News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Rotary Minutes: Tom Krakauer

Today’s Rotary Minute was presented by Tom Krakauer, a Durham Rotary Club Member since 1985 and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Tom shared his notes with me so I could relax and just listen to him and not worry about taking good notes myself. Of the four pages of notes that he gave me, I thought it was remarkable that only two brief paragraphs even mentioned his role in the development of what has become one of Durham’s defining institutions, the Museum of Life  and Science.

I wasn’t always so. When I came to Durhamin 1984 as the marketing director of CCB one of the first major events I was asked to help coordinate was a celebration of the bank’s attainment of what, in those days, was considered a significant milestone, its first billion dollars in assets. This was to be a affair for the employees and their families. After much debate, it was decided that we would do it at the Museum of Life and Science. The event went fine but the museum that had evolved from the Durham Children’s Museum, was a little funky. In Durham we embrace funky but the contrast between what it was then and what it became after Tom took over is pretty astounding and something that is hard to appreciate if you hadn’t seen its previous incarnations.

In fact, there are only a handful of institutions that have participated so actively in Durham’s revitalization and have simultaneously been defined for such a long time by the leaders who shaped them. The three that come to mind are Tom, Bill Kalkhof of Downtown Durham Inc., and Reyn Bowman, now retired from the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. All members of our club, I might add.

But one of the purposes of the Rotary Minutes is to share things with the club that you might not already know. Tom is unquestionably a Renaissance man whose hobbies include birding, butterflies and genealogy.  In 2004, he retired from the Museum to take care of his wife Janet who had cancer. Janet died in 2005 after 36 years of marriage.

Tom was awarded a lifetime achievement from the Association of Science-Technology Centers, recognizing his role in promoting “Informal Science Education at the National, State and local levels.” The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce also presented him with its Civic Honor Award, its highest award.

Tom mentioned second acts. He has two, and they may be closely related. He noted the special relationship he has developed with Lynn Richardson, the librarian for the North Carolina Collection at the Durham Public Library, who the club met when she provided a program for us on the Collection. One reason why the Chamber honored Tom was his role in the creation of the Museum of Durham History.  Any of you who did your early voting Downtown know that the new museum’s current location is the old transportation hub, which is an euphemism for bus stop, in that tangle of roads between the Civic Center and Brightleaf.

Durham funky, no doubt about it. But let’s look at that as a good sign because we know that Tom and his passion for museums and Durham will make it too, something very special.

Tom’s notes with more information about his birding and unique qualification for the Vice Presidency of the United States can be found here in notes he used to keep himself within the 7 minute time frame…something some Rotarians have failed to do, to their everlasting embarrassment.

Reading Rangers Update – The Posse Grows!

Howdy Buckaroos, we have been on the Literacy Trail for a little while and thought it would be a good time to update you on our progress.  What a great ride we have had so far!  Dr. Lewis Ferebee spoke to our club and challenged us to make a difference in 20 children.   As of 30 October, we have 33 Rangers signed up and YE Smith Elementary school reports that we have already touched 80 children!  We have a particular focus on 12 students who need consistent assistance.  We would like to bump up this number. Of our 33 Rangers, all but one are Rotarians; one Ranger is from Duke Corporate Education. We are presenting to other individuals and groups as well to increase the number and awareness of the program to the wider community.    Every week more Rangers come on board.  Some Rangers have been working in a tag team fashion where two Rotarians alternate weeks.  This reduces the burden on each Ranger and yet provides consistency for the children.  The only down side is the overall reduction in the number of students receiving assistance.

Y.E Smith is extremely well run and thrilled to have the involvement of Rotary’s Reading Rangers.  Rangers check in and are initially escorted to the classrooms where the teachers are ready with materials for the Rangers to work on.   We work on literacy skills, especially reading, but sometimes we may be asked to assist with other things such as math.  The need is driven by the student and the teacher.

Currently, Rangers tend to volunteer on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, which is wonderful!  We would like to encourage new Rangers to help complete the week with more visits on Monday and Thursday.  This would give the students consistency and focus throughout the week, and should help the students make the greatest strides.   Given that many of these children do not have positive male role models, male Rotary Reading Rangers are encouraged; however, we want as many Rangers as possible.  Of our 33 Rangers, 45% are male.

We were treated to onsite training by the staff of YE Smith.  They covered some key principles and encouraged Rangers to encourage comprehension with reviews or materials read.  Rangers need to remind students to “think about thinking”, when they read.  An additional training opportunity will be conducted by the school near the end of November.  Tentatively we are considering 29 November at 4:30 PM at YE Smith.  The School wishes to share the Depth of Knowledge part of the Common Core Curriculum so the Rangers can reinforce the vocabulary the school uses when working with the students.

Finally, Y.E. Smith has a program that they call “Friday Clubs”.  These are held Friday afternoon to allow outsiders to share experiences, hobbies, or interests with the students.  If you have a passion, or would simply like to be a guest presenter at one of the Friday Club events, just let Todd Taylor know.

We have been published!  Check out these links:

http://www.durhamvoice.org/rotarians-don-reading-caps-to-promote-literacy/#more-9014

http://durhamrotaryclub.org/2012/08/reading-rangers/

We are encouraged by the efforts of our Ranger Posse.  Thanks to all for making such a difference.

