Humor Writer/Blogger Hires Blueplate PR

Cris Cohen, author of the Nothing In Particular blog.

March 7, 2011 (Cary, NC) – Cris Cohen of Cary, a humor writer and author of the blog Nothing In Particular, has hired Blueplate PR of Raleigh to help him increase readership for his blog and to promote his upcoming book.

A California native who moved to Cary in 2008, Cohen published a weekly humor column in numerous newspapers on the West Coast. Since his move to North Carolina, he’s been writing Nothing In Particular, a blog about anything and everything, always expressed with Cohen’s wry wit.

Now Cohen is planning to publish a collection of columns, old and new, in a book entitled Staying Crazy To Keep From Going Insane. Proceeds from which will be donated to the Miracle League of the Triangle, a baseball league for kids with special needs.

“Cris is without doubt one of the best humor writers I’ve ever read,” said Kim Weiss, principal of Blueplate PR. “He’s the Dave Barry of the Triangle. When people discover Nothing In Particular, they’re hooked. And the book will be a no-brainer after that. His columns are laugh-out-loud funny. The fact that he’s willing to donate proceeds to the Miracle League just makes it that much more appealing. I’m delighted to be involved.”

For more information on Cris Cohen, visit his blog at

For more information on Blueplate PR, visit


About Cris Cohen:

Cris Cohen is the author of the Nothing In Particular blog. Although he was born in Buffalo, NY, Cris grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, eventually graduating from the University of Southern California. After a stint in rock radio in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Cris started writing his humor column for a collection of California newspapers. He eventually gravitated toward the tech world and Silicon Valley, working for companies such as Netscape and Cisco Systems. Cris and his wife, Michele, and their son, Max, moved to North Carolina in 2008. His blog is available at


About Blueplate PR:

Blueplate PR is owned and operated by award-winning journalist and former magazine editor Kim Weiss. It is a small and cost-effective “boutique” public relations agency with a fee structure optimized for small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals with modest PR budgets. For more information:

Metro Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Series on Regional Cities

January 14, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) – To celebrate its tenth year of publishing during 2009, Raleigh Metro Magazine has launched a five-month, in-depth exploration of the cities, towns and coastal communities that comprise its readership reach: their history; where they are today, and what they’re poised to become by the Year 2020.

The series begins this month in the Triangle area — which, as editor and publisher Bernie Reeves notes in his introduction, is actually “a rhomboid, a four-sized configuration comprised of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary.”

Metro’s January edition focuses on Cary, the “biggest little town in the South,” where a passion for its past blends seamlessly with world-class companies and accommodations. Metro writers Diane Lea (design, historic preservation) and Rick Smith (technology) study the people, places and commitments – to the arts, to the environment, to controlled growth — that continue to make this thriving “town” so appealing to residents and business.

Calling Cary “the keystone of the geometry of the Triangle,” Smith writes, “With a booming, largely affluent population and an economy anchored by high-tech stalwarts…Cary wraps up the first decade of a new century with strong momentum for continuing growth in the years ahead.”

In its February edition, Metro  senior writer Sharon Swanson  will take readers into the heart and soul of Chapel Hill, once defined as a “college town” yet solidly on its way to being much more than just the flagship home of the University of North Carolina. Food Editor Moreton Neal will provide a history of cuisine in this “foodie” town and Diane Lea reviews the architecture, new and old, of this progressive university community.

In March Metro will dig deep into Durham, a city defined as much by its bohemian fringe and trendy warehouse district as its “City of Medicine” status. Veteran writer Jim Hughes, a Durham native who knows the Bull City inside and out, promises a not-to-be-missed journey into the heart of Durham. Food editor Moreton Neal will examine the city’s great culinary tradition and Diane Lea will survey the gracious architecture of the past with the thrusting skyline of the new Durham.

North Carolina’s Capital City – Raleigh – will be the focus of the April edition, with several writers assigned to tackle this fast-growing and sophisticated metropolis. Steeped in history, Raleigh is changing rapidly inside and outside its landmark beltline.

The many communities and beaches that comprise the “down east” portion of Metro’s reach will centerpiece the May 2009 edition written by Dr. James Leutze, former chancellor of UNC-Wilmington and a regular Metro columnist. With coastal issues “going critical” in the next decade, Leutze will draw on his expertise on the subject to clarify the key issues, including offshore drilling; beach renourishment; explosive growth and the impact on the region and state.

