News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

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.

Rotary Minute: Tammi Brooks

Tammi Brooks escaped into books to cope with a difficult childhood. Now a mother of four and a success, she wants as many kids as possible to have that same outlet.

After her father divorced her mentally ill mother when she was 11 months old, she was handed to the care of her minister’s family, a blessing for sure.

She went back to live with her mother after a time, but it didn’t work out. “By the time I was 16,” she said, “I figured I was on my own.”

Tammi graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in literature and African-American studies ­– the first white student to major in the then-new discipline. “It revealed the latent racism that comes from being a white person in the South that you don’t even know you have until you’re thrown into being a minority,” she said.

She launched a magazine in Gainesville, and it’s still going strong to this day.  But Tammi longed for an experience outside of her college town, so she went to work for Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill.

Small wonder that she has a passion for sharing the gift of literacy with underprivileged children. She brought to the podium three of her favorite childhood books: Miss Twiggley’s Tree, Tikki Tikki Tembo and How Fletcher Was Hatched.

It was all by way of plugging the new “Books on Hand” initiative, in which our club will be charged with supplying 45,000 books to needy children by April. Each member will be asked to provide at least 25 books or a monetary equivalent. Donor accounts will be set up with Barnes & Noble and Amazon to make it no-excuses easy.

It’ll be hard for anyone in attendance to not meet the expectation after Tammi’s moving account. She knows better than most that, as she said, “If children read, they will have a better chance of succeeding, no matter what their circumstances are.”

 

Submitted by Matt Dees

Starfish

Below is a letter from Mary Carey, a founder of BootstrapsPAC who was a guest of the club for Dr. Ferabee’s presentation outlining Durham Public Schools’ partnership with Durham Rotary to make a big dent in the literacy achievement problem in the school system. In an informal meeting after the meeting, there was some concern about our ability to scale up the program and make more than a small dent.  If a few of us catch a little bit Mary’s passion that shouldn’t be a problem.  But see for yourself.