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February 19
Wake County Real Estate Value Continuing To Rise In Fiscal Year 2018

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Monday, February 19, 20178
For Immediate Release

Contact: Luther Snyder, Deputy Director
O. 919-856-5462 M. 919-369-7045
luther.snyder@wakegov.com

WAKE COUNTY REAL ESTATE VALUE CONTINUING TO RISE IN FISCAL YEAR 2018

Raleigh, NC – A comparison of property recording activity between the first six months of Fiscal Year 2016 (July – December 2016) and FY 2017 (July – December 2017) indicates we are seeing an upward trend in the real estate market in Wake County.

The July – December 2017 six-month average volume of property sales (Deed Volume) was flat, but the value of the real estate sold per excise tax collected is up 15% compared to the same time frame in 2017. The increase in value indicates the property sold came with a higher price tag in the 2017 six-month period.

Deeds of Trust represent mortgages on real estate. Our Deed of Trust average volume is down by 19%, which was likely influenced by the factor that interest rates have been held low for such a long period of time. Hence, the long period of low interest rates has flattened out the market.

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Click here to download the press release

February 12
​Ellis Named Wake County Manager

David_Ellis_Web_Vert_SM.jpgAfter a nationwide search, the Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Feb. 12, announced that it has selected David Ellis to serve as county manager, the organization’s top leadership position.

“Wake County is my home, and I’m excited to move into a role that allows me to do even more to benefit my community and its residents,” said Ellis, who has more than 25 years of local government experience. “I look forward to working with our dedicated staff and local partners to make strides in key focus areas such as housing affordability, community health and economic vitality.”

Ellis has spent the past 3.5 months serving as interim county manager, following the retirement of Jim Hartmann on Oct. 27, 2017. Ellis started his tenure with Wake County in February 2015 when he accepted a deputy county manager position. In that role, he oversaw several departments, including Human Services, Community Services and Environmental Services.

“David knows how to achieve what we, as a board, want to accomplish, and that’s why we unanimously selected him to be our county manager,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Jessica Holmes. “Out of 25 applicants from across the country, he clearly stood out as the person who can realize our vision for the county.”

Prior to coming to Wake County, Ellis served as assistant city manager in Charlottesville, Virginia, for three years. He also held positions in Fairfax County, Virginia, including assistant to the county executive, assistant director of Human Services, and manager of the Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Department of Code Compliance.

Ellis holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University. He also holds the distinction of credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association. In addition, Ellis successfully completed the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government program in 2017.

(Editor’s note: Ellis’ headshot is available here.)
February 08
​Give the Unconditional Love of a Pet This Valentine’s Day

Adoption special runs Feb. 10–16

Valentine’s Day is almost here. If you would like to give your someone special the gift of unconditional love from a new pet, the Wake County Animal Center can help.

The center is running a Valentine’s Day adoption special from Saturday, Feb. 10, to Friday, Feb. 16., which will feature reduced adoption rates for adult cats and dogs. Adopt cats ages six months or older at whatever price you choose. Dogs ages six months and older will be available for $25.

Adult cats and dogs make great pets, because they have already developed their personalities and behaviors. If a cat or dog is coming from a foster home, potential owners will also know more about what the animal is like in a home environment.

Of the animals available for adoption, there are approximately two adult cats and 31 adult dogs at the center, as well as approximately eight adult cats and 20 adult dogs currently in foster homes. View the Wake County Animal Center Adoption Gallery to see all animals available for adoption.

Advice for giving and receiving a pet this Valentine’s Day
If you are considering giving a pet as a Valentine’s Day gift, make sure the recipient can have a pet at their home. Some apartment complexes may require a deposit for pets, or may not allow animals.

Instead of surprising someone with a new pet, consider giving them items the pet will need, such as a food bowl, water bowl, leash or collar, and then offer to pick out the pet together.

