Rotary’s new president, Barry Rassin, strikes a perfect balance between Bahamian bonhomie and decisive leadership
 
By Diana Schoberg                                      Photos by Alyce Henson  
 
Several miles off the shoreline of Nassau, Barry Rassin, the 2018-19 president of Rotary International, balances in the bow of the bobbing Rat Bat. There are no colossal cruise ships out here, no noisy Jet Skis, only the occasional passing pleasure boat and the sound of water lapping against the hull. In the turquoise sea below, giant turtles glide across the ocean floor.
 
“To me,” Rassin says, “the sea is freedom, it’s peacefulness. When I’m out on the water, everything fades away. You feel like you’re at one with the world and nothing could go wrong.”
Barry Rassin enjoys some time on the water with his good friends Felix Stubbs, left, and Wade Christie.
A few minutes ago it was drizzling, but now the weak December sun struggles to peek through. The Rat Bat sways suddenly in the wake of a passing vessel. Unfazed, Rassin stands perfectly poised, staring toward a patch of blue sky floating on the horizon.
 
Late in the afternoon of 12 January 2010, Rassin and his wife, Esther, were at home in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, 550 miles away. Shortly thereafter, Rassin got a call from Errol Alberga in Jamaica. At the time, Alberga was the governor of District 7020, which encompasses the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Haiti, as well as several other island nations in the West Indies.
 
Alberga told Rassin – a former governor of the district and president of the renowned Doctors Hospital in Nassau – about the earthquake and asked him to lead Rotary’s relief efforts. Rassin spent the rest of the evening pacing around his living room as he called other Rotary leaders in the region. In a corner of the room, a television broadcast images of Haiti in ruins – and then, scrolling across the bottom of the screen, came the emergency warning that caught Rassin’s eye: A tsunami might be headed for the Bahamas, a seismic sea wave so formidable it had the potential to wash over the entire country.
 
Rassin and his wife walked out onto their second-floor balcony and waited. “At night, if you look out toward the ocean, all you see is lights, stretching down to the edge of the water, and then everything turns black,” Rassin recalled in a powerful speech he delivered in January at the International Assembly in San Diego. “I looked at where the lights ended and the black began, and I waited for the blackness to come toward us and swallow the light.”
 
Barry Rassin at his home office in Nassau, Bahamas.
 
Fortunately, the tsunami failed to materialize, and Rassin got back to work. Over the next few days and weeks, as Richard McCombe, another past district governor, headed Rotary’s day-to-day response, Rassin coordinated long-term recovery efforts funded by donations from Rotarians around the world to The Rotary Foundation. He created a 132-page spreadsheet to track each detail: how much money was available, how much had been spent, which Rotary club was in charge of which initiative. “At the district conference the year after the earthquake, Barry went through the dollars for every single project,” says Lindsey Cancino, past president of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, Rassin’s club. “It matched to the penny what was in the [disaster recovery] account. I was mesmerized.”
 
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Rassin worked with Claude Surena, a Haitian doctor and Rotarian who had turned his home outside Port-au-Prince into a makeshift shelter and hospital. There, Surena provided care for more than 100 displaced people. Elsewhere on the island, tens of thousands were dead and tens of thousands more injured. In nightly calls to Rassin and his team, Surena – who, at the behest of René Préval, then president of Haiti, would later oversee the recovery of the nation’s private and public health sectors – detailed the medicine and other supplies he urgently needed. And then, each morning, a private plane flew from Nassau packed with the necessary goods.
 
Rassin decided to tag along on one flight. On the four-hour journey, flying low over the ocean, he gazed out at the limitless blue of the sky and an azure sea dotted with green tropical islands. “It just looked like paradise,” Rassin said in his speech. “And then we came in over Haiti.”
On the ground below, he saw buckled roads, collapsed houses, and entire neighborhoods turned to rubble. Unable to land in Port-au-Prince, the plane touched down on a grassy strip outside the capital. After unloading its cargo, the plane headed for home. “In a couple of minutes, we were out over the water,” Rassin recalled in his speech, “looking down on that same gorgeous view. Haiti disappeared behind us, the Bahamas lay in front of us, and there we were, in between.
With his wife, Esther, Rassin mingles with fellow members of the Rotary Club of East Nassau.
 
"And looking down at that water, out at that horizon, I realized that there was no line, no boundary between there and here, between them and us, between the suffering we had escaped and someone else hadn’t. It could just as easily have been the Bahamas. It could just as easily have been us.”
 
Barry Rassin always felt he was supposed to go into medicine. It was his heritage. His father, Meyer, a notoriously brusque orthopedic surgeon, had arrived in the Bahamas from England during World War II to oversee the medical care of the Royal Air Force troops there. Except for some submarine activity, the Bahamas was outside the theater of war. Nassau’s Oakes and Windsor fields provided flight training for would-be RAF pilots destined to return to the fighting over Europe.
With little in the way of military medicine to occupy him, Dr. Rassin spent time ministering to local residents, including treating people with leprosy who had been exiled from society. This work endeared him to the populace. After the war, he returned to England, but in 1947, a few weeks after the birth of his son Barry, Rassin père returned with his family to Nassau to work in the government hospital. In 1955, he and his wife, Rosetta, a surgical nurse, opened Rassin Hospital to better serve their patients.
 
Barry was 10 when his father had him watch his first cesarean section. (“That kind of freaked me out,” he says today.) This was his introduction to the family profession. His older brother, David, would earn a PhD, specializing in pharmacology, and devote himself to researching the properties of breast milk.
As for Barry, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Long Island University outside New York City – and flunked out after two years. “I don’t know whether it was too hard for me or I just had no interest,” he explains. “I was never a good academic. Teachers always said I never applied myself.”
Rassin returned to Nassau and worked menial jobs at the British Colonial Hotel. He started at the front desk – “That was not me” – but was soon relegated to microfilming and delivering office supplies. After a year, Rassin realized he had to make a decision: He could either spend the rest of his life working at the hotel and living at home with his parents, or he could go back to school. 
Barry Rassin converses with Charles Diggiss, who took over as hospital president when Rassin retired. 
In 1967, he moved to Miami, enrolled in community college, and took whatever classes struck his fancy. He wanted to figure out what suited him best. “Two days in accounting and I said, ‘This is me,’” he recalls. “It was just so easy. It came to me.”
He transitioned into a business program, improved his grades, and transferred to the University of Miami, where he earned a degree in accounting – with honors. Later, he received his MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida.
 
Back in the Bahamas, following several prosperous decades, Rassin Hospital had undergone a decline. After the Bahamas won its independence in 1973, a lot of British expats, including many of the hospital’s patients, left the country. That’s when Rassin, with several years of health administration under his belt (primarily at Miami’s Mount Sinai Medical Center), returned to Nassau once again, with his first wife and their kids, Pascale, Michele, and Anthony. His goal was to bring the best in modern medicine to the country – and he planned to do it at a transformed Rassin Hospital.
 
Charles Diggiss, today the president of Doctors Hospital (as the reinvented facility came to be known), covered emergency room shifts there in the late 1980s, when he was a surgical resident at the public hospital. “Barry was running a hospital that was one block away from the public hospital,” Diggiss says. “He had the courage to take that on. There was no promise of success, but every guarantee that this was going to be frustrating, every guarantee that the physicians were going to be skeptical.”
 
Looking back, Rassin recounts the challenges he confronted: “It was a battle with my parents. It was a battle with the doctors. It was a battle with my wife.” All that pressure caused the demise of his first marriage, he says. But the friends he made through Rotary steeled his resolve to persevere. “It gave me the support from a group of citizens of the Bahamas who said there was really a need to do this.”
Several years earlier, Rassin was working for American Medicorp in Hollywood, Florida, when a doctor asked him to join Rotary. Rassin declined. “In my mind, he was at least 70,” he explains. “I was 30. People say new members aren’t joining because we don’t ask. It’s not just the ask. I was asked. I didn’t want to join.”
 
The East Nassau club recently helped clean up a community center for teenagers with HIV/AIDS.
 
He changed his mind about Rotary when he moved to Nassau and met John Robertson at a fundraiser for the East Nassau club. Robertson was helping out, and Rassin’s daughters, Pascale and Michele, were participating. The two men chatted, and at the end of the conversation, Rassin accepted Robertson’s invitation to lunch at Rotary. Seven years later, in 1987, he was the club’s president. Michele, the club’s first female member, would take the helm in 2009.
 
Rassin’s rise through the ranks of Rotary coincided with the culmination of his plan to transform Rassin Hospital. In 1986, he worked with a consortium of doctors to buy the hospital from Meyer Rassin and create the newly christened Doctors Hospital. In 1993, under Rassin’s direction, it completed an $8.5 million expansion, and today it’s considered one of the Caribbean’s leading hospitals.
 
As all this transpired, Rassin’s personal life changed as well when he met and, in 1990, married Esther Knowles. A successful banker, Esther dived into her husband’s life at Rotary. When he was district governor in 1991-92, she accompanied him on a six-month odyssey to every club in every country in the district. Their mutual respect and partnership are evident when you see them together. “Esther has always kept me grounded,” Rassin says. “As soon as she thinks that my ego is kicking in, she makes sure she kicks it back out. After any speech, if Esther was there, I always ask her how it was. She’s the only one who I know will tell me the truth.” 
 
Rassin retired as the hospital’s president in 2016, though he continues to serve on its board of directors. In retrospect, the long struggle to make his dream a reality was worth it. “You’ve got to take risks in this life,” he insists. “That’s what we’re here to do: not to follow the same old path, but to take out your machete, cut away the bush, and create a new way. People here weren’t getting good health care. They needed it badly.” 
 
“One of the most appreciable things about his journey is watching how he committed himself wholly and fully to Doctors Hospital while maintaining his involvement in Rotary,” says Charles Sealy, who met Rassin through Rotary and succeeded him as the hospital’s CEO. “To see how someone can balance the two – except I don’t think the word is ‘balance,’ because he was wholly committed to each of them.”
 
At the hospital, as in Rotary, people recognize Rassin as both a visionary and a detail-oriented administrator. They also salute him as a valuable mentor. “He’s good at identifying leadership talent,” says Felix Stubbs, a board member at Doctors who credits Rassin with creating the opportunities that led to Stubbs’ own stint as District 7020 governor. “When he sees someone with skills that he thinks could be advantageous to Rotary, he makes sure to pull that person along. That’s exactly what he did at Doctors Hospital. He identified good young leaders and pulled them up – and then he was able to retire and dedicate his time to Rotary.”
 
Barry Rassin helps Rotarians and Rotaractors plant mangrove trees at Bonefish Pond National Park on the southern coast of New Providence Island in the Bahamas.
 
As befits an island organization, the Rotary Club of East Nassau meets inside a wood-paneled room at a yacht club. Pictures of sailboats bedeck the walls. Sir Durward Knowles, who, until his death in February, reigned as the world’s oldest living Olympian (bronze and gold medals in sailing in 1956 and 1964, respectively), was an active member.
 
In many ways, it’s the ideal 21st-century Rotary club: Sixty percent of its members are younger than 50, and one member is a dual Rotarian/Rotaractor. At a meeting in October, there were so many women in leadership positions that a man didn’t come to the lectern for the first half-hour. One order of business: handing out attendance awards. Rassin receives one for 30 years of perfect attendance. Since joining in 1980, he has missed only one meeting. 
 
Though Rotary has been central to Rassin’s life for nearly 40 years, it was never his goal to become president of Rotary International. He was loath to even put his name up for consideration. But, he explains, “the Bahamas and the Caribbean have never had a president, and Rotarians there felt I should put my name in and represent them. I realized that they want to feel part of Rotary, and I was in a position where it was possible. So for them, I thought I should do it.”
 
Sam F. Owori, a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda, was nominated in 2016 to serve as Rotary’s 2018-19 president. After he died unexpectedly of complications from surgery in July 2017, Rassin was selected to take his place.
Among the first people Rassin called was John Smarge, a past Rotary International director from Florida who had served as Owori’s aide. Rassin asked Smarge to serve as his aide too. “One of his first sentences was, ‘I want Sam’s memory to continue, and I want you to help me do that,’” Smarge recalls. “Barry was uniquely qualified to come in at this time. He will allow Sam’s memory to shine brightly.”
 
 
Call Me Barry 2018-06-21 08:00:00Z 0
 
 
 
Tom painting the trim at the restroom at Ben Walters Park.
 
Maynard painting the restrooms at Ben Walters Park.
 
Charles racking and Maynard painting
 
Vivian rolls on the paint!
 
Ben Walters Park Cleanup-with New Pictures 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

From more than 1,100 entries, our 2018 photo contest winners rise to the top

Reviewing this year’s submissions, we saw photos that capture big scenes of celebration and small moments of connection. We saw images of Rotarians as people of action, working together to make our world better. And we saw breathtaking views of nature. Our judge, Stephanie Sinclair, reviewed the images without any identifying information, with the unexpected result that two people each have two photographs on the following pages. In addition to the winners and honorable mentions in this issue, you’ll see more photos from the contest in The Rotarian throughout the coming year.

First place

Photographer: Anthony Riggio
Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut
Location: Rabat, Morocco

Sinclair: I am drawn to this photo’s beautiful repetitive geometric shapes and vibrant colors. The eye moves from the door frame throughout the many textures to the subject, the markings on his hat, and the background of the image. The muted tones echo the subtlety of the many layers in the image.

Second place

Photographer: Santosh Kale
Rotary Club of Shirol, India
Location: Pandharpur, India

Sinclair: This image offers a compassionate and relatable view of women in India. Their varied expressions of joy and amusement emphasize their shared humanity. The black and white works to focus the viewer on their expressions rather than the environment in which the women live.

Third place

Photographer: Maureen McGettigan
Rotary Club of Valley of the Moon (Santa Rosa), California
Location: Bagan, Myanmar

Sinclair: This elegant, classically shot photograph is reminiscent of National Geographic images that focus on magical light and landscapes. The painterly quality of the light makes the image seem timeless, and the combination of the temple in the background, the trees in the foreground, and the person working a plow gives the image a spiritual quality.

Honorable mentions

Photographer: Salvatore Alibrio
Rotary Club of Palazzolo Acreide Valle dell’Anapo, Italy
Location: Palazzolo Acreide, Italy

Sinclair: The distance from the color explosion works perfectly within the frame. Most photographers would have tried to be as close as possible, but the distance provides a needed perspective while communicatingto the viewer more information about the event with the surrounding architecture and crowd.

Photographer: Jose Antonio Valdes
Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Guatemala
Location: Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

Sinclair: This is a very classically framed portrait, given a slight twist on the expected by the elder’s very relaxed body position. The boy’s expression also makes the image distinctive and fascinating.

Photographer: Carlo Antonio Romero
Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Sinclair: Beautiful landscape with technicolor light. The wide-angle perspective, not normally my favorite in landscapes, makes the viewer feel transported into the experience of being there.

Photographer: Jose Antonio Valdes
Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Guatemala
Location: Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala

Sinclair: The use of black and white transforms the harsh light into highlights and shadows that emphasize the composition. The cowboy hats in the foreground make a perfect frame for the race.

Photographer: Hipolito Busgano
Rotary Club of West Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Location: Bali, Indonesia

Sinclair: This joyful image could have placed in the top three had the person on the far left not been looking at the camera. That said, it evokes a lot of emotion and deserves an honorable mention.

Photographer: Thomas Bundschuh
Rotary Club of Wien, Austria
Location: Sermathang, Nepal

Sinclair: The soft light on this image makes it seem more like a painting than a photograph. While I wish there were more separation between the two female subjects, the painterly quality echoed by the girl’s serene expression still works.

Photographer: Santosh Kale
Rotary Club of Shirol, India
Location: Pattan Kodoli, India

Sinclair: This is a powerful image in that it makes the viewer ask more questions about the event being photographed. The goal of a great photograph isn’t always to answer every question, but to entice the viewer to learn more.

Winners of the 2018 Rotarian Photo Contest 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

Stephanie Sinclair’s photography is just one of the ways she advocates for the rights of girls

 

Photos by Stephanie Sinclair                                       Story by Julie Bain

 

Stephanie Sinclair was way ahead of the #MeToo movement. After 9/11, she wanted to tell the stories of people who had survived their world being torn apart. While covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the photojournalist found her passion when she learned about young girls being forced into marriage. After nearly a decade of photographing these girls, she published “Too Young to Wed” in National Geographic in 2011. In 2012, Sinclair formed a nonprofit, also known as Too Young to Wed, dedicated to protecting girls’ rights and ending child marriage. 

While she maintains a busy schedule on other photo projects, documenting subjects such as life on a circus train and the care of elephants in India, she always returns to the stories of girls and young women who are vulnerable to exploitation. She has done more than accrue numerous awards for her photos; she has also raised money to help girls who have escaped their captors restart their education, learn new skills, and regain their self-esteem.

In addition, Sinclair created a foundation to provide scholarships and teach photography, giving girls a way to tell their stories and begin to change the world. Her foundation helped support and educate the young women she photographed for her acclaimed 2017 New York Times story, “Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria.” In February, two of those girls shared their harrowing stories with U.S. lawmakers and United Nations officials. 

On a snowy late-winter afternoon in Peekskill, New York, while one of her two children was fighting a fever, Sinclair spoke with frequent contributor Julie Bain and did something she rarely does: talk about her own life, her photographic vision, and how she found her true calling.

1.     

Two Yemeni child brides stand alongside their husbands. Tehani, left, married when she was 6 and her husband, Majed, was 25.

2.    

At age 10, Nujood Ali divorced her husband, a man three times her age. The case led Yemen's parliament to consider setting a minimum marriage age.

3.    

Maya, 8, and Kishore, 13, pose for a wedding photo in India, where, despite legislation forbidding child marriage, the custom continues.

4.      

In Afghanistan, Ghulam, 11, had dreamed of becoming a teacher, but when she was engaged to marry Faiz, 40, she was forced to drop out of school. 

5.      

Baby, 17, and Claude Seibureh, 48, of Freetown, Sierra Leone, were married during the Ebola crisis.

 

Q: There has been a lot of discussion about women and sexual harassment and abuse in the United States. As someone who has covered these issues in other parts of the world, what’s your take on this moment?

 

A: I tend to be an optimist, and there’s no question that change is happening in our country with the #MeToo movement. It is very clear that women have had it. Some very difficult conversations are happening in every industry about how women are valued, but there are still limitations. We have many women in politics now, but we need many, many more. Ability is not the issue here – there’s no reason that women can’t compete on the highest levels with men in any category if they so choose. Their biggest challenge is the way they’re perceived.

I hope the progress we’re making in this country makes its way to places in the world where girls are the most vulnerable. As someone put it to me today, “It’s like #MeToo to the power of 14.” I’m proud to be helping to fight this battle.

 

Q: Are more women entering the photojournalism field, which was heavily skewed toward men when you started?

 

A: Yes, but it continues to be male-dominated. That is inevitably going to change, though. There are now more female photojournalism students than male photojournalism students, so we’re seeing that tide start to shift. Still, doing certain kinds of photojournalism requires significant sacrifices. It is very demanding of your time, there’s a lot of travel, and it’s not very conducive to raising a family.

 

Full Exposure 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0
Do a make-up at the Homer Downtown Club or just enjoy their meeting!
Homer Downtown  
 
 
 
We meet Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
 
 
Pratt Museum
 
 

Mailing Address: PO Box 57
Homer, AK  99603
United States

 

Rotary Club of Homer Downtown

Meeting held at Pratt Museum

3779 Bartlett St.

 

                                6:00 pm on Tuesday

 

Jun 2018

 

5...Regular meeting...Pratt Museum, downstairs

12...Pratt Museum, downstairs, 6 p.m.  Carol Ford, storyteller par excellence, will talk to us about the tradition of stortelling and then tell us the story, 

Mountain Whipporwill, about an orphaned fiddler and a fiddling competition. Come and give her a big Homer welcome.

19...Social Meeting -- AJ's for dinner/music by Hobo Jim.

Please e-mail me at janomeara@horizonsatellite.com to RSVP asap, she would like to make an early reservation

26...

 

 

*************************************************

   
Homer Downtown Club Update 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Club of Chicago

Editor's note: We’ll be visiting clubs around the world to highlight the diversity of the Rotary experience. This is the first in a monthly series.

It’s noon on Tuesday, and a waiter at Chicago’s Union League Club is wondering if Cheryl McIntyre plans to eat lunch. “When I was president, I’d get so nervous about speaking in front of everyone that I’d barely touch my food,” she says. 

McIntyre was president of the Rotary Club of Chicago, also known as Rotary One, in 2015-16. That year, she changed the format of the meetings to allow more time for members to talk with visitors. She wanted people to feel welcome, she says, as though they were guests in someone’s home. The club gets its fair share of visitors – as the first Rotary club, established in 1905 and home to founder Paul Harris, it’s a must-stop for Rotarians from out of town.

Rotary Club of Chicago President Conor Gee, left, with 2015-16 President Cheryl McIntyre, club Secretary Marga Hewko, and President-Elect Khaled Akkawi outside the Union League Club.

 

As a hearty lunch of turkey, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables is served – it’s Thanksgiving week – Khaled Akkawi steps up to the podium. “This is my first time leading a meeting, so things will go as planned, right?” he jokes, a slight accent giving away his Jordanian roots. The club’s president-elect, he’s filling in for Conor Gee, who is in Geneva this week to attend Rotary Day at the United Nations. (At 32, Gee is one of the youngest people ever to serve as this club’s president.) 

Akkawi introduces the guests: two prospective members and five visiting Rotarians. One visitor, Alice Atemo, says she hopes to partner with the club on a water project in her home country of Kenya, where she runs a school for 900 orphaned children. 

Rajendran Sabanayagam and his daughter Priya are in town for a steel conference. He’s a member of the Rotary Club of Madras, India, and his daughter is part of a spinoff club created for younger professionals called Madras Next Generation. A couple from La Jolla, California, round out the visiting Rotarians. 

Akkawi then shares a quote he heard on the radio: “It’s so much easier to build a child than to rebuild an adult.” It made him think, he says, about the club’s signature project, Job1, a partnership with Chicago Public Schools that provides training and summer internships to high school students. As part of the program, the club sponsors job readiness training programs, puts together a job fair, and awards scholarships to graduating seniors. Rotarians also mentor the students in the program.

The club established its own foundation in 1938; it manages more than $3 million in assets and disburses between $200,000 and $250,000 every year, Gee says. Through the foundation, the club has funded rehabilitation services for disabled children, a clean-water project in Haiti, scholarships, and polio eradication. 

Situated in Chicago’s Loop, the historic Union League Club is a social, civic, and community hub for the city. It is sometimes referred to as the city’s “other Art Institute” for its large collection of paintings and other works. Although the focus is primarily on American artists – the nearly 800 pieces include works by Grant Wood and John James Audubon – one of the highlights is an 1872 painting by Claude Monet called Apple Trees in Blossom. 

Established in 1905 and home to founder Paul Harris, the Rotary Club of Chicago is a must-stop for Rotarians from out of town.

Club members gather for lunch every Tuesday in a ballroom lit by gilded chandeliers. Today, attendance is a bit lighter than usual because many of the 136 members went to an event over the weekend – a send-off for a fire truck and an ambulance for emergency responders in Jalisco, Mexico. Rotary One sponsored the donation together with the Rotary Club of Chicago Little Village; new member George Rabiela, a retired fire captain, helped organize the donation.

At the president’s table, nearly everyone is a guest. Akkawi splits his time chatting with a lawyer considering joining the club and today’s speaker, Jonny Imerman, a cancer survivor who established a support network that connects cancer patients with survivors. 

 

First Among Equals 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0
Security Challenges and Options for Peace on the Korean Peninsula 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay is in need of a motivated individual who will assume the position of 2018-2019 President-Elect (PE) in preparation for serving as the President for the 2019-2020 Club Year. As PE, this dynamic Rotarian will also serve as the 2018-2019 Club year membership chair. 

 

To insure our continued membership growth and increased support for the community,  it is essential that the PE position be filled as soon as possible.

Thank you for stepping up and accepting the Rotary challenge.

President-Elect Needed 2018-06-06 08:00:00Z 0

Winston's Shelter Box & West Coast Trip Fundraisers. 

 

POSTPONED

 

 

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides temporary shelter and life saving supplies to families displaced by natural disasters.

 

The fundraiser will be a series of Nigerian meals and a showcase of Nigerian cultures.  It is going to be like Nigeria in Homer!

Winston's Fundraisers POSTPONED 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

For more than two decades, Judy Colaneri has guided hikers along ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the European countryside. During those journeys, the American-born Colaneri, who splits her time between Spain and the United States, has heard hundreds of stories from those who’ve walked the trails beside her. 

Rotarians from five clubs in California went on an 8-day hiking trip.

Courtesy of Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle

Krishna and Bonnie Arora, members of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, US, have trekked with Colaneri almost a dozen times, and what they told her about Rotary on those journeys made a big impression.

“They’re always talking about their club’s work in Peru or India or Pakistan or Mexico, and I thought, ‘They are such good people,’” says Colaneri, who runs a tour company called Spanish Steps. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m still working so much and don’t have time to do what they do as Rotarians, so I called Krishna and Bonnie one day and asked how I could participate. I wanted to do something to help them.”

Colaneri came up with the idea of leading a trip of Rotarians and donating all profits, and the services of two of her guides and herself, to the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle. Club members embraced the opportunity. “We put an item about the trip in the district newsletter, and other Rotarians signed up. We decided we’d pick some projects and ask for donations,” says La Jolla Golden Triangle member Linda Stouffer-Wallis.

On 31 March 2017, 12 California Rotarians from five clubs set off on an eight-day hiking trip, following the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail leading to the Spanish holy city of Santiago de Compostela. The fundraiser brought in more than $23,000 from Colaneri’s company and nearly $5,500 in donations collected by the Rotary hikers. 

“For Judy to give all of her profits from the trip to us, as well as volunteering herself and two guides, was extraordinary,” says Stouffer-Wallis, who walked with husband Steve Wallis. A few years earlier she had hiked a portion of the trail through France. 

“The beauty of this trail seeps into your soul,” says Stouffer-Wallis, a banker, who coordinated the fundraising and distribution to club projects. “It’s a deep experience. If you’re open and ready for it, the walk does some transformative healing.” (A number of books and movies have documented the power of the trail, including The Way, a 2010 film starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.)

Walking guides Francesco Corsi, left, Virginio Corsi, and Judy Colaneri.

Courtesy of Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle

La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotarian Wayne Davis and his son Steve, a member of the Rotary Club of Escondido After Five, also went on the journey. “I’d heard about the walk for a long time and signed up mainly because of a book I’d read about it, To the Field of the Stars,” says the elder Davis, a San Diego architect. 

“I love historical elements of geography, and I was taking in everything around me, from the weather to the old path, the historical buildings and stone farmhouses, the people – it was all very inspiring to me in terms of history and knowing it was a path that had been walked on for hundreds of years.”

It was also a great shared experience for father and son. “We talked about things we wouldn’t normally talk about because we got to spend a week together, day and night. It was a real bonding experience for us,” Wayne says.

 

A Non-Rotarian Walks the (Long) Walk 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary wins Best Nonprofit Act for its polio eradication work 

By

Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio worldwide won Best Nonprofit Act in the Hero Awards of the One Billion Acts of Peace campaign, an international global citizens’ movement to tackle the world’s most important issues. 

A Rotary vaccination team immunizes children against polio at a railway station in Karachi, Pakistan. 

Khaula Jamil

The campaign is an initiative of PeaceJam Foundation and is led by 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum, with the ambitious goal of inspiring a billion acts of peace by 2020. 

Each year, the campaign picks two finalists in each of six categories for their work to make a measurable impact in one of the 10 areas considered most important by the Nobel laureates. Winners are chosen by people from around the world. 

Rotary and Mercy Corps were the two finalists in the Best Nonprofit Act category. Rotary and the five other winners will be recognized at a ceremony on  June in Monaco. Betty Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for her advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland, will present the award. 

Rotary Wins Award 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0
Last week (May 17th) Alaska's Governor Walker visited Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary, gave us some insights on how Alaska is doing at this time and answered a number of questions posed to him by members. One of the highlights of the visit was when our exchange student got to meet and talk with the governor.
 
Alaska's Governor Bill Walker Addresses Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary
 
Acting President Tom Presents Governor Walker with His Speaker's Certificate
 
Winston and Governor Walker
 
 
Alaska's Governor Walker Visits Homer Rotary 2018-05-23 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Youth Exchange inspired CEO to create low-cost speech device

As a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Ecuador seven years ago, Mary Elizabeth McCulloch volunteered at an orphanage that was home to both adults and children with disabilities. She noticed that those who had trouble speaking – mainly because of cerebral palsy – were seated alone by the windows, and for the most part no one communicated with them. 

Today, at age 26, McCulloch is founder and CEO of ProjectVive, a social enterprise company that has developed a low-cost device called the Voz Box, which allows people who have difficulty speaking to express themselves. The product launches this year in the United States and Ecuador.

 

“We are empowering people with disabilities by giving them a voice,” says Mary Elizabeth McCulloch.  

 

Q: What did your experience in the orphanage inspire you to do?

A: After I returned to the United States and started at Penn State (graduating in 2016 with a degree in biomedical engineering), I began working on a low-cost speech generation device that would work in low-income and resource-constrained settings. I worked on it all through college, on evenings and weekends. Along the way, people joined my team, ProjectVive, to develop the Voz Box.

Q: How does the technology work? 

A: Our technology is for people with low motor control, who can’t tap a finger on an iPad or keyboard. We have different interfaces: a glove that works when someone flexes a finger; a watch that senses motion so the wearer can raise their arm to click; or glasses that detect blinking. These work with an application called CoughDrop AAC, which has grids of letters, words, and icons the user “points to” with the interface devices. Our devices can also control other applications, so the user can go to YouTube or Facebook, chat with friends, or look for jobs. 

Q: Who will this technology help?

A: Worldwide, there are 4.6 million people who can’t speak because of ALS or cerebral palsy. Too many people think that if they can’t contribute, it’s because they have nothing to contribute. But these disabilities aren’t reflections of cognitive ability or potential. We are empowering people with disabilities by giving them a voice and the ability to live out their life goals. 

Q: What would the world look like if people with disabilities had a bigger role? 

A: There are a lot of big societal problems facing the world today, and this is an untapped population of global problem solvers. Research shows that someone who has experienced adversity is more apt to make decisions to help others, to have empathy and sympathy. They are natural problem solvers. 

Q: When will the product be available?

A: The launches are in May in the United States and in June in Ecuador. We won’t be exporting from the United States; we are helping local people make and maintain the devices, and training users’ family members and caretakers to take care of them. And we’ll make sure the devices are in the users’ indigenous language, as well as Spanish and English. We are looking for our next pilot countries to launch ProjectVive and give more people with disabilities a voice. 

— Anne Stein

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Freedom of Speech 2018-05-23 08:00:00Z 0

The joy of steering your interests toward something completely different

By

“When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the first time you did something for the last time?” Those questions are tacked to the wall of my office. I have, at certain times in my life, received odd bits of wisdom; they all end up on the wall. A cartoon acquired at my first job depicts a sign on a muddy road warning: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next 18 miles.” My editor had given it to me. When I would complain about a certain task, he would say: “How you deal with boredom may be the most defining of character traits.”

That became one of my core principles: One should always be on a learning curve. It helped that my job demanded discovery. As a writer, I explored new topics every month. The rut I chose lasted 40 years. 

To be on the learning curve you must be willing to be a beginner again, to wrestle with skills not entirely under your control.

Illustration by Dave Cutler

And then it disappeared.

I thought I was prepared. I had the notion that before you retire, you should have three passions on call, three irons in the fire, to fill the sudden abundance of time. I decided to devote more effort to photography; to reread One Hundred Years of Solitude and every mystery by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; and to learn the guitar riff or the first 10 bars of every Beatles song. (OK, maybe just the ones in the key of E.) 

I soon discovered the flaw behind to-do lists. When the list is accomplished, you hit a “now what?” moment. I had simply spent more time indulging existing talents and interests. And none of those goals took me out of the house, involved other people, or kept me connected. I was no longer taking risks.

The learning curve, I realized, should lead somewhere.

A friend who took up online dating apparently mixed up his likes and dislikes in his profile. It took him months to notice that the women he was meeting were drawing him into activities he had previously avoided – and that he was enjoying himself. 

Something similar happened to me. My likes had brought me this far in life, but what did I know? I met a woman who loved jazz. Before then, I owned maybe three albums of music without words. A year later, my listening now includes Anat Cohen on clarinet, Wes Montgomery and Bobby Broom on jazz guitar, Wynton Marsalis. I sat in the balcony of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and watched 77-year-old McCoy Tyner grab handfuls of heaven on the piano, delivering an entire lifetime in a single evening. I discovered the American songbook, came to appreciate the phrasing, the power of a single word. Nina Simone. Billie Holiday. The continuing education changed my map of Chicago, my hometown. I discovered the Green Mill, a jazz club that had been a speakeasy in Al Capone’s era. 

The learning curve should lead you out of the house.

I am not a foodie, but in the past year I have eaten at 35 restaurants that were not Cross-Rhodes, the Greek place that was the go-to choice for my kids for 20 years. All in the company of friends, old or new. Ted Fishman, author of Shock of Gray, a book on aging, pointed out that people who adopted the Mediterranean diet, hoping to live longer, were missing the point. In those cultures, breakfast, coffee, lunch, wine, and dinner all happen in the company of other people. Conversation is as important as the nature of calories consumed. Visit a café in Rome: What you notice first is that no one is talking on a phone. They are lost in face-to-face conversations.

The experts recommend learning a musical instrument but say that practicing something you already know doesn’t count. I was a child of the folk scare of the ’60s, so I play acoustic guitar. But I seldom ventured above the fifth fret, and I never bent a note. I belonged to the “learn three chords, play 10,000 songs” school. Suddenly my hands were attempting jazz chords (learn 10,000 chords, play three songs). My hands sometimes cramp up in a Dr. Strangelove spasm. A concerned friend asked, “What’s that?” I responded, “Oh, a D augmented 9th or maybe a G13.”

I have a friend who decided, out of the blue, to learn stand-up bass. He mastered the instrument, formed a jazz quartet with a killer vocalist, and now plays at clubs and galleries around Chicago. 

I met a woman who, after working as an emergency room physician for decades, developed a passion for tango. She takes lessons three nights a week. She travels to tango festivals and has gone to Argentina to work with legendary dancers. She owns multiple pairs of shoes with heels cut to different heights to perfectly match her partners. And you thought golf was equipment-intensive.

A friend asked one day if I would be interested in an afternoon listening to Israeli voices, people telling stories about their experiences on a kibbutz, about attending school, about finding love on the streets of Jerusalem. Why not? One story haunted me for weeks. What was going on? I usually forget the plot of a movie by the time I validate parking. 

I discovered that Chicago is home to a major storytelling community, one you can find in a bar or on a stage every night of the week. This, too, changed my map of the city. I have attended Moth “story slams” from the South Side to the North Shore, sat in intimate Irish pubs being moved to laughter or tears or heartache by the sound of human voices. 

Find a microphone. Tell your story. This campfire has been burning for millennia. It is human connection in its purest form, the exact opposite of what often happens in social media.

Curve Your Enthusiasm 2018-05-16 08:00:00Z 0
2018 Homer High Rotary Scholarship Recipients 2018-05-16 08:00:00Z 0

Beth spent an amazing 4+ days with 4 outstanding students at RYLA in Whitehorse.  They were easy to travel with, insightful and respectful, engaged and inspired.  Thank you for allowing me to have this experience!  Thanks to the Downtown Club for their partnership allowing us to bring more students to RYLA.  They plan to share their experience with us on May 24th at the Club Assembly.  For MANY more pictures of RYLA 2018 go to Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary at < www.facebook.com/ >

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards -- 2018 2018-05-09 08:00:00Z 0
For 95 years, the Rotary Club of Las Vegas has helped build a city that transcends showgirls, celebrities, and slot machines
 
By Kevin Cook
 
Two weeks before Christmas, Santa Claus hangs a left on Tropicana Avenue and drives toward a mall, shielding his eyes from the desert sun. He passes a cactus festooned with holiday lights and, as he walks into J.C. Penney, shouts, “Ho, ho, ho!” to children rubbing their hands together for warmth. The temperature? A frigid 55 degrees.
 
Dressed in shirtsleeves and a battery-powered Santa hat that flops back and forth on his head, Old St. Nick bears an uncanny resemblance to Jim Hunt, an insurance executive who runs the annual Santa Clothes program for the Rotary Club of Las Vegas. Each year the program sponsors shopping sprees for underprivileged children. Hunt built the program from 35 grade school students in 1996 to 365 today.
 
