Episode 002 – Finally Friday; Authors Saccenti, Alonso-Sierra (Part Two); Bicentennial

Today on Episode #2 of the Apex Roundup Podcast it’s our Independence Day Special.

In this episode, I’ll share with you…

1) My experiences from Finally Friday in downtown Apex. I’ll also have…
2) Part 2 of my interview with sister authors Victoria Saccenti and Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, and I’ll conclude by…
3) Reading from some articles from the Western Wake Herald when Apex was celebrating America’s 200th birthday.

All coming your way!

[Music: Two Seater Medium]


Jumping into podcasting with both boots, I’m your voice for Apex, your source for local news and information, bringing you the best of interesting people in town and the workings of your municipal government. Your preferred replacement for print media, I am your host, Lance Olive.

And since we’re all new here, let’s recap why we’re both here today.

Apex used to have a local newspaper, the Apex News Herald, renamed to the Western Wake Herald, then the Apex Herald. They folded in twenty thirteen and left the coverage to the big boys at the Cary News and Raleigh’s News and Observer. Within the past year, they’ve all but pulled out of covering local news, leaving most of us in social media to share amongst ourselves.

While this provided OK coverage for the issues that got the most attention, the reports often were one-sided, depending on who had what burr under whose saddle. And then it occurred to me, I get around town as much as anyone, and I’m at every town council meeting. I might as well share with y’all what is happening.

Thirty minutes, twice a month, I round up the stories, the decisions and the opinions, and share them with you.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and Google. Just search for Apex Roundup. Follow, subscribe, like and leave me some words of encouragement.


[Music Bed: Swing City Long]

The content of this podcast is proudly produced in Apex, North Carolina. By continuing to listen to it, you agree to do so in accordance with applicable United States law. Although I am indeed the mayor, the opinions expressed by me are my own. All information shared on this program is already public information. This podcast is a private venture and no public or campaign money was used in its production.

You should not use what you hear on this show to make any important decisions related to investments, development, relocation, ordinances, or participation in events without further researching the matter by contacting appropriate individuals and/or organizations. Neither I, nor this podcast, are responsible for any impact or loss you may experience. Make choices by doing your own research.

This podcast is for entertainment purposes only, and no lawyers were harmed in the writing of this disclaimer.

[End Music Bed]


You know how on Friday morning, you get out of bed just that little bit faster because it’s Friday, the day before the weekend? Well, even though I love my day job, I was also looking forward to the Finally Friday event in downtown Apex on June 30.

Drove down Saunders St…. Parking lot was full, so I went down the street a little ways and parked along the curb. It sure felt nice walking past the police station as I headed into town. I rounded the corner at the Tiny Kids Library, and found that I had missed the live music on the sidewalk. It could be that they packed up a little early because of the passing showers. Oh well, no matter. At least I didn’t miss Gray Scale Whale, at least I don’t think they were there (by the way, they play the best jazz for a gang of 20-year-olds), so I hope I didn’t miss them.

I really felt like having probably THE best burger in Apex, so I went to The Provincial. Wayne Alcaide runs the place with his wife Kristyna. According to a newspaper article from a year ago, Wayne was the “executive chef of both Nob Hill at the MGM Grand Las Vegas as well as another signature restaurant called Fish out of Water in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.” They chose Apex to open this restaurant because, they reckoned, Apex was a good place to raise their family. I’ll put a link to the article on this podcast page on my website.


So I go in, see Kate and Chrissy working, and ask for a table out on the sidewalk. They found me one under the awning in case another shower came by (it didn’t, by the way). About that time, I saw Mark England and Alma Hernandez walking by, looking for a place to eat dinner. So, naturally, I invited them to join me.

I should point out at this point that my wife, Cheryl, has been in Spain and Portugal these past couple of weeks. She founded a Girl Scout Travel Troop that plans international trips to broaden the horizons of the first-time international travelers. She goes on two or three of these trips a year. This is why she is seems to be always traveling. It also prompted her to start her own education-based travel company. I know, I digress. I’m telling you this to explain why I was eating alone on Friday night.

So Mark and Alma joined me and we all had a very good burger and got to know each other better.

I should now point out that I knew Mark from the Apex Small Business Network and the Apex Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Business After Hours events. We met a couple of years ago. Last year I met Alma once, briefly. But beyond those casual stand-up chats, we’d never really talked all that much.

As dinner was winding down, I also saw seated inside the restaurant Rhonda and Aaron Riley, and Greg and Kelli Coley. When they left, they headed two doors down to the Peak of the Vine, a wine bar chill out zone run by Nicola Brantchev and Michelle Phoenix, and they invited me to come join them soon.

