CaryCitizen Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:28:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dig In! to Urban Community Gardening in Cary Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:28:58 +0000 Dig In!, an upcoming gardening conference for all Wake County residents, will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Marbles Kids Museum in Downtown Raleigh.

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Dig In!

Raleigh, NC — Dig In!, an upcoming gardening conference for all Wake County residents, will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Marbles Kids Museum in Downtown Raleigh. CaryCitizen did some “digging” to find out more about the educational event and about how we can apply the teachings to both personal and community gardens right here in Cary.  

Dig In! Gardening Conference

Dig In! participants will learn to grow fresh, healthy food right from their Wake County homes. The family-friendly event will incorporate activities for kids, too, including “garden play workshops” and hands-on educational booths. The conference will also feature local urban agriculture and community garden experts to educate attendees who want to start a community or edible garden in a school or childcare setting.

Other educational topics covered at Dig In! include:

  • Starting edible gardens
  • Teaching through gardens and outdoor learning
  • Composting
  • Strategies for engaging volunteers
  • Urban gardening and community garden entrepreneurship

The Dig In! courtyard will feature interactive booths where event registrants and museum guests can dig, build, and learn through hands-on activities. Dig In! attendees have the choice to participate in one of four service learning opportunities later in the afternoon.

Speakers & Special Guests

Beth Porter, co-founder of the Apex YMCA community garden, will lead a panel on starting gardens, and Megan Lewis, teacher and founder of the Grow Zone at Willow Springs Elementary, will educate teachers and PTA leaders on how they can incorporate indoor and outdoor gardening into their students’ curriculum.

Another Dig In! speaker, Leigh Williams of the Northwoods Elementary School Garden in Cary, will address the unique considerations in starting an edible school garden.

Gardening in Cary

Two edible community gardens thrive right here in Cary–an educational garden for children at Northwoods Elementary School and a “pocket community garden” located downtown. I spoke to two Cary gardening connoisseurs–Leigh Williams and Keith Bliss, founder of the pocket community garden–to get some information about what’s going on in the Cary gardening world and how we, the community, can get involved with Dig In! practices right here in town.

Northwoods Elementary School Garden

Leigh Williams gave me some great information about Cary’s own educational gardening project at Northwoods Elementary. Lettuce, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, garlic, and herbs all grow in the edible garden, the now-thriving result of a several year plan to incorporate gardening with education at the school. Williams states that:

We are thrilled to see the garden come to life after several years of planning. We [the parents and teachers] are so excited about how the garden will help students learn about where food comes from and how to grow it.

Williams, a parent volunteer and PTA committee member at Northwoods, began planning the garden during the 2011-2012 school year–she even attended past Dig In! conferences to learn how to do it. Together, students, parents, and school staff built seven raised garden beds–some which are deep enough to grow vegetables.

The garden doesn’t just teach children about growing their own food–Northwoods donates produce from the school garden to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and to volunteer families. The building of the garden was, entirely, a community effort–a local garden company donated the soil for the garden and a contractor who works with reclaimed wood contributed material for the fence and other non-bed structures. Williams explains that:

Except for hiring a contractor to put guttering on the portable classroom that sits next to the garden so we could fill our cistern, all the work has been done by parent and community volunteers. It’s a team effort. Plus, we have learned about the skills and knowledge in our community and among our volunteers.

Cary Pocket Community Garden

Cary’s Pocket Community Garden is located in Downtown Cary in the backyard within the Cary Downtown Historic District. Founder Keith Bliss and his family, along with many other families and community members, grow food and tend to the entire garden as one team.

With the help of several partners, including Cary Downtown Neighbors, Campbell Road Nursery, and J&D Tree Pros, the community garden grows up to 1,200 vegetable plants during peak seasons. The Pocket Community Garden provides food for both those who garden in it and for those who are hungry–20-50% of the produce is given back to the community through the Interfaith Food Shuttle and The Carying Place.

This year, the garden is forming new partnerships with local restaurants and catering companies to promote locally-grown, healthy food in our community. Bliss shared with me the story of how it all got started:

We donated the land and created the garden in April 2010, when we realized we didn’t have a place to grow food and wanted to have the opportunity to create a special place within the Cary Downtown Historic District. Through the help of many local businesses and our amazing real estate agent family at Keller Williams Realty, the garden was born! I’d never grown a vegetable plant to any scale other than a few in pots, and suddenly we had over 1,000 in the ground.

You can get involved in the Pocket Community Garden by liking them on Facebook or by inquiring with them at 919-467-0707.

Personal Gardening Tips

When I asked Bliss if he had any gardening tips or tricks, he replied:

Yes – all you need for gardening is: 1) sunlight, 2) good soil, 3) water, 4) plants, and 5) awesome people. It’s really the people that make the difference…they need to want to be part of something greater than they can do on their own…it’s hard work!

Dig In!

