Program Reports

The program write ups as they appear in the meeting bulletins.

Program Report: Judge Marcia Morey

Marcia Morey Nancy Gordon

I would have loved to have been involved in the conversation about leadership that recently took place between Rotarians Nancy Gordon and Willis Whichard. Judge Gordon opined that leaders are born to leadership, while former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Whichard maintained that leadership skills can be learned. Either way, it’s clear that Monday’s speaker, Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey, walks the leadership walk convincingly.

Morey, a swimmer on the 1976 women’s Olympic team, recounted two memorable experiences involving Rotary Club. First, her father invited her to his Indiana Rotary Club for a talk by Hall of Famer and Indiana University swim coach James “Doc” Counsilman. Morey, just nine years old, was spellbound and sought Doc’s autograph on a napkin, which she confessed hung on her bedroom mirror for years. Later, she would be coached by Doc himself in preparation for competition in the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal.

Her second experience with Rotary Club was as an international student, traveling to Japan during her high school years. “The impact that Rotary Club members have on young people’s lives is incredible,” she emphasized. “Don’t ever take that for granted.”

Her athletic experience helped her land a job after college as the first female investigator with the NCAA. Her responsibilities frequently brought her to the Triangle, but mostly through the Durham area as she travelled often to Clemson, inquiring into multiple reports of infractions in the college’s athletic department. In 1987, she decided to move to Durham, and was hired by Ron Stephens, the County District Attorney. Morey was assigned to juvenile court, “where you can’t really embarrass anyone when you make a mistake,” she commented wryly.

The next logical step in her career would have been in traffic court, then on to district criminal court. “But I just said, ‘oh, well…’ and stayed in ‘juvey’,” she said. “And what I have learned there about the types of adversity kids can overcome is eye-opening and heart-stopping.”

Then-Governor Jim Hunt was campaigning to reform North Carolina’s court system, “cracking down on punks and thugs.” What he didn’t realize, Morey explained, is that crime is not about the headlines we read. At the time, there were more than 1,500 youth in training schools charged with misdemeanor crimes such as shoplifting or even running away from home. Morey encouraged Hunt to join her in a juvenile courtroom to see first-hand the situations many of the kids were coming from. She points out that North Carolina is the only state in the nation that charges 16 year olds as adults, “So they’re not on equal footing with their peers in other states. It hampers their ability to find a good job – we must stop criminalizing our children.” Today, there are fewer than 230 juveniles in training schools.

Morey recounted the story of a young woman who was cited for littering, then failed to appear in court for the infraction. An arrest warrant was issued, and the girl was assessed a $500 bond. While the case was later dismissed, “she admitted her behavior was stupid, but there’s still a charge on her record,” Morey says. “To what end? Other states have juvey systems that try to rehabilitate and help young people.”

Morey’s unique misdemeanor diversion program requires juveniles to attend a court session where the judge “sentences” a 16-year-old. “The point I’m trying to make is that it could happen to anyone,” she says. “Most of these citations are for misdemeanors.” Over 200 teens have been through the program; 98% of them have no record, and no new charges against them. Pre-trial release programs have also helped to reduce the jail population. “It’s taken the work of a lot of caring and compassionate people, including City and County elected officials,” she says.

Morey wishes she could “fix” troubled neighborhoods in Durham. “When kids have to survive in a toxic family environment, the deck is stacked against them,” she says. Until the court system is viewed as being an equal part of the governing system as far as funding is allocated, she says her hands are tied. “Kids in our community have basic needs that are not being met. I’ve served 17 years as a judge, and while I will say it has sometimes been thankless, it’s nevertheless been a great opportunity.” Her leadership is very much appreciated in Durham.

Submitted by Carver Weaver

Program Report: Debbie McCarthy- The Augustine Literacy Project

Debbie McCarthyAfter our first year of Reading Rangers, I reluctantly agreed to go through the training offered by the Augustine Literacy Project to see whether it, or some portion of it, could be used to help make the Rangers more effective. It was Debbie McCarthy, our speaker, who finally convinced me to join the two-week training session that was about to begin in a church near Downtown Durham.

The experience, I have to confess, was bittersweet.  The Augustine Literacy Project was founded by Linda McDonough who now runs Just Right Academy on Erwin Road and participated in the training, most of which was conducted by Debbie. The organization is sponsored by and operates out of the Holy Family Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill, although it now is a 501C3 and raises its own support.

I spent 20 years either as a student or teacher in Catholic schools and was around a lot of educators that where devoted to their students, but I can only think of one or two others that matched the passion for helping kids as Debbie and Linda who are both flirting with sainthood here on earth, if they haven’t gotten there already.Steed Augustine Intro

In the “class picture” taken at the end of the training I stood out like a sore thumb as the lone male, and a big one, in the class. And like a sore thumb is how I felt during most of the training. I have never spent so much concentrated time with so many highly nurturing women. The  Orton-Gillingham method that the project is based on is heavy on phonetics and has proved to be effective with helping dyslexics and others with severe reading difficulties learn to read.

