Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Durham CVB Launches LGBT-focused Website

Today the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau launched its latest online resource to drive visitor traffic.  The site, OutinDurham.com is aimed at the considerable LGBT market to whom Durham is attractive.  Ranked as the nation's most tolerant city last year by The Daily Beast/Newsweek magazine, Durham is widely known as an open and accepting destination.

“Research has shown that Durham has a significant number of visitors who identify themselves as LGBT,” said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “Having this kind of portal into our website has been in the plans for quite some time,” continued Green, “And we are pleased to launch it now."

The site was launched in advance of the upcoming NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival to be held at Durham's Carolina Theatre.  Running from August 10-19, the festival brings in more than 10,000 visitors.  This year, the festival grew to 10 days long - a significant jump from years past.

"It is more clear than ever that we need to talk about the LGBT market differently in Durham," said Sam Poley, the Director of Marketing and Communications for DCVB. "The community is so large and well entrenched here that it often goes overlooked. But after the Amendment One vote, we think it is ever more important to let folks know that Durham is where great things happen - for everyone.  The NCGLFF is a wonderful way for us to illustrate that, and we're proud to do so," he added.

The site looks at Durham through a specific lens relevant to a key market.  Other sites will come online in the future that focus on other target markets for Durham, and as does OutinDurham.com, they will feature information of key interest and consideration to those potential visitors.

Learn more about Durham online, and stay up to date on all the upcoming events with the Durham Event Calendar.

Bull City Startup Stampede Program Launches Seven New Companies

Durham is a place with an entrepreneurial streak that goes back to when Durham actually became a place.  As the Civil War ended here, the tobacco and textile industries grew and now the place is home to some of the world's leading technology, health care and education.

It's these humble and unpretentious beginnings that shape Durham today where ideas and hopes become realities and businesses.

The Bull City Startup Stampede 3.0 concluded last night with the seven participating companies pitching in front of a packed house at Beyu Caffe in downtown Durham. Over 120 people from throughout the Triangle’s startup ecosystem, including early-stage investors, heard the companies’ final pitches, their progress made during the 60-day initiative, and their next steps. The Stampede gave the participating companies time to focus on launching their business while covering a significant number of basic startup expenses—from space to furniture to wi-fi.

While previous Stampede classes have focused primarily on technology and software, the third Stampede displayed the diversity of industry types in Durham and the Triangle. The Bull City Startup Stampede had companies in fashion and jewelry, financial services, social media and even a jazz non-profit.

“This was a special group of entrepreneurs that supported each other and built better companies because of their time with startups outside of their industry,” said Adam Klein, Startup Strategist for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. “We had non-software companies receiving help from the techies and vice versa. It shows the power of putting creative people together in a creative environment.”

Of the seven companies that participated in the Stampede, five are staying in Durham after the program ends. There were several highlights to the program this go around, including a seed round raised by Offline Media, a startup creating a social event platform that helps young professionals connect offline.  This is the second time a Stampede company raised money while in the Stampede. Another startup, Alekto, which works in the consumer credit space, will stay in Durham after moving from Washington, D.C. for the Stampede.

The Bull City Startup Stampede also partnered with Pruvop, a digital products lab in downtown Durham, to award one startup a prize package including $5,000 in custom software development & consulting. Pruvop co-founder Adam Schultz announced The Art of Cool as the recipient of the software package. The Art of Cool is a jazz presenting non-profit working to launch an international jazz festival in Durham.

“In addition to sharing the vision of a prospering, culturally vibrant Durham, we were personally impressed by Cicely’s (AOC founder) drive, hunger for feedback and the ability to pivot and grow rapidly based on the feedback she was given,” said Schultz. “It’s organizations like hers that we love to work with.”

Relevance Software, a software development company in Durham, provided software development consulting during the Stampede as well.

The Chamber and Downtown Durham, Inc. have partnered on two previous Bull City Startup Stampede programs which brought 28 companies to downtown Durham and leveraged over $100,000 in in-kind support.

“The Stampede is the launching ground for startups in Durham,” said Matthew Coppedge, Director of Marketing at Downtown Durham, Inc. “We are part of the pipeline developing in Durham that helps early-stage entrepreneurs go from concept to market quickly.” 

Of the 28 companies, 15 remain in downtown Durham and two Stampede companies participated in the inaugural class at the Triangle Startup Factory accelerator program. Other companies have raised seed investment rounds, won NC IDEA grants, and two companies, Bound Custom Journals and OrganicTransit, were recently featured in TechCrunch.

