Burgess Jenkins: Famous Winston-Salemites

Winston-Salem is one of the greatest small cities in the world. Famous Winston-Salemites will feature some accomplished people that lived in Winston-Salem and now have moved on to do great things. All of the questions will be about their time in the Twin City.

Burgess Jenkins was born in 1973 and raised in Winston-Salem, and has gone on to star in movies like Remember the Titans (2000) with Denzel Washington, The Reaping (2007) as Hillary Swank’s husband, and as John Wesley in Wesley (2009). He has also starred in television shows like One Tree Hill (2008-09), Nashville (2012), and a long stint on The Young and the Restless (2014-16). Click here for full filmography


 From the time he was twelve, Jenkins knew that he loved movies and storytelling. He went to Summit and then Reynolds High School in Winston, and then studied psychology at Lenoir-Rhyne. “At the time I had no idea how much it would influence my work as an actor,” said Jenkins. “Now I rely on my psychology major heavily to break down characters and find what motivates them.”

Jenkins always thought he had an interest in acting, but he didn’t really start studying it until his mid-twenties. Jenkins studied at the famed Playhouse West in Los Angeles for four years. “My very first acting job was for a regional Belk commercial,” said Jenkins. “I was sporting some pretty fancy Dockers and bowling with some fake friends. At the time I didn’t think it could get much better than that.”

Since 2000, Jenkins has starred in over thirty television shows and movies. Almost ten years ago, Burgess founded and opened the Actors Group on Burke Street, which is a serious training studio designed to prepare students for the rigors of the film industry. “I can’t believe it’s been that long. It has been a blast and we are so proud of all the hard work and talented students who’ve gone on to book hundreds of roles on some fantastic projects. James Freetly, who was a former student and is now an instructor, plays an integral part. He’s an outstanding teacher.” The Actors Group is currently on Reynolda Road.  Click here for Actors Group website

Jenkins is married to Ashlee Payne Jenkins, who he describes as “an immensely talented actress.” They have a little girl named Harper, who is nine years old.


Questions about Winston-Salem:

When you are away from Winston-Salem, what are some of the things you miss the most?
Where to begin! I’ve been fortunate to live in a lot of places across the country, whether it was for years in some cases like Los Angeles or for months in others as it is with filming, but no place compares to Winston. I love to pack up my dog and take a slow walk around Old Salem on a random afternoon or get a cup of coffee from the Krankies airstream with my wife and spend the morning at Reynolda Gardens or Graylyn. Also, We’ve become huge fans of all things downtown, notably Camino Bakery, Local 27101, and the Spring House. But I think what stands out to me most is the intangible charm that Winston-Salem has. People who live here appreciate the history and the community feel of it. Though a lot has changed since I was a kid, those things have remained the same and hopefully always will.


Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods have you lived in?
After college, I lived in an apartment in the Peace Haven area with a buddy from high school. That was cool, but living on a 4th floor walk-up taught me that an elevator is invaluable. When I saved up enough money, I bought my first house near the Wake Forest neighborhoods. Awesome little bungalow… I have fond memories of that place. But the Buena Vista area has always been my favorite. All the streets and houses are different and they have so much character. Feels like stepping back in time a bit.

What Winston-Salem schools did you go to? Who were some of your favorite teachers at each school?
I went to St. Paul’s preschool where I remember singing every morning, “everyday at St. Paul’s is better than the day before.” I guess it must’ve been true because we sent our daughter there. Afterword, I attended Summit school and then Reynolds High School. I have a lot of favorites so it’s hard to say, but second grade Mrs. May, fourth-grade Tom Shaver, sixth-grade Mr. Wood and 10th grade Mrs. Turner. I give a lot of credit to Mr. Wood, who somehow made me appreciate science, and to Mrs. Turner, who helped instill a love of literature.

What is one retail store you wish that came to Winston that we don’t currently have? What about a restaurant that we don’t have?
I’m not a huge shopper but I suppose instead of any one shop it would be nice if we had an open air shopping area; I became pretty fond of the Grove in Los Angeles (however, speaking on behalf of my wife I should say Nordstrom).
Winston has so many fantastic restaurants I don’t feel that we are  lacking in that department. I would put our best restaurants on par with just about anywhere.

What are your top three favorite Winston-Salem restaurants?
It’s not a fair question because I could probably name thirty, so here are a few:
“Ryan’s” because it is a Winston-Salem icon that never gets old.
“Mary’s of Course,” because I love eating great breakfast any time of day and you have to love Mary (the owner).
And even though I’ve mentioned “Local 27101” already, I’ll include them here because my wife and I have probably eaten there a dozen times in the last three weeks.


Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
Thruway. Spent many a day there as a kid…though I’ve got some fond memories of my daughter riding the carousel at the mall.

If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, a Bojangles biscuit, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Can I do Moravian sugar cake and a half dozen hot glazed? I’m not sure I’d be a healthy islander, but I guarantee I’d be happy.


What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Holden hands-down. It has a little bit of everything.

Where is your favorite place in the mountains of North Carolina?
Blowing Rock. Started riding my motorcycle there when I was a sophomore in college, and since those days in the 1990’s, not a year has gone by that I haven’t been. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth.

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Winston’s Own Batman-Wings Over Winston

Did you know that we have our very own Batman in Winston-Salem? A man whose aerial photography flies over Winston landmarks capturing exquisite images from unseen heights of everything great about our city. Our caped crusader flies through the air snapping his photos to put on the #WingsOverWinston Instagram page.


Just like Bruce Wayne, our version does not want to be known by the people of Winston-Salem more than just by his first name Brad, so we will refer to him as Bradman for this post. Just like Gothamites, Winston-Salemites never can expect when he could be hovering overhead ready to snap a shot. Bradman has a job in Downtown Winston and a family and kids, but at the drop of a dime he could turn into our Dark Knight and lift-off to capture a new image. “My wife is excited about this concept and has been very supportive and the kids love seeing interesting angles of Winston’s wonders. They will grow up with an appreciation of the industries and individuals who built this city.”

“The whole point of #WingsOverWinston (#WOW) is to reflect on Winston’s extensive history, while sharing images from new viewpoints,” said the Bradman during our secret meeting at a local Winston watering hole. “My goal is to make people happy about Winston and where the city is today! Most people are familiar with Downtown Winston’s exciting transformation, but the city as a whole is really progressive and I hope to share neighborhoods of Winston-Salem with my audience.”

