Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Duke and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Formally Join Forces

For the average movie-goer, the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will continue to be a four-day event where the latest and best nonfiction cinema from around the world will be shown each spring. In 2011, that means nearly 100 films, chosen from about 1,200 submissions, will be aired in downtown Durham from April 14 to 17.

Behind the scenes, the organizational structure for Full Frame will formally shift, with the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University providing an institutional home for the festival. Full Frame will continue to operate out of its offices at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham with the same mission, staff and budget.

“While our connection to Full Frame goes back to its origins, we’re looking forward to working even more closely with the festival as we move ahead with exciting plans for year-round programming and other joint projects,” said CDS director Tom Rankin.

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead noted that the university and Full Frame “have been partners since the very beginning of the festival.  By broadening and deepening our relationship, the documentary arts will play an even greater role in the intellectual life of the university, and will bring that same vibrancy to the loyal and devoted fans of the leading documentary film festival in the country.”

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival started in 1998 as the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, a project of the CDS. Five years later, the festival took a new name (Full Frame) and began operating as an independent nonprofit, a result of its tremendous growth and success.

Even after the change to nonprofit status, CDS continued its close association with the festival, and Duke became a lead sponsor. As Full Frame’s submissions and audiences grew, these affiliations developed further, to the extent that bringing the festival more formally into the overall organization of the CDS “made sense in order to take advantage of shared goals and long-term missions,” Rankin said.

“After the festival’s most successful season in recent history, it is a thrill to return Full Frame to its roots,” said Deirdre Haj, executive director of Full Frame. “At the same time, our future depends as much as ever on the support of filmmakers, audiences, funders and the local community as we move forward.”

In addition to getting to view top international films, festival-goers get to enjoy the presence and accessibility of top filmmakers, Rankin said. Over the years, that has included D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Steven Soderbergh, Ken Burns, Rory Kennedy, Liz Garbus, Jehane Noujaim, Steve James, Ross McElwee, Laura Poitras, George Stoney, Barbara Kopple, Marco Williams, Judith Helfand, Werner Herzog and Mira Nair.

Submissions for the 2011 Full Frame Festival are currently being accepted (go to www.fullframefest.org for details).

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The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University was founded in 1989 to teach, present, produce, and support documentary photography, film, radio and writing. For more information about CDS, go to http://cds.aas.duke.edu.

For more information about the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, go to www.fullframefest.org.

Free Concert Celebrating the Bull Durham Blues Festival Saturday, September 11 at Capitol Broadcasting Plaza at DPAC

The St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation Inc. will host a FREE CONCERT celebrating the blues on Saturday, September 11, 2010 from 4pm – 6pm on the Capitol Broadcasting Company Plaza at DPAC. Two local blues bands will be featured and vendors will be on site to welcome blues lovers to a mini outdoor blues event prior to the last night of the Blues Festival’s show starting at 6PM.

At 4:00 pm FAT BASTARD BLUES BAND opens.  The Fat Bastard Blues Band took 1st prize at 2009's Triangle Blues Society’s Blues Challenge!  With their first EP due out this fall, they are all about up-tempo, engaging, and full-throttle Blues. It isn’t just twelve bar. It isn’t a bent note. It’s a feeling; it’s about being dirty and it’s about being clean. It’s taking RL Burnside, ZZ Top and Robert Cray and launching that inspiration to their own intoxicating zone.

The Fat Bastard Blues Band is an up tempo, engaging 5 piece blues act from the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina. They formed in May of 2009 and played their first gig, the Triangle Blues Society’s 2009 Blues Challenge, which allowed the band to compete at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  Since their formation they have been actively expanding their local fan base, recording demos, and preparing for their slot at the 2010 Bull Durham Blues Festival. They are currently working on their first EP, slated to be released in the fall of 2010.

The term “Fat Bastard” has more to do with how they perceive the music; the blues has either influenced or been at the root of nearly all styles of contemporary popular music today, and the goal of the band is to reinvigorate the music by not shying away from those influences, but utilize and blend those styles back into the blues. Therefore, the music can be considered “bastardizing” the genre. The “fat?” comes from nothing being trimmed out, the band comes out at you full force.