The Downtown Pocket Community Garden

Advocates for Health in Action

Dig In! is presented by Advocates for Health in Action (AHA), a collaborative of more than 60 organizations and community members who work to encourage healthy eating and physical activity as a way of life in Wake County. By shaping policies, systems, and environments, they help the community achieve this mission.

Event Details

Dig In! Community Gardening Conference
Saturday, March 7, 2015; 8:30 am-2 pm
Marbles Kids Museum in Downtown Raleigh

Register online ($15/person)


Lead photo by Christopher Porter; additional photo from Cary Pocket Community Garden.

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Haley’s Story: The Caregiver Journey Began Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:52:04 +0000 Each month, Haley Gray shares a story about her personal experience of finding caregivers for her aging parents to help those in similar situations.

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Editor’s Note: Last month, Haley Gray, author and senior advocate, shared her motivation and reasoning behind her book, Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It. Each month, she’ll share stories about her personal experiences of finding care for aging parents to help provide comfort and guidance for those in similar situations.

The Caregiver Journey Began

Cary, NC — Both of my parents moved to Cary in 2005. Mom had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1987, and we understood that she needed to be cared for. My dad’s health seemed fine from a distance, however, it quickly became obvious that there was something serious going on once my parents moved here.

A number of alarming changes in his health and mental state became apparent. The most obvious was how easily he was overwhelmed by moving here. Growing up, we moved numerous times – across continents – and it never seemed to faze him. This time, though, it seemed to really take a lot out of him.

I noticed that Dad had a hard time deciding where everything coming off the moving truck should go. I later discovered that he gave a number of things to the movers, including some valuable paintings, a tapestry, and who knows what else that simply disappeared in the move. Some things he later remembered, and we were able to retrieve those items. Other things weren’t missed for a while and were never recovered. It took a while for us to understand the seriousness of his confusion.

We had to hire someone to come out to Mom and Dad’s house and help with simple tasks. We were blessed that we found good help quickly for chores like changing the kitty litter boxes, cleaning, and meal preparation. My parents were able to establish themselves with doctors and settle into a routine here in North Carolina. We were lucky that they asked for help with paying bills before that got to be too overwhelming.

Over time, the decline in my parents’ health became more and more obvious. It also became apparent that my dad considered himself above going to the senior center to find friends. After all, he said, he wasn’t old – he simply didn’t see himself that way. I mentioned looking at a senior community with them and was stonewalled.  I was concerned that many of the communities have long wait lists and was worried that my parents’ health would prevent them from being admitted. Dad was adamantly opposed.

Walking became increasingly difficult for Dad, and the pain in his back became a never-ending problem. We sought help from orthopedists, pain specialists, and, eventually, neurologists and neurosurgeons. I asked a ton of questions, but got no helpful answers. We were told Dad was an alcoholic and that, once he quit drinking, he would get better. He quit drinking and kept getting worse. He ended up in the hospital a couple of times for testing.

When he was discharged, it was scary. With each discharge, my dad was given orders for home health care. We were assured that would be enough help at home. Little did we know that home health meant a nurse would visit him a couple times a week for only an hour or so. Some of the care he received at home was physical therapy. It had not occurred to us that he needed around the clock care – and that home health services were not the same thing. I found myself shouldering increasingly more caregiver duties for Mom and Dad.

Like so many other women, I was balancing the needs of my family – including young children, a husband, and a full time job – with taking care of my parents and trying to get them the right resources. It was difficult to keep a healthy balance between all these responsibilities at once. It was challenging and draining. It was during that time that I decided that there had to be a better way to lovingly care for my parents and keep up with my other responsibilities as well.

To Be Continued…

Check back next month for another story by Haley.


Story contributed by Haley Gray, MBA, CSA, CEO of Extension of You Home Care and author of Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It. Read more of Haley’s stories. Photo by jeffrey james pacres.

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SAS Choir Hosts Benefit Shows This Weekend Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:02:06 +0000 The SAS VocalMotion show choir will perform this week to raise money for TAP, a program that helps individuals suffering from communication impairments.

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Cary, NC — VocalMotion, an all-volunteer adult show choir sponsored by SAS Institute in Cary, will host exciting performances this week, March 5-8, 2015, to raise money for the Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP), a compassionate program that helps individuals suffering from communication impairments. 

What’s VocalMotion?

VocalMotion, an all-volunteer show choir, was founded in 1992. The choir is made up of SAS employees, spouses, and friends that share a love of music and a passion for performance. Since its inception, VocalMotion has become an ambassador for SAS, performing throughout the community at retirement centers, community functions, and charity events, as well as at company‐sponsored events.

Each year, the group performs a Broadway‐style musical revue on the SAS campus, raising thousands of dollars for a designated charity. These family‐friendly performances consistently fill the company’s 400‐seat auditorium and receive rave reviews. Due to the generous sponsorship of SAS, VocalMotion gives 100 percent of all donations to charity.

Great Music; Great Cause

Starting this Thursday, in their 23rd year of doing so, VocalMotion will host a series of performances to raise money for TAP Unlimited. This year’s show, called “Next Phase, New Wave,” will celebrate the excitement and challenges of stage and stardom in a show that takes on everything from jazz and Broadway to pop and rock.

