Rotary Club of East Polk County


Club Executives & Directors

President Elect
Immediate Past President

Website Sponsors

Interested in being a sponsor?
Download the website sponsorship guide

Bulletin Subscribe

Subscribe to our eBulletin and stay up to date on the latest news and events.


Club Information

Welcome to East Polk County Rotary

East Polk County

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Prairie Meadows
1 Prairie Meadows Dr.
A.J's Steakhouse
Altoona, IA  50009
United States
District Site
Venue Map

Home Page Stories

At last week's meeting, our Rotarian of the Day Darrell Hanson introduced our own Brad Miller who took us on a journey, figuratively, to Israel.  Brad discussed his latest adventures with Israeli cab drivers and several of the sites where he visited.  He also gave each table flashlights of various strength and dimension which was a very nice gesture on his part.  The flashlights were supposed to be the 'illuminating' part of the presentation.  
Tomorrow we discuss committee work so no speaker will present.  As you all know by know the Bowling Bash is scheduled for the last Friday February 27th from 2 to 5.  Continue to sign up your teams, sponsor lanes or contact businesses as possible lane sponsors.  Checks should be payable to East Polk Rotary and given to Linda Harris.  Remember that Mary does not have the luxury of printing lane sponsor signs at the last minute.  This means that lane sponsors will have to be identified and brought to her prior to February 16th.  Also, look for the sign up sheet to bring a silent auction basket to the event. Remember that the more people we have at the event, even if just bowlers, the more people that potentially will bid up the basket prices.  Thanks for your support in making this a fun event.
We'll see many of you tomorrow!

At last week's meeting, our Rotarian of the Day, Steve Mather, introduced us to the fascinating world of NFL referees.  Scott Halverson spoke to the club about his career as an NFL ref, including two Super Bowls.  He spoke about their system of grading and how each week the refs' calls are scrutinized on film and then each ref around the league is graded and ranked.  That scoring system helps determine which ones go on to work the playoffs and Super Bowl.  There were many questions about his work, how they are evaluated, the politics of the NFL and their compensation structure.  This was truly a presentation that captured everyone's attention and interest.  Okay, maybe the ladies were a little less interested than the guys.  We'll just go ahead and admit that.  
Last Friday the club member gathered at Toad Valley for the annual Christmas party and we are expecting a report tomorrow.  President Kim Byers will be absent tomorrow so President Elect Lambert will be filling in.  Seargeant at Arms tomorrow is Ryan Swallwell and the Rotarian of the Day is Ryan Edsen.  A quick reminder that the club has voted to not meet on Christmas Eve day or New Years Eve day.  
We hope to see everyone at 7:00 tomorrow.

Last week our Rotarian of the Day Tom Downs reintroduced us to Ed Arnold of the Northwest Rotary Club of Des Moines and we met for the first time Kyle Davey, VP of Ticket Sales for the Iowa Energy. Ed has a passion for Rotary's effort in the PolioPlus arena and spoke about how $55,000 has been raised leading to 100,000 immunizations since the Iowa Energy partnership with Rotary.  This is the seventh year the game has been hosted for this polio eradication effort.  Again this year, tickets for the game on Saturday February 7, 2015 will be discounted to $16 each (normally $20), and will come with access to $2 beer and "The Amazing Slodick" halftime show.  Club members are encouraged to purchase as many tickets as they wish, but at least two tickets per member.  Whatever the club members don't purchase, the club will kick in to make sure that at least 100 tickets are purchased.  If you don't plan to use your tickets, you may donate them back to the Iowa Energy who will make sure that local youth groups are able to use them.  
Tomorrow is our monthly business meeting, so no speakers are slated, although it would appear that the next group is at bat for the Dramatic Four Way Test skit.  President Byers will be actively filming the effort so that club members may vote at the end of the year on their favorite.
With the short work week, on behalf of East Polk Rotary, we wish all club members safe passage to and from their final Thanksgiving destinations and hope that you use the time to eat and drink (not too much), spend quality time with friends and family, and recharge for the final push to the end of 2014.  In the meantime, we'll see many of you tomorrow morning.    

At our last gathering Eric Borseth as Rotarian of the Day introduced us to Mark Nelson and Shannon Delouis of the non-profit Freedom for Youth.  Mark is the founder and Director and Shannon oversees the Mitchellville center.  Freedom for Youth is a mission outreach for inner city kids from age 5 to 22.  Mark took us on a journey from the very beginning of the organization to a heartfelt story of one girl who he discovered living outside on the streets, and through ministry and mentoring helped to not only get off the streets and drugs, but he also witnessed her own transition to a married woman with two kids of her own.  Freedom for Youth has grown exponentially through Iowa and now has a group home for boys and another one for girls and is now beginning down the road of vocational training.  The hope is that they can break the cycle of poverty that many of these kids find encircles them.  We wish Mark and his staff the best in continuing their good works.
Tomorrow Tom Downs will be serving as Rotarian of the Day as part of a switch with Melissa Horton.  Tom is planning a presentation on Polio Plus with Ed Arnold and Kyle Davy, VP of Ticket Sales for the Iowa Energy.  Mike Hartwig will take his place as Sergeant at Arms tomorrow.
Also, last Saturday about 10 members of the club participated in a session on strategic planning (visioning) for the club and Marti Kline may be sharing some thoughts about that meeting.  Otherwise, keep your Snuggies handy as the cold weather appears to be sticking around for a while.  It's a good thing natural gas prices are still near record low prices.  That should help our winter heating costs stay reasonable.  We'll see everyone tomorrow at 7:00.

Hello Rotarians,
In Rotary's version of "Old Home Week" four former presidents of East Polk Rotary took the stage and reminisced about our club's history, the past fundraisers, and the international focus on mission projects ranging from Medicine for Mali to supporting Blessman Ministries, and our future involvement with orphanages in India.  Our distinguished panel consisted of Eric Borseth, Marti Kline, Linda Harris and Norma Bettis and they were moderated by Corinne Lambert, president elect.  Eric told us how detached he was from Rotary in the early days of his membership and actually had a charter member swing by his office to pick him up to make sure he went to meetings.  That was a light moment.  He succinctly stated that a member's Rotary experience is largely driven by the engagement level of the individual Rotarian.  Overall, the program was a unique insight into Rotary membership by those members formers occupying the crow's nest.  
Tomorrow's Rotarian of the Day is Steve Hall who will be introducing Valerie Ashley a real estate agent with Keller Williams.  Valerie will be speaking in the first half of our hour together due to a prior commitment at 8:30.  She will need to leave by 7:30, after which we will conduct our normal club business.  Singing might be on the chopping block.  Not my call.  However, it would help if everyone were in their seats by 7:10.  The program will address an effort to end homelessness among veterans by 2020.  
Our Sergeant at Arms is Ryan Edsen and tomorrow is Food Pantry Day.  Items requested include cans of pumpkin, boxes of turkey dressing and instant potatoes.  
Remember to invite others to our club meetings.  Anyone who has a longing for community service is a potential member.  Rotary no longer has just a vocation-based membership.  So please bring a guest and we'll make him/her feel welcome!  Spouses are especially welcome.  Thanks for all you do.  We hope to see everyone in the AM.  


Greetings Rotarians!

On this second Wednesday of the Fall season, we gather to once again celebrate what we've learned, acknowledge our progress, and map out a course for the future.  Last Wednesday, we did the work of our committees and each committee chair reported on their committee's work.  It was decided that the Membership Committee will fold into the Community Service Committee since interest in serving on the Membership Committee was waning and there has been some membership attrition.  

One of the strongest initiatives from Community Service was that of the District 6000 Coat Drive.  Each member contributed $20 in the last meeting and openly challenged the other committees to step up and also contribute $20 individually to the coat drive.  The organizers at District 6000 wished that all funds be remunerated by October 3rd.  The goal is for each District 6000 Rotarian to give $16.11 which would result in meeting the 4,000 coats goal.  Also, coats would be distributed in a pro-rata fashion to each district.  

