This Week in History: July 2

07/03/2014 3:58 PM

07/03/2014 3:59 PM

This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was going on in the eastern Wake County area.

In 2004, the robot overlords gained a foothold in Knightdale. In 1989, teachers were on the war path again after a cut to their pay. And in 1964, a Zebulon native achieved a high honor.


A while back, it was revealed that the Knightdale red light cameras are no longer doing anything. While we have escaped the baleful blinking red eye of the robot overlords for now, the practice got its start 10 years ago in 2004.

If you’re traveling through Knightdale on U.S. 64, Big Brother may be watching you – but only if you don’t stop for a stoplight.

The town’s long-planned red-light camera project is now up and running. And those who run a stoplight at the intersection of U.S. 64 and First Avenue should expect a $50 fine in the mail. With a national purported success rate of about 90 percent, getting caught is almost a sure thing.

Knightdale Town Manager Gary McConkey said travelers should not worry about invasion of privacy. “If you don’t want your picture taken, don’t run the red light,” he said. “Besides, the camera doesn’t take a picture of the person, it takes a picture of the car.”

After a fatal accident several years ago at the intersection of Smithfield Road and U.S. 64, town officials began working on ways to reduce stoplight violations at the intersection.


It’s no secret that education in N.C. could be a lot better. Part of the hotly debated issue is teacher pay. In 1989, teachers were riled up about a cut to their bonuses.

The Wake County Board of Education has ignited flames of wrath from teachers with its decision to cut merit pay bonuses by $660. The vote was made June 19, and protestors met with the board to discuss the action two days later.

After learning of the teachers’ disagreement with the decision, on Friday the board made a verbal commitment to restore the bonuses to their full amount.

Fueling the rage is the school board’s allotment of $110,000 for new Superintendent Robert Wentz’s salary. If the merit pay cut was a move to balance the $6.7 million budget, teachers are wondering why present the superintendent with such a glorious amount?

The incentive bonuses for outstanding performance stem from a program, called the professional development plan, started in 1987. In it, 1236 teachers were evaluated. Upon approval by the board, those teachers were promised up to $2,000 in merit pay for the next three years.

In this third year, with just over two weeks left before educators were to receive the payments on July 16, the board announced that it could not present the same sum that it had given out the past couple of years.


Promotion to Colonel is far from guaranteed in the military. It represents a tremendous commitment of time, blood, sweat and tears to service of our country. In 1964, Phillip R. Bunn achieved this honor.

Colonel Phillip R. Bunn of Zebulon was promoted to his present rank on June 15, climaxing an active and reserve Air Force career which began in 1942 when he entered active duty as a private for service in World War II.

His present assignment is commander of the 9945th Air Force Reserve Squadron with 14 flights under his supervision. Squadron headquarters is in Raleigh.

Col. Bunn left active duty in 1946 as a Captain, having served at many stations throughout the American Theater. His primary assignment was in the personnel and industrial relations field.

He was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon for outstanding performance of duty as manpower officer while on active duty.

The son of Mrs. J.G. Bunn and the late Mr. Bunn, Col. Bunn’s civilian work is as Area Supervisor with the Employment Security Commission. He is married and has two children, Phillip, Jr., 6; and M’Lou, 4.

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