Fans of Broadway and TV songs will enjoy hits like “When I Get My Name in Lights” (from Boy from Oz), “Let Me Be Your Star” (from Smash), and “Fame” (from Fame). Fans of the concert stage, pop, and rock music will appreciate hits from singers like The Doobie Brothers and Billy Joel as well as music from the Zac Brown Band, Jimmy Buffet, Duke Ellington, and BB Mak.

If performances from previous years are any indication, the variety of songs will have audiences on their feet snapping, tapping, and swaying to the music. This year’s performance will feature pre-professional dancers from Cary’s International Ballet Academy. The performances will be fun, for sure, but the best part is that 100% of VocalMotion’s proceeds will go to help TAP.

All Proceeds Donated to TAP

Although admission to VocalMotion’s performances is free, audiences are asked to make a donation to TAP Unlimited. TAP Unlimited is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2003 for individuals suffereing communication impairment (in particular, aphasia, or speech impairment) after stroke, tumor, and other brain injuries.

TAP provides affordable, professionally directed services to help such individuals even after prescribed treatment ends with the ultimate goal of helping individuals return to activities that they enjoyed prior to the onset of aphasia. The organization also provides education and training to help family members, friends, and local communities build communicative bridges “to ease transitions for those dealing with aphasia.”

Silverman, the Speech/Language Pathologist who started the program, states that:

TAP Unlimited is so excited to have SAS and VocalMotion select our organization as their 2015 charity. We have a shared belief that music can bridge the gaps of communication and help individuals with aphasia access the ideas and thoughts held hostage by this devastating communication disorder. Programs like TAP allow an individual to continue to receive services for as long as they choose to, and they are set up within a life participation framework. The performances by VocalMotion will increase the awareness of our organization and its mission, giving voice to those who need it most.

Event Details

VocalMotion’s Broadway-Style Concert
March 5-8, 2015; Building V Auditorium
SAS Campus, 101 SAS Campus Drive, Cary

Thursday & Friday, March 5-6, at 7 pm
Saturday, March 7 at 2 pm and 7 pm
Sunday, March 8 at 2 pm

Performances are free and open to the public. For directions or more information about VocalMotion, visit or call 919‐677‐8000, ext. 43236.


Photo from last year’s show from VocalMotion.

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Academy Street Construction: The New Downtown Park Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:05:06 +0000 To continue our Academy Street Construction coverage, we share details on the new downtown park to be built at the corner of Dry Avenue and Academy Street.

The post Academy Street Construction: The New Downtown Park appeared first on CaryCitizen.

downtown park

Cary, NC — In February, with the help of Kyle Hubert (project manager for the upcoming construction to Academy Street), CaryCitizen shared with the community the Town’s basic timeline, design layout, and plan to minimize disruption and traffic build-up.

This month, we’ll share details on one development that is a major part of this plan–the new downtown park to be built at the corner of Dry Avenue and Academy Street.

Academy Street Construction Coverage

Stay up-to-date on Academy Street construction with CaryCitizen. Each month, as part of our Academy Street Construction Series, we’ll share an update on the plans or progress of downtown’s construction–which will begin in April.

For details on the overall construction plan, design features, and communication with the Town, refer to last month’s post on Academy Street Construction: What To Expect.

Downtown Park: An Overview

The new Downtown Park will include a large fountain, an outdoor performance space, and an open lawn area. It will rest in the seven acre site at the corner of Dry Avenue and Academy Street (right across from Belle at the Jones House and the Cary Arts Center). This park stemmed from plans that have been in place since 2001–plans to bring a visual and cultural focal point to downtown that could provide more space for community events or leisure.

Outdoor Culture

Hopefully, the Downtown Park will bring more residents–and visitors–to the downtown area. Now, in addition to shopping and dining, Downtown Cary will also be a place to relax and spend time. Projects like the several-year-old Cary Arts Center and the recently renovated Cary Theater also aspire to bring this enhanced culture to the downtown area.

The new Downtown Park could serve as a spot for a farmer’s market, an outdoor performance venue, or a spot to exhibit public art. Many of the Academy Street design plans like wider sidewalks, lights in trees, and marked parking spots, will also work to support a prominent outdoor culture and a “love of place” in Downtown Cary.

downtown park

Design Details

The Downtown Park can be looked at as three areas:

  • Fountain/entrance/seating
  • Overlook
  • Terraced lawn

The lawn area beyond the fountain will feature 7,200 square feet of open space, or seating, for event opportunities. The fountain area, and the program area around it, is a 8,200 square foot plaza that will feature benches and tables for additional seats.

The overlook, a 2,500 square foot area, provides a view that overlooks the entire park and a stage for concerts. Beyond the overlook rests an almost half-circle-shaped terraced lawn that will provide natural seating. Grass “earthwork steps” or concrete steps are proposed for this area. Two gardens will rest on either side of the fountain.

