Rotary Club of East Polk County


Club Executives & Directors

President Elect

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

September 2nd - Carl Feilmann                                                      
September 9th - Gregg Lynes                                                              
September 16th - Mike Hamilton                                                      
Rotarian of the Day 
September 2nd - Brad Miller
September 9th - Marti Kline
September 16th - Adam Kline 
Announcements: Kim will be casting a FINAL CALL vote for our committee skits from last year for $1.00 per vote. Winner takes all for the charity donation of their choice. 
Root Beer Float Day to benefit the Special Olympics on August 22nd at Hy-Vee was a huge success! Thanks to all who assisted with this wonderful event. 
At our last meeting Kim Byers was our "over the phone" Sergeant at Arms. Kim brought some good Iowa questions for the group.
Eric Borseth was our Rotarian of the Day who had RYLA student Megan from Bondurant High School discuss her RYLA experience. Megan talked about her RYLA experience consisting of team work, leadership, and accountability. We enjoyed hearing about "RYLAterians", which is the term used to call the RYLA youth on track to become rotarians.  Megan is excited to spread the word to friends and students in her community about the fun times she had at RYLA on the Grinnell Campus.  
Wednesday brings us Rotary Information day hosted by our own President Corinne Lambert. Hope to see you Wednesday! 
Yours in Service,
Paul Cornelius

Upcoming Sergeant at Arms /Rotarian of the Day: 
August 19th is our Rotary Information Day/Rotarian of the Day being President Corinne Lambert.
August 25th  Sergeant at Arms - Kim Byers
                      Rotarian of the Day - Eric Borseth
Announcements: Kim will be casting a vote for our committee skits from last year for $1.00 per vote. Winner takes all for the charity donation of their choice. 
Root Beer Float Day to benefit the Special Olympics is set for August 22nd from 11 am until 3 pm outside Hy-Vee. A sign up sheet has been passed around and an email sent out. Please plan an hour to volunteer for this wonderful cause. 
At our last meeting Greg was our Sergeant at Arms and provided trivia on the Marine Corps.
Linda Harris was our Rotarian of the Day and introduced Melissa Wilder who works at Facebook here in Altoona. Melissa talked about grants offered by Facebook to the community, and also talked about the Facebook campus in Altoona. Melissa fielded some good questions form our fellow Rotarians.   
Our Sergeant of Arms this week is Judy Johnson, and our Rotarian of the Day is Gary Palmer. We look forward to seeing everyone Wednesday morning!
Yours in Service,
Paul Cornelius

Upcoming Sergeant at Arms /Rotarian of the Day 
August 12th Sergeant at Arms - Judy Johnson
                      Rotarian of the Day - Gary Palmer
August 19th is our Golf Challenge/Rotarian of the Day being President Corinne Lambert.
August 25th Sergeant at Arms - Kim Byers
                      Rotarian of the Day - Eric Borseth
Announcements: Kim will be casting a vote for our committee skits from last year for $1.00 per vote. Winner takes all for the charity donation of their choice. 
Root Beer Float Day to benefit the Special Olympics is set for August 22nd from 11 am until 3 pm outside Hy-Vee. A sign up sheet has been passed around and an email sent out. Please plan an hour to volunteer for this wonderful cause. 
At our last meeting Corinne was our Sergeant at Arm and quizzed Rotarians on our knowledge of swimming. From the answers given it appears our Rotarians have what it takes to stay afloat! 
Darrell Hanson was our Rotarian of the Day who introduced fellow Rotarian Tom Narak and his wife Carroll who work with their friend Ana Rodriquez on the Xicotepec project, which works to better lives in Xicotepec, Mexico. A team of Rotarians and friends completed tasks such as Dental projects for youth, water purification for schools, and construction for structural improvement. Our speakers had such life when talking about their service, it was a great presentation. You can also view more about this project on the District 6000 newsletter pages 16-18.  Paste this link into your web browser for a closer look:
Our Sergeant of Arms this week is Greg Lynes, and our Rotarian of the Day is Linda Harris who will introduce Melissa Wilder from Facebook here in Altoona. Melissa will talk about the data center as well as facebook pages. We look forward to seeing everyone Wednesday morning!
Yours in Service,
Paul Cornelius

