Update on the Peter Larson Memorial Garden

After church today I checked on the flowers at Ben Walters, pulled a couple weeds and then ran over to the Peter Larson garden at the library, found these two ladies enjoying it. One of them asked the name of the bush with white flowers. I have no clue. She said she would put a picture on Facebook.
 
Thank you to whoever did the rest of the weeding.  Looks great.  I spotted some horsetail,  it is now in the trunk of my car.
 
Milli
 
Image preview
 
Image preview
 
 
Update on the Peter Larson Memorial Garden 2020-08-05 08:00:00Z 0

COVID-19 in Alaska From Sunday, July 26th Through Saturday, August 1st, 2020.

COVID-19 Weekly Case Update

 

This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Sunday, July 26th through Saturday, August 1st, 2020.

Background

The Alaska COVID-19 Weekly Case Update will be composed every weekend with data from the previous week and the report will be published by the following Wednesday. Data are continually updated on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Data Hub, which reflects the most current case counts. This summary presents data from the previous week and is a snapshot of the information available on known cases at the time. 

 

Highlights

·       Alaska continues to have rapid increases in resident and nonresident new cases. 

·      The biggest increase this week was in Anchorage, which had 505 new cases, or 67% of this week’s increase.

·      Total cases in Alaska residents rose 30% this week with 755 new cases, the most Alaska has had in a single week. 

·       Most new cases in Alaskans are acquired from other Alaskans who have not traveled.

·       Transmission between Alaskans at social gatherings, within families, at community events, churches and bars has significantly contributed to the rise in cases.

·       There were more than four times as many people hospitalized from COVID-19 in July as there were in June or previous months.

·       Cases are expected to continue to rise, although several communities have adopted more restrictions.

·       The majority of new cases continue to be among younger adults, particularly Alaskans in their 20s and 30s.  

·       The share of cases by race distribution rose by 4% among Alaska Native People, 1% among African Americans, and 1% among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders this week. Many cases continue to be under investigation, so race distribution data lags overall case counts.  

·       Most nonresident cases have been identified before the person had significant community interaction.

·       Alaskans should avoid gatherings, wear masks in public, keep six feet of distance from non-household members and practice good hand hygiene to slow transmission of COVID-19. 

 

Correction

The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home association has clarified that the hospital bed counts provided to the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and displayed on the Dashboard include adult and pediatric (child and teenager) staffed ICU beds but do not include NICU beds. NICU beds are used only for infants. Hospitals excluding NICU beds ensures that ICU bed counts reflect only beds that could be potentially used for adult or teenage patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19. Inpatient beds include all staffed inpatient beds. The total bed count includes surge capacity using all areas of the hospital. 

Larger Outbreaks

Defined as more than 5 people linked to a single location, workplace or event. This is a compilation of previously publicly reported outbreak events. This does not represent every instance of an outbreak or large outbreak in Alaska and is not comprehensive. Several of these outbreaks or clusters are still undergoing investigation and some data may be updated in the future as more information comes to light through ongoing efforts in contact tracing and testing.

 

Location

First case found

Associated industry or setting

# cases in outbreak

Hospitalizations  & deaths

OBI/Seward

7/19

Seafood 

139 (of 252 workers total)

 

Copper River Seafoods/Anchorage

7/17

Seafood

76 (of 135 workers total)

 

F/V American Triumph

7/16

Seafood

85 (of 119 aboard)

1 hospitalized

Alaska Glacier Seafoods plant/Juneau

7/4

Seafood

62 (of 150 workers total)

 

M/V Tustumena

6/6

Alaska Marine Highway

10

1 hospitalized

Whittier Seafoods

6/1

Seafood

11

 

PTCC

5/29

Elder care

59

5 hospitalizations, 2 deaths

New cases

A total of 755 new cases were identified in Alaskans and 126 new cases were identified in nonresidents, for a total of 3,280 and 704 respectively. A total of 19 Alaskans required hospitalization this week for COVID-19, for a total of 134 hospitalizations since the epidemic began. Four additional deaths were reported this week, for a total of 24 fatalities since the epidemic began. By convention, deaths are counted based on the residency of the patient rather than where they contracted the virus. 

Epidemic curve

This analysis projects growth or reduction in cases predicted in the coming weeks based on the growth of cases in recent weeks. The most recent 7 days (grey bars) are not included because there can be a delay in reporting data. This model assumes exponential growth or reduction in cases and can be a useful tool to visualize how quickly cases are increasing or decreasing. This curve does not project what might happen if more people start wearing masks or increase physical distancing; it assumes Alaskans and visitors to Alaska do not change their behavior. The dotted line is the average prediction, and the grey shaded area is estimated error for the predicted rise in cases. Currently, cases are predicted to double about every 21 days, worse than last week where cases were projected to double every 23 days. 

For a full description of methods, visit https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/

 

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/xu3YSCLMnktM05yJUO6Z2A6BH7U6YrrsgHJV0GdpGfCUY9IfAcCx6jHD3ds1qKTmYGgwDAyPCep3aFOKajmPVcKho98iNe01kC3ygXP4-DVWp10tbIZrGeNeoL5R2hAFrmBcZHLf

 

Cumulative Cases by Death, Recovered, and Active Status

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/0k0gS2m0bBu5yjdp5x7P8hiwBUp6lVJBkdRi2uPsg2A2CAXRGFAUB8SV3S_jeD3kmkD-62HqUYgKkMhuTqz4LjD4wmJsAvzD_ON1aZZsTyeJiQQTVlR4ALfl7glIQnBgt9XWUBel

 

Communities affected this week 

New cases were found in Alaskans who are residents of the following communities:

·        Anchorage (505), Chugiak (7), Eagle River (21), and Girdwood (1), for a total of 534 new cases in the Anchorage Municipality. Anchorage cases alone make up 67% of this week’s cases. 

·        Fairbanks (35), North Pole (3), and a smaller community (1), for a total of 39 new cases in the Fairbanks North Star Borough

·        Wasilla (39), Palmer (26), Houston (1), Willow (2), Sutton-Alpine (1), Big Lake (3), and a smaller community or communities (2) for a total of 74 new cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough

·        Kenai (9), Seward (4), Soldotna (9), and Homer (11) for a total of 33 new cases in the Kenai Peninsula Borough

·        Cordova (5), Valdez (3) and 2 in smaller communities or community in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, for a total of 10

·        Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (4)

·        Juneau (14)

·        Ketchikan (2)

·        Kotzebue (4) and 13 in a smaller community or communities in the Northwest Arctic Borough, for a total of 17

·        Sitka (4)

·        Yakutat plus Hoonah Census Area (4)

·        Bethel (2) and one in a smaller community, for 3 in Bethel Census Area 

·        Unalaska (2)

·        Utqiaġvik (5) 

·        Craig (2) and 2 in a smaller community or communities for a total of 4 in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area 

·        Wrangell (3)

·        Kodiak (1)

·        Kusilvak Census Area (1)

 

Case rates and alert levels

The 7 day case rate map depicts cases adjusted by population for a given region (cases per 100,000 people). The regions are large because Alaska is a large state with few densely populated centers, so this case rate can only be meaningful across large regions. Currently, Anchorage Municipality remains in the red, having doubled its case rate from 14 to 28 in the last week. The Interior Region has improved to 7 from 29 last week, and the Northwest Region has passed it, now at 8.85, also nearly doubled from 4.7 last week and now in the high orange zone. Next, Fairbanks North Star Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough had 6.7 and 7.3 respectively, both declined modestly since last week. Matanuska-Susitna Borough has increased to 8.6 from 6.3 last week. Juneau City and Borough held steady at 6.7, while the southernmost Southeast Region improved from orange to yellow, with 4.3 from 5.7 last week. The northern Southeast Region is now in orange, at 7.7. Most states use a 7 day case rate per 100,000 population to estimate trends in community transmission. Roughly, rates of >10 cases daily per 100,000 population correspond to widespread community transmission and >5 to moderate community transmission, but a sharp increase or decrease in these rates can help predict how the next week or weeks will look for the region. 

 

7-day Case Rate Map (cases per 100,000 people)https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/QB8oo9vrvGAkQxQy02reU47y9VX6IT7ZMJij18WZa6pvV1B2UlG0oVAEje8evGmniaQrIlcys5_pwdia4hJUUzqjE7tZ9uHFUR5H8-bjm9sWJwb96d_F7vMdvOdYued3tIujDeC4

Because of Alaska’s unique geography and smaller population, a 14 day case rate can also be useful. The nursing home alert level map below, designed to help long term facilities decide when it may be safer to allow visitors in their facilities, uses a 14 day case rate approach. By that approach, the Interior Region excluding Fairbanks has continued to have case rates in the high alert level, with a case rate of 18; now surpassed by the Anchorage Municipality, which nearly doubled its rate in a week from 10.9 to 20.5. Fairbanks itself has improved slightly within the high orange/intermediate, at 7.2. Kenai Peninsula Borough’s rate has improved slightly to 8 from 9.6 last week. Matanuska-Susitna Borough rose to 7.25 from 5.8 and Juneau City and Borough from 5.6 to 6.7, and were joined by the Northwest Borough and the Northern and Southern Southeast Regions in the intermediate (orange) alert level, with case rates of 7.3, 5.9 and 5.0 respectively. Other regions had case rates <5. 

 

Alaska COVID-19 Alert Levels

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/37KIk2IqgfbOwg4V8wNGUzBibnr4sQlWWaqJ1aukosBSnzHd5GZlNf0YmRqtszB34AaN99mh8ljq6igr0ijhTCDz_wvSSf6B1IJ-kSSgHygD8Y8p3-RRAr4cQnkBHEegrS-P7GoQ

More information on alert levels is available on this page

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/aZ5TfqBB6YLQR04aiVAuV-6IuIjFbpKJuYzt59njephfsvWDsn8yMqyc-rPXZxUJ7cj_wk5Sk4nF-TeFyOV7PSYNYsr19TU2uY0__5iGyD--QOKL_4Os6c7d0l3njZE60aNDK495


 

COVID-19 in Alaska From Sunday, July 26th Through Saturday, August 1st, 2020. 2020-08-05 08:00:00Z 0

This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Sunday, July 19th Through Saturday, July 25th, 2020.

COVID-19 Weekly Case Update

This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Sunday, July 19th through Saturday, July 25th, 2020.

 Background

The Alaska COVID-19 Weekly Case Update will be finalized every weekend with data from the previous week and the report will be published by the following Wednesday. Data are continually updated on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Data Hub, which reflects the most current case counts. This summary presents data from the previous week and is a snapshot of the information available on known cases at the time. 

 Highlights

  • This has been Alaska’s worst week of the pandemic in terms of rapid increases in resident and nonresident new cases. 
  • Total cases in Alaska residents rose 34% this week.
  • The majority of new cases are among Alaskans aged 20-29, with cases among Alaskans in their 20s and 30s rising sharply.
  • Most nonresident cases have been identified before the person had significant community interaction, so most new cases in Alaskans are acquired from other Alaskans who have not traveled.
  • Hospital capacity is currently adequate, but hospitalizations and deaths are increasing
  • With current rates of physical distancing, face covering use and other measures to prevent transmission, cases are expected to continue to rise rapidly.
  • Alaskans should avoid large and indoor gatherings, wear face coverings in public, keep six feet of distance from non household members and practice good hand hygiene to slow transmission of COVID-19. 

Major Outbreaks

This is a compilation of previously publicly reported outbreak events. It is not comprehensive and does not represent every instance of an outbreak (defined as more than 5 people linked to a single location, workplace or event) in Alaska. A significant number of outbreaks are associated with private social gatherings and social events. Please note that dates and numbers may evolve as more information comes to light through ongoing efforts in contact tracing and testing. 

LocationFirst case identifiedAssociated industry# cases in outbreakHospitalizations  & deaths
OBI/Seward7/19Seafood 139 (of ~252 workers total)1 hospitalized
Copper River Seafoods/Anchorage7/17Seafood76 (of ~135 workers total) 
F/V American Triumph7/16Seafood85 (of ~119 aboard)1 hospitalized
Alaska Glacier Seafoods plant/Juneau7/4Seafood62 (of ~150 workers total) 
M/V Tustumena6/6Alaska Marine Highway101 hospitalized
PTCC5/29Elder care595 hospitalizations, 2 deaths

New cases

This week saw 653 new cases in Alaskans and 171 in nonresidents, for a total of 2,524 and 574 respectively. 16 Alaskans required hospitalization this week for COVID-19, for a total of 115 since the epidemic began. Two additional deaths were reported this week, for a total of 20. By convention, deaths are counted based on the residency of the patient rather than where they contracted the virus. 

 Epidemic curve

This analysis projects growth or reduction in cases predicted in the coming weeks based on the growth of cases in recent weeks. The most recent 7 days (grey bars) are not included because there can be a delay in reporting data. This model assumes exponential growth or reduction in cases and can be a useful tool to visualize how quickly cases are increasing or decreasing. This curve does not project what might happen if more people start wearing masks or increase physical distancing; it assumes Alaskans and visitors to Alaska do not change their behavior. The dotted line is the average prediction, and the grey shaded area is estimated error for the predicted rise in cases. Currently, cases are predicted to double about every 23 days, improved from last week where cases were projected to double every 18 days. For a full description of methods, visit https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/

photo1

Cumulative Cases by Death, Recovered, and Active Status

 

photo2

Communities affected this week 

New cases were found in Alaskans who are residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage (416), Chugiak (6), Eagle River (7), and Girdwood (1), for a total of 430 new cases in the Anchorage Municipality
  • Fairbanks (51), North Pole (8), and Ester (1), for a total of 60 new cases in the Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Wasilla (30), Palmer (11), Houston (1), Sutton-Alpine (1), and Big Lake (1) for a total of 44 new cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • Kenai (8), Seward (11), Soldotna (6), Homer (4), Sterling (2) and smaller communities (3), for a total of 34 new cases in the Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Cordova (3) and 19 in smaller communities or community in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, for a total of 22
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (13)
  • Juneau (13)
  • Ketchikan (8)
  • Kotzebue (2) and 4 in a smaller community or communities in the Northwest Arctic Borough, for a total of 6
  • Sitka (4)
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah Census Area (3)
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area (2)
  • Bethel Census Area (2)
  • Unalaska (2)
  • Utqiagvik (1) and 1 in a smaller community, for 2 total in the North Slope Borough
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (1)
  • Wrangell (1)
  • Nome Census Area (1)
  • Haines (1)
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Census Area (1)
  • Denali Borough (1)
  • Aleutians East Borough (1)

Case rates and alert levels

The 7 day case rate map depicts cases adjusted by population for a given region (cases per 100,000 people). The regions are large because Alaska is a large state with few densely populated centers, so this case rate can only be meaningful across large regions. Currently, the Interior region with the exception of Fairbanks North Star Borough has the highest new case rates in Alaska, averaging 29 new cases daily per 100,000 people, nearly double its rate from last week. The Anchorage Municipality has joined it in the red zone with a case rate of 14, up sharply from 9 last week. Next, Fairbanks North Star Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough had 8.5 and 9.3 respectively, both declined modestly since last week, while Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Juneau City and Borough and the southernmost Southeast region have joined them in orange, with 6.3, 6.7, and 5.7 respectively. The Northwest region is also rising within the yellow category, with a 4.7 rate currently. Most states use a 7 day case rate per 100,000 population to estimate trends in community transmission. Roughly, rates of >10 cases daily per 100,000 population correspond to widespread community transmission and >5 to moderate community transmission, but a sharp increase or decrease in these rates can help predict how the next week or weeks will look for the region. 

7-day Case Rate Map (cases per 100,000 people)

 

photo3

Because of Alaska’s unique geography and smaller population, a 14 day case rate can also be useful. The nursing home alert level map below, designed to help long term facilities decide when it may be safer to allow visitors in their facilities, uses a 14 day case rate approach. By that approach, the Interior Region excluding Fairbanks has continued to have rising case rates in the high alert level, with a case rate of 19. Fairbanks itself has come out of the red high alert level to high orange/intermediate, at 9.7. Kenai Peninsula Borough’s rate has risen slightly to 9.6 from 9.3 last week, while Anchorage Municipality has entered the red high alert level with a rate of 10.9. Both Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Juneau City and Borough have entered the intermediate (orange) alert level, with case rates of 5.8 and 5.6 respectively. Other regions had case rates <5. 

Alaska COVID-19 Alert Levels

photo4

More information on alert levels is available on this page

photo5

How Alaskans acquired COVID-19

DHSS monitors how people most likely got the virus. In green in the plot below are Alaska residents who acquired COVID-19 by traveling to other states or countries. In March, a substantial proportion of our cases were related to Alaskans returning from elsewhere, while in April and May, fewer Alaskans traveled. Since June, as travel has started to increase, cases in Alaskans related to travel have begun to occur more regularly. 

In blue below are cases where Alaskans got COVID-19 from a known contact. These are people who did not leave the state, but we could trace their illness back to the person they got it from. The goal is for contact tracing to identify each of these cases where someone got it from someone else they had contact with so they can let all other contacts of both people know to quarantine. As contact tracing expanded in May, more cases from contacts were identified.

In red, however, are cases where Alaskans got COVID-19 and contact tracing was not able to establish a clear source. This demonstrates that there are other cases in our communities that we have not found yet. The biggest increase in cases in Alaska has been in people aged 20-39, with many cases linked to bars and social gatherings.

Grey bars show the cases where the investigation has not yet concluded. Since the workload for contact tracers has more than doubled in the last few weeks, they are working as fast as possible to identify and quarantine contacts. Alaskans can help contact tracers move faster and prevent more cases by keeping their contact list small, keeping a diary of who they are in close contact with (defined as within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more), wearing cloth face coverings when around any non-household members or in public, and responding promptly to being contacted. 

photo6

 
 
This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Sunday, July 19th Through Saturday, July 25th, 2020. 2020-07-29 08:00:00Z 0

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: June 13-19, 2020

Alaska DHSS signup page

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: June 13-19, 2020

Alaska DHSS sent this bulletin at 06/22/2020 08:59 PM AKDT

The purpose of this email newsletter is to help provide better context to Alaska's case count data. Please note that the cases described here are from the past week and do not reflect current totals.  We plan on publishing this communication weekly. 

This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Saturday, June 13 through Friday, June 19, 2020

New cases

This week saw 91 new cases in Alaskans and 34 in nonresidents, for a total of 743 and 104 respectively. No additional deaths were reported this week. 9 Alaskans were reported to require hospitalization this week for COVID-19, for a total of 61 since the epidemic began. 

Communities affected this week 

New additional cases were found in Alaskans who are residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage (26), Chugiak (1), Eagle River (3) and Girdwood (1), for a total of 31 new cases and 346 overall in the Anchorage Municipality
  • Homer (4), Kenai (1), South Kenai Peninsula Borough (2) and Soldotna (4), for a total of 11 new cases and 119 overall in the Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Kodiak (1), for a total of 3 cases overall in the Kodiak Island Borough
  • Fairbanks (15) and North Pole (7), for a total of 22 new cases and 114 overall in the Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Big Lake (2), Palmer (6) and Wasilla (3), for a total of 11 new cases and 54 overall in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • North Slope Borough (2), for a total of 3 cases overall
  • Haines (1), for a total of 2 cases overall in the Haines Borough
  • Juneau (2), for a total of 39 cases overall in Juneau City and Borough
  • Ketchikan (2), for a total of 21 cases overall in Ketchikan Gateway Borough
  • Sitka (3), for a total of 11 cases overall in Sitka City and Borough
  • Wrangell (1), for a total of 3 cases overall in Wrangell City and Borough
  • Bethel Census Area (2), for a total of 6 cases overall
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula (1), for a total of 2 cases overall

This week, there were no new cases in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Bureau (which has had 3 cases overall), Nome Census Area (5 cases overall), Northwest Arctic Borough (4 cases overall), Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (2 cases overall) and Petersburg Borough (4 cases overall). 

Nonresident cases

Of the 34 nonresident cases identified this week, 11 were in the Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Borough, 7 were in Anchorage, 3 in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, 3 in Ketchikan Gateway Borough, 3 in Fairbanks North Star Borough, two in Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area and one each in Sitka City and Borough, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Nome and Aleutians East Census Area. Currently, one nonresident has a location not yet recorded. 

Recovered cases

This week, 59 Alaskans were released from isolation following their COVID-19 diagnosis, for a total of 464, or 62% of total cases. 

Testing update

By Friday evening, 86,918 tests had been conducted. 14,510 of them were performed this week, with an average positive rate of around 0.7%. This was the second full week of traveler testing, with testing capabilities expanding at points of entry to Alaska, including by air, land and sea. Travelers arriving to Alaska by any mode of transportation are required to complete a 14 day quarantine or test negative for COVID-19. 

Tourism, visitors and airport testing

This week saw 12,044 travelers screened at airports entering Alaska. Complete data were immediately available for 11,084 arrivals. Of those, 4,237 (38%) had opted to pre-test within 72 hours of arrival and 4,894 (44%) chose to be tested on entry to Alaska. The remaining 1953 (18%) selected the 14 day quarantine option. 13 new cases were discovered through airport arrival testing, for a test positivity rate of 0.27%. 

Of the 34 cases in nonresidents this week, 7 were linked with tourism or visiting, including 2 in Ketchikan, 1 in Sitka City and Borough, 2 in Fairbanks North Star Borough, and 2 in Anchorage. 

Nursing homes

One additional case was found after retesting all residents and staff at the Providence Transitional Care Center, for a total of 46 cases among 19 residents and 27 caregivers. A fourth round of testing was completed this week, with results pending. 

Last week, after an employee at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home tested positive for COVID-19, all residents and staff were tested. Those tests have all been completed and all results were negative. Testing of residents and staff members at the other Pioneer Homes is also underway. In addition to the standard practice of testing any staff member or resident who has any symptoms or who has come in contact with a known COVID-19 case, the feasibility of testing staff every two weeks is being evaluated.

Ketchikan

A traveler arriving in Ketchikan caused widespread concern after they were found to have attended multiple social gatherings prior to receiving a positive test result from a swab taken on arrival. Contact tracing is ongoing and contacts will quarantine for 14 days, while some sports practices were cancelled, an office was closed and many others in the community were negatively impacted. This illustrates the importance of quarantining until any traveler results are received. Because Alaska’s approach to controlling COVID-19 depends on Alaskans and visitors assuming personal responsibility, everyone has a role in following health mandates and guidance to protect our communities. Local emergency response leaders are coping with community frustration while ensuring COVID-19 patients are safe and supported with medical care. 

Seafood industry

Of 34 nonresident cases total identified this week, 21 are in workers in the seafood industry, including 5 in Anchorage, 11 in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Borough, 1 in Aleutians East Census Area, 1 in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, 1 in Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area, 1 in Ketchikan Gateway Borough and 1 with location not specified. 

Other industries

Other nonresidents who were found to have COVID-19 work in the mining industry (1 in Fairbanks North Star Borough and 3 in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area), while one case in Nome and one in Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area were in nonresidents here to work in other occupations.

Three Alaskans in Fairbanks found to have COVID-19 this week work in healthcare, while six cases in one household were found at Fort Wainwright. 

Reporting of deaths due to COVID-19

12 Alaskans are reported as having died from COVID-19, meaning that the virus was listed as one of up to four conditions on their death certificate that contributed to their death. This follows federal reporting conventions that require doctors to list multiple contributing causes for a patient’s death. Only conditions that contribute to the person’s passing may be listed on a death certificate, so if a person has COVID-19 at the time of their death but it did not contribute to their death, COVID-19 could not be listed on their death certificate and their passing would not be included in the count of Alaskans who had died from COVID-19. 

Data timeliness and accuracy

Weekly summaries are published early the following week because that gives the state public health workforce time to collect data, verify its accuracy, make sure cases have not been counted in multiple places and verify patient identities. This summary is designed to more accurately summarize the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub dashboard, which displays data as it was collected in the past 24 hours as well as maintaining a record of available data since the pandemic began. The dashboard data occasionally change as new information is received or as cases are reclassified once verification takes place, since this process takes time and case counts sometimes change with more information. 

Further information

Please see the State of Alaska COVID-19 information page for more information about the virus and how individuals and businesses can protect themselves and others from transmission. 

For the most up-to-date case information, see the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub dashboard. Some data may change as more information comes to light through contact tracing and other public health work. 

For questions regarding DHSS COVID response, including mandates and alerts, email covidquestions@alaska.gov. Since DHSS is experiencing a high volume of inquiries, the Frequently Asked Questions webpage can often be the quickest route to an answer regarding testing, travel, health mandates and other COVID-19 information. 

For DHSS media inquiries, please contact clinton.bennett@alaska.gov.

###

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: June 13-19, 2020 2020-07-29 08:00:00Z 0

5 Questions About Environmental Projects
 

with
Karen Kendrick-Hands
Communications director, Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG)
 
1. How does the environment fit into Rotary’s areas of focus?
 
Any project in any area of focus will benefit from having environmental sustainability as one of its watchwords. It’s a lot harder to supply clean water to people if your watershed is compromised— if your river is full of industrial, human, and animal waste. Basic education and literacy is a challenge when kids are sick because the school well is contaminated. Health is affected when insects carrying diseases expand their geographic range due to changing climate patterns. Water wars and climate refugees will make achieving peace and conflict resolution more complicated. Economic development is slowed when there’s not adequate energy. Rotary would do a huge service to the world if it moved every water project from a diesel pump to wind or solar. That’s a project that’s scalable.
 
2. Why did ESRAG publish a handbook with environmental project ideas?
 
A lot of people say they’d like to do an environmental project, but they don’t know where to start. Or they may already be doing something in their community that they didn’t even realize was an environmental project — like adopting a highway or organizing an electronic waste recycling drive — and the handbook, which we worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to create in 2019, helps educate them about the broad range of projects that help the environment. Other people say they need an idea that will inspire their clubs. I was astonished at the wide variety of project ideas we were able to gather and present in the handbook.
 
3. Can you describe some of the project suggestions?
 
We looked to address topics that we thought were important, topics that fit well with existing areas of focus, and topics that expanded Rotary clubs’ reach into the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Six of the 17 goals don’t currently fit under one of Rotary’s areas of focus — things like affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production. The back cover is a sample press release. It’s a reminder that sharing our story builds the brand and creates momentum for more service.
 
4. What inspired ESRAG’s collaboration with UNEP?
 
In 2018, Rotary Day at the United Nations was celebrated in Nairobi, Kenya, and UNEP, which is based there, helped host the event. Rotary and UNEP decided to work together to create a handbook for Rotary clubs that want to participate in World Environment Day, which is 5 June. ESRAG worked with UNEP on the handbook. It starts with a joint statement from former RI Presidents Barry Rassin and Mark Daniel Maloney. We were thrilled to have that endorsement and hope this can be the start of more collaboration between Rotary and UNEP.
 
5. Are Rotarians getting more involved in environmental projects?
 
I was invited by Rotary staff earlier this year to help put together a survey to gauge interest in environmental projects throughout the Rotary world. We had some input from the Climate Solutions Coalition, which is a youth movement within ESRAG. We sent out the survey link in a newsletter on 23 January. We had to get all the results in by 31 January. In that brief time, we got over 5,000 completed surveys back. I think that shows there is a lot of pent-up demand. People interested in environmental solutions could go out and work with other groups, and many Rotarians do. But what we’re seeing is a real desire to do their environmental work within the Rotary framework. That’s a valuable future asset for Rotary. We have no idea of the members it will attract, the purse strings that will be loosened. With the people who will be the next generation of Rotary, the future is clear.
 
— DIANA SCHOBERG
 
• Download your copy of the ESRAG-UNEP handbook at esrag.org/esrag-unep-handbook.
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
• This story originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
5 Questions About Environmental Projects  2020-07-29 08:00:00Z 0

Philippine Club Mobilizes Transportation for Frontline Coronavirus Health Workers

COVID-19 forces lockdown on public transportation in Manila. Members bring vans, accommodations for hospital and lab workers.
 
By Ryan Hyland
 
It didn’t take long for members of the Rotary Club of Makati West to take action once the deadly coronavirus entered the country. Shortly after the local government announced the first case of COVID-19 in January, the club in Makati City, Philippines, called a series of emergency meetings to quickly assemble resources and direct aid.
 
"The pandemic was a battle cry for our club,” says club president Enrico Tensuan. “We are Rotary, and with that comes problem-solving. We focused our efforts on how to bring immediate assistance to frontline health workers.” A surge in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, led to a government-mandated lockdown starting 15 March. On the island of Luzon, home to half of the Philippines’ population, the new rules closed most businesses and shut down public transit.
 
As a result, many health workers and other essential employees faced daunting commutes to their jobs — up to two hours each way on foot, Tensuan says.
 
"At times like this, even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference."
Enrico Tensuan, president of the Rotary Club of Makati West, Philippines
 
In response to the need for safe transportation, club member Elmer Francisco — chief executive and chair of Francisco Motor Corp. and 1111 Empire Inc., which manufactures jeeps and other vehicles — donated 10 vans to transport frontline health workers to hospitals in and around Makati and the capital city, Manila. Francisco coordinated with officials at the Department of Transportation to obtain permits to operate the fleet and plan the most convenient routes for riders.
Since March, the vans, which carry up to 30 passengers each, have operated 24 hours each day from four designated pickup spots and local hospitals, including the Philippine General Hospital, one of the country’s biggest health care facilities.
 
The club paid for the fuel, and members handed out snacks to exhausted passengers. In addition, the initiative paid the salaries of 17 drivers, all of whom had temporarily lost their public utility jobs because of the transit shutdown. The club expects the project to operate at least until the end of May.
 
“The dedication of these frontline workers and our drivers is awe-inspiring,” Francisco says. “Walking two hours each way is simply unforgiving. They are already risking their lives fighting COVID-19. This was necessary to keeping them safe.”
Hospital workers in the Philippines are being transported for free to and from work thanks to an initiative by the Rotary Club Makati West, Philippines.
 
One of the transportation drivers fuels up a van provided by the Rotary Club of Makati West, Philippines. The club paid for fuel and the salary of more than a dozen drivers.
 
The Rotary Club of Makati West, Philippines, and member Elmer Francisco donated more than 10 vans to help give free transportation for frontline healthcare workers in and around Manilia.
 
Helping lab employees shelter near work Members of the Makati West club also worked to provide lodging for medical professionals. They helped secure 30 days of accommodations at area motels for nearly 50 lab technicians and workers at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, which conducts COVID-19 tests. The employees work long hours and the nearby facilities provide much-needed relief, Tensuan says
.
The club planned to pay for the rooms, but local officials, inspired by the club’s actions, funded the workers’ monthlong stay. Members prepared bags of toiletries and snacks for institute workers and motel employees. “They were small bags with just a few things, but they brought big smiles. At times like this, even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference,” Tensuan says.
 
The club also raised funds for Fashion for Frontliners, an effort by a group of fashion designers in the Philippines who have produced thousands of items of much-needed personal protection equipment (PPE) for hospital workers. And club members have donated thousands of dollars’ worth of PPE, including masks, gloves, and gowns, using Francisco’s fleet of vehicles to deliver the equipment to hospitals. Tensuan, who leases properties, personally donated three laundry machines to the Philippine General Hospital so that workers can wash their clothes and PPE.
 
“I’m proud of how our club responded so far,” Tensuan says. “But we have a long way to go. We will use our club’s resources for as long as the virus is a threat.”
Philippine Club Mobilizes Transportation for Frontline Coronavirus Health Workers 2020-07-22 08:00:00Z 0

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: July 12- July 18, 2020

Alaska DHSS signup page

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: July 12- July 18, 2020

Alaska DHSS sent this bulletin at 07/21/2020 06:43 PM AKDT

This data summary covers COVID-19 in Alaska from Sunday, July 12th through Saturday, July 18th, 2020. 

Background

The Alaska COVID-19 Weekly Case Update will be finalized every weekend with data from the previous week and the report will be published by the following Wednesday. Data are continually updated on the AK DHSS Data Hub, which reflects the most current case counts. This summary presents data from the previous week and is a snapshot of the information available on known cases at the time. 

Highlights

· Total cases in Alaska residents have risen by more than a quarter in this week alone

·  We see community transmission occurring in almost every business type that involves in-person interaction

·  Alaskans are acquiring the virus from many types of social gatherings: backyard barbecues, funerals, weddings, children's sporting events, camps, churches and any time groups gather with others outside their household

·  Fairbanks has had very high rates of test positivity, reflecting widespread community transmission

·   The majority of new cases are among Alaskans aged 20-29, with cases among Alaskans in their 20s and 30s rising sharply

·  Most nonresident cases have been identified before the person had significant community interaction, so most new cases in Alaskans are acquired from other Alaskans who have not traveled

·  Hospital capacity remains adequate

·  With current rates of physical distancing, face covering use and other measures to prevent transmission, cases are expected to continue to rise rapidly 

·  Alaskans should avoid gatherings with non-household members, wear face coverings in public, keep six feet of distance from non household members and practice good hand hygiene to slow transmission of COVID-19 

New cases

This week saw 399 new cases in Alaskans and 104 in nonresidents, for a total of 1,874 and 403 respectively. 6 Alaskans required hospitalization this week for COVID-19, for a total of 99 since the epidemic began. One additional death was reported this week, for a total of 18. By convention, deaths are counted based on the residency of the patient rather than where they contracted the virus. 

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/b7gelACCcH2KZ8xPceQ1LJMl1sjmle2y-stto5mWOsGVivFUMlOprEVTmC4fk2BeQbvf_impiCA6sRMt9XGKfftBLJCSZSWrPB2JkgPlNun8hA48czBoBpEcs-AJ-fMdpwIgjgVQ

Communities affected this week 

New cases were found in Alaskans who are residents of the following communities:

·         Anchorage (184), Chugiak (6), Eagle River (14), and Girdwood (1), for a total of 205 new cases in the Anchorage Municipality

·         Fairbanks (58) and North Pole (6), for a total of 64 new cases in the Fairbanks North Star Borough

·         Kenai (5), Seward (7), Soldotna (18), Homer (2), Nikiski (2), Sterling (2) and smaller communities (4), for a total of 40 new cases in the Kenai Peninsula Borough

·         Wasilla (28), Palmer (7), Willow (1), Sutton-Alpine (1), and Meadow Lakes (1) for a total of 37 new cases in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough

·         Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (16)

·         Juneau (11)

·         Valdez-Cordova Census Area (9)

·         Utqiagvik (2)

·         Ketchikan (2)

·         Sitka (2)

·         Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Census Area (2)

·         Kotzebue (1) and one in a smaller community, for a total of 2 new cases in the Northwest Arctic Borough

·         Bethel (1) and one in a smaller community, for a total of 2 new cases in the Bethel Census Area

·         Southeast Fairbanks Census Area (1)

·         Nome Census Area (1)

·         Haines (1)

·         Kusilvak Census Area (1)

·         Kodiak (1)

 Case rates and alert levels

The 7 day case rate map depicts cases adjusted by population for a given region (cases per 100,000 people). The regions are large because Alaska is a large state with few densely populated centers, so this case rate can only be meaningful across large regions. Currently, the Interior region with the exception of Fairbanks North Star Borough has the highest new case rates in Alaska, averaging 15.8 new cases daily per 100,000 people. Next, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Anchorage Municipality had 9.4, 9.8 and 9.0 new cases daily per 100,000 people this week.  Juneau City and Borough has the next highest rates, at 4.91. Most states use a 7 day case rate per 100,000 population to estimate trends in community transmission. Roughly, rates of >10 cases daily per 100,000 population correspond to widespread community transmission and >5 to moderate community transmission, but a sharp increase or decrease in these rates can help predict how the next week or weeks will look for the region. 

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: July 12- July 18, 2020 2020-07-22 08:00:00Z 0

The Rotarian Conversation: Marc Freedman

This longevity expert has found that both younger and older people thrive when they work together with a common purpose — something Rotarians know a lot about
 
While visiting a Rotary club in Sacramento, California, Marc Freedman was struck by the diversity of the group — in age as well as ethnicity. “There were so many barriers being bridged around this common sense of purpose,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons I love Rotary. So much of society has sorted itself into highly age-segregated arrangements. Rotary and other like-minded groups are resisting that trend and creating spaces where people of all generations can work together for the greater good.”
 
Freedman is the kind of person who would notice that. Named a Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum in 2014 and featured by AARP the Magazine in 2012 among its “50 over 50” influencers, he is one of the leading experts in the United States on the longevity revolution and the transformation of retirement.
 
Freedman is founder and CEO of Encore.org, a nonprofit focused on bridging generational divides and making “encore careers” for retirement-age workers a new social norm. He’s also co-founder of what is now AARP Experience Corps, a program that brings volunteer tutors age 50 and over together with students in kindergarten through third grade who are struggling to read. Researchers have found that the support of these volunteers has a beneficial effect on the children equivalent to a 40 percent reduction in class size; referrals for behavior problems have also gone down 30 to 50 percent. There are advantages for the adults as well; studies have found that the volunteers experienced physical benefits such as less arthritis pain and better blood sugar control. The program, a 2014 Atlantic article noted, “dusted off the cobwebs in their brains.”
Freedman, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, spoke with senior staff writer Diana Schoberg about his most recent book, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations.

THE ROTARIAN: What do connections across generations provide that connections within your own age group don’t?
 
FREEDMAN: There’s a growing appreciation of connections in general these days, fostered by the awareness of how profound the problem of loneliness is in America and elsewhere. People need a variety of connections — with their peers as well as across generations.
 
A Harvard study found that relationships are the key to happiness throughout adulthood. It shows that older people who connect with younger people are three times as likely to be happy as those who fail to do so. Why is that bond so important? One reason is that as we reach the time in our lives when there are fewer years ahead of us than behind us, it’s a great comfort to know that what we’ve learned is likely to live on in younger friends and family members.
 
TR: What are the benefits of these relationships for children?
 
FREEDMAN: On an emotional level, the needs of older and younger people fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When I started my career, I spent years working on kids’ issues. I didn’t have any background in aging or gerontology. But I was struck by how important the presence of caring adults is for the well-being of young people, particularly young people who are growing up in economic hardship.
 
Urie Bronfenbrenner, who was one of the great child psychologists of the 20th century and who co-founded Head Start, was asked what he had learned from decades of studying children’s development. He said that every child needs at least one adult to be irrationally crazy about them. I think he captured something fundamental. Young people need love and support from adults — not just from their own parents, but from other adults in the community. And as we get older, we also need to be irrationally crazy about young people. It’s a key source of happiness, according to research, and it’s something that we get better at as we age. The skills that are required to build and sustain relationships blossom in later life, as do emotional regulation and even the drive to connect.
 
TR: In your book, you write about the physical benefits of these kinds of connections, such as decreased rates of diabetes and arthritis in older people. What are some other benefits that might be surprising?
 
FREEDMAN: I was involved in creating Experience Corps, a national service program that recruits older people to serve in low-income elementary schools, helping kids learn to read. One of the discoveries we’ve made along the way is that this intersection between purpose and connection is incredibly important for well-being, especially as we grow older.
 
We found with Experience Corps that having responsibility and a place to go several days a week forces older people to be more physically active — they have to get out of their homes and to the schools. And purposeful activity, particularly with young people, involves a lot of learning. Explaining and teaching things to younger people helps keep older people’s minds active. There is now research from Johns Hopkins University that suggests being involved in programs like Experience Corps can offset some of the things that predispose people to dementia.
 
And then there’s our spiritual health — the idea that we’re living a life that still matters, rather than heeding signals from society that older people should head prematurely to the sidelines.
 
TR: How has our ability to connect with each other been affected by the social distancing that COVID-19 has required?
 
FREEDMAN: Social distancing has exacerbated the loneliness epidemic, which is also a public health crisis, contributing to millions of “deaths of despair” globally every year. But this period of sheltering at home helps us all develop a deeper empathy for those who are isolated most of the time. Suddenly, many millions of people are experiencing the kind of loneliness that had been reserved for much smaller numbers.
 
When social distancing ends, I believe we’ll have a newfound appreciation for face-to-face connection. Sure, we’ve learned to use tools like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts — and they help. But we’ll also see that virtual connection is no substitute for the real thing.
 
TR: Is our society more segregated by age than it used to be? If so, how did that come about?
 
FREEDMAN: It happened in waves. In the United States, the first wave came during the Progressive era, as we enacted child labor laws and universal schooling. All of a sudden, young people were grouped together in educational institutions entirely geared to them. Social Security had the effect of getting older people out of the workforce, which in turn helped create a whole set of institutions geared toward older people. It was all seen as being a more efficient way to organize society.
 
None of that happened for nefarious reasons. We just thought it was going to be more efficient to put children in schools and to get older people into settings where we felt we could more effectively address their needs, like senior centers and nursing homes and retirement communities. Then we were left with workplaces occupied by all the adults in the middle. And the twain stopped meeting. For all the benefits, something profound — an essential part of the human experience — was lost along the way.
 
In 1949, United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther got up in front of the union and described retirees as too old to work, too young to die. People were ashamed to be elderly. So real estate developers created places for them to go where they would be apart from the rest of society and wouldn’t have to deal with that stigma. They could pretend they were young in a society that glorifies youth. In retirement communities like Sun City, Arizona, everybody was old, so nobody was old. You could pretend you were a kid again. The weekend Sun City opened, 100,000 people showed up. There was a traffic jam for 2 miles.
 
What we’re seeing now is a wave of social innovation that’s essentially trying to find new ways to do old things. And that’s terrific. But Rotary has been doing it all along. That’s an extraordinary credit to the organization. It is among the few places in American society where older and younger people can come together to work for the common good. It’s a place where people get a sense of the cycle of life and some relief from this radical age segregation that has been so prevalent for the past century.
 
TR: Is age segregation a problem in other parts of the world as well?
 
FREEDMAN: It’s a global issue, and there is a global community of innovators who are working to bring generations together and to create societies where what’s natural is once again normal.
 
Probably the most ambitious effort is in Singapore, where the government is spending over $2 billion on an aging action plan, including creating a “Kampong for All Ages”—kampong being the Malay word for village. New senior centers and preschools are being situated together. New intergenerational housing is being designed. They’re building playgrounds that are designed to bring older and younger people together. They’ve created a volunteer corps of older people focused on helping children. They are trying to reorganize society to demonstrate that the generations can not only get along; they can be invaluable to each other.
 
One of my favorite examples is happening in the United Kingdom. At age 57, Lucy Kellaway, a columnist at the Financial Times, announced that she was going to quit her job to become a math teacher in a low-income London school. She was inspired by her daughter, who was in the British equivalent of Teach for America. Kellaway challenged her readers of a certain age to quit their jobs and join her as math and science teachers, and 1,000 people signed up for what she calls Now Teach. It has really affected how older people in the UK think about their future.
 
In Finland, an effort to create “communal grandparents” came out of the realization that many grandparents and their grandchildren do not live near each other. And many older people don’t have their own grandchildren. So they had the idea of creating grandparent/grandchild-like bonds among people who aren’t related to each other.
 
These experiments are part of an attempt to rethink relationships between older and younger people in a world that is aging rapidly. In the United States, 2019 was the first year that we had more people over 60 than under 18, and that trend is going to continue. We need to think about how to organize society in ways that not only mitigate the challenges of these new demographics, but take advantage of some of the opportunities they present.
 
TR: What can Rotarians do to promote connections between the generations?
 
FREEDMAN: There are opportunities for older and younger people to come together around projects that benefit the future well-being of humanity. Young people have an interest in that, because that’s the world they’re going to inhabit. And as we get older and come face to face with our own mortality, one of the central ways to address the fact that we don’t live on and on is to help create a better future.
 
I know from reading and seeing the projects that Rotary is working on — like climate change and water issues — that many of the priorities that are core to Rotary’s social mission are ones that older and younger people can come together around and bring their unique skills to help address.
 
TR: How can we create programs that bring generations together to the greatest effect?
 
FREEDMAN: Establish programs that create the opportunity to build real relationships through working together around a shared purpose. Ongoing, consistent, and mutual efforts are going to have the biggest payoff. Opportunities for older Rotarians to work with young people on issues of high priority to Rotary and its members will offer some of the deepest rewards.
 
TR: If you could create a world where relationships between people of different generations are the best they could be, what would that look like?
 
FREEDMAN: We would have to reorganize our daily life in ways that prize cross-generational proximity and purpose. One example is to create age-integrated housing. Another is to bring together institutions currently aimed at separate age groups into mutually beneficial collaboration, such as preschools combined with senior centers. We would need to encourage people of different ages to be in the workplace together, and we would have to reassess the nature of education. There is a movement on university campuses where people in their 60s and 70s are coming back to school in programs designed to help them launch the next phase of their lives. One of the great side benefits is that they generate interaction between older people and the young people they take classes with.
 
One of the stories I told in the book still has a grip on me. It’s an example from Judson Manor in Cleveland, an upscale retirement community in a beautiful 1920s building near the Case Western Reserve University campus. Judson started housing graduate students in music and art for free in return for the students’ performing concerts and doing art projects with the residents. The exchange ended up producing extraordinary cross-generational relationships. When a young violist who spent time living at Judson got married, for example, she asked her 90-something neighbor to be in their wedding party. They had formed a deep bond. Proximity and purpose yet again! When you create those kinds of opportunities, very powerful things start happening.
 
