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Oct
02

Parade of Homes Begins Tomorrow

For the next three weekends the Triangle Homebuilders Association will be celebrating the Parade of Homes. The county-wide series of nearly 400 new open houses runs through the next three weekends (October 3-4, 9-11, 16-18). The houses will be open from Noon to 5pm each day.

There are 3 good sources of information about the tour:

  • In Print – stop by the homebuilder’s association’s office (near Crossroads) at:
    5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 115
    Raleigh, NC 27606
    map
  • OnlineThe association website, a searchable directory, and an online map are all available on the web.
  • Apps – probably not the best-designed app ever, but the best way to go is to use the Android app and the iOS app . The house listing is scrollable, there is a filter search, a map with pins, and the ability to star your favorites.

The most interesting house on the tour is the one at Yadkin and Alleghany, a 5,961 square foot Modern English house by Dixon-Kirby. Their work is always top notch, but there is always, too, some element of bizarre in their houses.

The largest house on the tour is The Cove, a 7,600 square food house on Brinleys Cove Court (out Six Forks past Durant Rd).

Restrooms are not available in the houses, so please plan accordingly. Also be sure to wear socks and shoes you can easily remove before entering each house. Finally, each house’s parking is curbside in existing neighborhoods, so please be courteous to keep driveways, hydrants, and intersections clear, and be on the lookout for children.

Jan
02

2014: The Rain Year

One of the most underreported stories of 2014 is the enormous amount of rain that fell on the city in the second half of the year. Without a tropical storm or hurricane to inflate annual totals, as we typically see, Raleigh still got 55.29” of rain. This is 11.95” above the normal 43.34” annual total.

I am not privy to historical rainfall totals for this area, but being 28% above the normal level is exceedingly rare, and likely greater than 2 standard deviations away from average. By comparison 1996, a famous year which brought two hurricanes to Raleigh and featured a September with 16.65” of rain alone, had a total of 59.14”, a total 36% above normal. 2014 however was a year which had normal rainfall for the first half, then about seven large dumps throughout the entire late summer and fall. It was an unusual pattern that will certainly have an effect on root and mold development through the coming winter and spring.

krdu_cumulative_rainfall-800x600

image courtesy WRAL.com weather section

Mar
28

Big Green Egg Event Coming to Wake Forest

2014-03-27 18.37.50Want to cook like these people in your own back yard? You can!

Komado cooking dates back over 3000 years ago in China. The egg-shaped ceramic cookers cook meats evenly without drying out the meat. Because of their design, temperatures in these cookers can be controlled quite well, allowing for low-and-slow cooking.

Tomorrow the Town and Country store in Wake Forest will be hosting a Big Green Egg demo. The event will feature free samples including pizza, stuffed mushrooms, cookies, shrimp poppers, and smoked pork butt. Expoerts will be on hand to answer questions about the different products available, and will offer a 10% discount on eggs.

The event runs from 10am-3pm.

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Sep
03

Big Changes to Solid Waste Services Begin Today

mailcan[1] Over 43,000 households will see big changes to their garbage and recycling pickup services beginning today. From this point forward all recycling pickup service will be from the blue rolling carts, not the small green bins. Many residents will see their garbage and yard trash schedules change, as routing for these services was altered in many neighborhoods.

Large cardstock notices were recently distributed in each zone, however the information is also online. The City of Raleigh has a fantastic service called  Find My Service. Simply enter your address in the blank in the column on the right, and the resulting page returns the address’ school district, garbage collection zone, athletic district, and much more. Links to schedules for waste pickup are available from that site, too.

The introduction of 115,000 giant plastic containers for the purpose of recycling seems like a joke in-and-of-itself. However with the larger bins the city will reduce routing by only collecting recycling waste every other week. Residents can dispose of their green recycling bins in their new blue bins. Be sure that the dark green garbage bin and the blue recycling bin have at least 5’ of space around each. Do not Siamese twin these bins as it will add considerable time to the collectors’ routes.

Jan
29

Thinking Snow During This Oasis

RaleighSnowTilesOh sure, the next couple of days will be a welcome respite. For snow lovers, however, don’t give up hope. Last night WRAL’s Greg Fishel presented a graph he made. It’s a normal distribution of local annual snowfall since 1940. The statistics are interesting, as 50% of the snowfalls fall between January 11 and February 18. Tomorrow marks the midway point of the snow season, and the historical odds of having measurable snow decrease quickly as February progresses.

Don’t lose hope, though, in March. The ~14” we got in 1980 were an anomaly, but the atmosphere during that time of year is still capable of imposing itself plenty (1992 ACC Tournament, anyone?)!

Jan
08

How’s the Economy Really Doing?

20130108_PreforeclosuresThere has been a recent uptick in the local real estate market, but don’t be so sure that the economy is gaining too much momentum. A simple Zillow view of Pre-Foreclosures and Foreclosures in Raleigh shows that there are a lot of people who have missed payments on their houses over the past year or so. In fact there are more than are shown at this zoom level.

Sep
16

Morrisville Town and Country Hardware Being Replaced with WalMart Express

A reader named Mike recently alerted me to an interesting retail story going on in Morrisville. It seems that the Town and Country Hardware (“formerly Ace”) at Davis and Morrisville Carpenter is closing on October 31. According to employees, the store’s lease was not renewed and the replacement will be a Wal-Mart Express.

