Friday, March 30, 2012

Salad Season in Full Swing at Durham Farmers' Market

It is official... Strawberry season has started! For the past couple of weeks, farmers have been reporting that the strawberry plants in their fields are filled with green berries. With the warm weather and the sunshine, they have started turning red this week! 

Strawberry season, like the asparagus season, started a few weeks early this year. Last year, asparagus started coming to Durham Farmers' Market during this week of March and the first field grown strawberries started coming in around the 2nd week of April. Yesterday, a farmer remarked that he had never seen a spring quite like this one. He is expecting that most crops will start coming into Market about 2 weeks earlier than usual. That is, of course, assuming that all of the cold weather is completely passed. In this area, the "last frost" date is usually around April 15th.  That is typically the time that farmers (and gardeners) can expect that there will be no more frosts until the fall.  Based on the weather patterns so far this year, it seems unlikely that there will be another frost, but it is not out of the question. 

Along with the abundant asparagus and beginnings of the strawberry crop, the Market is in the midst of salad season. For the next few weeks, there will be a bounty of fresh spring salad greens - lettuce (both beautiful heads and lots of baby lettuce), arugula, spinach, frisee, mustard greens, tat soi, mizuna and more. Radishes and salad turnips are also in abundance right now. This is the time of year when salad greens, radishes, and turnips grow the easiest and the quickest. Part of eating locally and with the seasons means eating crops that are most abundant in the area. So, right now is salad season! When it is salad season, salads are a great vehicle for eating other delicacies - like strawberries, asparagus and greenhouse grown tomatoes! Before we know it we'll be well into squash season and tomato season. 

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:  Greenhouse Green Beans!, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions, Green Garlic,  Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants: Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies, Ranunculus
Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
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...

Preservation Durham's Annual Old Home Tour Heads to Forest Hills

A walk through Downtown Durham quickly demonstrates that there is a drive to preserve buildings and reuse them - sometimes for other purposes, sometimes for their original purpose.  Move away from the busy city center into some of the adjacent neighborhoods and it becomes very clear that the same commitment exists for homes.

“Forest Hills is a perfect representation of the pre-war drive towards the suburbanization of American cities,” said Elizabeth Sappenfield, Preservation Durham’s home tour chairperson. “It was marketed in the 1920s as ‘a place of quiet, rest, and beauty’. It offered its residents a bucolic lifestyle with city amenities. Just over a mile from the downtown business core, it was Durham's first automobile suburb.”

Preservation Durham's Annual Old Home Tour returns to Forest Hills this year and will include seven of the neighborhood's most notable homes and two gardens, including a unique sculpture garden on Oak Drive. The tour will be April 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Designated as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, Forrest Hills retains traces of its pastoral origins -- a few outbuildings, a 19th-century farmhouse, a barn -- combined with the winding tree-lined streets organized around a beautiful city park and clubhouse.

Homes in Forest Hills were built between the 1920s and 1950s and are representative of several styles popular at the time, including Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, English Cottage, and mid-century Modernist. This year’s tour features four excellent examples of Tudor Revival variations, two impressive Colonial Revivals, two different interpretations of Modernism, and one rare example of Spanish Colonial Revival.

Preservation Durham's Old Home Tour annually offers hundreds of people the chance to tour historically significant neighborhoods in Durham.The tour is an important fundraiser for Preservation Durham, an organization dedicated to protecting Durham’s historic assets through action, advocacy and education.

Tickets will go on sale April 1st, and will be $20 before the day of the tour. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit Preservation Durham's website. Tickets also will be available in advance at Morgan Imports, at The Regulator Bookshop, and at the Preservation Durham office.

Art You Need Microscope to See

Seems a bit like there's a trend for small things in Durham right now.  First, The Smoffice competition where the winner will get the world's smallest office rent free for 6 months, and now art so small it can't be seen with the naked eye.

Cutting-edge artists from across the world will participate in the “Art of the Small”, a juried exhibition held in conjunction with the Nanotech Commercialization Conference, April 4-5, 2012 at the American Tobacco Campus, in Durham, NC.  The art exhibition is open to the public on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 from 5 to 7pm at Bay 7 of the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC.

Nanotechnology is rapidly transforming industries from medicine to manufacturing to energy.  Since the passage of the 21st Century Nanotechnology R&D Act by the U.S. Congress, billions of dollars have been invested in the science of nanotechnology.  That science is rapidly becoming the business of nanotechnology.  Thousands of new start-ups, bolstering nearly every industry across the globe, are creating jobs, and bringing life changing innovations to market.  The field has also inspired a new category of art, whereby the forms and images of the atomic world are being transformed into new forms of art by the scientific and artistic communities.

The show will be curated by artist and NanoBusiness Alliance founder, F. Mark Modzelewski, an installation artist, who has shown at galleries around the world and curated numerous shows in Boston, Washington DC, and New York.  A panel of expert judges drawn from the worlds of art, science, and science communication will select the winning entries.  The art will be judged on three key criteria:  depiction and representation of the theme, creativity of image representation and innovation in style or technique.

“It’s inspiring to see these inventive and expressive worlds collide to create new art forms,” said Griffith Kundahl, Executive Director of The Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology (COIN).  “We are delighted to support and showcase this artwork at this nanotech conference in Durham, a city well-known for both the arts and sciences.”

“My career has combined duel passions for art and technology,” noted curator F. Mark Modzelewski.  “I am excited by this opportunity to work with COIN to expose leaders in the nanotech and biotech communities to leading artists from around the world that are taking science and transforming it into art.”

Dozens of entries have flooded in from leading figures in the art and science fields, from countries ranging from the United States to Cyprus to South Korea.  Following the conference, images of the works from the exhibition will appear in an online gallery supported by COIN for a period of 36 months.

"Jazzilicious" Expressive Jazz Inspired Paintings by Eric McCray

Those who make their home in, or visit, Durham have the good fortune of access to amazing art and culture. On Friday, April 20, 2012, be one of the first twenty-five (25) attendees at the Hayti Heritage Center opening reception of McRay Studios new collection, "Jazzilicious" and receive a free, signed and numbered limited-edition print. The show will be open to the public for viewing from April 3, 2012-May 31, 2012.

Voted Metro Magazine's "Best Local Artist", Eric McRay is proud to call the Triangle home. As a classically trained studio artist, McRay displays his work in the prominent spaces including the NCCU Art Museum, American Tobacco Campus, Duke University Medical Center, NC State University and SAS Institute.

McRay's new exhibition, "Jazzilicious" features fresh-off-the-easel jazz paintings. The collection makes its way to Durham's Hayti Heritage Center for its debut. "We're always excited about McRay's work-his style lends soul and life to each piece," says Hayti's Interim Executive Director, Janella Sellars. Hear some fine jazz music lift off the canvas with each vibrant brushstroke from April 3, 2012 until May 31, 2012.

The Friday, April 20th show reception is free to the public from 8:00p.m.-10p.m.

