Cary is named after, who?

The following comments were made by my esteemed At-Large Council colleague, Ed Yerha.  Ed has a phenomenal way of providing informative and entertaining bits of history – and at our last council meeting, he spoke of the man for who Cary is named – Samuel Fenton Cary.  He’s provided these comments to me to share, and I thought you all might enjoy the “history lesson.” I did.  (Thanks so much to Ed!)

A Brief History Lesson

This year – 2014 – marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of a man without whom Cary would not be Cary.  The 200th birthday of — no, not Jack Smith – but of Samuel Fenton Cary, the man for whom our town was named. 

Brick Homestead in Ohio

Brick Homestead in Ohio

Sam was born on Feb 18,1814  to a pioneer family on the outskirts of  Cincinnati, OH in a log cabin.  (Although it seems like everyone was born in a log cabin in those days,  it still makes for a good story.)  We’re told shortly after his birth his father built and moved the family to the finest brick home in the county.  Perhaps that’s where we get our preference for brick around here – we may have inherited it from the Carys.

Young Sam Cary

Young Sam Cary

Sam grew up in Cincinnati, went to college and law school and became known for his legal and oratorical skills and was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court at the age of 26, an appointment he turned down.

He used his skills instead to work for the common man advocating strongly for the 8 hour work day and other labor laws.  During the Mexican War, he was bestowed the rank of general and served in various military and quasi–military roles.

He became Chief of Staff to 3 Ohio Governors and later served in Congress as an “Independent Republican” and was the only Republican in Congress to vote against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, Raleigh’s native son.   Sam had an independent streak.

Read More…

Women’s History Month

Below are the comments I made in honor of International Women’s History month at our council meeting. (Starting at about 1:50.)

I strayed a bit from my prepared remarks, which are below.

March is International Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month – and it’s a great opportunity for us to recognize the incredible contributions that women of every race, class and ethnic background have made and continue to make, to our country and our town.

March 3rd marked 100 years since suffragists marched on Washington. It was 1946 was when Eliza Jane Pratt was the first female to represent North Carolina in the US Congress and in 2009 – Bev Perdue became the NC’s first female governor. We’ve made progress.

19th Amendment (National Archives)

19th Amendment (National Archives)

But, when the 19th Amendment came before the North Carolina legislature in August 1920, it wasn’t the first time we had considered allowing women to vote. In February 1897, J.L. Hyatt, a NC State Senator, introduced a bill for women’s suffrage. The bill died after it was referred to the committee on insane asylums.

Unfortunately, North Carolina didn’t have an active hand in the passage of this amendment. It seems like the folks in charge didn’t support women having the right to vote. In fact, NC didn’t ratify the 19th amendment until 1971, more than fifty years after it became law. (We tabled the bill in the state senate back in 1920) The only state to wait longer was Mississippi, which ratified it in 1984.

Here in the Town, we have women in all types of roles – our Town Clerk, and Town Attorney, our Police Chief, and of course, here at the council table, just to name a few. And, in fact, it wasn’t that long ago that the Town of Cary made history in NC – when we had a FEMALE MAJORITY on the Town Council, something not seen in any other Town in NC.

In Cary – about 21% of our town employees are women, and that compares to many of our respective cities, like Apex (20%), Charlotte, (24%), Winston-Salem (24%) …with a larger number of ours being in Leadership roles at the town… (about 24%) , compared to Apex (14%), Charlotte (19%), – and then there is Winston Salem (at a whopping 28%)  Read More…

Morrisville Parkway Update

Those of us that travel on the western side of Cary are seeing a lot of road work at intersections along Morrisville Parkway. And more are coming.

Morrisville Parkway Extension
From Town of Cary

From Town of Cary

Town of Cary staff and consultants have been working to get the planning and design in place for the completion of the final segment of Morrisville Parkway between NC55 and Green Level Church Road. The developments on both ends of that segment of road are helping to expedite the construction – and will have nearly half of the length completed by summer of 2014.