Raleigh Metro Magazine is available on newsstands and online at

For more information and to access the special features on Cary, NC, visit

Click to access 10167480-raleigh-metro-magazine-celebrates-10th-anniversary-with-series-on-regional-cities.pdf

Judy and Frank Harmon To Discuss “What I Learned Doing My Own House” During Boston Convention

March 25, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) – Award-winning landscape architect Judy Harmon, ASAL, and her husband, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, will participate in a panel discussion entitled “What I Learned Doing My Own House” during Residential Design & Construction (RDC), a two-day convention and trade show for design and construction professionals, home owners, and consumers to be held April 2 and 3 in the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, MA.

The Raleigh couple created their home and gardens together in 1994, juxtaposing Frank Harmon’s thoroughly Modern residential design with Judy Harmon’s curvilinear garden design, which creates a paisley of sunny, open spaces and dense, shaded foliage. According to the Harmons, the house and gardens were designed as halves of the greater “whole” — as equal parts of the living experience. Their residence has won design awards and has been featured in numerous publications, including the book Outside The Not-so-big House by architect Sarah Susanka and landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy.

According to Claire Conroy, editor of Residential Architect magazine and moderator for this panel, the Harmons and other invited speakers will discuss “the surprises and delights they experienced designing their own dwellings. Was it a dream come true or the client from the dark side? What would they do differently if they could? What insights did they gain for other projects and other clients?” The panel will offer “a behind-the-scenes look at what architects create for themselves.”

“What I Learned Doing My Own House” will take place on Thursday, April 3, from 1-3 p.m. Joining Conroy and the Harmons will be Mark Hutker, AIA, of Hutker Architects in Vineyard Haven, MA, and Mark McInturff, FAIA, of McInturff Architects in Bethesda, MD.

The RDC offers workshops and professional development opportunities to enrich residential design and construction professional’s design and technical skills. Nationally and internationally recognized industry leaders share their knowledge and expertise. The convention allows the public to meet architects and interior designers and to view hundreds of exhibits featuring new products, new technologies and both traditional and non-traditional design. For more information visit

For more information on the Harmons’ home, visit Click on “projects” then “Harmon residence.”


The Spies Are Coming To Raleigh

March 24, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — Mingle with famous spies at the 5th Raleigh Spy Conference beginning Wednesday evening March 26 through 12 noon Friday March 28 at the NC Museum of History. High level intelligence operatives and writers will address unsolved mysteries of the CIA, including previously secret stories of famous double agents, false defectors and the obsessive search for a “mole” burrowed at the very top of the American intelligence community.

The centerpiece of the conference is the appearance of Tennent “Pete” Bagley, the CIA officer whose recent book has set off a firefight in CIA over the defector Yuri Nosenko, who crossed over to the West with news about the assassination of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald’s sojourn in the Soviet Union.

In a coup for the Raleigh Spy Conference, chief historian for CIA David Robarge will present new information about the shadowy figure of CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, whose paranoia that the Soviet mole SASHA had infiltrated the highest echelons of US spy agencies looms today.

Brian Kelley, the CIA officer that the FBI falsely accused of being the treacherous Robert Hanssen, will present the never before divulged saga of a double agent, the lives he touched, and a surprise ending with connections to Chapel Hill, NC.

Two respected journalists who have covered the role of intelligence will provide political dimension to the world of espionage: Jerry Schecter, former Moscow bureau chief for Time Magazine and the author of seminal books on the Cold War; and David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and author of spy fiction respected by the intelligence community (his latest book is being made into a major motion picture, directed by Ridley Scott) will conclude the Raleigh conference with an overview of the role of intelligence in modern history.

Says conference founder Bernie Reeves, “This is the real thing. Attendees get to know the very top people who make the world work behind the scenes in the secret world of espionage. There is not other event like it in the world.”

A full conference schedule, biographies of the speakers and registration information is available at or by calling Raleigh Metro Magazine at 919-831-0999.


