CaryCitizen Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:55:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Downtown Cary: New Sculptures Coming Soon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:55:54 +0000 sculpture

Cary, NC — On Friday, July 17, 2015, a brand-new set of outdoor sculptures will be placed along the streets of Downtown Cary for residents to enjoy all year, and you can be part of it.

2015 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

Cary Visual Art, or CVA, hosts the Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition (OSE) each year. The program fills the streets of Downtown Cary with outdoor sculptures that residents can enjoy year-long.

This year, on Friday, July 17, 2015, artists, pick-up trucks, CVA staff and volunteers and even cranes will all work together to install the new sculptures along Academy Street.

Last year, as a CVA volunteer, I got an incredible view of a sculpture hanging from a crane in the sky as it was delivered to its new year-long home. The best part? Any and all art-lovers can watch this action or attend the show’s opening reception later that evening.

Watch the Sculpture Installations

I talked to Shawnee Becker, CVA’s Media, Programs & Design Development Coordinator, to find out more about how you can get involved in being one of the first to enjoy the new sculptures.

According to Shawnee, due to the Academy Street streetscape project, 10 sculptures will be placed downtown this year (as opposed to the usual 12). “Eight out of the 10 sculptures will be on and around Town Hall campus, but one will be off Chatham in the Fidelity Bank Lawn, and the other will be at the Cary Arts Center,” she said.

If you’re free on Friday morning, watching the installation of the sculptures is quite a sight–I’ll certainly be there. “People should come early if they want to watch the crane,” Shawnee said. “We only get it for a few hours from 9 am – 12 pm.”

Attend the Reception

On Friday evening, after all the sculptures are installed, artists and art-lovers can attend CVA’s OSE Reception at the Cary Arts Center. The elegant event includes food by Patrick Jane’s Gourmet Pizza, wine by HobNob, beer by New Belgium and the special “best in show” presentation, where the juror will recognize an artist for their sculpture.

Shawnee told me that, this year, CVA will also acknowledge the recipients of their 2015 Young Cary Artists Educational Scholarship. “We will hand out awards and have a display of some of the student artwork,” she said. She further emphasized:

The OSE is important because it brings an exciting change of pace to downtown Cary. When the previous sculptures come down, I always hear people talk about how weird and different downtown Cary seems without them. Many of the sculptures from past shows have gone on to be purchased by the Town of Cary, and a few even stick around as part of our “Sculpture on Loan” program. Public Art is an important part of building a unique community in which to live, work and grow.

CaryCitzen won’t miss this special day and evening, and we hope to see you there.

Event Details

Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition Reception
Friday, July 17, 2015; 6-8:30 pm
Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Avenue

Purchase tickets online, or enter to win free tickets with a special photo contest.




Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Cary Visual Art on Facebook.


Downtown coverage is sponsored in part by Studio 180 Salon in Downtown Cary.

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Cary Scavenger Hunt: Represent Your Company Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:19:53 +0000 hunt

The Searstone Allen Tate Team competed in 2014

Cary, NC — Every year, we come up with new twists for our annual event, the Cary Scavenger Hunt. Last year, we added live electronic scoring. This year, it’s Corporate Teams!

Represent Your Company

This year, we’ve added a new team Category to the Hunt: Corporate Teams. Companies can sponsor one, two or three teams of employees who compete on behalf of their business. These teams will sport special shirts that have their company’s logo screen printed on the back.

The Cary Scavenger Hunt has always been an awesome team-building event. Teams of four must strategize. They quickly look through our clue book of questions, figure out where they can get the most points and then map out a plan of action.

The best teams work well together. Someone is a great navigator, someone drives and another member figures out the clues. One keeps track of the photos. It’s Team Building at its finest.

Sign Up 1-3 Teams

How can a company sign-up to sponsor a team? Can more than one team compete?

Visit our sign-up page, and you’ll see three Corporate sponsorship levels:

  • 1 Team – $100
  • 2 teams – $175
  • or 3 teams – $225

Have a company representative visit our Eventbrite page to fill out the registration and provide a company contact person and payment. If you prefer, contact CaryCitizen directly to arrange all the particulars by emailing Lindsey Chester.

