Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Basketball, "The Triangle," Squirrels and More

We welcome Debbie as a new follower.  Debbie recently started her own blog and you can find it here.  We went to church with Debbie and Tom in Arkansas, so please take a minute and check out her blog.  

As I mentioned in a previous post, our granddaughter Sarah is in college, majoring in Graphic Design.  We got this picture of Sarah today -- it's part of a project she is working on for one of her classes.  Good job, Sarah...

This is such a busy place!  No matter where we go or what time of the day we travel, there are signs all around that this area is extremely busy.  Traffic is continually moving in all directions and parking lots are full.  This is one of many parking lots we pass on our daily trek to Duke.

Not only are the parking lots full, but parking is allowed along the streets as well, by permit only.

Most know that basketball is VERY big in North Carolina and everyone knows Michael Jordan, who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  There are three top-notch teams just miles from each other -- UNC at Chapel Hill -- the Tar Heels; North Carolina State -- the Wolfpack -- in Raleigh; and of course Duke's Blue Devils in Durham.  All three play in the ACC and are very competitive.  Duke played UNC last week, with Duke winning by only one point.  UNC led pretty much the entire game, with an 11-point lead at one time.  I was ready to give it up and go to bed, but my daughter text'd me and said, "Don't give up...Duke is known for coming back."  The Tar Heels led by 10 with 2:38 minutes left to play.  After a big rally, Duke was down by three when freshman Austin Rivers made a long three as the buzzer sounded, allowing Duke to win 85-84.  The Tar Heels were ranked #10 and the Blue Devils #5 before that game.

We have heard the term "The Triangle" on the local news and we also saw signs on the highway indicating "Research Triangle Park" (RTP).  I wanted to know more -- just exactly what is "The Triangle," so I did a little research.   

During the 1950s, business and government leaders were worried about North Carolina's economic future.  Back then, North Carolina was home to a deteriorating economy that was rooted in tobacco, furniture manufacturing, small-scale farming and textiles.  North Carolina had the second-lowest per capita income in the nation and their economic future looked dismal.  That's when leaders in the community, including Robert Hanes -- the president of Wachovia Bank and Trust Company -- and Romeo Guest -- a Greensboro contractor -- started planning what they could do to  attract modern industries to the state.  They came up with the idea  of establishing a research area -- a park if you will -- that would provide a physical infrastructure that would attract research oriented companies.  The advantage of locating such a park was that the companies could employ the highly-educated local work force and be near the research being conducted by the state's research universities. 

After much thought, those involved decided they did not want the government involved, so the RTP became a private endeavor, with cooperation from the universities.  The developers, however, had to overcome a few problems.  They had to work to rehabilitate the state's image to attract companies and their employees from across the nation.  They also had to convince prospective companies the South was capable of handling such a research park and they  needed to raise money and purchase land.  

With Governor Luther Hodges' endorsement, the Research Triangle Committee was formed in 1956. In 1957, the executive director of that committee approached a developer, Karl Robbins, to develop land for the proposed research park.  Robbins created Pineland, Inc, a stock venture to purchase land for the center.  However, very few people purchased stock, so developers sought corporate and institutional funding.  The Research Triangle Institute was formed in 1958 and operated independently from the area universities.  In a year, the institute raised $1.5 million.  At the end of 1959, five companies had located to the RTP.  By the mid-1960s, public confidence in the park's long-term success was solidified when IBM announced its plans for a 400-acre, 600,000 square foot research facility in the RTP and the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare publicized its plan to establish its National Environment Health Service Center there as well.  Over the next four decades, the Park averaged six companies and 1800 new employees annually. 

Today, a number of various industries have a strong presence in The Triangle, including IT, telecom, pharmaceuticals, biotech, agrochem, healthcare and banking/financial services.  This diversity makes for a healthy economy.  The RTP is a 7000-acre campus that is home to more than 170 global businesses and organizations that employ nearly 40,000 Triangle residents, with an additional 10,000 contractors. The Triangle area continues to experience a solid job market and even new business growth, despite the overall downturn in the economy. It remains one of the most public-private partnerships in national history.

The 2010 census indicates the three cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill have a population of over 1.7 mil.  

We now better understand why there is so much traffic and why the parking lots are always full.  It appears the economy is alive and well in this area, but we are told the construction business has slowed considerably, as it has in many other areas.

As we travel to and from Duke every day, we see a group of panhandlers at the same intersections.  They wear safety vests and carry signs that say things like, "Homeless, Anything helps...God bless."  "Disabled, Please Help."  I asked locals if this group was a part of an organization and was told they have been there for at least 20 years and could be part of a local men's rescue mission.

Alan snapped these pics of the squirrels outside our window munching stale ciabatta bread he threw to them...

We continue to see deer -- they blend into their surroundings so well...

I forgot to mention that Judy of "Travels-with-Emma" said the hawk pic I posted a week or so ago is a Red-shouldered hawk.  Thanks Judy.

There are several places we would like to explore, but my treatment gets in the way of that exploration.  Since my rad appointments are 2:00 in the afternoon, it's hard to do much of anything else.  However, we hope to visit some places before we leave here in mid-March, early April.  

This is my fourth week of radiation, with two more weeks and one day to go.    It seems to be going by fairly quickly.  I have days when I am tired after my treatment and days when I am fine.  Towards the end of next week I will get what's called a "boost."  Each session will focus directly on the bed where my tumor was.  Thanks for your encouragement -- it helps to know folks care.  

That's it for now -- thanks for stopping by.   May God bless you and keep you safe in your travels!


  1. That's really interesting information about the research park. Amazing what can happen without government help! Love that photo of your granddaughter. What a neat idea. Glad you only have two weeks to go...Whew!! Take care and God Bless.

  2. Thanks for the interesting RTP history lesson. Happy to hear all is going well with your rad.

  3. Love what Sarah's doing with her project! Good to hear the time is passing fairly quickly. You'll be busting out of that radiology facility as the leaves are bursting out on the trees!