One day he was flying around his neighborhood, when he realized that aerial views of trees and roofs were just boring. That was the point that he decided to take his act to the next level.  He started an Instagram account, got a license from the FAA, and within two months, #WingsOverWinston (https://www.instagram.com/wingsoverwinston/) has over 2,400 followers and daily request for aerial photography work. The Bradman said, “it really surprised me how the community has embraced this concept. I can’t even respond to all of the requests I get for fly-overs.”

He likes to help promote Winston-Salem events, too. For instance, if you were at the past “Second Sundays on Fourth,” you might have seen him hovering above in the sunny sky. Prior to the next “Second Sunday” event he plans to put up a promotional post on #WingsOverWinston. “Promoting local events and local businesses is just a small thing I can do to support the sense of community that’s already ultra-present in Winston. Of course, it helps to have a large following, so spread the word! Local businesses have been great about re-posting some of my photographs and giving credit.”

“I am intrigued by the history around town,” said the Bradman. “This is a good forum to spread that knowledge, too. I hope to keep #WingsOverWinston hyper-local and meaningful to the Winston-Salem community.” Bradman not only posts his pictures and videos on Instagram, but he also gives a brief description of the history of each photograph’s subject. He spends an hour every day researching the history of each feature. You never know if you will see the Bradman flying through the bridge of Old Salem (hint hint) or near you one day; keep your eye on the sky over Winston!

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Wanda Starke: Local Winston-Salem Difference Makers

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

Wanda Starke is currently the evening anchor (number 1 rated 6 pm show) and a producer of a series of specials for the Piedmont Triad’s NBC WXII news station.


Starke said, “one of the many things I love about Winston-Salem is the warmth of the people—that sense of community.  It’s felt like home since day one.”

Starke lived in eight different cities before arriving in Winston-Salem:  Newport News, Richmond, Washington, Augusta, Norfolk, Greensboro, Los Angeles and Buffalo.  “I liked all of them, except Buffalo,” said Starke. “I got used to the snow, but the lack of sunshine was intolerable.”

“Working as a reporter in Los Angeles was a dream come true.  It was a thrill covering big-city news.   I also liked the cultural offerings—theatre and jazz in particular. However, I found the traffic and smog somewhat annoying and many of the people a bit self-absorbed.”




She grew up in Eastern Virginia and graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in journalism and speech communication. She also went to Howard University Graduate School.

Starke joined the WXII staff in 1994. She also produces a weekly segment called, “A Place to Call Home,” which profiles children waiting to be adopted. The issue is personal to Starke, since she was adopted as a child.

Wanda-Cameron Food Drive.Still001

Starke received two Emmy nominations. One nomination came for a documentary, “To Kenya with Love,”  where she followed the work of the Amani Children’s Foundation, helping abandoned babies in East Africa. She has received awards that include The President’s Award for Volunteer Service from President Barack Obama, The Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Excellence Award Honoring Women in Media from UNCF and the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism on Behalf of Children and Families from the Child Welfare League of America.

Winston-Salem Questions:

What charity/volunteer organizations are you still active with?
I am on the boards of the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina and the North Carolina Black Repertory Company.  I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters- Forsyth County and I’m a member of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.


How has the Children’s Home  Society grown during your time working on the board? Why is it so special to you?
The Children’s Home Society of North Carolina has grown to include a number of new services: post adoption, parenting education, teen pregnancy prevention and family finding. The one thing that is virtually unchanged is the number of children in foster care.  There are about 10,000 children in the system — 3,000 of them legally cleared for adoption. CHS is near and dear to my heart because I was adopted as a young child.

Do you have two or three interviews you have done with WXII that hold a special place in your heart?
That’s a tough question…I’ve done so many. Every interview I did with Dr. Maya Angelou holds a special place in my heart. She was a mentor and I learned something new with each visit. She had such immense wisdom. I felt privileged every time I was in her presence.

JPG Wanda and Dr Angelou.jpg

I would say two children I interviewed for “A Place to Call Home” are among my most memorable. One was a young man named Shamor. We followed him through middle school, high school and college where he was finally adopted. He graduated from UNCG and then went to London to get a masters degree. Before he left the US, he tracked down his birth mother. She had lost custody of her children because of drug use, but was now clean and sober. Shamor was the only child who forgave her and wanted to reconnect.  It was an emotional reunion. Shamor estimated he had about a hundred foster care placements before he was finally adopted. Despite his experiences, he is one of the most positive and talented people I have ever met—truly inspiring. Another memorable kid we profiled was so polite and sweet. He was 8 years old and had this almost angelic presence.  At one point I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up.  He told me he wanted to be a child psychologist so he could “help children like me who have been sexually abused.” I had interviewed hundreds of children in foster care and heard many horror stories, but this was the first time a child had actually shared that information. I was immediately overwhelmed with sadness and had to leave the room.

Are there any events (natural disasters, celebrities, crimes, etc.) that you have covered over your two decades at WXII that stand out? 
I would say my most memorable natural disaster was Hurricane Irene in 2011.  My husband and I were actually on vacation at Atlantic Beach when we were forced to evacuate.  We drove to New Bern where we stayed with his sister and rode out the storm.  There was a lot of wind, but the rain was relentless.  I filed reports during the storm, not knowing the worst was still to come.  The next day we were stunned when we went to check on my mother-in-law’s house.  Her street looked like a river.  Her home was flooded.
I’ve interviewed hundreds of celebrities –many of them through appearances with the National Black Theatre Festival and the Piedmont Wind Symphony.  My favorites include Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Phylicia Rashad,  Dr. Phil,  Itzhak Perlman, Rhiannon Giddens, Ben Folds, Nathan East, Hattie Winston,  Rain Pryor, S. Epatha Merkerson, Richard Roundtree, Art Linkletter, Jerry Mathers,  America, Three Dog Night, Al Jarreau, Andre Braugher and Yaphet Kotto.  I’ve also had the privilege of interviewing Barack Obama when he was running for President and later Vice President Joe Biden.
Traveling to Kenya to cover the work of the Amani Children’s Foundation and its efforts to help abandoned babies ranks as one of my most rewarding experiences as a reporter.


Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods have you lived in?
When I first moved to Winston-Salem, I lived downtown.  I now live in the Northwest part of town.

What is one retail store you wish that came to Winston that we don’t currently have? What about a restaurant that we don’t have?
Lord & Taylor might be nice.  I definitely wish we had a Cheesecake Factory.

What are your top three favorite Winston-Salem restaurants? 
That’s another tough question.  I LOVE to eat out and my list of favorites is long: Sweet Potatoes, Milner’s, River Birch, Mozelle’s, Fratellis, Bonefish and Forsyth Seafood.