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
 
• This story originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Rotarian Conversation: Marc Freedman D Schoberg 2020-07-15 08:00:00Z 0

Young at Heart

Holger Knaack has a fresh vision for the Rotary of the future. With a little help from his friends, things should go swimmingly
The Küchensee, one of Ratzeburg’s four lakes, provides a scenic backdrop for lunch with Holger’s sister, Barbara (left), and Susanne’s sister, Sabine (right).
 
Holger Knaack is vacuuming.
 
The Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln in Germany has wrapped up its annual Christmas bazaar in the cloister of the 12th-century Ratzeburg Cathedral. Two days of selling handicrafts, mistletoe, and homemade cakes and cookies have netted the club some 8,000 euros, which this year will go to a German nonprofit that supports children who are critically ill. As the club members break down booths and put away tables and chairs, Knaack grabs the vacuum cleaner and, head down in concentration, tackles the crumbs, dirt, and bits of tinsel that litter the floor.
At this moment, Knaack is president-elect of Rotary International, preparing to take office on 1 July 2020. But at the same time he’s a regular Rotarian, a 27-year member of his club, pitching in like everybody else. “He just wants to be one friend among friends,” says club member Barbara Hardkop.
 
There’s a German phrase: man holt die Leute ins Boot. It means getting people on board to work together toward a common goal. In the coming year, Rotarians will find that Holger Knaack is not one to stand on the sidelines while others do the work. But equally important for Knaack is the philosophy that working hard doesn’t mean you can’t also have a good time. As he spends this year getting people on board — especially to carry out his highest priority, investing in young people — he will also be doing his best to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.
 
“It’s a basic principle with Holger,” says his longtime friend Hubertus Eichblatt, a fellow club member. “When we get together, it has to be fun.”
Holger Knaack, Rotary International’s 2020-21 president. “He looks youthful,” says a friend. “He is youthful!”
 
Holger Knaack is an atypical Rotary president, and not just because he wears jeans and eschews ties much of the time. He’s the organization’s first German president, and he came to that position in untraditional fashion. Unlike many of his predecessors, he didn’t rise step by step through the ranks of Rotary offices. He served as club president and district governor, but he had held only one Rotary International post, that of training leader, before becoming director. And he remembers being at a Rotary institute where people asked him what other district offices he had held before becoming governor. “I said, ‘None. None.’ All of them were very surprised,” he recalls.
 
What Knaack is most known for is his involvement in Rotary’s Youth Exchange program. That experience is deep, broad, and extraordinarily meaningful to him and his wife, Susanne. They have no children of their own, but they have opened their home — and their hearts — to dozens of students. “The Knaack house is always full of guests, especially young people,” says Helmut Knoth, another friend and member of Holger’s club. “They’ve had hundreds of guests over the years.”
 
Shortly after joining his Rotary club in 1992, Knaack helped out with a camp for short-term Youth Exchange students in northern Germany. He was immediately hooked. “I thought it was a really great program,” he says. “This is something, you’d say in German, wo dein Herz aufgeht: Your heart opens. Whenever you talk to the young people, they’ll tell you, ‘It was the best time in my life.’ Sometimes I think they are surprised about themselves, about what they are able to do, and about the possibilities that are open to them through Rotary.”
 
The opportunities opened for Knaack, as well. He became Youth Exchange chair for his club, and after serving as governor of District 1940 in 2006-07, he was asked to chair the German Multi-District Youth Exchange, a position he held until the day before he started his term on Rotary’s Board of Directors in 2013. Along the way, he notes, he always relied on other people. “You develop a vision together, and then let’s go ahead,” he says. “Everybody’s going a little different way; there’s never just one road. But the goal should be the same.”
 
Young people seem to intuitively understand Knaack’s way of doing things. “Holger has a vision, and he is executing on that vision,” says Brittany Arthur, a member of the Rotaract Club of Berlin and the Rotary Club of Berlin International. “And you recognize that this vision is not new for him. Holger and Susanne have had dozens of Youth Exchange students. Do you think they did all that so that in 2020 he could say, ‘We need to invest in youth’? This is who they are.”
 
Arthur also sees Knaack as unusual in his willingness to invest in “potential, not experience.” In 2012, as an Australian Ambassadorial Scholar in Germany, she had a brief exchange with him at a club meeting. That led to her speaking about her “Rotary moment” at a Berlin peace forum sponsored by 2012-13 RI President Sakuji Tanaka. After her presentation, she thought she was done. But Knaack, who had organized the forum and was now putting together a Rotary institute, had other ideas. “I had just finished speaking to hundreds of Rotarians,” she recalls. “I was feeling so great, and he said, ‘Do you want to help with the institute?’ and I said, ‘Yes!’”
 
Like other Rotarians, Arthur perceives the depth of Knaack’s persuasive personality. “He’s super funny and nice, but he’s dead serious when it comes to certain things. Which is why he’s such an interesting leader: He can show up on so many different levels when you need him.”
 
“He’s super funny and nice, but he’s dead serious when it comes to certain things, which is why he’s such an interesting leader.”
 
Holger and Susanne Knaack love to travel, but they have lived their entire lives not far from where they were born: she in Ratzeburg and he in the nearby village of Groß Grönau, about 40 miles northeast of Hamburg. Their upbringings were remarkably similar. Each was born in 1952 and lived over the shop of the family business: Susanne’s father and grandfather were sausage makers, and Holger’s family bakery was founded by his great-great-great-grandfather in 1868. “We were very loved,” Holger remembers. “Everybody took care of you; everybody always knew where you were.”
 
Hubertus Eichblatt also grew up in Ratzeburg, where his sister and Susanne, whose maiden name was Horst, were childhood friends. “The Horst family had a very open house, and it’s exactly the same with Holger,” he says. “Friends are always coming in and out.”
Holger and Susanne live in the home that once belonged to Susanne’s grandmother; next door, Susanne’s sister, Sabine Riebensahm, lives in the house where the two grew up. About a decade ago, after her husband died, Holger’s sister, Barbara Staats, moved into an apartment on the top floor of that house. The two homes have a total of nine guest rooms, and what with Barbara’s 12 grandchildren, dozens of current and former Youth Exchange students, and various other friends, at least one of those rooms is usually occupied.
 
Every morning, everyone meets for coffee in a cozy nook off Holger and Susanne’s living room, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the Küchensee, one of four lakes that surround Ratzeburg. They often lunch together as well, followed by more coffee. Then Holger has a ritual: He folds his long frame onto a little sofa for a nap while Susanne, Barbara, and Sabine continue their chat. “He likes to hear us talking while he’s napping,” Sabine says.
 
The four share duties, including shopping and cooking. “When someone needs something, you just shout,” Holger says. “I think this is the perfect way to live: together. The secret to anything is to ask: What’s our goal? This is exactly our goal, how we live right now.”
 
One Saturday in December, Holger, Susanne, Barbara, and Sabine are preparing boeuf bourguignon to serve at a dinner party for 23 close friends the Knaacks will be hosting the next day. They’re simultaneously planning the menu for Christmas, when they’ll have 15 people — 16 if a young Egyptian woman who is studying in Germany, the daughter of some Rotarians they met at a Rotary institute in Sharm el-Sheikh, takes them up on their invitation.
 
Helmut Knoth calls the Knaacks’ hospitality “a stroke of luck for Rotary. At least once a year we have a party there, in their beautiful garden,” he says. “When the weather is nice, we go swimming. In winter, there’s a traditional event for Holger’s birthday. We meet at the rowing club and hike around the lake.” All the birthday gifts are donations to the Karl Adam Foundation, which Knaack founded to support the rowing club. (Ratzeburg is world-famous for its rowing club, whose members formed the core of the German teams that won gold at the 1960, 1968, 2000, 2004, and 2012 Olympics. The club’s co-founder and longtime trainer, a local high school teacher named Karl Adam, is considered one of the best rowing coaches of all time and developed what’s known as the “Ratzeburg style.”)
Over hot punch at the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln’s Christmas party in December, Knaack chats with fellow club member Barbara Hardkop and her husband, Gerrit (with Jan Schmedes in the background).
 
Looking through family photo albums, the Knaacks talk about childhood vacations to the seaside — Holger and his family to the island of Sylt on the North Sea, and Susanne and her family to the Baltic Sea coast. A few kilometers from their home, Holger’s family also had a small summer house with a large garden where they would spend weekends. The forests and meadows were his to explore. “It was a perfect childhood,” he says.
Holger’s boyhood home was situated about 500 meters from a small river, the Wakenitz, that formed the border with East Germany. “For me, that was really the end of the world,” he remembers. In the summer, he and his friends would test their courage by swimming across the river. On the other side was a swamp, a minefield, and watchtowers manned by East German guards. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he says, “the first thing we did was to explore the other side by bicycle. All the watchtowers were open. I had never seen our own village, or our own house, from that perspective.”
 
As a young man, on holidays and weekends, Holger worked as a driver for his family bakery. After finishing secondary school he learned the trade, working in another bakery for two years for his Ausbildung, or apprenticeship. “So I can bake a lot of things,” he says cheerfully. “And I still like to bake. You have to love what you do in order to be very good. Whatever marketing techniques you may use, it’s all about the quality. Quality is about loving the product and trying to make it the best you can. But you have to take your time. That’s the secret to many things.”
After completing his Ausbildung and another year of internship in a large bread factory in Stuttgart, he went to the city of Kiel to study business administration. At the first student assembly, he caught sight of his future wife. “I saw Susanne on the 20th of September 1972,” he says. “I remember that quite well.”
Holger and Susanne Knaack love to cook for themselves and their friends; here, they assemble a meal in Holger’s sister’s kitchen.
 
Holger didn’t make the same impression on Susanne, perhaps because there were 94 men and only three women in their class. But they soon got acquainted, and on weekends, they would drive home together to each work in their family’s business. Before returning to Kiel on Sunday evenings, they would load up the car with bread from the Knaack bakery and sausage from the Horst shop. “Our friends always knew to come over on Mondays,” Susanne says with a laugh.
 
They graduated in 1975 and got married the next year. Each of them continued to work in their own family’s business. At the time, the Knaack bakery had several shops and about 50 employees. After taking over from his father in the late 1970s, Knaack decided to expand the company. He also decided that he wanted to know exactly where the grain used to bake his bread was coming from. So he turned to his friend Hubertus Eichblatt, a farmer, who started a cooperative with other farmers. Knaack also worked with Günther Fielmann, Europe’s largest optician, who invested in cultivating organic grain on his own farm, Hof Lütjensee. Together Knaack and Fielmann built their own mill and marketed organic baked goods —something new 30 years ago. “Holger was always very innovative,” Eichblatt says, “very forward-thinking about those kinds of things.”
 
Another of Knaack’s innovations was to move the baking of the bread into the shops. Before that, bread was baked in the factory and the loaves were trucked to the shops. Knaack’s idea was to continue to make the dough in the factory, but then to freeze it in portions that were distributed to the shops to be baked. His motto was Der frische Bäcker – “the fresh baker.” Today, almost every bakery in Germany does it that way.
 
Knaack kept expanding the business; eventually there were about 50 shops and the factory with hundreds of employees. He received an offer to buy his company from an internationally active firm that was investing in bakeries. It was a very good offer, and Knaack took it. Still a young man in his 40s, he pursued other business ventures and took up golf (and was quickly tapped to be president of his golf club). He had been an active member of Round Table, an organization for people under age 40; at 39, he joined the Rotary club in the nearby town of Mölln (remaining a member there even when a new club was chartered shortly afterward in Ratzeburg with many of his friends as members). And before long, he found his calling with Rotary Youth Exchange.
Ratzeburg with its 12th-century cathedral and its glacial lakes.
 
Medieval Ratzeburg, with its ancient cathedral and half-timbered burghers’ houses, is situated on an island surrounded by four glacial lakes. The northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein is dotted with such lakes; winding roads lead through rolling green countryside past farms and villages built in the characteristic regional style of brick architecture. But the students who have stayed with Holger and Susanne have found something much deeper than a picture-postcard experience of Germany.
Young at Heart 2020-07-08 08:00:00Z 0

Induction of 2020-2021 Officers

Here’s a little info about the induction:
 
For his last meeting as president of the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay, Don Keller organized a successful Zoom and in-person induction of officers for the 2020-2021 Rotary year. A few technical glitches didn’t spoil the fun June 25 on the deck of Alice’s Champagne Palace. Will Files, a former district governor and past president of the club, officiated. Vince Greear gave the invocation. Returning officers are Sue Clardy, vice president; Charlie Franz, secretary; Read Dunn, treasurer; Marv Peters, sergeant-at-arms; and directors Beth Trowbridge and Dennis Weidler. Lori Evans is now president of the club and Bill Hague is president-elect. Don Keller serves on the board as immediate past president. 
 
Not all of the Officers are pictured here, as some were not able to attend the "in-person" part of the ceremonies.
 
Pictures by McKibbon Jackinsky
 
Don Ringing the Bell
 
Vince Giving Invocation
 
Susie With Birthdays and Anniversaries
 
Director Dennis
 
 
Director Marv
 
Vice-President Sue
 
President Lori
 
President-Elect Bill
 
Secretary Charlie With Past District Governor Will
 
PDG Will and President Don
 
Past President Don With Plaque Thanking Him For His Service to Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary
Induction of 2020-2021 Officers 2020-07-01 08:00:00Z 0

Anti-Covid-19 Toolkits for Businesses (and Homes)

 
Here are the links to the two different business toolkits – the first from CDC, the second Alaska specific support.
 
Information from the CDC
 
Loads of Alaska materials
 
These toolkits are the ones Derotha told us about at last week's meeting.  As far as I can see, all of the information is appropriate for businesses, and some are even appropriate for some homes.
 
The Alaska specific toolkits are especially appropriate for Alaska, and do cover some Alaska specific items.  They both worth looking at.
 
Here is just one example of the Posters available for download.
 
Anti-Covid-19 Toolkits for Businesses (and Homes) DF and CF 2020-07-01 08:00:00Z 0

Alaska’s COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Plan

Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy
 
As the COVID-19 virus and the economic impacts unfold, the plan will adjust to take into consideration new, unforeseen negative impacts. It must be noted that this is a stabilization plan – not an enhancement, not an attempt to grow government, and not in place to create new programs. Rather, the plan is merely an attempt to mitigate the health and economic impacts as a result of this virus. The details of this six-point plan will be forthcoming over the weekend and there may be additional stabilization efforts added to the six points outlined in the attached handout. The Alaska Economic Stabilization Team lead by Former Governor Sean Parnell and Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, who are in constant contact with the business community of Alaska, will also add suggestions that modify this plan. As this is an ever evolving and unprecedented event, so should be the response.
 
Governor Dunleavy's 6 Point Plan
 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Dunleavy is focusing on six areas to provide stability to the economy and ensure Alaskans have the resources needed during this unprecedented time.
  1. Immediate Relief for Alaskans
    • COVID-19 Emergency Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) – $815 million (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
      • Immediate appropriation and release of the unfunded 2019 PFD
    • Full Statutory 2020 PFD (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
      • Issued in two payments of ~$1,550 in June & October
    • Emergency unemployment benefits (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
    • Alaska Housing Finance Corporation mortgage relief
    • Student loan interest waiver – $2.3 million (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
    • Reduction/suspension of fees across selected state agencies
       
  2. Alaska Businesses
    • Establish the Alaska COVID-19 Emergency Business Loan Program
      • Provide 100% state-guaranteed loans to Alaskan businesses for immediate relief.
      • Loan program will be administered by local banks and structured to meet Alaska’s unique needs.
    • State Training Employment Program (STEP) – $2 million (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
       
  3. COVID-19 Emergency Healthcare Enhancements
    • Alaska COVID-19 Healthcare Fund – $75 million
      • Emergency response/isolation shelters
      • Additional medical personnel
      • Critical supplies, test kits, ventilators, & protective gear
    • Expand telehealth services
       
  4. Municipalities
    • Emergency Community Lost Revenue Replacement Program
      • Replace lost revenue due to negative economic impacts associated with COVID-19
         
  5. School Districts
    • Statewide virtual schools – $518,000 (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
    • School nutrition – $3 million (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
    • Distance delivery education – $500,000 (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
    • Student laptop & digital content – $1 million (Dependent Upon Legislative Action)
       
  6. State Workforce
    • Retrofit state offices to protect against the spread of COVID-19
    • Telecommuting options for state employees
Alaska’s COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Plan 2020-06-18 08:00:00Z 0

Stay Connected Through Rotary’s Online Learning Center

Rotary Connects the World — that is Rotary President Mark Daniel Maloney’s theme, and despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotarians are continuing to connect with one another and the world. Rotary’s new Action Plan calls on us to increase our ability to adapt — and members are coming up with innovative ways to serve their communities and create opportunities for fellowship. Many clubs are meeting online for the first time, reimagining fund-raisers and other events, and reinventing planned service projects.
 
Rotary’s online Learning Center has resources that can help you stay connected to the organization and to one another. Instead of a meeting one week, for instance, everyone in your club might choose a topic to learn more about and then report back to the other members. You might even decide to develop a webinar using Rotary tips and resources. “The Learning Center courses could be used for general knowledge and for brainstorming, action planning, and idea sharing,” says Kimberly Kouame, learning resources manager at Rotary International.
 
Often, the first time Rotarians use the Learning Center is when they are elected to a club office. But with more than 600 courses in over a dozen languages (including more than 80 in English), the Learning Center has something to interest every Rotarian. Here are a few to pique your interest; find them all at rotary.org/learn.
 
COURSES
 
Is Your Club Healthy?
When your club isn’t able to meet in person, it can be a challenge to keep members engaged. Now might be an ideal time to assess the state of your club and ask members what is working for them and what isn’t.
 
Your Membership Plan
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about creating a long-term membership plan. This course offers a helpful worksheet and step-by-step guidelines for crafting a strong future for your club.
 
Building a Diverse Club
In line with Rotary’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, this course can help you expand your club’s membership to include people from different walks of life.
 
Committing to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This course offers a closer look at Rotary’s DEI statement and how you can put those values into action.
 
Practicing Flexibility and Innovation
This course guides you through some of the ways your club can be innovative, with advice on subjects such as setting up satellite clubs.
 
Kick-Start Your New Member Orientation
If your club has had trouble retaining new members, with people joining only to leave a few years later, this course can help. Get tips on how to make sure your new members feel welcome and engaged.
 
All About Rotary Peace Fellowships
Perhaps you know someone who might be a good candidate for a Rotary Peace Fellowship and you want to be able to talk knowledgeably about the program. Or maybe you would like your club to be more involved. This course will give you information on Rotary’s Peace Centers and the requirements and deadlines for applicants.
Building Rotary’s Public Image
Rotarians are people of action, and we want the world to know what we are accomplishing. But how can you get the message out? This course will teach you how to build awareness of Rotary and its work.
 
Planning Your Projects: Service Projects Committee
This course is designed for people serving on a club service projects committee, but anyone can benefit from the ideas about how to carry out effective projects — with tips on doing a community needs assessment and executing the project.
 
Rotary Foundation Basics
The Rotary Foundation is central to Rotary’s work in the world. This course will walk you through the century-long history of the Foundation and its role in grant-making, supporting polio eradication efforts, and funding the Rotary Peace Centers.
 
Becoming an Effective Facilitator
Develop your leadership skills for Rotary and beyond through this course, which guides you on how to effectively work with a team to define and achieve objectives.
 
Mentoring Basics
Mentoring has always been one of the cornerstones of Rotary. This course identifies the traits of a good mentor and suggests some best practices to make sure your mentoring relationship is beneficial to all concerned.
 
Essentials of Understanding Conflict
We’ve all had to deal with interpersonal conflict, whether the issues are small (who sits at which table at the meeting?) or large (what are our club’s priorities?). This course gives you tools to understand different types of conflict and describes conflict management styles.
 
Leading Change
Change is hard, especially in a collaborative organization. This course offers ideas on how to lead a group of people through organizational change, how to assess people’s readiness for change, and how to deal with resistance to change.
 
• Illustrations by Anders Wenngren
 
• This story originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Stay Connected Through Rotary’s Online Learning Center 2020-06-18 08:00:00Z 0

June 2020 District Governor Message to Members:

Reflecting on the 2019-2020 Rotary year, it seems my Rotary year began just yesterday and is now wrapping up much sooner than I anticipated.  Looking back,  I recall with great clarity how inspired I was following the International Assembly in January 2019.   It was only then that I fully understood the awesome responsibility, great honor and tremendous opportunities that lay ahead for me as District Governor.  I asked each club President-Elect in February 2019 to be “All In’ and to taking their clubs to new heights, and gave my very best to model what I had asked of each Pres-Elect. Who could have imagined the challenges and opportunities that 2020 would bring?

I began my Rotary year visiting both Ketchikan Rotary clubs the first week in July and I remember the high I felt from the energy of Rotarians putting on the 4th of July Duck Race and Parade. During the next four months I was able to visit the remaining 37 Rotary clubs. Some highlights were more parades and duck races, seeing inspiring club projects, Polio runs, tremendous Foundation events and many club socials welcoming Sheri and I. In late January I completed my final club visit in Utqiagvik (Barrow Nuuvuk). We experienced the very best of Rotary hospitality in every Alaska community we visited.  A common feature was meeting the many dedicated Rotarians who serve others while having fun doing what they love.  The hospitality I experienced and the mutual appreciation expressed by so many Rotarians was a highlight. We met so many dedicated Rotarians and made many new friends in the process.

I had high hopes for each of the initiatives I shared during my club visits.  Many were successfully implemented, others fell short of my best hopes.  D5010 members gave generously to Polio Plus this year, raising 148% over last year.  I'm especially proud of the new mobile APP that was developed, the success we had with our virtual Training Assembly in late April, the success of the Peace Scholarship Committee, and the work of the committee tasked with the developing a new Education and Training initiative. I'm especially proud that D5010 could provide every club with $1,000 to help their community in response to the pandemic, under the cause of D5010 Rotary Cares for Kids.  I'm also grateful for the partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation and $25,000 in funds donated by our members that will further help communities where we have Rotary Clubs. The Rasmusen Foundation has generously matched these donations 1:1, so we will soon distribute  $50,000 statewide to further help in response efforts.

My biggest disappointment (and those of the Conference Planning Committee) was not being able to host our Peace Forum and District Conference in Fairbanks due to the pandemic. Along the way, other opportunities and challenges presented themselves but we were able to PIVOT and keep moving forward.  The Coronavirus proved to be a formidable challenge.  I was stunned after learning I had tested positive for Covid-19 in late March, and feel very fortunate that I recovered without time in the hospital. I appreciate the many ways clubs stayed connected with their members and continue to do the important work of Rotary. 

In just a couple weeks, Governor-Elect Joe Kashi will begin his Rotary year, bringing his unique expertise, vision and priorities to the role.  Joe has worked quite closely with me over the past two years, and also with Cheryl Metiva (DGN) and Mike Ferris (DGD).  I wish Joe all the best for a successful year in 2020-2021.  

I would like to give a special shout out to Rosie Roppel (Ketchikan First City Rotary) for her work as my Lt. Governor in 2019-2020.  She has been an invaluable resource to me and brought so much enthusiasm, fun and support that helped make my year a success.  I want to thank Dean McVey who has served as our Treasurer this past three years,  PDG Brad Gamble, who is completing his 3 year term as Foundation Chair, and Lindsay Knight who is completing his 3 year term as Membership Chair.  Thank you Janine Becca for the consistent support you've provided to me and all our officers this year. I have so much gratitude and appreciation for our dedicated Youth Exchange Chair(s), Jeff Johnson and Cheryl Keepers, their executive team of officers and the club level YEO's for their work and dedication this year adapting to the challenges of supporting Youth Exchange students, host families and clubs while maintaining excellence we have come to expect.

Finally, thank you to all the Past District Governors who provided sound advice and support when I reached out and to others who helped me in so many ways when I asked for help.  Our Rotary District is blessed to have so many who served this year in Leadership roles and on various committees. Your help was invaluable, and your friendships will be one of the highlights of my Rotary year.  I will be recognizing all the many D5010 volunteers as part of the Thursday, June 18th Awards Celebration.

Sincerely,

Andre’ Layral (and Sheri)

D5010 Governor 2019-2020

Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary

June 2020 District Governor Message to Members: 2020-06-17 08:00:00Z 0

Peter Larson Memorial Garden

Milli and Suzi did a lot of work on the Peter Larson Memorial Garden recently.  Here is part of Milli's email.
 
Got pictures of Peter Larson's garden, which looks so pretty, but will need weeding soon, those dandelions are persistent, will attach the pictures I took yesterday.
Flowers have been planted in the boxes at Ben Walters, encourage folks to drive through and see how nice it looks just now. Susie and I did the planting, the City met us at Wagon Wheel and paid for the flowers, which is nice of them. Our two spring projects are done!
 
 
Peter Larson Memorial Garden 2020-06-10 08:00:00Z 0

Our Clubs:  5 Stories About Meeting Online

with

George Robertson-Burnett

Rotary coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Bartow, Florida

1. What made you decide to help clubs adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A large club in my district announced that it would not be meeting anymore: “No Rotary until further notice.” Those five words kept running through my mind. I had to do something.

So I wrote a guide to help clubs navigate online platforms like Zoom so they can meet virtually.

As Rotary coordinator for Zone 34, which includes Georgia, Florida, and parts of the Caribbean region, I’m very membership oriented. My initial thought was that clubs should keep meeting online to retain members, but now I’ve realized there’s also a possibility for growth there. So many people are stuck at home right now, and there are no sports for them to watch. Virtual meetings offer an opportunity to get some new people into Rotary. It’s also a good time to increase a club’s exposure on social media, because people have more time to look. That may turn into new interest in your club, in addition to being a way of connecting with members.

2. What is the most common question clubs ask?

Many people want ideas for projects. I suggest reaching out to local organizations that are heavily affected, like food banks or homes that care for the elderly. Tell them that Rotary still cares about those in need and ask how you can help.

Sometimes the assistance that we give has to be to our own members who are in the at-risk group. Reach out to older club members and reinforce our fellowship. I also suggest a social evening, a glass of wine and video chat, over Zoom. My club tried this out very successfully.

3. What successes have you seen?

Since the guide came out, I’ve been videoconferencing with clubs around the world that have never been online before. Now everyone is laughing and sharing. At a traditional meeting, you often only talk to the people at your own table. On video, everyone can talk to each other. I also got a piece of really good news this morning. That club that said “No Rotary until further notice” got in touch and asked for assistance to get online meetings started. Many districts have a communications officer or public image committee who can be great resources. Also, let’s motivate those who are tech-savvy to assist their fellow Rotarians. It’s a victory for Rotary in so many ways if we convince people to meet online.

4. What if meeting online is not an option?

In Florida, we have many communities made up of older people. One of the clubs here said, “There is absolutely no way we can go online. It’s just not a possibility. No one in the club is tech-savvy.” The fail-safe is to maintain a written newsletter and send personal cards and letters to members. It’s important to show that Rotary continues in its mission even in adversity.

5. How do you think Rotary will be different after this?

Rotary is an organization of professional people. There is a grave concern with regard to small businesses. It’s going to heavily affect employment. We need to be mindful and do anything we can to help each other.

I came to the United States from the UK in 2004. I knew no one here, and within two weeks of arrival, I had 72 friends because I joined a Rotary club. That fellowship is our fundamental strength. Of course, it’s being challenged for safety’s sake, but we must respond in a positive manner and get through this, hopefully with stronger bonds of fellowship.

— VANESSA GLAVINSKAS

• Learn more about meeting online at on.rotary.org/onlinemeetings.

• This story originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Our Clubs:  5 Stories About Meeting Online 2020-06-10 08:00:00Z 0

2020 Rotary Virtual Convention

If you are having trouble viewing this email, view it online
Membership Minute
June 2020Ideas for strengthening membership
The 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention 
Rotary's first online convention will be a great way to connect with members around the world. Now More Than Ever, Rotary Connects the World: The 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention is happening 20-26 June. You'll find breakout sessions on new ways to engage members and be inspired by internationally known speakers during the general sessions. 

Several breakout sessions focus on engaging and attracting members. Plan to attend one or all of these: 

•    Using Virtual Tools to Engage Members, on 22 June
•    Grow Rotary Through New Club Types, on 23 June
•    Digital Trends of 2021: Using Tech to Engage Millennials, on 25 June
•    Engage Young Families With Service and Alternative Meetings, on 26 June

See the full list of breakout sessions and look again often for updates. We hope to see you online! 
 
 
How to stay connected when you can't meet in person  

Whether it's a club meeting, awards ceremony, or new member induction, you can still connect with and recognize your members even when meeting in person isn't possible. 

Watch our recent webinar, Connect With the (Online) Rotary World, and learn how to set up online meetings, use social media to engage with members, and maintain fun traditions virtually. We asked for questions before the session and compiled a list of the ones asked most often, along with resources. You can download the FAQ from the Learning Center. (Signing in to My Rotary is required.) Or search for the webinar title. 

If you're planning a virtual induction ceremony, have the new member induction video from RI President Mark Daniel Maloney ready to show. Look at the Meeting Online topic in the Learning Center for more ideas on how to connect virtually. 

A reminder about adding new members 

As club leaders prepare to complete their terms, remember that members added on or before 30 June will count as starting during the current Rotary year, 2019-20. Members added with 1 July effective dates will count toward the new Rotary year, 2020-21. Write to us at membershipdevelopment@rotary.org if you have questions. 

Share your story on Rotary Showcase

Rotary clubs around the world are responding to the coronavirus pandemic to help keep their communities safe and healthy. We know this because more than 1,000 service projects related to COVID-19 have been added to Rotary Showcase. Be inspired, connect with others, and add your own project.

Strengthening Rotary clubs during difficult times 
Jenny Stotts, membership chair of District 6690, suggests using resilience to strengthen Rotary clubs while we are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. From helping members maintain realistic and positive perspectives to planning service projects that help people feel a sense of purpose, read how Stotts fosters resilience among members to create stronger clubs.
 
 
 
How to host a virtual changeover ceremony
Changeover ceremonies are important events for clubs. It's a chance to acknowledge the great work your club accomplished during the past Rotary year, welcome new leaders, and generate excitement for the coming year. Learn how you can host this important event online. Don't miss out on having one! 
 
 
More from our blog:
 
 
 
Membership Minute is a bimonthly newsletter that provides the latest membership trends, strategies, best practices, and resources to help strengthen membership in your clubs. The newsletter is sent to Rotary coordinators, district governors, district membership chairs, club membership chairs, club presidents and subscribers. Please forward this to anyone who may be interested. 

One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201-3698, USA


© Rotary International

 
2020 Rotary Virtual Convention 2020-06-10 08:00:00Z 0
Memorial for Rebekah (Honey) Griffard May 30, 2020 2020-05-28 08:00:00Z 0

Kenyan Rotarians Take Action to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 

Rotary clubs in East Africa are forging partnerships to provide hand washing stations and food in areas where social distancing is a luxury that few can afford
 
by Arnold R. Grahl , Rotary International
 
Almost 80 percent of the population in Nairobi, Kenya, lives in informal settlements where it’s not unusual for families of day laborers to live together in one house. Surviving day to day on the meager wages they typically earn as shop clerks, construction workers, or domestic employees, as many as eight people cook, do homework, eat, and sleep in these tight quarters.
 
In short, social distancing is a luxury that many poor Kenyans can’t afford.
 
“If the [COVID-19] pandemic hits here, like it has in North America and other places, it will be just catastrophic” because of the inability to social distance, says Geeta Manek, a Rotary Foundation trustee-elect and member of the Rotary Club of Muthaiga, Kenya. “We’re working very hard, through preventative measures, desperately trying to keep this thing away from us.”
 
Shortly after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Joe Otin, governor of Rotary District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan), formed a districtwide response team. Chaired by Nairobi-East Rotarian Joe Kamau, the team is working with clubs across the district to provide hand washing stations, deliver food to families who have lost jobs, and raise money for personal protective equipment.
 
“The world needs Rotary more now than ever before.”
 
The 100-liter tanks rest on metal stands and have brass taps at the bottom and ledges for soap.
 
“When [Kamau] asked what we wanted to do first, we said let’s go with hand washing stations,” says Manek, a member of the response team.
Manek led a fundraising effort in Ethiopia and Kenya that raised more than $21,000 within 20 days. Prime Bank in Kenya offered to match all contributions 1-to-1. The team used the money to purchase 100 water tanks and then persuaded the supplier to donate an additional 100. The 100-liter tanks rest on metal stands and have brass taps at the bottom and ledges for soap. The response team has distributed these hand washing stations in Kilifi, Mombasa, and Nairobi and is now working with national health departments to decide who to help next. The tanks are being refilled by trucks, but local authorities are also discussing ways to pipe in water.
 
The Rotary Community Corps, groups of non-Rotarians who work alongside Rotary members on service projects, are teaching people effective hand washing techniques, counting the number of times people come back to wash their hands, and collecting other data. Clubs are also partnering with Shofco, a grassroots organization that provides critical services, advocacy, and education for girls and women in Kenya’s urban slums, to monitor the stations.
 
The response team is also using the stations to ask people coming to wash their hands for information about families who are short of food. Manek says work-from-home orders made it impossible for day laborers to earn a living. Clubs have distributed packages of sugar, maize meal, rice, lentils, salt, and soap.
 
Clubs have distributed packages of sugar, maize meal, rice, lentils, salt, and soap.

 
Purchasing personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers has been more difficult. Manek says they’ve been able to negotiate with vendors and donors to get some surgical masks and gowns, but supplies are scarce and much of it is available only by airlift, which makes it too expensive.
 
If there is a positive side to the crisis, it’s been the way it has energized Rotarians and attracted the attention of partnering organizations.
“We’ve been the first ones on the ground,” Manek says. “We’re getting invitations from corporate partners like banks and insurance companies who are seeing what we’re doing and want to work with us.”
  • $21,000
Amount Manek raised in 20 days in Kenya and Ethiopia
  • 200
Initial number of tanks distributed
  • 100
Liter capacity of water tank
 
 
Manek has been most involved in her home country of Kenya, but she says Rotarians have been active in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and South Sudan as well.
 
“Through this initiative, we’ve come across so many partners we didn’t know existed, or if we knew they existed, we would just have let them do their thing and we do our thing,” Manek says. “Now, people are coming to us. They want a credible partner. They don’t want to give money to a big pot and not know where it’s going. All these values we have been sharing with the world are paying off.”
 
Says Otin, “the embodiment of Rotary clubs and their ultimate purpose is to embrace and support communities in need, and thus the world needs Rotary more now than ever before.”
 
Kenyan Rotarians Take Action to Prevent Spread of COVID-19  2020-05-28 08:00:00Z 0

Covid-19 and Households Living in Close Quarters

How to Protect Those That Are Most Vulnerable
 
This guidance is intended for people living together in close quarters, such as people who share a small apartment, or for people who live in the same household with large or extended families.
Older adults (65 and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The following information is aimed to help you protect those who are most vulnerable in your household.
Everyone should limit risks
If your household includes one or more vulnerable individuals then all family members should act as if they, themselves, are at higher riskMore information on steps and actions to take if at higher risk.
Limit errands
Family members should leave only when absolutely necessary. Essential errands include going to the grocery store, pharmacy, or medical appointments that cannot be delayed (e.g., infants or individuals with serious health conditions in need of aid).
If you must leave the house, please do the following:
  • Choose one or two family members who are not at a higher risk to run the essential errands.
  • Wear a cloth face covering, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, and follow these recommended tips for running errands.
  • Limit use of public transportation, such as the train or bus, during this period if possible.
    If you must use public transportation:
    • Maintain a 6-foot distance from other passengers as much as possible.
    • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces such as handrails, and wash hands or use hand sanitizers as soon as possible after leaving.
    • More information on how to protect yourself when using public transportation
  • Don’t ride in a car with members of different households. If that’s not possible:
    • Limit close contact and create space between others in the vehicle.
    • Improve air flow in the car by opening the window or placing air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.
  • Wash your hands immediately after you return home.
  • Maintain as much physical distance as possible with those at higher risk in the home. For example, avoid hugging, kissing, or sharing food or drinks.
Vulnerable members should avoid caring for children and those who are sick
Adults 65 years and older and people who have serious medical conditions should avoid caring for the children in their household, if possible. If people at higher risk must care for the children in their household, the children in their care should not have contact with individuals outside the household. Members of the household who are at high risk should also avoid taking care of sick people of any age who are sick.
Separate a household member who is sick
Provide a separate bedroom and bathroom for the person who is sick, if possible. If you cannot provide a separate room and bathroom, try to separate them from other household members as much as possible. Keep people at higher risk separated from anyone who is sick.
  • If possible, have only one person in the household take care of the person who is sick. This caregiver should be someone who is not at higher risk for severe illness and should minimize contact with other people in the household.
    • Identify a different caregiver for other members of the household who require help with cleaning, bathing, or other daily tasks.
  • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other family or household members.
  • If you need to share a bedroom with someone who is sick, make sure the room has good air flow.
    • Open the window and turn on a fan to bring in and circulate fresh air if possible.
    • Maintain at least 6 feet between beds if possible.
    • Sleep head to toe.
    • Put a curtain around or place other physical divider (e.g., shower curtain, room screen divider, large cardboard poster board, quilt, or large bedspread) to separate the ill person’s bed.
  • If you need to share a bathroom with someone who is sick, the person who is sick should clean and disinfect the frequently touched surfaces in the bathroom after each use. If this is not possible, the person who does the cleaning should:
    • Open outside doors and windows before entering and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area.
    • Wait as long as possible before entering the room to clean and disinfect or to use the bathroom.
  • If you are sick, do not help prepare food. Also, eat separately from the family.
Covid-19 and Households Living in Close Quarters 2020-05-27 08:00:00Z 0
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children-Associated With Covid-19 CDC 2020-05-21 08:00:00Z 0

Announcements, August 6, 2020

 From the Desk of President Lori

FROM PRESIDENT LORI

I hope everyone enjoyed that amazing rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning Tuesday evening. The fireweed and dwindling daylight are reminders that summer will soon be in our rearview mirrors, so the push is on to get those summer chores done. I guess this is as good of time as any to confess that my seed potatoes for our traditional Great Potato Race are languishing somewhere in the paper sack in which they were delivered, lost in the chaos of a house project earlier this summer.

Can you tell by that paragraph, I’ve got nothing to offer this week, except these reminders:

Dues: You can pay quarterly ($105) or annually ($420). You can mail a check to Rotary at PO Box 377, Homer, AK 99603, or call Read Dunn, our treasurer, at 435-0567 and he’ll take a credit card payment. If you have questions, please get in touch with Read. If you are facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic, please know you are a valued member of the club and we don’t want to lose you. Please contact me or another board member if you need some help.

• Seward Rotary Golf Tournament: The First and Last COVID Golf Classic will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Kenai Golf Course. Proceeds will go to Rotary projects, including Coats for Kids, Youth Exchange, Breakfast with Santa, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and COVID Crisis Relief. Our club is sponsoring a hole in the tournament and Homer golfers are encouraged to register for the event. For more information, here’s the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/first-and-last-covid-golf-classic-registration-113041909394

• Volunteer opportunities: Even during the pandemic, there are ways to volunteer — including offering to give the invocation (contact Milli Martin), finding a speaker for one of our meetings (or sending me some speaker ideas) or helping out at the Peter Larson Memorial Garden by weeding and watering (contact Denice Clyne, Susie Quinn, Lorna Olson, or Milli).

• This week’s meeting: Please bring brags and complaints, good stories, committee news — or anything else that will help us catch up with one another.

With gratitude for all of you,

Lori

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

How About Golf!

• Seward Rotary golf tournament: The First and Last COVID Golf Classic will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Kenai Golf Course. Proceeds will go to Rotary projects, including Coats for Kids, Youth Exchange, Breakfast with Santa, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and COVID Crisis Relief. Our club is sponsoring a hole in the tournament and Homer golfers are encouraged to register for the event. For more information, here’s the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/first-and-last-covid-golf-classic-registration-113041909394

Our club will sponsor one of the holes.

FACE MASKS NEEDED!

Another call has gone out for mask makers! In preparation for the start of the school year, mask makers are encouraged to focus on making masks for children and teens returning to school. Mask kits are available. To arrange to pick some up, please call Dawn at 399-6005, Skiff Chicks at 226-2170 or Michelle at 399-3709.

Winston needs some work! 

He has done some helpful labor for many of us, but with college canceled and only on line classes, he has plenty of time! He comes highly recommended!!  Call (907) 299-7665 to reach Winston!!  He is anxiously awaiting your call!!

Regular Meeting Thursday August 6, 2020 Noon Using Zoom

Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
 Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Regular Meeting 1155 AM August 6,2020 Using Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82154900736

Meeting ID: 821 5490 0736
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,82154900736# US (Tacoma)
+13462487799,,82154900736# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 821 5490 0736
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kYaDpDu5l
 
 
 
Please note that there has been some difficulty logging in. Please keep trying. This should be the correct address, but we may need to resend it.
 
Laura and Kristie Selling Peonies on the Spit
 
Announcements, August 6, 2020 2020-05-20 08:00:00Z 0

Phase 3/4 Starts Friday, May 22, 2020 General Guidance 

        
Reopen Alaska Responsibly
Alaska’s Plan Forward
         
Alaska has done an excellent job of managing COVID-19. We responded quickly to an unknown threat to keep our cases low and to ensure our healthcare systems have the increased capacity to deal with COVID-19 cases in the future. The base actions that led to our success will continue to be our playbook for the future:
           • Stay six feet or more away from non-family members.
           • Wash your hands frequently.
           • Wipe down surfaces frequently.
• Wear a face covering when in a public setting in close contact with others.
• Stay home if you are sick and get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms.
• Be mindful and respectful to those Alaskans that are most vulnerable to this virus. Those being our seniors and those with existing health issues.
 
 Under Phases I and II, businesses and organizations found new and creative ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, and each day we are seeing new national and industry guidelines being released that provide guidance on safely operating. 
 
It is with the listed guidelines and safety advisories that we can empower businesses, organizations and Alaskans to protect themselves and each other while continuing to open responsibly. 
Now is the time for the next phase of our response. To move ahead, we are combining our future phases, while encouraging personal and organizational responsibility to safely operate while mitigating the spread of this disease.
 
Make no mistake. The virus is with us. We must function with it and manage it. There will be folks who contract the virus and fall ill, but if we follow these guidelines, we can help lower potential risks and keep our way of life intact with a few exceptions.
 
The state, local communities, tribal partners, and healthcare providers have come together to do tremendous work. We built up our health care capacity to handle a potential increase in cases. We have increased screening and testing and continued to have robust contact tracing. We have trained our healthcare workers to safely work with, and treat, the virus. We have stockpiled and distributed PPE around the state. 
 
We will monitor the situation daily, as we have since this virus arrived in Alaska, and we will adjust, if necessary, to handle a growth in case clusters to prevent cases spiking.
 
Effective Friday May 22, 2020 Alaska is open for business:
 - All businesses can open - All houses of worship can open
- Libraries and museums can open
- All recreational activities can open
- All sports activities can open
 
 It’s the responsibility of individuals, businesses, and organizations to minimize the spread of COVID-19. We encourage all to follow local, state, national, and industry guidelines on ways to conduct business and activities safely. 
 
Exceptions/restrictions/closures:
- 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel to Alaska remains in place. This will be reevaluated by June 2, 2020, but will be reviewed weekly.
- All senior centers, prisons, and institutions will continue to have restricted access.
 - Any proposed large public gatherings such as festivals and concerts need to consult first with public health before scheduling.
- The State will continue to work with large industries to protect their workforce and the communities in which they operate.
- Communities may still elect to keep in place travel restrictions. 
o - Some Alaskan communities may wish to extend restrictions on non-essential travel into their communities for health reasons. Check with your local   community.
- Health Mandates 15 (Elective Medical/Dental), 17 (Commercial Fishing), and 18 (Intrastate Travel) remain in effect.
 
It’s because of you, Alaska, that our statewide numbers remain low. We will keep our numbers low because of your actions.
Phase 3/4 Starts Friday, May 22, 2020 General Guidance  2020-05-19 08:00:00Z 0

Alaska Covid-19 Health Mandate #18

Learn More about the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.
Health Mandate 018: Intrastate Travel
Issued: May 11, 2020
 
By:      Governor Mike Dunleavy; Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its eighteenth health mandate based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.
 
Given the ongoing concern for new cases of COVID-19 being transmitted via community spread within the state, Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska are issuing Mandate 018, to go into effect May 12, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and will remain in effect until amended, superseded, or rescinded.
 
This Mandate is being issued to protect the public health of Alaskans. By issuing this Mandate, the Governor continues to establish consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The goal is to flatten the curve, disrupting the spread of the virus.
 
The purpose of this Mandate is to clarify and centralize all requirements related to intrastate travel, to increase the ability of individuals within Alaska to travel, while still working to provide sufficient mitigation factors to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.  
This Mandate supersedes Mandate 012 and Mandate 016-Attachment M.
 
