Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DCVB Passes Resolution to Halt Temporary Rules for Billboards

In a regularly scheduled board meeting of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, a resolution was passed in support of asking Governor Beverly Perdue to halt the temporary rules related to Senate Bill 183 that were enacted by the state’s Department of Transportation.  

While fully recognizing that many tourism sector businesses in North Carolina utilize billboards, the DCVB also weighed the impact this would have on Durham’s appearance and unique sense of place.   

Wib Gulley, Chair of DCVBs Board of Directors commented, “This is not a simple issue, and it is not that one side is for billboards and the other side is against them.  But there are a lot of people who value their community’s appearance, see it as a key asset, and believe that the passage of these rules will hurt people and businesses whose jobs depend on the state’s scenic beauty.” 

Durham passed billboard ordinances in 1984 which banned any new billboards from being erected and relegated existing billboards to a nonconforming use status. In 2010 both the City and County of Durham separately and independently upheld the existing ordinances.

Passage of SB183 and the temporary rules enacted will effectively preempt local vegetation protection ordinances like these which were put in place to protect the viewshed, screen traffic noise from adjoining neighborhoods and protect motorists from dust and other pollutants from industrial sites.

See also:
Group Challenges New Billboard Rules in Court
Natural Scenic Beauty?
Durham Residents Support Billboard Ordinance

Urban Ministries of Durham’s 6th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser Takes Place March 8th

Durham was recently ranked as the most tolerant city in America - it is a town that takes care of its citizens - in part because its citizens take care of one another. The annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is a great example of how.

The annual battle for the “Best Soup in Durham” will take place Thursday, March 8th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Durham Armory (220 Foster Street). Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) will hold its sixth annual Empty Bowls event presented by RTI International to raise much-needed funds to help UMD serve over 200,000 meals a year to those in need.  New to this year’s event is an after party hosted by Fullsteam Brewery (726 Rigsbee Avenue) and Motorco (723 Rigsbee Avenue) at 8:00 pm featuring live music and a food truck round-up.

Empty Bowls features chefs from some of Durham’s finest restaurants such as blu seafood and bar, Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, Revolution, Watts Grocery, Whole Foods Café, Toast, Thrills from the Grill, L’Uva, Saladelia Café, Guglhupf and Mad Hatter’s Café and Bakeshop. The chefs will present their tasty soups and battle for the title of “Best Soup in Durham.”  Tickets are $30 each and include a one-of-a-kind keepsake bowl created by local artisans at Claymakers, Clayworks Guild, Carrboro Clay, Havenhill Studios and Durham Arts Council.  There is also a $15 ticket available for attendees who just want to sample soup only. Children six and under can attend for free.

The “People’s Choice” award will be voted on by attendees and the “Judge’s Choice” award will be voted on by a panel of local celebrity judges including Locopops owner Summer Bicknell, Parker and Otis owner Jennings Brody, WTVD news anchor Tisha Powell, Fullsteam Brewery owner Sean Wilson and Independent Weekly editor Lisa Sorg. Frank Stasio, host of “The State of Things” on WUNC will be the evening’s emcee.

The after party at Fullsteam Brewery keeps the fundraising going with a food truck round-up featuring Pie Pushers, Will & Pops, The Parlour, Chirba Chirba, Klausie’s Pizza, Only Burger and The Sausage Wagon. Each truck will debut an “exclusive new dish” suitable for a bowl with 10% of their proceeds being donated to UMD.

“We are so pleased to see this annual event grow to include even more businesses and members of the community,” said UMD Executive Director Patrice Nelson.  “The demand for food, clothing and shelter continues to climb and the generosity of everyone involved with this event is inspiring and much appreciated.”

Last year’s event sold out with close to 800 attendees bringing in close to $30,000 for UMD. Due to the popularity of the event, attendees are encouraged to order tickets prior to the event.  To purchase tickets, stop by UMD at 410 Liberty Street or visit Urban Ministries of Durham's website

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Really Small News?

The creators of the Bull City Startup Stampede are back at it with a new project.  It's a really big deal and a great opportunity for the winner.  The exposure will be massive and the financial value is big.  It's just that the space is, well, small.

Really small.

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Durham, Inc. are partnering once again to bring entrepreneurs to downtown Durham, this time through an initiative called The Smoffice. A national competition, The Smoffice will provide one startup with six months of free space in “The World’s Smallest Office” as well as  a free six-month lease on a downtown condo.

The Smoffice will be located in the storefront window of Beyu Caffe, a prominent coffee shop on Main Street. “We are excited to be working with Dorian (owner of Beyu) as we think entrepreneurship and coffee make a great pair,” said Adam Klein, Startup Strategist at the Durham Chamber. “We like the energy of the crowd that spends time at Beyu Caffe and think this location will give the winning entrepreneur an easy opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow entrepreneurs and Durham’s business leaders.”

The Smoffice design was created by Center Studio Architecture and constructed by McDonald York. The winning entrepreneur will enjoy a custom built desk as well as free furniture from CBi and a tablet. In addition to the commercial space, the winner will get to enjoy downtown Durham around the clock with a free condo at Mangum 506.

“Downtown Durham powers startups and we want to give The Smoffice winner as much exposure and time in Durham as possible,” said Downtown Durham Inc.’s Director of Marketing Matthew Coppedge. “We are quickly becoming a significant startup hub and The Smoffice gives us a great chance to continue to feature entrepreneurs and the kind of energy and creativity they drive in a downtown environment. This initiative will show that one does not need the best or fanciest space to launch a successful company, but rather be surrounded by a stimulating environment and people.”

The Smoffice winner will also receive technical assistance from startup experts in legal, accounting and marketing. Perhaps most important, the winner will be networked with the 70 other startups that call downtown Durham home.

 Applications for The Smoffice open on Leap Day, February 29 and close Friday, March 30. Interested applicants can learn more at or on Twitter @thesmoffice. Applications should include a one page business plan along with a 60 second You Tube video detailing why the startup should win The Smoffice space. The Smoffice winner will be announced on Friday, April 13 and the winner will arrive in Durham and open The Smoffice on Monday, April 30. Website design for The Smoffice was provided by Kompleks Creative.

