Herald-Sun editorial: Week's end

Nov. 30, 2012 @ 06:05 PM

“I wish I’d thought of that.”

If that expression has ever gone through your mind, you might have a bit of entrepreneur in you.

Triangle Startup Factory’s second Pitch Day brought out a number of entrepreneurs with fine ideas this week. The American Tobacco campus, where the event was held, has become well known as an incubator for tech-based startups.

A.I. Patents has developed patent search technology that could be useful to research companies; Able Devices is working on remote communication technology; Alekto Corp. is developing a service to place funds in escrow until credit reporting is complete; Offline Media has developed an online tool allowing professionals to create and share events; and PopUp has a mobile service that will allow a person to get information from people or organizations upon arrival at a location.

The next Pitch Day is this spring, with a Jan. 20 deadline. The program has funding to run through 2015.

What will they think of next?

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Durham Police Department recruits take part in a “neighborhood portfolio exercise” as part of their training. The recruits look for ways to improve conditions in the district they patrol.

Officer Michael Frels and a group of volunteers started a mentoring program in his district, in the Hoover Road housing community in East Durham. They have earned this week’s Herald-Sun Grit Award.

Frels, other officers from his district, and volunteers from public housing and N.C. Central University served as tutors for young people and provided a quiet place for them to study on afternoons. The program recently ended, but the volunteers are working on restarting it. Frels worked as a police officer in Moline, Ill., for seven years before moving here with his wife, who got a job in the Triangle.

“After a few years of being a police officer, you can become very cynical and have negative views, because of some of the stuff you’re involved in,” Frels said. “I think the best part of this program has been seeing these kids, their enthusiasm, excitement and energy, and being a positive influence on them instead of an enforcer.”

The officers involved in the program helped the young people who attended, and served as a deterrent to potential crime. A win-win for everyone. Here’s hoping for a quick restart to the mentoring program.