DPS Proposes Massive Reform for Challenged Schools: In what is sure to be a very controversial move -- and one coming just days before the District is called to account before a Wake Co. judge for the low performance of some of its schools -- DPS is proposing a plan to give its lowest performing schools four years to turn around. Continued low test scores could cause principals to lose their jobs and teachers to have to reapply for theirs, with the ultimate penalty being a closure of a school with students reassigned elsewhere, or with a charter school or other system brought in to operate the facility. Look for much more of this in the days to come. (Herald-Sun #1, #2; N&O)
Hodge Retires: Ron Hodge, the long-time deputy chief in Durham P.D. who was a finalist in the chief search that ultimately brought Jose Lopez to the Bull City top-cop job, has retired effective Apr. 1, something he had intimated he was considering for some time. (Herald-Sun)
Little Ousted: Darius Little, the one-time City Council candidate whose scrapes with the law have been well-publicized -- and with recent scrutiny over a mediation business and accusations of unlicensed practice of law and fraud, those scrapes aren't over -- was voted off the Durham Planning Commission in what continues to be an embarrassing, headline-generating story for the Board of County Commissioners. Oddly, the vote was only 3-1 in favor of the removal, with the always-quotable Joe Bowser voting to keep Little on because he said he didn't have enough familiarity with the original runner-up now appointed, Antonio Jones. That vote followed an attempt by Bowser to keep Linda Huff-Smith on the DPC after all, after the BOCC turned her out for a Republican activist. (Herald-Sun, Indy) Incredibly, this has managed to now consume parts of several BOCC meetings; hey Durham, just keep remembering: public meetings turn into a circus when you elect clowns to public office.
DPS 2A Focus: The H-S follows up its candidate series looking at the school board race with profiles of the two candidates for the District 2A seat, incumbent Fredrick Davis and challenger Regina Stanley-King.
Circ Down for H-S, N&O: New circulation woes for state newspapers includes an impact at the Triangle's two local papers. The Herald-Sun's daily circulation is now down to just over 25,000, while the N&O's Mon.-Fri. numbers stand at about 138,000, rising by about 50% from that on Sundays. (N&O)
Mentoring Center Fire: The LOVE Center in North Durham, a space for free mentoring and after-school programs for kids through teenagers and which just had its first anniversary, was consumed by fire in the early morning hours on Monday. Arson is being investigated as a possible cause. (Herald-Sun)