Durham is a great place for big ideas, big personalities and big businesses...but they all started someplace (ugh.) small.

Monday, February 27, 2012

NC Central's Ties of Honor

Durham is a place where high value is placed on bringing younger generations up in an environment where there is a great deal of opportunity laid out before them. Mentor programs exist in all corners of the community, including Durham's North Carolina Central University - one of the city's two universities. There is an example of this ideology tonight.

In the interest of preserving a skill that some would say is dying, Chancellor Charlie Nelms will teach the art of the necktie to undergraduate male students this evening at 6PM in the Alfonso Elder Student Union.

Bowties and neckties are an essential component of the well-dressed professional man's wardrobe. For that reason, NC Central University faculty and staff neckwear experts will give away new and gently used neckties and bowties to undergraduate males.

Those interested in donating items for the event can contact Deidre Kelly at 530-7814. The public is encouraged to attend the educational event, however, ties will only be presented to current students.

The Student Union is directly across Nelson Street from the parking lot at Nelson and Fayetteville Streets where ample free spaces will be available.

Durham Distributor Adds More Craft Beer

Craft beer is a big deal in Durham.  A really big deal.  With two breweries opened in as many years bringing the total to three in town, and rumors of more on the way, Durhamites love all things made with integrity.  Craft brewers rely an awful lot on integrity, so the marriage between the two (Durham and beer) is likely to be blissful for years to come.  Even one of the leading publications on the subject is produced right here in Durham: few lovers of beer don't know about All About Beer magazine.

Now Durham distributor Harris, Inc is even more serious than ever about distributing craft beers.  Says Jay Harris, President and Head Coach of Harris, "Aviator Brewing Co. is an outstanding compliment to our local craft beer portfolio, offering styles that retailers and beer lovers are truly pining for in the Triangle market."

True, Aviator isn't a Durham brand, but is locally made just down the road in a neighboring community.  If rising tides lift all boats then having their product be as celebrated as it is and sold here in the place where great things happen can only be good for all beer lovers and brewers. Right?  As it is, Harris distributes Durham-made Triangle Brewing Company beers.

Harris, Inc. recently modified their Durham facility to handle the growing thirst for local and craft beer.  The company employs 60 people in Durham and has annual sales of $30 million.

Durham Family Theatre Presents: “The House at Pooh Corner” A Musical for All Ages

In a community motivated by things that are genuine and authentic, the arts are a really big deal.  Just such a place, Durham, NC is home to many theaters producing and hosting performances and artists from the local to the international mega-stars.  With thirteen theaters, the largest of which is the fourth most attended theater in the US, Durham is a true focal point for performing arts in North Carolina and the Southeast.
Cast of "The House at Pooh Corner"

In the play “The House at Pooh Corner,” presented by Durham Family Theatre, written by A.A. Milne and adapted by Betty Knapp, Pooh and Friends gather in the Hundred Acre Woods for a Mergency Meeting called by Christopher Robin. Eeyore needs a house before the blizzard arrives. Piglet is afraid of nearly everything and Tigger bounces into the Woods with Unexpected Consequences! All the while, Christopher Robin, Pooh and Friends sing the most lively and beautiful songs with music put to A.A. Milne’s hums by H. Fraser-Simson.

Presented on March 9, 10, 16, 17 at 7:00 pm and March 10 & 17 at 1:00 pm at Whitford Hall in Duke Memorial United Methodist Church (504 W Chapel Hill Street), tickets are available on Durham Family Theatre's website.

Durham Family Theatre presents plays and classes for all ages year-round. As diversity is important in Durham, their mission is to create a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, inter-generational community-based theatre, reaching into and being fed by Durham's neighborhoods, where amateurs and professionals of all ages, races and economic status can gain skills that lead to meaningful careers and relationships while creating engaging, exciting, transforming theatre.

“The House at Pooh Corner” is presented through arrangements with The Dramatic Publishing Company.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Picked Bits of History in Durham, NC

When Steve Martin (yes, the arrow-through-the-head, “wild and crazy guy” former SNL star, internationally-known comedian, actor and author) takes the stage at DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center on June 3 with the Steep Canyon Rangers, he will play the banjo; it is an instrument he has mastered over decades of practice and play. 
But whatever does this have to do with history, you ask? A lot – sit tight.

Durham is home to many interesting collections.  There are deep and rich archives in the two university libraries here at Duke and NCCU, an amazing collection of early Americana at the Patterson’s Mill Country Store, the world’s largest collections of low brass instruments.

And banjos. 

Not just any banjos, either. Durham is home to the world’s largest privately held collection of Gibson flathead five-string Mastertone banjos made between 1930 and 1942. Seven of the approximately 140 known to exist in the world are here.  

Esoteric? Perhaps – but as the forbearer to which most current banjos owe their design, the collection is important.  In fact, owner Jim Mills considers himself a guardian of these instruments.  

As a professional musician, six time Grammy winner and six consecutive year recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the year (the most ever), Mills is, very quietly, and international star in his own right who knows his stuff about banjos.  To the frustrated musicians reading this: he taught himself to play and for the 14 years he played with Ricky Skaggs many considered him one of the best in the world. His collection of awards certainly lends credit to that opinion. 

Mills operates a store and showroom here – almost a museum with its memorabilia and products for the serious banjo player.  Open by appointment only, aficionados will find parts, music, whole instruments, and lots of history…even an image of the aforementioned Mr. Martin who purchased one of his banjos from Mills.

Mills is, if nothing else, humble.  His business, career and collection of instruments are the result of continued hard work.  Only about 200 of the Gibson Mastertone banjos that Mills collects were ever made, and the collection is quite valuable.  According to Mills, “These are considered the Stradivari of banjos” as he referenced the most valuable and respected violins ever made.  He’d never admit it, but Mills and his banjo collection are a treasure equally valued here in Durham, where great things happen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bicycle Racing Returns to Durham

Durham is known for many supremacy in many sports.  If the cycling community has its way, the road racing will soon be another.  The Ninth Street Derby will be held on Sunday February 26, 2012.