The following is a list of the 2012 Bull City Startup StampedeTM participants and their Twitter handles:

•    Alekto empowers consumers through innovative credit reporting management services. @AlektoCo
•    Directed Deposits helps individuals find and fund high interest, FDIC-insured savings accounts that are good for your wallets and the issues & communities you care about. @DirectedDeposits
•    Freshly Given embraces minimalist style, creativity & sustainability through accessories, handmade from genuine re-purposed leather. @FreshlyGiven
•    Offline Media is envisioning a world where "social" means more than just sitting behind a computer. @offlinemedia
•    Seam Happy designs and makes custom promotional products, decor, and apparel. For business, home, and general happiness. @SeamHappy
•    Social Media Phobia Solutions is a fearless digital media consulting and business management firm. @BreeLDavis
•    Sweeps helps you get just about anything done by motivated college students for $25 per hour. @SweepsJobs
•    The Art of Cool Project is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and promoting the local vibrant, varied, and surprisingly under-appreciated jazz and art scene in Raleigh-Durham.  @theaocproject

Durham leads the nation in the percentage of jobs in the creative class and leads the state in private sector salaries; it is widely regarded as one of the top places in the nation to start a business, and as a place for people to live and work.  Learn more about Durham's rankings online.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beat the Heat with Durham Farmers' Market

Wow, it is hot. Mindbendingly hot. When it is this hot outside, Durham Farmers' Market recommends finding food to cook that won't heat up the kitchen. Corn and tomato salad is a cold and refreshing dish that does not require the stove. The following is a recipe for a corn and tomato salad - vary the quantities to your taste. If you like tomatoes, add more tomatoes; if you like it less spicy, use less jalapeno; etc.

Corn and Tomato Salad
4-5 ears of corn, cut off the cob
2-3 tomatoes or a pint of cherry tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 jalapeno - finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
light vinaigrette (3 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar)
Mix everything together and let sit for a couple of hours before enjoying.  This is a good side dish for a meal or with eggs and toast for breakfast.

Fresh this Week
VEGETABLES: RED PEPPERS,  Arugula, Beets, Beans (Green, Yellow, Roma, Filet, Longbeans), Butterbeans, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Edamame, Field Peas, Fresh Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley),  Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Peppers (Sweet, Hot, Yummy, and Padron), Potatoes, Okra (Red and Green), Onions (Red, Yellow, Cippolini), Pea Shoots, Purple Hull Peas, Salad Mix, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Tomatoes - Field Grown & Heirloom! Tomatillos, Turnips, Zucchini
FRUITS: GRAPES, FIGS, Apples, Pears, Watermelon, Cantaloupe,   Peaches, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Ground Cherries
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS: Tuberrose, Lilies, Lisianthus, Gladiolus, Sunflowers, Zinnias,  Black-Eyed Susan, Strawflower, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS:  FLOUR, RAW HONEY, Pecans, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Pasta, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets,  Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nominations for 2012 Golden Leaf Awards Nearing Deadline

Durham residents are undeniably passionate about the look and feel of their community - research indicates it is among the things residents feel is important by a ratio of four to one.

Now residents who believe certain Durham properties have outstanding curb appeal are encouraged to submit a nomination for the 2012 Golden Leaf Awards for Community Appearance by the July 30th deadline.

The Durham City-County Appearance Commission and Keep Durham Beautiful Inc., in association with the Environmental Affairs Board, are seeking nominations from the community for properties that raise the bar for excellence in design and maintenance in Durham.

The deadline to submit nominations is July 30. Nominations may be submitted in the following categories:

• Small Scale Residential Properties Award

• Large Scale Residential Properties Award

• Commercial Properties Award

• Community Properties Award

• Landscape Award

• Keep Durham Beautiful Award

• Sustainable Properties Award

• People’s Choice Award

Visit the Durham Golden Leaf website to review the complete list of categories, submission criteria, and nominations forms.

NCCU Chancellor Announces Retirement

NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms
The face of education in Durham will change come next month, according to an announcement from NCCU today. After serving North Carolina Central University for five years, Chancellor Charlie Nelms will retire from his position effective August 6, 2012.

Nelms is recognized nationally for his leadership and expertise in the areas of student retention and academic success. His accomplishments at NCCU are many, ranging from raising admission requirements and academic progression standards to establishing the University’s first Ph.D. program in more than 50 years to transitioning the institution from Division II to Division I in athletics.

In Nelms' own words, "Five years ago, I took the road that led me to North Carolina Central University and experienced one of the most fulfilling periods of my extensive career in higher education. As I complete my five-year commitment to my beloved NCCU and prepare to celebrate my 66th birthday, I have made a decision that will carry me into the next phase of my life."

The outgoing Eagle's complete retirement announcement is posted to North Carolina University's website. Learn more about Durham's other educational institutions here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Century Old Golf Course in Durham Reopens August 2

A lot has happened in the 100 years that Hillandale has meandered over a portion of Durham's landscape. Now, the course is ready for another long stretch of service to players and the community. 