If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, a Bojangles biscuit, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
I love them all, but I’m really sensitive to sugar, so I guess I would pick a Bojangles biscuit.

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Atlantic Beach

Where is your favorite place in the mountains of North Carolina?

Brunch with Mary and Jump, Little Children

Last week, I met up with Matthew Bivins, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Jump, Little Children, for breakfast at Mary’s Gourmet Diner. We were joined by the diner’s owner, Mary Haglund, for much of the meal, and I was able to sit back and enjoy as Matt and Mary talked about Winston over my delicious meal of Eggs Benedict. I had already done blogs on Jump, Little Children (blog link) and Mary (blog link) previously, so it was great to reconnect with them for brunch.

Mary and Matt had a lot in common, which included their love of the Lighthouse Restaurant and a former Winston mainstay restaurant, The Rainbow Cafe. They both spent time working at The Rainbow along with other Jump band members, Jay Clifford and Ward Williams, and Mary remembers hearing Jump perform on the back porch when the band was just starting out. Matt grew up right up the street from the restaurant on Second Street, and his cousin was married to the former owner of the restaurant.

Matt and Mary also spoke a lot about The Lighthouse and its founder Nick Doumas, who passed away in October in an ATV accident. I grew up going weekly to The Lighthouse, since it was just a rock’s throw away from my West End house, so I was really interested in this portion. Mary worked at the Lighthouse for a long time, and she remembers waiting on my parents when my mom was pregnant with me. Matt’s dad, John Bivins, was good friends with Nick and they would go on hunting trips together. John also designed the sign that still hangs up outside the restaurant.

The two spent most of the brunch talking about their love of Winston-Salem. Mary is a transport here from Gary, Indiana, while Matt grew up here and now lives in Chicago. They agreed how special of a place it is here in Winston, especially how the city focuses on the arts. Matt spoke about his desire to potentially move back to the area and Mary tried her hardest to encourage him.


Jump, Little Children is going back on tour in April, and Mary plans to go see them in Chapel Hill at Cat’s Cradle (click here for tickets). I was lucky enough to be surprised by my wife with tickets to the Highwater Festival in Charleston in April. So I will get to see Jump play with some of my favorite bands like The Avett Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, The Shins, and Shovels & Rope.

In 2017, I will be Uberring throughout Winston and writing about it. Each month, I will collect donations for different Winston organizations. For the month of January, all of the donations will go to The Forsyth County Humane Society. Lookout for me on the road, and on your Uber app!


Tucker Tharpe: Local Winston-Salem Difference Maker

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

“Winston-Salem means everything to me,” said Tucker Tharpe. “Winston is a big part of me as a person. It is beautiful here and I love it.”

Tharpe with Winston Under 40 Award

Tharpe most likely will be the only person I ever blog about that I almost got in a fight with and a fight against (both on the soccer field). He is a very passionate person and his passion (just like mine) always came out on the soccer field. It also bodes well in his line of work as the owner, producer, and talent buyer at The Garage on 7th Street in Winston-Salem (Garage website).

Tharpe purchased the Garage with one of his best friends, Brian Cole, in 2012, and became the sole owner in November of 2015. Along with bringing bands to the popular venue, he also has produced videos for up and coming bands like Must be the Holy Ghost and All Them Witches with the help of Justin Reich.

Tharpe and Cayce

Besides his four years majoring in business administration with a minor in marketing and as a member and captain of the Greensboro College soccer team, Tharpe has always called Winston home. He grew up in Pfafftown, and moved downtown after moving back from Greensboro. Between 2003 and 2012, Tharpe worked two stints with his father’s company, Spevco, and one stint with the Winston-Salem Downtown Partnership as their director of events.

With the help and advice of his dad, Marty, Brian Cole, and the founder of The Garage, Richard Emmett, Tharpe took a risk the second time he left Spevco when he took over The Garage. “I am an overly passionate person in everything I do,” said Tharpe. “Watching a crowd at The Garage enjoy a concert, gives me the same thrill that scoring a  goal in soccer does.”

Tharpe married his long time girlfriend, Cayce, almost three years ago. They currently live downtown, but plan to take their dog (Duke) and cat (Messi) to their first house and yard in Ardmore this July. Cayce is an artist and bartender downtown.

Along with his work at The Garage, Tharpe is also the Co-Chair for 88.5 WFDD. He is very involved in the community and charity events through Twin City Santa, Movember, and Family Services of Forsyth County. “If you give to Winston, it will give right back,”said Tharpe.

Tharpe with family

He is also still very close to his family. Marty is still the CEO of Spevco, while his older brother, Tii, is currently the COO. Tharpe was joined by Tii as recipients of the 2015 Winston Under 40 Winners. His mom, Dare Smith Tharpe (co-founder of Spevco), is one of his biggest fans and the two are extremely close. He is also close with Tii’s wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Kyle and Marty.

Below Tharpe answers questions about his favorite things about Winston:

Winston-Salem Questions:


Which Winston-Salem streets have you lived on?
I grew up in Pfafftown on Vienna-Dozier Road. When I was fourteen, we moved to Stone Oaks in Winston. After going to Greensboro College, I moved in with my mom for a year and then I bought a condo at Tar Branch on Marshall in Downtown Winston.

Tharpe with Duke

Why are dachsunds so important to you?
I grew up with dogs and my family has always loved dachsunds. Duke is a lot like me. He is small, doesn’t know how to back down, and he is very loyal. I have never met a dachsund that I didn’t like.

What different Winston-Salem schools did you go to?
I went to Old Richmond through fourth grade, and then to Vienna for fifth grade. I went to Northwest for middle school, and then to Mount Tabor for two years and North Forsyth for two years of high school.

Tharpe at The Garage entrance


What are your top three local Winston-Salem restaurants?
There are so many great places to eat here. I definitely would say Finnegan’s. I love it for its proximity to The Garage, and Opie is just a great guy. I used to love going to the old Staley’s Steakhouse on Reynolda with my dad. I have unbelievably fond memories of going to business meetings with my dad there. A favorite of the bands that come to The Garage is Mooney’s. You can get whatever you want there and it is all very authentic. I think some bands come back into town just to eat there!



If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, Bojangles biscuit, or Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Without a doubt, sugar cake!

Tharpe and I with our trophy of a cooler full of beer after winning an adult soccer tournament together

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
The Outer Banks are beautiful. I have the best memories as a child at Sunset Beach with the Flavin family, though. That is the epitome of a family vacation place. It was so quaint. I do love Outer Banks though, every place there is beautiful.

