Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy 130th Birthday Durham County

Happy Birthday Durham!

Endangered Durham blogger Gary Kueber points out that today is Durham County's 130th Birthday. So, say "Happy Birthday" to someone on the sidewalk and have a slice of cake from one of Durham's local bakeries to celebrate.

Road Closure Notification

Durham Closes 100 Block of West Parrish Street March 3

Temporary Closure Required for Crane Use in Building Inspection

DURHAM, N.C. – In order to inspect a building on West Parrish Street, the City of Durham is temporarily closing a portion of the street on Thursday, March 3, 2011, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department will be inspecting the building located at 117 E. Parrish St. Closure of the 100 block is required in order for a crane to operate as part of the building assessment.

Signage directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be in place to provide alternative routes.

For more information about this temporary closure, contact Rick Hester, assistant director of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, at (919) 560-1647, ext. 34236 or via e-mail at

Durham’s NoCO District – Emblematic of Revitalization through “Small Room Gardening”

Durham blogger and President Emeritus of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau shares his thoughts on the area North of Corporation Street...

Durham’s NoCO District – Emblematic of Revitalization through “Small Room Gardening”
Bull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

It is getting better but many economic developers, including those with my background in visitor-centric economic and cultural development, seem more than a little “macho-man,” maybe even chauvinistic. And I hope it doesn’t take one to know one!

So a decade ago when Richard Florida first began to publish his data analysis on the bellwether “creative class,” (formerly known as knowledge workers or people who “think” for a living) it wasn’t surprising when many economic developers, addicted to “big game hunting,” either blew his work off as a fad or more often perverted the nomenclature to justify anything they happened to be doing.

Continue reading this blog post...

Empty Bowl? Guess Your Money Got SPENT.

Durhamites love good food, and the food community delivers on that as aggressively as the public asks them to. Proof of that is coming this Thursday night at the annual Empty Bowls Benefit held in the Durham Armory from 5:30 to 8:30. Tickets can be purchased here.

The event raises money for the Urban Ministries of Durham's Community Cafe' which serves three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Some of Durham's best chefs, restaurants and food retailers will bring soups and set up at the Armory for attendees to sample each product at their own pace. There will also be desserts. Funds are raised through ticket sales, as well as through the sale of handmade ceramic bowls supplied by several local organizations. There will be live music and a great crowd of like-minded folks with whom to mingle and support a great cause.

When the event is over, don't let UMD's purpose escape...the plight of the homeless is a core focus for them and they have an interesting tool to help supporters get the message even more concretely. The organization also directs a lot of attention and energy to teaching people how easy it is to become financially insolvent. In a cooperative effort with McKinney, the largest advertising agency in the Southeast and based in Durham, the "game" SPENT was developed as a tool to educate the public on how easy it is to become homeless. In short, the game is not fun; it is sobering, real, and thought-provoking. Having received significant national attention, the game has gone viral and is receiving traffic from around the world. One play is typically all it takes to drive the message home.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Donation Based Yoga in Durham

Durham is internationally known as a hot bed of innovation and for its population of open, welcoming, and accepting folks...many of whom have a robust entrepreneurial spirit. One new local business has taken these ideals to new levels with an approach that embodies many of Durham's brand values.

Nataraja Healing Arts has launched what it calls "Donation Based Yoga" at its new studio in Durham. The model is simple: pay what is affordable - there is no set price or suggested donation. "With yoga classes constantly getting more expensive, we felt the tradition of Yoga was getting lost and becoming only attainable to those who could afford it," said Dan Streib, one of the founders of Nataraja.

The studio also offers various type of massage, which are on a sliding cost scale. "After many years in the service industry and never feeling like the health care cared for us, my wife and I felt that the best way we could care for our community was to offer a health care via offering massage at a discounted rate," Streib added.

Nataraja opened at 731 Broad Street in March 2010 and started donation based yoga in January of this year. Durham is home to several more yoga studios offering a variety of yoga styles and associated services.  See them here

18th Annual “‘Home Buyers Fair’” March 5

The Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® and the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties presents the 18th Annual ‘Home Buyers Fair’ at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham on Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 11am to 6pm.

Industry specialists including builders, REALTORS®, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and suppliers will offer timely information about buying a home, current market conditions, remodeling and why home ownership is a smart financial move, a means to achieving financial security.

Click here for more information and for a schedule of events.

Visit the New Neighbors and Experience Durham

New Neighbors are moving into the NE Central Durham community. Ok, maybe not literally, but artist Dave Alsobrooks has created a series of paintings depicting Durham residents living their lives. The paintings will be displayed in the windows of vacant buildings to capture the potential of the buildings and encourage their preservation. During the course of the project, close to 50 paintings will be placed in properties such as the Y.E. Smith Elementary School and four other homes within a block of the school.

Called New Neighbors, this project was developed with the hopes of getting people to take a second look at homes, like the ones in the project, to see the preservation potential. The first installation will occur next Thursday, March 3 on the 100 block of Driver Street. The event will last from 5:30 until 7:30 and will include a walking tour of the neighborhood. Food trucks, Only Burger, Farmhand Foods, and Daisy Cakes, will also be on hand.

New Neighbors seeks to capture the potential of abandoned properties and bring them to life. It’s a community outreach and arts initiative rolled into one local project,” says Alsobrooks. “Vacant buildings and homes share one thing in common: empty (or boarded) windows. What if we could visualize New Neighbors living their lives in abandoned properties?”

The New Neighbors project is an illustration of Durham’s community-minded spirit and innovation. For more information on the project, download this PDF of information, "like" the project on facebook or read more from Dave Alsobrooks’ blog.

FYI - Durham Closes Revere Road for Reconstruction and Resurfacing Project UPDATED

Effective today, the entire length of Revere Road, from N.C. Highway 54 to Sedwick Road, will be closed to all thru traffic in order to complete a four-month reconstruction and resurfacing project.

“There are seven individual sections of Revere Road that are slated for complete closure during the reconstruction process,” said Michael Hughes, assistant engineering manager for the City’s Public Works Department. “This is a very extensive project that requires work to be completed section-by-section in order to maintain access to the entire community for residents of the Parkwood,” Hughes added.

Electronic message boards and other signage is in place to advise local residents of established detour routes within the community.

Revere Road is closed to thru traffic and motorists should use alternative routes indicated on electronic message boards on N.C. Highway 54 and Sedwick Road. Additional detour signage has been posted on the alternate routes to direct thru traffic around the Revere Road closure.