On Thursday, August  2nd, golf lovers, families, and Durham history buffs can join in the festivities to celebrate the recent green’s restoration and grand re-opening of Hillandale Golf Course, Durham’s oldest golf course.

Located on Hillandale Road just to the South of I-85, the 18-hole course and putting green have undergone a $500,000 restoration with new and improved putting surfaces, and updated features such as new and improved signage on the course and new carts for rent. The Pro Shop has also undergone a makeover and is open now for those needing clubs, accessories and more, as well as a golf library for those interested in learning more about technique or golfing history. The Pro Shop is also now home to Niblick’s Grille, a new dining option which provides burgers, sandwiches, and more.

On August  2nd, beginning at 10 AM, Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell and other local and national dignitaries will discuss the historic and economic impact of this course on Durham, affectionately known as the “granddaddy” of the Durham and Research Triangle Park area golf courses.  Following their remarks, they will participate in an official “tee off.”

At 11 AM, Amerazil Golf, the City of Durham’s operator for Hillandale Golf Course, will join the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and release 100 biodegradable balloons to celebrate 100 years of golf that Hillandale has provided to the community. 

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a Family Fun Day will take place until 1 p.m., which will include golf course tours of the recent improvements, a putting contest, a visit from Wool E. Bull, face painting and other kid-friendly activities, free clinics on the driving range, as well as food, including The Parlour Ice Cream Truck.

Tee times for that day begin at 1 PM on the 2nd. Golfers can now book their tee times for that day online.

According to Karl Kimball, co-founder of Amerazil Golf and a retired PGA Tour golfer, the course had to undergo these recent improvements and changes. “The course needed them, and if we want to be competitive we have to understand that our golfers deserved so much more from the course.  From start to finish, this is going to be a transformation of the Hillandale experience," Kimball said. "A visit to a golf course is no different than anything else. Customers deserve to have an experience that recognizes they are valued and appreciated. They will get that at Hillandale now, like they have never gotten it before.”

Even with all these expenses and enhancements, the maximum cost of a round with a cart will likely not exceed $42.  "We think we're making the course worth what people have been asked to pay all along. A round of golf is entertainment and it shouldn't be limited to those with deep pockets," Kimball said.

In addition to providing services for golfers, Kimball stated that Hillandale will continue to strive to bring the game to everyone through Adaptive Golf, which is a program that bridges the gaps between the existing ability of the player and the game in its traditional form. Hillandale also provides junior golf clinics and camps for children starting at age 5 up to age 16.

Additionally, Hillandale will continue to support its H.E.A.R.T.S. Club, which is a partnership with the Duke Children's Hospital Pediatric and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.  According to Kimball, the program exists to help families, children and parents alike, have an easier path through the struggles of fighting a monumental battle. The program name is derived from “Hillandale Embracing A Really Tough Situation.”  

For behind-the-scenes pictures of the work that has taken place this summer, visit Hillandale's Facebook page or follow their Twitter account.

Hillandale Golf Course is the “granddaddy” of the Durham and Research Triangle Park area golf courses. It is the oldest course in Durham and was built on land donated by John Sprunt Hill in 1911 - one of Durham's captains of industry and a notable philanthropist. Now, over 100 years later, the course is under new public ownership by the City of Durham with management provided by Amerazil Golf and its co-founders, Karl Kimball and Juliano Hannud. Approximately 40,000 rounds are played annually and nearly 1.7 million rounds have been played since 1960. The public golf course provides a challenge to golfers of all skill levels. As the oldest course in Durham, generations of families have grown up on the friendly fairways of Hillandale Golf Course. 

There are 10 golf courses in Durham.  Learn more about them, and Durham overall, online.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nearly $50 Million Spent By DPAC Visitors

Of the 417,180 tickets sold at DPAC in the 2011-12 fiscal year, an estimated 300,000+ were used by visitors.  And those visitors racked up a whopping $49.1 million in sales at everything from restaurants and hotels to retail stores, gas stations and more.

"DPAC is one of many great reasons visitors come to Durham," according to Shelly Green President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"Their legendary service and great programming continue to spur impressive accolades, such as the recent one from Pollstar Magazine ranking DPAC #1 (America) and #2 (Worldwide) in ticket sales among reporting venues."

DPAC also received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel and destination website.

According to Green, "The overall value added of DPAC to Durham's economy is more than $27 million."  That's the net amount Durham gained to its bottom line.  This includes spending by only those visitors who would not be in Durham except to visit DPAC.  It also takes out the leakage that occurs when products and  services bought in Durham aren't made in Durham, such as when you buy a t-shirt that was made in Indonesia."

