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.
NC to begin Modified Stay at Home Order

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in the state's key COVID-19 trends. The Order, which requires people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., takes effect Friday, Dec. 11, and will be in place until at least Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 p.m. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.

In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on several separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on three of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%.

Governor Cooper emphasized that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve.


 

Updated COVID-19 County Alert System
On Tuesday, Dr. Cohen provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread). With Tuesday’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.


COVID-19 Vaccine web page now available
Earlier this week, Wake County launched a new webpage about the COVID-19 vaccine.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in Wake County, a safe and effective vaccine will help defend us against the virus. Everyone who wants a vaccine will eventually get one. But, that process is going to take months.

Right now, the supply of the vaccine is low, and the need is high. That’s why Wake County will offer the vaccine in phases and in strict accordance with guidance from the CDC and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

The phases begin with the people who are at highest risk, as well as those who are vital to the COVID-19 response. Good examples are healthcare workers who face possible exposure to the virus every day or seniors in assisted living facilities who would develop serious health impacts if they contracted COVID-19.

Overall, their numbers are relatively small, which is intentional, because so is our supply of the vaccine.

From January to June 2021, the vaccine supply will grow. With more doses, we can vaccinate more people. But, realistically, most healthy middle-aged adults won’t get vaccinated until late spring or early summer of next year.

NCDHHS will be updating the vaccine rollout plan on its website, which includes a breakdown of the phases, so you can see where you might fall in the prioritization.
People who live and work near Wake Forest have a convenient way to get tested for COVID-19. Wake County is contracting with clinical laboratory Radeas, located at 907 Gateway Commons Circle, to provide free, drive-thru testing Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The service is free, and no appointment is necessary. The testing typically takes about seven minutes, and results are usually provided in seven to nine hours – but can take up to 24 hours.
 
Experience the wonder and magic of the holiday season during the annual Lighting of Wake Forest. Sponsored by Traditions at Wake Forest and presented by Wake Forest Downtown, Inc., the virtual tree lighting took place Friday, Dec. 4, online through Facebook.
 
Hosted by Santa Claus, the event features a holiday message from the Board of Commissioners, along with “Kids Say the Cutest Things about the Holidays,” the Wake Forest Community Carolers, and the official lighting of the Town tree.
 
If you loved Kids Say the Cutest Things about the Holidays in our Lighting of Wake Forest video, then you're in for a treat! Consider this expanded version an early Christmas present from the Town of Wake Forest! So, sit back and enjoy!

During the week of December 14, sweeten up your holiday season with our Great Gingerbread House Showcase! Grab the candy canes, pour some hot chocolate, and get the family together to build your dream holiday house. Build a house together or make it competitive and each decorate your own gingerbread house. Then share pictures of your holiday creations with us using the online form on our website.

Throughout the week, we’ll post on the Town of Wake Forest Facebook page the pictures we’ve received and upload them to our online photo gallery. We also invite you to post your pictures on social media and use the hashtag #ChristmasinWakeForest.
 
Downtown Wake Forest is offering residents added incentive to shop local this year by offering shoppers a chance to win a variety of special prizes.
 
For every purchase made by a customer at a participating downtown business between now and Thursday, Dec. 31, he or she will receive a raffle ticket to be entered into a special prize drawing.
 
Merchant-sponsored drawings will be held throughout December with winners for each participating store being drawn from among their customer entries. At the conclusion of the promotion, all of the completed raffle tickets from all participating downtown merchants will be collected and entered into grand prize drawings of $300 Downtown Dollars and $500 Downtown Dollars courtesy of Warren, Shackleford & Thomas, PLLC and Custom Reupholstered Chairs courtesy of Diamond N-D Rough
 
Downtown Dollars can be used the same as cash. To learn more about Downtown Dollars and view a list of downtown merchants who accept them, visit our website.
 
The Grand Prize drawings are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Be sure to follow Wake Forest Downtown on Facebook and Instagram to see if you are a lucky winner.
 
The Wake Forest Police Department (WFPD) regularly implores residents to help reduce motor vehicle break-ins by locking their car doors. A vast majority of the reported car break-ins in Wake Forest involve unlocked vehicles.

