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Durham signs on to anti-poverty campaign

One billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day.

On Monday, Durham joined cities across the United States in supporting the ONE campaign to help put an end to world-wide poverty.

ONE is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in the world's poorest countries. Durham is the first city in North Carolina to endorse the campaign, and Mayor Bill Bell declared Nov. 19 to be "City of ONE Day."

Shawn Selleck, a first-year graduate student in international development policy, petitioned City Council for the proclamation several weeks ago. He said that although Duke does not have an official ONE chapter yet, having the support of the city-though little more than a symbolic gesture-will help his efforts to have a ONE chapter established on campus.

"Really, half the campaign is just about awareness," he said. "Having Durham as a city of ONE creates that awareness. This is a slow-growing campaign, but it's been getting more attention."

Duke is rated 19th nationwide in the ONE Campus Challenge, which awards points to schools for the number of students they sign up and for the level of awareness they raise for the campaign.

In addition to the announcement of Durham as a ONE campaign city, the council addressed the continued drought. Even after a few days of rainfall, City Manager Patrick Baker said the upper portion of Durham County-the location of Durham's water sources coming from the watersheds for Little River and Lake Michie-has gone back into the severe drought stage. He added that there are only 64 days left of premium water for the city, with an average demand of 21.55 million gallons per day last week-a 28-percent decrease in usage since restrictions were implemented. With the drought continuing and no sign of relief, Baker said that the low water levels may affect the city in the spring and summer of next year.

"Quite frankly, with the weather forecast, the real big concern is whether or not the reservoirs will fill up this winter and spring," Baker said in the meeting. "We don't want to be entering the late spring or early summer with reservoirs below level. They need to be filled, and the concern is where is the rain to fill those reservoirs?"

He added that he will be meeting with City Council staff to address this possible problem next week and consider moving to additional mandatory conservation stages.

During the meeting, Chief of Police Jose Lopez also presented the Durham Police Department's quarterly crime report to the council. According to the report, crime went down in five of seven index crime categories, with the city witnessing a 55-percent rise in murders and 13-percent rise in burglaries.

DPD had a higher clearing rate-which measures the number of crimes brought to trial-than the 2006 FBI national average for cities with populations from 150,000 to 250,000.

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