Gift Certificates
Gift certificates are also available for purchase at the Wake County Animal Center. This is the perfect gift for the person in your life who wants to pick out a new pet. A gift certificate can be purchased for any dollar amount and redeemed within a year for the adoption of a pet from the center. Any amount left over after the adoption will be donated to the Wake County Animal Center.


About the Wake County Animal Center
The Wake County Animal Center is an open-admission shelter operated by Wake County. The center receives all stray, abandoned and surrendered pets in the county and works in partnership with fosters, volunteers and local rescues to treat and rehome thousands of homeless animals every year.

To learn more about the Wake County Animal Center and animals available for adoption, visit wakegov.com/pets, and follow the center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @WakeGovPets.
February 05
​Wake County Adopts Plan to Improve Residents’ Access to Food

More than 131,000 Wake County residents are food insecure. This means that 1 in 7 residents do not have the food they need to live healthy lives.

“Wake County is growing quickly, at a rate of 67 people per day,” said Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria. “We know that any problems we do not address will only expand as our population grows. Now is the time to take action on food security to ensure all residents have access to safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food.”

On Feb. 5, the Wake County Board of Commissioners adopted Moving Beyond Hunger, a Comprehensive Food Security Plan. Developed by Wake County, the Capital Area Food Network, Cooperative Extension and Community Food Lab, the plan includes recommendations on policies, partnerships and activities that will improve the local food system.

“Over the past few years, Wake County has made great strides to help end childhood hunger, with programs such as universal school breakfast, school food pantries, Backpack Buddies and the Summer Food Service Program,” said Jessica Holmes, chair of the board. “I am excited that we now have a comprehensive plan to build a sustainable food future for all Wake County residents.”

With five strategies, five indicators of progress and 41 recommended actions to undertake over three years, the plan will link existing efforts, leverage new leadership and provide everyone in Wake County with a roadmap to participate.

To jump-start the plan’s recommended actions, the board established three food security priorities for Wake County:

  • NextGen Farming Initiative at Triangle Land Conservancy’s Walnut Hill Preserve;
  • Development of a food hub at Passage Home’s new Community Training and Development Center on Hoke Street; and
  • Exploration of an Agriculture Education Hub at Walnut Hill Preserve.

These efforts will develop opportunities to support the next generation of farmers, provide education on agriculture and fuel job development.

“We believe that everyone in Wake County has a role to play in improving food security. We designed this plan to draw on the incredible resources across the county and give everyone a way to get involved,” said Erin White, founder of Community Food Lab.

Municipalities, organizations and residents can get started by accessing the plan’s Action Manual by visiting CAFN’s website.
February 05
​Learn How to Help a Child in Need at Foster Care Expo

With more than 600 children currently in foster care, Wake County needs more families to open their homes to children in need.

To help interested families learn more, the county will host a Foster Parent Business and Recruitment Expo on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Swinburne Building, located at 220 Swinburne St. in Raleigh. Families interested in fostering children will have the opportunity to learn how to become licensed foster parents.

Current foster families will be present at the event to discuss their personal experiences, provide insights and answer questions. There will also be an opportunity for foster families who have small businesses to promote and sell their products.

“By increasing the number of foster families in our community, we increase the number of homes that can meet the diverse needs of our children,” said Delores Long, interim division director of Child Welfare. “This event will be an excellent opportunity for potential foster families to ask questions, interact with staff and learn how they can make a difference in a child’s life."

Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 10.

Wake County Human Services is currently recruiting foster families to care for children, siblings and teens. Visit our website to learn more about becoming a foster parent.
February 01
​Celebrate Black History Month at Wake County Public Libraries

Throughout the month of February, Wake County Public Libraries celebrates Black History Month by hosting a variety of programs and events where visitors can learn more about the depth of the African American experience, history and culture. Here is a sample of the opportunities available:

Lunsford Lane of Raleigh: Blackness, Manhood, Slavery, and Freedom in Antebellum America
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Olivia Raney Public Library
Follow the journey of Lunsford Lane from slavery to freedom with Dr. Craig Friend, professor of history at North Carolina State University. Lane was born a slave in 1803 in Raleigh. This program is offered in partnership with the Wake County Historical Society. Registration is not required.