Effective 8:00 a.m. on May 12, 2020, intrastate travel is permitted under the following conditions and guidance:
 
Definitions for purposes of this Mandate:
  1. “Road System” is defined as any community connected by a road to the Seward, Parks, Klondike, Richardson, Sterling, Glenn, or Top of the World Highways.
  2. “Marine Highway System” is defined as any community served by the Alaska Marine Highway System or the Inter-Island Ferry System.
  3. “Critical Personal Needs” is defined as those needs that are critical to meeting a person’s individual or family needs. Those needs include buying, selling, or delivering groceries and home goods; obtaining fuel for vehicles or residential needs; transporting family members for out-of-home care, essential health needs, or for purposes of child custody exchanges; receiving essential health care; providing essential health care to a family member; obtaining other important goods; and engaging in subsistence activities.
  4. “Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure” is defined as businesses included in “Alaska’s Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure” (formerly Attachment A)
Intrastate Travel Between Communities Located On The Road System And/Or The Marine Highway System is permitted for all purposes. Note: travelers may travel between the Road System and Marine Highway System communities via any normal means of transportation, including vehicle, boat, ferry, aircraft, and commercial air carrier.
 
All Travel To Or From A Community Off The Road System Or The Marine Highway System Is Prohibited, Except As Necessary For:
  1. Critical Personal Needs
  2. The conduct of Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure
General Requirements
  1. No one traveling to or from any community for Critical Infrastructure/Essential Services reasons or Critical Personal Needs travel may be subject to any automatic quarantine or isolation on arrival, except as allowed under Alaska Statutes or Health Mandates.
  2. Air carriers, ferries, and other travel-related businesses have no duty to verify that intrastate travelers meet the criteria for permissible travel under this Mandate. Air carriers shall inquire if travelers are permitted to travel under this Mandate and shall rely upon a traveler’s assurance that they are eligible to travel.
  3. Groups traveling are subject to Mandate 016, Attachment N, Social Distancing.
  4. All businesses, whether Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure or non-essential/non-critical, that have staff traveling between communities, must file a protective plan with akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com. The plan should outline how the business will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger lives in the communities in which the business wants to operate, endanger others who serve as a part of the business community, or endanger the ability of critical infrastructure to function. If you have already submitted a plan pursuant to a prior Health Mandate, you do not need to submit another plan. Visit https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans/ for guidance.
  5. Alaskans should refer to other Health Mandates and guidance as necessary and appropriate.
Precautions while traveling:
  1. Stops shall be minimized on the way to the final destination.
  2. If travelers must stop for food, gas, or supplies, only one traveler shall engage with the third-party vendor. All travelers must practice social distancing by keeping six feet away from others when possible, and avoid crowded places whenever possible. Cloth face coverings should be used whenever a traveler engages with a third-party vendor(s).
  3. Travelers, traveling by car or vehicle, who have to stop shall wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before exiting, and immediately after returning to, the car or vehicle.
***This Health Mandate Supersedes Mandate 012, Attachment B, and Mandate 016-Attachment M.
Alaska Covid-19 Health Mandate #18 2020-05-13 08:00:00Z 0


Never Too Young to Lead

Six Rotarians reveal the secrets of balancing family and work that allowed them to take on the role of district governor before turning 50
 
by Kim Lisagor Bisheff             
 
As an active member of the Rotary Club of Hampton Roads (Norfolk) in Virginia, Clenise Platt had been a club president and taken on some leadership roles in her district. Even so, it came as a complete surprise when Mary Landon, the club’s 2016-17 president, approached her at the end of a meeting and asked if it would be OK to nominate her for District Governor.
 
“I thought one day I might place my name in the hat to become a district governor,” says Platt, 48. “But truth be told, I thought ‘one day’ was years away.”
 
Moved by the request, she asked for a few days to think it over. She consulted with friends and family, researched the job requirements, and did some soul-searching. “I determined that it was important to me that if I agreed to be nominated, it would be because I believed I could bring a fresh perspective to the role,” she says. “Becoming district governor would not be a résumé builder or an item to check off on a to-do list.”
 
Decision made, Platt accepted the nomination and later learned that she would become the first African American woman to serve as governor in District 7600’s history.
Platt may be part of a growing trend within Rotary. In recent years, an increasing number of young Rotarians have accepted district-level positions that had traditionally been held by older members. On 1 July 2019, Rotary inaugurated 36 district governors under age 50. They are midcareer professionals with demanding jobs in medicine, education, tech, finance, and broadcasting. There’s an architect, an advertising executive, a legislator, a lawyer, a veterinarian, and a soy sauce manufacturer. They all have families and friends; some have young children. Yet each of them managed to find the time to take a top leadership position in their districts. Here’s how six of them make it work.

Shia Smart
District 9810, Australia | 41 clubs; 1,128 members
 
Shia Smart joined Rotary when her son, Flynn, was four months old. “So effectively he’s only known Rotary,” she says. “He’s been brought up with it.” Now 15, Flynn travels with his mother to district functions and has logged more meeting hours than many adult Rotarians.
 
During the same period, Smart, who lives about 15 miles east of Melbourne, was developing her career as an IT business analyst. “I’ve always worked for other people,” she says. “I’ve had flexible working arrangements, but I’ve never been in a position where I control what I do or where I’m going.”
 
So how did a working mom become a Rotary district governor? Club culture played a significant role, says Smart, 49. She’s a charter member of the Rotary Club of Mont Albert & Surrey Hills, which enacted policies that encouraged working parents to rise through the Rotary ranks: They welcomed children at meetings, relaxed attendance requirements, and scheduled board meetings outside business hours.
 
That culture empowered Smart to shape her year as district governor to accommodate her job and her responsibilities as a parent. Her first move upon learning that she would become DG was to get her son’s school calendar so she could schedule club visits and meetings accordingly. And when she got a new job just before the start of her term, she set her schedule to make it work. “I said, ‘I need all these days off for Rotary,’ ” and her new employer assented. “I have been very lucky that Rotary is so structured and organized.”
 
Every step of the way, Smart says, she has made an effort to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family about her Rotary life. “It’s amazing how accommodating people can be when you explain things,” she says. “Take people on the journey with you, and you will find they are very supportive.”

Santhana Naidu
District 6580, Indiana | 32 clubs; 1,515 members
 
Santhana Naidu explains the strategy that helps him manage his roles as husband, father, District Governor, and associate vice president of marketing and communications at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. It can be summed up in one word: compartmentalization. “I set aside two workday evenings and weekends for Rotary business,” he says. “I don’t generally take [Rotary-related] calls or emails during workdays unless it’s an emergency.”
 
Of course, that approach depends on the cooperation of all stakeholders. ISU lets him work remotely when needed, and his wife, Amy, “has been pulling my share at home when I’m away,” Naidu admits. “I couldn’t do this without a supportive employer and family.”
 
The district’s clubs have also lent their support. About two-thirds of them have held joint meetings or socials so he wouldn’t have to travel on his workdays. “At the social events, several people have told me how much they’ve enjoyed interacting with a DG,” he says. “I see that as a win.”
 
In recent years, the district has developed a culture of supporting young leaders, Naidu says. “Past district governors have been instrumental in resetting expectations for younger Rotarians and working professionals.” That included hiring a district administrator to help with day-to-day office duties. The result: At 42, Naidu, a member of the Rotary Club of Terre Haute, is the district’s youngest-ever DG, and the next in line is a working mother of four.
 
“I truly believe Rotary leadership is possible while working full time,” Naidu says, “and you can do a good job on both fronts.”
 

Anna Tumanova
District 2223, Russian Federation | 77 clubs; 1,107 members
 
When your district spans all of Russia, visiting each of its clubs can be a challenge. Consider this: Flying east from St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan — more than 4,000 miles — takes about 12 hours. That’s why Russia’s District 2223 has initiated a six-year pilot program that divides the district into five regions, each of which has its own director. “I hope that all these regions in six years can be separate districts,” Anna Tumanova says. “We have huge potential here. Of course, we still have a lot of work to do.” Tumanova, 43, is no stranger to work. She has been an active Rotarian and full-time financial consultant since 2005, when she and her husband, Vladimir Rtishchev, chartered the Rotary Club of Ulyanovsk, a city on the Volga River about 500 miles east of Moscow. When Rtishchev died of liver cancer in 2015, Tumanova didn’t step back from Rotary. She leaned in. Rtishchev had hoped to become a district governor one day. In taking on that role, Tumanova has fulfilled his dream. “It helped that I had Rotary friends all across Russia,” she says. Everywhere Rotary takes Tumanova, her daughter, Varvara, goes as well. “Now she also has friends all over the country,” Tumanova says. “Rotary kids.” Varvara, 12, plans to launch an Interact club with her Rotary friends from across the region so they can more easily keep in touch. She gets straight A’s in school, where she is allowed to do homework via the internet when she is on the road. And she and her friends have learned to enjoy one of the perks of Rotary trips: “Rotarians travel not like tourists but like real guests,” Tumanova says. “I hope that Varvara and her friends will grow up as people of the world. They have no borders in their minds, and that’s very important.” 
“It helped that I had Rotary friends all across Russia.”

Igor Lenin Peniche Ruiz
District 4195, Mexico | 78 clubs; 1,170 members
 
In a typical workday, Igor Lenin Peniche Ruiz drives an hour from his home to his family’s 3,000-acre ranch in the Yucatán jungle, where he and his 10 employees are raising about 500 beef cattle. As general manager, he observes the animals, talks with his team, takes notes on the cows, bulls, and calves, and monitors their feed, which they grow on-site. It’s a demanding job, and the only one he has ever known: The ranch belongs to his 79-year-old father, who has worked alongside him for years.
That routine changed significantly when Peniche Ruiz became a Rotary district governor. At the start of his term, he was traveling for Rotary five or six days a week. His father, his sister, and his workers — some of whom have been with the ranch for 30 years — picked up the slack. “My Rotary team is really good, but my work team is even better,” he says. “I trust in my team, I trust in my family, and they allowed me to do this work.”
 
Peniche Ruiz, 49, says his employees are happy to pitch in because they’ve seen how Rotary has helped people in their communities. “They already live the magic of Rotary,” he says. In one instance, his club, the Rotary Club of Mérida-Itzaes, sponsored a medical clinic in a nearby town. Doctors diagnosed life-threatening conditions in time to save two patients’ lives.
 
At home, that magic has spread to each of his five daughters. Four have participated in Rotary Youth Exchange, three have been Rotaractors, one was a Rotaract club president and district representative, and one was an Interact club president. “My wife, Norma, is the main key to keeping every-thing in balance,” he says.
 
When Peniche Ruiz joined Rotary 20 years ago, his oldest daughter was 10. His youngest is now 18, so he and his wife decided that this was the right time for him to take on the role of DG. As always, he has Norma’s full support. “That’s the only way you’re going to be a successful person,” he says. “Family is the most important thing.”

Clenise Platt
District 7600, Virginia | 62 clubs; 2,508 members
 
Clenise Platt’s first Rotary leadership role was chairing her club’s dictionary project, a fitting assignment for someone who had written a children’s book. When club members found out about the book, Keep Your Chin Up, they asked her to read it to local third graders when she delivered the dictionaries. A few years later, the club began donating copies of the book along with the dictionaries; since then, about 2,000 students have received her book.
 
“I am so appreciative of the way my club engaged me as a young leader,” Platt says. “I think their willingness to make space for me to be a leader in the club, and the way they asked to include my book in the program for the third graders, helped me to feel engaged and an important part of the club.”
 
The experience led her to pursue increasingly influential roles within her club and her district. Along the way, she learned to integrate her service life with her job by being clear about her priorities. On her first day as the staff development coordinator at the Virginia Beach Public Library, Platt told her co-workers that she was a Rotarian and hoped to become a district governor one day. “I had no idea that I would be on the pathway to governor less than a year later,” she says.
 
To maximize time with friends and family, Platt has looked for opportunities to include them in Rotary functions. Her parents, Clinton and Hattie, have attended meetings, fundraisers, club visits, installation ceremonies, and international conventions, and they have volunteered at a district conference. “They have fans who ask about them when they aren’t at an event,” she says. “I made my parents Paul Harris Fellows because they were the first people who taught me the meaning of Service Above Self.” Her brother, Gabriel, will soon become a Paul Harris Fellow as well.
 
“Rotary has been a complement to my family,” she says. “I have found that incorporating my personal and professional life with Rotary has enriched my experience as a district governor in a number of ways.”

Jaco Stander
District 9370, South Africa and Lesotho | 88 clubs; 1,446 members
 
Jaco Stander may be one of the oldest of the 36 younger DGs — he turned 50 about halfway into his term — but like others in his cohort, he has embraced Rotary as a family affair. His wife, Lisa, a pharmacist, is also a Rotarian. In the year leading up to his term, she traveled with him to all of his training sessions so, he explains, “we could share our Rotary journey together.” They planned their visits to the district’s clubs in a way that allowed them to keep tabs on Stander’s two gas stations and block out time for family and friends.
 
“Both my wife and I planned our working environment to commit to the DG year,” he says. Stander trained two managers to oversee his business. (He adds, “I’m also fortunate to still have my parents, who are able to assist where needed.”) So she could have more flexibility, Lisa became a locum pharmacist, which means she’s employed on a contractual rather than full-time basis. It helped that their children — Christopher, 24, and Brigitte, 22 — had finished or were about to finish college. “The timing made sense at that stage,” he says.
 
The process that led to Stander taking on the DG position started years earlier, when he became a Rotarian. “My club encourages young and new members to play an active role in club leadership,” he says. “I had the opportunity to lead a wide range of portfolios.” (Stander is a member of the Rotary Club of Klerksdorp, a city about 100 miles southwest of Johannesburg.) His district took the same approach, pulling him into a district youth committee, a term as assistant governor, and various training events early in his Rotary career. And when he completes his term as governor, he will lead his district’s 2020-21 youth services committee.
Those experiences encouraged him to aim higher. “I wanted to be part of district leadership and be more involved in the management of Rotary,” he says. The final nudge was a phone call from Bruce Steele-Gray, a past district governor, who asked him to apply. Stander also received support and encouragement from what he calls his “close group of PDG friends.”
 
“Becoming a district governor is an amazing opportunity to experience Rotary at a totally different level,” he says. Stander also recommends diving into district activities early and often. “It’s a way to acquire knowledge and experience,” he says, “as well as an opportunity to contribute new energy and views that will help bring Rotary into the modern era.”
 
“My club encourages young and new members to play an active role.”

In our February issue, Kim Lisagor Bisheff wrote about how to spot fake news.
• This story originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
Never Too Young to Lead 2020-05-13 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Peace Fellow Applications Sought

I am writing you because the D5010 Rotary Peace Fellowship committee needs your help.  Specifically we need every D5010 Rotarian to help us promote this great scholarship opportunity. Help us by encouraging eligible applicants to apply, and help interested applicants with the application process.  This is very important to me because D5010 is a Peace District.
 
Last week I sent a short PowerPoint presentation to every club President, asking they share it at a club meeting this week.  Did your club share it with members?  If it was not shared, I am attaching the PowerPoint below for you to preview on your own.  It will help you understand one of the Rotary Foundation's most important programs.  After previewing the PowerPoint you will be more aware about why this is such a wonderful opportunity.
 
The PowerPoint provides details about the two programs (Masters and Certificate), scholarship eligibility requirements, locations of the Peace Centers, details about the application process and the application deadline (May 31st).
 
Here is a link to a 2 minute video by recent Peace Fellow graduate Shea Brenneman, who is working in Fairbanks.
 
 
So potential applicants who may need help with their application can receive it from you or your club, I'm including the names and contact information below of the Committee members. Please reach out to a committee member to see how you can provide support to the applicants.
 
Here is the contact info for the committee members:
 
Lori Draper (Seward) alaskaldraper@gmail.com
Lois Craig (E-Club) lois.craig@gmail.com
David Wartinbee (Soldotna) kbwart@alaska.net
Patty Meritt (Fairbanks) pameritt@alaska.edu
 
Thank you Rotarians for helping us find applicants for this wonderful scholarship opportunity.
 
Sincerely,
 
Andre' Layral
District Governor 2019-2020
District 5010 - Alaska
Rotary Peace Fellow Applications Sought 2020-05-13 08:00:00Z 0

State of Alaska Health Mandate 17:  Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels

Health Mandate 017: Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels

Issued: April 23, 2020

By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

To slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its seventeenth health mandate, based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.

Given the ongoing concern for new cases of COVID-19 being transmitted via community spread within the state, Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska are issuing Mandate 017 to go into effect April 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and will reevaluate the Mandate by May 20, 2020.

This Mandate is issued to protect the public health of Alaskans. By issuing this Mandate, the Governor is establishing consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The goal is to flatten the curve and disrupt the spread of the virus.

The purpose of this Mandate is to enact protective measures for independent commercial fishing vessels operating within Alaskan waters and ports in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The State of Alaska acknowledges the importance of our commercial fishing fleet to our economy and lifestyle as Alaskans. In order to ensure a safe, productive fishing season this year, while still protecting Alaskan communities to the maximum extent possible from the spread of the virus, the State is establishing standardized protective measures to be followed by all independent commercial fishing vessels operating in Alaskan waters and ports.

Health Mandate 017 – Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels.

  • Applicability
    1. Definition: For the purposes of this Mandate, “independent commercial fishing vessels” are defined as all catcher and tender vessels that have not agreed to operate under a fleet-wide plan submitted by a company, association, or entity that represents a fleet of vessels. This Mandate alleviates the requirement for independent commercial fishing vessels to submit a Community/Workforce Protective Plan in response to Health Mandates 010 or 012.
    2. This Mandate does not apply to skiffs operating from shore; protective measures for those vessels will be provided under separate guidance.
  • Required Protective Measures/Plans
    1. Independent commercial fishing vessels operating in Alaskan waters and ports must enact the protective measures and procedures described in Appendix 01, the Alaska Protective Plan for Commercial Fishing Vessels.
    2. Vessel captains must enact controls on their vessel to ensure crewmember compliance with this Mandate.
  • Travel and Access
    1. Compliance with this Mandate does not constitute a right to travel or access into any areas.
    2. It is incumbent upon the individual traveler to ensure that any proposed travel itinerary is still possible, and to adhere to any additional restrictions enacted by air carriers and lodging facilities or by small communities in accordance with the State of Alaska Small Community Emergency Travel Order (Health Mandate 012-Attachment B).
  • Compliance and Penalties
    1. Vessel captains are required to maintain documentation as directed by Appendix 01, Paragraph I, and must provide a copy of the Mandate 017 Acknowledgement Form (Appendix 02) upon request by any seafood purchasing agent or Federal, State, or local authority, to include law enforcement and fisheries regulators.
    2. A violation of a State COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.
    3. In addition to the potential civil fines noted above, a person or organization that fails to follow the State COVID-19 Mandates designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impacts may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. Reckless endangerment is defined as follows:

(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct, which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.

(b) Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor.

Pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.135, a defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year.

Additionally, under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, a person may be fined up to $25,000 for a class A misdemeanor, and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.

This Mandate Supersedes And Replaces All Previously Submitted Protective Plans For Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels.

This Mandate Does Not Supersede Or Replace Any Previously Enacted Protective Plans For Corporate Vessel Fleets.

Appendix 01, the Alaska Protective Plan for Commercial Fishing Vessels

Appendix 02, Mandate 017 Acknowledgement Form 

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit covid19.alaska.gov

State of Alaska Health Mandate 17:  Protective Measures for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels 2020-05-07 08:00:00Z 0

Hacking a Solution to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rotarians in Lithuania and the United States promote the use of bubble helmets to help patients avoid mechanical ventilators
 
by Arnold R. Grahl
 
Rotarians in Lithuania and Chicago, Illinois, USA, are using their influence to promote the use of “bubble helmets” and potentially lessen the need for mechanical ventilators for COVID-19 patients who struggle to breathe on their own.
 
The Rotary Club of Vilnius Lituanica International, Lithuania, participated in Hack the Crisis, an online event in March that brought together innovators in science and technology to “hack,” or develop solutions to, issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the Lithuanian club, along with members of the Rotary Clubs of Chicago and Chicagoland Lithuanians (Westmont), joined a team to brainstorm ways to help COVID-19 patients breathe without using mechanical ventilators.
Bubble helmets come in various designs and are noninvasive, supplying oxygen without the need for intubation.
 
“Traditional ventilators used with intubation are a painful intervention into the body and require trained medical staff,” says Viktorija Trimbel, a member of the Vilnius Lituanica club, who was a mentor during Hack the Crisis. “There’s also a shortage of the drugs used for sedation. But you don’t have to be sedated with helmets.”
 
Bubble helmets are noninvasive and supply oxygen without the need for intubation, a procedure where a tube is inserted down a patient’s throat. A helmet fits over a patient’s head with a rubber collar that can be adjusted around the neck. The collar has ports that can deliver oxygen and air.
 
Before the pandemic, doctors typically used noninvasive devices to help patients breathe if their oxygen levels dropped below a certain level. If the noninvasive devices don’t boost those levels enough, mechanical ventilators are used to push oxygen into the lungs through the tube at a preset rate and force.
 
Benefits of bubble helmets
  • Helps with respiratory distress                     
  • Noninvasive                                                 
  • Can be used outside of intensive care units 
But some critical care physicians are becoming concerned that intubation and mechanical ventilators are being used unnecessarily on COVID-19 patients and suggest that more patients could benefit by remaining longer on simpler, noninvasive respiratory support.
 
Helmetbasedventilation.com connects researchers, manufacturers, medical professionals, and funding sources to increase the supply of bubble helmets.
 
“Being a Rotarian, I have in my network people from all over the world,” adds Trimbel, governor-elect of the district that covers Lithuania. “This pandemic has moved like a wave, first in Asia, then Europe, and then the United States. Yet countries like Mexico, Brazil, and India aren’t yet as impacted. We’re trying to get word out in time for the information to help.”
 
Beginnings of an idea
 
The idea to promote helmets actually began around a kitchen table in Chicago three days before the hackathon when Aurika Savickaite, a registered nurse and member of the Chicagoland Lithuanians (Westmont) club, discussed the crisis with her husband, David Lukauskas, who is Trimbel’s brother. Savickaite recalled a clinical trial she participated in that involved the helmets a few years earlier.
 
The three-year study found that using these kinds of helmets helped more patients with respiratory distress avoid intubation than masks, another noninvasive method. The patients’ overall outcomes were also much improved. The helmets can be used in any room equipped with a wall oxygen supply, not just an intensive care unit.
 
“You want to avoid intubation for as long as you can, because generally the mortality rate on intubation is fairly high,” said Savickaite.
 
“Through Rotary, we’re able to connect so many people around the world. It’s a great way to collaborate in this battle.”
 
Lukauskas was surprised that more people weren’t talking about helmets and called Trimbel, who had already signed up as a mentor for Hack the Crisis. Together they enlisted more than a dozen Rotary members from their clubs to explore noninvasive ventilation options and how to expand the use of helmets.
 
The group worked with intensive care unit clinicians, healthcare leaders, helmet manufacturers, technology professionals, and marketing managers. They developed a short questionnaire for clinicians and hospital leaders worldwide, gathered practice-based knowledge on noninvasive ventilation for COVID-19 patients, devised an online platform to connect suppliers with demand, and pursued funding to finance the production of more helmets.
 
Spreading the word
 
Trimbel, her brother, and Savickaite launched their website to encourage collaboration and link manufacturers, clinicians, and funding sources. Trimbel says they’ve also spoken with media outlets in the United States.
 
The website posts news such as the mid-April announcement by Virgin Galactic that it was teaming up with the U.S. space agency NASA and a U.S. hospital to develop their own version of bubble helmets to supplement scarce supplies of ventilators in hospitals in southern California and beyond.
 
“Because of trade restrictions and borders being closed, most countries are on their own,” says Trimbel. “There’s a Facebook group where people are designing their own helmets using balloons and plastics. Some may think it’s funny, but it’s also inspiring. The helmet part is not rocket science, as long as it works with the connectors. We believe this has very big potential.”
The problem-solving team also worked on how to improve the isolation of patients who think they may have the virus, and how to match the supply and demand for medical equipment with available funding. Another team at the hackathon developed a digital platform that helps family physicians find up-to-date medical information on the virus for their patients.
Savickaite feels Rotary is in a strong position to find solutions to problems caused by the pandemic.
 
“Through Rotary, we’re able to connect so many people around the world,” she said. “It’s a great way to collaborate in this battle.”
 
From the ROTARIAN
Hacking a Solution to the COVID-19 Pandemic ARG 2020-05-06 08:00:00Z 0

Painting Tables!!

Annual picnic table painting at the Water Trail Picnic Shelter by the Nick Dudiak Fishing Hole
 
 
 
 
 
 
Painting Tables!! 2020-05-06 08:00:00Z 0

Kachemak Bay State Park -- 50th Anniversary

Hi all,

Saturday, May 9 is the 50th Anniversary of the creation of Kachemak Bay State Park.  Due to the pandemic, planned celebrations have been cancelled or postponed.  As a way to celebrate our Park, I am suggesting folks have a “stay at home” birthday party with a Park themed cake and ice cream.  Take a picture of your cake and share it for all to enjoy on the Water Trail and the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park Facebook pages and send the pictures to Craig for our Bulletin.  No judging, no prizes, just a few extra calories and a bit of creative fun.

Below is my practice cake, a Kachemak Bay Blueberry (berries, not wine) cake with a canned frosting and a few sprinkles.  Hope others will think, “I can do better than that.” And then do it.  I will do better than that for our Saturday Party.

Have fun, stay well,

Dave

Kachemak Bay State Park -- 50th Anniversary 2020-05-05 08:00:00Z 0
New Cases of Covid-19 in Homer 2020-04-30 08:00:00Z 0
Why 6 Feet May Not Be Enough to Protect You From Coronavirus 2020-04-30 08:00:00Z 0

2022 Rotary Peace Fellowships

 Now Accepting Applications for the 2022 Rotary Peace Fellowship - Apply Now!
Promoting peace is one of Rotary’s main causes. The fully funded Rotary Peace Fellowship, which covers tuition and living expenses, increases the capacity of existing leaders to prevent and resolve conflict by offering academic training, field experience, and professional networking.
Up to 130 fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements. Fellows earn either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and development studies at one of the seven Rotary Peace Centers, located at leading universities around the world.
More than 1,300 program alumni are working in more than 115 countries as leaders in national governments, nongovernmental organizations, social enterprises, the military, law enforcement, and international organizations such as the United Nations.
 
▪ 15-24 month program, small-group classroom learning, in fields related to peace and development
▪ Intended for leaders near the start of their careers
▪ 50 fellows selected annually to study at one of five Rotary Peace Centers at partner universities, which offer interdisciplinary curricula with research-informed teaching
▪ 2-3 month field study experience to develop practical skills
▪ Fellows connect with an international cohort of fellows, thought leaders, and a global network of Rotarians
 
▪ Year long program that blends online learning, in-person classes, and an independent project, based at a Rotary Peace Center in Thailand or Uganda
▪ Intended for social change leaders with extensive experience working in peace-related fields
▪ 80 fellows selected annually to earn a certificate in peace and development studies
▪ Interdisciplinary program includes a two-week online preliminary course, 10 weeks of on-site courses with field studies, a nine-month period during which fellows implement a social change initiative (with interactive online sessions), and an on-site capstone seminar
 
Eligibility: Take the eligibility quiz.
 
Qualified candidates must:
▪ Have five years of related work experience for the certificate program and be able to explain how their plan to promote peace aligns with Rotary’s mission
▪ Be proficient in English
▪ Have a bachelor’s degree
▪ Demonstrate leadership skills
▪ Have a strong commitment to cross-cultural understanding and peace
Have three years of related work experience for the master’s program
 
Applications for the 2021-22 academic term need to be submitted to Rotary districts by 31 May 2020. Please write to pameritt@alaska.edu with questions.
If you know someone who might be a good candidate for this fellowship, please submit a referral form with their name and email address. We’ll contact them with information on how to apply. Thank you for supporting our program.
2022 Rotary Peace Fellowships 2020-04-30 08:00:00Z 0


ShelterBox Team Rises to Challenge

When El Niño caused abnormally intense rainfall in April and May 2019, Paraguay experienced massive flooding that displaced an estimated 60,000 people. In Asunción, the capital, the Paraguay River overflowed, and tens of thousands had to live in temporary settlements with inadequate shelter and poor sanitation. With the high waters persisting for months, residents needed humanitarian assistance while they figured out what to do in the long run.
 
That’s how Ned Morris, a member of the Rotary Club of Walla Walla, Washington, found himself in Asunción for 22 days in July and August. It was Morris’ fifth deployment since late 2017, when he completed his training with ShelterBox, Rotary’s partner for disaster relief.
 
 
Ned Morris (second from left) worked closely with ShelterBox team members and community members to ensure that displaced people were getting things they needed.
Image credit: Alyce Henson / Rotary International
 
In its May 2018 issue, The Rotarian followed Morris, fellow Rotarian Wes Clanton, and Rotaractor Katelyn Winkworth as they trained to become members of the ShelterBox Response Team. After 11 months developing the skills needed to assist displaced people around the world, they were invited to participate in the intensive final stage of training conducted by ShelterBox in the rugged countryside in Cornwall, England. After nine days dealing with simulations of the disasters they might encounter on a deployment, ShelterBox welcomed Morris, Clanton, and Winkworth to its response team, which numbers about 200 people worldwide.
 
Since then, Morris has supported families in the Caribbean, Ethiopia, and Kenya as well as Paraguay, experiencing firsthand the power of the Rotary-ShelterBox partnership. “When we hit the ground on any deployment, Rotarians and Rotaractors are our first contact,” he says. “They help us identify safe and unsafe areas, the right places to set up base. They provide drivers and translators. We wouldn’t have the impact we do without the partnership.”
 
In Paraguay, members of the Rotaract clubs of Asunción and Asunción Catedral were crucial to the mission’s success. Mariana Santiviago and Oliver Lugo Fatecha helped with translation, and Gabriela Grasso, Fanny Santos, and others provided logistical support.
 
ShelterBox Response Teams provided shelter kits packed with tarpaulins and tools to help repair homes. They also distributed solar lights, mosquito nets, and blankets to displaced people in Asunción. As for Morris, he served on a team dedicated to monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL), part of ShelterBox’s effort to garner knowledge from each deployment. “The purpose of the MEAL team is to make sure we’re providing the right type of aid that’s needed now,” he explains. “And if they need other things, we want to know what those are. If it’s something that we can bring in the future to improve our response, we want to know.”
 
ShelterBox distributed thermal blankets for the cold nights; mosquito nets are essential for disease prevention.
Image credit: Alyce Henson / Rotary International
 
Community engagement is key to the partnership’s success. The response teams work with local leaders and teach them to show others how to use the resources ShelterBox provides. That means the ShelterBox teams can be small, with lower deployment costs and greater ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
 
The response teams also work directly with the people most affected by a disaster, but they are careful not to be intrusive. “These people are in a horrible situation and they deserve to be respected, consulted, and treated with dignity,” Morris says. “We don’t want to be a burden on them. They’ve already gone through enough.”
 
ShelterBox is always preparing for its next deployment, without knowing where that might be. “We fundraise for the next disaster,” says Morris, who also works as a ShelterBox ambassador, spreading the word about the Rotary-ShelterBox mission. “We already had the supplies in place that we’re delivering now. We are ready when the next hurricane or earthquake hits, wherever that might be. Whatever it is, as soon as the next disaster hits, we are ready.”
— HANK SARTIN
• This story originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
The ShelterBox team, including Rotarians from the UK and the United States, worked alongside local Rotaractors; solar lights make it possible to do chores and cook at night, and provide a sense of comfort.
Image credit: Alyce Henson / Rotary International
 
ShelterBox Team Rises to Challenge 2020-04-30 08:00:00Z 0

Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering

To the Editor:
Video
 
Digital Object Thumbnail
 
Aerosols and droplets generated during speech have been implicated in the person-to-person transmission of viruses,1,2 and there is current interest in understanding the mechanisms responsible for the spread of Covid-19 by these means. The act of speaking generates oral fluid droplets that vary widely in size,1 and these droplets can harbor infectious virus particles. Whereas large droplets fall quickly to the ground, small droplets can dehydrate and linger as “droplet nuclei” in the air, where they behave like an aerosol and thereby expand the spatial extent of emitted infectious particles.2 We report the results of a laser light-scattering experiment in which speech-generated droplets and their trajectories were visualized.
 
The output from a 532-nm green laser operating at 2.5-W optical power was transformed into a light sheet that was approximately 1 mm thick and 150 mm tall. We directed this light sheet through slits on the sides of a cardboard box measuring 53×46×62 cm. The interior of the box was painted black. The enclosure was positioned under a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to eliminate dust.
 
When a person spoke through the open end of the box, droplets generated during speech traversed approximately 50 to 75 mm before they encountered the light sheet. An iPhone 11 Pro video camera aimed at the light sheet through a hole (7 cm in diameter) on the opposite side of the box recorded sound and video of the light-scattering events at a rate of 60 frames per second. The size of the droplets was estimated from ultrahigh-resolution recordings. Video clips of the events while the person was speaking, with and without a face mask, are available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org
.
 
Figure 1. Emission of Droplets While a Person Said “Stay Healthy.”
 
We found that when the person said “stay healthy,” numerous droplets ranging from 20 to 500 μm were generated. These droplets produced flashes as they passed through the light sheet (Figure 1). The brightness of the flashes reflected the size of the particles and the fraction of time they were present in a single 16.7-msec frame of the video. The number of flashes in a single frame of the video was highest when the “th” sound in the word “healthy” was pronounced (Figure 1A). Repetition of the same phrase three times, with short pauses in between the phrases, produced a similar pattern of generated particles, with peak numbers of flashes as high as 347 with the loudest speech and as low as 227 when the loudness was slightly decreased over the three trials (see the top trace in Figure 1A). When the same phrase was uttered three times through a slightly damp washcloth over the speaker’s mouth, the flash count remained close to the background level (mean, 0.1 flashes); this showed a decrease in the number of forward-moving droplets (see the bottom trace in Figure 1A).
 
We found that the number of flashes increased with the loudness of speech; this finding was consistent with previous observations by other investigators.3 In one study, droplets emitted during speech were smaller than those emitted during coughing or sneezing. Some studies have shown that the number of droplets produced by speaking is similar to the number produced by coughing.4
 
We did not assess the relative roles of droplets generated during speech, droplet nuclei,2 and aerosols in the transmission of viruses. Our aim was to provide visual evidence of speech-generated droplets and to qualitatively describe the effect of a damp cloth cover over the mouth to curb the emission of droplets.
 
Philip Anfinrud, Ph.D.
Valentyn Stadnytskyi, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
 
Christina E. Bax, B.A.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
 
Adriaan Bax, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
 
Disclosure forms. opens in new tab provided by the authors are available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org.
 
This letter was published on April 15, 2020, at NEJM.org.
Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering 2020-04-23 08:00:00Z 0
Some Common Symptoms Compared to Covid-19 2020-04-23 08:00:00Z 0

Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandate 16 F,G, and H

Restaurants Dine-In Services
Attachment F
Issued April 22, 2020 Effective April 24, 2020
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 016 - Attachment F Restaurants Dine-In Services
By:  Governor Mike Dunleavy 
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services 
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
I. Applicability: This section applies to restaurants only. Bars remain closed.
II. Restaurants may resume table service dining if they meet all of the following requirements:
a. General:
            i.             Social distancing protocol is maintained.
            ii.            Continue to follow all regulatory and legal standards required to operate a food services business in Alaska.
            iii.           Develop protocols in the restaurant’s COVID-19 Mitigation Plan to minimize direct contact between employees and customers, and increase physical distancing.
b. Capacity:
 i.             Indoors
            1. Groups limited to household members only.
2. Limit maximum indoor capacity by 25 percent based on factors such as   square footage, configuration, or fire code capacity. Business must determine, post, and            enforce. 
3. Tables seating non-household members must be a minimum of ten feet apart 
ii. Outdoors
                  1. Groups limited to household members only.
                  2. No more than 20 tables.
      3. Tables seating non-household members must be a minimum of ten feet apart.
 
c. Operations:
i.      Reservations only. Walk-in prohibited.
ii.     Groups limited to household members only.
iii.    Fabric face coverings worn by all employees.
iv.     Entryway signage stating that any customer who has symptoms of COVID-19 must not enter the premises.
 v.     Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to
         protect staff and the public.
vi. Hard copy of written safety, sanitization, and physical distancing protocols (specific to COVID-19) on the business premises.
vii. Disposableware should be used when available.
viii. Condiments by request in single-use disposable packets or reusable condiments by request that are sanitized between parties.
ix. Fully sanitize tables and chairs after each party.
x. Sanitize or provide disposable menus or menu board. xi. Provide sanitizer on each table or at customer entrance
xii. Hourly touch-point sanitization (workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms).
a. Hygiene:
i. Employer must provide hand-washing or sanitizer at customer entrance and in communal spaces.
ii. Frequent hand washing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and paper towels available. 
iii. Employer must provide for hourly touch-point sanitization (e.g. workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms) throughout work site.
d. Staffing:
i.         Provide training for employees regarding these requirements and the COVID-19
           Mitigation Plan; 
            ii.        Conduct pre-shift screening, maintain staff screening log;
iii.       No employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will provide services to customers – symptomatic or ill employees may not report to work;
            iv.        No person may work within 72 hours of exhibiting a fever;
v.         Employer must establish a plan for employees getting ill and a return-to- work plan following CDC guidance, which can be found here.
 
e. Cleaning and Disinfecting:  
i.        Cleaning and disinfecting must be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols weekly or, in lieu of performing the CDC cleaning and disinfecting, the retail business             may shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours per week to allow for natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a                               comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.
ii.       When an active employee is identified as being COVID-19 positive by testing, CDC cleaning and disinfecting must be performed as soon after the confirmation of a                 positive test as practical. In lieu of performing CDC cleaning and disinfecting, retail businesses may shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours to allow for           natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.
iii. CDC protocols can be found here and here
 
III. Restaurants are encouraged to follow additional best practices:
 
a. Entryway, curbside, and home delivery.
b. Telephone and online ordering for contactless pickup and delivery.
 c. Cashless and receiptless transactions.
d. Customers enter and exit through different entries using one-way traffic, where possible.
 
 
Personal Care Services
Attachment G
Issued April 22, 2020 Effective April 24, 2020
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 016 - Attachment G Personal Care Services
By:  Governor Mike Dunleavy
 Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services 
 Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
 
I. Applicability: This section applies to personal care services including, but not limited to, the following business types:
             i.             Hair salons;
 ii.           Day spas and esthetics locations;
iii.            Nail salons; 
iv.            Barber shops; 
v.             Tattoo shops; 
vi.            Body piercing locations; 
vii.           Tanning facilities; 
viii.          Rolfing; 
ix.            Reiki;
x.             Lactation consultants;
xi.            Acupressure.
x.             Personal Care Services can resume if they meet all of the following     requirements:
 
a. Compliance with Licensing and Board Direction: Nothing in this mandate or any attachment shall be construed to waive any existing statutory, regulatory, or licensing requirements applicable to providers or businesses operating under this attachment. Service providers should consult their licensing board for additional direction on standards for providing services.
b. Social Distancing:
i.             Reservations only. Walk-ins prohibited.
ii.            No person is allowed to stay in waiting areas. Waiting areas should not have any magazines, portfolios, or catalogues. No beverage service can be provided.
iii.           Only the customer receiving the service may enter the shop, except for a parent or guardian accompanying a minor or a guardian ad litem or someone with                    legal power of attorney accompanying an individual with disabilities. Drivers, friends, and relatives cannot enter the business.
            iv.           Limit of one customer per staff person performing personal care services.
v.            No more than ten people should be in the shop at a time, including staff and clients.
vi.          Customers must receive pre-visit telephonic consultation to screen for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, recent travel, and exposure to people with                          suspected or confirmed COVID-19. 
vii.          No more than 20 customers, or 25 percent maximum building occupancy as required by law (whichever is smaller) at any one time; viii. Social distancing of                   at least six feet between customer-employee pairs.
            viii.         Social distancing of at least six feet between customer-employee pairs.
ix.           Workstations must be greater than six feet apart to ensure minimum social distancing is maintained.
x.            Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to protect staff and the public.
xi.           Entryway signage notifying the public of the business’s COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and stating clearly that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID19 may not enter the premises.
c. Hygiene Protocols:
                          i.             Hand-washing or sanitizer shall be provided at customer entrance.
ii.            Service providers must wear surgical masks, at a minimum. Cloth face coverings do not provide sufficient protection given the close proximity of individuals.
iii.           Customers must wear cloth face coverings and wash or sanitize hands upon arrival. Face coverings worn by customers may be removed for a short time when                necessary to perform services, but must be worn at all other times, including when entering and exiting of the shop.
iv.           Employees must wash their hands frequently, including before and after each client, using an adequate supply of hot water with soap.
v.            An adequate supply of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and paper towels must be   available. 
vi.           Owners/employees must clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces periodically throughout the day at least every four hours. This includes tables,                            doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. 
vii.          Business must have a designated employee on-site responsible for monitoring and following all sanitation protocols. 
viii.         Workstations, chairs, tools, shampoo bowls, and anything within six feet of seat must be cleaned and disinfected after each patron. In addition, hourly touch-                   point sanitation must occur. 
ix.           Visibly dirty surfaces must be cleaned immediately. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a disinfectant. Most common EPA
               registered household disinfectants will work.
x.            Aprons must be worn by licensed practitioners and changed between each patron. Aprons must be cleaned and disinfected before re-using. 
xi.           Customer capes are single use only or need to be cleaned and disinfected before re-using.
xii.          Any sanitation protocols required in state licensing statutes or regulations that are more stringent than those listed in this mandate must be followed.
 
d. Staffing/Operations: 
i.        The shop owner is responsible for supplying personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies to its employees or contractors, including masks and                    
Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandate 16 F,G, and H 2020-04-23 08:00:00Z 0


Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandates D and E

Non-Essential Public Facing Businesses Generally (Not Including Retail)
Attachment D
Issued April 22, 2020 Effective April 24, 2020
 
By:  Governor Mike Dunleavy 
 
Commissioner Adam Crum Alaska Department of Health and Social Services 
 
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
 
I. Applicability: This section generally applies to businesses interacting with the public which are not included in Attachment A: Alaska Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure Order. Retail businesses are addressed in Attachment E.
 
II. Non-Essential Businesses can resume operations if they meet all of the following requirements:
 
a. Social Distancing:
                          i. Reservations only. Walk-ins prohibited.
                         ii. Fabric face coverings must be worn by all employees.
                        iii. No more than 20 customers, or 25% maximum building occupancy as required by law (whichever is smaller) is permitted at any one time.
                        iv. Outdoor businesses are not limited by number of customers, but must maintain social distancing between individuals and household groups.  
                         v. Groups or parties must be limited to household members only.
                        vi. Social distance of at least six feet is maintained between individuals.
vii. Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to protect staff and the public.
viii. Entryway signage must notify the public of the business’s COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and clearly state that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may not enter the premises.
b. Hygiene Protocols:
i. Employer must provide hand-washing or sanitizer at customer entrance and in communal spaces.
ii. Frequent hand washing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and paper towels available.
iii. Employer must provide for hourly touch-point sanitization (e.g. workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms) throughout work site.
c. Staffing:
i. Employer must provide training for employees regarding these requirements and provide each    employee a copy of the business mitigation plan. 
                        ii. Employer must conduct pre-shift screening and maintain staff screening log.
iii. No employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will provide services to customers – symptomatic or ill employees may not report to work
iv. No employee may report to the work site within 72 hours of exhibiting a fever. v. Employer must establish a plan for employees getting ill and a return to work plan following CDC guidance, which can be found here.
 
d. Cleaning and Disinfecting:
 i.      Cleaning and disinfecting must be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols weekly or, in lieu of performing the CDC cleaning and disinfecting, the business may              shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours per week to allow for natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive              disinfection of all common surfaces.
ii.      When an active employee is identified as being COVID-19 positive by testing, CDC cleaning and disinfecting must be performed as soon after the confirmation of a                positive test as practical. In lieu of performing CDC cleaning and disinfecting, businesses may shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours to allow for natural          deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.
           iii.     CDC protocols can be found here and here.
 
 III. Non-Essential Businesses Requiring In-Home Services
 
a. Applicability: Businesses not falling under Attachment A: Alaska Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure Workforce which require provision of services in a person’s home. Examples include, but are not limited to, installation of products such as windows, blinds, and furniture, non-critical inspections and appraisals, and showing a home for sale.
b. These businesses can resume operations if they meet all of the following requirements:
 
                       i.     Social Distancing:
                         1. Fabric face coverings worn by all workers and residents of the home.
                         2. Social distance of at least six feet is maintained between nonhousehold individuals.
             3. Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to protect staff and the public.
 
          ii. Hygiene Protocols:
              1. The worker must wash and/or sanitize hands immediately after entering the home and at time of departure.
              2. The worker must sanitize surfaces worked on, and must provide their own cleaning and sanitation supplies.
                      iii. Staffing:
              1. Provide training for employees regarding these requirements and the business mitigation plan.
                                      2. Conduct pre-shift screening and maintain staff screening log.
              3. No employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will provide services to customers – symptomatic or ill employees may not report to work.
                                      4. No person may work within 72 hours of exhibiting a fever.
 
Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandates D and E 2020-04-23 08:00:00Z 0

Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandate 16

Health mandates are orders issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.
Health mandates must be followed
.
Health Mandate 016: Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan - Phase 1-A
Issued: April 22, 2020
By:       Governor Mike Dunleavy
 
            Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
 
            Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
 
The State of Alaska is issuing its sixteenth health mandate, based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020. This Mandate will go into effect April 24, 2020. The State of Alaska reserves the right to amend the Mandate at any time.
 
