Monday, June 29, 2009

Sir Walter Raleigh Statue

Nancy took this picture during Komen Triangle NC Race for the Cure on 6/11/09.

The following text is directly from the City of Raleigh press release. 

Bruno Lucchesi, the creator of Sir Walter Raleigh’s 11-foot bronze likeness, is the feature of the summer edition of Sculptural Pursuit magazine.

“Bruno Lucchesi is revered as one of the great sculptors and teachers of the late twentieth century… He has depicted the famous, such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain…” the article’s author, sculptor David Foster writes.  The nine-page article traces Mr. Lucchesi’s career from his earliest years as an Italian shepherd to his last 51 years as one of the world’s most renowned sculptors of the human form.

Mr. Lucchesi, 83, was commissioned to create the Sir Walter statue in 1975. When the capital city of North Carolina was created in 1792, it was named to honor this dashing Elizabethan figure.  

Yet, it was more than a century later that a movement was formed to raise the money to commission the statue.  In 1901, school children contributed pennies, nickels and dimes to create a memorial to this man who was responsible for the first English colony in America and for whom their state capital was named. The children from throughout the state gave generously to the Sir Walter Raleigh Commission and the sum grew substantial, but was not put to its purpose. A goodly portion of the contributions were lost in a Depression-era bank failure. Only $10,228 of the children’s donations remained.

Sporadic and half-hearted attempts to bring the statue into being surfaced and succumbed over the subsequent decades. Finally, the approaching American bicentennial prompted fruitful action.

Along with the commissioning of Mr. Lucchesi to create the statue, corporate sponsors from throughout the state contributed to getting the statue created and dedicated in honor of the nation’s two-hundredth birthday.

Seventy-five years into the idea stage, Mr. Lucchesi moved the idea of the statue into bronze reality. It was to be a heroically scaled sculpture. The artist prevailed upon the Sir Walter Raleigh Commission members to allow his vision of the sixteenth-century genius to be realized. While many of the commission members wanted Sir Walter Raleigh represented in the ruff – the customary curly collar of his time, the artist prevailed with Sir Walter Raleigh striking a haughty pose in open collar.

Mr. Lucchesi created the statue and cast it in bronze at his home in Pietrasanta, Italy. The statue was dedicated by the governor of North Carolina in Bicentennial Plaza on Dec. 3, 1976, the waning days of the nation’s bicentennial.

Today the statue serves as the Raleigh Convention Center’s sentinel on Salisbury Street.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

E-cycling Event 6/27

Bring Obsolete And End-Of-Life Electronics To E-Cycling Event On June 27

Working together to keep potentially harmful obsolete and end-of-life electronics out of local landfills, an Electronics Collection Event will be held on June 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be held in the parking lot of three local Best Buy Stores at North Raleigh on Capital Blvd at Triangle Shopping Center, Durham Renaissance Center and Crossroads Shopping Center in Cary.

This one day collection event is FREE to the public and is expected to divert thousands of pounds of electronics from the local solid waste stream. You won't even have to get out of your car - volunteers will unload your electronic items! 

The collected material will be processed by Creative Recycling Systems of North Carolina. Using automated and state-of-the-art technology to responsibly handle end-of-life and surplus electronic equipment, CRS provides a true environmental solution for e-scrap.

Above text from the City of Raleigh website - Additional event partners include: Duke Recycling, UNC Recycling, N.C. State Recycling, Durham County, City of Durham, City of Raleigh, City of Durham Recycling, City of Raleigh Recycling, Sustainable Duke Program, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Equipment Accepted: All electronic equipment is acceptable with the exception of manifested hazardous waste, radioactive waste and/or biohazardous waste. Some examples of accepted electronic equipment are:

• Computer Monitors – CRTs   • Tape Players  • Printed Circuit Boards • Computer Monitors – Flat Panel  • CD Players  • UPS (personal & network)  • Televisions – CRTs • Telephones   • Routers • Televisions – Flat Screen  • Cell Phones  • Resistors Capacitors  • Desktop Computers  • Fax Machines  • Diodes  • Laptop Computers  • Electronic Games  • Terminals • Keyboards  • Power & Network Cables  • Rechargeable Batteries  • Mice  • Network Hubs • Peripherals  • Printers  • Switching boxes  • Military Equipment  • Scanners  • Controllers • Medical Equipment  • Copy Machines  • Modems  • Telecommunications  • VCRs  • Docking Stations   • Commercial Equipment   • Stereos   • CD Roms  • Office Equipment  • Radios  • Hard Drives  • Banking Equipment   • Mainframes 

*CRC does not accept washers, dryers, refrigerators, car batteries, light bulbs or AC units.

Friday, June 19, 2009

City Budget 09-10

Council passed the $697 million budget with a vote of 7 to 1. We added $1.85 million to the managers proposed budget, which will be paid for by sending less money from the general fund to debt repayment. We are still within the expected percentage of reserves and made no major changes to affect our bond rating which is currently AAA.

