A Saturday at the Durham Farmers' Market

By Kelly Garcia

This past Saturday I went to the Durham Farmers’ Market with my husband. This is one of our favorite Saturday morning activities and we go as often as we can.  This past weekend being graduation and Mother’s day weekend the market was in full swing. It reminded me how lucky we are to have such a fantastic farmers’ market and how supportive the Durham community is of our local farmers. One of my favorite parts of the Durham Farmers’ Market is that the farmer himself/herself is required to work the stand so I actually get to meet who is growing my food. I also love the wide variety we have. This past week I saw strawberries, chocolate creamed honey, beautiful flowers, bison, spinach, sweet potatoes and even peaches! At the farmers even have some recipes that you can try out using their meat and produce. Last but not least I also love all the food trucks and vendors that all come together on market days. I really enjoyed trying coffee from the Cocoa Cinnamon coffee bike this weekend and I was fascinated to watch their entire coffee brewing process.  My husband really enjoyed a lemon pistachio donut from Monuts. I am really looking forward to many more trips in the upcoming months!

Durham Neighbors Take a Stand



Many Durham Neighborhoods are covered with yard signs like this. 


By Lou Perron


As I drive around Durham’s urban neighborhoods, it’s hard not to notice the sea of yard signs urging voters to oppose “the Amendment.” 


If Durham ruled the state, this harmful amendment would be soundly defeated.  Our tolerant city, home to the Gay Pride parade, understands that it makes no sense to enshrine discrimination in the state constitution.


Here’s the language that Amendment One would put in our constitution: 


“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”


This is already the law in North Carolina, but our legislature didn’t think that went far enough.  The Amendment goes beyond simply outlawing gay marriage.  It would outlaw any kind of “domestic legal union” that creates a non-traditional family – whether the partners are opposite sex, or the same sex.  The Amendment could invalidate all sorts of non-marriage arrangements that are already in place: employer provided health benefits for unmarried partners and their children, private estate planning, rights of unmarried partners to visit their loved-one in the hospital, and more.  The Amendment would take away local control by preventing any city or town from allowing domestic partnership.  One of the most worrisome concerns is that unmarried people, gay or straight, would lose protection under the state’s domestic violence laws.  


Supporters of the Amendment say that opponents exaggerate the effects of the Amendment.  But one thing is sure, the Amendment  will create so much uncertainty in the law, that North Carolina’s courts would have to spend a lot of time sorting out it all out. 

No wonder the CEOs of 56 North Carolina companies, as well as the Durham Chamber of Commerce have gone on record against the Amendment. The Durham Chamber’s resolution [link to ] does a good job of identifying the Amendment’s adverse economic consequences. 


The Amendment is not a partisan issue.  Both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, have come out against the Amendment: John Hood of the John Locke Foundation; former mayors of Charlotte, Richard Vinroot and Harvey Gantt; Bob Orr, Republican former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, Governor Bev Perdue and all three of the Democratic primary candidates for Governor.  The list goes on and on.  These leaders recognize the harms to families, children, and North Carolina’s economy that will come with this Amendment.  And they also have a better understanding of individual liberty than the Amendment’s supporters.


Even N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, who voted to put the Amendment on the ballot, realizes that it is the last gasp of an outdated world view.  He told a student group last month, “if it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years.” “It’s a generational issue,” Tillis said. “The data shows right now that you are a generation away from that issue.”




Durham will surely provide a large block of votes against the Amendment.  But North Carolina is a big and conservative state.  So even if nothing else on the ballot inspires you, your vote will be needed.


If you’re not registered yet, you can show up at the Board of Elections to register and vote during the early voting from April 19 to May 5.  



DURHAM Board of Elections

706 W Corporation St., Durham


Early Voting/Registration Hours: 

May 3 - May 4 8:00 am - 7:30 pm

May 5 - 8:00 am - 1:00 pm


For more information about Amendment One:

Protect All NC Families:

Equality NC:


The ReUse Warehouse


By Mary Hartzell

My partner and I have been shopping for cool fixtures for our home and we discovered a great new business called The ReUse Warehouse.  Located at 800 Taylor Street in Durham, they carry reclaimed wood, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, ceramic tile and even appliances.  We are trying to find bathroom and kitchen fixtures that will fit well in our 1950s ranch home and this is just the place.  The staff is friendly and eager to help and their warehouse is located behind Golden Belt so you definitely get that industrial aesthetic.  The ReUse Warehouse has a goal of keeping usable materials out of landfills and this stuff is cool, to boot.  