New Belgium's Tour de Fat Returns to Durham

Already known globally as a center for health and weight management, as well as a very walkable city, Durham is also an increasingly bike friendly place, too.  Also, don't forget that Durham is a great place for beer lovers.  Once all those facts are thrown together in a glass and shaken, if the beverage analogy will be tolerated, the result is that the beer-loving, bike-riding, health-conscious people of Durham will again be host to the Tour de Fat.  What?  Read on.

New Belgium Brewing has announced the much-anticipated Tour de Fat 2012 schedule and the festival's return to Durham, NC. Now in its 13th season, Tour de Fat brings together passionate bike lovers for a day of two-wheeled revelry while raising money for local nonprofits. Tour de Fat is a thrilling rite of passage that includes an unparalleled costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, dazzling entertainment, local food, unusual bike contests and much more.

In 2012, Tour de Fat, which is a free event, will exceed the $2 million mark for money raised for local nonprofits through beer and merchandise purchases. Funds generally go to organizations in the world of bike advocacy, with money spent in a wide variety of ways, including trail maintenance, safety education, lobbying for better bicycle communities and a wide variety of other impactful initiatives.

The pinnacle of Tour de Fat is the ceremonious car-for-bike trade. At each Tour de Fat, one person becomes the center of the show as he or she gets up on stage, hands over car keys, and pledges to live one year car-free. Tour de Fat is now seeking volunteers to accept the swapper challenge. Each car-for-bike swapper will choose a local bike shop to help them turn their $2,250.00 budget into their ultimate car-replacement commuter bike. The cars will be auctioned by Vehicles for Charity, with proceeds to benefit local cycling organizations.

Swappers are chosen after submitting an application that describes why they are willing to trade in their vehicle for a shiny new bicycle. To submit an entry, go to the New Belgium Tour de Fat Facebook page, click on events and your city of choice, and upload your application video. Applications may also be written and emailed.

In 2011, Tour de Fat traveled to 13 cities, attracting a total of 69,550 festival attendees and 41,150 parade cyclists.  In addition, the festival raised $331,428 and boasted an impressive 90 percent diversion of waste from landfills.

Visit the Facebook page for the Tour de Fat credo, schedules, videos and to submit your entry to swap your gas guzzler for a fancy new bike.  To see a video from last year's season click here.

Durham County Library ‘Peeps Show’ Is Back

In Durham, a sense of humor can go a long way - even for librarians.

The Durham County Library staff is using bunny and chick confections to shine a light on library services, programs and materials again this year, with the second annual DCL Peeps Show. Library fans are invited, once again, to vote for their favorite Peeps display.

DCL Peeps Show 2012 ‘peep-o-ramas’ include scenes from beloved children’s books, a Peeps-sized food truck rodeo, a marshmallow treat version of the popular television series ‘Downton Abbey’ and a peep behind the scenes of the library’s technology division.

Star-Bellied Peeps
The Library Peeps Show will be on display on Friday, March 30, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, March 31, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium, 300 N. Roxboro Street. After the display closes, members of the public can friend the library on Facebook to vote for their favorite. The entry with the most “likes” earns the winning team a certificate and bragging rights. For more information about the Durham County Library Peeps Show, call 919-560-0151.

The Country Peep and the Little Gold Shoes
North Regional Library created a peep display based on The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward.  The country bunny taught all of her children how to take care of their little home so well that she was awarded the coveted task of becoming an Easter Bunny and delivering a special egg to a sick child. The display depicts the bunny children at home working on their chores.

Star-Bellied Peeps
Southwest Regional Library Children’s unit’s peep diorama was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches. After paying the “fix-it-up chappy” Sylvester McMonkey McPeep two dollars, the plain-bellied peeps enter the “star-on machine” to become more fashionable “star-bellied peeps.”

Duke Offers Admission to 3,105

Each year around this time, high school seniors start sweating the arrival of the mail.  With each delivery could be dreams realized or hopes dashed.  This year Duke University in Durham, NC is making a whole lot of dreams come true for slightly more than 3,100 high school seniors from across the country and around the world.

A record 31,600 students applied for admission this year -- a 6 percent increase over last year and a 55 percent increase over just four years ago.  Only 3,105 students -- 11 percent of the Regular Decision applicant pool -- will receive a notice of acceptance today, inviting them to become members of the Class of 2016. These students have until May 1 to make their final decision.

In December, 648 students were admitted under the university's binding Early Decision program.

"This was clearly the most challenging year Duke has seen, both for the applicants and for the staff of the admissions office," said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. "We’ve been careful not to take the dramatic increase in applications of the last several years for granted, and the admissions officers worked hard to make sure each applicant received a thorough and complete review. Many applicants received multiple evaluations, including some that were reviewed as many as seven or eight times.”

Duke's admissions policy is "need blind" for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, meaning applicants are accepted regardless of their ability to pay for college. Duke also meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.

All admitted students are invited to campus for Blue Devil Days, which provides the opportunity for students and their parents to discuss Duke's offerings with faculty and administrators, attend classes and tour Duke's campus, as well as the chance to get acquainted with other members of the Class of 2016. This year, the two-day event will be held three times: on April 9-10, April 12-13 and April 15-16.

"We were struck not only by the academic qualities of our applicants, but by the degree to which so many of them were involved in community service or civic engagement programs," Guttentag said. "Over the last several years a sense of participation in a larger community has been a notable aspect of many of our applicants. They seem particularly aware of the possibilities that programs like DukeEngage, study abroad or the Center for Civic Engagement provide, and look to be especially ready to make a difference in the world beyond Duke."

All students will be able to receive their decisions online, but only those students who are admitted will automatically receive mailed letters. Students who are placed on the waiting list or denied will be sent printed letters on request, or if they have not viewed their decision online within 72 hours. For the second year in a row, students will be able to reply online to offers of admission or the opportunity to be placed on the waiting list.

For the first time, admitted students can download a Duke-themed Facebook cover image from undergraduate admissions’ Facebook page.  “It's a great way to show school pride and get excited about sharing their news with friends and family,” said Cara Rousseau, Duke’s social media manager.

Durham is home to both Duke and North Carolina Central University and routinely ranks highly as a community for higher learning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Vow That Enlisted An Outburst

Durham is a community with a great deal of self-respect.  This translates into a feeling of pride that those here have chosen to express publicly.  Read on for thoughts on the Marry Durham celebration by local thought leader and DCVB President Emeritus Reyn Bowman.

"The Vow That Enlisted An Outburst"
Bull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

Usually the Durham City Manager is pretty stoic, but he was visibly cheered a few days ago when applause erupted during one of several  confirmation vows to the community taken by participants at the second annual “Marry Durham” street festival in the NoCO District.

That particular applause was in appreciation for the repaving of Durham streets, maintenance of which had been neglected and is now being rapidly returned to standard thanks to voter-approved bonds.

Residents will be even more expressive when the visual impression created by maintenance of roadsides, medians and right-of-ways is similarly restored to best-practice standards.

Detailed under “Roadway Image,” this element is part of “Community Character,” Chapter 4 of the plan that overarches both the City and County of Durham and their respective strategic and agency tactical plans.