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 Fremont Street, aka Glitter Gulch, 1952
Photo by Edward N. Edstrom
 
Inside Penney’s, scores of excited children fan out through the aisles. “Happy shopping!” exclaims Santa Jim as the kids run out of sight.
Each child has a guide to help find the right coat or shoes. Jennifer, 17, helps a first-grader try on an Avengers T-shirt. “It’s so fun being on the grown-up side of things,” Jennifer says, beaming. Ten years ago she was a Santa Clothes kid herself, picking out shoes, jeans, and a blanket decorated with teddy bears. “I’ve still got the blanket. Now I want to help kids who need it like I did.”
 
Club President Michael Gordon stands by a cash register. Each kid has a $200 spending limit. “We want them all to get as close to the limit as possible,” he says. “It’s a bit of a crapshoot to see who comes close without going over.” And if anyone goes over $200? “Well, we pay it.” 
A sturdy fellow with black hair and a stubbly goatee, Gordon speaks with a slight South African accent. He came to Las Vegas as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 2006. “I couldn’t believe my good fortune, but didn’t know what to expect in Nevada,” he says. “No one in my family had ever been to the States. But people said it got cold in America, so I came prepared.” He walked out of McCarran International Airport wearing a winter parka. 
The parka hung in a closet while Gordon earned a Ph.D. in public affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He’s now director of strategic initiatives and research at the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, working to speed the city’s growth. “It’s an exciting time for Las Vegas,” he says. “We’ve got the Raiders moving here from Oakland in 2020. There’s the Hyperloop, a high-speed train that might get people here from Los Angeles in half an hour. We’ve got a new WNBA team, the Aces; the beginnings of a driverless bus system; a new bar where robots serve drinks; and plans for Interstate 11, which could one day go all the way to Seattle.”
 
Gordon laughs. Civic pride is in his blood – as is Rotary. His father, George, is president of the Rotary Club of Bellville, South Africa. “Father-and-son presidents 10,000 miles apart,” Gordon says. “That’s probably a first. We compare notes, but there’s no rivalry.” 
 
George Gordon is proud of his son’s achievements. “Michael’s club has 137 members to our 26,” he explains via email. “We don’t have the finances to pursue as many major projects, but we do what we can. And of course I look forward to visiting his club in Las Vegas.” 
 
Who wouldn’t? The club is pretty much like any other – except for the prime rib at meetings, casino chips in the End Polio Now piggy bank, celebrity visitors, and pirate ships outside the holiday party. And topping all that: the club’s ambitions. 
 
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The First State Bank and Kuhn’s Mercantile in 1905, the year Las Vegas was founded.
Photo from Elbert Edwards Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
Eighteen businessmen founded the Rotary Club of Las Vegas in 1923. They included founding President Les Saunders, manager of the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as two bankers, two haberdashers, a butcher, a doctor, a pharmacist, an auto dealer, the town’s only dentist, and several Union Pacific railroad executives. “They were the men who built this city as a community, not just a gambling mecca,” says Michael Green, an associate professor of history at UNLV.  “A real city needs bankers and businessmen, not just casinos.”
 
In those days, Las Vegas was a busy if sparsely populated (2,304 residents) railroad crossing. But after 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling and construction began on the Hoover Dam, the town gradually morphed into Sin City, the country’s capital of legal vice and quickie divorces. During the 1950s, with the construction of nearly a dozen hotel-casinos on the Strip, it boomed like the atomic bombs the military tested in the desert 65 miles northwest of town. By 1960, the population had grown to 64,405. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack yukked it up at the Sands, soon followed by Elvis Presley, who put the viva in Las Vegas.
 
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Cy Wengert, in hat, a charter member and president of the Rotary Club of Las Vegas.
Photo from Wengert Family Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
Through it all, casino operators and business leaders, some of them Rotary members, worked together. One Rotarian’s off-hours tasks included carrying bags of silver dollars from casinos to a mob boss. When there were too many bags to fit in his car, he switched to a limo, then to a truck. Another Rotarian dreaded meetings because the club fined members who got their names in the paper – and he had been indicted for skimming casino cash. (A bum rap, his lawyer said.)
 
“Gaming was legal,” says Green. “A businessman didn’t need to know where a client got his money. One thing that meant was that mob money not only paid for much of the city, it served many good ends. You might go to someone like Bugsy Siegel and say, ‘We’re raising money for a great cause. We need free use of your ballroom and $3,000.’ That’s in everyone’s interest.”
 
The Las Vegas Rotary Club met in showrooms at the Stardust, Harrah’s, and the Desert Inn. Fines for being late or forgetting your Rotary pin started at $100. “Everything’s bigger in Vegas,” says Bob Werner, a longtime florist whom the stars called whenever they needed a floral horseshoe or a car full of roses. “It’s a good florist town,” he reminisces. “Diana Ross naturally needs more flowers in her dressing room than Céline Dion, and Céline needs more than Diana. I did OK. Now I enjoy going to meetings at the best club in the world.”
“I think it helps that we’ve got a chip on our shoulder,” says Randy Campanale, one of a dozen past presidents who play active roles in the club. “When people call us Sin City, it makes us want to prove we’ve got good people here.”
 
Last fall, a gunman perched in the Mandalay Bay hotel killed 58 people and wounded 422. Within hours, Gordon was phoning the past presidents, men and women he relies on as trusted advisers. He had one question: “What can we do?” The club arranged to pay for needy victims’ funerals.
 
It was only the latest of its many causes, which include food and blood drives, tuition grants, and awards for exemplary soldiers at Nellis and Creech air force bases, key employers in Clark County. Gordon also wants to bring in a Junior Achievement BizTown, a kid-size city where grade school students play everything from chief financial officer to mayor to intrepid reporter.  
1.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/pho008056_0.jpg?itok=uLirmDoc
Rotarians in cowboy hats celebrate Helldorado Week, 1938.
Photo from Wengert Family Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
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The 1940 Christmas party.
Photo from K.O. Knudson Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
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 Auctioning town lots in 1905, the year the city was founded.
Photo from Ferron-Bracken Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
These days the club meets on Thursdays at Lawry’s the Prime Rib on Howard Hughes Parkway. Members pay $30 for lunch. Over the years they’ve heard speeches from show business celebrities – such as Debbie Reynolds and Louie Anderson – as well as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, and her husband, former mayor (and mob lawyer) Oscar Goodman; boxing promoter Bob Arum; and Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian, the towel-chewing basketball coach of UNLV’s NCAA champion Runnin’ Rebels. With an annual budget of almost $500,000 and a local foundation fund that spins off more than $50,000 a year in interest, the club has resources few can match. And the money’s legit: Las Vegas, perennially one of America’s fastest-growing cities, got respectable long ago. 
 
“I love what they’re doing here,” says District 5300 Governor Raghada Khoury. “They’ve got a club for new members, the 25 Club, that gets them off to a flying start.” (In Vegas, new arrivals spend two years in the 25 Club, proving they’re Rotary ready, before graduating to full membership.) “They’ve got Rotaract, Interact, even Kideract for grade-schoolers. They’ve got a car show, foundation giving, PolioPlus, on and on. Smaller clubs don’t have the resources to do all that, but any club could pick one of these projects and do it well.”
 
As it did with Jennifer, the 17-year-old Santa Clothes guide, Rotary made an early and indelible impression on Khoury. She remembers a Rotary program that brought books to children in Yonkers, New York. “I was one of those kids,” she says. “I became an avid reader thanks to those books.” As an adult, she got off to a rough start at a Rotary club in Southern California: “We were the first district ever to admit women – and the men wouldn’t talk to me!”
 
She decided to quit Rotary, but the club president urged her to give it another try. “I threw myself into it,” says Khoury, who rose to president and finally district governor. Since last year she has put 28,000 miles on her car, driving from club to club in California and Nevada, promoting causes such as satellite clubs that meet twice a month. “I’m for ideas that can increase retention of the members we’ve got and bring new ones in,” she says. “My message is: Don’t just show up at meetings. Roll up your sleeves and be a real Rotarian.”  
 
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The 2017 Santa Clothes shopping spree.
Photo from Las Vegas Rotary Club
 
From the Santa Clothes event, Club President Gordon drives to a football field on the UNLV campus. The 300-plus kids have finished their shopping sprees and are running races with the university’s track team, hitting Wiffle balls with its baseball players, knocking down foam tackling dummies with football players, and doing jumping jacks with Runnin’ Rebels cheerleaders. 
 
“This is life-changing for them,” says Katie Decker, who runs three elementary schools with busy Kideract programs. (Gordon calls her “Rotary’s favorite principal.”) Decker’s students learn The Four-Way Test, which is painted on her schools’ walls. Once a year, the Kideract kids attend a club luncheon in their honor. “We let them run the meeting,” says Gordon, who last year stepped aside for a Kideractor half his size. 
 
Gordon’s next stop is the local PBS station, KLVX, where Past President Tom Axtell helped build the state’s only interactive library for deaf and blind children. Another of Axtell’s projects was higher-tech, and it has assumed an even greater significance since the October shootings. “We digitized the blueprints of all the school buildings in Las Vegas, as well as contact info for thousands of school employees, students, and parents,” Axtell explains. “If there’s a lockdown due to a terrorist event or any sort of disaster, we embed all that data in our TV signal. Viewers can’t see it on the screen, but emergency responders get it instantly.”
 
From the TV station, Gordon heads to the city’s sprawling Salvation Army complex. Maj. Randy Kinnamon shows off recent shipments of wheelchairs and food the club has donated. Gordon shakes hands with a once-homeless chef named Jeremy – his specialty is braised short ribs – who now prepares more than 1,000 Rotary-subsidized meals a day.
 
And then it’s back to the Strip, where pirate ships circle the social event of the year.
 
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President David Welles and 1976 Rotary high school scholarship winners.
Photo from the North Las Vegas Library Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 
The ballroom at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino features a deejay, balloons, giant snowflakes projected on the walls, and a theater-size movie screen showing photos from past Santa Clothes sprees. The club’s holiday party owes its youthful vibe to more than the kids on the screen. Jimmelle Siarot, a mother of three who works the front desk at the Flamingo, greets attorney Anna Karabachev, 28. They came up from the 25 Club with entrepreneur Erik Astramecki, 27, who moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter.
 
Not long ago, Astramecki provided one of the only-in-Vegas scenes the club is known for. “The whole Rotary club,” he recalls, “came to my first big fight,” which was staged within the eight-sided fighting cage at the Cannery Hotel & Casino. Prefight, as Astramecki psyched himself up inside the Octagon (as the fighting cage is called), the national anthem began – and then the PA system conked out. “Total silence,” says the pugilist, “till the Rotarians picked up the song. Pretty soon we’re all singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ a cappella.” 
 
Gordon enters the Treasure Island ballroom to scattered applause. Dressed in a kilt to honor his Scottish ancestry, he smiles and bows as some club members sing “Happy Birthday to You.” The aging president, as he calls himself, turned 40 today. “There’s a lot to celebrate,” Gordon says, posing for pictures with his wife, Amanda. 
“We’re expecting,” Amanda adds. District Governor Khoury pins a button on the expectant mother’s waistband. It reads “Future Rotarian.”   
 
From the stage, Gordon introduces Jackie Thornhill, who is slated to be president in 2019-20. Then he assesses the biggest fine of the year: $9,500 to a member who had gotten engaged and gotten his name in the paper. Of course, the club’s famously high fines are all for show: Offenders usually bargain their way down to $5 or $10. 
 
After a dinner of shrimp, steak, and cake, the deejay cranks up the music. Michael Gagnon, wine buyer at the MGM Grand, dances with private investigator Arleen Sirois. Several other members pull Gordon to the dance floor. He resists at first. Fifteen hours into his workday, he looks tired. But the room is thumping as Bruno Mars belts out “Uptown Funk.” After a moment the burly, kilted Gordon throws his hands in the air. He spins and boogies for all he’s worth – no hip-shaking Elvis, but not bad for a zealous urban planner and indefatigable Rotary dad-to-be. 
 
-- Kevin Cook is a frequent contributor to The Rotarian. His latest book is Electric October
 
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Bright Lights, Big Heart 2018-05-09 08:00:00Z 0
Homer Middle School Needs Help!! 2018-05-01 08:00:00Z 0

How your brain is keeping you from changing your mind

By By Joe Queenan                                                       Illustrations by Guy Billout

A few years ago, when I was suffering from severe back pain, I consulted a local chiropractor, a practitioner of a medical technique I do not actually believe in. After several predictably fruitless visits, she asked me to lie on a long, vibrating bed that would help me relax by putting my body in harmony with the vibrations of the planet.

“That won’t work with me,” I told her, gathering up my things. “I’m from Philadelphia.”

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As an alumnus of the Quaker City working class, I held on to my disdain for all things esoteric and mystical and Eastern – yoga, tai chi, transcendental meditation, chutney – for many years until my back pain got so severe that I finally broke down and saw an acupuncturist. I would never have dreamed of doing this were it not for the intervention of a friend, a man as conservative and straitlaced as they come, who handed me Dr. Lee’s card, recommending him most highly.

“Wait a minute,” I objected. “Guys like you don’t believe in stuff like acupuncture.”

“If your back hurts enough, you’ll believe in anything,” he replied.

The treatment worked; for me, it was a miraculous cure. I am not exaggerating by saying that acupuncture saved my life. This got me to thinking about how hard it is to get a person to change his mind about something unless some sort of personal crisis erupts. 

My list of entrenched beliefs is short but inflexible. I would never change my religion or political affiliation, even when I disagree with the church or the party, and it is impossible to get me to change my views about music. I have disliked Vivaldi – Renaissance Muzak – the Grateful Dead, and smooth jazz for more than four decades, and when a friend took me to see Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum, begging me to give contemporary country a fair hearing, I came out hating the genre more than when I went in – something I would not have thought possible.

I loathe beets, kale, cauliflower, clog dancing, Middlemarch, Civil War re-enactors, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, the Dallas Cowboys, folk music, marzipan, and the New York Yankees, and nothing short of divine intervention is going to change my mind about any of them. 

Most people I know have similar, though perhaps less vehement, attitudes toward one thing or another. My liberal friends could never be persuaded to vote Republican, and my conservative friends feel the same way about Democrats. I have breakfast every morning with a group of friends, including one who is quite conservative and another who is extremely liberal. They have locked horns on every major issue – guns, taxes, immigration, global warming, the designated hitter rule – every day for 15 years. Neither has ever persuaded the other to change his opinion about anything. 

People who despise hip-hop, pro basketball, Cats, sushi, coconut water, NPR, or the opera are not going to change the way they feel about those things. The only way I could get most of my friends to listen to Wagner, eat scrapple, or rent a Steven Seagal movie would be if I could prove to them that doing so would cure lower back pain. With the scrapple, even that might not work.

T.J. Elliott, longtime chief learning officer at the Educational Testing Service, scoffs at the notion that you can change people’s opinions by marshaling powerful, insuperable arguments. 

 

Neuro-Logic 2018-05-01 08:00:00Z 0
More - Winston at the Prom 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0

How Jim Marggraff is inventing the way to a better future

 

I’m in a conference room at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, to interview Jim Marggraff, but before I can even start, he launches into questions of his own: What’s the goal of this article? Who will read it? What do we want them to do with what they learn?

 

This is the way the serial entrepreneur approaches everything from a talk with a reporter to the lack of map-reading skills in the United States to world peace. “I’m emphatically focused on what is the PTS – what is the problem to solve?” he says. “I ask that multiple times every day, because people typically aren’t clear on it.” 

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Marggraff’s focus on problem-solving has made him an enormously successful inventor. His creations have included the Livescribe smart pen, which links handwritten notes with audio, and LeapFrog’s LeapPad, an electronic book that helps children learn to read and has had sales of more than $1 billion since it debuted in 1999. In October 2016, Google acquired Eyefluence, a virtual reality company he co-founded.

After a year at Google, Marggraff “found the allure of a startup too great” and left the tech giant to become CEO of Rival Theory, a company that is developing artificial intelligence personas of world leaders and influencers that will give people access to their support and coaching.

 

A member of the Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise, Marggraff was the driving force behind Rotary’s virtual reality film One Small Act. The film follows a child whose world has been torn apart by conflict and traces the acts of kindness that make a difference in her life. Developed with Google, it debuted at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta and can be viewed on Rotary’s VR app, which is available on iTunes and Google Play. 

 

A desire to change the world underlies much of Marggraff’s work. “There is a thread that connects all of these technologies,” he says. “It deals with communication, understanding, learning, empathy.” His new book, How to Raise a Founder with Heart, is about raising kids with an entrepreneurial mindset. 

 

Over breakfast, we talk about the future of virtual reality as a fundraising tool; where he gets his ideas; and how Rotary clubs can learn to think like an inventor.

 

Q: You have spent two decades bringing together technology and humans. What has been the biggest challenge?

A: With each of my inventions, I thought that after I presented an idea, it would be rapidly grasped and then easily accepted and adopted. I was surprised – although I no longer am – by the amount of time it takes for people to grasp the implication of a new technology, to understand its potential, and then to embrace it.

 

Q: You’ve said that what motivates your work is making a difference in the world. Where does Rotary fit in?

A: Each time I’d start another company, my neighbor would ask me to speak at his club. I spoke first about an interactive globe I’d invented, and then I spoke about the LeapPad, and then I came in and showed the Livescribe pen, and then, in 2011, I became a Rotary member. 

I’d been an entrepreneur buried in my work so long, and I was looking for a means to give back. I wouldn’t have joined just a social club for businesses. It was Rotary’s commitment to doing local projects. As I began to hear about the global programs as well, I was more impressed and more interested.

 

Q: Rotary is exploring virtual reality as a way for clubs and districts to share Rotary’s story. How do you explain VR to people unfamiliar with the technology? 

A: Remember the old View-Master? You put this disc in, and it’s got a pair of images taken from slightly different angles, and it gives you a stereo view. VR is like a View-Master, but now the simplest way is to take your phone, put it in the little Google Cardboard box, and put some lenses in front of it. Instead of it just being a static image, it’s a movie. And instead of it just being a movie, you can look around and see 360 degrees. You see above you, below you, to the left and right. You’re inside the movie. 

 

Q: How can a VR experience help people connect with each other?

A: Here’s an example. Right now, you can connect virtually with 2 billion people on the planet with Google Hangouts or Skype. You can also pick up your phone and utter a phrase and within three seconds have it translated to virtually any language in the world. As we merge those technologies, you’ll be able to virtually sit in someone’s living room and talk to them as the language is translated. You will be able to connect with someone in Libya or Afghanistan or South Africa, and you’ll be able to share your feelings and thoughts. Suddenly, it’s not a remote person in a remote country. It’s an individual you can understand. 

As the technology allows, I’m looking to see what framework we can create. First let’s connect Rotarians to Rotarians. Rotary is a global group, and we feel bonds with each other just because we’re Rotarians. Now let’s connect more personally.

Then let’s reach beyond that and connect people outside of Rotary with Rotarians and then with others. And once this happens, it becomes more difficult for people to allow the leaders in their country to say, “Bomb them.”

 

Q: Might we invent our way to peace? 

 

View One Small Act and other virtual reality films on Rotary’s VR app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. Or stop by the Virtual Reality Zone in the House of Friendship at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto. 

Use VR to share Rotary’s story at your club and district events. Watch for a new VR film in time for World Polio Day in October. Find out more at rotary.org/en/vr.

Problems Solved 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0
We need the club’s input in efforts to upgrade Ben Walters Park to make it safer and more enjoyable for the users.  A little park background and ideas our little committee have for upgrades follows.  Please look these over and offer any suggestions, improvements, and new ideas for this work.  We also need more members on our committee, so please let Dave Brann, Tom Early or Kathy Hill know if you are interested.  Being on this committee does not mean you are bound to a work party.  We will be soliciting members for help early summer, so please be willing to chip in some time for a better community (and the possibility for free coffee/drinks and snacks).
 
The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and the City of Homer has an "Adopt a Park" agreement at Ben Walters Park since 2011 which states that our club is responsible for some of the maintenance and upgrades.  Our Rotary logo (brand) is visible in the park and the aging facilities and lack of playground equipment is sheds a poor light on Rotary in Homer. 
 
The park is also beginning to be used for nefarious activities by the younger generation.  The upgrades we envision would enhance the quality and safer use of the park. The McDonald's franchise owner expressed enthusiasm to help support our work to upgrade this park because of the close proximity to their facility and potential customer use of the park.
 
Our “Cranium Cup” trivia night this winter netted us approximately $2,000 with the stated proceeds going to Homer parks upgrades.  We plan to use these funds and a lot of Club "sweat equity" to complete many of the following projects.  Construct two to three picnic tables, sand and varnish existing benches and construct several new benches, brush and open some of the wooded area for better visibility and safety, refurbish/replace boundary posts, repaint the inside and outside of the public bathroom, and install lighting on the park grounds.  With the club money, a District 5010 matching grant, and some probable help from McDonald’s, we hope to purchase several new and fairly simple pieces of playground equipment to encourage more use by families.
This will be a very visible Rotary project which will greatly benefit the community.
A Request for Help 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0
Join us for an upcoming webinar, How to Start a Community-Based Rotaract Club
Rotary President-elect Barry Rassin set a goal for Rotary to double Rotaract clubs around the world in 2018-19. So let’s get started! Join us for the webinar How to Start a Community-Based Rotaract Club on Wednesday, 9 May, at 12:00 Chicago time (UTC-5). Hear Rotary staff, members of community-based Rotaract clubs, and Rotarian sponsors explain why community-based clubs are a great option and how easy it is to start one. View the webinar time in your region and register.
http://msgfocus.com/files/amf_highroad_solution/workspace_21/newsletter_images/blank.gif
How to Start a Community Based Rotaract Club 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0

Dear District 5010 Rotarians:

 

The annual business meeting for Rotary District 5010 will be held in Seward on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  For the 2018 conference, seven resolutions will be presented and voted upon at the annual business meeting along with nominations received for the (Zone) RI Director Nominating Committee. 

 

With this communication, we notify clubs that submitted resolutions and the current financials reports are available for review on the district website, http://rotarydistrict5010.org under "Documents" on the right hand side.  Following is a direct link to the packet:

 

https://clubrunner.blob.core.windows.net/00000050002/en-ca/files/homepage/resolutions-2018/2018-Resolution-Packet-D5010.pdf

 

The 2016-17 financial report and the year-to-date 2017-18 financial report are also posted, and will be presented in detail at the business meeting.

 

Substantive proposals to come before the electors at this year’s business meeting include:

  • Resolution 5, which establishes procedures in the District MOP for the expenditure of excess reserve funds (those that exceed 12 months of operating expenses), and
  • Resolutions 6 and 7, which are identical and propose revisions to the process for selecting the District Governor.

Please review and discuss the proposed amendments in advance with your board and designated electors and be sure the electors come to the meeting prepared to efficiently conduct District business and represent your club’s position.  There will only be an hour allocated for the meeting on Saturday afternoon. If you have questions about these proposals, please contact the sponsors, as follows:

 

Resolution 5 – District Excess Reserves Fund procedures: 

Andre Layral, Fairbanks Sunrisers, alayral1920@gmail.com

 

Resolutions 6 & 7 – Changes to DG Selection procedures: 

            Alana Bergh, North Pole Rotary, alanabergh@gmail.com

            Cheryl Metiva, President Susitna Club, clmetiva@gmail.com

 

Please refer to Article XIII of the District Manual of Procedure for information about how resolutions are submitted and voted upon at the annual district conference (available on the district home page under “Documents”).  The resolutions will be effective July 1, 2018 unless otherwise noted. 

 

We look forward to seeing you in Seward!  Please don't hesitate to contact me, DG Harry Kieling, or DGE Diane Fejes with questions by phone or email.

 

Best regards,

 

Ann

 

Ann Metcalfe

Administration Committee

anngmet@gmail.com

907-321-3686

ROTARY - Notice of Business Meeting &amp; Proposed Resolutions 2018-04-17 08:00:00Z 0

From the Desk of President Beth

Thanks to Ed and Jan for a great month of music, art and unique and interesting presenters!  It was a lot of fun to mix things up and learn about and be exposed to new and different things!

We are in need of a Treasurer for the 2018-19 year!  Please let me or Bernie know if you are interested in helping out the club in this way.  It would be ideal to have the opportunity to work with Susie for a couple of months to learn the system before taking over in July!

Don't forget to sign up for the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event on April 14th!  It's a fun way to enjoy getting to know the fellow Rotarians in our club!

Please continue to bring toiletries to our Thursday meetings so we can package them up and give them to Haven House for distribution to residents.  These items that go into the welcome baskets they provide are so important as many may arrive with nothing.

 

We need an Ad Hoc committee to work on coming up with a recommendation for how to use the money earned at the Cranium Cup event to enhance our community parks.  We would like to apply for a District grant - so our $2000 will be matched by $2000 and we will have $4000 to work with.  Members of the committee need to investigate needs and come up with a recommendation to present to the Club and Board by the end of March.  Contact Beth if you would like to help with this!

Don't forget to register for the District Conference - held in Seward this year May 17-19!

Ask Winston what's on his Alaskan "bucket list" and see if you can help him check something off! 

Thanks!

Beth

 

 

Open World

We are looking for eight host families for the 2-10 June 2018 Open World Russian Delegation Visit. At present we have two volunteers, so we still need six more hosts. Please contact President-Elect Bernie Griffard if you can assist. His phone is 717-319-2653; email griffbfgak@gmail.com.

Announcements: April 12, 2018 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0
Proposed guidelines for “Meet, Greet and Dine with Rotary Community leaders” fundraising events (March 2018)
 
1.       Host invites “Community leader/celebrity Rotarian(s)” to a fundraising dinner and notes how many additional guests can be invited
2.      Celebrity Rotarian and/or host invites additional guests – preferably people who are not Rotarians, who may learn about Rotary and may be interested in membership.
3.      Each person who attends the dinner (except the host/s) contributes $30 for his/her meal and drinks
4.      Money raised will fund education/training activities of Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay
5.      Host and Celebrity Rotarian guest(s) select date and time of dinner
6.      Host prepares the meal.  Other non-participating Rotarians may contribute food or drinks for the event.
7.      Host and Celebrity together decide topics of conversation that may be discouraged. 
8.      Rotarian hosts and Rotarian “celebrity guests” form the committee to distribute the funds raised.
 
 
Rotarian Celebrities (not an inclusive list- just for examples):  Representative Paul Seaton, City Mayor Bryan and Karen Zak; City Manager, Katie Koester; KBC Director Carol Swartz; CACS Director, Beth Trowbridge; Hospital Public Relations Director, Derotha Ferraro; Save U More Manager, Mark Hemstreet; KHLT Director, Marie McCarthy; City Planner, Rick Abboud; Chamber Director, Debbie Speakman; etc.
 
 
First Fundraiser dinner, hosted by Vivian Finlay and Clyde Boyer, with Mayor Bryan Zak, and City Manager, Katie Koester, as the honored Rotarian guests, held on March 3, 2018; four community guests attended.  $180 was donated by the guests; $30 by CTB; = $210.00.  Charlie Franz, Club Secretary, received this as scholarship to attend the District conference in Seward, in May 2018.
Proposed Guidelines for “Meet, Greet and Dine With Rotary Community Leaders” Fundraising Events 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0

Our Club obtained a global grant to purchase and install a coffee roaster machine, and to train Mayan descendants in a remote mountain village in Guatemala to roast their own coffee.  The farmers' coffee is organically grown in the mountains under the rain forest canopy and is single source and delicious.

The farmers are now able to roast their own coffee to international standards.  Earth Friendly Coffee Company purchases as much of their coffee as they can sell, and at better than fair trade prices.  The company is always looking for new customers.

Many people in our Club used to purchase and drink the coffee before the farmers were roasting their own.  Our members will be pleased with the results of the coffee being sold now.

http://www.earthfriendlycoffee.com

We hope people will continue to support the farmers who we supported with this project.

Coffee Anyone? 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0

When membership dropped below 20, the Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey took a leap of faith by offering a radically different membership structure to retain and attract members. The risk has paid off with a membership increase of 61 percent in two years.

When Mike Bucca took over as membership chair of the Rotary Club of Central Ocean in July 2015, he knew the club had a problem. Membership was down to 18 and dwindling. Bucca persuaded club leaders to look seriously at membership. 

The Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey, is a diverse club with a nearly equal number of men and women ages 30 to 89. The club has a robust list of projects because members believe it is important to be directly involved in service. Members have tackled nine projects (and counting) during the 2017-18 Rotary year by breaking into smaller groups to work on multiple projects at the same time. Members in 2015: 18; Members in 2017: 29  

Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey

The club board held three membership summits where they discussed why people join Rotary and why they stay. The result was a proposal to dramatically alter the club's membership structure to attract new members by lowering the financial commitment. 

“We want members to have a place in this club where they are contributing what they can – in time or finances,” Bucca explains. “It’s really worked.”

The Rotary Club of Central Ocean still has standard and corporate memberships, in which a local corporation or business joins with a specified number of qualified employees serving as its designees. Members in both categories pay $399 in dues every six months. The club also offers three alternative types of membership. The first is an introductory membership. New members can join at the rate of $99 for the first six months and $199 for the second. After the first year of membership, they pay the standard rate.

“When I joined, that was my biggest hesitation – the money,” says Bucca. “For $99 I would have joined the first time I was asked and not three years later.” 

The second membership offering is a discount to family members of existing members paying the standard rate. Family members can join for $199 every six months, and that discount applies as long as another family member is paying the standard rate. 

Again, Bucca drew from experience. “My wife and two other members’ wives wanted to join the club, but the family could not afford it. But half price made sense, so we gained three members.” 

The third type is called a friendship membership. This is designed for members who are interested in helping the club and taking part in projects, but cannot commit to meetings. Friendship members pay $249 every six months.

“People felt guilty about not coming to meetings. This eliminates that,” Bucca says. 

The results are clearly in favor of the new system. Membership climbed from a low of 18 in 2015 to 29 in 2017. Many of the new members are in their 30s and many are women, says Bucca. “In 2013, I was the only member under 40; now we have seven. Our club was No. 1 in the district for the number of women who joined.” 

Most importantly, the new members have invigorated the club. “Our club was dying; we were in trouble,” says Bucca. “We turned it around and are thriving.” –Susie Ma

What is your club doing to reinvent itself? Email club.innovations@rotary.org.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Club Innovation: New Membership Categories Attract New Members 2018-04-10 08:00:00Z 0

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary.org has been nominated for a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which called Rotary.org “one of the five best sites in the world in its category.”

Nominated in the association category, Rotary.org is competing with four others for the 22nd annual awards.

Rotary International's revamped website has been chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as one of the best association websites in the world.

“Nominees like Rotary are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best.”

The Webby Awards are the leading international honor for excellence on the internet. Rotary.org is competing for both a Webby Award, whose winners are selected by the academy, and the Webby People’s Voice Award, whose winners are chosen by public vote. 

The academy judged websites on several criteria: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, innovation, and overall experience. 

Help us win the People’s Voice Award. You can vote until 19 April. The winners of each category will be announced on 24 April in New York City. 

The four other nominees for best association site are:

·       Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

·       11th Macau Design Biennial

·       Trade Works for Us

·       Center for Court Innovation

Visit the webbyawards.com for a full list of categories and nominations.

Vote today!

Rotary.org Nominated for Prestigious Webby Awards — Help Us Win 2018-04-10 08:00:00Z 0
Bernice King on what it takes to reach across political and racial divides
 
At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta last June, Bernice King gave a rousing speech about the hard work of fostering peace. She challenged her audience – both those in the auditorium and Rotarians worldwide – to think anew about how they define peace and how they interact with the people they disagree with. “Every member of our world society, even our adversaries and opponents, is worthy of being looked upon with dignity,” she said.
Addressing the current political moment in the United States, King noted how troubling it is that people are increasingly divided, with Republicans refusing to engage with Democrats and Democrats refusing to engage with Republicans. She called on people everywhere to reach across political divides.
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/Bernice%20King.jpg?itok=Ka1tEDDR
Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
 
King spoke from deep experience. The youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – assassinated 50 years ago this month – she has embraced the family’s legacy of social activism. Today she is the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Founded in 1968 by her mother, Coretta Scott King, the King Center carries on the work of Bernice’s father by searching for solutions to poverty, racism, and violence.
King’s career as a public speaker began in 1980 when she was 17 and, standing in for her mother, gave a speech on apartheid at the United Nations. After college, she earned graduate degrees in divinity and law, a combination that has shaped her vocation and her oratory, which evokes her father in both its style and its ambitions.
As a law clerk in the juvenile court system of Georgia’s Fulton County, King saw the way many teens, already disadvantaged by society, faced a legal system based on retribution rather than rehabilitation. Since then, she has dedicated herself to inspiring young people and teaching them about Nonviolence 365, the King Center initiative that encourages people to emulate her father’s principles every day of the year. 
Bernice King continues to speak out: at the White House and in South Africa; at universities, corporations, and the U.S. Department of Defense. How, she asks, can right-minded people hope to change hearts and minds when they insist on casting their opponents as the enemy? In her conversation with senior editor Hank Sartin, King suggested ways we might realize an answer to that vexing question.
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/AP_680409042.jpg?itok=M62cNSW3
In 1968, five-year-old Bernice King walks with her mother and other family members in her father’s funeral procession.
AP Photo
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/AP_8211051381.jpg?itok=b7se8kfa
King speaks against apartheid at the UN as a teenager.
Associated Press photo
 
Q: How do you win someone over to your point of view when you are reaching out to someone whose actions and ideas you find hateful and wrong?
 
A: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice and not people. We must do something about injustice, but in the process of addressing injustice we always want to preserve a person’s humanity. The decisions and choices that people have made and the actions that they’ve taken may be hateful, wrong, and unjust, but at the end of the day they’re still a part of our human family. 
The possibility of redemption is always available for individuals. When your mind-frame is geared toward that, then you go to work trying to find solutions that don’t denigrate and minimize a person. You go in seeking to understand first and then to be understood. Differences of ideology and opinion may not change. However, it’s our job to spend time trying to connect with and understand the other person. 
Studies show that people don’t change cognitively; they change because of experience. When we say people are taught to hate, that teaching is also embedded in experience. People only change through a new and different experience. How are they going to get that experience? Those experiences only come from engagement; they come from encounters. So we must have courageous conversations between people of divergent perspectives. It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work. It doesn’t mean when you leave those encounters that you will necessarily agree with people, but in the end you will develop a better respect for them and ensure that you always leave them with dignity.
 
Q: In your work, that means talking with people who are avowed racists, for instance. How do you get someone to sit down with you to begin that conversation when we’re in such a divided world and our positions are so firmly fixed?
President Barack Obama greets King in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
 
A: We have to disarm. We don’t wait for the other to disarm. If you’re still armed and on the defensive going into the conversation, then it’s kind of like the law of attraction: You attract what energy you emit. There’s a lot of internal work that has to take place within an individual. What has helped me is really getting to know Bernice. When I get to know myself, I’ve had to learn how to love Bernice in spite of the things that I cannot stand about Bernice and the things that I know need to change in me. If I can get to a place where I can embrace and love myself in spite of all of that, then I have the capacity to do it with other people. 
 
Q: What have you learned from working with young people?
 
A: I believe many young people have a very narrow focus. For them, nonviolence is the opposite of violence. But nonviolence really is a prescription to elevate you to a place where you start with understanding the human condition, the interconnectedness. Once young people open themselves up and are exposed to these ideas, they gain an entirely different perspective and can see how these ideas are very relevant and usable and livable. 
 
Q: Why has racism proven so intractable?
 
A: First of all, racism at its core creates the notion of privileged versus unprivileged, and people who are privileged have a very difficult time giving up that privilege. Also, we’ve had a lot of people confusing the real issue of racism. Racism is prejudice plus power. The power levels are critical when you talk about racism; otherwise all you have is prejudice. So we just have to keep biting at racism generation after generation. Certainly we have made some inroads, but the systemic part of it is so difficult to address. 
 
Q: How can we change people who are prejudiced?
 
