CaryCitizen Cary, North Carolina news, food, community and events Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:22:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Money Matters: 5 Steps to Better Financial Health Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:22:35 +0000 Money Matters

Cary, NC — Nick Putnam, a Financial Advisor for First Command Financial Services, Inc., shares with us five simple steps toward better financial health.

Five Steps to Better Financial Health

Have you checked on your financial health lately? If you’re like many Americans, you’ve discovered that your finances could be in better shape.

With just five simple steps, you can be on your way to a healthier financial life.

Put Your Goals on Paper

Consider your plans for the near and long-term. Whether you’d like to go back to school, start a business, purchase a home or simply boost your emergency savings, it’s worth it to write your goals down. Having a record of your goals can make them more “real” in your mind.

Track Your Spending

Keeping tabs on every dollar you make and spend is the first step toward establishing better financial health. Whether you use free online software, choose to purchase a program or even use a notebook, tracking your spending is the only way to know exactly where your money goes.

Cut Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt may seem like a burden that will never completely go away, but with commitment and a little know-how, you can tackle those balances.

Contact your credit card company, and ask about a reduced interest rate and about transferring other high-interest rate balances to a lower-interest card. Then, make more than the minimum payment each month – as much as you can – and make sure your payments arrive on time. Your credit card company could charge high fees for being even a day or two late.

Save, Save, Save

If you don’t participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or a plan for the self-employed, now may be the time to start.

Contribute at least enough to earn an employer match, if one is offered. Take a look at your emergency savings – this is the cash you keep on hand for unexpected expenses, whether that is a car repair, plumbing emergency or something similar. Set aside a small percentage of each paycheck to boost this account if you’ve had to dip into it in the past.

Trim Your Miscellaneous Expenses

In addition to mortgage or rent, insurance, groceries and utilities, you’ve probably got expenses that don’t really fit nicely into one group. These miscellaneous expenses – eating out, gifts, clothes and entertainment – can really add up. Make a commitment to cut 10, 20 or even 30 percent from your miscellaneous category and you’ll be on your way toward big savings.

Simple Adjustments Help

Just as we count on physicians to analyze our physical health and provide treatment when needed, we must also face our finances and take steps to improve our fiscal health. Keep in mind that the simplest adjustments can make a big impact on improving your financial life.


Story contributed by Nick Putnam, a Financial Advisor for First Command Financial Services, Inc. Lead photo by 401(K) 2012.

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Restaurant: Himalayan Nepali Cuisine Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:36:58 +0000 himalayan-nepali-cary-nc-7050

Cary, NC — A couple of weeks ago, we talked about a Salvadoran restaurant in Cary. Today, let’s turn our attention to a place that serves Himalayan Nepali cuisine.

Himalayan Nepali Cuisine in Cary

Himalayan Nepali Cuisine is, in fact, the name of the restaurant. It’s in the East Chatham shopping center in Cary and is visible from the street as you drive past.

What is Nepali cuisine, you ask? While Americans may find it similar to Indian cuisine, differences in ingredients, flavors and influences are evident.

Understanding Himalayan Nepali Food

Let’s look at a map to help understand Himalayan Nepali food.


Nepal is north of India, above Uttar Pradesh, Bihur and, to the east, Bangladesh. It is mountainous country, running from low hills to some of the world’s tallest mountains. The restaurant in Cary specializes in Nepali cuisine from the Himalayas, the most mountainous region of the nation.

Nepal has always been a cultural, commercial and ethnic corridor between East and West. The foods of northern India are the primary influences on Nepali cuisine. But Tibetan food also plays a strong role because of proximity and the similarity of climate.

Lentils, beans and cold-tolerant crops like buckwheat, barley and millet are typical in the Himalayas.

Himalayan Dishes

The restaurant in Cary offers a dish called Himalayan Dal Fry, made from black lentils and red beans cooked with spices.

You could also try Momo, steamed dumplings in the shape of a hat, a very popular Nepali dish.


The menu also features Himilayan Chai and Coffee, Himalayan Chow Chow Soup, Govi Manchrian and Nepali Tarkaki (fresh vegetables and spices).

Most of the other dishes on the menu will be familiar to patrons of the area’s many fine Indian restaurants – Chana Masala and Saag Paneer, Tandori, Tikka and Biryani. In a nod to the Chinese culinary influence, the restaurant offers several varieties of Chow Mein.

Table Service, Beer and Wine

The room is cozy, probably seating 30-40 patrons. The wait staff was friendly and efficient.

You can get beer and wine at Himalayan Nepali Cuisine. We split a big bottle of Flying Horse Lager.


The room was very pleasant – lively, but not too loud. Mercifully, just one small TV screen is playing softly in the background.

The prices are modest. We did dinner for two with the big beer and a mountain of leftovers for about $40.

In short, if you are a Cary foodie (you know who you are) or a fan of Indian cuisines, you should try Himalayan Nepali Cuisine in the East Chatham shopping center.

Himalayan Nepali Cuisine
746-A East Chatham Street
Cary, NC 27511
Phone: 919-466-0550


Story and photos by Hal Goodtree.

