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Everyone likes a good love story

Fact: Romance novels are some of the most popular items that the Durham County Library lends out each year.

(I think that means they are not just a guilty pleasure anymore, but something people love to talk about.)

So get out your favorite love stories and join the Durham County Library on Sunday at the second annual Romance Tea, where four local romance authors will talk about how they craft their stories, and what makes a good one.

DPS parent workshop on Oct. 7

The Durham schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 to talk about increasing parental involvement in the schools.

This is the first "Kitchen Table Conversation" of the 2008-09 school year. The two-hour event will be held at Shepard Middle School at 2401 Dakota St.

Facilitators and Spanish interpreters will be on hand to help with the discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

Participants are asked to RSVP to Carrie Johnson, DPS Public Affairs Office, at 560-3652 or email

Teens to model fashions at library show

For the fourth year, a team of teenagers will be putting on a fashion show at the Stanford L. Warren Library at 1201 Fayetteville St. The event is free.

The show, featuring 15 models, ages 12 to 17, will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday.

The clothes, on loan from Cato, Dress Barn and S&K Fashion, are divided into categories including looks for prom, casual styles, hip-hop styles, formal wear, outfits for church and some just for fun.

Free: family trees, 101

The Durham County Library is hosting six free sessions on how to gather basic genealogical information and write your family history, starting Thursday.

Registration is required. The details:

WHAT: Genealogy 101

WHEN: noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 30.

WHERE: Durham's Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., Third Floor Conference Room

DESCRIPTION: Learn how to gather basic genealogical information, interpret records and overcome roadblocks, organize and write your family history, get the most out of internet resources, and use local, regional and national repositories.

Hunt rallies biz leaders around schools

Former Gov. Jim Hunt got a standing ovation from a crowd of business leaders and educators early this morning as he challenged them to do more for Durham’s children, including mentoring and tutoring.

Hunt was the headliner at the annual State of Durham’s Children breakfast, held at the American Tobacco campus near downtown for $20 a head. This year’s speakers focused on involving businesses to improve education and job preparation.

“We need a lot of volunteers to introduce these children to careers,” Hunt implored. “Let ’em learn what it’s like and get excited about it. Help them understand why it’s important to study... Help them go somewhere.”

What can you find by the side of the road?

Talk about an incentive.

The N.C. Department of Transportation
is asking churches, schools, businesses and other groups to take to the
streets from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 to clean up trash. But don't join
Litter Sweep for the good-natured volunteerism alone.

Because the person with the most unusual road-side trash find could win $250! (This reminds me of a package Matthew Eisley did in 2006 about N.C.'s trashy roadways. That series showed everything from couches to full commodes end up on roadsides.)

Here's what to do:

  • Organize a volunteer group.
  • Choose a state road (one in your neighborhood, on your commute, etc.)

Getting on the food-tax bandwagon

If you're one of 120,000 registered voters in Durham, a new mailer will soon be hitting your mailbox boasting a pro-foods tax slogan: "A Taste for Durham's Future."

Nearly 40 Durham cheerleaders, movers and shakers have come together and formed a non-profit to promote a 1-percent prepared foods tax. The tax could be implemented if voters approve in Nov. 4 referendum.

If implemented, the tax is expected to generate as much as $5 million a year to pay for new and improved cultural attractions, including the Hayti Heritage Center, a Minor League Baseball museum and the American Tobacco Trail.

Tonight: input on new justice center

The county will hold a public meeting tonight for citizens to comment on the new justice center.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Durham County Library Main Branch at 300 N. Roxboro St.

The new justice center, which will cost about $100 million and open in 2012, will house the superior and district courts, offices of the clerks of court, the Durham County Sheriff's Office and other offices.

Attendees at the meeting will be able to ask architects and county staff questions, and review design development and preliminary plans.

Durham library, transit want input

A couple of city and county departments are seeking public input on improvements.

First, the Durham County Library will host a public meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 29 to get opinions on renovations of the Main Library. The meeting will be held in the auditorium with project architects and designers.

The library has commissioned a study on the building, square footage, equipment needs and costs and what the community wants to see in a library. The results of the report will be released in October, according to a news release.

Meanwhile, the Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) is seeking public input on its short-range transit plan. The plan, which will be presented to the DATA Board of Trustees and city council in January, will guide DATA improvements over the next five years.

DATA hopes to gather feedback through this online form until Aug. 1, and then a draft short-term plan will be completed by a task force by the end of August, according to a news release.

Friday downtown: live music, clothing swap

The Scrap Exchange is hosting a giant clothing swap from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday on the CCB Plaza.

The event will feature free activities and live music. The Scrap Exchange, Durham's creative re-use center, will set up stations for altering clothes and they'll also provide materials for participants to make and take home birthday hats.

To participate, bring your unwanted clothes and swap with others to find or create something new.

The Scene of the Crime Rovers, the official Scrap Exchange marching band, will start to play at 7 p.m.

At dusk, there will be live music and a mixed-media audio/visual collaboration by the Triangle Sound Painting Orchestra and Jim Kellough. This performance will begin as the sun starts to set and will continue until around 9:30.

Call the the Scrap Exchange with questions at 688-6960. The event is sponsored by Durham Parks and Recreation.

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