A: It’s incumbent upon those of us who understand to be sensitive to that and think about how to help people navigate through their fears. Violence is the language of the unheard. We’ve got to think about where people feel unheard, feel that they are insignificant. We have to ask if that’s what they’re acting out of. I’m sure we would discover that in most cases that is true.
It is irresponsible to leave people in their hate. Most people who are very hateful can’t see that they’re hateful, because that’s all they ever knew. As a part of the human race, we have a responsibility to not let people be stuck in that kind of hate. We can’t just cut them off. Most of them are redeemable. Some of them are not, but you won’t know until you engage them. There’s a black man named Daryl Davis in Baltimore, Maryland, who asked, “How can you hate me if you don’t know me?” He decided to start encountering and connecting with some of the Klan in his area. Twenty-five of them ended up denouncing the Klan, turning over their robes to him. One of them, a former grand wizard, is now doing a lot of work in the area of race relations. So people are redeemable. If you automatically assume they’re irredeemable, all you’re doing is leaving the potential for them to sow further seeds of prejudice and hatred. 
 
Q: At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference, you said, “We need to re-explore the definition of peace.” Then you quoted your father: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” How do we act on that insight?
 
A: Removing the immediate tension and the conflict is one thing, but getting to the root of what created that tension and conflict – and can continue to perpetuate it – is necessary. We need to redistribute power so that it is more equitable. In the work of peace, you don’t want people to just stop fighting. You want them to agree to a new covenant of how to live together with equitable circumstances. That means looking at how power is distributed and agreeing to come up with a strategy and a plan that creates equity among groups of people. It is what Daddy talked about: the revolution of values. We’ve got to reconsider how to embrace a different model of society.
 
Q: What advice can you give Rotarians?
 
A: First, I remind people that it is about focus. You have to identify where your passion lies and stay focused in that area. Daddy didn’t set out to change the world; he identified his passions. He was concerned, obviously, about segregation and the way people were treated in his race, and he wanted to see that change. But his calling was ministry, and so he opted to pastor. One thing led to another, and it catapulted him into a leadership role. But he was not seeking to be great; he was seeking to be faithful to the call in his life and the passion that he had. The key word is to focus – to focus in the area of your passion. 
 
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
A Passion for Justice 2018-04-04 08:00:00Z 0
 
 
 
 
 
  
March 2018
 
 
 
The People of Action campaign makes it easy to show your community what we can accomplish together. Get started today by using the campaign materials on all your digital channels. Here’s how:
·        Post #PeopleofAction stories and promote club projects and events on your social media channels. Encourage club members to repost them on their social media channels, too.
·        Share Rotary’s new video “What We See” on your club and district websites. Share or link to it on your social media channels.
 
doctor
 
People of Action campaign rocks the San Diego airport
People of Action ads ran at the San Diego International Airport in California, USA, from 10 to 24 January, when many Rotarians traveled through it to attend Rotary’s International Assembly. The district there negotiated with the on-site advertising distributor to show 10-second video clips at 20 locations throughout the terminals. Find out how these California Rotarians reached nearly 800,000 people with the People of Action campaign.
 
 
  
doctor
 
5 steps to telling a People of Action story
The new People of Action campaign helps you bring Rotary’s story to life by showing Rotary members as the people of action we are. Telling our People of Action stories in a meaningful, coordinated way builds the public’s understanding of who we are and what we do. It highlights the impact we make in our communities and around the world. Learn how to tell your People of Action story and help answer the question, “What is Rotary?”
 
  
 
New People of Action materials on Brand Center
 
 
Outdoor
Use these outdoor billboards and transit shelter ads for outdoor advertising opportunities in your community.
 
 
 
 
Video
A 25-second version of the “What We See” video is now available. Work with your local TV station or video-editing facility to add five seconds that give your club’s information.
 
 
 
 
 
Radio 
Use the produced radio ads or work with your local radio station to record the ad and include your club’s contract information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rotary International
One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201-3698, USA
         
  
 
 
 
 
Rotary Brand News 2018-03-28 08:00:00Z 0

 

District 5010 Rotarians!  We have a Mission that we need your support to accomplish! 

What is the mission?  To provide comfort and promote self-worth at the very emotional and difficult time to Alaskan children who are transitioning thru foster care through our new district project, Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids. The goal is to ensure that no child is met with a garbage bag when moving into or around the childcare system by providing age appropriate backpacks with Rotary branded blankets, personal care and comfort items.

Last year in the Mat-Su, South East Alaska and Nome areas alone, 945 children were Out of Home (OOH), 297 were removed from their home and 244 were discharged from Foster Care.  The average child faces two placement changes while in foster care.  While OCS Officers work hard to avoid this, some children are handed a garbage bag in which to place their belongings when they are removed from their home or relocated.  With Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids, backpacks with age appropriate items will be given to children being removed from their primary residence and duffle bags will be distributed to youth being moved between foster homes or when aging out of foster care. All bags will be distributed at the discretion of OCS.

Our pilot project will include Mat-Su, South East Alaska, and Nome.  The Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids committee will work with State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS) field offices in our partner areas to determine need and establish a protocol for request and distribution. Even though we are starting with a pilot program with three areas, OCS will be able to make requests for the entire state and have access to the backpacks and duffle bags.  We want to make sure this is a sustainable program and want to get all the logistics figured out before we launch a statewide program. 

We recognize that there may be many other needs and we encourage Rotary Clubs to get involved where they can.  Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these children.

 Watch our Rotary Cares for Kids Facebook page as well as the District 5010 Website for updates on the project and how you can get involved.

If you would like to personally donate to the project, ARCS is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible. 

Send checks to: 

Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids

c/o Anchorage Rotary Community Services (ARCS)

205 E Dimond Blvd, 515

Anchorage AK,   99515

Together we are Making A Difference!

Rotary Cares For Kids 2018-03-28 08:00:00Z 0
RI president says planting trees shows long-term commitment to the community 
 
By Hank Sartin                 Photos by Alyce Henson
 
Ian H.S. Riseley issued a challenge last year. He wanted Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every Rotarian in the world – between 1 July 2017, when he took office as president of Rotary International, and Earth Day, 22 April 2018. Clubs around the world have embraced that challenge, and in his travels this year, Riseley himself has often been asked to pick up a shovel. 
 
Q: Why tree-planting?
 
A: Environmental issues have not featured highly on the radar of Rotary International in a corporate sense since 1990-91, when President Paulo Costa’s Preserve Planet Earth program inspired thousands of clubs to carry out environmental projects. I was keen to give Rotarians an incentive – and the opportunity – to show their concern for the environment. It’s important to me and it’s important to many other people. 
 
As part of 2017-18 RI President Ian Riseley’s tree-planting initiative, members of the Rotary International Staff Society planted eight trees in a bird sanctuary in Evanston, Illinois, USA. 
 
Why trees? Because anyone can do it, just about. If you can’t plant one yourself, you can still support tree-planting somewhere that needs it. From everything I’ve heard, people inside and outside Rotary have embraced this idea.
 
Q: Why do you think this idea has inspired such enthusiasm?
 
A: There’s something about planting a tree that speaks to people in a very primal way. It shows a long-term commitment to the community. Rotary does many wonderful community projects: We build playgrounds and clean up rubbish and many other things. But somehow, planting a tree captures the imagination. 
I’ve seen many examples of communities getting involved. The government of Romania heard about the initiative and said, ‘We want to plant trees too, but we don’t have the personnel to plant them.’ The government offered to donate trees that Rotarians would plant all over the country. So Rotarians are planting a million trees there.
 
Q: How do trees fit into Rotary’s areas of focus?
 
A: In some way, planting trees speaks to all of the areas of focus. Research has shown that trees are good for economic and community development – they increase property values. Planting a tree promotes peace simply by giving people a place to sit in the shade and contemplate the world. Trees are good for disease prevention and treatment, because the world is a healthier place with more trees to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. You can make a case for trees relating to all our areas of focus. 
There are parts of the world where deforestation has caused significant damage. It’s not within the bailiwick of Rotary to redress that; we just don’t have the capacity. But we’d like to demonstrate the importance of having trees in our communities and the difference that they make to us. 
 
Q: The imagery of your presidential tie is the golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. Have you always been interested in plants?
 
A: I’ve been interested in growing native Australian plants since before I was a teenager. My father was keen on propagating plants. When my wife, Juliet, and I bought our first house, I wanted to create a garden that mirrored what used to occur naturally in the area, with plants that are indigenous to that particular part of Australia. When I was thinking about my presidential tie, it was a no-brainer to incorporate the golden wattle. It’s very colorful. I know some Rotary presidential theme ties have been relatively sedate, and I wanted mine to be slightly out there. 
 
Q: You’ve participated in many tree plantings this year. What have been some more memorable ones?
 
A: In Iceland, we planted a tree in the Friendship Forest, Vinaskógur, where visiting dignitaries and heads of state have planted trees. Queen Elizabeth II planted a tree there. I’d just note that Rotary’s tree is planted just a little bit higher up the slope than hers. 
An organization Rotary works with in South America wanted to plant a tree in Antofagasta, Chile, on the edge of the Atacama desert. I asked if it was practical to plant a tree in the desert. They showed me how they had set up a system to take water from the roof of their building when it rains. The tree can survive and thrive if they do it right. 
In Northern California, a massive 100-year-old oak tree had come down, and Rotarians wanted to plant something in its place. The tree we planted is a small thing now, of course, just a meter high. People there were talking about the role that trees will have in the restoration of the area where they had the wildfires last year. A forester I spoke to told me that planting trees helps to stabilize the soil so it doesn’t wash away when it rains. It was a strong reminder of the many benefits of trees – not just converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, but also halting erosion, providing habitat for animals, and so many other things. 
I’ve helped plant trees in Sardinia, in Latvia, in Australia. Everywhere I go, I get my hands dirty.
 
Q: Your tree challenge officially ends on Earth Day, on the 22nd of this month. Do you hope that clubs will keep on planting trees?
 
A: We want everyone to keep going. And it’s not just planting the tree. It’s nurturing the tree to ensure that it thrives. Planting a tree is a commitment to the future.
Challenge: 1.2 Million Trees 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
For those who missed Club Assembly in March, you missed a bunch of fun!!  Live music, wild partying, lots of people having fun talking with each other---the whole enchilada!!
 
The party--meeting---started with LIVE MUSIC!!  Harp, guitar, and flute performed by Starlight  , including the invocation!  Then announcements, then Winston's report on his doings for the last few weeks. Then came BIRTHDAY CAKE, and Winston found out that the older you get, the harder it is to blow out all of the candles!  Cake for everyone!
 
Starlight
 
 
 
What Happened at Club Assembly in March 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
 ‘There are many polio warriors in Rotary, ” RI President Ian H.S. Riseley remarked at a fundraising dinner for End Polio Now in January, addressing the 400 attendees who filled the banquet hall of a hotel just south of Denver. “But none are more loyal or dedicated than Grant Wilkins. … Together, with 1.2 million of his closest friends from around the world, and their partners, we are on the threshold of greatness.”
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/Intro_1.jpg?itok=ZbFaRXaX
C. Grant Wilkins participates in a National Immunization Day in Côte d’Ivoire in 1998.
Photo courtesy of C. Grant Wilkins
 
C. Grant Wilkins, who sat at the table in the front row with his wife of over 50 years, Marlene, took the comments and the following ovation in stride. At 91, he walks with a slight stoop but still drives, travels, speaks, and maintains a busy schedule. He may not have universal recognition as a man who has helped save millions of lives, but he is. A member of the Rotary Club of Denver since 1969, he’s the first to say that it’s only through Rotary that anything like that could be done. “Rotary is the only way I’ve known of helping lots of people around the entire world,” he says. “We’ve saved millions of kids from polio. There’s no way I could even begin to do anything like that without being a member of this organization.” But Wilkins has been an important part of Rotary’s eradication efforts as well as many other Rotary initiatives. And his dedication begins with his own life story.
In 1951, Wilkins was living in Denver with his wife, Diane, working his first job out of college. One day he started to feel ill and couldn’t keep food down. He went to the hospital. “They thought I had the flu,” he recalls. “Then they did a spinal tap, found the polio virus in my spinal fluid, and put me in the polio ward.” The virus had attacked his throat, paralyzing his vocal cords and making it impossible to swallow. The doctors performed an emergency tracheotomy. As Wilkins writes in his memoir, Two Drops that Changed the World, “polio would be the center of my young family’s life and totally change my wife’s life for the next 13 years.”
Within two weeks, his fever broke, and Wilkins was moved from the isolation ward. Then, while Diane was visiting him at the hospital, she mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well. Doctors performed a spinal tap, and her diagnosis came back: polio. Within 24 hours she was almost totally paralyzed and placed in an iron lung, where she would stay for 2½ years until a portable respirator, a new invention at the time, allowed her to leave the hospital. Grant spent months learning to speak again.
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/Intro_4.jpg?itok=phCsANmE
Grant and Diane at home
 
Shari and Mark with their mother.
 
In 1952, the year Jonas Salk began work on the first effective vaccine, some 58,000 people in the U.S. contracted polio, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and over 21,000 patients with some level of paralysis. In 1953, vaccination field trials began, and from 1955-57, incidence of the disease in the U.S. fell by 85 to 90 percent.
This was too late for the Wilkinses, but they carried on after Diane’s illness. For the next 13 years, they raised their three children, building their life around keeping Diane’s respirator going. She learned to paint holding the brush in her mouth, taught their kids to love music, and impressed everyone with her will to survive. In 1964, she passed away at age 36.
The family managed as well as they could. Soon, Wilkins grew close to an acquaintance, Marlene Siems, and in 1965 they married. A few years later, the kids were grown and gone, and Wilkins’ billboard business had been bought out under the federal Highway Beautification Act. So with an eye toward meeting people and helping others, in 1969 he joined the Rotary Club of Denver.
“I was born into Rotary,” Wilkins says. “My dad was a member of Fort Worth’s Rotary Club when I was born in 1926.” Everywhere they moved – in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and finally Colorado – his father joined Rotary. 
At first, Wilkins focused on local projects, such as one that partnered Rotarians with underprivileged children in the Denver public schools. In 1978, he was elected president of the club, and in 1981 he helped start the Artists of America exhibition, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Denver Rotary Foundation. Over the next two decades, the show and sale would raise $1.9 million for the Denver Rotary Foundation and would also benefit the Colorado History Museum.
Then in 1985, RI President Carlos Canseco proposed that Rotary take on polio eradication. Given his history with the disease, Wilkins’ name was put forward to advise the program, which was called PolioPlus. “None of the senior leaders in Rotary had had polio themselves and/or had a wife that was totally paralyzed from it, so I was unique, ” he recalls. He became a key player in PolioPlus from its inception.
As a result of the efforts of Rotary and its four partner organizations, polio is on the verge of being eradicated, with just 22 cases reported last year as of 31 January 2018, down from 350,000 in 1988. 
Wilkins celebrates his 90th birthday with his extended family.
 
But Wilkins has not limited himself to polio eradication. He helped establish the Russian Health Initiative, which hosts health fairs where people can be screened for a variety of medical conditions. 
Wilkins was also a force behind Rotary’s focus on clean water. In 2003 he gave a talk at the American Water Works Association convention, where he learned that 6,000 children were dying each day from lack of clean water. 
“I was chairman of the Health, Hunger, and Humanity task force for The Rotary Foundation worldwide that year,” he says. “So I went back and made water a task force of its own. We said that if every Rotary club would do one water project somewhere in the world, we could really change that. And already, we’ve got those deaths down to less than half. Instead of 6,000, it’s down below 3,000.”
After Riseley spoke at the January event, Grant and Marlene were called up onstage to be presented with a surprise check representing donations to a special C. Grant Wilkins PolioPlus Fund, which had been set up by members of the Rotary Club of Denver. In just a few months, the fund had easily collected over $100,000, which was matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The check was signed “Friends of Grant.”
“Every Rotarian is a soldier in the polio war,” Wilkins says, looking back on all this. “We have over 35,000 places in the world where we have troops on the ground. That’s why we’ve been able to get this far. And that’s very, very satisfying.”
– Frank Bures
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
A Soldier in the War on Polio 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0

 


 

RI president says planting trees shows long-term commitment to the community 

By Photos by

Ian H.S. Riseley issued a challenge last year. He wanted Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every Rotarian in the world – between 1 July 2017, when he took office as president of Rotary International, and Earth Day, 22 April 2018. Clubs around the world have embraced that challenge, and in his travels this year, Riseley himself has often been asked to pick up a shovel. 

Q: Why tree-planting?

A: Environmental issues have not featured highly on the radar of Rotary International in a corporate sense since 1990-91, when President Paulo Costa’s Preserve Planet Earth program inspired thousands of clubs to carry out environmental projects. I was keen to give Rotarians an incentive – and the opportunity – to show their concern for the environment. It’s important to me and it’s important to many other people. 

As part of 2017-18 RI President Ian Riseley’s tree-planting initiative, members of the Rotary International Staff Society planted eight trees in a bird sanctuary in Evanston, Illinois, USA. 

 

Why trees? Because anyone can do it, just about. If you can’t plant one yourself, you can still support tree-planting somewhere that needs it. From everything I’ve heard, people inside and outside Rotary have embraced this idea.

Q: Why do you think this idea has inspired such enthusiasm?

A: There’s something about planting a tree that speaks to people in a very primal way. It shows a long-term commitment to the community. Rotary does many wonderful community projects: We build playgrounds and clean up rubbish and many other things. But somehow, planting a tree captures the imagination. 

I’ve seen many examples of communities getting involved. The government of Romania heard about the initiative and said, ‘We want to plant trees too, but we don’t have the personnel to plant them.’ The government offered to donate trees that Rotarians would plant all over the country. So Rotarians are planting a million trees there.

Q: How do trees fit into Rotary’s areas of focus?

A: In some way, planting trees speaks to all of the areas of focus. Research has shown that trees are good for economic and community development – they increase property values. Planting a tree promotes peace simply by giving people a place to sit in the shade and contemplate the world. Trees are good for disease prevention and treatment, because the world is a healthier place with more trees to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. You can make a case for trees relating to all our areas of focus. 

There are parts of the world where deforestation has caused significant damage. It’s not within the bailiwick of Rotary to redress that; we just don’t have the capacity. But we’d like to demonstrate the importance of having trees in our communities and the difference that they make to us. 

Q: The imagery of your presidential tie is the golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. Have you always been interested in plants?

A: I’ve been interested in growing native Australian plants since before I was a teenager. My father was keen on propagating plants. When my wife, Juliet, and I bought our first house, I wanted to create a garden that mirrored what used to occur naturally in the area, with plants that are indigenous to that particular part of Australia. When I was thinking about my presidential tie, it was a no-brainer to incorporate the golden wattle. It’s very colorful. I know some Rotary presidential theme ties have been relatively sedate, and I wanted mine to be slightly out there. 

Q: You’ve participated in many tree plantings this year. What have been some more memorable ones?

A: In Iceland, we planted a tree in the Friendship Forest, Vinaskógur, where visiting dignitaries and heads of state have planted trees. Queen Elizabeth II planted a tree there. I’d just note that Rotary’s tree is planted just a little bit higher up the slope than hers. 

An organization Rotary works with in South America wanted to plant a tree in Antofagasta, Chile, on the edge of the Atacama desert. I asked if it was practical to plant a tree in the desert. They showed me how they had set up a system to take water from the roof of their building when it rains. The tree can survive and thrive if they do it right. 

In Northern California, a massive 100-year-old oak tree had come down, and Rotarians wanted to plant something in its place. The tree we planted is a small thing now, of course, just a meter high. People there were talking about the role that trees will have in the restoration of the area where they had the wildfires last year. A forester I spoke to told me that planting trees helps to stabilize the soil so it doesn’t wash away when it rains. It was a strong reminder of the many benefits of trees – not just converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, but also halting erosion, providing habitat for animals, and so many other things. 

I’ve helped plant trees in Sardinia, in Latvia, in Australia. Everywhere I go, I get my hands dirty.

Q: Your tree challenge officially ends on Earth Day, on the 22nd of this month. Do you hope that clubs will keep on planting trees?

A: We want everyone to keep going. And it’s not just planting the tree. It’s nurturing the tree to ensure that it thrives. Planting a tree is a commitment to the future.

Challenge: 1.2 Million Trees 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0

Lending a helping paw to veterans

When Gil Igleheart and Dick Mellinger heard that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including many from their own generation, were being helped by service dogs, they knew they had to get involved. 

Neither Igleheart nor Mellinger, both in their late 60s and at the time members of the Rotary Club of Cayucos-Seaside in California’s Central Coast, served in the military, but they had friends who had served and had come home troubled and scarred. 

So in January 2016, they laid the foundation for the nonprofit organization known today as Pawsabilities for Veterans. 

Although service dogs can help ease symptoms, they are not currently covered by health insurance in the United States. The Veterans Affairs Department provides service dogs for veterans with certain physical disabilities, but not for veterans with PTSD. The VA acknowledges that dog ownership can improve mood and reduce stress, but is waiting for reliable clinical research to confirm and detail the benefits of service dogs for veterans with mental health problems. In the meantime, the costs are paid by a patchwork of nonprofits such as Pawsabilities for Veterans.

Pawsabilities for Veterans leaves the training and placement of the animals to another Central Coast organization, New Life K9s. This nonprofit trains dogs and then places them free of charge. In order to cover the expenses for each placement, it turns to groups such as Paws-abilities for Veterans.

Nicole Hern and her team at New Life K9s train the dogs to wake their PTSD sufferers from nightmares and calm them when they are anxious. Hern says she can always tell when she is out with a veteran who becomes anxious: “They’re usually touching their dog a lot more, because that helps ease that anxiety.”

–Katya Cengel

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Dispatches: 2018-03-22 08:00:00Z 0
Homer Alaska costume, fashion, & interior designer, Marie Walker,.....presentation at Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary on March 15, 2018.  Preceded by our own Jim and Maynard with a tune to prepare us for Saint Patrick's Day!
 
Jim and Maynard lead us in song!
 
 
Marie started us with a history of costuming, then went into how to (inexpensively) produce period and other costumes.  Really interesting!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pictures by Jan and Craig
Behind the Scenes--and More! 2018-03-21 08:00:00Z 0

Schools get help with clean water and hygiene

An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human contact. Rotarian Alfredo Pérez knows the schools in Guatemala and neighboring countries can use all the help available in this area.

The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

So, when Carlos Flores, then governor of District 4250 (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras), asked Pérez in 2016 to get involved with the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge, he quickly accepted. As the name suggests, the pilot program focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

“The objective of the project is to develop good hygiene habits in children,” Pérez says. “By reducing absenteeism due to diseases that are acquired due to lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools, we can increase their academic development. Training teachers to help children develop good hygiene habits is key.”

Indeed, more than a year after the effort began, the Rotary Club of Valle de Guatemala, where Pérez is a member, has improved conditions for as many as 1,793 children from 10 schools in the town of Escuintla, about 40 miles south of Guatemala City, the capital. 

Corporación Energías de Guatemala, an energy company, backed the project with a $62,000 grant. Pérez’s club and the Rotary Club of Escuintla worked with local public health officials and urban and rural planners. The project provided toilets, washing stations, and water tanks, and also supported training for teachers so that the facilities would be put to good use.

This year, members of Pérez’s club have a budget of $30,000 for work at five more schools. 

Pérez is giving talks around his country in hopes of recruiting more clubs to take up the challenge in their communities, and he’s seeking international partners to help expand the program.

Educators tell Rotarians that fewer students now miss school because of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, which sometimes spread by poor hand washing or lack of safe water.

–Jenny Espino

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Water for Classes 2018-03-14 08:00:00Z 0

Our fundraiser/"meet and greet celebrity Rotarians" dinner last night was a success!

 

We had 6 guests for a sit down Indian curry meal that we prepared.  The honored celebrity Rotarians were:  Mayor Bryan Zak and City Manager, Katie Koester.  Other guests were City Council member Donna, and Wayne Aderhold, and Parks, Rec...commission member, Ingrid Harrald, and George Overpeck.  Each guest contributed $30 to our Rotary club, and Clyde contributed an additional $30 for a total of $210.00.

The funds raised are designated for a scholarship for a Rotarian who has not attended the District Conference/Assembly to attend the upcoming one in Seward in May, 2018.

There are quite a few "celebrity" Rotarians in our club.  Our original idea was to encourage several people to consider hosting these "meet and greet" dinners and to raise funds for our club.  Rep. Paul Seaton and Tina have already said they are willing to attend one of these as guests of honor.   We now have a "template" we can share with other Rotarians who may be interested. 

The dinner was both fun and interesting. We believe the guests had good opportunities to informally meet with our City leaders, and everyone contributed to great conversations.

Here are some comments from Mayor Zak:  

   
As a Rotarian it allowed me to appreciate and learn more about other Rotarians and the other guests that had a high probability of becoming Rotarians. We did not focus solely or much on Rotary but instead we shared our personal experiences and professional experiences that allowed us to get to know and appreciate each other as members of our community. 

 

    A small amount of fundraising value for the club with a high relationship value.

I attach three photos!

Vivian and Clyde

 

 
 
Meet and Greet Rotarians Dinner Craig Forrest 2018-03-08 09:00:00Z 0
At our meeting of March 1, our inbound exchange student, Winston, presented the Club with two "Talking Drums", a gift from his father to our Club.
 
Here is some information on the "Talking Drum".
 
 
 
 
 
The Yoruba Talking Drum (Gangan)
 
The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. It has two drumheads connected by leather tension cords, which allow the player to modulate the pitch of the drum by squeezing the cords between their arm and body.  A skilled player is able to play whole phrases.  Most talking drums sound like a human humming, depending on the way you play.
 
Hourglass-shaped talking drums are some of the oldest instruments used by West African griots and their history can be traced back to the Yoruba people.  The Yoruba people of south western Nigeria and Benin have developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on the talking drum.
 
How They “Talk”
 
The pitch o the drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead:  the opposing drum heads are connected by a common tension cord.  The waist of the drum is held between the player’s arm and ribs, so that when squeezed, the drumhead is tightened, producing a higher not than when it’s in its relaxed state; the pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note.  The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and the rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.  The use of talking drums as a form of communication was noticed by Europeans in the first half of the eighteenth century.  Detailed messages could be sent from one village to the next faster than could be carried by a person riding a horse.
 
Examples
 
The message “Come back home” might be translated by the drummers as: “Make your feet comeback the way they went, make your legs come back the way they went, plant your feet and your legs below, in the village which belongs to us”.
 
Single words would be translated into phrases. For example, “moon” would be played as “the Moon looks towards Earth”, and “war” as “war which causes attention to ambushes”.
 
 
 
                                                                                                                        Winston A. Ajakaye
                                                                                District 9110, Nigeria
The Talking Drum 2018-03-08 09:00:00Z 0

 How pet owners face end-of-life decisions 

By

One late night a few months ago, our little dog, Queenie, appeared to be nearing her last breath. She was shivering, moaning plaintively, and – most telling – refusing dog treats. My wife, Barb, wrapped her in a towel and we took turns petting her until we all nodded off.

We were ready for this moment. Truth be told, we were almost looking forward to it. At the ripe old age of 16, Queenie had been on a downward spiral for quite some time, having lost her hearing – not that she ever did much listening – and much of her vision. There was a time when she could “go long” for a dog biscuit, catch it nonchalantly, and scamper back to the line of scrimmage, ready for the next play. These days, a treat gently tossed from a few feet away bounces off her nose and lands on the floor, where she has difficulty locating it. 

Illustration by Dave Cutler

 

Queenie is a puggle – a cross between a pug and a beagle, a so-called designer dog bred to combine the best traits of two breeds. In Queenie’s case, we’ve sometimes joked, the result may have been a blend of the worst. True to her contrarian character, she decided not to go gentle into that good night. The next day, she was back to her old self, as spry as any 16-year-old dog could hope to be. For her, this means snuffling and shuffling between her bed and the pantry door behind which treats are kept, with occasional stops at her food bowl in the hope that someone has filled it with something other than dry dog food, which she eschews.

While Queenie considers her culinary options, Barb and I ponder that difficult question: How will we know when it’s time to say goodbye?

“That is the question that everyone wants the answer to,” says Katie Hilst. It certainly is the question on the minds of most people who contact her. A veterinarian in Madison, Wisconsin, Hilst started out in 2007 offering home veterinary care and soon found that many of the pet owners she visited were facing the decision of whether to euthanize. That led her to establish Journeys Home, a service that specializes in providing at-home euthanasia for pets.

To help her clients, Hilst developed a quality-of-life evaluation tool, an eight-point acrostic built on the word JOURNEYS that allows pet owners to calculate a numerical score based on their own observations. These include jumping or mobility (J), ouch or pain (O), and eating and drinking (E). The pet owner assigns a number from 1 to 10 for each topic; the scale includes examples to consider, such as “Your pet is refusing food and water ” (1 point) and “Your pet is eating and drinking normally ” (10 points).

 

Column: Pets 2018-03-05 09:00:00Z 0
In his short time here, Winston has participated in activities like skiing, ice skating and sledding---all impossible to do in his home country! 
An essential part of his role as an ambassador is for him to share his culture with us and to learn about ours.  For that to happen we need to interact with him.  If you are doing something fun and would like to share it with Winston (or just want to get to know him), invite him along.  His phone number is 907 756-3747 and his email is kayeabiodun@gmail.com.  Winston will be moving to his second host family, Brian and Loreta Miller, next week.  I am very grateful for the support of our program by his first host family, Jon and Paula Kulhanek.  Without these amazing host families, our program would not exist.  Be sure and thank them when you see them.
Winston Ajakaye, Youth Exchange Ambassador from Nigeria Boyd Walker 2018-03-01 09:00:00Z 0

As thousands of refugees streamed into Berlin, they strained the health care system. Rotarian and physician Pia Skarabis-Querfeld spent the last three years building a network of volunteer doctors to help those in need.

 

By Rhea Wessel                                Produced by Andrew Chudzinski

 

On the nightly news and around her city, Pia Skarabis-Querfeld saw the refugees arriving in Berlin after fleeing war, persecution, and poverty in their home countries.

 

Wanting to help, she gathered a bag of clothes to donate and headed to a nearby gym filled with refugees.

 

What began as a single act of charity eventually evolved into an all-encompassing volunteer project: Over the next three years, Skarabis-Querfeld would build and run a network that, at peak times, would include more than 100 volunteers helping thousands of refugees at community centers, tent camps, and other shelters across the city.

 

Today, her nonprofit, Medizin Hilft  (Medicine Helps), continues to treat patients with nowhere else to turn.

 

That day she went to the gym was a few days before Christmas 2014. Skarabis-Querfeld had been busy with work and preparing for the holidays. She was looking forward to a much-needed break, and she thought clothes for the refugees would be a kind gesture befitting the spirit of the season.

 

When she arrived at the gymnasium to drop off her donation, Skarabis-Querfeld found sick children, most of them untreated because hospitals in the area were overrun. Helpers were not allowed to give out pain relievers or cough syrup due to legal constraints. All they could do was send people to the emergency room if they looked extremely ill.

 

Seeing this, and knowing about the treacherous journeys the refugees had just made across land and sea, Skarabis-Querfeld, who is a medical doctor and Rotarian, returned that same afternoon with medical supplies and her husband, Uwe Querfeld, who is a professor of pediatrics and a Rotarian. 

 

The couple spent most of that holiday treating patients in the gymnasium. 

“The suffering of the people, their bitter fate, it wouldn’t let go of me,” says Skarabis-Querfeld.

Nowhere to Turn 2018-02-28 09:00:00Z 0
Good Morning Fellow Rotarians,
 
I just returned from the most amazing PETS training in Seattle. Please share this information with your clubs. I have had the privilege of meeting your incoming presidents so I will ask them about who they might like for their ShelterBox liaison. Please let them know if you are interested.
 
Keep warm and continue being the inspiration for  Rotary

latest news about ShelterBox's global work

Bolivia

Flooding
Thousands of families have been left homeless after heavy rain caused severe flooding and landslides, which destroyed homes and livelihoods in Bolivia, at the start of February 2018.
A month’s worth of rain fell in the space of 24 hours, forcing families to flee their homes and seek shelter in community centers or with host communities, and at least six people have died.
We are on the ground meeting with trusted partners, to see how we can provide families with the tools they need to start rebuilding their homes.
 

PHILIPPINES

Flooding
In late December, Tropical Storm Tembin brought devastation to the Philippines, arriving just days after Tropical Storm Kai-tak.
The storm triggered mudslides and flooding, resulting in the deaths of more than 200 people, with dozens more still missing. More than 140,000 have been forced from their homes, staying in evacuation centers and with host families.
A ShelterBox Response Team is on the ground carrying out needs assessments and initial distributions. We will be distributing a variety of aid items such as ShelterBox, ShelterKits, water carriers and solar lights to support those families that need our help the most.
 

CARIBBEAN

Hurricanes
In early September, Category 5 Hurricane Irma caused devastation in the Caribbean. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria made landfall, bringing with it a new wave of destruction.
We have delivered aid across six countries, including St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands and Barbuda. In each country we tailored our aid to best support the needs of different communities.
Our work continues with our partners in Dominica and Barbuda, where we are helping families to return home and begin the rebuilding process.
 

BANGLADESH

Rohingya Crisis
More than 615,000 have now been forced across the Myanmar border into Bangladesh and thousands more continue to arrive each week. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world.
A majority of the displaced people are currently living in makeshift shelters of bamboo and thin plastic sheets, leaving them exposed to the elements.
We will be supporting 4,000 families with blankets, tarpaulins, solar lights and water carriers. This vital aid allows them to collect clean drinking water, and safely move about in the camps at night.
Flooding
Since the Monsoon season started in June, Bangladesh has been severely hit by constant rain. At its worst, more than a third of the land was submerged.
More than 70,000 homes have been completely destroyed and 500,000 are partially damaged. This destruction has forced 8 million people from their homes. The same extreme weather phenomenon has also affected large swathes of India, Nepal and Myanmar too.
ShelterBox have been on the ground, working with the Bangladesh Red Cross and Rotary to help those who have lost everything in the catastrophic flooding.
Aid has been distributed to 2,960 families which includes shelter kits, tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets and solar lights.
 

SYRIA

Conflict
The conflict in Syria has now entered its seventh year. What started out as a peaceful protest in 2011 has since become the longest-lasting civil war on the planet.
We’re working with our partners, Hand in Hand for Syria, ReliefAid and Bahar Organisation, to help those affected. The current focus is to distribute winter kits to provide shelter and warmth during the severe winter in this region.
This winter aid includes blankets, school kits and tents, plus other essential aid items including kitchen sets and solar lights, giving families some sense of normality.
In November, with the help from our partner ReliefAid we have distributed 1,400 winter ShelterKits to families inside Syria.
 
 
 

IRAQ

Conflict
On July 10th, 2017 the Iraqi government declared that Mosul had finally been liberated after three years of Islamic State control.  However, the humanitarian situation is still dire in Iraq and the need for ShelterBox aid is as prevalent as ever.
People are slowly returning to Mosul, but there is still a huge need for aid in and around the city, and a massive displacement of civilians throughout the whole country. Displaced families have struggled in the severe heat over the summer months, now they have to prepare for a long winter.
With the help of our partners working in Iraq, in 2017 we have provided essential aid and shelter to more than 8,000 families.
 
 
 

SOMALILAND

Drought
Severe drought in Somaliland has affected an estimated 766,000 people since November 2016, leading to the degrading of grazing land and displacement of families, forcing them to move large distances to seek fresh food for their animals.
As the drought continues, we are working closely with our partner ActionAid to ensure that families have safe shelter throughout Somaliland. So far, we have supported 441 families with ShelterKits, including tarpaulins and kitchen sets.
A team has deployed to begin the second distribution of aid that will support 1,000 families.
 

LAKE CHAD BASIN CRISIS

Conflict
Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Northern Nigeria. The violence has since spread to the neighboring regions of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, affecting around 30 million people. Recent drought has created food insecurity and added another layer of need onto the existing crisis.
Cameroon
Our partner IEDA Relief has been distributing tents, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and other life-saving aid to the most vulnerable in Cameroon.
In November, we successfully completed our first distribution of 1,032 hygiene kits for young women and teenagers affected by the crisis. These kits include personal and laundry soap, a bucket and sanitary towels.
We are also working with IEDA Relief in the extreme north of Cameroon, where families who have escaped Boko Haram need our support. We are planning to build 100 emergency shelters to house 487 Cameroonians, which include students and pregnant women, whose home communities will not allow them to return.
Chad
In Chad we are partnering with the local aid agency ICAHD to support vulnerable families in Chad. So far, 456 semi-permanent shelters have been constructed and 500 kits of vital aid including blankets, buckets, solar lights, mosquito nets and ground sheets have been distributed to affected families. ShelterBox is now working on phase two of this project with the aim to support over 4,000 families.
Niger
Boko Haram attacks in the Kablewa camp led to massive population displacement in Niger. The camp was disbanded, affecting nearly 250,000 people – half of the families in Diffa.
We worked with Plan International to provide emergency aid to those displaced. In total, we helped 896 families and we are now carrying out post distribution monitoring to ensure the aid we gave out had the impact needed and what we need to improve in our future work.
Nigeria
The conflict in Nigeria is now entering it’s ninth year and the devastating consequences continue to impact structures and the lives of 8.5 million vulnerable people. We are partnering with ACTED to support 765 new arrivals in two camps in the North of the country, by providing emergency shelters and non food items.
 