Revere Road will remain closed to thru traffic until July 2011, in order for the City to completely reconstruct the seven sections of the road, repave the entire length of the road, and replace approximately 9,000 feet of curb and many driveway connections.

Residents are encouraged to access the section-by-section road closing and detours plans from the City’s website at For additional information, contact Tim Jackson, project manager with the City’s Public Works Department, at (919) 560-4326, ext. 30255 or by e-mail at

10th Durham Health Summit Details

Duke University Health System will be hosting its 10th Durham Health Summit on April 14, 2011 at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC.

Since 2002, Duke University Health System has brought community stakeholders together to dialogue about how to improve health outcomes in Durham. As a result, the summits have been the vehicle for many innovative community health partnerships and initiatives. This year’s summit, Health: Whose Responsibility Is it? will:

  • Celebrate the multi organizational initiatives and programs developed since the first health summit
  • Highlight the benefits of collaboration and partnerships across boundaries to address social determinants of health

Topics at this year’s summit will include:

  • Healthcare Reform and Finance: How Will It Affect You?
  • CEO Roundtable: Workplace Wellness Models
  • Integrating Health, Wellness, and Spirituality
  • Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health

To register, please visit the Duke University Health System Office of Community Relations web site: and click on the “event” button for more information about this important community event.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Babies with Library Cards?

Durham is full of smart folks, so the research says. Now it seems that the folks at Durham Connects are trying to boost that statistic a bit more...and they're starting at the source with the ABCs.

In this instance, ABC stands for At Birth Card, the program which Durham Connects will administer through its in-home nurse visits with newborns. “We want parents to know that it’s never too early to start reading to their child,” said Durham County Library’s Youth Services Administrator, Karlene Fyffe. “Your local library is a wonderful place for parents to bring young children. We offer free children’s programs and activities all week long and the exposure fosters a love of reading and learning for a lifetime.”

“We are thrilled to engage parents in reading to their children from birth,” said Durham Connects director, Jeannine Sato. “Bringing library cards to the homes of our newest residents is the easiest way to start that process. Durham Connects is proud to collaborate with the library on the At Birth Card (ABC) drive.”

Durham a Hotbed of Entrepreneurial Activity

Durham, a city with deep entrepreneurial roots, is again garnering national attention for its progressive and innovative community. Currently, the Chamber estimates that downtown Durham is home to over 50 startup companies, employing more than 500 people. Also home to the Research Triangle Park, Durham really is a city to be reckoned with.  

These facts make it easy to see why the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce announced the Bull City Startup Stampede at vertically the same time the federal government announced its intention to begin a series of roundtables aimed at reducing barriers and regulations to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation right here in Durham on March 3. Here is more information on each program.

The Bull City Startup Stampede, will provide startups access to 3,500 square feet of office space at 201 W. Main Street in downtown Durham for 60 days. During the Stampede, entrepreneurs will have time to focus on launching their business, receive free technical assistance from attorneys, accountants, and other service providers and meet with several successful entrepreneurs located in downtown Durham. Entrepreneurs will get to use the state’s fastest Wi-Fi connection courtesy of Time Warner Cable Business Class and receive free parking compliments of the City of Durham. Local companies nBaxter Design, Edge Office, Preation and Smashing Boxes have provided additional support for the project – assisting with logistical aspects of the Stampede. This program is courtesy of courtesy of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Durham, Inc. and Self-Help Commercial Real Estate.

The Startup America: Reducing Barriers roundtables are in response to President Obama’s issuing of an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to identify and take steps to reduce regulations that are outdated or overly burdensome to entrepreneurs. The roundtable series will build on this directive and is part of the Administration’s overall Startup America efforts to support for startups and entrepreneurs with tools and resources to grow America’s economy and win the future. Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Durham interested in attending any of the events can learn more by emailing or by visiting

Durham NC Deals

There are many websites with area deals posted on them, but there is one in particular that focuses exclusively on Durham. is run by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau as a service to visitors and stakeholders alike. It is totally free for everyone to use.

"The site has gained some traction with lodging properties since its launch, but we're looking for more engagement in the food service and retail sectors, too," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications for DCVB. Posting deals to the site is fairly easy as is described in this tutorial, and according to Poley, emails requesting help are returned in minutes during normal business hours. "It's so simple to post deals here," he added.
There are deals offered every day all around town, and the goal of this site is to create a consolidation point for them to make them easier to search and access. Site traffic has been lackluster according to Poley, but DCVB aims to change that, he says. "We are hoping to create a little societal back pressure with this push. We'd like for the public to be asking for deals to be posted every time they go into their favorite places."

He even suggests that people may want to print this article and tutorial and give it to proprietors of their favorite establishments. "Operating a small business is a juggling and balancing act all in one," Poley, a former small business owner, says. "There are not enough hours in a day to get to everything and filter through all the input and opportunities that are out there. Sometimes it takes a customer telling you to look at something to make it break through the clutter."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Boston Pops Featuring Kenny Loggins to Kick Off Summer Tour at DBAP

The Durham Bulls today announced the Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart and with special guest Kenny Loggins, will begin their summer Hollywood Hits Tour at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, August 16th at 7:30 PM. Tickets go on sale on Monday, February 28th at 9:00 AM online and Friday, March 4th at 9:00 AM at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Box Office.

“We are anticipating an amazing night with the most famous orchestra in the country along with an iconic pop star playing under the stars at the DBAP,” Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said.

This is the Boston Pops first-ever Minor League Ballparks tour, visiting 10 cities stretching from Birmingham, Alabama, to Buffalo, New York, August 16-30. The tour program features music inspired by three of this country’s favorite pastimes--baseball, movies, and rock ’n’ roll. The common thread throughout the program, entitled the Hollywood Hits Tour, will be legendary film music themes, featuring music from one of the most memorable baseball films of our time, The Natural, a tribute to renowned film composer John Williams, and Kenny Loggins singing “Footloose”, from the ever-popular film of the same name.

“I can’t think of a better marriage between the worlds of music and sports than that between America’s Orchestra and America’s favorite pastime,” said Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. “With the legendary Kenny Loggins joining us for this 10-city tour of some of America’s finest minor league stadiums, these concerts of great music from the worlds of baseball, movies, and rock ’n’ roll are sure to bring audiences a once-in-a-lifetime experience that creates cherished memories and brings a wonderful new dimension to a summer at their favorite ball park.”

