Friday, July 31, 2009

Re-Election 2009

I want to thank you for the privilege of serving you on the City Council for the past two years. I have learned a lot and truly worked hard to represent District A and the best of Raleigh. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve you, and am extreamly fortunate by the fact that no one has chosen to run against me this year.

However this does not mean that this election will be a quiet time for me. The Comprehensive Plan is being considered and that requires a vigorous public process. It is also extremely important that we elect a strong council that will continue to move the city forward. The election is a great time to get out and meet with the citizens of Raleigh, and if you would be willing to host a Meet & Greet than I would be grateful for the opportunity to discuss issues of local concern to you and your neighborhood.

We've only got about 2 months to get to work during this off-year election. Early voting opens at the Board of Elections on Sept 17, but election day is October 6. Mark it on your calendercalendar now and please help us get out the vote to assure a progressive and visionary council!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Water Treatment Plant


Construction of the City of Raleigh’s Dempsey E. Benton Treatment Plant remains on schedule, with completion set for February 2010. The $90.5 million plant is being constructed on 55 acres near Lake Benson, off of N.C. 50 (Benson Road) at Buffaloe Road, south of Garner.

Crews are currently installing the plant’s transmission main that will carry up to 20 million gallons of water a day to the City’s service areas. The 48-inch diameter main is being constructed in three phases at a cost of $23 million. When complete, the transmission main will be eight miles long and extend from the Dempsey E. Benton Water Treatment Plant north along Highway 50 ending at Wilmington Street, just south of the Raleigh City Limits. It will connect to an existing 30-inch diameter water transmission main for distribution to City of Raleigh water customers.

Construction of the new water treatment plant’s transmission main is scheduled to be complete in November. The work began last January.

The new plant is named for Dempsey E. Benton, who served as Raleigh’s city manager from 1983-2000. The City broke ground on the facility on April 11, 2007.

The Dempsey E. Benton Water Treatment Plant will allow the City of Raleigh to meet the area’s future water needs by providing additional water system reliability and capacity. The City will continue to operate the E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant in north Raleigh after the Dempsey E. Benton plant opens.

The City of Raleigh is the single largest provider of potable water in the Triangle, serving Wake County residents through 175,000 metered connections to 435,000 customers in Raleigh and the towns of Garner, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wake Commissioners Urge Falls Lake Clean Up

WakeUP Applauds Action of Wake Commissioners and Urges Swift Action by the State to Clean Up Falls Lake

WakeUP Wake County applauds Wake’s Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution urging the clean up of Falls Lake. Wake Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution committing the county to protect Falls Lake and to adopt improved stormwater runoff measures by the currently proposed July, 2010 deadline. However, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the City of Durham are asking N.C. legislators to move the deadline back until 2011. WakeUP Wake County, which is working on behalf of the almost 500,000 citizens who rely upon Falls Lake for drinking water, disagrees.

“The clean up of Falls Lake can’t afford to wait many more years. New development is happening every day around Falls Lake. Our current standards are not working, which is why the lake is so polluted,“ said Karen Rindge, WakeUP Wake County’s Executive Director.

Wake County and other Triangle legislators have been meeting with officials from DENR and local municipal governments (including Raleigh, Durham and Butner) about the deadline for the rulemaking process on Falls. Also, they are exploring possible ways to accelerate the process, given that the stakeholder process for the rules is already underway. The deadline for the rules was supposed to be July 1, 2009. Wake Senator Josh Stein and Wake Representative Jennifer Weiss are taking the lead on these negotiations.

“Falls Lake is vital to a major metropolitan area in the state. Steps need to be taken right now to reduce algae overgrowth and potentially toxic bacteria in the lake. We urge the legislature to act quickly and decisively to support a cleaner drinking water supply,” stated Rindge.

Public Meeting Notice: Senior Centers

The 3rd and final public meeting for Raleigh’s Senior Centers will be held 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 3:00 pm 
at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, located at 2209 Fairview Road.  

For more information call 919-996-4784 or

Designs for the Whitaker Mill Center and Millbrook Exchange Center will be presented.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

City Council Agenda 7/21/09

Full text of City Council agenda.