Registration includes teams of four people who will all sport special Cary Scavenger Hunt event T-shirts with your company logo on the back.

Come up with a fun name for that particular Team. For example, the “Lenovo Loonies” or the “Cisco Crazies.” CaryCitizen will contact corporate team registrants to receive a digital copy of the company logo for reproduction.

We may even add a special page to our website listing all the Corporate sponsors – a nice little piece of PR for your company. We already have three corporate teams signed up! A past team representing Allen Tate Realty Cary-Searstone had so much fun last year that they eagerly signed up three teams to compete this year!

Raffle drawings mean anyone can wcome away a winner!

Raffle drawings mean anyone can walk away a winner!

Win Big

Not only will your company employees have a day filled with team building, they might win big! First place teams will win big event trophies and $250 cash! 2nd and 3rd place teams will win trophies too! The finish area includes food and activities (just like a race), and, also, free raffle prize drawings, meaning that anyone can win something.

Our Grand Prize raffle this year is a Sweet Escape two-night stay at Downtown Cary’s new Mayton Inn, including dinner at Veranda and drinks in their bar. Another raffle prize is jewelry from Stonehaven Jewelers. Others will include massages, gift cards and more.

You don’t need to be an expert on Cary to Win!

Event Details

The Cary Scavenger Hunt
Saturday September 12, 2015
meet at Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop

Check-in at 8:30 am; Start at 9:30 am
Return at 1:30 pm; Winners announced 3-3:30 pm

Register online now.

For additional information about the Cary Scavenger Hunt, or to see past stories about the event, visit the Cary Scavenger Hunt website.


Story by Lindsey Chester. Photos by CaryCitizen.

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Exercising Safely in the Summer Heat Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:16:39 +0000 Summer

Cary, NC — It’s summer time, and that means there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sun and outdoors. However, with summer comes increased temperatures, increased humidity and extra precautions to take if you are playing a sport or exercising outside.

Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Cramps – Heat cramps are intense muscle spasms that usually occur in the calves, hands, feet or other major muscles groups being exercised. Muscles are going to feel firm or hard, and they can occur without a dramatic increase in body temperature.

Heat Exhaustion – Heat exhaustion occurs after a rise in body temperature causing your body to overheat. Exercising in increased heat, and high humidity can be the cause of heat exhaustion. Initial symptoms may be heavy sweating and a rapid pulse. Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Cold Clammy Skin

Heat Stroke – Heat stroke is the most serious and life threatening form of heat related illnesses. Heat stroke usually occurs when your body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache or Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry Skin
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Decreased Sweating
  • Confusion or Loss of Consciousness
  • Shortness of Breath

It’s important to remember if you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke you should seek medical assistance immediately.

Safe Ways to Exercise in the Heat

Being able to enjoy the outdoors is one of the best parts of summer, so you don’t need to stop training outside when summer rolls around. Here are 10 tips to remember while exercising outdoors in the summer.

  1. Stay hydrated – Replace fluids and electrolytes that you are losing through sweat
  2. Don’t exercise during peak heat and humidity – Try training during the early morning or evenings
  3. Dress appropriately – Wear clothes that are breathable and will help keep you cool
  4. Check the weather forecast for temperature, humidity, air pollution and other factors that may impact your training session
  5. Don’t forget about sunscreen – Protecting your skin is important and recent studies show that wearing sunscreen does not negatively impact your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  6. Talk to your medical professional about the prescription drugs you may be taking – Certain drugs can play a role in how your body will react to exercising in hot temperatures
  7. Train with a partner – This way, help won’t be far away in case you start to experience symptoms of heat related illness
  8. Pay attention to your heart rate
  9. Use shade to your advantage – Train in an area that provides shade and relief from the hot summer sun
  10. Listen to your body and pay attention to signs of heat related illness

Stay Safe, Exercise Smart

Exercise is a great way to stay fit and improve your physical and mental health. Don’t let the summer heat stop you from maintaining a regular fitness routine. Just make sure to take the necessary precautions, and stay alert for warning signs of heat related illness. When in doubt, seek professional advice in developing an appropriate exercise plan.