Cost & Timeline

From the Town of Cary:

Funding for this project was approved by Cary voters in 2012 as part of the Community Investment Bonds referendum in the amount of $2 million dollars. An additional $3.2 million was approved for the Town Square at the November 21, 2013 Council Meeting. Total project budget is $5,200,000, which includes design and construction costs.

The Downtown Park construction will begin with the Academy Street construction and should reach completion around the same time. Design and bidding on the project has neared the finish line, and construction will begin in Spring 2015 and conclude a little over one year from now in Spring of 2016.

Questions about the Downtown Park can be sent to Sarah Y. Alexander, PLA and Landscape Architect. More information can be found through the Town of Cary website.

Communication & Public Information

  • Public Information Meeting: Tuesday, March 10, 2015; 5:30-7:00 pm

A meeting will be held at The Cary Theater next week to show the public a presentation on Academy Street construction plans and to take any questions from the audience. Citizens can either contact Kyle Hubert, Academy Street Project Manager, directly or subscribe to an email list for updates anytime through the Town of Cary website.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Town of Cary. Read more CaryCitizen coverage on Academy Street Construction.


Downtown coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Sister Cities of Cary.

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Movie Review: Focus Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:51:56 +0000 Focus is a welcome return to form for Will Smith. After a few box office disappointments, and a lifetime doing sci-fi blockbusters, the superstar headlines a rather low-key, adult skewing, and very enjoyable "dram-edy" about a con man and his promising protégé.

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Cary, NC — Focus is a welcome return to form for Will Smith. After a few box office disappointments, and a lifetime doing sci-fi blockbusters, the superstar headlines a rather low-key, adult skewing, and very enjoyable “dram-edy” about a con man and his promising protégé.

Short on Plot but Still Entertaining

There isn’t much of a plot in Focus, which is odd for a movie about con artists. There isn’t some giant heist being planned, no life or death stakes. Usually, movies of this ilk go out of their way to complicate things, adding twists and turns to keep you off balance. There is a little bit of that here, of course, but it’s all pretty small scale. It’s refreshing, honestly, and it keeps the focus (puns!) on the two leads, both of whom do great work.

Smith Reminds Us Why He’s a Movie Star

I’ve been a little worried about Smith for a while. I’m a big fan and grew up on his films but, lately, it seems like he has just been making bad decision after bad decision. It frustrates me too, because he is so talented. Thankfully, his work in Focus reminds you why he is a movie star.

He makes everything seem effortless. The movie does do a little balancing between comedy and drama, and Smith is able to shift at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t hurt at all that he has excellent chemistry with his co-star Margot Robbie.

Robbie Steals the Show

Speaking of Robbie, you might remember her from The Wolf of Wall Street, where she played Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife. She all but stole the show there, and she comes close again here. Robbie has such a natural charm about her that I honestly can’t believe she hasn’t just exploded already. Mark my words, this kid is gonna be a huge star.

The film comes from the two guys who wrote Bad Santa and directed Crazy, Stupid, Love with Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. Those two movies give you a pretty good idea of what to expect with Focus. Not quite as edgy as Bad Santa and not quite as romantic as Crazy, Stupid, Love, Focus comfortably lies somewhere in between.

Fun Time at the Movies

What few twists and turns there are in the film aren’t terribly hard to see coming. But, you know what? That’s OK. The filmmakers deliver an entertaining ride with two engaging leads and a handful of memorable characters. Focus may not be the best “con man” movie out there, but, man, it’s well made and really entertaining. Definitely worth the trip.


Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Photo from Facebook. Read more Movie Reviews.

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Harold’s Blog: Volunteer Banquet & More Snow Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:33:49 +0000 This week was, once again, dominated by snow and ice, resulting in the cancellation or postponement of several of my activities. Once again, the Cary A-Team (or the snow and ice removal team) did a fantastic job.

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Harold's Blog

Cary, NC — This week was, once again, dominated by snow and ice, resulting in the cancellation or postponement of several of my activities. Once again, the Cary A-Team (or the snow and ice removal team) did a fantastic job.


Monday started with calls to council members to get concerns or questions about the agenda for Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact all council members but Frantz and Robinson. In my conversations, council members had questions about the staff report for additional funding to handle the installation of Google Fiber and questions about a staff report that was changed by the applicant to be age restricted.

Town Meetings

Later in the day, Mayor Pro-Tem Smith and I met with management, directors, public information, legal, and administration to review the agenda. Our meeting lasted about 15 minutes.

After the agenda meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Smith and I met with the town manager and deputy town manager to talk about technology. That meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

Parks, Rec, & Cultural Arts Volunteer Banquet

Monday night, I joined all council members but Robinson at the annual Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources volunteer banquet. Each year the banquet has a theme. This year’s theme was the Wizard of Oz. In keeping with the theme, I gave a welcome modeled after the Munchkin City Mayor from the movie. Though it was a little corny, I believe it went over well.