Those pleas are taking on an even greater sense of urgency after another rash of break-ins involving unlocked vehicles. Once again, thieves engaged in what is known as “car-hopping” in several Wake Forest subdivisions. Car-hopping occurs when criminals roam neighborhoods at night, pulling on car door handles, hoping to find an open vehicle. Police officials say it’s a numbers game. For every 10 cars a criminal checks, they expect to find at least a couple open, so there is no need to physically break a window or door lock to get in.

Simply put, the best way to avoid becoming a victim is by simply locking your unoccupied vehicles at all times, removing your valuable items and any extra set of keys from the vehicle, and double-checking to make sure your car is locked before going to bed at night. If an item can’t be removed, then it’s best to make sure it is out of sight to potential crooks looking for an easy target.


The Wake Forest Police Department (WFPD) is urging every resident to “be a good neighbor” by reporting suspicious activity this holiday season and throughout the year.

Police Chief Jeff Leonard says crimes are often prevented when citizens report suspected illegal activity.

“Wake Forest is a growing community, and unfortunately, crime can sometimes be a byproduct of growth,” said Leonard. “But that’s why it’s so important for residents and business owners to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. When you see something that looks suspicious, call the police department. If we investigate and no crime has occurred, that’s okay. But we would rather you call and it turn out to be nothing, than not call. It’s a proven fact that reporting suspicious activity helps prevent crime.”

That’s especially true when it comes to combatting “porch pirates.” With only a few weeks until Christmas, deliveries are already arriving on doorsteps. The WFPD is enlisting the public’s help to ensure the rightful owners receive those packages.
 
Our Letters for Santa mailbox is available in Jones Plaza at the intersection of South White Street and East Jones Avenue.
 
Children of all ages are invited to bring their letters to Santa’s Mailbox through Thursday, Dec. 24, for immediate delivery to the North Pole. No postage is required.
 
In an effort to ensure the safety of Santa’s helpers who previously opened each letter individually, personal responses from Santa are not possible this year. However, the Town of Wake Forest is providing a letter from Santa that can be downloaded and personalized.
 
After a 15-year run, the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department is discontinuing the mass mailing of its biannual program guide to Town residents in the 27587 zip code. Beginning in February 2021, a limited number of RecConnect copies will be printed and available for pickup at Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St., and PRCR facilities, such as Joyner Park Community Center, 701 Harris Road, Flaherty Park Community Center, 1226 N. White St., and Alston-Massenburg Center, 416 S. Taylor St.

In anticipation of this change, residents accustomed to receiving the program guide in the mail are encouraged to sign up to receive RecConnect via email. The publication will continue to be available to view/download online.

Although printed editions of RecConnect will no longer arrive in mailboxes, the same high-quality content will continue to be included in each issue. Published twice a year, the program guide provides complete information on parks and recreation-sponsored programs and activities for people of all ages, including youth and adult athletics, cultural programs and classes, and special events. Each edition also includes important news and contact information, along with the names and locations of Wake Forest parks, open spaces, indoor facilities and greenways.
 
The Wake Forest Area Chamber is sponsoring its first online auction to support local businesses while raising funds for the work of the Chamber. “Many businesses and non-profits have struggled during this pandemic,” said Ann Welton, Chamber president. “We’re excited to produce this virtual event so our community can shop locally while also supporting the Chamber.”

“The 12 Days of Shopping Holiday Auction,” is a virtual event and will be open from December 1 through 12. Participants register, and then can bid on items throughout the 12 days. At the close of the auction, the highest bidder wins the item.

“There’s been a groundswell of support,” added Carol Fekaris, Chamber event specialist. “Donations are coming in from all corners of Wake Forest. We have gifts, experiences, services, and gift cards – all of which will make great holiday presents!” Some local businesses, like banks or insurance companies, can’t donate a product from their business. So, they have purchased an item from another store or restaurant to be auctioned off. “While they’re supporting the Chamber, they’re supporting local businesses. It’s win – win!”

Auction items include a full set of tires, donated by presenting sponsor Atlantic Tire & Service. There are also swimming lessons, gift baskets, women’s clothing, gift cards to many area restaurants, and much, much more.

