Q&A

Randee Haven O'Donnell

Q&A

How well do you know other members of our community? No, not what they think about politics or their views on international relations. We’re talking about the more important personal questions — like what’s their favorite restaurant.

In our new, regular Q&A feature, The Local Reporter decided to find out how our neighbors would answer the same five (mostly easy and a little quirky) questions.

Want to let your neighbors — and the rest of our community — know a little bit more about you? Then answer our Q&A. Email editor@thelocalreporter.press and put Q&A in the subject line.


Q&A with Randee Haven O’Donnell

Randee Haven O’Donnell is a member of the Carrboro Town Council.

What’s your go-to restaurant?
Spotted Dog.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Vancouver, BC
 
What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
Carrboro — 42 years ago, hometown shops and businesses, human-size scale, look and feel.

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
Weaver Street Market lawn or at Town Commons.

What is your favorite TV show?
The Rachel Maddow Show.


Susan Romaine

Q&A with Susan Romaine

Susan Romaine is a member of the Carrboro Town Council.

What’s your go-to restaurant?
Cham Thai Cuisine in Carrboro

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
After the air clears, hiking through the California redwoods.

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
I moved to Carrboro after living in Chicago, Boston and Washington, DC. So, Chapel Hill-Carrboro felt very small, welcoming, uncongested (I never complain about the traffic here!), charming and a little quirky. One of my most vivid first impressions was the many cars with bumper stickers — the most of any small town in the South, I hear.

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
In times, Open Eye Café and Gray Squirrel are my go-to places for a really good cup of coffee with friends and co-workers. During COVID, almost all of my social interactions are during walks around Lake Hogan Farms (where we live) or the nearby Pumpkin Trail.

What is your favorite TV show?
I don’t really have a favorite show. When I do watch TV, it’s usually for news or sports. I’m a big UNC and LSU fan, and  I also rooted for the L.A. Lakers to win the NBA championship for Kobe.


Q&A with Rani Dasi

Rani Dasi

Rani Dasi is a corporate finance professional and a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.

What’s your go-to restaurant?
My favorite cuisine is Indian food followed closely by Thai. Vimala’s, Chimney and Cham are my current local favorites.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’m interested in the history and culture of Morocco and I would love to see the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania/Kenya. The Serengeti hosts the second largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, which helps secure it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, and as one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world.

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
Lots of transplants, welcoming people and beautiful weather. I think I was here for a while before I actually met someone from North Carolina. 

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
We are so lucky to be in a community with so much green space and walking trails. I enjoy a socially distanced walk on the Pumpkin Loop trails in Chapel Hill North. 

What is your favorite TV show?
Don’t have a lot of time to watch TV. If I watch anything it’s likely a recorded version of “The Daily Show” or “Blackish.”


Q&A with Laurie Paolicelli

Laurie Paolicelli

Laurie Paolicelli is Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.  

What’s your go-to restaurant?
I love Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn. I’m fortunate in that I have many clients that I’ve had to meet there and I just fell in love with the menu, the visuals, and the feeling of being on campus and watching all these academics discussing the future over fried chicken and pimento cheese. It’s thrilling for me each time. And my visiting friends and family love their menu. And of course, parking is easy.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Norway has always been on my bucket list. I grew up near Duluth, MN, home to many residents of Scandinavian descent. I remember watching the 1994 Olympics in and around Lillehammer, Norway and thinking, “Oh, it looks just like “Duluth.” I want to visit in winter but my family is insisting on a summer visit. We were close to booking it when the pandemic hit.

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
It was sort of like Dorothy waking up in Oz. I had never experienced a place as visually beautiful. I stayed at the Siena during my job interview and driving down Franklin Street, all the way through Carrboro, and then on to the Weaver Street lawn for coffee. It was all simply mesmerizing. On my second trip here to house hunt nobody told me about the Carrboro Music Festival so I just assumed it was a normal weekend around these parts. I took the job.

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
I have meetings at the Visitors Center conference room at 501 W. Franklin because it’s easy to sit apart, with masks and talk. I love to sit out on the bench in front of our Center on Saturday and Sunday mornings with my coffee cup and just say “hey” to the runners and walkers out before noon. It’s such a small town that you actually end up having important conversations on Franklin Street. Even though we are not officially open yet, we offer that meeting room to anyone who needs to meet face to face. Just drop me an email: lpaolicelli@visitchapelhill.org and I’ll open up and even serve coffee.

What is your favorite TV show?
Aww, there’s so much good television now. I’ve really stayed up late and watched wonderful TV since March. I’m a big Trevor Noah fan. And I love, Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel on HBO, because it’s all about the human behind the sport. In fact, this is a wonderful time for me to plug the recent editorial he recited on what it’s like to be black in America. He calls it the Black tax. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvKPBJVAPWE


Q&A with Issac Marsh

Issac Marsh

Issac Marsh is the head football coach at Chapel Hill High School.

What’s your go-to restaurant?
Olive Garden

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Italy

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
Supportive and reliable

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course. 
Weaver Street Market

What is your favorite TV show? 
Grey’s Anatomy


Q&A with Rob Gelblum

Rob Gelblum

Rob Gelblum is a lawyer, former counsel to the State of North Carolina’s Brownfields Program and the state’s Superfund Program, and a Carrboro-based musician who has been playing guitar and piano, and singing, for more than 50 years.

What’s your go-to restaurant? 
I don’t get out much, but let’s say Vimala (I’m a sucker for Indian).

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Paris (France, not Texas), where I lived as a busker for two years in the ’70s.

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
Utter fascination. It was 1968 when my family moved here from Philly. I’d had no idea there were places that were a) Southern, b) small-townish, and c) liberal, and also filled with friendly folks and beautiful surrounding countryside.

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
As noted, I don’t get out much in this, my first stint here since the mid-’80s. If you’d asked that question regarding 1975, I’d have answered, “Town Hall/Cat’sCradle/WildflowerKitchen/Carolina Coffee Shop/Tijuana Fats.” For 30 years, until two years ago, we were on the other side of the Triangle in Raleighwood.

What is your favorite TV show?
“The Wire” (hope it doesn’t have to be a current show).


Q&A with Jamie Fiocco

Jamie Fiocco is the owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.

What’s your go-to restaurant?
It depends on what I’m in the mood for, there are many great options in Chapel Hill. I’ve had a hankering for Turkish food recently so Talullahs  on West Franklin Street comes to mind.
 
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’ve had the good fortune to travel a lot for both work and vacation, and there are many places I’d like to return to but I’ve always wanted to visit North Africa, specifically Morocco.

What was your first impression of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community?
I moved here in 1975 with my family from New Jersey, so my first impression was of Carrboro Elementary School. I had an amazing third-grade teacher who helped me fit in even though I came in the middle of the year. She created my very own reading lists which I’ll forever be thankful for.

Where’s the best place to meet people locally? Socially distanced, of course.
Oh well, since I’m working at my bookstore (Flyleaf Books) I’m not really going out anywhere because we’re trying to keep outside interactions down, and the business going. But I won’t deny I’m pining for a seat at the bar and good conversation with the bartenders with a cold beer in hand at OCSC, Bow Bar, the Dead Mule as well as music at Cat’s Cradle … but for the time being, it’s my backyard and my husband Michael and our three cats. And whatever deer, chickens and rabbits pass by.

What is your favorite TV show?
I’m afraid I gave up on TV a long time ago. It’s news and sports (baseball, soccer, UNC teams) for me so I’m not a good person to have on a trivia team!

Want to let folks know about your favorite TV show or your first impressions of our community? Email thelocalreporter.press with your responses to our Q&A.

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