NC Parks and Rec Dept. Breaks Ground on First “Green” Visitor Center

March 11, 2008 (GATESVILLE, NC) – On Saturday, March 15, the North Carolina Department of Parks & Recreation will hold its groundbreaking ceremony to start construction of the LEED® Gold rated Merchants Mill Pond State Park Visitors Center in Gatesville, NC, the department’s first LEED®-rated building and a model for responsible development. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Designed by Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh – a nationally recognized leader in sustainable design – the project will include a 6500-square-foot Visitor Center with exhibit space, an auditorium, classrooms, workspace and administrative offices, plus an 600-square-foot outdoor classroom. A trail will lead from to the outdoor classroom at the edge of the pond.

According to Frank Harmon, FAIA, the building “touches the site as lightly as possible in an attempt to protect and preserve the many species of plants and wildlife that call Merchants Mill Pond State Park home.” The project respects the environment, he said, by minimizing the impact and footprint of both building and the parking area.

Daylight and views will be available in all occupied spaces, he said, with particularly dramatic views available through the two-story glass window in the lobby and the adjacent porch along the pond side of the building. Every main space in the building will benefit from natural light through at least two sides of the room, which will reduce the need for artificial illumination.

The Visitors Center will also utilize an efficient geothermal heat pump system to protect the surroundings from the noise of the mechanical equipment and to reduce energy use.

Locally available materials, such as Atlantic White Cedar wood siding, will be used on the interior and exterior of the building. “To protect the native Atlantic White Cedar species, at least 95 percent of the lumber will come from trees in the Dismal Swamp that were felled during Hurricane Fran,” Harmon noted.

Since water conservation is a primary concern, the Visitor Center will contain dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals. Collection cisterns will provide rainwater for irrigation and hosing down canoes at the Outdoor Classroom.

Merchants Mill Pond is a Registered Natural Heritage Area that covers 1900 acres and includes the millpond and part of Lassiter Swamp. It was established as a state park so that its diverse biological, scenic, archaeological, geological and recreational values could be protected. For more information and directions to the park, visit

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit


Shoot Magazine Praises PSA for Raleigh,NC, Holocaust Commemoration

March 3, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) – “Remember,” a 30-section public service announcement (PSA) to support the annual Holocaust Commemoration in Raleigh, North Carolina, is featured this week in SHOOT, a national magazine, under the headline: “The Best Work You May Never See.”

Film director Allen Weiss of Raleigh wrote, directed and executive produced the PSA, for the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. Weiss is the son of a 78-year-old Survivor who has carried the number the Nazis tattooed on his arm for 65 years. His father’s numbers inspired the concept behind “Remember,” Weiss said:

“The central concept of this piece is this: There is no better way to assert the fact that people are individuals and not numbers, than to assign numbers to people,” he said. “That’s exactly what the Nazi machine did. So this concept is simple — have Survivors, and their progeny, appear on camera and simply, bluntly, state their number.”

Trailblazers Studio in Raleigh donated time, equipment and a crew to produce the spot, which should air throughout the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham Chapel Hill) area of North Carolina.

“In the wake of such a global catastrophe, this project is nothing more than a pebble tossed in the ocean,” Weiss said. “But the ripples that those pebbles create can be huge — as long as people keep tossing the pebbles, nobody will forget what they mean or where they came from.”

Shoot Magazine has been a leading national weekly publication for creative and production decision-makers at advertising agencies and in the television and film production industry for 46 years. Its contents are also available online to registered viewers at

For more information on Remember, contact Allen Weiss at or call 919-272-8834.


Controversy, Eclectic Content Characterize March Edition of Raleigh Metro Magazine

March 1, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — In the March issue of Metro Magazine, candidates for governor discuss coastal issues with columnist and former UNC-Wilmington chancellor Jim Leutze; former UNC women soccer players defend coach Anson Dorrance; Southern author John Shelton Reed begs Metro readers to vote for the best barbecue; and the 5th Raleigh Spy Conference – set for March 26-28 at the NC Museum of History – presents unsolved mysteries of the CIA (

In Metro’s quarterly Southern Style Section, garden guru Helen Yoest previews area tours scheduled for spring; a modern home finds its place inside the Raleigh beltline; the latest female golf fashion is previewed, along with the essentials for a must-have spring wardrobe; and Metro Magazine is named the official program sponsor for the May ASID Designer Show House.

Food editor Moreton Neal ranks the top spots for lunch in the region; wine critic Barbara Ensrud researches the best restaurant wine lists and recommends a tour of wineries in the Yadkin Valley – the state’s only designated growing region; Carroll Leggett eats high off unmentionable parts of the hog; Philip Van Vleck interviews singer-songwriter Tift Merritt; Arch T. Allen covers our “color-blind” Constitution; Art Taylor reviews a modern Odyssey; and Metro’s calendar of events bulges with spring events.