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Movie Review: The Martian Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:58:32 +0000 Martian

Cary, NC — The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien) and starring Matt Damon, tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut thought dead and left behind by his fellow crew members after a disastrous storm on Mars. Filled with humor, optimism and a great performance by leading man Damon, The Martian is a crowd-pleaser of the highest order.

The Martian

There have been a lot of comparisons between The Martian and 2013’s critically acclaimed hit Gravity. Of course, they are both about space missions gone wrong and are anchored by solo movie star performances – but, for me, that’s really where the comparisons end. Gravity was more of a roller coaster ride, an exhilarating 90 minute film that didn’t let up once it got going.

The Martian, however, plays more like a procedural. Once Damon is discovered to be alive by NASA, the rest of the film follows mission control, Watney, and the crew that left him behind as they all try and figure how to keep Watney alive and, eventually, rescue him. It’s an absolutely fascinating journey, albeit a much different one from Gravity.

Damon as Good as Ever

I feel like we forget how good an actor Matt Damon can be. I’ve always enjoyed him, and, even if I didn’t love the movies he was in, he was always highly watchable. A performance like the one he gives in The Martian is a reminder that he’s one of our most reliable and likable movie stars.

His character, Watney, is a scientist first and astronaut second, so his ingenuity and practicality quickly come into play, overtaking any fear or depression for being left for dead. More shockingly, though, is that his character maintains a wonderful sense of humor throughout.

In fact, the whole movie is quite funny, but Damon in particular gets the biggest laughs, as much of his screentime is just him talking into a camera as he records his progress. It’s a great performance that should get plenty of recognition come awards time.

Great Supporting Cast

Damon gets great assistance from his supporting cast as well.

Let’s see, we’ve got Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help), Michael Pena (End of Watch, Ant-Man), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings) and many, many more. Everyone is just as good as Damon, making an impact no matter how big or small the role might be.

Filled with Optimism

One of my favorite aspects of The Martian, though, has to be its optimism.

In the film, space travel is important, but even more important are the tremendously smart people that make it happen. Boiled down to its core, the film is about watching smart people do smart things, overcome obstacles and demonstrate the power of human ingenuity. Even with all the math and science talk, it never feels like the film is talking down to you. It’s fascinating and inspiring to watch people come together for a cause, and The Martian has that feeling in spades.

Smart, Funny & Not To Be Missed

Overall, The Martian is a great theatrical experience – funny, moving and highly entertaining. Don’t miss out, and see The Martian on the big screen.


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

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Canes Beat Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 18:21:19 +0000 Penguins

Raleigh, NC — The Carolina Hurricanes closed out their 2015 preseason with a solid 2-1 win over the stacked Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, October 2 at the PNC Arena.

Former Penguins Jordan Staal and James Wisniewski scored for the Canes, as both teams had what will probably be their lineups come opening night.

Ward Rebounds for a Great Performance

The Penguins had a 7-3 blowout win over the Canes 10 days ago, so this was sweet revenge for the Hurricanes. During that first game, which was their first home game, the Penguins had most of their veterans in the lineup whereas the Canes went with the NHL preseason minimum number of veterans. Nonetheless, the Canes and Cam Ward did not have a good game.

Friday night was totally different. Ward was not only sharp, he was outstanding. While the Canes’ defense on the ice was young, meaning that it lacked a great deal of NHL experience, D-Coach Steve Smith has done some amazing things with this squad. Whenever a Penguin would get in the dirty area of the crease, the Canes’ defense would clear them out from in front of Ward.

Newcomer James Wisniewski plays a lot bigger than his 5”11” frame. Wisniewski has earned a reputation for taking the body as well as anyone, and his positioning was excellent. Tack on his bomb of a shot and kudos go out to GM Ron Francis for this addition.

JStaal Surprises Former Teammates

Late in the first, Wisniewski sent one of his bombs that Marc-Andre Fleury sent to the side boards. Nathan Gerbe jumped on the puck and out=muscled his defender then sent the puck along the boards to JStaal behind the net.  Staal came around the net going wide then flung the puck just inside the far post for 1-0 Cane lead.

Second Starts to Get Nasty

The second period was nothing short of mid-season play as the checking got tighter, the hits came faster and harder and both goalies were very sharp.

After a penalty-free first, the penalties, especially for the Canes, started. First, Elias Lindholm got called for kneeing, which will be reviewed by the league.

The penalty was not intentional, and, fortunately, Daniel Sprong was able to resume play after having it checked out. Wisniewski got a total of six minutes in the box in the second – first for an elbow then a double minor for a high stick. Coach Bill Peters must believe in Noah Hanifin, as he played a good amount on the man down situation.

Patience Pays Off

Early in the third, Eric Staal brought the puck up over the Penguins’ blue line then passed to Chris Terry on the right. Terry collected the puck, waited patiently for an opening and sent a snap shot to the far side top corner. The puck glanced off Wisniewski’s sweater giving him credit for the goal but the set up was all Terry’s. The Pens’ closed the gap on a goal by Pascal Dupuis.

Ward made an initial pad save off a shot by Brian Dumoulin, but Dupuis was there for the backhander up high past Ward.

