Meatless Monday

By Laura Upchurch:


Wickipedia definition: Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.

A quick google search provided the following:

Health Benefits:

Limit cancer risk

Reduce heart disease

Fight diabetes

Curb obesity

Improve your diet

Environmental Benefits:

Reduce your carbon footprint

Minimize water usage

Help reduce fossil fuel dependence

There are numerous web sites devoted to Meatless Mondays that provide  history, recipes and listings of various restaurants that participate. Plenty of options in the Triangle!

Growing up with a mother that wrote two vegetarian cookbooks, meatless meals are common in my home. I am so excited however, to realize the benefits listed above and the creativity in cooking that has been inspired.

To quote my grandmother “Mangia”!


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by Ashley St. Clair

Been dreaming of raising backyard chickens and fryin’ up their eggs for breakfast? Or starting an urban farm revolution? Then head out on Sept. 17 & 18 to this year’s Eastern Triangle Farm Tour and learn how to make it happen. With 25 farms on the map (including 5 new ones), the 6th annual tour is slated to be the biggest and best yet.

The tour is self-guided and runs from 1-5 pm both days. Help support Carolina Farm Stewardship Association – you can get your farm on & buy fresh goodies for sale along the way.

Check out The Eastern Triangle Farm Tour site to buy tix, sign up to volunteer, and learn more about participating farms and tour tips. Make the most of your weekend by supporting and expanding local ag!

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A Book about Why Neighborliness Matters

by Susan Herst

What happens if people stop recognising and talking to their neighbors? Why do nods across the street and comments about the weather matter? Ideas and evidence in this book suggest that if people stop being civil to one another where they live, a perceived crisis of respect in wider society will probably follow. Neighborliness starts right outside the front door – with people we don’t know well, as much as with people we do, in cul-de-sacs, terraced streets and housing estates. Respect is what we gain from nurturing and practising neighborliness, not something that can be imposed by government command. Respect in the Neighborhood seeks to attract the attention of policy makers at all levels and provide a rallying call for neighborhood activists and practitioners, on issues of community safety, families, young people, intergenerational projects, anti-social behaviour, regeneration, planning, housing, community development, criminal justice and neighbourhood governance. It takes a wide view, from looking at young people’s behaviour, through older people’s anti-social use of cars, to the generation of disrespect by rampant individualistic consumption; and it ranges from a case study in a cul-de-sac to reviews of policy and experience in the UK, Netherlands and Flanders. It helps us to consider what we can learn by: · seeking to understand people’s fear of retaliation and their reluctance to intervene · changing street design and layouts · the potentials and pitfalls of incentives and rewards for good neighbouring · recognising the powerful impact of racism and other forms of exclusion. It concludes that the core challenge is to develop new skills that allow us to exercise informal control without reinstating hierarchy, learning to challenge behaviour within a shared understanding, while recognising the legitimate interests of others, regardless of what we have in common with them.


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BookMark Event Coming….

By:  Mary Rae Hunter

Join UDR on Saturday, May 14, for another another BookMark event!  We will be hosting a fun morning of food, activities and entertainment in an effort to collect as many books as possible for the children of the Durham Public Schools.  The BookMark project is an initiative designed to place new or gently used books in the hands of elementary children who may not have books in their home or easy access to the Public Library.  According to the DPS website, it states that without continued reading over the summer, children often lose as much as three months of what they have learned in their previous school grade as well having their reading level drop up to 25%.   We feel strongly that having excellent readers in the school only helps the children, the community, and actually the attractiveness of homes in the areas of good schools.  

For this exciting event, UDR is hoping to gather more books, and collect larger donations that we did last year. You can help by bringing new or gently used books to UDR on May 14 or before.  The entrance admission to the event will be two or more books, or  we will graciously accept a cash donation.  Once here, you will be able to enjoy music, entertainment, and great food.  What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning helping the children of DPS Schools.                                                                                                                                                  

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 14 from 10-12.  We hope to see you here at our new office located at 401C Foster Street!  Right next to the Farmer’s Market.

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New Offer to Purchase & Contract 2011

by Jessica Slice-Sadler

While this topic may be boring, I thought it would worth discussing the new NC Offer to Purchase & Contract, at least briefly. As of 1/1/2011 we have a new contract (link below post) and while most years see some change or another, this year was significant.

Prior to this year, when one wrote an offer on a home they had the option of Alternative 1 or Alternative 2. Alternative 1 was used the majority of the time and reflects the process familiar to most. Under Alt 1 they write a check with the offer, called earnest money, and then have a set period of time to be approved for their loan and if they are not approved, they can back out and receive their earnest money. One also had the right to request repairs and if the sellers were unwilling to repair an item “not functioning for the purpose for which it’s intended” then they could also back out and receive their earnest money.

