Million Meals

This write up is from Matt Dees of Durham Magazine via Rotarian Sheridan Townsend, who coordinated the club’s participation in the event.  Be sure to click on the slideshow which will take you to the magazine’s site. Some great pictures including one of our own Past President Newman Aguiar with a huge smile and Rob Everett and his daughter Cate wearing funny hats and banging a gong.  Thanks Matt for all the help. Great write up and great pics too!

The gong went off, and cheers went up among the hundreds crowing around tables covered with giant tubs of rice, dehydrated vegetables and other food stuffs.

The gong sounded every time 1,000 meals had been packaged and ready to be shipped to needy people both domestically and around the world. Every time it reverberated, the group of volunteers got one step closer to the goal of packaging 80,000 meals by day’s end, contributing to the Million Meals Project, backed by Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization.

The event, organized by representatives of Duke, NCCU and the Rotary Club of  Durham, has become an MLK Day tradition. Last year, more than 64,500 meals were packaged.

Jesse Huddleston of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership said they started the day anticipating 500 volunteers but said by mid-morning they were expecting closer to 1,000 to show up by day’s end. The Freeman Center for Jewish Life at Duke was absolutely jammed with people, some of whom were left waiting for a work station to open up.

Rebekah Johnston, representing the Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship Program, said it was heartening to think about the good the meals would do. She said many of the meals will go to schools in developing countries, where sometimes the food provided at school is the only meal some students will eat. “This is supporting worldwide education, in a way, by helping them to concentrate, focus and just stay healthy,” Rebekah said.

Check out our slideshow to see more, and congratulations to everyone who participated in this worthy effort!

 

Polio Plus Progress

It has been an extraordinary year for Polio Plus. This announcement was made at the club meeting on January 23 by Durham Rotary Foundation Co-Chair, Dr. Andy Barada. The specifics:

  1. Rotary International announced that we have MET the $200 million goal.
  2. The Gates Foundation $400 million to the polio cause which is $50 million extra.
  3. India, one of the PAIN quartet of nations (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria) reported NO CASES of POLIO for 1 Year.
  4. The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have decided to temporarily stop fighting long enough to get their children immunized.

With this discussion of polio, which is a viral disease, as an introduction, Andy presented a Paul Harris Fellowship +1 pin to one of the world’s most eminent virologists, Durham Rotarian Bill Joklik.

The Russians are Coming

The Downtown Durham Rotary is partnering with Sister Cities of Durham (http://www.sistercities-durham.org/) and the Open World Program (http://www.openworld.gov/about/overview.php?sub=2&lang=1)   to bring six Russian leaders from Kostroma City to Durham for a week.  The delegates are leaders in private enterprise and government service and include the Mayor of Kostroma City.  They will make a presentation to our club on Monday, February 6th.
Kostroma was founded in 1152 and is located 211 miles northeast of Moscow, with a population of about 270,000.  It is one of the historic cities of the “Golden Ring”, and abounds with magnificent examples of churches, wooden buildings, and 18th century architechture.  Kostroma was the home of Mikhael Romanov in 1612 when he was called to become the first tsar of his dynasty.
Please come welcome our guests at a reception on Saturday, February 4, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.. St. Philip’s Parish Hall, 403 East Main Street, Durham.  Click here for the full invitation. Please RSVP by February 1st with number attending to sistercitiesdurham@gmail.com.
You are also invited to join in a reception/dinner at Dos Peros on Monday, February 6th from 5:30 p.m . – 7:00 p.m.  Cost is $18/person.  Please RSVP to ereckhow@gmail.com by Friday, February 3rd.
Finally, come to the City Council Meeting on Monday, February 6th at 7:00 p.m.  The Russian Delegates will be presented formally to the City and Mayor Bell will give his annual “State of the City” address.


Matt Dees from Durham Magazine

President Arthur introduced the Matt Dees the editor of Durham Magazine and a potential member. Mr. Dees had a little bit of a hard time describing how the 13,000 mailed copies that are published every other month are distributed. I’m not surprised because I get a copy in my mailbox maybe once or twice a year and no more, which is not frequently enough for me to miss it. I suspect it is because the neighborhood I live in might be just under the line from the demographics that lifestyle magazines hope to attract for their advertisers. And yes, I’m a little bit of a low-brow snob whose favorite beverage is PBR and who doesn’t aspire much to a more glamorous lifestyle.