Upcoming Sergeant at Arms /Rotarian of the Day 
July 29th Sergeant at Arms - Joe Nelson
                 Rotarian of the Day - Darrell Hanson
August 5th Sergeant at Arms - Paul Cornelius
                    Rotarian of the Day - Linda Harris 
August 12th Sergeant of Arms - Judy Johnson
                      Rotarian of the Day - Gary Palmer
At our last meeting we had our picnic at Pam's house. A great time was had by all!
Announcements: Kim will be casting a vote for our committee skits from last year for $1.00 per vote. Winner takes all for the charity donation of their choice. 
Root Beer Float Day to benefit the Special Olympics is set for August 22nd from 11 am until 3 pm outside Hy-Vee. A sign up sheet will be passed around at our next meeting. Please plan an hour to volunteer for this wonderful cause. 
Our Sergeant of Arms this week is Joe Nelson, and our Rotarian of the day is Darrell Hanson. We look forward to seeing everyone Wednesday morning!
Yours in Service,

Upcoming Sergeant at Arms /Rotarian of the Day 
July 22nd NO MEETING DUE TO PICNIC (if you have questions about the picnic please contact Corinne for more information)
July 29th Sergeant at Arms - Joe Nelson
              Rotarian of the Day - Darrell Hanson
August 5th Sergeant at Arms - Paul Cornelius
                    Rotarian of the Day - Linda Harris 
At our last meeting our Sergeant at Arms Darrell Hanson checked our Independence knowledge with some interesting trivia.
Announcements at the meeting: Kim will be casting a vote for our committee skits from last year for $1.00 per vote. Winner takes all for the charity donation of their choice. 
Root Beer Float Day to benefit the Special Olympics is set for August 22nd from 11 am until 3 pm outside Hy-Vee. A sign up sheet will be passed around at our next meeting. Please plan an hour to volunteer for this wonderful cause. 
Corinne Lambert was our Rotarian of the Day who introduced guest speaker Sheila Kinman from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. She spoke about what the Community Foundation does and about elements of a strategic plan to raise funds for matching our grants. Sheila held an interactive discussion about our club and ideas for fund raising.
See you at the picnic Wednesday evening!
Yours in Service,

At our last Wednesday meeting of the Rotary fiscal year, we were honored to have as our guest speaker Chuck Long, legendary Iowa Hawkeye football quarterback from the 1980s, and runner-up one year to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson.  These days Chuck is Executive Director of the Iowa Games and spoke briefly about his role guiding that organization which includes the Senior Games and other offshoots.  Chuck spoke mostly about his experience as the Hawkeye football quarterback, his time playing in the NFL, and the time he worked as a college coach.  He peppered his talk with self-deprecating humor and wit and had many admirers among our tight knit group.  Among his family he mentioned he'd been married 28 years and has five children.
Tomorrow we witness a changing of the guard as Corinne Lambert assumes the role of President of East Polk Rotary and Paul Cornelius takes over as club secretary.  We didn't get an email from Larry O'Connor for our food pantry item, but peanut butter and canned tuna always work well.  Cash collections are always an option as well.  Have a great Tuesday and we'll see everyone in the AM!

Last week, with a smaller club showing than usual, we carried on with our club committee work.  The individual committee reports are summarized below:
Vocational Committee - Mike Hamilton reported that this year's Bowling Bash lost about $1,000 after expenses and grants.  They are looking at ways to stem to tide of losses and make a return to the black. Some felt that the gift baskets are not bringing in enough money to warrant club members' efforts.
International - Two members will be spreading the good word of Rotary in the near future with international travel for Darrell Hanson to Ireland and Brad Miller to Turkey and maybe Iraq.  There was also some discussion around an effort to help with the earthquake assistance in Katmandu, Nepal although nothing was definite.
Community Service - Steve Hall discussed the upcoming effort to package meals for the hungry called Hunger Free through Rotary on July 15th.  There will be two sign up times at 1:00 and 3:00 and the club voted to contribute $500.  Based on how many members will volunteer to package meals, each district will get a proportional number of meals back to their local food pantry.  Last year 4,320 meals came back to the Caring Hands Food Pantry.
Club Service - Marti Kline announced our club picnic this July, but there was some debate about exactly what date to choose. Originally they were thinking July 15th, but since that conflicts with the hunger relief effort, it will likely be July 16th or possibly the following Wednesday the 22nd.  So at this point the date is TBD, but Pam Donahue has offered to open her home and yard again for this year's event.
Youth & Family - Eric Borseth, the lone member of the committee on this day, reported that our club has three students headed to RYLA this summer.  This is a huge win for the students and our club compared to previous annual commitments, and Eric should receive the lion's share of the credit for the improvement.  His dissatisfaction with the old status quo prompted the better results and has set a new standard for our club participation.  We can't wait for the feedback from the students who attend this year's camp.
Tomorrow is Food Pantry Day and Larry has requested bars of soap to supplement his supplies.  Also, I want to recognize Brad Miler for posting a video one week ago on the East Polk Rotary Facebook page.  Each of you have this ability and everyone should think of ways to keep the content fresh for new and unique visitors.  As the administrator, I see new people viewing our page all the time.  This could be a great recruiting tool and we should be using it much more actively than we are today.  
Our Sergeant at Arms is none other than Pastor Brad Miller and our Rotarian of the Day is Mike Hamilton. Our speaker tomorrow is Michael J. Novak.  Mr. Novak is currently the Deputy Director for Warfare Integration on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.  He is responsible for the management of the process that assesses the relative war fighting systems' investment priorities, develops the Navy Ship building plan and integrates the overall war fighting procurement budgets from the individual warfare sponsors.  In addition, he and his staff supervise and resource the Navy's in-service ship disposition process and provide the Congress with the Navy's Long-Range Shipbuilding Plan supporting ship procurement over the next 30 years.  This is a program you will not want to miss and a great opportunity to bring a guest or prospective new member.

