Program Reports

The program write ups as they appear in the meeting bulletins.

Program Report: Mike Wienold on Rotary Fellowship Groups and Our Next 100 Days

For many Rotary members, new and old alike, we join service groups on a one-time or regular basis to feel connected to our local community and other local Rotary members. On Monday, we learned about the benefits of a different type of group, Rotary Fellowships — these groups are international in scope (a minimum of three countries must be represented) and they consist of 12 or more participants. Each group is organized around a theme, often a hobby or occasion or activity. A couple of examples include Rotary Global History Fellowship or the Fellowship of Canoeing Rotarians.

There are several reasons to get involved in fellowships; it’s a way to connect with Rotarians outside of the local network; it’s a recruiting tool to draw new Rotarians to service; and, Rotarians can learn valuable vocational skills through fellowship. Additionally, if a local chapter is organizing a fundraiser around a particular theme, there might be a fellowship group that specializes in that theme and can help with organization.

The fellowship groups often plan and meet via email or video chat, and they typically organize an annual in-person meeting around their shared activity. The ski group plans a two week trip each year where they ski, fundraise, and plan future activities and fundraisers, for instance. Groups also meet at the international convention each year.

To get involved in a fellowship group or to learn more, check out

Our Next 100 Days

We have 100 days until the end of the Rotary year, and there are several projects that need our utmost attention.


The Education Committee presented on several volunteer opportunities, and they have three more meetings where members can get involved. Please check the calendar for dates and locations:

Topics to be covered in future Education Committee meetings include:

  • the RYLA retreat which will be the weekend of April 21st
  • finding more volunteers for Reading Rangers to help students with end of year test preparation
  • identifying host families for Youth Exchange
  • working with Book Harvest on a partnership project
  • growing the scholarship fund


New membership chair, Marge Nordstrom, presented on their plans for the next 100 days.

They are tackling the membership directory and making sure each member has a photo in it – if anyone needs a photo to be taken for the directory, Jay Zenner will take photos on 3/6 and 3/13.

Rotary Club of Durham has added 18 new members since July 1, 2016. There will be another orientation for new members on March 13th, and the New Membership Committee will use a new team member approach. New members are placed on six to eight person teams and each team will have two guides, one veteran member and one newer member. With a more hands on approach to club membership, the committee hopes to further their central tenets of retention, engagement, recruitment and technology.

CART Bucket

Other important topics of note include our district fundraising goal for Alzheimer’s research. We have two weeks to meet our $4,000 goal and so far we have raised just shy of $2,000. Plan to bring large bills to drop into the CART buckets next week.

On March 13th we vote for our new board – be there or be square!

Community Service Recognition

Last but not least, five Rotarians were recognized for their community service achievements:

Peter Jacobi – Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Carver Weaver – MLK Meal Packing

Nancy Gordon – Alzheimers Caregivers Luncheon

Nancy Marks – Alzheimers Caregivers Luncheon

Meg Solera – Alzheimers Caregivers Luncheon

Program Report – Adam Eisenrauch – Emily K Center

Adam Eigenrauch, the Executive Director of the Emily K Center asked for a show of hands of those that had been to their facility on Chapel Hill Road.  A lot of hands went up but it probably didn’t surprise him because we have had at least one meeting there and we do award the Brown Family Scholarship to one of the graduates of their program every year.  At least once several Rotarians have participated in a career night at the center.

Adam was introduced by Rotarian Gerry Musante who joined the board of the Emily K Center in 1999 when planning for the center began and remained on it until last year when he was honored with Emeritus status.  Adam has been Executive Director since November of 2010 and came to the Center in 2006 as Director of Education after 10 years as an educator and administrator in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

The Center’s mission revolves around identifying promising students in Durham County from disadvantaged backgrounds and providing intense tutoring and support to lay a future foundation for getting into college and being successful there. Separate programs support the We have met several of these students when the scholarships have been awarded.  Pioneer Scholars is for first through eighth graders, Scholars to College is for them as high school students and Scholars on Campus supports them during their first two years of college.

While this intense focus on a few students has been very successful, what Adam came to talk about was an expansion of their support for potential college students to all Durham high school student. Students participate in interactive college access focused workshops and individualized one-on-one advising services. Workshops are offered both at the Center and in the community. Advising sessions are personalized and flexible, with office hours established based on student availability. Students may participate in as many or as few Game Plan: College services as they wish.

Since there was a little confusion caused by me about who was going to do this write-up, I had to go to the Emily K website to make sure I had some of the details right. Like often happens when I do this, confused or not, I get engrossed in whatever site I find. One of the interesting features was the embedded video below which introduces Game Plan: College. If you are reading this in the printed bulletin you can find the video on the Center’s website at under the Programs tab or go to this write up on our club’s website at

For those of you who might be reading this in India or Argentina on our website and wondering who Emily K was, she was the inspiration for Hall of Fame Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K is the Founder of the Emily K Center and it is dedicated to his mom.