  • Pilot Residential Fats Oils & Grease Collection Program - The City Manager is asking the Council to approve a pilot program similar to Town of Cary's Residential Curbside Grease Collection Program. After a period of public education from Raleigh's Public Affairs Department, a trial program of curbside yellow grease collection will determine the feasibility of officially adopting this program. City's Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) program staff and the Solid Waste Services Department, which will implement this program, have determined the cost to be about $8500. Triangle Biofuels Industries will provide containers for storage and will accept the cooking oil for processing into biofuel. They will reimburse the City $0.25 per galloon, with an estimated maximum of 17000 gallons to be collected from the 100,000+ Raleigh Solid Waste Services accounts. Currently Raleigh spends lots of time and resources dealing with sewer overflows resulting from grease being inappropriately deposited down residential and commercial drains. Even though there is a City ordinance requiring commercial grease traps, there are far more residential opportunities for grease to get into the system. Therefore a curbside grease collection program could help Raleigh save resources which are currently taken up by cleaning up grease in the sewers.
  • Parks & Rec staff will report on the status of the Senior Centers at Whittaker Mill Rd. and Millbrook Exchange park. This project has been a cooperative effort between Wake County government, Resources for Seniors and Meals on Wheels in order to maximize local expertise and service collaboration. The third and final public meetings for input will be this Tuesday July 28 at Hayes Barton Methodist on Fairview Rd. The project is expected to go out for bid in 2010 and construction to be completed by early 2011.

Joint Public Hearing Tonight with the Planning Commission 6:30pm

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Parks & Rec Month

July is Parks & Recreation Month in Raleigh!

The Parks & Rec Department compiled this extensive list of ways to enjoy and explore Raleigh's parks throughout the month of July. Click the image to download a copy.

It is no surprise that our Parks & Rec Department was nominated for a Gold Medal Award from the National Recreation & Parks Association.  Raleigh Parks & Rec is 1 of 4 national finalists for cities with over 250,000 people.  We owe this recognition to our excellent staff, quality facilities, diversity of programs for all ages, natural and green spaces as well as consistent City funding.

Goodnight Raleigh did an excellent job of highlighting some of the great parks, buildings, and recreational resources available in Raleigh. Their unique approach to capturing the city by night is really spectacular!

In North Raleigh we have excellent access to a variety of parks including tennis courts, public pools, senior centers, arts programs and nature preserves.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Serena's Song July 12-14

Serena’s Song, the world’s first wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon, will return to Raleigh on July 12-14 to offer free rides to individuals with disabilities at Spring Forest Road Park, located at 4203 Spring Forest Road, just east of Capital Boulevard. Weather permitting, rides will be given all three days from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Rides will be provided on a first-come first-serve basis, with a priority given to children who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments.  Each day, the first 15 participants will receive a free Capital Area Transit (CAT) bag. This year, a clown will be on hand to entertain families waiting to ride.


CAT is sponsoring the visit by Serena’s Song. CAT’s parent company, Veolia Transportation, has been a Serena’s Song’s national sponsor since 2001. “Veolia Transportation has helped us continue to bring joy everywhere we go,” said Gary Waldman, father of 25-year-old Serena and the balloon’s owner. “I started flying Serena’s Song after taking my daughter on a balloon ride when she was 2 years old.”


Up to that point Serena, who had severe brain damage and cerebral palsy from birth, had not uttered a word. She lived virtually without any sign of emotion until she rode in a hot air balloon with her father. “Serena squealed with delight and laughter. That was the first emotion she ever displayed,” Mr. Waldman said. “I knew then that I would devote my life to giving children like Serena a chance to experience that same joy.” 


Scott McClellan, Veolia Transportation General Manager of CAT, was the driving force behind bringing Serena’s Song to Raleigh.  “We wanted to bring Serena’s Song to our community after hearing many stories describing the priceless smiles the balloon’s experience has put on children’s faces at other Veolia Transportation-operated transit systems” said Mr. McClellan.

