June 13, 2017

Chris Chapman called the meeting to order at 1pm.  Mike Robinson gave the invocation and Tom Koontz gave the Sergeant at Arms report of guests and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Resolution for Tab Williams Jr. by Richard Gottlieb, followed by a moment of silence.

Tom Connors introduced today’s speaker, Detective David McClure.  Det. McClure is a native of Jacksonville, NC.  He is married and has two daughters.  Det. McClure is the coordinator of Crime Stoppers for Winston-Salem PD and is with the Special Investigations Unit.  He has been with the Winston-Salem PD 27 years.

Crime Stoppers was designed to enable citizens to provide anonymous tips to the WSPD.  W-S/Forsyth County Crime Stoppers was started in 1981, the third in the state of North Carolina.

There are several ways that citizen can contact the police.  They can call 336-727-2800 and there is a Spanish line, 336-728-3904, or can text 274637 and text the key word “bite back,” followed by your tip or info.  Citizens are given an ID number.  Citizens are asked to call back with the ID number throughout the investigation.  If the tip leads to an arrest, the citizen is told to go to a bank in Winston Salem where they can write the ID number down on a piece of paper and give to the teller.  The teller gives the citizen a card to sign with their ID number.  No names are used in this transaction.  The teller will then give the citizen an envelope with the reward money inside.  There is no interaction with the police.  The citizen will use the same ID number for numerous tips called in.

In 2016, Crime Stoppers cleared 156 cases with 88 arrests.  Tips resulted in 230 felony charges and 179 misdemeanor charges.  $2,865,000 worth of drugs was seized, $171,562 worth of property was recovered, and $23,200 in rewards was paid.  A committee made up of citizens meets each month where Det. McClure presents the Crime Stoppers tips.  The committee then decides how much the reward should be.  No government funds are used for the rewards.  Rewards are from donations and Crime Stoppers operates as a non-profit.

Detective McClure answered several questions before President Chapman returned to the mic, shared a story of the power of Rotary to make the world a better place and brought the meeting to adjournment.

June 6, 2017

Chris Chapman called the meeting to order at 1 pm.  Judge Mike Robinson gave the invocation.   Tom Koontz served as Sergeant at Arms.  Introductions of seven guests in attendance followed by the Pledge of Allegiance

Chris reminded everyone that June 6 was the 73rd anniversary of the invasion of D-Day.

He announced the Family of Rotary game at BB&T Ballpark on June 24th at 6 pm; let Ginny know if you plan to attend.  Also announced was that the new officers for District 7690 will be installed at a brief ceremony before the game.  If the club can get two more sustaining members sustaining members for Rotary International, the club will set a record for the number of sustaining members (92).

The meeting speaker was Dr. Harry Davis, Finance Professor at Appalachian State University.  Dr. Davis was introduced by his nephew, James Conley.  Dr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree in economics from UNC-Chapel Hill, a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a PhD from the University of Georgia.  As a North Carolina Banker’s Association economist, he puts together quarterly newsletters.  He is frequently interviewed throughout the year by newspapers, radio and television for stories on the economy and banking.  He is married to Lisa Davis and has one daughter and one granddaughter.

Dr. Davis said the economy we are presently in, is in a recovery mode.  The present recovery is about 8 years old and it has become the 3rd longest economic expansion in the history of this country.  We will probably make it into next year, when it will become the 2nd longest period of economic growth in history.  GDP growth of the economy is slow by historic standards, at only 1.7 in 2016.  We have relatively strong job growth, but productivity is low.  Businesses have not been investing in plants and equipment.  We have become more of a service economy and a service economy sees lower productivity growth.  Dr. Davis said one of the reasons of the decline in productivity is that so many people are retiring, and taking knowledge and experience with them.  They are replaced by younger workers with plenty of energy, but they do not have the knowledge and experience.  We need to use tax incentives in order for people to stay in the workforce and to raise the social security retirement age.

Dr. Davis stated that one of the problems with the economy is slow growth in consumer spending and salary and wages.  Seventy percent of the economy is consumer spending. Right now the average growth is about 2.5%.  We really need a growth of 3% in order to have a robust of growth in the economy.  If you look at the trend of consumer confidence it’s the highest level in history.  Business confidence is the highest it’s been in history.

There are some good things about the economy:

  • Interest rates are historically low.
  • Home prices have risen around 6%. Annual existing home sales are around 5.6 million, and eight-year high.
  • Inventory of unsold homes is at historic lows.
  • New home starts are up, but we still aren’t building enough. More than 75% of millennials rent and over 50% of millennials live with their parents.
  • Unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% in April, the lowest in 15 years.
  • NC job growth over the last several years has been above 2%, while the national average has been below 2%.

According to Dr. Davis we need regulatory reform changes.  We need to build infrastructure, and everyone knows it, but we don’t do it.  We need immigration reform that allows illegals to become legal so they pay taxes and buy houses.  We also need to lower the corporate tax rate to become more competitive in the world.  US corporations have $2.5T overseas that they will not repatriate because they don’t want to pay the taxes.

Dr. Davis said we should not pay attention to the Federal Reserve.  The Fed does not lead the markets, it follows the market.  We should look at 10-year bond rates instead; rising bond rates indicate a belief that the economy is going to improve.

Dr. Davis is optimistic about the economy and believes it will grow about 2.5% next year.