The Ninth Street Derby is a day of criterium bicycle racing for collegiate teams of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) and for the community at large.  Duke Cycling and Pedalgogy Coaching Services will present the event on Sunday February 26 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.  Competitors will turn laps on a half-mile rectangle encompassing the Ninth Street District on Ninth, Perry, Iredell, and Markham Streets.

Collegiate racing kicks off with a beginner's event at 9:00 am and culminates at 1:00 pm with a 30-mile event for the fastest collegiate athletes on the east coast.   Duke Cycling will look for a strong showing in defense of its 2011 regular-season ACCC team title.  Duke student Matthew Rinehart, the 2011 ACCC individual champion, will be a favorite contender against strong squads from UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and the US Naval Academy.

Community races begin at 2:15 pm and climax at 4:30 with the feature event for professional and elite amateur racers.  State and national champions will join a field motivated by $500 in prize money.

"Criterium bicycle racing is a lot like NASCAR," said Rusty Miller, race promoter and Duke Cycling Head Coach.  "The spectacle for crowds is pure speed and the constant possibility of pile-ups" as racers sprint around city streets in a tight pack and jostle for the best drafting positions.  Competitors will reach speeds in excess of 35 mph in pursuit of the Derby title, he said.

Durham's cycling community is growing rapidly with events like this and a well organized cadre of enthusiasts.  Soon Durham could be known as the place where great cycling happens - let's just see what happens on Sunday.  Go Duke.

First Responders For Durham's Community Appearance

The subject of appearance is on the minds of many in Durham, NC these days with the impending removal of trees around billboards here and statewide.  A new law that goes into effect on March 1 will permit billboard owners to clear cut to the ground more than a football field of all trees and shrubs from in front of their signs.

Appearance is a big part of a community's image.  In a recent poll, by a margin of about 4 to 1, Durham residents agreed or strongly agreed that appearance should be a high community priority.

Read on for an interesting piece by DCVB's President Emeritus, Reyn Bowman, on a way that the City of Durham quietly responds to this concern everyday and continues to try and deliver the promise that Durham is where great things happen.

"First Responders For Community Appearance"
Reyn Bowman
Durham North Carolina's tiny 8-member Rapid Response Impact Team is the hidden force behind much of what is often credited only to neighborhood associations or organizations like Keep Durham Beautiful.
Headed by Durham native, Daryl Hedgspeth, as part of the City’s Neighborhood Services Improvement Department, the Impact Team was responsible in the past calendar year alone for:
  • Removing nearly 9000 instances of graffiti and related symbols and scripted words.
  • Removing 324 displaced shopping carts that had been driven away from the sites where they belong only to be abandoned and left to junk up roadsides and trails.
  • Removing more than 1100 illegal dump sites created by people, both residents and nonresidents who travel to Durham to work, who couldn't be troubled to properly dispose of the refuse.
  • Mowing 344 "weedy lots" and cleaning up debris from another 243 sites, nearly 746 tons in all.
In addition, the Impact Team facilitates individual neighborhood cleanup initiatives such as “big sweep” efforts focused on waterways as well as cleanup preparation for, urban gardens, clearing neglected right-of-ways, and dealing with costly-to-remove up huge bills such as paint and hydraulic fluids spills. 
The Impact Team is also most likely the group that quietly distributes and retrieves barricades for parades, fundraising walks and runs, festivals and other community events.  They also supervise a team of two dozen young people over the summer it picked up 9 tons of litter in just eight weeks.
Given the fact that Durham residents gave only two failing grades to their community, including one for inattention to general appearance, the Impact Team’s remarkable effort is one area not yet scaled to the size of the task it faces.
This remarkable group doesn't get the attention it should because to do so would be to draw attention to neglect and raise questions about why community appearance is given such high priority among residents, but receives far too little attention from those in governance.
Residents who mount volunteer cleanup efforts in neighborhoods and along streams and trails or spy graffiti or illegal dumping or weedy lots or debris that are threatening the community’s well-being, including public health and safety, should call or e-mail Durham One Call for assistance but it is likely the Rapid Response Impact Team that they will thank in the end.

City of Durham Makes Changes To Water Beginning Today

Durham residents may notice a slight change in the taste and color of their water throughout the month of March. Beginning today through April 1, 2012, the City of Durham will temporarily stop adding ammonia as a part of the water treatment disinfection process in order to meet an annual state and federal water requirement. 

During this time, only chlorine will be used for disinfection. The City’s Water and Sewer Maintenance Division will also begin flushing the entire water system to allow chlorine to disperse throughout the system. System flushing will begin on Sunday, March 4 and will be conducted Sundays through Thursdays between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to minimize the impact to customers. During the three-week flushing process, staff will start working in the north and south sides of the city and progress toward the center of the city. 

During this process, residents may also notice slight discoloration in their water when crews are working in their neighborhoods. Residents receiving kidney dialysis treatment as well as aquarium and pond owners should continue to take special precautions to remove traces of ammonia and chlorine from the water prior to using it. Residents should also check their water before washing white clothing. If water discoloration occurs, customers should run their water for a few minutes until it becomes clear.  If water discoloration persists, contact the Water and Sewer Maintenance Division of the City’s Water Management Department at (919) 560-4344. 

Durham has been using chloramination as the disinfection process since January 2002. Chloramination uses both ammonia and chlorine to disinfect water and reduces the formation of disinfection by-products in the water distribution system. City water treatment plant staff will resume adding ammonia into the disinfection process on April 1, 2012.

Several other neighboring water providers, including Cary, Raleigh and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA), will be carrying out the same temporary disinfection process change and system flushing during this time period. 

For more information on the disinfection process, contact the City’s Water Management Department at (919) 560-4381. Questions related to the flushing program should be directed to the City’s Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at (919) 560-4344. Information about the City’s water treatment and disinfection process may also be found on the City’s website.

Oh Say Can You Sing? Bull to Host National Anthem Auditions

If you can sing, then the Durham Bulls would like to hear you.  Literally.