If grades had been given by Debbie, I would have also stood out, but not at the top of the class. I struggled with the training. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read, and I’d read every dog story in the Richmond Public Library long before I got involved in football. Phonics seems needlessly tedious to me. To be really good in the use of this technique I would need more than the two weeks training and I’m not sure I’d have the patience.

To introduce her topic, Debbie shared some statistics on the number of children that aren’t reading up to standards in this country and especially among children in poverty and children whose parents are not native English speakers. We’ve heard the numbers before and they are overwhelming.

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Program Report: Dr. Edward Buckley – The Duke Eye Center

Buckley Stanger Brown webOur club has a regular rotation to do these write-ups but I cut in line to do this one because of my recent experience with the Eye Center at Duke. Since I’ve written about my experience having two cataracts removed earlier in the year on my own blog, I figured I already had half the material that I needed and it was all positive stuff that, our speaker, Dr. Edward Buckley, who runs the place, would be glad to hear.

While that may have been true, what Judge Craig Brown said in his introduction made my surgeries seem pretty mundane. Judge Brown admitted that it might seem strange that someone who is blind would be so anxious to praise Duke Eye Center but then told the story of how they had been able to extend the sight in his right eye for many years when other notable institutions said it couldn’t be done.

Past President Don Stanger also helped present Dr. Buckley to the group. Officially he is the Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Vice Dean of Medical Education for the whole School of Medicine and a Professor of Ophthalmology with fellowships in both pediatric ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology.  If this sounds like he spends his time in an office or a classroom, the fact that he joined us in scrubs straight from doing surgery and was headed back to the operating room after he spoke to us, clearly indicated that he practices what he teaches.

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Program Report: Hank Scherich and Measurement Inc.

Lois and Hank ScherichPresident Deloatch introduced Hank Scherich, the CEO of Measurement Incorporated which he founded in 1980.  Dr. Scherich received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from Southern Illinois University, an MA in Education with a Specialization in Guidance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA from University of Ottawa at Ottawa, Kansas. Hank is an outstanding community partner and supporter of Durham and Downtown Durham. Boards he serves on include Downtown Durham Inc., The Durham Chamber of Commerce, Hayti Heritage Center, Carolina Theater and the Duke University Eye Center.

Dr. Scherich began by saying he wanted to share three stories: how they got here, MI and Downtown Durham and how they run the company.

Before coming to Durham he had been a high school teacher and guidance counselor and a grad student, teaching, doing research and managing a dormitory. He then went to work for the Educational Testing division of Houghton-Mifflin.

Dr. Scherich arrived in Durham in mid 1977 when he began a job with NTS Research Corporation. His wife was pregnant, he was driving an old Buick LeSabre and they were living in the basement of some friends in Hillsborough while they looked for a home. Their first home was on Woodrow Street next to what was then Watts Hospital and is now the NC School of Science and Math.

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Program Report: Councilman Steve Schewel on Affordable Housing

Schewel Program on Affordable Housing webPictured are Rob Everett who introduced Steve Schewel and President Lois Deloatch.

Steve Schewel must know half of the population of Durham from his role as a soccer coach, as he recognized people in our Rotary audience.  But he also knows Durham well as a current member of City Council, A past member of the school board, the original publisher of the Independent, and as a visiting professor in the Duke School of Public Policy.

“Affordable Housing for Durham” is a topic of major concern to Steve, and he said he “begged” to come to Rotary to follow up on a presentation made by earlier speaker on this topic.  In his introduction, he reminded us that 15,000 low income households in Durham are paying more than 50% of their income just for housing, obviously leaving little for other expenses.  This is especially difficult for families with children.   Yet, he also recognized that market forces are very real, and with many young people wanting to live and work downtown, the prices of housing are going up and we cannot stop that.

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Program Report: Fixing the Downtown Loop

Parham Chapman Gladdeck 5-2-16The fact that the room at the Convention Center was packed on Monday, May 2, was indicative of how interested Rotarians are in the future of downtown Durham; and, in particular, options for the downtown loop. Arthur Rogers introduced speakers Matt Gladdek (Director of Government Relations, Downtown Durham Inc.); Bob Chapman (developer, founder of Traditional Neighborhood Partners or TNP); and Wesley Parham (Assistant Director, City of Durham Transportation Department).

Originally planned in 1960, the loop was initially conceived to allow traffic to navigate downtown easily and quickly, while still encouraging foot traffic. It worked – so well that downtown more or less died as a result. In addition, residents were fleeing to the suburbs, where large shopping malls and multi-tenant retail centers provided products and services while eliminating the need to drive very far to get them.

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