To date, the State of Alaska has issued 15 mandates to protect the public health of all Alaskans. These mandates, which have been aimed at flattening the curve, have been beneficial in slowing the spread of the disease.
 
This Mandate seeks to balance the ongoing need to maintain diligent efforts to slow and disrupt the rate of infection with the corresponding critical need to resume economic activity in a reasonable and safe manner.
 
This Mandate is the first of a series that are intended to reopen Alaska responsibly. By issuing this Mandate, the Governor is establishing consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate both the public health and the economic impacts of COVID-19 across Alaska.
 
This Mandate addresses and modifies a number of prior Mandates and Health Care Advisories, as appropriate, to implement Phase I of the “Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.” If there is any discrepancy between this Mandate, including its attachments, and any other statements, mandates, advisories, or documents regarding the “Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan”, this Mandate and its attachments will govern. FAQs may be issued to bring additional clarity to this Mandate based on questions that may arise.
 
 Health Mandate 016 – REOPEN ALASKA RESPONSIBLY PLAN- PHASE I-A
 
Health Mandate 016 goes into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020.
 
Reopening Alaska’s businesses is vital to the state’s economic well-being, and to the ability of Alaskans to provide for their families. At the same time, everyone shares in the obligation to keep Alaska safe and continue to combat the spread of COVID-19. As a result, businesses and employees must, to the extent reasonably feasible, continue to take reasonable care to protect their staff and operations during this pandemic. Meanwhile, all Alaskans have an obligation to help promote public health and fight this pandemic by continuing to follow public health guidance regarding sanitizing, handwashing, and use of face masks. Those that are at high risk of infection are encouraged to continue to self-quarantine, to the extent possible, and strictly follow social distancing mandates and advisories.
 
Unless explicitly modified by this Mandate as set forth below and in Attachments D through H, prior Mandates remain in effect unless and until they are amended, rescinded, or suspended by further order of the Governor. The Governor and the State of Alaska reserve the right to amend this Mandate at any time in order to protect the public health, welfare, and safety of the public and assure the state’s safe resumption of economic activity.
 
The activities and businesses listed below that were previously governed by the referenced Mandates may resume under the conditions and guidance provided in the following attachments.
 
Attachment D – Non-Essential Public Facing Businesses Generally – modifies Mandate 011
Attachment E – Retail Businesses – modifies Mandate 011
Attachment F – Restaurants Dine-In Services – modifies Mandate 03.1
Attachment G – Personal Care Services – modifies Mandate 09
Attachment H – Non-Essential Non-Public-Facing Businesses – modifies Mandate 011 
 
PREEMPTION OF LOCAL MANDATES
 
The policies contained in this Health Mandate are most effective when implemented uniformly across the State. Conflicting local provisions will frustrate this Mandate’s health and economic objectives and, therefore, are irreconcilable with this Mandate’s purposes. Therefore, unless specifically authorized by this, or any another Mandate issued by the Governor, this Mandate, Attachment A (Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order), Attachment B (Alaska Small Community Emergency Travel Order), and Attachments D through G expressly and intentionally supersede and preempt any existing or future conflicting local, municipal, or tribal mandate, directive, resolution, ordinance, regulation, or other order.
 
Business operations and other activities permitted to operate under this mandate may not be prohibited by local, municipal, or tribal mandate, directive, resolution, ordinance, regulation, or other order.
 
Notwithstanding the above, businesses subject to this mandate that are located within the Municipality of Anchorage, must continue to operate under prior state and municipal mandates through 8 a.m. Monday April 27, 2020, at which time, this Mandate will control
ENFORCEMENT
 
A violation of a State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition to the potential civil fines noted, a person or organization that fails to follow State COVID-19 Mandates designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impact may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. Reckless endangerment is defined as follows:
(a)          A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages I       n conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another        person.
            (b)         Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor.
Pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.135, a defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year.
Additionally, under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, a person may be fined up to $25,000 for a class A misdemeanor, and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.
 
***This Mandate is in effect until rescinded or modified.***
 
I. Applicability: This section generally applies to businesses interacting with the public which are not included in Attachment A: Alaska Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure Order. Retail businesses are addressed in Attachment E.
 
II. Non-Essential Businesses can resume operations if they meet all of the following requirements:
                
a.            Social Distancing:
 i.            Reservations only. Walk-ins prohibited. 
ii.            Fabric face coverings must be worn by all employees.
iii.           No more than 20 customers, or 25% maximum building occupancy as required by law (whichever is smaller) is permitted at any one time.
iv.           Outdoor businesses are not limited by number of customers, but must maintain social distancing between individuals and household groups.  
v.            Groups or parties must be limited to household members only.
vi.           Social distance of at least six feet is maintained between individuals.
vii.          Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to protect staff and the public.
viii.        Entryway signage must notify the public of the business’s COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and clearly state that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may not enter the premises.
b. Hygiene Protocols:
 i.            Employer must provide hand-washing or sanitizer at customer entrance and in communal spaces.
ii.            Frequent hand washing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and paper towels available. 
iii.           Employer must provide for hourly touch-point sanitization (e.g. workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms) throughout work site.
c. Staffing:
i.            Employer must provide training for employees regarding these requirements and provide each employee a copy of the business mitigation plan.
 ii.           Employer must conduct pre-shift screening and maintain staff screening log.
iii.           No employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will provide services to customers – symptomatic or ill employees may not report to work
iv.           No employee may report to the work site within 72 hours of exhibiting a fever.
v.           Employer must establish a plan for employees getting ill and a return to work plan following CDC guidance, which can be found here.
               d. Cleaning and Disinfecting:
i.            Cleaning and disinfecting must be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols weekly or, in lieu of performing the CDC cleaning and disinfecting, the business may shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours per week to allow for natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.
 ii.          When an active employee is identified as being COVID-19 positive by testing, CDC cleaning and disinfecting must be performed as soon after the confirmation of a positive test as practical. In lieu of performing CDC cleaning and disinfecting, businesses may shut down for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours to allow for natural deactivation of the virus, followed by site personnel performing a comprehensive disinfection of all common surfaces.
iii.          CDC protocols can be found here and here. 
 III. Non-Essential Businesses Requiring In-Home Services
a.            Applicability: Businesses not falling under Attachment A: Alaska Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure Workforce which require provision of services in a   person’s home. Examples include, but are not limited to, installation of products such as windows, blinds, and furniture, non-critical inspections and appraisals, and showing a home for sale.
b.            These businesses can resume operations if they meet all of the following requirements:
i.             Social Distancing:
1.            Fabric face coverings worn by all workers and residents of the home.
2.            Social distance of at least six feet is maintained between non-household individuals.
3.            Establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and protocols to protect staff and the public.
ii.            Hygiene Protocols:
            1. The worker must wash and/or sanitize hands immediately after entering the home and at time of departure.
            2. The worker must sanitize surfaces worked on, and must provide their own cleaning and sanitation supplies.
iii.           Staffing:
                         1.            Provide training for employees regarding these requirements and the business mitigation plan.
 2.           Conduct pre-shift screening and maintain staff screening log.
 3.            No employee displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will provide services to customers – symptomatic or ill employees may not report to work.
 4.            No person may work within 72 hours of exhibiting a fever.
Alaska Coronavirus Health Mandate 16 2020-04-23 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Monitors the Coronavirus Impact

Rotary is closely monitoring the pandemic of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and continuously assessing the potential impact on Rotary operations, events, and members.
 
Your health and safety are always our top priorities. Look below for information on Rotary activities that may be affected. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
 
Read how members are using ingenuity and flexibility to help people affected by coronavirus and to stay connected.
Affected areas
Resources 
Grant options to respond to COVID-19
 
As people of action, Rotary members want to find ways to respond to COVID-19, and to help people affected by it. The Rotary Foundation offers several options that Rotarians can use to help care for and protect people in their own communities and others around the world.
 
District grants
 
Districts can use District Grant funds to support local activities, like purchasing thermometers, protective medical gear, or other items to donate to medical professionals who need them. Districts can also use contingency funds from an open district grant or repurpose previously planned activities as a COVID-19 response. As districts prepare to submit new district grant applications for 2020-21, we encourage you to designate funds for COVID-19 responses. As a one-time exception, the Foundation will allow expenses related to COVID-19 that were incurred since 15 March 2020 to be reimbursed through 2020-21 district grants.
 
Disaster Response Grants and Rotary’s Disaster Response Fund
 
Rotary’s Disaster Response Grants provide a fast and effective way to respond to local events. The Rotary Foundation recently added COVID-19 projects to its list of eligible activities for these grants. Each district can apply for one grant (of up to $25,000) to address COVID-19, depending on the availability of funds. Disaster response grants are funded by the Rotary Disaster Response Fund to help districts around the world respond to disasters. The fund accepts online contributions and DDF. Districts may designate that their DDF contributions to the Disaster Response Fund be used exclusively for COVID-19 grant activities. Cash contributions will be used for general disaster response, including response to COVID-19.
 
Global Grants
 
Global Grants remain an excellent way to make a transformative impact in a community. If medical equipment is needed in order to respond effectively to COVID-19, global grants can help pay for these items. The Foundation is waiving the 30 percent foreign financing requirement for any new global grant that addresses COVID-19. Note that these grants still require both a host and international partner.
 
For additional information, contact your Regional GrantsOfficer.
 
Polio
 
Using the vast infrastructure developed to identify the poliovirus and deliver vaccination campaigns, the polio eradication program is pitching in to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19, especially in polio-endemic countries. Learn more.
 
Rotary International Convention
 
We regret to announce that the Rotary International Convention, scheduled for 6-10 June 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, has been canceled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Learn more
 
Other major Rotary events
 
To protect the health of all involved, Rotary canceled the presidential conferences scheduled for 28 March at UNESCO in Paris, France, and 9 May at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. People who registered will receive an email from the organizers with additional information and details about refunds. 
 
Club and district meetings
 
Rotary International recommends that districts and Rotary and Rotaract clubs meet virtually, cancel, or postpone meetings. Learn from other clubs about hosting virtual club meetings in the Learning Center
Closely examine your personal circumstances, including any health issues, when you consider travel and participation in events.
 
Rotary leadership, committees, RI secretariat
 
The RI Board of Directors and The Rotary Foundation Trustees meetings will take place remotely via webinar rather than in-person. 
All Rotary committees and events scheduled to take place at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, have been canceled through 31 May. If feasible, committees may choose to hold virtual meetings
All RI staff travel, both international and domestic, has also been canceled through 31 May. RI staff at Evanston headquarters and all of Rotary’s global offices are practicing social distancing by working from home until least 30 April. 
 
Rotary Youth Exchange
 
Contact your partner districts to confirm specific precautions related to COVID-19 where students are being hosted. All districts, as well as students and their parents, should consult travel advisories and guidelines issued by their embassies or consular offices, international public health agencies like the World Health Organization, and local health authorities for the latest and most relevant information.
 
Districts should strongly consider ending exchanges and returning students home if it is safe and possible to do so. 
 
In some situations, returning a student home may present a greater risk. Determine how international travel conditions or requirements (medical screenings, preauthorization, etc.), strict quarantine measures, or the situation in a student’s host and home country may impact each student’s return depending on their specific circumstances. However, it is also important to consider how this rapidly changing situation may progress and present new challenges in the future, including the possibility that students may be prevented from returning home for an indefinite period of time.
 
Districts must communicate regularly with parents or /legal guardians and consult with local embassies, consulates, and public health authorities to make informed decisions that prioritize safety, minimize risk, and consider the impact of each decision related to a student’s exchange. In any event, parents or legal guardians may choose to remove their child from the program at any time.
 
Also, consider whether student trips or local activities planned for the future could expose participants to an increased risk or to challenges returning home and cancel or postpone all nonessential travel.
 
Rotary Peace Fellowships and other programs
 
For peace fellows: Countries listed as Level 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been added to Rotary’s travel ban list, and all nonessential travel to, from, or through those countries is restricted for Rotary staff and fellows. Use discretion if you plan to travel to or through Level 2 countries. Fellows currently in a country experiencing the spread of COVID-19 are advised to follow the recommendations of your host university and the country’s national health agencies. 
 
For first-year fellows preparing for your applied field experience, we recommend you consider options in your study country and have an alternate plan in place in case travel is restricted further. Beyond health and safety concerns, we do not want fellows to be subject to quarantines or have challenges returning to the country where you study because of your field experience travel. You can contact your staff specialist with specific questions about how Rotary’s policy may affect your field experience planning.
 
For Interact and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): Consider whether planned events, trips, or local activities could expose young people to an increased risk, and consider canceling or postponing nonessential travel or large gatherings. 
 
Follow the guidance of schools for any closures or delayed start times that may affect school-based program participants. Discuss how they can stay engaged and safe until school resumes. Talk with parents or guardians about their child’s health and safety and what Rotary clubs and districts are doing to minimize the exposure and impact for participants in Rotary activities and events. 
 
Participants in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, and Rotary Action Groups and their affiliated chapters should follow recommendations from the World Health Organization and the host region’s national, regional, or local health authorities when considering whether to cancel or postpone events, meetings, or activities.
Districts organizing international programs such as Rotary Friendship Exchanges and New Generations Service Exchanges could expose participants to an increased risk. Organizers should follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the national, regional, or local health authorities of participating districts when considering whether to cancel or postpone planned trips or activities.
 
Rotary-funded travel
 
Any Rotary-funded travel, including grant recipients, Rotary Youth Exchange participants, and Rotary Peace Fellows, have been canceled through 31 May. Direct additional questions about Rotary-funded travel to your appropriate program officer.
Rotary Monitors the Coronavirus Impact 2020-04-15 08:00:00Z 0

Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate  15

COVID-19 Health Mandates

Issued By: Governor Mike Dunleavy

Health mandates are orders issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.


Health mandates must be followed.

Health Mandate 015: Services by Health Care Providers

Issued: April 15, 2020

By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the State of Alaska is issuing its fifteenth health mandate, based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.

While health care is an essential service, there is also the risk of coronavirus spreading in health care facilities and to vulnerable populations. The suspension of non-essential procedures and health care have been beneficial in slowing the spread of the disease. The benefits of suspension must also be balanced with delayed health care and other health outcomes.

Health Mandate 015 is being issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy and the State of Alaska. Mandate 015 will go into effect in phases, with Section II going into effect April 20, 2020 and Section IV going into effect May 4, 2020; however, the State of Alaska reserves the right to amend the Mandate at any time.

This Mandate supersedes Mandate 005 and 006 and affects the health care providers directly addressed in Mandate 009.

Health Mandate 015 – Services by Health Care Providers

I. Applicability: This Mandate applies to the following heath care facilities and health care providers:

a. Heath Care Facilities
i. Hospitals, private, municipal, state, or federal, including tribal
ii. Independent diagnostic testing facilities
iii. Residential psychiatric treatment centers
iv. Skilled and intermediate nursing facilities
v. Kidney disease treatment, including free-standing facilities
vi. Ambulatory surgery centers
vii. Free-standing birth centers
viii. Home health agencies
ix. Hospice
x. Rural health clinics defined under AS 47.32.900(21) and 7 AAC 12.450
xi. A health care provider office (for reference see 7 AAC 07.001)

b. Health Care Providers as Defined in Statute
i. Acupuncturists
ii. Ambulatory Surgery Centers
iii. Assistant Behavior Analysts
iv. Athletic Trainers
v. Audiologists/Speech-Language Pathologists
vi. Behavior Analysts
vii. Certified Nurse Aides
viii. Chiropractors
ix. Dental Hygienists
x. Dentists
xi. Dieticians
xii. Hospitals
xiii. Hearing Aid Dealers
xiv. Health Aides
xv. Long-Term Care Facilities
xvi. Marital and Family Therapists
xvii. Massage Therapists
xviii. Midwives
xix. Mobile Intensive Care Paramedics
xx. Naturopaths
xxi. Nurses
xxii. Nutritionists
xxiii. Occupational Therapy Assistants
xxiv. Opticians
xxv. Optometrists
xxvi. Pharmacists
xxvii. Pharmacy Technicians
xxviii. Physical Therapists
xxix. Occupational Therapists
xxx. Physician Assistants
xxxi. Physicians/Osteopathic Physicians
xxxii. Podiatrists
xxxiii. Professional Counselors
xxxiv. Psychologists
xxxv. Psychological Associates
xxxvi. Religious Healing Practitioners
xxxvii. Social Workers
xxxviii. Veterinarians
xxxix. Students training for a licensed profession who are required to receive training in a health care facility as a condition of licensure

II. Health Care Delivery
Section II goes into effect April 20, 2020

a. Health care facilities and providers defined in statute and listed in Section I, will be able to resume services that require minimal protective equipment and follow the guidance below.
i. Every effort should continue to be made to deliver care without being in the same physical space, such as utilizing telehealth, phone consultation, and physical barriers between providers and patients.
ii. All health care, delivered both in and out of health care facilities, (this includes hospitals, surgical centers, long-term care facilities, clinic and office care, as well as home care) shall deploy universal masking procedures in coordination with the facility infection control program. This may be a combination of cloth face coverings (for employees not present for provision of services or procedures, such as front desk staff) and surgical masks for those involved in non-aerosolizing direct-patient care.
iii. Regardless of symptoms, all health care facilities should screen all patients for recent illness, travel, fever, or recent exposure to COVID-19, and to the extent that is possible, begin testing all admitted patients.
iv. Every effort shall be made to minimize aerosolizing procedure (such as a nerve block over deep sedation or intubation).
v. Other urgent or emergent procedures with an increased risk of exposure, such as deliveries, dental work, aerosolizing procedures such as suctioning, intubation, and breathing treatments, should have patients tested for SARS CoV-2 prior to the procedure or birth, to the extent that is reasonably possible, after considering available testing capacity and any other relevant constraints. In the alternative, clinicians should use rigorous screening procedures and treat suspicious patients as if they are positive for COVID-19.
vi. It is the duty of the provider to ensure the health considerations of staff and patients. This includes the health of the provider, ensuring providers not come to work while ill, minimizing travel of providers, and adequate personal protective equipment. They are also encouraged to utilize the following means of protection:
1. Pre-visit telephonic screening and questionnaire.
2. Entry screening.
3. Lobbies and waiting rooms with defined and marked social distancing and limited occupancy.
4. Other personal and environmental mitigation efforts such as gloves, exceptional hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, and enhanced airflow.

III. Urgent and Emergent Services

a. Health care services that are urgent or emergent should continue, but with the enhanced screening and safety measures listed in Section II.
i. In addition to emergent surgeries and procedures that cannot be delayed without significant risk to life, surgeries and procedures are permitted to proceed if delay is deemed to cause significant impact on health, livelihood, or quality of life. Each facility should review these procedures with its task force that was created in the April 7, 2020 revision to COVID-19 Health Mandate 005. Surgeries and procedures that can be delayed without posing a significant risk to health, livelihood, or quality of life must be postponed until further notice.
ii. All patients coming to surgery should be tested for SARS CoV-2 within 48 hours of their procedure. If positive, all procedures should be considered for delay, and specifically those procedures not urgent or emergent, as defined by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), should be postponed or canceled. If a facility is unable to test patients within 48 hours of their procedure, facilities should use rigorous screening procedures and treat suspicious patients as if they are positive for COVID-19.

IV. Provision for Resuming Non-Urgent/Non-Emergent Elective Services

a. Health care services that cannot be delayed beyond eight weeks without posing a significant risk to quality of life may resume Monday May 4, 2020 if the following conditions are met:
i. Health care delivery can meet all of the standards outlined in Section II of this mandate.
ii. Health care is delivered by a provider listed in statute (see Section I).
iii. Health care can be safely done with a surgical mask, eye protection and gloves.
iv. If the procedure puts the health care worker at increased risk such as deliveries, dental work, or aerosolizing procedures such as suctioning, intubation, or breathing treatments then a negative PCR for Sars-CoV-2 must be obtained within 48 hours prior to the procedure.
v. There are to be no visitors in health care facilities except for: end-of-life visits; a parent of a minor; a support person for labor and delivery settings; and only one (1) spouse or caregiver that resides with the patient will be allowed into the facility during the day of a surgery or procedure and at the time of patient discharge to allow for minimal additional exposure. If a caregiver does not reside with the patient, they can be with the patient at the time of discharge. Any of the allowed visitors must wear a fabric face covering.
vi. Workers must maintain social distancing of at least six feet from non-patients and must minimize contact with the patient.
vii. Exceptional environmental mitigation strategies must be maintained, including the protection of lobbies and front desk staff.
viii. Unlicensed assistive personnel necessary to procedures under this section may be included in service delivery.

V. Other Considerations
a. Patients traveling for medical procedures and health care services is allowed under Health Mandate 012 to travel within Alaska as a critical personal need.
b. Patients whose communities have established quarantines for return from intra-state travel as outlined in Attachment B – Alaska Small Community Emergency Travel Order, should have a plan in place, developed with their local community, for return home after their procedures.
c. Transportation may be arranged on behalf of individuals who must travel to receive medical care and must be able to return home following the medical treatment or must arrange for their own accommodations if they are unable to return home.
d. Every effort should be made to minimize physical interaction and encourage alternative means such as telehealth and videoconferencing. For many licensed health care professionals, this will mean continued delays in care or postponing care.
e. Every effort should be made in the outpatient and ambulatory care setting to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and follow the following guidelines:
• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ambulatory-care-settings.html
f. Dental work carries an added risk of spreading COVID-19, especially to the dentist who can spread it to others and so dental guidance should be followed and are listed here:
• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html
g. Dialysis centers provide life-saving work, but it is also a place where high-risk individuals congregate. They need to follow the following guidelines:
• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dialysis.html

*** State of Alaska reserves the right to change this mandate at any time ***

THIS MANDATE SUPERSEDES ANY AND ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANDATES OR ORDERS PUT INTO EFFECT BY BOROUGHS, MUNICIPALITIES, CITIES, VILLAGES, AND TRIBES.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit covid19.alaska.gov

State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 015

Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate  15 2020-04-15 08:00:00Z 0

Several Articles on Protecting Yourself and Others From Covid-19

 

How To See How Germs Can Spread (Coronavirus)


Yes, You Can Spread Coronavirus Even If You Don’t Have Symptoms
Tara C. Smith, Ph.D.
6 days agoMiddle-aged Asian man looking through a window, sipping coffee and using ideas
© Getty Middle-aged Asian man looking through a window, sipping coffee and using ideas
 
There’s one question about the new coronavirus that keeps coming up over and over again: Why should I have to stay at home, avoid seeing my friends, and not let my kids play with other kids if we’re all fine and healthy? None of us have symptoms, none of us have been exposed, none of us are high-risk. We don’t even have many cases in our area. Why do we still have to isolate ourselves as much as possible?
 
The short answer: Because we know that the new coronavirus can spread before people have symptoms. And we know that not everyone is getting tested. So, it’s entirely possible that while everyone in your immediate circle seems fine and safe, there’s (at least) one person who is unknowingly spreading the virus without any symptoms at all. It’s also possible that this is happening outside your immediate circle, but somewhere else in your town, leading to a swath of cases that no one will see coming until some people do start to have symptoms, end up in the hospital, and start getting tested.
 
This is why we all need to be social distancing—even when it seems like it shouldn’t apply to you.
 
 
But what we’re still figuring out is when exactly the new coronavirus is contagious in people without symptoms, when you can expect to see symptoms after being exposed, and whether or not the people who never get symptoms can still actively spread the disease around.
 
To sort through what we know about these questions, I reached out to virologist Chad Petit, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Caroline Colijn, Ph.D., an infectious disease modeler at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
 
This is how a virus spreads.
 
First, let’s discuss what we mean when we say “viral transmission,” which refers to the process by which viruses spread from host to host. “Typically, this is person to person but can also include viruses jumping from one species to another,” Petit tells SELF. (It’s thought that the new coronavirus entered the human population through this mechanism, probably from a bat but potentially via another animal species.)
 
The new coronavirus mostly seems to be spreading via “droplet transmission.” This happens when someone close to you (within about six feet) is coughing, sneezing, talking, or even just breathing and releases droplets containing the virus, which can then land on your nose and mouth and enter your system. These droplets can also land on surfaces, like countertops and doorknobs, which you might then touch. If you touch your face afterward, especially your eyes, mouth, or nose, the virus can get into your body.
 
Once the virus is in your body, it can attach to and enter your cells. While inside a host cell, “the virus shuts down the cell’s defense mechanisms and commandeers your cell’s resources to make more viruses, essentially turning your own cell into a virus-producing factory,” each of which can release more viruses to start the process all over again on other cells, Petit says.
 
UP NEXT
 
Click on Picture to Run Video
 
This kicks off the incubation period, which is the timeframe when your body is producing more of the virus but you’re not yet showing symptoms like a fever, aches, coughing, and shortness of breath. “During this time, there may not be any clinical symptoms to alert the person that they are, in fact, infected,” Petit explains, but you could still be infecting other people. This is called “presymptomatic transmission,” and it’s the reason why you can’t just say, “Well, I’m not sick, and no one I’m spending time with is sick, and none of us have been exposed to anyone showing symptoms—so aren’t we in the clear?” Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that.
Research does back up the idea that people are likely spreading the new coronavirus before they have symptoms. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rporte found that 331 of 712 people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 didn’t have any symptoms when they tested positive. That amounted to 46.5 percent of those with positive tests—so, almost half. They could have had the potential to spread the virus at that time, but we aren’t sure how much that actually happened. Another CDC article described how the new coronavirus spread from one teacher to two others during a dinner meeting on January 6. The first person in this trio to develop symptoms started feeling ill two days after the dinner, and the others—who aren’t known to have had any other potential COVID-19 exposures—developed symptoms four and six days after the dinner, respectively. They all appeared to be in fine health at the dinner, but it seems that one teacher still spread the new coronavirus to the others, who then reportedly spread it to some of their family members.
 
We still don’t know exactly when in the incubation period someone starts being contagious.
 
To determine the incubation period, we test sick individuals, figure out who they were in contact with and who might have been exposed to the virus, and then follow those exposed contacts over time to see if they get sick. If we know when those individuals were exposed and when they came down with the illness, then we can figure out the incubation period. “Currently, the incubation period typically lasts for 2 to 7 days ([with an] estimated median incubation period of 5.1 days), with 98 percent of those infected developing symptoms within 11.5 days,” Petit explains, adding that these numbers might shift when we have more information from new cases. A small percentage of people seem not to show symptoms until closer to 14 days.
 
But that still doesn’t tell us exactly when during the incubation period a person can spread the virus. It can’t be right at the beginning, because the virus hasn’t started to grow inside a person’s system at that point. Colijn is currently working on a project to figure this out.
 
“We can compare two things: (a) the incubation period,” she tells SELF, “and (b) the serial interval, the time between one person getting symptoms and someone they infected getting symptoms.” Colijn and her fellow researchers have described their findings in this study, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed but still offers interesting insights into this question. When analyzing information from Singapore and Tianjin, China, they found that the serial interval was shorter than the incubation period, meaning people seem able to spread the new coronavirus before they feel sick. Specifically, the study suggests that people may be able to transmit the virus to others at least three days before their own symptoms develop.
 
And what about people who test positive but never seem to develop symptoms?
 
The CDC study of cruise ship COVID-19 transmission determined that almost 18 percent of people on the Diamond Princess who had the new coronavirus never showed symptoms at all, then recovered. They apparently remained asymptomatic.
 
“Data on those who are completely asymptomatic is a major gap right now,” Colijn says. She explains that we can start to fill this gap when we can do large-scale serological tests to measure COVID-19 antibodies in people’s blood. This will tell us who was exposed to the virus at some point in the past but may never have known they were infected because they never felt ill. But until we have those widespread testing capabilities, we won’t have the full picture of who exactly is spreading the virus and when.
 
If people can spread the virus before they have symptoms, controlling the spread requires drastic measures.
 
For now, we’re still left with questions about how and when asymptomatic and presymptomatic COVID-19 spread is occurring. But we do know this: An outbreak is more difficult to control if we can spread the disease even when we don’t have symptoms. Yes, as Petit notes, it can seem completely counterintuitive that you could have COVID-19 but feel fine. But when people try to go about their daily lives as much as possible right now, it’s enhancing the spread of the virus, Petit explains. There’s really no way around that. This means that we can’t just take precautions if we’re feeling sick or think we’ve been exposed to someone who is sick.  
 
This is why social distancing is critical right now (along with other important practices like washing your hands well and often). It’s why we’re telling you not to meet up with your friends, or go out to the bar that’s still open in your town, or schedule a playdate for your kids, or otherwise carry on as you normally would. We can’t just assume that we would know if someone was transmitting the virus. Because, at this point, we don’t.
 
Even if you think your risk of getting sick is low, don’t let that perception make you feel like the rules don’t apply to you. You have no way of knowing if anyone you come into contact with has the virus or was recently exposed to someone who does, regardless of symptoms. And if you think you’re not at risk because you’re young and healthy, you should know that experts are starting to realize even younger people with no underlying health conditions can become extremely sick and, tragically, even die from COVID-19.
 
“We will be unlikely to control this by only isolating ill people,” Colijn says. “[There’s] need for broader measures—keeping away from each other—even if we don't know that we are sick.” She also cautions patience and notes that we won’t see the effects of social distancing immediately. “Cases that are confirmed today were infected some time ago, and we have only just started seriously physically distancing ourselves,” she says. “So take heart,” she adds. “We hope to see the results soon.”
Several Articles on Protecting Yourself and Others From Covid-19 2020-04-08 08:00:00Z 0

6 Mild Symptoms of Coronavirus You Shouldn’t Ignore, According to Doctors

Korin Miller
4 days ago
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made the symptoms of COVID-19 crystal clear: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. But as more and more people develop the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, experts are seeing a wide range of symptoms in patients—and they tend to overlap with the common cold, flu, and even allergies.
a person lying on a bed: The signs of COVID-19 can go beyond a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Here, doctors explain the mild symptoms of novel coronavirus you shouldn’t ignore.© Westend61 - Getty Images The signs of COVID-19 can go beyond a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Here, doctors explain the mild symptoms of novel coronavirus you shouldn’t ignore.
 
The CDC maintains those big three are the symptoms of novel coronavirus, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has a more extensive list that includes 14 different symptoms detected in people with mild cases of COVID-19. That’s a big deal, since “most people infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover,” per a February report of a joint World Health Organization-China mission. In fact, that report found that 80% of confirmed patients had mild to moderate disease.
 
So, which coronavirus symptoms should you be paying closer attention to—and what should you do if you think you may be infected? Here’s what doctors want you to know.
 
Back up: Why does the CDC only list three novel coronavirus symptoms?
 
“It’s because these are the most common symptoms in the U.S.,” says Richard Watkins, M.D., infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.
  • Fever: This is by far the most common sign of COVID-19, and is defined by having a temperature of 100.4° F or higher.
  • Cough: Experts say patients typically develop a dry cough, meaning you’re coughing but nothing is coming up, like phlegm or mucus.
  • Shortness of breath: This symptom often presents in more advanced cases and can range in severity. Some people simply feel winded by otherwise normal activities, while others end up having trouble breathing on their own. “It feels like you’re not getting enough air,” says David Cutler, M.D., a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
That said, several studies have shown a solid number of people infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms. “We are likely missing many cases here in the U.S.,” Dr. Watkins says.
 
What are the mild symptoms of novel coronavirus?
 
In the WHO report, the organization analyzes nearly 56,000 cases of COVID-19 in China and breaks down a wide range of “typical” symptoms, as well as how often people with the virus experienced them:
  • Fever (87.9%)
  • Dry cough (67.7%)
  • Fatigue (38.1%)
  • Sputum production (33.4%)
  • Shortness of breath (18.6%)
  • Sore throat (13.9%)
  • Headache (13.6%)
  • Muscle aches and pains (14.8%)
  • Chills (11.4%)
  • Nausea or vomiting (5.0%)
  • Nasal congestion (4.8%)
  • Diarrhea (3.7%)
  • Coughing up blood (0.9%)
  • Red eyes (0.8%)
A lost sense of smell wasn’t on the WHO’s list, but several organizations—including the British Rhinological Society, British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, and American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), say it’s a possible symptom, too.
 
Below, what you need to know about the mild symptoms that didn’t make the CDC’s list:
 
1. Lost sense of smell
This “has been seen in patients ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus with no other symptoms,” the AAO-HNS said in a statement. “It could potentially be used as a screening tool to help identify otherwise asymptomatic patients, who could then be better instructed on self-isolation.” According to a joint statement from the British Rhinological Society and British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, two out of every three people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany had a lost sense of smell, and 30% of patients in South Korea who tested positive experienced the same thing.
 
“Viruses are a common cause of changes to the sense of smell or taste that can occur with an upper respiratory infection,” says Rachel Kaye, M.D., assistant professor of laryngology-voice, airway, and swallowing disorders at Rutgers University. “Viral infection can result in both inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity lining, leading to nasal congestion, which in turn causes a change in smell. Furthermore, there is also some evidence that viral infection can lead to neurologic damage in the smell receptors.”
 
2. Fatigue
It’s not shocking that a viral infection would cause people to feel completely wiped out, says Susan Besser, M.D., a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “Your body is working hard to fight the virus, and that requires a lot of energy,” she says. “It doesn’t leave much energy left over for you.”
 
3. Sputum production
Sputum production, a.k.a. excess mucus that you may cough up, isn’t super common with COVID-19, but it’s common enough that more than a third of patients have experienced it. Dr. Cutler points out that sputum production is common with plenty of other respiratory conditions, like the common cold and allergies, so you shouldn’t rush to assume you have coronavirus if you’re experiencing this.
 
4. Sore throat
Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, you may have postnasal drip (where excess mucus drips down the back of your nose and throat) and that can cause irritation in your throat, Dr. Besser says. Also, constantly coughing can be tough on your throat in general.
 
5. Aches, pains, and headaches
These are common symptoms with viruses, Dr. Cutler says. “When you get a viral infection, often you get a fever and that fever response can cause the body to feel achy all over,” he explains. “We see that with the flu and other infections as well.”
 
6. Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
There’s no clear reason to explain why this is happening in some people, Dr. Besser says, but she has some theories. “It’s possibly due to increased drainage from postnasal drip into the stomach—that can cause issues,” she says. It could also just be the way the virus itself behaves in some people, she says.
 
New research in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that a “unique sub-group” of COVID-19 patients develop digestive symptoms. “In some cases, the digestive symptoms, particularly diarrhea, can be the initial presentation of COVID-19, and may only later or never present with respiratory symptoms or fever,” the researchers wrote.
 
They believe these symptoms may occur because the virus enters your system through “a receptor found in both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract where it is expressed at nearly 100-fold higher levels than in respiratory organs.”
 
What should you do if you think you have novel coronavirus symptoms?
If you’re experiencing multiple symptoms of COVID-19, get your doctor on the phone. You should not go to the hospital, because you could potentially spread the virus if you do have it or pick it up if you actually don’t. Once you discuss your symptoms, your doctor will be able to determine if you qualify for a COVID-19 test and go from there.
 
However, there is no specific cure for novel coronavirus and most people are being advised to treat mild symptoms with over-the-counter remedies while isolating at home for at least 14 days, Dr. Watkins says. “Many people have symptoms for two weeks—some longer and others a shorter duration,” he adds.
 
For a fever, aches, and pains, have acetaminophen (Tylenol) on hand and follow the label’s dosage instructions. Turn to cough medicine or tea with honey to relieve your cough or sore throat. Plenty of rest and fluids are also recommended. If you notice your symptoms getting worse, though, call your doctor again about next steps. And if the following occur, the CDC says it’s your cue to head to the hospital: 
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Other severe or concerning symptoms (like a fever that won’t die down)
When can you leave your home after experiencing novel coronavirus symptoms?
 
The CDC has guidelines that depend on whether you have access to a COVID-19 test.
 
If you will not have a test, the CDC says you can leave home after these three things happen:
  • You don’t have a fever for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • Your symptoms have improved.
  • At least seven days have passed since you first had symptoms.
If you will have a test, you can leave home after the following:
  • You no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • Your symptoms have improved.
  • You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.
When in doubt, call your doctor to be on the safe side.
 
From PREVENTION
 
 
 
6 Mild Symptoms of Coronavirus You Shouldn’t Ignore, According to Doctors 2020-04-06 08:00:00Z 0

THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS:  Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public?

Health Experts Revisit The Question
CARMEL WROTH
Even without symptoms, you might have the virus and be able to spread it when out in public, say researchers who now are reconsidering the use of surgical masks.
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images
 
Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET
 
A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.
 
But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.
 
At the moment, the CDC website says the only people who need to wear a face mask are those who are sick or are caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a mask.
 
But in an interview with NPR on Monday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the agency is taking another look at the data around mask use by the general public.
 
"I can tell you that the data and this issue of whether it's going to contribute [to prevention] is being aggressively reviewed as we speak," Redfield told NPR.
 
And Tuesday, President Trump weighed in suggesting people may want to wear scarves. "I would say do it," he said, noting that masks are needed for health care works. "You can use scarves, you can use something else," he said.
 
On Tuesday Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said the task force is still discussing whether to change to the recommendation on masks.
 
Other prominent public health experts have been raising this issue in recent days. Wearing a mask is "an additional layer of protection for those who have to go out," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NPR in an interview. It's a step you can take — on top of washing your hands and avoiding gatherings.
 
In a paper outlining a road map to reopen the country, Gottlieb argues that the public should be encouraged to wear masks during this current period of social distancing, for the common good.
 
"Face masks will be most effective at slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if they are widely used, because they may help prevent people who are asymptomatically infected from transmitting the disease unknowingly," Gottlieb wrote. Gottlieb points to South Korea and Hong Kong — two places that were shown to manage their outbreaks successfully and where face masks are used widely.
 
A prominent public health leader in China also argues for widespread use of masks in public. The director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, George Gao, told Science that the U.S. and Europe are making a "big mistake" with people not wearing masks during this pandemic. Specifically, he said, mask use helps tamp down the risk presented by people who may be infected but aren't yet showing symptoms.
 
If those people wear masks, "it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others," Gao told Science.
 
The argument for broadening the use of face masks is based on what scientists have learned about asymptomatic spread during this pandemic.
 
It turns out that many people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms — or only mild symptoms.
 
What this means is that there's no good way to know who's infected. If you're trying to be responsible when you go out in public, you may not even know that you're sick and may be inadvertently shedding the virus every time you talk with someone, such as a grocery store clerk.
 
"If these asymptomatic people could wear face masks, then it could be helpful to reduce the transmission in the community," says Elaine Shuo Feng, an infectious disease epidemiology researcher at the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford.
 
Given the reality of asymptomatic spread, masks may be a good socially responsible insurance policy, Gottlieb argues. "[Wearing masks] protects other people from getting sick from you," he says.
 
But there is still a big concern about mask shortages in the United States. A survey released Friday from the U.S. Conference of Mayors finds that about 92% of 213 cities did not have an adequate supply of face masks for first responders and medical personnel.
 
At this point, experts emphasize that the general public needs to leave the supply of N95 medical masks to health care workers who are at risk every day when they go to work.
 
And supplies are also tight for surgical masks, the masks used everywhere from dentists' offices to nail salons and that are even handcrafted.
 
"We need to be very mindful that the supply chain for masks is extremely limited right now," Gottlieb says. "So you really don't want to pull any kind of medical masks out of the system."
 
Given current shortages, it may be too soon to tell the general public to start wearing surgical masks right now. "We certainly don't have enough masks in health care," says William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. "I wouldn't want people to go out and buy them now, because we don't want to siphon them off from health care."
 
Where does that leave us? Some research has shown that cotton T-shirt material and tea towels might help block respiratory droplets emitting from sick people, even if the effect is minimal.
 
"Homemade masks, shawls, scarves and anything that you can conjure up at home might well be a good idea," says Schaffner. "It's not clear that it's going to give a lot of protection, but every little bit of protection would help."
 
But experts say homemade masks may not be effective if not constructed and handled properly.
 
That's why Gottlieb says the CDC should issue guidelines advising people on how to construct their own cotton masks. "Cotton masks constructed in a proper way should provide a reasonable degree of protection from people being able to transmit the virus," he told NPR.
 
There's no definitive evidence from published research that wearing masks in public will protect the person wearing the mask from contracting diseases. In fact, randomized controlled trials — considered the gold standard for testing the effectiveness of an intervention — are limited, and the results from those trials were inconclusive, says Feng.
 
But Feng points out that randomized clinical trials have not shown significant effects for hand hygiene either. "But for mechanistic reasons, we believe hygiene can be a good way to kill pathogens, and WHO still recommends hand hygiene," she says.
 
And those randomized studies were looking at how the face mask could protect the wearer, but what experts are arguing is that face masks may prevent infected but asymptomatic people from transmitting the virus to others. It's hard to come by data on this point. One meta-analysis reviewing mask use during the SARS epidemic found that wearing masks — in addition to other efforts to block transmission, including hand-washing — was beneficial. Another meta-analysis of mask use to prevent influenza transmission was not conclusive but showed masks possibly help.
 
The research may not be conclusive, but researchers we interviewed agreed that mask use is better than nothing. "There are some modest data that it will provide some modest protection," Schaffner says. "And we can use all the protection we can get."
 
Concern over presymptomatic spread in the community has also led some hospitals to change their policies and extend the use of masks to nonclinical employees and visitors. Last week, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston took the unusual step of giving surgical or procedural face masks to all employees who go into the hospital to work, even if they don't provide care to patients, the hospital's Infection Control Unit associate chief, Erica Shenoy, told NPR.
 
"This runs very contrary to what we normally do in infection control," she says. "But we felt that with the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, this is the right decision at this time." She says if an employee were to get sick while at work, "the face masks would serve to contain the virus particles and reduce the risk of patients and others working at our facilities."
 
On March 29, the University of California, San Francisco, also started giving surgical masks to all staff, faculty, trainees and visitors before they enter any clinical care building within the UCSF system.
 
Feng cautions that if people do start wearing face masks regularly in public, it is important to wear them properly. She notes that the World Health Organization has a video on how to practice correct hygiene when putting on or taking off a mask.
 
Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease researcher and biodefense consultant, is skeptical that healthy members of the public need to start wearing masks regularly — she says people should follow current CDC guidelines. But she emphasizes that if you are going to wear a mask, "you have to wear it appropriately." That means, she says, "you have to discard it when it gets damp or moist. You want to stop touching the front of it. Don't reach under to scratch your nose or mouth."
 
Otherwise, she warns, wearing masks could give "a false sense of security."
THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS:  Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public? 2020-04-01 08:00:00Z 0

MYTHBUSTERS ‘CONTAMINATION’ EXPERIMENT PROVES WHY SOCIAL DISTANCING IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT
 


Embrace your inner germaphobe…

Twitter Facebook Flipboard Email 

 
  •                                                         
  •                                                       Wednesday 25th March, 2020

We all know how fast the germs can spread. When we’re in the supermarket we give other shoppers a wide berth. When we’re on a plane or train we remind ourselves not to touch our face. When walking down the street we hold our breath as a jogger passes. After paying for takeaway we sanitize our hands.

Then we go for dinner at our parents’ house, or friends’ and let our guard down. While this kind of gathering should now be curtailed (with the new recommendations in place), as little as two weeks ago Australians were still having large scale weddings. Even now, weddings are still allowed (though there are new, significant restrictions on their size).

In this atmosphere, we let our guard down. But as the following Mythbusters video shows, these kind of scenarios are one of the worst when it comes to contamination. And before The Glib retort: “If you’re living with your friends or family (or spending time with them) you’re screwed anyway,” – we’d highly encourage you to watch the video.

In the video, Adam has a drip attached to his nose, set to leak at the same rate as a usual runny nose. The liquid leaked is invisible to the naked eye, but detectable to UV light. His mission? Infect as many of the unwary guests as possible, without doing anything people don’t usually do at a dinner party. The result: overwhelming success.

Though it appears today’s virus spreads even faster than the fake version of a cold this Mythbusters video tested, it proves two crucial points. Firstly: being a germaphobe pays off. And secondly: social distancing is crucial if you want to reduce your infection risk.

Both points appear to be resonating with people. Even though the video was published in 2015, people are watching it today.

In fact, the top comment is: “Who else is watching this to find out/learn how easy this could spread?”

“Looks like germaphobes will have a higher survival rate….be like the germaphobes.”

“This probably is great timing,” wrote another. “Practice social distancing right now during this time.”

MYTHBUSTERS ‘CONTAMINATION’ EXPERIMENT PROVES WHY SOCIAL DISTANCING IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT  2020-03-31 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska Covid-19 Mandates #11 and #12 2020-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska Covid-19 Mandates #9 and #10 2020-03-25 08:00:00Z 0

Why to Use a Face Mask, and How to Make One

 
The China Red Cross delegation to Italy was appalled that social isolation was so weak, because it was obvious that everyone was not required to use a face mask.  Doctors say that masks are needed for sick people to prevent droplet spread when talking, clearing a throat, or respiratory action. We now know that there are many non-symptomatic infected people spreading the virus, who have no knowledge that they are infected.  The only way to have almost 100% of droplet spread stopped is to have 100% of all people using masks when in public. That also gets rid of any 'you’re sick' stigma. Droplet spread from less than 6 feet is the most prevalent form of transmission, followed by droplet contamination of surfaces. These transmission methods both can be greatly reduced with community use of masks, including homemade cloth masks. Community use of sewn cloth masks also reserves medical grade masks for the health care system.
 
