Home Page Stories
Posted by Sue Copley on Nov 29, 2016
At the November 29th, 2016, meeting of Monadnock Rotary, chaired by President-Elect Bill Gurney, the club welcomed Gil Morris, a teacher at the Applied Technology Center at our local ConVal High School. Mr. Morris brought with him Noah Bell, a Senior who has been very involved with Engineering classes through an Extended Learning Opportunity. Noah has built and is in the process of refining a model of Tesla’s Coil.
Gil Morris worked as a software engineer before changing careers and becoming a teacher. At the Nov. 29th meeting, Gil described his engineering classes and some of the impressive projects his students have completed. He also discussed “Running Start” and the opportunity his students have to take his classes for college credit from the New Hampshire Technical Institute.
Kevin McElhinney gave the Opening Words, and Travis Kumpf shared a "hat story" about his first trip overseas, helping build homes for families in Peru. This experience has led to a life-long interest in helping to develop sustainable communities; since that life-altering trip to Peru, Travis has continued to travel on service trips. Over time he became a sought-after leader for such trips, including this spring's Conant/ConVal Rotary Interact service work trip to a Central American rural village.
Posted by Sue Copley on Nov 15, 2016
Roger Swain, TV's "Mr. Victory Garden"
On Tuesday, November 15th, Monadnock Rotary welcomed Roger Swain, the master gardener and local celebrity who once hosted over 500 programs of public television's "Victory Garden." He is still a very fit and active gentleman who continues to present and consult all over the country, including speaking to the more than 600 gardeners at Florida's DisneyLand! Since it's late in the gardening year, rather than talking about plants and planting, Roger talked about the crucial hand tools that every gardener should own. Each tool needs to be selected for its premium quality (good ones last for many years!) and be a good fit for the user. He noted that as we get taller each generation, the handles on inexpensive versions of tools continue to get shorter -- and thus cause a multitude of back problems among their owners.
Roger also described how before winter sets in, it is important to prepare your tools for storage, and even gave a demonstration on how to sharpen your spade! Numerous Rotarians asked questions while also expressing appreciation for Roger so generously sharing his immense expertise and decades of experiences growing 'back yard' vegetables. Roger noted that during WWII, a huge percentage of Americans grew most of their own veggies, and now a much smaller percentage do so -- and their gardens are much smaller in size. His hope and dream is for many more Americans to grow their own food -- which provides healthier nutrition and promotes excellent fitness! Thank you, Roger Swain, for reminding us of the importance and value of having high quality hand tools and the importance of growing our own veggies!
Posted by Sue Copley on Nov 08, 2016
Ben Conant, Sports Editor, Writer, & Photographer
On November 8th, 2016, our Monadnock Rotary Club hosted Ben Conant, the Sports Editor and Photographer for the Monadnock Ledger Transcript newspaper. Ben showed a sampling of his excellent action photos of special moments in team competitions representing numerous sports in the many area schools. He also described growing up in Peterborough, attending and graduating from Keene State College, and then working at the Concord (NH) Monitor newspaper for a number of years before returning to his hometown in Peterborough. He mentioned that he was fortunate that he could remember so many players' names and 'stats,' and enjoyed following them through their high school sports careers. He highlighted various teams that have excelled in the last year or so, and described the excitement generated by local teams that host hundreds of spectators for each game. Rotarians complimented Ben on his lively writing and his huge outpouring of articles that demonstrate a genuine understanding of so many varied boys' and girls' sports. When asked, Rotarians shared how they value job applicants (in a variety of businesses) who have competed in high school and even college sports. They mentioned that these experiences support teen-agers' ability to collaborate and help develop a strong work ethic and 'willingness to learn' that are keys to success in most adult work situations. It was also heartening to hear that a local high school graduate has returned to this area to a job which he truly enjoys. Thank you, Ben, for sharing your love of sports!
Posted by Sue Copley on Nov 01, 2016
August Watters, professional mandolinist!
Peterborough resident and Professor at Boston's Berklee School of Music, August Watters, was our guest speaker and performer on Nov. 1st. August told us about the early history of mandolins and how Italian immigrants to the U.S. had brought with them their love of this quiet, tuneful instrument. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, mandolin orchestras were common in most New England towns, high schools and colleges -- and the Monadnock region boasted of many concerts given by such groups. August showed us samples of concert advertisements and even a march written specifically for such a group performing in Peterborough! He also brought with him three of his beautiful mandolins, playing pieces that demonstrated each one's uniqueness. We were fortunate to have August Watters visit and provide us with such an interesting and enjoyable presentation!