Standing just at the periphery of that crowd that was cheering on the City Manager a few days ago was a booth for Keep Durham Beautiful, a non-profit whose management is embedded in Durham City General Services, the agency that will need much better funding if roadsides are to receive similar cheers in the future.

Every year Durham residents’ perceptions of roadside maintenance are benchmarked in two ways.  One is a scientific, anonymous opinion survey of residents of both the city and county.  Another way is an eyes-on Index of litter and other forms of neglect conducted by resident volunteers and coordinated by Keep Durham Beautiful.

As can be seen by clicking on each of the links in this sentence, both the Index and the opinion survey illustrate that this is an area both the City and County must improve if they are to meet the extremely high expectations of residents in this regard.

Click here to receive details about or to volunteer to participate in the 2012 Index which will be conducted on April 19th.

Strong Durham Schools

Sometimes its hard to know when you're hearing the honest to goodness truth... or not. Those unfamiliar with a topic may form their opinions based on water cooler talk which may be watered down and mired with negative thinking. As commonplace as these practices are, its easy to get the wrong impression about a whole host of topics... especially schools and communities.

Fortunately for Durham, the organization Strong Durham Schools cuts straight through the rumor mill and provides a forum for interested parties to find honest, transparent, and genuine stories about Durham Public Schools. Strong Durham Schools has brought together passionate parents, teachers, alumni and staff to tell the real stories behind Durham's education system.

Visitors to the site will find testimonials for most Durham elementary, middle and high schools. If a school is not listed it is simply because a resident has not come forward to share their story. Strong Durham Schools encourages submissions of all kinds; if you are interested in sharing your experience with Durham public schools, fill out this online survey or email


Durham's Northgate Mall is pleased to announce its debut as host of the Volunteer Center of Durham's ever-popular GREAT HUMAN RACE, Saturday, March 24 at 8:30am. Now in its seventeenth year, the unique 5K run and community walk that supports over 100 nonprofits, schools and faith-based groups, has raised over $1.6 million for area groups since its inception in 1996.

Northgate will welcome over 1,000 runners and 2,000 walkers on Saturday, March 24. The event will include a kids’ playground area, local entertainment, refreshments and plenty of free parking. The new 5K course will wind through the historic Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood adjacent to Northgate.  

Jazz Pianist and A Cappella Group Headline NCCU Jazz Festival

The 22nd Annual NCCU Jazz Festival will take place in Durham from April 16 – 21 with performances by Grammy winners Take 6, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, the U.S. Air Force big band Airmen of Note, the UNC–Chapel Hill Faculty Jazz Group and Gary Smulyan, and the NCCU Jazz Combos, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Faculty Jazz Group.

Cyrus Chestnut
The performers have all had rich and full careers which they will bring to bear during their shows at the festival.
Highlights of the festival will include a meet-the-artist session with Take 6 and Cyrus Chestnut on April 19 at the Beyu Caffé at 7 p.m., a free master class workshop on April 19 and 20 at noon in the Jazz Band Room, and a Vocal Jazz Summit at noon in the B.N. Duke Auditorium on April 20.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ira Wiggins, NCCU initiated the Jazz Festival in 1990 to expose the campus and the Durham community to America’s first indigenous art form, jazz. Tickets for the festival are $45 and include admission to all performances. To purchase tickets or for more information visit the festival's website.

See Also: Jazz Legend Was "Sentimental" About Durham

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Durham...On The Go

Depending on how you look at the question, and the numbers vary widely, there are roughly 800,000 applications for mobile computing devices out there.  For visitation and tourism, there are apps that translate, calculate and locate for us; more still to suggest, plan and direct.  It's a mighty crowded pool to say the least.

So, if that's true then why jump in?  The folks at Durham's official marketing agency, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) pondered the question for quite a while before deciding how to answer the "to app, or not to app" question.

In the end, DCVB decided only to build a mobile version of their website and not an application.  It's why that's the interesting part.

"After reviewing many different application creation options - some solutions were off-the-shelf and others were custom-builds - we just never saw the union between cost and value to the end user," said Sam Poley, DCVB's marketing head.  Some of those custom options cost north of $100,000, the mobile site cost a fraction of that amount.

The mobile site works seamlessly for the user.  Those visiting Durham's official visitation website will be automatically redirected to  (Curious readers can hit that link to view it on their desktop computers.) 

So just what is an app vs. a mobile site?

Applications for mobile computing devices are small programs that get installed on the device with pre-loaded data.  The program has the capacity of going to the internet and get information it needs to complete its function accurately.  For instance a tool that converts Fahrenheit temperature to Celsius - that conversion equation is always the same so the app has no need to go online to complete its task beyond what the user enters.  However, a weather app, needs to go to the web to collect current conditions to be accurate.

Mobile sites are versions of  websites designed to run on the small screens and processors of mobile devices like smart phones.  The sites themselves have all the website functions that a mobile user would need while on the go.  Mobile sites also require very little data use when compared their full version brethren.  To the visitor, this can be very valuable in terms of saved data use charges.  Visiting the two versions of Durham's site will easily demonstrate the difference.

But why not develop an application for a destination?  "Because the app would always be looking to our website," Poley says.  DCVB stores much of it's visitor product information on it's database - their websites (they have many), event calendar, and other vital functions run because of the database backbone maintained by the organization.  In Durham, unlike many destinations, stakeholders can add information to the database through a web-based portal called My Durham Info.  Therefore an app would be inefficient and potentially more costly for the end-user to view.

"We pride ourselves on having a really accurate and up-to-date presence online," says Poley. "Our database updates our website every 24 hours, so when a person looks for information on our site the results they get are pulled freshly from our database.  This sets the bar so high for information accuracy and currency that any app we could build or launch at this point would always be updating. The mobile site was absolutely the right move for us, and the visitor."

Many users think that an app is simply an icon on their devices screen. Conveniently, Apple users can easily create one very simply. Simply go to the mobile site, click on the small curved arrow at the bottom of the screen and then click "add to home screen."  The image above will show up on the screen of the device.  Similar options exist for other device platforms, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Natural Beauty Remains Important in Durham

By a ratio of almost 4 to 1, Durham residents believe appearance should be a high community priority.  They will have an opportunity to prove it during the Fourth Annual Creek Week, scheduled for March 17-24, 2012.

This year’s week-long observance will provide dozens of opportunities for residents to discover and explore local streams and lakes through educational programs and recreational activities, and to do their part to protect waterways through volunteer projects.

According to Tania Dautlick, executive director of Keep Durham Beautiful, this week-long event is an opportunity to take care of Durham’s environment. “Creek Week is a fantastic way for Durham residents to discover local natural areas and make a difference through volunteer projects,” said Dautlick. “These activities illuminate the importance of protecting waterways for recreation and drinking water as well as show how we can all do our part to preserve a healthy natural environment for people, wildlife, and plant life.”

With the range of events offered, there is something sure to entice everyone in the family – even Fido. Residents can get outdoors and explore Durham’s hidden nature gems by canoe or kayak, or on foot via nature walks and hikes in beautiful locations including Duke Forest, Eno River State Park and Sandy Creek Park. Residents can bring their dogs to a Durham Dog Park and take the Canines for Clean Water Pledge to reduce pet waste.

