My Friday Five: On State Fair & Changes At My Alma Maters

1. State Fair Roundup

Another year of the N.C. State Fair is in the books for me. I ended up going three times, primarily to do one thing each time. Last Friday, I went to see my friend, Katie Basden, perform. On Saturday, I saw another friend, Larry Frick, perform as well. Both put on great shows! I went once more on Tuesday, primarily to see the King BMX Stunt Show, but I also caught part of a performance by Jo Gore on the Waterfall Stage. She performed jazz standards as well as the classic hymn "Just A Closer Walk with Thee" - my, now, late grandmother's favorite. I'd been pretty down while at the fair this year because my grandmother and I have gone almost every year. It was hard not having her right there with me since her passing, but I felt like Jo's performance of that song was my grandmother saying to me that she was there. Definitely a wild moment!

In other news, my photo did not place at the Photography Competition yet again (no surprise there). At least the piece that won was really nice so there's that. Maybe next year - I guess.

2. The Price of Progress

Hillsborough Street, near N.C. State University in Raleigh, is in the midst of a big transformation. Heck, it's incredible to see what has changed since I was a student at State which, of course, was just two years ago. With progress often comes a price and that has already been the case with the Hillsborough Street transformation. First came the building where popular records store, Schoolkids Records, was located being torn down in favor of a hotel. The next iconic business to reportedly fall victim is The Alley, an "old-school" bowling venue that has been a mainstay to the community for decades. The owner said that he couldn't work out a new lease that would make sense moving forward, opting to close The Alley and open a new concept in Durham at the Liberty Warehouse Apartments, according to WRAL. The Alley will close its doors November 26.

Any thoughts on The Alley's closing and/or the Hillsborough Street transformation? Drop me a line in the comments!

3. A New Northern High School?

That's right. A new Northern High School could be built if Durham voters give their approval to a bond referendum on Election Day. Part of the referendum allocates funds to build the new high school on the same land where the current facility resides, according to several sources. These sources also report that the school itself will be built where athletic fields and student parking lots are currently located and vice versa. I was hesitant about this at first given Northern, my high school alma mater, has been in this same location since 1955 - 61 years! But it's great to know that the new school will remain on the original property. My one burning question: will Northern finally get its own, true football field/stadium? All my life the team has traveled to Durham County Stadium for its home games and while County Stadium is nice, nothing would beat seeing football games truly on home turf. I guess time will tell!

4. Discount Tire

A company that I've gotten two sets of tires from is making headlines this week. The Arizona-based Discount Tire has come under fire after its owner, Bruce Halle, reportedly gave $1 million in an effort to defeat Proposition 205, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana in Arizona. The report has prompted many supporters of the proposition to call for a boycott of the company. But this is not the first time Discount Tire has come under fire. According to the Phoenix New Times, the tire company caught heat from local immigrant groups in August after many of its stores had "Re-Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio" signs posted. Arpaio is, according to the Phoenix New Times, "almost certain" to face criminal charges of contempt for violating orders handed down in the landmark Melendes v. Arpaio discrimination case. That, alone, is enough for me to say peace out to Discount Tire. I'll be going elsewhere from now on.

5. Mack Hollins

I'll finish up this week's "Friday Five" by sending my best wishes to senior UNC wide receiver, Mack Hollins, who suffered a season (and college career)-ending collarbone injury during the Heels' game at Miami. The former walk-on will be missed not only for his contributions on the field, which were incredible I might add, but his leadership as well. I'm confident that we'll be hearing from Mack again very soon. Get well soon and God Bless!

Thanks for Reading