Mr. Dees confessed that his prepared remarks were brief and he was true to his word. Nevertheless, it was an interesting peek into what must go on behind the scenes to get a niche magazine like this out the door every couple of months.
He talked about the difficulty of straddling the line between being positive but not fluff. He described the difference between their Chapel Hill magazine and theDurhammagazine in an interesting way.Chapel Hillseemed to embrace their magazine as an “entitlement” as in “of course we’re a fabulous wine and cheese community.” Durham on the other hand conveyed an attitude of gratitude, like a poor kid invited to the country club party.

He described the content they sought to produce forDurhamas aspirational. Food and restaurant coverage is a big deal as you might expect. As a Realtor I was interested that a regular feature is “Great Homes inDurham.”Durhamtruly does have some great homes and they could use the publicity because the market for them has been dead here for at least 5 years. He also described how they constantly debated taking a more in-depth look at controversial topics and didn’t want to get caught with their head in the sand. He also described how they like to get pictures and the names of people in the magazine obviously because everybody likes to see their names in print, especially as part of a hip crowd. [Read more…]

Christmas Program by the Chamber Ensemble of the Durham School of the Arts

For a number of years Mary Casey, the Director of K-12 Art Education for the Durham Public Schools has worked with Rotarian Malcolm White and our Executive Secretary Bernadette Jones to present a musical program for our Christmas program.

These programs are always special and many spouses and other family members make a point of coming as guests. This year was special too but a little different. Many years the performers are younger children and a big part of the musical experience is all wrapped up in enthusiasm with a bow of cuteness that evokes wide smiles as surely as eggnog.  A lot of the fun is observing the intensity, boredom, silliness, distraction and kids being kids especially between pieces.

What was different this year was that we got the first team, the all stars, the top performers which placed the emphasis on the music. Ms. Casey turned the program over toDurhamSchoolof the Arts principal David Hawks who in turn introduced Sean Grier who directed the DSA Chamber Ensemble. The Chamber Ensemble is an advanced level vocal music group at DSA that consists of junior and senior students.

Mr. Grier moved the ensemble through the performance with elegance and humor. The eight song set began with the Carol of the Bells and ended with the Hallelujah Chorus and, after a standing ovation, finished with Auld Lang Syne.  I’m no music critic but when a performance touches me emotionally enough to bring a tear to my eye I realize that they’ve taken me from the moment to another warm and comfortable place.

So, whether it’s the wide smiles evoked by the younger, less polished performers or the quieter joy delivered by talented juniors and seniors, this annual Rotary event never fails to light the Christmas spirit.

The other thing it does is remind us that DPS is slowly but surely becoming the world class system that was envisioned years ago when things really weren’t that great. Many of our Rotary efforts with the schools involve helping in areas that have struggled. It’s nice to see that magnet schools like DSA are part of the effort too and providing all students an opportunity to excel in their own way.
To learn more about the DurhamSchoolof the Arts, they have a very interesting website at  http://www.dsa.dpsnc.net/.

Program – Mixed Use in Durham

Some of the best programs that we have had in the last several years of excellent programs are those that give us a peek into what other people do for a living, what problems the have to solve, what obstacles are in their way and what makes them toss and turn at night.

Rotarian Rob Everett introduced and then wrapped up one of those presentations on Monday. The topic was mixed-use development inDurhamand he was accompanied by Patrick Young of the City/County Planning Department and Dan Jewell, an activist for progressive planning and landscape architect with offices in Downtown Durham, our most visible mixed use triumph.

What this team was doing was campaigning for revisions toDurham’s current mixed use rules.Durhampioneered mixed use in the state in 1996 and improved the tiers in 2006. There are a number of proposed changes that are currently under review by the City/County Planning staff. Mr. Young pointed out that the issues involve appropriate location, the range of uses, parking and overall density.

Mr. Jewell and Mr. Everett then provided a little history of Erwin Terrace, the mixed use development acrossErwin Roadfrom Duke atLaSalle St. This is on property that has been in theEverettfamily for generations. Two of the five planned buildings have been completed and are occupied. The very popular Nosh restaurant and several other eateries are in one and I can attest through experience that parking can be a problem in this kind of development. However, the longer range plans include a parking deck and two additional buildings await a better economic and financing climate. The fifth building is unlikely to be built because of watershed concerns at the back to the development’s site.

Although there are certainly folks that resist the impulse to continually modify and control what gets built and what doesn’t though zoning, the lack of zoning almost guarantees ugly. I chose not to move toDallas thirty some years ago because nice homes were often built literally across the street from chain-linked industrial buildings. [Read more…]