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Camel humps past Bull in size of cities

The rivalry between Durham and Winston-Salem is nothing new. The two cities once dominated the U.S. tobacco industry, with American Tobacco Co. in Durham squaring off against — and for a time controlling — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the Twin City. Durham no longer has any major tobacco operations, but the competition continues. Both cities have well-respected private universities, Duke in Durham and Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, and major medical centers. Durham is part of the state’s high-tech hotbed, while both are pushing for biotechnology supremacy.

Since 2000, they also have been battling to determine which is the state’s fourth-largest city — behind Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro — swapping the lead three times in yearly Census Bureau estimates. The most recent came early this year, after Winston-Salem appealed the 2007 estimate, issued in mid-2008. It claimed the bureau hadn’t counted an annex- ation completed in 2006, along with some new subdivisions. In January, the bureau added 8,184 residents to the city’s total, pushing its population to 223,532 and past Durham’s 217,847.

There’s more to it than pride, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines says. “The concern we have is that a lot of funding is tied to population. We wanted to have an accurate count of the number of folks that really live here.” Toledo, Ohio, won a similar Census Bureau challenge, adding some 19,000 residents, which it estimated would bring an additional $15 million in federal funds. Winston-Salem hasn’t calculated how much it will reap from the change, the mayor says, but he figures it will be worth the time the city spent. “It’s not inconsequential to get an accurate population count.”

Durham Mayor Bill Bell says he doesn’t begrudge losing fourth place. “I grew up in Winston-Salem, so I have an affinity for the city.” Still, he couldn’t help pointing out that the cities have chosen different methods for growth. “Winston did an annexation. We haven’t done any serious annexations since 2001. The growth we’ve experienced has been because of new people coming in.”

Bell says he’s more concerned about the 2010 count than the 2007 numbers. As for Joines, he’s happy about the adjustment but still questions its accuracy and says he’ll be watching for the 2008 estimate, which will be released in June. “We do believe we’re still undercounted by about 5,000.”

GREENSBORO — Computer-chip maker RF Micro Devices laid off 150, leaving it with about 1,600 employees in its hometown. It cited low demand for its chips, used in cell phones.

GREENSBOROHonda Aircraft plans to add 100 jobs at its factory at Piedmont Triad International Airport by the end of 2010. That will bring employment to about 500, up from its original estimate of 350.

GREENSBOROInternational Textiles Group let go about 150 employees at the White Oak plant in its hometown. The cuts left about 360 workers at the factory, which opened in 1905 and once was Cone Mills’ flagship denim plant.

KERNERSVILLEYRC Worldwide, the parent of Yellow Transportation and Roadway Express, moved its distribution operations to Charlotte, resulting in the loss of more than 200 trucking and other jobs in the Triad. The company will still employ about 400 in the region.

GREENSBORO — Steven Tanger, 59, succeeded his father, Stanley, as CEO of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. Stanley Tanger, 85, will remain chairman of the chain of outlet shopping centers he started in 1981.

WINSTON-SALEM — Kelly King, CEO of Winston-Salem-based BB&T, was appointed to the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He will serve a three-year term on the nine-member board.

WINSTON-SALEM — San Francisco-based Wells Fargo named Stanhope Kelly, the highest-profile executive left from Wachovia in Winston-Salem, as president of its community bank for the Carolinas. He will have offices in Winston-Salem and Charlotte. Wells has not said whether it will keep about 3,000 former Wachovia jobs in Winston-Salem.

WHITSETTPass & Seymour will close its plant by the end of the year, idling 143. The factory makes electrical-wiring devices for homes. The Syracuse, N.Y.-based company blamed the housing slump.

THOMASVILLE — Citing the slump in the automobile industry, Automotive Motors of Thomasville closed, eliminating 104 jobs. The company is part of ASMO North Carolina, based in Statesville. Nineteen employees transferred there, bringing employment to about 570.

THOMASVILLECommercial Carving closed after 75 years of supplying wood to furniture makers, idling about 90. The company might resume operations if the industry recovers.

HIGH POINTHigh Point Regional Health System will close its restorative-care unit this month and cut 51 employees to reduce costs. That will leave the hospital with more than 2,300 employees.

HIGH POINTSunGard Public Sector, which develops software used by police and fire dispatchers, will add 50 employees by the end of the year, giving it about 185. The company is part of Wayne, Pa.-based SunGard.

WINSTON-SALEMWake Forest University Baptist Medical Center asked the state for permission to scale back a $218 million expansion it announced more than two years ago. It now wants to spend $152 million on a five-story expansion of its Comprehensive Cancer Center and $19 million to renovate space for a pediatric emergency department.

WINSTON-SALEMNovant Health accepted state restrictions for a $96 million, 50-bed hospital it wants to build in Clemmons. It won’t include a gastrointestinal-endoscopy room or buy a CT scanner, though it might bring in one it already owns.

GREENSBORO — Textile maker Unifi sold a vacant plant in Yadkinville for $7 million to Nonni’s Food of Westchester, Ill. Nonni’s, which makes biscotti, bagel chips, pita chips and similar products under several labels, hasn’t said what it plans to do with the factory.

GREENSBOROStephen D. Bell & Co. changed its name to Bell Partners. The company says the new name reflects a change in focus. It will no longer buy and manage retail and office properties, though it will hold the ones it owns, but will concentrate on large, newer apartment complexes and retirement communities.