Yee-haw keep moving along the Literacy Trail.

Submitted by Todd Taylor

Rotary Minutes: Ralph Rogers

It’s becoming clear that the five minutes that we established for the “Rotary Minutes” is not enough to summarize the lives and careers of some of our members. Even younger members like myself…I’m only 67…have found that limitation constraining.  For senior members like Ralph Rogers,  who is 20 years older, it should hardly get him through high school (Durham High, 1943), military service (the Big One, WW II) and college (Duke undergraduate and pharmacy school at Carolina.)

President Don has been reluctant to use the hook. Fortunately, I was saved from that embarrassment after I went well beyond that arbitrary limit and made it impossible for Don to try to rein in much more interesting and accomplished Rotarians than I, like Ralph.

Ralph’s professional career is notable enough. He took over the pharmacy that his father established in Durham at Mangum and Parrish Streets and ran it until the early 60’s when he sold it to go and found Mutual Drug Company, which for sixty years now has been providing services to independent pharmacies around the state.

However, one of the most fascinating things that Ralph reported on was the project he undertook in the late 50’s. As one of the organizers of an early effort to revitalize Downtown Durham he began documenting improvements with before and after pictures. One of my earliest memories of a Rotary presentation occurred in the late 80’s and was a slide show that Ralph put together of some of these photographs.

Another significant contribution to his home town was Ralph’s involvement in the establishment of mental health services in the community. However, the documentation of Downtown’s early transformation will likely cement his place in history. Fortunately, Ralph has collaborated with the folks at the Durham County Library to make the photographs available to the public along with his audio descriptions of what the pictures are showing.

Anybody interested in the history of Durham will find this indispensable. They are available here on the library’s website.

http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/ncc/landscape/rr002.php

 

submitted by Jay Zenner

Past President Newman Aguiar to be District Governor

Several weeks ago President Don submitted paperwork to the District 7710 Nominations Committee nominating our own Past President Newman Aguiar for District Governor.  In Current District Governor Rick’s  October newsletter the announcement was made that Newman would serve as the 2015-16 District Governor.

When he is inducted in 2015, Newman will become the eighth member of our club during our 97 year history to be named a District 7710 Governor. In his message to the club announcing the good news President Don noted “How appropriate that he will District Governor as we celebrate our club’s centennial! Please join me in congratulating Newman on this distinct honor.”

Service above Self guides Newman’s involvement in the club and the Durham Community. In 2006 the club recognized him as the Rotarian of the Year. Newman is a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute and has served on and led various committees, including Group Study Exchange and Membership. He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and is passionate about supporting the Peace Fellows at the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center and Rotary’s efforts to end Polio. Of course, he was our club president in 2010-2012 and has served on the Board of Directors. In July, he began serving as an Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 7710.

Click to District Governor Rick’s newsletter to see the announcement authored by Past District Governor Mack Parker.

Reading Rangers in the Voice

Recently we were contacted by Hayley Paytes, a journalism student at UNC who wanted to do a story on the Reading Rangers for the Voice. Voice is an online project of the UNC and NCCU Journalism schools and community leaders to create a hyper-local source of news for the Northeast Central Durham community. Stories are posted online at durhamvoice.org with neighborhood news, information, photos, videos and features provided by NCCU and UNC journalism students and local teens mentored by students and faculty.

Rotarian and founder of the Reading Rangers, Todd Taylor, responded and Hayley did a very nice write up that you can see here. While you are there take a few minutes to look at some of the other stories.  The link in the article in the Voice to our website is the first official “pingback” that we’ve received and is much appreciated.

I’m sure Todd would also want to let everybody to know that everyone should consider joining the Reading Rangers. It is a huge challenge and we need all hands on deck. Specifics can be found  here on the Rotary website.

Yeah doggies!

Rotary Minutes – Jay Zenner

When you have zig-zagged through a number of careers, are collecting Social Security and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, a five minute portrait of yourself means you have to be very selective. Such was Jay Zenner’s dilemma in presenting his story. Jay chose as the central theme in his story BS, which he described as the two initials widely recognized by all English speakers to be “persuasive communications, rhetoric, propaganda or spin.”

The problem was that Jay spun a little out of control and went way beyond the 5 minute time allocation and jammed the time on several important announcements, two new member inductions and a very interesting speaker. This kind of thing actually happens more frequently than we would like to admit. Aside from the problem of someone spinning BS out of control, it also illustrates one of the limits of the meeting format.  In a large very active club there is a lot to jam into that weekly hour. The speaker, Anton Zuiker, the Director of  Communications in the Department of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center, spoke of creating online communities. Allen Cronenberg’s program report has been published here on the site.  This was a very appropriate topic because it provides one solution to the limits imposed by the club’s once a week for one hour meeting limitation.

With the new website we have the basis for adding that dimension to the Club’s communications. What remains to be seen is not whether this will happen, but when.  As Professor Tippett proved in her presentation on the Millennials who will become the next generation of Rotarians, this kind of communication is second nature to them. Whether a critical mass of current Rotarians can be nudged into this form of community building remains to be seen.

In the meantime maybe President Don should empower the Sergeant-at-Arms to use a hook to get BSers to surrender the microphone.

Jay is meanwhile prayerfully beating his chest and mumbling “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” which is all he remembers from a year of high school Latin and several years as an altar boy.