Where is your favorite place in the mountains in North Carolina?
Banner Elk. We have a family home there on Sugar Mountain. Tii and I are avid snowboarders. We have gone there my whole life, and I go every chance I can get there.



If you lived in (Old) Salem in the late 18th century, what do you think your occupation would have been?
I am not very handy so not a carpenter or blacksmith. I feel like I would have had to do something physical though. Some sort of civil service. I would say something with music, but I am not a musician. I don’t think I could have put on rock shows back then.

If there was one restaurant you wish we had in Winston, what would it be?
A twenty-four hour diner in downtown. When I get off at 4:00 in the morning, I just want a crappy cup of coffee and a hearty meal.

Tharpe’s face can be seen on stickers that are shared around the world

What about a retail store?
I would like a camera store with dark-room availability. I call myself a hobby photographer, and I want to be able to go to a place if a camera breaks to get it fixed, without having to wait for something to be shipped to me or buying an all new one.

If there was a musical show you could see from a deceased artist and one from a current artist that have not been to Winston, who would you most want to see?
I can’t help but go straight to David Bowie and Prince. They were both alive during my time, and I will regret not seeing them. They are obviously fresh on my mind, but I can’t think other musicians that have influenced my life more.
For current bands, I would say Cage the Elephant and Queens of the Stone Age. I feel that we could get both of them here, and I wish we did.

Lindsay Bierman-Local Winston-Salem Difference Maker

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

Lindsay Bierman became the eighth Chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts two years ago in the spring of 2014. Leading the nation’s first state supported art conservatory, Bierman presides over nearly 450 faculty and more than 1,200 gifted students in the institution’s high school, undergraduate, graduate, and summer programs.

Bierman at UNCSA college graduation ceremonies in the Stevens Center with SGA President Allison Burkholder

Bierman came to Winston-Salem after over two decades in the high-profile media and design worlds. His most recent position was as Editor in Chief of the very popular Southern Living magazine, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. During his time at Southern Living, the publication saw a top-to-bottom rebuilding process, brought in more than 18 million consumers per month, and won numerous industry awards.

He began his career in New York City as a writer, designer, and researcher for world famous architect, Robert A.M. Stern. Bierman grew up in Michigan, and attended undergraduate school at Georgetown, where he studied French and history. In 1993, he received his master’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia.

Bierman with UNCSA alumna Mary Louise Parker

Over the last two years, Bierman has loved his time at UNCSA and in Winston-Salem. He lives very close to campus, and is also rebuilding a house on Lake Norman. Read about Chancellor Bierman’s favorite things about Winston below:

Winston-Salem Questions:

What are some unique things that School of the Arts offers that you can’t find at other institutions?
We have five top-ranked conservatories on one compact campus, plus a high school, and offer intensive and unparalleled collaboration across artistic disciplines. At the college level, we provide professional training analogous to medical or law school as opposed to a traditional undergraduate curriculum. The majority of our faculty and deans transitioned to higher ed directly from their profession, and serve as mentors to each student. Many conservatories promote a culture that’s highly competitive and cutthroat; at UNCSA you see high school, undergraduate, and graduate students happily share the spotlight and enthusiastically support each other. Every day, I marvel at the rare discipline and maturity of these young artists—by the time they audition or submit their portfolio to get in, they have clear priorities and defined life goals, so they’re remarkably driven toward achieving the benchmarks they’ve set for themselves.

What were a couple of the biggest changes in your transition from the design and media worlds to higher education?
I’ve dealt with corporate politics, budget reductions, and organizational challenges for most of my career—but nothing compared to the vast bureaucracy, funding shortfalls, and partisan debates I’m seeing now. Fortunately, I’m unfazed and undeterred by churn and disruption. I’ve been leading through change and uncertainty for more than a decade; it’s the new normal.

Bierman’s patriotic portrait at UNCSA School of Design & Production

You have lived all over the United States. What are some things that are unique to Winston-Salem that you have really enjoyed?

I strongly prefer living in a big small town than anywhere else. I love the scale of Winston-Salem, the Southern charm, and the unusually tight-knit creative and business communities here. I especially admire and passionately support the network of organic local farmers in the Triad—they are some of the best anywhere.

Since you have your Masters in Architecture, what is your favorite building in Winston-Salem?
I studied in the shadow of Jefferson’s lawn at UVA, so I’d have to say all of Old Salem!

What are some of the biggest differences of living in the South from growing up in Detroit?
Everything—food, music, culture—and especially the native temperament. I can characterize it this way: when I lived in France during college, I remember traveling South to Italy on the train. As we rolled out of Paris, the French passengers remained quietly seated, while a group of Italian passengers exclaimed “Partiamo! Partiamo!” and jumped up to blow kisses out the window. That’s the biggest difference between North and South, both in Europe and America.

You are big into working out. Where is your favorite place in Winston to work out?
I train at Top Tier CrossFit, on Liberty Street. My frequent and intensive training, especially now that I’ve hit the big 5-0, is as important as the source and quality of the food I eat every day, and one of the non-negotiables in my weekly schedule.

What neighborhood in Winston-Salem do you live in? What are some of your favorite things about your neighborhood?
I live near the Brookstown Inn. It’s an area in transition, ideally located between UNCSA’s campus, Old Salem, and downtown. We have one of city’s best coffee shops across the street, Twin City Hive, and Cobblestone Farmers Market—one of the very best in the state—a short walk away.

Bierman “unplugged” in Miami

Can you tell me a little bit about the house you are working on in Lake Norman?
It’s a 1960s ranch with wide-open breathtaking views up and down the main channel. I’ve renovated a lot of houses, but this one turned out to be much more difficult than I ever imagined—somehow our inspector missed all the rot, water damage, termites, shoddy repairs, and dangerous wiring. Most buyers in this market would have torn it down for the lot, but we chose to embrace its quirks and enhance the mid-century, rustic-meets-modern lake house vibe.

If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which Winston-Salem delight would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, Bojangles biscuits, or Krispy Kreme doughnuts?
I’ve followed a fairly strict Paleo diet for many years now, so I can’t remember the last time I had flour or sugar, or even craved it. There’s nothing more delicious or indulgent in the world to me than ripe fruit picked right off the tree.

What are your top three Winston-Salem restaurants?
Vin205 Bistro and Wine bar—chef Alex sources only the highest quality pasture-raised meat and poultry and mostly organic produce; Diamondback Grill, for Paleo zucchini noodles or the grass-fed Paleo burger; and The Katharine Brasserie, the kind of restaurant I’ve been waiting for since the day I moved here, a kind of scaled-down Southern version of Balthazar in New York.