Posted by Sue Copley on Oct 25, 2016
Molly Ferrill, local grad., shares her work with Elephants!
Today our Monadnock Rotarians were treated with a glimpse at Molly Ferrill's work as a photographer, writer, and videographer. Molly, a local ConVal High School graduate, has most recently been working for the Freeland Foundation in Mayanmar where she has been documenting wildlife and human trafficking issues, focusing on how to protect elephants from being killed for their ivory. After earning her B..A. from Tufts University in 2012, Molly has worked in East Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia; she speaks four languages, including Swahili and Thai. Her work has been published in the National Geographic magazine and shown on The Discovery Channel and the PBS Nature series. We were delighted to hear Molly talk about some of her intriguing experiences working abroad, and to see some of her stunning photographs of people and animals she has encountered -- as well as seeing a video she made of a baby elephant's birth! After spending a few weeks with her family in Temple, NH, Molly heads for her next work assignment in Mexico.
Posted by Sue Copley on Oct 18, 2016
More About MATS with board member John Newman
Monadnock Rotary is very pleased indeed that the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter (MATS) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary of providing housing and support for individuals and families who are homeless. The safe, temporary MATS housing offer its guests with assistance with finding agency and community resources and with issues involving transportation (it's difficult to get a job without a car in this rural region of NH), health needs, childcare, legal advice, housing and employment issues, as well as guidance in budgeting and goal setting. With the help of the MATS Case Manager and organizations such as the River Center, the guests in the MATS shelter are able to successfully transition from homeless to their own apartment. MATS Board member and former ConVal School Board member John Newman provided a helpful overview of the history of MATS and a summary of those who have benefited from living in their housing, along with a clear picture of MATS' vision for the future. Rotarian Mary Loftis also serves on the MATS Board, so she helped round out the picture of the importance of volunteers and financial support from the community. We are proud of Monadnock Rotary's support of MATS and hope they are able to continue their crucial services for at least another twenty-five years!
Posted by Sue Copley on Oct 11, 2016
Brian Pickering, ConVal High School Principal
On October 11th, the Monadnock Rotary club hosted our local high school principal, Brian Pickering, along with ConVal's School to Career Coordinator, Mary Lou O'Neil. Both shared information and examples of the changing culture and increasingly personalized teaching and learning at ConVal. Mary Lou described the internship program and many other specialized outreach programs that she coordinates. Mary Lou has also been very active in the "Fill the Void" initiative to raise funds for a new Visual and Performing Arts Center at ConVal, and serves on the ConVal Community Dollars for Scholars program that supports students in need who are going on to post-secondary education. The 2016 NH High School Principal of the Year, Brian shared information about how he and the staff and students are working together to raise the academic and behavioral expectations of everyone at the school. He explained how the culture of ConVal continues to evolve into one that integrates throughout all classes and activities the values of respect, collaboration, communication, and problem solving. Rotarians complimented Brian and Mary Lou on the sense of pride and the high level of engagement that are obvious when one visits the school. We appreciate Brian Pickering and Mary Lou O'Neill visiting Monadnock Rotary!
Posted by Sue Copley on Oct 04, 2016
Learning About Model T Fords with Hunt Dowse
On October 4th our club was treated to Hancock resident Hunt Dowse giving an excellent talk about the history of Model T Fords, including debunking some common myths about Ford and sharing plenty of information about these first "affordable" cars to be mass produced in the U.S. After his illustrated talk, we all went outside for a great experience: listening to Hunt explain all the working parts of his own model T that he had driven down to Dublin early that cold and foggy morning! Along with his love of old cars, Hunt is a well known civic leader in the Monadnock area. After earning degrees at Bowdoin College and Harvard, he was for many years a teacher, coach, and administrator at an independent school in Cambridge -- and when he moved to Hancock in the 1980's he quickly became involved with his new community. In Hancock, he served as a Selectman and has been a volunteer Fireman for 35 years as well as working on the zoning board for over 20 years. In addition he is a passionate supporter of the Harris Center for Conservation Education; for many years Hunt served as the President of its Board of Trustees and continues to Chair its Governance Committee. So along with enjoying the time learning first-hand about Model T Fords, we Rotarians also were delighted to talk with a person who exemplifies "Service Above Self."