This week Mike Hamilton is the Sergent at Arms and Walt Mozdzer is the Rotarian of the Day.  Walt will be introducing Terri Henkels from the Healthy. Altoona Partnership.  Finally, tomorrow is Food Pantry Day and our item of need is Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.  Thanks for all you do!



Hello Rotarians!

Last week it seemed half our club members were on vacation.  In one of our smaller outings, our Rotarian of the Day, Paul Cornelius, hosted our speaker Jeff Esseck, owner/operator of Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping in Altoona.  Paul said he personally went through the program and brought Jeff in to tell his story.  It turns out that Jeff and his wife have also graduated from Farrell's and I recall that all of Farrell's franchise owners have done the same.  The idea is that they know what the participants are going through as they journey towards their fitness goals.  Jeff passed around a "Before" photo of himself when he weighed 240 pounds and was denied for life insurance.  He said that was a wake-up call and decided to change his life.  

Jeff spoke about the program which is six days a week for 45 minutes a day.  He said not only is it challenging for all fitness levels but the instructors hold you accountable for no-shows and even for guilty late-night runs to the drive-up window of your favorite fast food joint.  The normal cost for a 10 week program is $399, but Jeff was offering the program for just $299 to interested members.  

This week we are back to conducting the work of our various committees, along with President Kim Byers' "Four Way Test with Intrigue."  It appears that the golf challenge has run its course.  So join us tomorrow morning for the usual fun and folly.    



Hello Rotarians!

It's a great time to be a Rotarian as we hurtle towards Fall.  The temps are cooling off, giving us a chance to turn off the A/C and open the windows for a change of pace.  Before long we'll be raking the leaves and looking forward to harvest activities and the distinctly Iowa Beggars Night planning and participation.  Last time we met, Mary Rork-Watson served as our Rotarian of the Day.  She took the stage and told us that the end of September marks Banned Book Week.  Each table received a quiz that tested our knowledge on books that were controversial and therefore, perhaps, illuminated Mary's point that many books once banned or outlawed by schools and/or libraries are now widely read and accepted.

This week we feature Norma Bettis as the Sergeant at Arms and Paul Cornelius as Rotarian of the Day.  We'll see everyone tomorrow.



Hello Rotarians!

Last week Gary Palmer, a.k.a. Clay Willey, was our Rotarian of the Day and introduced us to Hector Morales, Director of Table Games at Prairie Meadows.  We learned that Hector was born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico and has been in the gambling business for a whopping 43 years.  Hector's work history spans the cruise industry out of the Bahamas and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.  

In 2006, Hector became disillusioned with the Las Vegas lifestyle and moved his family to Iowa to work at Prairie Meadows and is in the process of building a home in Altoona.  He heads a staff of 175, which includes dealers, assistant managers, managers and executive directors.  He spoke for several minutes about those who count cards and how card counters try to use their knowledge of black jack to improve their odds of winning.  Interestingly, there is nothing illegal about counting cards, but if done well, it can "stack the deck" -- no pun intended -- against the casino.  Those folks are politely encouraged to play the slots instead.  

This week our Sergeant at Arms is Carl Feilmann and the Rotarian of the Day is Adam Kline.  Also, last week we raised $105 in cash for the Caring Hands Food Pantry in addition to the tangible food donations.  There were some odds and ends from the prior week such as the club voted to support The Altoona Campus's Family Fun night for $100, Carol Von Tersch will remain on as the liaison for the Interact Club at SE Polk High School, the club Christmas Party will be December 5th from about 6 to 9, and new club shirts are forthcoming.

See everyone tomorrow!



Hello Rotarians!

As part of the announcements last week, Kim announced that the HyVee Rootbeer Float fundraiser at HyVee on August 16th raised $289.  Ned Looney made a motion that the club match that amount.  Mike Hamilton quickly seconded the motion and the club voted in the affirmative.  So, a total of $578 is headed in the direction of the Special Olympics.  Many thanks to the participants and Todd Ross for coordinating the event.

Last week Adam Kline, acting as Rotarian of the Day, introduced our speaker Rich Powers, the Superintendent of Bondurant/Farrar Schools.  We learned from Rich that the district is the second fastest growing in the state, behind Waukee.  One new initiative this year is that all new students get an Apple Macbook Pro laptop.  Not bad.  He also spoke about how education is evolving--less rote memorization and more skill building for critical thinking and problem solving.  Rich touched on both the short-term and long-term challenges of managing the school district.  Fortunately, some of the financial burden for capital improvements has fallen on the shoulders of local lottery winners Brian and Nancy Lohse, who have been quite generous with the district.

Coming up, in a week, we return to Food Pantry Day and the items requested are cereal and boxed macaroni.  Remember to bring those items to our September 3rd meeting.  Tomorrow features our business meeting with a new twist.  President Byers is jettisoning the golf challenge for a new mysterious activity.  However, you have to be present to win. . .er, participate.  Hopefully, we'll see everyone tomorrow.



Hello Rotarians,

Last time we met we heard from John Rasmussen, owner of the Altoona Bike Shop on 8th Street SW.  He spoke about his upbringing as the child of a bike store owner along with his brother.  In 1986 he and his brother bought out their dad for $30,000.  Today their combined store annual revenue is $2.5 million including the store his brother owns in West Des Moines.  

John spoke about the satisfying but exhausting long days he has spent fixing bikes on RAGBRAI and how one year he rode in the event without fixing a single bike.  Most of the bikes he offers for sale are in the $500 - $1,000 range and you generally get the feeling that there isn't much John hasn't seen in the bike world.  We are fortunate to have him as a resource in our town.  

Looking ahead to this week, Judy Johnson is our Sergeant at Arms and Mary Rork-Watson is the Rotarian of the Day.  We'll see everyone in the morning.   



Hello Rotarians,

I just uploaded the 2014 Root Beer Float Fundraiser Schedule to the ClubRunner home page.  You do not have to log in to view or download the file, so if you need to recall which shift you signed up for, it's all there if you can access the internet.  Also, we only have two people per shift, and Todd Ross requested a third person to help run interference for things like additional cups, root beer, or ice cream from the HyVee managers.  As in the past, this Saturday August 16th, just show up at the table set up just inside the door of the Altoona HyVee and the tasks will be self-evident.  The first shift begins at 11 and the last shift ends at 4.  If you'd like to volunteer to set up, tear down, or count and collect the money, please contact Todd.  

Last week Rotarian of the Day Clay Willey introduced Lance Riedl, who is an all-around hotel and banquet maestro for Prairie Meadows Hotel and Casino.  Lance told his fascinating story about working in large West Coast hotels and resorts, followed by a souring economy in 2008, and finally the events that brought him to the Des Moines metro area and Altoona.  He used humor in describing how one of his first thoughts upon arrival here was to develop a scheme to leave.  But the welcoming people of Iowa helped to change his mind and he's now put down roots.  His talk developed lots of questions from club members about hotel services and what guests look for in a hotel stay.  He was well received and many would welcome a return visit to learn more.

Tomorrow's Sergeant at Arms is Joe Nelson and the Rotarian of the Day is Linda Harris who will be introducing John Rasmussen of Rasmussen Bike Shop in Altoona.  Southeast Polk schools start up next week, so keep your eyes peeled and your speed down for the kiddos walking to bus stops and crossing the street.  We'll see everyone in the AM.  



Hello Rotarians,

It has been a busy couple of weeks, but we're back on track for tomorrow's meeting.  Last week we hosted Emily Knuth and Anna Fogerty, both students at Bondurant-Farrar High School.  They participated in this summer's RYLA camp.  RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadershop Awards and this summer's camp was held at Grinnell College from July 13-18th.  Emily and Anna both shared their experience, from applying and waiting to hear if they were accepted, to their first impressions upon arrival, to the song version of the four-way test.  Animated, poised, and charming, these young women embraced their experiences and seemed to grasp the underlying leadership purpose of the RYLA camp.  The search is now on for next year's candidates.

