Program Report: John Slayton – The Tax Reform Act of 2018

Economics is known as “the dismal science.” Some might think this rubric should also be extended to tax accountancy. False! at least this year. Here to dispel our gloom was John Slayton, the Managing director and EVP of the Trust Company of NC (an affiliate of Fidelity Bank) and an adjunct professor at Elon University. He was introduced by longtime Rotarian Dave Ross, to a crowd happy to be inside rather than outside in weather more suitable to Winnipeg than Durham.

John spoke about a topic of great interest to all: the recently enacted tax overhaul. This bill, which represents a substantial reform, the largest change to the tax code since the 1986 Reagan-era law, is nevertheless a 185-page featherweight compared to all those “We have to pass it so you can see what’s in it” bills of years past, like Obamacare (906 pages) or the Dodd-Frank act (848 pages).

Mr. Slayton summarized key features in the new act in a comprehensible way, though slides and very helpful handouts. The changes should comfort low-to-middle income taxpayers – no need for itemizing, collecting all those receipts and spending many miserable hours over a spread sheet – because the personal exemption has been doubled. But “taxes have gotten much more complicated for the affluent” said Mr. Slayton.

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Rotary “Tree Planting Challenge”

Rotarians Jenny Levine and Peter Jacobi joined 30 volunteers to brave the cold on Jan 6 to plant 60 trees on James Street, sponsored by Keep Durham Beautiful and led by Durham Urban Forestry.

We joined  neighborhood families, volunteers from TROSA and others.  Rotary International President Ian Riseley has challenged Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees this year, one for each Rotarian worldwide.

Join our Rotary Tree Planting Challenge to plant 200 or more trees (a tree for every member of our Club) by the end of April 2018, with Peter Jacobi and Jenny Levine.
Rotarians, family members, and friends are welcome to participate.  We hope to have at least 20 participants for each tree planting event.
Sign Up Genius on our web page:   Or

Sat., Feb. 3,  1 – 4 pm.  Northgate Park.  Rotary co-sponsors with Full Steam Brewery.  50 Trees.  “Post Planting Celebration” at Full Steam.
Sat., Feb. 17, 1 – 4 pm.  Old West Durham, Rotary is lead sponsor.     50 Trees.
Fri., Mar. 2,  12 noon.    Arbor Day Celebration at Durham Central Park.
Sat., Mar. 10,  1 – 4 pm.  NC School of Science & Math.     37 Trees.
We partner with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary.   50 Trees.
Sat., Mar. 17.  1 – 4 pm.  Old East Durham/Edgemont,  Rotary is lead sponsor.  50 Trees.

More information is available at:

“Day of Service” at Urban Ministries, Feb 24

Sat, Feb. 24:  Join in the Rotary Day of Service at Urban Ministries  

  8 am – 10:30 am:  Breakfast shift cooks and serves for 300 members of the community.
 3:30 pm – 7 pm:   Dinner shift will decorate the Cafe, cook and serve dinner.
Dinner will be a more festive event with children’s activities and a raffle.
Contact Mal White for more information:

Rotary Leaders at RLI

7 members completed the Rotary Leadership Institute Training, Jan. 13.
Pictured are the 5 who completed Part III, the final step in the training:
L-R: Emily Page, Marge Nordstrom, Erik Benson, Kim Shaw, Geraud Staton.
Also:  Jenny Levine and Emilee Collins completed Part I.

Re-Scheduled: Rotary “After Hours”, Wed, Jan 31, Melting Pot

Re-Scheduled  ROTARY AFTER HOURS!   5:30 pm – 7 pm, Wed, January 31

                                   WHERE: The Melting Pot

            202 West NC Highway 54, Durham NC 27713 (Note: new location!)


Fellow Rotarians, please join us at The Melting Pot in their NEW location in Southpoint Crossing (same plaza as Kroger and City Barbeque).  This is a great opportunity to meet some of your fellow Rotarians outside of our normal meetings, share ideas about club activities and learn how you can become more involved in our club.  Complimentary Cheese Fondue, and drinks will be available for purchase.

QUESTIONS:  Contact Danielle Kaspar or 919.313.9604 (w) / 919.599.4224 (m)

Christmas Invocation: Emily Page – Bless Us All

Emily Page offered a special Christmas Invocation

From the Muppet Christmas Carol – Lyrics by Paul Williams

Life is full of sweet surprises
Everyday’s a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter
Fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam

Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love each other
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years,
With noisy games and joyful tears.
We reach for You and we stand tall,
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

We reach for You and we stand tall,
And in our prayers and dreams we ask You,
Bless us all