- Still Stimulatin': Add another $1.9 million in Federal stimulus funds to the Durham coffers. A half-mil goes to CDBG programs, a similar amount for youth initiatives -- half of which will support the summer jobs program for youth -- while almost $800k will go to emergency shelter grants for housing. No word yet on the use for the CDGB grant, which represents a more than 25% increase in the city's annual allocation. (H-S)
- Ray Gronberg has more on the wafting controversy. New developments: City Councilman Eugene Brown has asked city officials why Dave Owen couldn't "piggyback" on city insurance, with city manager Tom Bonfield chalking it up as essential that contractors provide insurance (or, presumably, use the waiver form method.) DPR officials also forwarded emails to the H-S noting that the City's plans to convert the blacksmith's shop to other uses dates back to 2002 were mentioned to the contractor back in '02, and that the renovations were mentioned again in a 2007 contract. (H-S)
- DPS last night approved a new policy on school volunteering that relaxes rules requiring background checks on persons assisting with school functions; events that have minimal or fully-supervised student contact won't require such checks, a move meant to broaden the rank of community members (such as, the H-S notes, undocumented immigrants or international college students) who can volunteer in schools. Meantime, the district's 2009-10 budget hearing has been rescheduled until May to allow time for the stimulus dollars' effects to be fully understood before planning cuts. (H-S)
- Durham's cultural master plan advisory board meeting yesterday focused on efforts to connect local college students to art programs in the community and to create more arts-related engagement with the campus. Co-chair Josh Parker noted that, as the H-S' Matt Milliken put it, "NCCU has become much more amenable to working with the board than it was in the recent past" -- a good sign for the CMP, since DCABP stakeholders lashed out at county funding for the master plan at a recent session, leading BOCC members to press Parker to try harder to connect with his alma mater. (H-S)
- Always a good guest, hizonner sent a thank you note to the White House for his visit; we expect Bell may have thanked Pres. Obama for the "stimulating" conversation. Har, har. Jim Wise has the details. (N&O)
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