Submitted by Secretary Sue Sturgis
Raleigh’s East Citizens Advisory Council held its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 21 at the Lions Park Community Center. About 35 people attended, with several there for the first time. Attendees approved the February minutes without changes. Chairman Mark Turner recorded the meeting, with video available at www.eastraleigh.org. Attendees were invited for beers at Big Boss Brewery after the meeting.
SUCCESS REPORTS: Spring is here, and the new playground at Lions Park is drawing crowds. The Belvidere Park signs went up near the car wash on Dennis Avenue, and they look beautiful. And a song that ECAC Vice Chair Van Alson wrote with alt-country rock singer-songwriter Ryan Adams was on “American Idol”; there’s a link on the ECAC’s Facebook page.
PARKS AND RECREATION REPORT: Lions Park Assistant Director Jason Clemons reminded people of the department’s tackle loaner program that offers free rods and reels for anyone to use at city lakes.
Upcoming Parks & Rec events include:
* Barks Around the Park, a fun day with dogs, at Millbrook Exchange Park on Saturday, April 16 from 12 to 4 p.m.
* An egg hunt on Saturday, April 16 for children up to age 10 at various centers throughout the city including Lions Park.
* The Oak City Classic Boxing Competition featuring the best talent in amateur boxing from across the state on Saturday, April 16 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. ($5 admission).
* Spring Fling, a spring welcoming celebration with games, activities, music, free food and prizes, will take place on Saturday, April 16 at Peach Road Park from 1 to 4 p.m.
* Springfest is happening Saturday, April 30 from 12 to 4 p.m. at Chavis Park with entertainment, rides displays, vendors and food. Admission is free and tickets for rides and games are 25 cents.
POLICE REPORT: Community Police Officer James Kryskowiak began by taking questions. Asked about RPD bike patrols, he reported that they are underway and officers have gone out several times to different CACs. They like to hang out and eat lunch at places where drug dealers gather.
Regarding a concern about an abandoned car near Powell elementary school, he said he would check on it after the meeting.
Someone asked about the legality of boats being stored on the street. He reported that the matter has been sent to the city attorney for further consideration.
There was concern about a break-in on Timber Drive where the victim was stabbed. Officer Kryskowiak reported that the injury was not life threatening and the suspect is in custody.
Officers have been doing speed enforcement on Glascock Street intermittently throughout the day. Someone noted that the intersection with State Street is of particular concern. Mark reported that the Mordecai CAC is drawing up traffic calming petitions that will address Glascock Street; they will work with the ECAC on this.
It was noted that an attempted robbery at 405 Robin Hood was not included on the crime report handout. The suspect broke screens on two windows and threw a brick through another but did not enter due to the owner’s Dobermans. Someone asked whether the recent burglaries in the area involved gang activity; Officer Kryskowiak said emphatically that they did not. RPD is planning a burglary suppression project in the area.
There was a concern that residents of some rental houses on Donald Ross Drive are using the back area of their yards as dumping grounds. Officer Kryskowiak said he would take photos and pass them on to Inspections. He also encouraged people to call 911 when they see dumping taking place.
Officer Kryskowiak also reported that the department now has its federally funded foot patrols up and running. This last weekend in the ECAC area alone patrolling officers made two arrests, seized one firearm in possession of a felon, served a warrant, arrested people for drug and weapons charges, and made 28 citizen contacts. He asked residents to help the department’s efforts by reporting suspicious people to 911. The patrols, which are scheduled to last through September, are currently taking place three days a week but will increase to four or five days a week once school’s out.
CITY COUNCILOR EUGENE WEEKS: Mr. Weeks came to introduce himself to the ECAC and say hello. He served on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee with Mark Turner and chaired the city’s Human Relations Commission for over six years. He also served as vice chair of the South CAC and chair of his neighborhood organization. Retired from the military, he taught at Broughton High School. He reported that there are some new youth initiatives underway that we’ll be hearing more about soon.
BONNER GAYLORD ON SEECLICKFIX.COM: Mr. Gaylord now serves as the District E representative on City Council, but he grew up in the ECAC.
He first brought SeeClickFix.com to his district, and it went citywide earlier this year. If you see a problem like a pothole, a speeding problem or trash dumping, what department do you call? And once you do report a problem, how do you find out how it was resolved?
That’s what SeeClickFix.com helps with. At the website, users enter a description of the problem and can also upload a photo. The information ends up on a map allowing others to see what’s been reported and where; they can vote up an issue—say, “I agree that this needs to be fixed”—and follow issues that have been reported. Everyone following an issue will be notified about its resolution. If you don’t like the response, you can re-report it; you can also comment on issues. The average time to fix problems has been three days.
In response to a question about anonymity, Mr. Gaylord reported that users can choose any username they want and do not have to use their own. E-mail addresses will be kept confidential.
Mark said that after years of reporting issues around the city he has learned the need to be persistent. What he loves about SeeClickFix.com is that once people report something it’s out there for all to see.
Mr. Gaylord noted that WRAL.com is paying for the program, so it costs city taxpayers nothing. Raleigh is the first community to partner with a news outlet to bring the program to its residents.
CRABTREE CREEK CLEANUP: Alissa Bierma, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper with the nonprofit Neuse River Foundation, reported that the annual cleanup of the river is now in its ninth year. Up until now the cleanup has focused on the main stem of the Neuse, but because of public interest this year’s event on Saturday, April 2 will also include Raleigh’s Crabtree Creek.
ECAC Secretary Sue Sturgis will be coordinating volunteers to clean up the section of the creek between Raleigh Boulevard and Crabtree Boulevard from Lockwood Playground at 1200 Crabtree Boulevard. Bags and gloves are provided; dress for muddy, wet conditions. For more details about the event, visit http://bit.ly/c8kuLy.
The next ECAC meeting will take place at Lions Park on Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m.