Although Steve Hall was not present last week, he sent in the totals for the "Feed the Hungry through Rotary" initiative where he and fellow East Polk Rotarian Scott Short helped package food for the underserved on July 16th.  Several food pantries around the area received proceeds and the Altoona Caring Hands Food Pantry received 19 boxes containing 216 meals per box, or a total of 4,104 meals.  Great job guys!

Tomorrow's Sergeant at Arms is Todd Ross while the Rotarian of the Day is Clay Willey.  He will be introducting Lance Riedl as his speaker.  Let's also not forget that tomorrow is Food Pantry Day and Larry O'Connor has requested egg noodles and peanut butter.

We'll see everyone tomorrow!



Hello Rotarians!

Fresh off the pool party at Pam Donahue's house last Wednesday, we are back at it this Wednesday at the usual stomping ground.  Although this member wasn't able to be at the picnic-a-la-Donahue, I'm confident that those in attendance enjoyed themselves and the respite from the normal Wednesday morning routine.  We all should THANK Pam for her hospitality last week.

This week Ned Looney is Rotarian of the Day, after switching with Tom Downs.  However, with the resignation of Trent Frohock as a member of the club, Tom has stepped up to serve as Sargent at Arms this week.

One follow up item from recent announcements involves the Hunger Free for Rotary event this Wednesday afternoon at the Outreach Warehouse, 7401 HWY 69 South, Des Moines.  Our contact for this meal packaging event is Steve Hall so if you'd like to volunteer, please reach out to Steve at

We hope to see everyone in the morning!



Hello Rotarians!

Last week we welcomed our new President Kim Byers who took control of the club on her first day and made several announcements.  On July 16th the event Huger Free for Rotary will take place at the Outreach, Inc. warehouse located at 7401 Highway 69 South, near the Southridge Mall.  There are two shifts--1:00 and 3:00.  Volunteers will be bagging prepackaged meals in a similar fashion to other meal-packaging efforts made popular by Meals from the Heartland.  The club gave $500 towards this effort.

Tom Downs was our Rotarian of the Day and introduced Chad Quick, the Altoona City Planner for the last 13 years.  He said Altoona now has a population of 16,500.  He spoke about the 300,000 square foot high end outlet mall going in by the Bass Pro Shop next year.  The movie theater project moved locations and now will be built near Culvers on Adventureland Drive.  There will also be a new Hampton Inn & Suites built west of the Holiday Inn Express and just west and south a new commercial building is being constructed for the Iowa Donor Network which is moving its administrative offices from Johnston.  It will be about 17,000 square feet.  None of this even includes Phase 2 of the Facebook project going on just north of the Bass Pro location on the other side of Interstate 80.  Chad said that building is designed to withstand a direct hit from an EF4 tornado.  Evidently there is a lot of steel and concrete involved.

Tomorrow this is no AM meeting and instead we are meeting for a picnic and pool party at Pam Donahue's house in Granger.  The address is 10652 NW 107th Street and it is the third house on the left.  The festivities begin at 6PM and will include fun at her pool, yard games and plenty of food.

We hope to see you there.



Hello Rotarians!

It's a brand new Rotarian year, and our longtime member Kim Byers has taken the helm as President of East Polk Rotary with the exchange of the gavel at last week's club banquet in the Prairie Rose Room at Prairie Meadows.  Thanks to Clay Willey and his team we all enjoyed tasty appetizers as well as a delicious dinner buffet.  We also want to acknowledge Corinne Lambert as our new President Elect, while Linda Harris remains as club treasurer and yours truly remains on as club secretary.  Tomorrow's meeting will feature Tom Downs as Rotarian of the Day.  He will be bringing in Chad Quick, City Planner for Altoona.  Our Sergeant at Arms is Darrell Hanson who volunteered when he noticed a gap in the new schedule.  Speaking of the new schedule, it can be downloaded right from the club's home page found here.  It is the first on the right under the heading DOWNLOADS.  You don't even have to log in to get it.  Please print a copy for yourself.  You are responsible for knowing when your name is up.

We'll see everyone in the AM.  Enjoy the short workweek.




Hello Rotarians,

Tomorrow is the last official meeting to be administered by outgoing President Steve Hall.  There is no AM meeting and instead everyone (who registered) will gather at the Prairie Rose Room inside Prairie Meadows.  The banquet will begin at 6:00 with drinks and hors d'oeuvres, followed by dinner and a short presentation by Steve and Kim Byers, the incoming President for the 2014-2015 Rotary year.  The evening will end upon the natural conclusion of the event's activities.

We hope to see you there!




Hello Rotarians!

Although not officially Summer yet, our community is truly in the throes of summer.  The community pools are open, school is out and everyone is looking forward to fireworks and the 4th of July.  Last week was food pantry day and we raised $70 in cash in addition to the many bars of soap that members brought in.  Also there was an announcement that Saturday August 16th is Root Beer Float Day at HyVee in Altoona, an effort to raise money for Special Olympics.  Be thinking about your level of involvement  again this year.

Carl Feilmann was our Rotarian of the Day and he introduced our own Steve Mather to present an update on concussions.  There's been a great deal of press on the subject since several high profile NFL football players have committed suicide in recent years and others like former Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre have admitted to struggling with memory issues.  Steve pointed out that coaches, staff and players at all levels are key to this conversation around traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions.

An estimated 3.8 million sports-related brain injuries occur in the U.S. at all age levels each year.  Up to 23% of veterans have reported concussion-like experiences.  So the problem is widespread and is now getting the attention it deserves but as some in the room pointed out, properly fitting sports equipment like helmets on high school athletes is still a compromise.  Finally, Steve pointed out that current treatment options are symptom-based, not on how much time has elapsed since the injury occurred.

Tomorrow features Steve Pettit as Sargent at Arms and Marti Kline offering us a few laughs as Rotarian of the Day.  If you saw Marti's email, please come prepared to share a funny, embarrassing moment or story that will give us something to chuckle over.

We'll see everyone in the AM!




Hello Rotarians!

Last week we conducted our important monthly business meeting and at the top of the meeting we voted to approve our board's recommendation to give $500 towards area Rotary clubs' effort to package 100,000 meals during the upcoming event here in the Metro.  In addition, Steve Hall reminded club members of Naomi Tutu's upcoming speaking event at Drake on June 20th in the morning.  Those interested should check with Steve on how to gain admission.

Then we went down the line and visited with each committee head on progress in their respective committees.  Here's what we heard:

Club Service - The Club Banquet will take place at Prairie Meadows on June 25th at 6:00 where the gavel will change hands from Steve Hall to Kim Byers.  In addition, Corinne Lambert will slide into the President-Elect seat.  July 9th will feature our club picnic at Pam Donohue's house (details to follow) and there will be no club meeting on either day.

Community Service - Norma has been working with the Enabling Gardens to see if we can get a permanent reminder of our yet-to-be-given cash gift, but we seem to have become stuck on the particulars.  They don't want to give us a permanent sign, so we are reluctant to give them any money.

International Service - Adam reported that the committee chair Casey Hansen is rumored to be leaving town for a new job in Eastern Iowa.  So they will probably need a new chairperson to take the reigns.

Vocational Service - Mike Hamilton reported that Phil Cronin, Director of the Iowa Tech Expo, will be able to make his pitch to manufacturing employers at the annual Association of Business and Industry Statewide Conference in Cedar Rapids next week.  He'll be sharing the value of sponsorships at the Iowa Tech Expo at the Elevate Iowa booth, which is pushing to elevate advanced manufacturing careers in the state.

Youth & Family - About 20 volunteers are still needed for the carnival part of the Kids Cafe, a local grassroots effort to feed the kids in the community while school is out for the summer.  The event takes place in early July.  See Eric Borseth for more information.  

