Program Report: Bill Kalkhof and DDI

Rotarian Steed Rollins introduced fellow Rotarian Bill Kalkhof, President of Downtown Durham Inc. for a report on developments in our Downtown.

I’ve reported at least two other presentations Bill has given to the Club and each time I’ve been faced with the same dilemma. Bill delivers so much information in such a rapid fire style that there is no way to capture more than the essence of it in 400 words. So this time I’m not going to even try. Instead I’d like to share a few impressions that may bring some perspective especially for newer residents of Durham and members of the club.

First, I have never heard Bill speak when he didn’t acknowledge that I was on the original board of DDI if he knew I was in the audience even though it has been at least 15 years since I’ve had an active role in the organization. Effective leaders instinctively do a lot of that kind of stuff and Bill is great at it. [Read more…]

Program Report: NC’s Copy of the Bill of Rights

Toby Barfield summed up what most of us were thinking. “This is the most fascinating program I think we’ve ever had,” he told N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby after a rapid-fire recitation of the saga of our state’s copy of the Bill of Rights.

Keith Burns, who we learned is this year’s winner of the state Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award, introduced his friend the justice as a stand-up guy in addition to a brilliant legal mind. Justice Newby, mixing humor with an engrossing storytelling style, didn’t disappoint.

It’s impossible to capture all the twists and turns of the story in this space, but here’s a synopsis: A Union soldier helping occupy Raleigh made off with our copy of the Bill of Rights. (Newby noted that North Carolina has a singular relationship with that sacred document, as our leaders refused to ratify the Constitution until those positive affirmations of our most basic rights were made the law of the land. Who knew?) The soldier sold the document to an Indianapolis man, Charles Shotwell, for $5. When our attorney general wrote to the Indiana attorney general asking for the document to be returned, he essentially was told, “No. You seceded, you lost, you lose.” [Read more…]