Submitted by Jay Zenner

Program Report – David Baron, Founder of

Don’t just sit there – go to!

As a little boy with a lot of energy, David Baron too often heard “that’s not a toy.” Delicate things, dangerous things, and things his mother claimed were “just for looks” – he converted them into tools and toys. He broke things, and sometimes broke himself. So he decided early on that when he grew up, he wanted to change that and be able to say, “that’s a toy.”

As a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, he discovered that sleeping on a futon – particularly a cheap one – was way less than desirable. He found they broke, they were cumbersome, and they ended up in the dumpster. He was offended that the big box stores could get away with that, basically “tricking customers.” It hit him: that was the opportunity to make something better, and way more delightful. He was on track to become a successful manufacturing entrepreneur just a few years later.

Baron, CEO of, an e-commerce business based in downtown Durham that sells fun foam futons called Nuggets, is a native of Atlanta. Prior to Monday’s speaking engagement, his experience with Rotary was “a dedicated park bench on a corner in suburban Dunwoody, Georgia.” He appeared a bit taken aback by the size of his Rotary audience, but quickly warmed to his topic. [Read more…]

Program Report – January 30, 2017 – Justice Willis Whichard

It is rare enough that we have one of the most significant figures in Durham’s history present to the club but even rarer still to have two in a row. Last week it was Dr. Ralph Snyderman who guided the Duke Medical Center as Chancellor for 15 years and this week Justice Willis Whichard.

Not only do these men still walk among us, both are Rotarians and Club members and both not only had an impact on Durham and North Carolina but on their professions.

Rotarian, lawyer and retired judge Nancy Gordon introduced Justice Whichard, who she described as a colleague, mentor and friend. Justice Whichard, as many know, is the only person to serve in both houses of the State Legislature as well as sit on the State Appellate Court and Supreme Court, where he was “incredibly well respected” according to Gordon.

When he left the bench at the Supreme Court level in 1998 he served as the Dean of the Campbell University Law School until he retired in 2006.

This background would have given him numerous topics to share with us but what he chose to talk about was his time after retiring from Campbell on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Judiciary. This was especially timely because on Monday we got the word that our new president would announce his nomination to fill the vacant ninth seat on the United States Supreme Court the following evening.

Justice Whichard went through the process the committee uses to evaluate anyone that the President appoints to the Federal Judiciary. In involves reviewing opinions, background, and interviews with others in the profession that have dealt with the nominee. Integrity is always a big issue. Membership on the Standing  Committee is an honor but also a major commitment of time.

The history of the committee goes back 64 years to the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and only one president, George W. Bush, suspended the use of the committee to vet judicial appointments.

Justice Whichard, recounted that he had pretty much thought he was finished with his term when US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly a little less than a year ago, on February 13, 2016. When President Obama nominated Merritt Garland, the committee went into high gear to do the evaluation, which could only be described as honest-to-God extreme vetting.

Judge Garland passed with flying colors.

I don’t know Justice Whichard well, but the times I have encountered him or heard him speak, he seemed as even tempered and fair minded as you would expect a judge to be that had risen to his level of respect and prominence in his profession.  Nevertheless, I think I detected a hint that he was a tad peeved when he recounted that a jurist like Merritt Garland who had served his country and profession so well for so many years, who when nominated for the highest bench in the land, was denied even a meeting with any of the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, much less hearings or a vote on his nomination.

Since I don’t trust my failing ears to get everything into my notes I often resort to Google to check things out.  What I found was a page on the ABA website about the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. There were three things there that were very interesting. The first was the explanation of the Well Qualified rating given Judge Garland. What was surprising in such a formal document was what were called a “few representative comments.”  Three that stood out for me were “Garland’s integrity is off the scales;” “Garland is the best that there is. He is the finest judge I have ever met. There is no one who is his peer;” and really, can you do any better than, “He may be the perfect human being.” This is a 26-page document that goes on and on like that until you get to page 22 where they list the distinguished jurists and law professors that participated in the evaluation. You can find Justice Whichard on page 25.

The second interesting thing is a 30 page “backgrounder” describing the evaluation process. We got the condensed version from Justice Whichard but just skimming the document gives you a sense of how thorough these evaluations are.

Finally, there is a short video clip of President Eisenhower thanking the Standing Committee for its service in 1955. Like Justice Whichard, I remember Ike too.  I have a short clip somewhere of him at the first political rally I ever attended. I was six or seven and my grandfather had taken me and shot the film.  I like Ike… and Justice Whichard too.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Program Report: January 23, 2017 – Dr. Ralph Snyderman

Many of the most significant figures in Durham’s history still walk among us.

