Habitat for Humanity ReStore Celebrates Seventh Birthday

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore off of 15-501 celebrated its seventh birthday last week, with raffles and discounts in their store and a birthday celebration on Friday. The store operates on donations of furniture, which are resold for low prices. The proceeds are then used to build houses for families in need in Durham and Orange County.

The birthday event on Friday included a cake donated by Kimmi’s Confection Expressions, a professional cake-decorating service located in Durham, close to the ReStore. In an interview with WCHL on Monday, Kimwa Walker, the business’ owner, discussed the cake donation.

“Because we’re such a fixture in the Durham and Chapel Hill community, we like to partner with community staples such as the ReStore. They’ve done so very much for Habitat for Humanity and for the [community],” said Walker. “We were delighted when we were invited to celebrate with them, because we love community partnerships. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to donate this cake to them to celebrate such a huge milestone for the [ReStore].”

WCHL’s Ron Stutts broadcasted live from the ReStore’s birthday celebration on Friday. Photos from the events are above.

Habitat ReStore communications manager Caitlyn West discussed the store’s seventh anniversary of officially coming under the Habitat for Humanity brand. Previously, the store operated similarly but independently from Habitat for Humanity.

“It was a very surreal moment, watching shoppers take pictures on their phones and sing along with the staff,” said West. “Months of hard work was finally coming to an end and it all turned out much better than I could have ever imagined.”

West also explained the goals of the weeklong celebration.

“Our overall goal was to reach a lucky 777 donated items,” West said. “Without donations, we wouldn’t have shoppers who make our daily operations possible. [They also] helped us reach our yearlong goal of building seven Habitat homes for seven families in honor of our seventh year as a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We exceeded our weeklong goal by reaching a lucky 902 donated items.”

The ReStore concluded their birthday week with 25% off couches on Saturday, July 2. The store will be celebrating its eighth birthday next year.


Durham Tech Students Present Research at National Symposium

Two Durham Tech students were given the chance to present their research at a national symposium earlier this month.

Qina Mo and Peter Said presented their research describing the isolation and characterization of two viruses that infect bacteria at the 8th annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

Mo and Said presented cumulative research performed during a two-semester course that focuses on the discovery of new viruses.

Doctor Steven Leadon, a biology instructor at Durham Tech, said in a release:

“This is a valuable and unique educational experience because it is a discovery-based undergraduate research course that begins to train students to think like scientists. Along the way, students develop a sense of project ownership. The culmination of the two-semester course is the opportunity to share their research findings with other students doing similar work at a national symposium. It emphasizes the idea that research is a collaborative and interactive process.”

Said, a biology student at Durham Tech, said the experience was very rewarding and inspirational to work with the nation’s leading scientists.

Said has been accepted to the UNC through the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program.

For more information on the SEA-PHAGES Hunter’s Lab at Durham Tech visit here.


Durham to Carrboro Bus Service Coming in August

Carrboro will have weekday transit service to and from Durham later this summer. The GoTriangle Board of Trustees approved the extension of route 405 this month, which is set to start running in August.

The new service is estimated to cost $650,000 in its first full year, according to a release. Funds are expected to come from voter-approved sales and tax revenues.

Jeff Mann, general manager of GoTriangle, said that the company is excited to extend the route to Carrboro, which has been a “great development partner.” He said he expects the peak commuting hour service will be well-received.


Pint of Science Festival Makes First Trip to Triangle

The Pint of Science global festival is coming to the Triangle for the first time ever this year with events in Carrboro and Durham.

A release says Pint of Science “isn’t just a festival for experts, instead it’s for anyone with a tender geek underbelly who’s eager for a chat about art and science over a local brew.”

The events will cover microscopy, photography and the overlap between artistic and scientific experimentation.

The Triangle’s Pint of Science will run Monday through Wednesday with events in Carrboro and Durham. The event begins at Steel String in Carrboro for a presentation on Photography and Imaging in Discovery from seven o’clock until nine on Monday night. The festival will take a trip to Motorco in Durham for the second event, Translating Science Through the Arts, from eight o’clock until 9:30 on Tuesday night. The festival will wrap up with Creativity and the Pursuit of Knowledge at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro from seven o’clock until nine on Wednesday night.

You can get more information and purchase tickets here.


Weather Delays Opening of Hollow Rock Park

Potential thunderstorms have delayed the grand opening of the Hollow Rock Nature Park.

The 75-acre park located on Erwin Road in Durham was scheduled to open Saturday, May 21st.

The City of Durham, Durham County, Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill have all collaborated to put this project together.

The grand opening will be rescheduled to Sunday, June 5th at 2:00 p.m.

In the interim, the park will be available for public use beginning Monday, May 23.


Forum on Wednesday Night for Durham Police Chief Finalists

The City of Durham has been through a tumultuous time in the past few years as several incidents brought about community unrest and led to the retirement of Chief Jose Lopez at the end of 2015.

City manager Tom Bonfiled, following a three-month search for a replacement for Lopez, has announced two finalists for the position.

Bonfield said in a release:

“The search has been a very deliberate process to recruit and identify the very best person to be Durham’s next Chief of Police, and I’m confident that we’ve selected two extremely strong and capable candidates. I look forward to introducing them and receiving public feedback as the next step of this process.”