Members are: Tim Collins – Guitar, Jason Simons – Bass, David Terrenoire – Harmonica, Carl Wetter – Vocals, guitar, and Gary Mitchell – Drums.

At 5:00 pm HELL CAMINO takes the stage. Hard driving, in-the-pocket, and rock solid, Hell Camino is a modern band with traditional roots and contemporary branches.

Hell Camino is the fortunate gathering of five road-tested veterans of the Triangle blues and R&B scene. At some point over the past 15 years, all the band's members have played in bands with one or two of the others, but none of it ever amounted to what they heard and felt when they came together in early 2009 when a knock-off jam inspired a new band on the spot.

A cohesive unit both musically and socially, the band brings enthusiasm, innovation, and unerring professionalism to the craft of making great road house music. The poise of Motown mingles with the energy of Stax (and boils the brew with miles of chitlin' circuit tradition) to make the band's presence a forceful and electric presence.

Musicians David Bradford, Mark Davison, Benny Latino, Cricket Megarity, and Lenny Terenzi are all industry vets who have performed with acts that include Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Mighty Lester, Percy Sledge, Professor Longhair, Roomful of Blues, and Tommy Castro.  Come take Hell Camino for a spin and see for yourself how it handles!

This event is FREE to the public, bring your lawn chair and or blankets and enjoy some great blues under the sun.  Support for this event was sponsored by the City of Durham, DPAC-Durham Performing Arts Center and American Tobacco.

For more information go to www.bulldurhamblues.org or www.hayti.org , (919) 683-1709.

DCVB Announces Launch of Triangle Regional Film Commission

After months of work in cooperation with the state Film Office, Hollywood producer Thom Mount, and local media producers Sandy Freeman and Rob Shoaf, DCVB is proud to announce the launch of the Triangle Regional Film Commission. 

An expansion of the Durham Film Commission to serve the 13 county region of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, the Triangle Regional Film Commission will cultivate, promote and support production of motion pictures and television programs throughout the area. DCVB will provide office space and a variety of services to the Commission as it gets up and running.

The Commission will operate as a 501 (c) (3) organization governed by a Board of Directors that will initially include Thom Mount, President of WestMount Media and producer of the movie Bull Durham; Bob Chapman, President of Traditional Neighborhood Development Partners; Bill Bell, Mayor of Durham, Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau and a few other yet-to-be-named board members.

Long-time producer/director Rob Shoaf, will serve as Executive Director of the Commission.  Sandy Freeman, a producer/director with The Freeman Group and Carolyn Carney, Director of Visitor Services of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau and Commissioner for the Durham Film Office will round out the staff.

An advisory board will be established with representatives from each of the 13 counties in the region plus Aaron Syrett, Director of the NC Film Commission.

The Commission’s overriding goal is to generate business for the region, through the production of motion pictures including television, film, video, and new media technologies.  The Commission will also focus on increasing the size and skill of the crew base in the region in order to make production more cost effective.  It will also pursue specific projects such as converting or building space for sound stages and locating an episodic television show in those facilities.

“Durham has a long history of working with the film industry,” said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the DCVB.  “Of course, Bull Durham immediately comes to mind when you say Durham and film, but Durham has also played a role in the making of 17 additional feature films plus hundreds of commercials, television episodes and documentary films. We are looking forward to expanding those efforts into the broader region which will provide a plethora of additional sites and opportunities for film makers.”

The Commission will be up and running in early September.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Update on Road Resurfacing Project

Here is a quick update from the North Carolina Department of Transportation about the current road resurfacing project.

On Friday, August 27, 2010, our contractor began the repair work that is required on Mangum Street. The repair work consists of removing the existing thin layer of asphalt and some of the stone base and replacing it with a thicker layer of asphalt. This work must be done prior to paving the final riding surface and will result in a stronger road than currently exists.