Residents are also invited to learn about the Northeast/Crooked Creek Improvement Plan on Monday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the South Regional Library, located at 4505 S. Alston Ave., Durham. This event will feature information on the City of Durham’s plan to clean up Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek. This family-friendly event will offer food, games, hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and story time.

Other events planned for Creek Week will showcase birds and butterflies, films and nighttime stories, guided hikes and paddles, all providing something for everyone to enjoy. Several restaurants, including Bull City Burger and Brewery, Geer Street Garden, Pinhook, and The Bar, will offer Creek Week Specials for sale benefiting Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc.

Creek Week will also provide easy volunteer opportunities for residents and organizations to connect with several scheduled cleanup events at local creeks, marshes, streams and lakes throughout Durham. Last year, 250 volunteers picked up over 10,000 pounds of trash from Durham waterways. Volunteers can also help by labeling storm drains in their neighborhood.

Creek Week is a collaboration of City, state, and nonprofit organizations that manage, monitor, and protect area waterways including the City of Durham Neighborhood Improvement Services, Parks and Recreation, Stormwater Services Division with Public Works, and Water Management Departments along with Durham County Government, Durham County Library, Durham Soil & Water Conservation District, Ellerbe Creek Watershed, Eno River Association, Frog Hollow Outdoors, Keep Durham Beautiful, Haw River Assembly, New Hope Creek Corridor, North Carolina State Parks, and Northeast Creek Stream Watch.

For a detailed schedule of events, visit the Durham Creek Week website or contact Laura Webb Smith, public education coordinator for the Stormwater Services Division of the City’s Public Works Department, at (919) 560-4326, ext. 30235.

Durham City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Opposing Amendment One

Everyone is welcome in Durham, NC.  It is a community of open and accepting people who value, among other things, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That sentiment, it seems, is also true of its municipal elected body.

See Mayor Bill Bell's Address
Protect All NC Families, a coalition effort to educate North Carolinians of the harms of Amendment One, a constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012 North Carolina primary ballot that would ban relationship recognitions and threaten protections for the state’s unmarried couples, today praised the Durham City Council’s unanimous passage of a resolution opposing the amendment.

On Thursday, March 8, in a 6-0 vote, the Durham City Council encouraged voters to cast their upcoming ballots against an amendment to the state constitution that would strip the local government of the ability to provide domestic partner benefits such as health care to its public employees and their children, among other harms.

"With this unanimous vote, the Durham City Council not only proved it represents a diverse, progressive city that promotes protections for all, but it also stood in strong opposition to a discriminatory measure that could disenfranchise many of its city and county employees and their families, as well as public employees in all corners of the state," said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families.

Durham City Council member Diane Catotti, who crafted the resolution, said in a statement to Protect All NC Families: “Providing domestic partner benefits for same-sex and opposite-sex employees is a matter of simple fairness. The Durham City Council is proud of its unanimous reassertion of full equality under the law, demonstrating that equal work should be rewarded with equal pay and benefits. The Firefighters, Police Officers, and other City Staff who provide safety and service to our community deserve the right to provide these basic benefits to their families and children. We stand strongly against any amendment that would result in discrimination against our citizens and staff. We urge our citizens and all North Carolina citizens to vigorously oppose this amendment."

In a video released today by Protect All NC Families, Durham Mayor Bill Bell echoed Catotti’s sentiments by declaring his unequivocal opposition to Amendment One.

“We’re in a community in the state where we’re trying to attract jobs…and we know many people who, if this amendment were to pass, would be very hesitant to come and work here in North Carolina,” said Bell. “I’m voting against it, and I think it speaks for itself that my hope, when the vote goes down, you’ll see that Durham County voted overwhelmingly against this amendment.”

Durham is among nine local governments in the state that stand to lose their domestic partner benefits if Amendment One were to pass on May 8. A recent state panel tasked with explaining Amendment One to voters found that there is significant debate among legal experts about how the amendment might impact various legal protections for public and private employee benefits as well as other harms. The panel ultimately concluded that the state’s court system would need to determine Amendment One’s lasting consequences, including the enforcement of domestic violence laws, child custody agreements and end-of-life directives.

"Not only would Amendment One prevent municipalities like Durham from continuing to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees, it would force our state's Constitution to declare that some North Carolinians and their families do not deserve health care, insurance and other basic protections, said Kennedy. “We strongly encourage other leaders to join the men and women of the Durham City Council in encouraging North Carolinians to vote against Amendment One and keep North Carolina on the right side of history."

Protect All NC Families  is a broad coalition of state and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and human rights groups, faith organizations, communities of color, nonpartisan organizations, and business & community leaders, coming together for one purpose: to defeat Amendment One on the NC primary ballot on May 8, 2012.

InterNeighborhood Council County Commissioners' Candidates Forum

The InterNeighborhood Council of Durham has organized a County Commissioners' Candidates forum for Wednesday, March 28, from 6:45 to 9:00 P.M. at the North Carolina Central School of Education Auditorium.  All fourteen candidates for Durham County Commissioner have agreed to participate that evening. Doors will open at 6:30 PM.

All five Commissioner seats are up for election this year.  As only Democratic candidates running, the May primary may be tantamount to election. Bob Ashley, former editor of the Herald Sun and current Executive Director for Preservation Durham, will moderate. Those registered to vote as an independent or unaffiliated voter may also vote in the Democratic primary.

The talk should prove interesting because five of them will make important decisions about life in Durham. The auditorium is located at 710 Cecil Street, Durham NC 27707.  Driving directions to the NCCU Campus may be found here where parking is available.

Durham Wants You to Show Them Your Cans!

People in Durham take care of one another - that fact is evidenced throughout the community. People in Durham are so intent on taking care of one another that this Saturday is the first anniversary of the Marry Durham event where people married the city.

Now Durham’s vibrant entrepreneurial community is being called upon once again to supply up to 20 teams for the second annual CFD {Creative Food Drive} to benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina on Saturday, September 22, 2012.  The event and competition will take place at North Rigsbee (Motorco, Fullsteam, and the adjoining block).

“The Durham community is so active and creative we thought, ‘Why not put this energy to good use?’” said George Hining of MHAworks Architecture, one of the organizers of the event.

According to Hining, roughly 500 people are expected to turn out for this year’s competition, which is taking the form of a block party with live music, games, and local food and drink vendors.  The event will be free to the public and the competitors.

So what is the competition about?  Each team (formed between now and the end of August) will compete by designing and constructing any type of stand-alone “sculpture” they can conceptualize out of non-perishable food items in 90 minutes.  These items have either been purchased or solicited and will be donated after the event to the Food Bank.

One of last year’s sponsors, ReverbNation, is back in the mix providing CFD with three bands for the second year in a row.  King’s Red and White Super Market has also jumped in to show its support as a partnering grocery store, providing teams with an easier way to stock their structures at wholesale prices.  Food Trucks from last year like Will & Pops, Pie Pushers and The Parlour are back, and so are competing teams, such as Semprius and LeChase Construction. “The whole experience was great.  At the end of the program, we had employees looking to the next year, throwing out ideas to make the sculpture even better,” said Joseph Carr, CEO of Semprius, the 2011 Winner of the Best Overall Award.