This is a speaker with unusual credentials for our area and as a former Navy surface line officer, I would need to have the bubonic plague to miss this.  Please make a heroic effort to be present.  You will hear from an insider to the world's greatest navy and how it will adapt to the changing external threats.  
Finally, please circle June 18th on your calendars.  This is our year-end banquet at Prairie Meadows and because of some schedule conflicts, it falls on a Thursday this year.  There will be sign up sheets circulated during the club meetings for the expected attendance.  
We hope to see you all tomorrow!

Good Morning Rotarians!
At last week's meeting, our Rotarian of the Day Eric Borseth introduced us to Scott Sailor, the Director of Community Relations for the Iowa Cubs.  Scott provided us with insight into the Cubs organization including an overview of the Chicago Cubs and their farm team system.  He clearly explained the differences among the various levels of baseball's farm system and how they contribute to the parent team's success.  One of the more interesting parts of his talk was how there is a new clock as part of the game.  A pitcher now has only 20 seconds to get a pitch off to the batter.  If he fails and the clock runs out, it will be called a ball.  If it's the batter's fault, it will be called a strike.  Scott said that major league baseball has ordered an experiment with the new clock in an effort to speed up the game.  Another requirement is that there will only be allowed 2:25 between innings.  Scott pointed out that surveys have not revealed a major gripe with the length of games among fans and he doesn't think it's needed.  But they plan to follow through with the request to see what impact it will have.  Opening day for the I-Cubs is April 17th.  
Our good friend Dr. Jim Blessman was also in attendance at last week's meeting and thanked our club for the cumulative (including matching grants) $161,000 raised for new water wells in South Africa. East Polk contributed a block of that money which was added to money raised by other area clubs and then multiplied by the grant process including a Rotary International grant.  Dr. Blessman said the money will supply 10 fresh water wells in rural schools where there is a chronic lack of fresh clean water among the local residents and students.
In other news, Eric reported that we now have as many as eight students identified for the upcoming RYLA camp this summer.  This, of course, is a huge improvement over previous years and is reflective of Eric's ground level work within his committee and with Carol Von Tersch, his counterpart at Southeast Polk High School.  Please take a moment to thank Eric for his persistence in this important area of the club's commitment.  The challenge now is to find money to allow all these candidates a chance to attend if they wish.  
Looking ahead to this week, Corinne Lambert is our Rotarian of the Day and Tom Downs is the Sergeant at Arms.  We'll see everyone in the morning.

Good Morning Rotarians,
Last Wednesday we worked in our respective committees and presented reports that focused on initiatives for the remainder of the Rotary calendar year as well as the normal calendar year.  We have Southeast Polk's Iowa Industrial Technology Exposition still to come on May 8th and will be needing judges to volunteer for that.  Also, the Community Service Committee is working on ordering new polo shirts for club members, but there is quite a bit of red tape surrounding the official Rotary wheel symbol.  They are working through that.  
Also in the last week we've learned that we have identified a number of students to attend this summer's RYLA event.  Eric Borseth has been leading that effort and although it's early, it appears that this could be one of our best years for placing local students in RYLA's summer camp.  Gary Welch is again heading the District's RYLA leadership and needs more volunteers to help.  If you are interested, please email Gary at  He will provide more details.
Tomorrow Eric Borseth is our Rotarian of the Day and will be bringing Scott Sailor.  Scott is the Director of the Consumer Experience for the Iowa Cubs, which is very close to kicking off their 2015 season.  Since the Iowa Cubs have generously supported our prior Fall fundraisers with a sky box donation, let's show up tomorrow to support him and show appreciation.  Tomorrow's Sergeant at Arms is Paul Cornelius. 
Finally, tomorrow is Food Pantry Day.  Since we don't have an official "item" to bring, we know that they can always use canned tuna, so let's make that our official food item for April 1st.  Hunger doesn't take a day off for April Fool's or warm weather so let's continue our support as aligned with our sunnier dispositions.  We'll see everyone at 7:00.  

