Tuesday, January 31, 2012

West Main Street Repair Work

Durham, like so many other towns, has a Main Street whose name evolved because, well, it's a main access pathway. Given that status, when there are disruptions thereon, life can get a little more complicated. West Main Street will begin to see major construction starting in February as water lines installed around the turn of the last century are replaced. Construction and installation will continue until September - a project that will run, to a degree, coincidentally with the replacement of the West Main Street bridge that goes over Campus Drive along the same stretch of road.

Not to worry, though.  At least during the water main work, there will be traffic lanes open most of the time; the bridge replacement project will require drivers to make other arrangements to get around Duke's East Campus. Fortunately, there are many options to do so.

The City of Durham has created a web page for the water main replacement project on which there is contact information for those who can share more about the project with those desiring to know.

Like most projects of this nature, they pose, in the grand scheme of things, a minor imposition when taken in consideration of the community's life cycle, both past and future.

More information will be shared here as it comes available about these two repair projects.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Durham Artist Featured in Documentary

Raising Renee, an award-winning documentary featuring Durham artist Beverly McIver by Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, will be screened at North Carolina Central University on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. in the H.M. Michaux Jr. School of Education Auditorium.

The film chronicles McIver's, now the SunTrust Endowed Professor of Art at NCCU, struggle to provide care for her mentally disabled sister Renee after their mother died.

Jordan and Ascher met McIver in 2003 when she was an Arizona State University art professor at Harvard University on a fellowship. The initial plan was for a film about a rising star, an artist whose years of hard work were starting to pay off. But then McIver’s mother, Ethel, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The disease progressed quickly and Ethel McIver died in March 2004 — and the filmmakers had a very different story to tell.

Years before, McIver had casually promised her mother that she would take care of Renee when Ethel died — an event that seemed far off and unlikely to intrude on her life and career. Raising Renee is the story of a family’s remarkable response to an unexpected crisis.  It explores themes of family, race, class, and disability through the interplay of painting, cinema, and everyday life.

McIver, a 1987 graduate of NCCU and Durham resident, returned to the university as a full professor in 2008. The SunTrust endowment, designed for working artists, allows McIver to teach just one semester a year, leaving time for her to devote to her career as an artist. Her paintings are now in a major exhibition, “Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver,” at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, which runs through June.

Recording in Durham Hits Tift Merritt's "Sweet Spot"

Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt's roots are planted firmly in the Triangle. While she now calls New York City home, Tift frequently returns to her native North Carolina on tour. Durham, however, is where she comes to record. Her last two studio albums, 2008's Another Country and 2010's See You On the Moon, were recorded at Durham's Overdub Lane Studios. Merritt recorded her newest single "Sweet Spot" in the days following her October 2011 show with alt-country band The Jayhawks at Durham's Carolina Theatre.

“Sweet Spot” will premiere Monday, Jan. 30th at 9pm EST on the CW’s Hart of Dixie's Valentine’s Day episode titled “Rise Again,” with Tift playing at the fictional small town of Blue Bell, Alabama’s annual Valentine’s dance. Monday, Jan. 30” at 9 p.m. EST.

“I had fun pretending to be Ingrid Bergman for a day on the film lot,” said Merritt. ”There was so much great movie history around. We also had a very good game of gin rummy going in my trailer between takes - I think I'm owed some money from that, come to think of it.”

Merritt is currently in the studio recording a new album with a cast of new and old friends including Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket), Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), Eric Heywood (Son Volt), John Convertino (Calexico) and her longtime bass player and harmony singer Jay Brown. The new album will include a version of “Sweet Spot” recorded with the full band.

Merritt has built a unique and critically acclaimed body of work of sonic short stories and poignant performances, including albums Bramble Rose, the Grammy-nominated Tambourine, Another Country, and her latest release See You On The Moon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

DCVB Recognized with 3 Innovation Awards

The Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina announced the winners in its annual Destination Marketing Achievement Awards Innovations program at a meeting in Salisbury yesterday.