Are you looking to unload old items from your house, shed or backyard but don’t have the means to remove them yourself?  They work with a local green carpenter who will come deconstruct anything you want to donate or trade and haul it away for you.  Next time you replace a ceiling fan or a light switch plate, send it here rather than the landfill.

One of the things I love about this type of business is that inventory is always changing.  It’s kind of like thrift shopping for sinks and bath tubs.  You can use your imagination to work a piece into your design and have a unique feature in your home.  I find the idea of buying a sink that’s been around for a hundred years much more appealing than a cheap, chintzy one you’d find at a big box store.

Get in touch with The ReUse Warehouse at 919-219-4913 or  Better yet, visit them at 800 Taylor Street and see all the possibilities for yourself. 

Get Out the Vote - for Urban Durham Realty!

Posted by Ashley St. Clair

As a relatively small, local company, Urban Durham Realty depends on recognition from our community. If you love us, shout it from your rooftop (and let Independent Weekly know by voting in their 2012 Best Of contest)! The survey only takes a few minutes, and we would be ever so grateful...please cast your vote!
The Indy poll closes Sunday, 4/15:

Lovely Lofts


By:  Mary Hunter
I recently had the cherished pleasure of revisiting the unique lofts available in historic Downtown Durham.  While researching these lofts, I found out some interesting information about the Baldwin Lofts.  R.L. Baldwin, Sr. opened the downtown Durham Baldwin’s department store in 1911, making it the third location in what would go on to become a popular regional chain with stores across North Carolina and Virginia.  
After ten years of business, Baldwin purchased the Commerce building next door and expanded his department store to the building’s present size.  This explains why half of the Baldwin building has original wood floors while the other half features the concrete floors of the Commerce building.  This can be seen throughout the various lofts in the building. 
The historic nature of the Kress Building, Baldwin Lofts, and the Bullington Warehouse Condos makes living there a chance to own, experience, and tell an important story about Durham and Southern history—a story of growth and change.  Many of our clients have chosen to make a home of urban lofts that once were vibrant commercial spaces for Durham businessmen satisfying the needs of the community.  When the exposed brick or antique wood floors, for instance, are up-fitted and modernized, the lofts are stunning in a way that is difficult for new construction to emulate.  Besides the lofts at Bullington Warehouse Condos, Baldwin Lofts, Mangum 506, and the Kress Building, a new project scheduled for completion in the Spring of 2013 is located at Church and Main Street.  You can visit that website at:
Historic downtown Durham’s energy finds its source, to no small degree, not only in the visionaries who have transformed historic commercial spaces into residential lofts and offices, but the residents who make their home or living there.  R.L. Baldwin could wish no better. 


New Business on the Block: Triangle Ecycling!

Spring cleaning abounds and if you are like many families, your attic is full of old computers that you are not sure what to do with.  A new service has opened to help!  Downtown Durham came together last Friday night to celebrate the grand opening of a new member, Triangle Ecycling!  Operating in the old Elkins Chrysler building on Jackie Robinson and Mangum, Triangle Ecycling provides small to mid-sized businesses and organizations with a secure and sustainable electronic waste recycling solution.  Collecting and disassembling computers for recycling, its mission is to create local jobs and protect the environment.  As a triple bottom line business, ten percent of the company's profits are contributed to teaching sustainability in the Durham Public Schools. 

Their business partners include: The Durham Fire Department, TROSA, Durham Public Schools, Global Electric Electronics Processing, IT support companies and commercial property managers.
Constituents from all over the Triangle attended the Grand Opening including members from: Many departments at Duke University and Duke Hospital, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, Chrome 7, Raven Rock Capital, Capital BroadcastingDuke SchoolBull City ForwardCenter of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology, Center for Documentary Film Festival, City of Durham Fire DeptmentThe Institute for Sustainable Development, Greenplus, Urban Durham RealtyNorton Street IT SupportCREE, Dudapaine ArchitectsGlobal Electric Electronics ProcessingThe Groove Productions, Teach for AmericaThundershirtNC Arts in ActionMark PropertiesNicholas School of the Environment, Durham Chamber of CommerceElkins Chrysler,Kontek Systems Inc. and TROSA.
Feel free to contact Triangle Ecycling for drop-off hours or details. 919.414.3041 or

Spring is in the air!


by Mariana Byrd


The spring market has arrived in full force this year.  The spring market started in earnest in January (it must be the nice warm weather we’ve been having this winter!).  We’ve seen properties steadily coming on the market these last two and a half months and buyers actually buying.  In several cases, with multiple interested buyers or even multiple offers.  I truly haven’t seen this many multiple offer situations for the past 4 years.


