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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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com.
We hope to see everyone in the morning!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!