Ella at 100: Celebrating the Artistry of Ella Fitzgerald
Sunday, Feb. 18, 2–3:30 p.m.
Richard B. Harrison Community Library
Celebrate the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald, the jazz legend born 100 years ago. View the biopic “Ella Fitzgerald: The Singer Not the Song” and listen to the sounds of The New Castle Combo as they share Fitzgerald’s songs and music. Registration is requested.

Meet Author Carole Boston Weatherford
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2–3 p.m.
Cameron Village Regional Library
How did slavery, segregation and social justice shape our history and cultural evolution? Find out from New York Times bestselling author and distinguished scholar Carole Boston Weatherford. Weatherford is acclaimed for works of fiction and nonfiction that speak to both adults and children. Families and readers of all ages are welcome. Registration is requested.


Other programs featuring art, music and lectures by local experts on black history will take place throughout February. Great books for further exploration are also available. For more information, contact Elena Owens, library experience manager, at eowens@wakegov.com.

For information on Wake County Public Libraries locations, programs and services, visit wakegov.com/libraries.

January 30
Meet the Candidates for County Manager

​Wake County is seeking input from the public during its process to hire a new county manager to lead county government. A special meet and greet event with the three county manager finalists is scheduled:

Thursday, Feb. 1
5:307:30 p.m.
Wake County Justice Center
301 S. McDowell St., Raleigh,
Second floor, Room 2800

During the event, the candidates will introduce themselves and explain why they are interested in the county manager role. Attendees will then have the opportunity to speak informally with the candidates and provide feedback to the county.

The event is free and open to the public.

January 26
​Show Love for Wake County Parks

Sample of programs available in February

February is the perfect month to spend some quality time at one (or more!) of Wake County’s eight parks and two nature preserves. Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space hosts programs that give visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about animals and nature, park history and much more. The following is a sample of the programs scheduled in February.

 

Whooo is the Screech Owl?
Friday, Feb. 2, 6–8 p.m.
Lake Crabtree County Park
Do you hear screeches at night? It might be the local Eastern Screech-Owl! Join us for an evening hike as we search for owls and other nocturnal creatures. Learn about the owl, see what their homes look like, and find out how you can build your very own owl box. This program is free, but preregistration is required. Lake Crabtree County Park is located at 1400 Aviation Parkway, Morrisville.

Nature Watchers: Who’s in the Forest
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 11 a.m.–noon
Crowder District Park
If you can’t see animals, how do you know they are there or where they have been? Read a fun story about critters in the forest, then discover a few sets of funny feet and match them up to their owners. Wrap up the class with a quick walk around the park to search for animal clues in a fun, tracks-themed scavenger hunt. This program is for ages 3–5. The program fee is $4 per child, and  preregistration is required. Meet at the Upper Pavilion. Crowder County Park is located at 4709 Ten Ten Road, Apex.

Family Wildlife Series: Nature at Night
Friday, Feb. 9, 6–7 p.m.
Blue Jay Point County Park
Put on your best “sneaking feet” for a nighttime hike down to the lake. Learn what critters are active at night – and how you can tell! This is a family program for ages 5 and older. The program fee is $1 per person, and preregistration is required. Blue Jay Point County Park is located at 3200 Pleasant Union Church Road, Raleigh.

A Side of History: The Legends of Saint Valentine
Saturday, Feb. 10, 11 a.m.–noon
Historic Yates Mill County Park
Every Feb. 14, loved ones exchange flowers and gifts in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Explore the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England. Then create a Valentine's Day card to give to a special someone. This program is for all ages. The fee is $1/person, and preregistration is required. Historic Yates Mill County Park is located at 4620 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh.

