Welcome to our weekly e-newsletter - What's Up in Wake Forest. Here you'll find information about Town programs, services, activities, projects, special events and more! If you haven't already, tell your friends and neighbors to visit our E-Notifier page to learn about our full array of free email offerings.

The Town of Wake Forest is in the process of updating the Community Plan and creating a Future Land Use Map, and we need your input. On Tuesday, April 13, from 6:30-8 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 17, from 10-11:30 a.m., the Town will host virtual visioning workshops that give residents, business owners and stakeholders the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on the future of land use and development in Wake Forest.

Both workshops will have the same format and content. Each will include a short presentation on existing conditions in Wake Forest; highlights of important issues and key opportunities to include in the Community Plan; and interactive participant polling via smartphone, computer or tablet.

Anyone wishing to participate should register for the meeting of their choice. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the virtual workshop.
Renaissance Centre to reopen May 7 with Yolanda Rabun concert

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts, 405 S. Brooks St., will re-open to the public and re-connect with the community beginning Friday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by Yolanda Rabun.
Advance tickets are $20 each plus tax and can be purchased online with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit card or by calling the Renaissance Centre Box Office at 919-435-9458.
Yolanda Rabun is a fierce songstress and North Carolina-based recording artist who is versatile enough to handle all styles of music – but favors jazz and soul. Rabun exploded onto the jazz scene first on Stanley Baird’s 2007 Traffic Jam hit single, “I Want 2 Love You,” and, in 2011, released her debut CD project, “So Real,” on which she co-wrote several songs, including the title song. In 2012, Rabun infused Soul, R&B, Gospel, Folk, Smooth and Traditional Jazz on her sophomore solo album, “Christmastime,” and followed in 2013 with the Adult Contemporary single, “Hold on To Your Dreams.” For more information about Yolanda Rabun, visit http://yolandarabun.com/

The Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation will host a Drive-up Shred-a-thon Fundraiser on Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the parking lot of Patterson Hall, 101 N. Wingate St., on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The drive-thru event will allow residents to shred office paper, manilla folders, hanging file folders, spiral notebooks, receipts and envelopes. Hardcover books, magazines, newspapers, cardboard, credit cards, CDs, three-ring binders and x-rays will not be accepted.

The April 17 Shred-a-thon is a fundraiser to support the mission of the Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation. Participants will be charged $10 per box or $25 for three boxes. Cash is preferred but checks and credit cards will also be accepted.

The Town of Wake Forest will host its fifth annual paper-shredding event on Monday, April 19. Free and open to the public, the shred event will take place rain or shine in the parking lot of the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, 405 S. Brooks St., from noon to 6 p.m. – or until the three paper shredding trucks are full. The occasion will offer area residents and businesses the opportunity to protect themselves from identity theft and dispose of confidential documents in an environmentally responsible manner.

Wegman’s officials say they plan to begin stocking the new Wake Forest store, 11051 Ligon Mill Road, and training employees in the very near future. As a result, residents and motorists may observe increased activity at the store and in the parking lot. But don’t be alarmed! The store isn’t expected to open until late spring.

In related news, the new Forbes Grove Way, which runs behind Wegman’s, and the Ligon Mill Road extension remain closed to the public, while work continues on the roadway improvements along Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass and the widening and extension of Ligon Mill Road.

Once the roadway improvements are completed, Ligon Mill Road will become a four-lane thoroughfare with a grass median from Stone Monument Drive to Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass. Contractors are in the process of installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Forbes Grove/Reynolds Mill and Ligon Mill.

The work along Dr. Calvin Jones/NC 98 in the vicinity of the new Wegman’s will result in the installation of several turn lanes and three new intersections.
For more information, email Transportation Engineer Jonathan Jacobs.

The PRCR Department will commemorate “National Physical Fitness Month” in May by offering a 50-Mile Walking Challenge for area residents ages 11 and older.
The concept is simple. The PRCR Department is challenging area residents to walk a total of 50 miles in May and use tracking cards to record their progress. Walking locations may include neighborhoods, schools, churches, parks and greenways - just to name a few.
There is no cost to participate, and online registration is open throughout April. The first 200 people to register will receive a free water bottle. Tracking cards are available for pickup at Joyner Park Community Center (JPCC), 701 Harris Road.
Everyone ages 11 and over who registers, completes 50 miles, and returns their tracking cards to JPCC by Thursday, June 3, will receive a commemorative t-shirt (while supplies last) and be entered into a June 4 prize drawing for a $50 Visa gift card. 