Posted by Sue Copley on Sep 13, 2016
Ted Leach, Founder of the New England Marionette Opera
On September 13th Monadnock Rotary was honored to host Ted Leach who gave an engaging talk about the history and accomplishments of his amazing company that performed a wide range of operatic productions in downtown Peterborough with beautifully crafted Marionettes. A graduate of Harvard University and the Univ. of Tulsa Law School, Ted Leach himself is a true Renaissance man. He has served in the NH House of Representatives, founded an organization to reduce climate warming, served as President of the Harris Center's Board of Trustees, published various well-known newspapers, and so much more. Presently Ted is completing a memoir of his multi-talented life. At this Rotary meeting, Ted described the grandeur and amazing magic involved with his marionette productions that drew enthusiastic crowds for near and far. After seven years, the life of this unique and thriving theater company ended tragically on the bitterly cold night of January 1st, 1999, when an all consuming fire destroyed its building, 200 handcrafted marionettes, the sets from nine complete operatic productions, and all the sound and light devices. It was an overwhelming loss. Ted also showed us a PBS video of an interview given by Ted about one poignant story intimately connected with his opera company, and demonstrated how a marionette is manipulated (using one of his very few surviving marionettes). It was a special Rotary meeting very much enjoyed by all who were in attendance.
Posted by Sue Copley on Aug 30, 2016
qaZING's Jason Garland, speaker on August 30th
On August 30th, Monadnock Rotary welcomed the young entrepreneur Jason Garland who is developing a local business called "qaZING." This is a new startup in the "On Demand Economy" that aims to connect people who want to work with people who need help with a particular service. Using their free app, individuals can sign up to offer or use specialized services. Jason gave various examples including: if one person wants to teach other how to play the guitar, and someone else wants to connect with such a teacher, they can connect through qaZING. Providers and customers connect on their smart phones, with qaZING taking a percentage of each transaction -- similar to Uber and Air B&B, as Jason explained. The providers are "independent contractors" in the eyes of tax laws. Rotarians asked clarifying questions about Jason's app, his business plan, and his overall goals for qaZING. It was very interesting to hear from a young person who has returned to his local roots to try and establish a new business!
Posted by Sue Copley on Aug 23, 2016
Kathleen Bollerud, Dir. of the Himalayan Education Foundation
Kathleen Bollerud was the speaker at the August 23rd, 2016, meeting of the Monadnock Rotary Club. Kathleen is a psychologist and leadership consultant whose passion is improving the lives of women, children, and families in the rural villages of northern India that are the "gateway to the Indian Himalayas." She described the impresive work of the Himalayan Education Foundation that develops deep, long-term relationships in three of these communities where the HEF partners with local leaders and organizations to invest in the residents' education and economic independence. Kathleen's initial interest in these remote mountainous villages evolved into on-going visits to help build schools, dairies, and weaving co-ops along with raising aspirations for improved health, nutrition, and future careers. Villagers receive training to become teachers, naturalists, mountain guides, and people with expertise in textile design and even computers. Funds raised are used these kinds of projects as well as scholarships for students at Himalayan Inter College, a pathway to a brighter future for women, girls, and their families. After her talk she showed us examples of the weavings and other products made in these villages -- all quite lovely!
Celebrating the Lowly Brick, with Jim Rousmaniere
Our speaker at the August 16th, 2016, meeting of the Monadnock Rotary Club, was Jim Rousmaniere, the former Editor and President of the Keene Sentinel. Jim described the history of brick making in the Monadnock region and shared a series of his photographs of buildings in downtown Keene that are made from brick -- often of varied colors and architectural style. He is interested in helping people "see" familiar brick buildings with a more perceptive eye, sharpening our sensitivities to their beauty, history, and cultural context. Rotarians were invited to bring in an old brick from their home sites or neighborhoods. Tom Warren met this challenge, showing us a brick that was actually made at an old factory on Dublin's Charcoal Road!
Posted by Sue Copley on Aug 09, 2016
Mary Catherine Bateson, cultural anthropologist
On August 9th, 2016, the Monadnock Rotary Club was proud to host world-famous author and academic Mary Catherine Bateson. Dr. Bateson shared many profound insights about the role of women today and the importance of adventure, compassion, and intergenerational learning at all stages of our lives. A prolific author, Dr. Bateson described events and experiences from her life of learning and teaching in many different parts of the world. She also provided a few glimpses into what it was like to grow up as the daughter of the famous anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Mary Catherine Bateson was eloquent yet respectfully forthright as she shared the active wisdom gained during her professional life as a thoughtful university professor and Dean, and a life-long keen observer of people at different ages and from many different cultures. Thank you, Dr. Bateson, for visiting the Monadnock Rotary Club!
