Secrets of State

Metro Magazine
September 2010

Secrets of State

Book By Greenville Lawyer Captures Unique Down East Character
Practicing law Down East is like practicing law anywhere — or is it? Reading Jim Cheatham’s new book, Forty Years At The Bar, that looks back on his legal career in Greenville, NC, demonstrates the unique character of a region that growth and modernization cannot alter completely. But growth did occur and Cheatham’s tenure at the bar lies astride the old days when tobacco was still king, and on through the major social, economic and political changes that have transformed the town into a regional metropolis.
Cheatham, who also briefly served as the town’s prosecutor, was on the scene just as the corrupt Justice of the Peace system was replaced with magistrates, when Blue Laws prevented an anchor tenant in a new shopping center from opening on Sunday, the Kiwanis Club put on an annual blackface minstrel show, television evangelists needed convincing to pay for air time — and the “Invisible Empire” of the Ku Klux Klan was dramatically visible, especially to Cheatham when he defended the police chief who challenged the Grand Dragon to a duel.
And Cheatham remained in the vortex of change as he assisted Leo Jenkins, the dynamic chancellor of the burgeoning East Carolina University, and later served on the board of Pitt County Memorial Hospital as it merged operations with the now world famous ECU Brody School of Medicine. He was on the scene as the hospital board grappled with the new phenomenon of AIDS and helped the board in a malpractice case brought by the brash litigator John Edwards before his meteoric political rise and shameful crash in the pages of the National Enquirer.
Cheatham was involved in a case testing the transition of the application of the death penalty in the wake of US Supreme Court rulings in the early and mid-’70s, helped create a series of pamphlets and videos on ethical behavior for attorneys, penned previous books about the NC coast and his love of sailing, and founded the Robert Ruark Society, which fought and won a place for the famous Tar Heel author in UNC’s Journalism Hall of Fame. (Go to and search for the October 2008 edition under Robert Ruark.)
One episode snatched Cheatham into the whirlwinds of change when an art professor at ECU was investigated for child pornography. The zealous federal prosecutor, later to make an unenviable name for himself in Raleigh — and eventually go to jail for swindling naïve citizens in an investment fraud — let loose local law enforcement officers that mistook photographic poses for a sculpture for obscene material. The professor committed suicide before the case came to trial, leaving behind a sad episode symbolizing the growing chasm between provincialism and modernity represented in the changing mores created by the presence of a large university.
Forty Years At The Bar can be ordered from Professional Press in Chapel Hill by calling 800-277-8960 or purchased from Quail Books in Raleigh’s Ridgewood Shopping Center, The Beach Book Mart in Atlantic Beach, Jefferson’s in Greenville and Manteo Booksellers.
— Bernie Reeves

Architects Present Tour
The first ever AIA Triangle Homes Tour October is scheduled for October 2 from 10:00 AM to 6 PM featuring nine architects and ten homes that represent the value an architect brings to residential living spaces, neighborhoods, and sustainable living options. The awarded AIA designed living spaces were selected by a visiting jury from AIA Austin and created by the featured architects: Angerio Design, Bizios Architect, Cherry Huffman, Ellen Cassilly Architect, Frank Harmon Architect, John Reese Architect, Studio B Architecture, Tina Govan Architect and Vernacular Studio.
The self-guided tour features homes in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and offers visitors the chance to meet the architects face-to-face. Tickets are on sale now for $20 with advance purchase and $25 the day of the tour. Tickets are available online at, at Harris Teeter locations and select AIA chapter locations in North Carolina.

Consortium Offers Private School Admission Services
The Triangle Independent School Consortium (TISC), composed of admission professionals from Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area schools, will be on hand for the Independent School Fair Oct. 30 at the Hampton Inn at Brier Creek. Member schools of TISC provide a “one stop shop” for families considering options in education, including assistance in the application process, testing, letters of reference, reviews of prior transcripts and conduct and discipline records.
TISC members are required to be independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) academic schools in operation for a least two years that practice non-discrimination admission policies, provide athletic and other school administered programs, conduct early childhood/elementary and/or secondary school classes, and hold accreditation by either the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), or the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).
Members are required to respect the common notification and enrollment dates established by the group determined by the members at their spring meeting to ensure there is no “pressure” by any one school seeking to procure an admission contract from families who are waiting to hear from other schools.

Join George And Martha Washington For Dinner
Dinner with George and Martha Washington? Why yes, on Sept. 16 at the NC Museum of History when the “father of the country” and his First Lady journey to Raleigh to kick off the Southern tour of “Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon,” produced by Mount Vernon Estates and Gardens. The exhibition of 100 artifacts about the first president opens Sept. 10 and will remain on display at the Museum of History until Jan. 21, 2011, the only venue for the show in the Southeast.
The black tie “State Dinner” includes traditional colonial fare in a formal garden or seating in a period dining room recreated from Mount Vernon. Tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased from the Museum of History at or by calling 919-807-7849.

Noted Landscape Architect Publishes Book

Dick Bell, a legend in the world of landscape design, has published The Bridge Builders, the first in a 3-part series of books that chronicles the evolution of his distinguished career that began as the son of gardeners in Manteo on the North Carolina coast, through his education at NC State University and the honor of becoming the youngest recipient of the Prix de Rome.
Bell has designed over 2000 landscape architecture projects that range from highway corridors to public parks to beachfront developments, including high profile designs in the Raleigh/Triangle area. The series of books, edited by architecture writer Kim Weiss, will certainly find a top position in the literature of the subject.
Call 1-800-882-3273 to order The Bridge Builders via credit card, or contact Vantage Press: 419 Park Avenue South; New York, New York 10016 or go to