Dr. Davis took several questions from the audience and the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

 

May 30, 2017

Chris Chapman called the meeting to order at 1pm.  Lane Sapp gave the invocation.  Mark Steele served as Sergeant at Arms.  There were two guests in attendance.

 

Chris recognized Memorial Day yesterday, and reminded the club of its true meaning.  He announced the Family of Rotary game at BB&T Field on June 24th at 6pm.

 

The meeting speakers were Katherine Foster and Katie Pepper, presenting their classification talks.

 

Katherine Foster began with the reflection that writing one’s classification talk felt a little like writing your own obituary.  She was born in Imperial Beach, California on a Naval Base where her father, Robert was a helicopter pilot.  Her mother, Elaine, was a nurse.  Katherine came to North Carolina at age 7 to be near her mother’s family after her parents divorced.  Her grandfather, Louis McConnell, was the manager of Smith Reynolds Airport for many years.  Katherine has fond memories of time spent at that airport when she was a child.  She grew up in Pfafftown and attended St. Leo’s and Bishop McGuiness schools.  Aspiring to be a librarian, she enrolled at UNC-G as a freshman.  Her education was temporarily interrupted when her sister was in a serious car accident and suffered traumatic brain injury.  Katherine left school to assist in her sister’s care.  When she returned to UNC-G later to finish, she switched her major to English and pursued her interest in writing.

After graduation, she began working at the Winston-Salem Journal.  As part of that job, she edited a pet magazine called PAWS, which led to a seat on the Board of the Humane Society.  While serving on that Board, she discovered a passion for the non-profit world.  Katherine went on to work at Second Harvest Food Bank, LISC Affordable Housing initiative, Aids Care Service, and as Executive Director of the New Winston Museum.  She is currently the Director of Operations and Development at SECCA.

Katherine has a daughter who is a rising senior at RJ Reynolds High School.  She enjoys listening to music and outdoor activities including camping and fishing.

 

Katie Pepper was born in Durham, but grew up in Winston-Salem.  She attended Highland Presbyterian church.  She has recently been researching her family genealogy and shared that her great, great grandfather was a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem.

Katie has two dogs, and enjoys traveling and gardening.  In her professional life, she is the Marketing Director for Walter, Robbs, Callahan & Pierce Architects.  She has been with the firm for nearly 15 years and has enjoyed the opportunity to become engaged in downtown Winston-Salem.  Katie began her involvement with downtown when volunteering with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership in marketing and events.  She has also volunteered with the Downtown Arts District Association and the WSFC Community Appearance Commission.  She served on the Design Steering Committee for the Creative Corridors Coalition.  She has sat on the River Run Board and is currently serving on the Board of the Yadkin Riverkeeper and is Vice-Chairman of the New Winston Museum Board of Directors.

Katie graduated from Appalachian State University in 2002.  She is often asked if she belongs to the same family as the Pepper Building?  She has researched that question as she has pursued her genealogy work, and has found that there is in fact a family connection to the original owner of the Pepper Building.

 

Chris Chapman closed the meeting with a quote from a 1921 issue of The Rotarian :  “There is nothing intangible about Rotary, it is reality itself.  To give is to receive; to lose oneself is to find oneself; to be happy is to serve.  These are old truths for the individual and the mass whether application be in the exchange of goods, toil, knowledge or love.”

May 23, 2017

President Chapman announced that the club had donated a total of $45,300 to 24 local charities from the Benevolent Fund.  This will be communicated through local media to increase awareness of the ways that the club supports charitable activities in our community.

 

James Connelly introduced the speaker, Spencer Mason, who shared information about home schooling in North Carolina.  Spencer has served on the board of North Carolina for Home Education (NCHE), is a Past President, and continues to serve in a leadership role.  NCHE provides support and advocacy for the home schooling movement in North Carolina.  This presentation is particularly timely as the Home School Conference will be held at Benton Convention Center this week with a total of 7,500 attendees expected.

Spencer provided a history of the modern home schooling movement, reflecting on the beginnings in the late 1970’s.  Support for this began with a federal grant-funded study on early childhood education which found that the ideal time to introduce children to institutional school settings was after the age when  cognitive thinking had developed, which was later than previously thought.  Efforts to mandate changes through the educational system were not successful, however this work advanced the thinking of the potential for education outside the formal system.

Research conducted and shared by NCHE supports the effectiveness of home schooling with regard to achievement scores on national standardized tests.  The data also shows that there are a large number of Christian families involved, and a majority are Caucasian families.  In addition, there are many struggling learners involved in home school programs due to the challenges of finding the necessary support services in the public school system.  Parents involved in home schooling typically have higher educations, but family income tends to be lower due to a smaller number of wage earners per family.  However studies indicate that parent education level and demographic factors do not seem to drive gaps in learning – the key is parental involvement.

The primary reasons parents choose to home school are typically an interest in faith based learning, the thought that parents can do a better job, and safety concerns.  News school based shootings and reports of bullying tend to precede an increase in the number of home schools.  There are roughly 80,000 registered home schools in North Carolina.  The format of the curriculum, teaching methods, and activities vary greatly as parents develop the programs to meet their own needs and the interests of the children.  Teaching methods can also differ by age group.  In response to a question, Spencer noted that there are no regulatory bodies that assess the quality of the home school education, however the home school community tends to provide support to each other to ensure quality education.  In addition national standardized testing ensures that educational goals are met.