“It’s a great way for the Durham community to learn about our branch in the city and to provide meals for families who may need our help,” said Linda Fisher, Special Events and Food Drive Manager for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

“The idea of building sculptures out of non-perishable foods is a fun way to resupply our shelves and help us get food out to the families that need it,” she added.

“Last year the Creative Food Drive was very successful, with 16 competing teams, we were able to raise over 8,160 meals for the Food Bank” says Brittany Guarino, of MHAworks, another organizer of the event. “With overwhelming positive response to our first CFD, this year should be even bigger and better than it was back in October.”

Learn more about other exciting events occurring in Durham by looking at the Durham Event Calendar.

See Also:
Marry Durham Celebrates One Year

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Duke Professor Research Indicates NCAA Fans Work Less During March Madness

The trees are blooming, layers of outerwear are being shed and Durham's Sarah P. Duke Gardens are teeming with those seeking the rays of a warm sun. These things all point to one obvious and extremely important thing, perhaps the biggest the month of March has to offer each year - Madness.

All these niceties of life take second seat to that which rules this area for a few weeks each spring.  Spring wouldn't be Spring without college basketball.  Brackets are filled out, friendly banter about which team is best occurs at nearly every human interaction, and the games are viewed almost to the exclusion of all other things.  They even get streamed online while people are at work.

So as the NCAA tournament is about to begin, fans’ attention is on brackets and seedings. By at least one measure, this focus will mean a decrease in academic productivity, says Duke University professor Charles Clotfelter Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy

“The week after selection Sunday, the amount of work goes down. But, in addition to that, the amount of work goes down if your team wins a big game,” Clotfelter said.  In this area, that must mean a big hit to productivity since two (three counting the much improved former powerhouse NC State) college hoops cathedrals are within a few short miles of one another and are embroiled in what some consider the greatest rivalry in all sports.  For the uninitiated, that's Duke and UNC Chapel Hill - the Tobacco Road rivalry.

In his 2011 book "Big-Time Sports in American Universities," Clotfelter analyzed the number of articles viewed during February, March and April at 78 research libraries in three different years. Using the retrieval of articles as a measure of work, he found declines corresponding to the tournament. The study explained in the video linked above.

The #2 ranked Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball Team plays its first game of the tournament on Friday the 16th at 7:15 PM against #15 ranked Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

See Also:

A more in-depth video interview with Clotfelter

Bracket - everyone needs a bracket

Monday, March 12, 2012

JIM CROW LOSES; The Secret Game

History and diversity are two of the things that make Durham, NC so interesting - here are amazing things that take place here everyday. Today one of the most interesting occurred; well, 68 years ago today.  Read on for an amazing piece about The Secret Game. It's a truly fascinating story, and one of the things that makes Durham the place that it is today.

Published originally in New York Times Magazine - March 31, 1996

By Scott Ellsworth

Aubrey Stanley double-checked the laces on his sneakers and sneaked a look across the gym floor. The other team's center was a good three or four inches shorter than Big Dog, the center on Stanley's team, the Eagles. A good sign. Stanley and his teammates, dressed in their maroon jerseys, satin shorts, knee pads, striped wool socks and war-issue canvas high-tops, lined up for the tip-off.

It was 1944, a banner year for basketball at the North Carolina College for Negroes, in Durham. The Eagles had lost only one game all season and were making a name for John B. McLendon, their 28-year-old coach. His standouts -- Stanley, Henry (Big Dog) Thomas, Floyd (Cootie) Brown, James (Boogie-Woogie) Hardy -- ran a blistering, high-speed attack. "We could have beaten anyone," says McLendon, now a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. But there was no way to prove it. Neither the National Invitational Tournament nor the N.C.A.A. tournament allowed black colleges to participate.

Across town at Duke University, the Blue Devils had won the Southern Conference championship. But they weren't necessarily the best team on campus. The Army and the Navy had established wartime training programs at Duke, and the intramural teams were stuffed with former college athletes.

The medical school team was perhaps the best. Dick Thistlethwaite, a former star at the University of Richmond, played center. David Hubbell, a forward, had started for the Duke varsity. Homer Sieber had played at Roanoke College, and Dick Symmonds at Central Methodist in Missouri. Jack Burgess, the team's newest member, had played guard at the University of Montana. As much as he liked Duke, Burgess despised the Jim Crow laws. Once, he was chased off a Durham city bus -- at knife point -- when he told the driver what he thought of the seating arrangements.

At a place like Duke, Burgess's opinions were unusual, though not unheard of. In early 1944, the Y.M.C.A. chapters at Duke and North Carolina College had begun to meet, at considerable risk from the police, who vigorously maintained the color line. "It was dangerous," recalls one former Duke student. "We had to lie on the floor of the car going to those meetings."

At one meeting, a North Carolina College student overheard an idle boast about the Duke medical school basketball team. A challenge was issued: let's see who has the best team in town. It was an absurd notion. Convening a secret Y meeting was bad enough, but holding an illegal, racially mixed basketball game was courting disaster. That same year, a black G.I. had been killed by a white bus driver for not moving quickly enough to the rear of a Durham bus.

Coach McLendon, however, endorsed the idea: denied a postseason championship game, he would create his own. The game, he decided, would be held in the North Carolina College gym, a legitimate contest with a referee and a game clock.

At Duke, the proposal fell on stunned ears. Jack Burgess wanted to play, but some of the others were hesitant. In the end, pride won out. "We thought we could whup 'em," David Hubbell says. "So we decided to find out."

Sunday, March 12, dawned blustery. McLendon had scheduled the game when most of Durham, including its police force, would be in church. He hadn't told the school administration about the game; when a reporter for The Carolina Times, Durham's black weekly, found out, he agreed not to write anything. No spectators would be allowed.

Just before 11 A.M., the Duke team piled into a couple of borrowed cars. "To keep from being followed, we took this winding route through town," Hubbell recalls. They pulled their jackets over their heads as they walked into the small brick gym.

Inside, stomachs had been churning all morning. "I had never played basketball against a white person before, and I was a little shaky," Stanley says. "You did not know what might happen if there was a hard foul, or if a fight broke out. I kept looking over at Big Dog and Boogie to see what to do. They were both from up North."

The game began with a sputter. Both teams botched routine plays, and shots caromed off the rims. One of the Duke players made a gorgeous pass -- right into the hands of a North Carolina College player. "On that particular morning, you didn't exactly need to play skins and shirts," Hubbell says with a laugh.

As the nervousness subsided, the Duke team found its game: give-and-gos and three-man weaves, two-handed set shots off screens. Burgess fed Thistlethwaite the ball inside and Hubbell shot from the wings. But the Eagles warmed up, too. Big Dog knocked down four-footers, while George Parks, a towering Kentuckian, swept the boards. Boogie and Cootie ran cutaways and reverse pivots, whipping down-court passes after crisp steals.