The remainder of my remarks were in a normal tone and included the following:

There’s no place like home. It’s one of the Top 100 movie quotations in American cinema, and it couldn’t be more applicable to tonight. Because of you—all 900 volunteers who have supported our parks, recreation and cultural arts programming—Cary has, arguably, the highest quality of life in Wake County. From facility volunteers, advocacy groups, advisory boards and committees, athletic coaches, and event logistics, your support to make our recreation and cultural arts programs enjoyable and appealing is critical to our Town’s success. A volunteer is a precious resource. The time you spend with staff to ensure our classes and programs go off without a hitch is priceless to those who experience these programs and events both first-hand and to our community as a whole…

Following dinner, I was joined by the council members as we handed out awards. The banquet ended after about two hours.


Tuesday, everyone in the region was surprised by a 3” snow event. Since weather forecasters didn’t expect it, very few were prepared. Cary’s snow removal team used equipment, salt and sand to clear the roads. By the end of the day most Cary roads were in great shape. However, to be on the safe side, we postponed a work session on Imagine Cary to make sure anyone could attend if they desired. The work session is rescheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2015.


Wednesday I met with representatives from WakeUP. WakeUP is a nonpartisan citizen group concerned about growth and the future of Wake County. Their vision is a sustainable, healthy, and prosperous region in the long run. In our meeting, we talked about the Jordan Lake rules and future transit. Our meeting lasted about 45 minutes.

Snow Storm

Wednesday night and into Thursday was Cary’s second snow storm of the week. This storm had heavy wet snow that damaged a lot of trees. My neighborhood got about four inches, which was enough to uproot several large Leyland Cypresses and put them across the road. Cary’s A-Team had the trees off the road and the road plowed by 2 pm. This was another example of a great job by the best snow-removal crew in the state.


Thursday, I consulted with staff, and we agreed that the regularly scheduled council meeting should be postponed. We decided to move the public hearings back one week and move all discussion items to the March 12 meeting.


Friday was a scheduled call of the metro Mayors of North Carolina to discuss legislative action for the week. Since the legislators didn’t do anything (because of the snow), it was cancelled.

Friday, a little past midnight, I came down with the flu (kinda fit for the week). After a day of a high fever, sleeping, and not eating, I was much better but did have to cancel all appearances for the weekend. I will also cancel Monday’s just to be on the safe side.


Sunday, the town experienced its third weather related event of the week with freezing rain. While it didn’t have as much impact as the other two storms, it did create dangerous conditions on bridges and harm trees and plants.

Emails from Staff

Emails from staff this week included information about Cary’s A-Team. Here is what was at work during Thursday’s storm:

  • 15 town spreaders
  • 13 town plows
  • 4 contract tandem spreaders
  • 11 contract tandem plows
  • 21 contract pickups plows
  • 2 contract loaders with 10 foot plows
  • 1 contract grader (to work highway 55)

In addition, Public Works pre-positions backhoes and personnel at Fire Stations 5, 6, and 8. Public Works had two emergency shifts. Personnel included 162 workers for Wednesday night into Thursday and 190 during the following day. Cary budgets for these events to have a very high standard for snow removal.

Emails from Citizens

The town received numerous emails and letters thanking us and congratulating us on snow removal and garbage pickup. Many of the town’s employees went above and beyond the call of duty. Here is one letter I received that is a perfect example:

Dear Mr. Mayor,

On Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in the middle of our horrible cold spell, our garbage was picked up a day late because of weather. Our home faces north, so we get no benefit of sun melting on our driveway. I asked the driver (David) to use his ram to push our empty garbage container as far up our driveway as he could, to minimize our having to walk on the thick white ice. David accommodated us, completed his street run, and then returned with a shovel to clear a path. My husband is disabled, and I am in my 70’s, and we wanted to express our gratitude.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best public works department in the state. God bless them for their service! Other emails from citizens this week included an inquiry about owning a domestic goat, comments about sharing recycle bins, a request to allow dogs on e-collars, and comments about upcoming rezoning cases.

Get in Touch

Next week should be a busy week and a warmer week (I hope). My activities include Read Across America, a rescheduled work session on Imagine Cary, a State of the Town address presentation, a quasi-judicial hearing, and opening remarks at the annual meeting of the NC Train Host Association.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 8th. 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 by Hal Goodtree.

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Cary PBA Banquet Honors Police Heroes Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:03:19 +0000 The Cary Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, or PBA, will hold an awards ceremony and banquet on Saturday, March 7, 2015 to honor and recognize both current and veteran police officers.

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Cary, NC — The Cary Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, or PBA, will hold an awards ceremony and banquet on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Cypress Manor to honor and recognize both current and veteran police officers.

Police Benevolent Association

The Southern States Police Benevolent Association (SSPBA) is composed of more than 32,000 law enforcement officers employed by federal, state, county, and municipal governments. The SSPBA serves communities and officers in eleven states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and, of course, North Carolina.