These visitors also dropped about $2.4 million in tax revenue for local government.  "Any way you look at it, DPAC's contributions to Durham are huge," commented Green.

Durham's Mint Market Offers Chefs and Farmers Thoughtful Online Solution

Dining in Durham is a great object lesson in the synergy between supply and demand in both a literal and tangible way. It also happens to be outrageously tasty. Chefs want local food and farmers want to move their product to people who will treat it with care - many would prefer to move that product the shortest distance possible.

Mint Market is a new Durham start up serving as an online marketplace for local food. As of Sunday, July 29 chefs and farmers can start saving a lot of time and get back to doing what they do best.

The new website will allow chefs in the Triangle to discover, purchase, and schedule delivery of food directly from area farms. Farmers must sign up by Saturday, July 28 to have their products included on opening day.

“We’ve been testing Mint Market with amazing local chefs and farmers. Now we’re ready to open the floodgates,” said Ricky Spero, Mint Market’s founder. “We can’t wait to see what they do with this powerful new tool.” Mint Market will showcase some of the area’s finest local vendors, including Maple View Farm, Hillsborough Cheese Co., and Dock to Door Seafood. 

The scheduling of this process is crucial for chefs and farmers alike. It allows them both to focus on the critical aspects of buying and selling. Balancing the two is no easy feat, and Mint Market gives farmers an efficient way to sell their products to restaurants using e-commerce. Farmers update their inventories on Saturday. Chefs shop on Sunday. Farmers harvest on Monday and deliver to restaurants on Tuesday. Listing products on Mint Market is free. When farmers complete a sale, Mint Market takes a 5% fee.

Spero sees a time when Mint Market will be available to retail consumers, but for now he's very much focused on the commercial aspect of this enterprise. "We think that the consumer market for  local food is really exciting, but right now we're 100% focused on getting wholesale right," he added.

Scott Howell, chef-owner of Nana’s Restaurant in Durham, was Mint Market’s first customer. “This is something the area really needs. From our earliest days, Nana’s has supported local farms. Mint Market is going to make that much easier.”

“Mint Market solves so many problems,” adds Sam Hummel, co-owner of Ever Laughter Farm in Hillsborough. “We love working with chefs, but everyone has to spend a lot of time on the phone. Mint Market makes it more likely that we’ll be able to connect with the right chef at the right time.”

Spero is clear about the role that Mint Market aims to play. “We love food, but we’re a technology company at our core. We ask ourselves how we think people will buy food five years from now. And then we build it, so everyone can start doing it today.”

Amanda Miller, owner of Dock to Door Seafood, aims to shift her existing business onto Mint Market’s platform. Said Miller, “We drive fish directly from the coast to chefs’ kitchens, so we have a very tight timeline. Mint Market can handle all of our ordering and logistics. It’s hard to imagine how we could scale without this.”

Noah Ranells, co-owner of Fickle Creek Farm and Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator for Orange County, said, "Mint Market is an elegant solution that makes the most of the busy schedules that farmers and chefs experience on a daily basis. I think that it will appeal to a growing number of farms in Orange County and the Piedmont Region." Ranells is also on the board of Piedmont Grown.

Aaron Benjamin, chef at Rue Cler Restaurant, used Mint Market during the testing phase. “I like the ease and usability of the website and I will definitely order more product as it becomes available.”

Those visiting the website are encouraged to sign up to learn more as the service rolls out. Spero will be updating people as news unfolds.

DPAC Celebrates a Season to Remember

Statistics help tell stories.  When they're strong, they can really drive a point home.  If the point being made is that DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center is awesome, then the following should be considered a large hammer, swung swiftly and precisely on the head of that idea.

Today the theater announced key attendance statistics for their just completed fourth season.  DPAC's 2011 / 2012 Season featured 200 performances which drew 417,180 guests and saw 67 total sellouts. Heading the list of the highest attended shows were the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (38 performances at DPAC) and Wicked (32 performances at DPAC).

"It all starts with great shows, and for us to have two big multi-week blockbusters in the same season really tipped the attendancescales", said Bob Klaus, DPAC's General Manager. "It's a credit to Nederlander and PFM and the great shows they bring us , this will truly be a season to remember."

Top Five Shows -
SunTrust Broadway at DPAC 2011 / 2012 Season*
1. Wicked
2. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
3. West Side Story
4. Memphis
5. Addams Family
*July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

In addition to Broadway and Holiday blockbusters, DPAC again delivered a season with great variety and something for everyone. Concert sellouts featured Rock acts like Steely Dan and The Moody Blues, Folk concerts including the legendary Paul Simon, Country superstars like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, renown Jazz artists like Diana Krall, a long list of R & B icons including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and Earth, Wind & Fire and even a Bluegrass concert with Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Plus Comedy also played a decisive role in DPAC's season with Daniel Tosh and Bill Cosby posting record setting sellouts.

