News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Program Report: Parks and Rec – Tom Dawson and Jason Jones

I don’t know if it was done on purpose but the previous week’s presentation from Rotarian Ashleigh Bachert about the Durham Sports Commission that she heads, but this week’s presentation from two of the assistant Directors of Durham’s Parks and Recreation department seemed to be the other side of the same coin.

Whereas a good deal of the focus of the Sports Commission is bringing events to the community along with dollars and hotel room nights, the Parks and Recreation Department focuses on Durham citizens. There is considerable overlap however in both the areas of facilities and in programming.

Our speakers, introduced by Danielle Kaspar (pinch hitting for Michael Kriston,) represented the two main arms of the department touching the public directly. The first to speak was Tom Dawson, a landscape architect by training, responsible for Parks and Planning. Jason Jones is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and responsible for the programs organized for all those facilities. They compose half of the leadership team of the department that is directed by Rhonda Parker and includes Joy Guy, who handles Administration.

Listening to these guys was a bit humbling for me, a guy who has been around a long time here in Durham and a has been jock. I learned a lot. The first surprise was the scope of activities and facilities. 69 Parks? Who knew? 57 Playgrounds, 5 pools on over 2000 acres.

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New Member: King Kenny

King Kenney is Marketing Director at Duke Performances and Executive Director atSuperLit. King is a reputable insider with a unique understanding of how to inspire action.

As a copywriter and journalist, King regularly delivers engaging content to target audiences of diverse sorts. As a Founder and Director, he has a demonstrated history of empowering
communities with the message needed to seek cures for various ills that cause cyclical poverty.

King’s Sponsor is Sara Stephens. Welcome, King!

New Member: Bob Wiley

Bob Wiley is a Seattle area native. He attended Prep School, College and Business School in the Boston area.

He worked in consulting and in the investment business in Boston and New York.

Bob’s father (89 years old) has been a Rotarian for almost 50 years. In 1999, Bob joined Seattle # 4, established in 1910. At that time, it was the largest Club in the world with over 700
Members.

Bob enjoys music and the arts, hiking, sailing, and he is also a history buff.

He knows the difference active Rotarians can make in a community and from he sees after visitingwith us for several Meetings, this Club is clearly doing that. Bob stated that “he feels like he’s in the right room.”

Bob’s Sponsor is Bob Gutman. Welcome, Bob!

Program: Ashleigh Bachert – Durham Sports Commission

I took a look at the Durham Sports Commission’s website in preparation for writing this and noted that besides our speaker, Executive Director and Rotarian Ashleigh Bachert, the Durham Rotary Club is very involved. Rotarian Ingrid Wicker-McCree the Athletic Director at NCCU, and honorary member Dan Hill, who introduced Ashleigh are both on the board. Also on the board is former member Bill Kalkhof, the retired President of Downtown Durham Inc. Rotarians Shelly Green, the current head of Discover Durham and her successor Susan Amey were there at the meeting. Discover Durham nursed the Commission into existence and currently shelters and otherwise supports it. No doubt the city and county officials in attendance had a roll as well.

Ms. Bachert must have taken lessons from Kalkhof, whose updates on Downtown Durham were rapid fire and jammed with statistics and other facts that were impossible to summarize in these program write-ups.

Even if you didn’t know it already, the genesis of the Sports Commission in Discover Durham was pretty obvious with its emphasis on attracting sporting events to Durham to bring fans into town to spend their money and enjoy all of our attractions. Sports tourism is what Ms. Bachert called it.

Dan Hill introduced Ashleigh Bachert

To illustrate how this happens, Ms. Bachert went through an example of what it would cost a family to have an 11-year-old to play basketball competitively…it added up to about $20,000 annually. This would have shocked my father, whose primary investment for me when I was playing high school sports was fifty cents per practice for the two root beers from the drink machine that I would chug afterwards. If it was going to cost him even the 60’s equivalent of $20K I would have had to have been satisfied with a plywood backboard in the yard and a free library card.

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Program – Tom Miller: Preservation Durham

Who would believe a program about cemeteries could be so hilarious and yet informative? Tom Miller of Preservation Durham did just that.  Thanks, Tom.  In his introduction of Tom, Past President Don Stanger pointed out that our speaker had steered Hope Valley’s designation as a National Historic Register site through the rigorous nomination process.

As Tom pointed out, the success of any historic preservation group is measured by how much it can “slow down” the destruction of historic sites.  By that measure it appears to me that Durham began turning the corner by the early 21st century.

Tom Miller was introduced by Don Stanger.

Among Tom’s special interests are Durham’s cemeteries, especially its first public cemetery—Maplewood.  Earlier burials were on church grounds or in family plots.  Established in 1872, Maplewood was indeed the town’s first public amenity.  It was not universally popular.  Some residents probably thought proper streets or public water were more important.  But not recently arrived carpetbagger, Louis Austin, who had been drawn to Durham because its politics were dominated by northern Republican business interests.  Austin agitated for a ball-field instead.  To promote his cause and annoy his opponents he repeatedly fired a canon until it grew so hot it exploded.  Without family or funds, the mortally wounded Austin was interred in an unmarked pauper’s grave.  Diligent sleuthing in the late 20th century revealed its location, leading to the erection of a grave marker.

One of the most handsome and imposing mausoleums in Maplewood belonged to the Duke family.  Early members of that prominent family were initially interred there.  In 1935, shortly after the completion of Duke University Chapel, remains of the foremost Dukes—Washington and sons Ben and Buck—were transferred to the small Memorial Chapel situated to the left of the chancel.  Poor Brodie Duke, Ben and Buck’s older half-brother—and not as temperate in taste or love as they—remained behind in Maplewood.

Other significant individuals interred in Maplewood include Bartlett Durham who donated land on which a train station was built for the North Carolina Railroad and around which houses and business establishments began springing up in the 1850s.  Soon this town would be named for Bartlett Durham.  Another is W. T. Blackwell, the richest man in Durham, whose “Bull Durham” smoking tobacco generated his fortune.  Mail order tombstones, mostly from the early 20th century, are scattered about.

(A Hebrew cemetery would be established a few years later at Beth El Synagogue and in the 1920s the city of Durham constructed Beechwood Cemetery located near White Rock Baptist Church for African American burials.)

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

 

New Member – Jim Tucker

Please welcome new member, Jim Tucker.

Jim Tucker is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist.  He co-founded the investment and financial planning firm of Tucker Bria Wealth Strategies, LLC.  He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jim enjoyed a successful business career prior to entering the wealth management field in 2003.  His business experience includes time as a Wall Street investment banker and as an investment manager for a regional mall real estate portfolio of a national insurance company.

Jim’s entrepreneurial endeavors include being a member of the management team that grew Natural Wonders, a mall-based nature and science gift retailer, from a venture capital backed start-up into a publicly traded company.  Additionally, he was an early employee of the Charlotte-based technology company, AvidXchange.

Jim earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (A.B., Public Policy) and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jim is a former Duke University swimming record holder and current member of U.S. Masters Swimming.  He enjoys wine, food and travel or any combination of the above.  Jim’s service focuses are in the areas of affordable housing, K-12 education and autism.

Jim and his wife, Valerie Hausman, have two sons, Andrew (20) and Justin (18), and reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.