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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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.