Saturday, January 30, 2010

4th Annual George Almond Officer of the Year Banquet

Dear Friends of Law Enforcement:

On behalf of the Cary Chapter of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to the fourth annual “George Almond” Officer of the Year awards banquet.

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving officers working for North Carolina public law enforcement entities. We support personnel by advocating changes to improve the quality of work life for our members along with addressing issues through political action. The Cary Chapter was formed in the fall of 2005 and has been very active in working for our membership and also in the Cary community.

The Cary Chapter board, in its first year, chose to sponsor an Officer of the Year Award in honor of retired Detective George Almond. Almond, a PBA member, was shot in the line of duty in October 2001. Almond survived the shooting and returned to duty as a Detective in juvenile investigations before retiring in August 2004. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of leadership, community service, mentoring, excellence in performance, and valor. Five finalists will be selected from a group of nominees for this year’s award. One of these individuals will be selected as the Officer of the Year for 2009. The award will be presented by Almond at the Embassy Suites in Cary on February 27, 2010. The doors to the event will open at 5:30 p.m.

We, as a chapter, would welcome your attendance at this event. Tickets are $50 per individual. We are also raising funds for the event to help defray some of the expenses. All contributors will be recognized at the ceremony in a special section of our program literature. Contributors who choose to be a Host ($250) or Sponsor ($500) will be formally recognized during the ceremony and through placards that will be placed on the dining tables. The deadline for receiving these funds is February 1, 2010. Checks should be made payable to the NCPBA. Cary Officer of the Year Banquet should be written on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Holly Doychak – Southern States PBA, 2155 Highway 42 South, McDonough, GA 30252.

As part of our event the Police Benevolent Foundation has created as successful partnership with Cary Crime Stoppers to raise funds at the event through a live auction. The Police Benevolent Foundation is a charitable arm of the PBA which provides aid to the families of our fallen members, scholarships to well deserving youth and funding for law enforcement officers in times of natural and man-made disasters. Cary Crime Stoppers is a volunteer organization comprising local citizens dedicated to the reduction and quick resolution of crime. The Cary Crime Stoppers organization gathers funds to reward individuals who provide information anonymously to the Cary Police Department so that crimes can be solved.

For more information please contact:

Randy Byrd- Cary Chapter President
North Carolina Police Benevolent Association
1-800-233-3506 ext. 311
*contributions are not tax deductible for IRS purposes

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week in Review 1/18/10 - 1/23/10

The highlights of this week included the groundbreaking of the Cary Community Arts Center, a Planning and Development Committee meeting, Cary’s Sign Ordinance Review Task Force meeting and a few meetings with citizens.

Cary’s Sign Ordinance Review Task Force met on Wednesday evening. The goal of this task force is to see if there are ways in which Cary can be more flexible in allowing businesses to advertise while continuing to protect the visual landscape and character in Cary.

Councilwoman Gale Adcock joined the task force this week replacing Councilman Portman who had to resign due to scheduling conflicts. Welcome aboard, Gale! This was the task force’s second meeting and discussion topics included principle ground signs and shopping center signs. We reviewed Cary’s current ordinance and that of a number of different communities and discussed what changes – if any – we might be amenable to. The consensus of the group was to continue to require materials found in the associated development (brick, stone, etc..) but to also see how we might be a little more flexible regarding materials used to construct the sign itself to allow for more creativity, as well as different fonts, sizes, and logos. There was also an interesting discussion regarding signs and their readability on roads with different speed limits; should we allow larger signage on highways with higher speed limits to increase readability? I look forward to seeing what staff brings back to the group after our input.

On Thursday I met with a citizen to discuss the proposed zoning changes to the Russell Hills community and her desire to see us protect the character of the existing community while still allowing for reinvestment and redevelopment.

Afterwards was our Planning and Development Committee meeting. We had two consent agenda items and one discussion item. The item for discussion was consideration of acceptance of a design concept for integrated art enhancements for Cary’s C-Tran bus shelters. Approving the concept is one thing – paying for it is another. While I support the proposed artwork, I do not support funding it until Cary’s financial situation improves. I also would like to see Cary pursue sponsorship opportunities with the private sector to help cover these costs.

Saturday was a great day for Cary as we broke ground on the new Cary Community Arts Center in downtown. 147 years after it began, old Cary Elementary School is embarking on a new adventure in education, once again poised to play a critical role in the next chapter of Cary!

Preserving our heritage and our history is of utmost importance to me and the council. Old Cary Elementary School is one of Cary’s most precious historic resources, and is in dire need of repairs. Of all our town’s capital projects, this particular project – in my opinion – is our most important. I cannot in good conscience support new capital projects in Cary while Cary Elementary further deteriorates. The longer we wait to make these improvements, the more expensive this project becomes, and by moving forward now we are able to get it done for nearly $4 million LESS than anticipated. This project will be funded with cash on hand, and will not add to the town’s debt level or tax burden of our citizens.