Posted by Sue Copley on Aug 02, 2016
At the August 2nd, 2016, meeting of the Monadnock Rotary Club, our speaker was Laurie Kandoll, the Executive Director of the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, New Hampshire. Laurie described the Cathedral's history, site, and current programming -- which continues to expand. This beautiful outdoor Cathedral was founded by Dr. Douglas Sloane and his wife Sibyl in 1945 in memory of their beloved son 'Sandy' (who had been killed in Germany during World War II) and to honor all American men and women who have died while serving their country. It was their hope that people of all faiths and countries would come to this place seeking solace and a commitment to a more peaceful future. Today people travel from all over this country and abroad to visit this beautiful memorial with its glorious views and peaceful trails and gardens. We were pleased to learn more about this special place and encourage everyone to visit.
Posted by Sue Copley on Jul 26, 2016
Mary Ann Kristiansen and the Hannah Grimes Center
At the July 26th meeting of the Monadnock Rotary Club, our speaker was Mary Ann Kristiansen, Executive Director of the Hannah Grimes Center in Keene, NH. Mary Ann grew up in Minnesota and in 1991 moved to New Hampshire, purchasing a farm in Roxbury (NH) and six years later started the Hannah Grimes Center. She shared with Rotarians the history of the center and its mission of providing the space, tools, and connections for innovative entrepreneurs. In turn, these developing businesses contribute to the local economies and communities in the Monadnock region. The center offers workshops and specialized training programs to help grow a broad range of businesses, and has developed key partnerships with numerous area businesses.
Returning Rotary Exchange Student Kate Rogers
At the July 19th Monadnock Rotary Club meeting, the speaker was Kate Rogers who had just returned a few days ago from her year as a Rotary Exchange student in Belgium. Kate, who is headed for Georgetown University in the fall, talked about some of her experiences going to school and living with Rotary families, and how she thoroughly enjoyed traveling to different European cities throughout the year. These trips were with other Rotary exchange students from all over the world, a number of whom became Kate's good friends. Kate thanked our Rotary club for sponsoring her year abroad and said she definitely wants to travel more in the years ahead!
Posted by Sue Copley on Jun 28, 2016
Monadnock Rotary Club's 2016 Gavel Night!
On June 28th, club members -- and their family members, friends, and guests -- gathered at the MacDowell Dam for a wonderful meal, lively conversation, and the annual "gavel night" celebration. Thanks to Chuck Simpson and LouAnn Poor for a delicious dinner, supplemented by pot luck additions brought by club members.
There were speeches of recognition given by Past President (and present Assistant District Governor) Dale Gabel, retiring President Rob Harris, and new President Sue Copley. All in all, it was a lovely evening of shared stories and a wonderful feeling of mutual appreciation. How fortunate we are to have the opportunities for service, learning, and friendship that Rotary provides!
Posted by Sue Copley on Jun 21, 2016
The Education of a Yankee, with Jud Hale
On June 21st, 2016, the Monadnock Rotary Club welcomed speaker Jud Hale, the former Editor and Publisher of Yankee Magazine, who shared numerous stories from his published memoir, "Education of a Yankee." His anecdotes were both touching and very amusing as he described his unconventional childhood, including his adventures at his family's school in Vanceboro, Maine, and how as a young adult he came to work at Yankee magazine (whose headquarters is just across the parking lot from where our Rotary club holds its weekly meetings!). It was a memorable club meeting with a beloved member of our local community.
At this same meeting, members were introduced to this year's winner of the club's Evans Reilly Award, Michael Zrzavy. An extraordinary leader, scholar, actor and musician, Michael is a Junior at ConVal High School (CVHS). He was selected by a committee of Monadnock Rotary members who interviewed those Juniors nominated by the CVHS faculty. We were delighted to present Michael with a check and certificate that honors the memory of two outstanding former Rotarians, Dave Reilly and Bill Evans. Congratulations, Michael!
Posted by Sue Copley, 2016-2017 Monadnock Rotary Club President on Jun 14, 2016
Biomass Boiler Systems with Jim Van Valkenburg
At Monadnock Rotary Club's June 14th meeting, our speaker was Jim Van Valkenburg, the Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Froling Energy in Peterborough, NH. He shared the latest information about the design and use of biomass boilers that utilize advanced wood pellets or dry wood chips. He illustrated his talk with diagrams of these state-of-the-art boilers and with photos of municipal buildings, public and private schools, and various commercial businesses that are using these kinds of heating systems in their buildings. He stressed that biomass costs less than oil and propane and keeps about 95% of heating dollars in the local economy. Use of these biomass fuels is eliminating the use of hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil each year.