The divisions and chapters of the PBA exist to protect and serve police officers and their families while educating the public about the daily work of law enforcement workers and the sacrifices they make to keep their communities safe. These education efforts form ties and relationships that benefit both officers and the communities in which they serve.

Cary Chapter Recognizes Detective Almond

The Cary Chapter does its part to take this process of education, partnerships, and relationship building to a new level. Each year, the chapter brings together elected officials, officers, and the community to both showcase the talents of current police officers and to honor the legacy of retired Detective George Almond.

Almond, a PBA member, was the first Cary police officer to be shot in the line of duty. In October 2001, during a traffic stop, he was shot in his forehead at close range by a driver. Despite suffering extensive injuries, he survived the shooting and returned to duty as a detective in juvenile investigations before retiring in August of 2004.

In their first year, the Cary Chapter Board chose to sponsor an Officer of the Year award in honor of retired Detective Almond. The “Officer of the Year” award, which is presented to a new officer each year, recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of leadership, community service, mentoring, excellence in performance and valor.

The 9th Annual PBA Banquet

This year’s banquet, held at Cypress Manor in Cary, will feature a live auction to raise funds for the Police Benevolent Foundation. A dinner and the awards banquet will be held after the auction followed by live music provided by Baileys Comet, a local band and community favorite.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for this event, and Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert ‘Bob’ Edmunds Jr. will serve as the Keynote Speaker. Randy Byrd, Cary Chapter and North Carolina Division President of PBA, states that:

The Cary chapter has been very committed to this project since its inception. This annual event has been a phenomenal success and speaks volumes to the respect that George Almond has with fellow officers and the community he once served. In creating this award we wanted to ensure that George’s sacrifice for the citizens of the Town of Cary is never forgotten, while at the same time recognizing exemplary performance by those following in his footsteps.

Event Details

9th Annual PBA Awards Banquet, Cary Chapter
Saturday, March 7, 2015
at Cypress Manor, 1040 Buck Jones Road, Cary

Live Auction: 6-7:30 pm
Dinner & Awards Banquet: 7:30-9 pm
Live Music: 9-10:30 pm

For further information please contact Randy Byrd at 1-800-233-3506 ext. 311 or by email at Obtain tickets for the event online.

Photo from the NC Division of the PBA.

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Canes Win 2 Games; Defeat Flyers & Capitals Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:23:32 +0000 The Hurricanes won both of their home games last week--on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 and on Friday, February 27, 2015 they beat the Washington Capitals 3-0. Here are the details.

The post Canes Win 2 Games; Defeat Flyers & Capitals appeared first on CaryCitizen.


Raleigh, NC — The Carolina Hurricanes were successful on their home ice last week, as they won two games against two competitors at the PNC Arena on Tuesday and Friday. Some will say they also won off the ice, as they traded two players for draft picks and prospects.

An Eventful Week

The Hurricanes won both of their home games last week–on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 and on Friday, February 27, 2015 they beat the Washington Capitals 3-0. Here are the details.

Canes vs. Philadelphia Flyers

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 the Canes beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 with a strong team game. The Flyers are in a desperate mode to make the playoffs and seemed to play without team chemistry or, even, interest.

Ward’s 500th Game

Much of that can be due to the fact that the Canes stepped up their game. It was somewhat of an emotional day, as Cam Ward was playing in his 500th game. 63 other goalies in the history of the NHL have played in 500 games; just a handful have played that many with one team.

Faulk Starts the Scoring

The Canes started off the scoring early in the first. With the Canes on the powerplay, Elias Lindholm had the puck along the half board and was taking his time looking for someone in scoring position. Lindholm saw Eric Staal in the high slot and made the pass that bounced off a defender’s skate right to Staal, who quickly passed to Justin Faulk on the left point.

Faulk sent a quick, hard slap shot that easily beat Rob Zepp for a 1-0 Cane lead. About ten minutes later, the Flyers tied the game after Nick Grossman made a surprise move by jumping off the blue line and then sending a shot past Ward to tie the game.


Semin’s Sick Pass to Skinner

Early in the second period, Alex Semin took the puck down the right wing into the Flyers’ zone then sent an amazing pass completely across the ice right on Jeff Skinner’s tape. Skinner wasted no time in picking his spot inside the far post, beating Zepp for a 2-1 Cane lead. From there, the Canes never looked back.

Late in the period, with the Canes back on the man advantage, Victor Rask had the puck along the boards and then passed to Faulk on the blue line. Faulk passed to Semin in the slot, who quickly turned and shot with Jordan Staal pouncing on the rebound and putting in high stick side for a commanding 3-1 lead.

Jay McClement closed out the scoring in the third on a very nice back pass from Brad Malone and gave Ward a memorable win in his 500th game.

Canes vs. Washington Capitals

On Friday, February 27, 2015, the Canes had a classy ceremony before the game to recognize Cam Ward and his 500th game. There were several congratulatory film clips on the Jumbotron from current and former teammates. The three key clips included one from good friend Andrew Ladd, one from Rod Brind’Amour, and, without a doubt, Ray Whitney’s was the best, as it reminded Ward about scoring two goals against him at practice.


