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Raleigh’s 10 Biggest Stories of 2014

As we shut the door on 2014 we take a look back at the stories of 2014 that will have the biggest impact on Raleigh moving forward (in no particular order of importance):

Mitchell Silver leaves Raleigh for NYC

Mitchell Silver, Raleigh planning director for the past 9 years, accepted what he calls his final job when he got a call from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Silver will serve out the next 4 or 8 years as New York’s Commissioner of Parks, an intends to retire to Raleigh afterward. In his 9 years Silver laid out two comprehensive planning planning strategies, but also executed some masterful microdesigns that have made downtown Raleigh a more unified, walkable, and livable place.

State and Federal Elections (aka “Moral Monday Backlash”)

The state’s NAACP director organized some well-attended, disruptive demonstrations at the state legislature. Not only did these actions affect no change with legislation, on November 4, voters across the state chose to continue the Republican super majority in the state houses.

Wake County Democrats Take Supermajority

Probably the most surprising and most impactful story of 2014 was the Democrats’ sweep of Wake County Commissioner seats, taking every seat on the board. There are 24 elected seats in Wake County and 21 are held by Democrats. While most didn’t expect a full sweep in a vacuum, the biggest surprise is that it occurred on a day where nationally Republicans had one of their best election days in recent memory.

Tupelo Honey Opens in Cameron Village

There has been a lot of fuss over Tupelo Honey in Asheville, and the restaurant’s most recent expansion was into Raleigh. Raleigh’s best new restaurant came at the end of the year, and it has been packed since Day One.

Thomas Crowder Dies

One of the key members of Raleigh’s Democrat-led City Council died after a somewhat short battle with testicular cancer. Crowder was a part of the Meeker-led bloc that spearheaded changes in Raleigh’s downtown and suburban development. His seat is filled by his surviving wife, Kay.

Fortify Project Begins

The three-year plan to dig up I-40 and I-440 from Poole Road to the Crossroads interchange got in full swing, leaving drivers waiting through delays and finding alternate routes through southeastern Wake County.

Wainstein Report Released/UNC Scandal Grows

2014 was the worst year in UNC’s 219 years of history. What started as a scandal about football improprieties grew in 2014 taking down UNC’s academic reputation with it. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt commissioned an investigation into academic wrongdoing in the AfAm department. The results showed, however, that non-athletes were in the majority of those receiving sham credit hours, and from multiple departments. The NCAA re-opened their investigation into the matter, however we still await its conclusion and response

Ashley Christensen Wins Beard Award

There have been many great years recently for Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen, but 2014 has to be her finest yet. In early May she was named the Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Society. Christensen not only saw her existing restaurants strengthen their bases, but she also announced the planning of a new restaurant, Death & Taxes, and opened a commissary to run back-end food prep for her family of restaurants.

Triangle Flexes Culinary Muscle

While it was a banner year for Ashley Christensen, it was a fantastic year for the entire Triangle. Out of the 433 national nominees for James Beard awards, 9 were in the Triangle area, joined by 3 others from the rest of North Carolina, totaling 12 for the state. No restaurants from Charlotte, the Triad, or Wilmington were nominated. Only 6 nominees went to each Virginia and South Carolina, while 11 went to Georgia. Much ballyhooed Austin, Texas? They got just 3.

Snow Cripples Raleigh, Frightens Duke

On February 12 Raleigh got an icy 3 inches of snow, causing severe traffic problems. When one untalented driver on highway 70 revved the engine too high causing the engine to burst into flames, the ensuing mayhem on eastbound 70 in front of the Angus Barn became fodder for a national meme .

Duke was to travel to Chapel Hill to play in the Dean Dome that night, but Mike Kryzyzewski feared problems traveling on 15-501, and canceled the game. With everyone else in place to play the game, including ACC referees and TV crews, many speculated that K was trying to protect his team from embarrassing themselves on national TV. The game was postponed and UNC still won. Duke saved the embarrassment for March 21 with a first-round NCAA Tournament ousting at the hands of Mercer.

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  • DougInNC Said:

    Appears to be a pretty good list across a broad set of topics. The best smiles are generated at the end of the final item. It seems, after Lehigh and then Mercer, Duke University basketball has defined NCAA tournament play as their own version of “one and done!”

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