Stanley was only 16, the Eagles' youngest player, and had grown up under Jim Crow. "About midway through the first half," Stanley says, "I suddenly realized: 'Hey, we can beat these guys. They aren't supermen. They're just men like us.' "

By the second half, the Eagles were scoring on nearly every possession. Running one fast break after the next, they were skirting a wide-open style of play that wouldn't flourish for another two decades.

The Duke players had never seen anything like it. By the end of the game, the scoreboard told the story: Eagles 88, Visitors 44.

Then came the day's second unlikely event. After a short break, the two teams mixed their squads and played another game, an even more egregious violation of Jim Crow. This time, it was skins and shirts. "Just God's children, horsing around with a basketball," says George Parks.
Word had spread, meanwhile, that something was afoot in the gym. McLendon had bolted the doors, but a few students climbed up to the window ledges. Pressing their faces to the glass, they saw this second game -- a segregationist's nightmare and a scene that college basketball in the South would not know for years to come. Afterward, the two teams adjourned to the men's residence hall for a bull session. A few hours later, the Duke students drove home.

The Durham police never found out what happened. Nor did the city's two daily newspapers, and the black reporter kept his word. No scorecard exists, and as far as official basketball recordkeeping is concerned, the game never took place.

"Oh, I wonder if I told you that we played basketball against a Negro college team," Jack Burgess wrote to his family in Montana a few days later. "Well, we did and we sure had fun and I especially had a good time, for most of the fellows playing with me were Southerners. . . . And when the evening was over, most of them had changed their views quite a lot."

(Published in New York Times Magazine on March 31, 1996 / Written by Scott Ellsworth)
Learn more about Durham, it's past, present and future by visiting online.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Hours Coming Soon to Durham Farmers' Market

During these past few weeks of lovely spring-like weather, folks have been asking when the Durham Farmers' Market will return to summer hours. It won't be long! Summer hours (8am-Noon) will resume on Saturday, April 7th. Two weeks later, on Wednesday April 18th, Wednesday Market opens for its regular hours: 3:30 to 6:30pm. This Spring, the Market will be adding several exciting new vendors to the Wednesday Market offerings; details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Out of Spring weather excitement, the Durham Farmers' Market have been planning some fun and tasty upcoming events:

TOMORROW at 10:30 Chef Katie Coleman, owner of Durham Spirits Co. and an instructor at the Culinary School at the Arts Institute at American Tobacco, will be the Chef in the Market. Katie will be cooking several recipes that use the rhubarb that has been available at the Market over the past few weeks, including Rhubarb Ginger Chutney and Rhubarb Thyme Jam. Copies of recipes will be available upon request.

On Saturday March 17th, the Market will hold its first DFM Vendor Chili Challenge! Market vendors will show off their best personal chili recipes (no cookbooks allowed!). They will be highlighting meats and vegetables from the Market and in some cases from their own farms. Market goers will  taste all of the chilis and then vote for your favorite(s). The event will be a fundraiser for the Market -- each vote will cost $1. Participants can vote as many times as they'd like!

A new chef will be joining the Market in April. Chef Christy Quirk of Bull Street Gourmet and Market will be the Chef in the Market on April 14th. Bull Street Gourmet & Market is a new restaurant and retail shop located in Hope Valley Square. Christy plans to cook with fennel. For those who have ever wondered how to use this tasty (and weird looking) vegetable, now is the chance to learn from an expert. 

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:  Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets,  Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions, Green Garlic,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Pumpkins, Rhubarb, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (fresh & dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants:  Daffodils, Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies,
Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Duke University Symposium Marks 150th Anniversary of Civil War

The best way to avoid repeating history is to remember it, record it, and learn therefrom. The Civil War is definitely something from which everyone can learn, and as the war ended in Durham in 1865, there is an opportunity to do exactly that here next week.

Prominent historians from Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Ohio State University will gather at Duke for a one-day symposium marking the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

The symposium, “Another March Madness: The American Civil War at 150,” will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, in Perkins Library’s Gothic Reading Room. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the library’s Rare Book Room.

The symposium will feature talks and presentations on a wide range of topics related to the war and its ongoing impact a century and a half later.

Co-organizers Shauna Devine and Margaret Humphreys, both Duke historians, said the panelists are Civil War experts representing a broad range of interests. “Our goal is to provide an opportunity to learn about the many divergent aspects of the conflict, including the medical, military, cultural, political and social history of the Civil War,” Devine said.

Guest speakers include:

-- Joseph Glatthaar, professor of history at UNC, who will speak on the relationships between officers and enlisted men in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia;

-- Susanna Lee, professor of history at N.C. State, who will discuss the wartime conflicts with Native Americans and their claims to Union citizenship;

-- Laura Edwards, professor of history at Duke, who will examine the legal ramifications of the war;

-- Mark Grimsley, military historian at Ohio State University, who will examine Reconstruction violence as an extension of Civil War violence; and

-- Devine and Humphreys who will talk about medical history relating to the war, including the development of new medical standards and diagnostic techniques.

The symposium coincides with a Civil War-related exhibit on display in Perkins Library. “I Recall the Experience Sweet and Sad: Memories of the Civil War” showcases the memoirs of men and women who lived through the conflict, including Walt Whitman, whose work as an army hospital nurse inspired some of his greatest works. An exhibit highlighting Duke’s rich Civil War medicine collection will be on display in the Gothic Reading Room.

For more information, visit the symposium website.

The Streets at Southpoint Turns 10!

Ten years ago, Durham became a major shopping destination with the addition of the super-regional mall, The Streets at Southpoint. The 1.3 million sq. ft. shopping center boasts a 17-screen cinema including an IMAX theater, an outdoor cityscape and more than 170 shops and restaurants - with even more new and exciting additions coming soon. Recognized by USA Today as one of the nation’s "10 great places to spend it all in one place, The Streets at Southpoint has much to celebrate. For the occasion, The Streets at Southpoint is rolling out a series of events and promotions.

On March 9th, The Streets at Southpoint is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation of The Triangle to present Ladies Night Out & 10th Anniversary Party. The free chic and stylish event with run from 5pm-9pm in the Center Court. The event will include free mini-makeovers, beauty consultations, refreshments, shopping specials and the opportunity to enter to win door prizes. Ladies Night Out is an event that will promote breast cancer awareness and raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

The Streets at Southpoint's 10th Anniversary Birthday Bash is Saturday, March 10 with family-friendly events running throughout the day. It all begins at 10:30am on with the Kids are Music Concert followed by the Spring Kid's Fashion show from noon-1pm. Before Bing Bang Boom's appearance on the Main Street Stage at 6pm, there will be a kids party starting at 2pm with free cupcakes, balloon animals, face paining, magic shows and more.

Throughout the weekend, The Streets at Southpoint will be offering special customer promotions including its Shop & Redeem promotion.

Jazz Legend Was "Sentimental" About Durham

Sometimes, not very often, a story hits a reader. Sometimes that hit is hard like a linebacker, other times it's just a glancing touch that brings memories of a person who elicited that "just so" feeling.