I cannot thank the hundreds of volunteers and our town staff enough for all their efforts to make this project a reality. I believe Councilman Jack Smith said it best, “Finally!” Yes, Jack, Finally!

You can read more about it and see photos here.

I also attended two political functions this week - the Wake County Republican Party’s Executive Committee meeting and the Wake County Young Republican Club’s meeting. Remind me next time to avoid Hillsborough Street until they finish construction – what a mess! ;-)

That’s about it for this week. As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Help Cary Crash the Superbowl!

Let's help James and all the folks at 5 Point Productions in Cary crash the Superbowl!

Out of over 4500 entries, BOTH of 5 Point Production's videos made the top six finalists. They are the only finalists from North Carolina and the east coast.

But they need your help to win.

Please visit to see both videos. WARNING - According to the Video General, 5 Point videos might cause uncontrollable laughter.

Once you are done wiping the Dr. Pepper off of your monitor, please vote for your favorite video! It's that simple. Please forward this link to your friends and family and encourage them to vote as well.

Good Luck 5 Point Productions - North Carolina is rooting for you!

Retreat Take 2

The fine folks over at did a much better job at reporting on our council retreat than I could ever hope to, so I thought I'd share the links to their online articles. Heck, they even have pictures! :-)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 2 part 2

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week In Review 1/11/10 - 1/16/10

This week mainly consisted of a few meetings with local residents and elected officials, a council meeting and our retreat.

I met with WCPSS School Board member Debra Goldman on Tuesday to discuss relocating a bus stop at Evans and Evans Estates Roads to better protect children from the existing high speed traffic on Evans and future construction traffic associated with an approved subdivision. We also discussed her service on the school board thus far and her thoughts about how things are progressing along.

Council’s last meeting was on December 10th last year. It’s been over a month since we last met and not one development related item on our agenda for discussion. We continue to feel the effects of the struggling economy. While no development might be good news to some folks in Cary, the reality is that if this trend continues for much longer Cary will have a very difficult time maintaining the high levels of service that our citizens expect. A healthy growth rate of around 3-4% provides new revenues (tax base) to the town that funds new infrastructure projects, amenities, and services. Hopefully this trend won’t continue for much longer.

After a month of debate both on a local and national level I am pleased to report that the council voted 6-1 to approve my request to call the town’s tree lighting ceremony Cary’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, and to call our Community Tree Cary’s Community Christmas Tree. I have already blogged on this topic HERE so I won’t recap it again.

Council also unanimously voted to deny the proposed single quadrant intersection design proposal for the Cary Parkway and High House intersection, and we directed town staff to further solicit citizen input and look for other alternative designs and options. A number of folks have expressed concerns that existing traffic at this intersection are not that bad, and were confused as to why we were looking to redesign the intersection. For the most part they are correct. However, once the approved Davis and High House projects and the Park West project in Morrisville are completed, and as our community continues to grow, the level of service at this intersection will continue to deteriorate. This is unacceptable to council and we are trying to plan ahead and ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place before growth occurs.

I have attended six council retreats over the years – three as a member of council, and three as an observer. It may sound cliché but this year’s retreat was hands down the best I have ever attended. I think this was due largely in part to less presentation and more discussion among council and staff.

Day one consisted of a comprehensive review of the town and its departments (where are we now) and a visioning exercise (what do we envision Cary looking like in 2030?) Council discussed a wide range of topics including stormwater quantity and quality, growth, densities, public safety, environmental protection, parks and recreation and cultural arts, and technology.

Day two focused on Cary’s downtown. Yes I know we’ve talked about downtown at nearly every retreat Cary has had, but this time it was different. Given the current economic climate and our lack of confidence that we will rebound anytime in the near future we reevaluated current plans and focused on how we can better work with the county to site a regional library downtown, and how we may better incent the private sector to implement our vision for us.

Council agreed that the new library would best fit in the future downtown park, and we agreed to locate the future performing arts center near town hall to both help incent redevelopment on the north side of downtown, and to take advantage of existing structured parking.

Council also discussed the future high speed rail and light rail plans and how that will impact our downtown. We will be working very closely with all stakeholders involved to ensure that these rail initiatives –should they become reality – do not negatively impact our vision for downtown.

That's about it for this week, as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cary's Newest Cop

Latest addition comes as K9 Axle retires after seven years of service to local communities

CARY, NC – On the heels of its first K9 retirement, the Town of Cary Police Department is proud to introduce its newest K9 officer, Enzo. Purchased from the Czech Republic, Enzo is a solid black, 17-month-old German Shepherd. He and his new partner, K9 Handler and Cary Police Officer Seth Everett, are enrolled in a three-month K9 training program in Chapel Hill that started January 4, 2010. Enzo replaces Axle, a German Shepherd that serviced both Carrboro and Cary during his seven years as a K9 Officer. His replacement allows the community to continue to benefit from around the clock K9 coverage.