This is good news for sellers and buyers alike.  Sellers are able to sell their home and move on to the next phase of their life.  While buyers are able to capitalize on the extremely low interest rates (they have been at 4% or under for a 30 year fixed!) and good prices.


The Triangle Multiple Listing Service stated that in Durham County there has been a 44.1% increase in closed sales in February of 2012 compared to February 2011.  Which has brought down the months supply of inventory from 9.2 last February to 6.9 this February.  Once again, great news but I must note that the same figures showed a decrease of 5.7% in median sales price and a decrease of 6.9% in average sales price.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that prices are dropping, just that there may be different types of home and therefore different prices on the market this year versus last year.  My personal view is that home prices are staying about the same but there are more buyers this year.  


If you had waited to sell your home the past few years it may be time to reconsider.  There are buyers waiting for their “perfect home” to come on the market.

Two of My Favorite Things


By  Jessica Slice
Urban Durham will hopefully have another new delicious neighbor in case our agents ever get tired of eating cupcakes and pastries from Daisycakes. CocoaCinnamon, the chocolate and coffee shop currently biking around town, is raising funds to open a brick and mortar location downtown. They are opening to open across from Geer Street Garden and would be conveniently located right on my walking path to work. 
Their focus on quality and creatively combined ingredients sets them apart and they also have a really commitment to building community through food. 
Their kickstarter campaign runs a few more weeks and I, selfishly, would encourage you all to donate. Please join my in supporting this wonderful local business.
Contribute here:
In the meantime, follow them on twitter @cocoacinnamon to track their changing location around town. 


Singapore to Durham?


By Courtney James
I just returned from a trip to Singapore and consider the week a completely fascinating sociology study (even though I had no real purpose in going other than tagging along with my husband on a business trip). I was amazed by many aspects of daily life in Singapore, but real estate won much of my attention through the course of the week.  Singapore is a relatively young country having received their independent state just over 50 years ago.  They entered into their grand independence at a time of post-war depression and poverty.  It is estimated that 300,000 people lived in squatter settlements in the suburbs and 250,000 lived in squalid shophouses in the city center.
As soon as the People’s Action Party came into control in 1960, they took immediate action to address this urgent housing need and passed the Housing Development Act of 1960. There were almost 55,000 housing units built between 1960 and 1965.  Because of the extreme land restrictions (an island of 720 square kilometers) high-rise flats were selected as the development of choice.  Citizens were allowed to use part of their pension fund (their forced savings accounts) to purchase the units rather than rent them.  This allowed a majority of the population who might not have otherwise had an opportunity to experience home ownership, obtain a real investment in their country.  Through the 1980’s there were specific rules put in place to ensure ethnic and income diversity throughout of the developments.  In the US, public housing is usually considered an option for lower income populations.  The public housing in Singapore is offered to about 85% of Singaporeans in varied income levels (some flats can sell for as high as $500k).
I can’t say that I am ready to abandon my yard and detached house here in my favorite city, but they are obviously doing something right in that country.  They have an unbelievably high rate of home ownership (89% as opposed to 66% in the states) and virtually no homelessness, they have acknowledged the benefits of vertical development in urban areas, and they have developed these spaces using thoughtful methods arranging necessary amenities nearby.  Although I would never want Durham to be exactly like Singapore (it would feel too confining to me), it would be nice to have a bit more of that true urban flavor here in downtown.  Hey, Durham developers - are you listening?

Happy Leap Day!


By Kelly Garcia

The leap year first started over 2000 years ago when we transitioned from the Roman calendar to the Julian calendar. Since it started many superstitions were introduced. One well known tradition is women are “able” to propose to men on February 29th. In Scotland they believe it is important for women to wear a visible red petticoat under their dress while proposing for good luck.

Do you know anyone with a Leap Day birthday? One family from Ireland made the Guinness Book of World Records for having three consecutive generations born on the 29th of February.

Some people believe Leap Day is bad luck. In Greece they advise not to get married on February 29th and in Scotland they think it is unlucky to be born on Leap Day. However, I agree with the UK that thinks anything that starts on the 29th of February is sure of success. Celebrate Leap Day this year in Durham by starting something new….try a new restaurant, meet a new friend, buy a new house or maybe even start a life with someone. However you choose to celebrate I hope luck finds you! 



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