Nancy Dodge
Eagle River, Alaska 99577
ShelterBox Ambassador
 
ShelterBox USA | Pacific Northwest | e-Club Rotary District 5010
e: ShelterBox: nhdodge@comcast.net | w: shelterboxusa.org Cell: 941 993-4335
Providing shelter, warmth and dignity to disaster survivors worldwide.
 
Shelterbox News 2018-02-28 09:00:00Z 0

50 years ago, the first Rotaract club was formed to give young adults a place to connect and take action for good. Rotaract members from each decade share what the program was like and how it shaped their lives.

By Arnold R. Grahl

 

The year is 1968. 

A wall divides East and West Berlin, as the Cold War rages on. The U.S. and the Soviet Union are locked in a space race, and Apollo 8 becomes the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, sending back pictures of Earth from deep space.  

         

 

And Rotary members in North Carolina, USA, charter the first Rotaract club, to provide young people opportunities for service.

 

A half-century has passed since those first Rotaract clubs began inspiring young leaders to take action to improve their communities. The world has changed, as has the way Rotaract members connect with one another. But the underlying values of the program, and what attracts people to it, remain remarkably the same. 

 

To celebrate Rotaract’s 50th anniversary, we asked former Rotaractors from six decades to share their experiences of the program and explain how it shaped their lives. 

 

Here are their stories.

1960s

 

Geetha Jayaram, a pre-med student in Bangalore, India, became charter secretary of an early Rotaract club in 1968. Her father was an influential businessman in the city, and he and his friends believed the program was the perfect place for their college-age children.

 

“They encouraged us to join as a group,” recalls Jayaram, who met her husband, Jay Kumar, the charter president, through the club. “We were all very happy to do it, because we were medical students, engineering students, and students of other vocations who got together and planned what projects we wanted to do. What enabled us to stick together was that on weekends we went around collecting funds for our projects and worked together.”

 

Within a year, Rotaract was already so established in India that a district conference in 1969 drew thousands. Jayaram believes the program took off so fast there because the need for helping others was so evident.

 

Geetha Jayaram, left, pictured at one of the health clinics she founded in India, was a charter secretary of a Rotaract club in 1968.

 

“It was visible, tangible,” she says. “It was not something you thought about doing for somebody in some faraway country. It was right there in front of you.” 

 

Rotary’s Four-Way Test, with its reference to “the truth,” also appealed to young people. 

 

“We were post-independence children and Gandhi followers, and speaking the truth was a big thing in those days,” she says. 

 

Jayaram says Rotaract benefited from Rotary’s reputation as a well-respected organization in India. People felt proud to belong to it. Participating in Rotary was a family activity, so many young people grew up experiencing Rotary events.

 

“Every time we’d go to some picnic or concert or competition, there were always adults with children involved with all of the games and activities and food preparing,” Jayaram says. 

 

After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Jayaram came to the United States to pursue advanced degrees in medicine. She joined a Rotary club in Maryland in 1997 and founded the Maanasi Clinic in Mugalur, Karnataka, India, to provide mental health services to indigent women there. A former recipient of a Rotary Grant for University Teachers, she was awarded the Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award in 2014-15.  She is an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry, public health, nursing, and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

 

“I’m really proud I’m a Rotarian,” she says. “At Johns Hopkins, I always talk about my humanitarian work and how Rotary has enabled me to do so much with very little overhead. It’s hard to find that anywhere else.”

 

1970s

 

Lunar rovers explore the surface of the moon. Skylab begins orbiting the Earth. The Vietnam War comes to an end. In Sudan and Zaire, the first outbreak of the Ebola virus occurs. On the entertainment front, the movie Star Wars premieres. The first videocassette recorders enter the market, and Sony introduces the Walkman. Disco becomes popular.

 

John Skerritt helped charter the Rotaract Club of Carlingford, New South Wales, Australia, in 1978, after reading a newspaper advertisement placed by local Rotarians wanting to start a Rotaract club.

 

“That was the way you did it before the internet or cable TV,” Skerritt says. 

 

The new club drew young people from many backgrounds. In Australia in the 1970s, Skerritt says, a significant number of teenagers left high school early to pursue a job in the trades, and fewer than today went on to college. And for economic reasons, many tended to live with their parents until they married or had established themselves in a career.

 

The Rotaract Club of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia holds a car wash as a club fundraiser in the early 1970s. Rotaract drew young people from many backgrounds.

 

“The area where we chartered was on the border of an affluent area, where most of the kids went on to college, but also an area that was more working class,” he recalls. “One of the exciting things about it was you actually got to meet people outside the social circles of your own suburb or high school.”

Another interesting aspect, he says, is that the club functioned as matchmaker. “We had probably seven or eight couples get married,” says Skerritt. “We had a pretty even number of boys and girls. I wasn’t one of the seven, but I went to many of their weddings and served as best man in some.”

In some ways, he contends, young people had more freedom then. He recalls two club fundraisers, one where Interact members sat on a platform on top of a pole for 100 hours, and another where the Rotaract members drove cars in a demolition derby. 

 

“Can you imagine a club doing that now?” he asks.

 

But it wasn’t all social. Members were also keenly interested in helping their community. “Bringing in speakers was a great way of exposing people to things, especially our members who’d had a more sheltered upbringing,” he says. “We had a speaker from a charity that looked after homeless people, and that was actually a great eye-opener. Many times we’d follow up with a fundraiser, like tossing burgers at the mall to raise money for the homeless.”

One charity his club supported ended up having a big influence on his career. The organization helped people with hard-to-treat epilepsy who lived in a specialized care community. Skerritt went on to research seizure medications as part of his doctoral studies, and today he is therapeutic goods administrator in Australia’s Department of Health. 

Rotaract: 50 Years of Changing Lives 2018-02-21 09:00:00Z 0
It looks like Cranium Cup 2018 was a success!  Should have more information next week.
 
Cranium Cup Participants at Alice's
 
Congratulations 2018 Cranium Cup winners! The Mudville-9 Team from the Homer Medical Clinic!
Cranium Cup 2018 2018-02-15 09:00:00Z 0

Aral Sea neighbors come together to resolve conflicts over a scarce resource

Rotary is tackling one of the biggest environmental and political crises of the 21st century – water resources – and to do so, Rotarians are leveraging their ability to build connections.

“The water crisis is one of the top three crises facing the globe, along with HIV/AIDS and malaria,” says Aaron Wolf, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University and a water resources conflict resolution expert. “It’s not just waterborne illness and ecosystem degradation; water shortages exacerbate tensions in a lot of already very hostile parts of the world.”

https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/bbbaralsea_tmo_2001227_lrg.jpg?itok=-LnLv8Om

 

Satellite images from 2001, top, and 2017 show the extent of recent shoreline changes on the Aral Sea. 

NASA.GOV

The Aral Sea basin in Central Asia is one such place. Changes in the basin have a far-reaching impact on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. River diversion that began in the 1960s, when much of the region was part of the Soviet Union, has nearly desiccated the inland saltwater lake, once the fourth-largest lake in the world. Today, rusting ships lie beached on a desert contaminated by high salinity, and neighboring countries clash over the limited water resources they once shared.

“Central Asia is a tough part of the world for hydropolitics,” Wolf says, “probably one of the most tense of anywhere in the world. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lot of the arrangements that had been internal suddenly became international, with all of the complexity and suspicions and tensions that go along with that.”

In 2014 and again in 2016, Rotary Foundation global grants brought representatives from those nations together to help them navigate the delicate territory of diplomacy and transboundary conflict resolution. At the two symposiums, held in the Netherlands at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, participants began to build connections and to communicate in a way that may help head off conflict and lead to more sustainable water use.

Steve Brown, a past Rotary Foundation trustee and past president of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation, learned about the Central Asian water crisis from leaders of the IHE Delft Institute, which has had a partnership with Rotary since 2012.

Brown worked with U.S. embassies to bring in participants, mainly public-sector officials dealing with water, energy, or planning, for the first Central Asia Water Symposium. Sessions featured lecturers who study water conflict management, including Wolf.

The goal of the first symposium was to help the representatives see the crisis through the perspective of their neighbors. Sessions included role-playing using a similar multinational water basin in another part of the world. For example, Wolf says, participants from upstream nations took on the roles of downstream representatives. Workshops also included discussions on conflict management and presentations on water issues.

“So ideally, as they’re doing the training, they’re also having conversations around the issues that are contentious,” Wolf says. “But they’re doing it in the context of training rather that formal negotiation, so the conversation can be a little freer.”

The initial symposium wasn’t intended to solve all of the political and environmental problems of the region; it was an effort to brainstorm and consider ways to approach the problems together.

“For that kind of conversation, we had absolutely the right elements,” Wolf says. “And ideally, this is the kind of conversation that continues and moves forward.”

Brown agrees. “I could see that meaningful relationships were being established and there was a lot of serious thought,” he says.

For the second symposium, held in December 2016, Brown hoped to see two things accomplished: to continue the dialogue, and to bring in representatives from governments and organizations that allocate funds to international water-related issues, including the World Bank.

“The problems are so large, they will take decades and probably billions of dollars to eventually resolve,” Brown says. “Rotary is here as more of a catalyst to move things forward.”

The relationships and connections forged at the first symposium were deepened at the second one, Brown says. “On a personal level, friendships were created between people who work in their respective ministries in these different countries,” he says. “They can actually share ideas.”

– Nikki Kallio

 • Read more stories from The Rotarian

Water Problems Around the World 2018-02-14 09:00:00Z 0

Hi, attached are photos taken on Wednesday, when Dennis, Bernie, Joan, Sherry and Bob and I delivered 87 dictionaries to the 3rd grade students of West Homer Elementary and Fireweed Academy.   The students are thrilled to receive this gift from Rotary and they are a huge help to them in their studies.   As one teacher told us last year. She only has one dictionary in her classroom, which means only one at most two students at a time can use it.  This way they have their own.   One of the students commented on seeing words above and below the one they looked up, not like what they get on a computer which only shows one word.   This is probably the most fun thing we do at Rotary all year.

 

Milli

Rotarians with 3rd Graders

Sign Language from the Dictionaries!
Britta with Dictionary
 
Milli with Beau
 
Homer Rotarians Bernie, Milli, Sherri, Joan, Dennis, and Bob
Homer Rotarians Deliver Dictionaries to 3rd Graders 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

In the mountains of Poland, 26 children traumatized by violence get a chance to be kids again at Rotary camp

By Iuliia Mendel                                                Produced by Monika Lozinska

Beneath the emotional scars of living in a Ukrainian war zone, Mykyta Berlet flashes the same mischievousness of any other 12-year-old boy headed to camp.

He wants to laugh, play pranks and on the last night of camp “we will cover everyone with toothpaste,” he says excitedly.

Mykyta and 25 other Ukrainian youths headed to the resort town of Zakopane in the foothills of southern Poland are naturally focused on fun. But their two-week respite organized by Rotary members has a higher purpose: To help the children heal and cope with the trauma they may encounter when they go home.  

Each camper has a parent or sibling killed or injured in the fighting in Ukraine. Psychologists at camp will guide them along the way during an itinerary that mixes escape and therapy.

Olga Zmiyivska, a member of the Rotary Club of Kharkiv Multinational in Ukraine, has brought children to the camp for two years and has witnessed its impact.

“After the trip, they are more willing to make contact and open their hearts,” she said.

1.      

Valeriia Salohub, 13, father killed

 

2.      

Mykhailo, 6, and Oleksandr, 8, Kruhlikov, father killed

 

3.      

Valeriia Tkachuk, 12, father injured

 

4.      

Andrii Tymkov, 12, father injured

 

5.      

Dariia Lebkovska, 11, father injured

 

6.      

Mykhailo, 8, and Zakharii Mazunov, 12, father killed

 

7.    

Dmytro Tkachuk, 11, father killed 

8.      

Viktoriia Babich, 11, and Khrystyna Treban, 13, fathers killed

 

9.      

Vladyslava Diachuk, 8, father injured

 

10.

Yurii Paskhalin, 12, and Vladyslav Tsepun, 12, fathers killed

 

Ivan Bezruchak, 8, father killed, and Tymofii Zolotarov, 9, father injured

 

12.

Anastasiia Filonenko, 11, father killed

 

War came into their homes

Thousands have died and millions have been displaced by the fighting between pro-Russia rebels and the Ukrainian military in eastern Ukraine. 

Growing up in the shadow of that nearly four-year conflict, most of the campers don’t remember a life without war. They tell unrealistic stories about battles and keep silent about real horrors. Some are guarded and hypervigilant. Others endure sleepless nights or nightmares. A few withdraw and emotionally shut down.

In Zakopane, nestled in the scenic Tatra Mountains, Rotary members give the children a chance to heal in a peaceful setting. The children sleep in comfortable cabins along a pristine lake flanked by green, rolling hills.

The program, called Vacation 2017 Zakopane: Well-Being for Ukrainian Kids, includes traditional camp activities and field trips along with support from mental health professionals. More than 100 children have attended over the past four years.

 

Psychologist and art therapist Olha Hrytsenko helps children work through their grief at Vacation 2017 Zakopane: Well-Being for Ukrainian Kids.

 

This year’s campers visited a mountain village to learn about local traditions, toured historic Krakow, and saw the castles, salt mines and hot springs of southern Poland. The routine activities are simple but powerful.

Yuriy Paschalin and Vlad Tsepun, both 12, became close friends after their fathers were killed by snipers. The field trips helped both boys start to relax and act like typical, curious children.

“This program allows these kids to stay kids and to live children’s emotions,” said psychologist and art therapist Olha Hrytsenko.

“They will observe and absorb another culture, attitude, and language, (and) will be able to compare and make conclusions about what is good and what is bad. It will help them to find themselves.”

 

Healing Scars of War 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

The Board of Directors has approved the proposed Corporate memberships for Cook Inlet Keeper with the proposed  primary member to be Bob Shavelson. Proposed alternate members are Carly Wier and Marissa Wilson.

 

For Kachemak Bay Title Agency Inc., the proposed primary member is  Lisa Roberts, and the proposed alternate member is Kathy Hemstreet.

Please provide any comments, in writing,  NLT February 14, 2018. 

 

If there are no objections by the membership, we plan to formally welcome them at the February 22, 2018 meeting.

Proposed New Corporate Memberships 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

Column: Three days of peace and music as Rotarians convene at the United Nations

By

Walter Gyger is the very model of a modern UN diplomat. When I first meet him – in the lobby of the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva, Switzerland – he’s clad in gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark tie, a gray sweater vest, and a blue blazer. Silver haired and with a trim mustache, he speaks perfect English, albeit with a Continental accent. 

If you called central casting and asked for someone ambassadorial, this is who they would send.

See our coverage of Rotary Day at the U.N. 

Illustration by Dave Cutler

A distinguished veteran of the Swiss Foreign Service and Rotary’s primary representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Gyger has come to the Intercontinental to escort me and some of my colleagues to a fondue dinner at the Café du Commerce. After a mere two months as a senior editor at The Rotarian, I’ve traveled from Chicago to Geneva ostensibly to cover Rotary Day at the United Nations. In fact, the three days that I spend in Genève (as the Swiss call it) will introduce me to the vigorous and transformational spirit that imbues all things Rotary. Walter will serve as one of my guides on this revelatory journey. I mean no disrespect: Sooner or later, everyone calls him Walter.

At the Café du Commerce – where our host is Genève International, a two-year-old Rotary club – about 50 people crowd four long communal tables. John Hewko, the general secretary of Rotary International and an honorary member of the Geneva club, is there, as is Ed Futa, the dean of the network of 30 Rotary representatives who work with the UN and other key international organizations.

Of course they know Walter. Everybody knows Walter. He introduces me to a young Swiss woman named Karen Kienberger. Assisted by a Rotary scholarship, Karen (we’re all on a first-name basis here) is working toward her doctorate in marine biology. Specifically, she is studying jellyfish, and though enrolled at the University of Granada in Spain, she conducts her various experiments in Vienna at Tiergarten Schön-brunn, the world’s oldest zoo.

Karen is representative of the smart, vibrant people who gravitate toward Walter. For instance, at the dinner I also meet Barbora Bruant Gulejova, one of the youngest members of the Geneva club who, with her PhD in thermonuclear fusion, works at CERN, the Geneva-based nuclear research facility that’s home to the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. And then there’s Rebecca Tolstoy, the Swedish-born Australian Rotarian who leads Path of Hope, which crusades for global solutions to domestic violence and human trafficking.

A Concerted Effort 2018-01-31 09:00:00Z 0

Convention: Toronto's music scene

Toronto has a vibrant music scene that includes all types of venue, from stadiums to small bars, and features every musical genre. When you’re in town for the 2018 Rotary International Convention, from 23 to 27 June, take time to hear some live music. 

The majestic Massey Hall hosts a mix of classical and contemporary music concerts. Massey Hall was home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir until 1982, when they moved to the newly built Roy Thomson Hall. 

On 28 June, just after the convention, Aretha Franklin is scheduled to appear at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. It’s worth checking the Sony Centre schedule.

The Horseshoe Tavern is the best-known small venue in the city. Since it opened in 1947, many famous faces have appeared on its stage early in their careers, including the Rolling Stones, the Police, and Willie Nelson. 

Jazz enthusiasts will want to check out Jazz Bistro, where the music is accompanied by fine dining, and The Rex, a decades-old hotel, bar, and restaurant where you can hear jazz and blues. 

Lovers of Latin music gather at the Lula Lounge to enjoy salsa bands while eating Latin fusion cuisine. Salsa instructors offer lessons on Friday and Saturday nights. – Randi Druzin

Preregistration discount ends 31 March. Go to riconvention.org.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

RI Convention 2018--Toronto 2018-01-31 09:00:00Z 0
2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin wants Rotary members to Be the Inspiration
 
By Hank Sartin                      Photos by Monika Lozinska
 
Rotary International President-elect Barry Rassin laid out his vision for the future of the organization on Sunday, calling on leaders to work for a sustainable future and to inspire Rotarians and the community at large.
Rassin, a member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, unveiled the 2018-19 presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. “I want you to inspire in your clubs, your Rotarians, that desire for something greater. The drive to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us.”
 
2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin announces his presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, at Rotary's International Assembly.
 
Rassin stressed the power of Rotary’s new vision statement, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” This describes the Rotary that leaders must help build, he said.
To achieve this vision, the president-elect said, Rotarians must take care of the organization: “We are a membership organization first. And if we want to be able to serve, if we want to succeed in our goals — we have to take care of our members first.”
Rassin asked the incoming district governors to “inspire the club presidents, and the Rotarians in your districts, to want to change. To want to do more. To want to reach their own potential. It’s your job to motivate them — and help them find their own way forward.”
Progress on polio
Rassin noted that one source of inspiration has been Rotary’s work to eradicate polio. He described the incredible progress made over the past three decades. In 1988, an estimated 350,000 people were paralyzed by the wild poliovirus; just 20 cases were reported in 2017 as of 27 December. “We are at an incredibly exciting time for polio eradication,” he said, “a point at which each new case of polio could very well be the last.”
He emphasized that even when that last case of polio is recorded, the work won’t be finished. “Polio won’t be over, until the certifying commission says it’s over—when not one poliovirus has been found, in a river, in a sewer, or in a paralyzed child, for at least three years,” he said. “Until then, we have to keep doing everything we’re doing now.” He urged continued dedication to immunization and disease surveillance programs.
Sustaining the environment
Rotary has focused heavily on sustainability in its humanitarian work in recent years. Now, Rassin said, Rotarians must acknowledge some hard realities about pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change. He noted that 80 percent of his own country is within one meter of sea level. With sea levels projected to rise two meters by 2100, he said, “my country is going to be gone in 50 years, along with most of the islands in the Caribbean and coastal cities and low-lying areas all over the world.”
Rassin urged leaders to look at all of Rotary’s service as part of a larger global system. He said that this means the incoming district governors must be an inspiration not only to clubs, but also to their communities. “We want the good we do to last. We want to make the world a better place. Not just here, not just for us, but everywhere, for everyone, for generations.”
 
 
Rassin's 2018 presidential theme 2018-01-25 09:00:00Z 0
Homer Community Food Pantry
Food for Teens
Year End Project Report
January 22, 2018
 
Last summer the Homer Community Food Pantry was awarded two grants; $1,000 from the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and $3,000 from Wells Fargo Bank for the purpose of funding a pilot project to provide food for teens that were facing the challenges of homelessness, neglect and poverty in the area.  Our organization partnered with the FLEX school in order to reach the at-risk teens and through the efforts of Ingrid Harrald, a counselor at FLEX, we were able to put together a program that would support 15-18 at-risk students on a weekly basis in addition to providing ingredients for cooking programs developed by Ingrid.
 
Each week, a supply of canned goods, pasta, oatmeal and peanut butter is delivered to the FLEX School  in bulk and distributed to any student in need.  Several of the students have taken on the task of filling back packs, which were provided by the Homer Emblem Club, with the donated food and placing them in a bin by the door, accessible to any student.  The back packs are returned weekly and re-filled.  In addition to the non-perishables, the Food Pantry and various farmers at the Farmer’s Market, when operational, provide fresh fruit, vegetables, bagels and bread to FLEX to support Ingrid’s cooking programs on a weekly basis. 
 
The backpacks contain several cans; Chili, stew, soup, fruit, some oatmeal, ramen noodles, crackers and peanut butter as well as a “one pot meal” recipe including the canned goods and spices needed.  Some of Ingrid’s cooking programs included making kale chips with all the fresh grown kale from the Farmer’s Market; Crockpot Tuesday featuring homemade vegetable soup and Chili.  Teaching the kids to cook is a vital part to this project and we are fortunate to have a partner in Ingrid at the school.
 
The canned goods provided to the school are purchased by the Food Pantry, produce and bread are donated by the local grocers each Monday.  To date, the Food Pantry has spent $951 on this project that began in late September. 
 
In December, I met with Poppy Benson and her high school age Girl Scout Troop to discuss the project and ways the girls could participate.  It was determined at that meeting that there are approximately 30 at-risk teens at the High School.  The Troop was very interested in expanding the project to the high school and is planning a back pack drive and a food drive.  The Food Pantry will assist with additional food as needed.  It was very exciting to watch the girls collaborate and develop ideas for advertising the availability of the food-filled packs. I look forward to seeing their project take flight.
 
Over the next few months, the Food Pantry will be coordinating with the ED at the Rec Room to develop a summer program.  We envision a similar process of delivering food in bulk to the Rec Room for distribution and will collaborate on ways to advertise its availability.
 
The Homer Community Food Pantry serves the greater Homer/Kachemak area from Anchor Point to the villages out East and across the bay.  The Pantry statistics show over 1,680 households were served in 2017.  Children and teens are generally served through their families however there is a growing number of teens that are in need and have difficulty getting assistance.  This collaboration with FLEX through key individual, Ingrid Harrald, has allowed us to reach those teens in need.  We are hopeful that the Girl Scout Troop will be successful in serving the need at the Homer High School and that the program can continue throughout the summer months.  It has been very successful to date and has provided a supplement to those kids on the edge.
 
We greatly appreciate your support and involvement.  Thank you.
 
Respectfully submitted,
Cinda Martin
Homer Community Food Pantry Secretary
Chairman, Food for Teens
Food For Teens Project Report 2018-01-25 09:00:00Z 0
On January 18, 2018 our first corporate member was inducted.  Christie Gibbs, Director of Business Development at Geneva Woods Pharmacy, was inducted into Rotary International at our January 18 meeting.  Two of her colleagues will also be joining our ranks.  Following are short bios of two of the three new members. 
 
Christie Gibbs
Job Title:  Director of Business Development at Geneva Woods Pharmacy
 
Christie was born in Batangas City, Philippines.  Her family immigrated to the US in 1972 when she was 2 years old.  Her father had proudly enlisted as a Filipino national in the US Navy in 1964.  Her mother had been a high school history teacher in the Philippines. in the US, Christie's mother worked as a caregiver to the elderly and disabled for many years.
 
Christie and her mother made the long journey from the Philippines to Jacksonville, FL alone.  Christie has two younger siblings who were born in the US in Jacksonville and Pensacola, FL.
 
The family was transferred to Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia in 1979.  In 1980, Christie and her mother achieved US Citizenship.
 
Christie's family enrolled her in a local after school/weekend Judo school.  She excelled in the sport and achieved her black belt during high school.
 
Christie excelled in school too. She was President of the National Honor Society, achieved Varsity letters in Academics, Debate, and Forensics.  She graduated Valedictorian of her high school class and was accepted into the College of William and Mary.  She was very proud to be awarded an INTERNATIONAL ROTARY SCHOLARSHIP.
 
In 1990 she married Trey Gibbs in Virginia Beach.  He had been stationed at Norfolk Naval Base, but he had been raised in Anchorage, AK.  Upon his Honorable Discharge from the Navy, they returned to Anchorage in 1993 with their first child Samantha. Their other three children, Sabrina, Drew, and Regan, were later born in Anchorage and Soldotna.
 
Trey and Christie pursued careers in insurance and securities.  Christie specialized in Long Term Care Insurance and Medicare supplemental insurance sales.  In 2005, the family moved to the Kenai Peninsula.
 
Christie began working for Geneva Woods in Soldotna that year as a documentation specialist.  She was promoted to Education and Resources Representative.  In 2007 she was promoted to General Manager of the branch site.  In 2014 Christie was promoted to Director of Business Development.
 
Christie enjoys travel, family church, and community activities.  The children's sports and other activities take up most of her time.  The family recently celebrated Samantha's UAA graduation, Sabrina is on the Chancellor's list and Honor Society at UAA.  Drew was named Alaska's #1 High School Running Back in 2014 and is currently on football scholarship at Northern State University in South Dakota. The youngest one, Regan, attends Soldotna Elementary and dances competitively for Diamond Dance Project in Soldotna.  She was recently awarded dance scholarships in a national competition in Los Vegas and a regional scholarship from a regional competition in Anchorage.
 
Chris Finlay
 
Born and raised in the Eugene area of Oregon.  Moved to Alaska in November of 2011.  Started work at Peninsula Community Health Services of Alaska in June of 2012 as an individual Services Provider (ISP) in the Behavioral Health Department. Was promoted to the position of Medical Front Office Manager in May of 2013, then promoted again in June of 2014 to the position of Medical Operations Manager and promoted once a gain in May of 2015 to Director of Operations.  In November of 2016, took a job at MediCenter Medical Group as Director of Operations.  in January of this year, took position of 
Operations Manager of Geneva Woods Healthcare Services in Soldotna.
 
Chris is also Treasurer of the Kenai Chamber of  Commerce Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors Liaison for the Kenai Young Professionals Advisory Council. He has two little girls who are three and five years old and enjoys spending time outdoors.
New Members: January 18, 2018 2018-01-24 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2018-01-17 09:00:00Z 0
Rotarian Mary Ann Peters will draw from her three decades as a diplomat to lead the Carter Center into the future
 
By Diana Schoberg
An interview with Mary Ann Peters is a master class in the art of diplomatic responses. Asked about her most difficult assignment, the former U.S. ambassador responds that “difficulty and challenge are two sides of the same coin.” 
Pressed on the impact that U.S. President Donald Trump is having on the country’s ability to make peace, she says – after noting the nonpartisan nature of the Carter Center, where she is now chief executive – that administrations of both parties have relied disproportionately on the military since 11 September 2001, and she hopes the current administration will capitalize on other means to pursue its objectives. 
Speaking about negotiating on behalf of the Carter Center, she notes: “I like to think that we’re very useful to the government, because we can and do engage with people who a government that represents so many perspectives in the fabric of democracy can’t always engage with,” adding, “I’m saying that very diplomatically.”
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/2017_MaryAnn_Peters-116REVISED2.jpg?itok=CXxL-yrV
The cross-cultural skills she gained as a diplomat make Mary Ann Peters right at home leading the Carter Center.
Branden Camp/AP Images
 
Peters is able to put her astute communication skills, along with the cross-cultural savvy she developed during 30 years with the U.S. State Department, to good use at the Carter Center. Since 2014, Peters, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, has led the organization in advancing human rights and fighting disease through projects such as monitoring elections, mediating international conflicts, and working to eliminate diseases such as Guinea worm.
 “She’s a fabulous communicator and absolute pro in the diplomacy field, with decades and decades of experience,” says Martha Brooks, a fellow Atlanta Rotarian who met Peters through their membership in the Belizean Grove, a group of influential women that includes Wall Street executives and Army generals. Brooks is a retired aluminum company executive and past chair of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, a group of civic leaders that advocates for the center’s work in Georgia and beyond. She calls Peters “an interpreter of the world.”
Peters is in many ways different from her boss, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who, with his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Carter Center in 1982. He grew up on a farm, she in the suburbs; he’s a Southerner, she’s a Yankee. But she’s like Carter in her desire to be engaged in her community.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
After receiving her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, she launched her career as a U.S. diplomat. Fluent in seven languages, she had assignments in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Canada, and other countries. President Bill Clinton named her U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh in 2000, a position she held until 2003.
It was a difficult assignment, she says. Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, suffers from terrible poverty. Her stint in the majority-Muslim country spanned 9/11, and U.S. foreign policy goals drastically changed while she was there. Her team began meeting with local religious leaders to get their support for aid programs the U.S. government was conducting. In meeting with the imams, she says, “We were trying to follow the rules, but we were doing things that no one had given us permission to do.”
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/Photos_Amb_PetersUSE.jpg?itok=dPxF0Rb2
Mary Ann Peters leads the Carter Center in its work to eliminate diseases such as river blindness in Nigeria.
 
Peters is able to put her astute communication skills, along with the cross-cultural savvy she developed during 30 years with the U.S. State Department, to good use at the Carter Center. Since 2014, Peters, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, has led the organization in advancing human rights and fighting disease through projects such as monitoring elections, mediating international conflicts, and working to eliminate diseases such as Guinea worm.
 “She’s a fabulous communicator and absolute pro in the diplomacy field, with decades and decades of experience,” says Martha Brooks, a fellow Atlanta Rotarian who met Peters through their membership in the Belizean Grove, a group of influential women that includes Wall Street executives and Army generals. Brooks is a retired aluminum company executive and past chair of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, a group of civic leaders that advocates for the center’s work in Georgia and beyond. She calls Peters “an interpreter of the world.”
Peters is in many ways different from her boss, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who, with his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Carter Center in 1982. He grew up on a farm, she in the suburbs; he’s a Southerner, she’s a Yankee. But she’s like Carter in her desire to be engaged in her community.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
After receiving her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, she launched her career as a U.S. diplomat. Fluent in seven languages, she had assignments in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Canada, and other countries. President Bill Clinton named her U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh in 2000, a position she held until 2003.
It was a difficult assignment, she says. Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, suffers from terrible poverty. Her stint in the majority-Muslim country spanned 9/11, and U.S. foreign policy goals drastically changed while she was there. Her team began meeting with local religious leaders to get their support for aid programs the U.S. government was conducting. In meeting with the imams, she says, “We were trying to follow the rules, but we were doing things that no one had given us permission to do.”
Mementos from her years in the Foreign Service decorate her office at the Carter Center. Her “brag wall” includes photos of Peters with President Clinton and Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. On one wall hangs a woodcut of Narragansett Bay in Newport, R.I., where she served as provost of the U.S. Naval War College from 2008 to 2014.
 
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Mary Ann Peters became CEO of the Carter Center in 2014.
 
Peters’ background as an educator is evident when she talks about diplomacy. On the notes she had prepared for her interview, she scrawls out “DIME” – an acronym for “Diplomacy, Information/Intelligence, Military, Economic” to explain the options a government has to exercise its power. “As a diplomat, of course, I believe that talking is better than shooting.” To make her point, she paraphrases Winston Churchill: “‘Jaw, jaw, is better than war, war’ – I suppose it rhymes if you’re an upper-class Brit like Churchill was. I believe it with every fiber of my being.”
She’s full of maxims like that one: “A diplomat answers twice and says nothing.” “A diplomat can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.” “A diplomat is an honest man sent to lie abroad for his country.” Or one she made up herself: “A diplomat never insults anyone by accident.”
The transition from provost of the Naval War College to CEO of the Carter Center, an institution whose motto includes the words “waging peace,” wasn’t as big a leap as it sounds. The college has a master’s program in national security and strategic studies – “and the greatest security of all, of course, is peace,” she says. When Oz Nelson, then the chairman of the Carter Center board, introduced Peters to the staff, he joked that the organization would have a new motto: Peace or Else! “I thought that was great,” she says.
The cross-cultural skills she gained as a diplomat make her right at home leading the Carter Center; she likens managing people to negotiating mini-treaties. “It’s about advocacy,” she says of the role of a diplomat. “It’s about words, it’s about navigating cultural differences. It’s about firmly remaining American while understanding better than you could in Washington what’s going on where you are, and how that’s likely to affect what the United States wants to accomplish.”
Hope, who also sits on the Carter Center’s Board of Councilors, says Peters’ discipline shows in whatever she does. “Particularly in a political environment where the funding for the Carter Center comes from countries all over the world, being diplomatic and being friendly and knowing how to deal with people is critical,” he says. “And she just knows how to do it.”
Peters joined Rotary shortly after moving to Atlanta. Some of the first people she met in town were Rotarians, and she was impressed when she heard what they were doing. The Atlanta club is very active in human trafficking issues, and when she arrived in September 2014, the Carter Center was already working with the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery on a world summit to end sexual exploitation that was held the following spring.
She says she continues to discover synergies between the work of Rotary and the Carter Center; she recently met with Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention to consider adopting their family health day methodology for the Carter Center’s work to eradicate malaria and lymphatic filariasis, the disease that causes elephantiasis, from the island of Hispaniola.
Nonprofits such as Rotary and the Carter Center are the right groups to eradicate disease, she says, because the U.S. government must deal with annual budgets subject to approval by Congress, which doesn’t always consider the long-term societal costs and benefits of such work. “They can’t do it financially, and frankly, they can’t do it politically, because an administration lasts at most eight years,” she says. “It really seems to me that it’s our job to make these commitments and then to rope in governments and other funders as we can.”
As she talks, she picks up a Four-Way Test paperweight. At the Carter Center, she says, “we’re action oriented and data driven, and that reminds me of the first question of The Four-Way Test: Is it the truth?” And like Rotary, she says, the center is nonpartisan and based on universal values such as compassion, equity, and respect for human dignity.
Another of the Carter Center’s principles is that it doesn’t duplicate the work of others; that’s why it isn’t involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS or polio, for instance. Instead, it has tackled a list of often largely unknown diseases. “When I first got here, I was going around chanting ‘schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, dracunculiasis,’” Peters says, to help her remember the unfamiliar names. Which brings her to another of the center’s principles: These are difficult problems in difficult places, and if you’re going to be bold and take them on, you must see failure as an acceptable risk. “That’s what really sold me on going full speed ahead to try to get this job, because I thought it was so honest and so brave to put that out there.”
President Carter is 93 years old and Rosalynn Carter is 90, and while the Carter Center must prepare for the day when its founders are no longer around, the center’s reputation, built on that of the former president, is firmly in place. To help ensure the center remains true to its principles, Jason Carter, the couple’s eldest grandson and a former Georgia state senator, was recently elected chair of the board of trustees. “They have positioned us as well as we can be,” Peters says.
As the Carter Center moves into the post-Carter phase, Peters “does have an enormous task,” Hope says. “When President Carter comes into a room, everyone is abuzz. She’s tried to figure out how to institutionalize his reputation and what he’s done. She and Jason have done a really nice job of transitioning the operation into something that will be less dependent on him as a personality. I think she’s the right person at the right time for them.”
As she discusses the future of the center, the ding of a meeting reminder sounds from Peters’ computer. She’s graciously let the interview go well beyond its allotted time, and now she needs a few minutes to prepare for her next appointment. She’ll be having a conversation about a risky new role the Carter Center may play in a country whose peace process is complicated by politics, history, terrorism, and nationalist groups. But taking a risk where others can’t or won’t is in the DNA of the Carter Center. That will continue with Peters at the helm. 
 
