Columnist: Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 08:11 PM

A culinary fair tradition

Like my family, you probably went to the N.C. State Fair this past week, too, each person zeroing in on something. I wanted to go to the rabbit barn. My husband wanted to try the fried Oreos. My son wanted to go right to the Wiggle Wurm (that’s how the ride is spelled).

Oct. 19, 2013 @ 05:15 PM

How to live to 100

In case you missed it, my story in the Faith section this week included Catherine Ferrell, a 101 year-old member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church over on Dowd Street. Anyone who makes it to 100 years old and beyond knows something about living. So I asked her if she had any advice about longevity. She told me about her mother.

Oct. 12, 2013 @ 04:47 PM

A fresh look at Broadway at DPAC

I took my son along to see “Beauty and the Beast” at the Durham Performing Arts Center when I reviewed it opening night for the paper. We went out to dinner first at Tyler’s, then took in the gorgeous pink sunset over the old tobacco buildings as we walked to DPAC.

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

Of ham sandwiches, canes and voters

As sure as Election Day comes around every fall, here’s my usual column reminding you why you should vote.

Don’t take it from me – the behavior of Congress this past week is reminder enough to vote, vote, vote.

I’m starting to think the most important quality in an elected official isn’t platform, or party or personality. I think it’s simply the ability to be reasonable. If you’re not reasonable, then you don’t belong in office. If you stomp your foot and act like a jerk, then you apologize and move on. You recognize that you’re being unreasonable, and you stop doing it.

Sep. 28, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

The team spirit of college football

Twice this week on my morning commute I heard “Enter Sandman” on the radio, the Metallica song I would dislike if the intro wasn’t played at the start of Virginia Tech Hokies games to get the crowd jumping.

Sep. 21, 2013 @ 06:13 PM

Persevering through strife

How do you bear it? With the tragedy in downtown Durham this past week with one loss of life, plus several at the Washington Navy Yard, and so many abroad, how do we bear it?

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 03:23 PM

When Jack and Sarah met in Durham in 1944

Picture it: Durham in 1944, during World War II. Soldiers in training at Camp Butner often came downtown, including a young man named Merle “Jack” Hammersley. You may have read my story in Saturday’s newspaper about him receiving his Bronze Star in a ceremony Friday. But there’s another great story, too -- a love story.

Sep. 07, 2013 @ 03:18 PM

Books, book festival and more books

Like coffee and singing along to the radio, books are one of the joys of life. Maybe I should stitch that on a decorative pillow. Books are part of my features coverage here at the newspaper, and a joy of my job is the opportunity to share a good literary find with readers.

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

The rite of kindergarten

“Kindergarten?” the woman at the school entrance asked us. What gave it away? Two parents with two cameras (plus the phone camera) and a little boy grinning expectantly?
I’ve just gone through the rite of passage experienced by thousands of you and millions of Americans. My child started kindergarten.

Aug. 24, 2013 @ 10:32 PM

Women of the march

In January, I interviewed illustrator Kadir Nelson about his new children’s book that pairs his beautiful paintings with an abridged version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. After I wrote my story, I gave the book to my son, who is now 5. 

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:36 AM

Nod of the head, tip of the hat

If you’ve driven by Duke University lately, you’ve crawled your car through gravel on the wrong side of the road as work is being done on Duke University Road. I find this very interesting. The way rubberneckers look at car crashes, I look to see what the road crews are doing and what kind of equipment they’re using. Part is journalistic curiosity, most of it is being a parent and having a house full of toy versions of all those vehicles and action figures.

Aug. 10, 2013 @ 03:05 PM

Racism, death and history

Gird yourself, I’m about to talk about race and injustice and history and civil rights. Do you know who George Stinney was? Lord have mercy on so many who were responsible for the South Carolina state-sanctioned killing of an African-American 14-year-old boy.

Aug. 03, 2013 @ 04:46 PM

Being a wedding guest

This summer I received two wedding invitations in the mail. One I will have already attended by the time you read this, of a former newspaper reporter who lives in a historic city. It should be a great time. The weekend may also entail an adventurous race through the streets like in “National Treasure,” and if that happens, I will relay it to you. Perhaps it will not. Either way, I will have a story to tell, in these pages or in the small talk we make to form common bonds with others.

Jul. 26, 2013 @ 04:41 PM

Steer clear of gators

Knowing what I know now, it’s a good thing youthful ignorance of the murky water in Georgia lakes did not keep me from swimming or water-skiing in them as a child. My dad is Mr. Safety, and we had those life jackets knotted tightly, let me tell you, before the motor boat engine was even started. I was in no danger of drowning (and of course had taken American Red Cross certified swimming lessons already). In the 1980s when I lived in Augusta, Ga., there was no flesh eating bacteria in the news. No sightings of alligators, unless you went to go see them at Okefenokee Swamp, which I did on a field trip. A bigger threat was all the insects.

Jul. 19, 2013 @ 05:23 PM

A thank you note for keeps

I have a lot of stuff on my desk in the newsroom. All the work supplies like calendars, newspapers, papers, books, stapler, tape and my phone, spread out around my computer. Plus I have photographs, postcards, a trophy from winning the March Madness pool, a Happy Meal toy Gingy, a toy mail truck and even a box of rocks from the opening of the Smart Road at Virginia Tech. Propped up among my debris, er decorations, is my favorite thank you note from a story subject.