News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

New Member: Sara Stephens

Please welcome new member Sara Stephens and introduce yourself.  Sara is the Director of Individual Giving for the United Way of the Greater Triangle.  She was sponsored by Indira Everett.

Rotary Minute: Steed Rollins 2

Steed used this Rotary minute to outline his family connections to the area…Dad, Mom and inlaws, which go very deep. In 2014 he did another Rotary Minute with more of his own personal history which is here.

My Historical Family Ties to the Region

Rollins Family

  • 1865 Edward Tyler Rollins born. (grandfather)
  • 1894 Rollins founds Durham Herald Co. which is now The Herald-Sun
  • Acquires The Durham Sun during the depression
  • Edward T. Rollins dies 1931
  • 1916 Steed Rollins, Sr. born
  • 1938 he joins Durham Rotary
  • December ’41 he is the first Rotarian to enlist in Army and sent to New Guinea
  • Dad died in 1985
  • Pelham Wilder invited me to join Rotary in 1986

Riggsbee Family

  • Joseph Albert Riggsbee born 1883? Chatham Co.
  • His father, Atlas, was postman between Pittsboro & Chapel Hill
  • Descendants from the McCauley family (Mathew & William) that donated farm land in 1789 in “Newhope Chappel Hill” to establish a home for the University of North Carolina.

Few Family

  • 1763 James Few moves to Orange Co. and purchases land at what is now the end of Cole Mill Rd. and what is now known as Few’s Ford.
  • He was a Regulator and was hanged for refusal to take an oath of Allegiance to the Crown.
  • 1867 his great grandson, William Preston Few, was born in Greer, SC (This Louise’s grandfather) Note that both of us have a grandfather born during the Civil War.
  • 130 years after James Few was hanged, William Preston Few returned to Durham as a professor at Trinity College.
  • William Preston Few became President of Trinity College and persuades James B. Duke to endow the little college and to transform it into a great university.
  • He became the first president of Duke University
  • Dr. Few was an early member of the Durham Rotary Club, possibly as an Honorary Member. He died in 1940.
  • His forth son, Randolph R. Few, was born on Duke’s East Campus in 1920 and was my father-in-law. I recall him vividly remembering walking the woods with his father and Mr. Duke to select the site for the Duke Chapel.
  • Dr. Few died in 1941.

Program Report: Dan Berman – Carolina Theatre

My wife and I have been volunteers at the Carolina Theatre for the past 8 years, as part of a group of over 300 Theatre volunteers.  We have come to love the Carolina as do the other volunteers.  As we worked shows, we became aware of the growing difficulties at the Theatre.  We heard good things about Dan Berman when he became the volunteer CEO in January, 2016, and his speech confirmed the faith many placed in him to put the Theatre on a more solid financial footing.

Rotarian Treat Harvey, Director of Development at the Carolina, introduced Dan Berman, her boss. He was the founder of MainQuad Group, that acquired and operated radio stations in NC and VA.   Treat said “ As a volunteer, every day for 14 and 1/2 months, he has come in to the Theatre as if he were a paid employee, working long hours.    I admire what he has done for the Theatre, taking it from the brink of disaster to a stable organization that continues to provide the best of arts education and entertainment for Durham and beyond.”

Dan’s presentation verified what we read in newspaper accounts.  Financial reports through 2014 indicated two profitable years in a row.  Thus the CEO expanded the number of live events from 68 in 2014 to 108 in 2015.  However, this expansion created a financial crisis with unprofitable shows. The 2015 review showed a a bookkeeping problem, with a net deficit instead of a profit.

Dan says “I anticipated keeping the job until the Theatre’s finances could be stabilized and a new CEO hired – maybe a few months max.  Within a day of starting, it was apparent that things were much worse.”   He immediately put a hold on additional bookings and provided a new business plan to the City.  In March, 2016, the City agreed to a one-time payment of $600,000, if CTD could match this with private donations by June 30, 2017.  This was completed by Thanksgiving, 2016, 7 months ahead of schedule.   Dan’s evaluation is that CTD is now thriving with a reduced net deficit and 14 profitable months in a row.

This has helped CTD develop partners with Duke Performances,  Cat’s Cradle, Motorco,  Full Frame, Art of Cool and Moogfest, as well as continuing to host local organizations.  CTD continues with its award-winning independent film programs and festivals such as the NC Gay + Lesbian Film Festival, the Nevermore Film Festival, the Retro Film Series, and the new Anime-Magic Film Fest that became the highest-grossing film festival in the history of the nonprofit.