Canes Shutdown the Penguins

The third period saw the teams settling down again except for the offsetting roughing minors to Michal Jordan and David Perron just over midway in the period. The Canes put the emphasis on defense as the Penguins were giving it all they had. Their top line seemed to be on the ice every other shift throwing as much rubber at Ward as they could. The Canes only got off five shots in the third, but none of the Caniacs in attendance cared. As the saying goes – if they’re keeping score, you might as well win, and win the Canes did with a satisfying 2-1 win.

After starting the preseason 0-2, they ended up strong winning four straight games for the first time as the Carolina Hurricanes, preseason, regular season or playoffs. Great way to go into the start of the season and hopefully wipe of the O’fer October memories of last year.

Next Home Game

The first home game is this Saturday night, October 10, 2015. Several readers will be attending as part of the 3-for-1 deal we offered a while back.

Be on the lookout for to be on the Jumbotron!


Canes coverage by Bob Fennel. Photo from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Facebook.
Read more Canes coverage.

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Harold’s Blog: Candidates, Google Fiber, Roads & More Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:46:36 +0000 Harold14

Cary, NC — This week was dominated by a couple of long nights and historic rainy weather.


Monday, I met with outgoing town manager Ben Shivar and interim town manager Mike Bajorek for our weekly one-on-one meeting. We spent most of the time reviewing a presentation that was to be given to the volunteers on the town’s boards and commissions Tuesday night.

We also talked about a few other minor issues.

Candidate Forum in Downtown Cary

Monday night, I attended the Heart of Cary’s candidate forum.

The forum was moderated by WRAL’s Renee Chou. Ms. Chou has to get up every morning around 2:30 am, so staying up for this was way past her bedtime. Kudos to Ms. Chou for helping our community better understand the candidates. The format of the forum included opening and closing statements and questions with 30 seconds to respond. The following are my opinions of the candidates and how they performed.

Opinions on the Candidates

I will start with the District B candidates (disclosure – I am wholeheartedly endorsing Don Frantz, so my comments may be biased). Don Frantz performed the best of the three. He knew all the issues in-depth, and it showed in his answers. Mr. Lazzaro continues to base his platform on the belief that citizens are uninformed, that the town is not trying to communicate with the citizens and that the council is making decisions in secret. Wow! That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Council is Accessible to the Public

The Cary Town Council has gone over and beyond making sure we are open and accessible to the public. We notify the public via an email list, bud newsletter and Cary TV. In addition, three council members regularly blog and tweet about issues.

Council members and staff also make sure to address issues sent to us by citizens. FYI, I have responded to every email sent to my town email since 2007. Council has never made a decision behind closed doors since that violates public meetings laws.

District B Challengers

Mr. Talton, the third candidate in this race, made comments that suggest he disagrees with pretty much everything the current council is doing.

While that is prerogative, I hope he realizes that it takes four votes to get anything done and that he will need to learn to work with others. I am not seeing that at all. During the question and answer period, both Lazzaro and Talton showed that they had little understanding about what authority the town does and does not have in relation to state government.

In addition, neither of them wanted to make a comment on roads saying they were not up on the issues. Again, wow! Roads have consistently been one of the top three issues since I have been involved in town government starting in 1997. Stating that you are a candidate for Cary council and that you are not up on road issues is almost unbelievable.

Don Frantz is a slam dunk in this race. Neither of his opponents comes close to having the knowledge to be an effective representative of their district.

District D Candidates

The forum was much more interesting for the District D race.

All the District D candidates seemed to do much better in this forum than they did in the Cary Chamber forum. Mr. Rinehart was the most improved. All the candidates did a great job answering questions, but, if I had to pick a winner, it would be Caggia, since she had the depth of knowledge in her answers and understood what authority the town has and does not have.

Mr. George, Mr. Rinehart and Ms. Cervania were all very solid in their answers. However, Cervania lacked understanding in what authority the town has on roads and what the legislature thinks about creating new school systems. Mr. George pointed out that the town and state have plans for road improvements but that adequate funding is not available.

This shows that he understands the authority the town and state shares and that roads are a huge expense that is usually handled with bonds. Interestingly, none of the candidates said they would sign a pledge not to raise taxes. So I guess none of them are tea party candidates. After this forum, I think District D would be well-represented by any of these four candidates.


Tuesday, I joined council members and staff members in a dinner to thank Cary board and commission members and to welcome new members. In the programming piece. Interim Town Manager Bajorek and I gave a presentation with updates that included a lot of information.

Cary Updates

Here are some updates that may be of interest:

Town Manager Ben Shivar Retired

Ben Shivar retired on September 30, 2015 after serving seven years as Town Manager, almost 20 years with the Town and over 39 years of service to NC local governments.

The recruiting process for a new town manager is underway. Council hopes to make a decision within two or three months.

What’s Imagine Cary?

Imagine Cary is the most ambitious long-range planning effort in our community’s history.

It’s a wholesale update to our Comprehensive Plan and will be an integrated, policy-driven document that blends 13 existing separate plans into one with a time period spanning of 25 years. The project, which started in January 2013, is now nearly “two-thirds” complete.