About the Author

Dr. Kevin Prue PT, DPT, CSCS is a graduate of Duke University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. He is the president and director of Prue Physical Therapy & Sports Performance located in Cary. He specializes in sports and orthopedic physical therapy, sports performance training and injury prevention for youth and recreational athletes.

Connect with Dr. Prue on Facebook or Twitter, email him directly at or visit for more information.


Story contributed by Dr. Prue of Prue Physical Therapy & Sports Performance. Photo by will ockenden.

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Don’s Blog: FY16 Budget Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:17:58 +0000 Don's Blog

Cary, NC — The Cary Town Council has a number of key responsibilities – none more important than the town’s budget. Nor does any one responsibility require more focus, time and effort than the annual budget process. #gladit’sover

Town Budget – Approved

We completed that process Thursday evening (June 25, 2015) when the council unanimously approved Cary’s FY16 budget. The budget totals $295 million – $218 million for operations and $77 million for capital.

Operations vs. Capital

Operations is exactly what it says – the day-to-day operations of the town’s functions and departments to include police, fire, administration, public works, etc.

Capital is the brick and mortar part – the police and fire stations themselves, community centers, water treatment plants, infrastructure, etc.

New Town Employees – Operations

The operations budget is roughly a 4% increase over last year’s budget.

This is mainly due to the addition of 25 new town employees to include an animal control officer, police officer, three new firefighters, customer service representatives and a position to administer Cary’s new open-data program. #lori’sbaby

This will increase the number of Cary town employees to 1,255, or 8.1 employees per 1,000 residents; one of the lowest employee to citizen ratios in the state and lower than last year’s ratio of 8.2. The town of Cary continues to do more with less#carystaffisawesome

Projects – Capital

The capital budget is roughly $25 million higher than FY15 yet $25 million lower than FY14 – sounds odd I know, but, given the size and scope of capital projects, such variation really isn’t out of the ordinary. A seven mile-long water pipeline (to increase water treatment capacity and reliability) in this year’s budget is $19 million alone.

We didn’t have to build/fund that last year. #that’soneexpensivepipe

Priority-Based Budget

This was our second year using the new priority-based budgeting process. I talked about that change in process in my blog post about last year’s budget so I won’t repeat it again, but, if you aren’t familiar with it and would like to learn more, please click here.

I prefer this method over the previous as it better removes politics from the process. Priorities are ranked by staff based on factual data and need – not politics. #politiciansruinstuff

The Budgeting Process

The first draft of the budget presented to council recommended a three cent tax increase – two cents to cover the voter approved bond projects and an additional cent to cover a projected loss of $1.5 million in revenue as a result of the North Carolina General Assembly’s elimination of the business privilege license tax. #thanksformakinguswholeguys

However, after updated revenue and spending projections – not to mention a lot of calculating and recalculating by the fine folks in Cary’s budget office – it was determined that the third cent increase was no longer necessary.

To give an idea of just how hard Cary staff worked to squeeze every penny possible, after re-evaluating interest rates and current rates of return, they found an extra $340 in Cary’s fleet fund investment earnings. Seriously, in a $295 million budget, they worked to find 340 bucks. #Karlthebudgetslayer

Staff also identified an additional $57,000 in beer and wine tax revenue. #staythirstymyfriends

Other notable items in this year’s budget include:

  • A new fire pumper truck
  • $800,000 in sidewalk and pedestrian facility improvements
  • Kilmayne water storage tank (water tower)
  • ADA and access improvements to Sertoma Amphitheater
  • Resurfacing of 23 miles of town streets
  • Remove the stupid medians and install a traffic signal at Morrisville Parkway + Carpenter Upchurch intersection
  • Support for the town-wide Google and AT&T gigabit fiber installations
  • Increases transportation development fees paid by developers by 10%

The Real Picture

Not surprisingly, there just isn’t enough money to do everything the town would like to do. To add anything into the budget means something has to come out. It’s really no different than how you prioritize and balance your own budgets. Do you get the new roof or paint the house instead? Do you buy a new car or keep the old one going another year? #Iknowagoodmechanic

That 800 grand in sidewalk improvements above was originally projected at $1.6 million. But, to help eliminate that extra cent tax increase and make the desired improvements at Morrisville Parkway and Carpenter Upchurch, something had to give.

