Episode 012 – Veridea UDO; Ewan Pritchard (pt.1); 1968 DNC Vietnam from Apex

Episode #012 of the Apex Roundup Podcast. It’s the “Veridea Came Back Again” special!

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Dr. Ewan Pritchard, Assistant Director of FREEDM Systems Center at NCSU

Intro
In this episode, I’ve rounded up for you…

  1. A couple of political cartoons from 1968, including the impact if Vietnam War demonstrators
  2. Part 1 of my interview with Dr. Ewan Pritchard, Assistant Director for FREEDM Center at NC State University
  3. And we’ll kick if off with updates from the November 21st town council meeting.

All coming your way. Right now.

Welcome
Jumping into podcasting with both boots, I’m Lance Olive, host of the Apex Roundup Podcast. I’m glad you’re here with me right now. My goal is to bring you the news of Apex that the print media no longer covers. The Apex Herald? They folded in 2013. The Southwest Wake insert to the News & Observer? They’ve gone foodie. It’s not even news. And even social media posts almost never present both sides of the story.

That’s why I’m here. Thirty minutes, twice a month, I round up the stories, the decisions and the opinions, and I share ’em with you.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and Google. Just search for Apex Roundup with Lance Olive.

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Council Updates
Yee-ha! Let’s get started, shall we?

The Apex Town Council met on November 21st, at 7:00pm to hold its second regularly scheduled meeting of the month at town hall. All council members were present. On the agenda, there were 2 presentations, 12 consent agenda items, 7 public hearings scheduled, 3 new business items, and 2 items to be discussed in closed session.

Presentation #1 was a proclamation for Small Business Saturday, encouraging citizens to spend their money at a small business. The classic example is to go visit the small retail product or service companies near your town. They like it when you spend cash so they don’t have to pay the credit card company their fee.

Presentation #2 was a readout of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR for short), where Keith Joyce, our auditor, gave us a clean report for the 23rd consecutive year. The town of Apex government continues to have excellent accounting processes and execution. In the past fiscal year, we collected 23 million dollars of ad valorem (that is, property) taxes. This represents a 10% growth over the previous year, and is double the revenue from just 8 years ago. With the total value of annexed properties at 6 billion dollars, it’s not just population growth accounting for the increase in revenue.

All 12 consent agenda items passed together, so we moved on to public hearings.

Public Hearing #5 was considered first so we could continue it until January 16th, 2018.

Public Hearing #1 was rezoning case #17CZ23 for 14 acres on Kelly Rd to build 20 homes on an existing plot of mostly cleared pasture land next to Kelly Grove. After offering 2 new conditions (one for conduit to aid with the installation of solar panels, and one to increase the minimum lot size to 8,000 square feet), Stuart Jones, the representative for the developer, received 4 yes votes, with Council Member Dozier voting no.

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Future Kelly Grove, a small neighborhood

Public Hearing #2 was annexation case #612 for the Westford PUD, containing 101 acres on the north side of US Highway 64 West. It passed unanimously.

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Annexation $612 for The Townes at Westford

Public Hearing #3 was annexation case #615 for the Crossroads Ford property, containing 22 acres on the southwest corner of US Highway 64 and North Salem Street. It passed unanimously.

Public Hearing #4 was annexation case #616 for the Deer Creek Area 3 property, containing less than 1 acre south of US Highway 64 along New Hill Olive Chapel Road. It passed unanimously.

The council then went into closed session to seek the advice of the town attorney prior to hearing the next item.

Public Hearing #6 was a revisit of the Hudson Group’s request to amend the Town of Apex UDO to allow the landowners to replace the Responsible Person (capital R, capital P) at their discretion. This is perhaps the fourth time this issue has come up due to their strained relationship with the current RP, Tom Hendrickson of Lookout Ventures. Jason Barron represented the applicant, while Tom Hendrickson spoke for himself during the public hearing. When the vote came along, the request was denied by a vote of 4 to 1, with Council Member Schulze voting no. This is a very complex issue, which involves almost ten years of land consolidation, the creation of a completely new district and some 300-odd modifications to the UDO that were requested by HH Trinity several years ago and accepted by the council in early 2011.

Public Hearing #7 contained 3 staff-requested development ordinances related to signs and modular units. The first two items passed unanimously, while the third passed with 4 yes votes, with Council Member Schulze voting no, expressing concern that schools were getting special exemptions for placing modular units on an accelerated permit process, rather than the same as all other developments.

Moving on into…

New Business Item #1, to investigate and perform due diligence on acceptance about half an acre of land trapped between South Salem St, the CSX railroad, and our largest water tower.  The town manager reckons that, as long as there are no hidden surprises, this unwanted piece of land would make for a nice “beautiful entry” location. Maybe even a place for future outdoor public art exhibits. It passed unanimously.

I’ll place a picture of the site in my show notes, which you can read in your web browser at apex roundup dot com slash 012

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Town of Apex may acquire this small piece of property

New Business Item #2 was a request to approve the Westford Master Subdivision Plan of 56 acres on the north side of US Highway 64 West. It will include 315 townhouses. It passed unanimously.

New Business Item #3 was a minor ordinance change requiring people to wait until after the Christmas on Salem Street is over before putting out chairs for the Christmas parade. The last couple of years have seen more chair placing on Friday, blocking the downtown activities and creating a hazard for pedestrians. So, please, wait until after 9:00 pm or before putting your chairs out. But do enjoy yourself at the Christmas parade!

At 9:25 pm, the council went into closed session to (1) consult with the town attorney to preserve attorney-client privilege, and (2) to discuss a personnel matter.