The plan contains the key policy recommendations for land use, transportation, housing, economic development and other related components. Staff took this draft to Council on Thursday seeking comments on the format of the plan and some keys issues.

Based on this feedback, staff will finish off the draft and take it out for public comment. This is targeted to occur in December or January with the plan adoption in the Spring of 2016.

Website Overhaul is Coming

The Town of Cary is planning a major update to its website, A complete overhaul of the website will result in a fresh design, new features and improved efficiency for staff and site visitors. This is the sixth redesign of Cary’s website, which was created in 1997.

The last redesign was in 2009. This overhaul should take advantage of the opinions and expertise of our users. So far, we’ve heard from nearly 300 citizens, but there’s room in the project for everyone – if you haven’t gotten involved yet, please do.

The project is on budget and on schedule with a launch planned before the end of 2016.

Open Data

The town is moving forward on an open data initiative. Currently, we are looking at different software portals, researching the most requested data sets off other municipality websites and pulling together data sets we currently have available in addition to reviewing our open data policy. This site will be up and running prior to the end of the June 2016

High-Speed Internet

AT&T, Google and Time Warner (and a couple other smaller companies) are working hard to connect the region to gigabyte speed internet. Google alone has over 60 crews working in Cary. The Town has established a webpage to help citizens know who is working in front of their homes and how to contact them.

Road Construction & Improvements

  • Realignment of Carpenter Fire Station Road from NC 55 to Morrisville Carpenter Road will include a new four-lane, median-divided roadway with paved shoulders for bicycles and a new underpass below the CSX railroad. This project costs $17 million and is funded through the 2012 Community Investment Bonds. Construction should begin in the spring of 2017 with completion scheduled for spring of 2019.
  • Widening the eastern segment of Green Level West Road from the newly constructed northbound ramps located at NC 540 interchange to NC 55 will create additional roadway capacity for Cary commuters, continuation of sidewalks along the corridor and wide outside lanes to accommodate experienced cyclists. Funding for this project is $14 million through CAMPO and Community Bonds. Construction is expected to begin spring of 2017.
  • The Cary Parkway at High House Road intersection improvements will incorporate an additional left turn lane on both High House Road approaches and the northbound Cary Parkway approach, an exclusive right turn lane on all approaches and an upgraded traffic signal with new decorative traffic signal mast arm poles. It is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2017.
  • The Academy Street Streetscape will cost about $8 million (approved by voters as part of 2012 Community Investment Bonds). Construction began in the Spring of this year and expected to end Spring of 2016.
  • Fire Station #2 has an estimated project cost of $8,172,000 and is partly funded by the Community Bonds referendum. Construction began early 2015 and will be completed in the winter of 2016. The old Fire Station #2 will continue to operate after the new one has opened.
  • The Walnut Street Pedestrian and Traffic Improvements will include an additional northbound travel lane and sidewalks on Walnut Street across the US-1/64 overpass. It is expected to be completed by the summer 2016 at a cost of $7,000,000 which is shared by NCDOT and the Town of Cary.

Parks & Greenways

  • The Downtown Park will begin construction this fall and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2016. Features include a large fountain, outdoor performance space and open lawn areas. A total project budget of $5,200,000, which includes design and construction, was approved with the 2012 Community Investment Bonds.
  • The Jack Smith Park will include a 50-acre tract that was formerly the Bartley Family Farm. The park will have playground, dog park, public art and picnic shelter among other features. It is currently under construction and expected to be complete by the fall of this year. Funding was approved by Cary voters as part of the 2012 Community Investment Bonds.
  • Carpenter Park is a 16-acre parcel designed as a future neighborhood park. Features will include a children’s play area, a multi-sport court, a community garden and a picnic shelter. Construction is expected to be completed by winter of 2016. Design and construction costs total $2,983,000.
  • Cary Tennis Park improvements include eight new tennis courts that will be covered for year-round play and expansions to the clubhouse. Construction is expected to begin in the winter of 2016 and last until the winter of 2017. The estimated of the park is about $4.5 million.
  • The Old Reedy Creek Road Trailhead improvements will include 82 parking spaces and a restroom with a trail connection to the end of the Black Creek Greenway. Construction is expected to be complete by the summer of 2016. The construction budget is currently $1,310,000 and includes some grant funding.

Water Plant Expansion

Cary’s Water Plant Expansion includes a new raw water ozone structure, filters, water chemical building and administration building. Current the town’s capacity is 40 MGD, and this expansion will give us a capacity of 56 MGD. The total cost is $62 million including the plant and associated raw water pump station expansion. Estimated completion date is currently the fall of 2016.

Overall Statistics

Over the last two years, Cary has repaved and improved the largest amount of streets in the Town’s history. These improvements also include 25 miles of sidewalks, which is a 6% increase of our existing miles. The dinner concluded after about two and a half hours.


Wednesday, I was scheduled to meet with a Raleigh council member who had to cancel. Instead, I met with town staff to go over new software which will be used for council agendas.


