% drop wouldn’t be surprising at all”. So why all the fuss on a long term portfolio if it’s much less that what we’ve just been through? (After all, I have to pay taxes on the profits from those shares). The scary factor here is that a quick recovery is not foreseen. When StayTheCoursers are scared, it’s time for us to be.
The problem, as it pertains to Raleigh, is that we just aren’t seeing a fertile new business market. The Downturn has changed us to a Derntown. While the economic malaise has eased pressure on the Teardown and Sprawl controversies, it also has severely hampered the downtown renaissance. Banks are simply not lending for creative projects, new restaurants, and construction of new housing options like we need them to. There is little interesting to cover with this blog when that is the case. It isn’t just this site, too. Only rarely do other local blogs present information that is even remotely interesting these days. The blogs need an economic revival, the local businesses need it, and the people need it.
Local governments can only improve the situation somewhat. We need cash we need it now. With a Jobs Commission that consists of only one person from the banking sector, is it any wonder that Washington doesn’t get it? As long as the president presses buttons that don’t solve our acute short and medium term problems, we should continue expect private enterprise to be short on Hope.
A crowd of around 8,000 was on hand last night at the RBC Center to watch as garnernorthcarolina–native Scotty McCreery was named the American Idol for Season 10. Congratulations to Scotty! I had a chance to be in that crowd and saw the event from an unexpected perspective.
As is evident in the video, the crowd went nuts when Scotty’s name was announced. As you watch the video, however, note the general amount of noise in the room as Ryan is leading up to the pause, then notice the total silence as the Idol monotone sound effect is finally heard. With 8,000 waiting with baited breath, all it took was the “Sss” sound by Ryan Seacrest to send the room into a frenzy. We never even heard “cotty McCreery”. This was a special aspect of the evening that local news outlets have missed. Here are a few other points:
The RBC Center staff welcomed the crowd with a lower level of security than we typically see at NCSU and Hurricanes events. As the crowds filed in ushers guided people sequentially filling each lower level section in order to get the best flying camera shots on the national television production. A few concession stands were open selling basic concessions including beer, however probably 70% of the crowd was under 21 years of age.
With the hockey season over, the RBC Center floor has no ice and the hockey walls have been removed. Therefore we got the unusual view of an empty, gray arena floor that was dotted with a few chairs and a boom camera. Sections 106 thru 117 of seating were completely empty, so the empty seats and empty floor presented some odd acoustical problems for the RBC Center’s presentation on the scoreboard video screens. The audio was loud, but somewhat shrill and echoing, so the sound quality would have been much better in my den. However the crowd on hand cheered at the exact times the crowd in Los Angeles did, so it made the event unexpectedly come to life.
American Idol sent Matt Rogers, a Season 3 Idol contestant, to be the Master of Ceremonies. Matt’s banter with the crowd and crew during commercials was refreshing. One of the biggest responses of the night came when he noted that the cameraman was on the floor of The Pit the night of April 4, 1983.
The highlight of Rogers’ duties came at the end of the night. Swarming with elated fans, Matt was pictured on the video boards holding and kissing a cardboard cutout of Scotty. If only National had time to show that hilarious moment.
Rogers also alerted the crowd to times that National was possibly going to cut to Raleigh, and kept us apprised of the finale’s timing difficulties. One of the planned acts for the show was to include live interviews from both Lauren’s and Scotty’s home crowds, but these segments were cut due to overruns. During one of the TV show’s acts, the Raleigh crowd was told to be silent as Rogers and the production crew blocked a revised Raleigh cut, however that segment was cut, too.
We can’t understand how a 2 hour production runs so long that acts are cut. There were no free-form blocks in the acts outside of Ryan Seacrest’s introductions. All of the musical performances were preblocked with the lighting crews, and all of the video packages are all a finite length.