That’s but one example of the trade-offs we made.

Thank You Staff & Citizens

I can’t thank the folks in Cary’s budget office, our department directors and our Town Manager Ben Shivar enough for all their efforts. This was, in my opinion, one of our more difficult years given the continuing challenges with the economy and changes in state law – not to mention we had already cut quite a bit in previous years to cope with the recession.

Special thanks also to the many citizens who provided input during the budget process – it was very helpful as we worked to better identify what was most important to the community. #ilovecary


From the blog of Don Frantz, Member of the Cary Town Council District B. Photo by Simon Cunningham.

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Garden: Decorate Your Yard for July 4th Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:37:19 +0000 Flag

Cary, NC — This weekend is the 4th of July holiday, the day that we celebrate the birth of our country’s independence. So, how can you celebrate this important day in the garden? A little blue, a little white and lots of red!

Flag Etiquette

The most obvious symbol of pride is the American Flag. Lots of options are available from the traditional flag hanging off the porch to small flags you can randomly stick in the yard. Remember these rules from when hanging the American Flag:

  • If hanging the flag from a pole, the union of the flag, or the blue section, should be placed at the peak of the staff.
  • When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. And, in this case, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left.
  • The flag should never touch the ground.

In the Garden

As for the garden, showing American pride is just as easy as adding a little extra color. Most of us have lots of white within the architecture of the house, and red is such a popular color in the garden that many of you probably already have quite a bit of it, too.

So, a simple idea is to just add some blue. You can find a large, blue pot and drop in a smaller pot of flowers you already have. Or, buy some inexpensive blue vases of various shapes and sizes, and add a simple red carnation. These look great displayed in groups on any flat surface.

If you have small kids, you could keep them busy by getting some small clay pots and letting them paint them in red, white and blue and add single flowers to each one. Then, have the kids place them anywhere they like–the front yard, the porch or the entry steps.

They will be so proud!

Visit a Gardening Center

Include a visit to your local garden center. They always have some great July 4th displays to give you some more ideas. You can even bring in a pot, and they can put together a nice plant combination that will look great for any outdoor 4th of July event.

Last, but not the least, remember all our military on this day. If not for them, we would not have the freedom and independence we all enjoy here in the good old USA.

Mel’s Tip of the Month

This tip is from Home Hort Hints.

The best time of day to water your plants is in the morning before the temperatures begin to rise. This gives the plants a good supply of water so they can get through the heat of the day. Also, early morning tend to have less winds, which increases evaporation.

If this isn’t an option, the next best thing is late afternoon. Your goal is to make sure the plants are dry by evening to avoid the development of fungal disease.


Melody Hughes is North Carolina State Extension Master Gardener Volunteer and a real estate agent at Dunlap Lilley Properties, Inc. Photo by Dave.


The gardening column is sponsored in part by Garden Supply Co. on Old Apex Road in Cary.

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H Mart Asian Grocery Chain to Open in Cary Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:07:44 +0000 hmart-cary-nc

Cary, NC — Cary’s supermarket wars continue with the recent announcement that H Mart, an Asian grocer, will open in the former Lowes Foods space at Cornerstone Shopping Center (High House and Davis), which has been abandoned since September of 2013.

H Mart Asian Grocer to Open in Cary

According to Triangle Business Journal, H Mart, a New Jersey-based grocery chain that specializes in Asian foods, has signed a contract to open its first North Carolina store in the former Lowes Foods space in Cornerstone Shopping Center in Cary.

The Lowes Foods Supermarket closed in September 2013 and has been abandoned since. According to TBJ, H Mart signed the lease for the entire 45,436 square-foot vacant space.

The new H Mart will specialize in many Asian foods, especially Korean. Products will include a large selection of rice and grains, noodles, snacks, ready-to-eat meals, side dishes, beverages, coffee, tea and spices, dried food, appliances and health and beauty supplies. Its large size and selection of products remind me of the Grand Asia Market on Buck Jones Road.

The store could open in less than a year.

The Rise of Asian Supermarkets in Cary

I love that there is no shortage of Asian Supermarkets in Cary and Morrisville, and I’ve noticed that many of them are grouped together in several areas.