Editor/publisher Bernie Reeves, in his column My Usual Charming Self, congratulates the people of Cary for their threat to “secede” from the Wake County School System, revisits the “owl theory” in the Kathleen Peterson case, criticizes former UNC law dean Gene Nichol – recently fired by the College of William & Mary – for his attack on religious symbols, and calls for an investigation into the actions of Secretary of Cultural Resources Libba Evans.

Metro Magazine is available on newsstands and at


Defector’s Claims About JFK, Oswald Underlie Conference Theme

**The Nosenko case and the key unsolved mysteries of the CIA will hold center court at the 5th Raleigh Spy Conference March 26-28 at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.**bagley-pic.jpg

February 26, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) — Why would the KGB take pains to deny it had nothing to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or that the Soviet spy agency had no contact with Lee Harvey Oswald when he lived in the USSR prior to the events in Dallas?

CIA officer Tennent “Pete” Bagley asked those questions of KGB defector Yuri Nosenko in Geneva in 1964 — less than two months after the assassination. James Angleton, the chief of counterintelligence for CIA, agreed with Bagley’s assessment: Nosenko was part of a deception and was not telling the whole truth. Thus ensued one the most controversial sagas in CIA history that continues today with the publication of a new book by Pete Bagley.

The 2008 Raleigh Spy Conference, an internationally acclaimed event that draws top experts in the field of intelligence to Raleigh each year, will feature Bagley and five other expert speakers under the title CIA’s Unsolved Mysteries: The Nosenko Defection, Double Agents and Angleton’s Wilderness of Mirrors. The final conference schedule is available at (click on “event info”).

According to Conference founder Bernie Reeves, editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine, “Many questions remain from the monumental battle between the Soviet Union and the United States when the wheel of history often turned to the will of agents of deception and moles burrowed inside intelligence and other government agencies. It was indeed a ‘wilderness of mirrors’ that continues today to cast a confused image of history.”

The Conference will open on Wednesday, March 26, at 6 p.m. with registration and a reception, followed by a surprise addition to the speaker line-up: Stanton Evans, author of the controversial new book Blacklisted By History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy And His Fight Against America’s Enemies.

David Robarge, chief historian for CIA, will start off Thursday morning at 9 a.m. discussing the environment at CIA created by the legendary James Jesus Angleton, CIA’s counterintelligence chief who turned the Agency inside out searching for a Soviet mole he thought had burrowed into the highest levels of the US intelligence community.

At 10:30 a.m., former CIA counterintelligence officer Brian Kelley will dramatize for the first time the true story of an American double agent targeted against the KGB. Drawing on newly declassified information, Kelley will trace the deceptions and mystery of the case – involving spy agencies, presidents and KGB sources — and conclude with a stunning surprise involving an American official.

At 1:30 p.m., special guest Pete Bagley will answer questions about his new book on the Nosenko defection and the controversy it has rekindled in intelligence circles. Feelings are running so strongly that Bagley’s scheduled talk in July at CIA about his book was abruptly canceled the evening before. Brian Kelley will join Bagley on stage as moderator.

At 3 p.m., former Time magazine Moscow bureau chief Jerrold Schecter — the author of seminal books on the Cold War — will discuss the political environment that produced the double agents, moles and deception operations that created the wilderness of mirrors that signified the Cold War confrontation of US and Soviet spy agencies.

From 4:15 to 5 p.m. authors at the Conference will hold a book signing. The day will conclude with a Conference Gala from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Amra’s in Raleigh’s Glenwood South district.

Friday, March 28, kicks off at 9 a.m. with a panel discussion featuring all speakers to field additional questions from the audience, introduce special guests, and discuss the findings and conclusions from the 5th Raleigh Spy Conference.

At 11 a.m., David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and former Moscow bureau chief, will present the keynote address. Ignatius, an award-winning journalist and the author of espionage fiction applauded by the intelligence community, will present an overview of the era that created the wilderness of mirrors and the political and historical impact of Cold War espionage.

The Raleigh Spy Conference was founded “to bridge the gap between intelligence and current history,” according to Reeves. “The calculus of modern events is intelligence. We don’t really know what happened until someone declassifies something.”