Durham's marketing agency, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), received three of the eight innovation awards presented.  DCVB was recognized in the destination operations and sustainability category for achieving its Green Plus Certification, in the stakeholder relations category for its Destination Marketing Association International and Americans For the Arts (DMAI- AFTA) Toolkit, and in the community partnerships category for its Family Reunion Workshop.

Innovation awards to Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are judged “blind,” and are great affirmation of one of DCVB's most important core values: CANI – Continual and Never-Ending Improvement."

Recognized nationwide for innovations in Destination Marketing, DCVB has received 136 awards and recognitions over the past 15 years. DCVB was also the first DMO in North Carolina, and one of the first two dozen in North America, to achieve full accreditation to new international standards and best practices for destination marketing, with a record 12 exemplary citations.

Durham's Magnolia Grill is Tops

People around the country and the world are aware that Durham is a dining hot spot.  Bon Appetit called Durham the Foodiest Small Town in America in 2008 and last year Durham was named on the New York Time's list of the "Top 41 Places in the World to Visit" citing it's food as a primary reason.  That NYT article was one of several on the matter that appeared in the publication.

Among Durham's best known restaurants is the Magnolia Grill. Just passing the 25 year mark in November, the restaurant holds two James Beard Awards (think Oscars, but for food) and more accolades than is reasonable to mention, though being number11 on Gourmet Magazine's list of Best Restaurants in the country bears repeating.

Today it was named by the News and Observer's restaurant critic, Greg Cox, as Restaurant of the Year. Magnolia Grill is a venerable mainstay that continues to push the envelope of discovery in the creation of new flavor and preparation within the contemporary Southern sphere. Alumni from the restaurant have opened restaurants both locally and far afield, as well as gone on to positions in some of the world's most notable operations.

Durham's food scene is in large part due to the continued, tireless efforts of the Magnolia Grill's proprietors, Karen and Ben Barker. Collectively, they provide culinary direction that wows guests nightly and provides a bar which many chefs in Durham aspire to reach and best. As the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.  In Durham, the Barker's have raised the knife and set a standard upon which those who live and visit can count for the quality of food and service.

Congratulations to the Magnolia Grill family for this achievement.  Congratulations also go to:

For a searchable list of all dining in Durham, see Durham's official visitor website dining section.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Durham Mourns the Passing of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans

Mary Semans being honored by DCVB in 2006 for her
contributions to Durham's unique sense of place.  Pictured from
left to right: Wib Gulley, General Counsel at Triangle Transit and
Chair of the Durham Tourism Development Authority,
Mary Semans, and E'Vonne Coleman-Cook, COO of DCVB.
It is indeed a sad day for Durham.

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, a direct descendant of the family that established Duke University, died this morning at Duke University Hospital.

Mary was a benevolent supporter of Duke, of Durham, and of so many places and organizations that gave Durham its unique sense of place, including the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Nasher Museum of Art, and dozens of others.  

Durham has lost one of its finest citizens, who will be remembered fondly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Official Durham Visitor & Relocation Guide Now Available

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) is pleased to announce the availability of the 2012 Official Durham Visitor & Relocation Guide starting today. The 100 page publication, produced in conjunction with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (GDCC), is the most widely-distributed resource for visitors, residents and those considering relocation to Durham. 

“This guide is by far the most complete and the best distributed of any such publication about Durham,” said Shelly Green, President and CEO of DCVB. "It is indispensible for people visiting or planning to relocate here."

DCVB has won awards over the past 21 years for its annual visitor guides citing innovation, design and content. This year’s publication is a departure from years past in that new features have been added to enhance the overall usefulness of the publication including scan codes to launch directly to websites, more images that communicate Durham’s unique sense of place, and expanded coverage and new coverage of many of Durham's visitor attributes. Additionally, there is much greater support from community businesses.

Those interested are welcome to pick up a copy at the Visitor Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street on the Downtown Loop. The 130,000 copies printed will be distributed for a 13-month period. Additionally, a fully linked electronic version is being prepared for placement on the official Durham visitor website, www.Durham-NC.com, and should be accessible soon.