The developers along Morrisville Parkway at Fryar Gate will build another 1,000 feet of this area over the next 18 months, leaving only the connections to the existing NC 540 bridge. The last ½ mile segment at the interchange has cleared a number of major environmental hurdles before going to the Federal Highway Administration for final review and approval. Construction is targeted for mid to late 2015.

Morrisville Parkway Railroad Grade Separation Project
From Town of Morrisville

From Town of Morrisville

Starting in April, the Morrisville Parkway/NC Railroad Grade Separation Project near Park West is planned to begin, with a scheduled completion date for May 2017.

What’s Happening?

The grade separation project will eliminate the at-grade crossing that is currently on Morrisville Parkway, just past Crabtree Crossing Drive in the Morrisville/Cary area. This will be done by building a bridge over the Morrisville Parkway, separating the vehicular road traffic from the rail traffic, sending cars underneath the railroad tracks. The project is part of a larger project to “double track” portions of the NC Rail Road corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Read More…

Geese in Cary

We receive a great number of complaints regarding the Geese that have come to call Cary their home.  In many locations, there are hundreds of them, often overwhelming and becoming a nuisance in certain parks and ponds, leaving their droppings, and in some cases, becoming aggressive when they are protecting their nests.

Their unique status

First off, the geese in our area are “Canada Geese.”  (Not “Canadian Geese” as we often hear.) Canada Geese are classified as migratory birds and are a protected species that are regulated through a complicated process involving the US Department of Agriculture, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.

That is to say that Canada Geese are basically protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918 . This Act makes it illegal to harm or injure a goose and damage or move its eggs and nest, without a Federal permit. Not complying with the Federal Act can result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 and this also applies to an untrained dog’s actions.

What can be done to address this problem?

The Town has been dealing with geese at the Koka Booth Amphitheater and the WakeMed Soccer Park with varying levels of success.  We actually have an agreement with the US Department of Agriculture to help manage our goose population at those facilities.

As explained to me by our town staff, that under these regulations, management of the geese population requires a “depredation permit” which means there must be property damage before such a permit can be issued.  

Another consideration the Town must take into account is the fact that Cary is designated a bird sanctuary in our own ordinances which provide protection for wild birds. This does not mean that we would not take measures, where appropriate, to address any damage created by such birds but only that we must carefully weigh the pros and cons of such issues.

Until the federal government takes action and removes the protections that are established for these birds, the Town (and private property owners) is very limited on what we can do.

What can you do?
Photo by MyStuart

Photo by MyStuart

Don’t feed the Geese.  Feeding the geese just makes them want to stay, and they tend to congregate when food is easy to find.

Stay away from the nests – Geese tenaciously defend their nests and goslings. Pay attention to where you are, and if you are close to a nest –  you don’t want to provoke a defensive response by the female or male.

Harassment – scaring the geese can be used effectively, but there are some programs in place to ensure you do it safely, and humanely

As always, thanks for listening and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.

________________________________

Featured photo by e_monk

What I’ve learned about Google Fiber

There’s been a lot of excitement about Google Fiber coming to the Triangle – and I have to admit that I’m on that band wagon. I’ve received more than 100 separate emails from Cary citizens, excited about this possibility!

If you’d like to read more about our Cary position on this announcement, the Town has a FAQ on Google Fiber.  You can also check out the Open Letter to Cary Citizens from our Mayor.

Last week, I met with Google Fiber representatives about their plans for the Triangle, and to learn more.  They were in town to meet with the municipalities about the “check list” of items that will make it easier for them to decide if Google Fiber will go forward in this area.

Here is what I learned in that meeting.
  1. It’s not a contest.  From their perspective, all 34 cities on the list can potentially have Google Fiber, IF, and that is a big IF, they are able to make it through the process without hitting any big roadblocks.
  2. Google Fiber has the scalability and resources to do all 34 cities if all cities meet their criteria.
  3. That criteria is a lengthy list – but they have learned through this process elsewhere, that it makes a difference. They shared this list with all the municipalities.  There was great excitement and interest in the room by all.
  4. What’s on the list?  Things like – providing maps (of poles, conduit, utility lines), potentially streamlining a way to get permits for their junction boxes (2ft/3ft/3ft boxes needed for connectivity) – access to poles (through leasing arrangements, etc) to hang fiber, land ordinances that allow them to place these boxes in the right of way, etc.  Nothing out of the ordinary, it seems, right now.
  5. They have a process for folks to ‘sign up” for more information and status.  Click on “Check address” and sign up to be in the loop.
  6. It can take about 2 years once all of the intricacies are figured out. One year to lay fiber, another to get everyone connected.  (That’s their experience in Kansas City.)