Until Veolia Transportation stepped in as the sponsor for Serena’s Song, financial problems and an aging van and trailer threatened to force Mr. Waldman to discontinue his journey. Veolia Transportation officials provided a new van and trailer and now provide assistance in booking Serena’s Song for events through its many properties located around the country. 


With this new breath of life that Veolia Transportation has provided, Mr. Waldman says he plans to keep Serena’s Song flying high. “With every event we go to, we look for our next miracle. If we can find it, nothing else matters,” he said.

Text of this post from City of Raleigh press release. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

City Council Agenda 7/7/2009

Full text of City Council Agenda

  • Review of Lease for 1.3 megawatt Solar Array on 7-10acres at Neuse River Wasterwater Treatment Plant, background info. Read more about other solar projects in Raleigh.
  • The City of Raleigh is requesting $1million from US Department of Health & Human Services from the Strengthening Communities Grant. The City’s goal for this project is "to address broad economic recovery issues in the City of Raleigh through assisting nonprofit organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide social services and create collaborations to better serve those in need."
  • The City has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, to implement a curbside recycling incentive campaign. This twelve-week long NCDENR Curbside Recycling Incentive Campaign is designed to increase participation in weekly recycling by randomly selecting households who correctly prepare recyclable items for collection on their designated day. Winners will receive a gift card redeemable at a local merchant.
  • Since November 2006 the City has provided $100,000 to be used as matching funds for a "Circle of Support Rental Subsidy Programs" as part of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. The organization CASA has administered the reimbursement of rental subsidy payments. In FY 2007-2008 the City budgeted an additional $100,000 for the support of the matching rental subsidy program. Current funding from the originally encumbered $100,000 will be spent within the next three months and the additional City match will be needed to support the program during the 2009- 2010 fiscal year. Funding is budgeted and the City Manager recommends that the Council approve the addendum proposing an extension of the contract through December 31, 2010, with the committal of the second $100,000 in funding budgeted by the City for this activity.
  • Marriott Drive at Glenwood Avenue - It is recommended that the channelization on Marriott Drive be revised. City staff conducted a traffic engineering study to determine the need for a dual left onto Glenwood Avenue from Marriott Drive. The existing channelization at this location is an exclusive left and shared through-right lane except during the hours of 7-9 a.m. At that time the shared through-right becomes a shared left-through-right lane. The study showed that the existing traffic volumes no longer warrant the additional left turn lane.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dog Tethering Ordinance

The City of Raleigh Dog Tethering Ordinance takes effect today, Wednesday July 1. 


The ordinance regulates the unattended restraint or tethering of dogs. Under the measure, a dog may not be tethered for more than three hours total in any 24-hour period.  The ordinance defines tethering as a means of tying out or fastening a dog outdoors on a rope, chain or other line for restraining a dog. The term does not mean the restraint of a dog on an attended leash.

The purpose of the ordinance is to prevent the possibility of strangling when a dog becomes entangled in ropes and chains or surrounding objects. The ordinance also seeks to prevent dogs from being left exposed to harsh weather conditions without access to shelter, and being unable to reach a supply of food and water.


Any device used to tether a dog must be at least 10-feet long and attached in a manner that prevents strangulation or other injury to the dog, or entanglement with objects, under the ordinance. A cable trolley system may be used to tether a dog for the allowed period as long as the stationary cable is at least 10-feet long and the dog can move perpendicularly at least 10-feet away from the stationary line. The line should be attached to the dog with a buckle-type collar or a body harness. The device used to tether can weigh no more than 10 percent of the animal’s body weight and must allow the dog access to food and water. In addition to being a misdemeanor, a violation of the dog tethering ordinance would be subject to a civil penalty of $100 per day for each day of violation.  

The Coalition to Un-chain Dogs  is a non-profit, volunteer effort dedicated to improving the welfare of dogs living outdoors on chains in and around the Triangle region of North Carolina.  In just over a year and a half, they have freed over 130 dogs.  Please contact them to find out about how to help, sponsor a fence or arrange a fence for a dog in need.