Businesses interested in participating in next year’s publication should email ads@durham-cvb.com. Those intersted in having copies for distribution should email visitorinfo@durham-cvb.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Memphis vs. Durham Barbecue Taste-off at DPAC

It only seems right that DPAC, Durham's celebrated performing arts center, and the area's renowned BBQ community would team up for a perfect pairing of local flavor. With the opening of Memphis the Musical, Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical,  DPAC is hosting a barbecue event prior to Thursday’s show to give Triangle residents and show attendees the fun opportunity to taste test local barbecue in a friendly competition between our familiar NC barbecue and the more western Memphis style.

Three local Triangle establishments, Old North State BBQ, Melvin Backyard BBQ Pit, and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, will offer $10 plates that feature both styles of BBQ. Food will be sold on the sidewalk of Vivian Street, directly in front of DPAC. This event will be open to the public and attendees of the show are encouraged to partake of this special dinner prior to the show. Guests with tickets to the show will be able to enter the main lobby beginning at 5:30 p.m. with their food, before the show starts at 7:30 p.m. All three restaurants will offer regular menu options in addition to the special plates.

A percentage of all proceeds from the special event will benefit the Durham-based nonprofit KidZNotes. KidZNotes is an El Sistema-inspired nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that fights poverty and encourages positive decision making by instructing and engaging children in classical orchestral music. KidZNotes aims to improve children’s musical performance, to develop values that contribute to success at school and in society, and to promote children’s and families’ engagement in program and community activities.

Tickets for Memphis the Musical are still available and can be purchased online.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fresh from Durham Farmers' Market

Some years, I hit a point in January and February when I get into the winter doldrums.  I try really hard to eat with the seasons and in the winter, I start to pine for warm weather and summer vegetables. 
This winter, however, I've been really excited about cooking and food!  I think that the mild weather and the great abundance has something to do with it.  But, I think that it might have a lot more to do with the fact that I have a bigger kitchen, with more counter space and a dishwasher!  There is nothing more demoralizing than cooking in a tiny apartment kitchen and having to wash every single spoon that I use.  So, I have been reveling in digging into cooking the root vegetables and greens of winter.  Here are a couple of recipes that I have been enjoying this winter.

Last week, I was hemming and hawing over the fact that I had a lot of turnips in my fridge and I wasn't sure what to do with them.  I was checking my email the next afternoon and my husband sent me a recipe that he found for Root Vegetable Pancakes.  I don't know if he knew about my turnip problem, it was what we had for dinner that night!  The recipe calls for 4 cups of shredded root vegetables.  You can use any combination, I used 2 cups of turnips, one cup of beets, and one cup of carrots.  They were delicious!

Another winter time favorite in our house is Okonomiyaki.  Okonomiyaki is a sort of a Japanese savory pancake.  Okonomi means "whatever you like" and yaki means "grilled" or "cooked".  Basic okonomiyaki is made with cabbage, eggs, flour and water or stock then you can add whatever you like - vegetables, meats, cheese, kimchi, noodles, etc.  There are lots of styles of okonomiyaki, but the two most prominent that I've found are Osaka-style and Hiroshima-style.  The name may sound daunting, but they are actually quite easy to make and really yummy!  They are also quite versatile - I've used cabbage, napa cabbage, collards and different types of shredded root vegetables.  I find these recipes a great base to experiment in the kitchen.

Erin Kauffman
Durham Farmers' Market Manager

Fresh this Week...
Vegetables:  RUTABEGA! Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Bok Choy, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rhubarb, 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:  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, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Number One Means

Durham, NC is no stranger to the number one spot on rankings.  Again, on Monday, it was ranked as America's Most Tolerant City by Newsweek/The Daily Beast.  Number one is a nice spot to be on such a list, especially for a community that aggressively promotes its accepting and welcoming nature born of the community's diversity.  In short, everyone is welcome in Durham.

The ranking is certainly a nice accolade, but the public can benefit from some deeper understanding of the list before shouting from the roof tops.

First, rankings are ever more common in modern media for a several reasons. Media companies (yes, these are companies that need to make a profit like any other) are strapped, often more so than others, with thinning employment ranks due to shrinking revenue.  They, like everyone else, need to do more with less and deliver what the people want.  History provides myriad examples of people wanting to be, or know who is, number one.  In other words, rankings sell papers, magazines, and website hits and media often use them to achieve that goal to great effect.