Any area business that would like to contribute to the auction can email Carol Fekaris. Donations are still being accepted.

To peruse auction items and register to participate in the auction, visit https://go.rallyup.com/shopwakeforest
 
Visit downtown Wake Forest and experience the magic of the holiday season. As part of Window Wonderland, local artist Cyndi McKnight has painted several of our merchant windows to portray themes from classic holiday movies and television shows for your viewing pleasure.  
 
As you stroll through, see if you can guess the corresponding movie or television show to go with each window.
 
Also, On the first two Saturdays in December (December 5 and 12) from 12pm - 3pm, two downtown windows will come to life with an assortment of characters from The Nutcracker.  You and your family are invited to shop, stroll and enjoy the living windows at these locations: Nancy Jo Photography 225 S. White St., and RE/MAX Hometown, 147 S. White St.
 
Special thanks to Destiny Dance Institute for providing the dancers & costumes to bring The Nutcracker to life.  
 
The Wake Forest Community Council announced the winners of the 2020 Citizen of the Year, Organization of the Year, and Peggy Allen Lifetime Achievement Award during a special video presentation on Monday, Dec. 7. Congratulations to this year's winners: Frank Everitt ( Citizen of the Year), Greg Harrington (Peggy Allen Lifetime Achievement Award), and Hope House (Organization of the Year).
 
During the week of December 7, the Town of Wake Forest began the process of converting to one-way traffic East Jones Avenue from South Brooks Street to South Taylor Street.

In September, the Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance converting the street from two-way to one-way traffic and incorporating diagonal parking to match the existing one-way section of East Jones between South White Street and South Brooks. The conversion will allow for the installation of approximately 15 new parking spaces in the downtown area.

Public Works crews are installing signage and traffic control measures to prepare drivers for the change. Crews will then paint angled and parallel parking along the corridor and make final changes for the one-way pattern.

An important part of Wake Forest Cares is an annual donation drive to raise funds for select community non-profits. For our inaugural Wake Forest Cares Holiday Donation Drive, area residents and businesses are invited to contribute online to one or more of the following local non-profit organizations/initiatives:

  • Tri-Area Ministry Food Pantry
  • Hope House Wake Forest
  • Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club
  • Helping Others by Providing Electricity (HOPE)
  • Shop with a Cop
  • Ronald McDonald House of Durham & Wake - in partnership with Wake Forest High School DECA Chapter

All of these non-profits are addressing specific needs in our community, including hunger, home lighting and heating, tutoring, mentoring, safe spaces, and/or providing joy and hope during the holiday season and beyond. The Wake Forest Cares Holiday Donation Drive is an opportunity to demonstrate our support for these important efforts.

It wouldn’t be the holidays without those incredible sweet treats we all love, and part of the fun of making those yummy pies, cakes, cookies and puddings is swapping recipes with neighbors and friends.

Wake Forest residents were invited recently to share recipes of their beloved holiday treats. Altogether, over 30 recipes were submitted for inclusion in our online “Favorite Holiday Treats” recipe book. Just in time for the holidays, this incredible collection of recipes is now available to view and download for free.

As promised, Mayor Vivian Jones has selected four of the submitted recipes to prepare as part of a weekly video series, "Favorite Holiday Treats with Mayor Jones." On Wednesdays at 1 p.m. throughout December, we are posting on Facebook and the Town website a video of Mayor Jones preparing one of the delicious treats, including a gluten, dairy and nut-free item. As a bonus, since there are five Wednesdays in December, she will prepare her famous fruit salad during the December 30 episode.

Celebrate the holidays with everyone’s favorite siblings – The Malpass Brothers! The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre will present the Malpass Family Christmas, a virtual concert starring The Malpass Brothers on Friday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Brothers Christopher and Taylor will be joined by their mom, dad, wives and children to share their traditions in story and song. Featuring traditional gospels, country classics and holiday favorites - and a visit from Santa - The Malpass Family is creating this soon-to-be holiday tradition exclusively for the Renaissance Centre.

