Be Ready in Cary

It’s been hurricane season here in North Carolina for awhile now – so preparing might have already been on your to do list. But sometimes, it takes a big storm to bring the value of being prepared to the forefront.

As we all watched the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey – our hearts, hands and wallets opened up to assist.

Now, we see one potentially headed our way – and it’s time to make sure that we are ready, as well. Please take a few moments and do the following – while we wait for Hurricane Irma to decide her path.

  1. ReadyNC Mobile App

    Sign up for ReadyWake if you haven’t done so already.

    In partnership with Wake County, the Town of Cary will notify you via your preferred means of contact (phone, text and email) when there is an imminent threat to life, health and property.  Sign up and get information directly on the device of your choice.

    You can also download the ReadyNC app for iPhones and Android phones.  It has information like road conditions, power outages reported, areas that are being evacuated, and where open shelters are near you.

    You can also find this information on the ReadyNC webpage.   You’ll find lots of great information that should be updated as Irma gets closer.

  2. Create your own support network and an emergency communication plan. That way, you’ll know of family, friends and neighbors, and have their contact information to help you, or you help them, in an emergency.  Know where and how you will all connect if various communication routes are down, and where you might go if you need to evacuate.  Reach out and tell them what you might need.
  3. Think about what you need for you and your family.  Check out FEMA’s Plan & Prepare site for some great tips.
    – Do you have pets? How will you care for them?
    – Do you have children and/or seniors?  What special arrangements might you need?
    – Dietary needs? Medical needs or equipment? (Medications, CPAPs, medical equipment?)
    – Special cultural or religious consideration
  4. Protect your important documents/valuable and make sure you document and insure your property.
    – Make sure to have items ready in your emergency supply kit – like family records, wills, deeds, social security cards, bank information, medical and tax records, and medical cards and prescriptions.
    – Take pictures of your property – and upload them to a Cloud based service (like iCloud, Box, Dropbox) so your information is in the cloud, not just on your computer and backup drive.
  5. Make a Kit

    Emergency Supply Kit – This one is something you can do by collecting items above, and/or heading out to the store.  You need to make sure you have enough water, food and supplies for 3-7 days.  I remember we were without power for 7 days when Fran hit – and I was glad to have some of these items at the ready.Here are some suggestions from a variety of websites.  (By the way, I’m not opposed to adding things like chocolate brownies (my must have, I might need to make some now) and beer or bourbon (a request by some family members and friends) – make this YOUR kit.   Also make sure to include the items mentioned above.
    One other tip: I also put some of my gallons of water in the freezer – that way I can use them if I need to keep food cold if we are out of power. (Make sure to take some water out of the bottle, as they expand when they freeze.)  And start stocking up on your ice cubes, too.

    • Water – 1 gallon per person, per day
    • Food – non perishable, and canned (don’t forget the can opener!)
    • Battery powered or hand crank radio, extra batteries
    • Flashlights – extra batteries
    • Cell phone w/Charger
    • First aid kits
    • Hand wipes
    • Tools to be able to turn off the water
    • Prescriptions, medications, glasses/contacts (solution)
    • Blankets, change of clothes, dopp kit items
    • You house and car keys
    • Cash and credit cards
    • Books, and other items to distract you
    • Candles/matches
    • Pet needs (if you have them).

Read More…

Cary is a Smart City

We’re in a Triangle of Smart Cities

I was honored to be asked to join Mayor Nancy McFarlane (Raleigh), Mayor Pam Hemminger (Chapel Hill) and City Manager Tom Bonfield (Durham) for a panel at the Triangle Smart Cities Summit last month.

A View from the City

The “View from the City” panel was moderated by Governor Martin O’Malley, and we bounced a number of questions, ideas,  and visions around the table regarding our take on “what IS a Smart City” and how we get there.  If you want, you can watch the WHOLE thing below.  What was apparent was that each of our municipalities is working hard to leverage technology to improve the lives of our residents – by tapping into the intellectual capital at our respective universities, engaging citizens and working across our city and town boundaries to find regional solutions and best practices.  I highlighted a number of our wins – like Aquastar, that I’ve blogged about before – and new things on the horizon. Read More…

Let’s go ride a Bike

“I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.”
See if you can get that earworm outta your head NOW.

I’ll wait…

It’s National Bicycle Month – what does that actually mean, and why should you care?

I’m glad you asked.

Because this month there are so many ways for you to not only get out and see Cary and our community on your bike, but you will also notice that lots of folks are already doing so – and we all want to be safe out there.


