News: Columnists

Oct. 05, 2014 @ 06:15 PM

Neil Offen: Getting up to date

This is update 8.02.4/6, designed to replace update 8.02.4/5, which replaced 8.02.4/4, which was supposed to greatly enhance your reading experience but instead locked your newspaper onto the paid obituary page.


Oct. 04, 2014 @ 06:09 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: A crossing patrol story

In sixth grade, I was a crossing patrol. I never rode a school bus, as every place we lived was within the one-mile walking distance radius because it builds character. As a walking crossing patrol, my station was about a block from home, at a corner. I wore my orange patrol belt and waited each morning for the dozen or so kids to come walking by on their way to the two elementary schools in our neighborhood (one K-3, the other 4-6). If the kids came over the hill on the other side of the street, I crossed over to them. My job was to look both ways for traffic, then tell the younger kids when it was safe to cross and walk with them. Then after they were all gone, I walked to the primary school myself and rode the few blocks over to my school with all the other patrols, including bus patrols.

 

Sep. 28, 2014 @ 08:24 AM

Offen: Planning my financial planning

I met with my financial adviser the other day, despite the fact that I don’t have many financials to advise and they are notoriously reluctant to listen when you offer them any suggestions. 

 

Sep. 26, 2014 @ 06:59 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Harrell’s new heart

You know that phrase, “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy?” Well, that’s how I feel about Ivan Harrell, whom I first met in 2011. He was the subject of a front-page story I wrote about his daily life as he waited for a heart transplant. His bag was packed. Finally, on Sept. 14, 2013, he got the call and went to UNC Hospital that night in Chapel Hill. The next day he had a new heart, and in the year since is doing just fine.

 

Sep. 21, 2014 @ 04:36 PM

Offen: Recognition where it’s due

Without the help of  all those working behind the scenes and several who worked in front of the scenes and those few who dared to work on the sides of the scenes, this column would not have been possible. Of course, then again, it might have been better.

 

Sep. 20, 2014 @ 04:07 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: World War II veterans still here

For years now, we’ve talked about how the numbers of the Tom Brokaw-coined “Greatest Generation” have been dwindling. But still, there are many World War II veterans who are still here in Durham, still living each day. Nineteen of them were at the Friendly City Civitan Club this week, invited to the annual Veterans Appreciation Lunch.

 

Sep. 14, 2014 @ 09:03 PM

Domestic argument said to lead to homicide

Durham police say they are investigating a homicide Saturday night on North Maple Street. An arrest has been made in the case.


Sep. 14, 2014 @ 06:25 PM

Neil Offen: Making a clean sweep

The other day, when I discovered that we have, in our house, 16 flower vases although I am allergic to flowers, I realized it was time to de-clutter.


Sep. 13, 2014 @ 05:02 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Abuse is your business

Seeing is believing. The Ray Rice video is forcing America to confront itself. It is most definitely our business. We’ve always known it’s our business, but it was easier to look the other way. American life is not more dangerous today that it was a few generations ago. We just know what’s happening now. Talk to someone long enough about life decades ago and you’ll hear stories of people being victims of abuse, and the abuser walked. I don’t mean they got off in court, though that certainly happens; I mean they were never even arrested.

 

Sep. 06, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Schools, breakfast and sleep

Durham Public Schools’ universal breakfast, a topic during this past spring’s school board race, went into effect this new school year. The idea is that if everyone can eat a free breakfast, they’re more likely to grab something to eat instead of the focus being on the kids who are getting it because of their parents’ lower incomes.

 

Sep. 05, 2014 @ 06:31 PM

Citizens Police Academy: A glimpse inside the department

Being a crime and police reporter has its fair share of exciting days, and its more boring days. I never know what’s going to happen when I set foot in the newsroom or turn on my police scanner.


Aug. 31, 2014 @ 06:31 PM

Neil Offen: Go take a hike

My idea of high technology, generally speaking, is a toaster. As everyone knows, it’s an inscrutably complex mechanism that requires pin-point adjustment and careful programming of that little dial on the bottom that determines how much you will burn the toast. Not to mention you also have to decide on and implement which is the correct side to use when you’re only toasting one slice.


Aug. 30, 2014 @ 04:53 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Working hard every day

Sitting in a fast-food restaurant eating chicken after using a back-to-school coupon, my son and I talked about Labor Day. There’s no school on Monday, I told him, because of the holiday. Labor Day is a holiday for people who work, I said. People who work hard deserve a holiday, I said.

 

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 10:26 PM

Neil Offen: Welcome back, deciphered

Welcome back, students. We are thrilled that you have returned for the new semester.

Translation: Couldn’t you have just waited another couple of weeks so that the rest of us could continue to find a parking space downtown?


Aug. 23, 2014 @ 08:18 PM

Baumgartner Vaughan: Back-to-school and being kind

For some reason, my most vivid childhood memory of a back-to-school night is not my own school, but my sister’s. We were living in Augusta, Georgia, (the suburb of Martinez, to be specific) and she was starting junior high. It was the 1980s. I was still in elementary school. I can picture the evening. There were trailers, not just the main building. It was crowded. She got a souvenir light blue plastic mug. Maybe it was the mug. It was a cool mug. What has stayed with me is the feeling of newness – our family of four checking out a new school where my older sister would go. I don’t recall being upset she went to a different school. It was just different not being in the same school together anymore.