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Old Bull/Noell escape foreclosure proceedings, while N&O tells tale of Blue Devils Partners woes

BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for June 29, 2009

It's good to be back in the fish-wrap-up business, after a hectic Thursday/Friday at work and a weekend spent wrapping up some major work around the homestead. Some of the best of this weekend's papers:

  • A big problem for the new county courthouse site: Scarborough & Hargett, the historically-black funeral home whose new home off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Pkwy. in south Durham has seen construction at a halt since October. Owner "Skeepie" Scarborough blames bad soils and an old dump site on the property for making construction harder; county manager Mike Ruffin and his team fret that delays on getting the site prepped could hurt the county's chances at getting excellent recession pricing on a construction deal, and are offering the funeral home short-term, progress-linked lease renewals. Scarborough & Hargett is also looking at other commercial buildings as short-term homes while the construction struggles to resume. (H-S)
  • $2.2 million in Federal stimulus dollars for energy conservation will go to Durham, with the city using half for city facilities upgrades including LED lighting in parking decks and parks and add some solar water heaters to two fire stations; the remaining half of the funds go to residential energy efficiency improvements. Meanwhile, General Services is focusing on tightening energy use guidelines in advance of an expected big rate increase from Duke Energy. (H-S)
  • While facilities upgrades may be greener, though, they're sometimes not historically-appropriate -- something Durham Public Schools found out when it tried to replace the windows in its downtown Fuller St. complex, which (unbeknownst to DPS) falls within an historic district. City-County Planning stopped the contractor on the project in March after work started without a building permit; worse still, the windows selected didn't match those required in a March 2008 certificate of appropriateness obtained by the district, and the historic preservation commission blocked further work. The district now says it'll retool the windows to fit DPS's new application to be reviewed by the commission, though the project is already over-budget. (H-S)
  • Duke's recruitment of J. Lorand Matory to the university from Harvard to chair Duke's African and African-American Studies department sees Matory vowing to make the department the finest such in the world, with the help of additional new interdisciplinary faculty lines. (H-S)
  • A wild bear's been in the news all weekend, after the cub made outside-the-exhibits showings at the Museum of Life and Science; outside Durham Regional Hospital; and near Croasdaile. (N&O, WRAL)
  • A Federal stimulus program aimed at education could bring hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, but the US Dept. of Education -- whose chief Arne Duncan joins the Obama administration in its strong support for charter schools -- is signalling that the 50% of states like N.C. that cap the number of charter schools allowed risk being at a "strategic disadvantage" when applying for funding. (N&O)

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