Would you two rather go to Hanes Mall or to Thruway?
I make occasional runs to Williams Sonoma or Pottery Barn at Hanes Mall, but I more regularly frequent the Thruway. I love Southern Home & Kitchen, C Distinctive Eyewear, and have had my cell phone screen replaced at least six times at the CPR (stands for cell phone repair) shop there.

What is your favorite place in the mountains of North Carolina?
Highlands. I visited often when I lived in Alabama. I wish it was closer.

What is your favorite North Carolina beach?
It’s all so beautiful! We visited Duck a few weeks ago, and a friend in Morehead City last summer, but I haven’t been to enough towns yet to pick a favorite. Still, I’m guessing it would have to be somewhere on the Outer Banks.

Where is your favorite day trip outside of Winston?
My home on Lake Norman. It’s an hour door-to-door, and it’s my anchor. I’m an only child, so in contrast to lots of committee and board meetings, remarks at the podium, and large social gatherings, I need long periods of time alone and in nature to work effectively and think clearly.

Is there anywhere in North Carolina you really hope to visit soon that you haven’t been to yet?
Incredibly, I’ve yet to make it to Durham! At Southern Living, we named it the “Tastiest Town in the South” by popular vote, due to the vibrant food scene there. I’ve known Sara Foster, a native local chef and great cookbook author, forever. And of course I need to get to DPAC!




John Hart-Notable North Carolinians

Writing about famous Winston-Salemites and local difference makers has been a great experience. Now I am ready to expand to the great state of North Carolina to talk to some North Carolinians who have gone on to do extraordinary things. Notable North Carolinians will focus on these individuals favorite parts of the Tar Heel State.

John Hart (website) is releasing his fifth novel, Redemption Road, this week and is starting a nationwide book tour in Greensboro at Barnes & Noble on May 3rd at 7:00. Hart is the only author in history to win the Edgar Award for consecutive novels. Along with being an award winning, brilliant author, Hart is also a North Carolinian who has lived in Salisbury, Durham, and Greensboro. All five of his novels have taken place in North Carolina.



Hart was born in Durham and moved to Salisbury and Rowan County when he was seven in 1972. He attended Woodberry Forest in Virginia for high school, before heading back to North Carolina to attend Davidson for college. His two sisters followed their grandmother’s, Mary Hart, high school path at Salem Academy. Hart spent a year in France during his undergraduate studies, where he learned French (his mom was a French teacher) and went on to major in the subject when returning from his time abroad.

After graduating from Davidson, Hart kicked around doing odd jobs and wrote his first novel, which was never published. He received a Masters in Accounting from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1993. He deferred from law school to go live in Juneau, Alaska with his sisters, before returning to attend the University of New Hampshire for law school. He spent four years in New Hampshire, and also wrote his second novel, which was also never published.

John and Katie
In 1997, Hart married Katie, who was also from Salisbury, on a mountaintop in Alaska. After two more years in New Hampshire, the two moved back to Salisbury in 1999, where he studied for the bar and passed it. He worked for a law firm in Salisbury for two and a half years before realizing he wanted to pursue his dream of writing full-time. “I had my first major case defending a child murderer, and the judge told me not to be squeamish, and I realized being a lawyer wasn’t right for me,” said Hart.

Hart spent eleven and a half months writing in a library in Salisbury, and finished his first published novel, The King of Lies. The novel was rejected several times after he finished. Hart and Katie moved to Greensboro, where he worked for Merrill Lynch. He went back to the novel with fresh eyes and revamped it and he found a publisher right away the second time. The publisher was so excited that they offered him a contract for a second novel. Fellow Southerner, Pat Conroy, said The King of Lies “moves and reads like a book on fire.”

He went on to write, Down River, The Last Child, and Iron House while living in Greensboro. Hart and Katie moved to Charlottesville in 2011. He wrote three hundred pages of another book while living in Virginia, before writing Redemption Road, which is getting rave reviews including Publisher’s Weekly calling it a must-read for 2016. 


Hart lives with Katie, their two daughters (high school and middle school), and their three dogs (Lab, Lhasa Apso, and a rescue dog). They have a farm a mile and a half from the house, where John takes the dogs to write in the morning. His farm overlooks a beautiful house that President John Monroe built in 1794. After lunch, he takes a nap and then works on editing with the help of Katie. He is currently working on his seventh novel, which is a follow-up on the characters from The Last Child.

North Carolina Questions:

Do you prefer Eastern NC barbecue or Western NC barbecue?
Eastern, definitely. I grew up in Salisbury/Lexington, which is a central hub for Eastern North Carolina barbecue.

Do you have a favorite museum in North Carolina?
I was on the board of The Children’s Museum in Greensboro, and I used to love taking my kids there when they were young.

What is your favorite beach of North Carolina?
We have a place near Wilmington at Figure Eight Island. I miss being able to get their frequently.

What about a favorite place in the mountains of NC?
My favorite place in the mountains is Roaring Gap in Alamance County. My grandparents built a place there in the 1920s, and we go there whenever we can. We are having a family reunion there this summer. I have a large family with two sisters, a half sister, three stepsisters and three stepbrothers.

What do you miss most about living in North Carolina?
One specific thing I miss is being able to go to the Green Valley Grill at the O.Henry Hotel whenever I want.

John and I met at the O’Henry in Greensboro.

Do you have a favorite concert you saw in North Carolina?
When I was a kid in 1981, I went and saw the Jimmy Buffet Coconut Telegraph tour in Raleigh.

If you could only have one for the rest of your life, which would you prefer: a Bojangles biscuit or a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Bojangles, definitely. I love Krispy Kreme, and the second one ever was in Salisbury, but Bojangles.

What about sweet NC iced tea or Cheerwine?
Cheerwine, absolutely. It was born in Salisbury, and I knew the Peeler family really well. It was hard to grow up in Salisbury and not know somebody associated with Cheerwine or Food Lion.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Patricia Cornwell graduated from Davidson ten years before I did, and she is a favorite. I loved anything science fiction as a kid. Pat Conroy was pretty influential, especially how he wrote about small towns and family. I live near John Grisham in Charlottesville, and we see each other frequently. He has always been purpose driven in his writing.

Ed Bradley: Famous Winston-Salemite

Winston-Salem is one of the greatest small cities in the world. Famous Winston-Salemites will feature some accomplished people from Winston-Salem.
Ed Bradley’s first memories of Winston-Salem are the strong and sweet smells of tobacco from the R.J. Reynolds plant at Whitaker Park on his first visit with his dad here in 1968.He fell in love with the city on that visit and his main residence has been Winston-Salem ever since he first stepped foot here on his official visit to Wake Forest that spring. Bradley went on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and became a folk hero as he stepped in for an all-time great to help the team win their first ever Super Bowl.