Top Fifteen Concert Events - 2011 / 2012 Season
Steely Dan
Paul Simon
Aretha Franklin
Earth, Wind & Fire
Diana Krall
Dolly Parton
Patti LaBelle
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Anita Baker
Hall & Oates
Kelly Clarkson
Moody Blues
Elvis Costello
Martina McBride
Willie Nelson

*July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

Top Five  Comedy Events 2011 / 2012 Season*
6. Daniel Tosh
7. Bill Cosby
8. Steve Harvey
9. Kevin James
10. Ron White

*July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012
Top Five Special Events 2011 / 2012 Season*
1. Tyler Perry's - The Haves and The Have Nots*
2. American Dance Festival
3. Ira David Wood's - A Christmas Carol
4. Carolina Ballet's - The Nutcracker
5. Disney's Phineas & Ferb Live!

*July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

Known as a popular center for live entertainment in the Triangle, the combination of high profile Broadway, concert and comedy events has also gained DPAC attention on the national live entertainment scene with two of the nation's top entertainment trade magazines naming DPAC among the most highly attended venues in the country. In their just published July 23rd, mid-year edition, Pollstar Magazine lists DPAC as #1 in ticket sales among reporting theatre venues in America. In previous rankings, DPAC had been among the top five listed U.S. theatres, but in this newest ranking covering the first six months of 2012, DPAC ranked higher than such iconic theaters as the Fox in Atlanta, the Coliseum at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Nokia Live in LosAngles and Radio City Music Hall in New York City. And in their soon to be published July 28th mid-year charts, Billboard Magazine lists DPAC #3 in gross ticket sales among venues with a capacity of 5,000 or under.  

DPAC's accolades also run well beyond just attendance statistics. This past season saw the venue win a number of local Reader's Choice Awards. The Independent Weekly’s “Best of” winner for Best Theater Venue - 4th Consecutive Year The Herald Sun’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Live Entertainment - 4th Consecutive Year Raleigh's Metro Magazine’s Standing Ovation for Best Theater - 3rd Consecutive Year Durham Magazine - Best Place for Live Music and Best Place for Live Theater - 2nd Consecutive Year

Separate from these local publication awards, DPAC also recently received a Certificate of Excellence ranking from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel and destination website.

Learn more about all of Durham's performing arts venues, and more, by checking out the official visitors website.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Where Great Ghosts Happen?

Durham has a lot of history and a lot of historical buildings.  In fact, adaptive reuse architecture is a strong contributor to Durham's sense of place - all those old buildings look great and make for great spaces. If you get into the groovy and mystical, well then, they could also house some displaced "spirits," too.

Durham also has a lot of great food and beverages, another aspect of its sense of place.

Put the two together and there might just be an interesting few hours to spend.  At least, so think the folks at Tobacco Road Tours (TRT), a daily guided tour service business that is introducing its Durham Pub Crawl & Haunted Adventure tour

The whole thing takes about 2.5 hours. People walk the mile long tour, get special treatment at four of downtown Durham's hippest spots for food and drink, and get to hear the inside scoop on paranormal experiences and haunted buildings. Given the food and beverage component of the tour, guests must be 21.

TRT's Brad Kennedy is excited about the tour.  “We're thrilled about this new tour in Durham. With Durham’s amazing history and cultural scene, we have put together a very exciting, history rich, content filled experience and fun."

Paranormal and para psychological phenomena are nothing new to Durham; Duke University started studying the subject in 1930 and from that emerged the Rhine Research Center in 1965 in Durham.

Durham has always been an open and accepting place...perhaps, even, to those we can't quite see, hear, or chat with.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

North Carolina Sound and Visual Symposium to Benefit Hearing Impaired

Durham is an open and welcoming that supports diversity in all walks of life. Audio Rule Sound Design's partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of North Carolina is a shining example of such a sign of solidarity as it pertains to the realm of sound.

Audio Rule Sound Design along with students from Hillside and Kestrel Heights are hosting The North Carolina Sound and Visual Symposium. The event takes place from Friday, July 27- Sunday, July 29, 2012 throughout Downtown Durham, NC. The organizers seek to bring together, discuss and showcase new and interesting techniques and technologies in the sound and visual medium.

The event is also an opportunity to provide students and the average consumer with the chance to speak with and be lectured by pros and experts in the sound and visual industry. The North Carolina Sound and Visual Symposium will be composed of a series of smaller events, including: food, a short film festival, music concerts, a 2K run, seminars, art, and activities for children. Proceeds from the event will be used as a scholarship to a hearing impaired youth through The Hearing Loss Association of North Carolina. HLANC will be in attendance to educate and distribute materials.

