Coach Smith Transcends Rivalry

Wednesday night will be the first meeting between rivals UNC and Duke on the basketball court since the passing of legendary UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith.

In memory of Coach Smith, shirts have been made by Chapel Hill’s Thrill City that are dark blue with the letters DEAN replacing the standard DUKE.

via Thrill City

via Thrill City

Reports estimate more than 500 of the shirts have been sold prior to tip off, on Wednesday night.

Duke Documentary Students Photograph Hillsborough

Students from Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies have been coming to Hillsborough for the past eight years to photograph its people and places.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens met with a group of students in January.

“Fifteen students came in, and we were sitting in our visitors’ center. And I said, ‘How many people were raised in this area.’ And there were one or two raised in the area, living in Durham now,” said Stevens in an interview with WCHL. “But a good third of the class had never been to Hillsborough before. . . So when you see yourself through fresh eyes – somebody’s taking the time, a whole semester, to get visuals but also learn the story . . . it’s really joyful to see.”

Mayor Stevens shared his favorite photo stories from this class called Small Town, USA, taught by Susie Post-Rust.

“I think one of the most moving times was in the very first year,” said Stevens. “They picked a young woman, a teenager who is being homeschooled . . . by her family who is very involved in one of the local churches.”

Here’s an excerpt from Jessica Silver’s narrated slide show about the Christian family:

“Her father does not allow his daughters to date. They must court. After six months, a couple can hold hands. And they, if allowed by the parents, can kiss after a year. Amanda is currently courting a boy from church who took her to his senior prom.”

Stevens also enjoyed a story from that same year featuring a family from a different religious tradition. Kristyn Schomp’s photos show people chanting at Hillsborough’s Hare Krishna temple, kids doing homework on the couch seated beside a blue-eyed baby doll, and kids climbing into their bunk bed while mom starts the Krishna bedtime story on a cassette tape player.

You can find photos from past years on the website, The current batch of photo stories are set to be finished in April.

DBAP Outranks Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor for Stadium Experience

For many sports fans along tobacco road it doesn’t get any better than watching the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome or the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor. But recently another area sports venue has outranked both iconic basketball arenas.

Jason deBruyn with the Triangle Business Journal says the trade publication, Stadium Journey, has an annual ranking of sports venues.

“This is the fourth year they’ve been [ranking] the top 100 in-stadium experiences,” he says. “The number one ranked stadium experience in North Carolina was the Durham Bulls Athletic Park; they ranked 33 in the nation.”

deBruyn says the DBAP got $20 million in improvements prior to last baseball season – with $12 million coming from the city of Durham – but most was done on the inner workings of the stadium. The DBAP got very high marks from the trade publication, with seemingly the only negative being the lack of lodging and restaurants in walking distance.

The home of the Durham Bulls checked in at number 33 on Stadium Journey’s list, but other venues in the Tar Heel state cracked the top 100.

“The only other two spots to crack the top 100 in the nation,” he says, “were, in fact, the Dean Smith Center and the Carolina Panthers stadium.”

Accessibility could be an issue; tickets to Cameron Indoor and the Dean Dome are much harder to come by than tickets to DBAP. deBruyn says last year the UNC – Duke game at Cameron was one of the most expensive tickets in the nation.

“The UNC – Duke game at Cameron Indoor was the toughest ticket,” he says. “The average cost of a ticket to that game is $1,400.”

You can see the full list of the Top 100 Stadium Experiences of 2014, according to Stadium Journey, here.

Fiber Internet In 2014?

Your days of waiting for videos to buffer or uploading attachments may be over soon as competition is growing for which data provider is going to offer internet speeds up to 100 times faster than your current provider.

AT&T announced Thursday that it would join Google and Time Warner Cable in providing cities in the Triangle and Winston-Salem one-gigabit speeds through their fiber-optic internet services.

“AT&T already has a large fiber footprint in the region—that’s one of the reasons it made it such an attractive partner,” says Marc Hoit, the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology at N.C. State and a spokesperson for the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN). “With that, they have the ability to jump start and do things faster. We’re hoping some of those connections start before the end of this year.”

The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro along with UNC agreed in January of last year to join four other municipalities and three other major universities to ratify NCNGN. According to its website, NCNGN is a “regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation broadband networks in North Carolina.” It’s also comprised of Durham, Cary, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem; Duke and Wake Forest round out the group.


Courtesy of Gizmodo

According to Gizmodo, a design and technology blog, the Triangle averages internet speeds between 10.9 and 14.6 megabits per second. The ultra-high-speed internet option of one-gigabit per second would be 70-100 times greater than those averages.

“If you think of how long it takes to download a movie or if you’re doing education content with the university and doing streaming, some of the things that you want to do with offsite stuff like Google Apps and Documents and Microsoft SkyDrive and download music and your save your music up in the cloud, if you have a one gig file and you’re up at a gig, it takes a second,” Hoit says.