The news videos of each country that has 'controlled' the Coronavirus pandemic show 100% mask usage when people are outdoors or in public.  In a time of mask shortage, we are trying to give you a way to get a useable mask.  These are not normally as good as an N95 mask, and are NOT recommended for those who are actually known to have the coronavirus, but are FAR better than nothing.  This has been proven, and is recommended by the CDC.
 
In order to make it more likely that people can get a useable and useful mask, we are including some patterns for you on the < homerrotary.org > website.  Some are very easy to make, and most will work well for everyone. The biggest thing is to get a good seal, so that you are actually breathing THROUGH the cloth.  Using 1/8” elastic seems to be the most comfortable to use for holding the masks in place, but make them so that people will actually use them.  If useable elastic is not available, ribbons that will tie around your head will work.  Please remember, the masks are for preventing the spread of disease, not to stigmatize anyone.  If we are all wearing masks, we are all less likely to get a disease.
 
People can get many patterns to sew their own or for their community. Many use double layers of cloth, but they may be so thick they do not pass air well. If you, or your child, cannot breathe through the mask, find something easier to breathe through. A single layer of flannel passes air but absorbs or stops passage of droplets created when talking, coughing, or sneezing. Remember, CDC says washing with soap and water will kill the virus, so these are reusable for the non-medical community after soap and water washing. An individual may need two or three for a day, but all can be washed, dried, and be ready for reuse overnight. People should save the used masks for washing in a plastic bag, and to treat them as contaminated until washing.  Of course, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling droplet laden used masks. 100% cotton cloth (no synthetic or synthetic blends) works best.
 
 We have lots of people sitting at home across the area wanting to know how to help. This could be a great local Rotary project, similar to the prevention project of Polio Plus.
 
Paul
Why to Use a Face Mask, and How to Make One 2020-03-25 08:00:00Z 0

How to Make a Simple Particle Mask.

This is a homemade particle mask as made by Tina Seaton.  It is pretty simple, and works very well.  The "pipe cleaner" used as a stiffener is something that makes this mask work very well by allowing you to form the mask around the nose.  Apparently the large diameter pipe cleaners cut in half work out very well. Dimensions can be adjusted to better fit smaller or larger people. there are many other designs available on the internet.
 
Several studies have been done on the best cloth to use.  Tea towels or dish towels appear to provide the best filtration, with two layers providing up to 97% filtration, but being almost impossible to breathe through.  The flannel here works very well, and is normally fairly comfortable. Normally, new cloth is washed prior to making the masks. then washed again afterwards. Using soap and as hot water as is available works the best.  This decreases the likelihood of contamination, also.
 
Large Size7"x 11"
 
Fold Over and Sew End Seams
 
 
Half a Pipe Cleaner Sewn Into Upper Seam.  1/8" Elastic, 7" Long On Each End.
 
Fold Up and Sew Bottom, Catching Elasticat Corners.  Reinforce Stich on Elastic
 
Three Tucks On Each End (Folded the Same Way).  Sew on Each End.

A View of One End of the Mask Illustrating the Folds
 
And Here Is Paul Modeling the Mask.
How to Make a Simple Particle Mask. 2020-03-24 08:00:00Z 0

How Soap Kills the Coronavirus

We are being told constantly that we need to wash with soap and water.  Our hands, our faces, etc., Here are two short videos that tell us how and why this works to help protect us from the Coronavirus.
 
 
 
 
 
Here is a short video that tells why and how "social distancing" works to make it more likely for us to survive Coronavirus.  You need to watch it all the way to the end to get the entire picture.  This is something that has been tried and actually works!
 
 
 
 
How Soap Kills the Coronavirus 2020-03-23 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate #4 2020-03-18 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate #3 2020-03-18 08:00:00Z 0
Social Distancing: what does it mean? 2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

If You Are at Higher Risk Get Ready for COVID 19 Now

 
If You Are at Higher Risk
 
Who is at higher risk?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
  • Older adults
    • 60 or older
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
Get ready for COVID-19 now
 
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
Group of senior citizens
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Have supplies on hand
Prescription medicines and groceries
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
 
Take everyday precautions
washing hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Take everyday preventive actions:
  • Clean your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
 
If COVID-19 is spreading in your community
Practice social distancing and stay away from anyone who is sick
Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
 
Have a plan for if you get sick
on the phone with doctor
  • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
  • Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
 
What to do if you get sick
  • Stay home and call your doctor.
  • Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
  • Know when to get emergency help.
  • Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.
 
What others can do to support older adults
 
Community support for older adults
  • Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
    • Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
  • Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. Information for long-term care facilities can be found here.
Family and caregiver support
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
 
If You Are at Higher Risk Get Ready for COVID 19 Now 2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

Letter From DG Andre' Layral -- District Conference and More Cancelled Due to Coronavirus
 

D5010 Rotarians:
 
On Saturday I met with members of the D5010 Leadership team and several Past District Governors to discuss my recommendation to cancel the 2020 Peace Forum and District Conference.  I laid out the case for cancellation, sharing concerns discussed by conference planning committee. There was unanimous support in the meeting on Saturday for my recommendation to cancel the 2020 conference.  Therefore, I am officially announcing the cancellation of the April 30 to May 3, 2020, Peace Forum and District Conference. 
 
In an e-mail to D5010 Rotarians last week I announced we were still planning to go forward with the April 30th Peace Forum and May 1-3 District Conference.  At the time there were no positive cases of the virus in Alaska and we had many unanswered questions about the impact cancelling would have, chief among them whether we could back out of our contract with the Westmark hotel without financial ramifications.  After looking into what RI insurance covered and whether supplemental insurance was available, it became obvious that there were too many exclusions in the current policy, and no alternate insurance coverage was available that covered the Coronavirus threat.  Our conference Chair, Cindy Wright, met with the hotel management and learned that we would need to notify the hotel of our intentions no later than March 31st, a date after which there would be financial implications for our Rotary district. This accelerated our efforts to look at what other factors might justify cancelling our conference.  
 
The Work Health Organization’s announcement of a Global Pandemic, along with emergency declarations announced by the CDC and Governor Dunleavy, made this matter much more urgent. On Friday we were notified by the RI Representative to our conference, David Stovall, that RI had cancelled all travel by RI staff, and therefore he would be unable to attend.  After talking with each of our keynote speakers, each expressed concerns about traveling at this time, primarily because of the Coronavirus threat. We had not yet purchased travel for our speakers, so no financial risk would be incurred  if we made a decision to cancel.
 
There were many other factors we considered, to numerous to mention, but the health and safety of our conference participants was chief among them.  To our knowledge, there has never been a cancellation of a district conference, and postponement was out of the question due to other bookings at the hotel and higher costs after May 15th.  At this time, the CDC has also declared all gatherings of greater than 50 people be cancelled.
 
In my conversations with our Keynote speakers, each committed to working with our district to offer a virtual presentation, so we will look at the logistics of this.  We are also looking to the possibility of holding our Peace Forum prior to the Zone 28 conference in Anchorage in November.  We will keep members up to date regarding both these possibilities.
 
We are at an unfamiliar place.  How ironic that our Rotary theme this year is “Rotary Connects the World” yet people are being asked to socially distance themselves, including “self isolation” to slow the spread of the virus. Of course it saddens me that instead of celebrating our many Rotary accomplishments this year with friends, sharing our Rotary stories, and showcasing what Rotary clubs have accomplished, we are now challenged to keep our members engaged, learning, growing and serving.  Still I have never been more proud to be a Rotarian, nor more committed to completing my work as your District Governor.
 
With over three months remaining in this Rotary year, we will continue to plan and deliver training for club officers and Rotary education for members, but in innovative ways that minimize face to face delivery.  Similarly, I will be convening a group to develop some innovative approaches clubs can take to serve their communities in Alaska helping the less fortunate and seniors cope with isolation and fear and for Clubs to lead in meaningful ways working with local health authorities and social agencies address local needs during this unprecedented time.
 
A separate notification will be made soon to Rotarians who registered for the conference, describing how conference registration refunds will be made. 
 
Today I discussed with Don Poulton, Administrative Chair, my intentions for holding a virtual business meeting on May 2nd to take action as planned on 2020 D5010 Resolutions, the 2019-2020 Financial update, 2020-2021 Budget approval and action on selecting a Council on Legislation representative for our district for 2020-2023. More to follow.  In the meantime, please remember to submit your proposed resolution by the March 20th deadline and nominations for Council on Legislation representative by April 15th.
Sincerely,
 
Andre’ Layral
 
D5010 District Governor
2019-2020
Letter From DG Andre' Layral -- District Conference and More Cancelled Due to Coronavirus  2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

Working with Rotary to Eradicate Polio

 
 
with
 
Bill Gates
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
 
1. What made you decide to work on polio eradication?
In 1952, three years before I was born, the U.S. experienced one of the worst polio epidemics in its history. Thousands died and even more were paralyzed. I was born a few months after the first polio vaccine became available. Growing up, I had no idea how lucky I was.
 
Later in life through the work of our foundation, I began to see firsthand the impact that polio was having on kids. The U.S. had seen its last case of polio in 1979 thanks to polio vaccines, but even 25 years later in 2004, more than 1,000 children in Asia and Africa were paralyzed by polio simply because of where they were born.
 
Before our foundation joined the fight to end polio in 2007, I had spent months talking to experts and analyzing the history of eradication. While global progress against polio had stalled, I believed that eradication was possible because the world had done it before, with smallpox in 1980.
 
Rotary played an important role in inspiring the foundation to become involved in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, an incredible global partnership committed to fighting the disease. We knew that Rotarians would be passionate, committed allies in the push for eradication.
 
2. The number of polio cases increased in 2019. Why are you still optimistic that eradication is possible?
It’s true that we saw the number of cases go up in 2019, but we need to look at what has happened over the past three decades. In the 1980s, polio paralyzed 1,000 children globally every day. Today, that number has fallen 99.9 percent and the wild poliovirus is confined to just Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of eradication efforts, there are 18 million people walking around who would have otherwise been paralyzed by the virus.
 
The past 30 years have been marked with incredible achievements. One of my favorite examples is India. The country was once considered the toughest place to eliminate the disease, but in 2011, the country recorded its last case of polio derived from the wild poliovirus.
 
In 2013, health workers managed to contain a wild poliovirus outbreak during the Syrian civil war. Vaccinators not only had to enter the war zone, waiting for lulls in the fighting to make sure children were protected, but also had to account for the 2 million refugees fleeing to neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Within weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a plan to immunize 2.4 million Syrian children, and the outbreak was over by the following year.
 
In 2016, the wild poliovirus re-emerged in Nigeria. Health workers and partners redoubled their efforts, and the country has now gone more than three years without a new case, which means the entire WHO African region could be certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020. This achievement was difficult to imagine just a few years ago.
 
The final cases of polio are proving particularly difficult. But the polio program has overcome enormous challenges to keep driving progress, and we’ve spent the past decade sharpening the tools and strategies we need to finish the job. With the continued commitment of our partners like Rotary, I’m sure we’ll consign polio to history.
 
3. Why are you extending the Gates Foundation’s 2-to-1 funding match with Rotary?
The Gates Foundation’s long-standing partnership with Rotary has been crucial in the fight against polio. Through extending our funding match, we can raise $150 million every year — money that is essential to the eradication effort.
 
But there’s another thing about this funding match, which people don’t often know: The money helps us fight more than polio. At the same time that we’re delivering the polio vaccine to communities, we’re also bringing them bed nets to protect against malaria, improving access to clean drinking water, and helping immunize kids against other vaccine-preventable diseases. We’re making sure that every dollar we raise counts.
 
4. What message would you like to deliver to Rotarians as we confront the final challenges to eradication?
Everyone at our foundation is inspired by Rotary and proud to work alongside you.
 
Rotary was the first organization to push for a polio-free world. And for the past 30 years, so many Rotarians have been part of fundraising, vaccination, and advocacy efforts that have brought us close to the magic number of zero cases.
 
The final steps to a polio-free world are the hardest — and we’ll need the help of every Rotarian to get there. But I’m confident that we will end polio together.
 
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
 
• This story originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Working with Rotary to Eradicate Polio 2020-03-12 08:00:00Z 0

Pictures of RYLA 2020 in Homer

As most all of us know, RYLA 2020 was held in Homer.
  Below are some pictures take during some of the various RYLA activities. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pictures of RYLA 2020 in Homer 2020-03-11 08:00:00Z 0
DISTRICT 5010 APP 2020-03-09 08:00:00Z 0

For the Record:  Business Casual

A youthful outlook isn’t the only key to rejuvenating Rotary, but it’s a start.
 
For President-elect Holger Knaack, the opportunities are endless.
 
Photos by Samuel Zuder
 
Outside of One Rotary Center, it was an overcast October day. Lake Michigan shimmered a steely gray, and the trees’ red and orange leaves appeared drab.
But inside the office of Rotary’s president-elect, it was a bright new day, and not just because of the paisley handkerchief sprouting from the breast pocket of Holger Knaack’s blue blazer. Those vivid colors matched the cheerful attitude with which Knaack looks optimistically to the future — only one of the then-67-year-old’s youthful traits.
 
Over two hours, on two separate occasions, Knaack sat down for a conversation with John Rezek, editor in chief of The Rotarian, and Jenny Llakmani, the magazine’s managing editor. Speaking fluent, German-inflected English, Knaack discussed his atypical rise in Rotary, an ascent propelled by his longtime involvement with the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Those experiences define his aspirations as president. “Growing Rotary, and especially growing with young members, will definitely be one of my goals,” he said. “Because if we lose contact with the younger generation” — he lifted his hands and shrugged — “we are outdated.”
 
During the conversation, Knaack discussed his January 2018 speech at the International Assembly, where he had quoted Paul Harris: “If Rotary is to realize its proper destiny, it must be evolutionary at times, revolutionary on occasions.” He then offered his own take on that thought: “To be prepared for the future, Rotary must continue to be revolutionary and must believe in the power of youth.”
 
Knaack introduced a few aphorisms of his own — including “There’s no wrong age to become a Rotarian” — and spoke about the economic necessity of having a presidential tie. (Knaack, who rarely wears a tie, revealed that he keeps one of Mark Daniel Maloney’s blue presidential ties tucked into a desk drawer to have on hand if needed.) He also introduced his presidential theme: Rotary Opens Opportunities. The phrase is paired visually with the silhouette of three open doors, one blue, another gold, and the third in bright Rotaract pink. He chose the theme for its aptness, explains Knaack, and because “it’s easy to translate in every language.” (In Knaack’s native German, it’s Rotary eröffnet Möglichkeiten.)
 
During the first interview, Knaack’s wife, Susanne, sat in and provided clarifications. When Rezek asked Knaack about his reputation for being “unflappable,” the president-elect responded with a flapped expression. After briefly consulting her phone, Susanne provided a translation: unerschütterlich. With that settled, Knaack, ever imperturbable, continued the conversation.

THE ROTARIAN: You’re the first president-elect from Germany in Rotary’s history. Tell us about the nature of Rotary in Germany. 
KNAACK: Rotary is different all over the world. We all share the same core values, but with different emphases. In Germany, it’s really about friendship or fellowship — and it’s about integrity and ethics. That’s how German Rotarians look for members. And then the service we do grows out of friendship. I think one of the major points is that German Rotary clubs select their members carefully, and we have a very good retention rate. We don’t even think about retention.
 
TR: How did you get involved in Rotary?
KNAACK: For me, it started with an organization called Round Table, which has hundreds of clubs in Europe. Surprisingly, it was founded by Rotarians in England in 1927 who were tired of always hanging out with old men. So they created a new organization, Round Table, but stipulated that you had to leave when you turned 40. I joined at 30 and left when I was 39. They had this wonderful motto: Adopt, Adapt, Improve. I was interested in service; I was also interested in networking. Many of my friends from this organization joined Rotary, and again, the reason was the opportunity for networking, especially because of Rotary’s classification system. You need different people to make an organization more interesting, to have discussions go in unexpected directions.
I was asked to join the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln. It’s a crazy name. When Ron Burton was a director, he once introduced me as “Holger Knaack from the Rotary Club of [pauses] somewhere in Germany.” A new Rotary club in my hometown, Ratzeburg, was looking for members, but I knew many of the people in that club already, so I decided to join the old club. It gave me the opportunity to meet totally different people.
 
TR: What was your pathway to the presidency of Rotary?
KNAACK: I’ve been asked to list all the district leadership positions I held before I became a district governor. None. Zero. I didn’t have any before I became district governor, and I didn’t have any appointments in the district leadership. I was just known for my engagement in Youth Exchange, and because of that, people knew about me and my passion for Rotary. It was the same thing when I became a director: I had never, ever had any appointments at the zone level. When I came here to Evanston for my director-elect training, that was the first time I entered this building.
 
TR: What is it about Youth Exchange that makes it such a great program?
KNAACK: Youth Exchange was my path into Rotary. Susanne and I hosted Rotary Youth Exchange students and became involved in organizing Youth Exchange camps, where Rotary clubs and districts host students from all over the world. And then I learned how this enriched our lives. We don’t have children ourselves, so this program is really great for us. I think it keeps us young.
 
TR: We’ve heard that you are unflappable. Nothing upsets you. How can that possibly be true?
KNAACK: I can sometimes be embarrassed because of small things, as my wife knows. But when confronted by serious things, when we have to make serious decisions, then I become more calm. Plus, I’m always counting on other people. I know I can’t do anything alone. I have the greatest respect for people who are doing the work — not just doing the work, but doing it with passion. We have to show our respect for all people like that. That’s what I learned very early.
 
Right: Holger Knaack, with his wife Susanne, near their home in Ratzeburg, Germany, believes in trusting young people to steer Rotary into the future.
 
TR: What areas are you going to concentrate on during your year? And what do you hope to accomplish?
KNAACK: I have no crazy new ideas [laughing]. We promised to eradicate polio, and I mean to do everything we can to keep that promise. If we succeed, it will help enhance how Rotary is seen in the world. No. 2, of course, is growing Rotary, and that’s not just about growing our membership. It’s about growing Rotary at all levels. It’s about making our organization stronger. It’s about retention and growing through new Rotary club models. Rotary is indeed one of the slowest-changing organizations in the world. What we do takes so much time. We have to be much faster.
 
TR: What about Rotary doesn’t have to change?
KNAACK: Our core values have always been the basis for what we do. Friendship, diversity, integrity, leadership, service — they will never be outdated. The way we express and live those values, that will change. Our tradition of meeting for a meal might have worked for 100 years. But it doesn’t work anymore, because lunch is no longer a central thing in your life. We have to look for models that young people are interested in. Let them decide what kind of Rotary club they would like to join to share our core values. Rotary is a place for everybody: for young and old, for old club models and for new club models. There’s no need for very strict rules. Let’s enjoy what fits best.
 
TR: Are you worried that the average age for Rotarians keeps going up?
KNAACK: I’m so happy that our older Rotarians remain Rotarians and that older people still join Rotary clubs. They’re a great value for the clubs and our organization. But I want to encourage Rotary clubs to think about their future. Clubs should have a strategic meeting twice a year. If they really think about their future, it’s important that there is no big gap between age groups. If they’re able to attract members in every age group, in every decade, then there is not a big gap. It’s important for Rotary clubs to stay on track and yet still be interesting for young professionals. It’s always dangerous if a Rotary club says, “OK, we have the perfect number of members. We have 50 or 60 or 70 or whatever; we don’t want any more members right now.” Then the gap can grow very, very fast. One of my sayings is, “There’s no wrong age to become a Rotarian.” If someone is 18 and becoming a member, that’s great. And if someone is 80, that’s great too. So there is no wrong age to become a Rotarian — and there’s no perfect size for a Rotary club.
 
 
 
For the Record:  Business Casual 2020-03-04 09:00:00Z 0

Help Rotary Change the Narrative - New Details on Life Below Water Symposium in Bermuda

 
 
 
 
 
I wrote you last month to let you know about two exciting Rotary Symposiums our Zones are hosting in 2020-21.  The first, Life On Land, will be held in Anchorage, Alaska this November.
 
The second symposium takes place January 14-16, 2021. We are excited to visit Hamilton, Bermuda for this event, which will focus on the Unites Nations Sustainable Development Goal, Life Under Water. Past Rotary International President Barry Rassin has agreed to be our keynote speaker in Bermuda. The Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) and a United Nations Environmental committee representative will support both symposiums. All Rotarians, community partners and NGOs are invited to participate in this symposium with a focus on changing the narrative.
 
Here are the expert speakers who have committed to joining us in Bermuda:
 
 
 
 
Barry Rassin, Past Rotary International President
 
 
 
Richard Randolph, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Heart to Heart International
 
 
 
Dr. Chris King, Former Head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy
 
 
 
 
 
Mark Eakin, Coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program
 
 
 
Ludovic Grosjean, Independent Collaborator working to preserve the Environment with the ultimate goal of Saving our Oceans
 
 
 
 
Help Rotary Change the Narrative - New Details on Life Below Water Symposium in Bermuda 2020-03-04 09:00:00Z 0

Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group Seeking Your Input

RECOMMENDATION/QUESTIONS

As a Rotarian Action Group, HEWRAG has been and can continue to be an important resource for Rotarians in the global quest to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.  With that statement as the premise, we need to acknowledge that HEWRAG has reached a plateau and needs to redefine its mission in CCP to be successful in the future.

 To that end, we are asking you to respond to three questions:   

1.    We believe that now is the time for HEWRAG to reassess its approach to CCP.  How do you believe HEWRAG can best help Rotarians to work within the WHO plan to address cervical cancer as a public health problem?  

2.     We believe that we need a much larger and more diverse team to support Rotarians when they ask for HEWRAG's assistance with CCP projects.  Are you willing to serve as a member of that team?  If so, how would you be able to help?  

3.     We have found that we need to fund supplies and travel in order to best serve Rotarians, and while we have self-funded in the past, our needs have grown beyond our abilities.  What suggestions do you have about how we can fund HEWRAG's CCP activities?

GOING FORWARD

We hope that you will reply to this message by or before Tuesday, March 31, 2020 after which we will compile a summary of the responses and include them into our plan going forward before the Rotary International Convention in early June. 

If you have questions that could help inform your comments, you’re encouraged to write to PDG/HEWRAG Director Karl Diekman.  Please send your completed responses to him at kddiekman@aol.com.

Kindest regards,

Karl Diekman

Rotary Club of Woodland

 District Rotary Foundation Committee Chair 2013-16 and 2017-20

 

Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group Seeking Your Input 2020-03-02 09:00:00Z 0

Viewpoint:  Bound Together

While you’re holding a book,
the book is holding you

 

by

 

Illustration by Richard Mia 

The image looks like a million other family travel photos: two adults and a 10-year-old at a historic destination — in this case England’s Greenwich Observatory, the place where you could say time starts. But on close examination, the picture has a fourth element: a just-published Harry Potter novel, as big as the 10-year-old is small. Holding his place, the kid’s finger has disappeared into the book, and from the expression on his face, so has he.

We may have been in Greenwich, but my son was at Hogwarts.

A long time before, when I was about his size, I had torn through Treasure Island, dealing with words I didn’t recognize by either skipping over them or trying to sound them out, producing outlandish internal pronunciations that fortunately nobody ever heard. A bit later, I flung myself at James Michener’s Potter-weight Hawaii, with passages I still remember more sharply than things I read last week.

But in the years since Greenwich Mean Time became the standard measure of the moment, technology has surged past the binding together of printed pages. Information now moves with the form and speed of electronic impulses. Yet books persist, much like that kid refusing to be budged from the world his imagination has conjured. “Every time there is a new innovation, they predict the death of the book,” Michael Herrmann, the owner of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, said recently. “But the book is a perfect technology. Like the shark, it hasn’t changed and continues to thrive.”

The newest challenges to the printed book range from 500 channels of television and the boundless resources of the internet to the small plastic devices, the weight and thickness of a slice of pizza, that can display multiple volumes. The threats at one time appeared lethal: In the first decade of this century, the number of U.S. bookstores, both chain and independent, dropped sharply. All over America, bookstores were closing down, their spaces turning into nail salons and hot yoga studios.

But over the past decade, the number of independent bookstores across the country has rebounded — shooting up from 1,651 to 2,524, with sales rising steadily. This resurgence is not about “information,” or what the tech folks call “content.” It’s about actual books, ink on paper, that not only send words out but pull people in. Bookstores are drawing people back to the comfort of print.

In 2012, best-selling author Ann Patchett wrote in the Atlantic: “You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead — to which I say: Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell.” Her story is that when the last independent new-book store in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, closed, Patchett — explaining that she didn’t want to live in a town without a bookstore — joined with a couple of friends to open her own. With the help of some of her writer friends doing readings, Parnassus Books has been a dramatic success. “People still want books,” she declared. “I’ve got the numbers to prove it.”

In the summer of 2019, Patchett got still more proof of that: Amazon announced that it would open up its own bookstore across the street from Parnassus.

 

Viewpoint:  Bound Together 2020-02-25 09:00:00Z 0

Club Innovation: Social Network

Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, Tennessee
 
Chartered: 2017
 
Original membership: 61
 
Membership: 145
 
Boom town: Franklin, Tennessee, was ranked the eighth-fastest growing community in the United States in 2017, the same year the Nashville suburb of 80,000 people added its fourth Rotary club. A network of old acquaintances — golf buddies and families who knew one another through their children’s sporting events — formed the nucleus of the Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, devoted to cultivating friendship in a convivial, service-minded, and welcoming atmosphere.
 
Club innovation: “Happy time” sessions, which run 30 minutes before evening meetings begin, allow for networking and encourage mingling. Appetizers and drinks mixed by club members who have been certified as servers offer a low-cost alternative to a full meal and keep dues to $400 a year.
Club members Kyle Lo Porto (from left), C.J. Monte, Kathy Reynolds, and Lorrie Graves participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.
 
For decades, the Rotary clubs of Franklin, Franklin At Breakfast, and Cool Springs have been a vital part of the fabric of the city. But many people who wanted to serve their community couldn’t make those clubs’ noon or morning meetings. So Lawrence Sullivan, a longtime noon club member, approached Mike Alday, who had dropped out of that club. “He knew there were people like me,” says Alday. “With my business, I couldn’t commit to the noon club.” The group of people Sullivan contacted already had some connection to one another. “We weren’t good friends, necessarily, but we all knew each other,” says Alday, who became charter president of the club. “We thought we’d have 40 people and move around to bars and restaurants in town.” But membership quickly more than doubled, growing to the point that tavern-hopping wouldn’t be feasible. Although the group now meets at the Williamson County Enrichment Center, a parks department facility, an open bar and hors d’oeuvres remain an integral part of the program.
 
Tapping existing social networks led to a club with many couples joining together. Candida Cleve-Bannister, a longtime Rotary spouse whose work obligations prevented her from joining one of the daytime clubs, joined with her husband, Jerome Bannister. For Jerome, a past governor of District 6760 who had to leave the breakfast club because of a job change, the forming of the new club was fortuitous.
Kathy Reynolds gets to work.
 
“We try to keep our dues low, bearing in mind that a lot of our members are couples,” says Cleve-Bannister. “We’re a fun club. There’s no problem with somebody getting up and getting food or drink. We’re casual.” And because some committee work is undertaken during meetings, she notes, “we don’t burden our members with extra time outside of the meeting.”
 
The club helps out at events including a chili cook-off held in conjunction with Pumpkinfest, a local institution with a nearly four-decade history. The club’s Jockeys & Juleps party netted about $100,000 in its first two years, with part of the proceeds going toward My Friend’s House, a transitional home for at-risk teenage boys. The Rotarians play a role in the boys’ lives through activities including bowling and “chef’s nights,” at which they all share a meal they have prepared together.
 
A key ingredient in the club’s high level of project participation has been cooperation with other clubs. “All the clubs in town are supportive of each other,” says Alday. “At the end of the day, we’re all part of Rotary. We just meet at different times.”
 
He adds: “When we do The Four-Way Test, we actually add a fifth element: We yell, ‘Cheers!’ The social aspect can’t be overlooked.”
— BRAD WEBBER
• Are you looking for more ideas on how your club can reinvent itself? Go to rotary.org/flexibility.
• To share your ideas with us, email club.innovations@rotary.org.
• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Club Innovation: Social Network 2020-02-19 09:00:00Z 0



How Do I Access and Change My Profile Information?

 

This feature allows you to edit and update the information within your profile. You can change your email address, phone number, password, login name, and more. Your profile contains details such as your address and contact information, as well as personal information you choose to share with your fellow club members. 


1. To access your profile for editing, you must go to your club homepage and login. Then, click on Member Area on the top right. 

2. Along the top of the screen, you will see several blue tabs. Click on the My ClubRunner tab. 

3. Next, click on the My Profile link on the grey menu bar below My ClubRunner.  

4. You are now on the Member Profile screen. This screen contains your personal information, which may be shared with fellow members of your club. To add or update the information that appears click on the Edit button just above your personal information. 

 

5. You can now enter your personal data into the fields listed or edit existing information.  

Note: Fields marked in red are mandatory. If you try to click Save when a mandatory field is blank, you will receive an error message. 

 

6. When you are finished editing your profile, click Save. There are Save buttons at the top and bottom of the Member Profile screen. Click Cancel if you do not wish to save your changes. 

Tab Information

There are 6 tabs on the member profile. Each one contains different information.

Personal Tab

On this page it displays personal information about the member. This is useful to see if the profile is up to date. If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save.

  • Profile Picture: This displays a picture of you. To learn how to add/update your picture, please click read the article titled How do I Change my Profile Photo?.
  • Member Details: This area displays the member's Title (Eg. Mr, Mrs, Dr, Rev), First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Nickname (Eg. Dave, Mike, Bill), Suffix (Eg, Jr, Sr), Preferred Address, Preferred Phone, E-mail, Alternate E-mail, Gender, Date of Birth, Anniversary, Spouse/Partner First Name, Last Name, Nick Name, and Date of Birth.
  • Home: This area displays the member's Home address and Phone numbers.
  • Work: This area displays the member's Work Address, Position/Title, Phone number, Fax, and Website URL.
  • Custom Fields: This displays the fields that were created by the Club. These fields are used to gather additional information about the member. The data could be a date, flag, or field/text. For more information read the Custom Fields article

Rotary/Organization Tab

On this page it displays information about the Rotary and attendance. 

Note: Some details on this tab are not able to be modified without additional access. Contact your Club/Organization for assistance with updating these profile details

  • Membership Details: This area shows the Club name, Rotary Member Number, Membership, Office, Sponsor, Membership Type, Classification, Date Joined Club, and Date Joined Rotary/Admission.
  • Member Designations: This displays the member's designations. For more information read the Member Designations article.
  • Club Attendance: Shows their current year to date attendance percentage, last year's year to date attendance percentage, and year to date attendance report.

Biography Tab

This page displays the biography of the member. If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save.

  • Public: This area can be view by anyone in the Club and District.
  • Vocational Description: This is for anyone to see in the future release of a Rotarian business directory.
  • Private Biography: This can only be viewed by your Club members, it cannot be view by the District or the public. 

Commitments Tab

This page displays the Club Events, Volunteer Tasks, Meeting Responsibilities, New Member Program, and Current Committees you are in.

  • Club Events: This displays the events you registered for. For more information read the EventPlanner and MyEventRunner articles.
  • Volunteer Tasks: This displays the volunteer list the member signed up for. For more information read the Volunteer article.
  • Note: This will display "Loading Volunteer Data..." for a few seconds as it loads.
  • Meeting Responsibilities: This displays the meeting responsibilities you have. For more information read the Meeting Responsibilities article.
  • New Member Program: This displays the activity you have in the New Member Program. For more information read the New Member Program article.
  • Current Committees: This displays the committees the member is in. For more information read the Committees article.

Settings Tab

On this page it displays the Access Level, Login Information, Member Roles, and Custom Email Signature. If you want to edit any of this information, click on the Edit button, and once done click Save.

  • Club Access Level: This is the level of access the member has to the Club. For more information read the Access Levels article.
  • Login Name: This is your login name, and you can modify it as you see fit. It must be unique value across all of ClubRunner.
  • Password: This allows you to update your own password. Note that you do need to know your current password. If you no longer know your password, this article should help: I cannot login to ClubRunner.
  • Member Roles: This displays if the member has read only access to MyEventRunner. 
  • Custom Email Signature: This displays the member's email signature.

Privacy Tab

This page shows the member's Communication Preferences, Search Privacy and Club's RI Integration Privacy (If you are a Rotary Club). If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save

  • Communication Preferences: The member can choose not to receive certain emails. For more information, read the Email Privacy article.
  • Search Privacy: These options allow you to control what information is available to members who are not in your club when they use features such as the District’s Member Search and view your Club in the ClubRunner Mobile app.

Note: The ClubRunner mobile app stores cached data for offline use and when internet connectivity is limited. This means, changes made to your privacy settings may take time to update and display in the mobile app. The mobile application caches member data for 14 days.

Note: Any individuals who are listed in their Club's Executives & Directors list will have their Name and Position listed in the Mobile app. All other privacy options will be respected.

  • RI Integration Privacy: Only Rotary Clubs have this option. This displays the Rotary International Integrations settings for the members. For more information, read the RI Integration Guide.

 
How Do I Access and Change My Profile Information? 2020-02-19 09:00:00Z 0

Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Rotary Peace Fellowships

 
Each year, Rotary awards up to 130 fully funded fellowships for dedicated leaders from around the world to study at one of our peace centers.
 
Click on Picture to Run Video
 
Through academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities, the Rotary Peace Centers program develops the capacity of peace and development professionals or practitioners to become experienced and effective catalysts for peace. The fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses.
 
Since the program began in 2002, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 1,300 fellows who now work in more than 115 countries. Many serve as leaders in governments, NGOs, the military, education, law enforcement, and international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank.
 
Our fellowships
 
The Rotary Peace Fellowship is designed for leaders with work experience in peace and development. Our fellows are committed to community and international service and the pursuit of peace. Each year, The Rotary Foundation awards up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees and 80 for certificate studies at premier universities.
 
Choose the program that's right for you
 
Master’s degree programs
 
Accepted candidates study peace and development issues with research-informed teaching and a diverse student body. The programs last 15 to 24 months and include a two- to three-month field study, which participants design themselves.
 
Professional development certificate program
 
During the one-year program, experienced peace and development professionals with diverse backgrounds gain practical skills to promote peace within their communities and across the globe. Fellows complete field studies, and they also design and carry out a social change initiative.
 
Master's degree programs
 
Professional development certificate program
 
Application timeline
 
We are now accepting applications for the 2021-22 Rotary Peace Fellowship program.
Candidates have until 31 May to submit applications to their district. Districts must submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July. Learn more about the endorsement process.
 
Our approach
 
We see peace not as an abstract concept but as a living, dynamic expression of human development. Peacebuilding is a cornerstone of our mission as a humanitarian service organization, and it is one of our six areas of focus — the channels of activity through which our members make their mark on the world. Our programs, grants and fellowships focus on creating environments where peace can be built and maintained. Rotary believes that if concerned citizens work together to create peace locally, lasting change can happen globally.
Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Rotary Peace Fellowships 2020-02-04 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2020 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0

4 Questions about Scale Grants

 

with K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran

Chair-elect, Trustees of The Rotary Foundation

1. What are the key elements of programs of scale grants?

This is a new type of grant intended to provide measurable and sustainable solutions to issues affecting many people in a large geographic area. Every year, The Rotary Foundation will award a $2 million grant to one project that aligns with one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus. The grant will support project activities for three to five years.

These grants do not require an international Rotary partner. However, applicants are expected to work with partners outside Rotary, such as nongovernmental organizations, government entities, and private-sector institutions. These partners may assist Rotarians at any stage of program development, and we encourage them to contribute funding. While Rotary is required to have a leadership role, our partners must have “skin in the game.”

Finally, proposals for this grant type must demonstrate that similar projects have been successfully implemented. In turn, it should be possible to replicate the grant-supported project in other communities with similar needs.

2. Why did Rotary create this new grant type?

We wanted to complement the existing grant types with one that would benefit a much larger community. Programs of scale grants challenge Rotarians to think big and to work with other organizations to find comprehensive solutions to large-scale issues. As we’ve learned from the PolioPlus program, if you want to make a significant impact, you need to have partners who are willing to jump in with you.

For example, in Sri Lanka, we have been working on a project to eliminate cervical cancer. My club, the Rotary Club of Colombo, had set up a cancer detection center. We then partnered with the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, on a global grant that funded HPV (human papillomavirus) testing machines. In addition, we brought in the University of Alabama at Birmingham to train staff, a leading telecom company to fund the construction of a new facility, and the Sri Lankan government to cover the cost of vaccines. In 2018, the project ensured that 83 percent of all 10-year-old girls in the country were vaccinated.

The power of Rotary is much greater when we partner with like-minded organizations. This project involves multiple partners at a national and international level that are working together to prevent disease on a massive scale. Programs of scale grants give Rotarians the opportunity to replicate achievements like this one.

3. How does the application process work?

Rotary clubs and districts are invited to submit a proposal for a fully developed program, including proof of concept, baseline data from a community assessment, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation plans. Proposals are due 1 March. Those with the strongest proposals will then be invited to submit an application by 30 June.

Proposals and applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes members of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers and other subject-matter and grants experts. The Trustees will then consider the recommendations the selection committee and will make the final award determination at their October meeting.

4. How will we measure the success of these grants?

The fundamental thing is that anything we do must benefit the community. Success will be measured in the ultimate impact of these grants on recipient communities. It will also be measured in Rotary’s ability to position itself as a leader in implementing solutions to long-standing development issues, especially in partnership with other organizations that represent the values and aspirations of Rotarians.

— JOHN M. CUNNINGHAM

• Interested in applying for a programs of scale grant? Go to my.rotary.org/programs-scale-grants.

• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa

• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

4 Questions about Scale Grants 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2020 This Saturday! 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0
Homeless Connect 2020-01-27 09:00:00Z 0

Earl of Sandwiches

Steve Carlson is a member of the Rotary Club of San Carlos, California.

Image credit: Ian Tuttle

“Sorry, can’t talk right now,” Steve Carlson announces to all within earshot, and there’s no need to ask why. He’s frantically mounding home-crafted charcuterie onto a large serving platter, pausing just long enough to wedge another plate of high-end goat cheese into a 10-cheese spread. Farther down the 8-foot table, he has already arranged helpings of venison and cherry terrine, Tuscan cured salmon, four varieties of sourdough bread, several chutneys, and what he calls “the finest Reuben sandwiches this side of the Danube.”

Carlson, a member of the Rotary Club of San Carlos, California, has prepared nearly all the dishes in this sumptuous gourmet spread, including the pastrami (lots of it), a product of teamwork with a fellow Rotarian who smoked it for 16 hours. About 120 guests are mixing and mingling between bites at his home on a bright September afternoon. They have paid $80 to attend this annual bash, and many have donated more. They know the funds will go toward transforming a dilapidated earthen ditch high up in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco into a sturdy concrete-lined irrigation aqueduct. The project will allow the people in the remote village of Ait Daoud to feed a steady flow of water to their crops.

In his 20s, as a Peace Corps volunteer, Carlson lived and worked in Ait Daoud, seven hours by car from Marrakech. He became conversant in the local dialect and developed a deep affection for the village and for the bighearted Berber culture that sustained it. “A wise elder, Si Abderahmen, told me, ‘Always pack a warm lunch for the road,’ ” he recalls. “He said, ‘I speak not of foodstuffs, but of generosity.’ When you hike to a distant village as a nomadic Berber, he said, your reputation will precede you. Expecting and trusting you to be generous in return, people will welcome you into their homes to share their food, fresh from the fire.”

That lesson of reciprocity had profound meaning for Carlson as he matured, married his wife, Suzanne, became the father of two boys, and chose a career in intellectual property law. At a meeting with his family’s lawyer, who had Rotary plaques on his office wall, Carlson inquired about the organization and learned that it was a community of people who share his values.

“A wise elder told me, ‘Always pack a warm lunch for the road.’”

And he never lost his itch to repay the Ait Daoud residents for their kindness to him. “I wanted to do a water project for the village, so I organized our first Reubens party in 2016 to raise funds. Suddenly I had almost $20,000 — now what?” he says. “But when I calculated the cost of building a functional aqueduct, it was like a punch in the gut. That is where the true power of Rotary kicked in.”

Carlson went to Bay Area clubs and to the District 5150 assembly to talk about the San Carlos club’s project in Morocco; he secured donations from more than a dozen clubs. With district designated funds and other contributions, they soon had $200,000.

When Carlson and his family went to Ait Daoud in December 2016 to see for themselves what needed to be done, their visit spurred the government to send a crew to build the first third of the aqueduct.

With Rotary support, construction of the next section of the aqueduct is underway. Inevitably there will be obstacles, but for a man who single-handedly turns out dozens of dishes for 100-plus guests, learns to speak Berber and Arabic, and persuades over a dozen clubs to help out with a project, creating an aqueduct out of a dirt ditch is duck soup.

— STEPHEN YAFA

• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Earl of Sandwiches 2020-01-27 09:00:00Z 0

Bill Gates Announces Continued Fundraising Partnership With Rotary

From: John Germ <polioplus@rotary.org>
Date: January 22, 2020 at 9:13:59 AM AKST
Subject: Bill Gates announces continued fundraising partnership with Rotary
Reply-To: John Germ <polioplus@rotary.org>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Rotarian,

I’m delighted to let you know that Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation just announced the extension of our fundraising partnership. The Gates Foundation will continue matching donations to Rotary’s PolioPlus program 2-1, up to $50 million every year.

Share your commitment by showing this video from Bill Gates at your next club meeting or event and help Rotary and the Gates Foundation spread the word about our extended fundraising partnership. You can also share this news by forwarding this email to your Rotary network.

Whether you’re a new Rotary member, or you’ve been fighting polio for decades—there’s a role for you to play in ending this disease. Visit endpolio.org to learn more and donate.

Sincerely,

John Germ
Chair, End Polio Now Countdown to History Committee
Rotary Foundation Trustee
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ONE ROTARY CENTER
1560 SHERMAN AVENUE
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS 60201-3698 USA
ROTARY.ORG
 
 
 
Bill Gates Announces Continued Fundraising Partnership With Rotary 2020-01-22 09:00:00Z 0

Homer Celebrates Life of Longtime Rotarian, Beloved Community Member, Gary Thomas

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gary Thomas
April 11, 1951-Jan. 14, 2020
Gary Thomas, 68, Homer’s public-spirited master of ceremonies, died in a sudden and unforeseeable accident Jan. 14, 2020, leaving a hole in the community where he was the affable auctioneer for every non-profit and good cause. 
 
Gary was the town’s longest-serving volunteer firefighter, supervised the town’s annual health fair, and ran a business watching homes when their owners were away. He had served as general manager of the public radio station, publisher of the weekly newspaper, and guest pronouncer at countless school spelling bees. 
 
He carried little fuzzy ducks in his pocket to give away in case somebody needed one.
 
“He answered every phone call, day or night,” his family said. “Everyone knew they could call him any time and he would be there for them.” 
 
Gary was born April 11, 1951 in Fargo, ND. He graduated from high school in Moline, IL, in 1969, and from St. Lawrence University in 1973. After several years working for John Deere, he moved to Alaska in 1979 with his first wife, Gail Radcliffe, and settled in Homer. His family said constant moving in his youth, to a different high school every year, prompted him to sink deep roots in the Homer community he found.
He joined the Homer Volunteer Fire Department as soon as he arrived, eventually becoming a statewide fire investigator. In 1986, he drove a new lime-yellow fire truck from Florida to Homer. He also worked with Kachemak Emergency Services after the rural coverage area was added. His 40 years of volunteer service were the most ever by any firefighter in Homer.

 
Gary also volunteered right away at Homer’s new public radio station, KBBI, where he became  known for his Friday afternoon “Moldy Oldies” show, and was swiftly elevated to general manager. He acted in shows for Pier One Theater. During the 1990s, he was business manager for Homer writer and radio personality Tom Bodett, and then was business manager and publisher of the Homer News from the late 1990s until 2005. 
After 18 years, he sold his business, “Housewatch,” and most recently had a contract with the U.S. Postal Service. When he was not running the mail out to Fritz Creek, he enjoyed traveling to Africa and floating the Amazon and Colorado rivers.  

 
As emcee, he hosted annual fundraisers for the Pratt Museum, the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, Hospice of Homer, Kachemak Board of Realtors, South Peninsula Women’s Services, and the Dancing Bears of Anchorage, for whom he once enticed a bid of $400 for a quart of Spenard honey. He served that role as well at many private fundraisers for people in need.
 
His long involvement with the Rotary Club led him to take on running the popular local health fair, providing services to more than 1,000 residents every year. Gary served on the local hospital advisory board and road service area board. He played a key role on the grants committee for the Homer Foundation.
 
In addition to fuzzy ducks that quacked, he had a thing for two-dollar bills, lighthouses, and lions. 
 
“He was an amazing grandpa, a big goofy kid at heart,” his family said. “He was also a great mediator, who could bring people together in a positive way. Brother Asaiah once said, ‘Brother Gary is the voice of reason.’”
 