The Durham Bulls will hold auditions for National Anthem singers for the 2012 season on Saturday, March 10th from 10:00am until 12:00pm at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Participants may enter through the front gates and register upon arrival to perform on a first come, first serve basis. Singers may leave at the completion of their audition and will be contacted later as the Bulls choose those who will perform at limited, select dates during the 2012 season.

National Anthem performers will have one minute and thirty seconds to perform the Star Spangled Banner.  Lyrics must be memorized and performed in a "traditional style".

For additional information on singing the National Anthem at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park or if you have a group interested in performing, please contact Andrew Bryda at 919.687.6545 or by email.
The Durham Bulls open 2012 International League play at home on Thursday, April 5th when they host the Gwinnett Braves. Season ticket and mini-plan packages are now available on the Durham Bulls website or by calling 919.956.BULL.

Staying Fresh with Durham Farmers' Market

Each week, the Durham Farmers' Market's farmers come with their trucks filled with beautiful vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, flowers, you name it. All of the farmers aim to bring the freshest food possible. Because we see them for such a short time during the week, it can be hard to remember how much work it takes to get ready for a market day. 

The day before Market is often a long one. Fresh vegetables can be the most labor intensive and difficult to bring to Market. As soon as a vegetable is plucked from the field, it begins to deteriorate. Post-harvest handling and care is critical to preserve the freshness, flavor, and nutrients in the vegetables that you see and buy at the Market. Our farmers' chief concern in post harvest handling is to keep the product cool, minimize moisture loss and bruising. Because of their hard work to transport the vegetables from the field to the Market, the Market is filled with fresh, tasty vegetables each week. 

Here are a few tips to help you preserve the freshness and flavor of the vegetables when you bring them from the Market into your home.

Greens, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts: Store in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag. Putting these greens directly into the fridge can cause them to get limp and tasteless. Putting them in a plastic bag helps them to retain moisture and flavor.

Beets, Carrots, Radishes, Rutabagas, Turnips: When you get home, cut off their leafy greens, make sure they are clean and store them in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Leaving the greens on can cause them to get limp and lose their sweetness. Beet greens, turnip greens and radish greens are all edible (and tasty), so don't throw them away! Store them just like other greens.

Cilantro and Parsley: Snip the bottom of the stems off and make sure the leaves are dry. Fill a jar with an inch or two of water and place the stem ends in the water. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Shiitake Mushrooms: Store in a paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over and store in the fridge.  Storing mushrooms in plastic isn't a good idea because moisture will cause them to deteriorate very quickly.

Green Onions & Green Garlic: Snip the roots off and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. A farmers shared last week that leaving the roots on can draw moisture out of the onion causing them to go limp.

Tomatoes: DON'T STORE IN THE FRIDGE!  Refrigeration causes damage to the membranes of the fruit walls, causing them to become mealy and tasteless. Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature on the counter.

Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash: Store in a cool dark place like in a paper bag in the coolest cabinet in my kitchen - not the fridge.

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:   RHUBARB, GREEN GARLIC, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, Asian Greens, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress, Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Greenhouse Grown Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (fresh & dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants:  Daffodils, Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Cornmeal, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bull City Grid Iron Classic is Back in 2012

Three years ago, Duke University and North Carolina Central University agreed to play a football game at Duke University's  Wallace Wade Stadium.  The idea was  for the two universities to create an opportunity to engage with each other and Durham in community service and sport.  Thus was born in 2009 the Bull City Gridiron Classic. 

The event included a pep rally in the old Durham Athletic Park, some Habitat for Humanity projects with students from the two  Universities, a picnic in Blue Devil Alley, a great football game, and an even better half time show. 

In 2012, the two schools have once again arranged their schedules to allow another game - and another Bull City Gridiron Classic scheduled for  September 15th. According to Casey Steinbacher, president of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (GDCC), "Preparations for this year's game are starting much earlier in hopes of engaging more of Durham’s community partners in helping plan and carry out this exciting event." 

Those interested in participating in this event can email the Chamber here.

Durham's Museum of Life & Science Soon to Sprout

Good food in Durham is about as important as good times.  Come March, both can be had here at the Museum of Life and Science when a new café, with a new look, new menu and new ownership opens for business.

After meeting with several local restaurant owners who expressed interest, the Museum chose to award the contract to Tom Meyer.  Meyer got his start in the restaurant business locally as an employee at Durham's vaunted Nana's, the owner of which, Scott Howell, has recently been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for his culinary excellence.  Meyer later became involved with Durham's The Original Q Shack in 2003 and now owns The Q-Shack in Raleigh and Green's Restaurant at UNC Hospital.  He is no longer involved with Durham's The Original Q Shack.

“We decided to award the contract to Mr. Meyer because of his commitment to quality service and emphasis on preparing healthy meals that are made using ingredients from local farmers,” says Shawntel Landavazo with the Museum, project leader of the café selection process.

Buying local is the basis of Meyer’s business model. "Foods grown in their unique climates take on the characteristics, or 'tastes' of their places.  In North Carolina, we are blessed with a huge assortment of wonderful produce, meats and artisan producers,” says Meyer. The company’s product procurement plan focuses on buying locally when available and regionally when seasons or supply changes.

The buy local message will not only be part of the taste experience, but part of the overall patron experience. Future plans include teaching visitors about the benefits of buying local and to show how food goes from the farm to the table. Implementing exhibits about composting and water reuse and a seasonal garden are currently being discussed between Meyer and the Museum. Programs which focus on the benefits of local produce may also take place in the future.

So what will you find in this new café? Well you won’t find a microwave or chefs opening a can of beans with a can opener. Instead you’ll find fresh collard greens, sweet potatoes, cabbage and an assortment of meats that are free of steroids, pesticides and preservatives and meals that are never cooked in hydrogenated oils.

Vegetarian and gluten free options will be available. And if you suffer from food allergies, the new café includes a prep area where meals can be specially made to eliminate the risk of cross contamination.  According to Landavazo, meals will not only be healthy, but reasonably priced and delicious. 

The new Sprout café is scheduled to open its doors to the public in March.  Learn more about dining options in Durham here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Durham Chefs on Beard Foundation Short List

Accolades for Durham, NC's culinary culture show no signs of slowing. Consistently featured as a top place in the US to eat, visit, relocate, and retire, Durhamites already know what all the fuss is about. For those still learning about this great place known for its diversity, openness and creativity, here’s yet another reason to take note.