Last week we were honored by our own Ned Looney as Rotarian of the Day and speaker of the day.  Ned had some things on his mind--specifically how the press has been reporting on vaccinations for measles, influenza, and polio.  There had been quite a bit of recent press about the measles outbreak in California and the pros and cons of vaccinations for children.  Of course, in recent years there have been some high level celebrities who have come out publicly against vaccines, saying they can cause autism.  Ned gave an even-tempered presentation on this issue and pointed out that you can actually contract measles from the vaccine.  However, he also mentioned that there has not been a single death from measles in over 10 years.  
Next he tackled influenza, or the flu, and told everyone that this year's flu vaccine was only 24% effective.  In fact, for those over age 65 it's only 10% effective.  In reality, only 20% of patients who are diagnosed with the flu actually had the flu.  Ned also mentioned that if you get a flu shot every year, it makes the vaccine less effective.  Who knew?
Finally, Mr. Looney got very focused and told us something rather startling.  He said for every country that we cross off the list as hosting cases of polio, we run a high risk of creating more cases of polio.  In fact he said there can be an increasing number of vaccine-induced polio cases or polio-like symptoms in local populations, especially among those people displaced by war and conflict.  As they cross borders and flee homelands, often people are given the oral vaccine, whether they have already had the vaccine.  Often that information is difficult or impossible to obtain.  He cautioned against getting too myopic in the race for eradication and not to get caught up in the hype.  This road to eradication will be long and difficult.  Keep a cool head about the task ahead and don't become too discouraged as cases pop up in areas that were previously polio-free.  Human nature, poverty and war are major contributors to polio-sustenance.
Tomorrow features Darrell Hanson as Sergeant at Arms and Ryan Swalwell as Rotarian of the Day.  We look forward to seeing everyone at 7:00 AM.

Hello Rotarians!
At last week's meeting current Assistant District Governor Steve Weineke introduced our own Tom Downs as next year's Asisstant District Governor for Area 5, District 6000.  His service to the District will begin July 1 and last through June 30, 2016.  Be sure to congratulate Tom on this honor and recognition of loyal service.  After a boozy quiz on wine production during Adam Kline's Sergeant at Arms segment, we spent a good share of the rest of our meeting listening to Gregg Lynes give his induction talk as our newest member.  Gregg pointed out that this was not his first trip to the Rotary ranch and has already made some good suggestions for club improvement.  Gregg spent a good share of his career as a U.S. Marine and passed around some photos of himself in uniform at various stages of his career.  Thank you Gregg for sharing your story and for already making most of us think you've been a club member for much longer than you have.
Other notes and notables:  May 15 and 16 are the dates for the District 6000 Conference in Coralville.  We already have two club members who plan to attend although all members are encouraged to attend.  If you wish to attend, see Tom or Corinne.  On March 28th, the District will hold their annual training seminar for incoming club officers at the DMACC campus in Newton.  See Walt if you need more information.  Also during the Board Meeting it was revealed that we were able to parlay our $11,000 gift towards digging water wells in Africa to $150,000 by combining our contribution with similar contributions from other area clubs such as Ankeny and Waukee, plus matching grants.  At that rate of multiplication (13.6X), who needs casinos?  Er, I mean, other than a place to hold our meeting. 
Tomorrow we will conduct the business of our respective committees and watch the next group perform their Four-Way Test skit for our song and dance competition.  We hope to see everyone tomorrow!