Membership - Trent continues to explore a spinoff of the club to meet at a different time, such as Thursday or Friday at noon in a different place like the Altoona HyVee Club Room.  We will also pursue a connection with the Healthy Altoona Partnership, a community-based effort to promote wellness among our citizens.  It could be an avenue to raise club awareness in the community while also helping others.  New members could also follow.

Corinne Lambert spoke up about efforts to conduct some strategic planning for the club and threw out a few dates, but many had conflicts so she was going to pursue a date in September that might be more available.  Finally, Larry O'Connor needs bar soap for our Food Pantry item tomorrow.  Thanks for all you do.

See everyone in the AM!



Hello Rotarians!

Before we got started with our speaker last week, we got a report on the Iowa Tech Expo which was held the previous Friday at Southeast Polk High School.  This annual event supported by our club was another success.  Skillfully guided by Phil Cronin, the event led to $2,500 awarded in college scholarships to deserving students.  We look forward to next year's Tech Expo.

Then our own Trent Frohock took the stage as both the Rotarian of the Day and the morning's program.  The story behind the scenes is that Steve Hall, upon learning that an outside speaker was not available, encouraged Trent to tell his own story since he was "an interesting guy."  He did not disappoint.  Trent told a string of personal stories tied to his work, family and his experience as a pilot.  Everyone was amused.  Boredom was never a concern as Trent entertained the club members quite vividly for 7:30 AM.  Next we'll be looking for a PowerPoint to illustrate some of his points.

In other news, Ryan Edsen is not able to serve as tomorrow's Sargent of Arms so we are looking for a last minute substitute.  If you would like to step in for Ryan, please bring your trivia tomorrow morning.  Also, there will be no music tomorrow or May 28th as Marti will not be in attendance.  Mike Hamilton may have to sing solo, or perhaps we all sing acapela.  Tomorrow's Rotarian of the Day is Norma Bettis and her speaker will be Sherrie Colbert from the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge.

Stay safe out there and we'll see you in the AM!





Hello Rotarians!

Last week it was Rotary Information Day as we held our fifth meeting of April.  Todd Wheeler of the Des Moines Noon Rotary club provided a presentation on Feed the Hungry Day. Similar to Meals from the Heartland it is a collaborative effort of the Des Moines area Rotarians who will be packaging 100,000 meals in 2 – two hour shifts on Wednesday, July 16.  At least 380 volunteers are needed….cash donations are welcome….and Steve Hall  will be attending the monthly meetings between now and then and will be asking for East Polk’s full support of the event.

Remember that this Friday we support the Iowa Tech Expo at Southeast Polk High School.  The day begins at 8:30 AM with coffee and donuts (continental breakfast), a 9:00 instructional meeting and at 10:00 judging begins, concluding at about noon.  Parking is provided in the east parking lot and thank  you to those who have volunteered to serve as judges this year.

Tomorrow Darrell Hanson is our Rotarian of the Day and has asked Mike Hartwig to provide the program.  You may recall that Mike is a former East Polk Rotarian who has expressed interest in rejoining our club, so please make him feel welcome.  Carl Feilmann is serving as Sargent at Arms.  In addition, Jennifer Chittenden, Executive Director of the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce will be announcing a collaborative Rotary event on June 20th featuring Naomi Tutu.

Tomorrow is Food Pantry Day and Larry O'Connor has asked for canned potatoes.  We'll see everyone in the morning!



Hello Rotarians!

At last week's meeting, we had effectively two presentations to enjoy.  The first was a guest of Joe Nelson, East Polk Rotary member and principal of Mitchellville Elementary School.  He introduced Emily Lauters, a 5th grader who has been selected to attend the Junior National Young Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  Emily walked us through a PowerPoint presentation on the conference itself and how it shapes our nation's future leaders.  In passing she mentioned she'd like to attend Harvard or Yale for her post-high school education.  Many in the crowd noted her lofty and admirable goals.  Emily was speaking primarily to raise awareness of her educational trajectory as well as to raise $2,000 for her trip.  The club has yet to vote on whether to extend financial support. 

The second speaker, introducted by Larry Wilson, Rotarian of the Day, was Jeannie Conkling, the Director of Dress for Success Des Moines.  She is also the spouse of Skip Conkling, mayor of Altoona.  Jeannie was there to talk about her involvement with Dress for Success (DFS), a non-profit organization which was started in 1997 and now has 130 affiliates in 13 countries.  The Des Moines office is a 1/2 block from the former Younkers building.  Access is now impaired because of the fire to that building and the related fallout.  However, that has not stopped operations from continuing.  In fact, Jeannie told us that there are three primary ways that Dress for Success has an impact:  1.  suiting, 2.  classes, and 3.  partner agencies. 

The primary mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to seek improved employment by way of appropriate professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools that will help drive their economic independence.  The women come to DFS by way of other agencies, such as Hope Ministries, Children and Families of Iowa, etc.  Since 2011, the Des Moines chapter of DFS has suited over 450 women who are mothers to over 500 kids.  Jeannie mentioned that more men are needed to volunteer to help women with their interviewing skills training. 

Tomorrow is our monthly business meeting and golf challenge.  We will also be passing the hat for donations to support FFA member Nettie Payne's outreach program to feed the hungry in the SEP School District.  You may remember her from a few weeks ago presenting her project called Kids Care, centered around a package of six servings of macaroni and cheese.  She was seeking to raise $5,000 which was enough to serve 25,000 meals.  She is currently at the $2,000 mark.

We'll see everyone in the morning!



Hello Rotarians!

I must begin this week's journal entry by admitting that I'm not entirely familiar with the correct spelling of several of our speaker guests last week.  So I'm going to give it my best effort while I seek advance forgiveness for any erroneous entries.  Here we go.  Southeast Polk Ag teacher Matt Eddy and several of his FFA students were in our presence last Wednesday and informed us with a three-pronged presentation. 

First, Nettie Payne spoke and she discussed how she recognized in the SEP District what the political pundits call "food insecurity" which is nothing but a sugar-coated term for "hunger".  Nettie noodled on this gap in our community's supply of food with those in need.  She came up with Kids Care, which is a program that raises money towards acquiring macaroni and cheese six-packs.  Each packet has a shelf life of three years and offers six servings.  Her goal is to raise $5,000 which will purchase 25,000 meals and she is 40% of the way there with $2,000 raised.  Ultimately the mac and cheese will head over to the food pantry and be distributed to locals who don't have enough to eat. 

Next Sammie Craig stood before us and recited from memory the FFA creed.  She was appropriately theatrical in her delivery and didn't skip a beat for a rather lengthy recital.  Nice job Sammie.  Finally, three other students presented a PowerPoint about events and activities that they were involved with during their time as FFA students/members.  We didn't capture all the particulars in this forum, but it clearly spelled out a fair amount of commitment by these students in both giving to FFA as well as putting together their presentations. 

Keep in mind that Friday May 9th is the Iowa Industrial Tech Expo and if you haven't signed up as a judge, and would like to volunteer, contact Mike Hamilton or Phil Cronin at

Tomorrow Tom Downs is the Sargent at Arms and Ryan Swalwell is the Rotarian of the Day.  I will be heading to Baltimore for a few days so Norma has agreed to serve in my absence at tomorrow's meeting.  Please be nice to Norma or she won't mark you present.  Thanks!




Hello Rotarians,

Last time we met, it was committee meeting day so there was no formal speaker.  However, we anchored our meeting on the presence of Phil Cronin, who is a long-time friend of the club and the driving force behind the Iowa Tech Expo at Southeast Polk High School each and every year.  Phil implicitly spoke to the importance of extending the event for another generation and he answered questions around the types of exhibits on hand, the high mileage contest, and that fact that volunteer judges will get fed and watered not once, but twice during the event.  Both breakfast and lunch are included.  Not bad.  It seemed to generate a bit of interest.