“I’m extremely excited and proud to be performing with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for their first-ever tour of minor league baseball stadiums,” said Kenny Loggins. “It is a true pleasure to work with such a prestigious and talented orchestra, and it’s an absolute honor to perform for the wonderful people of these great American towns and cities we will be visiting.”

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Genesis Home. Genesis Home works to end homelessness for families with children by providing housing and supportive services to foster independence. Located in Downtown Durham, Genesis Home was established in 1989 and since that time, over 375 families have successfully graduated from their program and transitioned into permanent housing."

Program Highlights…

The Boston Pops Hollywood Hits Tour opens with the orchestra’s popular arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner,” followed by several fan-favorite musical selections inspired by the world of baseball, including John Philip Sousa’s rousing “National Game” March, “Casey at the Bat,” with actor Jeremiah Kissel narrating, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and musical highlights from the classic baseball movie, The Natural. Keith Lockhart will bring the first portion of the program to a close with “A Cinematic Sing-Along,” inviting the audience to join the orchestra by singing such Hollywood hits as “Moon River,” “The Way We Were,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” and “Over the Rainbow.” When Keith Lockhart and the orchestra return to the stage they will present a tribute to film score composer and Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams, with performance of music from his most famous scores including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and E.T. Recording artist Kenny Loggins brings the program to a close, joining Keith Lockhart and the orchestra for several of his greatest hits including “I’m Alright,” from Caddyshack, and “Footloose,” made famous as the theme song from the movie of the same name.

Documentary About Local Artist to Show at Full Frame

Beverly McIver is not an average person. Despite her quiet demeanor, unassuming presence and contagious humility, she is a force of nature.

McIver is a Durham-based artist whose work has gained national attention, but her most recent moment in the spotlight is for another reason entirely - she is the subject of a documentary called Raising Renee that will be shown at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It is about a promise that Beverly made to her mother - one kept unfailingly. The promise was to care for her disabled sister when her mother passed away, and since 2004, Beverly has done so.

At one hour and 25 minutes and the result of six years of filming by two Massachusetts film makers, the work chronicles the changes and choices Beverly has made to accommodate her sister; her need to leave NY as her career was taking off, her move to Arizona to teach, and ultimately back to Durham to take a position as the Suntrust Endowed Professor of Art at North Carolina Central University. It's been quite a journey. 

"It helped me grow as an individual and made me care for someone - that's what the film is about,"  McIver said by phone in her characteristically happy tone.

Her art moved from hobby to profession over the last 25 years - she sold her first piece to a co-worker she met while on a temporary job with whom she is still friends.  At the same time she grew as a person and artist whose works sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

As some would say in proper Southern parlance, Beverly is "good people," though she'd probably not be so self-congratulatory herself.

Look for the film during Full Frame at The Carolina Theatre from April 14th to the 17th. 

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...and It's In Durham

The Food Network airs a show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  It's an engaging format where well known food industry people recount stories of the best things they have eaten in four minute segments. Frankly, it's about time they filmed a segment in Durham...which is just what they did yesterday.

According to chef/owner Matt Kelly at Vin Rouge, the show filmed at his restaurant while chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli waxed poetic about the macaroni and cheese that is served in this Durham bistro. Again, Durham is getting some well deserved recognition for having awesome food. 

To be honest, the show is a little cruel given that viewers can't reach into the TV and eat that which is being described...but the point is to motivate folks to go out and eat some great food. For those in Durham, well, they can just hop over to Vin Rouge and get a little mac and cheese in their lives just as soon as the restaurant opens.  Everyone else - they'll just need to pay the Bull City a visit.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Endangered Status?

Gary Kueber started looking forward by looking back, and in the process he created a blog that is staggering in its depth. When he started Endangered Durham in 2005, it was an intellectual pursuit - Kueber is a physician by training, but now non-practicing, he is CEO at Scientific Properties - because he was interested in history and architecture. 

Well, the blog sort of took on a life of its own.

Some 1100 exhausting posts later, Kueber is still at it, and he's showing no signs of letting up. However, he's making some changes to improve the site and those changes cost money. He's looking to fans, and those who use his site, for their support. These changes, think better search capability, integrated mapping, a mobile app, and multiple formats of information views, usher in the next phase of his blog known as Open Durham. There are opportunities for fans to offer their support on the site.

For lovers of Durham (there are enough to warrant a mass wedding coming on March 19th), supporting the site is something of a foregone conclusion. Durham is a place that prides itself equally on where it came from, where it is, and where it is headed. The success of Kueber's blog is an empirical example thereof.

Another trait of Durham (and those that live here) is philanthropism. When all the changes are made and all the heavy lifting is done, when citizens have shared their information and images of Durham's past, then Kueber will make the platform available to others who want to do the same with the places they love. He'll just give it to them for free, simple as that, so that the history of their beloved places won't be endangered. 

New "Durham Hoods" site showcases neighborhoods, listservs across Durham

Durham is very fortunate to have local bloggers who share great information and insight into the goings on in the place where great things happen - bloggers like Kevin Davis at Bull City Rising.  Read below for his great piece on

New "Durham Hoods" site showcases neighborhoods, listservs across Durham
Bull City Rising
Kevin Davis

When Philip Bost's car was broken into in the Duke Park neighborhood, Bost got mad.

Getting even? Not so much. Getting neighbors informed? Yes, please.

Bost decided to reach out to his fellow 'hoodsters to let them know about what happened to his car. "I felt like I had an obligation after that event to notify my neighbors and my community that this type of thing was going on, and I was also curious about whether I was an isolated case," Bost said. "It felt personal, but now I know that it's not. These things happen."

He hadn't previously been signed on to or active on Duke Park's listserv, which is one of the more engaged and active in the Bull City.

(For the uninitiated, it has fewer bizarro flame wars than some other central Durham lists I could name -- discretion is the better part of valor for local bloggers -- though delinquent street sweepers and drivers bypassing the vehicular barriers to the neighborhood's namesake park should beware the e-wrath they'll find.)

Bost's venture onto the Duke Park listserv to share his crime experience got him wondering. How many other neighborhoods had listservs? How active were they? And, where could you go to find out more about all of Durham's sometimes-charming, sometimes-exhausting email lists?