“We are so grateful for the assistance Axle has provided our police department and the local communities over the years, and we really look forward to introducing Enzo into the same role,” said Major Tony Godwin, Operations Bureau Commander of the Cary Police Department. “Our K9 program is an invaluable resource to our police force as we strive to keep Cary a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The Town of Cary paid $6,500 for Enzo and will pay an additional $2,000 for training. Funding to acquire and maintain Enzo is made possible by numerous community partners. The Police Department’s Citizens Assisting Police (CAP) Team donated $1,000 toward the purchase of the dog. Both Mayfair Animal Hospital and Veterinary Specialty Hospital have committed to donating veterinary services free of charge to all dogs in the Cary K9 Program. Dog food maker Iams Corp. will continue to provide food free of charge. Remaining costs not covered by these community partners are covered with Town funds.

The addition of Enzo comes as the Cary Police Department celebrates its first retirement of a K9 officer, Axle. In his seven years of service to local communities, including two years with the Cary Police Department, Axle helped locate missing persons, tracked suspects that tried to elude officers and found concealed drugs and money. During his career, Axle met over 3,000 children and their parents during special community events. Axle’s last day with the Cary Police Department was December 29, 2009.

In addition to Enzo, the Town of Cary Police Department will be recruiting a third dog in March 2010 to join the K9 Program. This dog and its K9 handler will be in training by the end of March and on patrol serving the citizens of Cary by June 2010. In just the last two years, the Town of Cary K9 Program has been used to investigate or solve over 600 cases.

Created in 2005, Cary’s K9 program is designed to enhance the high level of service provided by the Town’s nationally accredited police department. Cary is consistently ranked as the safest large city in North Carolina, the safest large community in the Southeast, and the fifth safest of its size in America. Cary’s first K9 team, Master Officer Jeremy Burgin and a German shepherd named Max, completed a rigorous 14-week training program together in June 2005. Max finished as the Top Dog in obedience and apprehension work. The team hit the streets together in 2005, and continues to serve the citizens of Cary today.

To learn more about the Town of Cary’s K9 Program, visit the Police Department Web page at

PRIMARY CONTACTS: Major Tony Godwin, Operations Bureau Commander, (919) 462-3812 Deanna Boone, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 462-3908 Susan Moran, Public Information Officer, (919) 460-4951

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Last Week in Review of 2009

Sorry for not posting in the last couple of weeks but we’ve been traveling a bit lately to see family and friends for Christmas and to watch our son Jordan and UCF play Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

Council held a worksession with town staff on Dec. 15 to discuss capital projects and next year’s budget. After a review of recommended projects we agreed to postpone or eliminate $89 million in capital projects to reduce debt and spending and avoid a tax increase. Cary has seen a significant reduction in revenue as a result of the down economy and there just simply isn’t enough money to do all the things Cary has planned to do. We are working hard to craft a budget that focuses on priorities and continues to provide the levels of services our citizens demand at the lowest possible cost and without raising taxes. Families across the country have had to tighten their belts and adjust – their government should be no different.

Well I think that at this point unless you live under a rock you’ve heard about the great Christmas Tree controversy in Cary. Let me assure you there is no controversy folks. But thanks largely in part to some media outlets trying to make the news rather than report it there has been quite a bit of misinformation spread about resulting in a lot of angry folks.

Let me begin by saying that I know of no time in our town's history that the town "officially" called our Christmas Tree(s) a Christmas Tree. According to town staff for the last 25 years it has always been called a "holiday tree" or "community tree". No one is currently trying to remove Christ or Christmas from the town’s holiday celebrations. Someone 25 years ago might have been (or was), but not now.

However, while I do appreciate the town's efforts over the last 25 years to be all inclusive during our holiday celebrations, I feel that in our efforts to not offend anyone we have succeeded at offending nearly everyone.

A tree decorated with lights and ornaments during the Christmas season is a Christmas Tree. It's neither a Holiday tree nor a community tree. To call it anything else would be like calling the Jewish Menorah a candelabra. It is as much a part of our culture and tradition as it is our faith.

I along with Councilman Jack Smith have asked the council to consider calling Cary’s tree lighting ceremony the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, and to call the tree inside town hall Cary’s Community Christmas Tree.

I believe the majority if not all of council will support our request.

I apologize for all the media attention this issue has received. That was not my intent. As a matter of fact I intentionally requested the council discuss this in January as to not be a distraction from this year’s holiday celebrations. In hindsight I maybe should have waited until May to bring this forward, but regardless it’s the right thing to do and I believe the overwhelming majority of citizens agree. I’ve received well over 100 emails on this – I can count the number of those who support the current practices on one hand.

It was an honor and a privilege to attend Cary Fire Chief Don Daniels’ retirement luncheon this past week. Don has dedicated the last 38 years of his life to serving and protecting Cary’s citizens. He is truly an amazing man. It was a lot of fun hearing from current and former town employees about their experiences in working with Don over the years. Man how things have changed in 38 years! I wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter in his book of life.

Well that’s about all for now. Happy New Year and as always, thanks for reading!