Monday, August 22, 2011

If a tree falls in the woods

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it,
does it make a sound?
The age old riddle has been solved... YES!

A tree recently fell in a neighbor's yard around midnight. Around that time there was a loud rumbling sound like thunder in the distance followed by a large crunchy THUMP! On inspection the next morning, this tree was found lying in the grass.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Apex votes down jobs - new business rejected in Beaver Creek Commons

Apex Town Council has struck once again and cast votes against allowing a new McDonald's restaurant to be built in Beaver Creek Commons.

This means the Town Council voted down new jobs, new tax revenue and is preventing a new food business from opening in the Beaver Creek Commons shopping center. The sole reason cited was that the McDonald's would bring too many vehicles to the already heavily congested street leading to the restaurants and stores.

This also means the Town Council has blocked creation of badly needed construction jobs and 30-40 long term jobs for employees when the site opens for business. And the Town is declining a healthy addition to the tax base during an already depressed local economy.

It is interesting that the current traffic problem in the shopping center is a direct outcome from the traffic plan approved by the Town Council when Beaver Creek was built just a short time ago. The Council and Town Planners claim they study traffic patterns and impact of new construction but they missed the mark significantly on this shopping center. Convoluted road patterns and lack of alternate routes to stores and shops in the center have led to a nightmare for customers of the many stores packed into the space with insufficient access to and from shops. Council also approved the existing traffic pattern that allows a great amount of residential traffic to flow through the shopping center to homes and apartments located directly behind the stores.

There are solutions to the traffic issues, but they will be difficult to implement now that the shopping center has been opened. Adding alternate streets behind and around the congested areas could allow traffic to flow in a circular pattern and eliminate most of the left turn issues now plaguing the area.  Routing residential traffic for homes behind the shopping center to other streets would have a major impact in reducing the volume now experienced in front of the stores.

As for the proposed McDonald's restaurant, Council should allow the site to be built. There is no factual evidence that shows that the traffic would increase by 1100 vehicles as suggested in the third party study. It is very likely some of the traffic to the new business would come from the existing volume. As for the traffic level at Chick-Fil-A, that parking lot is already so crowded it is unsafe to navigate in the lot many times and this has nothing to do with whether the street traffic increases or not. This issue comes from poor planning on traffic flow inside the Chick-Fil-A property. Read more about voting down a new McDonald's...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Glory shows signs of aging in downtown Apex

The Town of Apex continues to muddle right along according to a news item reported in the Southwest Wake News this week. A June 22, 2010, article in the weekly paper tells about the Town hanging faded American flags along Salem Street in preparation for the annual July 4th downtown events.The flags are hung in advance of each Memorial Day and left up until after Labor Day as a patriotic gesture.

Sounds like a number of the Town leaders have not served in the US Military and don't understand the views of those that do consider hanging US Flags as a patriotic activity to honor those that do serve to protect our country and values. If they had, then they would not hang faded or worn flags for any occasion and would make the effort to replace them as needed.

Folks around town started noticing the faded condition of the flags as soon as they were hung this year. When asked why the Town is using faded flags, the response was that the Town's budget did not allow for replacing the flags under this year's plan.

The budget did not include a $2,100 line item for replacing the flags this year as has been the practice every four years in the past. According to the newly hired Town Spokeswoman, Stacie Galloway, the Town could find some money to buy new flags but this could be used as an opportunity for local citizens to get involved and donate $35 to buy replacement flags. Never mind that the residents are also going through difficult financial times. According to this line of thought by the Town it is better to ask residents to come up with the funds than to find a mere $2,100 to do them all.

By the way - the Town did find a way to carve out a pile of money to hire Mrs. Galloway as a "Town Spokeswoman", a new job cobbled together to provide a spokesperson not needed in the Town staff ranks in the past. After "finding" those funds, the Town hired the person away from neighboring Morrisville where she had been in that role for some time but wanted to move to Apex and have a job here. 

If the Town Council can propose and approve giving Town employees a $1,000 raise in this year's budget, why can't they find a mere $2,100 to replace worn flags and avoid all this? Had the Town given merit raises based on performance that would have only cost the Town taxpayers the amount of the raises for one year. By making these actual raises in salary the cost will be born by residents for years to come. Those raises cost the taxpayers cost Apex $372,373 per year to fund the flat raise, which is part of the $68.7 million 2012 proposed budget. Read about the raises for all employees...

This brings to mind other mind-boggling items brought to you by the Town Council and Staff. One of these is the new pedestrian bridge directly behind the Town Campus...

The 2009 Town Easter Egg Hunt, or rather the lack of one. A couple of years back the Town decided to cancel the annual Easter egg hunt for town children on the grounds of the Town Campus. That decision fell about as flat as Humpty Dumpty did and gave the Town a black eye for some time. The Town management said that the Town had a $750,000 budget shortfall that year and could not provide an egg hunt for the children. The Town Manager's response was to "tell the children that the Town was not using the money for something else, but that the Easter Bunny just could not afford the flight down that year". Yeah, right...