Thursday, the council held a work session on the Imagine Cary process and the Wake Transit Investment Strategy. The purpose of the Imagine Cary work session was to present the work conducted by the Committee for the Future, the staff and consultant team. This was a two-thirds draft of the final product which will be called the Cary Community Plan.

Imagine Cary Work Session

The presentation was divided into five main topic areas – foundation for today and tomorrow, how we will live, how we will work, how we will shape our community and a future growth map. Some of the biggest changes recommended include:

  • There are 36 activity centers which would be reduced to 5 intense development areas.
  • Currently there are about 20 types of growth. This will be changed to about 10.
  • Neighborhoods will not change much and character will be the focus. Council emphasized the need to protect the character of all neighborhoods.
  • Older neighborhoods will become a higher priority.
  • There will be special planning areas like downtown.
  • Office parks will be transformed into mixed-use employment centers.
  • New employment centers will be created through public-private partnerships.
  • New policies will be created to protect and nurture small businesses.

This part of the work session concluded after about two hours. Council will have another work session in November. The Committee for the Future will review the latest in October. There will be an open house for the public in December and January.

Wake Transit Plan

The second part of the work session was on the Wake Transit Plan.

The feedback for this plan has been underway for over a year. It will determine the county’s future transit needs that will meet a rapidly growing population expected to increase by one million citizens by 2054. The final determined strategy is anticipated to be funded through passage of a half-cent sales tax referendum by Wake County registered voters.

As part of this funding plan, the Wake County Commissioners also have the option of increasing annual vehicle registrations fees by $7 a year without a voter referendum. Council’s review of this plan unanimously stated that ridership should be the focus. The majority believed that rail should be included in the plan understanding that light rail is currently not being considered.

Some interesting data related to the plan’s outreach showed that more non-riders participated than riders and that Cary had one of the highest participation rates. The current schedule is for the referendum to be held in November 2016 contingent upon final approval by CAMPO, Wake County and GoTriangle per State legislation. Wake County staff, along with project consultant team, will develop the final draft plan based on all feedback received.

The Wake Transit Plan Advisory Committee is scheduled to reconvene in mid-October 2015 to assist in the development of the final draft plan.

The draft plan is anticipated to be released for final public comment in December 2015.


Friday, I participated in the last NC Metro Mayors meeting of the year. These meetings are held while the legislature is in session and summarize what is going on. This meeting focused on our successes and failures and what to expect next year in the short session.


Saturday, I had the honor of taping the keg at the Triangle Oktoberfest, which was held at Koka Booth amphitheater. This festival was put on by the Apex Sunrise and Cary MacGregor Rotary Clubs in collaboration with the Town of Cary.

Not only was it a lot of fun, but it raised money for Alzheimer’s of North Carolina. There was a live German band, a kid’s zone, traditional Bavarian food and fare and plenty of local and authentic German beer. I was honored to receive a traditional gingerbread heart from Annelore’s German Bakery which will soon be located on Chatham Street in Cary.

The gingerbread heart is similar to a giving of a valentine. I wore it the entire time I was there. What a great time. Next year, I will need to wear lederhosen.

Rain, Rain, Rain

As I write this, the town is experiencing its 10th consecutive day of rain.

The record for consecutive days of rain is 11. It will be interesting to see if we beat it. During this time, I have measured over 7 inches of rain at my house. This should have alleviated any shortages we had at Jordan Lake but has created the opposite problem of flash flooding.

It will be nice to see the sun again.

Tree Removal at Town Hall

Emails from staff this week included notification of a large tree removal on town hall campus. After a storm several weeks ago, public works staff discovered that one of the two mature Willow Oaks on the west end of the Herb Young Community Center had been struck by lightning.

The lightening caused significant damage to the stem. Additionally, infestation of stem boring insects and the drying of foliage led to the decline of the tree. An independent Arborist provided a health assessment and determined that the tree is considered high risk.

This means it has the highest likelihood of failure and the consequences of failure due to its location could be significant. For that reason, the town will have to remove the tree.

Emails from Citizens

Emails from citizens this week included a request for subsidized senior housing in downtown, a concern about the disposal of leaves, a concern about median maintenance, a comment about an abandoned car and questions about a future downtown development.

Get in Touch

Next week is election week. Be sure to vote on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. 

Other activities include a talk at Davis Drive Elementary, participation in the SAS Championships, a regularly scheduled council meeting and Diwali.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 11th. 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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A Short Trip from Cary: Autumn Train Rides Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:12:07 +0000 excursion crossing

Spencer, NC — You can buy tickets now to take a beautiful, day-long train ride on a vintage rail car through the colorful fall countrysides of Asheville and Charlottesville.

“The Romance of Rail Travel”

In its ninth year of doing so, the N.C. Transportation Museum is offering its most popular event – Autumn Train Excursions. This beloved event offers riders a chance to experience “the romance of rail travel,” a great destination and the convenience of a day trip.

As part of the Autumn Train Excursions, nearly 1,000 riders will take a rare, daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countrysides to Asheville, NC and Charlottesville, VA. Excursions are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum and act as fundraisers for both organizations.

Trips sell-out, we hear, so act quickly if you’re interested.

