That’s right, the DPS Magnet lottery is back! Registration runs through January 30th, and you can do it all on that there web site.
This is my first time actually playing the lottery, although I did write a bit about it last year. The long and short of it is that Durham has a number of pretty well regarded magnet schools with limited space, and for most people the only way to get in is via a lottery process (the most notable exception to this is for students who live in a “walk zone” near certain schools, who get either priority or automatic enrollment depending on the school).
The most coveted prize of all is free preschool, which is available at Watts and Morehead. If you happen to get into one of these schools, your preschooler wins taxpayer subsidized child care for 9 months (a prize which, I can tell you from personal experience, is valued at upwards of $10k).
Some people are interested in changing this, and personally I’d like to see some kind of needs based test to determine how much (if any) subsidy kids should be getting. The current system effectively creates incentives for parents to move into the “walk zones” near these magnet schools, and I’d argue that many e.g. Trinity Park residents aren’t so hard up for cash that they need taxpayers to foot their day care bills.
So, hey, it’s 2015! Congratulations everybody, another successful orbit in the bag!
After a much needed break, durham.io is back and better than ever [read: basically the same as ever], and we’re resuming normal business hours this week. First, though, I want to quickly mention a couple of noteworthy stories that happened while I was off the clock:
- It looks like the protesters took a vacation too. Obviously the grand jury decisions are still on peoples’ minds throughout the country, but Durham has been fairly calm; whether or not that’s just due to the holidays is unclear.
- Although the protesters stayed home, there were still some troubling developments related to the DPD. Two officers were shot at, although neither was injured. One officer was off duty and somebody shot into his home, while the other was on duty in the projects near NCCU. Although Lopez claims one of the attacks was “an attempted assassination,” I haven’t seen any evidence to back up that claim yet.
- Councilman Steve Schewel wrote a lengthy and well considered response to the recent protests, and I’d urge everybody to give it a read.
Also: I’m looking for ideas on whether to do another podcast and what it should be. I’ve got a couple ideas I’m kicking around for longer, single topics rather than the odds and ends, which I’m not sure worked so well. Just hit me up with a reply on the blog or shoot me a tweet if you’ve got any thoughts.
OK gang, this is a very special DNO&E: it includes the durham.io podcast episode one!
If you want to subscribe to the podcast, you can put this URL into your telephone.
This happens to be the last DNO&E of 2014, and possibly my last post period until after the holidays, so I hope you guys have a good Christmas or whatever.
- ATC-based Appia has been acquired.
- Even though the sex assault claim that spurred their acquisition was later refuted, fancy pants cameras are now on Durham school buses.
- /u/texnation, who had been undergoing treatment in Duke hospital for over two months, finally had enough hospital cuisine and reached out for help in acquiring some tacos. /u/BullDurham27701 came to the rescue.
- A Duke employee was arrested for embezzling a mere $8,000, ending a 16 year career with the University.
- Our US House representative GK Butterfield will head up the congressional black caucus.
- I can’t really improve upon what WRAL has to say about this one: “A vehicle pursuit by a homeowner – resulting from the theft of a pair of sneakers – ended with a crash, a vehicle fire, two suspects in custody and a third on the run”
- Here’s a headline from the Herald: “Thieves take bite of Apple.” I know what you’re thinking, right? This must be like Student burglar damages cheese or something? Turns out, they just stole Apple products, which is much less interesting.
- Local cycling advocates are responding to recent incidents with calls for action from the city.
- Duke is renovating Wallace Wade stadium. It’s amazing what a few bowl games (and presumably a few good years for the endowment…) can do. The project will run right through graduation, and the 2015 commencement will be held in the DBAP instead
- There’s still time to go ice skating at the ATC if you’re so inclined.
- Despite efforts to agree upon a compromise, the future of petition projects to improve sidewalks is still uncertain.
- Michael Page is once again County Commissioner Chairman.
- Gonza Tacos y Tequila is replacing 604 West in West Village. It’s a neat location, just not much visibility unless you know it’s there.
- An engine fire totaled a DATA bus.
- The Chronicle has an article on Heavenly Buffaloes, my favorite wing shack in the world.
- Apparently there’s something called a slick stick. And you still need regulatory approval to have one.
- Work for GSK? Well maybe not for long.
- The Art of Cool festival has announced the lineup for the 2015 event.
- We’re number one! We’re number one! We’re number one… at creating budget presentations.
- City Hall renovations are under way. Total price tag is expected to be $7.3M
- The light rail project looks to be on track to receive DOT funding.
- The mixed use Erwin Terrace complex across from Duke on Erwin Road will be expanding. It sounds like they’re looking to add office space.
- Southside apartments, the redevelopment of the Rolling Hills area into low income family housing, continues to be plagued by scheduling and budget issues. The city is on the hook for $3.8M.
- The play structure in Central Park known as Mount Merril is now complete.
- The council has approved a zoning request for Grandin Trace, a 54 home community off Barbee Rd.
- The Eno River Association has added 17.52 acres which will ultimately go to the state park.
- The Crescent Communities apartment complex near Harris Teeter has opened another building.
- G2B, which had closed while expanding its facility, has now reopened.
- A mother and son were hit by a car while attempting to cross University Drive. Having been by this place many times, I can tell you it’s awful for pedestrians; there’s a bus stop that’s across University from a neighborhood with no sidewalk or crosswalk nearby, and it seems likely that the pedestrians were trying to get between the bus and their home. The BPAC had already targeted this stretch of road for an overhaul to make it friendlier on pedestrians.
- The Cheddar Bo, formerly only found in locations east of Raleigh, is finally coming to town.
- Protip for new gun owners: maybe you should take your firearm to a shooting range first to learn the difference between the “shoot” and “unload” process so you don’t accidentally shoot up your own house.