First of all, the City Councilors and the City Manager decided no new tax increase for residents. The city property tax rate will stay at 37.35 cents per $100. By their own request, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance tax rate did increase to 7.86 cents for downtown businesses. This money is used only in the downtown district to fund programs specific to the area.

We successfully negotiated a budget which prioritizes the protections of social safety net programs and our city employees. Our budget prevents any increase in health care premiums and deductibles for employees, including police and firefighters. All city employees are also eligible for merit raises of up to 4% during the upcoming year.

The full funding for Human Services was restored to $500,000. We restored funding for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle since this is a vital service for families across the county. The manager's budget recommendation was for $22,000 and the Councilor's adjustment added $78,000, bringing their funding to a total of $100,000. We also funded non-profits such as Legal Aid, the Tammy Lynn Center, The Healing Place, CASA and J.T Locke Resource Center. We also kept the Accessible Raleigh Transit program operational by supplementing the vouchers at 40%. ART Tier 1 is a city program that pays for elderly and disabled residents to get rides to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments and other necessities.

The Arts per capita funding will remain at $4.50. This money goes to the Arts Commission to be granted out to over 30 local music, art, theater, opera and dance programs; therefore providing a huge economic driver for our local economy. According to the United Arts Council, on average, every $1 provided by a granting agency produces $9.77 in direct welfare benefit. So roughly $205,000,000 is generated by the arts groups in Raleigh. This return is even more impressive considering this estimate does not include the symphony or three major museums.

In order to help reduce costs, some City parks and community centers will see reduced hours in the coming year. However District A secured the continued opening of Sertoma Center 7 days a week. The original proposal was to close Sertoma on Sundays, however my concern was that closing from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning would worsen recent vandalism and trespassing at the center.

Paper versions of these and other budget documents are available for review in the Administrative Services office, room 302, in the Municipal Building weekdays between 8:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Council Agenda 6/16/2009

Full text of 1:00pm agenda here. No 7pm meeting tonight.

Selections from the Consent Agenda:
2. Community Services Department Partnership Agreement
The Council recently approved a partnership between the City of Raleigh Community Services Department and One Economy Corporation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that maximizes technology to help low income people improve their lives and enter the economic mainstream. Since that time, the Information Technology and Community Services Departments have been facilitating agreements between One Economy Corporation and the Raleigh Housing Authority to provide free Internet service to low and moderate income households at Chavis Heights and Heritage Park. The installation of the Internet service at Chavis Heights is taking place and is expected to be completed at the end of June. Internet access to 168 housing units is expected to be available mid-July 2009. The cost to provide this service to the residents at Chavis Heights has been covered by One Economy and RHA; however, it has been requested that the City assist with the cost to provide service to Heritage Park residents. The total three-year cost of this service to Heritage Park is $63,392. One Economy will cover $32,872 and the City will cover $30,220 of the total cost over three-years. Funding for the first year cost, $15,128 is in the Information Technology FY09 budget which will be transferred administratively to an agency grant account.

5. Loan Award - North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Clean Water State Revolving Fund - Fire Station Rainwater Harvesting Program
The City has been approved for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 loan assistance from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in the amount of $465,737. This loan is for funding of rainwater harvesting systems at nine City fire stations and three Wake County facilities. The rainwater harvesting program will consist of cisterns and/or rain gardens at these locations. The total estimated cost of these projects is $574,737. This loan has a 0% interest rate and ½ of the loan amount will be forgiven. These projects will help address water quality concerns in the City. Several streams in the City have been placed on the EPA 303(d) list for impaired waters and noted water quality problems due to levels of sediment, biological integrity and other elevated pollutant loads. This project is one of several initiatives by the City to improve impaired water quality. Lake preservation and stream restoration and stabilization projects have been funded and programmed in the Stormwater Utility Capital Improvement Program over the next several years. A public education program targeted to improve water quality is also planned.

10. Stormwater Utility - Monitoring Agreement with North Carolina State University
The City has recently installed a rain garden (bioretention area) at the Street Maintenance yard on Dortch Street in order to treat stormwater before it enters Pigeon House Branch. NCSU has agreed to monitor the stormwater to ascertain the benefits of the rain garden. In order to accomplish this, North Carolina State University needs to install stormwater monitoring equipment and access the site. An agreement with NCSU is needed to grant permission and outline the conditions of the monitoring. The City Attorney’s Office has reviewed the agreement.

1. Park Master Plan Study
The Committee recommends that staff be directed to re-write the current Parks Planning Process according to recommendations outlined in the report entitled: Involving the Public in Park Planning: An Evaluation of the City of Raleigh’s Park Master Planning Process and bring the recommendations back to Council. The recommendations are to include a policy of employing an independent observer to provide feedback throughout the implementation of the revised Parks Planning process. This item will remain in Committee for further discussion.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Falls of Neuse CAC

Next Falls of Neuse CAC Meeting is this Thursday June 11!