As the Raleigh segment was cut, we noticed Ryan Seacrest blowing through the introduction of performances and even wondered if the abbreviated performance of “Dream On” by Steven Tyler was a late change. It seemed to be the only act in the second hour with flexibility, as production crews could not cut Lady Gaga’s song or that dreadful Spiderman performance.
Early numbers are in and it appears that last night’s finale drew 29.3 million viewers, so it will likely be the #2 watched television show of 2011, falling second only to the Super Bowl. For reference, the NCAA National Championship Football and Basketball games drew 15 million and 12 million, respectively. Dancing With The Stars’ Finale drew 21 million.
It was an exceptional night for the town of Garnernorthcarolina, as Scotty calls it. The Blue Crew of Scotty’s high school friends completely filled section 119 and did a good job of cheering on the rest of the crowd. The Wave even made an appearance during one of the show’s final commercial breaks.
One of the great moments of the show was the introduction of Lauren and Scotty’s most influential teachers. Not only did the two get invited to the AI Finals, they were acknowledged on international television and given new Ford cars. Garner High School choral director Meredith Clayton was stunned and elated as one of her greatest moments as a teacher got even better.
I’m here to say that any male at Garner High School who isn’t in that woman’s program is a complete idiot. She is adorable and added to the fantastic presentation of this area. Oh, and she’s probably a pretty good choral teacher; it’s in her pedigree. (Clayton’s mother was Clay Aiken’s choral teacher.)
Something In The Water?
Raleigh native and Broadway star Lauren Kennedy was ecstatic watching the American Idols finale. She even went to Twitter wondering if there is something in the water in North Carolina given, yet another, American Idol impact performer. Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, and Anoop Desai were all sensational on the show, but Scotty is the area’s first champion. Kennedy’s point makes one wonder if the area has even more to give in future seasons…
I Saw It Coming
The reason I took my family to the RBC Center last night is because I had a strong inclination that Scotty was going to win. Scotty never gave me “WOW” moments like other contestants did, however winning Idol depends on getting votes, and getting them from the people who vote. A lot more goes into this equation that simply soaring vocals. One of the interesting facets to Dentistry is getting a sense of the buzz in the general population. After the last 5 seasons, I think that American Idol has become something that is largely determined by middle-aged, strong Christian women who would like to lose 20-50 pounds. This demographic has been right on par with who wins in each of the last 5 seasons. The result is a clean-cut, somewhat talented singer who doesn’t show off. Let’s look at those last 5 seasons:
Jordin Sparks vs. Blake Lewis – Jordin Sparks is an All-American type woman with a great voice. Blake Lewis is a good singer, but his beat-boxing, rap-leaning music did not resonate with the demographic. Had Lewis been a more of a smiling pop singer, he could have won.
David Cook vs. David Archuletta – At first one would think that the devout Christianity of Archuletta would excite the demographic, but that isn’t what totally excites them. They actually like rock-leaning pop music over vanilla pop.
Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert – No one will argue that Adam Lambert doesn’t have a phenomenal voice, however he was too flamboyant and screamed too much to overcome that smile that the demographic loves.
Lee Dewyze vs. Crystal Bowersox – Crystal was the one that blew everyone’s doors off in Season 9. However when it came down to two, the grunginess of Crystal didn’t excite the demographic as much as Lee’s moderate pop and smiling eyes.
Scotty McCreery vs. Lauren “Alaina” – (Lauren’s last name is not Alaina, btw) Season 10 featured an accurate singer with low, but narrow range winning over a beautiful voice that needs more seasoning. That’s not what swayed the vote at all, though. Genre was a wash as both singers exclusively sang Country songs. Scotty has a big smile and never projected a cocky demeanor. That’s difficult to overcome, even for a really good voice. Lauren was my family’s early pick based on who would get the cascading loser votes, however that was based on Scotty finishing around 5th. In the end it appears that Scotty is the only person that Lauren could not beat. Match Lauren against any of the other 11 final contestants, and The Demographic picks her every single time.
