Hey guys, the students are back!

Despite the fact that it happens every single year, the return of the students always catches me off guard. NC Central classes started today, while Duke students are moving in this week with classes starting nex Monday the 24th.

The students are obviously huge for businesses around campus, but they also ramp up the wait times at restaurants and make everything just feel a bit more hectic around downtown. You might want to go ahead and make some reservations if you’re thinking of eating out this weekend.

Duke is playing a basketball game tonight

In case you somehow missed it, Duke is in the men’s basketball championship tonight. The game starts at 9:18 p.m., at which time access to West Campus will be restricted to persons affiliated with the university. Students can watch the game in Cameron, if they so desire.

If you’re looking for a place to watch the game, I see that The Cookery is doing a special thing. If you plan to stay home and avoid the crowds, I’m guessing this will be a pretty big day for Heavenly Buffaloes, so if you also intend to order wings you might want to order early.

Also: people around here sometimes like to set things on fire after basketball games. Plan accordingly.

Zagster bike rentals show up on Duke campus

Following the end of Duke’s in-house bike lending program last year, the student government and the university worked together to find a replacement. They gave the nod to a company called Zagster, and this week I’ve started seeing the bikes on campus:

This one’s on West Campus in a not-so-visible location behind the Allen building near the quad. I also spotted one near the main bus stop on East Campus earlier this week (but failed to grab a photo).

There are four stations to start with: two on West Campus, one on Central Campus, and the one on East Campus. Although the location behind Allen pictured above isn’t exactly prime real estate for visibility, it could be pretty convenient assuming you know where to look for it. When I swung by it looked like the rack was full, except for a single bike that I saw somebody take out of the rack as I approached.

I’m always glad to see this sort of initiative, but with the bike stations located only on campus the potential for wider utility will go unrealized. I’d love to see the city some how tie into Duke’s efforts; imagine how much more useful this kind of program would be if there were stations at Ninth St., downtown, etc.

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?