The meeting formally adjourned around 10:30 pm.

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Disclaimer
The content of this podcast is proudly produced in Apex, North Carolina. By listening to it, you agree to hold me harmless for anything I say here. Although I am indeed the mayor, the opinions expressed by me are my own. All information shared on this podcast is already public record. This podcast is a private venture and no public or campaign money was used in its production. Make decisions by doing your own research, because I’m just here for your entertainment. Random statement about lawyers.

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Interview
In this episode I begin my interview with Dr. Ewan Pritchard, Apex resident and Assistant Director of the FREEDM Technology Center at North Carolina State University.

Example: But first, this episode is sponsored by Time 2 Go Travel, featuring group trips for home school families and girl scouts. Time 2 Go Travel is now developing a Concierge Trip to Ireland. Someone else plans all the logistics of the trip and takes you and your friends to at least five cities in Ireland. Learn and have fun while someone else does the hard work to make your Irish dream trip come true. All you have to do is pack, and meet the group at the airport. To learn more about this concierge trip to Ireland, go to Time 2 Go Travel’s website at t2gt.com. That’s T, the number two, G T dot com. If you book the trip and use the promo code “APEXROUNDUP”, you’ll receive $100 off the cost of the trip.

Here’s how my conversation with Ewan Pritchard went.

Synopsis

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Dr. Ewan Pritchard, Assistant Director of FREEDM Systems Center at NCSU

Ewan came to Cary / Raleigh area as a 4-year old from England. He attended NC State University for 18 years to work and earn his PhD. Since 7th grade, he has wanted to work on electric transportation, which is what he’s always been doing. NC State has a solar car team, and Ewan is the faculty advisor for Wolfpack Motor Sports (Formula, Baja and Eco cars). He is the Associate Director at the FREEDM Systems Center at NCSU, researching power generation for the electric grid, focusing on local generation and more local distribution of energy.

Ewan had an opportunity to work at Tesla, but passed on it because housing in Palo Alto is ridiculously expensive. His favorite weather season is “the next one”. From his current home on N. Salem St., he can watch the Christmas Parade, and often has friends come over to watch from his front yard.  He shops at Costco, Target and other box stores, but also enjoys walking downtown most nights to eat at La Rancherita, The Provincial and Salem Street Pub. He used to play soccer at the Hunter Street Park until he tore his ACL.

He has three daughters into soccer, cheerleading and gymnastics. His family occasionally attends church in Raleigh and enjoys cycling around town and along the American Tobacco Trail.

That concludes my interview with North Carolina State University’s Electric Transportation Big Thinker, Dr. Ewan Pritchard. On the next episode of the Apex Roundup Podcast, I’ll have the conclusion of the interview.

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Old News
In this segment of the podcast I like to include old news so we can learn what was shaping Apex 50 years ago… well, 49 years ago, in this case.

In 1968, the Vietnam War was the result of the spread of soviet-style communism in the 60s, and, while most Americans had generally agreed to a “Cold War Consensus” that communism needed to be stopped, others, including the new anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, began to argue that we should not be fighting a war in Vietnam. The pressure came to a head at the Democratic National Convention in late August 1968, and led to a very heated DNC in Chicago, which created such divide that some democrats began to leave the party.

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USSR Cartoon 1968

These world events led to the two political cartoons that I found in the September 5th and 12th editions of the Western Wake Herald. I’ll describe them now, but I’ll also insert these into my show notes at apex roundup dot com slash 012.

One of them has a giant Russian boot, about to step on a Czech man, kneeling in the Hitler’s footprint — the suggestion that the USSR was using a similarly heavy-handed, albeit communist, encroachment on Czechoslovakia, in an effort to rule over their people and lands.

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DNC Cartoon 1968

The second cartoon depicts the divide of the DNC, showing a Long Time Democrat getting out of the back half of his donkey suit, exclaiming, “I’m getting out of this!”

If you know someone born in the 30s or 40s, ask them what they remember about that year and those times.

The last “old news” item is more of a cover page montage that I liked. From September 12th, 1968, the Western Wake Herald announced the first two Miss Apex contestants, Sarah Ann Gargis and Deborah Karen Jones. Meanwhile, Mr. Sherrill Brinkley was given the Apex Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. Besides several civic boards, he also sat on the Town of Apex Planning Board.

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September 12, 1968 issue of Western Wake Herald

It’s nice to see that, in the midst of national and even worldwide crisis, the small town of Apex was going about its days doing good and recognizing others who did good.

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Wrap
Hey! Thanks for joining me today for the 12th episode of the Apex Roundup Podcast.

Today I brought you updates from the November 21st, 2017 Apex Town Council meeting, including the failed UDO amendment proposed by Hudson Group for the Veridea project. If you want to review the show notes for this episode, point your web browser to apex roundup dot com slash 012 and you’ll be able to scroll down to read this entire episode.

Next episode I’ll be share the happenings of the Apex town council meeting for December 5th, which will be an organizational meeting. I’ll also have the second half of my interview with Ewan Pritchard. So subscribe to the podcast and make sure you don’t miss it.

You can find this podcast on the web at Apex Roundup dot com and subscribe in iTunes and Google Play. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook (@apexroundup).

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Hey. What’s on YOUR mind? Do you have an opinion to share? Got any questions related to Apex? Go to Apex Roundup dot com slash contact and you can find multiple ways to get in touch with me.

I’m so glad you listened all the way to the end with me today. You get 5 shiny coins! Until the next roundup… Happy Trails!

 


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