How about the infamous "bridge to nowhere" sitting behind the new Town Campus building? The Town and CSX Railroad teamed up just a few years ago and built a state of the art magnificent $220,000 pedestrian crossing intended to let folks walk to and from the Town Campus to get to downtown activities. To date the bridge still ends beside the old CSX junk parts and trash dump beside the tracks within a hundred yards of the Town Campus and two hundred yards from the Apex Farmers Market that sells fresh food products to consumers. No one seems to care that this bridge ends at the dump, does not connect with a walkway to the Town Campus and parking areas and runs right into a rat infested dumping spot for the railroad.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Open mike reveals a lot about Stam

Stam is all smiles as he takes
away rights from NC citizens
A critical comment about Governor Perdue by Paul Stam reveals a lot about his character and whether he should represent Apex and NC. While in a closed budget meeting, but with an open microphone, Stam commented and others in the Legislature and Press heard about his view of the Governor after she issued an executive order to restore Federally based unemployment benefits to some 37,000 citizens...

His comment was reflected in a News and Observer story about the gaffe - "Either way, she's incompetent," he said. "We really need to crack on her for this. This is probably one of the worst things she's done."
He made this comment while on the job representing citizens of this area on June 3, 2011. He was in a Republican caucus discussing how to proceed with a budget the Republicans are forcing onto the citizens of NC that will severely damage the education process in the state.

Perhaps it is time to remove him from office since he clearly has no respect for others in the political process and is known to make condescending comments about state citizens. Read more...

This is not the first time Stam has been observed trashing politicians he serves with to further his narrow agenda. His methods often include making extreme comments about those he disagrees with to create maximum conflict in the press.

Stam also recently made an insulting comment about the State's new American Idol winner. When Scotty Macreery was  in the final stages of the Idol competition, Stam made a derogatory statement to a representative that had commented about Scotty's outstanding performance. Stam asked "is he a Terrier?" demonstrating how out of touch he is with the community he is supposed to be representing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring arrives at Apex Town Campus

Spring arrived in April, 2011, at the Apex Town Campus. This extended wall of flowers wraps around a fenced area on the East side of the campus next to North Mason Street.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

A Window on River Street

Shopping on River Street
 Savannah, Georgia

February, 2011
Copyright Carolinabits 2013
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tired of CSX engines idling in Apex?

The annual CSX ritual of leaving diesel engines idling all night and day started again before Thanksgiving, 2010. CSX parks 3 or 4 engines and leaves them idling at the downtown Apex depot every day and night starting in late fall each year. The practice will continue well into the warm days of late spring. Even after working hours when the engines are not being used they are left running all night and all weekend with no one in attendance or at the depot.

It is interesting in this era of rising fuel costs and concerns about air pollution that CSX continues this practice with no regard to the effect on the surrounding community. One of the engines is left running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is not even used. It just sites there running, running and running.

Sit in one of the downtown restaurants or walk along the Salem Street sidewalks and you will quickly discover a loud rumbling that never goes away. And you will often smell the noxious odor of diesel fumes drifting through the air. Eventually you may realize that the rumbling never ends and there are no "quiet times" in the downtown community.

Take that view a few blocks away from the downtown area and you will discover that in any home east or west in a several block radius from the depot has the same constant rumbling to deal with. On many days and nights there is the same noxious odor of diesel fumes in the air surrounding the homes. Imagine having to live in this area and hearing this every day, every winter. Imagine the effect new homeowners moving into homes being built in the Villages of Apex and having to live with the constant background rumble of engines sitting nearby most of the year.

Town Manager Bruce Radford (Email the Apex Town Manager) and Town Council representatives (Email the Apex Town Council) have been asked many times to require CSX officials to turn off the idling engines when they are not being used. The usual response is that the noise level does not show up on the Town's noise level monitoring device (Mr. Radford actually asked the police to measure the noise level a year ago at the intersection of Center and Mason Streets) or that the Town has no control over what CSX does with it's engines. Mr. Radford also says he lived near a train track when growing up and the sound of trains does not bother him. Interesting that he does not live near the area where these engines are left running all night - he chose to live miles away from the sound.

Wasting fuel, polluting the air with diesel fumes and creating a steady engine roar all night and all weekend when the train engines are not in use makes CSX an obviously poor neighbor. The roar of the engines is constant at all hours of the night and is accompanied by a frequent loud hiss of air when a pressure valve releases compressed air every few minutes. The end result is never having quiet at night in residential neighborhoods in the Center-Mason-Hunter Street depot area and beyond. For a good demonstration of the noise problem, try standing two blocks or further away along the sidewalk on Mason Street late at night and you will be amazed at the constant roar of the diesel engines and the hiss of air being released...

If you would like to help eliminate the noise and air pollution, contact the Apex Town Manager (Email the Apex Town Manager) or your Town Council (Email the Apex Town Council) and ask them to put a stop to the noise and pollution. It's a simple matter of courtesy and duty to town residents to require CSX to be a good neighbor and turn the engines off at night and on the weekend. There is no technical reason for diesel engines to be left running all night and it's an obvious waste of energy during a time when the country is trying to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

It is interesting to note that when the Town Manager was asked to investigate what the the City of Raleigh did to implement an ordinance preventing the railroad from leaving engines running all night in the Logan Station area that he says he could not find anyone that knows anything about the ban. Kind of strange that neither Mr. Radford and his counterpart in Raleigh are unable to provide information on the ban put in place by Mayor Charles Meeker several years ago.
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