The work on Mangum Street is going to take place between the intersection of Pettigrew Street and the NC Hwy. 147 overpass. To maintain safety to the motoring public and those who will be performing the work, lane closures will be installed in this area and some of the lanes being closed will remain in place for several days. The contractor is planning to pursue the majority of this work during the day, which will increase productivity and expedite the work. It is important to remember that three of the four lanes on Mangum Street may be closed between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during this process.

Once Mangum Street is repaired, all lanes will be opened to traffic and our contractor will move to Roxboro Street between Pettigrew Street and Main Street to make repairs in this area as well. Only one lane will be closed on Roxboro Street during this portion of the project.

Although there will be lane closures in these areas, traffic will be maintained. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes while this work is ongoing and those travelling through the work area should plan ahead to allow additional travel time. With good weather and working conditions, we anticipate that this repair work can be completed in approximately two weeks. Once the repairs are completed, the final riding surface on Mangum Street and Roxboro Street will follow.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on this project and for your continued patience as we work to make better roads for Durham.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting Into Town Is Getting Easier

In a major announcement today, Delta airlines will be adding new flights into RDU International Airport – Durham’s primary airport. The additional flights make travel easier for those visiting some major Durham assets like Research Triangle Park, Duke University and DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center. Their release is below.

Announced at noon today… Delta will add a significant amount of service at RDU to a variety of domestic locations either once served by them or others. It is a total of 14 more frequencies beginning in November – all on regional jet aircraft. This represents a 4% increase in seat capacity for us overall, and about a 20% increase in seats added by Delta. Delta and its regional affiliates will offer a total of 54 flights per day with these additions.
  • (96,000 annual passengers) Hartford - +2 frequencies
  • (312,000 annual passengers) Boston - + 2 frequencies (currently served by DL)
  • (48,600 annual passengers) Columbus, Ohio + 1 frequency
  • (249,00 annual passengers) JFK + 1 additional frequency (currently served by DL
  • (233,000 annual passengers) Orlando + 3 frequencies
  • (109,000 annual passengers) Minneapolis + 1 frequency (currently served by DL/NW)
  • (98,000 annual passengers) St. Louis + 2 frequencies
  • (195,000 annual passengers) Tampa + 2 frequencies

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something more is brewing in the Bull City

Word is spreading fast that Durham, the Foodiest Small Town in America according to Bon Appetit, is the place for fresh, local, and tasty food and beer. From conversations on the street to feature articles in The New York Times, there is no denying the explosion of food and drink options in the Bull City.

The latest announcement, from Seth Gross, co-founder of Wine Authorities, is for the Bull City Burger and Brewery scheduled to open in Downtown Durham in February 2011. The restaurant will feature house made hamburgers and hotdogs from North Carolina grass fed beef, and freshly brewed beer from an on premises full-scale brewery.

Click here to read the full release and for more details on the project and be sure to support all of the more than 550 restaurants in Durham.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Road Resurfacing Update

Amongst the many missions of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, one is to ensure that information about our community is shared effectively and swiftly. A topic on many minds of late is the street resurfacing project undertaken by the NCDOT. Linked is a news advisory from the NCDOT on the matter that should answer most questions. Please contact Durham News Service or the NCDOT if some questions remain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

“Energy Measurement: The Key to Energy Success” Free Webinar

Durham currently has 19 businesses certified or working toward Green Plus certification. These include The King’s Daughters Inn, who was recently honored as the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year, and the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, which was the first organization of its type in the nation to be certified.

Curious how The King’s Daughters Inn practices sustainability? Owners and Innkeepers Colin and Deanna Crossman will discuss the Inn’s energy management and measurement systems in a free webinar hosted by The Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University on Thursday, September 2, from 10:30-11:30am.

The free webinar, “Energy Measurement: The Key to Energy Success” will focus on energy measurement and benchmarking for the tourism industry and how monitoring energy consumption better can lead to improved energy performance and cost reductions. In addition to the Crossmans, John Meeks, President of Apple Blossom Insulators, will discuss general information on energy measurement and energy audits.

For more information about the free webinar, and to register, click here.