Companies large and small are being asked to showcase and exhibit their products. Companies, consumers and press with an interest in audio, video, DSLR video recording, hand-held audio capturing, and making short films with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch are encouraged to attend. Also present will be designers, developers, filmmakers, main stage theatre directors, high quality broadcast engineers, video conferencing for business consultants, scene painters, large-scale video projection engineers and lighting design professionals to showcase new technology for film and stage.

The North Carolina Sound and Visual Symposium will explore what it takes for the Do It Yourself video community and businesses to take their productions, films and podcasts to the next level by giving the average consumer the opportunity to be face to face with the experts.“The North Carolina Sound and Visual Symposium is Durham’s answer to TEDtalks” says event organizer Elijah Vick

There are a series of events taking place over the weekend that are sure to attract, not just the techy, but a wide variety of audiences. There are various ticketing options for the event, to review and buy tickets visit the NCSVS website.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Duke University Hospital Number One in NC

Among Durham's many accolades is its stellar health care offerings.  There are five hospitals here, and key among them is the Duke University Hospital, the number one hospital in North Carolina and the number eight hospital in the nation, according to the US News and World Report.

Duke University Medical Center has once again been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 10 hospitals. Duke is #8 in this year's rankings, placing it among the nation's elite medical institutions, including Mass General, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

This is the first year the magazine ranked the top hospitals in each state, with Duke being named the #1 hospital in North Carolina. The hospital is again #1 in the Triangle. Perhaps more importantly, this year's national ranking marks the 23rd consecutive year that U.S. News & World Report has included Duke among the very best hospitals in the country.

"These rankings recognize the outstanding medical care provided by Duke physicians and health care teams on behalf of patients in our community, state and nation," said Victor J. Dzau, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Duke University Health System. "At a time of uncertainty in the nation's health care environment, Duke Medicine is committed to providing the best care to its patients."

The magazine assesses 16 medical specialties at each of the 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. that are evaluated. The combined assessments of the specialties at each hospital form the basis for the overall hospital ranking. Eight of those specialty areas at Duke made the top 10 in this year's list, while four others placed highly in their respective honor roles.

Among the magazine's 2012-2013 specialty rankings for Duke are:
  • Pulmonology #5
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery #7
  • Ophthalmology #7
  • Geriatrics #8
  • Urology, #7
  • Gynecology #8
  • Orthopedics #9
  • Rheumatology #10
  • Nephrology #13
  • Cancer #13
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery #14

Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center was one of 80 facilities that made the rankings in at least one of the 10 specialties analyzed for U.S. News & World Report's 2012-13 Best Children's Hospitals.

Duke Children's Hospital admits roughly 165 patients a day. Nursing excellence is a priority, illustrated by the hospital's status as a Nurse Magnet facility.

Among the Pediatric rankings were Neonatology #11; Cardiology & Heart Surgery #24; Cancer #27; Urology #27; Diabetes & Endocrinology #28; Orthopedics #28; Nephrology#32; Neurology & Neurosurgery #34;Gastroenterology #42; and Pulmonology #44.

The rankings come just one month after Duke University Hospital became the first hospital in North Carolina to achieve the highest level in the N.C. Awards for Excellence program that recognizes exemplary business practices. The Level 4 designation positions Duke to participate at the national level in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which assesses and designates model organizations for their leadership, strategic planning, customer service, workforce initiatives and other functions.

Durham is actively promoted as the place Where Great Things Happen, but it has also been known as the City of Medicine.  Health care is Durham's largest employment cluster. With health care like this, it's no wonder that medical tourism is a consideration in the marketing of Durham as a place.  "We often welcome through our Visitors Information Center those in town for treatment.  People come from around the world to see the specialists at Duke," said Sam Poley, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Durham's Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray Elevated To Episcopal Sainthood

The Episcopal Church voted during its General Convention this month to include Durham reared Pauli Murray in Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints. Murray is honored as a saint for her advocacy of the universal cause of freedom and as the first African American female priest ordained by the Episcopal Church.

Pauli Murray
St. Titus’ Episcopal and the Pauli Murray Project are hosting the annual celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray on Wednesday, July 18 @6:30 p.m. at 400 Moline Street, Durham to mark the occasion. Bishop Michael Curry will serve as the celebrant and Rev. Roxane Gwyn will offer the sermon. A choir made up of representatives of Durham’s Episcopal congregations will sing. Everyone is invited to the service and the reception that will follow on the church grounds. “Pauli Murray had an agenda for the human good that was constant and unswerving.” says Bishop Michael Curry, “As a descendent of slaves and slaveholders, people who were members of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, she is a symbol for the importance of bringing different worlds together, even in midst of great pain.”

