Center city has rooms for you
The Duke Studio Condominiums, formerly Crown Park Hotel, nee Ramada Inn at 600 Willard St. (right off South Duke as you're coming off the Freeway into town) has changed hands again and is going back to the hotel business.
Krishna Hotels of Durham bought the 159-unit high-rise on July 28, paying $4.7 million to the former owner, D.B. Durham LLC of Miami.
Its new identity is to be the "Four Points by Sheraton Durham Downtown," according to Durham visitors' bureau headman Reyn Bowman.
The new owners plan a wholesale renovation at the old Ramada, which had its last wholesale renovation in 2005.
According to Bowman, the Four Points' opening combined with two other hostelries under way will give central Durham a total of 574 rooms, almost double the present number. The others are the Courtyard by Marriott at the old McPherson Hospital lot on Main at Buchanan and a bed and breakfast going into the former Kings Daughters Home on Buchanan.
Flush and save
If you put a new, high-efficiency commode in place of your old water-guzzler, the City of Durham will give you $100.
It's a conservation measure on the part of the city's water department, which appears to have taken last year's drought to heart.
To get the $100, which comes in the form of a deduction on your water bill, buy a toilet from the Environmental Protection Agency's "WaterSense" list, which will use an average of 1.28 gallons per flush. Conventional toilets flush between 3.5 and seven gallons at a time, according to Vicki Westbrook, the water department's deputy director. The offer applies only to high-efficiency toilets bought since Jan. 1 of this year.
Rebates are first-come, first-served and only 3,000 are available during the program's first phase. Westbrook says replacing those 3,000 commodes would save the city almost 21 million gallons of water per year. Call (866) 522-3806 or visit www.DurhamSavesWater.org.
Eyes on the skies
If the weather Saturday morning is looking dangerous, the Durham Farmers' Market may suspend sales for this weekend. Check the Web site, www.durhamfarmersmarket.com. The Market is also open Wednesday afternoons, 3:30 to 6:30.
Food for blood
Through September, Jersey Mike's Subs is giving coupons for a free sub sandwich, chips and drink to everyone donating blood or blood platelets at the Durham Red Cross Center, 4737 University Drive; as well as three other Red Cross offices in the Triangle.
Call (800) GIVE LIFE to make whole-blood donation appointments; for platelet appointments (required), call (877) 975-2835.