The James Beard Foundation Awards announced the 2012 semifinalists and Durham's nationally acclaimed local chef culture is represented well. Scott Howell of Nana’s (a semifinalist last year as well) is a semifinalist in the Best Chef in the Southeast category, Sean Lily Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery is up for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional and Magnolia Grill looks to bring home Outstanding Restaurant 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. Without a doubt, Durham has found its place on the James Beard Foundation map.

From mobile food to some of the nation's most celebrated fine dining, Durham is a place where people turn for variety and quality.  Learn more Durham related food awards by searching the keyword "food" on the Durham Accolades website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Volunteering at DCVB

Erma Bombeck said it well with this: "Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another."

In Durham, a place that highly values such attributes, that quote is especially resonant.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official marketing agency of Durham, North Carolina.  Its funding comes from a portion of the occupancy tax paid by those who stay in one of Durham's nearly 10,000 hotel rooms, as well as support from stakeholders who endorse the bureau's publications.  It uses those funds exclusively to forward the objective of promoting visitation to Durham - a job made easier by volunteers.  To DCVB, marketing the community is a labor of real affection, and having community members on hand to help those visiting the place is especially important.

"We have amassed thousands of hours with volunteers in our 22 years of work in Durham, and we're truly thankful for every one of them," said Shelly Green, DCVB's President and CEO. "Every time I get a chance to meet and talk with our volunteers, I am struck by their passion for this place...and it makes my job that much more enjoyable.  Our volunteers really make this place so special."

Currently, DCVB has openings for five volunteers to work in its Visitor Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street on the Downtown Loop.  The opportunity is ideal for people in retirement and stay-at-home parents with children who are in organized care.  Not only is volunteering an opportunity to stay active and interact with people, but it's also a chance to be easily within walking distance of Downtown's shops, restaurants and bakeries, as well as the free-to-ride Bull City Connector.  

Those interested in volunteering at DCVB should contact Carolyn Carney, the organization's Director of Visitor Services.

Durham Bulls Fan Fest 2012 Kicks Off New Baseball Season

Among the many ways Durham, NC is known is by the ever-inspiring moniker City of Champions, and the hometown Durham Bulls are a great contributor to that reputation.  So every year as Winter's (wimpy, this year) grip loosens and the sun's rays warm the earth a bit, thoughts turn to baseball.

As Spring Training camps open for Major League teams, a new baseball season has arrived in Durham and the Triangle.   To kick off the season, the Durham Bulls will host Fan Fest 2012 on Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The annual event serves as the opening day of ticket sales, giving fans their first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets. 

During Fan Fest 2012, fans will have exclusive access to one of the most celebrated ballparks in Minor League Baseball when they can take batting practice and play catch on the field at the DBAP. The Bulls box office will be open during the event, selling tickets for individual games including Opening Day on April 5th and the 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. By purchasing at least one ticket to a 2012 regular season Bulls game at Fan Fest, fans will get a free lunch at the concession stands.

A special Pepsi Ticket Package will be available at Fan Fest 2012, including four tickets to any regular season Bulls game, four Bulls caps and four six-packs of Pepsi for only $48.

Other events scheduled for Fan Fest 2012 include:

  • Wool E. Bull posing for pictures and signing autographs
  • Up to 50% off selected Bulls merchandise in the Ballpark Corner Store, including select fitted caps
  • Full range of inflatables for young Bulls fans to enjoy
  • Select-a-Seat event highlighting available season ticket and mini-plan seat locations

The Durham Bulls open 2012 International League play at home on Thursday, April 5th when they host the Gwinnett Braves. Season ticket and mini-plan packages are now available on the Durham Bulls website or by calling 919.956.BULL.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Marry Durham Celebrates One Year

Last year on March 19, 2011, over a two thousand citizens formally vowed their commitment to Durham at the Marry Durham Celebration. One year later, Marry Durham will be hosting an Anniversary Party to commemorate and renew the commitments made to Durham.

The free family-friendly celebration will include a parade, local entertainment, a kid’s area, and
food trucks. Sponsored by Motorco, the bar…Durham, Surf Club, Lloyd’s Lounge, and
Fullsteam, the event will offer entertaining options for everyone to enjoy the celebration in the
Warehouse District.

As was true last year, Marry Durham will be about more than just fun. The goal of the Marry
Durham Anniversary Celebration is to remind Durhamites of their vows to keep the streets clean
and safe, protect natural resources, shop locally, support the arts and local non-profit
organizations, cherish diversity, and elect responsible leaders. As with last year’s event
donations will be accepted. The original five non-profits along with 10 new invitees will be
onsite soliciting donations from the guests. General donations will be collected to fund
community based projects proposed by the nonprofits.

Carl Kenney, who officiated last year’s ceremony shared this in a recent column - "The Marry
Durham celebration allowed us a chance to say what we all had been thinking... We say we love
our diversity. We love our local shops and take care of this world we love so much. We vow to
do better at celebrating the arts. We hold our leadership accountable. (We're not a community
that throws stone at people for being different. We throw them at people who throw the
stones.) That day was like no other." This year’s event seeks to remind citizens of their vows
and introduce them to new organizations.

Marry Durham’s Anniversary Celebration will be held on Saturday, March 17th, from 2:30-
5:30pm, on the 700 Block of Rigsbee Avenue (between W. Geer & Corporation Streets).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Natural Scenic Beauty?

North Carolina has long been known as a place of natural scenic beauty.  It's one of the main reasons this is the sixth most visited state in the US.

However, a new law passed by the general assembly could change all that.

New rules allow for clear cutting trees in a 340 foot zone around billboards in cities and in a 380 foot zone in rural area.  These supersede ordinances passed by individual communities such as Durham, which has very strict rules in place.  As it currently stands, outdoor advertising companies will be able to cut down trees starting in March, without any replanting requirements or recompense for the lost trees.

Scenic North Carolina, a state-wide nonprofit, has passed a resolution asking Governor Purdue to halt this before the irreparable loss of  $12 million worth of publicly-owned trees.