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Waging Peace 2018-01-17 09:00:00Z 0

From the Desk of President Beth

NO CHANGE YET!!!   Our Club is in DESPERATE NEED of a President-Elect!!!  ASAP!!!  The President-Elect is the person who becomes President for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year.  Please ask our current President-Elect, Bernie Griffard, if you have any questions.  Unlike many organizations, Rotary provides some of the best training for new officers available, and considerable support.

Please note that the INSTALLATION of OFFICERS that normally takes place on the last meeting of the Rotary Year (June 28th this year), will take place on July 5th this year.

Lots of volunteer opportunities coming up in June:

       Help with Ben Walter's park upgrade

       Plant trees for Rotary

       Weeding and care of gardens

 

June is UPON us and we need some greeters or invocators and speakers to sign up for the month of June and the rest of the YEAR! There are links to the appropriate sign-up pages on the Home Page, and at the bottom of the stories on the Bulletin.

 

 

Being a greeter is a great way to learn names and have a chance to say hi to everyone who comes to a meeting!  And we all appreciate an interesting poem, saying, words to a song, etc. to inspire us for the day.

 

Thank you for helping us have a great meeting!

 
Want to make a difference in the life of one of our club members?  Nominate them for one of the awards listed below:  You can email Beth with your nominations or write them down and give them to her at the meeting on Thursday!
 
Club Awards:
 
Areas of focus club projects:
Best international project
Best vocational project
Best literacy project
Best community project
Best youth project
 
Individual Awards:
 
Leadership Award
 Awarded to a Rotarian who creates an inspiring vision of the future of their club. Motivates
and inspires people to engage with that vision.
 
Most entertaining
 Awarded to the Rotarian who has used their own form of entertainment to promote
Rotary, engage members, enhance Rotary projects or raised money for Rotary
purposes.
 
Most enthusiastic Rotarian
 Awarded to the Rotarian who’s positive energy, optimism, and excitement for Rotary has
helped to gain membership for their club and/or other clubs.
 
Sweet tooth award.. (Sweetest Rotarian)
 Awarded to the Rotarian who displays kindness and concern for others, goes out of their way
to check on sick or missing club members, remembers birthdays, anniversaries and makes a point
to give credit where credit is due. Is always there to lend a hand and asks for nothing in return.
 
Butterfly award
 Awarded to the Rotarian who is involved and influential in MULTIPLE club projects,
district projects and/or international projects.
 
Power couple
 Awarded to the couple or partners who work together to improve their club, motivate,
lead and mentor their members, are active in club, district or international projects.
 
Most innovative Rotarian
 Awarded to the Rotarian who has used innovation in action or idea(s) to improve new
membership in their club; improve membership longevityimprove or create a
successful project; and/or promote Rotary in their community.
 
Most inspirational Rotarian
 Awarded to the Rotarian who inspires or motivates others about Rotary through
speeches, presentations or openly speaking to members of their community.
 
And finally - let's help Winston experience the West Coast trip AND send a shelter box!  Encourage him to pick a date for a dinner and help him with other ideas for fundraisers!
 

Please continue to bring toiletries to our Thursday meetings so we can package them up and give them to Haven House for distribution to residents.  These items that go into the welcome baskets they provide are so important as many may arrive with nothing.

 

Ask Winston what's on his Alaskan "bucket list" and see if you can help him check something off! 

Thanks!

Beth


 

 

 

 


 
Announcements: June 21, 2018 2018-01-10 09:00:00Z 0
Pakistan and Nigeria replace paper-based reporting with fast, accurate cellphone messaging
 
By Ryan Hyland                         Photos by Khaula Jamil
 
Mobile phones and simple text messaging may be the keys to victory in the world’s largest public health initiative: the eradication of polio. 
As the disease retreats from the global stage, thriving in only a few remote areas in three countries, it’s up to health workers to deliver vaccines and share information with speed and accuracy. 
Health workers in Pakistan are receiving cellphone and e-monitoring training at the Rotary Resource Center in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 
 
Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are strengthening the lines of communication by giving cellphones to health workers in Pakistan and Nigeria, where a single text message could save a life. 
In Pakistan, Rotary has been working to replace traditional paper-based reporting of maternal and child health information, including polio immunization data, with mobile phone and e-monitoring technology. 
Community health workers across the nation have received more than 800 phones through a partnership with Rotary, the Pakistani government; Telenor, the country’s second-largest telecommunications provider; and Eycon, a data monitoring and evaluation specialist. Organizers plan to distribute a total of 5,000 cellphones by the end of 2018. 
Health workers can use the phones to send data via text message to a central server. If they see a potential polio case, they can immediately alert officials at Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Center. They also can note any children who didn’t receive the vaccine or parental refusals – and record successful immunizations. In Pakistan, the polio eradication effort aims to reach the nation’s 35 million children under age five.
The result is a collection of real-time information that officials can easily monitor and assess, says Michel Thieren, regional emergency director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency Program. 
Pakistan health workers are replacing traditional paper-reporting with accurate and timely cellphone-based reporting. 
 
“Cellphone technology signals tremendous progress in the polio eradication program,” says Thieren, who has directed polio-related initiatives for WHO in Pakistan. “The data we collect needs to have such a granular level of detail. With real-time information that can be recorded and transcribed immediately, you can increase accuracy and validity.
“This gives governments and polio eradication leaders an advantage in the decisions we need to make operationally and tactically to eliminate polio,” Thieren says.
 
Beyond polio
Health workers also are using mobile phones to monitor a multitude of maternal and child health factors. 
Pakistan’s child mortality rate ranks among the highest in the world, according to UNICEF, with 81 deaths under age five per 1,000 live births. 
But mobile technology can help reduce those deaths, says Asher Ali, project manager for Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee. 
“Our health workers, including community midwives, are tracking pregnant mothers,” Ali says. “When a child is born, they can input and maintain complete health records, not just for polio, but for other vaccines and basic health care and hygiene needs.”
They also can monitor infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and influenza-like illnesses, as well as child malnutrition and maternal health concerns. 
“If there is a problem with the baby or the mother, we can send information to the government health departments immediately, so they can solve the issue quickly and adjust their strategies,” Ali says. 
Cellphones also facilitate follow-up visits with families, because health workers can send appointment reminders over text message. 
 
Proliferation of phones
Mobile phone use worldwide has spiked recently, with about 7 billion subscribers globally, 89 percent of them in developing countries, says WHO. Even people living on less than $1 a day often have access to phones and text messaging, according to WHO. Cellphones are used more than any other technology in the developing world. 
Rotary and other nonprofit organizations are leveraging this fact to boost a variety of health initiatives. 
The Grameen Foundation conducts a “mobile midwife” program that sends daily texts and weekly voice mails to expectant mothers, offering advice during pregnancy and the first year of the child’s life. UNICEF provides similar support to mothers, with a focus on nutrition throughout pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life. 
Mobile phones also are helping in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The British nonprofit Absolute Return for Kids uses text messages to remind patients about medications and upcoming appointments. 
The Ugandan health ministry’s mTrac program, a mobile text messaging data collection network run in conjunction with UNICEF and other organizations, has a broader focus. Nearly 30,000 workers at 3,700 health centers submit weekly reports through their phones and receive surveys, alerts, and other communications. Questions go out to health workers about medical supply levels, conditions in clinics, and other critical issues.
Members of the Rotaract Club of The Caduceus, India, collaborated with the Jana Swasthya Project in 2015 to screen more than 8,000 people for oral health conditions, hypertension, and diabetes during Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s largest Hindu festivals. The project established a digital disease-surveillance system to study epidemiological trends, replacing a paper-based data-tracking process and allowing officials to access live data with a few clicks. 
In 2016, after Nigeria saw its first polio cases in almost two years, Rotary and WHO officials rushed to replace traditional reporting with a cell-based system in the northern state of Borno, where the new cases were identified. The mobile phone initiative has since expanded to more than 11 states. 
“Traditional paper reporting was misleading our program. The information we were getting was not entirely accurate. This gave us the sense that we were doing better than we actually were,” says Boniface Igomu, program coordinator of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “With cellphones, we’re identifying problem areas quickly and acting accordingly.”
The country has yet to see a polio case this year. 
Nigeria is also using cell-based mapping technology to identify areas that polio immunization teams have missed. Health workers test stool samples from children arriving from remote areas and log reports of acute flaccid paralysis. This effort started in Borno but has expanded to three additional states, Igomu says. 
After more than 1,000 people died earlier this year in Nigeria from meningitis, the country used the same digital tools in emergency vaccination campaigns, he adds.
“Mobile technologies are the type of innovations that can fill in the gaps of our program and finally help us end polio for good,” Igomu says. “Their uses have never been more important than now.”
 
 
Cell Phones Help Power Disease Fight 2018-01-10 09:00:00Z 0
Dec 19 2017, 10:56 pm ET
With end to polio in sight, vaccination gets creative
by Maggie Fox
 
Could the world be about to eradicate polio? Only 17 cases were diagnosed last year and they were all in two countries with the last hard-to-reach corners: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The public health groups trying to put the squeeze on polio have started to get more creative in their last push. The latest: turning vaccination into a circus.
https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_51/2266101/171218-polio-afghanistan-mn-1730_bf1f0866183d5cc5d339b0c28306ee14.nbcnews-ux-320-320.jpg
The circus enables the children who join, often from internally displaced communities around Kabul, to learn new skills while continuing their education. Nadia, seen here, is 14 years old, and one of the best girl-performers in the country. Ashley Hamer / UNICEF
 
“We are trying to build trust and momentum around why we need to vaccinate our kids,” said Melissa Corkum, UNICEF team leader on polio eradication.
UNICEF has teamed up with a local group called the Afghan Mini Mobile Circus for Children to help lure every last mother and child to get their monthly dose of polio vaccine.
And there’s nothing like a circus to attract kids.
“In many of these communities there is not a lot of entertainment,” said Corkum, who’s helping head up a vaccination drive this week in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan.
The Afghan Mini Mobile Circus finds children in a community and trains them in simple circus skills like juggling. “It’s pretty basic. There’s no tightrope walking or anything like that.”
After training, they put on a show. Embedded in the show is a lesson about polio and vaccination. The polio virus is played by a child dressed like a monster, often a snake. Vaccination volunteers conquer the monster.
“It draws a crowd of people around the performance,” Corkum said. “While that performance is taking place, polio vaccinators are moving around in the crowd, vaccinating children.”
Inventive approaches like this have helped the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, led by Rotary International, reach hundreds of thousands of children.
Image: Polio vaccination in Pakistan
Police stand guard as a polio vaccination team works in Karachi, Pakistan,in 2016, the day after seven policemen who were guarding a polio vaccination team were killed in the city by unknown gunmen. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last two countries where polio is still endemic. SHAHZAIB AKBER / EPA
 
If it works, polio would become only the second disease ever to have been eradicated by human intervention. The first was smallpox, driven out of existence by a vaccination campaign in the 1970s, and declared eradicated in 1980.
“We are really close,” Corkum said.
“Polio now survives only among the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, where it stalks the most vulnerable children,” the World Health Organization says. “Polio cases have decreased by over 99 percent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 37 reported cases in 2016. As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis.”
For 2017, the count is down to 17 cases.
Why it's hard to eradicate
In June, public health groups and nonprofits pledged $1.2 billion to help finance a final push by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Polio is hard to eradicate because it lives and multiplies in the human gut, and so it can be spread in sewage.
“There’s no going back if a child is affected by polio,” Corkum said. About one in 200 infections cause permanent paralysis and 5 to 10 percent of those paralyzed die when the muscles that aid breathing stop working.
Children in developed countries like the U.S. are protected after four doses of vaccine. But in developing countries where polio is still a risk, kids need many more doses than that, Corkum said. They have weaker immune systems, thanks in part to malnutrition, and they’re more likely to be exposed to the virus.
The easiest polio immunization to deliver is an oral vaccine, given as a few drops into the mouth. It’s made using a live but weakened version of polio and it can sometimes persist in a child’s digestive system, getting into sewage. Sometimes, it mutates back into an infectious form.
https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_51/2266106/171218-polio-afghanistan-mn-1731_bf1f0866183d5cc5d339b0c28306ee14.nbcnews-ux-320-320.jpg
Children flock to the circus the moment they see youngsters their own age pull out their juggling pins. Fardeen Barekzai / UNICEF
 
Children flock to the circus the moment they see youngsters their own age pull out their juggling pins. Fardeen Barekzai / UNICEF
 
“On rare occasions, if a population is seriously under-immunized, an excreted vaccine-virus can continue to circulate for an extended period of time,” WHO says.
“The longer it is allowed to survive, the more genetic changes it undergoes. In very rare instances, the vaccine-virus can genetically change into a form that can paralyze. This is what is known as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”
It’s rare, but turns polio vaccination into a far more challenging project than it otherwise would be. There have been 24 outbreaks of this vaccine-derived polio strain, causing more than 700 cases.
But over that same time, most than 10 billion doses of oral vaccine have been given to 3 billion kids.
“As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world,” WHO said.
So Corkum will be watching the street circus in Jalalabad this week.
https://media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_51/2266141/171218-afghanistan-polio-mn-1740_bbea63cd720ce9680cccefd8627dbcda.nbcnews-ux-320-320.jpg
Hamid, clutching his precious box of vaccinations, attacks a snake that represents polio during the performance. The crowd cheers. "Vaccinating your children will destroy this disease!" cries Hamid. "Make sure your whole village takes these droplets and you will see how strong your children can be." Ashley Hamer / UNICEF
 
And volunteers will be going house to house in other areas, talking with mothers to encourage vaccination.
Last case possible this year
It’s notoriously risky and difficult work. Afghanistan and Pakistan both have some of the most extreme terrain in the world, with villages tucked into high mountains with no road access, or cut off by constant fighting.
“We can’t risk getting in the line of fire,” Corkum said.
“There are many different types of fighting activities that take place of Afghanistan every day between various groups. There are a lot of different tribal back and forths.”
 https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/msnbc/components/video/__new/2014-11-30t23-46-04-033z--1280x720.nbcnews-ux-1240-700.jpg
 
Pakistan's Polio Epidemic Aided by Anti-Vaccine Sentiment 
 
While vaccination teams have been directly targeted in recent years, they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The militant Islamic Taliban once blocked access to some areas for more than a year, and attacked some volunteers giving vaccines, although global Islamic leaders now encourage vaccination.
But with efforts like circuses, door-to-door visits and grabbing refugees at checkpoints, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and other groups leading the effort hope the end is in sight.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps pay for polio vaccination efforts, predicts the end is near. "If things stay stable in the conflicted areas, humanity could see its last case of polio this year,” he said in October.
With End to Polio in Sight, Vaccination Gets Creative 2018-01-10 09:00:00Z 0
If you missed the December 14th meeting, you missed one of the really great experiences that we get to have at our weekly meetings--the Homer High School Swing Choir!  Sorry you missed it!  It was fantastic!
 
 
Homer High School Swing Choir Performs For Us!! 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0
Yachts bring aid to remote South Pacific islands
Richard and Stephanie Hackett began chartering sailboats and yachts to travel the South Pacific more than 20 years ago. Seeing the problems of getting health care to remote islands, Richard Hackett, past president of the Rotary Club of Fern Ridge (Veneta), Ore., came up with the idea of charter sailboats helping to provide health care and disaster relief. Sea Mercy, the nonprofit he and his wife founded, started with one volunteer vessel in 2013 and now has more than 100 yachts on call, with initiatives to address health care, disaster response, education and training, and economic development.
Sea Mercy has more than 100 yachts on call, ready to deliver health care and aid. 
Monica Garwood
Q: How do you get the vessels and the volunteers for Sea Mercy’s programs?
A: The people with the vessels are either private owners or the captains who represent private owners. Most are people who have chased the dream of sailing the South Pacific or sailing around the world. For the medical personnel, it’s a working vacation: Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, and optometrists come out and join us. Even some medical students want to participate. It’s a two-week period. We travel to anywhere from five to nine remote islands. We set up a clinic onshore, and they treat patients throughout the day or over a two-day period. When we’re all done, we start sailing to the next remote island.
Q: How did disaster relief fit into the original model?
A: We thought once every five years we would be responding to, perhaps, a cyclone. Cyclone Ian hit Tonga in 2014, and we sent two vessels. We were the only vessels that could reach these remote islands; big merchant ships can’t get in, because of the narrow entrances and shallow lagoons. Then Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015, so we sent eight vessels to Vanuatu. We realized we had to get in front of this and created our first response league. We contacted owners of small yachts and the superyachts, and built a network just in case something else happens. When Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in 2016, we had 60 vessels that responded. We were the first on the scene and the last ones to leave.
Q: How did this expand into economic development?
A: It started with diabetes. The rate of diabetes in the South Pacific is one of the highest in the world. A lot of the health issues are either directly or indirectly a result of diabetes. The [Western] diet that we have introduced to them has changed their whole culture. On the remote islands they don’t have access to the drugs to treat it. And the farmers are moving away, and they’re sending money home. Instead of working and farming and fishing, people are buying sugar and processed flour and rice and noodles. In our health clinics, we realized, we’re treating the symptoms but not the underlying causes. So we are shifting to more of an economic development, agriculturally based program. We’re budgeting it, gearing up, meeting with the leadership, and getting the approval. It’s been a really amazing journey, but we’re very excited about seeing the impact it’s going to have on these remote islands. 
–Nikki Kallio
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Talent Around the Table 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary members from Durango, Colorado, USA, team with the Navajo Nation to bring solar lights to remote, off-the-grid homes on the country’s largest Native American reservation.
 
By Kate Sieber Produced by Stuart Cleland
 
After decades of crafting squash-blossom necklaces, pendants, and bracelets, Jerry Domingo knew he would have to quit making jewelry, because he couldn’t see very well anymore. 
 
 
 
Navajo like Jerry Domingo are caught in isolated pockets of land, which are called The Checkerboard.
 
A sturdy Navajo grandfather, silversmith, and revivalist preacher, Domingo lives in a one-room house smaller than a single-car garage in the windswept sagebrush desert near Nageezi, New Mexico. 
 
His home is mere miles from the picturesque badlands Georgia O’Keefe painted and Dzilth Na-o Dithle, the sacred portal where the Navajo believe the first people came out of the earth. But it’s a long distance from all that the modern world seems to promise — grocery stores, jobs, medical care. Domingo’s home is new. It has unpainted walls, plywood floors, and a wood stove but no insulation or electricity. 
 
In a twist to his story, electric lines traverse the land just a few hundred yards from Domingo’s front door, but with all of the permissions and work required by the utility, it would cost more than $30,000 to connect to the power. 
 
Domingo, who has pewter hair and a broad, calm face, first started making jewelry in the 1970s, when he went to work in his uncle’s shop. Over the years, he honed his craft, and customers started to come to him to commission works. 
 
Now he sells his wares when he travels to preach all over the reservation. But with his failing eyesight, it has been getting harder to do the detailed work. After all, it takes a good four days to make a full squash-blossom necklace. 
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/20160209_US_047.jpg?itok=CjZbIfiR
Jerry Domingo creates jewelry by the light of a window in his home in The Checkerboard.
Ben Fredman
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_1800/public/jerry%20dark.jpg?itok=k78z9sLb
Before Rotary members installed a solar light, Jerry Domingo relied on light from his window.
Ben Fredman
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_1800/public/jerry%20dark%202.jpg?itok=JVwhGqeq
Jerry Domingo says detailed jewelry work was difficult without proper light.
Ben Fredman
 
Jerry Domingo works on jewelry at his home on Navaho land.
Ben Fredman
 
Without a solar light, Jerry Domingo says he would have to quit making jewelry.
Ben Fredman
 
At night, the glow of kerosene lamps is too dim. Even during the day, the home’s interior is full of shadows, making it difficult to tease, hammer, and solder metal into art. 
 
“When I do silverworking, I have to wait until the sun comes through the window,” said Domingo, wearing a thick Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt to insulate himself against the chill and large turquoise rings on his fingers, as he worked on a necklace more than a year ago. “I can’t really know what I’m doing when it’s dark in here. It would make a whole lot of difference just to not be in the dark.” 
 
Through a pastor at a local church, Domingo found out about a program through a Rotary club in Durango , Colorado, USA, that brings solar-powered lighting to remote homes on the Navajo reservation. 
 
A solar light is a simple thing: just a small panel the size of a baking sheet, which mounts onto a roof with a pole. A wire runs from the panel into the house, where up to three rechargeable lights hang from hooks on the ceiling. To turn on the lights, Domingo simply has to touch a button.
To use the light as a flashlight for going outside at night, he simply unhooks it. A fully charged lamp offers dim light for 75 hours or bright light for 7½ before needing to be recharged. 
 
But in this house, a light is more than a simple thing. It brings a world of possibility.
 
In the dark of The Checkerboard 
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_1200/public/vast%203.jpg?itok=lrtq8iBD
It’s not unusual for Navajo homes to lack electricity. 
The reservation, bigger than the state of West Virginia, sprawls across Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It’s a harsh, beautiful land marked by extremes of temperature, sun, wind, and dryness.
 
 
Jeanette Sandoval explains why electricity is scarce in The Checkerboard.
 
Many Navajo — Diné in their own language — have lived in these rural areas for generations, as the land is passed from grandmother to granddaughter.
 
Although they are blessed with big skies and desert vistas, these remote locations are often far from services and paved roads. 
 
According to a 2016 assessment, about 16,000 Navajo homes don’t have access to electricity. Nearly a third have no running water, and more than half lack kitchen and toilet facilities. 
 
In an area known as The Checkerboard, in northwestern New Mexico, it can be particularly challenging to gain access to utilities.
 
As a result of legislation dating to the 1880s, the land was divided into 160-acre chunks and distributed among individual Native Americans in an attempt to encourage them to adopt Euro-American farming lifestyles. 
The remaining chunks became a patchwork of lands administered by federal, state, and other entities. Now, when a house is separated from utilities by these checkerboard-like lands, it can be difficult and expensive to secure the rights of way. 
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/20160506_US_046.jpg?itok=ziVX2TZV
Joe Williams hugs Irene Guerito after installing solar lights in her home on the Navajo reservation.
Derek Knowles
 
Rotarian Joe Williams grew up in The Checkerboard in the 1960s, not far from where Jerry Domingo’s house now stands. The son of a natural-gas worker, he went to work in the oil-and-gas fields at age 14. But he still remembers riding the bus 48 miles to school and 48 miles back, one of the only white kids in a crowd of Navajo children. 
 
Williams now owns an industrial water-purification company in Aztec, New Mexico, and employs many Navajo people. He has been a member of the Durango Daybreak Rotary Club, about 35 miles north, since 1996. 
 
He always loved international service projects. In 2013, he traveled with a group to Nepal to trek along the Great Himalaya Trail and install solar lights in teahouses, which offer food, lodging, and other services to hikers. 
 
In such remote areas, under the shadows of the Annapurna and Everest mountains, it wasn’t surprising that residents didn’t have access to electricity. When the group returned, however, new member Nancy Lauro, a civil engineer in Durango, brought up a provocative question: Similar developing-nation conditions exist within a couple of hours by car. Why not serve our neighbors, the Navajo? 
 
“We can’t go very far south from Durango without driving through the Navajo Nation, and many Durango-area residents work or go to school with tribal members,” says Lauro, who joined Rotary after her daughters participated in the club’s Youth Exchange program. “Our International Committee had just come back from installing the solar lights in Nepal, and we all thought that it was a natural to bring it home.” 
 
The group planned a project that would bring solar lights to at-risk populations on the reservation, including elders over 70 years old and disabled tribal members. Soon after launching, the group asked Joe Williams to become the project leader. 
 
To see a house go from kerosene to solar ... it’s life-changing. No longer do they have a proclivity for upper respiratory infections because of the soot. 
Joe Williams
Rotarian
 
“I viewed this as a bookend project,” says Williams. “I started off as a kid out there, and there were no lights. I’ve lived my whole life and traveled everywhere, and I’ve come back 50 years later, and the same places have no lights. I said to myself, ‘This is my project.’”  
Williams has an air of gentleness about him and an indomitable wellspring of energy. He walks with the slight stoop and occasional uncertainty of Parkinson’s, which he staves off with determination. Last year alone, Williams coordinated 90 service trips to the reservation at his own expense. 
 
“To see a house go from kerosene to solar ... it’s life-changing,” he says. “No longer do they spend $20 a month on kerosene. No longer do they have a proclivity for upper respiratory infections because of the soot. It’s a hell of a thing.” 
 

Transformative power of light

https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/20160506_US_013.jpg?itok=lQ4_6QLVhttps://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/20160506_US_028.jpg?itok=gplYHtl0

 

One weekend in November, a group of Rotarians and international exchange students, part of the Mountains & Plains Rotary Youth Exchange, drove from their homes in southern Colorado across the state line and into northwest New Mexico. 

 

The wind was howling, kicking up sheets of dust, making the town of Shiprock look like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. But overhead, long spine-like clouds lay across a desert sky turning pink and purple with sunset. 

 

The group gathered to sleep on mats camping-style inside the Sanostee Chapter House, a branch of the tribal government. 

The Power of Light 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

Thanks for all of the responses to my survey about our club's priorities for fundraising events - it's so helpful to hear from everyone.  Thanks also to everyone who is able to help with the Cranium Cup event - expect to hear more from committee chairs in the coming week!!

 

Save the date: Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club's First Annual Cranium Cup Trivia Fundraiser - February 10 Alice's Champagne Palace 6:00 - 8:30

 

Shout out to the Girdwood Rotary Club! A member - Sue Liebner offered to host our exchange student, Winston, as he travels to have the ultimate Alaskan experience - learning to downhill ski!

 

Beth


Words From DG Harry

 

As your District Governor, I would like to thank you for being Rotarians and for your wonderful efforts to make your communities and our world a better place. Some of your efforts are obvious to you and I but the effect of some of your efforts will never be known. But just imagine the smiles on the faces of young people in your neighborhood enjoying that playground project or young people in far away lands being able to walk without crutches or drink water that won't make them sick. And imagine that tiny glimmer of joy that foster kid might enjoy when she receives that back pack that she can call her own. 

Thank You 5010 Rotarians for all you do. Be safe tonight and have a wonderful and well deserved New Year.

 

DG Harry (Iceman)


 
Announcements: January 4, 2018 2018-01-02 09:00:00Z 0

I Just wanted to update you and let you know that our inbound exchange student from Nigeria - Winston - arrived on Tuesday December 19th!

He is staying with Paula and John Kulhanek right now.  We will all be able to meet him at our next meeting on January 4th!

Yahoo!  Please reach out to make him feel welcome if you see him over the break or at our meetings!

 

Beth
 

Winston arrives in Homer!
 
Winston is Here! 2018-01-01 09:00:00Z 0
For those of you who didn't have fun Sunday night, sorry--you must not have been at the 2017 Holiday Party!  Once again the Holiday Elves (aka. Sunshine Committee) outdid themselves and transformed the basement at the Elk's Lodge into a Winter Wonderland and Smorgasbord!  Here are some pictures to show you what I mean!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Elves
2017 Holiday Party 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0
Announcements

Thanks to our fabulous Sunshine Committee (Lorna, Dee, Susie and Sherry) for putting on such a wonderful Xmas Party on Sunday!

 

Thanks to Dennis Weidler for volunteering to be on the Board of Directors for the rest of the 2017-18 year.

 

We are still in need of a President Elect for 2018-19 whose term would begin in July of 2019.

 

Don't forget there are no meetings December 21 & 28 See you next year on January 4th!

 

There will be a Rotary Board Meeting on December 26 at 5:15 at the CACS headquarters building.

 

Thanks!

 

Beth


Shelter Box Needs a Ride
Our club borrowed the Shelter Box for use at our Health Fair.  The Shelter Box director in Anchorage now needs it back.
I am in need of someone to transport it to Anchorage in the next 30 days.  There are is one large box and two smaller
ones, so a pickup or SUV would be required.  Please call me at 299-3973 if you can assist.
Thanks,
Boyd
Cranium Cup Fundraiser Help Needed

Tom Early and the Fundraising Committee have been working hard to pull together the basics for our first ever Homer Kachemak Bay Cranium Cup Trivia Contest!  We are getting really excited and think it's going to be a great event but we need your help to finalize the plans and make it all happen!

 

Here are the basics:

Alice’s at 6:00 PM, Saturday February 10, 2018

 

We need a few committees to pull the details together and to make things run smoothly on the night of the event.  Here are the committees we need to have filled - see if there is a spot you might like to fill - it's going to be a fun night!

 

a.      Publicity

b.     Team Composition –help to determine entry fees, team size, maximum number of teams, prizes, etc. (we have templates and examples to refer to)

c.     Silent Auction Crew: Help solicit donations, setup and manage a silent auction to happen at the same time

d.      Stage and tables setup and arrangement – coordination with Alice’s

e.      Sound system and computer/video set up

f.       Trivia categories and questions (we have ordered a package of questions and categories - we just have to narrow it down to the best 6 categories!)

g.     Trivia power point setup

h.     Master of Ceremonies (MC) - Gary Thomas

i.       Crew to hand out and collect answer sheets and act as sergeants-at arms

j.       Timers, judges and scorers

k.     Cashier and fund collection

We will have a sign up sheet to be passed around at the meeting on Thursday - and a brief meeting afterwards to discuss any needs and answer questions.  Please let me know if you would like to help out in some way!

Thanks!

Beth


Time to Sign Up for the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto

I suggest you get yourself an early present this year and register for the 2018 RI Convention in Toronto.  The Dates are June 23-27, 2018.  I attended my 1st International Convention last year in Atlanta.  I expected a Great Time, Great Speakers, meeting Great new People and validating how Great it is to be a Rotarian.  What I found was all of that and much more - by far.  It was an awesome experience!!  Toronto looks to be even better, in a cool city I have not yet been to.

 

If you haven’t been to the Toronto Promotional Material in Rotary’s Website do it now.  Here is a link on the City of Toronto with a special invitation from Ian Riseley.  Early Bird Sign Up for the convention runs through December 15th (just one more week) at only $335.00 for the convention.  Register here.  There are links on this registration page to hotels in the area, they do fill up as there were over 40,000 Rotarians registered in Atlanta.

 

It’s a great idea to have multiple members from each club attend so you have someone to share all the new experiences with.  Attending this will bring you back home - Energized!!  

 

If you have been to an International Convention before you know what a great time is to be had, if you haven’t been before – ‘Trust Me’, you’ll love it.

See you in Toronto, Eh?

 

Bruce Erickson

Anchorage International Rotary

907-223-0610  or Befespud1@gmail.com


Speaker Information Needed

If you are one of the lucky members who signed up to recruit a speaker for one of our meetings then please use the link below to add their name, title or topic of the presentation and list any additional people who may be presenting.  The more info the better!
 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mSD1uouoIjGuZnBzWosGSb5pPsgc6AjfmlxwZCD4eK4/edit#gid=991044525

 

We like to give certificates to everyone who presents - and Craig makes these up a day or two prior to our meeting - so it is important to have the spreadsheet filled out in advance.  I also use this information to plan the agenda for the week - so it is very helpful to have the info complete!

 

Also - if you have someone who you think would be a good presenter - look at the spreadsheet, see who is responsible for recruiting the speaker and contact them with your idea.

 

AND - if you aren't in charge of recruiting - but see a speaker who you think would be interesting to a friend or colleague - please invite them and share Rotary and the club experience with them!  It's a great way to recruit new members.  OR invite a member who hasn't been to a meeting for a while and ask them to join you!  It's a great way to retain our members!!

 

See you on Thursday!

Announcements: December 14, 2017 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0
 
 
 
News from Rotary
 
 
 
December 2017
 
 
 
Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Together, we are setting in motion our global effort to help the world better understand who we are: people of action, driven by a desire to strengthen communities, mobilize problem solvers, and find solutions to the tough challenges that affect people around the world.

Starting now, you can visit the Brand Center to download new People of Action templates for social media posts and print ads. You can also download the video public service announcements that debuted at the Atlanta convention, as well as guidelines and tips on using the campaign. Use all of these to tell your own stories about how your club and district are taking action and bringing leaders together to make an impact in your community. 

We are very proud of this new campaign and the opportunity it gives us to tell a consistent, compelling story about what makes Rotarians people of action. In the coming months, we’ll add more resources to the Brand Center. We hope that you take advantage of these materials, because they’ll help you to get the full benefit of the campaign by promoting both your club and Rotary in your community. Join us and bring the People of Action campaign to life by visiting the Brand Center today. The more we build awareness of Rotary, the easier it will be to make an impact in our communities right across the world.

— Ian Riseley
President, Rotary International
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
News From Rotary 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0

Column: A grieving daughter finds comfort in an unexpected source: customer service 

By Barbara Brotman

Death comes with paperwork. There are credit cards to be canceled, bank accounts to be closed, mutual funds to be transferred. When my mother died recently, I set myself to my tasks. Hers was not a tragic or unexpected death; she was 103. Still, we were soul-close. This, I thought as I began, was not going to be pleasant.

But I was wrong. In a way, it was.

I was continually amazed as every single customer service person I spoke with began by expressing condolences. It happened so many times that I started taking notes:

“First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss.” “Before we go on, I am very sorry for your loss.”   “I can help you with that, but first, my condolences for your loss.” And in a particularly heartfelt moment on the phone with Franklin Templeton Investments: “Oh, Barbara, I’m so sorry.”

I was touched. But I was surprised that I was touched. After all, these condolences were surely company-mandated. Financial firms get calls all the time from people settling their late loved ones’ affairs. They would be foolish not to train employees in how to handle them.

No matter; I was still grateful. This wasn’t a conventional financial transaction; this was the closing-down of my mother’s life.

And there, on the other end of the line, someone understood and was sorry. With a single phrase of condolence, whether they were required to say it or simply responding with reflexive kindness, they had established a human connection.

Suddenly I wasn’t speaking to an anonymous voice, but to someone who might have suffered his or her own loss. There on the phone, we were not customer and customer service rep; we were simply two fellow souls on earth.

My friend Suzy Sachs encountered similar thoughtfulness when she went to her brother’s bank after he died last year.

“The poor guy at the bank showed me unbelievable patience and kindness,” she says. “I talked way too much and gave him details he never needed. When we finally finished, he said again how sorry he was for my loss.

“Every time I’ve been in the branch since, he comes up to me, shakes my hand, calls me by my name, and asks how everything is going,” she continues. “In this painful journey, I am often stunned by the kindness of people – strangers and friends. It gives me faith in humanity.”

Mimi Weyrick found that every financial institution, with one notable exception, dealt tenderly with her after her father, former California Lt. Gov. Ed Reinecke, died. 

“Even little things like canceling his subscription to the Orange County Register – people were just so nice and gentle with me,” she says. “It kind of renewed my faith in people. It’s not like his death was unexpected; he was 92. But it was just nice to have somebody say, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry.’”

Such expressions are profoundly important, says Jane Bissler, a grief counselor in Kent, Ohio, and a past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. “We want people to acknowledge where we are in life,” she says. “When we’re grieving, we want people to understand that you need to treat us a little bit differently. We don’t have 100 percent of our brain power; we are living a little bit in our heart, and we’re sad or we’re stressed or we’re anxious.”

When someone is kind in that moment, she notes, “We say, ‘OK, this person is going to get it. They’re trying to understand. They’re trying to meet me where I am.’ ”

Early on – before my mother’s death, but well into her dementia – I called the New York Times and the New Yorker to cancel her subscriptions.

Those were my hardest calls. The Times and the New Yorker defined her; they represented her in her full liberal New York Jewish glory. I had kept her subscriptions going for two years after she had lost the ability to read. 

I didn’t want to simply cancel her subscriptions. I wanted to tell someone who she was. 

“I think she’s probably one of your longest-running subscribers,” I told the woman taking my call at the Times. “She’s been reading the Times since the 1930s. She did the crossword puzzle every day, in pen. Including a half-hour after she came out of anesthesia for open-heart surgery at age 94.”

The customer service rep murmured kindly as I cried.

And the New Yorker: “She not only subscribed for decades, but she once had a short humor piece published,” I told the phone staffer. “Oh, that’s wonderful,” the woman said in tones that made me certain she meant it. I smiled proudly through the tears.

Mine were good experiences. But not everyone’s are. That notable exception Mimi Weyrick encountered?

Her father’s private bank ducked her calls so determinedly when she was trying to find out the value of his account that she had to drive there and waylay a banker in person.

“I could not get them on the phone. Nobody would return my call. We literally had to track them down,” she says. “It wasn’t until my brother threatened legal action that they started to work with us.”