Hopefully, all of this will go well, and we will have further (positive) updated status before this summer.  Keep your fingers crossed, and thanks to all the citizens that have written to Council with your questions and support!

________________________________
Featured photo by Bob Goyetche

Much ado about lights

This weeks Town Council meeting we will discuss a proposed amendment to an ordinance regarding String Lights.  Yes, string lights – like the ones you put on a Christmas Tree, or businesses have put in some of their outdoor areas.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE

Last council meeting, staff brought forward an ordinance to change the “rules” regarding the use of these lights around town.  The ordinance change that was originally proposed, and unanimously recommended by the Planning and Zoning board:

  1. Removed the restriction of lights in only the Downtown Cary Town Center and allowed lights across town.
  2. Removed the “twinkle type lights”
  3. Allowed accenting of lights along rooflines and the perimeter of outdoor areas.

stringlights

I liked the proposed ordinance the way it was written, but 5 of the 7 council members disagree with me.  (Thanks Don!)

NEW Ordinance

The NEW ordinance to be discussed/approved tomorrow makes these changes:

  1. Only allows these types of lights Downtown and in Mixed Use Overly Zoning Districts
  2. Only allows them in landscaping (not on rooflines) or other places,
  3. And only allows perimeter down-lighting that is shielded and only for sales areas
I like Lights

I’ve seen string lights tastefully used by our small businesses across the town to provide indirect, beautiful outdoor lighting at restaurants and other businesses with outdoor seating.

Folks enjoy dinner outside at Ashworth Village or Bosphorus– where the ambience is certainly set by the beautiful outdoor string lights.

Klara

bosphorus

I can’t imagine a summer evening at Goodberry’s without the tree lights.  (I’m checking to see if BOTH Goodberry’s are in Mixed Use Overlay districts.) 

goodberrys

I don’t feel it’s fair to limit the use of these lights to businesses and restaurants that are Downtown or in a Mixed Use Overlay District.  I’d like to be fair to all our businesses, and apply an ordinance equitably across the town.

But, let’s see how tomorrow goes. :-)

As always, thanks for listening and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.

—————————————————————–

Featured photo by Memicat

Technology at a crossroads

I love technology.  I do.

I’ve written about it before, it’s part of my twitter profile, and I see the value of technology to engage citizens, connect people and improve lives.  Technology can bridge the gap between communities and continents, it democratizes all voices, allowing citizens to participate on a level playing field, and improve access – closing the educational divide.

You use it, and you want it

budgetfeedback

Here in Cary we’ve seen our citizens use technology to engage with the Town:

- Citizens use the Town website to look up Town agendas, minutes and development activity and watch Council meetings on YouTube.

- Provide budget feedback via Twitter (24 tweets), post on Facebook (37 comments) and email (66 emails).  The number of  Tweets and Facebook posts combined (61) this year were more than ALL of the input we received for last year’s budget (59 comments.)

- We saw you create an online petition signed by 1275 residents to save the Cary High School Water Towercarywatertower

  •   – A biennial survey that shows 54.5% of our citizens own or plan to own a smartphone this year and the trend is that smart phone users outnumber basic phone users.
  • And on and on…  Read More…

Our weight

I think about it all the time.   But this is the first time I’ve ever written about it. Ever.

It’s private, but you and I see it every day.  It’s my struggle with weight.

I’d like to say that I’m fine with what I weigh; that it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want to do, and be who I want to be. But that wouldn’t be true. And if I hope my blog is anything, it’s honest. So, here is the elephant in the room. It’s me. (Pun kinda intended.)