The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (1910 – 1985) was a nationally and internationally known advocate for human rights and social justice who grew up with her grandparents Robert and Cornelia Fitzgerald on Carroll Street in Durham. She lived at the crossroads of all of the important social movements of 20th Century America.  In 1977 at age 66, she was the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest, offering communion for the first time at Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill where her grandmother had been baptized as a slave. Prior to answering this calling, Pauli Murray worked to address injustice and promote reconciliation between races, sexes, and economic classes through her work as an attorney, writer, feminist, poet, and educator. 

Descended from slaves and slave owners, she was a woman ahead of her time. In the 1930s and 40s, she fought against racial segregation in education and public transit. In the 1950s and 1960s, she challenged the Civil Rights Movement to recognize the leadership of women and the double discrimination that minority women face. As a lawyer, policy analyst and legal scholar she defied convention by stubbornly carving out her place in a male-dominated profession. She advised First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on civil rights and co-founded the National Organization for Women. As a same-gender-loving woman she struggled to live her life fully in a world not ready for her inclusive vision of freedom.  A much-accomplished woman, she earned six post-secondary degrees and published four books and numerous articles.

 “Durham can embrace Pauli Murray as an inspiration for our community’s commitment to the struggle for equality, dignity and justice,” says Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project. “With this recognition as an Episcopal Saint, even more people will learn about her legacy of activism and the relevance of her ideas to today’s issues.”

The Pauli Murray Project, founded in 2009, is dedicated to lifting up her life and legacy. We promote open dialogue about contemporary issues and their historical roots and we document hidden stories of activism. We celebrate Pauli Murray and continue her work for social change. We are also renovating her childhood home in Durham as a center for dialogue, education, and the arts as well as mobilization for equality and justice.

DPAC is Number One

Again, Durham, NC comes out tops on a list, this time in the form of its internationally recognized performing arts center.  DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center was ranked by the industry publication Pollstar as being the second busiest theater in the world in their 2012 Midyear ranking of Worldwide Ticket Sales Top 100 Theatre Venues. 

That makes DPAC the busiest theater in the US, since the number one spot on the list is a theater in Mexico.  Durham's Carolina Theatre came in at 88th.

DPAC also recently won a top ranking from the consumer travel website, TripAdvisor - the theater now bears the site's Certificate of Excellence.  

This is a nice additional feather in Durham's cap.  Last week, Durham was ranked as the top market in the US for the creative class.

Well known as an open and accepting haven for those in, and those interested in, the arts, Durham is home to more than a dozen theaters which are well supported by the community and those who visit.  Learn more about Durham as a great place to visit by visiting on the web.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Open House Offers Sneak Peak at New Durham History Hub

Its been a long time in the making but Durham's rich cultural history now has a home. Soon enough, the community will get its first opportunity to view and give feedback for the Museum of Durham History on site.

Music, pizza and free local brew are on tap for the Durham History Hub’s first Open House from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, July 20. The Hub, located at 500 W. Main Street, is opening its doors for the evening to give visitors heading downtown for Third Friday a chance to wander through life-size renderings of planned Hub exhibits.

Live music, including the folk duo Quiet the Voices, will perform under the gazebo, Pie Pushers will be in the driveway with pizza available, and the Museum will offer visitors light munchies and a free beer.

Ceiling-hung renderings of the Museum’s upcoming exhibits and installations will be on display to prompt visitor feedback and ideas. “We’re in a building stage right now,” said Hub co-director Katie Spencer, “and we’re gathering friends, feedback and funds–all those things needed to get our doors ready to open early next year. We couldn’t think of a better way to get started than to throw a party.”

Those who drop by will receive a 15% food discount coupon for Alivia’s Bistro and the James Joyce Pub further down Main Street. Visitors who become Museum members will be entered in a drawing for two free tickets to a Casbah show of their choice.

The History Hub is the first home of the Museum of Durham History, a nonprofit organization bringing the community’s history to life through programs, interactive exhibits and Durham’s personal stories, both grand and modest. The Hub is envisioned as the starting point for exploring the many aspects of Durham’s compelling past.

Check out more about Durham's place in history on Durham's Official Visitor Website.

Durham is Tops in Creative Class

Durham, NC is a very innovative place filled with people doing work that is decidedly creative, most of it in ways many wouldn't automatically define as such on first glance. In fact, though some might be surprised by this, more than a third of the nation's workforce is considered to be in the creative class - and Durham has a high concentration of those businesses.

In a study authored by Richard Florida, a leading expert on the creative class, which was released on the website TheAtlanticCities.com, Durham's metro area came in the top spot with 48.4% of workers involved in creative class jobs.