And this report from a friend: “Shortly after my dad died, the pain clinic called my mom to ask when she would be returning his pump. This is the morphine pump that was surgically implanted in his stomach to deliver a steady stream of medicine to try to limit his pain. She was taken aback, and she told them it was buried inside of him. The woman paused for a second or two, then wondered, ‘What about the remote device that went with the pump?’” 

My friend Mike Precker, a writer in Dallas, will never forget the aftermath of his father’s death, though it happened in 1974.

“We had literally just gotten back from my dad’s funeral when a fellow from the local bank called to inquire when we would be paying his credit card bills,” he recalls. “Apparently some poor guy’s job was to read the obits and then call the families.”

Mike cut up the credit card and mailed it to the bank with a letter reading, “Dear Sir, I hope that from the tone of this letter you can infer just what you can do with the enclosed card.”

At Franklin Templeton Investments, the firm that was notably kind to me, Bethany Hendricks is vice president of customer service for the subsidiary whose wealth transfer team handles calls after a death. After her own father died, she called a credit card company to close his account.

“I probably got transferred three different times, and each time I had to say my dad died,” she says. “There was no acknowledgment of what that meant. And at one point there was a language barrier, to the point where I had to keep saying, ‘He’s dead.’ ‘He’s dead.’ It was awful.”

Franklin Templeton tells its people to acknowledge a loss and express condolences. But beyond that, the firm deliberately provides no script.

“We want them to be real people,” Hendricks says. “This is probably the time when you have the biggest opportunity to really be good to a person. Our folks fortunately are in the position to be compassionate in that moment and take a little extra time to be human.

“I don’t want to overstate what we do; we’re just a financial services company,” she says. “But I think people are hungry for finding people who are really people, and connecting with them on a very human level.”

The way companies handle those moments can be crucial, says Rima Toure-Tillery, assistant professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “Any company, anyone that becomes aware of someone else’s loss has to say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” she says. “To most people it wouldn’t seem like they’re doing something extra.”

From a marketing point of view, there are advantages, Toure-Tillery says. All banks offer similar services; warm personal exchanges can be what keeps a customer loyal. But the real impact comes if a company treats a grieving relative poorly. That’s when you get “the nightmare stories,” she says – the ones that make people so angry that they tell them, over and over, for years.

And a bank could lose more than goodwill. Weyrick suspects that her father’s bank was ducking her to keep her from moving his assets elsewhere. In fact, “we would have been happy to leave everything there,” she says. “But it was because of how they treated us in those first few months that we decided to move everything.”

As time passed after my mother’s death, the financial transactions became less fraught. I wasn’t grieving; I was just taking care of business. 

But I never stopped appreciating it when a customer service rep said she was sorry for my loss. Each time, those words turned a transaction into an acknowledgment of our fundamental bond. We are all human, we are all walking the same mortal path, and we can all use a little kindness, even and maybe especially from an unexpected place, to light the way.

• Barbara Brotman is a freelancer and a former writer for the Chicago Tribune. Read more stories from The Rotarian

 
Comfort From an Unexpected Source 2017-12-11 09:00:00Z 0
Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness join with Rotary to improve lives 
By Sallyann Price
 
Rotary has added two service partners that offer clubs new ways to collaborate with other organizations and strengthen their projects: Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
 
1.     
Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners, builds homes for families in need, and provides opportunities for hands-on community service.
Photo by Alyce Henson
 
2.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/20170204_US_002.jpg?itok=l6HiTk6-
Rotary members assemble in an Atlanta suburb to receive their work assignments for a home building project with Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners.
Photo by Alyce Henson
 
3.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/20170204_US_016.jpg?itok=xV7WmMz-
Randy Schiltz (right) helps put up siding during a Habitat for Humanity home building project. Schiltz owns a construction firm and is a member of the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA.
Photo by Alyce Henson
 
4.       
Alpharetta Rotarian Glennette Haynes (middle) works alongside a friend of the new homeowner.
Photo by Alyce Henson
 
5.       
Local secondary school students join Rotary members, including Katie Rocco from the Alpharetta club (center), and other volunteers to lend a hand.
Photo by Alyce Henson
 
Habitat for Humanity has a long history of working with Rotarians and Rotaractors to build the types of low-cost shelters that now qualify for global grant funding, under a recent Board decision. It’s also a natural fit for Rotary’s approach to vocational service, which encourages members to use their professional skills to help others.
When the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, participated in a Habitat home building project in the Atlanta area earlier this year, members showed up ready to work and lend their professional expertise. Randy Schiltz, who owns a construction firm, helped the new homeowners pre-drill holes to prepare for installing siding. Interior decorator Glennette Haynes, who works with people in transitional housing, was there to offer advice on furnishing and decorating their homes.
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. During the 2017 Rotary International Convention there, volunteers gathered on-site to help construct the wood framing for a home.
 
Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.
Jonathan Reckford 
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer and Rotary Club of Atlanta member
 
“Often when I speak to Rotary groups and ask how many people have worked on a Habitat project, it’s not uncommon for more than three-quarters of the audience to raise their hands,” Reckford says. “Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.”
Rotary’s values are also closely aligned with IAPB, a membership organization that brings together government and nongovernmental agencies, academics, and private providers to plan and implement sustainable eye care programs. 
“We seek to encourage both organizations [Rotary and IAPB] to promote greater awareness of the need for eye clinics and blindness prevention activities, to develop projects together, to consult, and to work together with their constituents,” says Peter Kyle, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.), and Rotary’s Joint Committee on Partnerships.
 
Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. 
Victoria Sheffield 
President and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
 
A global grant project in India, one of three pilot projects with IAPB, aims to improve access to eye care in Karol Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi, where private eye doctors and facilities are available but unaffordable for many.
Local Rotary clubs worked with the International Eye Foundation, an IAPB member, to raise funds and supply medical equipment for vision screenings and treatment at an eye hospital’s new facility. They also worked to design a social enterprise to sustain the hospital’s charitable outreach programs.
“There is a wonderful opportunity for our networks,” says Victoria Sheffield, president and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of IAPB. “Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. Everyone is affected by eye conditions at some point, whether it’s needing glasses or cataract surgery, or addressing a congenital issue or complications from diabetes. Everyone has two eyes.”
 
·        Read our press releases about Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
New Partners Build on Rotary's Strengths 2017-12-11 09:00:00Z 0
This is some very important information, and very timely. Recently one of the subject fire extinguishers discharged itself, and spread a white powder into the owner's house.  The powder MUST be vacuumed up, as it can be quite corrosive, and definitely shortens the life of moving parts as it is also very abrasive.  The extinguishers can self-discharge or not discharge at all!  Please check. Please note that there are several different brand names included in this recall.
 
Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles Due to Failure to Discharge and Nozzle Detachment: One Death Reported
 
·  https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/styles/thumbnail/public/110%20and%20Excel%20FX%20Identification%20Guide.jpg?4UuTu3RhWgLocT6MZ9J57XE39R76Kr50&itok=l_sHwRUR
·  https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/styles/thumbnail/public/Pindicator%20ID%20Guide.jpg?YBUwMb.UZSgcriCoDi0cWeQu4orHym_X&itok=Ayu1icKv
Name of product:
Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles
Hazard:
The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.
Remedy:
Replace
Recall date:
November 2, 2017
Recall number:
18-022
Consumer Contact:
Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.
Recall Details
In Conjunction With:
Description:
This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.
Plastic handle fire extinguishers: The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom.  Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717.  For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.
 
Plastic-handle models produced between January 1, 1973 and October 25, 2015
2A40BC
Gillette TPS-1 1A10BC
Sams SM 340
6 RAP
Home 10BC
Sanford 1A10BC
6 TAP
Home 1A10BC
Sanford 2A40BC
Ademco 720 1A10BC
Home 2A40BC
Sanford TPS-1 1A10BC
Ademco 722 2A40BC
Home H-10 10BC
Sanford TPS-1 2A40BC
ADT 3A40BC
Home H-110 1A10BC
Sears 2RPS   5BC
All Purpose 2A40BC
Home H-240 2A-40BC
Sears 58033 10BC
Bicentenial RPS-2  10BC
Honeywell 1A10BC
Sears 58043 1A10BC
Bicentenial TPS-2  1A-10BC
Honeywell TPS-1 1A10BC
Sears 5805  2A40BC
Costco 340
J.L. 2A40BC
Sears 958034
FA 340HD
J.L. TPS-1 2A40BC
Sears 958044
FA240HD
Kadet 2RPS-1   5BC
Sears 958054
FC 340Z
Kidde 10BC
Sears 958075
FC Super
Kidde 1A10BC
Sears RPS-1 10BC
FC210R-C8S
Kidde 2A40BC
Sears TPS-1  1A10BC
Fire Away 10BC Spanish
Kidde 40BC
Sears TPS-1 2A40BC
Fire Away 1A10BC Spanish
Kidde RPS-1 10BC
Traveler 10BC
Fire Away 2A40BC Spanish
Kidde RPS-1 40BC
Traveler 1A10BC
Fireaway 10 (F-10)
Kidde TPS-1 1A10BC
Traveler 2A40BC
Fireaway 10BC
Kidde TPS-1 2A40BC
Traveler T-10 10BC
Fireaway 110 (F-110)
KX 2-1/2 TCZ
Traveler T-110 1A10BC
Fireaway 1A10BC
Mariner 10BC
Traveler T-240 2A40BC
Fireaway 240 (F-240)
Mariner 1A10BC
Volunteer 1A10BC
Fireaway 2A40BC
Mariner 2A40BC
Volunteer TPS-V 1A10BC
Force 9 2A40BC
Mariner M-10  10BC
XL 2.5 TCZ
FS 340Z
Mariner M-110 1A10BC
XL 2.5 TCZ-3
Fuller 420  1A10BC
Mariner M-240 2A40BC
XL 2.5 TCZ-4
Fuller Brush 420 1A10BC
Master Protection 2A40BC
XL 2.75 RZ
FX210
Montgomery Ward 10BC
XL 2.75 RZ-3
FX210R
Montgomery Ward 1A-10BC
XL 2-3/4 RZ
FX210W
Montgomery Ward 8627 1A10BC
XL 340HD
FX340GW
Montgomery Ward 8637  10BC
XL 4 TXZ
FX340GW-2
Quell 10BC
XL 5 PK
FX340H
Quell 1A10BC
XL 5 TCZ
FX340SC
Quell RPS-1 10BC
XL 5 TCZ-1
FX340SC-2
Quell TPS-1 1A10BC
XL5 MR
Gillette 1A10BC
Quell ZRPS  5BC
XL 6 RZ
 
Plastic-handle models with date codes between January 2, 2012 and August 15, 2017
AUTO FX5 II-1
FC5
M10G
FA10G
FS10
M10GM
FA10T
FS110
M110G
FA110G
FS5
M110GM
FA5-1
FX10K
M5G
FA5G
FX5 II
M5GM
FC10
H110G
RESSP
FC110
H5G
 
 
Push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers: The recall involves eight models of Kidde Pindicator fire extinguishers manufactured between August 11, 1995 and September 22, 2017. The no-gauge push-button extinguishers were sold in red and white, and with a red or black nozzle. These models were sold primarily for kitchen and personal watercraft applications.
 
Push Button Pindicator Models manufactured between  August 11, 1995 and September 22, 2017
KK2
M5PM
100D
AUTO 5FX
210D
AUTO 5FX-1
M5P
FF 210D-1
 
Remedy:
Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.
 
Note: This recall includes fire extinguisher models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. Kidde branded fire extinguishers included in these previously announced recalls should also be replaced. All affected model numbers are listed in the charts above.
Recall information for fire extinguishers used in RVs and motor vehicles can be found on NHTSA’s website.
Incidents/Injuries:
The firm is aware of a 2014 death involving a car fire following a crash. Emergency responders could not get the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers to work. There have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including the fatality, approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns, and approximately 91 reports of property damage.
Sold At:
Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, The Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other online retailers for between $12 and $50 and for about $200 for model XL 5MR. These fire extinguishers were also sold with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.
Importer(s):
Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Company Inc., of Mebane, N.C.
Manufactured In:
United States and Mexico
Units:
About 37.8 million (in addition, 2.7 million in Canada and 6,730 in Mexico)
 
 
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
 
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
IMPORTANT! Fire Extinguisher Recall 2017-12-05 09:00:00Z 0
Some Sad News
 
We have just received word through Dave Brann that Tamara, wife of Past District Governor Vladimir Donskoy of Irkutsk, Russia, has passed away due to cancer.  Our condolences to him and their family and friends.  During his tenure, Vladimir came to Homer and other Clubs in Alaska, and attended District Conference in Anchorage.  For anyone wishing to contact Vladimir directly, here is his email address < vladimir.f.donskoy@gmail.com >

Holiday Family Party

 
New Members Proposed

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Board has approved the proposed Corporate Membership of Geneva Woods, a medical equipment, supplies, and pharmacy services company.  Representing Geneva Woods as members of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club will be Ms. Christie Gibbs and Mr. Mike Tivoli.

Per our by-laws the Board solicits comments from the membership NLT December 7, 2017 concerning these prospective members. All comments should be in written form.


Volunteers Needed
The Club needs YOU to step up and put your name forward to run for the position of President-Elect for the 2019-2020 year.  If you are unsure whether, or not, you are qualified, please contact Beth.  There is plenty of training available, and lots of help, to perform one of the most fun and rewarding jobs you'll ever have.
 
We also need someone to fill out the rest of the year (until June 30, 2018) on the Board of Directors.  Please contact Beth for this one also.

Speaker Information Needed

If you are one of the lucky members who signed up to recruit a speaker for one of our meetings then please use the link below to add their name, title or topic of the presentation and list any additional people who may be presenting.  The more info the better!
 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mSD1uouoIjGuZnBzWosGSb5pPsgc6AjfmlxwZCD4eK4/edit#gid=991044525

 

We like to give certificates to everyone who presents - and Craig makes these up a day or two prior to our meeting - so it is important to have the spreadsheet filled out in advance.  I also use this information to plan the agenda for the week - so it is very helpful to have the info complete!

 

Also - if you have someone who you think would be a good presenter - look at the spreadsheet, see who is responsible for recruiting the speaker and contact them with your idea.

 

AND - if you aren't in charge of recruiting - but see a speaker who you think would be interesting to a friend or colleague - please invite them and share Rotary and the club experience with them!  It's a great way to recruit new members.  OR invite a member who hasn't been to a meeting for a while and ask them to join you!  It's a great way to retain our members!!

 

See you on Thursday!



Announcements: December 7, 2017 2017-12-05 09:00:00Z 0
Rotarians from three countries resurrect the forgotten Great Western Trail
 
By Frank Bures Photos by Scott Slusher
 
At Doan’s Crossing, in a remote corner of Texas near the southeastern tip of the Panhandle, the local folks hold a picnic every May. It has all the things you would expect from a small-town picnic: A few hundred people from the nearby town of Vernon and the surrounding area gather to eat barbecue and socialize. Riders on horseback cross the river from Oklahoma to attend. A Picnic King and Queen are crowned. 
 
But the event, which claims to be the “oldest pioneer festival” in Texas, also marks a piece of American history that was nearly lost: Doan’s Crossing was a key point along the Great Western Trail, a major cattle trail that, during its 20 years of existence, was more heavily used than the better-remembered Chisholm Trail. While it was in use, some 6 million to 7 million cattle and a million horses made their way up various parts of the route. 
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/trail%20rotarians.jpg?itok=xJ0F0xct
At Doan’s Crossing, near the historic Doan house, five trail-saving Rotarians gather around the first marker erected in Texas: Rick Jouett, left, Paul Hawkins, Jeff Bearden, Sylvia Mahoney, and Phil McCuistion.
 
But unlike the Oregon Trail, along which pioneer wagons left ruts that are still visible, cattle trails could be a mile wide and left few traces – except in people’s memories.
The Great Western Trail traversed the Red River at Doan’s Crossing. It’s the spot where Jonathan Doan and his family set up a trading post in 1878. It was the last place where the cattle drovers – the cowboys – could stock up on supplies before they headed north across the Texas border into Indian Territory, as Oklahoma was then known. Doan’s Picnic was started by the wives of the drovers who had gone up the trail in 1884. It has been held every year since.
Today, Doan’s store is gone, but the small adobe house where his nephew lived still sits in a field, much as it did when the first picnic took place. On an August day, the site is quiet but for the crickets’ song. A few stone historical markers keep vigil in the tall grass. 
 
Not far from the house stands a tall white concrete post with “GREAT WESTERN TR” in red letters, and next to it stand Rotarians Sylvia Mahoney and Jeff Bearden, who are largely responsible for that marker being there. They’re chatting with John Yudell Barton from across the Red River in Oklahoma, who made this post and helped launch the Great Western Trail project, one of the biggest and most complex Rotary projects in the state – if not the country – which has involved hundreds of Rotarians across three countries.
 
“There used to be a town here with the streets all platted out,” Bearden says on an unusually cool summer day. “There were about 300 people living here, with a school and a post office. This is all that’s left. The rest just dried up and blew away.” 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/trail%20map.jpg?itok=6yWyi65k
A map of the trail as it might have appeared more than 130 years ago, when Oklahoma was still known as Indian Territory.
 
The memory of the Great Western Trail almost blew away too, the only traces being the stories handed down through families and the yellowed documents and maps in small-town archives along the 2,000-mile route that stretches from Matamoros, Mexico, all the way to Val Marie, Sask. That’s when Rotary rode to the rescue.
 
In the fall of 2002, Mahoney attended the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas, where she met Barton and Rotarian Dennis Vernon (no relation to the town). A college rodeo coach and a member of the Rotary Club of Vernon, Mahoney was intrigued by this almost forgotten slice of history. She knew about the Chisholm Trail and the Shawnee Trail. And she knew about the Goodnight-Loving Trail from her favorite TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove. But the Great Western was a mystery, which was strange since she lived right on its path. In fact, it was just a stone’s throw from her office at Vernon College, where she was an administrator and taught English.
 
Back home, she invited Barton and Vernon to speak to her Rotary club. “They came back in a few months and challenged us to participate in marking the Great Western Trail,” says Bearden, who’s also a member of the Rotary Club of Vernon. “They were marking it in Oklahoma and wanted to extend it to other states.”
 
Dennis Vernon, a member of the Rotary Club of Altus, Okla., was working with the Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus to mark the trail, but he realized that Rotary could take the project further than he and Barton ever could. “I told them, ‘This would be great not just for your community, but for those south of you too, to help mark this historic trail,’” recalls Vernon. “And we said, ‘We’ll make the first marker for you.’”
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/trail%20signpost%202.jpg?itok=xXO4Zftr
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/trail%20signpost.jpg?itok=uMdfV-lM
Posts mark the trail including in Altus, Okla., USA, near the Museum of the Western Prairie, left, and the rodeo grounds in Throckmorton, Texas, USA.
 
Mahoney grasped the importance immediately. “It would be a history-making project, because the Great Western Trail was the last Texas cattle trail, ” she says. “It was the largest Texas cattle trail. It was the longest Texas cattle trail. And it was almost forgotten.”
 
After discussing it with their club, Mahoney looked over at Bearden, who owned a chuck wagon and appeared at re-enactments as Davy Crockett. Not quite knowing the magnitude of the undertaking, they accepted the challenge, agreeing to co-chair the project and try to mark the trail every six of its 620 miles across Texas.
 
“When our friends from Vernon Rotary Club joined in,” Dennis Vernon says, “that’s when it really took off. ”
 
As time went on, scores of other Rotarians joined the project – including Ray Klinginsmith, who, as president of Rotary International in 2010-11, became one of the trail’s most prominent champions.
 
Cattle trails occupy a key place in American history and culture. The Civil War devastated the economies of the former Confederate states. In the summer of 1865, Texas had little industry, and many of its young men had been killed in the war.
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_400/public/AC_537.jpg?itok=ZY2vnoj4
Cowboys would often eat beans, bacon, and other things that could be preserved on long cattle drives. See some common recipes here.
 
One thing the state did have was cattle: millions of feral longhorns roaming the high plains. They were a strange and hardy breed that resulted from half-wild Spanish cattle mixing with English stock. They had few birthing problems, were easy to raise, and were immune to tick fever. And they were so tough they often gained weight on the long journey north.
 
Before the war, some cattle had been sent north (mainly on the Shawnee Trail), but back then, people in the United States consumed more pork than beef, partly because pork was easier to preserve. The cattle drives helped change the American diet. In the 1860s, ranchers and cowboys in Texas and northern Mexico started rounding up loose herds and driving them north en masse to Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. From the railheads there, the cattle traveled to Chicago and other points east, where people were developing a taste for beef – and where a steer worth $4 in Texas might sell for as much as 10 times that amount.
 
But first the cattle had to travel across hundreds of miles of open range – in some instances going beyond the railheads as far north as Montana and even into Canada, where they could feed the growing population and still earn a pretty profit. The journey required months of inching along day by day as the trail hands tried to keep thousands of cattle moving together in the same direction.
 
Overseeing this task was the trail boss, who was aided by about 10 drovers, who herded the cows, rounded up strays, cut out interlopers, and got the longhorns where they were going. Some of the trail hands worked as wranglers, overseeing the remuda – the herd of spare saddle horses.
These were the cowboys, young men (and a few women) at loose ends because of the war or the economy or their own deeds. Most were white, but some were freed slaves, others were Native American, and many came from Mexico. (Cowboy culture first evolved in Spanish California in the late 1700s and early 1800s, as seen in words such as “buckaroo” (vaquero), “lasso,” “chaps,” and others; see “How to Talk Cowboy,” page 36.) Some were criminals, and others were adventurers, but on the trail, they were all equals.
 
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/trail%20main.jpg?itok=r6ayBXqp
A ranch hand uses his lariat to lasso a cow. Cowboy terms with Spanish roots reveal the origins of many Old West traditions.
 
In time, the cowboys came to embody America’s most prized character traits – independence, toughness, fairness, self-reliance. They had an informal ethical code, with a number of tenets: “When you make a promise, keep it.” “Live each day with courage.” “Always finish what you start.” (You will find these and other maxims in James P. Owen’s Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West.) It was a simple, hard-bitten wisdom that was the foundation of the culture of the West.
 
Mahoney, who was raised in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, sees those values reflected in Rotary’s Four-Way Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? “The cowboy code has so much in common with The Four-Way Test,” Mahoney says as we drive across the high plains of Texas. “And I think The Four-Way Test is the best ethical statement. If everyone lived like that, the world would be a much better place.”
 
We are on our way to Vernon, where those first markers set out by the Great Western Trail project now stand. One is outside the Red River Valley Museum on the outskirts of town.
When Mahoney and I arrive, we meet some of the Vernon Rotarians who spent years bringing the trail back to life: Phil McCuistion, who poured the concrete for 121 of the markers with Rick Jouett, and Paul Hawkins, who hand-painted the markers white with red letters. They’re each wearing Great Western Trail shirts, Rotary pins embellished with longhorns, and large belt buckles.
Marking the Great Western Trail’s route through Texas was a massive project: It stretches 620 miles across that state alone. The Vernon Rotarians were rescuing history, and in the process they were putting some small towns back on the map. Marking historic routes such as the Oregon Trail, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and the Natchez Trace has proven a good way to draw history buffs and infuse small towns along the way with tourist dollars.
 
As promised, Barton and Vernon donated the first marker. This handoff was scheduled for Doan’s Picnic in 2004. On that day, the Vernon Rotarians gathered at Doan’s Crossing. As the dedication ceremony began, Oklahoma State Sen. Robert M. Kerr rode in on horseback from the north, followed by a wagon carrying the marker. From the south came Texas State Rep. Rick Hardcastle on his own horse. When the groups met, they rode to the marker location, planted the post in the ground, and cemented it in place. Then the Texans and Oklahomans took turns pouring water from the Red River out of a Mason jar onto the marker. “Everyone got a chance to pour some Red River water if they wanted to,” says Mahoney. That ritual became a key part of marking the trail.
 
“All of the dedications gave people this feeling that their community was part of this big trail and part of history,” says Dave Mason, a past governor of Rotary District 5790 in north-central Texas, who got involved with the project in Abilene and has attended several dedications from one end of the trail to the other. “They really cemented the whole thing. There was some coordination by email and phone calls, but until you meet face to face, you don’t really know each other. Now we’re all tied in with 2,000 miles of communities, all the way from Mexico to Canada.”
 
Rick Jouett, right, and Paul Hawkins at the courthouse in Vernon, Texas
 
After it had the marker, the Vernon club got two metal molds from Barton so it could make its own concrete posts. Then the members got to work. They looked at the map and figured out which towns along the trail in Texas had Rotary clubs. 
“We contacted the Rotarians in these towns,” says Mahoney. “And everyone I talked to was excited to be included and eager to do something in their towns with their history. Some of the Rotary clubs had never even heard of the Great Western Trail.”
 
Ted Paup, a ranch owner and a member of the Rotary Club of Abilene at the time (he’s currently with the Rotary Club of Fort Worth), remembers getting that call. “I said, ‘You’re going to mark it for 2,000 miles north and south? That’s the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. You-all are out of your minds!’” 
 

In fact, they hadn’t planned to mark the entire trail quite yet. But that would change soon. And before long, there was a trail marker at Frontier Texas, a history museum in Abilene, and another in Moran, Texas, near Paup’s ranch. (Paup funded that marker and another about 45 miles north in Throckmorton.)

 

In Texas, the markers began to accumulate. But getting from expressing interest in the project to actually installing a post took a lot of work. First the club or town had to produce documentation that the trail did in fact pass through the location. This could usually be found in the family histories compiled in small-town museums and historical societies. (An invaluable resource for marking the trail was “The Great Western Cattle Trail to Dodge City, Kansas,” which Jimmy M. Skaggs wrote as his 1965 master’s thesis at what is today Texas Tech University.)

 

Once that was established, the club had to choose a location and secure any needed permissions. Then the Vernon club would pour the concrete into the marker mold, let it cure for a month, paint it, and work out the logistics of either a formal dedication – complete with Red River water – or a quieter ceremony. (As work on the trail expanded to other towns, states, and countries, volunteers from other clubs along the trail eventually took on the making of the markers.)

 

Sometimes, the hardest part was getting the 225-pound markers to their destinations. But little by little, the trail in Texas began to come back to life.

 

“It seemed like a pretty insurmountable thing, going from one end of Texas to the other,” says Bearden. “But people got involved, and it worked out well.”

 

Marking the trail across Texas was a huge job, but the Great Western Trail project was about to get even bigger. Jim Aneff, District 5790 governor at the time, got excited about the project, and in 2005, while the planting of the Texas posts was ongoing, he invited Mahoney to set up a display at the Rotary institute in Corpus Christi. She packed up her maps and photos and installed herself in the hallway of the hotel where the district governors had gathered. Many of those governors were from states that the Great Western Trail passed through.

 

On the Trail of History 2017-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Until the 1950s, cervical cancer killed more American women than any other type of cancer. Widespread screening has drastically decreased the number of those deaths in the United States, but in the West African country of Senegal, the disease remains prevalent. Every year, more than 1,400 Senegalese women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and hundreds of them die from it.

To Andrew Dykens, a professor of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the situation is especially galling given how easy this form of cancer is to catch.

“Cervical cancer develops very, very slowly,” Dykens says. “There are five to 15 years from the first cellular changes to the actual cancer development. So you’ve got time during that phase to do something about it.”

 

1.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/IMG_5398.JPG?itok=X-ebyOkc

Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens

2.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/IMG_5376.JPG?itok=K5CB1O1h

Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens

 

3.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/Copy%20of%20P1040464.JPG?itok=3s1JycCM

Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens

 

4.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/DSC03666.jpg?itok=9B5vqwdu

Andrew Dykens, lower left, worked closely with local health care workers and Peace Care volunteers to bring a simple testing and treatment protocol for cervical cancer to Senegal.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens

 

That’s exactly what he’s doing, with the help of the Peace Corps, Rotarians, and UIC. 

Dykens – who is a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago, the director of the Global Community Health Track at UIC’s Center for Global Health, and a former Peace Corps volunteer – is bringing together those organizations and Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action to reduce the number of women who die from this highly treatable disease.

 

A bit of background: In 2010, Dykens launched Peace Care, a nonprofit that helps communities and organizations work together to bring resources where they are needed. “It dawned on me that the Peace Corps should be working more closely with, for example, academic centers, because these centers have technical expertise but don’t have a footprint in local settings,” he says. “Meanwhile, the Peace Corps has people who are extraordinarily knowledgeable about the local context.” 

 

And Rotary? “Rotary loves to build capacity,” he says. “If we can build the capacity to implement evidence-based solutions that already exist, we don’t need fancy tools like MRIs or robotic surgery. Not that those tools aren’t good, but there’s a basic level of access to primary health care that doesn’t exist.”

 

After hearing from Peace Corps staff in Senegal about the need for cervical cancer screenings there, Dykens and Peace Care started training health workers in the Kedougou region of the country to detect abnormal cervical cells via a simple but effective method. A vinegar solution, dabbed onto the cervix, reveals abnormal cells that can be killed immediately with a cryotherapy gun and CO2 tank – no electricity required. This is far easier and less expensive than the standard Pap test, which requires looking at cell samples under a microscope to identify abnormalities. 

 

“Cool, right?” Dykens says. “This technique has been around for decades, and it costs so little and saves women’s lives. So how is it that in this day and age, in Senegal, there are 10 rural regions that have no access to cervical cancer screening?”

 

Part of the answer is local influence. “In some cases, the local opinion leaders are very conservative on women’s issues, and they are reluctant to help the women go for consultation,” says Manuel Pina, an obstetrician/gynecologist and member of the Rotary Club of Dakar-Soleil who is working with Peace Care. “But Rotarians are also opinion leaders. We have already done local talks on the importance of this project, to help end all of the rumors and bad information linked to cervical cancer.” Pina notes that they also encourage families to have their daughters vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.

 

Rotarians and Peace Corps volunteers have a long history of working together on projects, and in 2014 the two organizations began a more formalized partnership. The cervical cancer screening project demonstrates how a grassroots effort can benefit from the combined strengths of the two organizations.

 

The Rotary clubs plan to apply for a Rotary Foundation global grant to help expand cervical cancer screening services to the Tambacounda region. “Not just for the purpose of building capacity, but also to build a training center for cervical cancer screening,” Dykens says. Eventually, that center could also train health workers to screen for and treat other diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other types of cancers, he adds.

 

Dykens says support of Rotarians in the United States and in Senegal will continue to be key.

 

“Rotarians do things right,” he says. “They work systematically and always engage local voices and perspectives, and that is what ultimately creates success. Rotary has worked a long time on polio and done an amazing job. And in my mind, access to primary care is the next polio.”

 

–Anne Ford

 

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Partnership Takes on Cervical Cancer in Senegal 2017-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Rotary’s national advocacy advisers are putting polio on the world stage. Here’s how.

 

By Diana Schoberg 

 

At the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta in June, world leaders were on hand to celebrate a historic $1.2 billion in commitments to finance polio eradication. It was a huge moment for the polio eradication effort. But how did it come about?

A group of Rotary volunteers has been hard at work behind the scenes: our PolioPlus national advocacy advisers. This team of Rotarians from donor countries has a mission to make sure polio eradication is on the global agenda. In the corridors of power, they relentlessly work their connections – lunches with government officials, phone calls with ministers – to garner money and support for ending the disease.

And they’ve been successful: Since Rotary’s advocacy program started in 1995, it has generated more than $8 billion toward ending polio. The United States is the leading public sector donor to global polio eradication with a cumulative investment that totals $3 billion through fiscal 2017, thanks in large part to the leadership of Past RI President James L. Lacy and members of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the U.S. Their advocacy colleagues around the world have done remarkable work as well.

“The national advocacy advisers always come through in knowing the right people to speak with in government and in arranging key meetings,” says Michael K. McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee chair. “No matter the political party in charge, the Rotarians are known and respected.”

This year, the pledging of funds wasn’t the only priority. Working with our Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, the advocates had the ambitious goal of getting a commitment to polio eradication from the world’s most powerful nations. The advocacy advisers saw two unprecedented political victories when both the health ministers and leaders of the Group of 20, an informal bloc of countries accounting for 85 percent of the global economy, committed to strive to finish our work and end the disease. 

Rotary’s message about ending polio is reaching the key decision-makers. So how did our national advocacy advisers do it? We checked in with three of them to find out what went into their recent successes.

 

Behind the Scenes of Polio Eradication 2017-11-29 09:00:00Z 0
After overcoming a tough childhood, pediatrician Ramon Resa is helping to raise a new generation of kids
 
By Mary MacVean         Photos by NashCO
 
At three years old, an age when most toddlers are being assessed on how high they can count or how well they can recite their ABCs, Ramon Resa faced a different standard of measurement: how much cotton he could pile up in the farm fields of central California.  
 
And for many years, as he harvested cotton, walnuts, or oranges, Resa felt that he didn’t measure up. That feeling was reinforced by some who might have been his mentors and guides: Even though he graduated at the top of his eighth-grade class, he was told to let a white classmate give the valedictory speech. A school counselor tried to shunt him into wood shop instead of algebra.
Ramon Resa strides the halls of Sierra View Medical Center in In Porterville, Calif., USA, where he’s on staff.
 
But Resa persevered. Today, to visit him at work, you’ll walk through a door labeled Dr. Ramon Resa. A Rotarian and a pediatrician in Porterville, Calif., he spends his days in an office not far from the tiny box of a house where he grew up among 14 relatives. 
 
From farmworker to pediatrician
At work, Resa moves among four exam rooms, sometimes seeing more than 50 patients in a day: a three-year-old suffering from allergies, a two-year-old in for a checkup, a 10-year-old who hurt his thumb playing sports. Resa tickles a child lightly as he checks a throat or belly, switching from English to Spanish as needed. “I can out-stare you,” he jokes with a determined boy who has a sinus infection. 
 
“He teases the babies and the moms, and he builds their confidence up, ” says his office manager, Shirley Rowell, who has worked with Resa since he arrived in Porterville in 1985 with his newly minted medical degree. The children energize him, bringing out his jovial nature, but he’s also gentle and caring. When C-section newborns were moved from surgery to the maternity ward, Rowell recalls, Resa always carried them in his arms and talked to them. He never used the transport carts. “Of course it was against protocol,” Resa says. “But if I have a chance to bond with the baby, I will.”
 
In his own childhood, doctors were called only for the most severe ailments. Resa was the fifth child born to a mother barely out of her teens herself, and he never knew his father. He and two brothers were sent to live with their grandparents: The kids crowded in with “Ama” and “Apa,” uncles, aunts, and cousins, sleeping on mattresses on the floor and sharing one bathroom. Goats, pigs, and chickens lived in a side yard. Everyone had to pitch in.
 
By the time he was seven or eight, he felt he was “no longer a child,” Resa wrote in his 2010 memoir, Out of the Fields. He was a worker who was paid 3 cents a pound for cotton. He tried to prove his worth by outworking people much older than he was. But alcohol, fights, and other stressors were all around him, and his feelings of isolation, inadequacy, and resentment grew. By the start of high school, Resa began to feel a debilitating depression that robbed him of the joy of his scholastic and athletic achievements. He found himself dreading the bad things he was sure were to come. But he had brains and determination, and he vowed to succeed.
 
Research has shown that aspirations and resolve play a role in resilience. Supportive role models do, too. Several key people saw promise in the young student and encouraged him: his fourth-grade teacher. A woman in the school district office. And his neighbors Jim and Susan Drake. Jim Drake was a principal aide to César Chávez, but Resa didn’t learn about his role in the labor movement until years later.
 
Ernest Moreno, a friend since childhood who also grew up in a farmworker family, has often thought about why he and Resa succeeded when others did not. “You had to think you were special and didn’t belong in that environment,” says Moreno, who runs an executive search firm in Illinois. “You had to have friends who were like you” – Moreno recalls the many Friday nights he and Resa spent playing board games such as Risk – “and you had to want it.”
Ramon Resa dispenses medical care, cute faces, and high-fives.
 
A turning point: University of California, medical school, and Rotary
Resa’s first exposure to Rotary came when good grades earned him a club-sponsored trip to see the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was his first trip anywhere. 
 
As a teenager, he became aware of the advantages some of his classmates had: tutoring and private lessons, vacations, college and career expectations. But when a tennis coach offered him free private lessons, Resa turned him down. He had to work; his family needed the money. During his junior year in high school, he had to take a break from the cross-country team because his knees were so sore from kneeling to harvest walnuts. He was relieved when he got a letter jacket anyway, feeling sure that it would compel other students to see him “as a real person and not as a nobody.”
Resa at the former site of Goshen School, near his childhood home.
 