Second, rankings are fairly easy to produce.  Without diminishing the value of this ranking--or any other--consider that these lists are usually more compiled than researched, and that they are not necessarily efforts journalistic in nature, but more so exercises in simple arithmetic.  They don't carry a lot of water in terms of scientific validity.  Additionally, these rankings are often based on criteria that can seem a bit arbitrary as they typically look at disparate and unrelated facts, and then draw conclusions therefrom.  Put another way, rankings like this aren't always an expression of a news organization's most arduous efforts.

Third, these rankings are rarely of cities.  The data they cite is often of a thing called a Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA.  The US Census Bureau creates MSAs based on populations in certain land areas.  For example, Durham is in the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA with Durham being the anchor of the four county area so named.  Those counties are Chatham, Durham, Orange and Person; not a city at all.  The Daily Beasts' study methodology states that the ranking "limited the cities under consideration to those with a population greater than 250,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau." According to the US Census, the city of Durham has a population of 228,330.  This is a perfect example of improperly identifying an MSA as a city - a common error that is vexing to all, especially those in destination marketing.

Fourth, this ranking makes no mention of Durham's Latino population.  Residents from Central and South America make up, according to the US Census, 14.2% of the population in Durham. Perhaps not relative to the outcome, but worth noting as it relates to the overall value of the ranking.

If a destination is looking to hang its hat on a research study about a given aspect of their community, say tolerance or openness, then one with more scientific backbone is likely a better support.  Destination marketing thought-leader Reyn Bowman, President Emeritus of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau in Durham, NC wrote about openness recently on his blog Bull City Mutterings.  Reading the associated studies he cites quickly demonstrates that to measure a community characteristic such as tolerance or openness is both difficult and time consuming.  It's not as simple as pulling three details from three separate sources and using those pieces of data to indicate a statistically valid outcome.  The studies cited to generate these numbers are all sound in their own right, but the tabulation of them collectively to produce rankings yields data that just don't hold a lot of water.

Nonetheless, Durham, NC is a tolerant place - and no ranking is necessary to define that.  People in Durham, and those who visit, already know: it is accepting, diverse and anyone who so desires to be is welcomed.  For those interested in all the rankings that Durham has received, visit the website www.durhamaccolades.com on which rankings are organized in a searchable database.

So yeah, kudos to Durham for the ranking.  Residents always appreciate recognition of the fact that Durham is a place like no other, and that it really is where great things happen.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Durham Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King

Durham has a special connection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a city of open, welcoming, and community-spirited citizens, Durham welcomed Dr. King on many occasions. According to books like Parting the Waters and Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, immediately following the sit-in at a Woolworth’s counter in Greensboro, Dr. King launched a new battle cry in Durham in his “Fill The Jails” speech given at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham.

The 10th Annual Durham MLK/Black History Month Parade will be held at noon on February 4th on Fayetteville Street in Durham. More information is available on the website for Spectacular Magazine, the event's organizer.  There is a march on Monday, January 16 leaving from the NC Mutual building at 10:30am. More details are below.

This weekend, be proud of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and be proud of Durham at one of the events commemorating Dr. King's work and legacy.  Events are detailed below, or link to them online:

1/13/2012 - 1/13/2012 5:30pm.
Film about African-American, gay pacifist Bayard Rustin. With director Sam Pollard. 
Bay 4 Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd.
For More Information: camille.jackson@duke.edu

1/14/2012 - 1/14/2012 11-3pm.
Featuring educational and entertaining activities for all ages, emphasizing Dr. King's legacy. The event is designed to promote literacy and is an excellent opportunity to add a book to your child's library. Book vendors, youth talent, storytellers, and more. 
FREE admission.
Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St.
For More Information: (919) 683-1709

1/14/2012 - 1/14/2012 2-4pm.
Featuring a live art show, video production, film and community discussions, poetry jam, video game tournament and more. 
FREE admission.
W. D. Hill Recreation Center, 1308 Fayetteville St.
For More Information: (919) 560-4292