On a related note, a few of the club members are working with The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) to secure a no-cost or low-cost booth space at their annual statewide conference in Cedar Rapids in June.  We feel it's important to the continuation and expansion of the expo to get visibility with Iowa manufacturers, many of whom are in attendance.  In addition, Mike Rowe (former host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, and current Ford Motor spokesman) will be the headline speaker this year, and he is expected to showcase Iowa advanced manufacturing as an example of what's right with the world.  Rowe has been a strong proponent of manufacturing and middle-skill jobs and there's plenty of evidence that the so-called skills gap in our state is real and persistent.  We believe the Tech Expo can be a bridge between students and future employment opportunities with Iowa-based employers.

In other news, Mary Rork-Watson has agreed to rejoin the club, after a brief absence, so that is cause for celebration.  Please welcome Mary back.  Tomorrow's program will be presented by Southeast Polk ag teacher Matt Eddy and a collection of his students.  The Sargent at Arms is Daron Lewis. 

Finally, tomorrow is Food Pantry Day, so remember to bring l10-1/2 oz. cans of Cream of Mushroom soup and Cream of Chicken soup.  I thought about an April Fools joke here, but decided against it.  Humor can be a tricky subject.  Thanks for all you do, and we'll see you at 7:00 AM!




Hello Rotarians,

Well, Spring is finally here, but with snow flurries in the air yesterday and even some this morning (near Lutheran Hospital) the prospect of warm and sunny days still seems a little dubious to me.  Fortunately we conduct our meetings inside and last week we heard from Jason Truman, the general manager of Altoona's Bass Pro Shop.  Jason initially spoke about Bass Pro's history and how its founder Johnny Morris started the company.  Today Bass Pro Shops have 770 stores nationwide and plan to add 50% more in the next three years. 

Each store is unique and reflects the local outdoor scene, whether its emphasis is on hunting, fishing, etc.  The store sizes range from 20,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet (which, by the way, is three times the size of the average Super Walmart).  The Altoona store's footprint is 145,000 square feet and employs 250 associates, swelling to over 300 during the holidays.  Jason spoke about the challenges in building right before the Great Recession and how virtually all of the land south of the store is still undeveloped.  However, he believes that it will change in the near future, and that the traffic flow to the Altoona store will increase with customers visiting other retailers. 

Tomorrow is our monthly business meeting and golf challenge.  We are still one week away from Food Pantry Day, but if you're out shopping this week, the desired items are canned cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups.  Regular sized cans work best, not the 'family size.'  Thanks.

We'll see everyone in the morning!



Good Morning Rotarians,

At our last gathering, Adam Kline, serving as Rotarian of the Day, introduced Corbin Van White who is the manager of the new Bondurant grocery store (Brick Street Market and Cafe).  Corbin shared his history in retail, government and economic development.  He told our group how he knew Brian and Mary Lohse prior to their winning the Power Ball jackpot a couple years ago.  The Lohse's agreed with Corbin that the one thing Bondurant really needed was a grocery store.  So a plan was hatched to build one for the community. 

Corbin said that the new store will be just off the main highway and will include a bakery and a separate high quality meat counter.  They are finalizing some licensing agreements and fixing a problem with the store cash registers.  Still they expect to open within a few weeks.  The issue of price competitiveness came up and Corbin said they will be buying from a co-op that supplies goods to 2,000 independent stores nationwide.  Buying power will not be a problem. 

Someone asked when they expect to be profitable and Corbin said that it's in their plan to be profitable within three to five years.  It would certainly seem that operating capital would not be a problem with the local lottery winners backing up the enterprise.  We appreciate the opportunity to hear from Corbin and the latest economic development in Bondurant. 

Thanks to Clay Willey for bringing PolioPlus quarters last week.  Tomorrow's Sgt. at Arms is Judy Johnson and our Rotarian of the Day is Mike Hamilton.  We'll see everyone in the AM. 



Last week Eric Borseth was the Rotarian of the Day and the speaker.  Fresh off his trip to the Blessman Ministries camp he shared photos and stories of the good work being done by Rotarians and Central Iowans in South Africa.  There were 21 in the team that traveled to the Dark Continent and of particular interest was the shoe project spearheaded by former District Governor Terry Geiger.  Dozens of new shoes were passed out to barefooted kids and were only place on their feet after a ceremonial foot-washing took place. 

Eric also shared pictures of a solar-powered well (bore hole) that was funded by HyVee.  It turns out that HyVee is heavily into water projects in Africa.   

Tomorrow's Sgt. at Arms is Corrine Lambert and Bruce Mason will be the Rotarian of the Day.  We'll see everyone in the morning. 



Hello Rotarians,

Once again we find ourselves on the cusp of a weekly meeting, and although the bulletins have been a bit spotty of late, there has been lots of activity just behind the curtain.  Last Friday the club held its annual Bowling Bash at Premiere Bowling in Pleasant Hill.  There were bowlers aplenty and, while not every team featured the next Earl Anthony, there was one member of Mather's Maulers that certainly would qualify.  I personally witnessed a score sheet with a game of 280.  The word "impressive" does not adequately capture THAT feat. 

Thank you to Norma who took attendance and filled in for me last week during our committee meetings.  Here are Norma's abbreviated notes:

Youth & Family - still looking for a student for RYLA this summer

Club Service - picnic this summer at Pam's house in July; they also want more emphasis on the programs on the 5th Wednesdays

International Service - donating a basket to the Bowling Bash; open to suggestions to replace the Fall Fundraiser

Vocational Service - update on Bowling Bash:  14 baskets and 16 teams

Community Service - Motion by Norma to donate $35 to the Friends of the Mitchellville Library.  Seconded by Eric.  Motion carried.  They are also still investigating a donation request from the Enabling Gardens Committee.  We received some ideas from them and are going back to them with some ideas of our own.  They will report back when they have more information. 

Tomorrow's Rotarian of the Day is Eric Borseth and the Sgt. at Arms is Darrell Hanson.  Also, tomorrow is Caring Hands Food Pantry Day and the requested item is applesauce.  Larry didn't specify the types of containers, but I think he wants the small snack pack size cups.  Please pick some up on your way home tonight or plan for a cash donation in the morning. 

Finally, I acquired a new projector for the club last week and will be bringing it to replace the 30-year old boat anchor we've been using to this point.  If you happen to need a projector for your business or house of worship, I highly recommend as they employ people who know what they're doing and can answer all your questions on projectors.  Good prices too. 

We'll see everyone in the morning!



Hello Rotarians!

Last time we met Mike O'Connor spoke to the few hearty souls that came out on a bitterly cold Wednesday morning.  It turns out he was the District Director of the Boy Scouts for the local region.  So, if a Boy Scout leader couldn't make it to Rotary due to the weather, a cancellation might have been in order.  Fortunately, he DID make it and he shared his insights of the organization in terms of its structure.  As some of you may know, our own Trent Frohock has asked the club to be a charter organization for a new scout troop based in Altoona.  Mike was there to help everyone understand what that means. 

Mike told us that a charter organization--which often is a church--is responsible for providing meeting facilities, adequate leadership, and appointing a representative to coordinate all scouting unit operations.  He left some material behind which showed that dozens of Rotary chapters have become and serve as charter organizations.  There were questions about club liability and Mike said that, yes there is always ongoing litigation within the national organization of Boy Scouts, but that an entire floor at national headquarters is filled with attorneys to fend off lawsuits and defend their charter organziations.  Put another way, litigation is inescapable, but the mothership organization does all it can to protect the innocent. 

In Mike's district known as the Hawkeye District, there are 20-25,000 boys in scouting in 24 counties in Iowa, and along with that there are 5,000 volunteers serving those scouts.  The board will take up the decision whether to offer our club as a charter organziation at a future date.

In other news, $53 was donated for the Caring Hands Food Pantry along with a supply of chili beans, so thank you to those who participated.  Tomorrow's program is offered up by Mary Rork-Watson who will bring in John Shaw from the City of Altoona.  He will share what he knows about the Envision Altoona project.  Ned Looney is our Sgt. at Arms.

We'll see you all in the AM.




