Meeting Report: June 13, 2016


Joe Lowman, Retired Psychology Professor, UNC for 45 years entertained us at our luncheon meeting this past Monday. Joe, a resident of Boone is also a member of the Watauga Community Band that play regularly at the Rotary Gazebo in downtown Blowing Rock. As the band’s announcer he said he never lets a concert go by without mentioning the donation and leadership of our club that made the gazebo possible. His father was a Methodist minister which led him to meet Richard Chase, a famous author of two books, “Jack Tales” and “Grandfather Tales”, stories and tales of southern appalachian storytellers from the Ward and Council families from the Beech Creek community. Both of these books can be loaned from the Watauga Library and possibly the Blowing Rock Library. A story teller himself, Joe entertained us with the tale about “Preacher Fry”, aka “Old Dry Fry”. It seems the local church was about to commence a revival meeting and had invited Old Dry Fry. to preach. Preacher Fry was well known by everyone and was easily recognized. It was cus tomary for the deacons to house and feed the guest preacher. The two deacon leaders were Mr. Beckwith and Mr. Sims. It was the Sims turn to feed the preacher the night before the revival meeting. Mrs. Sims had prepared the favorite of Old Dry Fry, her famous fried chicken. After gouging himself with her chicken, Mrs. Sims presented Old Dry Fry with two wishbones on a platter and said to Fry ”could you eat just a little more of my chicken”. Well something in his DNA kicked in. He picked up one in each hand and stuffed them both in his mouth and lo and behold they got lodged in his throat and he began to choke violently until he passed out. Thinking she had killed Preacher Fry she & her husband created a plot to cover up what seemed to happen. This scenario went through several stages until the end of the tale when he chokes up the wishbones and wonders how all this happened. The story as he told it was very funny and entertaining and enjoyed by all of us that were in attendance. I’m sure there will be another opportunity to invite Joe again for another folktale.



Club President Basil lifting the two spittoons that is awarded to the club who gave the most CART contributions.



(L to R) Jim and Karen Clabough; Penny and Basil Kuzyszyn and District Conference.


Meeting Report: June 6, 2016


BRAHM Now Debt Free!

Lee Carol Giduz, Executive Director of Brahm, was the featured speaker at the June 6, 2016 meeting of the Blowing Rock Rotary Club. Three years ago Lee Carol took a sabbatical at which time she decided to try her skills at Art. The two mediums she chose were “Chair Making“ and “Encaustic”. Chair making requires making a plan and carefully fabricating and assembling the pieces, resulting in a beautiful and sturdy piece of furniture. It’s probably fair to say most people, outside the world of art, have heard about the art form “Encaustic”. Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.
Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to stick them to the surface.
After her sabbatical she interviewed and was hired as Executive Director of BRAHM. She describes BRAHM much like the art forms she chose. The building is like making a chair and involves making a plan (blueprint) and methodically putting the pieces together with the result of a beautiful and functional building or chair. The operation of BRAHM is much like Encaustic painting in that there are several layers of activity that all join together to function as one cohesive network.
The debt of 1.5 millions dollars has now been retired. Her greatest fear is people may develop the attitude that BRAHM is rich. There still remain the day-to-day expenses, such as light, heat and air, staff, etc. that must be considered. 50% of funds for these expenses comes from memberships. BRAHM has received its first corporate sponsorship, initially $45,000 which has since been expanded to $90,000 by Wells Fargo Bank. These funds allow BRAHM to invite artists such as well known North Carolina native Elizabeth Bradford. It will also allow BRAHM to place a full page ad in “Our State Magazine” and to hire more full time staff members. For more information visit their website:


