Program Report: Senator Richard Burr

Bill Stokes got a big laugh when he made a point of introducing his wife, Lucy, as a liberal, just minutes before Republican Senator Richard Burr got up to speak.

Mrs. Stokes was not alone, certainly, but there was a buzz in the packed conference room that could be attributed to the big-name guest. (He asked to speak to us, not the other way around. We’re big time, y’all.)

Senator Burr laughed with the Stokes and the rest of us, then enjoyed the standing ovation he received on his way up to the lectern. But the laughing stopped once he started laying out what he sees as a looming deficit disaster.

For the second time in a month, we got a sobering reminder of how deep a hole our country is in financially.

Burr’s hope is that Congress will rally by the end of the year and pass comprehensive tax reform along the lines of what Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have proposed. (Burr didn’t let the opportunity pass to point out that he’s now backing a plan devised by the man he defeated for his Senate seat. Burr noted that Bowles never would have had the chance to run the UNC system if Bowles had gone to the Senate. Bowles is quick to remind Burr that the senator wouldn’t have gotten the same opportunity had he lost.)

“Why should you be concerned [about the deficit]?” Burr asked. “Because it’s morally the right thing to do. There’s no way we can shove this to a generation we won’t even have a chance to know and feel good about it.”

His solution beyond tax reform was more general. He argued that Americans need to stop looking to the government for solutions, a common Republican refrain, though he wasn’t wrong to note that groups like Rotary are actively creating their own solutions to societal problems. [Read more…]

Paul Harris Fellow – Laura Solie

At our July 30 Rotary meeting, Laura Solie was honored with a Paul Harris Fellow award given to her by her father, Past President Guy Solie.  In making his presentation, Guy noted that his family had early on been a supporter of the Rotary Foudation and that this presentation merely carried on a happy family tradition.  Laura, who has been involved with the Teach for America program, will be entering UNC, Chapel Hill, this month working toward an MBA degree.  Congratulations to Guy for this wonderful way to honor his daughter and to serve the interests of the Rotary Foundation and to Laura for being so honored by her father.

News and Notes – August 4, 2012

Chris Williams

Chris Williams, who shared his story during the Reggie Hodges’ presentation about the Durham Literacy Center also received attention from the Durham News along with the DLC’s move to new space secured from the state with the help of Rotarian Seth Jernigan, a long time supporter of the DLC. Click the link for the full story on The Durham News website.


Follow the link in the post for the August 6 Bulletin.

Program for Monday – Senator Richard Burr

U.S. Senator Richard Burr will address the club. President Don will introduce Senator Burr. Senator Burr’s senate website is here.



Tribute to the Retiring Bernadette

Executive Secretary Bernadette Jones always preferred working behind the scenes, doing the countless things that have kept our club running smoothly for the past 10+ years.

So she was rather uncomfortable taking center stage to receive plaudits from past president Arthur Rogers, bidding her farewell as she heads into retirement.

“She has an encyclopedic knowledge of Rotary,” past president Arthur said. “She very kindly corrects we presidents when we make bylaw mistakes, and we appreciate it. It’s amazing Bernadette was able to jump in and figure out the workings of our club.”

Bernadette got a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation, and the club also applauded new Executive Secretary Sharon Lassiter, who already is discharging her duties with aplomb.

The 11 presidents under whom Bernadette has served pitched in to present her with a check as a token of gratitude.

She graciously accepted that. But when Jay Zenner tried to take her picture, she treated him like the paparazzi.

Submitted by Matt Dees.

Editor’s note: Bernadette can be forgiven for treating me like paparazzi…she’s had to try to clean up too many of my photos over the last couple of years to make them usable in the bulletin.  – JZ

Program Report: Corporate Governance – James Cox and Thomas Lee Hazen

Our program featured two experts on corporate governance, professors James Cox of Duke and Thomas Lee Hazen of UNC.

After a kind introduction from Rob Everett, the men took turns offering sage advice about selecting the right people for corporate and non-profit boards, among other things.

For starters, potential board members should know that their legal liability if the organization gets in hot water is slim to none, so that shouldn’t be a stumbling block. Good to know.

Cox discussed the problem of entrenched in-house auditors and recommended capping the length of service, just so they don’t get too cozy and can maintain some independence.

Responding to a question from Deana Labriola, Hazen said organizations should seek board members with some financial literacy. Very often board membership is something of a reward for big donors who might not bring that to the table. So Hazen recommended hiring a consultant to at least offer a crash course to your board.

The civic-minded folks in our club very often can be found in the leadership of many for-profit and non-profit organizations, so the two experts picked the right crowd for this how-to presentation.

Submitted by Matt Dees

News and Notices


Click through on the link to the pdf of the 7/30 Bulletin.

Calendar Reminders


The program on Monday is on Corporate Governance . More information


Wednesday is Rotary and Chicago at the DPAC.


Also, don’t forget Crayons2Calculators. More information at this post.