Great Backyard Bird Count
Feb. 16–19 
Various locations
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual, four-day event that encourages bird watchers of all ages and skill levels to count birds and report their results online to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The data collected provides scientists with useful information, which enables them to better evaluate fluctuations in bird populations. Wake County Parks staff encourages you to participate by joining us for our counts and by counting in your own backyard – check out the programs and events we have available. Whether you're an avid birder or a beginner who wants to learn more about local birds, the GBBC is for you! Learn more about the GBBC here.

GBBC Bird Walk along the American Tobacco Trail
Friday, Feb. 16, 8–10 a.m.
American Tobacco Trail 
Observe and count the variety of birds that can be found along the American Tobacco Trail as we walk to the Beaver Creek Bridge. This is a free program for ages 6 and older. Preregistration is required for all participants. Dress for the weather, bring water and binoculars if you have them, or borrow ours. Meet at the New Hill Parking Area at the lower picnic table, located at1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Road, Apex.

Farmer Presidents
Saturday, Feb. 17, 1–3 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 18, 2–4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 19, noon–2 p.m.
Historic Oak View County Park
In celebration of Presidents Day, children are invited to learn more about U.S. presidents who were also farmers and enjoy a presidential craft activity. The wayside event is free, and no reservations are required. Historic Oak View County Park is located at 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh.

Raptors of Harris Lake County Park
Monday, Feb. 19, 1–2:30 p.m.
Harris Lake County Park
Many kinds of raptors and birds of prey call Harris Lake County Park home. Some, like the bald eagle, stay all year, while others, such as the osprey, are only part-time residents. Discover the adaptations that make them such great survivors, and take a short hike around the park to search for sightings. This program is free for ages 6 and older. Preregistration is required for all participants. Dress for the weather, bring water and binoculars if you have them, or borrow ours. Meet at the Cypress Shelter. Harris Lake County Park is located at 2112 County Park Drive, New Hill.

 

To learn more about Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WakeGovParks. You can also check out each of our parks on Facebook.

January 24
​Connect with Energy Assistance at Weekend Application Event

Wake County residents who are having a difficult time meeting increased heating costs may be eligible for help. 

On Saturday, Jan. 27, Wake County Human Services staff will be available to help people apply for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. LIEAP helps households stay warm during the cold winter months by easing the burden of expensive heating bills. Residents who qualify for LIEAP will receive one-time financial heating assistance.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria;
  • Meet an income test;
  • Have financial reserves at or below $2,250; and
  • Be responsible for paying its heating bills.

The application event will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Swinburne Building, located at 220 Swinburne St. in Raleigh.

Residents who cannot attend the event can download an application online. Signed applications can be submitted in person or via email, mail or fax.

For more information, visit our website or contact us at LIEAP@wakegov.com or 919-212-7370.

January 22
​Libraries to Show Support for Armed Forces

Visitors invited to create Valentines for Veterans

Wake County librarians are teaming up to help the community show support for local men and women who have served in the Armed Forces through the Valentines for Veterans program.

From Jan. 19–Feb. 3, library visitors of all ages are encouraged to use the craft tables to create valentines, which will be delivered to the Durham VA Medical Center prior to Valentine’s Day. All regional and community libraries will participate, and materials will be provided.

“This gives the community an opportunity to honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Ann Burlingame, deputy director, Wake County Public Libraries. “We hope all library visitors take a moment to stop by the craft table and create a valentine.”

Valentines for Veterans is a long-standing national event that gives residents the opportunity to show gratitude for the services rendered by the country’s veterans. In 2017, more than 7,100 valentines created by members of Wake County Libraries were distributed at the Durham VA Medical Center.

For more information about Valentines for Veterans, contact Sarah Kramer, youth services manager at Eva Perry Regional Library, or Megan Roberts, youth services manager at Cameron Village Regional Library.

For information on Wake County Public Libraries locations, programs and services, visit wakegov.com/libraries.

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