Gary is survived by his wife, Laura Patty, and daughter Jenny Dunne (and her husband Charlie Doherty); children Mica Thomas (and fiance Kelsey Ottley) and Mariah Greenwald (and husband Adam Greenwald); his grandchildren, Clayton and Anthony Greenwald; his first wife, Gail Radcliffe; his brother, Norman Thomas, and sister, Martha Twarkins (and husband Bill Twarkins); and nieces and nephews Steve Twarkins, Vanessa Twarkins, Jennifer Walters, and Chris Thomas.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Loie Thomas.
 
A memorial for Gary was held at Homer High School’s Mariner Theater on Jan. 19 with about 500 attending. Master of ceremonies was Tom Bodett, who returned to Homer for the occasion and professed himself flummoxed to have to serve in the role that should naturally have been filled by Gary Thomas. 
 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gary Thomas Memorial Donation Fund at Alaska USA Credit Union. Checks should be made out to Alaska USA. Gary’s family said the money will be distributed to good causes in the Homer area. 
 

 
Homer Celebrates Life of Longtime Rotarian, Beloved Community Member, Gary Thomas 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

How to Tell Fact From Fiction and Trust the News Again

 
by Kim Lisagor Bisheff           Illustrations by Joan Wong
 
Journalist Dan Mac Guill was working at his home office in Maryland last August when he got a news tip from a colleague: A photo of a Democratic congresswoman was circulating on Twitter. It appeared to show her at a press conference amid a group of armed terrorists. She was smiling.
 
The Twitter replies ranged from skepticism (“This is verifiable as a real photograph?”) to condemnation (“The enemy is here”) to something in between (“I blew it up. … If it is photoshop they did an amazing job”). Many comments were too hate-filled to bear repeating.
 
The reactions caught Mac Guill’s attention right away. “If you see people who seem to genuinely believe that a sitting member of Congress is or has been a terrorist, then that’s worth pursuing,” he says.
 
Mac Guill, who works for the fact-checking website Snopes, suspected that this was yet another digital misinformation attack against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who has been a frequent target of online trolls since she became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, in 2018. Just the previous week, in fact, Snopes had debunked a photo caption that falsely claimed that Omar had attended a “jihad academy.” The photo, which appears to show a woman in a headscarf holding a rifle, was taken before Omar was born. But that didn’t stop it from gaining traction on social media.
 
Though Mac Guill was pretty sure the newer image was also a fake, he knew it would require research to settle the matter. “You can’t always make the assumption that what’s obvious to you is obvious to everybody else,” he says. “Especially if people have certain biases that they might not even be conscious of, they might look at that image and say, ‘Well, look at it; it’s clearly her, and she’s been caught.’ And then you have somebody else saying, ‘She’s a sitting member of Congress. There’s no way this is real.’ People approach this content from different starting points.”
So he got to work.
You can't always make the assumption that what's obvious to you is obvious to everybody else.”
 
Ideas and memes like these can go viral very quickly, exacerbating the ideological divide between groups with opposing political viewpoints. As Republicans and Democrats increasingly consume news from partisan sources, an individual’s political affiliation has become a strong indicator of whom they trust and what information they identify as factual.
 
Rotarians strive to abide by The Four-Way Test. So when we read something inflammatory, what guides our decision to believe it? Do we trust what we read because it is the truth? Because it’s fair to all concerned? Or because it validates our existing worldview? Rotarians have an obligation to set aside partisan assumptions in pursuit of truth and fairness. A good start would be to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to misinformation. (In fact, studies have shown that the older we are, the more likely we are to be duped.) And we can choose to start listening to the experts who have been trying for decades to help us sort manipulation from satire, opinion from fact, and fiction from truth.
The history of debunking misinformation far predates this political era. Snopes has been at it for 25 years, since long before “fake news” was on the public’s radar. CEO David Mikkelson launched the website in 1995 to tackle urban legends. Some of those early myths seem harmless today — like the one about the Poltergeist curse, which claimed that several of the 1982 horror movie’s cast members had since died under suspicious circumstances, or the one that correlated Super Bowl wins with stock market performance. The intensity and frequency of misinformation spiked after 9/11, when the internet, which was itself just taking off, became flooded with conspiracies and hoaxes, and fact-checking became an increasingly serious endeavor.
 
The next big bump came with the rise of social media. Facebook and Twitter enabled fake news to travel farther and faster, and fact-checkers struggled to keep up. Over the years, Snopes has been joined by new fact-checking organizations, including FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and similar endeavors worldwide.
In the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the misinformation circulating on social media had become intensely political and polarized. People on both sides of the political aisle had honed their social feeds to match their existing biases, and in doing so, they became prime targets for made-up posts that aimed to validate and reinforce those views.
 
As journalists and academics began researching the phenomena that contributed to the spread of false information through social networks, stories emerged about Russian misinformation factories where hired trolls used fake social media identities to spread lies online. Reporters found hundreds of self-proclaimed “news” websites, based in the United States and abroad, that were deliberately publishing and spreading phony stories. The search term “fake news” started trending on Google. It has been a hot topic ever since — thanks in part to the fact that it is now often deployed to describe news someone doesn’t like, rather than stories that are objectively not true.
 
Snopes is busy these days. The site now has a staff of 15, most of whom are experienced journalists, working in home offices spread across three U.S. time zones. They keep regular business hours and communicate virtually via Slack throughout the day. Because they understand the importance of transparency in establishing readers’ trust, they are open about their operations and editorial process.
 
The “Transparency” page on the Snopes website details that process, along with the organization’s standards for sources. “We attempt to use non-partisan information and data sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals, government agency statistics) as much as possible, and to alert readers that information and data from sources such as political advocacy organizations and partisan think tanks should be regarded with skepticism,” it says. “Any published sources (both paper and digital) that we quote, link to, use as background information for, or otherwise reference in our fact checks are listed in the Sources section at the foot of each fact check article.”
 
Such transparency is consistent with the code of principles established by the International Fact-Checking Network, which maintains a list of 29 organizations that are in compliance. That list includes Snopes, whose website says it follows the network’s principles “because we think being transparent with readers is the coolest.”
 
When fact-checkers come across a suspicious photograph like the one of Omar, Mac Guill says, their first move is to take a step back and get an overview of the claim. “What exactly is the question that we are being asked?” he says. Is it: “Is this a real photograph? Does it show what it appears to show? What exactly does the image consist of? What do I actually need in order to come to a conclusion?”
 
Glancing at the photo, he noted that Omar was the only one smiling. “Without any fact-checking expertise, you can see that Omar is the only person in the room who is grinning ear to ear and appears to be very happy, whereas everyone else is looking very solemn or has their faces covered,” he says. “That is very clearly out of place. That doesn’t mean that it’s a fake, but it’s a clue.”
 
One of Mac Guill’s editors took a screenshot of the image and used Google to do a reverse image search. That turned up a photo of Omar taken by an Associated Press photographer in Washington, D.C., as she was walking to a meeting in the Capitol on 15 November 2018. Omar’s head and facial expression were a perfect match. “That gave me a bit of a head start,” Mac Guill says. “It made it clear to me that this image consists of two separate photographs, at least, sewn together using software.”
 
To establish the truth about the image, Mac Guill needed to find both originals, identify their sources, and gather enough information to put them into context. He took another screenshot of the suspicious photograph and did his own Google reverse image search. It didn’t take him long to find various images from a news conference with the same men sitting at the same table — without Omar. “You can fairly safely say at that stage, this is fairly solid evidence that her face was digitally added and superimposed on the original photograph, and it’s a fake.”
 
To eliminate all doubt, he tracked the source image to the websites where it had been published, and he quickly figured out that the original was a Reuters photo from a 2008 press conference. A person whose head was almost completely obscured by a headscarf sat in the position where Omar’s face had been superimposed. “So there you’ve got it,” Mac Guill says.
 
As fact-check detective work goes, this case was pretty straightforward, Mac Guill says. “Sometimes image searches can get complicated,” he says. If a suspicious image was a still shot taken from a video, for example, it can take hours to uncover the original source. “I personally really enjoy that part of it. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to trace something back to its origins.”
 
When we see something that makes us feel anger or fear, or something that validates an existing bias, we tend to respond to it without thinking.
The manipulated Omar photo is an example of what experts call “fauxtography,” which has been one of the most visited categories on Snopes over the past year, according to the site’s vice president of operations, Vinny Green.
 
Another popular category is “junk news,” or phony stories that are designed to draw traffic by intentionally misleading readers. Malicious entrepreneurs learned long ago that they can generate website traffic by taking advantage of a human weakness: our tendency to react to information that triggers a strong emotional response. When we see something that makes us feel anger or fear, or something that validates an existing bias, we tend to respond to it without thinking. On social media, that means liking, sharing, “hearting,” angry-facing, retweeting — all before stopping to verify that the information we’re spreading is correct.
 
As the tricksters who create fauxtography and junk news become more sophisticated, consumers are more easily duped. That’s why “deepfakes,” videos that have been manipulated to make individuals appear to be doing or saying things they did not actually do or say, are becoming a major concern among fact-checkers. Along the same lines are political quote memes, those boxes of text that contain quippy quotes attributed to politicians. They’re tantalizingly shareable — and quite often wrong.
 
Political figures are common targets for all forms of misinformation, which is why Snopes has increased its focus on political content in recent years. While reader interest in political stories used to drop off between presidential elections, Green says, “politics has never left the tip of our culture’s tongue in the past five years.” As the 2020 election season heats up, the number of political hoaxes and the demand for political fact-checking are likely to increase accordingly.
 
At Snopes, the process for fact-checking text-based content is similar to that for photos and videos. A staff member starts by trying to contact the source of the claim to ask for supporting documentation. They also contact individuals and organizations with direct knowledge of the subject. That reporting is backed up by research from news articles, journal articles, books, interview transcripts, and statistical sources, all of which are cited in the writer’s fact-checking story. At least one editor reviews the story and adds to the research as needed.
 
Our main job: to learn how to consume media responsibly in this new media era.
 
No matter how you define fake news or measure the political fallout, one major impact is clear: Its very existence has left readers disheartened and confused. A Pew Research Center study published in December 2016 found that 64 percent of adults said misinformation was causing “a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events.” In a 2019 update, that number went up to 67 percent, and 68 percent of the Americans surveyed said that fake news has affected their confidence in government.
 
A 2019 report by the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy found that Americans have far less faith in their institutions — especially the media — than they did 50 years ago. It blames this “crisis of trust” on several factors, including the overwhelming number of information sources available online; the increasingly blurred line between news and opinion; declining news budgets; attacks by politicians on the media; and Americans’ inability to agree on what constitutes a fact.
 
“‘Filter bubbles’ make it possible for people to live in ‘echo chambers,’ exposed primarily to the information and opinions that are in accord with their own,” the report says. “One result of this technique is to provide users with content that reinforces their pre-existing views while isolating them from alternative views, contributing to political polarization and a fragmentation of the body politic. In turn, increasing political polarization encourages people to remain isolated in ever-more-separate ideological silos, offline as well as online.”
 
The problem is fixable, the report says, but it requires action by news organizations, tech companies — and us. Our main job: to learn how to consume media responsibly in this new media era. “My general advice to any news consumer or consumer of fact checks: Trust no one and nothing,” says Snopes managing editor Doreen Marchionni, a former Seattle Times editor.
 
If a news story or image seems scary or outrageous, that’s a red flag. If you see an image that doesn’t contain a link, be suspicious. If someone shares a picture of a tweet that doesn’t link to the actual tweet, it may be a fake. If an outlet publishing a story doesn’t have a protocol for running corrections or retractions of erroneous information, it might not be a trustworthy source.
 
“Start by looking for sound, primary data on the source of the stuff that you want to share,” Marchionni says. “See if you can find the original source of it.” Google unfamiliar stories and websites to see if they’ve been flagged as fakes. Use reverse image searches to find the earliest versions of suspicious images. Check independent, nonpartisan fact-checking websites for help with difficult cases.
 
In the meantime, resist the urge to share. “It is your civic responsibility and your civic duty to do the right thing by your [fellow] citizens. In this context, that means don’t share bad stuff,” Marchionni says. “Don’t share outrageous headlines and links unless you yourself know them to be true. If you can’t suss out the truth of the thing, then, by all means, check our website.”
 
But why should people trust Snopes? “Read up on our history. Look at the girth of our reporting across 25 years. Decide for yourself if you think we’re trustworthy,” Marchionni says. “I think we are, but basically the same rules apply when evaluating a potential meme by a white supremacist or evaluating a fact-checking organization that you look to in order to help you understand whether something’s true or not.”
 
Ultimately, the responsibility falls on each of us as consumers and sharers of news. “Misinformation has always been out there, since the dawn of humanity. What is different right now is social media,” Marchionni says. “It’s the act of sharing bad information that is creating this crisis we’re in.”
 
Kim Lisagor Bisheff worked as a fact-checker in the late 1990s, when “fact-checking” was still a politically neutral term. Over the past 20 years, she has reported for newspapers, magazines, books, and websites. Bisheff has taught journalism at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo since 2004. She teaches multimedia journalism and public affairs reporting and gives talks to campus and community groups on news literacy and fact-checking.
 
• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
How to stop fake news, in three easy steps
 
1) Gut-check: Did the headline or image you just saw make you feel a strong emotion? Misinformation is designed to do just that. Before sharing, click the link and check it out. If you’re unsure about it, don’t share it or react to it.
 
2) Fact-check: What is the original source of the information? Are any familiar news outlets publishing this story or photograph? Does a reverse image search turn up different sources for a suspicious image? What do independent, nonpartisan fact-checking sites like Snopes, PolitiFact, or FactCheck.org have to say?
 
3) Read real news: News institutions like those we revered in the Watergate era are still producing top-quality journalism. Subscribe to a variety of reputable publications and get your information directly from those sources — not through social media.
How to Tell Fact From Fiction and Trust the News Again KLB 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

Holger Knaack Sees Opportunities for Rotary to Change,Thrive

Incoming RI President Announces 2020-21 Presidential Theme
By Ryan Hyland
 
Rotary International President-elect Holger Knaack is encouraging Rotarians to seize the many opportunities Rotary offers to enrich their lives and the communities they serve.
 
Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, revealed the 2020-21 presidential theme, Rotary Opens Opportunities, to incoming district governors at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, on 20 January.
 
Rotary isn’t just a club for people to join, but rather “an invitation to endless opportunities,” said Knaack, who becomes president on 1 July. He emphasized that Rotary creates pathways for members to improve their lives and the lives of those they help through service projects.
 
“We believe that our acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help,” Knaack said. He added that Rotary creates leadership opportunities and gives members the chance to travel the world to put their service ideas into action and make lifelong connections. “Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere,” said Knaack.
 
 
Changing for the future
 
Knaack also urged members to embrace change so Rotary can expand and thrive. Rather than setting a specific target for increasing the number of members, Knaack said he’s asking clubs and districts to think about how to grow in a sustainable and organic way. He wants clubs to focus on keeping current members engaged and adding new members who are the right fit for their club.
 
"We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values."
 
Holger Knaack
Rotary International President-elect
 
“We need to stop thinking of new members as people we can mark down as statistics and then forget about,” Knaack said. “Every new member changes us a little bit. That person brings a new perspective, new experiences. We need to embrace this constant renewal. We will grow stronger as we learn from new members.”
 
Knaack pointed to Rotary’s Action Plan as a compass that can guide clubs as they evolve. He recommended that every club have a strategic plan meeting at least once a year. At that meeting, clubs should ask where they want to be in five years and how they can bring more value to their members.
 
Knaack also wants to see more women in leadership roles and see Rotaractors play an integral role in how new clubs are formed and run. He encouraged district leaders to create new club models and rethink what it means to be in Rotary, and allow young people to be the architects of these new clubs.
 
“We have to be open to new approaches, and creating unique clubs for younger people is just part of the solution,” said Knaack. “Let Rotaractors decide what kind of Rotary experience works best for them. These young people are bright, energetic, and they get things done.”
 
In stressing the need for Rotary members to embrace change, Knaack noted that time won’t slow down for Rotary: “We will not let rapid change defeat us. We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values.”
Holger Knaack Sees Opportunities for Rotary to Change,Thrive 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

What's It Like To Visit Every National Park in the United States?

Mikah Meyer
Ambassadorial Scholar

 

It seemed all but certain that I had blown it. After logging tens of thousands of miles in a cramped van with a solar-powered fridge that chilled things only on occasion, I wouldn’t achieve my goal. The pilot of the seaplane flying me into one of the most remote national parks in the United States, the Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve in Alaska, had just told me that, because of restricted visibility, he would have to scratch our planned landing on the crater lake below. Then he added, “Like we agreed, you’ll have to pay me full price whether we can touch down or not.”

Two years before, at age 30, I had set off on an odyssey to visit all of our 419 national park sites on one continuous journey that would ultimately take three years and cover more than 75,000 miles. No one had done it before. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Badlands of South Dakota to Florida’s Dry Tortugas and beyond, I had traveled by sea, land, and air to visit every single park. I had survived on canned foods, endured blizzards and scorching heat, repaired flat tires and oil leaks, and been chased by security guards out of dozens of parking lots where I had hunkered down in my van for the night to save money. And now it looked like my name would go into the record books with an asterisk noting that, due to inclement weather, I had been shut out from visiting the Aniakchak crater — even though I had paid full price.

“All right, one last look,” the pilot said, dropping into the thick soup to see if there was the slimmest chance this dense cumulus formation did not extend all the way down to the surface of the Aleutian mountain lake. I saw nothing but an all-encompassing blanket of gray; that vista perfectly mirrored my despondency. But just as the pilot throttled up to turn toward home, a sliver of sunlight appeared far beneath us; glowing like a beacon, it illuminated a bright expanse of water under the cloud cover. Both of us let out a loud cheer. Five minutes later, the seaplane made a smooth landing on Surprise Lake in a crater bowl formed 3,500 years ago. I felt as if I had been blessed by divine intervention.

That sense of spiritual connection had been guiding me for a long time. I’m the son of a Lutheran pastor, so maybe it was to be expected. For sure it played a role in my current quest. My dad, who died at 58, loved road trips, and I undertook mine in large measure to honor his memory. In spirit he rode beside me on every leg of the journey. And his early passing confirmed to me that you can’t hold off on your dreams.

If my father provided all the inspiration I needed, I still had to find the funds. As a student at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, I had received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Memphis Central, that enabled me to enroll in McGill University in Montreal to study voice training as a countertenor. I didn’t know at the time that the scholarship would, indirectly, provide the means for me to undertake my national parks venture.

I more or less sang for my supper. In addition to money I had saved over a decade, I paid my way by giving recitals in churches and talking from the pulpit about my travel experiences. I shared my adventures and put out a hat.

I talked about the time I was in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and drove through an entanglement of tall bushes that blocked my view, then felt a sudden drop. When I looked out the side window, I discovered that the front wheels of my van were hanging off a cliff. I threw open the driver’s side door and my whole life flashed by. Fortunately, some people showed up and pulled me and the van to safety.

And I related how at Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado — my favorite park — a wild goose, soon to be named George, joined our rafting group. He slept with us, partied with us, and flapped his way up a steep canyon hike with us. When we finally drove away, George honked and chased after the van.

My visits to churches also provided me with a chance to speak candidly as a gay Christian. I was raised in conservative Nebraska, where I struggled as a teenager to own my sexual orientation. It was super hard to come out. You had to choose whether to be gay and not be a Christian, or be a Christian and stay in the closet. Now, two decades later, I had an opportunity to tell my story and to be received with genuine affection.

From an early age, I had a strong desire to see the world. Rotary made that possible by seeding my journey. I’m asked often if I would do it all again. In a heartbeat, I answer. I was given a chance to follow my vision, embrace my true nature, and share both with a welcoming audience.

As told to Stephen Yafa

The LGBT Rotarians and Friends Rotary Fellowship is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming community for LGBT+ people. 

Read more extraordinary tales from
ordinary Rotarians

MORE STORIES

 

• Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarianmagazine.

What's It Like To Visit Every National Park in the United States? 2020-01-14 09:00:00Z 0

What's it like to visit every national park in the United States?
Visit every national park in the United States


Mikah Meyer
Ambassadorial Scholar

 

It seemed all but certain that I had blown it. After logging tens of thousands of miles in a cramped van with a solar-powered fridge that chilled things only on occasion, I wouldn’t achieve my goal. The pilot of the seaplane flying me into one of the most remote national parks in the United States, the Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve in Alaska, had just told me that, because of restricted visibility, he would have to scratch our planned landing on the crater lake below. Then he added, “Like we agreed, you’ll have to pay me full price whether we can touch down or not.”

Two years before, at age 30, I had set off on an odyssey to visit all of our 419 national park sites on one continuous journey that would ultimately take three years and cover more than 75,000 miles. No one had done it before. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Badlands of South Dakota to Florida’s Dry Tortugas and beyond, I had traveled by sea, land, and air to visit every single park. I had survived on canned foods, endured blizzards and scorching heat, repaired flat tires and oil leaks, and been chased by security guards out of dozens of parking lots where I had hunkered down in my van for the night to save money. And now it looked like my name would go into the record books with an asterisk noting that, due to inclement weather, I had been shut out from visiting the Aniakchak crater — even though I had paid full price.

“All right, one last look,” the pilot said, dropping into the thick soup to see if there was the slimmest chance this dense cumulus formation did not extend all the way down to the surface of the Aleutian mountain lake. I saw nothing but an all-encompassing blanket of gray; that vista perfectly mirrored my despondency. But just as the pilot throttled up to turn toward home, a sliver of sunlight appeared far beneath us; glowing like a beacon, it illuminated a bright expanse of water under the cloud cover. Both of us let out a loud cheer. Five minutes later, the seaplane made a smooth landing on Surprise Lake in a crater bowl formed 3,500 years ago. I felt as if I had been blessed by divine intervention.

That sense of spiritual connection had been guiding me for a long time. I’m the son of a Lutheran pastor, so maybe it was to be expected. For sure it played a role in my current quest. My dad, who died at 58, loved road trips, and I undertook mine in large measure to honor his memory. In spirit he rode beside me on every leg of the journey. And his early passing confirmed to me that you can’t hold off on your dreams.

If my father provided all the inspiration I needed, I still had to find the funds. As a student at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, I had received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Memphis Central, that enabled me to enroll in McGill University in Montreal to study voice training as a countertenor. I didn’t know at the time that the scholarship would, indirectly, provide the means for me to undertake my national parks venture.

I more or less sang for my supper. In addition to money I had saved over a decade, I paid my way by giving recitals in churches and talking from the pulpit about my travel experiences. I shared my adventures and put out a hat.

I talked about the time I was in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and drove through an entanglement of tall bushes that blocked my view, then felt a sudden drop. When I looked out the side window, I discovered that the front wheels of my van were hanging off a cliff. I threw open the driver’s side door and my whole life flashed by. Fortunately, some people showed up and pulled me and the van to safety.

And I related how at Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado — my favorite park — a wild goose, soon to be named George, joined our rafting group. He slept with us, partied with us, and flapped his way up a steep canyon hike with us. When we finally drove away, George honked and chased after the van.

My visits to churches also provided me with a chance to speak candidly as a gay Christian. I was raised in conservative Nebraska, where I struggled as a teenager to own my sexual orientation. It was super hard to come out. You had to choose whether to be gay and not be a Christian, or be a Christian and stay in the closet. Now, two decades later, I had an opportunity to tell my story and to be received with genuine affection.

From an early age, I had a strong desire to see the world. Rotary made that possible by seeding my journey. I’m asked often if I would do it all again. In a heartbeat, I answer. I was given a chance to follow my vision, embrace my true nature, and share both with a welcoming audience.

As told to Stephen Yafa

The LGBT Rotarians and Friends Rotary Fellowship is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming community for LGBT+ people. Learn more >

Read more extraordinary tales from
ordinary Rotarians

MORE STORIES

 

• Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarianmagazine.

What's it like to visit every national park in the United States?Visit every national park in the United States 2020-01-11 09:00:00Z 0

Thanks For Not Sharing

Here’s a recommendation:
Don’t saddle me with your favorite books
by Joe Queenan
Illustration by Richard Mia
Few things in life are more feared than the book that comes highly recommended. Or the gifted book. Or the gifted book that you strongly suspect might be a regifted book.
 
Sometimes a warning, sometimes a threat, a gifted or recommended book is an attempt to force you to participate in a pleasure you would prefer to avoid. It is a search for validation, affirmation, honor. It’s not enough that I like you. It’s not enough that I enjoy your company. It’s not enough that you’re the person I would want by my side if I got into a fistfight in a dark alley with 365 Oakland Raiders fans. You also want me to respect you. Or at least you want me to respect your taste in books. This is asking too much of another person. Far too much.
Here is the basic problem. I like you. You seem to know a lot about trout fishing. Your thoughts about the inverted yield curve are jaw-droppingly perspicacious. I enjoy hearing you talk about that time you hitched a ride with Bo Diddley outside Macon. But I’m not interested in your book recommendations. Not now, not ever. In fact, I wish you had never told me that you liked books with names like Knee-Deep in the Dead or Scourge of the Saracen Scimitar or Let Us Now Praise Famous Yokels. Until then, things seemed to be going along swimmingly.
 
Now you’ve got me worried.
 
Tourists are warned to never study maps while walking around New York. It makes them look like “marks.” Something similar happens when you foolishly take a gander at other people’s book collections. Once the cormorant has spotted you, you have turned into dinner. I have made the mistake of picking up a book at a friend’s house — merely to test its weight — only to be told: “Go ahead, take it. I’m probably not going to get to it for a while.”
 
Well, of course you’re not going to get to it for a while. It’s a 989-page biography of John Quincy Adams. And you will never have to read it because you just dumped your copy on me. You have vowed that you are not going to crack it open until I finish reading it, which you know is never going to happen because there will never be a time when I will say to myself: “Hold my calls; I’m going to finally hunker down with that John Quincy Adams biography.” Not even if I live to be 115. So you are off the hook for life.
 
The recommended book is a deceptively cunning Rorschach test. It is an attempt to confirm that the quarry shares the same values as the predator. Giving people books they don’t want to read is not just an invasion of privacy: It’s a smack in the face. It’s punitive. It’s cruel. It is a socially acceptable form of sadism, the modern cultural equivalent of medieval hot pitch. I’m upset with you because you didn’t offer me your spare ticket to Hamilton on Broadway. So here’s the 1,200-page biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the musical. Enjoy!
 
People love to give you the book that changed their life. The Little Prince. Dow 36,000. The Official Preppy Handbook. Cujo. Frankly, unless the book explains how to cure lower back pain, I’m not interested. I am not interested in the book about octogenarian decathlon participants or the one about how the invention of tea cozies changed the world, and I am definitely not interested in the book explaining what really happened to that doomed Mars rover. I have my own reading agenda, and it does not resemble yours.
 
People are most likely to recommend books when the victim’s immune system is at its weakest. Hearing that you are laid up in bed with a torn meniscus or typhus, they pounce like uncharacteristically empathetic hyenas, armed with exotic chocolates, bouquets of gorgeous flowers, and potboilers by Dan Brown. They are well-meaning but annoying, not unlike Marie Antoinette, herself a reader of light novels. When confined for weeks to my bed of pain, my philosophy regarding get-well gifts is: Leave the cannoli, take the Kate Atkinson.
 
The chronic recommender of books clings to an unyielding and implacable personal philosophy. There is something missing in your life. It can be fixed by reading this book. Please let me improve you. But most people don’t want to be improved. Not if it involves reading a book about the deep state. With only a few exceptions — the Bible, the Koran — nothing important in life can be fixed by reading a book. This is particularly true of books written by or about politicians, or morally regenerated white-collar criminals, or plucky defensemen for the Red Wings. It should not be necessary to keep reminding people of this.
 
I enthusiastically accept book recommendations from only three people: my sister Eileen, my daughter, and my editor at The Rotarian.
People who recommend books display a willful obtuseness and insensitivity toward their victims. They want you to like a particular book even though all the data available to them suggests that you will hate it. This is like offering an Ohio State Buckeye a book about Michigan football. It’s like inviting a vegan to dinner and handing her a heaping bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why would you do that? Were you paying any attention to who I am? Did you not notice that I was reading a book about Anna Karenina, not a book by Anna Kendrick?
 
Why is it that even on our deathbeds we are still thinking about the precious time we squandered reading the “classics” assigned to us in high school? The Scarlet Letter. Jude the Obscure. Death of a Salesman. Silas Marner. We hated these books, not just because they were unreadable, which they usually were, but because we were forced to read them. That’s what the compulsive book recommender is — your high school English teacher, Sister Regina Vindicta.
 
What goes through the mind of the obsessive book giver? Taking the charitable view, people sometimes give you books because they honestly believe that if you want to understand what’s going on in the world, you need to read it. Incorrect. Not everyone is fascinated by the hidden structural causes of unemployment. Not everyone cares what Barry Manilow thinks about Bette Midler. Moreover, people don’t all read for the same reason. Some people read to get information. Others read to be reassured. Most people read to be diverted.
 
I read because I like the way writers put words together, because language used well has actually changed my view of the world. Great Expectations is superhumanly inspiring to anyone growing up in a housing project. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a personal invitation to the fun house. A James Ellroy novel is like a 450-page tenor sax solo. What the obsessive book recommender fails to understand is: Not everybody likes the sax.
 
I enthusiastically accept book recommendations from only three people: my sister Eileen, my daughter, and my editor at The Rotarian. Everyone else I ignore. Still, in a spirit of woefully misguided human kindness, every few years I will stack up the books I have been given or have had recommended to me and vow to spend the next three months reading them and clearing the decks forever.
 
But I get only about 30 pages into the book about the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu before I give up. Then a few years later I try again. By then, another half-dozen books have been added to my reading list. The enterprise has become hopelessly Sisyphean. By the way, Sisyphus spent eternity futilely pushing a boulder up a hill. But he didn’t spend eternity writing about it. Otherwise, I would have to read that book, too.
In my office I have a small pile of books I give to people when they ask me for something I think they might really enjoy: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, Darwin, Marx, Wagner by Jacques Barzun, Meeting Evil by Thomas Berger, A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr, Light Years by James Salter, The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, and Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński. These are books I have read again and again, books that mean a lot to me, books that I honestly believe are as close to perfection as any human undertaking can get.
 
Sometimes I give them to people and they seem reasonably appreciative. But most times I never hear from them again. On almost no occasion has anyone come back to me and begged for a second “desert island” book recommendation. That’s because they have, perhaps reluctantly, come to understand that these are books that I love, these are books that mean a lot to me, these are my desert island books.
 
Go find your own desert island.
 
Joe Queenan is a freelance writer based in Tarrytown, New York.
• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Thanks For Not Sharing 2020-01-08 09:00:00Z 0

Selection of D5010 2022-2023 District Governor Designate

 

 
Please help me welcome and congratulate Mike Ferris as the 2022-2023 District Governor Designate for D5010.
 
Michael Ferris was inducted into Rotary in 2003 and is a member of the Anchorage South Rotary Club, where he served as Club President in 2015-2016.  Mike has completed the D5010 Leadership Academy and has served in a variety of  Club committees, including most recently as Membership, Foundation and Dictionary Project Co-Chair.  Beyond the club, Mike has served on several D5010 committees as Membership Committee Co-Chair, Public Image Committee and as Grants Co-Chair.
 
Mike continues to serve his community as a coach for 20 years and an official for Pop Warner Youth Football (ages 7-9) and High School Wrestling.  He has been involved in The Resource Development Council, the Alaska Support Industrial Alliance, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and The Alaska State Chamber. Mike has also served as President of a local Toastmasters club.
 
Mike has been a leader as early as High School, in both his personal and professional life. He has served as a deck boss at age 18 on his family’s commercial crab boat, the F/V SEABROOKE, fishing in the Bering Sea.  Later he captained the same vessel, generating some of the largest crab quotas in the fleet.  From 2000-2002 Mike led a team of Lithuanians at a refinery, moving product through ports in Lithuania and Latvia.
 
Mike will strive to keep Rotary fresh, while preserving the true Fellowship behind Rotary, “Service Above Self”.  
 
Sincerely,
Andre' Layral
D5010 Governor. 2019-2020
 
Selection of D5010 2022-2023 District Governor Designate 2020-01-08 09:00:00Z 0

The Dry Blue Eyes

A dad laments putting the lack in lachrymosity
by Jeff Ruby
Illustration by Richard Mia
 
I am on the couch watching E.T. with my young son when the sniffles hit. Soon, as if someone has pressed a button, my tears begin to fall, thick and fast. When E.T. flies off in his ship forever and John Williams’ music tugs and swells like some kind of sadistic woodwind tear-generator, I lose it completely. Sobbing. Gasping for air, for Pete’s sake.
 
At some point, I realize my son has stopped watching the movie and is regarding me with a mixture of curiosity and horror. “Dad’s crying!” he hollers.
Various family members come out of their rooms to gawk at the wet, heaving mess that Dad has become, but by this time I’ve begun to compose myself. My children know me as silly and embarrassing and even willfully dumb, but this is the first time they’ve seen me cry. Mortified, I vow it will be the last.
I would not call myself the strong, silent type. I’m weak and loud, actually, overemotional and periodically prone to senseless outbursts. And yet: I do not cry in front of my children.
 
At my beloved grandfather’s funeral a few years back, with my kids at my side, I didn’t squeeze out a single tear. During my Great Cancer Scare of 2017, I spent a brutal week imagining them growing up without a father yet showed little emotion, only a steely resolve. In both cases, any loss of control was scheduled in advance, when I had a good block of time alone and would not have to rejoin society until mental equilibrium had been restored. In other words, I bawled my eyes out in private. But there was some kind of public barrier that I couldn’t cross.
 
This is patently ridiculous. I know that crying is normal for any human and is nothing to be ashamed of, regardless of gender or emotional IQ. I also know that it’s good for you. According to William Frey, a neurology professor at the University of Minnesota and one of the leading academics to study crying, tears contain adrenocorticotropin, an indicator of stress. That could mean that not crying only increases stress.
 
Other men seem to have understood that intuitively. The Old Testament overflows with sensitive characters like Abraham, Joseph, and King David, all of whom blubber without shame. Even the manly Esau, when he learns that Jacob has stolen his birthright, whimpers as only a guy who loses to his brother could. (He also weeps when they reunite.) Never once is there a stigma to those tears. Overt expressions of grief and joy reside within the normal range of response to biblical situations. Crying makes these men relatable, sincere, trustworthy — perhaps even heroic.
 
Or so suggests an anonymous 18th-century writer quoted in Tom Lutz’s 1999 book, Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears: “Moral weeping is the sign of so noble a passion, that it may be questioned whether those are properly men, who never weep upon any occasion. They may pretend to be as heroical as they please, and pride themselves in a stoical insensibility; but this will never pass for virtue with the true judges of human nature.”
 
When did this attitude change? Was it in the Victorian era, when views on masculinity and femininity were defined by each gender’s approach to emotion? Women were depicted as impossibly fragile time bombs prone to hot-flash hysteria and in constant danger of taking to their beds. The steady, sturdy gentlemen in their lives were expected to be disciplined, rational, and averse to tears. This meant that men were either (a) suddenly content to lead buttoned-up lives of taciturn rectitude or (b) suffering privately with consequences that came out in less emotionally healthy ways than simple tears. (See Jack the Ripper.)
 
The stiff upper lip remained a fixture of Western male culture through much of the 20th century. For my stern immigrant great-grandfather and war-hero grandfather, tears were allowed only at the cemetery and, maybe, the altar. Then my father came along. A wartime baby raised by women, he grew up to be a gentle, hugging mushpot, strong and sensitive and ahead of his time in preaching the gospel of empathy. When I wrecked his car as a teenager and was hysterical with guilt, he shrugged and asked if I wanted to shoot some pool. “You’ve punished yourself enough,” he said. By the time of the 1972 release of Free to Be ... You and Me — a book and recording that challenged accepted gender roles and officially made it all right for an entire generation of boys to cry — he had been saying it for years.
 
But here’s the weird thing: Only once do I remember my father crying, and that was because he missed my mom, who had been out of town for a week. It was one of those terrifying moments when it hits you that the people in charge are not really in control after all, and maybe Earth spins on an axis of chaos. I assumed that his crying represented the beginning of a breakdown of sorts and that things would never be the same. As it turned out, the moment was an aberration, a blip on the timeline. But this blip must have profoundly affected me, because I still insist on hiding within the same all-powerful Dad shell that sheltered my forefathers.
 
It was one of those terrifying moments when it hits you that the people in charge are not really in control after all.
 
What do my kids make of all this? They’re growing up in a world that appears to have split in two. Meghan Markle, now known as the Duchess of Sussex, adopted the masculine pose of the stiff upper lip as she adjusted to life in the royal spotlight. How did that work out? “I really tried,” she reports in a recently released documentary, “but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
 
Meanwhile, a 2007 Penn State study by Stephanie Shields and Leah Warner suggested that crying in men can lead to a “positive evaluation” by other people. But as Shields explained, that favorable reaction can depend on the situation. When LeBron James sobbed uncontrollably on the court after finally bringing an NBA title to Cleveland in 2016, we understood: He had overcome a decade of criticism and heartbreak and ended 52 years of his hometown’s sports misery. Tears made sense.
 
Contrast this with the story of Adam Morrison, an All-American forward for Gonzaga University who, as he began to realize his team was going to lose during the 2006 NCAA basketball tournament, openly wept in a nationally televised game. Cameras focused on his face, almost cruelly, as if judging this startling loss of decorum and forever solidifying his legacy. For some hoops fans, that’s all they remember about Morrison: “Oh yeah, the dude who cried on the court.” In sports, it seems tears are OK only when you’re a winner. Or when you indulge in what’s known as the “man cry,” a single tear that streams down a male’s face while he reveals no other emotion whatsoever. So finally we have a tactic that makes it OK for 50 percent of the population to weep, so long as it’s laconic.
 
Back at home, as I navel-gaze about what this all means, my wife is matter-of-factly showcasing a full range of emotions for our offspring. This includes crying at everything from shaving commercials to photos of the family picking apples in 2013. That is strength and our children know it — and I’m pleased to say, all three of them cry constantly.
 
As for me, I keep waiting for the moment when I overcome years of conditioning, when real, raw emotion — not the reflexive Pavlovian response triggered by a fictional animatronic alien and a manipulative film score — boils over, and I show my children all of myself. They’re waiting, too. It’s only a matter of time. During a recent weekend in Albuquerque, one in which three generations of Rubys sat in a field at 5 a.m. to watch hot air balloons launch into the endless Southwestern sky, I asked my father about this not-crying business. “Tears were never close to the surface for me then,” he said. “I suppose I showed my emotions in other ways.”
 
But two days later, when he was saying goodbye at the airport, he pulled me in for one more hug and told me he loved me, and I saw his eyes welling up. He’s 77, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.
 
Jeff Ruby has written about his daughter Hannah and his son, Max, for The Rotarian; his daughter Avi awaits her moment in the sun.
 
• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Dry Blue Eyes 2019-12-18 09:00:00Z 0

Our World:  A New Chapter
 

 
Nancy Leonhardt is a member of the Rotary Club of West Little Rock, Arkansas
Image credit: John David Pittman
 
When Nancy Leonhardt was asked if she would serve as governor of District 6150, she said no. She had her hands full as the executive director of Adult Learning Alliance, a nonprofit that supports adult literacy councils across Arkansas. But leaders in the district asked again. “I decided I’d go to a higher authority,” she says with a laugh. “I went to the Learning Alliance board of directors, anticipating that they would say no. Well, my board let me down and said I should do it.”
 
The ALA board members valued Rotary’s focus on literacy. They recognized the benefit of networking with Rotarians. And they figured that the leadership training Leonhardt would get would benefit their organization as well.
 
Leonhardt had first learned about Rotary in the 1980s, when she was an urban planning consultant in her home state of California. Though women could not join at the time, she went to a number of meetings of the Rotary Club of Redlands as a guest of her boss, Patrick Meyer.
 
Leonhardt left consulting and moved with her husband and two children to Wisconsin and later to Arkansas. While her kids were young, she worked part time at nonprofit organizations and volunteered with the PTA. But once her son was in college and her daughter was in high school, she decided it was time to go back to working full time. And it was time to join Rotary. That was in 2007.
 
“I’d always had it in the back of my mind that if I ever went back to work, I’d like to get involved with Rotary,” Leonhardt says. “I guess I didn’t think I could get involved when I was an at-home mom. I know better now.”
 
As district governor in 2017-18, she focused on literacy, adult literacy in particular, and made a point of talking about it whenever she visited clubs. Her work has had a measurable impact. “The ALA has a new literacy council being developed in the Jonesboro area, and it’s a Rotarian leading the charge,” she says. “More and more Rotary clubs in the district are supporting their local literacy councils. And because of my going to zone events and multidistrict events, more clubs around the state are aware of what I do.” The members of the ALA board were right: Leonhardt’s decision to become a district governor was fair to all concerned.
— HANK SARTIN
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Our World:  A New Chapter  2019-12-18 09:00:00Z 0

People of Action Around the World

Canada
The Rotary Club of Langley, British Columbia, led the drive to construct an interpretive center on the grounds of a local arboretum. The 1,000-square-foot post-and-beam structure of red cedar, pine, and fir harvested in the province opened in late June. “There are dozens of nonprofit organizations in Langley that meet at people’s homes or whatnot,” says club member Allan Richmond. “We thought, why not have a building that any one of these nonprofits can use?” The club provided $190,000 for the project, which was matched by Langley Township. Local residents also contributed materials and labor.
 
Trinidad and Tobago
More than 100 high school students from across the Caribbean demonstrated their diplomatic savvy in a Model United Nations sponsored by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain. The two-day mock General Assembly debate, with the youths donning garb representative of their randomly chosen countries, centered on the global refugee crisis. Four attendees who had fled their native Venezuela to settle in Trinidad and Tobago participated, and though they represented Afghanistan and Guyana during the March debate, they drew on their experiences as refugees. “They had a lot of valuable perspectives to share,” says club member Abigail Edwards.
 
Malawi
A widow with five children, living in a 90-square-foot mud and brick room with a thatched roof, was offered a helping hand by a hardworking team from Habitat for Humanity that included four Rotarians and two of their spouses. In March, the volunteers constructed a three-room, 360-square-foot house. The Rotarians — Carey Beamesderfer, Doug Borrett, and David Driscoll of the Rotary Club of West El Paso, Texas, and Joann Navar of the Rotary Club of Anthony, New Mexico — are all on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity El Paso.
 
Habitat for Humanity says Malawi needs 21,000 new housing units over each of the next 10 years.
 
Image credit: Courtesy of the Rotary Club of Llanidloes
 
England and Wales have 2,500 miles of National Trails.
 
United Kingdom
An annual walk across Wales drew more than 200 wayfarers in June to hike more than 40 miles in one very long day. This year’s event raised more than $22,000 for organizations of the ramblers’ choosing. “There are many ways to raise money, but seldom does a charity event involve crossing a country in one day on foot,” says Paul Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Llanidloes, which sponsors the event with the Rotary clubs of Newtown and Machynlleth. The three clubs supported the walkers with food and cheers along the well-marked route, which starts in the west near the coast in Machynlleth and goes through the hilly countryside of central Wales before finishing at the Anchor Inn pub just across the English border (walks of 26, 16, and 8 miles were also options).
 
“Every year I meet people digging deep to finish what they’ve started,” says Jones, who carries out the duties of “back marker” – the person who brings up the rear of the group. “I’ve crossed the line with someone who didn’t finish the walk the previous year and had returned to set the record straight. From a 13-year-old to an elderly gentleman with tears in his eyes, every one of them is an inspiration, and they are the reason I return every year.”
 
India
When flooding brought on by heavy rainfall displaced more than 100,000 people in the plains of West Garo Hills in July, the Rotaract Club of NEHU (North-Eastern Hill University), Shillong, sprang into action. The Rotaractors collected donations from university faculty, staff, and students, as well as the Rotaract Club of Guwahati East. Five NEHU Rotaractors traveled about 180 miles to the hard-hit village of Haribhanga in a vehicle supplied by their sponsoring Rotary Club of Orchid City Shillong. There, they handed out packages with rice, dal, milk packets, cookies, soap, bleach, feminine hygiene products, and clothing directly to more than 200 households.
 
 
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
People of Action Around the World 2019-12-11 09:00:00Z 0

Our World: All Well and Good
 

Image credit: Courtesy of the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central
 
For residents of Kramokrom, a small village in Ghana, a lack of access to clean water meant they had to rely on digging shallow wells, harvesting rainwater, or sending children to fetch water from nearby communities, which meant they often missed, or were late for, school. The community also suffered from a high rate of waterborne diseases
.
So with help from residents, the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central built a mechanized borehole that was connected to an overhead reservoir and 10 taps to provide clean water to the community.
 
The Water Is Life project was suggested by then-club member Husseini Abdullah, who lives in Kramokrom. Before proceeding with the project, however, the club wanted to be sure that access to clean water was a priority for residents. “We carried out a community needs assessment to find out what were the most pressing challenges in the community,” says Edem Agbenyo, who helped guide the project. “We wanted to be certain that a water project would address the problems observed.”
 
After learning that residents wanted clean water, the club consulted with experts, including borehole companies, to determine the best site for the hole. Once they had dug, water samples were tested at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Water Research Institute in Accra to make certain the water was safe to drink.
 
The community had a high rate of waterborne diseases.
 
The project took second place in the 2018 Commitment Awards, organized by the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt in Germany and the Engagementpreis Foundation, which recognizes innovative and sustainable social projects. The award included $1,750 in project support.
 