Number of Internet Users Flat, Yet Growth Seen in Destination Marketing Opportunity

In 1995, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau launched its website: www.durham-nc.com. Some met the decision with derision and wondered why the organization simply didn’t buy more print ads and utilize more traditional marketing methods that wouldn’t be a “waste” of tax dollars. However, research has shown in the past 15 years that DCVB’s decision was well-founded, and a new study by the US Travel Association provides the latest concrete numbers behind the growth of the online travel industry.

Though the number of adult internet users in the US has remained steady at 168 million, or 74 percent, in the last five years, the internet has radically changed the manner in which US adults obtain travel-related information, according to the 2010 Travelers’ Use of the Internet survey by the USTA. Those numbers are expected to grow as younger internet users “age in” to adulthood and replace users with more limited scopes of interaction.

For destination marketing organizations like the DCVB, the more interesting numbers are those showing use of the internet for planning of both business and leisure travel.

Here are some points distilled from the survey worth considering:

  • There is an online market of 122 million potential business and leisure travelers in the US in 2010.
  • 93 million US adults used the internet to plan travel in the last 12 months – up from 90 million in 2007.
  • The strongest benefits the internet poses to travel planners are the ability to evaluate, be involved in, and form expectations of a destination. In other words, it behooves destinations and travel industry businesses to make their online presence be their best foot forward in marketing.
  • Those travelling for business and pleasure use the internet more than those who travel for pleasure only.
  • A third of those who travel for pleasure only, and half who travel for business and pleasure, use the internet to look for potential destinations. The internet is the place to sell to these audiences.
  • Forty percent of online travel planners print literature about destinations from websites, with an equal percentage using the internet to request printed materials.
  • 75 million people book travel online. Air travel, hotels, and car rental were the dominant products booked online, and many also purchased tickets for entertainment as well.
  • Both those booking and those not booking used the internet equally for research prior to booking. That planning grew substantially from 2007-2009.
It’s funny to look back at the initial reaction to DCVB’s website launch now, since DCVB’s internet presence is considered amongst the best in the destination marketing business having twice been celebrated as having the best destination website in North America out of more than 1,000 competitors. Everyone now knows that the internet is place to be creative and innovative…it’s a nice validation that those are two of Durham’s most discussed traits, too.

Adoption of the internet hasn’t been a passing fad – most everyone reading this is doing so courtesy of the internet, as that is how it is delivered. From humble beginnings in 1995, DCVB’s site sees more than 600,000 visitor sessions per year, making the site an incredibly valuable marketing tool, and is well positioned to continue to utilize these online travel trends in years to come.

New Theater Seasons Abound

It’s official: Durham theaters have announced their lineups for the 2010-2011 season and it is evident Durham is Where Great Theater Happens.

Manbites Dog Theater is kicking their new season of nine shows off October 7-23 with Breadcrumbs by Jennifer Haley. Tickets will go on sale September 6. Click here for more information about the entire season and to purchase tickets.

Duke Performances has also released a lineup for their upcoming season. Check out performances by the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Brooklyn Rider, Loudon Wainwright III & Friends, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and others. For ticket and schedule information, click here.

The Carolina Theatre has announced its 2010-2011 Star Series and highlights include an opening weekend celebration featuring Mavis Staples and The David Sanborn Trio, Betty Buckley – Broadway by Request, The Harlem Gospel Choir, Cirque Mechanics Boom Town, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

And last but not least, individual tickets for the DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center’s 2010-2011 SunTrust Broadway Series are now on sale. Don’t miss a chance to see one of these fabulous shows. Visit www.dpacnc.com for more information.

Bull City…Beer City

To say that beer has risen to an art form from a gritty and largely blue-collar past in the US is an understatement. Like Durham, craft beers are unique, diverse, and interesting.

So then it is only fitting that Durham be something of a nexus for the development and appreciation of craft beer…and that it is. There is something of a beer vortex in the Bull City right now, and looking into that swirl, one will see some exciting developments close at hand.

#1 - It seems almost superfluous to again mention Fullsteam Brewery. Amidst a flurry of local and national media attention, this new brewery is opening to the general public on Friday, August 13th. The date is important to owner Sean Wilson because it is the five-year anniversary of the Pop the Cap movement he spearheaded to lift the cap on the permissible level of alcohol in beer sold in NC.