Several other folks walked by the table, stopping to say hi and chat. Can I say right here, right now that, while our downtown is amazing, the kind people is what Apex is all about. Sure, almost all of them are out-of-state immigrants, but those who move here, settle in and acclimate to this “Millennial Mayberry” style, make this a great place to live.

For those of you listening from elsewhere, this is the part where I let you know that Money Magazine ranked Apex, North Carolina, the Number One Best Place to Live in America. That was back in August 2015, and we still hold that title. Incidentally, we now have 49,500 residents and, because we’re currently growing at 7 people per day, we’ll hit the 50,000 mark in mid-September, so we’ll no longer be eligible for that list since “Under 50,000 residents” is a first-pass criteria to be under consideration. Don’t look for Apex in Money Mag’s next Best Places to Live issue.

Speaking of fast growth, here are a few data points for you. We were the 24th largest municipality in North Carolina a few years ago. Since then, we’ve passed the “bigger” cities of Goldsboro, Hickory and Kannapolis… and we just passed Wilson back in March. If you’re keeping score, that makes us now the 19th largest municipality in the state. And we’ll surpass the cities of Burlington and Rocky Mount next year, as our growth is stronger than theirs. Hard to believe that just 40 years ago, we were a very small town of only 8,000 residents. Footnote here, I have something to that point in my newspaper articles segment later.

Let’s get back to my story on Finally Friday. As I was thinking about standing up, my bill paid, and my appetite satisfied, a sparkly lady walks up and says, “Are you the mayor? I recognized you by your hat!” Turns out she’s a new resident named Devorah, her husband, J.P. was going to be playing guitar at Peak of the Vine the following day, and she just walked downtown to check things out. It might have been recently her birthday because she happily told me her age. She posted a selfie of us on Facebook because she was happy that she got to meet me. I was honored and flattered, and we talked a little more before parting ways.

I moseyed over to the Peak of the Vine, where Greg, Kelli, Rhonda and Aaron were waiting, along with some friends, Terry and (I want to say Katherine) Harvey (pardon me if I got it wrong). This is, by the way, the former NC State Quarterback from the early ’90s, Terry Harvey. As a Wolfpack alumnus, I was a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t remember his name, but that could be because Cheryl and I were starting a family and our “sphere” was pretty small during just about all of the ’90s.

As that conversation was winding down, David Woodruff (of Apex Steel) and Dawn Wheeler (a nurse, who started a family care home business) walked in with Eric Hoke of Green Level. Dawn started the conversation by reminding me that she wiped me out of chips at the Apex Chamber of Commerce Casino night last fall (even though it was funny money for the banquet, I had understandably put that out of my mind — I mean 3 aces to beat my full house — come on! She wiped with floor with my ego that night!).

I followed them in where Trudie Laches was working behind the wine bar, putting bottles on ice, putting wine in glasses, picking up the empties and adjusting the music. A hard worker, she was a start contrast to the rest of the crowd who were chilling out. We talked until well after 11:30, when I found myself wondering where the time went, and decided it was time to make my way back to my car.

The sidewalks were mostly empty now. The sounds behind me were fading as I strolled towards the corner. As I reached the Little Library, I turned and looked back that the quiet little downtown, lit and twinkly, and only two cars parallel parked up near the stop light. “Finally Friday is over. It’s almost Saturday now. Man, I love Apex!”


Hey, thanks for joining me today for just the second ever episode of the Apex Roundup Podcast. Today I recounted my experiences at the Finally Friday event on June 30th, followed by Part 2 of my interview with the author sisters Victoria Saccenti and Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, concluding with a reading from the Western Wake Herald article describing the way Apex celebrated the nation’s Bicentennial.

I’m Lance Olive and I’ll bring you a half hour of Apex news and information twice a month. You’ll also hear the personal stories of interesting local citizens and I’ll catch you up on the municipal government updates for the Town of Apex, North Carolina.

Join me for the next episode of The Apex Roundup Podcast where I’ll have SHANE REESE of the PEAK CITY PODCAST as my special guest. I’ll provide you with updates from the July 18th town council meeting, and I’ll share more stories from the old newspapers of Apex.

You can find me on the web at ApexRoundup dot com and follow me on Twitter and Facebook… just search for Apex Roundup with Lance Olive.

I’d also like to hear from YOU. Offer me your opinions, or ask me questions. From the website, click on Contact and there are several ways to send me your message.

Thanks for joining me this episode, and until the next round up, Happy Trails!

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