Pick Your Adventure

Riders can pick from one of two trips.

Blue Ridge Autumn Special

The Blue Ridge Autumn Special will travel through the western North Carolina Piedmont, into the foothills and on to the Blue Ridge Mountains. This train will depart from Spencer, NC (less than two hours from Cary) at 7 am on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

The train will roll through Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa, climbing the famed “loops” of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the way. You’ll pass through several tunnels and by the Andrews Geyser before arriving in Asheville at noon.

Passengers will have nearly three hours for an outing at Biltmore Village, a planned community established in 1890s near the Biltmore Estate. Biltmore Village offers distinct shopping in boutiques, restaurants and walks along brick sidewalks that parallel tree-lined streets. All of this will be enjoyed alongside spectacular views of the North Carolina Mountains.

The train will depart Asheville at 3 pm and return to Spencer at 8 pm.

Virginia Autumn Special

The Virginia Autumn Special will depart Spencer, NC at  7 am on Sunday, November 1, 2015. There will be a second passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station at 8 am, allowing for a more convenient boarding opportunity for those living in the Triad.

Passing through the North Carolina cities of Thomasville, High Point and Reidsville and the Virginia cities of Danville, Lynchburg and Oak Ridge, passengers will experience the Piedmont countryside and rolling hills of Central Virginia. Spectacular views of the Dan, Roanoke and James Rivers will also be seen as the train crosses above them.

At noon, this train will arrive in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. Travelers will have nearly three hours to explore the historic downtown area and walk through the Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, one of the most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls in the nation. There are boutiques, specialty wine, coffee and tea shops and more.

The train will depart Charlottesville around 3 pm, drop off Greensboro passengers shortly before 7 pm and arrive back in Spencer around 8 pm.

Ticket Information

Tourist Class tickets are $160/person. Tourist Class seating features the comfort and convenience of modern passenger cars. Two seats, with adjustable backs, are on each side of the center aisle, with a window at each row. The cars are climate controlled and have rest rooms. The Souvenir and Cafe cars are located near the Tourist Class section.

Boxed lunches and commemorative t-shirts are also available for purchase.


Information and photo from the N.C. Transportation Museum.

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Prepare for Bad Weather in Cary Fri, 02 Oct 2015 15:15:54 +0000 Rain

Cary, NC — Our CaryCitizen inbox was flooded (pun intended) with press releases and updates about event cancellations, weather advisories and more this morning.

Here’s a short “what you need to know” update to prepare for this weekend’s weather.

Current Status

Wake County is under a Flash Flood Watch until 8 pm on Sunday, October 4, 2015. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 8 am on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

According to WRAL, Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 hurricane, is now reported to be offshore of North Carolina. While this means less of a threat of heavy winds and rain at the start of next week, we still need to prepare for harsh weather this weekend.

Heavy Rain Today

WRAL calls for heavy rain today – we can expect 3-6″ of rain to fall.

The heaviest rain of the weekend is likely to fall today and tonight. “After that,” WRAL says, “We will have periods of heavy rain but there may be more breaks on Saturday and Sunday. Winds will be out of the NE gusting 20 to 20 mph.”

Power Outages & Damage Expected

The ground is already wet from a week of rainfall, and that means trees and large branches are more likely to fall from the heavy winds. Power outages could result.

Flooding Dangers

Governor Pat McCrory has issued a state of emergency in all 100 counties in preparation of severe weather that could lead to flooding. “I cannot stress enough that we are talking about a real possibility of deadly flooding in many areas around our state,” he said.

Cary is Prepared

Cary’s Fire Chief, Allan Cain, is serving as the Town’s Incident Commander for this potential emergency, which is being compared to 1996 and Hurricane Fran.

In a press release, Cain said, “From fuel to equipment and vehicles to personnel, the Town’s in good shape to be able to respond effectively to the typical things that occur in these types of situations like flooding, power outages and downed trees.”

Residents Should Prepare, Too

The Town of Cary and Scott Finazzo, author of “The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook,” shared the following tips with us to prepare for flooding and storms:

Preparing for a flood:

  • Have a weather radio, smart phone app, or any other means handy to receive flood warnings and weather updates in the event that you lose power.
  • It is common to lose power during storms. Be prepared with flashlights and spare batteries.
  • Educate and talk to your children about the dangers of storms. If the sky turns gray, it begins to rain, or they hear thunder, they should immediately come inside.
  • Have a safe place. Before the storm, identify a safe place in your home that is away from windows and not in danger of structural damage from large fallen trees.
  • Check supplies. If you don’t have a cache of supplies in a safe location in your home, assemble them before the storm so you will have access to your weather radio, flashlights, water, snacks, and other essential items.

During a flood:

  • Heed all appropriate flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service, local media or any authority issuing instructions due to an impending flood.
  • Stay indoors during severe weather. If you do decide to venture out—whether walking or driving—let folks know when and where you are going so that they can contact emergency officials should you fail to reach your destination.
  • During a storm it is best to avoid electrical equipment and plumbing.
  • Avoid windows. Windows are easily broken by wind and storm-related projectiles. The shattered glass or windblown debris can cause serious injury.
  • Remember your pets. Bring your pets inside and safely secure them with a leash, crate or carrier. They could become frightened due to the weather and act out or run away.