It’s important to everyone else because now folks can visit and hoist a pint. The brewery also begins selling growlers at the Durham Farmers’ Market this coming Wednesday – they must be pre-ordered online. Hit the link for more information about all of the above and know that you’ll be greeted by a very important mascot when you get to the brewery at 726 Rigsbee Avenue in Durham.

#2 - There is a big event brewing to help save the Gulf of Mexico. The SOS Charitable Fund was created by Louisiana brewery Abita who is donating $.75 per bottle sold of their Save Our Seashores beer and the Durham location of Tyler’s Taproom is planning an event involving local chef’s, live music and a raffle to promote the effort as well as raise additional money. Click here for additional information and put this on your calendar as a great way to spend a Sunday in the Bull City.

#3 - The World Beer Festival is coming on Saturday, October 9th to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Always an amazing gathering, this year’s showing of 150 breweries will again prove why this Durham original is considered as one America’s best beer festivals. Visit the website for the festival and pick up a copy of the sponsors’ publication, All About Beer…yet another distinguished asset here in Durham.

Is it 5 o’clock yet?

New Downtown Guide and Walking Tour

Collaborating with other organizations is important anytime, but especially when budgets are tight. But even when everything is running smoothly, collaborations make a lot of sense because two organizations with two different missions will ultimately bring to the table diverse ideas on what their stakeholders want and need. The end result is better.

In this spirit, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau has partnered with Downtown Durham Inc. to combine DDI’s Downtown Restaurant & Shopping Guide with DCVB’s Downtown Durham Walking Tour and produce the new Downtown Durham Guide and Walking Tour. The Guide includes information about Downtown’s dining, shopping, and entertainment options in an easy-to-access format. It also includes route information for the Downtown portion of the new Bull City Connector, launching Monday, August 16.

The Walking Tour is still included and covers a main route around the Downtown Loop, with additional extensions branching out to the Central Park, Warehouse, Brightleaf, American Tobacco, Government Services, and Golden Belt districts. The Downtown Walking Tour is approximately two miles with an estimated walking time of 65 minutes for the main route. Additional extensions can take two to three hours.

The Guides will make their debut on the Bull City Connector Monday morning. They will also be available at the Official Durham Visitor Information Center, Downtown Durham, Inc., as well as in Downtown businesses, Durham lodging properties, Duke University’s campus, and several other points throughout Durham.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Great Reason to Feel Blue

In its 23rd year, the world renowned Bull Durham Blues Festival is getting a little bit more prestige, a little more cache...a few more reasons to feel blue, if you will. With a headliner like the international superstar Buddy Guy, an artist with more accolades and awards than fit here, blue might be the best way to feel.
At 74, Guy's career spans decades and he has produced better than 60 albums. He is considered among the world's best guitarists coming in at #30 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 100. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 by fellow Blues superstar B.B. King, who has also performed in Durham at DPAC.

Held outdoors in the Historic Durham Athletic Park for the first 22 years, famous itself for amongst other things being the back drop of much of the number one sports movie of all time - Bull Durham, the festival was subject to the whims of Mother Nature. No more.

Starting this year, the festival will be held at the state-of-the-art DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center. This 2,800 seat theater in Durham is quickly rising as a top theater in the south and boasts the largest stage (~6,000 sq. ft) between Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. Without a bad seat in the house, Blues fans can now listen in style and air conditioning. For those who were wondering, dancing is permitted at each seat.

Below are the basic bits of information about the festival. Tickets are on sale now and are moving fast...and with all the attention this festival has gotten around the world, expect bigger and better events in years to come.

When: September 10th and 11th

Where: DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center

Who: c'mon...the best in the Blues business, of course

Buy tickets here.

Guy's acceptance speech at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was short and sweet, "If you don't think you have the blues, just keep living." Well, if it can bring success the likes of which Guy has enjoyed, then feeling blue seems like an awfully good plan.

