Program Report: Bryan Poole – Ride Sharing in Durham

Menu of City Transportation Services Is Expanding, Planner Says

If you’ve seen more bike sharing in Durham, you get an A for paying attention.

As City Planner Bryan Poole explained to a full house at Monday’s lunch, Durham has become home to about 500 bikes available for check out and rent by smartphone app and other means for residents without apps or credit cards. Since the program was launched less than a year ago as a private-sector initiative, the city has recorded about 60,000 rides with an existing average of about 2,000 users each month.

With feasibility studies funded by state and federal grants, and census data in hand, city officials have worked to make the bikes available across all census tracts and neighborhoods, York said, with social and neighborhood equity embedded in the distribution plan.

“There are lots of surprising places they ride,” he said. “People are really using them.”

The private sector companies providing the equipment and logistics are not making a lot of money at this stage, Poole said. Rather, they view dock-less biking in Durham as an entry point to help the city provide more options in a growing space known as “the world of shared mobility.”

The next step will be to focus on providing electric scooters, which is still in study, permitting and review, but could result in available scooters by the autumn.

“Safety is one of the biggest concerns we have in the department,” Poole said. Typical issues around the legal definition of scooters, liability in the event of accidents, and refining the location of parking zones in hot spots are still being worked out, he said.

Poole was introduced by Rotarian Emily Egge. We thank Poole for the update and look forward to another visit as the program progresses.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

New Member: Yvette West

New member Yvette West is surrounded by her sponsor Assistant District Governor Susan Ross, Vice President and Membership Committee member Erik Benson and President Brady Surles. Please introduce yourself and welcome Ms. West into the Club. Below is some information about her background.

Ms.West graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing — and a few years later, received a Master in Science in Nursing in Geriatrics from Cal State.

She spent the majority of her nursing career in Perioperative Services, and then moving into Geriatric Nursing Education for the last 5 years.  Yvette retired from Duke Hospital in 2013.

After retirement, she became an amateur contractor while working with her general contractor to renovate a downtown building for residential and commercial use. In May 2016, Yvette opened Bulldega Urban Market, the only Downtown Durham Grocery Store, which is growing each month.  Bulldega Urban Market is preparing to move into One City Center in early October.

Ms. West was asked to give a Rotary Minute as well as introduce herself. She used the theme of service and described a trip to Africa to use her nursing skills to help deliver babies and in the process establishing practices there that impacted the infant mortality rate…i.e. saved a lot of babies lives and the agony of losing a child.

Lawrence Woo – Waypoint Church and Building Businesses for the Good of the Community

President-elect Todd Taylor began his introduction of Monday’s speaker with his usual flair, promising attendees “some really fine preachin’” from Lawrence Yoo, pastor of Waypoint Church in Chapel Hill. Actually, we have the indispensable Sharon Lassiter to thank for the program, as she is a member of Yoo’s congregation, and thought her minister could share a message and a mission that would resonate with Rotarians.

When Yoo took the microphone, he promised “not to throw too many Bibles today,” quickly captivating listeners with his broad grin and infectious enthusiasm. He related stories of how his and many other Asian families immigrated to the United States, bringing with them a strong history of entrepreneurship. “In the church, we found the perfect intersection of culture and community,” he says, “and worked to combine our money, our ideas, and our energy to find creative ways to make an impact: in effect, sharing responsibility for building businesses for the good of the community.”

He cited an example of an associate whose investments suddenly paid off, finding himself flush with cash. The man invested into housing units, renting them to immigrants, refugees, and justice-involved individuals for as much as 25 percent below market value. The homes are safe and well-maintained, unlike much “affordable housing.” Tenants are provided with mentors, who help guide them in pursuit of safe and secure life choices and building financial equity. “These are people who want jobs and a chance to improve themselves,” Yoo emphasizes. “They are ready and willing to work hard.”

[Read more…]

New Member: Karen Wells


Please welcome and introduce yourself to new member Karen Wells.

Karen Wells is the first Executive Director of the Durham Library Foundation, having begun her position in May, 2018.

Prior to moving to Durham, she served for seventeen years as Executive Director of Arts North Carolina, leading and facilitating citizen advocacy at the NC General Assembly.  During her tenure, state funding for 250 organizations was increased, impacting local recipients including the Durham Arts Council, American Dance Festival, Mallarme Chamber Players, and Manbites Dog Theatre.

At her retirement from Arts North Carolina in the spring of 2017 she was presented her greatest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Karen previously served as Performing Arts Director at the North Carolina Arts Council and for ten years as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Wilson.  Karen’s lifelong work in nonprofit management is grounded in the transformative power of educational and cultural opportunities to change lives and communities, and she considers it a privilege to now be serving the Durham Library Foundation’s mission of providing a margin of excellence for the Durham Public Library.

She has one son, Baxter, a 2nd year law student at NCSU and a daughter, Olivia Wells Hodgson, a pediatric nurse at Duke Hospital.

Karen is pictured above with President Brady, her sponsor Judge Bill Whichard and Emily Page of the Membership Committee who inducted her.

Rotaract at Duke

The young lady in the sunglasses is Taylor Huie who is the founder of the emerging Rotaract club at Duke and the pictures are at an event on campus introducing the group to other students at a “fall activity fair.” Taylor is a biomedical engineering sophomore at Duke with Rotary in her blood, her mother being a past president.  Taylor also was the  founder of her high school Interact Club.

Taylor reports that they “had great feedback from students, with about 100 new students signing up – putting our club interest at about 400 students. Moving forward, we will be waiting  on Duke SOFC to schedule our in-person hearing, after which we’ll (hopefully) have official chartership by Duke Student Government and be able to move forward with scheduling meetings and events for the year.”

Assistant District Governor and Past President Susan Ross forwarded the pictures.  Melissa Mills is helping the Duke Club get started.


Rotary Minute: Sarah Hill – August 13, 2018

Sarah Hill delivered the invocation and Rotary Minute. Here are both below.

At this time of year when travel is common, travel will be the subject of my invocation and Rotary minute.

Let’s reflect, with eyes open or closed.

Let’s invoke memories experienced away from home.

Think of times when you traveled and experienced great joy due to the companionship of special people or the grandeur of nature.  Can you sense the presence of those people? Can you still feel or smell fresh mountain air? hear waves? feel the joy of floating or swimming in an ocean or lake?

Travel experiences can be powerful.  They can be times of joy and renewal.  It’s also possible travel can bring discontentment.  We might think: I could live here!  Life would be better!

Travel eventually ends.  You return home.  You no longer have the excitement, the new, the adventures, the relief of shedding routine responsibilities.  But at home we often find something greater.  It is at home where we thrive through our routines and our relationships and do the work we are here to do.  Often the best part of travel is the joy of coming home.

Please be seated.

And for our Rotary Minute (which will actually be a Rotary three or four minutes), I’ll read a few passages from one of my favorite books, “The Art of Travel” by the popular author and philosopher Alain de Botton.  It’s not a travel guide.  You might call it a life guide.  I suppose it is It’s philosophy lite, but whatever it is, it is a wonderful bible of sorts for me. I will also mention a personal, Rotary-related travel experience.

[Read more…]