Tickets are $10 per household and available for purchase online. Ticket holders will receive a website link to the performance on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Several local churches and community organizations will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a virtual livestream program on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. Area residents are invited to watch the livestream on the Friendship Chapel Baptist Church Facebook page

The evening’s theme will center around one of Dr. King’s messages: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the spirit of the event theme, the Wake Forest MLK Committee is offering creative performance, writing and art competitions for students in Wake Forest and Rolesville-area schools. Complete contest rules and information, along with the online contest entry form, are now available. 

The competition winners will be recognized during the January 21 program. Due to COVID-19, only the contest winners and their parents will be permitted to attend. For more information, contact Margo Grant at 919-435-7101. 

The Town of Wake Forest has started the process of updating the Community Plan and creating a Future Land Use Map, and we need your input. Between now and the end of the year, Wake Forest residents, business owners and community stakeholders are invited to complete an online survey on current conditions within the town. Citizen feedback will be used to formulate an understanding of key issues, community desires, weaknesses and strengths of the Town that will help create the foundation for the Wake Forest Community Plan Update and Future Land Use Map. Available here, the survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Beginning January 1, 2021, the Town of Wake Forest will change how it charges residents for solid waste service and introduce several improvements to its yard waste and bulk waste collection programs.

Since 2008 Wake Forest property owners have paid for solid waste service as part of their annual property tax bill. Prior to that, residents paid a monthly user fee of $14.60 as part of their monthly utility bill.

Beginning January 1, 2021, solid waste service will no longer be covered by annual tax revenues, but instead by a $21 monthly solid waste fee included on residents’ Raleigh Water bill. The fee includes weekly trash, recycling and yard waste collection, along with seasonal and on-demand collections for loose leaves, Christmas trees, bulk waste pickup and large brush collection.

The following improvements to the Town's yard waste collection programs will also begin January 1:

  • The weekly bag limit of yard waste will increase from 10 bags to 20 bags.
  • The limit of large brush will increase from four to eight cubic yards (approximately two pickup truck loads).
  • Large brush collections must be scheduled in advance via an online form on the Town’s website similar to the one used for scheduling bulk waste collections. As a general rule, “large brush” is any yard waste, including limbs over four feet in length, that does not fit into bags or yard waste containers.

The Town of Wake Forest is partnering with Paymentus to offer Wake Forest Power (WFP) customers faster, easier and more convenient ways to pay their electric bills. WFP customers can now pay their bills and review usage history online via a new and improved customer portal. Customers also have the option of paying via a new automated phone system

The new online platform allows customers to:

  • pay electric bills with credit cards, debit cards, or bank account and routing number;
  • make one-time payments or set up recurring automatic payments;
  • receive email reminders and emailed receipts of payment;
  • view consumption and account information;
  • view and download current and past utility bills;
  • opt out of mailed paper bills; and
  • manage multiple utility accounts with one user profile.

An online Customer Portal Guide offering step-by-step instructions is available.

The Wake Forest Planning Board typically meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m., while the Board of Commissioners typically meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

These meetings can be viewed both live and on demand through the Public Meetings Portal on the Town’s website.

Planning Board and Board of Commissioners meetings are also broadcast live on Wake Forest TV 10—the Town’s government access channel—then re-broadcast daily throughout the next two weeks at 9 a.m., 3 p.m., and 9 p.m.

WFTV 10 is available only to Wake Forest residents and businesses that subscribe to Spectrum Cable TV service. However, WFTV 10 can be viewed online in real-time streaming video by anyone who has internet access. To stream WFTV 10 online, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “wftv 10.”

The Town of Wake Forest encourages local pet owners to be good neighbors and great pet owners by obeying Wake County’s leash law.

The Town regularly receives complaints from local residents about dogs running at large – particularly at Town parks. Although Wake Forest does not have an ordinance pertaining to dogs, Wake County Animal Control has jurisdiction to enforce animal control laws within the town and its park system.

Wake County Animal Control Ordinance Section 2-3-7 (A) states “It shall be unlawful for any owner to permit an animal to be at large.” Section 2-3-7 (C) further states “It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any dog to take the dog into or allow the dog to enter any public park without being at all times under the restraint of a leash unless said park is designated as a dog park.”

Any owner permitting an animal to be at large shall pay a civil penalty of $100 for the first violation.