His concern grew when a missing child report hit the police and Old North Durham listserv recently, but the email's author didn't know how to get the report passed along to the Duke Park list, despite the girl disappearing less than 50 yards from the neighborhood boundary.

The result?, Bost's new site featuring a Google Map mashup of all the Durham neighborhoods he could identify, complete with links and engagement data on neighborhood associations' lists.

Continue reading this blog post...

The Emily K Center Celebrates Five Years

Five years is a great start for The Emily Krzyzewski Center, one of the many non-profits exemplifying the caring and community-spirited values of Durham. Established in 2006 and celebrating five years in Durham, The Emily Krzyzewski Center was named in honor of Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s mother and its K to College Model serves academically-focused, low-income students in out-of-school programming designed to help them achieve in school, gain entry to college, and break the cycle of poverty in their families.

Duke University President Richard Brodhead summed up five years of service with these words to the students, “I know that your commitment makes your families proud, and we are proud of you too. On behalf of Duke University and the Durham Community, I wish you many more years of reaching and working for your goals in life. We look forward to having you join us as future leaders in Durham.”

In addition to working with more than 100 students from first to eleventh grade on a near-daily basis, the Center serves nearly 1,000 students and community members monthly through the use of the Center’s multi-purpose rooms, gymnasium, and stage.

Social Media Contests

For the social media savvy, appreciating the value of instantly connecting directly with those who have chosen to listen to what you have to say easy - it's as important as air.  Now, imagine that those people are even more engaged because they can win something.

The Durham Facebook page played host to a series of contests over the past two weeks to help promote Madagascar LIVE! at DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center.  The contests were a huge success.

"One of the real goals in social media is to share experiences and get others involved in them, too," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  DCVB administers the Durham Facebook page.  "Give-aways always get folks excited, and doing them in social media carries the benefit of allowing contestants to share their excitement with other like-minded people.  There is a lot of power in that format," Poley added.  These contests delivered significant impression counts on the posts about the show where people could possibly win tickets.  An impression is counted every time someone sees the post on their wall.

According to Linda Charlton, DPAC's Marketing Director, the collaboration between DCVB and DPAC on the promotion of the show was a great success. "Their contest to give away Madagascar LIVE! tickets produced close to 50,000 impressions collecting 287 comments and 52 likes. We love it when we see such a great fan engagement rate as well as an influx of traffic to our website. Their expertise in new media has helped promote many of our shows including Phantom of the Opera and Lion King,” Charlton said.  "I'd describe this as a social media success story," she added.

DCVB is looking to continue to promote fan engagement with such projects in the future and will continue to develop ways to use its social media to do so.  At well over 15,000 fans on its fan page on Facebook, DCVB has a direct line to fans around the world and here in Durham.

Support of the Arts Only for Deep Pockets?

As many should know and even more need to be told, support of the arts slid dramatically with the economy. Families are working harder than ever to put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads, and philanthropy has become something of a theoretical budget line relegated to the "future" or when "things are better." It's a practical position and few are immune from being forced to think that way, corporations and families alike.

So then, it is remarkable when some, like Duke Medicine and American Tobacco continue to prioritize such expenditures. To them, support of the arts is akin to basic functions like marketing, payroll and taxes - community support is simply not an optional expense.

"The art and culture community are of paramount importance to us and central to visitors at Duke Medicine," said MaryAnn Black, Associate Vice President of Community Relations at Duke Medicine.  "That is why we display artwork from local artist throughout our facilities.  We consider our contribution to the arts community to be a great investment in the quality of life," Black  added.

Durham's upcoming Annual Tribute Luncheon is a celebration of an aspect of Durham's unique sense of place.  This year's theme, "Great Rythm, Great Blues" is an opportunity to shine a light on three Durham organizations that have brought music and dance to the place where great things happen, and given them a base from which to bring those things to the world.  The African American Dance Ensemble, the American Dance Festival, and the Bull Durham Blues Festival will be honored at the April 27th event at Bay 7.

"Durham thrives on the arts, and American Tobacco has always been a hub for homegrown music, painting, photography and films.  In boom times and tough times, the arts capture who we are and inspire us to be more," said Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns American Tobacco where Bay 7 is located.
Sustaining those things that speak to a community's identity is a valuable position, and Durham is lucky to have heavy hitting players in the business community standing guard at the gates.  That said, levels of giving for individuals are still low.  A great thing for Durham is that residents hold these forms of expression in high regard, and as the economy improves, so will support for the arts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Durham Looks Good with a Beard

It is very difficult to look at national media outlets without seeing Durham, NC featured as a top place in the US to eat, visit, relocate, and retire. Those already living in Durham know what all the fuss is about, but for those still learning about this great place known for its diversity, openness and creativity, here’s one more reason to stop into the place where great things happen.

The James Bread Foundation Awards announced the 2011 semifinalists and Durham's nationally acclaimed local chef culture is represented well. Scott Howell of Nana’s (who has been a semifinalist before) and Shane Ingram of Four Square are semifinalists in the Best Chef in the Southeast category and Magnolia Grill looks to bring home Outstanding Restaurant in the Southeast honors.

Considered the Oscars of the food world, The James Beard Foundation Awards honor excellence in restaurants, chefs, wine service professionals, cookbook authors and food journalism each year...and this year they're paying a lot of attention to Durham!

SunTrust Broadway Series Announced

With the release of the 2011-2012 SunTrust Broadway Series, it’s easy to see why DPAC –Durham Performing Arts Center ranked ninth among US theaters in Pollstar magazine’s 2010 attendance reports.

Direct-from-New-York, Nederlander, co-operator of DPAC, announced the 2011-2012 SunTrust Broadway Series Season. It combines the best of the new touring productions and some classic favorites to create another exciting Broadway lineup. And if that wasn't exciting enough, DPAC announced a month-long return performance of Wicked in May of 2012.

The 2011-2012 SunTrust Broadway Series includes:

Come Fly Away: September 27-October, 2, 2011

Rock of Ages: October 25-30, 2011

Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes: November 10-27, 2011

Memphis: January 24-29, 2012

The Addams Family: February 28-March 4, 2012

Bring it On: The Musical: April 17-22, 2012

West Side Story: June 5-10, 2012
In addition, 2011-2012 Season Ticket Holders can add to their package:

Wicked: May 2-27, 2012

Rain: January 17-18, 2012

Chicago: March 20-21, 2012
In its fourth season, the SunTrust Broadway Series has brought some of the biggest names in Broadway musicals. From The Color Purple, to the premiere of Cirque Dreams Illumination, the time-tested Phantom of the Opera, and WICKED A New Musical, DPAC has set a high standard for performance in Durham and the state of North Carolina.

