Program write-up – Open World Program: Visitors from Sister City Kostroma

Open World Program Kostromo GuestsThe U. S. Congress chartered the Open World Program in 1999 as a pilot program to invite leaders from the former Soviet Union to visit the United States as an introduction to our version of democracy and free enterprise.  Beginning in 2011 the program began focusing on leaders younger than 36.  Open World pairs these visitors with local organizations such as sister city programs, Rotary clubs, colleges, local government agencies and other non-profit groups.  Durham is one of sixty or so communities across the United States that have hosted about 18,000 participants over the years. [Read more…]

Melissa Mills Visits RLI x 2

I thought RLI (Rotary Leadership Institute) was just for PET (President-Elect Training), but when I heard President Arthur and others speaking about it as a resource for us all, I thought I’d try it out.  I’m glad I did!

RLI isn’t part of Rotary International, but then, neither is Rotary Foundation .  At RLI, we learn why.  In fact, not only did I learn a great deal that deepened my admiration and respect for the leaders who formed and founded Rotary, I also met a bunch of extraordinary people – both classmates and faculty.  And had fun! [Read more…]

Program Review – Morris Ridge Update

Scherich Jernigan and MedlinWhen Jack Wiggen had to miss the meeting Seth Jernigan stepped in and introduced Bryan Scherich and Drew Medlin who together run Measurement Durham, LLC the real estate arm ofDurham’s own Measurement Inc. They joined us to provide an update on Morris Ridge, an urban mixed use development just north of the Civic CenteronMorris Street. Measurement Inc. is the highly successful firm begun by Bryan’s father Hank Scherich that provides achievement tests and scoring services for state governments, other testing companies, and various organizations. MI evolved from a consultancy originally focusing on writing to become an important player in the field of education.

Both Bryan Scherich and Mr. Medlin grew up in Durham and besides their responsibilities in the company are active in the community. Mr. Scherich is on the board of the Durham Lions Club and Durham Central Park, the latter in close proximity to the Morris Ridge development. Mr. Medlin is a board member of Preservation Durham, Downtown Durham, Inc., the Furman University Alumni Association and is an active member of the Urban Land Institute. [Read more…]

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 ( and the Open World Program (   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
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 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.