Steed Rollins introduced one of them on Monday. Dr. Ralph Snyderman, who for 15 years was the Chancellor of the Duke University Medical Center, guiding it through periods of great challenge and transformation.

Dr. Snyderman, was also a member of our Rotary Club for many years and is still an honorary member. Recently, the Duke University Press published his book, The Chancellor’s Tale, Transforming Academic Medicine and his presentation was an overview of the book’s focus which reflects on his role and the insights he gleaned leading the changes that made the medical center internationally known for its innovations.

Dr. Snyderman began with a couple of anecdotes that framed his challenge early on. The first was an encounter at a gas station when he first came to town and was lost looking for the hospital. The attendant burst his bubble by declaring that yes, “Duke was the best hospital,” at least in Durham. The second was of a day while on hospital rounds that he watched an attendant stripping a bed and wondering where the sheets went and how they got back on the beds after they were washed.  He then set off on a journey that took him first to a non-descript laundry building where the African-American workforce labored in 110-degree heat under their white supervisors. Not only did he get the building air conditioned but began chipping away at the culture that gave Duke Hospital the not-so-fond appellation of the plantation.

Back in June when we visited the Eye Center, I first understood that the foundations of academic medicine were teaching, research and clinical practice. Dr. Snyderman shared that until managed care came alone, each specialty basically operated as an independent business unit with the clinical leg providing the revenue that supported the other two legs. Managed care drove the necessity to share revenue and capture more clinical activity. Long-time residents of Durham have watched that take place as Duke has developed a regional network of primary care physicians that feed the specialty clinics and the acquisition of Durham County Hospital. Dr. Snyderman shared how this latter was difficult because of the County Commissioners’ concern that Duke would not be as responsive to community needs.

This was one of those presentations that I felt could have gone on for another half an hour at least with no diminished interest. Dr. Snyderman never got to share his insights about integrated medicine and personalized medicine and questions hung in the air about his thoughts concerning the Affordable Care Act, its future under the new administration and nationalized healthcare in general.  Fortunately, many of those questions can be answered by the book which is available at including a Kindle version from Amazon. At that page, there is also a link to a two minute video that describes the book and more background on Dr. Snyderman. The video is also embedded at the end of this report. If you watch the video on YouTube, you will probably also see in the sidebar links to several other videos from Dr. Snyderman including two that discuss personalized medicine.

In the last three years, I’ve spent many hours in different areas of the Duke University Hospital (most not as a patient.) Some in areas as serene and lovely as a fine resort or antechamber to the executive suite of a major corporation, and at least one barely a level higher in Dante’s Inferno than the original laundry room that Dr. Snyderman described.  Despite what might still need to be done, the evolution of Duke Medicine has been a boon to Durham and the region and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to grow in service and stature and remain and institution that breeds leaders like Dr. Snyderman.

Submitted by Jay Zenner


Program Report: Christmas Program – December 19, 2016

The Durham Public School Program was preceded by the Durham Rotary Chorus led by Vince Simonetti as seen in several of the pictures above.

It was a very merry Monday at the last meeting of the year. Rotary member Steed Rollins introduced us to the K-12 Director of Arts Education for Durham Public Schools, Mary Casey. Ms Casey oversees the programming and continuity of the arts programs across the school system, and she invited the music students from Little River K-8 to our meeting.

The arts program at DPS has three important branches:

Arts Education – classes taught in visual and performing arts in the schools

Arts Integration – teaching arts within other classes, like science or English

Arts Exposure – exposing students to the arts around the triangle from museums to live performances like the Nutcracker

Leading the music program at Little River, the only K-8 school in the DPS system, Ms Kirlauski introduced us to her 70 elementary school students and 20 middle school students who wowed us with their holiday carols and piano performance. As a smaller school, Ms Kirlauski is able to teach piano to her students instead of band.

On piano we heard four middle school students perform Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and Deck the Halls (duet).

For the carols Ms. Kirlauski’s assistant, Dr Dan Huff, professor of music at UNC, accompanied her on piano. Dr Huff is also Ms. Kirlauski’s father.

The middle school students tenderly sang “Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow.”

The elementary school students moved from the gentle “Who Has Seen the Wind?” to the more raucous “Please Let It Snow.”

Together the students brought down the house with a choreographed version of Mr. Santa that is a decades old tradition at Little River to honor the music teacher who started the tradition many years ago.

Mark you calendars for “An Evening of Entertainment” on Friday, March 3rd when DPS students will perform at DPAC. Ticket sales go to funding scholarships for students.

Submitted by Kate Elia