View DPAC’s press release for more detailed information about individual shows.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Putting the "Do" in Doom

Three years ago volunteers organized a beginner’s triathlon in Durham designed for “nontraditional athletes” (translate – couch potatoes and fathletes). The event was summed up this way: “If you think you have a shot at winning this race then this race is not for you.”

The event, The Grueling Triathlon of Doom, will be held on April 17 at 8:30 am, and is a five lap swim, five mile bike, and 1 mile walk. The route for the event will be announced this spring; however registration closes February 28, so visit the website and register now to take part in one of Durham's unique events.

Known for its great food, great historic sites, great art museums, and great sports, among other great things, Durham is perhaps a little less well known is its penchant for quirky festivals, not surprising in a community known for its genuine, engaged, and unpretentious citizens who are proud of the community in which they live.

Consider just a handful of these “lesser-known” festivals held in Durham each year: Harley Davidson Bike Show and Chili Contest (now that’s a hot combination!); Backyard Beer Festival (Durhamites have become quite the beer connoisseurs); Holy Ghost Weenie Roast (‘nuf said!); and the wildly popular Beaver Queen Pageant.

Gettin' Hitched?

Have you changed your Facebook status to engaged or discussed your “wedding plans” on Durham’s Facebook page? Have you printed out a poster declaring what “Durham Is” to you? If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re probably looking forward to the Marry Durham event on March 19.

Click to Download "Durham Is"
Hundreds are expected to Marry Durham on Rigsbee Avenue near Motorco Music Hall and Fullsteam Brewery. The 4pm-7pm mass wedding, parade, and reception includes performances by The Beast, Grammy-award winning Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes, Corn & the Colonels, and many more.

On Valentine’s Day the Durham County Board of Commissioners proclaimed March 19 as “Marry Durham Day.” The proclamation points out that Durham has received a variety of national accolades recently including: Home to the Creative Class, Foodiest Small Town, Best Place to Retire, Best Place to Visit, Best Green City, and Best Place to Start a Business. The proclamation urged “participants to repeat vows that promise to honor and cherish their beloved Durham by supporting the arts, patronizing local businesses, electing responsible leaders, and keeping the community safe.”

The lighthearted event is intended to give proud citizens an opportunity to celebrate their unique community. Marry Durham is also a fundraiser for five nonprofits, including: Eno River Association, Genesis Home, Latino Community Development Center, The Scrap Exchange and Walltown Children’s Theatre.

Durham Looks Good with Creative Vitality Index

The Creative Vitality Index TM was conceived as a tool that states, counties, cities and towns can use to assess and measure the health of their creative economy.  In a recent study released by the Durham Arts Council and the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, Durham shined very brightly when compared to the rest of the state and the country.

This report clearly illustrates how Durham measures up statewide and nationally as a top-ranked creative community. The Creative Vitality IndexTM (or the CVI) uses streams of occupational and revenue data from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors to measure the annual changes in the economic health of various segments of arts-related creative economy.

Durham is very strong and outperforms the Durham Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the Raleigh-Cary MSA, the state of North Carolina and the nation.  When compared to other major metropolitan areas Durham performs higher than  Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and New Orleans.  Austin performs just slightly higher than Durham while Nashville is about twice as creatively vital.

Durham saw a 9.9% growth in creative jobs from 2006 to 2008 and currently has more than 6,600 jobs so classified.  Creative jobs in Durham have been rising, particularly for musical instrument repairers, camera operators and radio and television announcers.

In Praise of Durham

In Praise of Durham
by Dian Wilson in the Viewpoint section of The Durham News

I write this with hope that we can remain a working model of an emotionally sustainable community.

I've lived in Durham since 1981. I came here because I sensed a level of tolerance I'd not seen anywhere, and with that I saw an opportunity for an examined life. I've stayed for that reason as well, except for a short time when I left to find work after the rest of "The Triangle" "boomed" and we got higher rent but no more jobs - a time when developers did really run roughshod over some of our most precious venues where we often met as a community.

When economic conditions improved and I could find work, I returned and bought my home in Northgate Park. I think our city has come along, for the most part, in a positive way. Our recent "boom" has been largely thoughtful and rewarding for a growing number of us. Much effort remains, yet so many wonderful collaborations are taking place all around.

I've often thought the majority of Durham is a self-selecting bunch. Many born here have chosen this place because they love the landscape and climate, our pace of life and the ease of access to services that seems to only exist in a smaller city. And so many among us are simply mindful and kind and that makes a big difference in the energy we encounter in our daily lives.

We have in Durham an opportunity to live among people with many different life-ways, realizing that lifelong learning best comes organically from true community. The well-off learn from the less fortunate, the "educated" from the self-taught and sometimes visa versa. Time, exposure and experience, in context, are our teachers.

In Durham, many of us have strived to bring each other along. I hope we can continue to consider what it means to contribute positively toward that which brought us here or keeps us here. There have been so many days when I've thought: The world is a frightful place that stresses me out, but Durham isn't part of it.

Thanks, neighbors, for taking the time to indulge this expression of hope, compassion and love for all of us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Time To Remember and Learn

In the grand scheme of things, 150 years is not a long time. It is hard to believe that not that long ago, 1861-1865, the United States was surviving the Civil War.

This image can be downloaded
Durham played a large role in the civil war with the largest troop surrender coming at Bennett Place in 1865. Visit for a chronology of events that took place in and around Durham.

In observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has planned more than 200 events statewide. Sesquicentennial programs will examine the roles of women, Cherokee, U.S. Colored Troops and more. The impact of the war on home life, sickness and mortality, battles on land and sea, Civil War music, and freedman’s colonies are among topics that will be explored.

In Durham, Bennett Place State Historic Site, Duke Homestead State Historic Site, and Historic Stagville will all host events around the 150th anniversary. The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau will continue to promote these events as they come closer so stay tuned for more!

Joint Visitor and Relocation Guide Coming in 2012

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce they are joining forces to promote Durham to visitors and people relocating, by creating by creating a single joint visitor and relocation guide. 