In summary, Dan said “CTD has implemented a new business model focused on tightening financial controls, identifying and executing operational efficiencies, quantifying and minimizing risk, and increasing fundraising. This disciplined business approach, combined with innovative and diverse programming choices, strategic partnerships with other presenting organizations and a re-dedication to arts education and community outreach, has transformed CTD – creating a sustainable fiscal model and ensuring its place as a beacon of culture in downtown Durham.”

Submitted by Brady Surles

Rotary Minute: Dr. Peter Jacobi

Editor’s note: If Dr. Peter Jacobi is/was as good a doctor as he is a storyteller, this Minute also illustrates how good a Rotarian he will be. In his own words…

I don’t know about you, but aside from March Madness, I have been thinking about spring a lot lately.

Perhaps you remember that delicious feeling during the spring of a school year.

Yes, there were assignments due, but there was something irresistible calling you outside.

As a family physician I should know the difference between hay fever (a condition of the nose) and spring fever (a condition of the soul).

What I am talking about is spring fever.

So, you may wonder where I am going, but I promise you I am coming back to Rotary.

___________________________________________ [Read more…]

Program Report: Shafonda Davis of The Durham APS

It wasn’t really my turn to do this write-up, but pressed into service, I’ve now wasted a couple of hours thinking about how to approach it.  I’ve got plenty of material, including the PowerPoint presentations that were used by APS Executive Director Shafonda Davis and Development Director Darlene Fiscus. There’s also a very good Facebook page ( and a great website (

But I sit here looking at the computer screen thinking about the dogs and cats I’ve known. First and foremost is Dusty, the dog I spent more time with under the same roof than any other living thing. Assistant District Governor Joyce McKinney, who was present at the meeting and who works closely with APS, helped Dusty across the “rainbow bridge” just short of his 18th birthday in what seemed more like a priestess administering last rites than being “put down.”

There are three Sams in my history. One was a boyhood tan and white Boxer. My brother rescued a Malamute and gave it to my parents. They also named him Sam and he chewed up every cushion and loose shoe in the house before he became an honored family member. There were a couple of Cocker Spaniels before Sam II. The third Sam, also with some boxer in him belongs to Melissa Mills. Sam and his constant companion, Sarah, both true rescues, spent several weeks with me after Melissa broke her wrist, and we became good friends.

My brother Bill always has several dogs, two or three now depending on which ones you count. But the first one was an abandoned hound who had been hit by a car. A vet amputated the leg and she was smuggled out of the office before she could be euthanized by his sister-in-law, a vet tech. They called her Tinker but I always called her Tripod. She was a great dog and never seemed to miss that rear leg.

There are a lot more dogs I could mention and cats too, but this is not a memoir.  I just wanted to make the point that all these guys were loved and cherished and brought great joy. Many in the club can tell a similar history.

But somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, or more than 2000 of the animals that pass through the APS shelter here in Durham annually, don’t make it out. They never get a real name, they never have a real home. They may never have been not hungry or not scared of humans. They may be sick, or hurt, or just too ugly, but they are not adoptable and must be disposed of, un-mourned.  Most “no kill” shelters, according to Ms. Davis are very selective about the animals they take in, but in Durham, the shelter can’t turn away any animal that is brought in. Strays, surrenders, healthy, sick, wild or just old, they must take them. Ms. Davis made the point very passionately that the most difficult responsibility they have is putting down the animals that nobody wants.

The good news is that we’ve come a long way. Not too many years ago, the number of animals that passed through was almost double. Progress with spay and neuter programs are the most effective way of dealing with the over population of dogs and cats, and they are working.

As you might expect, the shelter can always use help. Ms. Ficus related the many ways this is possible. There’s plenty of information about that on their website. There is also a page about their annual “Walk for the Animals” on Duke’s East Campus coming up on May 20. Information is at

My personal fantasy is that pets reincarnate and the wise thing to do when you lose a wonderful pet, is to wait patiently, and they will show up sooner or later. So, I assume Dusty’s successor is out there somewhere stirring around and I check the APS website periodically to see if he’s among the 100 plus dogs residing in the shelter at any one time. Haven’t seen him yet, if he’s a “him” in this new life, but a few, like this cutie, make me wonder, “Dusty?”

Submitted by Jay Zenner


New Member: Susan Amey

New member Susan Amey introduces herself after her induction on Monday. Susan was sponsored by Shelly Green and has joined Shelly’s team at the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau as the Director of Marketing. Susan is a Raleigh native, whet to school at NYU and came to us from AICPA. Please introduce yourself and welcome Susan to the Club.