(DCVB's President & CEO serves as Secretary-Treasurer of Scenic North Carolina.)

Municipalities such as Durham and Charlotte are weighing in on this, as is the Sierra Club, and the NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, of which Durham Mayor Bill Bell is chairman.

So what does this mean specifically for Durham, a community that values appearance and a sense of place? Here are some photos and examples prepared by the NC Department of Transportation.  

The first shows a view of the Durham Freeway with its current bank of trees shielding an industrial plant.  To the left is a section of mature Leland Cypress trees planted as a screen to protect the view shed.

The photo below shows a 400 foot cutting zone, which was originally proposed, but then reduced to 340' or 380' depending on the location.  This particular billboard is a dual facing billboard, meaning the cut zone is 680'; 340' in each direction.

So right here in Durham, on 147, we are likely to have the length of more than two football fields clear cut of all these trees along the public's right of way, with no replanting and no compensation given to the public.  In return we get to have a very complete view of a billboard (lower left hand corner of the image below)  and the backside of...well see for yourself.

Satellite view of 147 from Google Maps

Green Garlic at Durham Farmers' Market: Spring is Near!

The Durham Farmers' Market manager keeps a list of what is available at the Market from week to week. This past weekend, she stumbled upon green garlic near the end of the Market and got really excited about it. Not only is green garlic a sign that spring is quickly on the way, who doesn't love garlic?

Depending on the climate, garlic spends about 7 months in the ground to transform from seed to maturity.  Garlic seeds are the actual cloves of garlic. One clove turns into a full bulb of garlic that contains 10-20 cloves. Garlic gets planted in the fall, mulched, and depending on the harshness of the winter, starts putting up greens in late winter or early spring. At this point, it looks a lot like green onions, it is about at the half way point in its maturity, it hasn't started to separate into individual cloves. 

In a couple of months, you'll see some green garlic that has just started to separate. In late spring, early summer - around June - fully mature garlic bulbs will start coming to Market. Farmers sell it as fresh garlic at this point. Fresh garlic is very flavorful and contains a lot of moisture. Farmers, then, harvest their crop and "cure" it, by hanging it in very specific temperature and humidity settings. This lets the husks dry out a little bit and preserves the garlic and actually intensifies the flavor of the garlic. Cured garlic has a good shelf life and in the right conditions can last into the winter. 

Wondering what to do with green garlic?  Use it just like you would use regular garlic - in stirfrys, omelettes, roast it, you name it.  It will give you that garlicky flavor you've been looking for since the cured garlic ran out at the Market a few months ago.

Garlic Fun Fact:  Garlic has more carbohydrates than almost any other vegetable - including potatoes.  That explains why it is so sweet when you roast it!
Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:   GREEN GARLIC, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, Asian Greens, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Greenhouse Grown Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (fresh & dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants:  Daffodils, Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Cornmeal, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Downtown Durham Businesses Team Up With Bull City Buck$ Program

Durham is widely known as a place of great innovation, so it's only fitting that such a program as Bull City Buck$ launched here this week.  Consider it a quantum leap forward in rewarding customer loyalty in the social space.

It's also really cool and easy to use and can be downloaded from Apple here; the Android app is coming soon.

Several Downtown Durham businesses have joined forces to announce the launch of Bull City Buck$, a new program that gives community members the opportunity to earn rewards by supporting local companies and doing the things they love to do every day -- plus, trying new things.

A consumer rewards application focused on living, shopping, eating and visiting Downtown Durham, Bull City Buck$ debuted at the American Tobacco Campus yesterday with more than ten Durham hot spots on board and more than $5,000 in prizes available for Bull City Buck$ participants.

By simply downloading the Bull City Buck$ smart phone app, Downtown Durham visitors can scan QR codes at participating restaurants, entertainment spots, shops or community destinations to earn varying amounts of Bull City Buck$. Those Buck$ can then be used to purchase prizes in the app’s prize store. Initial prizes include an iPad, tickets to DPAC shows and Durham Bulls games as well as fun experiences like the chance to become a beer brewer for a day.

“We’re thrilled to partner with fellow downtown advocates like the Durham Bulls and American Tobacco Campus on such an exciting program,” said University Ford and University Kia General Manager Jamie Young.  “Bull City Buck$ will reward folks for frequenting the places they love and encourage them to try out new places as well.”

In addition to scanning codes at participating businesses, app users will also be able to find codes at over 20 spots throughout Downtown Durham, like parking decks, landmarks, and various hidden locations.
The application was developed by Albright Digital, a division of Capitol Broadcasting Company’s New Media Group, located in the American Tobacco Campus’ American Underground entrepreneurial hub. Bull City Buck$ will continue to grow as participating locations, ways to earn Buck$, and new prizes are added frequently. Businesses interested in joining the program can email. For more information on Bull City Buck$, please visit the program's website.

The growing list of businesses includes:

•    Durham Bulls
•    DPAC
•    Bull City Burger
•    Mellow Mushroom
•    Tobacco Road
•    Fishmongers
•    Old Havana Sandwich Shop
•    L'uva
•    Cuban Revolution
•    Beauty and Bull Urban Spa
•    201 (restaurant at Durham Marriott)
•    YMCA

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Math Moves!: New Permanent Exhibit Opening at Durham's Museum of Life & Science

For those who thought they'd never have to think about algebra after completing the course in high school... it's time to think again. With its new Math Moves! permanent exhibit which opens Saturday, February 18, the Museum of Life & Science in Durham seeks to improve a child's understanding and appreciation of algebra later in life.

The exhibition, which focuses on ratio and proportion, will be part of a 3-year national study launching in 2012 and facilitated by the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education. The study will test the thesis that science centers can best help children prepare for algebra by providing rich, engaging, long-term environments and experiences that make math learning fun and rewarding. 

Another first for the Museum, the Math Moves! exhibit is offered in both English and Spanish and thus serves a greater proportion of the museum's visitor base. Designed for ages 6-12 and their families, Math Moves! is expected to be on display at the Museum for the next 3-5 years.