Grand Asia Market and SMart reside near the Crossroads/Cary Towne Center area, and Triangle Indian Market, Toyo Skokuhin and Patel Brothers rest in Chatham Square. Morrisville territory is home to Apna Bazar, VGS and Shivam Indian Spices.

TBJ explained that, “H Mart was looking for locations that have at least a 25% Asian population (its core customer base) living within a three-mile radius of the store. Census shows that the Cornerstone location in Cary has about a 23% Asian population surrounding it.”

Stay Tuned for More Supermarket Wars

The past few years have seen big developments for supermarkets in Cary.

From a 2013 story in CaryCitizen:

The Supermarket Wars in Cary have brought more offerings, especially in the high and low ends. Stores in the middle, like Lowes, have a tough time against more upscale markets like Harris Teeter and Whole Foods as well as stiff competition at the low end against Aldi and Walmart.

Since then, supermarkets have only grown, including the recent openings of Earth Fare and Publix, just to name a few. We even made a map of all Cary supermarkets. Stay tuned for news of Cary’s second Publix opening in another former Cary Lowe’s location.

Related Content


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

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Don’s Blog: He’s “Ben” Great for Cary Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:57:37 +0000 Ben Shivar

Cary, NC — Our Cary Town Council works very hard to ensure transparency in our deliberations and decisions because you, the citizens, deserve to know what it is we are working on and how we vote – we do work for you, after all.

A Closed Session for Town Council

Once in a while however, we have to hold a closed-session meeting to discuss the occasional personnel matter, lawsuit or economic development initiative that must remain confidential for legal reasons until it can be made public. Economic development initiatives and, unfortunately, the occasional lawsuit, are fairly common closed-session topics for city councils.

Personnel matters, not so much, as the council is only responsible for the hiring and firing of three town staff members – the town manager, town clerk and town attorney. The town manager and department directors are responsible for the other 1,220 (+ or -) town employees.

The last time the council was informed that we would be holding a closed-session to discuss a personnel matter was when we learned that Cary Town Clerk Sue Rowland was retiring. Ya, that stunk. Well, two weeks ago, shortly before our budget worksession, council was informed once again that we would be holding a closed-session meeting to discuss a personnel matter.

Uh-oh…as the council walked to the closed session room, I kept looking over my shoulder to see who would be joining us. The only staff member following us was Cary Town Manager, Ben Shivar. I knew what was coming.

Town Manager Ben Shivar to Retire

As you have probably heard by now, Cary Town Manager Ben Shivar informed us that he had made the decision to retire at the end of September. Ben has worked in local government for over 39 years – 19 with the Town of Cary as Assistant Manager and Town Manager. We hired Ben as Town manager in 2009 after the retirement of former Town Manage Bill Coleman.

I believe this to be one of the best – if not the best – decisions we ever made.

Ben is a leader – not a boss. Anyone can be a boss. Not everyone has what it takes to be an great leader. Bosses bark orders and expect them to be followed. A leader sets an example for their employees to follow. They inspire and motivate their employees to do better not just for the organization, but also for themselves. Leaders understand there is no “I” in team.

Entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” He must have known Ben Shivar.

As a member of the council, I have had the pleasure – or not – of interacting with a number of other city managers and council members. I have yet to meet or hear of another manager held in such high regard by their community, staff and council as Ben.

Cary is a better place because of Ben’s leadership.

While I truly hate to see Ben leave, I wish him the very best in retirement – although I am sure that after 39 years, his wife Laura has a pretty long “honey-do list” by now <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> Be careful what you wish for I always say <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

The council will make a decision soon about a recruitment and selection process for a new town manager. I would imagine it would be similar to the process we used in 2009.

Congratulations, and thank you, Ben. You have very big shoes to fill.


Photo and post from the blog of Don Frantz, Member of the Cary Town Council District B.

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‘Canes Have Best Draft Day in Years Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:35:44 +0000 Canes

Raleigh, NC — The Carolina Hurricanes are in the process of selecting players for their upcoming season. It may be their best draft in years.