Bradley at Super Bowl IX 40th Reunion
Watch Bradley’s First Tackle in Super Bowl IX
Bradley comes from a bloodline of tough and physical football players. His dad, Ed Sr., played for Wake and then professionally for one of the best coaches of all-time, George Halas of the Chicago Bears, and then in Canada. Bradley’s son, Jeff, was a star defensive lineman for Western Carolina and had a short stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 
Ed Sr.
Ed Sr. was a defensive end and captain for Wake in the late forties, but this was when the Demon Deacons were East of Raleigh and not in Winston-Salem. In the late 1960’s, there wasn’t a lot of nationwide recruiting. Bradley was recruited by several New England schools in high school at Stratford High in Connecticut, but he wanted to head South.
Ed Sr. put in a call about his son to his old buddy, Gene Hooks, who was the athletic director at Wake. The Demon Deacons sent up an assistant coach, Dick Anderson, to watch Bradley play at Stratford. Within two weeks, Bradley received a scholarship offer from the school, and he signed it before even visiting the campus.
Even though Ed Sr. played at Wake, he had never been to Winston since Wake was located two hours east when he went there to school. The two came down for their first visit to Winston in April after Bradley had already signed.
Bradley said, “I remember driving into the main entrance and seeing a whole bunch of fraternity boys and sorority girls doing crazy competitions. I thought to myself, ‘damn, is this what college is like?'” 
When Bradley went to watch their spring game on that visit, he said, “I will never forget the smells being blown over the field.” He asked the team trainer, Doc Martin, what the smell was and Martin replied, “you are in the South now and that is tobacco.”

Bradley fell in love with Wake and Winston right away and it never changed. “After my first semester down here, I told my parents to take me back to Winston on my first Christmas break,” said Bradley. 
All three of his varsity seasons, Bradley was a starting defensive player for the Demon Deacons.  He played a huge role in their 1970 ACC Championship, and was selected to the East-West Shrine Bowl all star game and The Senior Bowl following his senior season. In 1987, Bradley was selected to the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame.”That was a real thrill and something I am very proud of,” said Bradley. 
Nowadays, the NFL Draft is a weekend extravaganza, but it wasn’t nearly as flashy in the early seventies. In 1972, Bradley was sitting around his Winston-Salem apartment with his football roommates. “Luckily, we had a landline phone,” said Bradley. As he sat around the apartment that day, he got a call from one of the greatest coaches in the history of sport, Chuck Noll. He was selected in the fourth round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the same draft that the Steelers selected one of the greatest players ever, Franco Harris.
The Steelers were a hard-hitting, blue collar team, but there was a serious problem. Prior to 1972 they flat-out stunk. Since their inaugural season in 1933, they had just seven

winning record seasons in thirty-eight years. Bradley didn’t know anything about the team. He grew up a fan of the New York Giants. Luckily his roommates were from McDonald, Brownsville, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, so they were able to fill him in about “the Burgh.”

WFU Hall of Fame

Within two weeks, Bradley was up at training camp for the Steelers at St. Vincent College. Bradley had a successful rookie training camp, where he went through the normal hazing rituals of standing up in the cafeteria and singing to the team, and drinking all night so he had to “lose his lunch” at the next day’s practice. During the next two seasons, the Steelers and Coach Noll established the greatest defense to ever play the game, which included “The Steel Curtain.”
Bradley was a special teams star and was the back-up to one of the greatest linebacker corps ever, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, and Jack Ham. That defense had a line that included “Mean” Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood and a backfield with Mel Blount. Bradley got his chance to become a hero for the Steelers in their first ever Super Bowl.
Super Bowl IX was played in New Orleans at Tulane Stadium. During the second quarter, Jack Lambert went down with a bad ankle injury, and Noll called Bradley’s number 38 to replace him at middle linebacker. “The Steel Curtain” didn’t skip a beat with Bradley replacing the hall of fame linebacker.

Super Bowl IX and X rings

The Steelers were playing the Vikings, who were led by another hall of fame player, quarterback Fran Tarkenton. When Bradley came into the game, the Vikings referred to him as “turkey.” Bradley played such a great game that the broadcaster kept referring to him as Lambert. The Steelers went on to stop Tarkenton and the Vikings, and won their first Super Bowl, 16-6. Coach Noll said after the game, “Bradley was beautiful. He made big hits and big plays.” Bradley said, “I had a hell of a game. We wanted to win one for our owner, the Chief (Art Rooney) and we did!”
He went on to win Super Bowl X with the Steelers in their victory over the Dallas Cowboys. In 1976, he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks to join their inaugural team and became a team captain. “It was like going from the penthouse to the outhouse, from going from a Super Bowl Champion to a two-game winning team,” said Bradley. He played a year in Seattle and started two more seasons for the San Francisco 49ers before a leg injury forced him into an early retirement. He said he is and will always be a Steeler at heart.

A personal note from the Chief
“I liked the West Coast, because I knew I was coming back here to Winston for the off-season,” he said. During his entire NFL career, Bradley had a place in the Winston area to live in during the off-season. In fact, his first three years he came home to finish his studies at Wake. Bradley said, “After our first Super Bowl victory, I went back to Pittsburgh for the big parade and then packed up my car and was back in math class at Wake within a week.” 
Over the last thirty-five years, Bradley has worked as a color commentator for Wake Forest, run a successful charity golf tournament for Brenner Children’s Hospital, and had a successful career in scrap metal with Brenner Steel/Omnisource that he retired from two years ago. He stopped broadcasting at Wake, so he could enjoy tailgating and watching Jeff play at Western Carolina.

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Bradley has two daughters that are now married, Jennifer and Katie. He married his wife, Jeannine, in 2007 and they built a house together in Davidson County. They enjoy spending quality time with their four grandchildren and they have a fifth on the way. “Being a grandfather is super and something you have to experience. It is a heartwarming feeling,” said Bradley.
Below Bradley answers questions about his favorite parts of Winston-Salem and more about football: 
Where all have you lived in the Winston area?
I lived in an apartment at the corner of Peacehaven and Country Club and another on Polo Road. I purchased my first home in Lewisville, and then I moved with my first wife, Barbara, to Shallowford Lakes. Now my daughter, Jenn, and her husband Chad live in that same house. Now we live in Davidson County, but we have a Winston-Salem address.
What are your favorite three restaurants in Winston of all-time?
A lot of my college time was spent at Simos Barbecue on Indiana Avenue, not too far from campus. It was our college hangout and is no longer open. I also love Vincenzo’s on Robinhood and Ryan’s on Coliseum. 
What is your favorite nickname of our minor-league baseball team: Spirits, Warthogs, or Dash?
I like Warthogs. Sounds more intimidating.
If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, Bojangles biscuits, or Krispy Kreme doughnuts?
Where’s the beef? Jay, Where’s the beef? Krispy Kreme doughnut.