Ward had the night off, so Anton Khudobin was in net, and he paid respect on the Jumbotron and in net as he recorded his first shut out of the season. Then, the Canes completely shut down the high scoring Washington Capitals in another strong win of 3-0. This was the first game after the Canes had traded Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty the day before.

Bellemore Completes Team Scoring

Brett Bellemore scored his first goal of the season and, with that goal, all current roster players now have at least one. The goal came from some good hard play by Andrej Nestrasil, as he dug for the puck down-low and passed over to Victor Rask.

Rask bounced a pass off the boards to Bellemore on the right point and, with Nestrasil going in the dirty area of the crease, sent a wrister that surprised Branden Holtby for what turned out to be not only his first goal but also the game winner.

Skinner’s Hot Streak Continues

Jeff Skinner continued his hot streak with another precision shot. Riley Nash and Elias Lindholm were forechecking and digging for the puck deep in the Caps’ end. Lindholm found Skinner in open space about 20’ in front of the net and settled the puck then sent it far side for the 2-0 lead.

Gerbe’s Hard Work Pays Off

Nathan Gerbe closed the scoring, on the hardest working empty net goal of the year, late in the third period. Nestrasil cleared the puck from the Canes’ end with speedster Gerbe grabbing the puck and carrying it into the Caps’ end and, with Alex Ovechkin draped all over him, he skated cross ice then sent a back hander in sealing the game for the 3-0 win.

Next Home Game

Up next for the Canes is a long streak of home games at the PNC Arena, with the first being a battle against the Minnesota Wild on Friday, March 6, 2015.


Canes coverage by Bob Fennel. Photos from the Washington Capitals on Facebook and from the Philadelphia Flyers on Twitter. Read more Canes coverage.

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The 2015 Cary Snow – Photos & Recap Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:18:49 +0000 Large snowflakes began to fall in the Triangle Wednesday, February 25, 2015 and, by Thursday morning, Cary had become a Winter Wonderland.

The post The 2015 Cary Snow – Photos & Recap appeared first on CaryCitizen.


Cary, NC — Large, heavy snowflakes began to fall in the Triangle Wednesday, February 25, 2015. They didn’t stick at first but, by Thursday morning, Cary was a Winter Wonderland.

Snow Recap

North Carolina, along with other southern states, usually sees the most snow in February. True to tradition, this year’s February snowfall will surely be remembered.

Last Week

The activity started last week, when snowflakes began to fall on February 16, 2015 (starting late Monday night and continuing into Tuesday). The snowflakes were beautiful, quickly covering the roads, but, as soon as the snow started, it was followed by freezing rain.

The result? Icy, hazardous road conditions, delays, closings and cancellations in schools and workplaces throughout the community, and less-than-optimal playing conditions–it’s hard to build a snowman with a thin layer of ice-covered snow.

Cary roads were clear by mid-week, but many other roads in Wake County stayed icy until just before the weekend. Since I live 25 minutes away from Cary, I worked from home most of the week but was back at work by Friday. By the weekend, snow was nowhere to be seen.

This Week

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 really threw the Triangle for a loop. I had an early-morning appointment that day and, when I walked out the door at 7 am, I was surprised to see the roads covered in snow. Along with many other working adults, I went to work as planned but, by mid-day, roads were backed up with commuters trying to get home.

Students in Wake and other surrounding counties were already on school buses when the call was made that school was canceled for the day. Interestingly enough, since buses had already been deployed, Tuesday does not require a make-up day. The other days will be made up later.

Tuesday’s snow was a surprise, but the huge snowfall predicted to hit the Triangle Wednesday night had grocery stores packed with people stocking up and preparing to be snowed in. Snow-lovers weren’t disappointed. A deep, powdery snow (that was at least five inches deep where I live) provided optimal snowman making, snow cream eating, and sledding for many families across the Triangle.

Snow Photos

Impending snow make-up days, hazardous roads, canceled meetings, and the stress of rescheduling plans around work and kids…it’s no secret that this month’s wintry mix caused tension for much of the Triangle.


But, when I walked outside Thursday morning to this striking view, I couldn’t help but feel calm. Enjoy these photos, taken in Cary and Raleigh, of this year’s snowfall.













Photos from Readers

Thank you to all our readers who shared photos with us on Facebook. We’re sorry that we couldn’t share them all!


Snow ballerinas by Chris Barry


Sledding kiddos–by Jennifer High


Gorgeous snowflake by Lynette Mittendorf


Wow! Stunning view by Mark Shelton


Too cute–by Lauri Van Oostrum-Reed


Snow Bunny by Carolyn Suddaby


Brick by brick by Laurel Walther


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos by CaryCitizen staff and readers.

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Papa Spud’s: Local Food at Your Doorstep Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:47:50 +0000 Rob Myer founded Papa Spud's--a farm-to-fork operation that brings locally grown, raised, and made food right to the doorsteps of Triangle residents.