The Wake Forest Fire Department (WFFD) will host a Drive By Fish Fry on Friday, April 16, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. – or until all the fish plates are sold. The drive-thru event will be offered along Elm Avenue in front of Fire Station #1, 420 Elm Ave. An illustrative map of the drive-thru system is now available.

Dinners are $10 each and will include generous portions of fried flounder, boiled potatoes, coleslaw, and hush puppies. No beverages will be provided.
Online orders are accepted through Thursday, April 15. Only available while supplies last, orders may also be accepted on the day of the event. Please note: Due to a limited number of meals, ordering ahead is strongly encouraged.

Fish fry proceeds will benefit the Wake Forest Firefighters Foundation.

The Wake Forest Fire Department is supporting Autism Awareness Month throughout April by wearing custom “Autism Awareness” t-shirts with puzzle lettering.

The idea for the initiative came from Fire Chief Ron Early, his wife, Tammy, and Captain Justin Brown.

“Autism Awareness is near and dear to our hearts,” said Chief Early. “It is our hope that by bringing awareness to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we can help people better understand individuals diagnosed with ASD with a more loving heart, patience, and kindness.”

The WFFD’s campaign to raise awareness about ASD is the latest in a long history of support for worthy causes. In addition to backing several local charities, including “Camp Celebrate” and “Shop with a Firefighter,” the department recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness month each October by allowing personnel to wear custom pink lettered t-shirts.

For more information, email Fire Chief Ron Early.

The Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department will host a Virtual Bass Fishing Tournament for ages 13 and older and a Virtual Youth Fishing Tournament for ages 12 and under May 10-23.
Over this two-week period, local anglers are encouraged to visit any public fishery in Wake or Franklin County to try and catch the biggest fish. Participants in the Youth Fishing Tournament may catch any species of fish, while anglers in the Bass Fishing Tournament will be limited to bass only.

Online registration for both tournaments is available through Thursday, April 22. The cost to participate is $10 for the bass tournament and $5 for the youth tourney.

Participants in the bass tourney will receive a fishing scale to be used in the competition, while contestants in the youth tournament will receive an “Early Fisherman” packet.

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre and ARTS Wake Forest are presenting a series of virtual concerts on Mondays at 7 p.m. you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Each program in the virtual “Neck of the Woods” performance series is different and features one or more performing acts, including singers, dancers, actors, musicians and spoken word artists.

Free and available on the Renaissance entre Facebook and YouTube pages, the remaining programs will spotlight the following local artists:

Complete information about each performer is available on the Renaissance Centre website. For more information, call 919-435-9458.

The Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department will accept youth volleyball applications for girls ages 9-16 from Thursday, April 1, through Friday, April 23. Late registration will be offered April 23-April 30. Register online
A participant’s eligibility is determined by her age on Sept. 1, 2021. A birth certificate is required for new participants. Age divisions include 9-10, 11-12 and 13-16.
The fee is $60 for Wake Forest residents and $100 for non-Wake Forest residents.
Team placement, skills training and practices will begin in May. From early June through mid-July teams will likely play two games per week, Monday through Saturday, at the Flaherty Park Community Center, 1226 N. White St., and local school gymnasiums.
Volunteer coaches are needed. For more information, email Athletics Specialist KP Kilpatrick

The Urban Forestry Division (UFD) is celebrating Arbor Day this year by introducing a program tree lovers across Wake Forest are sure to love. From now through Friday, April 23, the UFD will accept nominations from residents for the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year award. Trees may be nominated for their size, species, historic significance, personal meaning, community benefit or general notoriety – but they must be located within the Wake Forest town limits.

To submit your choice, visit our website, complete the nomination form and upload a photo of your tree.

Finalists will be selected by Town staff, then voted on by the community during the week of April 26. The tree that receives the most votes will be announced as the winner on Arbor Day, Friday, April 30, while the submitter will receive a certificate crowning their tree as the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year.

The Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department will host an online esports gaming tournament featuring "Rocket League" on Saturday, April 24. Open to players ages 10 and older, the “Battle in the Forest” will be played online and live streamed on Twitch.tv. Registration is underway through Wednesday, April 22. The cost is $5 per player.
Teams comprised of three players each will compete in what is scheduled to be a single-day tournament to be run in conjunction with "Bull City Gaming." In the event more than 32 teams register, the tournament will expand to two days with the qualifying rounds taking place on April 24 and the top eight teams battling it out in the finals on Sunday, April 25.
As an added incentive, the winning team may represent the Town of Wake Forest in the BODYARMOR State Games esports tournament. For more information, email Community Center Supervisor Grayson Pridgen

The Wake Forest Town Hall and other administrative offices will be closed Friday, April 2, in observance of Good Friday. Curbside trash and recycling collection schedules will not be affected, but yard waste collection will be suspended.

During the week of March 29, yard waste normally collected on Friday will be collected Thursday. Residents are encouraged to place their yard waste at the curb by 7 a.m. Thursday to ensure collection. As always, please avoid placing items on or near mailboxes, utility boxes, utility poles or other fixed objects.

The Wake Forest-Raleigh Express will operate as usual on Friday, April 2, but the Wake Forest Loop will not. The Loop will resume its normal schedule Monday, April 5.

Town offices will also re-open April 5 at 8 a.m.

Stay informed about the Town’s trash, recycling and yard waste collection programs, including changes to the normal collection schedules, by signing up for the Waste Wizard. The Waste Wizard is an interactive tool that allows users to sign up for waste collection reminders and download collection schedules. As a bonus, the Waste Wizard is provided as a function on the Town of Wake Forest app.

The Wake Forest Police Department recently launched a video series that highlights the "human" side of law enforcement. Each Friday over the next several weeks, we'll post a new Ask A Cop video featuring members of the WFPD discussing topics ranging from "hobbies" and "traffic stops" to "outreach programs" and "longest day on the job."

In today's episode, our officers answer the question - How does this job impact your family?

Provided below are announcements about projects that will impact Wake Forest motorists over the next several weeks. Please use the information to help plan your route and move safely through the affected areas. 

Now through early April
Fred Smith Company, a private contractor working on the Forbes Planned Unit Development, will close Millers Mark Avenue at the intersection of Ligon Mill Road on Monday, Feb. 8. The closure is necessary to complete the widening of Ligon Mill Road and install the future median. The intersection is expected to remain closed until early April when traffic is shifted to a new traffic pattern. Until then, residents are advised to use Reynolds Mill Road or Forbes Road as an alternate route. 

Now through April
Fred Smith Company, a contractor working on behalf of Wegmans, continues to periodically reduce to one lane portions of Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 from Galaxy Way to Siena Drive. The temporary lane closures are necessary to allow crews to widen the roadway and install turn lanes for the future Wegman’s. The store will be situated on the south side of Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass between US 1/Capital Boulevard and Siena Drive, just west of Ligon Mill Road.

The Town of Wake Forest has launched an interactive map that gives residents a user-friendly and convenient way to view local road closures and restrictions. Accessible under “Common Resources” on the homepage of the Town website, the new Traffic Alerts Map allows visitors to point and click on current road and lane closures throughout Wake Forest.

When clicking on an individual project, the user will see a short summary of the exact location of the project, along with a schedule for its anticipated beginning and completion. In addition, the user will be provided with the name and contact information for the project manager should anyone have questions about a given initiative. The information is updated in real-time as the project moves forward.

The immensely popular and entertaining “Kids Say the Cutest Things” video format, introduced last December with Kids Say the Cutest Things About the Holidays, is returning to explore a variety of new frontiers in 2021.
Between now and Friday, April 9, the Town of Wake Forest is inviting parents of hilarious, animated and energetic children ages 5-10 to register them to participate in upcoming videos to be unveiled throughout 2021. Based on the once-popular TV series, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” “Kids Say the Cutest Things” will feature local children responding to a series of innocent, yet thought-provoking questions about topics such as Independence Day, the Town of Wake Forest, seasons, animals, favorite things, and more! Interested parents are encouraged to note these submission guidelines.

Mayor Vivian Jones recently recorded a virtual State of the Town address that includes colorful video and photo highlights from the past year.

