SAS Championship Media Day, Mayor Sears Memorial, and Diwali

SAS Championship Media Day

Monday I participated in the SAS Championship Media day event where I provided remarks at the breakfast and played the Championship course. This will be the 22nd year that Cary is home for this PGA Tour Championship. That is the 4th longest tenure for a community to host a PGA Tour Champions Event. Prestonwood is the 2nd longest host facility on Tour. The SAS Championship annually shines the spotlight on Cary through national coverage on Golf Channel and international distribution through PGA Tour Entertainment. SAS has sponsored this event for all 22 years. They are an incredible corporate citizen hosting hundreds of customers each year including C level executives from all over the country and around the world.

Town Manager One-On-One

During the Media Day I did talk with the town manager about several issues. Topics included EMS issues with the county. Cary is currently working with the county to try and resolve their issues. We also talked about the South Hills Mall redevelopment and storm cleanup.

Congresswoman Ross Meeting

Tuesday I met with Congresswoman Ross in Cary to talk about issues facing the underprivileged. In our conversation we discussed the national immigration issue and how that impacts many citizens and businesses in Cary. After my meeting she was scheduled to meet with WakeMed Cary about funding for mental health. We are grateful for all the work Congresswoman does for Cary and the surrounding areas.

Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships Advisory Board

Wednesday I joined a meeting of the Atlantic Tire Championships Board in a debrief meeting of the professional tennis tournament held in September. It was our most successful tournament yet with much larger crowds, ticket sales, and sponsors. In addition to going over data we talked about other potential tournaments at the Cary Tennis Park. The design and build of the new clubhouse will play a major role in determining how successful we are in attracting future tournaments.

N&O Interview

Thursday I did a brief interview with a News and Observer reporter about dancing in Diwali and what Diwali means to Cary. In my remarks I pointed out that our brothers and sisters of Indian descent are a loving and welcoming people. And that they make it easy to participate in their cultural celebrations such as the Festival of Lights, Diwali. Cary embraces this celebration. It is through valuing the gifts, talents, and culture of others that we reach our potential as a community. Happy Diwali!

Diwali Dance Final Rehearsal

We had our final rehearsal for our Diwali dance on Friday night. We have been practicing almost every week since July. So the next time I watch youth or others dancing I will have a much better understanding and appreciation for all they have put into their performance.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears Memorial

Saturday afternoon my wife and I attended a memorial service for long time mayor and my friend, Dick Sears, of Holly Springs. We were blessed to have known him personally and shared dinner with him and his wife, Molly, several times. As mayor he managed Holly Springs growth from a small town of about 2,000 to more than 40,000 today. His personality made you feel like you had known him all your life. I, along with many others were blessed to have known him and will miss him. Rest in Peace Dick!

Diwali Cary

Saturday Cary Diwali was held at Koka Booth Amphitheater. Diwali is an Indian cultural holiday celebrating light and the victory of good over evil. It is a festive occasion in many regions of India and is looked upon as the beginning of the New Year.

The day started with opening ceremonies including remarks and a reading of a proclamation around noon. This was performed by council member Bush since I was at a funeral. There were dance performances, art, education exhibits, and food available throughout the day. At 4:00 there was recognition of the Hum Sub Board of Directors and sponsors. I arrived around 4:30 and provided remarks shortly after arriving. The evening started with a dance competition from local universities including N.C. State and UNC. Afterwards were the celebrity dance performances which included teams from Cary, Morrisville, and Apex with each of the mayors participating. I thought the Cary performance went well and I give myself a B-. Hopefully, no one saw or recognized my mistakes. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing the teams from Morrisville and Apex perform.

The main attraction were Bollywood singers Sandeep Batraa and Shivangi Bhayana who were backed up by amazing performances by local dancers. The evening concluded with a fireworks display. What a great time and a lot of fun. Over 15,000 people attended the event as of 8 PM. If you missed it this year you have to check it out next year.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

This week, we sadly lost Sammie Garris, long time Cary employee and friend, who retired in January 2021. Sammie, with his tremendous spirit and kind heart, touched the lives of countless people during his 44-year tenure. From colleagues to the residents along his route, everyone knew Sammie’s smiling face. 
Solid Waste Supervisor Jesse Troublefield shared with me that “Sammie was a pillar of our community. He was loved by many, and he was a man of the people. Sammie was an individual that was genuine, caring, thoughtful, and lead from his heart. Having the opportunity to know Sam, is an honor. He was truly committed to every aspect of his life and all lives that he touched. Sam will forever live in our hearts, and if we had the opportunity to ask Sam today, “Sam, do you still want it”! I guarantee Sam would reply, “Is butter beans green”! A man of true honor, integrity, dedication, and love for all.”
Sammie was a true representation of the OneCary culture by always putting people first and he will truly be missed.
Take care of yourself and others.

Public Safety Honored by Heart of Cary Association

To commemorate First Responders Day, which is Oct. 28, the Heart of Cary Association honored first responders Thursday at The Matthews House with a breakfast and generously donated thank you notes. Fire Chief Mike Cooper and Police Chief Terry Sult both spoke, giving an update on Downtown Cary. House Representative Gale Adcock, Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz, and Council Members Lori Bush, and Carissa Kohn-Johnson were in attendance, with Council Member Bush issuing a proclamation.

Going Green on TV

Assistant Town Manager Danna Widmar was a guest on WNCN CBS-17’s My Carolina this week. During the five-minute featured segment, Danna discussed the growing need to establish My Tree, Our Tree and the program’s recent partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Sticking with the plant theme, the segment concluded with upcoming gardening and planting events at Good Hope Farm’s Harvest Fest. You can watch the full clip here, and be sure to check out harvest fun at Good Hope Farm on October 15 and November 19.