Hoit says NCNGN sees ultra-high-speed internet changing the world of medicine.

“We’re hoping to see things like medical diagnostics live, hi-resolution video used for medical services or for other types of services that you can do diagnostics and use that high-speed stream,” Hoit says.

Another positive aspect of fiber-optic internet is downloading and uploading speeds are the same. With Google fiber or AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, you could receive or send files big and small in almost no time. For example, you could download a full-length, high-definition movie in about 30 seconds.

“The symmetric version is really important from our standpoint, because as you want to work with all these new services that people are doing and putting your music in the cloud; if somebody’s in a studio and creating music and then wants to put it up and to be served somewhere else, you need that upload speed just as much,” Hoit says.

Google offered its first fiber-optic internet service in Kansas City, Missouri in 2012. It later expanded to Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. In mid-February, the internet giant announced it was considering Triangle cities as places to expand the ultra-high-speed option.

Time Warner Cable said last year that it plans to extend the next level of service sometime in the near future.

Of course, the prices for these ultra-high speed options could be higher. Google fiber in Kansas City is selling its product at $70 per month for internet alone. It is, however, currently waiving its $300 construction fee to customers who sign up.

“Our expectation is to be priced similar to what you’re seeing in Kansas City and in Austin,” Hoit says. “The price depends on the costs and other things, but it should be very close to that same price.”

The next step for the municipalities and universities within NCNGN is to review the terms and agreements of the plan to continue the process.

Carrboro elected officials will likely vote in mid-May on the plan; Chapel Hill leaders have not decided on a date when they will vote on the plan. However, Hoit says the next step should be fairly seamless.

“It’s been a two, two-and-a-half year process of which the municipalities and the universities have been working together through this whole time,” Hoit says. “It will hopefully not come as a surprise. The municipal lawyers have all been involved, so there’s been a lot of collaboration that we’re hoping everything goes smoothly.”

Pre-Game Duke Graffiti Found on UNC’s Campus

On Wednesday, a day before the rescheduled UNC-Duke basketball matchup, the rivalry had already inspired some mischief, in the form of vandalism on UNC’s campus.

As The Daily Tar Heel first reported, a few buildings on UNC’s campus were spraypainted with familiar slogans early Wednesday morning.

Randy Young, UNC’s Department of Public Safety spokesman, tells WCHL that the graffiti either badmouthed UNC, or mentioned Duke.

“There were three that were reported to us today, said Young. “And we all believe that it’s, in all likelihood, related incidents.”

Those were at the South Building, the Campus Y and the Student Union.

Another incident was reported recently, regarding NC State-themed graffiti painted in red against a red façade. UNC Public Safety officers believe that incident happened earlier this season.

Young says that, fortunately, vandalism like this doesn’t happen every year.

“Some folks feel that it’s a longstanding tradition,” he says. “There have been incidents that dated back decades, of course. It is not something that happens every single year.

“Prank or not, we do take it very seriously when it comes to matters of damage to university property – as would any officials as Duke University as well.”

And, he adds, anybody getting caught committing vandalism could be in for serious legal trouble.

Young says that cooperation between UNC’s public safety officers and their counterparts at Duke regarding this issue is where all attitudes about a rivalry get put aside.

So he warns against any UNC students committing some equal form of retaliation.

“If there’s information that we can work in collaboration to arrive at with Duke University police, then we don’t rule that out as well.”

Young has a request for people walking around UNC’s campus, at this, or any time of year.

“We would like to say to the campus community and beyond that if anybody sees suspicious activity – and this is not just related to this series of incidents, but any incident on campus, that they call 911,” Young says.

Young says that while he appreciates the tradition of pranks and one-upsmanship, there’s no reason that graffiti needs to cause expensive damage.

“We have a cube, upon which things can be painted for free expression in our pit area,” Young says. “Folks have not availed themselves of that.”

He can’t recall too many folks getting caught for spraying game-related graffiti on campus, but there was one memorable incident.

“There were some folks, a number of years ago, that spray-painted, using red paint, on the eve of the University of North Carolina and NC State basketball game,” he recalls.

“And some graffiti was put on the bell tower, and other prominent areas of campus. I believe we were able to identify those folks because they were fairly proud of the artwork and had posted it on Facebook.”

Six Inches Of Snow Already, And It’s Not Over

ORANGE COUNTY – About six inches of snow fell on Orange County on Wednesday, causing massive traffic jams across the area – and the unprecedented cancellation of the scheduled UNC-Duke basketball game.

And it’s nowhere near over: the snow has turned into sleet and freezing rain in much of the Triangle, and National Weather Service meteorologist Nick Petro says he expects “a quarter to a half an inch” of ice accumulation as well.