If you’re driving:

  • If there is standing water on streets, “Turn around, don’t drown.”
  • Treat signalized intersections with non-working traffic lights as four-way stops.
  • Don’t park on streets so that Town crews can service the area.

When to Call for Help

The Town of Cary does not provide electric service. If you lose power, report outages to Duke Energy Progress at 1-800-419-6356 or Apex Electric at 919-362-8661. Do not call 911 unless there’s an emergency posing an immediate threat to life, health or property.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photo by Sjoerd van Oosten.

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2015 Cary Election: Vote on October 6 Fri, 02 Oct 2015 13:59:48 +0000 Vote4

Cary, NC — Get ready to vote! Election Day is next week on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. 

Vote Early

It’s not too late to vote early – check out our earlier story for all you need to know.

Vote on October 6 for Cary Candidates

This year’s election is a Town of Cary Municipal Election – which means that the candidates we’ll vote for next week live and work right here in Cary. They represent us and make decisions about our roads, developments and more. I can’t think of a better reason to vote this year.

You can read about all of the new and returning candidates in our Candidate 2015 series.

Mayor Harold Weinbrcht and at-large Council Member Lori Bush are running unopposed for reelection this year, so only two district races are competitive in Cary.

Four new candidates are running for the vacant District D seat on Cary Town Council. This seat, which represents the southwest portion of Cary, was formerly held by Gale Adcock, who is now representing Cary in the North Carolina General Assembly.

From left: Candidates Ken George, Maria Cervania, Nancy Caggia and Gray Rinehart.

Photo courtesy of Ken George.

Candidates (from left) Ken George, Maria Cervania, Nancy Caggia and Gray Rinehart are running for the District D seat. We enjoyed getting to know them at the Heart of Cary Association’s Downtown Debates last week. Read their unedited answers to three questions to learn more about who they are and what they stand for.

The other competitive seat is District B, which represents Downtown Cary and its surrounding areas. Downtown Cary is currently undergoing a revitalization, or “renaissance,” and, because of that, the three contestants’ plans for downtown all differ quite drastically. In this year’s election, incumbent Don Frantz is being challenged by Frank Lazzaro and Gabe Talton.

Read about the three District B candidates in our unedited Candidate 2015 series.

What’s My District?

Not sure which district you’re in? Use this Town of Cary resource. All you need to do is click your location on the map to see your polling place and who you’ll be voting for.

Find Your Voting Place

Here’s another resource to find similar information. If you’re not sure where to go on Election Day, the North Carolina Board of Elections provides the following online tool. Enter your name, date of birth and county to see your voter info, precinct and polling place location.

NC Voter Lookup

You will find a link to view your official sample ballot on that same page, too. This resource shows you what your ballot will look like and who you’ll be voting for.

Other Tips for Election Day

Polls are open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. in North Carolina. If you are standing in line at 7:30 p.m. when the polls close, you will be allowed to vote.

You are not required to show your voter card when you vote. Just in case, first-time voters are encouraged to bring a current form of identification that lists your name and residence address.

Curbside voting is available at every voting place for persons with disabilities.

For more information, visit the Wake County Board of Elections.

See you at the polls, citizens!


Story by Jessica Patrick. Lead photo by P T.

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Restaurants: Oysters at Dean’s Seafood Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:45:22 +0000 Allen Aldridge of Jarrett Bay Oyster Co talks about his farm

Allen Aldridge of Jarrett Bay Oyster Co talks about his farm.

Cary, NC — Last week, I had the pleasure of enjoying some North Carolina farm-raised oysters and locally brewed beer at Dean’s Seafood. The evening was part of Dean’s Oystoberfest – a month-long celebration of oysters.

Tasty Oysters

Here’s my true confession – I am not much of an oyster fan after having suffered a traumatic oyster experience back in my art school college days.

I attended this event with trepidation, assuming I would enjoy some beers while my partner had my servings. It was a party, after all, and I didn’t want to miss the fun.

To my surprise, these oysters were extremely tasty!

North Carolina is making a comeback in the oyster business with farm raised crops like these

North Carolina is making a comeback in the oyster business with farm raised crops like these.

Distinct Combinations

The oysters that Dean’s served were not overly large – a good thing since I’m leery of eating squishy, large shellfish that I have to swallow whole (the trauma I referred to earlier). The dishes we sampled were also beautifully displayed, and, while the oysters were raw, they came dressed up with condiments and elements that distracted from the overall idea of raw shellfish.

The first oysters we sampled were Pilate Oysters served up with a pumpkin curry sauce, some radish and cauliflower relish and garnished with peanuts. That’s right, peanuts! So good.

With that, we polished off a Bombshell Brewing Pilsner.

Farm-Raised in NC

While we enjoyed our plates of appetizing oysters, Allen Aldridge, the owner of Jarrett Bay Oyster Company in Carteret County, talked about his business and how farm-raised oysters are changing the North Carolina coast. These farm-raised oysters are raised in baskets that float on the top of the bay water and take 10 months to raise from start-to-finish.