This story is all of the above.

For background and context, Durham was once home to one of the most vibrant Hayti communities in the US, and many famous African-American artists, musicians, performers, and authors made their way to and through Durham as a result. One of those was Duke Ellington - the jazz legend known the world around.

Today the blog North Carolina Miscellany posted a marvelous little bit of information that deserves to be noticed.

Ellington, a recipient of 13 Grammy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, is less well-known for those accomplishments than for his songs - compositions that endure today as standards copied, emulated and repeated seemingly without showing signs of wear. One of those pieces was composed, on the spot to help a friend out of a delicate situation with two ladies, in Durham. That song is In a Sentimental Mood.

Read the blog post in full while imagining the heyday of Durham in which the song was created. The economy was good, money and work were plentiful, the world was at peace, and the nearest cabinet radio was filling the room with the dulcet tones of America's music - jazz, some of which came from right here in Durham, NC.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Durham's Poetic Traditions

Durham boasts a poetry and spoken-word community that continues to grow in popularity each year. Durham is where great things happen, and that includes great performance art.

Darrell "SCIPOET" Stover
Much of the momentum behind this community comes from Durham's African-American community, and leadership from the Hayti Heritage Center is part in parcel of that growing energy. So, its only fitting that former Hayti Heritage Center Program Director and Poetry Power program founder Darrell "SCIPOET" Stover is returning to Hayti to celebrate his new poetry collection, "Somewhere Deep Down When."

This Saturday, March 3rd, the Hayti Heritage Center Presents "Poetic Traditions" an evening celebrating the release of Stover’s collection - it is  part autobiography, part archive and part tribute to numerous local friends.
Amiri Baraka

Stover will be joined by some of these friends for the event; special guests include Poet/Activist Amiri Baraka and Chuck Davis, director of the African American Dance Ensemble.

Poetic Traditions begins at 6PM, tickets are available at the door. For more information, visit Hayti Heritage Center's website.

Durham Farmers' Market Welcomes March

Happy March from the Durham Farmers' Market!  Winter is drawing to an end - the days are getting longer and the temperatures are getting warmer. One could argue that Winter never really started as it has been so mild during the past few months. It has been an interesting winter for farmers to grow crops. The good weather has meant that the crops have been abundant and plentiful. It has also meant that farmer's crops came in a lot earlier than they had planned.

Farmers take a lot of time to carefully plan out planting schedules to be able to get abundant weekly harvests. They often do successive plantings of their crops so that plants don't reach maturity all at once. The unexpected warm weather has made successive plantings reach maturity all at once. But as one farmer remarked a few weeks ago, "I just keep planting to try to keep up with the weather." 

Our mild winter led to an excellent brussels sprout crop. Brussels sprouts are notoriously difficult to grow in this area. They take a long time to mature and they do not thrive in hot weather and, like all vegetables, they don't grow well when it is very cold. In this area, we don't have a long drawn out fall, often we go directly from summer to winter. So, it is hard to start brussels sprouts seedlings because of the hot fall weather then, before they have a chance to mature, the temperature drops too low for them to able to thrive. Because it never stayed cold for very long this winter, the plants were able to make it to maturity and give us a great crop. Great news for brussels sprouts lovers, of course! Sadly, Brussels sprouts are nearly done for this season.

Well, enough about vegetables. This week there was an interesting piece on NPR about lard. Lard is the proccessed fat from a pig.Our farmers who raise pigs don't just bring bacon, sausages, roasts, loins and other cuts to Market and they also bring rendered lard. Lard is a by-product of processing pigs - pigs aren't just all bacon, as Homer Simpson believes. For a long time lard was a staple in the American diet and about 100 years ago lard fell out of favor.  Recently, cooks and bakers have come back to using lard as a preferred fat and you can too - every week there is lard available at the Market from sustainably raised pigs. Take a listen to this story about the fascinating story about the rise and fall of lard. 
Who Killed Lard? by Robert Smith, NPR

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:   LEEKS, Asian Greens (Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cress (Creasy Greens), Cilantro, Collards, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions,Green Garlic,  Gourds,  Jerusalem Artichokes,  Mustard Greens, Kale,  Lettuce, Onions, Pumpkins, Rhubarb, 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...

Durham's Art Scene Welcomes and Promotes "Outsiders"

As the old saying goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  So, too, is the appreciation of that which one considers art.  Expressed in many forms, Durham, NC is fortunate to have an art scene that is eclectic, exciting, and as open and welcoming as the community itself.

In 2009, Pam Gutlon opened her Outsiders Art & Collectibles gallery on Iredell St.  A lover of art produced by artists who are self-taught - outsider art - Gutlon set out to create a showcase for the work and the artists alike.  It was an act of passion and an expression of her commitment to the community overall.   "I strongly believe that bringing Durham’s business, non-profit, and art communities together better serves the community as a whole," she said. Her gallery regularly serves as both a place for art to be displayed and sold, as well as a venue to create community. 

Soon the gallery will host it's first wedding, it hosts monthly open houses with 300 to 500 people attending, and is even the site of a writing group that claims that the artwork on the walls helps shake them loose from writer's block and provides inspiration.

The outsider art community enjoys growing good fortune that there are places at which their art is celebrated.  Durham's Outsiders Art & Collectibles is one of a cadre of places that has taken hold nationally wherein people  like Durham artist Odinga Tyehimba can find not only a place to display his work, but also a champion to trumpet his talent in a way that artists themselves often struggle to.

In Tyehimba's case, Gutlon reports, this has yielded great interest by the publication Raw Vision - a leading periodical on the subject of outsider art.  Tyehimba's work is also likely to be included in a show at the The Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University.  These two outcomes can combine to be life changing for an artist.

By Bruce New
Next week, Gutlon is again showcasing the work of artist Bruce New.  Her gallery is one of the places where he can have his work shown and be on hand to connect directly with those who buy it.  For an outsider artist, it is not a common experience to have an ally the likes of Gutlon.
Says New, "My work is an attempt to document my existence – to leave a visual record of my thoughts, ideas, and fantasies. I reside in the wilds of Kentucky, with a bird and our son, on a mountaintop, right next to the sun, where I create my artwork...." New, a Kentucky artist, has lived his entire life there and has always made art. As a child he created notebooks of comic heroes and battle scenes of war but never thought he could be an artist and instead dreamed of being Reggie Jackson.

The relationship between the two has been a fruitful one, Gutlon says.  She's particularly excited about his return.

New's return engagement is Saturday, March 10 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.  Live music will be performed by Katharine Whalen (formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers) and Her Fascinators.   Only Burger and The Parlour will be there, too.   

The event is free and open to the public - everyone is welcome, just like in Durham.

See also:
Information about other Durham Art Galleries

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Game On at Bull City Burger and Brewery

Talk with Seth Gross, proprietor of Bull City Burger and Brewery (BCBB) and you'll realize he is, to quote Yogi, "smarter than your average bear."  He's college educated with a bachelors degree in biological science, a classically-trained chef, a certified Sommelier and voracious consumer of knowledge who loves to share what he knows.