Read the Falls CAC newsletter here.

Regular meetings are held bi-monthly on the Second Thursday
7:00 PM at Eastgate Park Community Center
4200 Quail Hollow Drive

Chair: Alan Wiggs
(919) 872-5819

Friday, June 5, 2009

Budget Information

The City Manager's proposed budget - details from the City website

Timeline of the Budget Process

City Council Meeting 5/19/09 - City Manager presents his proposed budget to the City Council, Public Hearing is set for June 2 - New Raleigh report

Monday 6/1/09 - First of five public budget deliberation sessions. All of these sessions will be held in the council chamber and will be carried live on Cable Channel RTN11 and video streamed on the City website. -N&O report from this meeting

Tuesday 6/2/09 - Public hearing on the budget, in the council chamber of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex at 222 W. Hargett St, Raleigh Public Record review of the hearing

Monday 6/8/09 - Budget work session at 4pm in Council Chamber of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex at 222 W. Hargett St

Monday 6/15/09 - Budget work session, Council Chamber, 4pm, Raleigh Public Record review, N&O review

Monday 6/22/09- Budget work session, Council Chamber, 4pm

July 1, 2009 - Budget must be adopted for Fiscal Year 2010 to cover the City's expenses from 7/1/09 - 6/30/10

Thursday, June 4, 2009

NPR talks NC Water Issues

View original post here - text of this blog post is from  

Fearrington Village will host North Carolina Public Radio's State of Things on Wednesday June 10.

Come to the Barn at Fearrington Village to hear a panel of experts discuss the health issues around water drought, shortages, and protecting the safety of our water supply. Frank Stasio, host of WUNCs The State of Things, will emcee this public forum

As the population of North Carolina grows, water shortages are likely to worsen, not just in extreme droughts but day in and day out.  More and more people now recognize that there is increasing pressure on our water supply, but we have not yet gone beyond analysis to solve problems by developing workable solutions. 

NPR invites the public to attend and to join the conversation with Frank Stasio and a panel of experts.  This June 10th forum is a joint project of the UNC-CH Gillings School of Public Health and WUNC and the forum is sponsored by BCBSNC Foundation.

Please reserve your spot by calling 1-800-962-9862 or email

Please arrive before 11:45 in order to be seated before the show begins.

The Fearrington House Country Inn & Restaurant

2000 Fearrington Village
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Tel: 919 542 2121

Monday, June 1, 2009

City Council Agenda 6/2/2009

Read full text here.

12:30pm Joint Hearing with the Planning Commission

1:00 City Council Meeting

7:00 Request and Petition of Citizens; Public Hearings

*Every Monday in June at 4:00pm the Council will hold public budget work sessions in the Council chambers, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St., Room 209

N&O report from the First Budget Work Session

Campaign Kick-Off Event!

A huge thanks to Joanne Casey & Brooke Berson for hosting a wonderful Re-Election Campaign Kick-Off Event! About 50 people dropped by throughout the afternoon on Sunday and I am very grateful for such a positive show of support. Thank you to each of you for the opportunity to represent you on the City Council. I have learned so much and met so many people in the past year-and-a-half that it is not only an honor to represent you, but truly a gift. I hope that you will reinvest your support in me for another two-year term!

It is important to me that my priorities as a City Councillor accurately represent those of people living in District A. So at this event we asked each person to cast three votes for the issues they think the City Council should focus on in the upcoming year. Below are the tallied results along with some expanded clarification based on my experiences, accomplishments and future goals -