So, the demographic I mentioned seems to be the set that is most likely to pick the winner, but they are swayable each year, and this was no exception. In each of the last 4 finals, the judges have unofficially anointed the better voice as the winner. However in each of those nights, we’ve seen a huge backlash. This season the backlash was exacerbated by the show’s emphasis on Lauren’s vocal injury in rehearsal. The result was: people who would have voted for Scotty 10X voted 150X. This is exactly the case with someone I know, and I’ll venture to say those numbers were repeated throughout The Demographic.
We did some digging and found where Lauren Alaina lives. It’s at the dead end of a country road near Chattanooga. Sounds like the beginning of a country song, doesn’t it. Lauren’s family has obviously struggled financially and it is great to see Lauren get this chance. She has been gifted with an excellent voice and has noticeably improved as a performer over the last 3 months. Lauren had serious confidence issues in the first half of the competition, and learning more about her background helped to explain this. She still needs to perform past the first two rows of the auditorium and she still needs to work on hitting the climax of a song correctly. I have complete confidence this will come with more training and maturity, and fully see Lauren Alaina having an excellent career in Nashville along the lines of Lee Ann Womack or LeAnn Rimes.
The one overriding question in the American Idol aftermath is whether Scotty can overcome the Idol Curse. Of the nine Idols, only Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have been able to advance their career’s beyond “Idol Winner” status. Scotty has a very decent chance of being the third, not because of his talents per se, but rather because of the market.
Country music used to be only popular in rural areas and the South. However since Garth Brooks’ breakthrough, the genre has steadily seen growth in other areas of the country and social strata. With Rock being as dead as it has ever been and stations like G105 forcing Lady Gaga and Kanye West into pop radio, a very serious backlash is about to occur. Teens are quickly turning toward Country music in droves, and there really is no end in sight.
Scotty’s new single, “I Love You This Big” was released this morning, and the producers have done a sensational job of capturing the powerful portions of his voice. The song will be a hit this Summer in Country radio. Scotty is hitting the wave at the perfect time, as there aren’t any big teen country singers right now. Paired with good songs (and that has been a problem for so many Idols), Scotty can be the next Idol to break through.
This year’s show produced an extremely good group of finalist. James Durbin is quite likely to have success in the dormant Rock realm, Pia is likely to be a hit in Adult Contemporary, and the sky is the limit for Casey and Haley. Casey is enormously talented and keeping him focused will be a key while Haley showed with her version of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” that she doesn’t have to shout to be outstanding. Paul McDonald and Jacob Lusk are a couple of others who, if matched with the right songwriters, could also see good careers. We’ll see.
* * *
It’s crazy that we are even talking about this. Two months ago many of us thought we had an versatile, typical young country voice on our hands. Now here we are talking about Scotty McCreery being the next in a long list of Springtime major, national successes in the Triangle area. The Idols tour comes to the RBC Center on July 27, and you can expect one of the longest ovations in that building’s impressive history when McCreery takes the stage.
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- History Making Heels and Wolfpack Prepare for Battle January 14, 2015
- 25 Predictions for 2015 January 5, 2015
- Raleigh’s 10 Biggest Stories of 2014 January 2, 2015
- 2014: The Rain Year January 2, 2015
- Tupelo Honey Sets New Casual Standard December 1, 2014
- 2013 Predictions. A Look Back November 18, 2014
- Wicked Taco Bringing Fresh-Mex to Western Blvd November 17, 2014
- DOT Unveils I-440 Widening Plans November 12, 2014
- County Power Shift Brings Major Changes to Raleigh’s Future November 5, 2014
- Jarrett Bay Store Coming to Crabtree September 25, 2014
- FirstWatch Coming to Glenwood Avenue September 9, 2014
- Big Shindig Releases Set Times September 5, 2014
- Appearance Commission to Review Residence Inn September 3, 2014