The issues with this contract came down to language regarding repairs and loan applications. It was not terribly uncommon for a buyer and seller to disagree on which repairs were in fact necessary and, as a result, if a buyer should retain their earnest money at termination.

The new contract eliminates that ambiguity by having a buyer write two checks with their offer. The first is called your Due Diligence Fee and is paid directly to the seller. The second check is the Earnest money and, like before, is held in a trust account. The buyer then has a period of time (the Due Diligence Period) to ensure that they would like to move forward with the purchase.

During this time they should have inspections, receive loan approval, set up homeowners insurance, have a survey, and anything else they would like to do to make sure the house is right. If they are satisfied they can move forward and both checks are applied to their closing costs & down payment. In the event that a buyer backs out during the Due Diligence period they lose their Due Diligence fee but retain their earnest money. If they back out after the Due Diligence period they lose both.

The benefit to the new contract is that the seller knows exactly what they will retain in the event of termination and the buyer knows how much they will lose. They buyer also has the right to back out for any reason at all, thus eliminating disputes about necessary repairs. One negative is that it can be difficult to receive full loan approval prior to closing which can make the timing of the Due Diligence date and the closing date tricky.

In general, I have had good experiences with the new contract and have seen Due Diligence fees ranging from $0-$3000 and Due Diligence periods from 2 weeks to 3 months.

This is obviously a cursory overview and I would advise consulting a Realtor or an attorney for more details and with questions. There are other details of the contract addressing closing delay, breach of contract, and seller responsibilities that are worth understanding.

If you’ve made it this far, congrats! Next time you decide to make an offer or sell your home I hope this blog has helped give you a head start.

2011 Offer to Purchase & Contract


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Local Blog Shout-Out!

By: Courtney James

If you were to come into the Urban Durham Realty office at 12:30pm on any given Tuesday, you would find all of us gathering for our weekly sales meeting. I look forward to these meetings because it’s usually the one time each week when we are all together. Real estate agents, unlike some other professions, should actually not be in the office all week.  Occasionally though, on the Tuesdays when my blog entry is due, I’m usually a little less enthused to come in for sales meeting.  You see, we have a rule at UDR that if it’s your week to blog and you don’t have it posted by 12:30pm on Tuesday, you have to buy the office lunch.  That should be enough motivation, but I have to admit that I have made a stop by Toast before sales meeting because that was actually easier for me than getting my blog posted!  It’s not that I don’t like to write (I actually enjoy it). It’s just that it takes a lot of time and commitment, and I can’t stand the fact that I don’t usually put as much effort into it as I would like.

So, for this week’s blog post, I want to give a shout-out to some of my favorite, dedicated, local bloggers. I’m sure I’ll leave someone out, so please feel free to comment on this post and let me know about others I missed.  Without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are:

Bull City Rising ( What can I say?  It’s my safari home page.  It’s how I get my Durham news.

Endangered Durham ( Can you say dedicated? I cannot imagine the amount of time it takes for Gary to compile all these amazing photos.  If you want to know the history of a building in Durham, it’s probably here.  Check it out and while you’re there, donate to his mission to further these archiving efforts – it’s worth it!

Carpe Durham ( The most consistent food blog in Durham.  What better topic to blog about in a city that has become widely acclaimed for its food?

Durham Socialite ( Want to know about any cool events happening in the Bull City?  Look no further.

Strong Durham Schools ( A relatively new blog that helps to describe Durham Public Schools from the parent’s perspective (the most important point of view, in my opinion). If you have a child in DPS, please enter a testimonial for their school!

A Gift a Day ( Also a new blog with an inspiring message and just plain good writing.  This blogger needs to write a book!

So thank you to all of you who are committed enough to provide us all with some enjoyment and education each day.  This Tuesday, at least, my colleagues wont get a free lunch out of me. But I’m not making any promises for next time.  And besides, who doesn’t like lunch from Toast?

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Durham ‘Hoods are Now Cyber-Connected

Posted by Ashley St. Clair

On February 12, Duke Park denizen Philip Bost launched his new site Durham Hoods ( A massive philanthropic effort and collaborative project with fellow Bull City residents, Durham Hoods features a map of every Durham neighborhood & HOA Bost could list, as well as links to relevant neighborhood association information for the identified ‘hoods.

The idea behind the project is to provide a central resource to connect neighborhoods through their listservs, a place where those email lists can be easily accessed and shared. Bost says that listservs are not only effective platforms for “enhancing the best aspects of Durham life,” but are also critical tools in addressing community safety. Each color-coded area on the map delineates which Partners Against Crime district a neighborhood falls within. Though fully operational, the site is a work in progress and includes a blog and contact information where you can offer feedback and help refine neighborhood borders.

Read more about at the Bull City Rising blog and at The Durham News.

Kudos to Bost and all of his Durham-loving collaborators! Google map mashup

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