Canes Fortunate to Get Hanifin at #5

The Carolina Hurricanes had several options as for who they would select as their #5 pick, and it all depended on who would go as #3 and #4. They selected Noah Hanifin, the #1 defenseman by every team and independent scouting report. Many reports had projected Hanifin to go #3, so landing him was a great pick for the team.

Hanifin was a freshman at Boston College (same college as current Cane Nathan Gerbe) last season and also captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2014 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He’s a big kid at 6’3”, 203 pounds and still growing.

He is an excellent skater and likes to be in the mix offensively.

While it is tough for young players to make the NHL as a defenseman, aka Ryan Murphy, or last year’s #5 pick, Haydn Fleury, I suspect Hanifin will not only make the team but have an important role. Assistant coach Steve Smith is a great defensive coach. The Canes went from one of the worst penalty kill teams two seasons ago to #4 last season while atop of the league for a good portion. Smith will guide Hanifin’s progress to make it best for the player and for the team.

Day Two at the Draft

The Canes picked up six forwards, a goalie and another D-man in the second day of the draft. Very early on the second day (about 7:15 am), Ron Francis got goalie Eddie Lack from Vancouver in exchange for two draft picks–a third-round pick this year and a seventh-round pick next year. Lack’s first NHL shutout was against the Canes.

I immediately wrote to a couple of folks at the Canes and indicated that one of the two existing goalies would be gone later in the day. Francis wasted no time as he traded Anton Khudobin to Anaheim for veteran defenseman James Wisniewski. Wisniewski is a solid player who typically doesn’t take dumb penalties and also brings some offensive capabilities on the blue line.

EStaal and Ward’s Future

It’s reported that the Canes will try to sign both Eric Staal and Cam War to extensions after the July 1 signing period opens. Both will have to agree to a hometown discount, as their performance over the past few years can’t justify their current salaries, let alone any type of increase. Ward had a very good season last year, but was still way over paid.

Stopping goals is not just up to the goalies.

Just like you tell the 12 year-old CASL goalie, “the other team had to get around all your other teammates before they got it past you.” Same goes for professional hockey. Ward did make some amazing saves last year–a couple were in the Top 10 for the NHL.

In the previous three years, it seemed he let in an easy goal every game, and, in a league that thrives on 1-goal games, the Canes were sunk. With the defense getting stronger in front of Ward, that can only be a good thing


I wouldn’t expect any of the other draft choices to make the Canes, or even the Checkers, this coming season. Rookie camp is next week (most sessions are free to the public), and this is crunch time for several players. The Canes have some talented forwards in Charlotte, and it’s either make the big team this year or come to the realization that making the NHL isn’t going to happen unless they change their effort.

Skinner Rumors

The Canes have been shopping Jeff Skinner but are not desperate to have him leave. As Francis has said many times, “all options to improve the team will be explored.”

Skins is a highly talented player and has great potential. The guy is still very young and is one of the best skaters on the team. Forget the prone to concussion label. You get hit with many cheap hits (like he’s had), and you’ll be lucky if a concussion is all you get.

Keep Reading for Canes Updates

Hopefully this gets the juices flowing for the interest for the Canes during this hot summer. The Canes will be a better team–maybe not a Stanley Cup contender–but they will have a better product on the ice. Keep reading for updates during the summer.

Stay cool, and Go Canes!


Canes coverage by Bob Fennel. Photos from the Carolina Hurricanes on Facebook.
Read more Canes coverage.

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Harold’s Blog: Google Fiber & More Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:22:11 +0000 Harold's Blog

Cary, NC — This week was busy with long nights.


Monday started with the Official Grand Opening and ribbon cutting of MetLife.

MetLife Grand Opening

MetLife is a Global Technology Campus in Weston. They currently employ about 1,500 people with an average salary of well over $100,000 annually. Their buildings have room for expansion to about 2,400 employees.

MetLife is ahead of their hiring schedule that was contractually mandated, so, hopefully, they will fill up the rest of those buildings soon. It is great to have MetLife as a corporate citizen, and I look forward to their partnership with the town.