Called the Official Visitor and Relocation Guide to Durham, the magazine will be published in January of 2012. By combining three existing vehicles (DCVB’s Visitor Guide, the Chamber's Membership Directory and the Chamber’s Make It Durham Relocation Guide,) local businesses will save advertising dollars and hassle, plus reach a larger audience at the same time. More than 100,000 copies will be printed and distributed directly to 130 venues throughout Durham as well as to those requesting a copy through DCVB's marketing and advertising.

Last year there were three publications produced, all with similar and overlapping information. “This collaboration is a no-brainer,” said Shelly Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of DCVB.  “It makes sense because we are the organizations with the most direct access to the request stream. The Chamber and DCVB distribute directly to visitors, and people and businesses in the process of relocating."

The Chamber and DCVB are the recognized organizations in Durham charged with the responsibility of attracting and serving visitors, relocating businesses and new residents. This will be the only Guide used by DCVB and by the Chamber in their visitor and relocation efforts including the Make It Durham program.

“Durham’s star has been on the rise for many years, with the last few years seeing a meteoric ascent in attention. The timing for this move simply could not be better as the world has literally taken notice of Durham,” said Casey Steinbacher, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber.

The production of the guide is already underway.  Businesses and organizations desiring information about advertising opportunities should contact Greg Craft at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammys? Yup, Got Those Too

Last night was a time to shine for the music business - some argue the Grammys are the industry's biggest night. That said, Durham sure looked good up was a rather big night for the place where great things happen.

The Carolina Chocolate
First off, Durham's Carolina Chocolate Drops won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. They are touring now, so check out their website for dates and venues.
Durham-based Merge Records has a little band on their label that may be a familiar name. Arcade Fire won for Album of the Year. In case that's not clear...this is an incredibly big deal for the label, the band...and maybe even for the home team in the Bull City.

Lastly, one of Durham's own took the stage to perform. Any fan of The Avett Brothers knows that the cellist (yup, they have a cellist) is none other than Joe Kwon who lives here. He also runs a food blog that offers great variety since he blogs about what he eats while on the road...around the world on tour. It's called Taste On Tour and it's definitely worth a read.

So, Durham has added to its list of Grammy winners. These newcomers join the likes of Nneena Freelon and Branford Marsalis who make Durham their home.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Did You Know?

DCVB offers hundreds of Durham photos free for promotional use through its easy-to-use image library, available at

This image of the Durham Skyline can be downloaded
DCVB utilizes the library’s high-resolution photos to update publications and websites that tell the Durham story and also makes them available to news media, writers, and reporters doing stories on the Bull City, as well as other organizations and individuals.  The public is welcome to download images for personal use, like smartphone and desktop screen backgrounds and school projects.

Updated on a regular basis, the images can be searched by keyword or category. To download, simply add up to 10 photos to the download bin, accept the terms for use, and a zip file with credit information will download with the selected photos. It’s that simple, so log on and explore thousand of images of Durham now!

Feeling Like Spring?

It's always refreshing when the grip of winter loosens its hold on the place where great things happen, and it seemed that the grip was a little tighter than usual this year. There were no record snowfalls, but there were many of them. While that's enough to dampen the spirits of the average Southerner, folks in Durham are hardly average...Durham is the Bull City for more than tobacco - folks are pretty hearty. Nonetheless, spring brings all sorts of great opportunities to get out in the world and enjoy some fresh air.

This image of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens
can be downloaded at
Here are some of the ways to get out as the weather permits (like this weekend!):
  • The Sarah P. Duke Gardens - these are free, open to the public and are going to be bursting to life shortly.
  • Outdoor dining - many restaurants are opening their patios on these warmer days, so be on the look out for dining al fresco options soon.
  • The NC Museum of Life and Science - the outdoor spaces are a great way to get the kids all tuckered out, especially if they've felt cooped up in the colder weather. 
  • West Point on the Eno - a walk through the woods beside a river can be just what the doctor ordered to shake off some of those cold weather cob webs.
  • Go to the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturday morning - the offerings are mighty tasty.
  • Take in some of the action at the Durham Skate Park - it's a great way to burn off some calories and watch some great developing talent in a state of the art facility.
At 299-square-miles, Durham is the 17th smallest county in the state, but it sure is packed with things to do.   The forecast is calling for a high of 60 on Sunday, and all of these ideas are better than any sort of project at home.

Durham Bulls Looking for Foodies and Musicians

The Durham Bulls knew launching these two contests would yield big results in the city that is nationally recognized for its emerging food culture and rising fast in the local and regional music scene.

The Clash of the Concessions contest will allow fans to submit their ideas or recipes from now until February 18th for a new food item at the DBAP for the 2011 season. The Bulls will select the three best ideas, then make them available for the fans to sample and vote on at Fanfest on March 4th and 5th at the ballpark. The winning submission will become the new featured item at the ballpark this summer and the person who made the submission will win a season’s worth of the new food item!
“This is a fun way for us to add a new food choice while giving the fans a say in what we are serving,” Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said, “I know I’m looking forward to trying some of the new ideas.”

Anyone interested in submitting an idea can do so by clicking here. All submissions must be received by February 18th to be considered.

The Durham Bulls are also looking to find a new theme song for the team that will be played prior to each home game in the 2011 season.

Submissions for this contest must be no longer than 3 minutes in length, and should convey the excitement and energy of Durham Bulls baseball.

Artists may submit their work by mail, or in person. Submissions should be addressed to the attention of: Durham Bulls Music Contest, 409 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27702. E-mails containing MP3 files should be sent to with the subject line “Durham Bulls Music Contest”

The deadline for submitting materials is March 14, 2011. By submitting a song you agree to allow the Bulls to use song at their discretion without compensation.

February is for Film Festivals

Durham, NC is a great location for movie lovers. Whether it’s visiting the sites of favorite movies, or attending film festivals, Durham has something unique to offer and that’s evident with the three very different film festivals held in Durham later this month.

Running from February 17-19, the Strange Beauty Film Festival features “adventurous and striking short films from around the world that are strangely beautiful and/or beautifully strange.”  Held at Manbites Dog Theater, this film festival is in its second year and is Durham’s newest. Weekend passes are sold out so view the schedule online and purchase tickets at the same time.

Celebrating its 17th year, the Hayti Heritage Film Festival will run from February 17-20. The Hayti Heritage Film Festival “embodies the richness of Black culture while recognizing universal themes and the similarities that exist among all cultures.”  The festival will kick off with a community film day discussion with questions and answer time that is free to the public. For schedule and ticket information, visit

If a weekend of horror and Gothic films sounds appealing, check out the Nevermore Horror and Gothic Film Festival at The Carolina Theatre. Created in 1999, Nevermore is “dedicated to screening brand new horror features from around the world.”  In its 12th year, this festival is not for the faint of heart. Schedule and ticket information can be found on the festival’s website.