Posted by Rob Harris on May 24, 2016
Our speaker for the week of May 23, 2016, was Nicole Pease, Principal of the Dublin Community School. Nicole is a native of Dublin and as a child attended the Dublin Community School. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, she was a classroom teacher for 15 years before becoming the Principal of the Dublin Community School. She talked about some of the challenges facing the School but focused most of her talk on how the Monadnock Rotary Club could collaborate with the School for the benefit of the students at the School and both organiztions.
Some ideas that she and her staff identified included, reading with students, doing craft projects such as building bird houses, and exploring nature with Rotary Club members who have expertise in birding, gardening, etc. Another suggestion was to conduct a joint outing at the Monadnock Rotary Club Park.
Our next meeting will be June 7, 2016, at the Dublin Community Church starting at 7:30 AM. Our speaker will be Josh Velasquez, founder of a company that specializes in plant based cheese manufacturing. Adam Hamilton has the Hat and Rick MacMillan has the Invocation.
Posted by Rob Harris
Our speaker for the week of April 24, 2016, was Chub Whitten. Chub, who along with his father George D. Whitten, is one of the founders of the Juniper Development Group. He has held various positions within the construction and development areas of the firm since its inception and is currently responsible for origination, leasing, construction and tenant relationships. One of Chub's current projects is the renovation and development of the former Brookstone Property in Peterborough. Chub described their "business model" as one which takes a building that may have had a large footprint and through renovation convert it into a number of smaller size spaces suitable for a number of stand alone businesses, i.e. up to 30 or so employees. One of the advantages of this approach is that if a new business "fails," or moves the impact on the community is much less than if a single large employer moves or goes out of business.
Chub also addressed some of the critical "needs" of the region which inhibit business development. These include the lack of skilled workers, limited access to suitable training or education and limited infrastructure capabilities, particularly high speed internet access.
Our next meeting will be May 3, 2016, at the Dublin Community Church starting at 7:30 AM. Our speaker will be Patricia Jones from HCS who will talk about mosquitos, ticks, etc., and the diseases they can cause. Bill Gurney has the Invocation and Dale Gabel has the Hat.
Posted by Rob Harris
Fellow Rotarians and Friends of the Monadnock Rotary Club
Our speaker for the week of April 17, 2016, was Kevin Mitrano, Executive Director of the Brantwood Camp for Boys and Girls. For more than 100 years Brantwood has provided inner-city boys the opportunity to enjoy a residential summer camping experience. Starting in 1982, the same experience was provided for girls on a separate campus nearby. The mission of the Camp is to provide a fun, positive camping experience for boys and girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity or be able to afford such an experience. In short, the goal of the Camp is to provide an environment where the Five Brantwood ideals of Honesty, Loyalty, Cooperation, Good Sportsmanship, and Unselfishness are honored by campers and staff.
Brantwood offers close supervision and support with one staff member for every ten campers. Each year the staff includes some former campers who are eager to share their valuable experiences with the next generation of campers. Scholarships both full and partial are available to support campers who would otherwise not be able to attend.
Our next meeting will be April 26, 2016, at the Dublin Community Church starting at 7:30 AM. Our speaker will be Chub Whitten who will be talking about the development of the Brookstone Property in Peterborough.Jerry Branch has the Invocation and ohn Goodhue has the Hat.
Posted by Rob Harris
Our speaker for the week of April 10, 2015 was our own Bob Vecchiotti. Bob has many years of experience providing consulting services as a Business Advisor and and Executive Coach. Bob's topic focused on "Leadership" and, in particular what qualities make a good leader and the inherent differences in the leadership styles of men and women. In general, men tend to be more analytical, competitive, and command and control in their leadership style. Women tend to be more collegial, inclusive and collaborative in their leadership style. Bob cited some studies that indicated the differences are because men are predominately "left brain," while Women are "right and left brain."
While citing the inerrant "differences" in styles between men and women, Bob said that both can be very effective leaders.
Our next meeting will be April 19, 2016, at the Dublin Community Church starting at 7:30 AM. Our speaker will be Kevin Mitrano, Executive Director of the Brantwood Camp. Rob Harris has the Invocation and Bill Gurney has the Hat.
Links for Members & Guests
Rotary International News
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The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities
CNBC has ranked The Rotary Foundation No. 3 in its annual list of Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting. The Foundation was noted for connecting 1.2 million members from more than 200 geographic areas to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, including projects that focus on disease prevention,...