Carrboro.com is owned and operated by Jackie Helvey, an artist who moved to the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina from Indiana on Thanksgiving Day of 1979. She recognizes the significance of arriving on this date and remains forever thankful. |
After producing car parts at an automotive parts factory beginning when she was a senior in high school in Logansport, IN, Helvey moved south in 1979, in search of a better life. A stint walking the picket line when they went on strike resulted in threats of prosecution, so there was no tearful goodbye when she walked out the door of Switches. It was a layoff that, gratefully, never ended, a stroke of luck that eventually landed Helvey in Carrboro.
Her part-time job as a bartender in Indiana served her well when she moved to NC, where they had only recently gotten "liquor by the drink," and knowledgeable barkeeps were in high demand. Helvey was hired by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill as the one and only state-employed bartender, running the Pine Room Lounge in the Carolina Inn, a position she held until 1993. This not only gave her a decent living wage and her family health insurance, it also gave her a unique perspective on her community. While managing this bar, she received a higher education that money couldn't buy. She also gave birth to her two daughters during these years. While Jackie wasn't born here, she did grow up here.
Helvey purchased her house in Carrboro in March of 1985, moving back from Chatham County after having resided in a less than desirable apartment complex there years prior. She came back anyway. She was meant to be here.
In 1996 she taught herself graphic design and website development and started her business,
UniqueOrn Enterprises. Helvey picked up her camera again, a longtime love, and began documenting the history of Carrboro in photos and stories.
It's the hope of Jackie to make a difference in the community where she lives, works, plays, and has raised her daughters, Amber and Teresa Hayes. Both are graduates of East Chapel Hill High School. Amber is a graduate of High Point University and Reese attended Western Carolina. Both continue to live in North Carolina. In 2018, she became a grandmother when her daughter Teresa gave birth to Phoenix, her precious grandson.
In 2018, after over 11 years on the air, Jackie retired her weekly radio show focusing on the arts in and around Carrboro called The Wacqueline Stern Show. Her show was on Fridays at 6pm on WCOM, 103.5 FM, Chapel Hill and Carrboro's all volunteer run community radio station. Helvey also does occasional commentaries and interviews for 1360 WCHL in Chapel Hill.
Helvey began videotaping some of her WCOM shows in 2009. The radio show video clips, including live premiere music performances, are available on the Wac Stern Show Channel on Vimeo. These interview videos became The Wacqueline Stern TV Show, a television show produced by Jackie and broadcast on the Peoples Channel in Chapel Hill and Carrboro and in Durham on Durham Community Media. She tried to pretend like she knew what she was doing and sometimes she actually did.
As a web designer since 1996, Jackie received Golden Web Awards, given by the International Association of Web Masters and Designers for excellence in website design and content, as well as having won two out of three statewide awards from the NC Center for Voter Education for political candidates' websites. She has designed websites for countless university departments, artists, galleries, businesses, farmers, etc., and has designed and maintained numerous websites for over two decades.
In 2015 she was included in a book on the history of Carrboro written by Richard Ellington and Dave Otto, the 2nd volume, in the chapter titled "Architects of Change."
On April 23, 2015, Jackie sat on a Community Leaders' Forum on WCHL Radio, participating in the segment titled "The Changing Face of Carrboro."
As a photographer, one of Helvey's pictures was voted best photo on the Environment North Carolina's website, and her images have been featured on numerous websites, in publications, and TV news stories. Her photo exhibit, "Happy 100th Birthday Carrboro," featuring the people and places of Carrboro, was part of a group exhibit celebrating Carrboro's 100th birthday, from June-October, 2011, at Carrboro Branch Library. It will be part of a permanent collection in the new Carrboro Library. She was the photographer for the Carrboro Farmers' Market for over 15 years and worked as a photographer for the Town of Carrboro for more than a decade.
Some of the publications where Jackie's images can be found include the Bon Appétit Magazine and Williams-Sonoma websites, The National Building Museum in Washington DC's book Green Community, Our State Magazine, The Raleigh News and Observer, The Independent, AAA Carolina's GO Magazine, The Chapel Hill News, The Carrboro Citizen, Chapel Hill Magazine, The Herald Sun, Blue Ridge Outdoors, the Carrboro Visitor's Guide, the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitor's Guide and WTVD TV.
A strong supporter of the arts, Jackie was on the Town of Carrboro Arts Committee Advisory Board from 1998 until 2011. She is a founder of the Carrboro Music Festival and has remained a member of that committee since 1997. She founded the Carrboro Film Festival in 2006 and continues to serve on that committee. Since the late 1990's Helvey has served, and continues to serve, on numerous committees and boards in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. She has been named a "Hometown Hero" twice, receiving Village Pride Awards, the most recent in November, 2013. Jackie is always striving to make her community a better place while working to keep the arts in the forefront.
On April 5th, 2011, the Town of Carrboro presented Helvey with a sculpture in honor of her years on the Carrboro Arts Committee, and passed a resolution, read at the Carrboro Day Centennial Celebration, declaring the first week of May, "Jackie Helvey Week," an honor that was a first in Carrboro. On May 18, 2011 she was given Roses by the Chapel Hill News.
On November 22, 2009, Helvey made her acting debut as the director in the Carrboro Film Festival Intro. As co-chair of the Carrboro Film Festival in 2012, Jackie once again played a director in the festival opener. In November 2010, Jackie played in the Carrboro Film Festival 2010 Opener by fellow CFF founder and co-chair, Nic Beery.
On January 5, 2010, Helvey was the guest on Claudio's Speakeasy and Radio Theater on WCOM 103.5.
Jackie was the guest on DSI Witness News on 1360 WCHL on Dec. 29, 2009, spoofing the Carrboro Poet Laureate search. Yes, she thinks she's a comedian too. She aspires to be the Joan Rivers of Carrboro. Her insane stage fright is the only thing holding her back.
Airing on August 3, 2009, Hilary Russo interviewed Jackie and Jim McQuaid on Second Cinema, discussing the Carrboro Film Festival.
Helvey occasionally wrote for the Carrboro Citizen, such as this column published in December, 2011, on the importance of supporting community radio. She also contributed to the Carrboro Citizen's Carrboro Centennial Commemorative 100th. birthday issue.
In February 2008, Helvey was featured in Our State Magazine in an article about Carrboro.
In March 2007, Helvey was selected Volunteer of the Year by the Town of Carrboro, and recognized in Women Who Shine in the Raleigh News and Observer.
Also in 2007, she published the children's book that she wrote for her daughters 15 years earlier, Wiggley Waggley Woo.
Jackie is continually grateful for the wonderful life she has been gifted with.
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