Why A-List Heartthrobs & NYT Columnists Hang Out in Chapel Hill (And Other Honorable Mentions)

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New York Columnist Meets National Soccer Star at The Crunkleton

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Frank Bruni met up with local legend and World-Cup winner Heather O’Reilly. Photo courtesy of Frank Bruni.

The New York Times’ columnist Frank Bruni was in town giving a talk at UNC, his alma mater, and he made sure to leave well fed. He tweeted praises for the spectacular crabcakes at Lantern and said he loves The Crunkleton because “I get bourbon in heavy crystal tumbler and meet soccer legend Heather O’Reilly.” (Heather played soccer at UNC and lives in Chapel Hill. She recently went to the White House to meet President Obama, along with the rest of the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national soccer team.)

A-List Heartthrobs Party it Up in Chapel Hill

Two young pop stars were downtown 
within hours of each other in November. Ed Sheeran, 24, who dates Duke field hockey player Cherry Seaborn, stopped by He’s Not Here and [B]Ski’s. The next evening, Joe Jonas, 26, ate at Al’s Burger Shack, performed at Local 506 and bought food for concert-goers at Italian Pizzeria III.

Local Band Makes It Big at Macy’s Parade

Photo courtesy of Joseph Blankenship

Chapel Hill-based band Mipso performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while riding atop Kentucky Fried Chicken’s float. “We normally tour in a minivan but we realized we are pretty into the whole parade float rolling bucket palace vibes,” the band tweeted.

PlayMakers Artistic Director Receives Praise from Emmy-Award Winner

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Photo by Alison Sheehy

PlayMakers Repertory Company has a new producing artistic director, Vivienne Benesch. Since 2005, Vivienne has served as artistic director
of Chautauqua Theatre Company in western New York. She’s also acted and directed on and off Broadway, in the West End, in film and on television. She counts Emmy-winning actress Debra Messing of “Will & Grace” among her fans. The two met as classmates at NYU’s Graduate Acting Program in 1993. “She was
a luminous actress, ferociously intelligent and uniquely sensitive,” Messing recalled in a press release. “She inspires wherever she goes.” Adds Vivienne: “I’m thrilled to be moving somewhere that has always made me feel simultaneously relaxed and inspired to work harder.”

First-Grader Gets Presidential Attention

Estes Hills Elementary first-grader Sanaa Horton received a special delivery from 
the White House after writing a letter to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama last spring. As a student
 in Claire Ross’ kindergarten class, Sanaa wrote an essay about why she loved President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and her country. This fall, Sanaa received a signed letter and pictures from the President.

Two Chapel Hillians Receive Highest Civic Honor

Howard Lee and Dr. Everette James received the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, from Gov. Pat McCrory. Howard, a former Chapel Hill mayor and state senator, was honored for his service, while Everette was recognized for his commitment to fine arts.

Retired Navy Commander Awarded the Long Leaf Pine

P.H. Craig was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the governor’s office. The Long Leaf Pine is considered among the highest civilian awards for service in the state. P.H. is known for his more than 40 years in the Chapel Hill real estate community. He is a retired Navy commander and involved in the Chapel Hill Rotary. Guests at the presentation included Howard Lee, Ellie Kinnaird, Sylvia Hatchell and Elaine Marshall.

East Chapel Hill High Grad Wins Prestigious Music Award

East Chapel Hill High’s Ryan Ellefsen was elected N.C. Eastern Regional Orchestra Teacher of the Year.

Local Principal Declared “Principal of the Year”

Laverne Mattocks, principal of Carrboro High School, was named Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 2015 Principal of the Year. She will now represent the school system in the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year program.

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