Good Evening Rotarians,

On the last Wednesday of the month of January, Mike Hamilton presented us with speaker Joe Solem(sic) of the American Red Cross.  Joe spoke about his work as a government liaison in the Des Moines chapter.  His work focuses on coordinating the Red Cross response to disasters with the official government response.  We learned there are 80 counties in the Iowa region of the Red Cross. 

Mostly he responds to fires but disasters also include floods in Iowa as well.  Some fast facts that he shared:  last year the Iowa region of the Red Cross responded to over 440 disasters, trained over 15,000 people in disaster preparedness, and mobilized over 1,500 volunteers.  He also mentioned that they are currently taking nominations for their Heroes of the Heartland award.  We have an upload on our website for those with a name in mind.

Tomorrow Clay Willey serves as Sgt. at Arms and Steve Pettit is the Rotarian of the Day.  Tomorrow is also Food Pantry Day and Larry O'Connor has requested that our club supply chili beans.  If you forget, Bruce Mason will pass the collection basket for cash donations. 

Finally, if you haven't signed up to be a lane sponsor, volunteered to bring a gift basket or registered a team, you still have opportunties to do so.  As of last week, we only had two teams registered.  On a personal note, if anyone wants to split a Kitchen Collage basket (retail value ~$200), see me.  Most items were purchased on deep discount, so your 1/2 would be in the neighborhood of $60.  Or three club members could ante up around $40 apiece. 

Don't let a little snow stop you.  See everyone at 7:00 AM sharp!



Good Morning Rotarians,

The meeting of January 22nd, the fourth Wednesday of the month, we held our committee meetings to discuss the work of Rotary.  Here's a quick summary:

Vocational Committee

The Iowa Tech Expo, which will be held in the Spring, will offer three levels of corporate sponsorship through our affilication with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).  The levels are $500, $1,500, and $2,500, with increasing exposure to the attendees with each level.

International Service Committee

The International Service Committee will offer a gift basket for the upcoming Bowling Bash.  There was some discussion as to whether it will include monkey lights or not.

Community Service Committee

They are examining whether to commit a certain dollar amount towards the Altoona Enabling Garden in exchange for recognition on a plaque.  They will have a recommendation for the board.

Youth & Family Service Committee

Joe Nelson called and wanted everyone in the club to know how much the family we supported for Christmas appreciated the generosity. 

Club Service Committee

There will be a picnic planned again for this summer.  They are also working on things to make the meetings more interactive and fun.

Membership Committee

We emphasized that our goal is to be +1 member for this year and we are still down one member.  So we talked about ways to leverage our membership with the Altoona Chamber of Commerce. 

This week is Food Pantry Week and the item Larry requested this week is canned chili beans.  Also, Saturday February 8th is the Iowa Energy game spotlighting PolioPlus efforts.  Please coordinate your two (2) ticket commitment through Tom Downs if you haven't already done so. 

Finally, the Bowling Bash is coming up fast--February 28th.  Flyers are available for download on the club website and we still need lane sponsorships and teams to sign up.  This year we'll have three games available along with the food and drink tickets as before.  Also, keep working on your basket ideas.  Deadlines for lane sponsor money is February 19th and for baskets February 26th.  Walk-in baskets are always welcome however. 

Keep warm out there.  Hopefully no one is using propane to heat their house.  Prices have nearly tripled.  Keep that in mind when the less fortunate in our community get their heating bills soon.  We'll see everyone in the AM.




Greetings Rotarians!

Last time you received a weekly bulletin, it was waaaaayyyyyyy back in 2013.  Yes, even Christmas is now a distant memory and we're rapidly closing in on the halfway point of January.  I learned today it was National Soup Month so that says a lot about our current cravings for comfort food and the phenomenon known as cacooning--a term coined about 12 years ago when Americans were spending a lot of time at home following the terror attacks.  Of course, when it's -5 outside, the desire to stay indoors might actually be stronger. 

We want to acknowledge Casey Hansen as our last Rotarian of the Day on December 18th.  He brought us speaker Rick Ramsey of the Iowa Donor Network.  Rick is a licensed funeral director and spoke about his work performing organ recoveries and tissue recoveries.  His enterprise has two locations:  Johnston and North Liberty.  He said the Iowa Donor Network covers all 99 counties and currently does not operate outside the State of Iowa.  He also mentioned that 74% of licensed drivers are registered organ donors.  A good share of the presentation involved answering questions about the Iowa Donor Network.

For tomorrow's meeting, expect a sign up sheet to continue circulating for the Bowling Bash gift baskets.  We are about seven weeks from hosting that event.

The Sgt at Arms is slated to be Kirk Duer and the Rotarian of the Day is Joe Nelson.  We'll see everyone in the AM.



Hello Rotarians,

Last week we hosted Ed Arnold, Chair of PolioPlus for District 6000, who was the guest of Tom Downs.  Ed spoke about the ongoing challenges for polio eradication around the world as new cases have sprung up across Syria, Somolia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Countries that were polio-free for the last couple years are suddenly beset with new cases, we think because the virus has been found in water sources.  Ed also told us that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $350,000,000--a 2:1 match for what Rotary International is pledging over five years--$175,000,000. 

This year (2014) is the sixth year that the Iowa Energy has teamed up with Rotary clubs in the area to offer discounted tickets at $16, of which they willl give back $8 to Rotary for polio eradication.  Normal ticket prices are $20.  They also have relationships with numerous area organizations for disadvantaged youth and offered that if Rotarians can't use their tickets, they can donate them back to the Iowa Energy and know that they will get used by a deserving child.  In addition, the Iowa Energy is offering $2 beer for the February 8th game and the halftime show is Chicago Boyz, an acrobatic act. 

The club passed a motion to commit to at least 100 tickets and a sign-up sheet was circulated for requested ticket amounts.  Tom Downs is once again our representative for this fundraising effort.

This may be the final week for bringing a pair of child-sized mittens, so if you still desire to contribute please bring them to tomorrow's meeting.  Also, we heard from Bruce Mason that our $500 club commitment to a deserving family in Mitchellville will be well appreciated according to Joe Nelson, principal at the Mitchellville Elementary School. 

Finally, tomorrow our Sgt. at Arms is Larry Wilson and our Rotarian of the Day is former member [Layne Brown].  Obviously this will be a substitute person. 

Light snow is expected in the morning, so be careful out there.

See everyone in the AM!





Hello Rotarians,

Last week club members were engaged in the important work of committee meetings.  Our two guests, Leisa Fox of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and Phil Cronin, the Vo-Tech instructor at SE Polk High School were there to help facilitate the work of the Vocational Service committee.  After the golf challenge, members met and then presented some updates.  Here is a quick summary:

Community Service:  The club will adopt a family for the holidays and the club will raise/contribute up to $500 to ensure that the family has a Merry Christmas.  The committee/club will work through Joe Nelson to find a family in Mitchellville. 

Youth and Family:  The Interact Club will be raising money to purchase Sherrif Woody dolls which will be transported to the Blessman Ministries campus in South Africa for the boys.  It was observed on Eric's prior visit that the girls had toys but the boys had nothing. 

Vocational Service:  The Bowling Bash is the next major event and it will be held on February 28, 2014.  Today is the Dollars for Scholars Soup and Sandwich Supper at SE Polk High School.  This is a joint effort among our club, Altoona Lions, and Altoona Kiwanis and several club members have signed up to volunteer in some capacity. 

International Service:  We recently sent $22,000 to overseas projects as a result of our last two fundraising efforts.  Eric Borseth is taking four former district governors on his trip back to South Africa in January.  Someone recommended that the club help underwrite the cost of his trip to the tune of $2,500 but it was unclear if that was approved.  It is probably something the Board will take up at its next meeting.

Club Service:  Our club Christmas Party is to be held this Friday December 6th at Sommerset Winery. 

Membership:  The ongoing challenging work of attracting new members is backlit by the District's and RI's current year goal of adding just one new member.  We are currently -1, so everyone needs to be on the lookout for new prospective members and invite guests when appropriate. 