Also stay tuned for information about two more Durham film festivals later in 2011: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 14-17 and the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, August 11-14.

New Year, New Guide, New Features

Great news! Distribution of the 2011 Official Durham Visitors Guide is underway, and by some accounts it is the best guide yet. This year’s edition contains more descriptive information about shopping, dining, and attractions, and features interviews from some of Durham’s own describing why they love living in the city where great things happen.

Want to know more about what Durham has to offer? Request the Official Durham Visitors Guide online or stop by the Official Visitor Information Center, located at 101 East Morgan Street, to pick up a copy.

In addition to this great visitors guide, check out for up-to-date event listings.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Truth About OTCs* and Why You Should Care - OP/ED

This is an opinion/editorial from the desk of Shelly Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

You may have read recently about a lawsuit filed in North Carolina by a group of *Online Travel Companies (OTCs) including Travelocity, Orbitz and Here’s a summary of the issue and why DCVB believes OTCs should follow the law as written.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacted legislation last summer requiring OTCs, when selling hotel rooms to consumers, to start paying taxes on the full amount charged to the customer as of January 1, 2011.

Specifically, the new law clarifies:

• Gross receipts from the rental of hotel rooms now includes the sales price of the rental as if it were tangible property, as well as charges designated as “fees” when they are required to complete the purchase.

• Any person or company that provides an accommodation for rent is considered a retailer.

To date, OTCs (sometimes called TPIs – Third Party Intermediaries) have been remitting occupancy taxes and sales taxes to communities based only on the wholesale rate they purchase rooms from hotels, not the full amount paid by the consumer.

Here’s a diagram that demonstrates what happens to tax revenue when using an intermediary.

Considering that prior to the recession, hotel sales in Durham County were around $150 million, this adds up to a big problem.

DCVB and many cities, counties, hotels and CVBs throughout North Carolina believe OTCs should pay taxes on the full rates charged to consumers. Why? Because many believe consumers are paying these taxes already. Look at this real life example.

The difference between the first case (booking through an OTC) and the second case (booking directly through the hotel) is that Durham collects $14.71 in taxes when the hotel books the room. When an OTC books the room, the amount of taxes remitted are considerably less.

I’m going to guess (and I really don’t know any individual hotel’s net or wholesale rate, which is the rate they sell their room to the intermediary) that the taxes remitted on this same room when sold through an intermediary are closer to $10-11. So, local government is getting up to a third less tax revenue than they should.

What compounds this even more is the vast percentage of rooms sold through intermediaries…in some hotels more than half of their total inventory.

At first blush, you may think the OTCs are doing the work and they deserve to make a fair profit. I agree. They are making a substantial profit from the difference in the rate they buy a room from a hotel and what they charge the consumer. On a room sold for $100, that profit is likely in the neighborhood of $20-$30. And remember, that’s per room…per day.  (Now you know why you can't turn on the television without seeing an advertisement from any number of OTCs.  They are spending billions trying to steal market share away from each other.)

OTCs are fighting this all over the nation. They argue they are not retailers because they do not have physical possession of the room…they are merely service providers and should not pay taxes on services. They have invested millions in lobbying efforts nationally to introduce the Internet Travel Tax Fairness Act (ITTFA), which would prohibit a State or municipality from collecting occupancy taxes on the OTCs’ share of the revenues from the internet bookings.

They have also launched a misleading campaign aimed at consumers alleging, “Local politicians are threatening to impose new taxes on customers booking travel online." They are urging travelers across the nation to "take a stand against new travel taxes."

However, the Internet Travel Tax Fairness Act does not involve any "new taxes." Instead, the ITTFA would exempt OTAs from having to pay the same amount of existing state and local hotel taxes currently paid by all hotel brands.

Stay tuned. Although we do not know precisely how much revenue this could mean to local governments here is our best estimate of the impact. It can quickly amount to about $3 million a year.

Durham is Cool, Calm, and Collected

Really. Whatever it is that's making people so worked up just isn't that least not in Durham. In a recent survey by Men's Health magazine, Durham came in as the 21st least angry city on the national list of 100 reviewed, besting all others in North Carolina.

As is often the case, the listing is pretty lightweight research and is really most likely a ranking of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, not cities. The list refers to Durham, but is probably making reference to the Durham, NC MSA which is comprised of Chatham, Durham, Orange and Person counties.

So, what does this really say about Durham? Well, a lot actually - especially if you look at what Men's Health did. They ranked places by incidences of aggravated assault (FBI data), the number of people with high blood pressure (CDC data), the amount of time spent in traffic during rush hour (Texas Transportation Institute data) and the number of anger management specialists per capita (American Psychological Association data). So, in other words, Durham is safe, healthy, and has manageable traffic.

See? Durham really is where great things happen. Now relax, will ya?

Coop Advertising Opportunities Closing Fast

As reported here last week, the Durham Convention &Visitors Bureau is pursuing cooperative advertising opportunities in Our State magazine.  The negotiated rates and advertisement units are such that the level of affordability is heretofore been largely unseen for a publication with Our State's reach. 

Stakeholders can purchase a space on the coop ad that is similar in dimension to a sixth page in the publication for $625.  DCVB is paying an additional $745 to brand the page and attract visitation and attention to Durham, its assets and its lifestyle options.

"Success of this new program is predicated on participation of stakeholders.  That participation lacked severely in recent years and so these efforts were discontinued," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications for DCVB.  "However, response to this offering has been overwhelming," he added.  Full page advertisements with six partners each are planned for May and June, and both are nearly sold out.  "If demand is strong enough, we'll add pages so we hope everyone interested will let us know," said Poley.

Those interested in learning more should email for additional information.  DCVB is planning more such advertising options in the near future.  The economy has driven the return to this advertising format, but Poley hopes as things improve that stakeholders will continue to embrace these opportunities for both their economic value and the message they send about Durham as a community.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Downtown’s Eyes Turned 85 This Week!

Downtown’s Eyes Turned 85 This Week!
Bull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

This week the soulful eyes of Downtown Durham turned 85 years old.
It was February 2, 1926 when The Carolina Theatre opened as the $250,000 Durham Auditorium and hosted famed Will Rogers that first year and the symbolically-even-more-famed African-American contralto opera singer Marian Anderson the next.

