Happy Earth Day!

Inspired after reading about Duke’s “Unpark Yourself” Earth Day “alternative commute” challenge, I decided to grab a selfie on the way to work this morning:


My morning ride doesn’t normally take me through Duke Gardens, but I figured that’s about the best place in Durham to take a picture this time of year.

Did I actually decide wear green because of Earth Day? Would you believe me if I said no?

Baby, it’s cold outside

The forecast says we’re in for a low of 9F. Or is it 10? I guess maybe staying in double digits would be a psychological victory or something.

Well, whatever it ends up being, it’s going to be cold. Stay warm and all that. For some inexplicable reason DPS is delayed two hours, and for an even more inexplicable reason my kid’s day care is also delayed two hours, so you should probably check the news for closings and delays.

Also, in totally unrelated but intriguing news, the Duke Police caught a guy who had been living in the Bryan center for at least several weeks. One tip off:

University employees with offices in the basement of the Bryan Center had been experiencing the strong smell of burning incense for several weeks. Employees thought that it might have originated from one of the Religious Life prayer rooms, located around the corner from our office, but that was never confirmed, Wells said.

For some reason, I’m guessing incense wasn’t the only thing the dude was lighting up.

Duke hosting pet blessing giveaway this weekend

Do all dogs go to heaven?

Hell if I know – God works in mysterious ways and all that. But if there are any people who could improve your pet’s odds of slipping into those pearly gates, you’d expect to find them at Duke Divinity, where they’re handing out free pet blessings this weekend:

Duke Chapel ministers will bless a variety of pets at the chapel’s annual Blessing of the Animals service 3 p.m. Sunday. The 30-minute service on the chapel lawn will feature performances by the Durham Children’s Choir, Scripture readings and a reflection by Rev. McKennon Shea, director of admissions at the Divinity School. Individual animal blessings will take place immediately after the service.

So, if you really don’t want to risk leaving Fido alone to fend off the heathens after you get raptured, Duke’s got you covered. There’s just one little catch:

Limited parking is available in front of the chapel for those with large animals and trailers are permitted in convenient spaces.

Yikes, so you have to find a parking spot on campus to achieve pet salvation? I guess getting your dogs into Pet Heaven is even harder than I thought.

Duke University named seventh best college in U.S. News & World Report rankings

If you care anything about Durham, it’s likely that you’ve heard of our very own little Gothic Wonderland: Duke University. Duke is not only one of the south’s most prestigious schools, but it’s also Durham’s largest employer, and if you’re a fan of health care it’s highly likely that you’ve at some point utilized one of their facilities.

I point this out to give some context: Duke’s a big deal for Durham. We can look to both downtown and RTP as success stories, but more than any other single entity, Duke is a lynchpin in the city’s success, and is generally a positive force in the community (even though the relationship can be somewhat… rocky at times).

So I don’t care what hoopy-ball team you’re into, or which color jersey you wear; the fact that Duke is tied with MIT in the college ratings is good news for us all.

Well, unless you were hoping to actually go to Duke. I’m guessing getting in just got even harder. Maybe you should try for that safety school over in Chapel Hill instead?

In wake of recent crimes, Duke considers restricting access to West Campus

After a spate of armed robberies, the latest of which occurred outside of Perkins Library Sunday night, Duke is considering some changes to its security policies.

Probably the biggest potential change is, as the H-S notes, the elimination of after hours access to roads on West Campus. Roads such as “Towerview Drive” [sic. - I'm pretty sure it's actually Towerview Road - Ed.] would be barricaded at night “to limit cut-throughs.”

The Chronicle’s story has more information about the potential closure:

Cavanaugh also noted that conducting road closures are also under consideration. He said that Towerview Road in particular is an area of concern and could potentially be closed at either entrance—at Duke University Road or Erwin Road—to decrease excessive drive-through traffic. A decision has not yet been made on the matter, he said.

[see, I told you it was Towerview Road - Ed.]

Also according to The Chronicle, Duke’s Central Campus improvement project (previously mentioned on this blog) included some lighting and lock upgrades which the campus cops hope should serve to make the area more secure.

I will point out that this is not the first time Duke has talked about shutting down through traffic in response to crime, and I’m not sure how likely that particular outcome really is. If the past is any indication, such measures are easily forgotten once the immediate threats are resolved, and the Duke Police / DPD have a pretty impressive record when it comes to this sort of crime on campus.

Indeed, the popo has already nabbed the Duke Gardens duo and I’d expect the genius who thought it was a good idea to stick up duke students at the damn library on Duke campus isn’t likely to evade capture for long either. Protip for thugs: you might want to not hold up people smack in the middle of Duke’s property, which is by and large monitored by video cameras, if you like the idea of actually getting away with the crime.

Food truck rodeo slated for Sunday, Duke reveals on-campus truck lineup

First up, Durham’s big food truck rodeo is slated for this Sunday, September 1. The event is scheduled to start around noon at Central Park, and should run until 4:30.

60 trucks? Wow. It’s astounding to me how quickly this scene has exploded in the area; I remember when the only truck I knew of was just some dude in a taco / Indian truck outside of Sam’s every now and then. Durham’s “FTR” was the first in the area, but Raleigh is home to a similar event as well.

WRAL’s presently calling for a beautiful day with highs in the 80’s and no rain, but the rodeo will go on rain or shine should the forecast change.

In other food truck news, we have Duke’s fall food truck lineup. A limited number of trucks can apply for permits to actually set up in lucrative positions on campus, and according to The Chronicle this year’s trucks are:

The seven trucks approved for this year are Baguettaboutit, Captain Ponchos, Chirba Chirba Dumpling, Fosters on the Fly, Gussy’s, Humble Pig and Parlez-Vous Crepes—all of which provide meals rather than snack food.

The Chronicle article laments the loss of one of last year’s favorites, LoYo.