Eric Borseth is tomorrow's Sgt at Arms and Walt Mozdzer is the Rotarian of the Day.  Tomorrow's speaker will be Ed Arnold, Rotary District 6000 Polio+ Committe Chair.   

Please remember to purchase a new pair of mittens and bring to tomorrow's club meeting.

We'll see everyone in the morning!



Hello Rotarians!

Last week featured our own Brad Miller as Rotarian of the Day.  Brad spoke about his travels to Kenya and India, working with planted Lutheran churches in those countries as well as an orphanage.  Many of us were fascinated to learn that Brad carries an extensive Boy Scout knapsack with him on these adventure trips.  As expected, Brad delivered a message which pivots across the Rotary four-way test and is a tangible example of how he lives his life as a pastor and a Rotarian.  Thanks for your enlightening talk, Brad.

Prior to Brad's talk, he took the time to welcome our newest member Daron Lewis to the club and presented him with the Rotary pin and other "Welcome Aboard" items.  Daron took a few minutes to share a bit about himself and his newly opened chiropractic clinic in Altoona. 

This week is our Golf Challenge and Business Meeting, so come prepared to discuss topics of interest to your committee. 

Keep in mind that December 6th is our club Christmas Party and Mike Hamilton will be bringing a sign-up sheet for help needed with the Dollars for Scholars Soup and Sandwich Supper on Tuesday December 3rd at SE Polk High School from 4-7:30.  Prairie Meadows is providing the potato soup, but volunteers are needed to serve.   

We'll see everyone tomorrow!



Hello Rotarians,

Last week our club's Rotarian of the Day was Clay Willey (filling in for Gary Palmer).  Clay invited Prairie Meadows Director of Security Clint Pursley to give us an insider's view of what it takes to keep the patrons and staff at Prairie Meadows safe during hours of operation.  (Writer's NoteSince I had to leave a bit early, I was not able to hear Clint's talk)

This week Bruce Mason will serve as Sgt at Arms and Brad Miller will serve as our Rotarian of the Day.  Brad will be serving as his own speaker, and will bring us up to date on his 2013 world travels--photos included. 

Looking ahead to our next Food Pantry Day, Larry O'Connor has requested that we each purchase a set of mittens for children in lieu of food.  The Clothes Hanger (next to the food pantry) is doing a toy giveaway on December 14th.  They are also giving away hats, scarves and mittens.  They have plenty of scarves and hats, but not enough mittens.  So, please consider purchasing a new set of mittens for a boy or girl and bringing them to the meeting on December 4th.  Larry did not specify ages.

We'll see everyone in the morning. 



Last week East Polk Rotary hosted Eric Albrecht, the Vocational Director of The Homestead and its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  The Homestead was opened in 1994 and offers employment and housing to 24 autistic adults.  The adults, supervised by Homestead staffers, perform functions related to the horticulture of dozens of fruits and vegetables on a four-acre parcel.  Eric said the Homestead has 177 acres in total and rents some out for traditional farming.  The Homestead sells a CSA "share" to local residents during the growing season and will also offer a double share.  Then, once a week, the share owners can pick up their produce either from The Homestead or one of the drop off locations around the metro. 

All of the produce is grown using chemical-free methods and is all picked as close to the delivery/pick up date as possible.  They even grown greens year-round in their greenhouse and sell it through Campbells and Gateway Market.  The service to autistic individuals spans a three-pronged approach.  Some is campus-based, some is community-based and some is clinic-based.  All together, The Homestead serves over 250 autistic adults and youth.  Thanks to Eric for an informative and educational presentation.

Tomorrow, Norma Bettis is our Sgt. at Arms and Gary Palmer is the Rotarian of the Day.  We'll see everyone the AM!



Last week our club brought back Gary Welch from the Ankeny club to speak about RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.  Gary has been the local face of RYLA for several years now, and it's safe to say that nobody has a passion for these students like Gary does.  He brought slides with him that served to illuminate the transformation that the attendees experience during that week.  We've all witnessed first-hand stories that the youth share about their personal growth and development as individuals, but which took place during the team exercises.

Next year RYLA will be held at Grinnell College in Grinnell Iowa and it promises to be even more impactful, with better facilities and more centrally-located to the entire state.  We owe Gary Welch a huge THANK YOU for his tireless work in this fascinating and meaningful facet of Rotary.

This week's Rotarian of the Day is Kirk Duer, but Kirk is unable to join us, so we've found a speaker in Eric Armbrecht, who is the Vocational Director at The Homestead, just across from Southeast Polk High School.  The Sgt. at Arms is Kim Byers. 

East Polk Rotary would also like to welcome Daron Lewis as our latest member.  If you haven't introduced yourself yet, please take a moment and welcome Daron to the club.

Lastly, this week's Caring Hands Food Pantry item is canned pears.  Please bring a healthy supply or be prepared to offer cash in lieu of the pantry item. 

We'll see everyone at 7:00 AM!



Last week we held committee meetings and our monthly golf challenge.  Here are some of the updates:

Youth and Family:  Eric contacted Carol Von Tersch at Southeast Polk about potential students for RYLA next summer but has not heard back yet.  Eric also said that Joe Nelson is working to find a family in Mitchellville for our club to sponsor for Christmas. 

International:  Adam reported a successful Africa Night event despite reduced ticket sales and revenues compared to the last couple of years.  It was moved and approved that the club will pay $22,500 to Blessman Ministries to support their work with orphanages and self-sustenance.  This money was from club fundraising efforts for the last two years.

Club Service:  Marti reported that the Christmas party is slated for Somerset Winery on December 6th.  No other activity reported.

Membership:  No committee members were present.

Vocational:  Mike Hamilton is working on a state grant towards the Tech Expo.  Leisa Fox from ABI will be meeting with school board members.  Ryan Swalwell is now the chairman of the Vocational Committee.

Tomorrow Gary Welch returns to speak about RYLA and Eric is the Sgt. at Arms.  See everyone in the AM!




Hello Rotarians,

Last week was a very busy week for club members.  On Wednesday, we hosted an active meeting with world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes in attendance as a guest.  Simon spoke about his new CD and his upcoming concert at Hilton Colliseum in Ames on December 15th.  The goal is to raise money to buy mosquito nets for African children who often succumb to malaria without a simple $5 net for sleeping.  The goal is to raise $4,500,000 and his efforts have also caught the attention of the United Nations who have expressed interest in his outreach efforts.  Today, his CD is being sent to high schools around the state that have offered to contribute and multiply his efforts in distributing the CD.

The program last week was prepared and delivered by members of the Southeast Polk School Board, led by School Superintendent Craig Menozzi.  He and his team spoke about the new mission statement and vision for the school district.  There are seven (7) new core values and a new set of priorities.  We learned that the school district budget is in the black for the first time in several years.  Given our club's strong ties to Southeast Polk, it was meaningful to learn of the new direction.

Then, on Thursday October 10th, East Polk Rotary hosted our Third Annual Rotary Night for Africa at the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine in Altoona.  The event featured a number of silent auction items, live auction items, delicious food from a local caterer, beer and wine samples and speeches from Simon Estes and Dr. Jim Blessman from Blessman Ministries.  It even included several "paddle calls" which allowed attendees a chance to contribute to causes like the local food pantry and Simon's mosquito net program.  Final financial results aren't in yet, but they will be shared with the club when calculated.

An enormous amount of effort went into the evening and we must send out a huge "Thank You" to Adam Kline and the International Service Committee for organizing and executing the fundraising event.  It was an All Hands on Deck enterprise, and the leadership exhibited by the ISC did not go unnoticed.

Tomorrow, we feature Trent Frohock as Sgt. at Arms and (no rest for the weary) Adam Kline as Rotarian of the Day.  By the way, for those of you wondering when your turn is up for either role, you can now view the schedule for the rest of the year on the clubrunner website.  We'll see everyone tomorrow! 