Durham's Official Facebook Page Getting Additional Guidelines

Durham is fortunate to have a diverse population of intelligent and entrepreneurial citizens who are among the nation's most tech-savvy and connected. One recent survey conducted by NanoPhrades on behalf of DCVB indicates that 95% of the households in Durham have at least one member of the home that accesses the internet...either at home, work, school, on a mobile device, or in an Internet café. That's something of which to be proud.

With that level of Internet engagement, it's no surprise there is a significant population of fans on the Official Durham, NC Fan Page on Facebook, a page administered by DCVB for over two years. As the site continues to gather new fans, it has become an increasingly powerful and important marketing tool in DCVB's battery. However, there have been issues and instances where the page's community resource intent has been clouded by other purposes.

In an effort to retain the effectiveness, spirit and utility of the page as an official marketing tool for Durham, some posting guidelines are now in place and are posted in the notes tab on the page itself. They are also posted here in full.

With the institution of these guidelines, the page is perhaps now more than ever a place for communicating about Durham, sharing accounts of experiences here, and a gathering place for those interested in the Bull City's success.

Guidelines for posting to the Durham, NC fan page on Facebook:

This page is administered by the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) for the purpose of marketing Durham as a destination, promoting Durham features, properties, and events; and engaging fans in topics of interest. Additionally, it will be used to share critical information and news about Durham in the event of emergency.

Fans making posts and comments in conflict with the guidelines below will receive one request to discontinue doing so. Continued abuse of these guidelines will result in being blocked from the page.

DCVB reserves the right to delete any posts or comments that, in its sole view:

• contain offensive or vulgar language

• are personal attacks of any kind

• include prejudiced or hurtful remarks made toward any ethnic, racial, or religious group or person

• are spam

• are blatant, unsolicited attempts to sell or promote goods or services

• promote events or activities that are not held in Durham

• are clearly off-topic

• advocate illegal activity

• infringe on copyrights or trademarks

Please note that the posts and comments expressed on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) do not necessarily reflect the opinions and positions of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, its employees, or its governing body, the Durham Tourism Development Authority. Any non-DCVB links on this site do not constitute endorsement by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For questions about this policy, please contact socialmedia@durham-cvb.com. DCVB reserves the right to change and supplement these guidelines without notice.

Get Out and Shop!

It's that time of year again. The first weekend in August is an annual sales tax holiday as declared by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. This coming weekend, August 6-8, the items specified below will be sold free of tax charges. This makes back-to-school preparations easier for families to afford, among other benefits, so get out and enjoy the shopping.
Check out these special promotions and sales at Northgate Mall and The Streets at Southpoint as a starting point.

So, wonder what items qualify? Here is the official word.

Exempt items include:

• Clothing, footwear, and school supplies of $100 or less per item

• School instructional materials of $300 or less per item

• Sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item

• Computers of $3,500 or less per item

• Computer supplies of $250 or less per item

Non-exempt items include:

• Clothing accessories

• Jewelry

• Cosmetics

• Protective equipment

• Wallets

• Furniture

• Items used in a trade or business

• Rentals


Annual Crime Comparative Released

As the community's official marketing agency, DCVB is charged with leading the marketing and promotion of Durham as a destination, as well as promoting and defending the community's image and brand.

DCVB co-developed this crime comparative tool with the Durham Police Department many years ago to provide the 19-organization Durham Public Information & Communications Council, as well as other civic, business, university, and neighborhood leaders, better information to assist newcomers and visitors.
The data is not intended as an apology or an excuse, nor does it suggest lessening the intensity law enforcement use to drive the crime rate even lower. The report is intended to put crime reduction efforts in perspective by showing comparisons to 10 other similar Southeast counterparts and 27 other cities nationwide.

The results? Durham's crime is at or below average within a cohort of 10 Southeast and 27 national communities of similar size and makeup. Raleigh is the only city in the cohort that is not of similar size and makeup (it is almost twice the size of some cities in the cohort) but is used because of its close proximity to Durham.

In surveys 65.5% of Durham residents feel safe in the community overall, and more than 85% feel safe in their neighborhood. Durham officials, activists, and residents are very diligent in an effort to further reduce crime in areas where it is a problem. Collective effort has lowered Durham's index crime rate by about 30% over the past 10 years.