I’ve been bigger than I am now, and certainly smaller. I’ve been on every diet known to mankind. Cabbage soup? HCG? Weight Watchers? Nutri-system? Yes, all those and more. I was on my first diet at the age of 12. I can’t count how many I’ve been on since then. I KNOW what to eat, what not to eat, and how to lose weight. I’ve done it plenty of times.

Over the years and through it all, I’ve been lucky to have friends and family that continue to love and support me for who I am, not what I look like. Although my outside has been many sizes, my heart and soul continues to be as big as it can be, and I think that’s a good thing.

I AM active – which surprises many people. All my activity has probably kept me from having any weight related problems. I bike (averaging about 25 miles at a time, and even done a century!), walk (sometimes run), take dance classes, play volleyball (when I can), garden and more.

So, why am I writing this post?

I went to a screening of the “Weight of the Nation” documentary by HBO – put on by the Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) this week. We only watched the section on childhood obesity called “Children in Crisis” of the documentary – but the impact of the obesity epidemic on our children and our nation just hit home for me.  (You can also watch the full documentary on their website at: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com)

Here are some telling figures:

•  Children that have a TV in their room are more likely to be obese

•  79 million Americans are pre-diabetic

•  Half of obese teenage girls become extremely obese by their early 30’s

•  In the US in 2010, over 63% of people are overweight or obese

•  Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15%. Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25%

Read More…

Making a difference in Cary

There are so many wonderful features that make Cary great – our tree lined streets, the look-and-feel of our community, and all of the events that build community. But what really makes CARY great, are the people who live, work, play and raise families in this great Town.

What I’ve come to learn in my short time on council, is that our citizens aren’t just passionate contributors to our daily Town conversation; they put their heart, soul and free time to work to continue to make Cary the vibrant, amazing community that it is today.

John Kennedy famously said –

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

Cary citizens have taken that to heart, right here in our own community.

Volunteers by the Numbers

SpruceSpruce, our volunteer-based program designed to connect citizens to beautification, litter reduction, and environmental service projects in our community has a number of activities going on all year. In fact, since today is Earth Day – you might want to check out some of those upcoming events and come out to Spring Daze in Bond Park, this Saturday, April 27th.  You can also join the Spruce Facebook group to keep up on what’s next.

On Saturday, April 13th I joined almost 450 other volunteers for the Spring Litter Sweep across our town for several hours. Kids, seniors, boomers and families joined in to help make Cary “clean and forever green.”  It was amazing to see people all across this community, getting together to pick up trash – and keep our community looking great.  We owe a debt of gratitude to all those folks that gave their Saturday morning to this endeavor.

 

Parking lot

Read More…

Diggin’ In

Dig InOn Saturday, March 9th I attended a fantastic program called “Dig In” created by the Advocates for Health in Action (AHA). If you don’t know who AHA is – they work across our community to promote healthy eating and physical activity – or, as they say, finding ways to make the healthy choice the easy choice!

This seminar offered me an opportunity to combine some of my passions – environmental issues, healthy choices and fun. I had high expectations, and was not disappointed.

The main topic was “Weaving Edible Landscapes-Community Gardens and Urban Ag into the Fabric of our Community.” Given Cary’s recent ordinance change and allowance of Chickens and Beekeeping, I think it’s fair to say that our community is in line with some of the trends towards more locally grown food, and a new focus on nutrition.

It was nice to see that folks from both from the City of Raleigh and Town of Cary in attendance – specifically Emily Barrett, our Town’s sustainability manager.  This trend and the topic of discussion really spoke to me.  Not only as a council member, but also personally as I start the move away from processed foods, getting ready to plant my garden for the season, and finding ways to bring these lessons home to my family.

To get a taste of what has been done in England, check out this TED video (13 minutes – well worth it!) that was shared.  It’s by Pam Warhurst – “How we can eat our landscapes.”  She cofounded “Incredible Edible, an initiative in England that is dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land in the community.

Read More…

1 2 3 4 5 6  Scroll to top