Although Resa qualified for the University of California system, no one at his high school informed him about it. Instead, he says, he and other farmworkers were pointed toward vocational classes at the local community college – until recruiters from the University of California Santa Cruz Educational Opportunities Program showed up.
 
Early in his freshman year at UCSC, Resa met an artist named Debbie Binger, and she has been his partner ever since – through medical school at UC Irvine, parenthood, all the ups and downs of life. The couple married and settled in California’s Central Valley, and Resa joined the Rotary Club of Porterville. In 1990, he became its president.
Yet he still couldn’t kick those childhood feelings of inadequacy. “I didn’t belong in front of these people,” he says. “I felt like a simple farmworker boy pretending to be a doctor.”
 
But he didn’t feel at home among his family anymore, either. “He went through a period where he didn’t fit in either place,” says Debbie. She eventually persuaded him to see a therapist for his depression. That, combined with religion, helped him to shed his bitterness and resentment and to understand that his family had done the best they could for him.
 
Revealing his childhood
At the end of 1990, a freeze devastated the Central Valley citrus industry and caused nearly $1 billion in damage. Rotarians, Resa says, understood what the disaster meant to growers, who were their fellow community leaders. But Resa also understood what the freeze meant for the farmworkers – at least 100,000 lost their jobs – and for their families. He knew that his Rotary club could help.  
But first, he would need to tell them his story. 
“So at the podium, I told my story of going without food, relying on donations, and going to bed hungry,” he says. “I was ashamed of the way I grew up. I didn’t tell Rotary about it until I wanted to help get the farmworkers food.”
 
His fellow Rotarians responded immediately. Contributions poured in to help the farmworker families get by. Ken Boyd, then governor of District 5230, who was at that meeting, had had no idea about the childhood his friend had endured. He spread the word to all 44 clubs in his district at that time.
 
To learn more about the documentary being made about Resa's life, visit ramonrising.film.
 
Today, Resa tells his story all over the country – to teenagers and Rotary members, to teachers and migrant worker advocates, at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and at medical schools. He wrote a memoir, and a documentary film about his life is being produced.
But he still hates speaking in public – at least until it’s over. And then he loves it, because every time, he says, at least one person comes up to him with a story of resilience: a childhood spent in a crack house or with a severe learning disability. A stutter like the one Resa had.
 
“He affects kids by letting them know they can do what they want,” Boyd says. “And when you believe it, you really can.”
 
Nina Clancy, another former district governor, is among those who encourage Resa to keep on telling his story. “I’ve never heard anyone so courageous, so inspiring,” she says. “He has a zest for life that couldn’t be stamped out.”  
 
Accepting the past, and moving on  
At home, the Resas’ two children are now grown: Marina is an actor in Los Angeles, and Joshua is a fellow in pediatric oncology. Resa, meanwhile, is not-so-patiently waiting to become a grandfather. At his Rotary meeting, he jokingly bemoans his fellow members’ success – at acquiring grandchildren. At work, he holds an infant and says, “Can I keep him?”
https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/20170808_Resa_405.jpg?itok=uL-U7qZa
Resa attends a meeting of the Rotary Club of Porterville.
 
But for many years, Resa kept his other relatives at a distance. Many of his family members were surprised by parts of his memoir; some remember things differently. Some told him Out of the Fields deepened their understanding of the family and of him. His uncle Esmael, one of the kids in his childhood home, says, “I felt like he slapped me, I was so shocked. I thought I knew everything about him.”
 
On one recent evening, some 20 members of the family gather at Round Table Pizza in Visalia, taking over two large tables for some boisterous storytelling and catching up. Tales of how hard they worked get the loudest laughs, but when asked if those experiences were funny at the time, there’s a unanimous chorus of “No!”
 
But even as a child, Resa was struck by the beauty of his surroundings: “One thing I liked about picking oranges is how spectacular the groves looked,” he says. Driving past the fields where he once worked, through the blocks of houses where he spent his childhood, and past produce-packing houses along streets with names such as Olive and Orange, Resa points out the snow-topped mountains in the distance, the stands of walnut trees, and the fruit-heavy citrus groves extending to the horizon. 
“My biggest regret is not going back and inspiring the next generation of my family,” he says. “I didn’t destroy the bridge. I just didn’t cross over it very often.” Fiercely protective of his children, he kept them away from relatives who struggled with drugs or gangs. 
 
But those bonds are being mended. He stops one morning at his sister Rosa’s house. Inside, he helps himself to homemade tortillas, potatoes, and chorizo. “I still don’t know anything that tastes better than scooping a fresh corn tortilla into the kettle for a mouthful of hot chili with its iron taste from the pot, especially on a cold, crisp winter day,” he says.
These days, Resa can hold on to the best of his memories without any bitter taste.
 
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Bringing Up Babies 2017-11-29 09:00:00Z 0
2017 Homer Mayoral Proclamation for Homer Rotary Health Fair 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0
New Members Proposed

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Board has approved the proposed Corporate Membership of Geneva Woods, a medical equipment, supplies, and pharmacy services company.  Representing Geneva Woods as members of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club will be Ms. Christie Gibbs and Mr. Mike Tivoli.

Per our by-laws the Board solicits comments from the membership NLT December 7, 2017 concerning these prospective members. All comments should be in written form.

Announcements: November 30, 2017 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0

Dear Rotarians of District 5010:

Rotary International’s Council on Resolution representatives voted online between October 15 and November 15, 2017.  Below are the voting results and the Resolutions that were passed will go to the Rotary International Board of Directors for their consideration.  The Board of Directors are not obligated to implement them but can do so if they deem them in Rotary’s best interest.

The Council on Legislation meets every three years to vote on proposed Enactments.  Enactments are different from Resolutions because once they are voted on and if they are passed by the Council, they become binding legislation.  The next Council on Legislation will meet in April 2019.  If you would like to submit an enactment, send it to District Governor Harry Kieling prior to December 15, 2017.
 
Resolutions are proposed annually and the deadline for 2018 is on June 30, 2018.  If you would like to submit a Resolution, please submit it for approval at District Governor Harry Kieling’s District Conference in Seward.
 
If you have any questions or need any additional information, contact me at rotaryjane@yahoo.com or (907) 299-1649.
 
Best Regards,
 
Jane Little
Past District Governor 2010-11
Council on Legislation Representative for District 5010
 

 

 
 
 
Council on Resolutions Results 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary and ShelterBox 2017-11-26 09:00:00Z 0
 

Don't miss the Club Assembly this week!  Maynard has put together a great slide show  about the Health Fair and this is YOUR time to get together with your committee members and map out the rest of the year - and then share all the great things we are doing with each other!

Community Service Committee members - this is an important meeting to make some decisions,

Club Services/Membership Committee - set some concrete goals for this year to move our club and district in a positive direction,

Vocational Committee - there's lots to plan for with the Marine Trades program, scholarships and more,

International Committee - what exciting projects are you going to get involved with this year? - Youth Services - 3 outbound students! confirming host families, making presentations in the schools and RYLA in Whitehorse - so much to talk about!

Public Relations Committee - we have so much to share with our members, the community, the District - how are you going to help us share our story?

Sunshine Committee - Xmas party! revitalization of Firesides?!? Fellowship opportunities - lots to plan for the year!

I hope you will all join us this Thursday!


FRIDAY DEADLINE - NOVEMBER 17th For District Governor Nominations

 

Surely you know someone in your club or region that would make a great District Governor!

 

They have been in Rotary over 7 years and been a club President. This Friday is the deadline for submitting their application. I leave it to you, as an Awesome Rotarian, to speak with them about applying. (All paperwork and forms are listed on the District Website under the second story, Nominations)

 

And you, yes you, who fit the above criteria. We know you have the spark, drive and inclination to be a great District Governor. Where's your application?

 

This position in Rotary will broaden your horizons like you wouldn't believe. It's challenging, confidence building and rewarding all in one. The doors it opens in Rotary are endless.

 

I encourage all of you in our District to be on the look out for qualified Rotarians, even if you find them in the mirror!

 

Yours in Rotary Service,

 

Peggy Pollen, PDG 2012-2013

District 5010 Nomination Chair

(907) 388-2283

News From DG Harry
 

I wanted to send out a quick note to all of 5010 Rotarians on a couple of issues. I will also include the info in the next news letter.

 

First, thank you for your tremendous support in our membership efforts. The figures came out yesterday and our District has recruited 34 new members since the first of July. That represents an almost 2% net gain for the Rotary Year. Your efforts have placed our District in the number 1 position out of 16 Districts in our Zone. Now is the time to plug in our afterburners and go even faster. If we can get 34 net new members in the first 4 months, we can get 68 net new members in the next 8 months which will enable us to exceed our goal of 5% net new members. Don't forget my offer of a District match ($$) on membership events. First City took  me up on the offer and had a very successful social (and new members)

 

Rotary Cares For Kids has become unbelievable . The efforts and support of all of you is humbling. Thank You on behalf of so many wonderful kids who deserve a better than the hand they were dealt.

 

Third, now is the time to submit proposals for the next RI Council on Legislation. If you have an idea please submit it to your club president. Club Presidents please submit your proposals to Jane Little and I not later than 15 December. Here is the guidelines and format.

 https://rotary.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1zb6VhSSzgQXLLL.

To help you and your clubs prepare 

legislation, RI has updated the How to Propose Legislation course in Rotary’s 

Learning Center. The course can be 

found by going to My Rotary>Learning & Reference>Learning Center.

Thank All of You for being such incredible Rotarians

 

DG Harry (AKA Iceman)

 

 
ANNOUNCEMENTS--November 16, 2017 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
Dave Brann has been instrumental at working with Rotary and the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Parks Water Trail group to get the paving of the pavilion done this fall. A Rotary  District Grant collaborative project!  Here are some pictures:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Boathouse Pavilion is Paved 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
A program created by Rotary scholar Marco Faggella is training engineers around the world to make buildings safer in earthquakes
By Diana Schoberg Photos by Gianluca Cecere
 
We’re in the car, and my traveling companion and local guide Marco Faggella is blasting the stereo. He wants me to hear the music of a friend of his, who has reinterpreted southern Italy’s traditional tarantella rhythms as intoxicating trance tunes. Over dinner the previous evening, Faggella, a member of the Rotary Club of Roma Nord-Est, filled me in on his Top Secret Plan to get his friend to play at the Burning Man art festival. In that conversation, Faggella also educated me on the finer points of Italian mysticism, Magna Graecia, and Pythagoras.
 
Faggella is full of grand plans: When he launched a film festival in 2009 in the beach town of Maratea in partnership with Rotary District 2100 (in part to show off the Oscar-nominated polio film The Final Inch), he called Francis Ford Coppola, whose grandparents came from the region. Coppola ended up sending a video message.  
Marco Faggella, who was left homeless by an earthquake as a child, inspects a model house that engineers use to study the effects of simulated earthquakes. 
 
I’m here to find out more about another of his big ideas, this one in his professional life. Faggella, who was trained through a Rotary scholarship, is a research associate in seismic engineering at Sapienza University of Rome. He looks at how to construct buildings – or retrofit existing ones – so that they don’t tumble down if an earthquake strikes. It’s a passion that makes sense given the earthquake risk in Italy, including in his hometown of Potenza, the city we are visiting at the instep of Italy’s boot. 
Most of the 60,000 people who die in natural disasters every year are killed by a building collapse during an earthquake in a developing country. Instead of going into reaction mode each time an earthquake strikes, Faggella thought, why not educate people to construct safer buildings so that fewer people are injured? 
 
He looked to his experiences with Rotary to come up with a plan. 
 
At the University of Basilicata at Potenza, where Faggella did some of his research, engineers have built a model house that they shake with hydraulic pistons to simulate the effects of an earthquake. It’s made of clay bricks with strong floor beams but weak columns, the way houses were built for thousands of years until modern building codes began to account for seismic activity in the first half of the 20th century. “We’ve predicted extensively how this house will behave, ” Faggella explains as he stands in front of the model. “The bricks will break. The columns will topple.” 
Around the world, people still live in these unsafe structures. “If you look at Kathmandu, a lot of Kathmandu is like this. If you look at Karachi, a lot of Karachi is like this,” Faggella says. “Houses like these can accommodate a lot of people quickly, but they account for a lot of the earthquake risk in the world.”
 
For example, on 26 December 2003, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Bam, Iran, killing more than 30,000 people and damaging 45,000 homes, many of which were built with mud bricks and didn’t comply with regulations set more than a decade earlier. Four days earlier, a 6.5 quake hit the central coast of California, where the losses were limited to two deaths and 500 damaged buildings, thanks to the implementation of modern seismic codes. 
After a series of earthquakes hit Italy in 2016, the government created financial incentives for people to retrofit their homes to make them seismically safe.
 
While we know much about earthquake-safe construction, the application of this knowledge still lags, even in a developed country such as Italy, where 60 percent of the buildings are more than 100 years old. The week before my visit, the Italian government passed guidelines to classify the seismic risk of buildings, along with tax incentives to promote retrofitting them with anti-seismic measures. A senior official from Sapienza University of Rome helped develop the rating system based on the work of the team of researchers to which Faggella belongs.  
 
Faggella had a personal experience with all this at an early age. In November 1980, when he was five years old, he was watching a soccer game with his dad in their third-floor apartment in Potenza. “All of a sudden, everything started to shake like crazy, ” he recalls. “There was rubble coming down from the ceiling. We felt like the whole house was falling apart.” His dad grabbed him, his mom picked up his two-year-old sister, and they rushed, shoeless, down the stairs onto the tiny piazza below, where a crowd of shocked people had gathered, wondering what was going on. 
 
More than 3,000 people died, and over 200,000 were left homeless as a result of the earthquake – including Faggella’s family. They spent the first night at the farm of a family friend, Faggella and his sister sleeping on a coffee table. The schools closed for a few months, so they moved with other families to a beach town two hours away. His parents never felt safe with the idea of returning to the old apartment, so they built an earthquake-proof home in the countryside.
 
Reconstruction after the 1980 quake took years, and the work was plagued by corruption and graft. Government money paid for roads to nowhere and factories that never opened. Despite millions of dollars spent in the region, 28,500 people were still living in canvas tents a decade after the earthquake.
 
You can still see the effects of the earthquake nearly 40 years later. As we drive around the city, Faggella points out the movie theater that never reopened and the clock on the town hall still stopped at 7:34, the time of the earthquake. Pre-earthquake cookie-cutter high-rises that speculators built without seismic provisions are an outrage to someone in his line of work.
 
Faggella studied seismic engineering at the University of Basilicata at Potenza, which was established after the quake. His Ph.D. adviser, Enrico Spacone, suggested he look into a Rotary scholarship for an opportunity to do research in the United States. Faggella called Gaetano Laguardia, a family friend who was a member of the Rotary Club of Potenza, who helped him through the application process. He received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, the predecessor to today’s global grant scholarships, to study at the University of California at San Diego, another city on a major fault. 
0
Through a scholarship program set up by Faggella, students are conducting research in Matera, a 9,000-year-old city in southern Italy that will be a European Capital of Culture in 2019.
 
In San Diego, Faggella connected with Fary Moini, who was later honored at the U.S. White House in 2012 as one of 10 Champions of Change, and Stephen R. Brown, who went on to become a Rotary Foundation trustee. Moini and Brown, members of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, have long been involved in Rotary projects in Afghanistan, including establishing several Rotary clubs. Inspired by their work as well as that of a professional contact, Brian Tucker of GeoHazards International (a nongovernmental organization that works in disaster preparedness), Faggella successfully applied for a Rotary Peace Fellowship to study the intersection of natural disasters and peace. 
 
He was ready for a career working in developing countries, bringing his engineering background to bear, but fate intervened. As a teenager, he had been a daredevil: He was a competitive skier, he cliff dove, he did flips while wakeboarding. But when he was 17, a motorcycle accident nearly severed his foot at the ankle. Doctors saved his foot, but just barely. While in San Diego, Faggella had a bone graft, but he had to decline the peace fellowship and set aside his dreams for a career in developing countries.
 
Instead, he went back home, joined Rotary himself, and came up with his biggest idea of all: He created a scholarship program to bring students from high seismic-risk countries in Asia to the European Union to study earthquake engineering. When they return to their countries, they become professors or government officials who work to make construction safer. 
 
“I managed to get developing countries to come to me,” he says later as we look out over a ghost town that was never rebuilt after the 1980 earthquake, a destiny he is trying to prevent for other communities. “I live in a cool region that everyone wants to come to, but I’m stuck with this, let’s say, disability. Let’s just flip the story.” 
From 2010 to ’14, 104 students and researchers from 14 Asian countries studied at five European universities, funded by a €2.5 million grant from the European Union. Faggella’s Rotary district in Rome helps provide hospitality for visiting students.
 
“It’s a kind of dilemma that Rotarians face all the time,” notes Stephen Brown. “To what extent can one person make a difference that would impact hundreds, as opposed to providing food and shelter after the fact? Rotarians can’t help themselves – when there is a natural disaster, they’re going to write checks. If we look more at the cause of the problem, it’s a better investment.”
This elementary school in Potenza features braces that dissipate energy, one way to retrofit buildings to make them safer during an earthquake. 
 
Twenty-two of the scholars who went through the program were from Nepal, including Surya Narayan Shrestha, the deputy director of Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology. Now he is using his knowledge in the rebuilding after its devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people in April 2015. (Faggella appeared with him on Italian television shortly after the quake.)
 
Aslam Faqeer is another scholar who went through the program. Before studying in Italy, Faqeer had taken courses on seismic engineering at NED University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi, a city where he estimates 20 to 30 percent of structures are earthquake safe. “At that time, people in Pakistan had limited knowledge,” he says. Faqeer received his Ph.D. at Sapienza University of Rome in 2015, advised by Faggella and Spacone. Now an assistant professor in Karachi, he has trained more than 120 master’s students and practicing engineers on modern seismic analysis and design, and researched how structures will perform if they are built to international standards. 
 
On my final day in Basilicata, Faggella drives me to the ancient city of Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will be a European Capital of Culture in 2019. The city dates back 9,000 years and is among the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. Early inhabitants drilled into the city’s cliffs to make caves, then used the materials to make bricks and build houses on the caves’ faces. 
 
Looking to expand its international collaborations, the University of Basilicata at Matera asked Faggella to set up another scholarship program. This time, the initiative aimed at protecting cultural heritage sites in Latin America and Europe from natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. A total of 119 students are participating: 83 traveling from Latin America to study at schools across Europe, and 36 Europeans going to Latin America to study at universities there. The program, which is running from 2014 to 2018, is funded through a €3.7 million grant from the EU. 
 
We stop outside one of the cave buildings, but this one is surrounded by scaffolding and covered with tarps. While Matera is not in a high-risk earthquake zone, its protection is still of concern because of its cultural significance. Students here do simulation trials in the lab and advanced computer modeling before they do any work on-site. “We prefer to do it in a virtual environment rather than go and smash an artifact, ” Faggella says. 
 
Rotary’s investment in Faggella and the exponential number of students touched by the programs he has set up are paving the way to keep this and other culturally important structures around for years to come, he says. “I’ve always tried to drag the science community toward cooperating with the international aid field,” he says. “Rotary gave me the idea of how to make this have a large, global impact.” 
 
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The Future of Buildings 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary Day at the United Nations pushes peace from concept to reality
 
By Geoff Johnson Photos by Monika Lozinska
 
On the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, more than 1,200 people gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for Rotary Day at the United Nations. 
Representing 87 countries, they convened on Saturday, 11 November, at the Palais des Nations, originally the home of the League of Nations, and dedicated themselves to the theme introduced by Rotary President Ian H. S. Riseley: “Peace: Making a Difference.”
 
Rotary International honors six champions of peace at the United Nations on 11 November.
“The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace have always been among Rotary’s primary goals,” said Riseley. “It is past time for all of us to recognize the potential of all of our Rotary service to build peace, and approach that service with peacebuilding in mind.”
For the first time in its 13-year history, Rotary Day at the UN was held outside of New York.
Rotary Day concluded Geneva Peace Week, during which John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, noted the “close and longstanding ties between Rotary and the UN in (their) mutual pursuit of peace and international understanding.”
Rotary members “can transform a concept like peace to a reality through service,” said Ed Futa, dean of the Rotary Representatives to the United Nations. “Peace needs to be lived rather than preached.”
During a Rotary Day highlight, Hewko introduced Rotary’s 2017 People of Action: Champions of Peace. He praised them as “an embodiment of the range and impact of our organization’s work,” and saluted them for providing “a roadmap for what more peaceful, resilient societies look like.”
Rotary honored six individuals, who each made brief remarks. They were:
1.     
Alejandro Reyes Lozano, of the Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Cundinamarca, Colombia: As "part of the generation that grew up with uncertainty and fear,” as he put it, Reyes Lozano played a key role in negotiating an end to the 50-year conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Now he's using a Rotary Foundation global grant to lead peacebuilding efforts among women from six Latin American countries.
2.    
Jean Best, of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and gallowayScotland: “Without peace within ourselves we will never advance global peace,” said Best, explaining The Peace Project, the program she created to help “the future leaders of peace” develop the skills they need to resolve the conflicts in their lives.
3.    
Safina Rahman, of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh: “Education is a powerful and transformative vehicle for peace,” said Rahman, a passionate advocate for workers’ rights and workplace safety who also promotes and provides educational and vocational opportunities for girls. 
 
4.      
Ann Frisch, of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA: Frisch’s Civilian-Based Peace Process introduced the radical concept of “unarmed civilian protection” in war zones around the world. “Sustainable peace,” she said, “requires strong civilian engagement.”
 
5.      
Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow: As the president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA, Sirah uses stories to foster peace, nurture empathy, and build a sense of community. “Stories matter—and I believe they matter a lot,” he said.
6.      
Taylor Cass Talbot, Rotary Peace Fellow: Currently based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Cass Talbot partnered with SWaCH, a waste-picker cooperative in India to form Pushing for Peace, which promotes safety, sanitation, and dignity for waste pickers in Pune, India. Her advocacy displays an artistic flair: her Live Debris project creatively addresses issues of waste on a global scale.
Later, the six honorees participated in workshops devoted to sustainability and peace, as well as a workshop on education, science, and peace designed by and for young leaders in which Rotaract members from around the world played a prominent role. 
Dr. Michel Zaffran, the director of polio eradication at the World Health Organization, provided an update on efforts to eradicate polio. They noted the tremendous progress made by Rotary, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners in eliminating 99 percent of all global incidences of polio. 
Returning the focus to peace, Zaffran said: “This same international relationship (that’s eradicating polio),” he said, “can be used to achieve world peace.”
Zaffran was joined Her Excellency Mitsuko Shino, the deputy permanent representative of Japan to the international organizations in Geneva and co-chair of Global Polio Eradication Initiative's Polio Partners Group
In his keynote address, Riseley made a similar observation. “The work of polio eradication, has taught us . . . that when you have enough people working together, when you understand the problems and the processes, when you combine and leverage your resources, when you set a plan and set your targets — you can indeed move mountains,” he said. “And the need for action, and cooperation, is greater now than ever before.”
Peace Needs to be Lived 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0

Earthquakes and emigration are draining the life out of rural communities. Rotarians are giving young people a reason to come back.

By Diana Schoberg      Photos by Gianluca Cecere

Arquata del Tronto was never an easy place to live. Picturesque, yes: The snowcapped peak of Monte Vettore forms the backdrop to this collection of medieval villages sandwiched between two national parks in central Italy’s Appenine Mountains. Tiny chapels line the local trails, and one village is known as the land of the fairies, a mythological place where shepherds were lured in by beautiful fairies with goat feet. But the municipality, which includes 15 villages, had a population of 1,200, and the nearest city is 15 miles away along the narrow, winding mountain roads. For a young person, for a young family, there was not much reason to stay. And that was before the earthquakes hit.  

In villages damaged by a series of earthquakes last year, Italian Rotarians are working to help rebuild not only buildings but livelihoods. 

Maurizio Paci explains all of this after he escorts us through an army checkpoint to view this community where he and his family have lived for generations, which  was reduced to rubble after three major  earthquakes hit central Italy in 2016. He experienced the tragedy up close: Here in Arquata, he has been on the municipal council for 11 years, while in nearby Amatrice, which was also pummeled during the disasters, he is a police officer. “I was hit on all sides,” he says.

It’s a cool day in March, and the wind blows a shutter open and shut, revealing the plush headboard of a bed inside one of the still-standing buildings. We see a purple ironing board peeking out of an upended roof, a squashed red car, mattresses, bed frames, and bales of hay strewn about. 

But we also see signs of hope. With the help of Rotarians, some people see a future for these abandoned towns.

It was 3:30 a.m. on 24 August when the first earthquake struck. Paci awoke to the sound of a large mirror crashing to the floor, his parents yelling. He ran outside and saw his neighbors pouring out onto the street. He went to help in Pescara del Tronto, an area village that was so devastated that the mayor told the Italian newspaper il Giornale that it looked like Aleppo, Syria. 

“I saw people dead on the street who had escaped from their homes but were hit by debris. I pulled somebody alive from the rubble,” Paci says as we stand outside the ruins. “It was really dark. Everybody was yelling. You didn’t know where to go or who to help first.” 

Nearly 300 people died in the 6.2 magnitude quake, including 50 in this area. Two more earthquakes hit the region in late October. The three in rapid succession left thousands homeless.  

Earthquakes are not unfamiliar to Italians. Two plates of the earth’s crust, the African and Eurasian plates, are slowly colliding in northeastern Italy, a geologic shift that created the Alps. Meanwhile, the entire area where that collision is happening is drifting southeast. The result is that the ground underneath the Tyrrhenian Basin – the portion of the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by mainland Italy and Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica – is being stretched apart. It’s that stretching that is causing the tectonic activity in the Apennines. 

The municipality of Arquata del Tronto was still uninhabitable six months after the earthquakes because of continuing aftershocks.

The last of the three earthquakes had a 6.6 magnitude, the strongest to hit Italy in 36 years. It created a huge crack in Monte Vettore and caused the land in a nearby village to drop 2 feet. Homes that had survived the initial earthquake were damaged. Arquata’s villages were declared uninhabitable because of the continuing aftershocks (including one early in the morning of our visit), and its residents, including Paci, now live in hotels or with family somewhere safer. A tunnel that had connected Arquata to other towns collapsed, and what had been a 15-minute trip became two hours. “The biggest problem is that people have left,” he says. “People are afraid to come back.” 

In the weeks after the first earthquake, Rotarians began meeting with members of the affected communities to find out what they needed most. “The days following the earthquake were full of phone calls from everyone who wanted to go help, who wanted to collect materials and so on,” recalls Paolo Raschiatore, 2016-17 governor of Rotary District 2090, home to about 90 percent of the communities damaged by the earthquakes. But too many well-intended helpers jammed the mountain roads, making the work for emergency crews harder, he explains. “It’s not only not necessary; it’s a problem. I asked them to stay home.”

Less than two months before the first temblor, Italian Rotarians had already embarked on a landmark earthquake initiative that was years in the making. The 2014-15 district governor-nominees had decided to focus on earthquake safety as a group, prescient given what was to come. They signed a memorandum of understanding with the national Department of Civil Protection in July 2016 in which Rotarians agreed to create a task force for disaster aid in each district. The groups would organize activities to use Rotarians’ professional skills – technical, legal, medical, and industrial – to support civil protection activities in both ordinary and emergency situations. The project had to be put on hold as the government responded to the recent disasters.

After an earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009, Rotarians had stepped in and raised €2 million to rebuild a wing of the school of engineering at the University of L’Aquila. But following the 2016 earthquakes, the Italian government promised to reconstruct the buildings. So, instead of a construction project, members of District 2090 decided to draw on their expertise as businesspeople to help the communities rebound economically and give young people a reason to return. 

The district already had an active mentoring framework called the Virgilio Association, named for Virgil, the guide in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Rotarians had founded the organization several years prior to foster new economic activity in the district. They decided to use the Virgilio Association to develop programs for young entrepreneurs, including business mentoring, marketing, and facilitating access to bank credit. 

Rotarians Vincent Mazzone and Paolo Raschiatore talk with Aleandro Petrucci (right), Arquata’s mayor, about Rotary’s role in bringing young people back to the village.

In June, the district signed agreements to build two business incubators, one in Arquata and one in Camerino, a city about 50 miles away with a university that will manage the programs to ensure sustainability. Rotarian professionals will handle the design and contracting for the construction of the facilities, which will cost an estimated €300,000 to €400,000 each. “If we want to maintain these places, it’s important to build new occupations for people, especially for young people,” Raschiatore says. They call the initiative Progetto Fenice – the Phoenix Project.  

As of the end of June, the district had raised €600,000 from Rotary members, clubs, and districts in Italy and abroad for the initiative, as well as a substantial portion from non-Rotarian donors. They launched about 20 mentoring relationships, with another 20 in the works. Rotarians are also working to create an e-commerce website to help businesspeople sell their products. “The youth are waiting on us. We absolutely can’t fail,” says Vincent Mazzone, president of the Rotary Club of Ascoli Piceno, the nearest club to Arquata. 

At the trailer serving as Arquata’s town hall, Paci introduces me to Aleandro Petrucci, the mayor of the munici-pality. Boxes are stacked along the floor in the office, and a space heater helps warm the cool mountain air. Petrucci says he has three main goals: jobs, housing – “and churches, of course,” he says with a laugh – and bringing back youth, something he’s glad to have Rotary’s help with. Just a few days earlier, Rotarians met to talk about the project. “Rotary will bring structure that would not be there without it,” he says. “That will bring jobs and young people.”

Giovanni Palaferri is precisely the kind of enterprising young person the Rotarians are trying to keep in the area. Palaferri’s home was built with anti-seismic measures, so it is still standing. But since the area is deemed uninhabitable, he makes a 40-mile daily round trip to care for the animals on his farm in Spelonga. A calf born the previous night mews as we talk, the larger cows crunching on hay in a temporary barn.

Giovanni Palaferri, who has begun raising cows on his family’s ancestral land, has joined with other young people to form a business group that is receiving assistance through the Italian Rotarians’ project.

After spending time in his early 20s traveling Europe as a tour bus driver, Palaferri returned to the area and started raising cows a year ago on property his grandfather had farmed. He wants to expand his effort to making specialty cheeses and products with the chestnuts he harvests from his and his neighbors’ properties. With other young people in the area, he founded a business association to help increase production and sales, which is receiving assistance from the Rotarians’ project. “Rotary will let this business go further,” he says. “I could go national.”

And that, he hopes, will make Arquata a destination. “The ultimate goal would be that Arquata and all of the small villages in the area will compete with the famous centers around here,” he says. “If we can put Arquata on the map, it will attract more young people to come here.”

But life is so tough here, why would anyone want to come back? 

Palaferri left this rural area to seek a better life elsewhere, but what he discovered is that this is his home. “I love it, and for me it’s the best place in the world. It’s almost like paradise when this is what you see,” he says, gesturing to the mountain view outside the barn door. 

For Paci, whose girlfriend hopes to launch a beekeeping business to sell honey and related products through the Rotary project, it’s even simpler. This is where his family has always lived. “I have the option to leave; I have a job in Amatrice. I could forget about it here. But I’m tied here because of my ancestry. 

“Before the earthquake you had to have resolve to live here,” he says. “Now my resolve is even stronger. I feel motivated not just about building a home, but building a community.” 

And that’s something Rotarians know how to do. 

-- Translations by Francesco Bruno, RI communications specialist/Europe-Africa

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Italy's Disappearing Villages 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0

We are recruiting for a new Board of Directors member to fill Christi's spot.


Reminder that the Swing Choir will be at the December 14th meeting and we need to know if Rotarians will be inviting guests.


All are invited to the Downtown Rotary Club's Rotary Foundation Auction on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. Early bird discount has passed but you can still get tickets for $15 at the Homer Bookstore or on our FaceBook page. Or, as a last resort, you can buy them at the door. The ticket price includes appetizers and sweets, coffee, and a no-host wine bar, as well as a chance to bid on some really great auction items.


Dear Fellow Rotarian:

 

We are announcing our trips to the Toronto Convention AND a trip to India to participate in the March, 2018 Polio National Immunization Days (NID).  All the material can be accessed at our website:  www.HowardTours.net

 

Please feel free to share this information with the Rotarians in your club as soon as possible as we have a limited amount of space.

 

  • Travel to a Rotary Convention is a wonderful international exposure to our organization and Canada offers many unique opportunities for 2018.

 

  • Rotarians in India are preparing to fully transition to the injectable Polio vaccine soon.  Therefore, this might be one of the last opportunities we will have to organize a trip to India for non-medical volunteers to participate in polio NID activities. 

 

Both of these trips offer you and the Rotarians in your club an extraordinary opportunity to have an experience of a life time. 

 

If you have questions, please let us know.

 

Jolene R. Bortz

Manager
Howard Tours

516 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610

(510) 834-2260 voice

(510) 834-1019 fax

JBortz@HowardTours.net

www.HowardTours.net

www.facebook.com/howardtours/

"We look forward to traveling with you"

ANNOUNCEMENTS 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0
Homer Downtown Rotary Club's Rotary Foundation Auction 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary members in Harvard, Illinois, USA, have teamed up with community groups to help alleviate hunger and bring the community together.
By Arnold R. Grahl Photos by Monika Lozinska Videos by Andrew Chudzinski 
 
On a sunny morning in July, two dozen preschool children from Brown Bear Daycare inspect a bed of milkweed plants for monarch butterfly eggs, holding magnifying glasses to the underside of leaves in search of the tiny, off-white objects.
Preschool children from Brown Bear Daycare plant a young tomato plant. The class visits the garden every Monday morning spring to fall.
 
Curiosity stoked, the five-year-olds and their teachers move to the shade of a large tree to listen to a master gardener explain the role these butterflies play in gardens. The preschool class visits the community garden in Harvard, Illinois, USA, every Monday from spring to fall to learn about garden-related topics and even help out. 
 
“They get to taste the vegetables, some that they have never even seen. They get to experience what it is like to plant a garden from the planting to the picking to the eating,” says Sheila Henson, executive director of the day care center and a member of the Rotary Club of Harvard. “At the end of the summer, we have a parent night where the parents come and get to see the different things their children have been involved with.”
 
With the goals of alleviating hunger and educating the community, master gardeners from University of Illinois Extension planted the garden in 2001 on a half-acre parcel donated by the city and adjacent to the public library. Over the years, the master gardeners have enlisted the support of many businesses, organizations, and clubs, including the Rotary Club of Harvard, making the project a community-wide effort. 
 
As many as 250 needy families benefit from the 10,000 pounds of vegetables that are grown and donated every year to the local food pantry. The fresh produce serves as a safety net for many families. 
 
 
 
Roughly a quarter of the community’s 9,200 residents live below the federal poverty line, a result of the limited employment opportunities in small farm towns across Illinois. The already fragile economy was further affected by the closing of a Motorola  plant here in 2003 after only seven years of operation.
 
“In this community, the only way we can get by is by helping each other,” says Dave Decker, site director for the Harvard Community Food Pantry. “Everybody needs a little help now and then.”
 
The Rotary Club of Harvard took on the project seven years ago, looking for a way to address hunger and help the community. With only seven members, the club has had an impact far beyond its size, amplifying its efforts by working with the master gardeners and other groups.
 
“Harvard is definitely a better place because of the members of this club, and that is what keeps us going,” says Mike Morris, the club’s president. “It’s the expertise of the master gardeners, individuals in the community, farmers who help, and the education provided through the day care that makes this an amazing team effort.” 
 
The Rotary club has provided $400 to buy seeds and starter plants from a local nursery every year since 2011. It also purchased plastic drip irrigation tubing and fertilizer valves after a drought threatened the garden in 2012. This year, it provided a letter of support needed by the master gardeners to secure a $5,000 grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation for an organic compost mix that will add nutrients back to the soil and help keep weeds at bay.
 
Morris has made the garden his special focus and enlisted every member of the club to help with planting, weeding, and harvesting. Henson also recruited day care employees to volunteer. 
 
The garden needs everyone for planting, says Dale Nelmes, one of the master gardeners who volunteer every week.
 
“Many of us master gardeners are up there in years and can’t get down on our hands and knees like we used to,” he says. “I was so impressed with Rotary and Sheila, who brought all these young volunteers in. It was incredible how much we accomplished.”
 
The Harvard Rotarians also used a Rotary grant to buy a new freezer, which allows the food pantry to store vegetables longer. 
 
Last winter, Morris secured another Rotary grant  for $2,000, which, when combined with $5,000 from club funds, funded seven weeks of food deliveries from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. A mobile unit from the food bank set up at Brown Bear Daycare once a month from October to April, each time distributing 9,000 pounds of meat, vegetables, boxed goods, breads, and fruits.
 
