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City Council honors Duke athletes

Standing in the packed City Council chambers, seven Duke athletic teams were honored by City Council members for outstanding achievement in sports before the Council began business as usual Monday night.

"We're going to need a bigger auditorium if you guys keep winning all these trophies," Mayor Bill Bell said as the athletes began filing down to the front of the crowded hall.

President Richard Brodhead, who was present at the meeting, said he was honored to have the students-who are members of women's basketball, golf, field hockey, volleyball, men's and women's lacrosse and men's soccer teams-recognized by the City Council.

"These are people who have not only played very hard and achieved at the highest level of their sport but are also hard-working, outstanding students, and they are also excellent members of the Duke community and this community," he said. "I look forward to all the things they will bring to the city and the world in their future careers."

City Council member Mike Woodard said although the council attempts to honor local citizens who have accomplished something within the community, the recognition of college athletes in this manner is the first of its kind.

"We recognize a lot of accomplishments throughout the city during our ceremonial items: children who win scholarships, a couple of city-sponsored events," Woodard said in an interview following the meeting. "I view the ceremonial items as a chance to recognize citizens-be they permanent citizens or our academic citizens who are only here for a few years while they're in school-for their accomplishments."

He added that North Carolina Central University's athletics were honored earlier this year, but because of scheduling problems, the Duke portion of the ceremony had to be postponed.

The rest of the meeting focused on the current drought that the state is experiencing, and City Council members discussed how to handle it.

Since Sept. 21, when the city began restricting water, there has been a 16-percent decrease in overall water demand in Durham, City Manager Patrick Baker said. He added that this decrease is a "good start," but the goal is 30 percent.

To further reduce the amount of water being used, all lawn watering will be banned until further notice. The ban, which takes effect immediately, applies to almost all forms of outdoor watering, including car and driveway washing.

Baker said this is an attempt to reduce the amount of water that was being used on prior-appointed watering days, such as last Saturday, when approximately 5 million gallons of water were consumed.

"I'm optimistic that eliminating that 5-million-gallon spike that we have on the watering days will help us as we try to reduce the consumption," Baker said in an interview following the meeting. "Sometimes it's that the local folks can say certain things, but when the governor says it, it tends to carry even greater weight. I hope we get even closer to that 30-percent overall reduction. That will really allow us to extend our water supply as we go on."

The issue of several recent murders, including one murder that occurred Saturday at Northgate Mall, was also addressed by the City Council. Although there was no specific plan to tackle the increasing crime rate within Durham, Baker said at the meeting the City Council will present a more thorough report at a later date.

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