Parks board service is complete

I learned last week that my replacement was finally appointed to the Parks board. Thus, the October meeting I attended was indeed my last one. I was humbled by the kind remarks my fellow boardmembers shared with me. It’s been a great ride, that’s for sure.

I do also want to wish my replacement, Shane Malun, all the best!

Weekend update

It’s been a busy weekend. Friday morning was the press conference and the official kickoff of the Parks bond campaign. NFL stars Torrence and Terry Holt joined other city officials to urge passage of the bond. As the marketing co-chair of the bond committee, I helped plan the press conference and some of the talking points used. The location of the Chavis carousel was perfect, the weather was perfect, the messaging was perfect, and it all just came together. What’s more, I was able to collect the photographs of many attendees, all to add to our “I Flip 4 Parks” social media campaign. Oh, and the official website,, was unveiled as well. Marketing has been a group effort, with the Raleigh Chamber pitching in as well as committee members Jeff Tippett (committee chair), myself, and Patrick Buffkin (speakers chair). The website was designed by Scott Reston with video provided by Napoleon Wright. Everyone did a super job!

Friday afternoon was the visitation for Thomas Crowder, held in the lobby of Meymandi auditorium. There was a huge turnout of people paying their respects. I was glad to meet many of Thomas’s family and say hello to those I’ve already met.
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Parks board and bond

Friday I woke up to an unfamiliar feeling: I was no longer serving on Raleigh’s Parks board. Six years had come and gone in a blink of an eye.

Though I’m no longer on the board, I still get to play a role in promoting parks. I was been appointed by the mayor to serve on the citizen board advocating for the upcoming parks bond. Not only that, I’ve agreed to serve as a co-chair for the marketing and communications team. It’s a great group of citizens and I’m looking forward to making this happen. I will have my hands full for the next several weeks, though. So far, it’s been a blast!

One Parks board meeting left

Raleigh's Parks board at the Fred Fletcher awards, May 2014.

Raleigh’s Parks board at the Fred Fletcher awards, May 2014.

At last week’s Parks board meeting, I did some calculations and realized I have exactly one meeting left: July 17th. Has it been six years already? Where does the time go?

So much has been accomplished during my time with the board. I recall how contentious my early board meetings were, with lots of strong opinions and little sense of compromise. I contrast that to the last few years, where my fellow boardmembers have voted unanimously on nearly every issue. I don’t think that all votes should necessarily be unanimous but I’m so glad to have been on a board where the members try to work together.

I’m working up a speech to give for my two minutes of member comments at the end of every meeting. There’s a lot to cover for these six years so I’ll have to choose my words carefully.

While July 17th will be my last meeting, my term doesn’t officially end until September 5th. Thus I have one more dedication left to attend: the Mount Hope Cemetery dedication on September 4th. After that, who knows where life will lead me?
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Ring Around Raleigh bike ride!

Ring Around Raleigh

Ring Around Raleigh

Tomorrow morning I’ll be leading a number of my friends and neighbors on a Ring Around Raleigh bike ride using bike-friendly streets and greenways. It’s the same route my family has been riding over the past few weekends. I was inspired by a friend who posted about his ride around Raleigh and thought I’d try to do it, too.

My experiment proved easier than I expected. The streets taken are quiet neighborhood streets with little traffic and the vast majority of riding is along Raleigh’s beautiful greenways. It seems so easy and fun I thought I would help get the word out to my cyclist friends so they could begin riding it, too.

If you’d like to join us, be at Lions Park (1600-ish Bennett Street) at 8 AM Sunday morning. We’ll leave the park promptly at 8:15 AM and spend the next three hours or so working our way clockwise around the city. The weather’s shaping up to be great, too: with a sunny, breezy day and a high of only 84 degrees.

Hope to see you tomorrow at Lions Park!

Our Route:
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Vic Lebsock retires

I had to take a moment out of my day to attend the retirement party for Raleigh greenway planner Vic Lebsock. Raleigh’s greenways have undergone a transformation since Vic took over, growing from less than 20 miles in 1990 to over 110 miles today (with more under construction).

I’ve served on the Parks board for 20% of Vic’s time with the city. During that time I’ve attended many greenway dedications, gone on many greenway excursions, and forwarded many questions to Vic during that time. I was happy to see three other Parks board members there to say thank you to Vic.

Enjoy your well-deserved retirement, Mr. Lebsock!

Bike graduation

Travis hot-dogging on his red bike, June 2013.

Travis hot-dogging on his red bike, June 2013.

While Kelly was away for the weekend visiting a friend, the kids and I had a couple of opportunities this past weekend to go for bike rides. This opened up an opportunity for me to try the kids on larger bikes. When we rode downtown for Artsplosure on Sunday, Hallie rode Kelly’s bike while Travis rode my mountain bike (I rode my road bike). Both kids crowed at how easy it was to ride the bigger bikes, leading me to conclude it was time to go bike shopping.

Yesterday afternoon, Kelly found a very nice Trek bike being sold on Craigslist. After some discussion, she fetched it and brought it home to present to Hallie. More bike talk ensued, with Travis getting eyes for making my mountain bike his. While I’m not yet ready to yield my bike to him, we did agree that it was time to part with his red sport bike.
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N&O runs dedication story a week late

In about ten minutes, a group of people will converge on the entrance to the Walnut Creek Greenway near the Worthdale Community Center. They will wait around in the rain until they become bored for a dedication ceremony that has come and gone, and sloppy editing on the part of the News and Observer is to blame.

Sunday’s Midtown Raleigh News carried a front-page story on the greenway dedication, stating the ceremony would occur Tuesday at 4 PM. The problem is that the ceremony took place last week. The story was correct when it ran a week earlier in the N&O but somehow it landed in Sunday’s Midtown edition without being updated to show the ceremony already took place.

I love the N&O’s spotlight of Raleigh’s parks. I called for more coverage in the past and still think Raleigh citizens value their parks highly enough (and they have invested enough in them ) for parks to merit media coverage. That said, inaccurate coverage might do more harm than no coverage at all.

I wish the N&O would work just a little bit harder on fact-checking its local coverage.

Forty-five trips around the sun

Family hike pic at Falls Lake. Note the wrist brace.

Family hike pic at Falls Lake. Note the wrist brace.

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. My how time flies. It was a good birthday, though, overall. The only downside is that I seem to have somehow injured my left hand on Sunday. I wasn’t doing anything excessive – just watching The Hunt for Red October on the couch with Travis, but an hour later my hand was extremely sore, especially at the wrist. This mystery injury provided me teeth-gritting pain over the last two days, only now letting up. Since yesterday, my hand has ballooned from the swelling. I hope it will settle down on its own because my former employer has been slow getting the COBRA coverage started on my health insurance and as of now I don’t think I can see the doctor without a lot of reimbursement paperwork trouble.
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Dogs in parks issue moved to committee

Last week, the Raleigh City Council moved the issue of restricting dogs from certain areas of parks to the Council’s Public Works committee. I was aware that might happen but don’t know what the committee might hit on that the parks board and its committees did not. We have carefully considered the issue, collected public feedback, and made sure all along to take our time to get it right.

Again, I feel the key to success here is to provide more dog-friendly areas, whether they be dog runs in existing parks or biting the fiscal bullet and ponying up for additional much-needed dog parks in our growing city. Part of the Parks board’s recommendation was to be tasked with studying where more dog-friendly resources could be added. I hope the Council will see fit to approve that.
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