The post Papa Spud’s: Local Food at Your Doorstep appeared first on CaryCitizen.

Papa Spud's

Rob Meyer, Founder of Papa Spud’s

Cary, NC — Eating a variety of healthy foods (and knowing where they come from) is becoming increasingly more important to families and households. That’s why Rob Meyer founded Papa Spud’s–a farm-to-fork operation that brings locally grown, raised, and made food right to the doorsteps of Triangle residents.

Buy Local Without Leaving Your House

That’s right–each week, from the comfort of your home, you can order high quality produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods all grown and made by local farmers and food producers.

Meyer and his team do all the work for you by working with a variety of farmers and food producers throughout the state to offer local products through home delivery. Food from the Papa Spud’s warehouse in Cary is delivered to homes and workplaces all across the Triangle.

Papa Spud’s refers to itself as an “online farmer’s market.” That’s because, after you join Papa Spud’s, you can log on to their website every week–or less, according to your needs–and customize your own box of local food.

How Does It Work?

Papa Spud’s farmers communicate regularly with Meyer and his team to tell them what’s in season, what’s growing, or what’s new in their kitchen. Customers then log on to the Papa Spud’s website and pick which products, and how much of each, they’d like that week.

Papa Spud's

The Papa Spud’s team personally places items in each box according to that customer’s order.

The options change throughout the year, depending on what’s in season, but Papa Spud’s ensures that here’s always a wide range of items. Berries, tomatoes, onions, goat cheese, coffee, baked goods, chicken, and even lamb, are just a few of the goods offered at different times throughout the year.

When I met Meyer and toured the warehouse, I got to try strawberries that were grown under solar tunnels only 50 miles east of the Triangle and muffins made by JP’s Pastry, a gluten-free based-out-of-a-home bakery that also offers Papa Spud’s customers unique items like baklava.

Farm to Fork in Under 36 Hours

After you place your order, Papa Spud’s communicates to the farmers which items they need delivered to the Cary warehouse–and this is one of the neatest parts, since the farmers often pick the items the day they are shipped. Once the products arrive at Papa Spud’s, the team separates them in boxes and gets them ready for customers throughout the Triangle.

Most of the produce arrives at Papa Spud’s on Tuesday morning and, then, the boxes are delivered to Triangle homes on Tuesday and Wednesday. The turn around from the farm to your doorstep is, literally, 12-36 hours.

The Papa Spud’s Story

After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005, Meyer spent three years in The Peace Corps–and that’s where he got the inspiration to start Papa Spud’s. He worked in Ecuador for three years with kids and their families and, while he was there, he learned a lot about their food system and about how it works.

The mothers worked in farmer’s markets or, essentially, food markets–massive places where everyone bought their food–and no one went to the grocery store. Meyer explained that:

It’s a small country, so they’re not importing food–it’s too expensive to do that, and they’re tropical, so they can pretty much grow year-round. Their food system is really complex–and the more [Papa Spud’s] evolves, it reminds me of how things are done back in Ecuador. You’ve got all these different pieces; there’s no massive food distributor that’s got everything. It’s this much more all-over-the-place network that just, somehow, works.

After Meyer got back to the states, he got the idea to start something similar. When Papa Spud’s first opened, Meyer had 20 different subscribers ordering food from only six farmers. Now, in 2015, Papa Spud’s has over 2,000 customers–and food comes from close to 100 local farmers.

Less Waste, More Goodness

Since customers can pick exactly what they want–and how much of it they plan to use–each week, the Papa Spud’s system dramatically reduces food waste when compared to purchasing from a grocery store. Meyer explained that:

The secret sauce to the whole thing is our ordering schedule. Unlike a grocery store, where you’re kind of guessing what people will want day-to-day, week-to-week, and season-to-season, you actually order the products while they’re still in the fields.

Each week, Papa Spud’s donates any leftover food to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. “All the products are in good condition–they’re just-delivered, top-quality products that just didn’t get into our boxes,” Meyer said.

Buy Local with Papa Spud’s

By working with Papa Spud’s, you’re not only serving your family locally-grown food–you’re also supporting local farmers, many of which run operations so small that, without the Papa Spud’s system, wouldn’t get to reach so many customers. Papa Spud’s delivers to residents and businesses all over the Triangle–Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Raleigh, Holly Springs, Fuquay, Garner, Wake Forest, Durham, and parts of Chapel Hill.

The annual fee to join Papa Spud’s is only $10–then, each week, you can log in and pick your items. The smallest box is $20, but you can pick as much or as little food as you’d like per week. If your items don’t amount to the price of the box, the money carries over and can be used on future orders. Meyer emphasized that, “You only pay for what we send you.”

Get In Touch

In a 30 minute tour, I got to see the goodness of not only the food from Papa Spud’s farmers, but also of the close-knit team that works hard each week to deliver fresh, top-quality food to Triangle families. Visit the Papa Spud’s website to sign up and start ordering, or stay in touch with what’s new by liking them on Facebook.


Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.

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