This is interesting on several levels. According to a News & Observer article in July, Wal-Mart has been rolling out 15,000 square foot stores in small towns to compete with large drug stores and Family Dollar stores. Morrisville, however, is suburbia, and there is a full-sized Wal-Mart store very close by at I-540 and 54.

Secondly, this is apparently a dagger to the local Ace Hardware system and consumers’ ability to maintain equipment. A year ago I my lawn mower needed repair, so I took it to the Ace Hardware on Kildaire Road late on a Saturday afternoon. It took the store a month to return the lawn mower because that store is not an actual service site. Rather, they sent all lawn mowers over to “the Davis Drive store” (presumably the one at hand). I’m not sure where Cary’s Ace is sending lawn mowers now, but if they are sending them to North Ridge, it will be 2 months to get one repaired.

It is extremely sad to see stores like this (that offer services to our appliances) drying up. It’s one thing to worry about the amount of garbage we could be composting, but it’s another thing to make servicing expensive items like TVs and lawn mowers so difficult that it is easier and/or cheaper to simply discard the item than to go through the service hassle.

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Feb
14

Jeffreys Appliance Center Closing

jeffreysThe list of old Raleigh businesses unable to weather this economy grows… Sadly, Jeffreys Appliance & Home Gallery is closing after 43 years of business. The store is currently running their clearance sale, so there are some deals to be had.

I’m sorry to see this store go. My family always bought appliances there, especially after Andy Pittman bought the business about 10 years ago. They presented a good selection of quality items, and appliances were their thing. You weren’t dealing with some distracted teenager who wishes he were selling car stereos, like you see at some of our remaining options.

Nov
28

Joel Lane Hosts “Colonial Christmas”

On Saturday, December 3, 2011, the Joel Lane Museum House will present “A Colonial Christmas” Open House. The house will be decorated with traditional greenery and will reflect the very different way in which colonists and early Americans celebrated the Christmas holiday. Information about the house and grounds will be offered by costumed docents; re-enactors will demonstrate scenes of 18th-century life; the sounds of live music will fill the air; and other interpreters will entertain children using colonial games and crafts through the “Hands-on History” program.

The event runs 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is free (donations requested).

Sep
13

WCPSS Student Assignment Meeting Tonight at BHS

wcpssTonight begins a series of important meetings by the Wake County Public School Board. The meeting is at Broughton High School from 6:30pm to 8pm (presumably in the auditorium, which is in the building’s corner closest to the intersection of St. Mary’s and Peace Streets). Most likely the hot topic will be the assignment of students from the JY Joyner Elementary School (map it) district. The zone which currently predominantly feeds into Daniels Middle School and Broughton High School, is slated to inclusively feed East Millbrook Middle School (map it) and Millbrook High School (map it).

The controversial proposed school reassignment plan (.pdf) is intended to keep students closer to home and minimize long-distance student commutes. The plan looks logical for nearly every school in the system, however it certainly breaks down for Joyner. Under the proposed plan Daniels would be fed by Root, Stough, York, and Jeffrey’s Grove. Martin would be fed by Lacy and Olds. I don’t have access to the number of seats in those eight schools, but it seems strange that Daniels would be fed by four schools and Martin would be fed by only two. Perhaps Martin is smaller than Daniels, but from what I have heard they are roughly equivalent in size.

If the plan aims to keep students in the same part of the county as their residents, then sending people in the Five Points area to the shadows of Triangle Town Center, just inside of I-540, seems completely counterproductive. If the plan moves forward, the property values of houses along Anderson Drive will plummet while houses along Ridge Road in Raleigh will skyrocket. This is why there ought to be a very strong showing at this meeting tonight. There is much on the line for people who live in the Northeast quadrant inside of I-440.

There will also be meetings at Sanderson (Wed, 9/14), East Wake (Thu, 9/15), and Millbrook (Mon, 9/19). For more information see the WCPSS website.

Apr
23

Cree Flashlight is Today’s Woot!

Today’s Woot! deal is a Cree LED flashlight for just $5. Cree, the world leader in LED lighting technology, is based in RTP.

Jan
08

Sketches of Frank Gehry Showing in Cary

20100624-94 The Nowells Architecture Movie Series is back! The next installment in the series is Sketches of Frank Gehry. The Sydney Pollack-directed piece features the works of Frank Gehry, the man Vanity Fair labeled "the most important architect of our age.” Gehry’s best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Experience Music Project in Seattle; Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis; Dancing House in Prague; MARTa Museum in Herford, Germany; and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. But it was his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career.

The movie showing is showing at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary (map it) on Thursday, January 13, at 7pm. Tickets are $8 in advance and $9 at the door.

Nov
29

City Collecting Leaves

leafmap Those working working to free their suffocating lawns from leaves this past weekend will be glad to know that the City of Raleigh has already begun their annual leaf collection route. For a couple of weeks the city has been working on Zone G, but began Zone A today. They will proceed clockwise, by zone, around the city over the ensuing month. Because collections were light in Zone G, the city is going to attempt to resweep that zone before Christmas. The city will make two collections in each zone before the latter part of the winter. [source]

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