In our continuing debate over how well our public schools serve our children and the community, politicians and others obsess over ways to gauge schools’ performance and compare one to another.
’Tis the season, to be sure, to crowd the malls and cyberspace, engaging in the shopping frenzy that brings stress, excitement and gratitude to millions each Christmas.
We may decry it – even as we indulge in it – but our annual consumer orgy is what it is, and we’re no more likely to abandon it than we are to stop bickering about partisan bickering in Washington.
The Durham County Commissioners and the Durham Public Schools find themselves somewhat between the proverbial rock and a hard place over the redevelopment of the former Whitted Junior High School.
Each spring, thousands of newly minted graduates at our three area universities turn their tassels amid much – with a nod to Elgar – pomp and circumstance.
In 2014, a half-century after landmark civil rights legislation ended legal discrimination, six years after we elected the country’s first black president, a century-and-a-half since we fought a bloody Civil War to end slavery, you would think equal treatment and fairness would be routine.
Joe Roberts of Durham knows first-hand the impact of gun violence, knows it in a way no one could who merely studies statistics, reads newspapers or listens to politicians.
Four years ago, the fledgling American Underground seemed like a neat idea that, you know, might turn into something.
It was an innovation born in part, it appeared, to see if some underutilized below-ground space at the American Tobacco Campus could become an affordable and cool spot for start-ups. The industrial-spartan surroundings appealed to the mostly youthful entrepreneurs with promising ideas and a desire to be around like-minded folks with similar ambitions
You can still drive – or walk or bike – around many parts of Durham County and have a sense you are far from urban development.
That can even be true in areas only moments from the heart of downtown, thanks in part to the extent to which Duke Forest burrows deep into the city near Duke’s West Campus.
It should have come as no revelation to anyone who has been watching developments in this community over the past year or so that the Durham Police Department has an image problem with segments of the city.
The website of Durham Central Park recalls the long affiliation of and contributions to the park by the late George Merrill Davis III:
“ Merrill Davis was the always-helpful guy from our neighborhood nursery and garden store, Stone Brothers and Byrd. Merrill was there seeding the first lawn at the Pavilion back when there were hardly any folks walking on it. His wedding in 2009 was one of the first weddings in the Pavilion.
Since public officials first introduced the idea, building a light rail transit system in the Triangle has been one of those on-again, off-again projects. The public tends to support mass transit in theory, but does not act on that support unless gasoline prices surge, as they did in the summer of 2008.
With recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, the relationship between police officers and the public, particularly minorities, is the subject of a much needed national debate. In this context, a program of the Durham Police Department offers a model of policing that seeks to improve community relations.
After years of work and fundraising, the Durham History Museum opened in 2012 in a space on West Morgan Street called the History Hub. The hub has given a visible presence to Durham’s efforts to celebrate and preserve its multi-faceted history.
Before the Durham Bulls Athletic Park or the Durham Performing Arts Center were built, before the renovation of the Carolina Theatre, the city and county in the late 1980s built the Durham Convention Center to help jump-start downtown redevelopment and attract business.
When society feels threatened by crime, the natural inclination is to increase penalties. The idea of “swift justice,” however, does not always lead to good policy. When crack cocaine hit the streets decades ago, the remedy was to set harsher penalties for possession and trafficking, but the policy only created crowded prisons and racial disparities in punishment.