Agenda Review

Later Monday I attempted to call council members to hear their questions and concerns about Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting agenda items. I was only able to contact council member Yerha. Later in the day, I met with town management, administration, legal and public information to go over the agenda. That meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

Town Council Closed Session

Monday night, the council went into closed session for about four hours. The purpose was to hear from our direct reports: the Town Manager, the Town Attorney and the Town Clerk. Afterwards, the council wrote up evaluations and decided on merit pay. Council will provide feedback to the direct reports on July 2nd or July 9th.


Tuesday I joined staff members and consultants in hosting an Imagine Cary Business Roundtable discussion at the Chamber of Commerce. There were about two dozen business leaders in attendance.

Imagine Cary Business Roundtable

This roundtable discussion is an integral part of the community’s ongoing planning process which will culminate this winter with the development of a new comprehensive plan for Cary. For the first time in the town’s history, this new plan will establish our community’s economic development vision and policies, developed and designed in coordination with planning for related topics such as future land uses, housing, redevelopment and transportation.

This effort aims to ensure Cary remains an attractive place for successful businesses and a talented work force. This discussion with our business leaders focused on recommended goals and policies. The session went very well with great participation and feedback. The roundtable discussion lasted about an hour and a half.


Wednesday, I participated in a meeting with the Economic Development Committee.

Economic Development Committee Meeting

Notable items that came from that meeting included:

  • There continues to be a lot of interest from businesses to locate in Cary
  • MetLife officially cut the ribbon on its two buildings.
  • Downtown continues to see activity even with Academy Street under construction.
  • Cary’s unemployment rate was 3.4% down from 3.6%. Wake County is 4.2%, North Carolina 5.2% and the nation 5.3%.
  • Available land for large office is quickly disappearing. Future large office projects may require redevelopment of existing sites.

The meeting concluded after about half an hour.

Hindu Society of North Carolina

Wednesday night, I gave welcoming comments at the Hindu Society of North Carolina for Swami Mukundananda. Here is an excerpt from my comments:

I am a fitness nut. I’m either running or playing tennis or both every day. Yet, so much of being fit is about exercising the mind and spirit. In a world of instant gratification and “more, more, more” mentality, it’s never been so important to take a pause and reflect. Reflect on the good surrounding us. Reflect on our place in our community. Embrace quiet. And while I strive to incorporate this into my fitness routine, I am humbled to be here tonight with a world-renowned teacher of spirituality, yoga and meditation who is the epitome of humility and divine love…

Afterwards, I stayed for the religious part of the session which lasted a little over two hours. That consisted of stories from their scriptures and explanations of what it means to your daily life. Needless to say, it was quite an experience and one that I will remember a long time.


Thursday started with a brief gathering of Troop 131 from Apex and Cary who were at Town Hall to watch the council meeting. I explained the agenda to them and then answered questions. We talked for about twenty minutes. I was glad to see young people involved in local government.

Regularly Scheduled Council Meeting

Thursday night, the council met over four and a half hours at our regularly scheduled council meeting. There were eight public hearings, three discussion items and a closed session.

Rezoning Requests & Budget Approval

Two public hearings that drew most speakers were a rezoning request at Chapel Hill Road and Lake Drive and a rezoning request at Westhigh South. Both of these proposals have protest petitions and will require a lot of effort to get them passed.

In the discussion portion of the meeting, council approved the fiscal year 2016 budget of $295 million, which includes a two cent tax increase from the 2012 voter approved bonds. Despite the increase, Cary will remain with Wake County’s lowest tax rate.

In other decisions, the council decided to send the Dellinger proposal near Crossroads back to the Planning and Zoning Board since it has changed drastically from their last review. After the council completed the agenda, it went into closed session.

Once returning from closed session, the council approved a motion to do an internal and external search for a new town manager since our current town manager is retiring. Staff will bring back information about the cost and process at a future council meeting.


Friday, I participated in a meeting with the NC Metro Mayors with about two dozen mayors and representatives from other municipalities. Most of our discussion focused on the sales tax changes being considered by the NC Legislature and how it will impact municipalities.

Q&A with Google Fiber

Emails this week included a notification from Google Fiber that construction in this region will begin in the coming weeks. Once construction is completed, Google will have laid enough fiber to reach London and back. Here are some of their answers to frequently asked questions:

It looks like you’re starting construction in my area. Does that mean we’ll be the first to get Fiber? Not necessarily. We’ll be doing construction all across the metro area in the coming months, but we don’t yet have a schedule for when and where we’ll be able to offer service first.