The club involved local residents in digging the well and installing the reservoir and taps to ensure that they would feel a sense of ownership. A water committee has been set up to maintain the water pump, and Rotaractors from the Adenta Central club will visit every three months to monitor the project and train the committee.
Agbenyo says schoolchildren will now be able to focus on their studies. “Children will have more time to prepare for school because they no longer will have to boil water or filter it before usage,” he says.
— ANNEMARIE MANNION
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
Our World: All Well and Good  2019-12-11 09:00:00Z 0

December 2019 Governor’s Message

December 2019 Governor’s Message:

The holiday season is a joyful time to be with family and friends.  It is also a time to reflect and be grateful for all that we have as Rotarians when others locally and globally have so little.  Today, December 3rd is Giving Tuesday and my best hope is that all Rotarians in Alaska will remember to give generously to the Rotary Foundation.  The Rotary Foundation has earned the highest possible rating from independent evaluator Charity Navigators for the past twelve years.  When the Rotary Foundation partners with others your donation is increased and has greater impact. The Rotary Foundation tackles head on some of the world’s most difficult problems, delivering sustainable and long lasting results. Rotarians are able to use a vast network and resources of the Rotary Foundation to take action locally and globally.  Our members can donate funds that support the Rotary Peace Centers that trains Peace Fellows in the skills of Peace Building and Conflict Resolution.

I have completed 33 of 38 Rotary Club visits, and this week I’ll be making visits to three clubs in Fairbanks.  Next week I’ll be wrapping up my club visits, my own Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary Club the final stop of this tremendous journey that began on July 1-5 in Ketchikan. Having visited 38 clubs has allowed me to meet many dedicated Rotarians who serve their club and serve others locally and globally.  I’ve seen first hand the many projects and fundraisers clubs in our Rotary District 5010 do.  Rotarians are making a difference here in Alaska.  Above all else, I’ve met new Rotarian friends and learned of club successes, club challenges and club plans for the future.  Rotarians care deeply about their clubs and take seriously the work they do to make the world a better place.

In the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with D5010 Rotary Youth Exchange.  DGN Cheryl, DGE Joe and I met with RYE Chair Jeff Johnson (Palmer Club) and Deputy Chair to get caught up on all things youth exchange.  At this meeting we talked about the implementation of the new RYE application and screening interview process implemented in 2019 for selection of 2020 Outbound students.  We also discussed the D5010 West Coast Tour, specifically the purpose and benefits of the tour.  A consensus decision was made to cancel the tour in 2020, replacing it with something smaller in Alaska in 2020 providing time to have a more collaborative process to design the purpose and benefits of any outside tour sponsored by D5010.  We also spent time talking about Youth Protection and how important it is that all our various volunteers and host families know what to do when a student may face unwelcome behaviors, including sexual harassment.  The following week I attended a planning session with the RYE team, who also participated in Awareness Training about harassment and abuse. Club YEO’s will receive similar training at Winter Orientation.

The D5010 Conference Planning Committee is in full swing planning the 2020 Peace Forum and District Conference to be held April 30 to May 3, 2020 in Fairbanks.  A brief promo video is available on the RotaryDistrict5010 website. Please note: Full registration includes the Peace Forum on Thursday.  Currently registration is $375 for early bird registration now until the end of the year 12/31/2019.  After 12/31, registration will increase to $400 (includes the banquet). Otherwise the Peace Forum only is $50 and the Saturday DG banquet only is otherwise $75.   Friday and/or Saturday all day registration is $150 each (includes lunch).  Banquet separately is $75. Friday or Saturday lunch separately is $50.  Young leader, Rotaract, or anyone under 30 may register for the full conference for $100.  Note, Rotarian spouses should register as a Rotarian attendee.  A link to register for the conference can be found at:  https://www.crsadmin.com/EventPortal/Registrations/PublicFill/EventPublicFill.aspx?evtid=48e0d9a0-67db-4574-9867-b8c61179c09d

I would like to encourage all Club Presidents to designate someone in their club to submit stories with pictures of recent club service projects, fundraising events, youth programs, etc., in the time period of July 2019 to the present.  We are looking for bite sized articles (3-4 paragraphs - what, when, where, who).  Send only a few pictures, but choose those pictures where Rotarians are having fun or a picture of Rotarians with the beneficiaries of the project. Please send your articles to Andre’ Layral for review.  You may submit the articles using the new D5010 Mobile APP (GoTo Latest News button, select Submit a News Story).  You may also e-mail to alayral.1920@gmail.com

If you enjoy writing and would like to help serve as an editor to review and edit Club News stories for me, please contact me by calling 907-460-7786.  If you are web savvy and would like to be trained how to post these stories on our district ClubRunner website, please contact me.  We are not planning to send out a print or digital newsletter, instead we are encouraging members to utilize the D5010 Mobile APP by going to Social Media,  then use the D5010 website or D5010 Facebook buttons.  

Sincerely,

DG Andre’ Layral

alayral.1920@gmail.com

Cell 907-460-7786

Upcoming Events or Deadlines:

December 15, 2019 - Deadline to designate your club RYLA Chair and submit your RYLA Club Commitment Form (find it at https://rotarydistrict5010.org/Page/ryla).

December 31, 2019 - Early District Conference Registration ends, goes up to $400 on 1/1/2020

    https://www.crsadmin.com/EventPortal/Registrations/PublicFill/EventPublicFill.aspx?evtid=48e0d9a0-67db-4574-9867-b8c61179c09d

February 1, 2020 - 9:00-4:00 PM

D5010 Team Training Assembly (aka., District Leadership Meeting) in Anchorage

March 5-8, 2020. RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in Homer

    https://rotarydistrict5010.org/Page/ryla 

April 30, 2020 - D5010 Peace Forum - Fairbanks Westmark Hotel

    (open to Rotarians, Young Leaders and other interested community members)

May 1-3 - D5010 District Conference - Fairbanks Westmark Hotel

June 6-10, 2020 - Rotary International Conference - Honolulu Hawaii

 

December 2019 Governor’s Message 2019-12-04 09:00:00Z 0
RYLA 2019 Announcement 2019-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Bringing Up Daddy

 
What to expect when the parent becomes the parented
 
By Paul Engleman
 
Illustration by Richard Mia
 
Twenty or so years ago, I wrote a short-lived weekly column in the Chicago Sun-Times called Diary of a Dad Housewife. At the time, we had a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and although the topic, parenting, was ripe for dispensing advice, I did little of that, knowing that I didn’t yet have much wisdom to share. Instead, I focused on relating the circumstances that pave the path to wisdom — emergency diaper changing in sketchy gas station bathrooms, avoiding injury to your hands or ego during car seat installation, making sure you dress yourself at least half as neatly as your kids, lest someone suspect you’re a kidnapper.
 
In 27 years of being a parent, I’ve found only one universal truth about raising kids: All parents have the same goal — that their children grow up to be independent human beings. We may wish for them to be happy, healthy, and successful, but the only thing we are fundamentally responsible for is guiding a fragile, totally dependent newborn to the land of adulthood. Assuming that the journey has not been detoured by health problems, at some point they are on their own. Although you’ll always be the parent, the need to act like one will eventually diminish, and at some point, you might be the one who needs parenting yourself.
 
Waist-deep in our 60s, my wife, Barb, and I now find ourselves in that tricky transition phase between being a parent and being parented. It’s a phase that’s already underway by the time you notice. It begins situationally, in subtle ways. Take driving, for example. After our kids got their licenses, they volunteered to drive anytime we were going anywhere. Now they are still likely to insist on driving — no longer because they are eager to do it, but because they believe they are better drivers than we are. And they’re probably right.
 
For several years now, when we’ve gone to a restaurant, one of the kids has been likely to reach for the check. This started as a tentative, symbolic gesture, but now sometimes they actually mean it. The day is approaching when they’ll be better able to afford it than my wife and I — which I hope will be a reflection of how well they’re doing and not how poorly we are.
 
These days, one of our kids calls every other day or so. More often than not, their purpose is more to check up on us than to let us know what’s going on with them. Living in the same city means they regularly visit our house, where they take charge of any heavy lifting that needs to be done. But they still almost always bring their laundry. Adult kids lugging their laundry home may be a trite notion, but it has value as an example of the changing relationship from both angles. It signifies a continuation of their dependence, even if prompted more by convenience than by need, and it also allows them to check up on the parents without being too obvious about it.
 
One of the things I’m mindful about is not repeating some of the behaviors of my parents, my father in particular. Years ago, when my wife and I would visit them in New Jersey, my father would insist on driving an hour to pick us up at Newark International Airport, which is at the confluence of a half-dozen highways totaling about 60 lanes, many configured like a roller coaster, with traffic moving at about the speed of that carnival ride. Eventually, Barb was just as insistent — in private with me — that she wasn’t making the trip again unless we rented a car. She was willing to indulge my father’s need to feel helpful, but she drew a double yellow line when it meant putting our lives at risk. My father did not take the news well.
 
How smoothly this transition goes depends on how willing you are to step up, if you are the kid, or how willing you are to step aside, if you’re the parent. We probably erred on the coddling side as parents, me especially, and that may account for why our kids still turn to us for guidance on matters that they are perfectly capable of figuring out for themselves. But we have become more careful about offering unsolicited advice. This is a lesson Barb has had to learn while engaging with our older son. They both work at small nonprofit organizations, so they occupy some common professional turf. Initially, when they compared notes, he would welcome the wisdom she was eager to offer; nowadays, he’s more likely to be the one making the suggestions. It’s her turn to do the listening.
 
“Transitions go more smoothly if there is already good communication,” says Sally Strosahl, who has been a marriage and family therapist in the Chicago suburbs for four decades and has three adult children and two grandsons. Strosahl is the author of Loving Your Marriage in Retirement: Keep the Music Playing, a book that draws on her personal as well as professional experience and includes contributions from her husband, Tom Johnson, a retired newspaper editor. “Coming to terms with the effects of aging is an ongoing task for all of us,” Strosahl says. “Getting older is not a choice. But how we choose to feel about it — and deal with it — is a choice.”
 
Strosahl recommends dealing with it by keeping a sense of humor and approaching aging in a lighthearted way. “Tom and I laugh with each other about our senior moments, and we deliberately do that with our children,” she says. “We want them to know that we’re open to being teased about it.”
In Strosahl’s view, this helps to clear the path ahead for truthful communication when issues of serious consequence present themselves. “We set the stage for being able to say, ‘I need your help,’” she says. “Our children do begin to take over more as we become more impaired, yet we can still be the leader by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and by seeing our vulnerability not as weakness but as truth. Aging gracefully is about acceptance and choosing to save our energies for what can bring actual results.”
 
Technology is one obvious, if clichéd, area in which vulnerability can show up early and often. Our kids are likely to be more facile than we are, and this can lead to frustration on our part and impatience on theirs. When these situations arise, I think it’s useful to have some defensive ammunition ready, like reminders of who showed them how to use a turntable or taught them to parallel park.
 
Forgetfulness and hearing loss are two all-too-familiar signs of senescence. Keeping a sense of humor can have some value here too. As a friend of mine likes to say, “Is it my age or is it the weed?” But memory loss should not be taken lightly when it’s an early warning signal of dementia, often accompanied by confusion about time and place or difficulty performing familiar tasks. I can deflect our kids’ observations about my hearing decline by attributing it to a long history of rock concerts, but soon I will have to face the music, as Strosahl and Johnson did recently.
 
“We had both noticed that we were having difficulty hearing each other, but neither of us wanted to admit that we were losing our hearing,” she says. “Our daughter finally sat us down and did a mini-intervention requesting that we get our hearing checked. We decided to do it on Valentine’s Day as a gift to each other. And we discovered that hearing aids do help! I’m sure our children had spoken about it, and we had all joked about it, but we needed the final callout.”
 
One major development that can complicate and enrich relationships is the arrival of grandchildren. Strosahl calls grandparenting “a dance of balance and boundaries,” noting that “the baby boom has become the grand-parent boom,” with many of us taking on the role of babysitter and some serving as primary caregivers to the next generation. Johnson points to the irony that, as a family therapist, his wife is often called upon to offer guidance on child rearing, but when it comes to their own grandchildren, they follow the recommendation of a friend: Do not give any advice unless it’s asked for.
 
That seems like a good tip for most of our interactions on the road to role reversal. Strosahl adds some deeper wisdom with an alliterative lift: “Let love lead.”
 
Paul Engleman is a Chicago-based freelancer and a frequent contributor to The Rotarian.
 
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Bringing Up Daddy 2019-12-02 09:00:00Z 0

A Grand (and Great-Grand) Tradition

Proud your parents were Rotarians? Some Rotary families go back five generations.
 
                                              By Kevin Cook                                       Illustrations by Greg Clarke
 
Paul Harris and his wife, Jean, never had children. They saw Rotary as their extended family; he spoke of each nation as having a place in “the world’s family.” Since 1905, Rotarians have carried that message all over the globe, starting in their own homes.
 
“Growing up, I heard stories of two legendary men — my great-grandfather and Paul Harris,” says Luanne Arredondo, whose great-grandfather Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca became the second governor of New Mexico in 1917. “He was a member of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque. Twenty years later, his son — my grandfather — joined. I remember our trips across the border to Juarez, where my family helped with an orphanage and built houses for the poor. My father, another proud Rotarian, used to tell me that Paul Harris would be proud of our family. He would say, ‘Luanne, women are not allowed in Rotary, but someday they will be.’”
 
Today Mama Lu, as everyone calls her, is governor of District 5300 and a founder of California’s newly chartered Rotary Club of Greater San Gabriel Valley. She’s one of many third-, fourth-, and even fifth-generation Rotarians whose family stories are as old as Harris’ Rotary pin and as fresh as this year’s newly inducted members.
Fourth-generation Rotarian Craig Horrocks, governor-elect of District 9920 in Oceania, has a copy of Harris’ 1928 autobiography, The Founder of Rotary, inscribed to his great-grandfather, Sir George Fowlds. After meeting Harris on a trip to the United States in 1920, Fowlds sailed home to Auckland, New Zealand, full of the spirit of service and fellowship and in the hopes of founding the first Rotary club in the Southern Hemisphere. The Australians beat him to the punch, chartering the Rotary Club of Melbourne in April 1921. Fowlds’ consolation prize was a copy of Harris’ book with a warm inscription: To Honorable George, whose devotion to Rotary has been one of the highlights of the movement. Sincerely Yours, Paul, Apr 3 ’28.
Dave Stillwagon of Ohio is a fourth-generation Rotarian — and the fourth in a line of Rotary Club of Youngstown presidents dating back to 1927. “My great-grandfather joined that year and later served as president,” Stillwagon says. “My grandfather followed him into Rotary — he had no choice, really, since our patriarch wouldn’t let him marry my grandmother unless he joined.”
 
Today, Stillwagon brings Rotary principles to his work as CEO of Youngstown’s Community Corrections Association, a nonprofit that helps people who have been convicted of crimes make the transition to productive lives in northeastern Ohio — a career he considers “an extension of Rotary. It’s about changing the world for the better.” His firm employs cognitive therapy to help those it serves “unlearn criminal behaviors, to see their lives as a chance to make better choices.” And it’s working: Less than 23 percent of his clients wind up back in prison within three years, a rate that’s significantly lower than the national average.
 
“I’m a firm believer that we’re put on this earth for a reason,” he says. “Service to others is part of that reason.”
 
Like Stillwagon and countless others whose families have carried Rotary membership through multiple generations, Magozaemon “Mago” Takano XVIII believes his family’s traditions and those of the organization make a good match. “My father taught me that the values of our business are similar to those of Rotary,” says Takano, a past governor of Japan’s District 2620 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kofu, a city of about 200,000 in the shadow of Mount Fuji. His family, which started out by selling salt, has helped drive growth in Kofu since 1568. (When the Kofu region ran out of salt in the 16th century, the first Magozaemon helped save the day.)
 
Takano remembers the first time he saw a faded black-and-white photo of a meeting of the Kofu Rotary club, where his grandfather was a charter member. “In the picture, my grandfather was wearing a Rotary pin, and I started thinking about why he chose to join,” he says. Upon becoming a member himself, he found the answer in its combination of altruism and networking. “The Four-Way Test my father taught me drove home the core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership,” he says. “At the same time, a young professional like me got to interact with business and local leaders I might never meet otherwise.”
 
Takano’s son Yasuto recently followed his forefathers’ example and became a fourth-generation member of the Kofu club, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2020. “The Four-Way Test will be just as important to his generation,” Takano says. “One difference may be that my son has even more opportunities through the growing global network of Rotary. I hope he’ll feel as proud to be a Rotarian as his ancestors have been.”
 
As Rotary enters the 2020s, more Rotarians are finding themselves part of a multigenerational demographic boomlet.
 
Ann Parker, a member of the Rotary Club of Iowa City, is a fifth-generation Rotarian — or ninth-generation, depending on how you figure it, with four Rotarians on one side of the family and five on the other. Fellow Midwesterner Mary Shackleton is a fourth-generation Rotarian who left Indiana for the Rotary Club of Metro New York City, where social events include concerts in Central Park and trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her parents, “Shack” and Wilma, are past presidents of the Rotary Club of Attica-Williamsport, Indiana, and after serving as an assistant governor of District 7230 at the same time Wilma served in the same role in District 6560, Mary is now governor-elect of her district.
 
Natalie Bailey of the Rotary Club of Coronado, California — whose mother, Suzanne Popp, was that club’s first female president — is yet another fourth-generation Rotarian. And at 26, Bailey is also the founding president of the Rotaract Club of Coronado, chartered in February. “I’ve got photos of my first Rotary meeting, when I was five days old,” she says. “I was the newborn baby receiving my first Paul Harris Award, donated on my behalf by Paul Plumb, the same man who inducted me into Rotary last year.” Rotarians her age, she says, “want to give back just as much as anyone else, but we don’t have as much time” as older members, “or, more to the point, money. A lot of the service Rotarians provide is writing big checks, which is generous and very impactful, but the younger generation doesn’t have so much money to contribute on top of expensive lunch meetings and annual dues. So the Rotaract club I started came up with fundraisers that were fun social and networking events — a trivia night and a bar crawl — and they were huge successes.”
In 2013, Jamshyd Vazifdar joined the Rotary Club of Bombay, whose members are so tradition-minded they never changed their name to the Rotary Club of Mumbai. His great-grandfather Nowroji Vazifdar joined the Bombay club in 1950 and was followed by his son, Jamshed, and grandson (Jamshyd’s father), Nowroze, who has been a member since 1994.
 
Then there’s Nicholas Hafey, whose great-grandfather and grandfather were Rotarians in Australia, and whose father, Phil Hafey, is governor of District 9650. Nicholas was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Laurieton last year.
 
Eamon Wheeler followed his great-grandfather, grandmother (Ingrid Brown, 2009-10 governor of District 7930), and mother into the Rotary Club of Rockport, Massachusetts, last year at age 17 because his friends were too busy to help him start an Interact club. He proved his mettle by enduring his district’s annual polar plunge to raise money for polio eradication in 2018; the plunge is held in February off the icy Atlantic coast near Boston.
 
A Grand (and Great-Grand) Tradition 2019-12-02 09:00:00Z 0
Anesha  "Duffy" Murnane is Missing!  Please Help Find Her! 2019-11-21 09:00:00Z 0

How Kindness Appreciates

One gracious act can resonate for a lifetime
 
By David Sarasohn
Image credit: Richard Mia
 
A long time ago, when I was eight or nine, my father had a risky surgery. These days, that particular procedure is pretty much an afternoon’s inconvenience, but back then it was a roll-the-dice long shot. I wasn’t old enough, or maybe smart enough, to understand how dangerous it was. And the adults around me, though never less than honest, saw no reason to lay out the odds to a nine-year-old.
 
The day before the surgery, one of the doctors asked to see me. I went into his office cheerfully; at that age, just the idea of an adult wanting to talk to me made the occasion special. What he told me was very direct. There was a possibility, he explained, that the next afternoon I might be feeling very angry. If that happened, he said, I should come and be angry at him.
 
I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember what he looked like. I have a sense that he was tall, though to a nine-year-old, a lot of people look tall. But I remember what he said, and many decades later, that memory still has the capacity to warm me.
 
Kindness can do that.
 
The doctor owed me nothing except his best efforts to keep my father alive. But he went out of his way to reach out to a small boy who didn’t even realize that an abyss could soon open up beneath his feet.
We think of kindness as a way to ease our way through a day, to help us get to the other side of a situation. But an act of kindness can be much more than that. It can cast a light down decades and provide a warming feeling long after the occasion has grown cold. Gifts like that aren’t used up and forgotten; they’re remembered and cherished.
 
One message of the Harry Potter books is that being deeply loved as a child can provide a kind of protection throughout your life. It gives you a sense of self-worth and confidence when you’re threatened by the forces of darkness, or even by a disappointing SAT score. Being the recipient of an act of kindness can have a similar effect: It not only reassures you of your own worthiness, but also provides a permanent belief that the world is not as dark a place as that registered letter from the IRS might suggest.
 
There’s a reason we remember great kindnesses. It’s not that people are keeping accounts and preparing to repay them. In a transactional world, a luminous kindness is a combination of the act and the time, and that produces something beyond evaluation. Trying to repay it is like calculating the price of Versailles as an Airbnb.
 
The inability to figure out an exchange rate, a way to have the same impact on a giver’s life that he had on yours, has spurred the concept of paying it forward. If you can’t repay the person who lives permanently in your appreciation, you can at least adjust your balance sheet with the universe — and maybe plant yourself enduringly in someone else’s memory.
 
A decade after my father had that surgery, I was at college when I received a late-night phone call telling me that he had died unexpectedly. Numbly, I asked a friend with a car if he would drive me to the train station the next day. Instead, he immediately drove me the 2½ hours home, dropped me off, and in the middle of the night turned around and headed back to school. I don’t remember what we talked about on the road. I vaguely imagine that I tried to keep things relatively light, both not to burden my friend and to shove the fact of my father’s death into a far corner of my mind to think about later. But I know that on every mile, I was conscious that my friend was bestowing on me a great kindness, even a blessing.
 
I haven’t seen my friend in decades. He may have forgotten the whole episode, although I certainly haven’t. After all, his kindness to me reached not only to that occasion, but to all the times since when I’ve been nourished by remembering it. It’s a debt, and a dividend, built on massive emotional compound interest.
The kindnesses that stay with you, the ones that light your life for years to come, don’t involve the bestowing of stuff. Material generosity, the giving of things, is admirable, but our appreciation may last no longer than the stuff itself. A meal or a sweater or even a watch carries an expiration date; someone putting himself forward for you at a key moment stays with you as long as you yourself deal with other people. In the long-term database we each carry around, there are more entries filed under “Kindness, Deeply Remembered Acts Of” than most of us imagine
.
In 1970, after James Baker’s wife died of cancer, George H.W. Bush suggested that his fellow tennis club member might find some distraction in helping out on Bush’s Senate campaign. Baker was reluctant; he noted that for one thing, he, like most people in Texas at the time, was a Democrat. Oh, said Bush, he didn’t care about that. He just hated to see Baker looking so sad all the time.
 
Bush’s reaching out to a friend led to Baker’s eventually becoming White House chief of staff, secretary of the treasury, and secretary of state. It didn’t work out badly for Bush, either. And 48 years later, in his eulogy at Bush’s state funeral, Baker quoted the former president as saying, “When a friend is hurting, show that you care,” and “Be kind to people.”
 
Very late one night, a long time ago, a sudden problem developed with my wife’s pregnancy. As we bolted for the hospital, I called a neighbor to say we would be dropping off our three-year-old. I wouldn’t say it was a request, because the possibility of our neighbor declining never occurred to me — nor, I’m certain, to her. The individual who caused my wife such great discomfort on that occasion is now 30 years old. But that night, and that phone call, doesn’t seem nearly that long ago. I see my neighbor frequently, and always with a sense of a bond between us much deeper than our having each other’s house keys for emergencies.
Kindness is more than an action. It’s a power, even a superpower. It empowers the receiver, giving him something that can strengthen him years later, after the original circumstances have faded like old election predictions. It also empowers the giver, because making a positive impact on someone’s life is the most powerful ability imaginable, much stronger than Superman’s X-ray vision.
 
In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Kurt Vonnegut’s hero works out a baptismal speech for his neighbor’s newborn twins: “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies —: ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”
 
And if you are, the glow can last those hundred years.
 
David Sarasohn, a longtime columnist for The Oregonian in Portland, has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has published three books, including Waiting for Lewis and Clark: The Bicentennial and the Changing West.
 
• This story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
How Kindness Appreciates 2019-11-20 09:00:00Z 0

The Rotarian Conversation: Henrietta Fore

Connecting 1.8 billion young people with education and jobs is a tall order. UNICEF’s executive director is calling on Rotarians for ideas
 
Henrietta Fore is leading UNICEF at a historic time. There are 1.8 billion young people on the planet between the ages of 10 and 24 — the largest generation of youth the world has ever seen — and they are concentrated in the developing world, where many face poverty, violence, and a dearth of educational opportunities.
Fore outlines some statistics: 200 million adolescents around the world are not in school; 6 in 10 children do not meet the minimum proficiency levels in reading and math. “Some call this a ticking time bomb,” she says. But she is optimistic, championing a new initiative that aims to turn that potential demographic crisis into an opportunity. It’s called Generation Unlimited.
 
“Our goal is very straightforward,” Fore said in a 2018 TED Talk. “We want every young person in school, learning, training, or age-appropriate employment by the year 2030.” To meet this target, UNICEF partnered with other organizations to create Generation Unlimited to let the private sector, governments, nonprofits, and academia share ideas and solicit funding to expand ideas that work. The World Bank has pledged $1 billion toward the effort, and now Fore is calling on Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors to share their own ideas.
 
Fore also brings bold thinking to UNICEF’s effort to eradicate polio in partnership with Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We need to do that last mile; we need to finish the job,” she says. Her approach in the hardest-to-reach areas involves a plan to invest $50 million to integrate more comprehensive health care into polio eradication efforts as an incentive for parents to bring their children to be vaccinated.
 
With a background at the helm of her family’s manufacturing and investment firm, Holsman International, Fore became director of the U.S. Mint in 2001. There she modernized the manufacturing process, gaining the attention of then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who tapped her to serve as undersecretary of state for management, a notoriously difficult job that involved managing 267 embassies and consulates and 7,200 employees around the world. Later, she spent two years at USAID, where she was the first female director.
 
When asked what skills are needed to lead such complex institutions, Fore says: “Sometimes we think that organizations are remote creations. But they’re not. They’re filled with people, and I feel so strongly that people are our most important asset. So if you think of an organization as being a gathering of people who care passionately about a subject, then you’ll probably connect with that organizational culture.” Fore spoke with contributing editor Vanessa Glavinskas from her office in New York City.

THE ROTARIAN: Looking back on your career, what experiences helped prepare you to lead UNICEF?
 
FORE: Like many Rotarians, I have run a business, my family business. It teaches you to think about what value you are getting for your investments and whether you should invest in one area or another, a new product, a new service. There’s never enough money or enough people to help, but you have to listen to your customers. Now that I have the chance to serve the United Nations, that experience helps me to realize that listening to people around the world is very important and to think about how public-private partnerships can improve the world.
 
TR: What has been a memorable experience for you at UNICEF?
 
FORE: One of my first trips in this role was to South Sudan in January 2018. We met with a number of mothers who had walked for hours to bring their children to a clinic. The children were malnourished, and the mothers were able to stay there with them for a week to get their children nourishment. But they did not have a way to change the problems they faced at home, which meant they would be back again in several months. It’s a humanitarian need, but also a longer-term development need. In short-term crises, there are also longer-term development needs that we must address so that people can be self-sufficient.
 
TR: When you spoke at Rotary’s International Assembly in January, what did you challenge Rotarians to do?
 
FORE: Well, first and most important, a very deep and heartfelt thank-you to all the Rotarians who have raised funds and raised awareness about polio. There would not be the enormous success of the polio programs without Rotary. But it’s no time for complacency. We need to finish the job.
I’m looking at an integrative approach: In addition to getting the polio vaccine, parents also want to get their children looked at for other health problems and to get nourishment for their child. That’s a big incentive. If we can get more health services integrated into polio eradication efforts, it will be a very important way for us to reach out in poor communities, particularly in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, where the virus is still endemic. [Read more about what Rotary is already doing to meet other health needs through PolioPlus in “The Plus in PolioPlus,” in our October issue.]
 
TR: You recently proposed a $50 million initiative to do just that. Will you start by focusing on specific regions?
 
FORE: Yes, Afghanistan is the first place we will target, Pakistan is No. 2, and Nigeria No. 3. Within those countries, there are very specific geographic areas that need this help. They tend to be rural villages. They tend to be led by elders who are not part of the government or the general federal system. We do not have medical clinics in these villages; no one does. So if we can come in even with a mobile unit that could help give the vaccinations and do some of the basic health checks, word would spread, and parents would bring in children, and that’s what we want. We want them voluntarily coming to us.
 
TR: What’s your specific aim with this campaign? Have you seen this approach have a positive impact?
 
FORE: The initiative aims to help improve the overall health and well-being of children as well as increase polio vaccination coverage in these communities.
Aiming for polio eradication means every child must be vaccinated, and polio workers must reach every village no matter what. Many of the highest polio-risk areas visited by health workers often are also the most underserved, and the initiative seeks to ensure the delivery of a package of basic services that is more than just the “two drops.” It is a bit early to provide examples of impact, as the integrated package of services began rolling out only a few months back. However, we strongly believe that it will contribute to wider vaccine acceptance. This initiative was born out of the experience, faced by polio workers, of angry and often desperate mothers and fathers in underserved areas demanding basic services for their children beyond the polio vaccine.
 
TR: Is the health infrastructure you’re improving permanent, such as adding a hospital? Or is it more often bringing in short-term health services?
 
FORE: The package of services depends on the need in the community. For example, in some districts in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in Afghanistan, we are constructing water supply networks to deliver safe drinking water and a sewerage system. In other districts, we are expanding nutrition services to treat severe acute malnutrition among children and providing health services for mothers. In southern Pakistan, we are renovating and equipping a labor room at a community health center while also expanding maternal health and nutrition services in several districts. The initiative is also investing in opening informal education centers in certain areas in Pakistan with high numbers of out-of-school children.
 
TR: You also are a champion of a new initiative called Generation Unlimited. Can you describe that?
 
FORE: Right now, 10 million young people around the world turn 18 every month. That’s how many need a job. We know that we are not creating 10 million new jobs each month.
In many African countries, the average age is 20. African heads of state are asking for help modernizing their secondary school systems. They want to link that with vocational skills. So UNICEF and our partners have outlined four areas that we know we will need help with. One is basic foundational education. Every child should be able to read, write, and be numerate. In the world today, 6 out of 10 young people do not meet the basic levels of literacy or numeracy. The second is that young people need to have some basic life skills: They need language skills, to be able to communicate, and they need financial skills in order to be entrepreneurs. The third area is occupational training. And fourth, they are all asking for digital skills. So we are hoping that the world can stand up for these young people, that there can be a movement to educate and connect them to future livelihoods.
 
TR: How can Rotarians help?
 
FORE: We need mentors. We need people who can offer apprenticeships, internships, and job shadowing. If there ever were absolutely a perfectly placed group for this, it would be Rotarians. Rotarians are community leaders and could lead initiatives that allow young people to job-shadow out of local high schools. If Rotarians could do mentoring remotely to young people in other countries, it would be a game-changer for them.
Young people are also asking for work-study programs, because many do not have the economic freedom to pay school fees and buy books and food. Giving them a way to earn a little money after school would be a powerful way to help them.
 
TR: Who is UNICEF working with on this initiative?
 
FORE: Generation Unlimited is hosted by UNICEF and has more than 60 partners, such as the World Bank, which will invest $1 billion to support young people’s transition to work, and the government of Ireland, which contributed €1 million to help unlock the potential of young people.
 
TR: How do the challenges this generation faces differ from what previous generations have experienced?
 
FORE: Artificial intelligence and technology are changing the face of work. Klaus Schwab, of the World Economic Forum, talks about a fourth industrial revolution. A job that our parents had, or that we have, won’t be there for many young people. We have not done a good job of modernizing school systems to teach the skills young people will need to adapt to a world that connects machines and technologies with humans. That’s one piece. The second piece is the size of this generation. Ten million jobs a month is a great challenge for the world, so we are going to have to help young people move into mass entrepreneurship.
 
TR: Are there any other opportunities for Rotarians to work with UNICEF?
 
FORE: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious, and to reach them by 2030, we are looking for innovations and accelerators. Those could be businesses that have products, services, or platforms that could help accelerate the way we reach those goals.
For example, I was just reading in the newspaper about a hand-held ultrasound device that has a cord attached to an ultrasound receptor. You can put it on the stomach of a woman who is pregnant to see how a baby is doing. You could put it on the knee of an injured young man. You could use it on the chest of a baby to see if there is pneumonia.
Are there innovations out there that Rotarians have seen or invented? We would like to hear from them to see if there’s a way that we could use those ideas somewhere in the world. Reach out to my colleagues on our Global Cause Partnerships team at gcp@unicefusa.org.
 
TR: What do you hope to achieve during your tenure at UNICEF?
 
FORE: First, I would love to find more ways to interweave humanitarian assistance and development assistance. To plant the seeds of longer-term development when responding to a humanitarian crisis — that’s what a water system or an education system gives you. You need it the first day of a crisis, and you need it years later. I was in Mozambique during the flooding from Cyclone Idai, and the first thing that went out was the water system. Without clean water, cholera takes hold, and children particularly begin to sicken, and you lose them. I would like to plant the seeds of a longer-term solution. Rather than just flying in bottled water, work on the municipal water system.
The second area I would like to see changed is primary health care. If we could give primary health care — community health care — to the families of the world, that would be very powerful. In Afghanistan, for example, many rural communities had no access to basic services such as vaccinations, sick child care, and antenatal screening. With the support of Japan and Korea, UNICEF supported the delivery of primary care services to almost 1 million women, children, and newborns last year, through 70 mobile health teams linked to and supplied by local community health services. It is a great example of how we can combine investment with the expertise and local reach of governments and partners — not only to provide temporary relief, but to begin building systems that can last.
The third area is this idea of new innovations. I know that if the private sector joins with the public sector, this world could be much improved. We often just don’t know quite how to work with each other. But right now, during my tenure at UNICEF, I want Rotarians to know the doors are wide open. We need all of the ideas and technology and brains of the private world to meet our development goals.
The fourth is Generation Unlimited. It is absolutely the calling of our time to help young people, and if we get it right, our world will be a better place.
And, of course, I would love to eradicate polio on my watch. Rotary has been so magnificent, and I would love to do my share.
 
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
• This story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Rotarian Conversation: Henrietta Fore 2019-11-20 09:00:00Z 0

The Price of Polio

Meet five Rotarians who understand the disease’s long-term consequences
 
as told to Vanessa Glavinskas                  photography by Frank Ishman
 
When you go to your Rotary club meeting this week, look around at your fellow members and think about this: In North America, anyone younger than 70 likely doesn’t remember a time before the polio vaccine. Those under 40 were born after polio was no longer endemic in the United States. And among your club’s youngest members, the very word “polio” probably conjures a bygone age when children regularly died of diseases like measles, smallpox, or whooping cough. Now, however, we know that measles is staging a comeback. Tuberculosis, which might bring to mind 19th-century sanitariums, is gaining greater resistance to treatment. Until a disease is really gone, eradicated, extirpated from the planet, it will always be looking for ways to come back, for breaches in our defenses.
 
We’ve come very far in the 64 years since the introduction of Jonas Salk’s vaccine — and especially in the 40 years since Rotary decided to take on polio. Every day it gets easier to forget why it’s so critical that we eradicate this disease. Most of us don’t see polio in our daily lives. Whole generations have never experienced its terrifying power.
 
We let our guard down when we think that polio is a disease that happens only in faraway places, or that almost eradicated is good enough. But if we stop and remember what it was like when polio was everywhere and people felt powerless against it, we know that if we don’t finish the fight, we’ll soon be back where we started.
 
In the following segments, five Rotarians share their experiences with polio. Thanks to their willingness to recount painful memories, we know that we must keep fighting until polio is gone forever.

Ann Wade
Rotary Club of New Tampa, Florida
I felt like I was entering another world. Beds with paralyzed children lined every wall. I was put into a big room. There were rows and rows of children, probably about 50 children, and three or four nurses to care for us. I was seven when I was transferred to Hope Haven children’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent four months learning how to walk again.
 
I missed my mother so much. When she would visit, I’d ask her why she couldn’t come more often. But parents were only allowed to visit on Wednesdays and Sundays. I still don’t know why. I’d cry myself to sleep every night. The nurses used to get so mad at me. They’d say I was too old to cry.
I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday in that hospital. At first, I was bedridden. Polio had affected my legs, and I couldn’t walk. When I got the virus, I had extreme pain all over my body and a high fever. I couldn’t stand up. That was very scary.
 
My parents took me to the doctor on a Saturday morning; he examined me and immediately sent me to an isolation ward. I had my own room there, but only the nurses could be with me. There was a balcony that extended around the building, and each room had a window. There were two chairs on the balcony outside every room, and that’s where parents would sit and talk to their child, through the window. No one was allowed into my room, and I was not allowed out.
 
Once my fever broke and I wasn’t contagious anymore, I was moved to Hope Haven to learn to walk again. The therapies were painful. They would put hot, wet wool towels on my legs and then exercise the muscles. The nurses would also massage my legs with oil. Sometimes they’d use these electrical shock-type things to shock the muscles into use. They would take all of us to therapy once or twice per day. In between, teachers came in and we had school. They’d roll my bed to a huge room, and the teachers would be in there teaching. It was the beginning of second grade for me.
 
Once I started walking, I was released from the hospital, but I didn’t return to my old school until third grade. After I left the hospital, I tried to put it out of my mind. Then the vaccine was released, and everyone went to get it. It was being given at a school on a Sunday afternoon. They called it Sabin Sunday, after Albert Sabin, who invented the oral vaccine, and I remember standing in a really long line, thinking, “Do I really need to do this? I’ve already had polio.” But my mother was adamant that my brother and I get vaccinated.
 
Since then, I’ve done most everything I wanted to do in life. I became a teacher. I married a wonderful guy 53 years ago who is also in Rotary. I have three children and 10 grandchildren. Not many people know I had polio, except that one of my legs is smaller than the other and I have a slight limp. About 12 years ago, I fell and broke the hip in my bad leg. After surgery, I was able to learn to walk again, so now I can say I’ve learned to walk three times.
 
This year, I’m president of my Rotary club. I’m eager to make eradicating polio a priority and to raise money for End Polio Now. Until now, I haven’t told many people my story, but if it can help the eradication effort, it seems like a good time to start.

Carl Chinnery
Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, Missouri
 
There were five children in my family, all boys. In 1942, every one of us got polio. My oldest brother, George, died. My middle brother spent months in an iron lung. I was so young that I don’t remember having the virus, but I grew up with its effects on our family all around me. George’s photograph sat on our fireplace mantel. He had been afraid of the dark, so my parents plugged in a nightlight next to it.
 
But as time went on, few people even knew I had had the disease. In 1999, I was appointed PolioPlus chair for my district. That’s when I asked my mother to tell me about our family’s experience with polio. At first, she said she couldn’t talk about it. It was too painful. But a few weeks later, she surprised me with a letter. I’m sharing it now in the hope that our story will help my fellow Rotarians understand why we must continue to fight this disease until it’s eradicated.
 
It must have been August 7, 1942, when Bill came in and announced he had “poliomyalitus.” I didn’t know where he had heard of such a thing, but I said, “If you have poliomyelitis, you go straight up to bed and stay there” … and he did! He really did feel bad! Then George became ill. I called Dr. Eldridge, our pediatrician. On the night of August 11, George couldn’t swallow his medication. It came back through his nose. I called the doctor again and he came right over. (Dad was on the road.) Dr. Eldridge took George and me to old General Hospital. (No other hospital in Kansas City would accept us.) They took George, but they wouldn’t let me stay. I went home and called Dad. He started home immediately, drove all night, and went to the hospital about 4 a.m., but they wouldn’t let him in either. At about 7 a.m. the hospital called us and said George was dying. When we arrived, George was already gone.
 
By that time, Richard, Larry, and Carl had also become sick, and when I got home from the hospital, Richard was much worse and we rushed him to the hospital. When we marched in, I informed them I was staying … I had lost one child and I was staying, no matter what! Dad and I took turns so Richard always had one of us there. One of Dad’s aunts had come to help us and stayed with Bill, Larry, and Carl.
Dad sent someone to take me to the funeral home to see George. When I got back to the hospital, Richard wasn’t doing well, and in the night, I saw his skin sink into his chest. All I could see were bones covered with skin, drawn tight. I ran as fast as I could down the hall, calling the intern. We ran back and this man picked Richard up and plunked him into an iron lung. His lungs had collapsed.
 
When we went home, we had to start the “Kenny” treatments. We had to tear wool blankets into strips and put them in boiling water, run them through a tight wringer, and place them on each child for so many minutes, and then off for so many minutes, then on, etc. Dad put a hot plate in an upstairs bathroom to boil the water. He put an old wringer over the tub with stacks of wool strips handy. Bill was on his way to recovery, but Richard, Larry, and Carl were the sick ones now. Dad hired nurses to help during the day, and my dear mother drove from California to help. People came from everywhere to give us hope and offer to help, but they couldn’t come in the house.
 
When the boys were well enough, we had to start therapy, compliments of the March of Dimes. I took my children and another lady in leg braces and her little boy three times a week. Richard has one leg a little shorter than the other. Carl’s chest didn’t fill out. Bill had many problems. And, of course, we have one little boy angel in heaven.
 
Jim Ferguson
Rotary Club of Bluefield, West Virginia
 
My mother was in her 30s when she contracted polio. I don’t remember her having the disease, but I do remember her coming home with a cast on her left foot after she’d had a corrective surgery. I was about four years old, and I remember her getting out the drill to make holes in the legs of a kitchen chair so she could screw casters into it. She sat in it and rolled herself around our kitchen while she cooked, rather than hobble on her crutch.
 
The surgeon had put a plate in her foot in an attempt to straighten it, but it didn’t work, and it left her in pain. Doctors wanted to amputate her foot, but she refused. These were the days before the Americans With Disabilities Act. Nothing was accessible. She would struggle on one crutch up and down the stairs to our apartment, down the street to the store, up the steps to get on public transportation. I only saw her ask for help if she really needed it. I really don’t know how she managed to raise nine of us children. Before she got polio, she was raising my older siblings during the Great Depression and while my father was away fighting in World War II.
We all grew up here in Bluefield, West Virginia. In the 1950s, people were afraid of polio and the atomic bomb. A nearby town, Wytheville, had more cases of polio per capita than any other place in the country. People would keep their windows closed and hold their breath just to drive through Wytheville. Everyone was terrified because they didn’t understand how the virus was being transmitted. City workers sprayed insecticide all over the trees and houses in case insects carried polio. All public places were closed — movie theaters, pools. Kids were quarantined at home. There’s still a museum in Wytheville that documents its polio epidemic.
 
I joined Rotary when I found out about their work to eradicate polio, because I thought it would be a way to make my mother proud. She died of lung cancer at age 56, though she never smoked. I wasn’t interested in networking; I joined Rotary to help immunize children against polio, and in 2011, I traveled to India to do that. We went to a little town between the Ganges River and Nepal where we immunized about 45 children who had been missed by previous vaccination campaigns. While there, I met a 16-year-old girl who had crawled her entire life because of polio. She was getting fitted for leg braces so she could take her first steps at age 16. I still get emotional thinking about her.
 
After that trip, I became an advocate for PolioPlus. I gave presentations across our district, raised money, and served as our district’s PolioPlus chair. I didn’t have any of those aspirations when I joined, but I can be very driven, like my mother: Even though polio left her physically damaged, it never took her spirit.
The Price of Polio 2019-11-06 09:00:00Z 0

Wow Factor

The women virtually float down the runway at the “Fall into Fabulous” fashion show. As they smile and twirl, Secily Wilson sits in the back, relishing her role as fairy godmother.
 
Secily Wilson is a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Image credit: Gregg McGough
 
“When you see before-and-after shots of these women, you can feel the empowerment,” she says. “They’re like, ‘I got this.’” They aren’t models, and their stylish clothes and makeup aren’t the main point of the event. The women are graduates of a six-month program that aims to lift them out of challenging life situations, whether as a result of domestic violence, a bad relationship, or a financial catastrophe.
 
The nonprofit Wilson founded, called WOW, or Women Overcoming with Willpower, provides a range of sessions that include mental health counseling, job interview preparation, and résumé-writing advice. Since she founded WOW in 2012, the organization has benefited nearly 1,000 women and children through the empowerment program.
 
In the women she helps, Wilson also sees herself.
 
Not long ago, she was a well-known local TV news anchor dreaming of a big-time network job. But that was before she had a stroke, on air, just before her 40th birthday. It was the first of a series of misfortunes that hit the mother of two: She was laid off. Her marriage broke up. Her home was foreclosed on. Then she had a second minor stroke.
 
