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…]

Vandana Dake: Paul Harris +2

At the June 4th meeting, BC Dash presented Vandana Dake a the pin for achieving Paul Harris Fellowship + 2 for her contributions to the Rotary Foundation. Vandana, who is a principal in Alliance Architecture in Downtown Durham has won several awards for Downtown projects.  Vandana, who described BC as her mentor in Rotary, has worked closely with him on numerous International Service projects.

Program Write Up: Durham Police Department with Chief Lopez

Durham Police Chief and club member Jose Lopez gave an informative and, at points, witty talk about law enforcement in the city.  Fortunately, Chief Lopez who utilized a Powerpoint presentation, was accompanied and saved on more than one occasion by his more tech-savvy sidekick, Lieutenant Patrice Vickers.  We learned from Past President Newman’s introduction that Chief Lopez was born in Brooklyn and came to Durham from the Hartford, Connecticut police department where he had served for 22 years.  He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the FBI National Academy.  [Read more…]

Program Report – Merge Records

Boy, I really need to get out more often.  The only two performers whose names I even recognized during the program were Mick Jagger and Barbara Streisand. The latter was the presenter when one of Merge Records’ bands, Arcade Fire, was the unexpected winner of the Album of the Year at the 53rd Grammy Awards.  So unexpected, that Barbara had to look at the envelope to make sure she got the name right (see it here).

Rotarian Keith Artin introduced music writer Dave Menconi who interviewed Mac McCaughan, one of the founders of Merge Records and the band Superchunk. (OK, I’ve heard of them too, but my immediate word association would have been “cookie”.) It was good that Mr. Menconi was there because his questions sounded a lot more intelligent than anything I could have dreamed up. Keith, if you don’t remember made the natural career progression from the COO of TROSA to Label Manager for Merge records last year. [Read more…]

Program Report – The Cookery: Rochelle and Nick Johnson

Has anyone ever said your grilled ribs or quiche or whatever were out of this world and you ought to open a restaurant—such a good value that Warren Buffet would take his bride for their anniversary.  Or may you—like I do—sometimes dream that your spicy pimento cheese or artichoke relish would be a smash hit at Southern Season or Dean & Deluca’s.  But paying for the construction of a “certified” commercial kitchen in six figures gives you pause?  Or maybe you remember hearing that it was possible to pour more money into a food business than restoring an antebellum house or maintaining a gas guzzling forty foot fishing boat on the coast. [Read more…]

Program Write Up: Accion Emprendedora and Calder Exhibit

Danielle Kasper introduced our program presented by Alejandro Sanchez, a native of Colombiawho is the co-founder with Ignacio Torres in the United Statesof Accion Emprendedora  a movement founded  by Mr. Torres inChile. AE is a non-profit organization dedicated to small business development in areas of high social impact through training, technical assistance, and support services.

AE’s focus is on what they call micro-entrepreneurs primarily in the Hispanic community.  Micro, of course, means really really small. Of the approximately 40 thousand Hispanic owned businesses in the state only 11% of them have sales of $1 million and many of them only have one or two employees. [Read more…]