In 2014 the Town of Wake Forest introduced SeeClickFix as a simple, yet effective way for residents to report quality of life, non-emergency issues. Since then, the Town has addressed hundreds of citizens’ concerns, ranging from damaged sidewalks and potholes to storm drain blockages and malfunctioning traffic signals.

SeeClickFix is available on the Town website, while the mobile platform is offered as a function on the Town app.

By utilizing the online or mobile reporting platform, residents can report non-emergency issues through a variety of service request categories. When submitting such issues, residents can provide locational, descriptive and photographic information as they see the issue in real time.

Once the resident submits an issue, the reporter, the Town, and anyone “watching” the area receives an alert. The Town then acknowledges the service request, routes it to the proper department, and updates the request – along with residents following the issue - once it’s been resolved. 

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.

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 March 2021
From now through March, Fred Smith Company, a contractor working on behalf of Wegmans, will 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.

Whether spending a day meandering through myriad shops, sampling our delicious dining options or stopping in to see your favorite merchant for that one-of-a-kind service, shopping in downtown Wake Forest is always a great idea!

With unique products and personal attention only independents can provide, downtown Wake Forest truly is where quaint meets cool. Shopping locally also contributes to the community in ways that make buying downtown an economically-responsible decision as well!

The Town of Wake Forest has launched a new web-based dashboard that allows residents to view zoning enforcement violations by address. The platform also allows residents to track the type of violation, the current number of open and closed cases, and the Town’s response.

Every child loves a good bedtime story. That’s why the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre is partnering with Page 158 Books to offer a 12-week bedtime story reading series on the Renaissance Centre Facebook page for children 10 and under. On Mondays at 7 p.m., through December 28, Storytime Online will feature the reading of 12 popular bedtime stories by actors from Forest Moon Theater (FMT) and the Wake Forest mayor and board of commissioners.

The Downtown Development Department is selling limited edition Christmas ornaments depicting South White Street in downtown Wake Forest.

The ornaments are $22 plus tax and available for purchase at Southern Suds & Gifts, 213 S. White St., and Page 158 Books, 415-B S. Brooks St. They may also be purchased online for $30. This price includes tax, shipping and handling.

Wake Forest residents can now go online and use the Town of Wake Forest app to request assistance and report issues related to solid waste service:

  • Request trash and recycling service;
  • Upgrade from a 48-gallon to a 96-gallon recycling cart;
  • Report damaged and/or missing carts;
  • Report a missed trash or recycling collection;
  • Request a bulk pickup;
  • Sign up for Waste Wizard.

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.

A mandatory mask requirement is in effect for all of North Carolina. As a result, every North Carolinian in an indoor public space, or in an outside public space when unable to physically distance from others, is required to wear a face covering.

In accordance with Executive Order (EO) 147, all visitors to the Wake Forest Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St., and other Town facilities must wear a face mask or face covering. For more information, call Town Hall at 919-435-9400.
Recycling Refresher

It's time to take a fresh look at recycling and change how we think about it! It's less important to fill the bin with a mix of things we think MAY be recyclable as it is to put in things we KNOW are recyclable. Click on the video above. It's designed to help you "get the right things in the bin - for the win!"
Waste Wizard makes recycling easier

The Waste Wizard makes it easier than ever for residents to stay informed about Town of Wake Forest trash, recycling and yard waste collection programs. The Waste Wizard also helps residents know which disposable household materials can be recycled and which ones should be thrown away.

Available on the Town’s website, the “Waste Wizard” is an interactive tool that allows users to sign up for waste collection reminders and download collection schedules.

You can also type in key words related to disposable household materials and receive valuable disposal tips. From aluminum cans and phone books to popcorn bags and plastic bags, the search tool helps residents effectively sort their recyclables from their trash.

As a bonus, the Waste Wizard is provided as a function on the Town of Wake Forest app.
Please...don't...litter!

The Town of Wake Forest often receives reports about trash of all kinds along our roads. It's a shame we're forced to constantly reinforce this message - but please don’t litter! We need everyone to help keep Wake Forest and North Carolina beautiful and safe, and it starts with each of us doing our part.
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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.