At the Fall into Fabulous fashion show, volunteers on the “glam squad” assist the women in the program with hairstyling, makeup, and wardrobe.
Image credit: Nancy Jo Brown
 
“Why me?” she remembers thinking. “I lived very silently in this pit of depression and despair, thinking my life was over.” Eventually, a friend told her: “Snap out of it, girlfriend. Enough of this pity party.”
 
A “trained survivor” and “closet party planner,” Wilson set out to teach resilience to others who were in similar situations but lacked the advantages she had. She rallied friends and sponsors to organize the first fashion show and luncheon, but soon realized she needed to offer more. WOW is now a registered 501(c)(3) organization that serves 15 to 20 women a year, assisted by a range of corporate and other supporters.
 
One of them is the Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, near Disney World (read more about this club). Wilson had joined the club because she was drawn by the organization’s dedication to community service.
 
The club supports WOW through donations, says Greg Gorski, 2018-19 club president. Members also help coach the women in the program in job search and financial management skills, and volunteer at WOW events like the fashion show.
 
Program participant Yvonne Hoffman before her session with the glam squad (inset) and after, at the event.
Image credit: 106 Foto
 
The nonprofit has supported women as they bought their own homes, returned to college, and established savings accounts for the first time.
 
Yvonne Hoffman recalls her first day in the program, when Wilson asked each attendee to name five positive things about herself. Hoffman couldn’t come up with even one and broke down in tears. She and her two teenage daughters were just coming out of a bad domestic situation.
 
She says Wilson jumped in and quickly cited two things — her pretty smile and the fact that she had shown up to start anew. Today, Hoffman is happy, newly remarried, and working a higher-paying home health care job after going back to school.
 
“Secily was there when I needed her more than I ever needed someone in my life,” Hoffman says. “I think it’s because she’s got this ability to have such empathy. She’s been there.”
— HUGH DELLIOS
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Wow Factor 2019-11-06 09:00:00Z 0

2019 Great Potato Race

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Great Potato Race
 
The idea for a potato competition came from a Rotarian in New Zealand who visited Alaska.
 
We started out with the concept of growing potatoes in a black garbage bag.  Each contestant got a bag, two seed potatoes and some soil.   They were to nurse these potatoes, adding soil and water as needed.
 
2012.   Charlie Welles was the big winner, with the biggest potato at 15.05 oz. and total weight of 8.3 lb. Charlie introduced a more competitive concept – the surrogate grower.  Running a close second was Clyde Boyer with a 14.95 oz. potato and 7.2 lb. total weight.
 
2013.   The competition opened up to allow a Rotarian to grow the potatoes as seemed best for them.  We had two varieties:   Kueka Gold and Shepody.  Records are missing for yield in 2013.
 
2014.   The big potato winner was Aurora with a beauty weighing in at 17.5 oz. Close behind were Will at 13.4 oz. and Vivian at 12.14 oz.  Vivian also walked away with total weight honors with 5.5 lb., followed by Clyde at 5.30 lb. and Paul at 5.00 lb.
 
2015.  A new crop of competitors emerges:   Seaton, Peters and Zak.   Biggest potato went to Marvin Peters with 1lb-11.25oz. Paul Seaton came in second at 1lb-8.30oz.Brian Zak was a close third with 1lb-7.0oz.  Total weight went to the same guys; Paul Seaton in first with 24.8 lb., Marv Peters with 22.8 lb. and Bryan Zak with 13.3 lb.  The Food Pantry received 109 lbs. of potatoes.
 
2016   This may be the first year we had seed potatoes donated by Oceanside Farms.  We had Red Gold and French Fingerlings.  Marv Peters and Charlie Franz were slugging it out.  Marv took top honors in all categories with 51.75 total weight and the largest Red Gold – a monster at 25.15 oz.  Charlie was the king of French Fingerlings, 45 lbs. total and the largest one at 14.6 oz.   We kind of lost control of the allocation of seed potatoes this year and Charlie wound up with only French Fingerlings.
 
2017.   Marv Peters walked away with all honors with 9.1 lbs. of Magic Mollie’s and 16.0 lbs. of French Fingerlings.  Charlie Franz came in second with his 8 lbs. of Magic Mollies but ceded 2nd to Mike Cline in the French Fingerlings with 15.5 lbs.   The Food Pantry received 131.93 lbs.
 
2018.  Marv Peters was top dog with a total of 83 lbs., 36.5 reds and 46.5 whites.  Charley Franz was credited with 2nd place but would have narrowly captured 2nd but for an error made when unlabeled bags potatoes were assigned to “Mystery Man”.   The error was not noted until Charley returned from vacation.   Tom Early was third place winner in all categories.  The Food Pantry received 347.6 lbs. of potatoes.
 
2019.  This year Charlie made sure to be at the weigh-in with an eagle eye.  Appropriately, he walked away with all honors:  70.5 lbs. of whites (Green Mountain) and 42.5 pounds of reds (Rkubinta).  Marv Peters had a total of 69.5 lbs. and Paul Seaton moved back up into the winners circle with 66 lbs. total.  The Food Pantry received a record 381 lbs.
 
This years weigh-off was at the Forrest Residence.  Included in the spectators were Donna and Don from Oceanside Farms, along with contestants, and families.  Burgers by Tina and Gayle, plus delicious dishes by everyone.  What a blast!
 
 
 
 
 
Overall Winner Charlie, with his EXTRA HEAVY Potatoes!
2019 Great Potato Race 2019-11-05 09:00:00Z 0

Club Innovation:  Among Friends

Rotary Club of Wiarton, Ontario
 
Chartered: 1938
Original membership: 18
Membership: 33
 
Building bonds: In Wiarton, gateway to the bucolic Bruce Peninsula between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron in Ontario, a dedicated Rotary club shoulders an outsize responsibility. With fewer than three dozen members, the Rotary Club of Wiarton has installed playground equipment, benches, and a wooden boardwalk, all while supporting a robust Rotary Youth Exchange program, polio eradication, and projects in Africa and Mexico. It also stages several major annual events. How? By summoning the exponential force of friendship.
 
Club innovation: To involve more people in club meetings and events, the members came up with a creative solution. Wiarton’s Friends initiative, inaugurated in 2016, appeals to people who share Rotary’s values but cannot commit to full membership, allowing them to attend as many as 10 club meetings a year while helping at fundraisers and other projects. The goal of the program, which has nine participants, is to provide a path toward regular membership.
 
Club members at a Canada-themed trivia night.
 
During an event for club presidents-elect at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Mike McMillan, then incoming president of the Wiarton club, stepped up to the microphone to raise the issue of how Rotary could expand its base. “We are in an area of generally blue-collar industries: tourism, retail, a national park,” McMillan recalls saying. “I asked, ‘How do we attract nonprofessionals, or rather professionals of a different sort?’ ” Other presidents-elect from all over the world told him that they faced a similar predicament. McMillan already had one possible solution.
 
Two years earlier, the Wiarton club had launched the Friends program to engage people in the community with limited time and money. “So many young people, in particular, can’t commit to a full-time membership,” says McMillan. “Particularly in an area like ours, to pay $80 a month for meals is beyond their budgets if they have young kids. It’s important to come up with other ways to keep people involved. Our community is small and not particularly wealthy.”
 
The club’s Amazing Race competition is a popular fundraiser and community event.
 
The club members help organize the four-day Village Fair every summer and run a Trivia Night that attracts more than 150 contestants. Maple Magic — held at Regal Point Elk Farm, which is owned by club member Eric Robinson and his wife, Dale — lures thousands of visitors. Events like that, McMillan notes, “require feet on the ground.”
 
One go-to volunteer, Jimi Avon, a retired musician who spends winters in Mexico, draws energy from the drive of the Rotarians. “I’m ready to be at all these events. For me, it’s a positive thing,” Avon says of his status as a Friend. “At the level I’m at, I’m happy and I don’t have quite the responsibility.” Also among the Friends are a hospice manager, a woman who operates a landscaping business and garden shop with her Rotarian husband, and four retirees.
 
And for one Friend, the program has been a pathway back to membership. Richard Bouillon had left the club in 1996 because of demands of business and family life. He tested the waters again as a Friend. “I’m not sure if I should be called an ‘old new member’ or a ‘new old member.’ I spent a year as a Friend before rejoining the club in 2018,” Bouillon says. Now he is fully committed, having worked the Village Fair and traveled to Honduras to help build a school through a Rotary-sponsored project. But it might not have happened without a gentle reintroduction. “The Friends program was one of the things that brought me back,” he says.
— BRAD WEBBER
• Are you looking for more ideas on how your club can reinvent itself? Go to rotary.org/flexibility.
 
• To share your ideas with us, email club.innovations@rotary.org.
 
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
 
Club Innovation:  Among Friends 2019-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

District Governor Visit 2019

October 2 and 3 we were visited by District Governor Andre' Layral and Assistant District Governor Lori Draper visited Homer and the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.   October 2nd, we held a potluck at Dian and Clancy's, then on October 3rd they visited our Board of Directors and General Membership Meetings.  Below are some pictures from those events.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
District Governor Visit 2019 2019-10-16 08:00:00Z 0

Small Change

A story of superstition and a sea turtle named Piggy Bank
 
By Victor Fleming
 
 
Image credit: Richard Mia
 
What can you say about a 25-year-old female who died? That she lived near the Gulf of Thailand in a small province called Chon Buri. That she had a life expectancy of another 50 years or so. That she weighed 130 pounds and was a really good swimmer — especially in the pond she knew as home. That she seemed to have an inordinate love of money — so much so that those who knew her nicknamed her “Piggy Bank.” That her death, in March 2017, was predictable and preventable.
Piggy Bank, you see, was a green sea turtle, a member of an endangered species. Sea turtles, by the way, are featured on the logo for the 2020 Rotary International Convention in Honolulu. And what fascinating creatures they are.
 
“Sea turtles travel far and wide, riding currents across the open ocean,” reads a description on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website. “Females return to the same beach each year, using magnetic clues as a map back home.” Mother turtles lay their eggs on the beach, then cover them with a sandy quilt before returning to the sea. After hatching a couple of months later, the newborns dash to the water to escape being eaten by predators.
 
Unlike their kin found in rivers and creeks, sea turtles cannot retract their limbs into their shells. Over the millennia, sea turtles’ forelegs developed into “flipper-shaped blades, which help them ‘fly’ through the water” at speeds of up to 15 knots, or about 17 miles per hour, as they use their hind legs as rudders. In lieu of teeth, sea turtles have sharp beaks to help tear apart their food, which they wash down with sea water, using special glands near their eyes to desalinize it. This process makes them appear to be crying.
 
This seems apt. The natural habitat of sea turtles — and, thus, their very survival on the planet — is in peril. Among the threats are pollution, poachers, and residential and commercial development along the shorelines where the turtles nest. These creatures are often also accidentally caught by fishermen, although the fishing industry has developed some nets with “trap doors” to allow turtles to escape.
 
Scientists believe that, as oceans warm and sea levels rise, the basic tasks of finding food, mating, and nesting will become increasingly difficult for sea turtles. One problem is that females are born from eggs that are warmer; males result from cooler eggs. Ponder what this could bode for the species’ future on a warming globe.
Regrettably, sea turtles cannot distinguish between what is digestible and what is not. This was Piggy Bank’s downfall — coupled with the penchant of her human admirers for practicing a common superstitious ritual.
 
This turtle was given her nickname (“Omsin” in Thai) because people — human beings, we — knew that when coins were thrown into the pond, Piggy Bank would swim to them. And eat them. Or swallow them whole, rather. And she did that over and over. How could the humans — how could we — not have seen what was bound to come of this?
 
What can you say about people who throw money into bodies of water?
 
In Thailand, turtles are a symbol of longevity. Somehow related to this archetypal concept is a superstition: “If you throw coins into waters where turtles swim, you’ll live longer.”
 
Throwing coins into water for what you could call selfish reasons (such as making a wish) goes beyond Thailand and its customs. The practice started in ancient times, when water was often undrinkable. When potable water could be found, it was deemed a gift from the gods. People figured those gods would appreciate a little something in return. So they would toss a little money into the fountain, spring, or well.
 
When tossing in a coin, a person might say a little prayer, ask for something, make a wish. In 1876 when British archaeologist John Clayton excavated Coventina’s Well — a spring in a basin that was about 2.5 meters square, in England’s Northumberland County — 16,000 Roman coins were recovered. I cannot but wonder how many of the people who contributed to that cache felt lucky after their tosses. Or believed that their wishes had been granted.
 
In early 2017, folks began to notice that Piggy Bank was having difficulty swimming. National Public Radio reported that her shell had cracked. That couldn’t be good. Rescuers got her to a team of veterinarians. During seven hours of surgery, 915 coins, foreign and domestic, were removed from the swimmer’s stomach. Piggy Bank’s condition and recovery were chronicled on social media. Shortly after the operation, the patient was said to be stronger, brighter, happier.
 
But a few days later, Piggy Bank took a turn for the worse. One report cited a “gaping space” where the coins had been. The total weight of these coins was 11 pounds. As for the space they filled, imagine a roll of quarters containing 40 coins — it’s about an inch in diameter and about 2 3/4 inches long. Now, imagine 22 rolls and visualize the space required by such a collection. Piggy Bank’s intestines got tangled up in the void created by the removal of this small fortune. The result was an infection. The infection was made worse by the toxicity from the old coins. Piggy Bank became depressed and irritable, a bad sign. She was obviously in a great deal of pain and distress. Rushed to intensive care on 19 March 2017, she slipped into a coma and died.
 
Something about this story resonates in my soul. Or perhaps in my psyche. OK, in my brain, then. The symbolism, the pure metaphor of it all, simply cannot be overstated. Forget about The Lobster, the 2015 dystopian movie in which humans who cannot find mates are turned into the animals of their choosing. We are the green sea turtles. The green sea turtles are us. I am Piggy Bank!
 
In fairy tales, mythology, and dreams, money often symbolizes energy, power, prestige. How odd it is that, even in small doses, we humans regularly deploy it in such a way that it does us no good. And does others harm.
 
I frequently pass by a multi-tiered fountain at one of the landmarks in my city. It’s always cluttered with pennies, along with a few nickels, dimes, and quarters. This fountain probably attracts as many visitors as Coventina did in its heyday. Each time I’m there, it occurs to me that I ought to reread the littering statute. I’m fairly certain that there’s no exception for money thrown into public waters.
 
Tongue in cheek, I brought that up one day in conversation with a person of authority at this establishment. Her response included a smile and an eye-roll. I dare not repeat her full reply. Suffice it to say that it is someone’s job to clean out that money regularly.
 
Oh, well. At least there are no turtles in this fountain.
 
Victor Fleming, a member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, is a District Court judge and, since 2006, the author of this magazine’s crossword puzzle.
 
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Small Change 2019-10-10 08:00:00Z 0

Four Questions About Our Strategy to End Polio

with John Sever
International PolioPlus Committee Vice Chair
 
Why do we need a new strategy?
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI’s) previous strategic plan was from 2013 to 2018. We achieved many important things: Wild poliovirus type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015; wild poliovirus type 3 was last seen in 2012, giving us high confidence that it’s no longer circulating; no wild poliovirus has been detected outside Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2016. But the clear factor in creating the new Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 is that we have not yet achieved complete eradication.
 
The new plan has three goals. The first goal is eradication. Second, integration — collaboration with other public health actors beyond the GPEI to strengthen health systems to help achieve and sustain eradication. Then, certification and containment — we have to prove through surveillance that we have interrupted the transmission of the poliovirus, and we have to be able to show that the virus in laboratories either has been destroyed or is appropriately contained.
 
The GPEI’s five-year budget to execute this is $4.2 billion. Why does it cost so much?
Every year, we have to vaccinate more than 450 million children in up to 50 countries to prevent the spread of polio from the endemic areas. In addition to the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we are immunizing children all over Africa and Asia. So we have to have a lot of people out there to help immunize, and that costs money. We have to have the vaccine, and that costs money. And we have to maintain and pay for sizable quantities of vaccine in case of an outbreak, and that costs money. Then we have to investigate about 100,000 cases of paralysis each year to rule out polio. We have to continue surveillance — looking for cases of polio to be sure we are not missing cases in certain areas. We need to test sewage samples in 34 countries to ensure that the poliovirus is not circulating undetected. And all of those things cost money. It’s a significant expense every year to maintain that level of performance.
 
What strategies are in this plan?
One key element is establishing a regional hub for Afghanistan and Pakistan to consolidate our efforts and increase technical support. We’re also focusing on mobile and hard-to-reach children — children who are crossing borders, riding on trains, and coming out of areas where our access has been restricted. We are developing rapid-response teams and surge capacity so if the virus is detected, our response can be swift and intense. We’re working with other actors such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help strengthen immunization systems. And we’re delivering additional services such as clean water, nutrition, health, and sanitation, because often the local people say we’re always coming back to immunize against polio, but what about their other problems?
 
What can Rotarians do to ensure that the plan is successful?
The No. 1 thing is to continue to support the program. We have a $3.27 billion funding gap. We will need Rotarians to make direct donations as well as to advocate with their governments and other groups for their support so that we can continue to do all of the immunizations and surveillance we’ve been talking about. Rotarians in countries where active polio eradication efforts are underway need to continue helping with these efforts and immunizing children. They need to keep advocating with their governments to continue to support polio eradication.
 
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
 
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Four Questions About Our Strategy to End Polio 2019-10-10 08:00:00Z 0
2019 Rotary Health Fair November 2, 2019 2019-10-02 08:00:00Z 0

Project Fair Forges Strong Friendships

In 2004, a few years after Vasanth Prabhu joined the Rotary Club of Central Chester County (Lionville) in Pennsylvania, a flyer caught his attention. It was for a Rotary project fair, the first to be held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
 

The long-term collaboration between clubs began in Quito, Ecuador.

Image credit: F11photo

At the time, Prabhu was in charge of international projects for the club. So far, it had participated in two projects in India, where he had grown up, but the club wanted to expand its work to other countries. Prabhu had never been to Ecuador, or to a project fair. But the event intrigued him. There he could meet Rotarians who belonged to 40 clubs in Ecuador, some of them in remote parts of that country. At the fair, they would lay out their projects in a buffet of ideas to make communities across Ecuador better off with Rotary Foundation grants and help from international partners.

 
But something else stirred in Prabhu when he saw the flyer. As an avid reader of National Geographic as a teen, he had seen pictures of Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands and read about Charles Darwin’s historic visit there. Ever since, Prabhu had dreamed of seeing them. One of the post-fair trips organized for visiting Rotarians was to the Galápagos. Now he had a chance to realize his dream.
 
Galo Alfonso Betancourt Criollo (from left), Vasanth Prabhu, Juan Prinz, and Rene Romero Solano discuss plans at a project fair in Ecuador.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
 
In a conference room at the Hilton in Quito, as Prabhu strolled among the booths and looked over the projects, he met Juan Prinz, a member of the Rotary Club of Quito. Prabhu, who doesn’t speak Spanish, was happy to find Prinz, who speaks Spanish as well as English and German. “He offered to translate for me, and we talked about different clubs and their projects,” Prabhu says. “After that, we became really good friends.”
 
Prinz, who had been born in Argentina, first became aware of Rotary while working for a German company in Singapore in 1974. Later the company relocated him to Venezuela and finally, in 1983, to Ecuador, where he has lived and been a Rotarian ever since.
 
“One thing that interested me about Vasanth was that he wanted to make connections to clubs in the smaller cities that were not assisted by international partners, like the Rotary clubs of Morona-Macas and Puyo, which are in the Amazon River basin region of Ecuador,” Prinz says.
 
Prabhu explains: “Being in charge of the international projects, I realized that clubs in small towns don’t get much help with projects in their areas because they don’t know many people and they don’t have enough money. So our club decided we did not want to partner with big clubs, but instead with small clubs.”
 
Projects the Central Chester County club has collaborated on include buying a school bus.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
 
As Prabhu looked over the projects, his curiosity was sparked by a booth with information about a high school in Macas, on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, that didn’t have a computer lab. This led to a project partnership for the Central Chester County club. In a later visit, the partnering clubs also supplied computer equipment for a school in Bahia de Caraquez, on the coast.
 
In 2005, Prabhu was back, and he and Prinz traveled around the country. “He took me everywhere in Ecuador,” Prabhu says. “I have circled Ecuador maybe 10 times. Each time I go there, I visit different project sites and the Rotarians there.” They went to the city of Puyo, where two schools and a community center needed computers and other equipment, which the Central Chester County club helped provide. The club also helped pay for heart surgery for children in Quito.
 
The years went on, and so did the club’s work in different parts of Ecuador. One year, the Central Chester County club partnered with the Morona-Macas club to equip a mobile medical van to travel through rural areas, treating general medical problems out of one side and dental problems out of the other. The van has seen tens of thousands of patients since 2008.
 
Projects the Central Chester County club has collaborated on include providing eye exams.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
 
Another time, the club partnered with the Puyo club to purchase a bus to transport children with disabilities to school. The Rotarians also supplied a virtual medical library to medical students, dialysis machines for people with kidney failure, and biodigesters to purify wastewater. So far the Central Chester County club has partnered on 16 grant-supported projects in Ecuador and has plans for more.
 
The Ecuador Project Fair now is in its 16th year. Since 2004 the number of Foundation grants in Ecuador has increased, and so has the number of clubs participating in grant-supported projects, creating links with clubs abroad like the Rotary Club of Central Chester County. Prabhu has come back to all but one of those project fairs, though a few things have changed since he and Prinz first met. Project fairs have become more popular globally. Some, like those in West Africa and Central America, have become well established, while others, like the one in East Africa, are in their early stages. The fairs have helped to increase the flow of funds (and the success of projects) around the world, but some of the benefits can’t be measured in dollars.
 
“The successes we had in Ecuador opened up our hearts to go to other countries,” says Prabhu. “As we moved along, we became more understanding and tolerant of other cultural norms. We became better citizens of the world.”
 
To date, the Central Chester County club has done more than 120 projects in more than a dozen countries. But the most important benefit may be the hardest to quantify. “We developed a very good friendship,” says Prinz of Prabhu. “That’s why I think the project fair is so important. One of the main points of its success is the personal understanding between Rotarians. At the project fair, the contacts that our international partners get usually turn into friendships.”
— FRANK BURES
 
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Project Fair Forges Strong Friendships 2019-10-02 08:00:00Z 0

Ben Walter's Park Playground is Going UP!

The City with the help of Dutch Boy is installing the playset our club purchased.  The monies came from the proceeds of the Cranium Cup held in 2018, as well as a matching grant from the District and a donation from McDonald's
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some Newer Pictures from Milli!  Nice!
 
 
Ben Walter's Park Playground is Going UP! 2019-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

The Plus in PolioPlus

We’re doing so much more than eradicating polio
 
                            By Vanessa Glavinskas                        Photography by Andrew Esiebo
 
Musa Muhammed Ali, a farmer in Borno state, Nigeria, has had to deal with the many ways polio has affected his life. For instance, he used to have to pay for transportation when he needed to buy feed for his animals. But after receiving a hand-operated tricycle funded through Rotary’s PolioPlus grants, Ali (pictured above) can now spend that money on other necessities. His life was changed by the “plus” in PolioPlus.
 
When we talk about PolioPlus, we know we are eradicating polio, but do we realize how many added benefits the program brings? The “plus” is something else that is provided as a part of the polio eradication campaign. It might be a hand-operated tricycle or access to water. It might be additional medical treatment, bed nets, or soap. A 2010 study estimates that vitamin A drops given to children at the same time as the polio vaccine have prevented 1.25 million deaths by decreasing susceptibility to infectious diseases.
 
In these pages, we take you to Nigeria, which could soon be declared free of wild poliovirus, to show you some of the many ways the polio eradication campaign is improving lives.

 
Preventing disease

Polio vaccination campaigns are difficult to carry out in northern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced millions of people, leading to malnutrition and spikes in disease. When security allows, health workers diligently work to bring the polio vaccine and other health services to every child, including going tent to tent in camps for displaced people. The health workers pictured here are in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, where the insurgency began 10 years ago.
 
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), of which Rotary is a spearheading partner, funds 91 percent of all immunization staff in the World Health Organization’s Africa region. These staff members are key figures in the fight against polio — and other diseases: 85 percent give half their time to immunization, surveillance, and outbreak response for other initiatives. For example, health workers in Borno use the polio surveillance system, which detects new cases of polio and determines where and how they originated, to find people with symptoms of yellow fever. During a 2018 yellow fever outbreak, this was one of many strategies that resulted in the vaccination of 8 million people. And during an outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014, health workers prevented that disease from spreading beyond 19 reported cases by using methods developed for the polio eradication campaign to find anyone who might have come in contact with an infected person.
 
 
Children protected from polio still face other illnesses, and in Borno, malaria kills more people than all other diseases combined. Worldwide, a child dies of malaria every two minutes. To prevent its spread, insecticide-treated bed nets — such as the one Hurera Idris is pictured installing in her home — are often distributed for free during polio immunization events. In 2017, the World Health Organization, one of Rotary’s partners in the GPEI, organized a campaign to deliver antimalarial medicines to children in Borno using polio eradication staff and infrastructure. It was the first time that antimalarial medicines were delivered on a large scale alongside the polio vaccine, and the effort reached 1.2 million children.
 
Rotary and its partners also distribute soap and organize health camps to treat other conditions. “The pluses vary from one area to another. Depending on the environment and what is seen as a need, we try to bridge the gap,” says Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “Part of the reason you get rejections when you immunize children is that we’ve been doing this for so long. In our part of the world, people look at things that are free and persistent with suspicion. When they know something else is coming, reluctant families will bring their children out to have them immunized.”
 
 
Rotarians’ contributions to PolioPlus help fund planning by technical experts, large-scale communication efforts to make people aware of the benefits of vaccinations, and support for volunteers who go door to door.
 
Volunteer community mobilizers are a critical part of vaccination campaigns in Nigeria’s hardest-to-reach communities. The volunteers are selected and trained by UNICEF, one of Rotary’s partners in the GPEI, and then deployed in the community or displaced persons camp where they live. They take advantage of the time they spend connecting with community members about polio to talk about other strategies to improve their families’ health. Fatima Umar, the volunteer pictured here, is educating Hadiza Zanna about health topics such as hygiene and maternal health, in addition to why polio vaccination is so important.
 
Nigerian Rotarians have been at the forefront of raising support for Rotary’s polio efforts. For example, Sir Emeka Offor, a member of the Rotary Club of Abuja Ministers Hill, and his foundation collaborated with Rotary and UNICEF to produce an audiobook called Yes to Health, No to Polio that health workers use.

 
Providing clean water

Addressing a critical long-term need such as access to clean water helps build relationships and trust with community members. Within camps for displaced people, vaccinators are sometimes met with frustration. “People say, ‘We don’t have water, and you’re giving us polio drops,’” Tunji Funsho explains. Rotary and its partners responded by funding 31 solar-powered boreholes to provide clean water in northern Nigeria, and the effort is ongoing. At left, women and children collect water from a borehole in the Madinatu settlement, where about 5,000 displaced people live.
 
Supplying clean water to vulnerable communities is a priority of the PolioPlus program not only in Nigeria, but also in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the only other remaining polio-endemic nations, or countries where transmission of the virus has never been interrupted. “Giving water is noble work also,” says Aziz Memon, chair of Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee.
 
 
Access to safe drinking water is also an important aspect of the GPEI’s endgame strategy, which encourages efforts that “ensure populations reached for polio campaigns are also able to access much-needed basic services, such as clean water, sanitation, and nutrition.” The poliovirus spreads through human waste, so making sure people aren’t drinking or bathing in contaminated water is critical to eradicating the disease. Bunmi Lagunju, the PolioPlus project coordinator in Nigeria, says that installing the boreholes has also helped prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases in the displaced persons camps.
 
Communities with a reliable source of clean water enjoy a reduced rate of disease and a better quality of life. “When we came [to the camp], there was no borehole. We had to go to the nearby block factory to get water, and this was difficult because the factory only gave us limited amounts of water,” says Jumai Alhassan (pictured at bottom left bathing her baby). “We are thankful for people who provided us with the water.”

 
Creating jobs

Polio left Isiaku Musa Maaji disabled, with few ways to make a living. At age 24, he learned to build hand-operated tricycles designed to provide mobility for disabled adults and children, and later started his own business assembling them. His first break came, he says, when a local government placed a trial order. It was impressed with his product, and the orders continued. Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee recently ordered 150 tricycles from Maaji to distribute to polio survivors and others with mobility problems. The relationship he has built with local Rotarians has motivated him to take part in door-to-door polio vaccination campaigns.
“It is not easy to be physically challenged,” he says. “I go out to educate other people on the importance of polio vaccine because I don’t want any other person to fall victim to polio.”
 
 
Aliyu Issah feels lucky; he’s able to support himself running a small convenience store. He knows other polio survivors who have attended skills training programs but lack the money to start a business and are forced to beg on the street. However, the GPEI provides a job that’s uniquely suited to polio survivors: educating others about the effects of the disease.
 
“Some of my friends who used to be street beggars now run their own small business with money they earn from working on the door-to-door immunization campaign,” Issah says.

 
 
Improving health care

In Maiduguri, Falmata Mustapha rides a hand-operated tricycle donated to her by Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. She is joined by several health workers for a door-to-door immunization campaign, bringing polio drops to areas without basic health care. UNICEF data show that polio survivors like Mustapha have a remarkable success rate persuading reluctant parents to vaccinate their children — on average, survivors convince seven of every 10 parents they talk to. In places where misinformation and rumors have left people hesitant to vaccinate, the survivors’ role in the final phase of the eradication effort is critical.
 
“Since working with the team, I have seen an increase in immunization compliance in the community,” Mustapha says. “I am well-regarded in the community because of my work, and I am happy about this.”
 
Eighteen million people around the world who would have died or been paralyzed are alive and walking because of the polio eradication campaign. Health workers and volunteers supported by PolioPlus grants have built an infrastructure for delivering health care and collecting data that, in many parts of the world, didn’t exist before. It’s already being used to improve overall health care and to fight other diseases, proving that the legacy of PolioPlus is more than eradicating a deadly disease from the planet — it’s also building a stronger health system that provides better access to lifesaving interventions for the world’s most vulnerable children.

• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Plus in PolioPlus 2019-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

Guatemala Literacy Project

From: "Jim Hunt PDG—Guatemala Literacy Project" <info@guatemalaliteracy.org>
Date: September 11, 2019 at 7:00:12 AM AKDT
To: "Donald Keller" <Donkone1999@yahoo.com>
Subject: Many hands needed to fight against poverty in Guatemala
Reply-To: joe@guatemalaliteracy.org
 
We need Rotarians to join service trips to Guatemala. 
 
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)
 
Dear Donald,
My name is Jim Hunt and I am a past District Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600). Joe Berninger, founder of the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP), and I are organizing Rotary service trips to Guatemala and we are looking for interested Rotarians.                                                 
The GLP is the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district effort in the Rotary world not directed by RI itself and—according to former RI President Ian Riseley—the “gold standard” of Rotary projects. Over 600 Rotary clubs from 8 countries have participated in the GLP since its inception in 1996. GLP Textbook, Computer, Teacher Training, and Youth Development programs currently serve more than 50,000 impoverished children.
And we need Rotarians to join the following service trips to Guatemala:
  • Feb 1-9, 2020
  • Feb 18-23, 2020
  • July 12-18, 2020
  • July 21-26, 2020
These trips offer a variety of experiences: some are longer or shorter; some more hands-on; yet all give you the opportunity to serve as a meaningful part of Rotary’s work fighting poverty in Guatemala. Please visit the project’s website for more details.
Could you also share this opportunity with members of your club?
If you have any questions, you can email Joe at joe@guatemalaliteracy.org.
Yours in Rotary Service,
Jim Hunt, PDG 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
Joe Berninger
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
www.guatemalaliteracy.org
 
 
P.S. Check out this heartwarming blog post about other Rotarians in action!
 
 
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)  
Rotary eClub of Ohio Pathways
2300 Montana Avenue, Suite 301
Cincinnati, OH 45211
(513) 661-7000
 
 
 
Guatemala Literacy Project 2019-09-18 08:00:00Z 0

Cub Innovation:  Tokyo Rise

Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, Japan
Tokyo Hiroo members Nikolaus Boltze (from left), Ai Ito, Yoko Hattori, and Alain Wacziarg at Zōjō-ji, a historic Buddhist temple in Tokyo.
Image credit: Irwin Wong
 
Even by the standards of Tokyo, one of the world’s great culinary cities, the spread on Yoko Hattori’s dining room table is impressive. On this evening in May, the 2018-19 governor of District 2750 has prepared rolls of maki sushi, filled with fresh crab and cucumber, and golden brown pockets of inari tofu rice. There are deep red slices of seared katsuo tuna and a plate of melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly, or kakuni, simmered for hours in soy sauce, sake, and ginger.
 
There are non-Japanese delicacies too: The dinner, after all, is for members of Hattori’s Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, who hail from six countries on four continents. Alain Wacziarg, a Parisian who has lived in Tokyo for 45 years, has brought a loaf of pain de campagne and authentic Camembert. There’s even guacamole. “Hattori-san made it,” says Pablo Puga, the club’s lone Mexican, using the Japanese honorific title for his hostess.
 
If this dinner feels more festive than a typical Rotary gathering, there’s good reason. Several times a year, the club breaks from its regular Thursday lunchtime schedule and holds a less formal evening meeting at a member’s home. This also happens to be the first time the club has met in Japan’s new imperial era: On 1 May, the 59-year-old Naruhito succeeded his father, Akihito, to become Japan’s 126th emperor, marking the end of the 30-year Heisei era and beginning the era of Reiwa, or “beautiful harmony.” The transition came with an unprecedented 10-day national holiday.
 
Tokyo Hiroo, Japan’s only bilingual club, prides itself on being different. While most Rotarians in Japan are older men, the youngest of this club’s 30 members is 33, and about half of them are women. Meetings are conducted in Japanese and English, and most members can speak both.
 
Chartered in 2001, the Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo was the result of a push by Wacziarg and other expatriate Rotarians to start an English-speaking club in the Japanese capital. It was named after Tokyo’s Hiroo district, an upmarket neighborhood of condominiums, boutiques, and embassies where many of its members resided.
 
Today, the club meets in nearby Roppongi, a neighborhood that’s home to multinational corporations, luxury retailers, and some of Tokyo’s most famous nightlife. Its regular meeting venue, the Roppongi Hills Club, is on the 51st floor of a Tokyo landmark: the 54-story Mori Tower, which boasts a rooftop observation deck that offers a 360-degree view of the world’s largest metropolitan area. On a clear day, you can even see the distant peak of Japan’s tallest mountain, Fuji.
 
Japan's only bilingual club prides itself on being different.
 
Because of its international connections, Tokyo Hiroo is particularly well positioned for global service. For more than a decade, the club has led a project in Kenya that began when Dennis Awori, Kenya’s former ambassador to Japan, was a member of the Hiroo club. Since then, working with the Rotary Club of Nairobi-East, where Awori is now a member, and several other Japanese clubs, Tokyo Hiroo has supported the construction of more than 30 wells across Kenya. The wells are drilled using a 19th-century Japanese technique known as kazusa-bori that a small group of people can carry out using locally available materials. “These wells are perfect for rural areas, because they don’t require electricity,” says Michiko Mitarai, who traveled to Kenya with a group of Tokyo Hiroo members in 2013. The project has received two Rotary Foundation grants.
 
The club also supports causes closer to home. It sponsors an Interact club at the Canadian International School Tokyo and every few years hosts a foreign university student through a Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation scholarship (Umekichi Yoneyama was the man who brought Rotary to Japan in 1920). Because club members are fluent in English, they’re important assets for District 2750, which includes non-Japanese-speaking clubs from the Pacific states of Palau and Micronesia and the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Members host students selected by clubs there to visit Japan on exchanges.
 
Nikolaus Boltze, the 2019-20 club president, is a German who has lived in Japan for two decades; he says Tokyo Hiroo’s greatest strength is the diversity of its members. In a way, this is also its greatest challenge: Many foreign members come to Tokyo on temporary assignments, he says, which means turnover is high. But despite the challenges, the club is growing: According to Boltze, membership has increased by 50 percent in recent years and remains steady as the club looks forward to a busy year. Next July and August, during the 2020 Olympics, the club plans to host meetings and events to welcome foreign Rotarians who come to Japan for the games. At the end of that year, it will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
 
On this particular evening, though, discussions of all that can wait. As the wine continues to flow and a cheesecake makes the rounds, business has largely given way to socializing, which continues late into the Tokyo night.
— JONATHAN W. ROSEN
 
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Cub Innovation:  Tokyo Rise 2019-09-17 08:00:00Z 0

Turtle Power

Hawaii’s green sea turtles, also known as honu, are a symbol of good luck, wisdom, and longevity. In Hawaiian legends, honu figure as messengers, protectors, and guides. The turtles, which appear in ancient petroglyphs as well as in modern iconography throughout the Hawaiian Islands, are also the inspiration for the official logo of the Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, taking place from 6 to 10 June.
 
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
In Hawaii, snorkelers often encounter these graceful giants — adult turtles often weigh more than 300 pounds — as they use their long, winglike front legs to propel themselves through the water. The best places to see green sea turtles include Hanauma Bay, just a half-hour by car from Honolulu, and Laniakea Beach, on Oahu’s north shore.
 
At Hanauma Bay, you might see the turtles swimming in the shallow water near the reefs. At Laniakea Beach, the turtles come up onto the beach to sun themselves. Be sure to give them their space; for the protection of this endangered species, it is illegal to touch or disturb them. But seeing green sea turtles sunning themselves or swimming offshore is an unforgettable experience for visitors to Hawaii.
— HANK SARTIN
• Don’t miss the 2020 Rotary Convention in Honolulu. Register at riconvention.org by 15 December to save.
 
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Turtle Power 2019-09-17 08:00:00Z 0

Four Questions About Family-Friendly Service Projects

 

 

with Steven Boe

President-elect, Rotary Club of Silverdale, Washington

1. Making Rotary family-friendly is one of Rotary President Mark Daniel Maloney’s priorities this year. What has been your club’s approach?

Several of our members have young kids, including me — I have a five-year-old and a seven-year-old — and many have grandkids. Our annual fundraiser is the Silverdale Rotary Duck Race, where we drop 18,000 rubber ducks into the bay and they race to the finish line. Through sponsorships and ticket sales, we raise $70,000 and upward a year. Several Rotarians bring their kids to help tag the ducks ahead of time, sell tickets, or do cleanup afterward. That prompted us to start coming up with ideas for projects that were specifically designed for kids and parents to work on together. That’s how our project for families got started.

2. What’s the project all about?

The project allows parents to lead by example and build the next generation of Rotarians. People often say they want to get involved in volunteering, but they don’t know what to do or where to start. Our website (kidsofaction.com) offers a list of kid-friendly ideas — everything from walking dogs at the animal shelter to stuffing bags of supplies for homeless teens. Families can do those things together. Our club has always been open to kids at events, but our project helps the family members feel like they’re part of Rotary, rather than guests. Now we’re working with organizations in our community to have a day of volunteering designed for parents and kids.

3. Did your kids inspire this project?

They have been the inspiration since the beginning. Last June, I created a comic book for our duck race — a small coloring book that kids could color while they were at the event. The characters were based on my kids. I realized a lot of kids might want to help others, but they don’t exactly know how. We have to teach them. That was the big moment. Now we’re in the middle of creating an animated commercial to help promote our project. My kids love Rotary. They like coming to the Rotary events and they steal all of my Rotary pins! One of the reasons I joined Rotary was to set an example of service for my kids. My five-year-old daughter was asking me about some homeless people she had seen. When I explained that they had nowhere to live, she said, “We should do something.” I told her that’s why I joined Rotary. I reminded her of the time she helped stuff bags of supplies for homeless teens at one of our meetings. She had a very big smile on her face when she realized that she had already been helping them. And that put a big smile on mine.

4. How are you connecting with parents, especially those who aren’t members of Rotary?

Rotary connects to the community, and we want the community to connect with us as well. For those who aren’t already committed to Rotary, it might seem difficult to come to a Rotary meeting — especially for parents, both in terms of money and time. But maybe they can come on a weekend to volunteer on a project, or we can call them when there’s an event. The next step is getting them into a pattern of service, not just the one-time thing. And that’s where Rotary comes in. The next time they see that park, that cleanup project, those people who were helped, that holiday event, or whatever it is, Rotary will be on their radar.

— JOSEPH DERR

• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa

• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Four Questions About Family-Friendly Service Projects 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Our International Committee in Action

Our Club's International Committee decided to contribute funds, $500, to assist with this Rotary Dental clinic in South Africa.  Attached is information about the Clinic.  Our connection with the RC of Knysna is that Clyde and I took a Rotary organized and led tour of South Africa a few years ago and we stayed in contact with the Rotarians from the Knysna Club who were the tour guides/leaders. 

 

I'll be working on the transfer of payment details within the next few days.

I thought it would be good to keep club members informed of another good project we are helping to fund.

Vivian

Our International Committee in Action 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Coral Reef Revival

Image credit: Rotaract club of University of Moratuwa
 
The beautiful coral reefs along Sri Lanka’s coastlines have long attracted tourists. But the coral reefs, once filled with brilliantly colored fish and other species, have been dying. Coral bleaching due to warmer ocean temperatures, along with excessive fishing, sand mining, and polluted waters, has heavily damaged these living systems.
 
The Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa recently completed a three-year project to replenish the corals. Project Zooxanthellae — named for the type of algae that lives on the surface of corals and nourishes them — involved Sri Lankan Navy divers placing 10 steel-framed structures underwater several hundred yards from shore. The divers then attached about 60 finger-size branches of live coral to each of the six-sided, 5-foot-high frames, which look like industrial jungle gyms. The coral polyps secrete the protective exoskeletal material that forms a reef. In four to five years, new reefs will have formed around the frames. The frames will eventually rust away, leaving a healthy reef.
 
“We wanted to do something to save the coral and help tourism,” says Rotaractor Paveen Perera. “This project will help people in those coastal areas who earn a living through the tourism industry.”
 
The project came about in 2016 after Sahan Jayawardana, the club’s environment director at the time, heard a lecture on coral reefs by Nalin Rathnayake, an oceanography expert from the Department of Earth Resources Engineering at the University of Moratuwa. A similar reef seeding project had been done successfully in the Maldives.
 
The location of the future reef was determined by the National Aquatic Resources Research & Development Agency, which conducted a survey looking for optimal growing conditions. The structures were designed and made by Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd., in collaboration with Rathnayake.
The coral pieces came from a nearby site, and it took about a year to get permission to harvest them, explains club member Natasha Kularatne, who helped oversee the project. Over the course of a week, the structures were placed in the waters off Jungle Beach, Rumassala, a major tourist area, and the corals were attached.
 
So far, the project has been successful, and this year the club was recognized with a Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the South Asia region. “The Navy went on a dive and took photos, and it shows growth,” says Perera. “They are doing well.”
 
— ANNE STEIN
This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Coral Reef Revival 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Disaster Relief

Trouble viewing this email? View Online
 
 
 
 

You can help with a gift to our Disaster Response Fund


Disasters can devastate a community, leaving people in urgent need of medical care, housing, and other services. Following a natural disaster like Hurricane Dorian, your contribution ensures that we can deliver supplies, provide health care, and support rebuilding efforts. By making a donation today, you can help Rotarians respond swiftly and effectively, bringing hope to those whose lives have been affected by disaster.

Your gift will be combined with that of other Rotarians to provide disaster recovery and support rebuilding efforts where the need is greatest so that, together, we can continue Doing Good in the World.

Sincerely,
The Rotary Foundation
 
 
 
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Vimeo
Instagram
YouTube
 
ONE ROTARY CENTER
1560 SHERMAN AVENUE
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS 60201-3698 USA
ROTARY.ORG
Trouble viewing this email? View Online
 
 
 
 
 
Rotary Disaster Relief 2019-09-05 08:00:00Z 0

20th Annual BBQ

Hello all attendees of the 20th annual Labor Day (weekend) BBQ at the Gordon’s in Halibut Cove! Can you believe this is the 20th BBQ they have sponsored!

FYI there were 25 from the Homer side of the Bay who attended and 9 who decided not to attend. No doubt the weather forecast played a part in the lower count! Fortunately the NOAA forecast did not hold true!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable time, I certainly did!! If I Did not get around to talking with you it was not intentional 😀, seemed like the afternoon flew by. Every time I attend one of our functions I learn something new about the Homer Rotary history (both clubs) and at other levels as well, i.e. Speaking with Carolyn Jones, former District Governor and former Rotary International Trustee!

A HUGE Thank You to Mike, Shelli, and everyone else who helped us get there and made it such a pleasant and enjoyable gathering.

Thank you

~Yours in Rotary~

Don Keller

Boarding the AR in Homer

Ready to Go!

Got a Bit Bouncy Going Over!

Halibut Cove

Halibut Cove

Halibut Cove

We're There!

Now, a Little Climb

Up!

To Fantastic Views

Looking Back at More Up!

 

And Berries!

Made It!  And It is Really Worth the Climb!

Fantastic Food!  Gardens Raided, Cookbooks Perused, Skills Dusted Off!  Wow!

How About This View of Halibut Cove From the Deck!

 

Places to Explore

Beautiful Scentery

 

 

Berries to Chase (Pic)!

Lots of Friends, Old and New, to Visit With (Unfortunately No Pictures Submitted).

 

 

Unfortunately Even the Best of Days Must Come to an End