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Ocean Isle
What is your favorite place to go in the NC mountains?
All those years going up to Western, I love Cullowhee and Sylva. Lots of good times there.
Do you make it up to Pittsburgh for games very often?
We try to make one game a year. In 2014, I got to see all of my favorite teammates at the 40th reunion of our first Super Bowl. I got to take my wife and kids, and their spouses to the event. We were honored at halftime of a game against the Saints. There were twenty-eight of thirty-four of the living players at the game to share that experience. This year, Jeff and I went up to see them on a Sunday night against the Colts.

Bradley honored at Stratford High

They won that game didn’t they?
It was a good ass-kicking. I loved it.
When you aren’t in Pittsburgh, where do you like to watch the games?
At home. I have two big-screen televisions that I can watch the games on from our kitchen and living rooms. (He wasn’t kidding. When I visited the house, you literally can see a big-screen television any way you look in their main living area. He even has one on the porch, if he needs to go out there to watch on his own).
Can the Steelers win the Super Bowl this upcoming season?
I think that way every year. Come on man! Hell yeah! Think team first guys.
Do you have any favorite players on the current team?
Big Ben (Roethlisberger) for sure. He has always been under-rated. He is solid, smart, and fundamentally and mentally strong. James Harrison is a freak of nature, a real beast. I love seeing him keep coming back at his age.
What is different about the game today than when you played?
Well number one, the players now are so much bigger and faster. I wouldn’t say they are tougher! There is a lot of specialization now. We used to block back, tackle below the knees and clothesline for tackles. For good reasons, they got rid of a lot of that. It’s still a dangerous game. You have to love it!
Do you have any great memories of Coach Noll or the Rooney family?
We won that first Super Bowl for “The Chief” Art Rooney. He was a great man. The Rooney’s are class acts for their benevolence and kindness. Coach Noll was a true genius and renaissance man. He knew more about classical music and wine than football. I was at the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst when he passed away, and I got to go up for the funeral.

74 steelers

What was it like playing on the greatest defense of all time?
You know, we knew we were good back then. Once we put on our helmets, we knew another team couldn’t beat us. Obviously we won a hell of a lot more than we lost. Coach Knoll was such a great coach because he surrounded himself with an exemplary coaching staff. We knew we couldn’t be beat!

75 superbowlchamps

Laura Lashley: Local Winston-Salem Difference Makers

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

I knew Laura Lashley was a great person when I visited her studio in Downtown Winston, and she was working with an autistic artist, Jonathan Lindsay (30), who Lashley works with four hours a week. His parents were in his studio, and we realized that we had a lot in common, including that my mom was Jonathan’s speech teacher at Jefferson Elementary.

Laura working with Jonathan

Lashley’s art can be seen all over our great city. She has murals on Trade St. and at ARTivity on the Green. You can also pick up her colorful work at Design Archives on Fourth Street. It will be available at Kleur, which is between Trade and Liberty Street, and at Hoots Flea Market starting this May.

Lashley grew up in Davidson County, but her family had a Winston-Salem address. After going to college at UNC-Charlotte, she lived in Austin, TX, but was homesick for North Carolina. She officially moved back to Winston in 1997. She is engaged to Spencer Pickle, and they will be married soon. They live with their dog (Early) and two cats (GG and Samba).


Read Lashley’s unique answers below to find out why Winston-Salem is so special to Lashley:

Winston-Salem Questions:

Where is your studio? 
I share a studio with 13 other artists at 709 Patterson Ave.  We are the Electric Pyramid Studios. The building was originally a funeral home then became Pyramid Barber College.
In 2015 I painted lots of large paintings on buildings and walls downtown.  This year I have been working more in the studio and have very recently started working with a couple of students I used to have at the Enrichment Center. My dream is to open a gallery where I can feature the work of so many artists I know. They are adults with disabilities, but I don’t want that to be the focus because the artwork is so great no matter what!

Could you ever imagine leaving Winston-Salem and if so, where would you go? 
I love being so close to my parents and Spencer’s mom here in Winston (I can walk to my mom’s house). Spencer and I watch lots of travel shows on PBS and daydream of leaving the country one day. Sweden might be the top of the list. I also joke about living in Siberia and having pet foxes.More realistically- but still a fantasy right now- would be having a bit of land in NC or VA where we could have a small farm and artist’s retreat. Ideally we would have a little lake or pond (or be near a stream) and have lots of little renovated shipping container homes and a central lodge where people could come together for meals.


Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods have you lived in? 
I lived on Spring St.  when I moved here in ’97 and downtown was a ghost town. I had an apartment all to myself on the top floor.There was a gorgeous view from my windows and there was roof top access. I fell in love with downtown then! I lived on Madison Ave. in Ardmore after that and loved it there too. I got really into gardening at that house. I very briefly lived at the Werehouse (Krankies), before buying my sweet house on Devonshire St. in Sunnyside. It’s a tiny house built in 1923 that I absolutely love!


What different schools did you go to (both growing up and college)?
I went to North Davidson High School and UNC Charlotte.

Are there any local artists that have inspired you? Are there any famous artists?
There are lots of local artists: all of my Pyramid studio mates inspire me- especially Kat Lamp, Ian Dennis, Shawn Peters, and Andrew Fansler. I follow Woodie Anderson on Instagram and am always inspired by her. Some of the artists I want to feature in my gallery are Jonathan Lindsay, Ricky Needham, Adam LeFevre, and Raymond Mariani-all brilliant artists with their own unique style and vision. I have lots of Jody Ericson paintings in my house.She is from here but lives in Brooklyn now. I admire the work of Molly Grace Simpson too.
My current “famous” artist inspirations are Edna Andrade and Charley Harper. I have books of their work that I love to look through. Edna Andrade said, “I am concerned with geometric systems, ratio, color interaction, visual ambiguities, scale, archetypes. My ideas come from organic structures, crystallography, physics, gestalt psychology and from games, patterns, puzzles and sunsets at the end of Pine Street.”
I am in love with Charley Harpers style and admire his love and connection to the natural world.


