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Today was a typically informative, full and fun summer meeting. Guests included Rotarians Tim Cawdell (Quesnel) and John Oldham (Spruce Grove), Kendi from Work BC and guest of Donelda. Also of note was the return of Elly and Ramiros to their Osoyoos home (and our club!) who came directly to this meeting even before seeing their home...how dedicated is that?
Announcements included the arrival date of our inbound student Camille in the evening of Sept 1st. More details to come for those that may want to greet her at the airport. Also for those attending the MacLean golf tournament, there is a $50 discount for us as the lobster event that night means we would miss dinner.
Pres Marieze shared information on new Federal Government matching funding support announced for Rotary Polio and International projects...very postitive for our South African project next year!
Our speaker was Steve DiCastri who gave an excellent update on the Okanagan Correction Center (OCC) in his capacity as Warden. Steve is a 30 year veteran of correction centers and this posting may well lead into retirement and we gain a permanent resident. OCC is a maximum security designation and will be the largest correction facility in BC. It will have 378 cells and will hold inmates who have been sentenced or in reman for maximum 2 years less a day as felons with longer sentences are sent to Federal prisons. There will be a staff of 300 and Steve estimated that 50% of those will be hired and trained and the rest will come from within the corrections system. Only the 3 Deputy Wardens have been hired so far.
Steve talked about the education or skills/tools building component of an inmates time. In addition to the potential of gaining a skill for a job, participation in programs shortens time spent inside and a full 70% of inmates will be assigned to programs. Most are inside and include wood and metal shops, greenhouses, kitchens and sewing/tayloring facilities and some are outside where low risk offenders can aid in trail building, snow removal, fire fighting support type projects.
There was a good question session in which 'some' members wished it to be noted that only 20 of the cells are designated to female offenders and also that an increasing number of guards are female because of inherent and superior empathy, listening and verbal skills! Hmmmm....Also of note was the fact that property offenses and personal assault were the top two sources of convictions for these inmates.
Steve promised to come back and will be a welcome speaker again as the center becomes closer to opening in Jan of 2017.
Pres Marieze clarified the noon program change starting in Oct which will see the 4th meeting in the month become more of an opportunity for fellowship with no speakers scheduled and short business updates and perhaps a vocational/bio talk by Rotarians.
Virtually everyone signed up for helping at the bike aid station for the Pentiction Challenge Triathlon on Sunday August 30, 7am to 11am, and John will send out an email with sign up instructions...soon!
Happybucks broke out and then Pam won the 50/50! A good meeting!
The first meeting of the new Rotary Year under President Marieze was a good one...a harbinger of another great year for this club! Marieze commented on the District 5060 Rotary Foundation achievement of $157 per member and how that can be directed to the amazing work that it does.
Our guest speaker was Dr Malcom Patterson, current President of the Penticton Okanagan Rotary Club but speaking to us on his field of expertise of cancer research as a molecular oncologist. He is retired now but has an impressive resume of 40 years of research in 5 countries across 3 continents, authoring 168 scientific articles and he came across to us as a very credible scientist. His message and concern today was around the proliferation of radio frequency devices (wireless) in our lives and the potential harm to our health that it presents now and even more over time as the number of devices will increase 7 fold in 5 years. He presented as fact that RF heats body tissue, impacts adult brain tumors, Alzheimers, sleep disturbances, memory, autism, dementia, male infertility and childhood learning. Children are more vulnerable than adults. While any wireless device emits RF, he specifically dealt with the topical smart metres as representing high impact and risk. These meters are powerful emitters with a range of up to 3.5kms so in a community there is a multiplier effect as they overlap.
Also of interest is the claim that built in these new meters is a capacity to operate any and all of the wireless devices in your house if turned on. This lead to an interesting discussion of 'Big Brother is Watching' scenarios.
Health Canada is the government agency that sets safe levels for this type of risk and is the authority referenced by our electricity providers proving the meters are safe. Dr Patterson showed that the levels set are some of the lowest in the world and are totally unrealistic and unsafe.
Certainly a stimulating and new learning for all of us in attendance and while he was not advocating any particular action or response, I assume he hopes the awareness will benefit us in decisions down the road. He closed with a reference to a 'Tsunamic scale impact on our health care system'.
Pres Marieze spoke to the results of our extremely busy month of June in which there were 3 fundraising events for the club. The golf tournament raised $14,000, the Canada Day pancake breakfast raised $2400 and the Cactus Jalopy breakfast and beer garden raised some $3000. That is a bunch of volunteering!
Our guest presenter Malcolm spoke to his Rotary Club's recent installation and gave accolades and thanks to our ADG Cheryle for her leadership role in their ceremony.
Finally, the 50/50 draw was won by Harold and as a true Rotary guy, rather than put it towards the cost of his recent 10,000kms road trip, he donated it to the student scholarship fund.
Next weeks speaker is George Fraser, a long time Osoyoos Resident.
A good meeting/start to the year!