1/14/2012 - 1/14/2012 7pm.
A special concert to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Durham Symphony will be joined by the NCCU University and Alumni Choirs, under the direction of Dr. Richard Banks and the gifted soloist Brandi Hancock, protege of Dr. LoƱieta Aurora Thompson Cornwall of Shaw University in Raleigh. The concert will include an encore of "Eulogy for a Dream” by William Henry Curry, with narrator
Anthony Wilson of WTVD, reading from Dr King’s words.
Durham Armory, 220 Foster St.
For More Information: 919-491-6576 

1/14/2012 - 1/14/2012 11am-1pm.
Pollard will show pieces from the Katrina documentary "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts;" "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin;" "Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed," about legendary New York congresswoman Shirley Chisholm; and "Slavery by Another Name," a feature documentary for PBS that will make its debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. 
FREE and open to all.
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, 1317 W. Pettigrew St.
For More Information: (919) 660-3663

1/14/2012 - 1/14/2012 2pm.
Mike Wiley in his one man show,telling the true stories of Henry "Box" Brown and Elizabeth and William Craft who crafted daring plans to escapee slavery. 
FREE admission.
Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St.
For More Information: (919) 683-1709

1/15/2012 - 1/15/2012 11am
Rev. Forbes, founder and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, will talk about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy in the MLK Day sermon. 
Open to the public.
Watts Street Baptist Church, 800 Watts St.
For More Information: (919) 688-1366

1/15/2012 - 1/15/2012 3pm
Political Strategist Donna Brazile will speak. 
Open to the public.
Duke University Chapel, Science Dr.
For More Information: (919) 684-5600 

1/16/2012 - 1/16/2012 8am
This Annual Prayer Breakfast has evolved into the flagship event to start the MLK Holiday activities in the area. Greetings and remarks by state and local officials are scheduled. See website for schedule. FREE and open to the public. Doors open 7:15 AM. 
First come, first served.
Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center, 4700 Emperor Blvd.

1/16/2012 - 1/16/2012 All day
"Make it a day on, not a day off." Triangle residents can volunteer for registered projects.
Various Locations
For More Information: (919) 460-8687

1/16/2012 - 1/16/2012 10:30am.
A march from NC Mutual Life Insurance Company to First Presbyterian Church that wraps up with greetings from community leaders and music.
Mutual Plaza, 411 W. Chapel Hill St.
For More Information: (919) 949-7327 

1/16/2012 - 1/16/2012 6pm.
Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown, Professor of Homiletics & Director of Black Church Studies Program at Emory University.
King's Park International Church, 1305 Odyssey Dr.
For More Information: (919) 544-6304

1/16/2012 - 1/16/2012 2-5pm.
Screening of the documentary "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" with an introduction by Frank Stasio, host of "The State of Things" on N.C. Public  Radio, followed by panel discussion at 4pm. 
FREE and open to the public.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 810 W. Chapel Hill St.
For More Information: (919) 682-3449 

"I Support My Farmers' Market"

The Durham Farmers' Market received an unexpected, oddly shaped package in the mail this week. Hundreds of "I Support My Farmers' Market" stickers and a certificate from the American Farmland Trust were enclosed inside.  Last summer, your votes for the Durham Farmers' Market in the America's Favorite Farmers' Market Contest put the Market at 11th in the nation (out of over 7000 markets!) and  number 1 in NC!  Thanks for all of your votes, the Market's got lots of stickers for you! Even though they aren't Durham Farmers' Market specific stickers, they are a great way to show that you support your local farmers and farmers' market vendors! Stickers will be on hand at the Market info/t-shirt table, at the center of the Pavilion, until supplies run out. 

Applications for New Vendors
The Durham Farmers' Market is now accepting applications for new vendors for its Wednesday Market (mid-April-Sept.) and Winter Market (Saturdays Dec.-March).  If you or someone you know has a farm or a business, now is the time to apply.  Applications will be accepted through January 31st.  All applicants must produce all of the items that they plan to sell and be located within 70 miles of Durham.  The Market will be accepting applications in all categories - Farmer, Crafter and Prepared Foods.  For more information and the application, check out the market's website.