What are some of your favorite changes that have happened in Winston as you have grown up?
It has been interesting to see Winston-Salem evolve. I love the evolution of Krankies. It’s fun to say, “back in the 90’s I saw naked fire dancers in the performance space.”  I love that they have food now and that they are doing so well. I have always loved the buildings that are now the Innovation Quarter. I love how they looked empty and abandoned and how they are now all shiny and new! I love a/perture and Camino Bakery and Mary’s Gourmet Diner. And Kleur! And the Art Park! I am a big fan of modern design so anything Stitch has it’s hands in makes me very happy. I CAN’T WAIT to see the quarry park!!!! I love all the bike lanes and Phuzzphest.

What are your top three Winston-Salem restaurants of all time?
Mary’s, Mooney’s, and Krankies.  There are SO MANY new places that I have heard great things about and hope to try one day.  (the honey pot is on the top of that list).


Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
Not a fan of either!  I worked at Kinko’s in Thruway for about 8 years back in the day so I still have PTSD from that.

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Hard question.  I have excellent memories of Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beaches but lately have also fallen in love with Nags Head and Ocracoke!

Where is your favorite place in the mountains in North Carolina? 
We love to take day trips to hike at Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock, and Stone Mountain as much as possible.  My friend has a place in Boone that is magical also.

What was your favorite concert at the original Ziggy’s (Baity Street)?
The only concert I remember going to there was David Byrne-and it was amazing!

Local Triad Difference-Makers: Katie O’Brien Tesh

You can wake up every morning and hear Katie O’Brien Tesh on your radio as the host of Jared & Katie In the Morning on 107.5 KZL. Along with Jared Pike, Jason Goodman, Man-Kisser Matt and Intern Hugs O’Houlihan, she entertains the entire Triad community every weekday morning from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m (Station Website).


After growing up in Pennsylvania with two younger sisters (Colleen and Molly), Tesh and her family moved to Charlotte for her high school years. She went to college at Appalachian State, where she fell in love with the mountains of North Carolina while majoring in Communications (Public Relations) with a minor in English.

In 2005, Tesh moved to Winston-Salem, where she would live for the next six years. My wife and I worked with Katie at ABC of NC (tutoring awesome autistic children) for about two weeks (she was coming and we were leaving). I also went to a couple parties at the house she shared with Casey Tolerico, Mary Beach, Audrey Niblock, and Meghan Maguire, and they knew how to throw a party!

Tesh’s first day at 107.5 was on Sept 15th, 2005. She started as a phone screener  for “Murphy in the Morning,” where she screened the phones for her first three months. Then Tesh moved into “the big room” (the main KZL studios) as a co-host. Along with Pike, she took over the show in June of 2012. (Follow her hilarious Facebook page here and 107.5 KZL here)


On October 24, 2014, Tesh married her husband, Ben, who is a dental sales representative for Henry Schein Dental in Western North Carolina. On August 27, 2015, the two had their daughter Eleanor (Nora) Elizabeth Tesh and a few months after they bought their first home in Greensboro.

I asked Tesh about her favorite parts of Winston and the Triad below:

Triad Questions:

Is your husband related to John Tesh? Does he like his music?
Haha!! He gets that question a lot and sadly, no.  (At least not that we know of! Probably is somewhere down the line!) We ARE fans of John Tesh, who isn’t?

What made you want to get involved in radio broadcasting?
I didn’t really know that I wanted to do broadcasting at all! I was looking for an internship my junior year of college and a position opened at Kiss 95.1/K104.7 in Charlotte. I thought a summer radio internship would be the greatest….spending my whole summer off going to concerts and events around uptown. AND IT WAS! The greatest summer of my life. I worked over 1500 hours that summer and was hired after I graduated.
I worked with them for 3 months but all of my college girlfriends were getting a house in Winston Salem (Audrey, Mary, Casey and Meghan!) and I missed them big time so I moved to Winston – getting the job with 107.5 KZL (and a brief time at ABC of NC, of course!! And here I’ve been ever since).


How long did you live in Winston and what years? How long have you lived in Greensboro?
I LOVE WINSTON SALEM and miss it every day! I moved to W-S in Sept of 2005 and made the commute to Greensboro for the morning show every morning for 6 years. Whew!!! I racked up a pretty big credit card debt just putting gas in my car for all of those years. I’ve been in Greensboro now for 4 years and love it more and more every day.

Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods did you live in?
I lived in Ardmore off of Sunset for two years, and in College Village (near Diamond Back Grille) for three years. I also lived off of Stratford in a neighborhood behind the Olive Tree for one year.


What are your top three favorite Winston-Salem restaurants?
Milner’s American Southern, 6th & Vine and 4th Street Filling Station


Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
Thruway!!!! And I’m SO MAD that y’all got a Trader Joe’s after I moved!!

If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, a Bojangles Bo-Berry biscuit, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Moravian Sugar Cake! And can we throw in some Dewey’scake squares, too??

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
The Outer Banks! We spent many summers in Duck and Corolla.


Where is your favorite place in the mountains of North Carolina?
Any time spent in Asheville and/or Boone are the best days to me- I’m my happiest in the mountains. I almost seem to have separation anxiety in a way, when it’s been too long since I’ve been to mountains. I get antsy and know that a weekend trip will reset my soul.

Who is your favorite ACC team?
Because my husband is such a Wolfpack fan, it’s all I know! Nora is the littlest Wolfie and Ben couldn’t be more proud! It’s college football only in our house! (Ben graduated from NC State and LIVES for the Pack.)

Since you have lived in all three, what do you find as the biggest differences between Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Greensboro?
All three cities have a special place – and all have really great things going for them.
Winston Salem is so artsy, I love it! The street festivals during the summer were always my favorite (Alive After 5, Salute!) and the restaurant scene is booming, something I really enjoy. I’ll admit that I didn’t care for Greensboro when I first moved here because I loved W-S so much but the truth is, this city is growing on me every day. The downtown area is becoming more revitalized, we’re seeing more culinary progression (and breweries, too!!) and our social scene is growing. Charlotte is such a young city (with traffic that is getting busier by the minute), but there’s so much to do there! I do visit the suburbs of Charlotte so much more than the city itself but every time I’m uptown, I think to myself- this place is getting more and more awesome! The local businesses are growing and there’s always a new, fun restaurant and bar added to the mix!

Could you ever imagine leaving the Triad and if so, where would you go?
As much as I love it here in the Triad, my heart belongs to the mountains. I tell my husband that if he ever wants to make the move to Asheville, I’m in! He lived there for almost two years and didn’t enjoy it so that’s probably not in the cards for us….but I would!