Morris says growing up on a farm in northwestern Illinois played a big part in his interest in fighting hunger. 
 
“I know we can produce more than enough food to feed everybody in the country,” he says. “It’s just a matter of the logistics of getting it from the farm to their table.”
 
On a July morning, about 20 people – Rotarians, master gardeners, and community volunteers – are scattered among the 14 rows, each 125 feet long, pulling weeds and picking vegetables. The garden is behind schedule this year because of heavy rains, and today’s harvest is smaller than normal. At the food pantry, Nelmes weighs each crate: 9 pounds of broccoli, 6 pounds of kohlrabi, 8 pounds of peppers, and 22 pounds of zucchini. Later in the season, many more hands will be needed to harvest.
 
Reina Montes began volunteering at the garden after a back injury forced her to stop working temporarily and she had to go to the pantry to supplement her groceries. When she learned about the garden, she persuaded her daughter, Elizabeth Sanchez, to join her on Mondays to help plant, pick, and weed.
 
Montes moved to Harvard from Mexico City more than 20 years ago and fell in love with the smaller town. Her daughter now has two college-age daughters of her own, whom she hopes to teach the value of community service. 
 
“Thanks to the garden, we can feed people who can’t afford to buy fresh food at the supermarket,” says Sanchez. “I believe it is everybody’s responsibility to help the community. If our children see that there is unity, love, and support, they are going to do the same thing. We are leaving them a legacy.” 
The Power of a Garden 2017-11-07 09:00:00Z 0

filled with peace champions and workshops

By Geoff Johnson

 

Rotary will honor six champions of peace at the United Nations on 11 November.

 

The Palais des Nations in Geneva, built as the headquarters for the League of Nations, remains an enduring emblem of humanity’s hope for global peace, making it an ideal setting for this year’s Rotary Day at the United Nations on 11 November.

Underscoring this year’s theme — Peace: Making a Difference — the event will include workshops devoted to sustainability and peace, as well as a workshop on education, science, and peace, designed by and for young leaders.

A variety of speakers will contribute to the discussion, including Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley; Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Paul A. Netzel; Walter B Gyger and Claudine Wyssa, the representatives of Rotary International to UN/Geneva; and Dr. Mohanned Arabiat, president of Generations for Peace.

 

Rotary General Secretary John Hewko will introduce each of the People of Action: Champions of Peace. They are:

·        Jean Best, Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Scotland

·        Taylor (Stevenson) Cass Talbott, Rotary Peace Fellow, Portland, Oregon, USA

·        Ann Frisch, Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA

·        Safina Rahman, Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh

·        Alejandro Reyes Lozano, Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Colombia

·        Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow, Tennessee, USA

Other highlights will include a polio-tulip-planting ceremony, updates on polio eradication, and closing remarks from Edwin Futa, dean of the Rotary Representative Network.

 

Peace partnership

Rotary Day at the UN culminates Geneva Peace Week. That event’s organizers include the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank that uses data-driven research to analyze peace and quantify its economic value.

·        Watch the Rotary Day at the United Nations on UN TV

·        See program details

This summer, the institute and Rotary announced a strategic partnership that will pair the two organizations’ individual strengths — empirical research and community connections — and focus them on resolving conflict and achieving peace.

On 8 November, as part of Geneva Peace Week, the institute will join the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in hosting a panel discussion, “Building the Evidence for Better Prevention.” Staged at the Maison de la Paix, it will systematically evaluate conflict prevention and peacebuilding methods in the context of a research framework.

 

Rotary Day at the UN 2017-10-31 08:00:00Z 0

Another great success!!!!   The final count was 1087 people coming to see our health fair!!!!!

 

Looks  like we did about 900 total blood draws this year. We have done about 900+- for three years in a row. We are holding steady and exceeding our budget.

 

Expanding into the middle of the gym freed up some space in the commons and made room for everyone this year. The event took on a whole new life in the gym this year and the energy was great!

 

Set up had a few bumps but we dealt with them and  were ready on time for the exhibitors to get in at 5:30 to set up. Take down was perfect and we walked out the door  2 pm.

 

There are too many of you to thank by name. Every year  you  folks step up and make this the big successful event  our community deserves and has come to expect from our Rotary Club. Please give each other a pat on the back for our success.

 

We hear from many of the folks who travel the state doing other health  fairs that there is not one health fair that even comes close to ours in size, scope and professionalism. The folks who came up with the original  model and standards gave us a plan that has stood the test of time and continues to grow.

 

This partnership with South Peninsula Hospital is a gift to our club and to this community. The staff at SPH continue to be the best partners we could ask for. We will be treating the lab to lunch as our thank you for all  their time and effort.

 

The Rotarians and SPH staff who serve as your Rotary Health Fair committee once again have provided Homer with an incredible opportunity to "Take a Day to Be Well?

 

It has been an honor to serve as the Rotary Health Fair Coordinator. As many of you have heard me say, " In 2006 I did not even know what a health fair  was and now I am one." Just look how far we have come together. 

 

Thank you all for the cards, flowers and kind words. The people in this club are some of the very best on the planet. It takes a Rotary Club to put on such a huge successful event year after year.

 

I know you all will continue to give this event all your support and assistance.  Today is  bittersweet as I step back from my role and make room for new leaders.  I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve our community thru our club.   Gary and Van can build on what we have created and foster new innovations.

 

Here's to continued growth  and success of the Rotary Health Fair as the club moves forward to  the 35th Annual Rotary Health Fair on November 3, 2018.

 

35 years is something to be proud of!

 

 

Yours in rotary Service,

 

Sharon Minsch

Former Coordinator

Rotary Health Fair

 Pre-Health Fair Blood Draws at South Peninsula Hospital

 

At the Health Fair

 

 

2017 Rotary Health Fair Was a Huge Success! 2017-10-31 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Gates Foundation host fifth annual World Polio Day to highlight progress in the fight to eradicate the disease

By Photos by

After another year of dwindling polio cases, Rotary leaders, top health experts, and celebrities said on 24 October — World Polio Day — that the paralyzing disease has never been closer to being eradicated globally.

A special livestreamed presentation — End Polio Now: Countdown to History — featured the people who work tirelessly to end the disease and reviewed the progress that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has made.

Co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 45-minute program took place before a live audience at the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, and was streamed online to viewers worldwide. Mark Wright, news host for the local NBC television station and president of the Rotary Club of Seattle, and CNN news host Fredricka Whitfield led the event. 

Wright updated the audience on the latest figures of polio cases saying that the total number of cases caused by the wild poliovirus so far this year is 12, with seven cases in Afghanistan, five in Pakistan, and none in Nigeria. This is a 70 percent reduction from 2016 and is the lowest count of polio cases in history.

“The scale of the effort is staggering,” he said. “Every year 2.2 billion doses are delivered to 430 million children, through a sophisticated vaccine supply and logistics network.”

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer, began the event by praising Rotary members and front-line health workers for their dedication to ending the disease. 

Rotary Praises Unsung Heroes on World Polio Day 2017-10-26 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Gates Foundation host fifth annual World Polio Day to highlight progress in the fight to eradicate the disease

By Photos by

After another year of dwindling polio cases, Rotary leaders, top health experts, and celebrities said on 24 October — World Polio Day — that the paralyzing disease has never been closer to being eradicated globally.

A special livestreamed presentation — End Polio Now: Countdown to History — featured the people who work tirelessly to end the disease and reviewed the progress that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has made.

Co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 45-minute program took place before a live audience at the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, and was streamed online to viewers worldwide. Mark Wright, news host for the local NBC television station and president of the Rotary Club of Seattle, and CNN news host Fredricka Whitfield led the event. 

Wright updated the audience on the latest figures of polio cases saying that the total number of cases caused by the wild poliovirus so far this year is 12, with seven cases in Afghanistan, five in Pakistan, and none in Nigeria. This is a 70 percent reduction from 2016 and is the lowest count of polio cases in history.

“The scale of the effort is staggering,” he said. “Every year 2.2 billion doses are delivered to 430 million children, through a sophisticated vaccine supply and logistics network.”

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer, began the event by praising Rotary members and front-line health workers for their dedication to ending the disease. 

 

Rotary Praises Unsung Heroes on World Polio Day 2017-10-25 08:00:00Z 0
The Health Fair is this Saturday!  Setup is Friday afternoon, after 3:00--maybe 3:30  Check with Sharon if you are not at the meeting to hear it.  Sharon also has the assignment list, if you are not certain what you signed up for, or when.
Homer Rotary Health Fair Update--THIS SATURDAY!!! 2017-10-25 08:00:00Z 0

Rotarians in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA, tout their town as baseball's true birthplace

By

If you’re a baseball fan, you probably think of Cooperstown, N.Y., as the game’s birthplace. That’s why the Hall of Fame is there, right?

But the Cooperstown story is a myth. The Hall of Fame itself refers to the “mythical first game” there. That first ballgame, supposedly played in 1839, is the sort of alternative fact the New York American sportswriter Damon Runyon called “the old phonus balonus.

So where did baseball really start?

Illustration by Dave Cutler

 

“Right here,” says Phil Massery, pointing at the turf beneath his feet. We’re at Rotary Park in Pittsfield, a cozy town in western Massachusetts, USA. He and 30 other Rotarians are enjoying a summer barbecue in lieu of their usual meeting at a hotel. The park, with its playground built by Massery and other members of the Pittsfield club, adjoins a Little League diamond. 

Wherever you go in Pittsfield, baseball is nearby.

“I’ve got nothing against Cooperstown,” Massery says, “but people should know the Hall of Fame is there by mistake.” He laughs. “I doubt they’ll move it here, though.”

Sitting in the shade with library director Alex Reczkowski, insurance agent John Murphy, and other local leaders, Massery, a real estate broker, tells the true story of baseball’s history. “It starts with Cooperstown, all right, but not the way people think.” Back in 1904, sporting goods tycoon Albert Spalding named a panel of experts to determine how the national pastime had begun. But Spalding didn’t want to hear that the sport had evolved from English games such as cricket and rounders. He said – and this is a direct quote – “Our good old American game of baseball must have an American Dad.” So it got one. The panel declared that Civil War Gen. Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. Never mind that Doubleday was a plebe at West Point at the time. Never mind that Doubleday never claimed to have anything to do with inventing baseball. (One historian wrote that the man “didn’t know a baseball from a kumquat.”) Fans and sportswriters bought the story, and the Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown in 1939 to mark the 100th anniversary of the First Game that never was. 

“Now flash-forward 65 years,” Massery says. In 2004 John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, discovered a document written in Pittsfield in 1791. “George Washington was president. There were still only 13 states. But there was already baseball here in Pittsfield. How do we know? Because kids were knocking windows out of the town church!” 

City fathers didn’t want rocks, horsehide-covered balls, or anything else pocking the First Congregational meetinghouse. They had paid Charles Bulfinch, the architect who was about to design the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to build it. So they passed a local law. “For the Preservation of the Windows in the New Meeting House,” it read, “no Person, an Inhabitant of said Town, shall be permitted to play at any Game called Wicket, Cricket, Baseball … or any other Game or Games with Balls within the Distance of Eighty Yards.” This was the first known mention of the national game in American history. As Thorn announced at a press conference, “It’s clear that not only was baseball played here in 1791, but it was rampant.”

A Hall of Fame spokesman called the discovery “incredibly monumental.”

“Pittsfield,” crowed then-Mayor James Ruberto, “is baseball’s Garden of Eden.”

George Washington was president. There were still only 13 states. But there was already baseball here in Pittsfield. How do we know? Because kids were knocking windows out of the town church!

Today the Rotary club holds its regular meetings at a hotel a block from Park Square. It’s a long fly ball from there to the spot where schoolkids played 226 years ago. In those days, Park Square was a grassy block at the crossing of the town’s main roads. It would have taken quite a clout to launch a ball from there to the meetinghouse. You would think such a shot might earn a kid a hip-hip-hooray. But the descendants of the Puritans frowned on such displays, so we can imagine the young Pittsfielders pioneering something like today’s walk-off home run. Somebody smacks a long one, they all wait for the sound of breaking glass and run off as fast as they can. 

What was the game like in those days? “The basepaths would have been shorter than they are today,” says historian Thorn. “The ball would be smaller than the one we’re used to, and softer. Fielders would throw base runners out by ‘soaking’ them – hitting them with the ball.” 

More than two centuries later, Park Square is a leafy ellipse in the middle of a busy traffic circle. It’s a couple hundred feet from there to the towering First Church of Christ on the site of the old meetinghouse and the small plaque beside the church. ON THIS SITE IN 1791, it reads, A NEW MEETING HOUSE OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL PARISH IN PITTSFIELD WAS BEING COMPLETED WHEN SEVERAL OF ITS WINDOWS WERE BROKEN AS A RESULT OF BALL GAMES. But few visitors notice the plaque. Even among people born and raised here, as Massery was, few know that Park Square is a special place. 

“That’s our own fault,” he says. “We haven’t done enough to get the word out.”

At the barbecue, talk turns to baseball. Club President Jeff Hassett recalls his dad’s days running the local Babe Ruth League. Another Rotarian remembers his Little League years, when his coach said that “we had a tradition to uphold – years and years of Pittsfield baseball. Thousands of years, I thought. Maybe millions. I was 12!” Reczkowski mentions that the library he runs is where the 1791 document was found. “We’ve got it in a vault,” says the library director, who knows his local lore. “Our minor league diamond, Wahconah Park, is one of only two in America that face west. Did you know that? It means that the batter looks right into the late-afternoon sun. We’ve got a park that has rain delays and sun delays. And our team, of course, is called the Suns.” 

Of course they all know why other ballparks face east. It’s so the batter has the afternoon sun behind him. That means the pitcher faces west, which is why left-handers are called southpaws. 

Eric Schaffer used to watch his beloved Chicago Cubs on jumbo screens in Las Vegas casinos. Schaffer, who moved east with his Pittsfield-born wife 20 years ago, likes the “baseball feel” of New England and the regular-folks vibe of the local Rotary club. “It’s nice and casual here,” he says. “Plus the fines aren’t so bad. My cell goes off at a meeting in Pittsfield, OK, I’ll pay a dollar. The Vegas Rotary met at Harrah’s – there were some high rollers in that club. My phone went off in Vegas and it was, ‘Schaffer, that’s a $100 fine.’”

He and Massery and the others agree that Pittsfield could use an extra dose of pilgrims’ pride. “We should be one of the capitals of baseball,” Massery says. “I’m not saying the capital, but we really should be better known.”

The Hall of Fame at Cooperstown now recognizes Pittsfield, displaying a copy of the 1791 document near the front door. Serious fans know about the game’s roots in Pittsfield. “So why aren’t we capitalizing on it?” Massery asks. He did his part by paying for hundreds of baseball caps emblazoned “1791.” Local Rotarians wear them. But now he’s thinking bigger. He has his eyes on an abandoned building downtown. “We could turn it into a tourist attraction, our own little hall of fame.”

And what if someone finds evidence of a still-earlier baseball game? Wouldn’t that spoil everything?

“I feel good about our claim to fame. We got a lot of attention when the document turned up. Since then, every town in New England has had 13 years to rummage through its records. If they were going to beat us, they’d have done it by now.”

• Kevin Cook is a member of the Rotary club of Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, and a frequent contributor to The Rotarian. His latest book, "Electric October," is about the epic 1947 World Series.

Column: Game Changer 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Profile: Summit meeting brings surprise proposal

By

Jennifer Boyd, Scarborough Rotary Passport Club, Ontario, Canada

For three Toronto-area Rotarians, a successful six-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzaniain June 2016 was momentous for several reasons.

Jennifer Boyd

 

After a year of planning and publicizing, Jennifer Boyd, Ryan Fogarty, and Raffy Chouljian raised CA$500,000 for End Polio Now. The climb went without a hitch, and at the summit, Fogarty surprised Boyd when he got on one knee and proposed.

The seed for the journey was planted in 2011. “At the District 7070 Conference, one of the keynote speakers was a polio survivor, Ramesh Ferris, who crawled in,” explains Boyd, who is her club’s president. “It was the first time I’d seen what polio was firsthand. It made me want to make a difference.”

After Boyd participated in a National Immunization Day in India in 2015, a friend suggested she climb Kilimanjaro to raise funds for End Polio Now; within days she persuaded Fogarty and Chouljian to come along.

They exceeded their initial fundraising goal of CA$100,000 in donations. The Canadian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matched it 2-to-1, bringing it to CA$500,000.

Boyd’s next big project was her September wedding, where every guest was to receive a wooden rose with a note that a $10 donation had been made in their name – to End Polio Now, of course.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Profile: Summit Meeting Brings Surprise Proposal 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Manitoba honors Rotary Peace Fellow for public achievement

Refugees who come to Winnipeg often end up living in areas that are predominantly inhabited by indigenous people. 

“Newcomers do not know much about the indigenous life and heritage and, without that knowledge, the first thing they encounter is people who are poor and stereotyped by the mainstream community,” says Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. “Indigenous people may see immigrants as encroaching into their neighborhoods. There is tension between both groups.” 

Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

 

Ahmed works to smooth relations, helping them see they have more in common than what divides them. “Integration is a two-way process,” he says. 

In recognition of his work, Ahmed received the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, one of the highest honours for public achievement issued by the Manitoba legislature, in January 2016. 

“I never thought what I was doing had this significance,” he says. “But I don’t look at what I have done. I look at what needs to be done to bring about better living standards for people.” 

Ahmed, 37, may understand the needs of immigrants better than most. 

Originally from Somalia, he and his family fled the conflict there and settled in Kenya when he was a child. 

My hope is that in the next 20 to 50 years, if we have more Rotary Peace Fellows around the world who are speaking the same language and taking on a leadership role to create an interconnected world, things will change.

As a young adult, he moved to Canada as part of the national resettlement program. He began working with refugee children who were struggling in school while attending the University of Winnipeg, where he earned a degree in international development in 2007.

After graduation, Ahmed began working at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba. 

He learned about the Rotary Peace Centers program from Noëlle DePape, a colleague who had earned her master’s degree at the University of Queensland, Australia, through the fellowship.

 After Ahmed completed his own peace fellowship at Queensland, he and DePape worked together to develop a curriculum for a summer course that they teach to high school students at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, part of a Rotary District 5550 (Manitoba and parts of Ontario and Saskatchewan) program called Adventures in Human Rights.

“We help them view the world from the perspective that everyone’s rights are equal and understand the idea of building a community where everyone’s rights are respected and each person is given a fair opportunity,” he says. 

In addition to his work in Winnipeg, Ahmed serves on the board of Humankind International, an early childhood learning center that he co-founded at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya with two Somali friends who also immigrated to Winnipeg. He says it serves 150 children with four teachers, and he hopes to expand it to accommodate the many children who have to be turned away. 

Despite the suffering he has witnessed and the daily conflicts he works to resolve, Ahmed is optimistic about the prospects for peace and the potential of the peace centers program. 

“My hope is that in the next 20 to 50 years, if we have more Rotary Peace Fellows around the world who are speaking the same language and taking on a leadership role to create an interconnected world, things will change,” he says. “I also hope we can find an opportunity for Rotarians and past peace fellows to collaborate on projects in a more defined way.” 

Ahmed and his wife, Saadi, have three sons. He says their oldest, Mohamed, 9, dreams of playing in the NBA and says that with the money he earns, he will build houses for the homeless people he sees on his way to school. 

Ibrahim, 7, wants to be a firefighter so he can save people. One-year-old Yussuf has not announced any career plans yet. 

Somali Refugee Spreads Peace as Rotary Fellow 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Eviction isn't just a momentary lapse in housing; it's often the start of a downward spiral

By

It was kids playing a game, a snowball thrown at the wrong car on a cold January day, that led to Arleen’s eviction. But that moment created an avalanche of instability in her life and that of her two young sons: a few months at a homeless shelter euphemistically nicknamed “the Lodge”; renting a house without running water, which they had to leave when the city deemed it unfit for human habitation; another in an apartment complex known as a den for drug dealers, which she left after a few months out of concern for her sons’ safety. 

Matthew Desmond, Princeton sociologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Evicted"

Illustration: Viktor Miller Gausa

It was yet another move for a kid who attended five schools between seventh and eighth grades, who once missed 17 straight days of school while the family stayed at a domestic violence shelter. The rent on Arleen’s next apartment consumed 88 percent of her welfare check, leaving her with less than $100 to last the month. Then there were the costs of a funeral.

Eviction seems so straightforward: You don’t pay the rent, you get evicted. But sociologist Matthew Desmond found out that it’s not so simple while researching his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Evicted."

Renters can get evicted for calling the police to report domestic violence, or for the things their children do – have an asthma attack, hit a car with a snowball – that draw the attention of local officials or provoke an angry motorist to kick down the front door. The blemish of an eviction on their records sends people into ever worse neighborhoods, the landlords relying on renters’ desperation to justify increasingly squalid conditions. Poor families and criminals end up in the same places because both are deemed undesirable, but for vastly different reasons.

“Eviction is not just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of it,” Desmond told The Rotarian. “We are paying for its fallout. We’re paying for higher rates of depression and we are paying for higher crime in neighborhoods with more evictions. We’re paying for kids’ health issues and the educational fallout. Investing in safe, affordable housing is not only something that has a moral benefit; it has economic benefits too.”

Desmond spent more than a year living in poor neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, to research the book and subsequently conducted additional surveys drawing on his fieldwork with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (he later received the foundation’s “genius grant” in 2015). The resulting book paints such detailed portraits of families going through eviction that it reads like a novel. It was named one of the 10 best books of 2016 by the Washington Post and one of the best books of 2016 by New York Times book reviewers, among its many accolades.

Desmond, now a professor at Princeton University, is familiar with Rotary and its mission: His father, Nicholas Desmond, was a member of the Rotary Club of Winslow, Arizona, USA, before moving to Massachusetts. The Winslow Rotary Club gave the younger Desmond a scholarship to support his undergraduate work at Arizona State University.

I wanted to write a different kind of poverty book, one that wasn’t just about poor folks or poor places, but these relationships.

Desmond spoke with senior staff writer Diana Schoberg, who lives in Milwaukee and was a renter herself in the city while he was doing his research. They talked about the high cost of living in run-down housing, the financial burden of the eviction cycle on society, and what we can do about it.

TR: Your book reads like a novel. How did you gain access to and the trust of the people you profiled?

Desmond: Living in the neighborhood helped a lot. In the trailer park, Larraine and Scott, Ned and Pam – those were my neighbors. I would spend days hanging out with Lennie in the office, which was right in the middle of the trailer park, and just became a presence. Some folks were very open from the beginning. Some folks were much more reserved and cautious. I took time with them and shared my previous publications so they knew what my work was about. Folks thought I was a cop, or a Child Protective Services worker undercover, or a drug addict. There were a lot of suspicions, all of which were completely understandable and much more normal in these neighborhoods than a social scientist.

TR: Did you get involved in the families’ lives or did you have rules for yourself about the boundaries you were going to keep?

Desmond: I didn’t have many rules about that. I was trying to understand their lives as deeply as I could and with as much complexity as I could. That meant that some nights I slept on their couches and their floors, and I watched their kids, and they bought me dinner and I bought them dinner. I wanted to try to bear witness to this problem, and that meant trying to involve myself as little as possible in certain scenarios, but as I talked about the book, there were some times when I helped out and there were a lot of times when they helped me out, like you do with friends.

TR: Did you go into the book wanting to write about evictions, or had you wanted to write about poverty and then evictions became the issue that stood out?

Desmond: I wanted to write a different kind of poverty book, one that wasn’t just about poor folks or poor places, but these relationships. Eviction was the narrative device. I had no idea how common evictions were. I had no idea that one in eight Milwaukee renters were evicted every two years, that eviction has such a big impact on people’s lives. Eviction became much more than just a way to write a certain book – it became the thing to really understand in a deeper way.

TR: The difference in rent between some of the squalid apartments you write about and well-kept places in safe neighborhoods was only $100 or $200 a month. Why is that?

Desmond: Researchers from [University of California] Berkeley have geocoded rentals on Craigslist, and you see this compression of rents in a lot of soft-market cities all around the country. This isn’t a uniquely Milwaukee thing – this is something you can see in a city like Cleveland or Baltimore or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Why is that? What’s going on?

The median asking rent in Milwaukee in 2010 for a two-bedroom apartment was $600. In the middle of the [poorer] north side, rents are about $550. So you have a slight reduction in housing costs, but the neighborhood and housing quality are vastly different.

Most landlords in Milwaukee set rents by looking at Craigslist or the newspaper to see what apartments are going for. If you geocode the addresses of properties advertising in Craigslist and the newspaper, they’re not on the north side of Milwaukee. They’re usually [in wealthier neighborhoods]. So the rents are skewed upward. That might be something that’s happening.

What’s interesting is that historically it doesn’t seem that weird. Even Jacob Riis talked about it when he wrote How the Other Half Lives [in 1890]. The rents in the tenements were actually a bit more expensive than rents uptown. That suggests that it has policy implications. It suggests that maybe the nonprofit sector can get more involved in very poor neighborhoods than they are. And it suggests that the housing crisis isn’t just driven by these kinds of bloodless forces, like supply and demand, but is also driven in part at least by a profit motive.

TR: How do you balance the right to profit that a landlord has, versus a need for someone to have safe and affordable housing?

Desmond: This is a moral discussion that the nation needs to begin to have. When I think about how to address this problem at scale, I always come back to public-private partnerships. I think that’s the way out of this crisis that can help the most people. Profits are involved in that, people making a living are involved in that, but the state is also involved in that, and much more housing assistance to families in need is involved with that. That’s why the book calls for a mass expansion of housing vouchers, which are these public-private partnerships. In America, we have chosen to house the vast majority of our families of modest means in the private rental market, which means landlords and property owners in that market have to be at the table.

TR: You portrayed the landlords so richly in the book. Tobin lends money to someone to attend a funeral, and Sherrena bought food for Arleen when she moved in. But as Sherrena said, “Love don’t pay the bills.” What makes the landlords you met tick?

Desmond: My job was to try to write about everyone with as much complexity as I could. Depending on how we lean politically, we might be more inclined toward the landlords or toward the tenants. And maybe we’re inclined to paint one of those groups in a really poor light, but if you look at the problem from the sidewalk level, it’s just much more complex than that. You see landlords in the book being generous and being forgiving and sometimes being very hard and sometimes cavalier. They’re human. One thing that makes them tick is making a good living. This is where the rubber meets the road on hard questions on affordable housing. The landlords in "Evicted" made a good living, and they rented exclusively to low-income families. How much inequality are we OK with? How big a profit should we tolerate, and are some ways of making a profit more upstanding than others?

One thing we’re doing now is trying to understand how landlord profit margins vary across neighborhood types. We’re finding some statistical evidence that profit margins are higher in poorer neighborhoods because the mortgage and the property tax bills are lower, but rents, like we just talked about, aren’t that much lower. That raises normative questions for us and public policy questions, too.

TR: How do we change the problem when it is so systemic? What role could an organization like Rotary play?

Desmond: Only about one in four families who qualify for housing assistance get any. The vast majority of poor folks get nothing. Their kids don’t get enough to eat, because the rent eats first. One in four poor families who are renting is spending over 70 percent of its income on housing costs. Even with imperfect policies, we need a vast expansion of housing assistance to those families. One way to get there is building a broad coalition – and involving not the usual suspects. If you care about educational quality and allowing kids to reach their full potential, then you’ve got to give them a stable home. If you care about reducing health care costs, the top 5 percent of the users consume 50 percent of health care costs in hospitals. And guess who those users are? They’re the unstably housed. They’re homeless folks.

This lack of affordable housing is going to hit our business leaders hard. They’re going to experience more turnover in their workforce. They’re going to experience the resistance of folks to move to high-cost cities even if the jobs are better. Folks that are part of Rotary have a vital role to play, not only as business leaders, but as community leaders as well. When low-income neighborhoods are communities – when folks know their neighbors – there are massive returns. They can drive down crime in their neighborhood, become more politically engaged, form that stickiness of neighborhoods that’s so important for kids’ well-being. Eviction threatens that.

TR: Are there other countries that we can look to for solutions?

Desmond: We’re unique among other advanced industrial societies for the level of poverty that we have and the kind of poverty that we have. If you give a talk on this book in Amsterdam or London or Paris, people are flabbergasted, outraged. They’re just not used to the material hardship that we have come to tolerate as a nation.

We can look to countries that have universal housing programs like the Netherlands or Britain. We can look at countries that have installed mandatory mediators between landlords and tenants like France has. Or countries like Germany that make a much more serious investment in public housing than we have. Or countries that don’t have these massive homeowner subsidies like we do, but have equal or similar rates of homeownership. Canada is one, the UK is another. But the good news is that we don’t have to – the policies we have here work pretty darn well. Our housing voucher program [often referred to as Section 8] is a great program. It lifts over 2 million people above the poverty line every year, and it makes kids healthier. Families move less. They live in better neighborhoods. It works. The problem is that it’s just not enough to go around.

TR: What sort of financial burden does the eviction cycle have on society as a whole?

Desmond: To answer that question, we need to ask, What does eviction do to a family? Families not only leave their homes. Kids lose their schools, you lose your community, you often lose your stuff because it’s piled on the sidewalk or taken by movers. Eviction comes with a mark: It pushes families into worse housing, worse neighborhoods. Those are things that can have a lasting and deep impact on kids’ well-being. We have a study that shows that moms who get evicted have high rates of depression two years later. We know that suicides attributed to evictions and foreclosures doubled between 2005 and 2010 [years when housing costs soared]. We have a study that shows eviction can cause job loss because it can be such a consuming, stressful event. It can make you make mistakes at work, lose your footing in the job market.

TR: Your book has gotten a lot of attention. Has that translated into any changes?

Desmond: We’re seeing a lot more people talk about this issue than before. This work has helped push forward arguments like the right to counsel in housing court, which New York City passed earlier this year. It is the first city in the country to take a stand to say folks who are facing eviction around the city should have legal representation. I testified at that hearing citing the research on what eviction does to families. Philadelphia is now considering something similar.

We’ve had movement on the federal level too. One example of that has to do with research that connected evictions to nuisance ordinances and domestic violence. Domestic violence survivors had to choose between calling 911 and risking eviction, or not calling 911 when they were in an abusive relationship. At a meeting on Capitol Hill, Sen. [Elizabeth] Warren really latched on to those ordinances. She organized 28 senators to write a letter to HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development], and HUD very shortly thereafter issued guidance putting federal law back on the side of domestic violence survivors. The ACLU has been involved in that effort as well. It started a campaign called “I Am Not a Nuisance” where it’s litigating against these ordinances across the country.

If the book has made a difference, it’s because people are responding to the folks in its pages, folks like Arleen and Larraine and Scott. People are recognizing that this level of social suffering and blunting of human capacity is not right, and it’s not us.

Nowhere To Go 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0

Pakistan and Nigeria replace paper-based reporting with fast, accurate cellphone messaging

By Photos by

Mobile phones and simple text messaging may be the keys to victory in the world’s largest public health initiative: the eradication of polio. 

As the disease retreats from the global stage, thriving in only a few remote areas in three countries, it’s up to health workers to deliver vaccines and share information with speed and accuracy. 

Health workers in Pakistan are receiving cellphone and e-monitoring training at the Rotary Resource Center in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

 

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are strengthening the lines of communication by giving cellphones to health workers in Pakistan and Nigeria, where a single text message could save a life. 

In Pakistan, Rotary has been working to replace traditional paper-based reporting of maternal and child health information, including polio immunization data, with mobile phone and e-monitoring technology. 

Community health workers across the nation have received more than 800 phones through a partnership with Rotary, the Pakistani government; Telenor, the country’s second-largest telecommunications provider; and Eycon, a data monitoring and evaluation specialist. Organizers plan to distribute a total of 5,000 cellphones by the end of 2018. 

Health workers can use the phones to send data via text message to a central server. If they see a potential polio case, they can immediately alert officials at Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Center. They also can note any children who didn’t receive the vaccine or parental refusals – and record successful immunizations. In Pakistan, the polio eradication effort aims to reach the nation’s 35 million children under age five.

The result is a collection of real-time information that officials can easily monitor and assess, says Michel Thieren, regional emergency director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency Program. 

Pakistan health workers are replacing traditional paper-reporting with accurate and timely cellphone-based reporting. 

 

“Cellphone technology signals tremendous progress in the polio eradication program,” says Thieren, who has directed polio-related initiatives for WHO in Pakistan. “The data we collect needs to have such a granular level of detail. With real-time information that can be recorded and transcribed immediately, you can increase accuracy and validity.

“This gives governments and polio eradication leaders an advantage in the decisions we need to make operationally and tactically to eliminate polio,” Thieren says.

Beyond polio

Health workers also are using mobile phones to monitor a multitude of maternal and child health factors. 

Pakistan’s child mortality rate ranks among the highest in the world, according to UNICEF, with 81 deaths under age five per 1,000 live births. 

But mobile technology can help reduce those deaths, says Asher Ali, project manager for Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee. 

“Our health workers, including community midwives, are tracking pregnant mothers,” Ali says. “When a child is born, they can input and maintain complete health records, not just for polio, but for other vaccines and basic health care and hygiene needs.”

They also can monitor infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and influenza-like illnesses, as well as child malnutrition and maternal health concerns. 

“If there is a problem with the baby or the mother, we can send information to the government health departments immediately, so they can solve the issue quickly and adjust their strategies,” Ali says. 

Cellphones also facilitate follow-up visits with families, because health workers can send appointment reminders over text message. 

Proliferation of phones

Mobile phone use worldwide has spiked recently, with about 7 billion subscribers globally, 89 percent of them in developing countries, says WHO. Even people living on less than $1 a day often have access to phones and text messaging, according to WHO. Cellphones are used more than any other technology in the developing world. 

Rotary and other nonprofit organizations are leveraging this fact to boost a variety of health initiatives. 

The Grameen Foundation conducts a “mobile midwife” program that sends daily texts and weekly voice mails to expectant mothers, offering advice during pregnancy and the first year of the child’s life. UNICEF provides similar support to mothers, with a focus on nutrition throughout pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life. 

Mobile phones also are helping in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The British nonprofit Absolute Return for Kids uses text messages to remind patients about medications and upcoming appointments. 

The Ugandan health ministry’s mTrac program, a mobile text messaging data collection network run in conjunction with UNICEF and other organizations, has a broader focus. Nearly 30,000 workers at 3,700 health centers submit weekly reports through their phones and receive surveys, alerts, and other communications. Questions go out to health workers about medical supply levels, conditions in clinics, and other critical issues.

Members of the Rotaract Club of The Caduceus, India, collaborated with the Jana Swasthya Project in 2015 to screen more than 8,000 people for oral health conditions, hypertension, and diabetes during Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s largest Hindu festivals. The project established a digital disease-surveillance system to study epidemiological trends, replacing a paper-based data-tracking process and allowing officials to access live data with a few clicks. 

In 2016, after Nigeria saw its first polio cases in almost two years, Rotary and WHO officials rushed to replace traditional reporting with a cell-based system in the northern state of Borno, where the new cases were identified. The mobile phone initiative has since expanded to more than 11 states. 

“Traditional paper reporting was misleading our program. The information we were getting was not entirely accurate. This gave us the sense that we were doing better than we actually were,” says Boniface Igomu, program coordinator of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “With cellphones, we’re identifying problem areas quickly and acting accordingly.”

The country has yet to see a polio case this year. 

Nigeria is also using cell-based mapping technology to identify areas that polio immunization teams have missed. Health workers test stool samples from children arriving from remote areas and log reports of acute flaccid paralysis. This effort started in Borno but has expanded to three additional states, Igomu says. 

After more than 1,000 people died earlier this year in Nigeria from meningitis, the country used the same digital tools in emergency vaccination campaigns, he adds.

“Mobile technologies are the type of innovations that can fill in the gaps of our program and finally help us end polio for good,” Igomu says. “Their uses have never been more important than now.”

Cellphones Power Disease Fight 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0
Call for District Governor Nominations 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0

We attended a major fundraiser in Wasilla on Saturday, October 7, "Rotary Uncorked", which is an annual event sponsored by our old club Wasilla, and by the Palmer club.  This year's theme was "Under the Big Top" and we were invited to participate as a clown (Clyde) and a fortune teller (Vivian aka Madame Voyeur)...this fundraiser generally nets about $40,000 and the funds are used for youth programs including "My House" the homeless shelter for teens in the valley. 

I know this isn't about our club, but it does promote Rotary and fundraisers!!
 
Vivian and Clyde