That much accumulation has the potential to cause power outages, as ice weighs down branches and power lines. Tens of thousands of Duke Energy Progress customers lost power on Wednesday in southeastern North Carolina.

And Petro says there will be more snow as well: “The precipitation type should go back to snow during the day (Thursday); one to three inches of additional snow may fall.”

UNC and Duke have cancelled classes all day Thursday, as have the area’s school districts (CHCCS, Orange, Durham, and Chatham).

Click here for a complete list of closings and delays.

Traffic jams across the Triangle were widespread and massive, as drivers reported taking hours and hours to travel distances that usually only take a few minutes – and some drivers gave up altogether, abandoned their vehicles and walked. The UNC-Duke basketball game was cancelled after the charter bus scheduled to bring the Duke team to the Smith Center couldn’t even get to Duke’s campus to pick up the players.

The precipitation is expected to end on Thursday afternoon – the Winter Storm Warning in effect for the Triangle expires Thursday afternoon at 6:00 – but Petro says it’ll take even longer for the area to return to normal.

“Impacts are going to be long-lasting because it’s going to take a while to get rid of all this ice,” he says. “Temperatures are going to stay cold (Thursday) night, struggling into the mid- to upper 30s even on Friday. So it’s going to take a while to get this all cleaned up.”

Kleinschmidt Vs. Bell: The Bet Is On

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill’s and Durham’s mayors understand just how much Saturday’s game means not only to its fans but for the municipalities as well.

“(It will bring) excitement as always,” Durham’s Bill Bell says. “It takes on sort of an atmosphere of its own. I’m looking forward to it. Looking forward to Duke winning, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

“It’s been such a great experience watching the team grow over the course of the season,” Chapel Hill’s Mark Kleinschmidt says. “When we played at Cameron, it was unfortunate that we weren’t able to come back with a victory, but I remember thinking how proud I was, and I know many people in town were, about the kind of fight that they showed.”

Many years Carolina and Duke have both been ranked while playing in the regular season finale; it’s also been for the regular season title a number of times.

However, this year doesn’t fall into either of those categories. Duke is ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25 and No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Poll; Carolina is just outside the top 25 with the hopes of making it back in before the ACC tournament for the first time since the December 17 poll.

And Mayor Kleinschmidt says that, along with a six-game winning streak, plays a major role in the expectations of Carolina fans.

“I think expectations are now even higher having watched them grow over the course of the season; having seen them give Duke a real run for their money at Cameron,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “Having it here in the Dean Dome on Senior Day, it’s going to be an amazing day, and I expect that we’re going to pull out the ‘W’ here.”

Not just fans will be making wagers on Saturday night’s game. Mayor Bell says he has some making up to do for last year.

“We did do a bet the last time,” Mayor Bell says. “Unfortunately I ended up wearing Carolina Blue. It was good for my daughter because she went to Carolina; it wasn’t good for me.”

And Mayor Kleinschmidt says he’s quite proud of the record recent Chapel Hill Mayors hold.

“I have never had to wear Duke gear after a Carolina-Duke game,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “But, unfortunately poor Mr. Bell has, once with Mr. Foy and once with me last year.”

The mayors got together Friday afternoon and agreed on the same bet as last year. If Carolina wins, Mayor Bell will have to don the light blue; and if Duke wins, Mayor Kleinschmidt the dark blue.

Additionally, Mayor Kleinschmidt told WCHL that he invites any and all Carolina fans to his Facebook page to suggest just which item he should purchase for Mayor Bell should the Ram take the ‘W’.

Mark Kleinschmidt ‏@MayorMarkK
“I’ll take that bet!” Just got off the phone with Mayor Bell of Durham. Seems he’s wanting to add to his…

As a UNC alumnus and now a proud resident of the town of 25 years, Mayor Kleinschmidt is well-read and an avid follower of the Tar Heels. He says it’s been great to watch Roy Williams in his tenth season at the helm form this team into something that some onlookers thought was not possible.

“I feel for him a little bit about some of the criticism that he’s taken over the course of the year in fine-tuning this lineup,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “But, clearly he has shown folks that he knows what he is doing.”

And he says with all that Coach Williams and his staff has done this year, he believe the Head Tar Heel deserves to be crowned ACC Coach of the Year.

“Taking a team that is unlike any that has played for Carolina in decades and turning them into a contender here with an opportunity to secure a tied spot for second place in the ACC with a win (Saturday), I think it speaks to what an extraordinary coach Coach Williams is,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

A win would certainly help that cause.

North Carolina controls the series 132-103, but Duke has won six of the last eight meetings.

Coach Williams hopes to even his record against the Blue Devils in the Dean Smith Center as he is 4-5 on his home court.

Tipoff between North Carolina and Duke is 9:00 p.m. Saturday. WCHL’s pregame coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with Countdown to Tipoff hosted by Ron Stutts.