The Durham City Council approved Downtown Durham Inc.’s contract to continue providing services in downtown’s Business Improvement District.
But council members asked the organization to start collecting information about black-owned businesses and black residents in downtown.
City Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden, along with other members of the council, asked DDI to include the information in its quarterly reports, as well as the number of black-owned businesses coming and going.
Lew Myers, interim CEO of DDI, said it would be difficult because they don’t collect that information or recruit businesses. It also would be a challenge to track businesses that are housed within larger buildings, he said.
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But Cole-McFadden and others said it’s important to figure out how to collect the data.
“It would appear to me that some effort ... to at least look at why black businesses, if you will, are leaving downtown,” would be worthwhile, Cole-McFadden said. “So perhaps in the future we can take a look at that and do something to encourage them, some sort of incentive to keep them downtown.”
Cary town manager sworn in
It didn’t take long for new Cary Town Manager Sean Stegall to put people at ease. Stegall, 43, the former manager of the City of Elgin in Illinois, was sworn in Thursday, and his first day on the job started off in a whirlwind of activity. He was sworn in before 8 a.m., met with staff members and had work photos taken before his first meeting at 9 a.m.
As Stegall posed for pictures outside of Town Hall, he joked to break the ice with his new coworkers and make the early morning duty more fun.
“I can do a cartwheel. Do you want me to do a cartwheel?” Stegall asked the photographer.
Cary Town Council members and staff believe he will bring that youthful energy and drive to his new position as the town’s manager.
“We’re very excited to bring Sean on board,” councilman Don Frantz said. “He’s got a great record and successes from Elgin. We think a fresh set of eyes and maybe some new ideas might be very helpful in Cary as we move into the future.”
He replaces former Cary manager Ben Shiver, who retired Sept. 30 after 19 years with the town. Deputy Town Manager Mike Bajorek has been serving as town manager in the interim.
His first order of business will be to meet residents as well as more of the town’s 1,250 staff members.
“I have a full calendar the next couple days,” he said. “The feeling is one of certainly excitement but also great responsibility.”
Fuquay mayor ready to Pokemon Go!
During a Monday meeting discussion of new parking restrictions in Fuquay-Varina’s downtown district, Mayor John Byrne, 66, revealed that he plays Pokemon Go.
Byrne, who is good for at least a few anecdotes at each town board meeting, said he drove with his wife to Neal’s for lunch Monday but elected to walk home by himself so he could catch some Pokemon. He ended up comparing notes with other players at Fuquay-Varina’s Mineral Springs Park.
“I’m a level 10, which is moving up the ladder,” he said. “But I was with some people (at the park) who were level 30s, almost.”
Byrne said he would like to hold a Pokemon Go event at the park, ideally before school starts back up, to encourage outdoor activity and fitness.
“He does a lot of walking downtown for personal exercise, but also to engage and interact with people in our downtown, so he decided to download it on his phone and see what the craze was about,” Fuquay-Varina Town Manager Adam Mitchell said.
“He’s engaging with the public,” Mitchell said. “That’s what mayors do.”
▪ Tickets still remain for a Wake County Democratic Party fundraiser honoring Wake County Commissioner Betty Lou Ward. The event will feature the inaugural Betty Lou Ward Women in Service Award to recognize female candidates and elected officials.
The event is Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bent Tree Clubhouse in Raleigh. Tickets are $45. RSVP to 919-828-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ward announced last year she would not seek re-election after 28 years on the board.
▪ The Wake Democratic Men’s Club will meet Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 320 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. The program will feature N.C. House candidates from Wake County. Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. The program is at 7 p.m.
Email dinner reservations to WakeDMC@mail.com. Dinner is $20 for members and $23 for non-members.
▪ A candidates forum for judges, Wake County commissioners and school board members will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 6 p.m. at First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church Community Center 1515 Cross Link Road, Raleigh.
The nonpartisan forum is organized by the African-American Caucus of the Wake County Democratic Party, along with the Friends Committee Community Awareness Organization. RSVP by Monday, Aug. 8, to Eunice Jones at 919-720-4064.
Compiled by staff writers Virginia Bridges, Kathryn Trogdon and Henry Gargan
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