Durham Knows Mobile Food

Durham always drives ahead when it comes to innovation and opportunity. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city's growing mobile food scene.

Nationally there is an emerging love affair with food from a truck. Home to several taco trucks prior to the 2008 launch of OnlyBurger, Durham has seen a steady and rising trade in mobile food. Durham is unquestionably the most mobile food-friendly destination in the Triangle, if not the state, permitting mobile operators on city streets largely without undue restrictions.
That climate creates a very friendly environment for the food truck revolution. Durham's tech-savvy and connected population are also avid users of Twitter and Facebook, the two most popular methods mobile operators have of sharing where and when they will be purveying their goods. Durham has also hosted numerous mobile food unit "rodeos," and many food trucks can be found each week near Durham Central Park during the hours the Durham Farmers' Market is open.
The mobile food industry includes both mobile food units and pushcarts. Each must meet a set of requirements issued by that state's health department and administered locally by the county health department to ensure the food and cooking environment are safe for customers. Mobile operators are required to have an inspected commercial kitchen facility as their commissary to use for food preparation, sanitation and cleaning, and product storage.

Durham currently has 25 mobile food units and 17 pushcarts offering a wide variety of food.

Click here for a list of mobile food units in Durham.

Duke Lemur Center's Growing Family

The first crowned lemur born in more than 12 years has joined the family at the Duke Lemur Center and he is too cute not to share. Visitors can view the animals at the center by calling (919) 489-3364 ext. 0 for tour information. Lemurs can also be viewed at the Museum of Life and Science in the Explore the Wild Exhibit.

Feature in Full - Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Raymond D. Nasher was one of the country's leading collectors of modern and contemporary sculpture and is the namesake and founder of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Opened in 2005, with an exhibition of art from Nasher's collection, the museum is located in a $24 million showplace building on the campus of Duke University.

Propelled to the international art stage in 2008, the then-three-year-old Nasher Museum hosted "El Greco to Velázquez: Art During the Reign of Philip III," a major collection of rare paintings and objects from the "Golden Age of Spain."

The exhibit was shown in only two locations in the U.S., Boston and Durham, and was ranked #3 on Time Magazine's Top 10 Museum Exhibits of 2008 list.

According to national studies by D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a third of one percent of travelers can be drawn to a destination using art exhibitions and museums as the main reason for travel, but nearly 12 times that number (3.9%) will participate in that activity regardless of the reason they are drawn to a destination. The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University positions Durham well in this market.

In addition to the top-notch art, the museum features a celebrated restaurant. The Nasher Museum Café was praised in Food & Wine as "an ever-changing exhibit of culinary art" based on Chef Giorgios Bakatsias' contemporary menu of seasonal recipes with fresh ingredients.

The current exhibition “Color Balance: Paintings by Felrath Hines and Alma Thomas” (running through September 5th) is an example of the museum’s goal to “foster understanding and appreciation of the visual arts by providing direct experiences with original works.”

In addition to the art exhibitions, the museum also has a “Summer Days, Nasher Nights” series which will feature Chef Fredi Morf this Thursday, July 22. He will join his former student, Nasher Museum Café Chef Laura Baucom. The menu includes summer gazpacho with cucumber granite, pan-seared grouper with ratatouille, and golden polenta cake with warm peach crisp with ginger ice cream for dessert. Reservations are encouraged.

Interested in visiting the museum and enjoying a relaxing meal in the cafe? Visit now to see “Color Balance: Paintings by Felrath Hines and Alma Thomas” then return this fall for “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” opening September 2, 2010 and running through February 6, 2011. “The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-18” also opens September 30 and runs through January 2, 2011.

Hub-ub in Durham

The words "Durham" and "innovation" have been inextricably linked for more than two hundred years. With yesterday's announcement of American Underground at the American Tobacco Campus, Durham expands its role as a place for start-ups and entrepreneurialism. Durham is already the number one Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for percentage of workforce in the creative class, into which many of these companies fall, and is already home to another business incubator, Bull City Forward, and entrepreneurial advocates like SJF Advisors. Bull City Forward's goal is to assist social entrepreneurs in getting their ideas off the ground, and SJF helps with funding and other aspects of development.

The Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Launch Box Digital, and Joystick Labs are the initial tenants of the shared space environment of 26,000 square feet of previously unused space at the American Tobacco Campus, which includes private offices, a 60-person classroom, and even an arcade.

Start-ups that are accepted to receive guidance at American Underground will come to Durham for up to 10 weeks at a time from around the country.

As home to the undisputed tech hub of the Southeast, Durham's Research Triangle Park is a hot spot for these positions. Openings for IT jobs in NC jumped 12.8% in June and are nearly triple what they were a year ago. The arrival of American Underground further solidifies Durham's position now and into the future as entrepreneurs are further enticed to this nexus of creative and diverse energy and a fast-emerging destination for start ups.

The American Underground is scheduled to open October 1, 2010.

Back to Bullock's, with Confidence

Nearly three months ago an unfortunate, and now seemingly unavoidable, incident thrust one of Durham's landmark restaurants, Bullock's BBQ, into the national spotlight as people fell ill. The restaurant's food emerged as a likely culprit. A report released last week essentially clears Bullock's of responsibility in the incident.

An ensuing investigation by the Durham County Health Department and three additional state agencies was concluded on Friday and the final determination is that the most likely cause was a pasteurized egg white product that Bullock's purchased from a commercial food service provider. Other cases of illness were reported around the country by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and similar investigations nationwide pointed to this same product.

According to food safety blogger Ben Chapman, "Bullock's BBQ did the right risk management step purchasing a pasteurized egg product to be used for a raw egg containing dish and couldn't avoid illnesses, because these things happen and there is never a guarantee of 100% risk-free." That product was used to make meringue toppings for desserts and all products in question at the time were discarded.

"Restaurants like Bullock's and owners like Tommy [Bullock] are so important to a destination's unique sense of place," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We know that many Bullock's customers have already come back and believe this news will help other people see that this was an unfortunate and unavoidable occurrence that should not prevent them from patronizing this Durham institution."

Operating for over 58 years, the restaurant has been in business longer than any in the history of Durham. As Chapman notes, playing by all the rules can't guarantee 100% food safety – issues can slip past the safety net no matter how vigilant the restaurateur. Nationally recognized and celebrated repeatedly, Bullock's can hopefully use this exoneration to move forward and close a challenging chapter in an otherwise stellar run.

Here's hoping that Durham's diners can do the same...'cue anyone?

Bull City Connector Launches August 16

Connecting Durham from the Innovation of Duke to the History of Downtown to the Creativity of Golden Belt – that is the goal of the new Bull City Connector, a convenient, frequent, and fare-free service transporting visitors, business travelers, students, and Downtown workers to key destinations in and around Durham's central corridor, including Duke University, Durham's historic Downtown, Ninth Street, and Golden Belt.

The Bull City Connector will launch its colorful hybrid-electric buses at a ceremony on Monday, August 16 and will operate every 15 minutes from 7am-6pm, Monday through Friday, and every 20 minutes 6pm to midnight, Monday through Friday. It will also run every 20 minutes 7am to Midnight on Saturday and holidays.
Stops along the route include: Duke Medical Center, Duke West Campus, Duke Central Campus, Ninth Street District, Duke East Campus, Brightleaf Square, West Village, Durham Arts Council, Durham Station & American Tobacco, Five Points, CCB Plaza, Mangum Street, Durham County Government, the Health Department, Durham Hosiery Mills, and Golden Belt.

In addition to the Bull City Connector buses, NC Central University and Duke University students and faculty who would like to use the Bull City Connector may ride DATA Route 5 fare-free between NCCU campus and Durham Station; a university ID is required.

The Bull City Connector is a service provided by the City of Durham with major support from Duke University. The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau is partnering with the City and other organizations to help market the connector, including collaborating on the production of a pocket-sized route map and other materials.

A new website, bullcityconnector.org, will go live the week of August 2, featuring the route map as well as information about points of interest near each stop.