Durham is a great place for families to spend the day.  The 2012 Official Visitor & Relocation Guide is now available to help people plan their trip.  The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau will send them to those who request them.

GAME ON! at the Museum of Life & Science

In Durham and the Research Triangle Region, video games aren't just all fun and games. They're big business for companies, colleges, and universities. The Triangle's booming video game technology industry boasts over 40 video games companies employing more than 1,500 people. Additionally, more and more institutions of higher education offer courses of study centered around the gaming industry.

Needless to say, gaming is hot in the Bull City; especially among teenage enthusiasts - the future of the gaming industry. For those young fans, the Museum of Life & Science is hosting a special event.

"Game On!" will be tomorrow, Friday, February 17 from 6-9PM. Game On! offers teens the opportunity to play some of the hottest games on the market as well as meet and learn first hand from the professionals behind the gaming industry including programmers, designers and artists.

Redstorm Entertainment and Virtual Heroes are just a few companies that will be onsite. Check out who's coming on the Museum of Life & Science's webpage. Participants must be age 13-18 to attend, registration requested.

City of Durham Seeks Public Art Proposals

Artists in Durham should take note that the City of Durham is looking for proposals for new works of art to be displayed in public places.

The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is seeking proposals for projects in support of the Cultural Master Plan Public Art Pilot Project Initiative from qualified non-profits, local governments, for-profit entities, and artists.

Projects must lead to the creation of new works of art or decorative art designed for permanent display in public places, which may include either government-owned or privately owned locations, or must involve community participation in a public process for the temporary installation of new works of art in public places. Public places are defined as indoor or outdoor locations generally accessible to the public.

Preference will be given to projects in the general downtown area and in neighborhoods designated as targeted neighborhoods by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Projects for the CCB Plaza, the Five Points area, Durham Station Transportation Center, and the Bull City Connector are encouraged.

A total of $25,000 is available to support one or more projects. Additional funds may be available, depending on the nature and timing of the project. Preference will also be given to projects which match Cultural Master Plan funding with other funds provided by, or developed by, the candidate.

The application deadline is March 29, 2012, at 4:30 p.m. The request for proposal form is available on the City’s website. Completed applications should be sent to the attention of Cultural Master Plan Coordinator Peter Coyle

The project is administered by the City of Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development using funds designated for this purpose by the Durham Cultural Advisory Board. Funding for the project was provided by a grant to the City of Durham from the County of Durham from funds designated for implementation of the Durham Cultural Master Plan.

Durham is routinely lauded for its open and welcoming community which makes it a haven for artists.  Learn more about accolades Durham receives here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love Abounds at Durham Farmers' Market

It's almost Valentines Day and love abounds at the Durham Farmers' Market!  This carrot and sweet potato were found hugging at Sunset Farm's table last Saturday. This Saturday the Market will have lots of treats for Valentines Day - from flowers, to sweets, to handmade gifts, to lots ingredients for a Valentine's dinner.  Valentines Day aside, now is the season to pick up some of the top heart healthy foods at the Market -- spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and acorn squash, greenhouse grown tomatoes and even WINE!

Carrot & Sweet Potato
Recipe of the Week...
This week's recipe comes from the BullCityFood blog.  It is delicious, healthy and easy to make. You can find all of the ingredients at this week's Market! Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Salad
Preheat oven to 450F.
Cut beet leaves off, leaving about 2 inches of stem.
Wrap beets in aluminum foil, about three beets per pouch.

Place pouches on a cookie sheet and put on the middle rack in the oven. Roast beets for about 1 hour (they should be easy to pierce with a fork). Let cool before peeling off skins. Cut off the two ends, peel the remaining skins.Be careful as beets make everything they touch a deep purple but it will wash off your fingers. Toss washed arugula, beets and crumbled goat cheese in salad dressing, sprinkle with a little cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:   Asian Greens, Arugula, Beets, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Greenhouse Grown Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Winter Squash (Butternut, Spaghetti, Acorn)
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants:  Daffodils, Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Prepare for Durham's Mardi Gras Celebration

The Durham Mardi Gras Group invites the Bull City to prepare for the revelry. 

A loose coalition of mystic societies are planning a Durham Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration on Feb. 21, aka Fat Tuesday. Parade participants should meet before 7 p.m. at Major, the bull stationed at CCB Plaza, 201 Corcoran St. The parade, which will be on the sidewalk, will end on Rigsbee Street at Motorco Music Hall and Fullsteam Brewery. Krewe’s, such as the Banished Fool’s Durham Krewe and the Mystic Order of Socratic Monkeys (aka MOSM), are assembling their themes and costumes. 

Durham Mardi Gras Group hopes others will take notice and assemble krewe’s and costumes.

One MOSM member (membership is secret) described the Durham parade as a respite from the toll of callous politics, war and the Great Recession as young and old, rich and poor are equalized in the masked Mardi Gras anonymity and the pursuit of folly. 

The Bulltown Strutters, a community band that inspires revelry with every beat, will lead the Feb. 21 sidewalk parade with their vivacious music and songs. The march will end and the celebration will continue on Rigsbee Street. 

“This should be the beginning of a tradition that is bigger than any one person or bar. This is about Durham rocking harder than anyone, anywhere,” says the Mardi Gras event’s facebook page description. “This is about the Durham family coming together for a night of fun and revelry.”

To help residents prepare for the festivities Happymess Art Studio is hosting two opportunities to customize a mask, a parasol, and other accessories used in the annual tradition. On Saturday Happymess is hosting a “DIY Masquerade: Prepare for the Bull City Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration” from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at its arts studio, 718 Iredell Street. 

The party will include Mardi Gras music, king cake, and the début of the unofficial local Mardi Gras libation the “Durhacain.”  A $5 donation gets you in the door and gives you access to materials--glitter, beads, trinkets-- and glue guns. Masks to decorate will be available for purchase, as will a limited number of parasols.

On Feb. 19 Happymess will bring the Do-It-Yourself Masquerade to Motorco’s DtownMarket from noon to 5 p.m. Fullsteam is hosting a decorating party before the parade.

For more information about the Mardi Gras celebration go to the facebook event page.