When it opened, the facility was the first theater in Durham to admit African-Americans, though through separate doors and with separate seating, but Ms Anderson performed to a diverse audience that is characteristic of Durham and in 1963 it became fully integrated.

Continue reading this blog post...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

DPAC Ranks Top 10 Nationally

It's a fine day when a thing held in high-esteem receives high praise, and today is a mighty fine day indeed.  DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center was ranked by Pollstar magazine as having the ninth highest year end ticket sales in the nation. This says a lot about the overall adoption and acceptance of DPAC as a world-class venue for performing arts.

Topping the list is New York's Radio City Music Hall with Atlanta's Fox Theater, Madison Square Garden, Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas, the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, St Louis' Fabulous Fox Theater, the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, and Detroit's Fox Theater, rounding out the top eight.

"If you haven’t been to DPAC yet there is no better time than this winter and spring. We have over fifty different performances to choose from. Our mission is to present unique, one-of-a-kind live entertainment events. From Broadway to concerts, comedy to family shows…there really is something for everyone at DPAC,” said Bob Klaus, GM at DPAC. 

Read their press release about the ranking and note their calendar of upcoming events as there are many reasons to visit this landmark theater. Upcoming highlights include The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Madagascar Live, Comedian Wanda Sykes and the American Dance Festival.

Don't Fear the Feed

As technology grows and expands, so does the collective vocabulary of the world. It can be difficult to keep up with changes and technology can become overwhelming if the correct tools are not utilized. "RSS Feeds" and Readers are tools that can make following blogs simpler.

The Durham News Service encourages fans to subscribe to the feeds for each section of information in order to stay up-to-date on all the happenings in Durham. Each section of information features a button on the right hand side which says, “Get RSS Feed.” By clicking this button fans can download the feed to the platform of their choice by following the given instructions.

What does “getting the RSS Feed” mean? Feeds simply allow websites to distribute their content to subscribers who are interested in regular information updates. Likewise, RSS Readers are aggregators that pull Atom and RSS Feeds from selected sources to one place for ease and organization. Visit this article for more in-depth information on Atom, RSS Feeds, Readers, and how to make a webpage a homepage.

So, don’t be left behind in the world of technology, take advantage of the tools that are offered to have Durham’s news delivered right to you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Bell Can't Be Un-Rung - A Letter to the Sheriff's Office

In my capacity as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, addressing Durham's image comes with the territory.  Below is letter sent to Sheriff Worth Hill explaining DCVB's position with regard to comments made by Major Paul Martin, a Deputy with the Durham County Sheriff's office.

Durham has fought image issues related to crime for many, many years. Here are just a few of the kinds of comments I see daily in my position.
“I imagine Durham is pretty dangerous…I don’t read the Durham paper, and if there was anything [good] in the Raleigh paper, I don’t know that I’d pay attention to it.”

“Come to Durham and visit the crime capital of NC! Murder and drugs are just a couple of wonderful things to look forward to when visiting!”

“Top cities to visit while wearing a bullet-proof vest maybe...”

Headline: “Cary shines in safest cities rankings; Durham doesn’t.” Triangle Business Journal, November 22, 2010. (Durham was ranked safer than Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Charlotte.)

Despite fighting these stereotypes and negative water cooler comments for years, Durham has been named one of 41destinations in the WORLD to visit in 2011 (as per the New York Times.) The 6.31 million visitors to Durham last year brought in more than $37 million dollars in tax revenue to this community…the kind of tax revenue that helps funds law enforcement among other things.
If the Department believes there are indeed credible threats of ethnic “wars” in the immediate future, by all means let us know. I couldn’t in good conscience continue to tell visitors to come here.
If this is the rhetoric of one individual, please use your influence to help him understand these comments made publicly do a grave injustice to our community and serve only to further perpetuate the myth that Durham is nothing more than a wasteland of gang violence.

I offer these comments sincerely. We have a strong desire to put crime statistics in perspective, not to ignore, apologize, cover up or offer excuses for crime. This, however, seems way over the top.
I don't presume to know what public safety professionals encounter every day.  But I sit on the Durham Crime Cabinet and expect that law enforcement agencies would alert the public in an appropriate way if there was merit to the theories presented in Major Martin's paper. 

Once the bell has been rung, the vibrations ripple far and wide.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

African American History Month Events in Durham

February is African American History month and Durham has a lot of history to share. Home to many African-American historic sites, Durham citizens have made tremendous contributions to the state and nation. Download the African-American Heritage Guide, produced by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, to learn more.

There are lots of events going on around Durham so make your plans and visit to see what others are doing. In honor of African-American History Month, The Hayti Heritage Center will host these events.

Feb. 4- March 31, African American Quilt Circle bi-annual exhibition “Reflections”. Opening reception with light refreshments and entertainment by The Baron Tymas Trio, February 4 at 6pm. Public Invited (FREE)

February 6, Dolan Perkins Valdez, Meet the Author of WENCH, Co-Sponsored by Durham Public Library, 3:00pm (FREE)

February 10, “Jazz Then and Now” a public conversation between Branford Marsalis and Jazz Loft Project Director, Sam Stephenson. 7:00pm. Co-Sponsored by the Nasher Museum (FREE)

February 13, 8th Annual Valentine’s Jazz Festival features pre-concert talk by Jimmy Heath at 3:00pm; concert featuring Duke, NCCU and UNC, join John Brown, Ira Wiggins and Kim Ketch with Jimmy Heath at 4:00pm. (Ticketed event)

February 17 – 20, 17th Annual Hayti Heritage Film Festival; Community Day Film Screening February 17 of “Waiting for Superman” at 6:30pm and panel discussion (FREE). Festival continues February18-20, check website for film schedule, workshops and special guest. (Ticketed event)

February 18, Jambalaya Soul Slam's 7th annual Erotic Poetry Slam featuring Dani - doors open at 11pm and the show starts 12:00 midnight (For mature audience only) (Ticketed event)

February 19, Jambalaya Slam Academy's writing and performance workshop facilitated by national spoken word artists. 11am-1pm Registration required (ticketed event) limited space available.

February 28, African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Justice: a Community Forum features Professor Phil Rubio and others. Co-Sponsored by Durham Public Library, 3:00pm (FREE)