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TRAVELS AROUND TOWN

So much to report on these days

Posted on May 18, 2022

Updated on May 22, 2022

OpinionColumns

Despite my declaration to not work more than 12 hours a day, here I am doing just that on the night before primary election day, which will also likely exceed 12 hours. 
Not that I’m complaining too much. I heard my predecessor stayed up all night at the paper once or twice. And I can’t even count the number of late nights at the office over the years. There’s always more that could be done every day on any number of fronts. I wish we could do more to reflect the breadth and depth of everything happening in all our towns. 
In the meantime, we continue to encourage submissions from all corners of these amazing communities. From schools and churches to businesses and events, please send us press releases and photos, letters and comments and ideas that mirror the many goings on we can’t always cover. 
Committed to continue the work of the Allen family and all those who have kept this paper alive for 75 years, we’re among those who have maintained a stewardship, a trust to do our level best to report on as much of the news as well as we possibly can. And while it might not appear that we’re doing so, that the paper was bigger and looked better back in the day, I can surely understand and sympathize with those sentiments. All I can do is try to create a better week after week.
Whether or not this constitutes doing so, I’ve been wanting to write an evolving version of this column for the last three months now.
Since then, it’s a privilege to have been in the presence of so many amazing people. 
After hearing about him a few times at Rotary and Community Council, it was great to finally meet Rev. Ken Steigler from All Nations Church at the State of the Town on Feb. 21 and interact with him many times since, up to and including the prayer walk on May 5. 
Later in February, it was an honor to meet Shelly Bleiweiss. A retired social worker and Holocaust educator, he is doing important work.
Thanks to Bob McCamy, it was good to participate, however haphazardly on my part, in a Launch Wake Forest class in early March. While mortified that I still haven’t written a proper story on it, we did do one story on one business, Cryo Wake Forest. From what I’ve witnessed and read, all evidence suggests Launch is an extremely beneficial program helping people to become and sharpen their skills as entrepreneurs.
A couple days later at the American Legion, I learned more about the source of the bagpipe music I’d been hearing at the office — An Gorta Mor Pipes and Drums, led by pipe major Brian Wells. It was great talking to him, meeting some other pipers and drummers and hearing them practice as they do every Wednesday. A few days later, they contributed considerably to the March 12 St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Yacht Club.

It's also been great to connect with Rich Heroux, Tony Attina and many other members of the American Legion Post 187 and VFW Post 8466.
On March 17 I had the pleasure of meeting Tilda Caudle at the Alston-Massenburg Center and walking over to the community garden. She was wearing a mask and didn’t say much, but from that meeting and others since I can tell she’s a force of nature.  
Further educational still, a meeting with Rolesville Town Manager Kelly Arnold toward the end of March was very informative. From new housing and commercial property to municipal office space and beyond, this town is on the right track.
Right across the street, a woman named Annette Henson thinks so as well. A former Marine, she opened Greenway Beer and Wine three years ago and it’s going gangbusters. The cool and casual bar and bottle shop offers excellent selections across the board and boasts a great outdoor space as well.  
Much more education awaited me back in Wake Forest when I met Joy Shillingsburg at Hope House a few days later. My 15 pages of notes from nearly 90 minutes of conversation are a testament to the complexity and importance of the work she does through St. John’s Episcopal Church, Community Table and Hope House to assist those in need, build relationships and create a closer community. Together will the Rev. Enoch and Marion Holloway and many concerned and dedicated others, the work she does makes a real difference.   
On April 2 it was fun to hang out with the Red Knights, the international motorcycle club for fire fighters, when they rode into Wake Forest. 
As witness to my first flag-raising ceremony that following Monday, in honor of those who served in the military and contributed to the Wake Forest community, I can say it’s a moving and memorable experience. The second one in May was equally so.  
My first Friday Night on White experience was memorable as well. The crowd of 10,000 people or so that calmly crowded the downtown streets was the most I and others had seen anywhere in a long time. What an amazing accomplishment by the town and all involved to make that happen. 
And although we met during my first week on the job, it was good to see Ann Welton surrounded by friends at her retirement party at The Corner on April 28. 
Among them was Liz Simpers, the new but widely well-known Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce President, and Joe Kimray, president of the chamber board, who said he’s confident Liz will do an amazing job. If her first Meet in the Street was any indication, this was another incredible sight to behold as well. Hats off to her and all who had a hand in pulling all the parts of the festival together.
And after witnessing my first Scottish Highland Games in Oxford on April 30 — a spirited event featuring the strongest people I’ve ever seen, fine Scottish foods, bagpipes and drums — I moved from Warrenton to Wake Forest on May 1. With thanks to recently retired housing director Doug Nalley and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, it’s been a blessing to live in this community. 

Correction: In the print edition, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary was written incorrectly as Southeast. 

Gary Band is the editor of The Wake Weekly and Butner-Creedmoor News.

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