When will you start signups for Google Fiber? It’s still too early to say. We have a lot of construction work to do first! We’ll make an announcement as soon as we have an update about timing. The best way to stay in-the-loop is to sign up for more information on our website.

Are you hiring? We have a handful of Google jobs, which you can find on our website. We also rely on many contractors to bring Google Fiber to a city, and some of those companies may be hiring. You can find some of those partners listed on our website.

What happens if there are construction issues in my area? We’re going to work hard to keep disruption to a minimum. Our crews will work quickly, and, when they’re done, they’ll return the construction area to the condition they found it in, whether that means patching any holes we had to dig, repaving streets or even planting new grass seeds when needed. If any issues come up, we’ll also have a hotline available so you can get in touch with us 24/7.

How long will you be constructing in my neighborhood/city? The amount of time it takes to bring fiber to a particular area varies greatly based on the size of the area, whether we’re doing aerial or underground work, the local soil type, and even the weather conditions.

We don’t have a specific timeframe to share just yet, but we’ll try to build as quickly and efficiently as we can, and will keep residents updated along the way. Look for door hangers which will let you know that construction is about to begin on your street.

Homebuilders Association Emails

In other emails, the Homebuilders Association provided a report about building permits.

Notable items include:

  • Cary had the most new single family permits in Wake County followed closely by Raleigh
  • Single family permits in Cary dropped 33% during the last twelve months
  • Single family permits have increased 2% in Wake County over the last twelve months

The homebuilders supply this report once a month.

Emails from Citizens

Emails from citizens included:

  • A concern about trees
  • A concern about a proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment in the Crossroads area
  • A request for assistance in getting a job
  • A request to remove an access to a public greenway
  • A concern about the Google fiber installation
  • Criticism about not having a public aquatics center
  • Criticism about not expanding CTran.

Get in Touch

Next week is a holiday week with most people getting Friday off to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. Most government offices, including Cary, will also be closed. My schedule will include meetings, welcoming remarks and a quasi-judicial hearing.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 5th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to and email personal comments to


From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photo with Scout Troop 131 courtesy of Mayor Weinbrecht.

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Keep Pets Safe in the Summer Heat Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:17:51 +0000 Lucy

Cary, NC — A worrisome press release I received from the Town of Cary last week inspired me to publish some tips on how to protect your pets from the heat this summer. 

A Scary Realization

I got this note from the Town of Cary in my inbox last week:

After receiving five calls over the last 24 hours for pets locked in vehicles, the Town of Cary is reminding owners of proper “petiquette” during days of excessive heat. Never leave your pet in a parked car, whether the windows are cracked or if the car is parked in the shade. Citizens with concerns over a pet’s safety should call 911.

I turned to the Humane Society for some tips on how to protect pets from the summer heat.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Well

Their first piece of advice? Never leave your pets in a parked car, not even for a minute, says the Humane Society. The society also said that, “On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.”

It is also recommended to limit your pet’s exercise on hot days. On hot days, try to limit major outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, and adjust the frequency and duration of exercise to how hot it is. Monitor how well your pet seems to be handling the heat. Dogs with short noses (like pugs and boxers) may especially have trouble breathing in heat outside.

Be mindful of walking your pet on hot cement. Sometimes, if it’s really hot outside, I’ll try walking without my shoes on to see how it feels. If it’s too hot for me, I limit dog walks to grassy areas.

When pets are outside in the summer, make sure they have lots of cool, fresh water and ample shade. Dog houses are great at protecting dogs from the elements, but, on hot days, they obstruct air flow and can make pets feel even hotter than when they’re out in the sun.

Tree shade is your best bet.

Heatstroke: Recognize & Treat It

If a pet’s temperature rises above 104 degrees, they can experience heatstroke.

The Humane Society lists heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness as signs of heatstroke.

To treat heatstroke, move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area and apply ice packs or cold towels to his or her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let him or her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes, and seek veterinary care.

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Story and photos by Jessica Patrick. Tips from the Humane Society of the United States.

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