Meeting Report: May 23, 2016

Mick Mixon, voice of the Carolina Panthers

Mick Mixon, voice of the Carolina Panthers, gave an interesting insight to the Panthers. While he didn’t actually say: “The Panthers will win the Super Bowl, he did say: the potential and makeup of the team are there to win it all”. His talk was both entertaining and informative as he mixed humor and facts together during his visit to our club last Monday.
“I always wanted to be a sports announcer”, he remarked. His self-deprecating remarks brought a lot of laughter to the listening crowd. “My very first press conference was at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte at the Senior World Series of Golf. Man, I had never seen food like this before. I saw this desert table and as I looked over all the different items my eyes focused on this thing that had a creamy white substance in the middle. I could eat on this for days as I stuffed my pockets”, he said. “What I didn’t realize until it started melting is that the whole front of my pants was soaking wet with the melted substance. One of the top officials I befriended earlier came up to me and asked me if this was my first press conference. I didn’t figure out until later how he knew it might be my first”, he
His boss, Bill Richardson, believes champions are made with character, not characters. Thomas Davis who gave a lengthy session on the need to stay together is one of those individuals. Mixon said: “I believe that this staying together business is what will make this team a super bowl champion. The defense is no longer blaming the offense and visa versa, the special teams aren’t blaming the coaches and in general there is a cohesiveness that was not apparent in some of the earlier teams”.
“Cam Newton hates to lose, period! When he sulked like a spoiled brat after the super bowl loss to Denver, that was just Cam Newton being himself. He simple hates to lose and one of the biggest losses of his life had just occurred. It was a natural reaction”, Mixon said. Mixon demonstrated one of the changes that Newton has made to improve his passing efficiency. Improved ball geometry is something Newton studied and learned from watching films of other successful quarterbacks. This is what will make him one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, according to Mixon. “The best is yet to be.” he concluded.

Meeting Report: May 16, 2016


At their regularly scheduled meeting Monday morning, May 9, 2016, Rotary board members voted to give $1,000 to Shelter Box to assist in the recovery effort in Ecuador. Ecuador was hit with a magnitude 7.8 earthquake late Saturday evening: 650 dead, 16,600 severely injured and 26,000 people in need of shelter. Shelter Box is a rapid response organization for areas experiencing natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc. Shelter Box is the largest project of Rotary International, according to Van Joffrion, chairman. Van said that Shelter Box has sent 2,000 shelter kits, 1,700 water filters and 300 small Shelter Boxes containing water filters, kitchen set, two solar lights, two mosquito nets and two water carriers. Shelter Box is coordinating their efforts with Habitat for Humanity in Ecuador. According to reports, the quake was the deadliest to hit the South American country in decades. Blowing Rock Rotary Club gives regularly to Shelter Box, but this is a special extended effort. Anyone wishing to contribute additional funds may do so by giving your check, designated for Shelter Box, to Bill Leahy, Treasurer.




Pictured here with her proud parents, Michelle & Ian Helton, is eighth grader, Megan Helton, and her award certificate for Student of the Month, presented by Orian Carter, Youth Services Chairman. Megan is a history buff and especially likes European related studies. Never thinking she would be so honored, she was chosen by the teachers and staff of the Blowing Rock school where she attends. “I just never thought of myself that way”, she said. In addition to the certificate, Orian presented her with a $25 gift certificate also awarded by our club.



Ed Tausche, chairman of the CART fund, reported Monday that the Blowing Rock Rotary Club beat out the Lenoir Club for first place in the annual fund raising for this effort. Our club gave a whopping $10,616, which was al- most $600 more than the Lenoir club who contributed a tidy sum of $9,021. Our club also won first place in per capita giving, $179, according to Ed.     Ed passed out pins to all members to recognize this effort. The members present gave Ed a sounding applause for his leadership in this cause.  Great job Ed!

Meeting Report: May 2, 2016



Katherine Graham, Physical Therapist along with Martin Hubner, both with the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, gave Rotary members an overview of the importance of exercise, especially boxing, to the welfare of those who have Parkinson’s Disease.
Our own William (Bill) Thorn (aka”Mr. Pickles”), a Parkinson’s patient himself, gave a demonstration of his boxing skills as he punched away at Martin. Katherine said: “We are still learning a lot about the therapeutic value of boxing as an exercise”. Bill is the heavyweight boxing champion in the boxing program at the Broyhill Center, which is only one of his many talents. He is an accomplished pianist and leads the youth choir at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Gordon Carver, also a Parkinson’s patient, started slowly, but as he warmed up in his turn at sparring with Martin, he really got into it, which invoked an applause from the Rotary members.




Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance as well as numerous other functions. It is part of a group of conditions known as motor systems disorders. Parkinson’s disease was named for James Parkinson, a general practitioner in London during the 19th century who first described the symptoms of the disease. Symptoms describing Parkinson’s disease are mentioned in the writings of medicine in India dating back to 5,000 BCE as well as in Chinese writings dating back approximately 2500 years. Parkinson’s disease is the most common movement disorder and the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.


Portrait Clabough

Jim Clabough, right, accepts the Paul Harris pin from Virginia Vanstory, Chairperson. Jim has pledged $1,000 per year. Thanks Jim!