Paul Harris Fellowship (PHF)

L to R – Michael Tharp, Susan Miller, Elizabeth Pritchett Bass, Barker French, Arthur Rogers

Michael Tharp – Michael has been a member of our club since 2012.  He retired from the Durham School of the Arts and almost immediately picked up his passion for education by becoming actively involved in our work at YE Smith School.  He is not only an active Reading Ranger, but you will see him as an ever present figure at Books on Break.  Michael received his first PHF.

Susan Miller – a partner with DMJ & Co and just recently recognized as a Paul Harris Society Member.  She is also our Club Treasurer.  We thank her for the many hours she gives to Rotary and present her with her PHF Plus 6.
Elizabeth Pritchett Bass – has just begun a leave of absence as she and her husband Dustin are about to have their second baby on August 27th.  Elizabeth is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Today she brought in a new member and receives her PHF Plus 1.
Barker French’s name is all over Durham from the East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Tech and so many more and yet he’s so committed to Rotary that he and his daughter, Hillary are co-chairing the Second Century Fund for our Club this year.  PHF Plus 6.
Our Awesome Past President Arthur Rogers has served in many capacities not only in our club but the District as well.  In addition he has a reputation for having brought innumerable guests, visitors and new members into our Club.  Congratulations on PHF Plus 3.

Presentation: Don’t Waste Durham


Introduced by Rotarian, Elisabeth Wiener, Crystal Dreisbach, Founder & Executive Director of Don’t Waste Durham, told us that she was born in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho but has fallen in love with Durham since moving here. She took us on an energizing and informative ride through her six year old non-profit devoted to “preventing trash at its source.” 

 Dreisbach explained that while the goal of recycling is commendable there are a number of problems with it. All efforts at reducing waste require changes in behavior and people need an incentive to change their behavior. She mentioned the bottle deposits collected in certain parts of the country and the fact that in those areas a person rarely sees bottles of any kind along roadsides. She startled us with the fact that only 9% of recyclable items are actually recycled and that all those items are down-cycled. That means that they are not reused but broken down. She also told us that Durham’s trash travels nearly 100 miles to its final disposal site. 

Because Durham’s landfill was closed some time ago, our trash takes this long and expensive trip to become the problem of our neighbors in Sampson County. Both environmental and equity issues abound in this practice. 

 Dreisbach’s organization’s actions on a number of fronts aim to reduce waste at the source. Perhaps the best-known part of their operation, due to its presentation about a year ago on the PBS Newshour, is Green to Go. The plan targets styrofoam and other single use containers that are used by Restaurants and other venders for customers taking food home. Green to Go uses a container that can be returned after use, washed, sterilized and made available for use by another customer. She said that they currently have 775 subscribers and 26 restaurants and stores that use the containers.   [Read more…]

Program: Casey Steinbacher, Executive Director of Made in Durham

Summertime. Growing up, for many adults, it was not just an annual break from school — it was time to get a job and not only go to work but learn to work.

This tradition continues in communities all over the country but for some adolescents, getting that first work experience can be tough.

Enter Casey Steinbacher, executive director at Made In Durham since 2017. She is helping to lead a unique nonprofit community collaborative of business, education, nonprofit, government and youth in creating a pipeline that closes the skills gap for Durham youth and readies them for high-paying careers while building a substantial local workforce.

Aminah Jenkins

Casey, who was joined by MID youth network member Aminah Jenkins, were both introduced by Rotarian Rory Gillis. As CEO of Casey’s Company, an

Rory Gillis [Read more…]

Fellowship Event: Nanasteak

40 Rotarians and guests enjoyed a spectacular four-course meal complete with impeccable wine pairings at NanaSteak on 1 Aug. Rotarians Carver Weaver and NanaSteak owner and wine expert Aubrey Zinaich coordinated a fabulous evening.  Attendees were treated to salmon and caviar on housemade potato chips; a summery soup with ricotta ravioli; grilled lamb with crispy eggplant and tomato jam; and an Italian cheesecake with fresh figs and balsamic glaze, in addition to an education on the selected wines. This was purely a social event, a way to connect with fellow Rotarians and spouses in a special way.  The food was amazing, the wine superb and the fellowship and company outstanding.

Scholar Spotlight: Mollie Torello

Mrs. Mollie Torello joined us at our meeting this week. She is a previous Global Grant Scholar who was sponsored by our Rotary Club and the district. She is preparing to travel to the Netherlands to assist with a clean water initiative. We love hearing about the successes of our scholars.

Rotary 2019-2020 Kickoff Presentation

Kicking off the new Rotary year and as a means of getting to know one another better, President Todd asked everyone at each table to tell “Why did you join Rotary” while Sharon Lassiter played “Getting to Know You” on the keyboard.  I suspect the reasons at all tables were the same: desire and opportunities to serve the community; to promote health, literacy, economic development and peace in the world through the work of the Rotary Foundation; to get to know the community better; to enjoy fellowship with fellow Rotarians. None of these reasons would come as a surprise.  When you look around the room you see people who are committed to and engaged in more than one of these.  

 President Todd’s presentation highlighted how we as individuals and as an organization can promote these aspirations.  Specifically, the ingredients for success are: membership, money and engagement. To view President Todd’s presentation, click Rotary 2019-2020 Kickoff Presentation delivered 29 July 2019 [Read more…]