In her message, Mayor Jones provides a comprehensive update on the Town's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, accomplishments over the last 12 months, and what’s to come in 2021. She also shares details on infrastructure projects, communications initiatives, parks and recreation programs, town finances, how to support local businesses and more. 

Mayor Jones' 2021 State of the Town address is available on the Town website and airs on WFTV 10 daily at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

The Wake Forest Fire Department recently introduced a program that provides firefighters with the safe and efficient entry they need into the homes of vulnerable residents during fires or medical emergencies.

The Knox Homebox program involves homeowners buying a steel lock box and firefighters locking their house key in it. Fire crews have a master key that opens the box in the event of a medical emergency, fire or other urgent need.

The initiative saves precious time for first responders and the potential expense of costly repairs for the homeowner due to forced entry.

On Tuesday, March 23, Governor Roy Cooper announced lifting some restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Executive Order 204, which will take effect Friday, March 26, at 5 p.m.

Executive Order 204 has three general categories of occupancy restrictions: up to 100 percent capacity, 75 percent capacity, and 50 percent capacity. All businesses must continue to maintain the six feet of distance requirement between patrons and implement other safety protocols as they expand their capacity.

The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 25 to 50 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 50 to 100. This EO also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments.

What stays the same?
  • The statewide mask mandate remains in effect, and masks are still required in both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Social distancing is still required even as restrictions for capacity are lifted.
What changes?
Low Risk Settings
  • Can open up to full capacity
  • Includes childcare, camps, outdoor playgrounds, museums, retail and personal care businesses.

Medium Risk Settings
  • Can open up to 75% capacity indoors
  • Includes restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, pools and amusement parks.

Higher Risk Settings
  • Can open up to 50% capacity
  • Includes arenas, conference and reception spaces, movie theaters, gaming and bars.

The decision is based on North Carolina’s COVID-19 key metrics, including a reduction in cases, percent of positive tests, hospitalizations, and number of people visiting the emergency room for COVID-19 symptoms. As vaccine production and distribution is increasing, many North Carolinians are being vaccinated which is contributing to the positive trend in data as well.

Related Links
Do you know a rising 10th-12th grader that wants to learn more about his/her leadership potential, local business leaders, and town opportunities? Applications for Youth Leadership Wake Forest’s 2021-22 class AND a new summer Youth Leadership Academy are now open!
Youth Leadership Wake Forest is a year-long program for high school students who have demonstrated leadership abilities and have interest in learning about our community. Our mission is for participants to assume leadership roles in our schools and to become more involved in our civic, cultural, economic development, and philanthropic organizations. Youth Leadership Wake Forest is a program sponsored by the Wake Forest Chamber Foundation, and requires an application, community references, and interviews conducted by a selection committee. The class is limited to 40 students. The tuition cost for this program is $500, and scholarships are available. 
The Youth Leadership Academy is a seven-week online program for high school students who have demonstrated leadership abilities and have interest in learning about our community. This summer program allows students who may not be able to commit to Youth Leadership Wake Forest during the school year to develop leadership skills and connections during seven weekly summer sessions. The tuition cost for this program is $500, and scholarships are available.
The March-August 2021 issue of RecConnect, the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department's program brochure, is now available. Click on the image above to view the latest edition in digital format. RecConnect is also available in Adobe Acrobat Format (PDF).
Free printed copies of RecConnect are available at Joyner Park Community Center, 701 Harris Road, Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St., Alston-Massenburg Center, 416 N. Taylor St., and Flaherty Park Community Center, 1226 N. White St.
RecConnect includes information about all programs, classes, special events, sports programs and registrations offered by the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department. To learn more, call 919-435-9560 or visit us online.

The Northern Wake Senior Center, 235 E. Holding Ave., offers adults age 55 and older a full schedule of recreational activities. Programming at the center is provided by Resources for Seniors, Inc. The organization serves senior and disabled adults in Wake County by providing home and community-based services and information, thereby allowing them to maximize their choices for independence, comfort, safety, security and well-being.

Check out Jennie's Weekly Jots, the senior center's weekly newsletter, for information on current programming and initiatives.
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If you have questions or comments about the Town of Wake Forest website or E-News, please contact Bill Crabtree by email or call 919-435-9421.