According to the study, "professionals in the fields of science and technology, design and architecture, arts, entertainment and media, and healthcare, law, management and education" are all considered to be in the creative class.  As such, given Durham's employer landscape with two universities and being home to most of the Research Triangle Park, the number one spot on such a list makes a great deal of sense.

"Durham ranked number one in a similar creative class analysis before. That study looked at Durham as compared to 300+ similar markets," said DCVB President & CEO Shelly Green. "Durham has always ranked high for its creative class, but now it's number one when compared to the entire country.  Durhamites should be very proud of this latest recognition from such a well-respected source." Durham is regularly lauded as a top destination to live, work, and do business. Learn more about it here.


When warranted, the Durham News Service will, with permission, redistribute content.  Recently a post from the Durham blog, Bull City Mutterings, was shared.  Downtown Durham, Inc. has offered a clarification.

The original post is here and Downtown Durham, Inc's comments are here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Durham Farmers' Market Supports Public Process

For 15 years the farmers, bakers, food artisans, cheese makers, vintners, and crafters who are members of the Durham Farmers' Market (DFM) have been dedicated to creating a venue that fosters a face-to-face connection between the producer and the buyer, and operating in a way that sustains the land, the environment, and helps to grow the Market's businesses and community.

The Market is also dedicated to ensuring that the products they sell are 1) produced locally by Market vendors, and 2) comply with State and local regulations. The Market operates under a strict set of rules, conduct inspections, and investigate complaints. The Market believes that this system of governance has been vital to the growth and good reputation of the market, and that customers respect and value the integrity of the products they find at the Durham Farmers' Market. The Market welcomes the vibrant and burgeoning local food movement represented by food-trucks and other innovations and consider ourselves to be a vital part of this movement. The Market believes that this focus on good food and fellowship has been central to creating the dynamic and fun community experience that the Farmers' Market is in the heart of Durham. 

Over a year ago, a representative of the Durham Farmers' Market along with representatives of Durham Central Park (DCP, our landlord at the Pavilion at Durham Central Park), met with Durham Parks & Recreation and the Assistant City Attorney. The Market expressed some concerns of our members over the recent rapid growth in unregulated street vending around the area. They looked for guidance on how to handle issues of congestion, safety, and clarity between our market members and street vendors. They were aware that DCP and the City of Durham were considering some of our questions; however, Durham Farmers' Market played no role in the drafting of the City's new guidelines and in fact, is seeing them for the first time just as the public is. 

The Durham Farmers' Market wholeheartedly supports a public process on this issue that will help to create a fair and equitable set of guidelines for all types of public food vending; that will address the needs, concerns, and opportunities of all stakeholders; and will keep Durham the exciting, funky, and fun food destination our local customers and folks from all over the country have come to love. 

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:  BUTTERBEANS, CREAM PEAS, PURPLE HULL PEAS,  Arugula, Beets, Beans (Green, Yellow, Roma, Filet), Cabbage, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards, Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Edamame, Frisee, Fresh Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley),  Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Peppers - Sweet, Hot and Padron, Potatoes, Okra - Red and Green, Onions (Red, Yellow, Cippolini), Pea Shoots, Peppers (sweet, hot and padron), Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Zucchini
FRUITS: FIGS!! Watermelon, Cantaloupe,  Raspberries, Peaches, Blackberries, Blueberries
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS:  Lilies, Lisianthus, Gladiolus, Sunflowers, Zinnias,  Godetia, Black-Eyed Susan, Echinacea, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS: New Crop of FLOUR, RAW HONEY, Pecans, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets,  Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Monday, July 2, 2012

DPAC A Hit With Travelers

Since opening in November of 2008, DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center has garnered national and international attention with its multitude of accolades.Consistently ranked one of the best attended theaters in the U.S. by Pollstar Magazine, DPAC has now been honored with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

With more than 50 million visitors each month, TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel website, enabling users to plan and have the perfect outing or trip. The Certificate of Excellence recognizes DPAC's perfect 5.0 rating among visitors for the past year. Unlike industry awards, this designation represents the experience of actual visitors to DPAC.

"What makes this honor so special is that TripAdvisor offers unsolicited feedback and ratings from real visitors," says Bob Klaus, General Manager of DPAC. "At DPAC our values are quality and service and the credit for this certificate of excellence really goes to our front line staff. They deliver these values with warmth, friendliness and an attention to detail that is the hallmark of our legendary red carpet customer service."

Operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management, DPAC hosts over 200 performances a year including SunTrust Broadway at DPAC- spectacular touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and the American Dance Festival.

As Durham continues to grow as a visitors destination, DPAC sets a shining example for the type of experience a traveler can enjoy in the Bull City. DPAC is certainly one of the reasons that Durham is a great place to live, work and visit.