Greetings Rotarians,
At last week's meeting, our Rotarian of the Day Larry Wilson introduced us to Tamara Garza from the St. Gregory Retreat Center, an addiction rehab center in Des Moines.  St. Gregory's was founded in 2007 because of the unnecessary death of a close family member.  St. Gregory's is empowerment-based and is not founded on the idea that alcoholism is a disease.  Instead their approach focuses on the root causes of the addiction and examines the life situations are causing the addiction to take place.  They seek to replace old "faulty" thinking with productive healthy thinking.  Their success rate has been 70% if the participants follow their plan.
Keep in mind that the Bowling Bash fundraiser is less than two weeks away on the 27th of February.  Teams are forming and the activity level seems to be picking up.  Our club typically thrives on the pressure of pulling together to make an event a success.  Let's continue to get bowlers to come, assembling teams and ultimately bidders on the silent auction baskets.  We'll get the latest from Ryan Swalwell.  Also Tom Downs will have a brief report on the Iowa Energy game from a few weeks ago.
Tomorrow, Daron Lewis is the Sergeant at Arms and Todd Ross was slated to be Rotarian of the Day, but he is no longer a member.  I believe President Byers has a plan for our speaker tomorrow.
Bundle up on the way in tomorrow.  Winter still has a grip on the area as it appears that crazy groundhog was right again when he declared six more weeks of winter.  We'll see you all tomorrow.

Greetings Rotarians!
Last week we witnessed the induction of Shannon DeLouis--one of our newest members.  Gregg Lynes, our other newest member, was on vacation last Wednesday and was not able to attend. Shannon, who is the director of the Mitchellville Freedom for Youth Center, gave a heartfelt talk about herself.  She discussed the challenges she faced growing up in a family that didn't always provide the necessary tools for success.  She courageously and emotionally aligned her position at Freedom for Youth with her goal of helping families break the cycle of poverty and dysfunction.  We welcome Shannon to East Polk Rotary and encourage her to grow personally and professionally by plugging into the club's committees and service projects.  (Shannon:  the fear of public speaking will diminish the more you do it!  I've been there.)
Last Saturday night was the Iowa Energy PolioPlus game, so we look forward to a report on that event.  Keep in mind that as you think about PolioPlus quarters, half the money you spent on the Iowa Energy tickets can be counted towards your $30/year PolioPlus commitment.  So if you bought two tickets for $32, you can count $16 towards your $30 annual goal.  Let's keep those quarters (or paper money) coming in.  The Bowling Bash is just over two weeks away so keep working on team registrations, lane sponsors and silent auction baskets.  See Mary or Ryan for additional information.  This week Norma has volunteered to be the Sergeant at Arms in the absence of Scott Short and Larry Wilson is our Rotarian of the Day.  We'll see everyone tomorrow.

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.   




Bringing education to rural Mexican area, one school at a time
When Mariana Day moved in 1989 to the small beach town of Chacala, in Nayarit, Mexico, she noticed that the surrounding rural areas struggled to maintain schools. And most children weren’t able to go beyond an eighth-grade education. Day, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Bahía de Jaltemba-La Peñita, in Nayarit, had started a local scholarship program before she joined Rotary. Called Changing Lives, the program provided students with high school tuition, uniforms, school supplies, and transportation. In addition, Rotary clubs from the United States and Mexico have been investing in the...
Meet our polio partners
From the September 2015 issue of The Rotarian Eradicating polio is a complex job. Since 1988, we’ve collaborated with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF to tackle the disease through our Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Here’s how our roles break down. The Strategist: WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates the management and administration of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and provides technical and operational support to ministries of health in countries around the world. WHO is responsible for monitoring...
Nigeria sees no wild polio cases for one year
Today marks one year since Nigeria last reported a polio case caused by wild poliovirus, putting the country on the brink of eradicating the paralyzing disease. The last case was reported on 24 July 2014 in the northern state of Kano. If no cases are reported in the coming weeks, the World Health Organization is expected to remove Nigeria from the list of countries where polio is endemic, leaving just two: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigeria is the last polio-endemic country in Africa. The continent is poised to reach its own first full year without any illness from the virus on 11 August. “...
Australian students take opportunity by the horns
The rules of the Shaftesbury Rodeo Academy are simple: no school, no rodeo. It’s a message that teenagers who attend school at Bisley Farm, most of whom have never attended any school regularly, take seriously. Because come Friday night, these aspiring rodeo heroes want to join their friends to ride bulls for a heart-stopping eight seconds, if they last that long. The school in rural Queensland, Australia, also teaches the boys, who are of the Wakka Wakka Aboriginal people, basic academics and farming skills, including how to care for crops and livestock. It’s a fairly common form of...
Illiteracy traps adults, and their families, in poverty
Around the world, millions of adults are unable to read or write, and therefore struggle to earn a living for themselves and their families. Even in the United States, with its considerable resources, there are 36 million adults who can’t read better than the average third-grader, according to the international nonprofit ProLiteracy. In Detroit, Michigan, a widely cited 2003 survey conducted by the National Institute for Literacy found that almost half of residents over age 16 were functionally illiterate -- unable to use reading, speaking, writing, and computer skills in everyday life....