The search process led to two candidates being named as finalists; Deputy Chief Cerelyn J. Davis, who has serves in the City of Atlanta Police Department, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Major Michael J. Smathers.

Davis has held ranks of patrol officer, detective and sergeant before serving as deputy chief in Atlanta over her 28-year career.

A release says Smathers has served in almost every section and division in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and currently oversees the estimated 315 officers in the field services group.

Bonfield said in the release that each candidate has extensive and successful law enforcement careers, demonstrating great leadership and perseverance.

Bonfield said both candidates “demonstrated a commitment to police professionalism, transparency, accountability, and a positive relationship with the communities they serve.”

Pointing to each candidate’s perseverance, the release stated that Davis was exonerated after being discharged in 2008 when she was falsely accused of a cover up during a scandal in the department. Smathers recommended that an officer be charged after the fatal shooting of Jonathan Ferrell by a white police officer in Charlotte in 2013.

Community members can meet with the candidates at a moderated forum on Wednesday night from seven to eight o’clock in Durham City Hall Council Chambers.


UNC Women’s Tennis Still Undefeated After Beating Duke

The third-ranked UNC women’s tennis team knocked off No. 10 Duke in Durham on Tuesday to remain undefeated in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Duke evened the score at 1-1 by taking the first singles match after UNC claimed the doubles point.

The top-ranked singles player in the country Hayley Carter then quickly gave the Tar Heels the lead once again; a lead UNC would not relinquish.

Freshman Chloe Ouellet-Piezer clinched the match with her victory on the way to a 4-1 win for the Tar Heels.

The win moves UNC to 20-2 on the season and 8-0 in ACC play. Duke is now 6-2 in conference play.

UNC will host Louisville in its next match at 11 o’clock Saturday morning.


Arrests Made in Connection with Efland Murder

The Orange County Sheriff’s office has arrested at least two individuals in connection with a fatal shooting in Efland earlier this year.

Officials say Jermauciyae Abram was arrested on Friday, March 11, in connection with the January 18 shooting of Tevin Deshawn Kendrick, of Durham. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and Durham Police assisted in the arrest.

Deputies responded to the shooting near the Efland Community Center in reference to a report of gunshots heard in the area on that Monday in January.

Deputies were close by and quickly arrived on the scene to find a male victim, later identified as Kendrick, on the ground behind a vehicle in the parking area of the Efland Community Center.

Deputies said at the time he had been shot numerous times.

Paramedics declared Kendrick deceased at the scene.

Abram has now been charged with murder.

A second suspect, Savian Jacob Turrentine, was also arrested and is charged with accessory after the fact to a felony.

Both individuals are being held in the Orange County Detention Center.

Investigators say they do not believe the murder was a random act of violence.

Abram and Turrentine appeared in Orange County Court on Monday afternoon.

A third suspect was implicated in the court proceedings. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman said in court that Turrentine’s charges were connected to an individual identified as Devon Harris. Nieman said that Turrentine, “knowing Devon Harris had committed that felony” provided “false information in a non-custodial interview on 1/27/16 to mislead investigators about his and Devon Harris’ whereabouts on 1/18/2016, stating that he and Devon Harris were at La Quinta Inn & Suites in Durham playing Xbox during the time of Tevin Kendrick’s murder.”

Officials with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said previously that charges against additional suspects are anticipated as the case progresses but there has been no confirmation from the Sheriff’s Office that Harris is in custody.

Abram is being held under no bond. Turrentine is being held under a $100,00 bond.

Abram and Turrentine are both scheduled to appear in court April 4.


Field Narrowed in Search for Durham Police Chief

The pool of candidates to become the next Durham police chief has been cut from 42 to 14, according to city officials.

The department is searching for its next leader to succeed Jose Lopez, who retired at the end of 2015.

The department has been subject to criticism under the leadership of Lopez after incidents that heightened tensions among the community, including the death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta, who died while in police custody in late 2013.

Huerta died from a gunshot wound while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. Authorities say it was self-inflicted.

Criminal charges were not filed in the incident, which led to protests by the community.

The 14 candidates being considered for the next chief will move forward in the application process. City manager Tom Bonfield says the field of applicants was narrowed last week.

“Even though we’re at this stage, community input will still be important going forward, and we encourage the public to take advantage of the opportunities to share their thoughts, including the surveys and forums,” Bonfield said in a statement.

A release says the 14 remaining candidates will now go through a more extensive screening process, which will include a telephone interview and writing exercises. Bonfield says those actions will take place over the next two weeks.

The applicant field will then be trimmed further and the remaining candidates will be selected to participate in an assessment center, which is scheduled for February 29 through March 1. The top “two-to-three finalists” will then meet with police department staff and the public in late March.

Officials are still seeking public input through an online survey in English and Spanish.

A forum will also be held and conducted entirely in Spanish at 2:45 on Sunday afternoon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, located at 810 W. Chapel Hill St.

It is expected that the final candidate will be offered the position in early April and begin in May.


Durham Man Charged in Flare Gun Shooting

Durham Police are looking for an individual after a man was shot in the face with a flare gun at a Panera Bread on Tuesday.

Investigators have charged 53-year-old Todd Newland Pope with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Police say the victim and the suspect know and other and the incident does not appear to be random.

Pope is not in custody at this time.

Anyone with information as to Pope’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (919) 683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers can remain anonymous.