The labor-intensive product tasted delicious! Aldridge explained that, if not for farm-raised oysters, North Carolina would have no oyster crop at all, since our bays were overfished long ago. Thanks to farm-raising, shells are thrown back into the bay, which actually help to attract and grow new colonies of native oysters.

Jarrett Bay Oysters are raised in Carteret County

Jarrett Bay Oysters are raised in Carteret County

The second plate of oysters were fresh from Jarrett Bay.

These were served up with a mushroom and herb ragout and a little crouton on top. They were paired with an IPA from Bombshell Brewing in Holly Springs, whose representative was on hand to answer our beer questions.

Topped with Hummus these oysters were a feast for the eyes and the palette

Topped with hummus, these oysters were a feast for the eyes and the palette.

Our last plate was some Bodie Island Oysters topped with green pea hummus and a bit of smokey bacon. As much as I enjoyed the second oysters, I’m a sucker for hummus.

Now, if you are an oyster purest, maybe all these sauces and fixin’s aren’t for you. But, for this novice, I needed the distraction.

Visit Dean’s

If all this talk of oysters made you wistful, head over to Dean’s during the month of October for their Oystoberfest- there are specials nearly every night, and maybe they’ll serve you some of the dishes we described. Check out the Dean’s Seafood website for more information.


Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.

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Food Truck Culture in Cary Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:22:13 +0000 Food Truckss

Cary, NC — Cary’s final food truck rally of the year is this Sunday, October 4, 2015. In the spirit of food trucks, I interviewed Jessica McCarthy, the co-owner of Cary’s own The Humble Pig, to find out more about food trucks and what it takes to own one.

Humble Beginnings

Jessica McCarthy opened The Humble Pig in 2012 with her husband, Ross.

“We built the truck from the ground-up,” she told me. With a lot of hard work, the process took just less than a year. “The idea just came to us while we were sitting at the table one night,” she said. “We wanted dessert really badly, but we couldn’t leave the house, and we thought about how awesome it would be if a dessert cart could just pull up.”

Jessica and Ross spent the next few weeks talking about the idea.

“We’ve always loved to cook,” Jessica said. “My husband has always been a backyard barbecue guy – he’s always been a meat guy – and I make southern sides. Our friends always asked us to do the cooking at events, and we’d cook for our church.”

You'll find pulled pork and beef brisket tacos on The Humble Pig menu.

You’ll find pulled pork and beef brisket tacos on The Humble Pig menu.

At the time, food trucks were relatively new to the Triangle, and not many people knew about them. “Opening the food truck just kind of happened,” Jessica told me.

Cary’s Food Truck Scene

Food trucks are officially “a thing” now in Cary. The Town of Cary has held two food trucks rodeos this year – a third will take place this weekend – and Jessica has taken the lead in other citizen-led approaches to the downtown food truck scene in Cary.

So far, she’s organized weekly “Food Truck Tuesdays” in front of Cary Coworking and has made sure The Humble Pig and other trucks are present at the monthly Food & Flea in Ashworth Village. Jessica lives near downtown herself, and it’s obvious she cares for the community.

Food truck2

“I’m trying to urbanize Downtown Cary and make it more fun,” Jessica said. “But I want to respectfully introduce food trucks – not overload on them, because that’s not good for the local restaurants.”

“I try to be that middle person – speaking for the food trucks but also making sure that the brick and mortar businesses get the customers they need.”

She even said no to the idea of including food trucks at the downtown Live at Lunch series, which attempts to bring more people downtown to enjoy restaurants like Kababish Cafe, Crosstown Pub, Once in a Blue Moon, Ashworth’s, Academy Street Bistro and more.

Food Truck History

Food trucks have been popular in the south for about five years now. As of late, the concept has really taken off. “Three years ago, we called food trucks a trend. Now, I’d call it a staple,” Jessica said.

Jessica and Ross opened The Humble Pig right around the time that food trucks were just starting to become popular in the area. “We were in that first wave, and we’ve watched waves of other food trucks come through,” Jessica said. “When we started, there were about 25-30 trucks within the county. Now, we’re up to 120 trucks, and it’s still growing.”

The food truck community is just that – a community. “A lot of newly-established trucks call us more established ones for advice,” Jessica said. “We all work together.”

Food truck culture, as Jessica calls it, started in California and New York as street food, but you’ll find the same concept all around the world. “In places like Brazil and Colombia, street food is normal,” she said. “The food is at stalls, not trucks, but it’s the same kind of good, gourmet homemade food that food trucks are known for. Here, we’ve just Americanized it.”

Food Truck Rodeo Sunday

You can try The Humble Pig at the Cary’s Chatham Street Chowdown this Sunday, October 4, 2015. You’ll find wine and beer, live entertainment, and more than 20 other food trucks along Chatham Street from noon-4:30 pm. Here’s a list of all the food trucks that will be there. Editor’s Note: The Chatham Chowdown is canceled due to threat of rain. 

the humble pig


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from The Humble Pig. Lead photo by Hal Goodtree.

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