Tutti Frutti brings self-serve fro-yo to Hope Valley Square
Durham MSA #2 on "brainiest cities" list

BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for August 30, 2010

Unemployment Down: Durham Co.'s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.6%, a half-percent or so better than Wake and a percent behind Orange and Chatham. The drop in unemployment has come despite a 2.4% growth in the labor force here; in more rural NC counties where manufacturing and homebuilding once prevailed, unemployment rates are falling in large part due to workers abandoning the job market. (Herald-Sun)

RTP Launching Master Planning Effort: Longtime readers of BCR have heard me fret around the low density development in RTP, which yours truly has argued could use an urbanized area including housing and additional flex-space for corporations. No idea if that's on the plate, but we're heartened that the Research Triangle Foundation is launching an effort to build a new master plan for the Park -- its first since the site's founding in 1959. Here's hoping. (Triangle Business Journal

DPS Questioned on Hiring, Homeless: Although a deal with the County led to the funding of many lost teaching positions, only about 100 of the more than 180 teachers laid off in the spring were rehired, something that has not escaped the notice of the Durham Assn. of Educators. School officials say that different principals had different needs and that not every teacher has been able to find a new role; final termtime enrollment numbers may enable additional hiring. Meanwhile, advocates for the homeless say that reorganization within the district has confused the roles and responsibilities, including making it unclear who is serving as the liaison to programs that work with the homeless. (DPS #1, #2)

Connector Ridership Rising: Usage of the Bull City Connector bus continues to rise, with regular daily boardings rising from under 400 to over 600 a day in the first week -- and peaking at over 1,000 riders during the Third Friday event on Aug. 20. Daily numbers were in the mid-high 800s by the bus' second week; the service's goal is to serve 1,100 riders a day after the service's first month and more than 2,000 a day after the first year. (Herald-Sun)

JetBlue Eyes RDU-Austin: A lack of direct service between the Triangle and some tech/VC hotspots like the Bay Area and Austin shows up frequently as a ding for companies looking to start up operations here. Now comes word that JetBlue is contemplating adding direct service from RDU to Austin sometime in the next few years. San Juan, PR (a major pharma center) and Orlando are also possibles. (N&O)

iContact Snags $40m: The N&O has an interesting profile today on iContact, the Durham-based startup moving to Morrisville that's growing rapidly with its e-mail marketing product, and which just obtained $40 million in additional venture financing. The company is adding an international presence and hopes to become a major corporate force in the Triangle. (N&O)

Tuscaloosa-Lakewood Development Mused: A plan by a father-and-daughter team to build a cul-de-sac with ten houses on a nearly 7 acre site in Tuscaloosa-Lakewood is bringing the neighborhood its first chance to see how its neighborhood protection overlay zoning tool -- the first passed in the Bull City -- works towards goals of foliage preservation and house style diversity. (The Durham News)

Durham on Pace for Tax Values: A study by a faculty member at UNC's School of Government finds that property tax values in Durham and Orange Co. continue to match or slightly trail tax values in many cases -- a very positive finding, given that some poorer and rural NC counties are seeing their sales prices drop as much as 15% below tax values, something that could portend future pain for local governments' budgets there. (Herald-Sun)

School Strategies: The Durham News profiled efforts at three Durham high schools on state watch lists for performance -- Hillside, Southern and Northern -- to improve academic outcomes through interventions, tutoring, teacher autonomy and other approaches. (The Durham News)

Disproportionate Performance: Meanwhile, a weekend event in Durham featured a former teacher and DPI official talking about the challenges African-American students are facing in classrooms -- and the difficulties districts like DPS are having in closing achievement gaps across racial and class lines. (Herald-Sun)

King's Featured: The H-S takes a look today at King's Sandwich Shop, the DAP-area institution that recently reopened for lunch Tuesday-Saturday -- including some words with the family that once owned and operated the eatery, and who saw the new owners' passion and allowed them to keep the name and feel of the place. (Herald-Sun)


Raymond G.

We tried the Bull City Connector this weekend. It was awesome. Clean, air conditioned, quick. Just what we needed to scoot around. There were a few other riders on and off, here's hoping the ridership continues to rise!


1. DPS cries about teacher layoffs and how our schools can't function properly without those important jobs.

2. Durham passes tax increase.

3. DPS spends money on bloating administration further (adding 4 "area superintendents" so Becoats doesn't have to listen to school principals) rather than spending it on educators (re-hiring the ~80 teacher positions).

Do I understand the events correctly?

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