My Bike History  (a short tale, like me)

I’m kinda a bike nerd.  I didn’t start that way. I took easy rides with the family and enjoyed just getting out there with the kids.

My family – many years ago

Then, I had this friend, Wayne, who first got me on a road bike.  (Let’s all blame him. OK?)  I started taking my hybrid on the road, but I found it so very heavy to do longer rides.  I moved up to a road bike, so much lighter and easier to maneuver.  But I was scared – mostly about all the spandex that folks wear, but also about the vulnerability of being on the road, next to vehicles that could easily bump or hit me.  I know that I’m no threat to a car – but I also know how easily it is to be distracted as a driver, and miss seeing a cyclist. It’s something I think about all the time when I’m on the road.   Read More…

A Garden for Wildlife in Cary

Cary and it’s citizens have always been commited to the environment – and now we have proof. Certifiable proof.

Oh, wait – I have to explain.

About 2 years ago members of the Environmental Advisory Board brought forward a great idea – to work with residents, businesses and organizations throughout the Town to create wildlife habitats in their yards and gardens, at schools, public spaces, and places of worship.

The goal – to give people a way to connect to their natural world, whether through enticing birds, butterflies or bees, or other wildlife – right where they are.

The Garden for Wildlife program sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is about blooming these possibilities across the community – providing tools, guidance and a way to certify participation of your garden space.  Making a sustainable habitat is relatively easy and a way for us all to reverse some of the human-caused habitat destruction that has hurt wildlife.  Whether you have rain barrels, compost, used native plants in your garden or yard, or hung bird feeders or installed bird baths– you are doing your part to help.

Cary Did It!

Last night several community members from various organizations that participated in the program, including the members of the EAB, Mayor Pro Tem Ed Yerha, a number of Staff members were joined by a Patrick Fitzgerald, The National Wildlife Federation’s Senior Director of Community Wildlife from Washington DC and Liz Rutledge from the NC Wildlife Federation, to present Cary with a Certificate recognizing Cary as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

This is quite a milestone in our history! For Cary to earn this standing over 400 homes, 5 schools and 3 common areas (like churches) in Cary were individually certified as wildlife habitats.

We are now the 101st community to be recognized across the country – and the FIRST in the TRIANGLE to have this designation!

Ed and I with Patrick & Liz from NWF

Read More…

Miss Representation – Free Women’s History Month Movie

March has traditionally been the time when I write about “Women’s History” – our struggle for the vote and women’s suffrage, or our lack of representation in government or lacking a seat at the table of our private sector companies. It makes sense to do this, given it’s Women’s History Month.

And yes, I’ve written about this before –  and you can read my previous blog posts here, and here.)

Suffragettes (Library of Congress)

But this year, I’ve really felt that the Women’s Movement is shifting.  From the Women’s March to #InternationalWomensDay – women are standing up and being counted.  We’ve marched, written songs, run for office, and made our voices heard.  You might not agree with all that’s going on, but I have to give credit to all of the women that are no longer sitting back and watching from afar.  We have some amazingly powerful women in this area – whether they are on boards or commissions as volunteers, in elected roles, at the board table or the PTA – they help to make our towns, cities and counties the best that they can be.  Read More…

Cary’s Jewish Cultural Festival Remarks

I was honored to give the opening remarks for the Jewish Cultural Festival this morning.

With all that is going on in the world today – I didn’t think I could do the standard “Welcome to Cary” remarks.  Here’s what I said.


Hello and Good Afternoon.

I’m Cary At-Large Representative Lori Bush, and I’m honored to join you on behalf of our Town Council and the 160,000 people who call Cary home. Welcome to our beautiful downtown and our Jewish Cultural Festival!

Thank you for inviting me to be with you today, and a big thank you to the Chabad of Cary, Beth Shalom, the Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary for your collaboration. As a Cary resident and particularly as a Jew, I feel so lucky to have you all right here in our area.

One of the amazing things about this Jewish Cultural Festival is how it has morphed and changed over the years — what started as a way to celebrate Chanukah with all of the festivities around that holiday – like the lighting of the menorah, eating latkes and spinning dreidels  – to last year’s Purim Celebration – with Hamentashen and costumes—– and now, a recognition of Passover – we have, TOGETHER, taken a journey through some of our unique traditions, celebrations and ceremonies.  We join together, as a community to celebrate our history and our past, and most importantly –  we embrace others who join us – whether this is their first time at our festival, or you’ve attended others before – we actively welcome and invite people of all faiths and ethnicities to this and ALL of our cultural festivals in Cary.  Read More…

Which Waze?

