Posts filed under ‘Southwest Central Durham (SWCD)’

New Bicycle Transportation Trainers Get Pumped

From left to right, back row: Joanne Fairhurst; Scott Rodgers; Gretchen Gehrke; Instructor Adrian Fletcher; Brandon Jozwiak; Program manager Ninna Gagnon; Durham Bike Co-op volunteer Robert Walpole. Front row: Janet Hitti; Debbie West (Michael Brooks-absent)

Seven new Bicycle Transportation Trainers recently graduated from Clean Energy Durham’s training program, which equips them to train neighbors and community members about bike transportation, maintenance, and safety.  The Trainers also learn about organizing fun, educational neighborhood events to get their neighbors pedaling to work, for exercise, to save money, and the sheer joy of riding a bike.  Bicycle Transportation Trainers go through 14 hours of training where they learn basic maintenance skills: fixing flats, adjusting brakes, fine-tuning gears, etc.  In addition, they learn outdoor biking skills, such as quick stop, rock dodge, and instant turns.

Congratulations to our latest Bicycle Transportation Trainers: Gretchen Gehrke and Joanne Fairhurst from Morehead Hill, Janet Hitti and Michael Brooks from Parkwood, Debbie West and Brandon Jozwiak from Woodcroft and Scott Rodgers from Hope Valley North. (more…)

May 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

Hop, Sip & Ride Burch Avenue

Last month folks from the Burch Avenue neighborhood took a fun Hop, Sip & Ride venture on the DATA bus system.  A dozen Burch Avenue neighbors gathered at the bus stop at Chapel Hill & Gattis Streets to hop on the #6 DATA bus to Durham Station.  After a quick bus transfer to the # 4, they landed at the Geer Street bus stop.  Clean Energy Durham staff member Ninna Gagnon illustrated how smart and efficient it is to travel with a bike on a bus.  Lesson learned: Do not forget your bike on the rack when changing buses!  The destination for the evening was Geer Street Garden, where the group enjoyed each other’s company as well as tasty appetizers and their drink of choice.

To plan your next trip by bus, go to  Please contact if you are interested in this kind of event in your neighborhood.


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August 11, 2011 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Northgate Park Volunteers Keep On Giving

Last week I was once again reminded of two of Clean Energy Durham’s core truths: (1) dedicated volunteers are at the heart of what we do, and (2) our volunteers are among Durham’s best people.

Two weeks ago we had planned to share our Basic Energy Education workshop at a Self-Help program in Southwest Central Durham.  Our volunteer trainer from that neighborhood who was going to lead that workshop was called away on a family emergency the night before the event.

When I received the news the next morning, I was confident that we at Clean Energy Durham had other reliable and trained volunteers who could present the workshop.  The question was whether anyone would be available and willing to fill in on 6 hours’ notice.  All of our staff resources were previously committed that evening.  I was delighted when the very first volunteers I asked, Sean and Sally of Northgate Park, gladly agreed to help us out.

By all accounts they did a fabulous job engaging the two dozen neighbors who attended the workshop.  They taught basic ways to save energy in their homes and had some fun along the way.  Thanks to Northgate Park for assembling such a committed group of volunteers who stepped in and effortlessly shared their knowledge with others.


June 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Partnership Gets the Job Done in Southwest Central Durham

By Darcie Borden

Clean Energy Durham’s Debbie Royster, Community Outreach Specialist for Southwest Central Durham, was proud this month to oversee a project that is revitalizing a neighborhood where some homeowners still remember her as a little girl.  Debbie was raised just a block away from Gerard Street.  When she was asked to be part of this project, Royster joked, “I couldn’t say no!”

The Gerard-Jackson Street Better & Beautiful Project is a partnership between Clean Energy Durham, Durham Community Land Trustees, Habitat for Humanity, and Self-Help, as well as dozens of volunteers.  Support was also provided from the Duke University Community Care Grant Fund.  These organizations want to get neighbors involved, create a sense of community and teach residents how to save energy and money.

“This project is a true partnership among like-minded non-profits and residents of the West End neighborhood,” said Dan Levine, Project Manager for Self-Help. (more…)

May 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

Neighbors Helping Neighbors through NERP

Morehead Hill neighbors out canvassing

If you have been following Clean Energy Durham news, you’ve heard of the Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP).  As a staff person at Clean Energy Durham I can’t overestimate how impressed I am with our neighborhood volunteers.  Many of these volunteers are putting in countless hours canvassing homes in their neighborhoods to find out which ones may qualify for energy efficiency upgrades funded in large part by the City of Durham.

Neighborhood volunteers have repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty to get their neighbors’ homes weatherized.  Many volunteers have canvassed countless hours in spite of the fact that their own homes don’t qualify for the program. While we only ask volunteers to visit a home once, they have taken it upon themselves to return 2 and 3 times to the homes of neighbors who were not home the first time.

In addition to getting neighbors signed up for the NERP, volunteers have gone out of their way to make sure lower income neighbors know about the more extensive weatherization program available to them through Operation Breakthrough.

Katherine, a canvasser in Trinity Park, has come across cases in which neighbors say they would be suspicious of a program like this if it weren’t for the neighbors they know promoting it.  So, she says, “Hooray for the neighborhood approach!”


September 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Commuters in Action: Steve Saltzman and Melissa Malkin-Weber

Steve and Melissa save money and have fun when they bike commute to their downtown office.

Steve Saltzman and Melissa Malkin-Weber work at Self Help Lending in downtown Durham, where they’re rewarded for their pedal-powered commuting habit. Every employee who gives up their Self Help parking pass is reimbursed by the company for what maintaining that parking space would otherwise cost Self Help. Given the scarcity of parking in downtown, and the high cost of building new parking, this policy makes good financial sense for Self Help ( and the commuters who take advantage of it), and fits well with the bank’s dual social and financial mission.

Steve has been a bike commuter for three years now. When he first came to Self Help, his commute to work was a fifteen-minute drive in his SUV that left him feeling cranky. Now, after his 6.5 mile bike ride to work, he arrives feeling alert and refreshed. “I never get sick, and now I’ve dropped the costs of one of our cars and a motorcycle,” Steve says. “My hummus consumption has gone way up, though.”

Melissa is the Green Initiatives Manager at Self Help, which is the first place she’s worked where she can bike commute. She walks her kids to school in Morehead Hill, and then rides over to work. “I like being able to interact with my environment instead of being trapped in my steel box,” she says. “Plus there’s the overall coolness factor.”

July 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm 2 comments

Two days left for a FREE $25 restaurant gift card and cool transit info!

If you live in one of these neighborhoods, you're eligible to receive a free $25 gift card to & order free transit info.

ORDER BY July 1st if you live in the highlighted areas in the map above!

Order at

The first households to respond get a free $25 gift certificate to, which you can use in lots of great local places. Contact Jessalee at with questions.

Offer applicable if you live in: Trinity Park, Watts Hillandale, Northgate Park, Duke Park, Old West Durham, Lakewood Park, Tuscaloosa Lakewood, West End, Lyon Park, Morehead Hill, Burch Ave, Cleveland Holloway, or Old Five Points.

June 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

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