Association of Intelligence Officers President Gene Poteat says of the Raleigh Conference: “In Washington, it’s difficult for the public to comprehend important intelligence and terrorism issues since everything is partisan and politically charged. Outside Washington, there are few voices for the public to hear, and those heard are often wrong or media-driven. Few are able to explain to the public what really has happened, and is happening, in intelligence, counterterrorism and national security — important issues, which, throughout history, have spelled the survival or loss of this or other nations.

“The annual Raleigh Spy Conference is a rare opportunity to hear it straight, with an unusual ‘insider’s’ perspective and knowledge. Each year this conference opens that door to share remarkable insights and stellar speakers with the public. If one claims a scintilla of world-affairs knowledge, it cannot be true unless the annual Raleigh Spy Conference is on your calendar.”

Tickets to the three-day event are $250 for the general public, $175 for seniors, and $145 for teachers, students and members of the military and intelligence community. Early registration is available by calling Jennifer Hadra at 919-831-0999. For complete information, including accommodations, go to

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Porto in Raleigh Welcomes New Designer/Sales Associate

February 11, 2008 (RALEIGH, NC) – PORTO, a find home furnishings store in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, announces that Mark Sieber has joined the North Hills staff as a designer and sales associate.

Sieber brings years of experience in retail and interior design to Porto. He has worked at West Side Furnishings in Raleigh, the former Domicile in Chapel Hill, Nowell’s in Cary, and served as manager of DiProvincia in Greensboro for five years. He attended Guilford College in Greensboro and UNC-Chapel Hill.

“Mark came highly recommended from his previous stores,” said Emily Barrett, who co-owns Porto with Michael Perry. “He has already worked with several of the lines we carry, so he was able to hit the ground running. We are really happy to have him on board, both because of his excellent credentials and his stellar reputation.”

According to Barrett, Sieber is known for “large, creative interior design projects, both residential and commercial.” He describes his design sensibilities as “eclectic” and “outside the box,” and says he most enjoys “assisting a client in executing his or her vision and creating an elegant, harmonious, and inviting space.”

PORTO is located in Raleigh at 4151 Main at North Hills and in Chapel Hill’s Eastgate Shopping Center, 1800 East Franklin Street. Hours are: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and 
Sunday from 1 – 6 p.m. For more information, visit or call 919-341-2763 in Raleigh and 919-338-2602.


Frank Harmon Presents Project, Opening Lecture at “Southern Exposure: Contemporary Regional Architecture”

February 8, 2008 (RICHMOND, VA) — When Modern architecture embraces the particulars of a place – the culture, climate, materials and landscape of the region in which it is built – it is no longer “stark” or “cold,” as detractors would suggest, but warm, charming and often quite “green.”

This is the message the Virginia Society of the American institute of Architects AIA/VA) conveys in a new exhibit entitled “Southern Exposure: Contemporary Regional Architecture,” which opened in the Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond on February 7 and will run through June 8, 2008.

Southern Exposure is “a pictorial tour of some of the Sun Belt’s most respected Modern architecture,” according to Rhea George of AIA/VA. The projects included demonstrate that, in the right hands, Modern design can be as “warm and imaginative as buildings from any period in history,” she said, as they “balance beauty with sustainability.”

Award-winning Raleigh, NC-based architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, who has conducted seminars on “America’s New Regionalism” during the last three National AIA conventions, presented a lecture on his regional approach to design at the exhibition’s public opening event Thursday night.

Harmon’s contribution to the exhibit is a Low-Country residence in Mt. Pleasant, SC, that was designed to tread lightly on its tidal-marsh site. Taking his cue from traditional shutters on nearby Charleston’s historic homes, Harmon designed a series of large, metal screens to protect the house from harsh sun and hurricanes – a “21st century solution to a 400-year-old problem,” he said.

The show also includes work by Marlon Blackwell of Fayetteville, Ark.; W. G. Clark of Charlottesville, VA; Mack Scogin of Merril Elam Architects in Atlanta, GA; Lake/Flato Architects of San Antonio, TX; and the groundbreaking work of students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio in Alabama, founded by the late Samuel Mockbee, which combines social outreach with architectural education (

The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond’s historic Fan District and is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

For more information on Frank Harmon, go to