  • 18 votes -Transit - The City is currently working to expand connectivity within our current bus system, such as the recent addition of a line between Raleigh & Wake Forest. We also recently welcomed the R-Line - a hybrid-electric downtown circulating bus that is free to all riders. As we look at developing a transportation system to alleviate our traffic and congestion problems it is clear that the smartest investment is a regional model (public opinion survey 3/09). This requires the cooperation of Wake, Orange and Durham counties along with the major cities on the corridor. Currently there is State Legislation (HB148, SB151) which would give voters in a county the option to approve locally-funded investments in transit in order to help determine their mobility future. The legislation seeks to balance local control and flexibility within a regional framework which is exactly what the Triangle needs to assure eventual operational success. Interested in helping transit move forward? Heres how.
  • 18 votes - Responsible Growth - There continues to be a resounding call that "growth must pay for itself." This Council strongly supported that principle by significantly raising impact fees for the first time in years. We also increased the fees for new water/sewer connections to cover a greater share of the cost of expanding the utility service. We must continue to require that the true cost of development, especially environmental, be discussed and reflected in our policies. I have continued to be an advocate for attention to stormwater runoff resulting from poorly executed developments. As Chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee I have consistently aimed to balance the benefits of development with neighborhood concerns and protection. We welcome investments in our community as long as they are responsible, sustainable and respectful of the local landscape. For more details on Growth Issues in Wake County, check the WakeUp WakeCounty review.
  • 8 votes - Schools - Many people at the event pointed out that City does not have any explicit responsibilities in regards to WCPSS; but inevitability the quality of our public schools affects the quality of life in Raleigh. During my first term I authored a Resolution that requires our planning department to inform our schools of new projects before they are approved, and I now serve as the liaison with our schools. Therefore it is important to me that the City and WCPSS work together effectively whenever there is need or opportunity.
  • 7 votes - Comprehensive Plan Update - This is going to be our guiding document for the next 20 years and so it is important that we get it right even if it takes some extra time. The projected timeframe for adopting the CompPlan is currently July2009. Details available at
  • 7 votes - Parks & Rec & Greenways - In District A we are fortunate to have a variety of active and passive recreation facilities including the most recent gift of 157acres off Raven Ridge Road for the Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park. While the addition of a park is great assest to any community, it is important to assure that the purpose and design of the project reflects the needs and concerns of adjacent neighborhoods. The current park planning process involves seeking input from the community, but it is important that their opinions are honored in the final design. The City is always striving to expand our current 63 miles of Greenway trails which provide interconnectedness within Raleigh and between parks. Raleigh Public Record provided this great introduction and insight into the history and beauty of our Greenway System.
  • 6 votes - Falls Lake Watershed Protection - Falls Lake, the drinking water supply for residents of Raleigh and eastern Wake County, has been declared "impaired" by the State, due to polluted runoff and wastewater from upstream. While clean up efforts in the lake are slowly underway, without improvements to current wastewater treatment and stormwater practices the lake will continue to remain impaired. We must continue to strengthen regulations which in any way affect our watershed and make its protection an unyielding priority. Since Falls Lake is shared by Wake & Durham counties, we must proactively work together to share the responsibility of protecting its health and water quality.
  • 4 votes - Road Maintenance - As all governments are re-evaluating their budgets this continues to be an area of contention between the City and the State. We must continue to work together to define responsibility for some of the major roads in need of improvement - for example Glenwood & Wade continue to be mentioned as in major need of attention but responsibility for those roads currently resides with the State.
  • 4 votes - Affordable Housing - Access to safe and affordable housing is a growing concern not only in Raleigh but in Wake County, and there are a variety of non-profits and advisory boards working on addressing this problem. I am supportive of iniatives such as Inclusionary Zoning which aims to avoid a dense concentration of low-income developments but rather integrate varying levels of housing throughout our community.
  • 4 votes - Water System/ Utility Improvements - This is an ongoing conversation about the need for improvements in our current Public Utilities Department to assure that we maintain a sustainable and modern water delivery system. I am in favor of concentrating all of the City's water related services (stormwater, drinking water, water/sewer, incentive rebate programs,etc) under one umbrella to allow for better communication, effectiveness and delivery of services. Check out some of my previous posts labeled "water issues" for more information.
  • 4 votes - DIX 306 - Mayor Meeker has stated that this is one of his major priorities during his final and fifth term as Mayor. Currently the land is owned by the State and we are working on negotiations to acquire all or some of this acreage for a park.
  • 3 votes - Public Safety - Last year we raised the salaries for Police & Firefighters, including a raise for bi-lingual ability, and also compressed the advancement scale. The Police Headquarters will be relocating within the next year to SixForks Rd in District A. I also introduced and worked to establish an Ordinance to restrict the tethering of dogs because this practice has been to known to make animals more aggressive thereby endangering neighbors and kids. This Ordinance has been well-received by the community (thanks PUP) and takes effect July 1.
  • 3 votes - Afterschool Programs for at-risk students - There are various programs currently funded or supplemented by the City and we would like to expand some of the most successful ones into areas with the most need.
  • 2 votes - Communication from the City - It is important to me that there is transparency in our municipal government and that citizens are consistently informed of our actions. The City should be aggressive in its efforts to educate neighborhoods, CACs and citizens about accessing the local government process including any changes in policies or ordinances, as well as events happening in Raleigh.
  • 2 votes - Neighborhood Protection
  • 2 votes - Bus connectivity between North Raleigh & Downtown - It is important that our bus system connects the major arteries of the City and that North Raleigh be included as such. Particularly we hope all of Raleigh's citizens are able to enjoy the revitalization of downtown. The idea has been floated of a connector between North Hills and the R-Line to alleviate the hassle over parking downtown.
  • 2 votes- Energy Efficiency Investments - Upcoming projects funded by stimulus money.
  • Other suggestions -Attracting & maintaining businesses to the Warehouse district & Glenwood South, Arts Funding