Last week East Polk Rotary featured Mike "soft pitch" Hamilton as Sgt. at Arms who asked members to answer his questions with relative ease.  It seemed everyone rather enjoyed a round of correct guesses for a change as the traditional "I'm gonna stump you before 8:00" approach took a one-week leave of absence.  In fact some members were observed answering in the affirmative while not even bothering to look up from their breakfast plates.

Paul Cornelius was the Rotarian of the Day and introduced Leisa Fox from the Association of Business and Industry.  She gave an inspired and impassioned talk about the skills gap that plagues ABI's members--many manufacturers around the state.  Leisa spoke about how many companies battle the now-incorrect assumption among the public that manufacturing jobs are scarce, or undesirable or offer low pay and weak benefits.  The reality, we learned, is that most of these "middle skill" jobs pay $60,000 to $80,000 with little more than an 18-month certificate in welding or other field from a community college.  Leisa also spotlighted a new website and state-wide initiative known as Elevate Iowa ( that intends to raise awareness of manufacturing opportunities within the state. 

However, the most exiting news for the club is that she is a tremendous connector between ABI, their member companies, East Polk and the Iowa Tech Expo held each Spring at SE Polk High School.  At the end of her talk Mike Hamilton suggested a couple of ways that ABI could get in front of school administrators to spread the message of work opportunities and further strengthen the state's labor force for the future.  We deeply appreciate her willingness to speak to our club.

We'll see everyone tomorrow morning.



Last week we held committee meetings and worked on goals related to each committee.  Our big event right around the corner is the Rotary Night for Africa fundraiser to be held on October 10th from 6-9 PM at the Za Ga Zig shrine in Altoona.  Everyone is encouraged to sell tickets, find sponsors, solicit auction items for the live and silent auctions, and most importantly, ATTEND.  Encourage a friend to come as well.  The more bidders we have, the better.  Here's an idea:  Print the flyer that Marti created (and is uploaded on our website) and tape it to the inside of elevators in your building, or in stairwells, or even place them under windshield wipers in your parking lot. 

Tomorrow's Sgt at Arms is Mike Hamilton and Rotarian of the Day is Paul Cornelius.  Don't forget to bring pancake syrup for the Caring Hands Food Pantry.  Otherwise you can also make a free will donation.  See everyone tomorrow!




At our last meeting Linda Harris was Rotarian of the Day and invited Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling to update us on happenings around our city.  He spoke about the Facebook construction project taking place just north of I-80 across from Bass Pro Shop.  He talked about how most of Facebook's employees are young and that the company treats them very well, and how some weren't happy about the 20-year property tax abatement.  He also said there will be no stress on the city's infrastructure.  Mayor Conkling also spoke of the new continuous care retirement community going in across from Clay Elementary School on 1st Street.  He said most of the city's land was being developed for housing and that the Altoona population had grown to around 15,000, for those keeping track.  .

For the Rotary Night for Africa event on October 10th, live and silent auction baskets are still needed as well as sponsors of tables of eight.  Ticket sales are crucial to make this event a success, as the more people that come and bid on items, the more fundraising that will occur.  This week a sign-up sheet will be circulated for auction baskets. 

Marti also said that the Christmas party venue and caterer are now booked.  For those of you looking ahead to our first October meeting, Larry O'Connor has asked that we bring pancake syrup. 

A big thank you to Norma who stood in for me while in Virginia last week.  See you all tomorrow!




At our last gathering, Marti Kline mentioned that our Christmas Party will be held at Sommerset Winery and that spouses will be welcome.  So please mark the date December 6th on your calendars. 

Corinne Lambert was our Rotarian of the Day and she introduced us to Shirley Burgess of The United Way.  Shirley is the Volunteer Engagement Officer and she spoke about volunteerism around the country, the state of Iowa, and our local community.  Shirley mentioned that 38.4% of Iowans have volunteered in the last year and that 40% of Des Moines residents do volunteer work.  She mentioned that one of the events coming up is the Graduation Walk this Saturday September 21st from 9 to 12.  It involves targeting and visiting homes of teens who have not returned to school this school year.  Shirley said the stark reality is that those kids are often working to support their households. 

At the end of the meeting, Steve Hall brought up a request that the Altoona Campus was asking for $100 for a community project during their Family Fun Night on October 12th.  Mike Hamilton made a motion and Marti Kline seconded the motion.  We voted as a club to approve the funding.

I will not be in attendance this week, but Norma Bettis has agreed to step in and serve as Secretary.  Mary Rork-Watson is the Sgt. at Arms and Linda Harris is Rotarian of the Day.  Have a great week and a great meeting on Wednesday.




Greetings Rotarians,

Since we sent out an extensive update on Wednesday last week after the club meeting, there is no additional update in today's Bulletin.

Tomorrow's Sgt. at Arms is Marti Kline and the Rotarian of the Day is Corinne Lambert.

See you all tomorrow!



During the meeting held today September 3rd, Melissa Horton served as Sgt. at Arms and quizzed our knowledge on Fall football trivia.  Even though she did not provide multiple choice answers, and restricted the questions to the NFL, it appeared that our members were well-versed in football minutia and conquered most of her questions. 



On August 30, 2013 East Polk Rotarians Walt Mozdzer, Ryan Swalwell, and Mike Hamilton met with representatives of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, a trade group committed to closing the "skills gap" between Iowa employers and potential employees. 

The meeting was scheduled in hopes that the Iowa Industrial Technology Exposition, held annually at Southeast Polk High School, could become a platform for identifying the next generation of middle skill employees.



Intense summer program gives Israeli and Palestinian teens new perspectives
Students from Israel and Palestine sat together at a local art studio in Encinitas, California, USA, one day last summer, drawing portraits of one another and learning how to live in peace. Kelly Mellos, an organizer of the project from the Rotary Club of Encinitas Coastal, says that drawing someone who is sitting so close helps break down social barriers between the young people. "They see how many similarities there are between them," she says. "And they begin to understand we are all just people. There is a respect and trust that builds." The students were participating in a program run by...
Rotary releases $34.8 million for polio immunization activities worldwide
Rotary International released an additional $34.8 million in grants to support polio immunization activities in 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the three countries where the disease has never been stopped. The funds, whose release was announced 20 January, will be used by the World Health Organization and UNICEF for polio immunization and surveillance activities in the 10 countries, as well as to provide technical assistance in several other countries in Africa. The grants include $8.1 million for Nigeria to support its final push to eradicate the disease. Nigeria...
President-elect urges Rotary members to ‘Be a Gift to the World’
Using their talents, expertise, and leadership, Rotary members worldwide are asked to be gifts to the world this upcoming 2015-16 Rotary year. Rotary International President-elect K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran called Sunday's address to incoming district governors the "most significant moment of my life." "All of you have been given so many gifts. And you have now been given this great gift: one year to take all your talents, all your gifts, everything that you are and can become -- and Be a Gift to the World," said Ravindran, revealing his presidential theme at the annual five-day training meeting...
Man in iron lung discovers Rotary
One might think a man living with polio in an iron lung would know about Rotary. But it wasn't until Paul Alexander had a business meeting with a member in Duncanville, Texas, earlier this year that he learned Rotary fights to eradicate the very disease that left him almost completely paralyzed. "I was completely blown away by the idea. For all these years, I didn't know the work they were doing," says Alexander, a practicing attorney in Dallas. "It's such a perfect fit for me." Alexander contracted polio during a major U.S. outbreak of the disease in the late 1950s when he was six years old...
Alumni recognized for expanding mental health services and supporting Rotary’s work
Dr. Geetha Jayaram has dedicated her life to helping people in her native India and the United States overcome the torment of severe depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and other mental illnesses. Jayaram is a psychiatrist and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Her work expanding access to mental health services is much needed. Depression affects at least 350 million people and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. "In India, there is no mental...
ClubRunner © 2002–2015  All rights reserved.
Privacy Statement | Online Help | System Requirements