Cary Friendship Café Grand Opening

This Monday, Assistant Town Manager, Danna Widmar; and Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison; Morgan Mansa, participated in the grand opening of Cary’s first Friendship Café, a space for seniors to eat with one another and host senior-focused community events. In partnership with the White Oak Foundation and Meals on Wheels of Wake County, this location is the seventh Friendship Café in Wake County. The café is located at the White Oak Foundation Community Resource Center which is funded in part by the Cary Community Development Block Grant program. Meals at the Friendship Café are provided by local food purveyors, with discounted and free meal options for those who need them. The Friendship Café is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am-12 pm. 

Advisory Board Orientation

On October 6, staff members Russ Overton, Matt Pentz, and Julie Clifton hosted a new member orientation as part of the onboarding process for 18 new members to Cary’s Council-appointed advisory boards. The new members heard from staff on a variety of topics including the One Cary culture, Leadership on the Line, the Imagine Cary Community Plan, policies relating to board member work, public records, meeting information, and much more.

Firefighters Visit Adams Elementary

Captain Kevin Stewart visited kindergarten classes at Adams Elementary School this week and spoke about fire safety and toured the fire truck. Towards the end of the presentation, Firefighter Ricardo Rojas was advised of a group of Spanish speaking students. Since Firefighter Rojas knows the language, he began to speak to the children in Spanish which resulted in a memorable exchange for all students involved in the fire education session. The teacher was so thankful and happy that all the children felt included and were able to learn from the experience.

Jordan Lake Levels

The water levels in Jordan Lake have been steadily dropping since August because the dry conditions in late summer were moving our area into a drought. One silver lining to the unwelcome arrival of Hurricane Ian is that it brought enough rain to bring lake levels up 1.5 feet, which is only six inches below the normal pool elevation.

Upcoming Meetings

Senior Advisory Board
Oct. 12, 2:00 p.m.

Human Rel, Inclusion, & Diversity
Oct. 12, 6:00 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission
Oct. 12 6:30 p.m.

Environmental Advisory Board
Oct. 13, 6:00 p.m.

Wastewater Testing

I was recently asked about Cary’s involvement in wastewater testing. Here is a summary from the Cary staff:

We’ve been working in this area for a few years and have some really great progress to report.  We typically refer to this work as wastewater surveillance as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC). Cary’s and Morrisville’s utility services have been an innovation leader in advancing this work in NC and the region, and we very much appreciate Council support for this important work over the last few years starting with the testing of opioids in wastewater as early as 2018. Our Wastewater Collection System Manager, has coordinated our participation over the last few years with the testing efforts summarized below:

2018-2019 Bloomberg Challenge – Opioid Testing

Cary’s involvement in public health wastewater testing first began with the 2018 Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge to help increase public understanding of opioid use in our community. We developed a pilot wastewater monitoring project and partnered with Biobot Analytics, an MIT startup company that provides wastewater testing and epidemiology services, to generate opioid consumption data by measuring concentrations of opioid metabolites in sewage. The data collected was shared with public health professionals and used in our community to educate and foster community conversations. The Mayor’s Challenge pilot program occurred through the spring and summer of 2018. This innovative way of collecting and sharing data provided a new tool for healthcare officials and educators focused on developing programs to help those at risk in our community.  The success of the pilot program and our partnership with public health agencies led to extended opioid wastewater testing through much of 2019.  Additional information about the Bloomberg Challenge is described in the press release as follows via weblink.

2019-2020 Biobot Covid Testing

As an early innovator of wastewater testing for opioids, Cary was asked to participate in monitoring and testing for SARS-CoV2 with the start of the COVID Pandemic.  Cary signed an agreement with Biobot Analytics in 2019 and began monitoring for COVID in our wastewater in early 2020.  Additional background information is described on the following web page.

2021 NC State University Covid Testing

Beginning in May 2020, Cary also joined several utilities in our region and participated with NC State University by supporting research for testing methods that further evaluated and developed COVID wastewater testing experience.  This research through NCSU lasted for approximately 1-year.  Additional information can be found at the following web page.

2021-Present – Wake County Testing in conjunction with CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance Network

In October 2021, Cary began participating with Wake County and other public health agencies by collecting influent wastewater at our three water reclamation facilities twice a week to test for concentrations of COVID-19 RNA fragments. Wake County coordinates data management, sampling, and record keeping to develop metrics for public health. Wake County also evaluates wastewater surveillance data against other available health indicators and works with the CDC, NCDHHS, and local communities to improve information and data sharing about the pandemic.

Since November 2021, COVID-19 wastewater testing data for Cary is available on the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) – NC Wastewater Monitoring Network website along with other COVID-19 response health metrics.  Cary began its participation and data sharing with a Wake County Public Health funded project in coordination with NCDHHS and the CDC National Wastewater Surveillance System that tracks COVID-19 trends in sewer systems. Wastewater monitoring is a good representation of a larger population who use our wastewater services every day and contribute regularly to the community-based assessment.  The wastewater monitoring network is expanding and additional parameters such as monkey pox and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are being added to the testing panel in select locations.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • Complaint about the town’s E-Bike pilot program
  • Complaint about messaging for Ian storm debris pickup
  • A request to ban all Pitbulls in Cary (we do not have that authority)

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with Engineering firm’s representative, SAS Championship activities, SAS Championship Pro-Am, and the SAS Championship Sunday final.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 16th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to and email personal comments to

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