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Wake County school board to fill District 9 vacancy today

It's time today for the Wake County school board to go back to having nine members.

The school board will interview six applicants for the District 9 seat formerly held by Debra Goldman, A seventh applicant, William Ingerslew, has withdrawn his application, according to school board chairman Keith Sutton.

The remaining field consists of Nancy Caggia, Bill Fletcher, Linda Gunter, Anna Johnson, Lois Nixon and Jim Pomeranz.

Nancy Caggia applying for Wake County school board vacancy

Nancy Caggia, a long-time school system volunteer, says she filed today for the District 9 vacancy on the Wake County school board.

In an interview with Andrew Kenney of the Cary News, Caggia and her supporters pointed to her years of experience in education. She also has endorsements from a bipartisan trio of Cary Town Council members — Gale Adcock, Don Frantz and Jennifer Robinson, according to Frantz.

“I’ve had 14 years of volunteering, from the trenches to the state level,” said Caggia, 53.

Cash Michaels on critics questioning Ron Margiotta's agenda

Cash Michaels goes into Phyllis Bryson's resignation as Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta's campaign treasurer and writes that teachers and administrators aren't happy with the new math placement policy.

In an expanded online version posted today of an article in the latest issue of The Carolinian, Bryson tells Michaels that she resigned because she felt betrayed by Margiotta. She charges that Margiotta was undermining the 2009 re-election bid of her daughter, Cary Town Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson.

“I don’t know what his reasoning was. I still don’t know what his reasoning was,” Bryson says in the article, later adding that, “It was unethical for him to stab me in the back.”

Crafting the GOP response to Meeker's comments on the school board majority

Here's a look at how the Wake County Republican Party put together the press release Thursday criticizing Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker for his remarks about the Wake County school board majority.

The press release was formulated after a series of e-mail messages between Wake GOP Chairman Claude Pope and Jay Bryant, a GOP spokesman. The messages are public because copies were also sent to Cary Town Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson, a Republican.

The messages show the GOP strategy for responding to Meeker's comments that the majority board members are "people who are not from the area, who don't share our values."

Cary forum on school issues

If you've got a few bucks to spare, then Cary would love your help paying for a forum on school issues in Wake County.

The Town Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to approve holding the "Climate on Student Success" forum on May 11. With an estimated cost of $7,196, council members said they'd try to raise as much of the money as possible to pay for the event without using town dollars.

Putting up some bucks could get you a seat at the invitation-only event.

Back to the future

Day 2 of Cary's annual council-staff retreat began with a slightly different agenda than Day 1. Much of the first day was spent discussing largely philosophical ideals on how the council could work together as a team -- along with town employees, of course -- and identifying strengths and weaknesses within the town's overall governmental operations.

The second full day was spent in part on more meat-and-bones issues. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar helped walk the Town Council and Cary's staff through a series of agenda items discussed at last year's retreat in Southern Pines. Shivar and other staff members provided updates on various projects and asked the Town Council to identify those the board would like to focus on in the coming year.

A few highlights:

*Find a downtown development manager. Council member Erv Portman likened the position to the kind of work a mall manager might perform, but added that anyone selected to fill such a post would need to strike a balance between the public and private sectors.

Council member Jennifer Robinson said she envisioned the manager perhaps working alongside officials at the Cary Chamber of Commerce to draw new business downtown. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar, who will temporarily fill the role, said it was an important role.

"We need someone who can bring focus to that area and direct competing interests," he said.

*Begin planning for a new business park. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar said that he, along with Cary's economic development manager, would likely meet with staff in Chatham County in coming weeks to discuss an idea to build a new business park that would provide economic benefits to both parties.

Some on the council liked the idea in theory. "I don't think there's anything better we can do from an economic development standpoint than to make sure this is built," Council member Erv Portman said of the concept. "It's a relatively cheap economic stimulus initiative."

But Julie Robison and Jennifer Robinson were among those on the board who urged caution in moving forward with the idea of building in a neighboring county. Both Robison and Robinson suggested as an alternative that the Town Council might want to also explore development near the NW Cary rail station or in downtown.

*Continue promoting 'green' practices. Mayor Harold Weinbrecht expressed a dissatisfaction with the amount of litter he sees along Interstate 40 and suggested an anti-litter campaign as a means of raising awareness of environmental issues.

Ideas proposed for such an initiative included Julie Robison's idea of sponsoring a cleanup day through the Haw River Assembly, a non-profit group helping to protect the Haw River and Jordan Lake. Also, Erv Portman proposed conducting an anti-litter campaign to coincide with Earth Day in April.

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