He's also game...who can talk a good line of bull.  Read on - it makes sense.

A common modern definition of the word game is: one who is willing to try something new.  Enter the aforementioned Mr. Gross.  In this gaming month of March (ya know, with its Madness and whatnot) he brings his customers on a culinary journey to strange and exotic places.  Lucky for them, the trip is far less than the price of a plane ticket to South America or Australia.

In celebration of their first anniversary, the spirit of adventure, curiosity, and for the most daring of eaters, BCBB is having some fun creating burgers from exotic meats commonly enjoyed in other cultures.  In each case they will be showcasing the meat and pairing it with complementary spices and flavors.  Nearly all of these meats have been sourced from the US (nope, not the Kangaroo) from reputable and humane suppliers.  So, if alligator, ostrich, iguana, buffalo, venison, antelope, wild boar, and kangaroo tickle your fancy, the hit up BCBB's Facebook and Twitter accounts to see which they are serving.

So, game meats for burgers.  Check.  But where's the bull - any one of the five that will be hidden?

Well, that's a remarkably good question with a not-so-simple answer.  BCBB begins their second annual Golden Bull scavenger hunt on Monday, March 5th. Clues are given on the websiteFacebook and Twitter (the hashtag is #bcbbgoldenbull for all you savvy tweeters out there) for the location of five hidden Golden Bulls. When a bull is found it must be claimed for the prize - free burgers, fries and drinks, one a week, for a year.

The contest is modeled after the one in the movie Willy Wonka where children search for golden tickets. This contest is open to anyone 18 or older. Full details and rules are on the website and can be found by clicking on the golden bull on the BCBB's home page. According to Gross, "The purpose of the contest is not only to promote the restaurant and brewery, but also to promote downtown Durham and like-minded businesses, public places, landmarks and historic markers. No business knows they are hiding a golden bull until it is found. The bull hiders are very tricky people and the clues are challenging."  

Bull City Burger is a restaurant and brewery that embodies the farm-to-fork philosophy. It is one of many in Durham that do.  Click here for more information about dining in Durham, and have fun while game hunting for bull.

Oh, this is just too easy...

Durham Publishes Strategic Plan Progress Report

Among the ways that Durham appeals to both visitors and residents alike is that it is a real place with grit, soul and authenticity in all quarters.  A testament to that is the degree of openness with which local government business is conducted.

Durham residents looking for more information on how the City of Durham is doing on reducing crime, revitalizing neighborhoods, or providing access to safe and affordable housing can now view the interactive website or download the Strategic Plan Progress Report that contains this information and much more.

As part of its continuing commitment to transparency and accountability, the City has published this report to give an update on how it’s achieving the goals and initiatives outlined in the City’s first-ever Strategic Plan. Approved by the City Council in April 2011, the Strategic Plan is the City’s business plan, which establishes priorities and objectives for the organization and defines selected actions and activities within the financial limits set by the City Council. The interactive and printable progress report is now available on the City’s website and is updated each February and August.

According to City Manager Tom Bonfield, publishing updated data every six months helps to fulfill the City’s promise to be transparent and accountable to Durham residents, which is vital in being a well-managed city. “Since this plan impacts annual budgets and daily operations, it’s important that the administration stays on track with sound measurements of progress, and that we share that progress with the City Council and Durham residents,” Bonfield said. “Since this plan drives the way we do business, residents can be informed every step of the way on how we’re doing, what’s working, what’s not working, and our plan for fixing the areas that need improvement.”

The interactive site and progress report allows residents to easily view advances made on citywide measures and initiatives as well as view positive and negative trends. The progress report delves into each of the City’s five goals ― Strong & Diverse Economy; Safe & Secure Community; Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods; Well-Managed City; and Stewardship of City's Physical Assets. Under each goal, the report details the outcome measures, objectives and intermediate measures, and initiatives and tasks for that specific goal to show how the City is doing in achieving the goal as well as provide information as to why it matters, an improvement plan to impact results, and numerous charts and graphs to show data and trends.

Some specifics in this progress report include information on the Part 1 property crime rate, which is the number of property crimes per 100,000 residents, is currently at or above the target. Property crimes in fiscal year 2010-2011 decreased 8.3 percent from the previous fiscal year to 4,878 per 100,000 in population. Additional specifics in the report include information on the increase in voluntary code compliance as defined in the Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods goal. The initiative to implement a boarded vacant properties remediation program is also at or above target.

To date, of the 25 total outcome measures in the plan, nine are meeting or exceeding target, eight are slightly below target, one is below target, and the remaining seven have a target pending or no current data available. Of the 30 total objectives, 10 are meeting or exceeding target, five are slightly below target, zero are below target, and 15 have a target pending or no current data available. Since the most recent report in August 2011, 14 initiatives have been added to the plan for a new total of 51, up from the original 37 when the plan first debuted in the spring 2011.

Booch, Beer and Sustainable Business

There are so many "Durham" things about this story.  It's about sustainability, equality, great food and drink, and even mass transit.  It's the sort of story that makes people love Durham even more...and research shows the love for Durham is at an all time high.

On March 7th, 2012, from 6:00 – 8:00pm, Slow Money NC is holding a “Booch, Beer and Sustainable Business Gathering” at Ninth Street Bakery. Several local business entrepreneurs – including Ninth Street Bakery - will kick off the evening by showcasing their upcoming expansion ideas to potential Slow Money lenders.

Frank Ferrell Serves Up Bull City Booch at Nintth St. Bakery
“In June of 2010,” recalls Carol Peppe Hewitt, co-founder of Slow Money NC, “we made the first Slow Money loan of $2000 to an aspiring baker in Pittsboro, NC. Since then dozens of ordinary people throughout NC have made similar low-interest loans to sustainable farmers, restaurants that serve local food, a beekeeper, a gluten-free baker, a local produce distribution company, and more. To date these Slow Money loans, that range from $500 to $5000, now total over $100,000.” 

Slow Money NC also formed an Investor Club that continues to break new ground in building resilience in local economies across the state, bringing the total  local investment to over half a million dollars.

Bryan McGannon, from the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) in Washington, DC will be on hand at the event to talk about how North Carolina sustainable businesses and their organizations can collaborate to build a more vibrant, just and sustainable local and national economy. Like Slow Money NC, the ASBC supports innovative financing solutions to transform our economy while working to shape public policy in that direction.

Ninth Street Baker has been operating in Durham since 1981. This year they added beer on tap, cider, Bull City Booch (their signature kombucha), an expanded menu, and extended their hours at the East Chapel Hill Street location in Downtown Durham.  They, too, seek a Slow Money loan to add an outdoor deck to host more events.

“Making small, affordable loans to local food projects, and helping others do the same, is a way to greatly expand that impact. Frank has been giving to his community for decades. Now it’s time to give him something back,” added Hewitt.

Durham has a national reputation for being a great place for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, in part because of strong community support.  Learn more about the latest effort to entice new start-up businesses to come to Durham here.  Nationally, Slow Money has a goal of one million people investing 1% of their money in local food systems within the decade.