Volunteer Workday
On Monday, January 16th, the Market is partnering with Durham Central Park to hold a volunteer workday. Volunteers will be making improvements at the park, in and around the Pavilion.  Join the crew and help the market make their home even better in the new year.  The workday will start at 9am and be finished by noon. 

Vegetables:  FRISEE! Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Bok Choy, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Fennel, Green Onions,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rhubarb, 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:  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, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves
Crafts: Pottery, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps and much more...

Durham's Centerfest Wants Your Input...Really

Centerfest has been a landmark event in Durham for dozens of years.  Having changed in format over the years, the event is now taking a one year hiatus to be envisioned anew - a process into which the public's commentary is welcomed.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with Downtown Durham, Inc and the Durham Chamber of Commerce, have offered their assistance to the Durham Arts Council in conducting focus groups and lending organizational expertise to help ensure that the new event is both representative of Durham's unique sense of place and brand values, as well being inviting to the modern event-going crowd.

"We're excited to help with this process because Centerfest, historically, has been such a major visitor draw," said Shelly Green, DCVB's President and CEO. "We're looking forward to working with peer organizations and the general public's input to refashion this event into one with national appeal and one that will garner a lot of visitation," she added.

The focus groups are open to the public.  Since Durham owns a reputation as being a place with great community involvement, it is hoped that people will come out and voice their opinions and share their input and ideas.  Six different focus groups, each with a different emphasis, will be held and details are available on the web.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Durham Bulls Manager Returns for 6th Season

It looks like Durham will again be one of the best spots in the world to see the boys of summer do their thing - the Durham Bulls top-notch head coach has signed on for another season.  

The Durham Bulls today announced Charlie Montoyo will return for his sixth season in Durham and 15th managing in the Rays organization. Pitching coach Neil Allen returns for his second year with the Bulls and sixth season in the Rays organization. Coach Dave Myers starts his fourth year with the Rays organization, all with the Bulls. Mike Sandoval joins the organization as the Bulls athletic trainer.

Montoyo boasts a 405-314 in five seasons with the Bulls, including five division titles, a Governors' Cup Championship and National Title. The Bulls lost in the Governor’s Cup playoffs last season losing to the eventual National Champion, Columbus Clippers for the 2nd straight season.

Allen returns to the Bulls after an extremely successful first year. Neil guided top prospects Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Alex Torres to the Rays in which each made significant contributions in the Rays run to the postseason.

Myers returns for his fourth season after presiding over an offense that produced the International League’s MVP for the 2nd consecutive season. This past year it was Russ Canzler and in 2010 it was Dan Johnson.  Sandoval joins the Bulls after spending the previous 25 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates system including the last 10 seasons as assistant athletic trainer with the major league club. He replaces Joe Benge who was promoted to minor league medical training coordinator for the Rays.

The Bulls open the home portion of the 2012 season on Thursday, April 5th against the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 PM. Season tickets, mini plans and group tickets are on sale now.

Great baseball is only one of the many things to do when visiting Durham.  See the Durham website for more information and go see why it's called the place where great things happen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Museum Must Sees: For a Limited Time Only

For only a few more short weeks, Durham boasts two highly acclaimed exhibits which explore the perspectives and experiences that define both Durham and the greater Southeast. For those looking to spend the winter hours indoors, the following exhibits are well worth a visit.

Presented by the Museum of Life and Science, RACE: Are We So Different? brings together the everyday experience of living with race, its history as an idea, the role of science in that history, and the findings of contemporary science that are challenging its foundations. The award winning interactive exhibition, developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, is the first of its kind to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view. The exhibit will be up through January 22, 2012 – consult the museum’s calendar and make some plans to visit.

NC Central University Art Museum's popular and thought provoking exhibition Let Your Motto be Resistance: African-American Portraits is currently on exhibition through the middle of the month. Originally presented as the inaugural exhibit of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the collection of photography reveals the nation’s history through an African-American lens. This very special exploration of African-American culture will remain on display until January 15, 2012. Check the museum’s website for hours and make arrangements to visit as soon as possible.