Durham 911 Center Debuts New Weather Warning Service

The next time severe weather comes to Durham, residents and businesses in the path of the storm will get a call if they have registered for Durham’s new CodeRED® Weather Warning Service.

The Durham Emergency Communications Center has recently updated its account with Emergency Communications Network, providers of the Center’s current CodeRED high-speed notification solution, to now include the CodeRED Weather Warning Service. This opt-in weather warning service, which is at no cost to residents and businesses in Durham County, will issue an automated alert to those in the path of severe weather just moments after a warning has been issued by the National Weather Service’s Storm-Based Warnings.

According to Durham Emergency Communications Center Director James Soukup, the severe weather experienced last spring, which lead to several fatalities in the Triangle area, prompted his department and the Durham City-County Emergency Management Department to look for more ways to help alert residents to severe weather. “With some forms of severe weather, there is very little time to get to a safe area or seek shelter. When severe weather strikes during the night, it’s even more difficult for alerts to get out since people are asleep,” Soukup said. “We were seeking another tool to help us reach out directly to our residents and an immediate phone call using CodeRED seemed like a great solution to help supplement the other systems in place for severe weather notifications.”

According to Soukup, residents and businesses who want to register their phone numbers for this service need to simply visit the City’s website and follow the online instructions. “We want all residents and businesses to register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number,” Soukup said. “Those without Internet access may contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., to supply their information over the phone and we’ll get them registered.”

When messages are sent by this system, recipients with Caller ID displays will see Emergency Communications Network or the number 800-566-9780 for all CodeRED Weather Warning calls.

The Durham Emergency Communications Center already uses the CodeRED system to communicate crime alerts and other emergency updates; however, users signed up for these types of alerts will need to opt-in from the City’s website to begin receiving weather alerts too. Later this month, all land lines listed in Durham County, as well as all the phones numbers currently registered in the CodeRED system for other types of alerts, will receive an automated call regarding the new weather alert system with instructions on how to register for this new opt-in service.

The annual fee of $15,000 to provide the new severe weather notification component of the CodeRED system is being funded by the Durham City-County Emergency Management Department. 

To register for the CodeRED Weather Warning System, visit the City’s website and click on the link entitled “Residential, Business, and Weather Warning Data Update Page.”

For more information, contact Soukup at (919) 560-4191 or by email at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Annual Durham MLK/Black History Month Parade: 'I Still Have a Dream'

The 10th Annual Durham Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Parade kicks off on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm. This year’s theme is I ‘Still’ Have a Dream. The Grand Marshal of the Parade is Dr. Chuck Davis, founder and artistic director of the African American Dance Ensemble.

A Triangle native, Davis attended Howard University and majored in Theater/Dance. Continuing his study in African dance under the guidance of Babatunde Olatunji, Eleo Pomare, and the Bernice Johnson Dance Company, his reputation grew as one of the foremost teachers and accomplished choreographers in the traditional techniques of African dance. In 1982, the American Dance Festival of Durham, NC, recruited Davis as an Artist-in-Residence, to organize and manage its outreach program. From this effort sprung the African American Dance Ensemble in 1984.

The Parade, a multi-cultural, wholesome family-oriented event to be held in Black History Month, will pay homage to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other great African Americans. The Parade also affords us an opportunity to reflect upon the past while seeking hope, determination and opportunity to act upon the promise of the future, OUR YOUTH.

Marching bands, floats, school and church groups, step and dance teams, horses, cars, motorcycles, unique vehicles, clowns and more will make Fayetteville Street a festive place to be. The Parade will line up at W. G. Pearson Elementary School (3501 Fayetteville Street), proceed up Fayetteville Street and end at Lawson and Fayetteville Streets (at NCCU).

Trophies will be presented for: Best in Parade, Best Theme Application, Best Marching Band. Ribbons will be awarded for: Schools with Most Participants, Non-school group with Most Participants, Best Drum Line, Best Drum Major, Best Mounted Group (Horses), Best Individual Vehicle, Best Commercial Vehicle, and Best Vehicle Club (includes motorcycles).

Judging will take place at the reviewing stand set up at NCCU Alumni House (2223 Fayetteville Street). The Parade will be videotaped and televised on a cable network.

The Durham MLK/Black History Month Parade has been named One of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, an organization comprised of tourism industry professionals in 13 southeastern states.

Durham's NCCU Presents "Black Mama Monologues" Gives Voice to Black Motherhood

Durham African-American community has a long and proud history. At Durham's North Carolina Central University, a historically black university, the “Black Mama Monologues” will be presented in celebration of Black History Month.

Conceived by Anton Hough and Kerri Mubaarak, “Black Mama Monologues” captures the soul of the African-American woman. The production was originally designed for the Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center’s We Are One Performing Arts Program in Greensboro. It was later performed by The Collective. The unique approach to the production offers cast members the opportunity to compose monologues about their own life experiences, influences and exposures to African- American mothers. The result of such an intimate project has yielded a voice and a tribute to the African-American matriarch.

“The audience is able to step into a world of individual, real-life encounters with a black mama that are also collective and easily recognizable,” said Dr. Asabi, assistant professor of theater at NCCU and artistic director of the production. “These accounts address the unique culture, experiences, struggles, desires, familial commitment, relationships and spirituality of African-American women.”

Sixteen actors will share their reflections of the phenomenal influence of African-American women in their lives from life lessons learned to distinctive methods of discipline. Filled with music and dance, this exuberant drama also gives three NCCU students the opportunity to serve as choreographers.

“Throughout history the black mother is the epitome of an extraordinary being with unspeakable strength, irresistible beauty, undying love and enduring wisdom,” Asabi said. “She has survived the denial of her physical beauty and the ability to be her true self. “Survival in such an adversarial environment has given birth to this exclusive spirit of the black mama.  I was inspired to take this experience, opportunity and creative premise to the community.”

Shows will be presented on Feb. 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. in the University Theater. Tickets are $5 for students, senior citizens and children aged 4 to 17, and $10 for general admission. To purchase tickets, contact the NCCU ticket office at 919-530-5170. University Theater is in the Farrison–Newton Communications Building.