- “DURM” brand inventors Runaway Clothes have opened a popup store in the former home of Intrepid Life.
- Speaking of that, Intrepid Life is coming back. Well, kind of; the business model is different this time. Victoriano’s new venture will be a members only shared space in a house on Broad Street.
- TIL that Chicken poop bingo is a thing. I guess you can go do it in Central Park on December 20.
- Startup incubator American Underground is expanding.
- Durham got a nod from Travel and Leisure as one of the world’s best places to travel in 2015.
- RDU International Airport may be on its way to becoming a bit more international.
- Tre Bella has opened a boutique on Main near Church St. It’s always encouraging to see more diversity in downtown retail.
- Need a goat? The Sheriff has one for sale.
- The Museum of Life + Science has acquired two new red wolves. Their previous wolves recently passed away.
- The Council has come out very strongly in support of the DPD’s handling of recent protests. They also want to remind protesters that there is a legal process to go through if you want to march in the street and impede traffic (the recent marches which have blocked streets have not requested permits to do so).
- DPD officers have racked up over $20k in overtime dealing with recent protests. Maybe the protesters should change that iconic chant: “No Justice, no Peace, Fund the Police.”
- Long time Durham dining mainstay Pop’s has closed its doors for good. I used to love Pop’s backdoor when they operated out of their original location (now Lily’s Pizza), but they dropped off my radar after their move to Main St. They’re survived by the spin-off, Pop’s Backdoor South (sold to new owners a while back), and sister restaurant Rue Cler (originally owned by the same people as Pop’s, but I don’t know who is involved now).
- Market Street Coffee on Ninth Street has also closed, and the owner blames the loss of subsidized parking.
- A bit of good culinary news, though, as downtown ice cream shop The Parlour is expanding into the neighboring storefront.
- If you’re thinking about donating to charity this season, you might skip the toys and focus on basics like hats and gloves.
- This just in: according to the Herald, “Christmas Eve services celebrate coming of Christ“. Let me go pack my bags for the Rapture…
- Some DPD officers are worried about their own safety when dealing with the recent protests. Rocks and other projectiles have apparently been thrown at officers in recent clashes, ultimately resulting in arrests.
- Duke tuition may be expensive, but supposedly it’s worth paying for, as Kiplinger’s rates it as the number ten best value in college education. If you can’t shell out the $63,530 per year, don’t worry; the safety school over in Chapel Hill is close behind at number 22.
- Some Jewish groups gathered peacefully on the first night of Hanukkah to protest the recent grand jury decisions. Some of these groups are also critical of how the DPD has handled recent protests.
And that’s that! Enjoy your holidays, people, the DNO&E sure will.
Every year the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church organizes a procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe which moves through the surrounding neighborhoods. This year I grabbed my camera took some pictures.
In what’s becoming so frequent that it hardly deserves comment, protesters from Durham and elsewhere marched through town in response to recent grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson.
The only notable difference in last night’s actions was that the DPD actually managed to stop protesters from blocking the freeway altogether when they attempted to enter near Swift Avenue. Eleven people were arrested.
Earlier this week, the protesters headed south, disrupting traffic around Southpoint mall.
I mentioned The Fresh Market briefly before, and now I’ll mention it briefly again: according to the Herald, the store is open for business:
The 23,400 square-foot store opened in Parkway Plaza Wednesday morning with a variety of activities, including chef demonstrations, food samplings, coffee giveaways and drawings for gift cards.
Parkway Plaza is the shopping center off University near MLK, one block south of the Super Target (which is on the former site of South Square Mall). The Fresh Market promises to be the new anchor for the strip mall, which fell upon somewhat hard times following the loss of its anchors Food Lion and K-Mart.
I can’t find any mention of the opening on The Fresh Market’s own web site, and I’ve seen coverage only in the Herald-Sun so far, so I don’t know if they’re operating at full capacity / hours yet. If you get a chance to check it out, let me know about your experiences in the comments section.
Durham’s grocery store situation seems to really be on the upswing; this is at least the third grocery store to open since last fall (along with the Ninth Street Teeter and Compare Foods on Miami). The Durham Co-Op Market on West Chapel Hill St. is also slated to open in January.
[NB: this post has been and may continue to be substantially updated as new information is made available]
Protesters of the recent grand jury decisions, in addition to Chapel Hill anarchist groups, rallied in Durham on Friday night. After gathering in the CCB plaza, they eventually moved on to block the freeway, marching through the streets near the DPAC and the police station for hours before some thirty people were arrested following vandalism and failure to disperse. There was only minor vandalism and property damage, but after the events were over the DPD did find an unused Molotov cocktail near Foster and Geer.
I happened to spot a group of protesters from the lobby of the DPAC (John Oliver was pretty great, for the record, although apparently he re-used a lot of material from his last visit):
Note that the particular crowd in this photo appears to include the Chapel Hill groups I talked about previously, easily identified by their signature “cops are liars” banner.
It seems as if a group of Durham residents gathered at the CCB plaza early in the night, showing solidarity in response to recent events elsewhere in the country. They were joined by the Chapel Hill anarchists, and the two groups commingled. Following that, the combined group started marching, eventually blocking traffic and causing minor property damage.
I think it’s worth pointing out here that the Council has been really aggressive in addressing some of the systemic biases that have been identified in the DPD over the past year, and the new policy requiring written consent for vehicular searches is a powerful reaction to the problems in the department. The events following Huerta’s death really brought the issue of racial profiling to the forefront, and there’s been a pretty solid response to the concerns brought to the Council by community leaders, which you can read about in none other than the New York Times.
Oh, and I really dig the bike cop representation here. Way to stay fit and mobile at the same time, DPD.