Durham Police Looking For Missing Person

Durham police are looking for 31-year-old Eric Michael Jordan.

He went missing after last being seen on Saturday, August 27.

Investigators believe he is still in the Triangle Area, and say they are concerned for his safety and well-being.

Jordan is described as a white male, about 5 feet 10 inches tall. He weighs between 175 and 190 pounds, and has brown eyes. He is bald.

Anyone with information on Jordan or his whereabouts is asked to contact Investigator T. Huelsman at 919-560-4440, extension 29341. The Durham Police Department can also be reached at 919-560-4427.


GoTriangle Launches New Carrboro to Durham Route

Community members gathered bright and early on Monday morning to catch the GoTriangle Express bus from Carrboro to Durham for the first time.

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle was the first one to board the 405 and said it was an exciting morning for Carrboro.

“Our residents have been wanting this extended service for many years as part of the bus plan,” Lavelle said. “People will start seeing the buses come through Carrboro and they’ll start asking, ‘Where are the two stops where we can get on?’

“Because up until now it’s been, pretty much, having to go to Franklin Street and get on there.”

Lavelle said the new route will fill a large void for those looking to use public transit to commute between the two downtowns.

“Also, it’ll open up an avenue that people haven’t really thought about,” Lavelle said. “I think people will be really surprised who haven’t done it before to realize how easy it is to hop on here in Carrboro and be deposited right downtown [Durham].”

Lavelle added this is the next step in connecting the region in her eyes.

“Our town is so walkable, and we have so many folks in such a small concentrated area,” Lavelle said. “People will see this is just a great way to get around.”

Former Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow was also among the group eagerly awaiting the first trip. He said he believes this will be a successful route due to the willingness of community members to use public transit.

“Chapel Hill Transit system has been successful because students, employees of UNC and just residents of Orange County have made a commitment that using transit to not relying on consistently building more and more parking spots is a value that the community shares.”

The first full year of the extended service is expected to cost $650,000 and will be paid with funds gathered from voter-approved local sales tax and vehicle registration revenues.

For more information and to see the full extended bus service, visit GoTriangle’s website.


Go Triangle Extends Bus Routes from Carrboro to Durham

The transportation service Go Triangle will be extending its weekday routes to include stops from Carrboro to Durham on Monday.

“We’re pleased to offer this service that meets a need we’ve heard from Carrboro residents,” said GoTriangle General Manager Jeff Mann.

“By extending our former Chapel Hill to Durham route in the busy 15-501 corridor, we’ll give passengers an efficient one seat ride from Carrboro to downtown Chapel Hill, Duke, the VA and downtown Durham.”

Morning routes beginning in Carrboro to Durham will begin at 5:45 and will serve the Jones Ferry at Collins Crossing stop, East Main St. at Weaver St. Realty stop, E. Franklin St. at the Carolina Coffee Shop stop, and Erwin Rd. at Duke Durham Station stop.

Afternoon routes from Durham to Carrboro will begin at 3:30 and will serve the Durham Station stop, Erwin Rd. at VA Hospital stop, E. Franklin St. at the Varsity Theatre stop, E. Main St. at Jade Palace stop, and Jones Ferry at Alabama Ave. stop.

A one-way trip will cost riders $2.25.

“The route will serve residents who can now travel more easily to Durham, and visitors who will have greater access to our town. This new service supports our values around public transportation, including increased accessibility for all residents while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Lydia Lavelle.

The first full year of this extended service will cost an estimated $650,000, and will be paid with funds gathered from voter approved local sales tax and vehicle registration revenues meant for bus improvements and from the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project.

For more information, or to see the full extended bus schedule visit Go Triangle’s website.


Local Communities Prepare for National Night Out

Communities across the nation will gather for the 33rd Annual National Night Out on Tuesday.

Officials with the Town of Chapel Hill say neighborhoods are invited to take part in community gatherings from six o’clock until eight o’clock Tuesday evening. Residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.

Some neighborhoods will be hosting special events including block parties, cookouts, visits from police, flashlight walks, youth activities and anticrime rallies, according to a release the town.

Durham is also hosting several neighborhood events in honor of NNO along with communities throughout Orange County.

The annual event is billed as a crime and drug prevention effort.


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.