When was the last time you looked at a paper map to get somewhere?  A long time ago, I know.  I remember ordering the AAA TripTiks not so long ago – plotting the route we would take while on the road to a vacation. Ok, so now I feel old.

I also remember when I got my first navigational system, a Garmin box that had a suction cup to attach to the windshield.  That device was life changing – I found new ways to get around the town, and I distinctly remember feeling like this new technology was finally addressing my navigationally-challenged self.

How did this happen?

What you might not know is that these systems, along with Google Maps and Waze, built-in car navigational systems and other mapping applications on your phone – are some of the first commercial implementations of Open DataYep, it’s true.  (And yes, I’ve written about Open Data before.)

The data used for these systems is GPS – Global Positioning System data.   Read More…

Documentary Film Screening

Last night I had the opportunity to see a thought provoking documentary by Zach Galifianakis called, “Democracy for Sale.”

Yeah, I know, you don’t think of Zach of The Hangover Movie fame as being the that kind of guy, but I have to say I was impressed.

“Democracy for Sale” is a documentary that is part of a series called AMERICA DIVIDED. 

From their website :

“AMERICA DIVIDED is an EPIX Original limited docu-series executive produced by Common, Norman Lear, and Shonda Rhimes, features narratives around inequality in education, housing, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system – all woven into an eight-story, five-part series. The show follows high-profile correspondents as they explore aspects of inequality related to their own biographies. Correspondents include: Common, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Zach Galifianakis, Norman Lear, Amy Poehler, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jesse Williams.”

As a NC native son, Zach Galifianakis hosts and interviews a number of individuals in this documentary which looks at the gerrymandering of districts and the impact of money in our state.  Read More…

Alexa for Government

Ok, time to get back to my technology roots.

Y’all know that I’ve got this insatiable curiosity for technology solutions.  It’s in my Twitter profile, so it has to be true!

Since I was elected I’ve worked hard to help to bring the Town of Cary back to our “Technology Town of NC” origins.  We were one of the first to have a town website in NC, certainly one of the first to go totally paperless for our meetings and agenda, and our Open Data Portal – with its stories and accompanying data sets, push us above most towns and cities our size.  Years ago we tapped into some of the intellectual capital in the Town, and these amazing folks on the Technology Task Force provided us with a roadmap for the future.

And recently, our Chief Information Office, Nicole Raimundo was recognized as the Public Sector CIO of North Carolina. So, we’ve got the technology and vision chops that we need here at the Town.  Read More…

A Home for Everyone

Folks that know me, know that I’m pretty passionate about “Affordable Housing.”  Is it because I’m some screaming, leaning liberal?  Naaa.  Ok, maybe.   But really, it’s because I know the impact that having a safe place to live can have on an individual, a family and a community.  In fact, for those of you that remember, you might think back to when you learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Remember that chart?

Maslow’s Hierarchy from Brilliant Nurse

The most important needs are those “physiological needs” that is air, water and food.  Also included in those are clothing and shelter.  After that is safety, feeling safe from war, disaster, family violence and abuse, and being secure personally, financially, and healthy.

We need these core, most important needs met in order to succeed, to participate fully in society, and to grow.  When these needs aren’t met people cannot function properly, families struggle, and there is a high likelihood of failure – at home, work, and at life.

But there is a personal reason for my interest.  You see, when I was young, my father left and my mother was left to be a single mom caring for 2 young children.  With little money to her name she moved us halfway across the country in order to be closer to some of our family.  She struggled to find affordable housing (that was partially subsidized), took on several jobs, and did what she could to often put food on the table for us, and not her. I still remember those days in our little apartment in St. Louis, while mom worked so hard, and struggled so much. I was old enough to see her feed us, but “not eat because she wasn’t hungry.” I understood that times were pretty tough, but never did this strong and resilient woman let us know how really difficult a time it was.  She is an amazing individual, to not only have survived during a time when we had so very little resources, but she found a way to hide the complexity and difficulty of that life from us. Moms are often martyrs; strong impenetrable forces of will – and that’s what she was to us, never letting us know that we counted as any less, than anyone else. And single moms, you rule.  I have no idea how you do it. She’s the reason I fight so hard for those who struggle, because I wish there were more folks fighting back then, for her.  Read More…

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