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Click HERE to register for our Rotary 6420 District Conference at Starved Rock State Park April 28-30 -- and click over HERE to learn more about the highlights, activities, entertainment and speakers that will all come together at "The Rock!" 
 
We are bringing the excitement, sounds, and cuisine of New Orleans "up stream" to Utica, on the banks of the Illinois River! You'll be greeted by Dixieland Jazz upon arrival Friday, and on Saturday we'll enjoy the fun of Zydeco music, with Cajun and Creole culinary favorites along the way from beignets to muffalettas, key lime pie & bread pudding & more, mixed in with awesome Rotary presenters, special guests, young leaders, Youth Exchange Students and more.  
 
Register NOW to get in on the early bird specials; save $50 as an individual and $75 to $100 per couple!
 
 
 
¡Bienvenido! Our district happily is happily welcoming seven travelers from Argentina!
 
All are participating in the Sisterhood of Schools Program, pairing high schools in our district with high schools in Argentina. Each school sends a team of one staff person and two or three students who travel during their respective summer breaks -- which is now, for those arriving from South America. One school staffer and two students will be hosted by Putnam County Rotary attending PCHS in Granville, while one teacher and three students will be hosted by Sycamore Rotary and Sycamore High School.
 
The program was developed several years ago by Guillermo Salas of Argentina, who had been a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Sycamore in his youth. Through his Rotary Alumni Association in Argentina, and with cooperation of both Rotary Districts, the program has flourished in Sycamore over past years and this year expands to Putnam County as well. The program won international Rotary fame last year as the Argentine Alumni Association was awarded the Alumni Association of the Year award at the RI Convention in Sao Paulo. District Governor Scott Shore and his wife, Adriane, who were on hand for the award presentation in Brazil, will be among the greeting party at O'Hare on Jan. 23.
 
Pictured (above) just before takeoff Jan. 22 are those coming, being wished a final "vaya con Dios" from Pato, Guillermo's successor president of the Argentine Rotary Alumni Association. The two teams will spend six weeks in our district, departing March 5. Our reciprocal outbound teams from Sycamore and Putnam County will travel in June and July.
 
A reminder to club Presidents and President-Elects:
 
Registration for PETS Orientation Feb. 18 and PETS March 3-5 needs to be completed as soon as possible. The deadlines are rapidly approaching.  
 
It should be noted that if the PE does not attend PETS, the current President will serve another term as President. There is very little variance to this Rotary International rule. 
 
If you have questions, contact DGE Steve Kuhn, srkuhnrotary6420@aol.com or 815-501-9232.
 
While we still can’t say we’ve done it, we’re closer than ever to eliminating polio. 
 
 
In 2016, 35 cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV) were reported, and 4 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) cases reported. Twelve of the WPV cases were in Afghanistan, 19 in Pakistan, and 4 in Nigeria. 
 
Thus far, the outbreak in Nigeria appears to be under control due to the immediate and vigorous response in areas previously controlled by terrorist groups and, thus, inaccessible to polio immunization teams. The most recent case was reported in August 2016. It may be too early yet, however, to make a final determination. 
 
Pakistan is worried about the appearance of the rare Type 2 strain of polio in sewage samples taken in one of the districts in the southwestern part of the country. Special immunization campaigns for children were launched in the provincial capital of Quetta, which have been followed by a 27-district immunization campaign (launched Jan. 16). There have been no new cases of Type 2 polio reported in years, leading the international community to determine it had been eradicated. Pakistan stopped vaccinating children against Type 2 polio, thinking it had been eliminated from Pakistan along with the rest of the world. The immunization focus is on children born after April 2016. The first polio case of the year was just reported, but the strain is not yet known.
 
 
 
Melissa Hegarty, Rock Island Rotary’s 2015-2016 Youth Exchange student to Spain, is pictured with Club President Steve Morenz following her Rebound presentation to the Club. 
 
Typical of returning students, Melissa announced that her exchange year was the” best year of her life!”
 
Melissa is continuing her education at Augustana College in Rock Island, and in the spirit of the Alumni Program of Rotary, Melissa has become part of the college’s Rotaract Program. Augustana’s Rotaract club was originally founded by two students with Rotary experience as one was a past President of her Interact Club and the other was involved with RYLA. 
 
I am confident that Melissa’s enthusiasm has had a positive impact on her Rotaract Club.
 
-- Fred Luckenbill, Past President, Rock Island Rotary Club, and District Alumni Chair
 
 
Rotary New Generations Exchange participant Carolina Villarroel presents DG Scott Shore with a banner from her mother’s Rotary club, Rotary Club Huelen.
 
Carolina Villarroel, a university student in Santiago, Chile, arrived in the United States on Thursday, Dec. 29, flying first into Miami, then into Chicago O’Hare, before arriving in Dubuque, Iowa. Picking her up was Galena Rotarian P. Carter Newton and his wife, Sarah.
 
Carolina is the first Rotary New Generation Exchange participant. The program is designed to give young people 18-25 years of age an opportunity to live in another country for up to three months. Carolina has just completed her first year of nursing classes at Catholic University in Santiago and is spending her summer vacation in District 6420.
 
The Galena Rotary Club has been working closely with District 6420 to organize this exchange opportunity for Carolina. While in Galena, Carolina spent four days job shadowing at Midwest Medical Center and then another two days at its senior care facility. In addition, she helped greet people attending a Galena Rotary event, and spent two days observing Galena’s public schools and another at River Ridge High School, near Galena.
 
 
Galena and District 6420 Rotarians greet Rotary New Generation Exchange participant Carolina Villarroel at the Galena Rotary Rotary Roundtable on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Included in the photo are DGN Kathy Kwiat-Hess (from left), Galena Rotary President Mike Steinhoff, Carolina Villarroel, DG Scott Shore, Adriane Shore and Galena Rotary Treasurer Andy Willis.
 
 
Atlanta's the place, and The Rotary International Convention is the reason to be there June 10-14 as we celebrate the birth of the Rotary Foundation -- right where it happened -- 100 years ago!  
 
Here are some tips if you are ready for the party of the century.
1. REGISTER! Click over to RIConvention.org!
2. Look outside the box for a hotel room! The RI links are OK, but there are closer and less expensive options. Go online, plug in the convention center, and it gives you closer and cheaper 3- and 4-star choices.
(2.5. Bring a friend and it's half the cost!)
3. Book a flight as soon as possible! Southwest nonstop was as low as $233 round trip; flying through Bloomington was reportedly $302 nonstop.
4. There are some optional add-ons: Peace Conference and Youth Exchange Pre-Convention before the event; Zone Party June 11, RI "Birthday Party" June 14; and Host Hospitality events, too!
 
Join the celebration -- over 40,000 Rotarians are pre-registered so far -- the largest numbers in Convention history! District attendance is already at 58, climbing toward our goal of 75! See you in Atlanta!
 
Loves Park Rotary will be celebrating its 50th anniversary March 17. All District 6420 Rotarians, family and friends are welcome to celebrate this milestone. 
 
The dinner and program will be held at the same location as the 1967 Charter Night celebration was held, Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road, Rockford. 
 
Save the date and make plans to attend. Registration is $40; information is available from Loves Park Rotary Club President Diana Johnson (Executive Director of the Parks Chamber of Commerce) at 815-633-3999.  
 
 
 
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