Club President
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Looks can be deceiving!  It's Christmas Eve and having been spoiled by an extended run of beautiful fall and winter weather, looking outside into today's bright sunshine might have one believing it's just one more exceptional winter day.  But, step outside to marvel at yesterday's blizzard warning snowfall, walk to the mailbox, pick up that wind blown ornament or deliver a plate of treats to the neighbors and reality is quick to return.  Just as the carol says, the single temps and gusty winds remind us that...
Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.
Happy Holidays from the Rochester Rotary Risers
We will not meet on December 29 so you can enjoy some additional holiday time with family and friends.
The Board and Club Support Team Leads will meet on January 5 and regular Riser Club meetings resume on January 12.
Seasons Greetings from RI General Secretary and CEO
Recent Programs in Review
Rochester Fire Chief Eric Kerska - The Chief provided an interesting and informational update on Rochester's outstanding firefighting and emergency operations responders.  Aren't we fortunate to live and work in a community that can rightfully boast about its nationally/internationally recognized heart attack response rate.  And, a department that puts character at the top of the list, even over technical skills, as it screens job applicants.  The Risers will take Kerska up on his offer to host a Rotation Day once it is safe to do so.
Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association - Matt and I got the following email this week from Chad Fahning...
Thank you for welcoming Scott Lambert and I at your Rotary Club a few weeks ago! Your group was extremely welcoming and one of the most fun groups we’ve been with – and we’ve been to many!  I am following up with news from last Friday that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced they are moving forward with the proposed California Car Mandate.  I am wondering if any members who attended Amber’s presentation to your group would be willing to write an op-ed for the local paper on this?  Please share this with your members and anyone who is interested can get in touch with me using this email (
Also, I can get a draft letter to anyone who wishes to write one. It can be hard sitting in front of a blank word doc!  Thank you again and I hope you have a wonderful holiday! 
Chad Fahning | @weberjohnsonpa
Can-Do-Canines - During 2020 Can-Do-Canines bred 70 new puppies from their breeding program and had 288 dogs and puppies in training, provided continued support to 368 active teams and expects to end the year certifying 50 high quality assistance dog teams (now 750 teams total).
Can-Do Canines will hold "The Fetching Ball Gala," a virtual event, on Saturday, February 20, 2021.  Enjoy an inspiring client story, a unique look into their prison dog training program, exciting auctions and fabulous entertainment, all benefitting the organization.  For event information, please visit...
Club Congratulations!!!
Kate Boyer - Kate's membership application has been approved by club members and we'll be welcoming and inducting her into the Risers in January.  Congratulations, Kate, and thank you to Amy Donahue-Anshus for inviting Kate to join us.
April Sutor - April was recognized with her initial Paul Harris Fellow this week!  April joins an impressive list of almost a dozen Risers earning this Rotary Foundation recognition since July 1.
Nick Rethemeier - Elaine Case provided a much deserved shout out at Tuesday's meeting to Nick who played a major role in the success of a recent Rochester Area Chamber function attended by several hundred participants.  Way to go, Nick!
Janet Swanson - Janet, who serves as our Club Treasurer, missed our December 22 meeting because she was being inducted as a new member of the Salvation Army Board.  Just another example of Risers rising to the occasion.  Congratulations, Janet!
Adopt a Family Risers - Thank you to the generous Risers who contributed to make our annual Adopt a Family project a success.  Thanks to your generosity, ten individuals (7 senior citizens) will experience a merry and bright Christmas.
District 5960 Governor Ed Marek
District Governor Marek will deliver his Risers Club Zoom remarks during our regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 30.  Immediately following the club presentation, Ed would like to meet with as many members of the Risers Board and Club Support Team Leads as possible.  All members should make every effort to attend the club meeting and club leadership should plan to engage in a conversation with Ed from 8-9 a.m. the same morning.
Please, whenever you complete Rotary-related service projects or activities above and beyond our regularly scheduled meetings, send your hours to Kim at kimdtm@msn.comThose members who have accumulated hours since July 1 and not submitted them to Kim should do so now.  Thank you!
Your efforts have paid off, resulting in an extremely successful calendar raffle fundraiser!  Although we didn't quite make our 1000 tickets sold goal, you came mighty close.  The first winners will be notified shortly and daily winners will continue throughout all of 2021.  The funds you raised will help support My Book Day, STRIVE, local and international Rotary projects and more.  Thanks to each of you who sold and bought tickets.
Human Trafficking...A Learning Opportunity

The Harmful Effects of Pornography

January 9, 2021 – 9 am-Noon – Via Zoom

Learn about the addictive nature of pornography and how it is a contributing factor to sexual violence and has a strong connection to human trafficking. Its usage has increased due to COVID-19. Hear scientific and research-based information on what pornography is and its effects on the viewer and society as a whole. This program is appropriate for youth and adults.

Presented by Neil Dennison, Violence Prevention Specialist/Volunteer Coordinator for Victim Services, with a panel of local professional experts, including Detective Dan Johnson with Olmsted County Law Enforcement and Andrea White, Safe Harbor Regional Navigator.


(Note:  You must register at least 2 days in advance to receive Zoom Link.)


For event information, contact Sister Marlys at 507-529-3524

For registration information, contact Jessica at 507-280-2195

Getting to Know Rotary International

Charity Navigator Gives The Rotary Foundation Its Highest Rating

If you are in the process of making your 2020 end-of-year charitable donations, please keep the Rotary Foundation in mind.  For the 13th consecutive year, The Rotary Foundation has received the highest rating — four stars — from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S.

The Foundation earned the recognition for adhering to sector best practices and executing its mission in a financially efficient way, demonstrating both strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. Only one percent of the organizations Charity Navigator evaluates have received 13 consecutive 4-star evaluations.

"Your achievement and 4-star rating will enhance your organization’s fundraising and public relations efforts,” says Michael Thatcher, president and chief executive officer of Charity Navigator. "This exceptional designation sets the Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness."

The rating reflects Charity Navigator's assessment of how the Foundation uses donations, sustains its programs and services, and practices good governance and openness.

Supporting the Environment

New Rotary Focus:  Supporting the Environment

The Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new area of focus: supporting the environment.

More than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related projects over the past five years. Creating a distinct area of focus to support the environment will give Rotary members even more ways to bring about positive change in the world and increase our impact.

RI President Mark Maloney says that during his travels around the world as a Rotary senior leader he encountered many Rotary members and Rotaractors who advocated for the environment to be an area of focus.

“I believe strongly that our Rotary Foundation programs now have a valuable added dimension to our efforts,” says, Maloney.

Foundation Trustee Chair Gary C.K. Huang says that with the global population reaching near eight billion, protecting the environment is increasingly important.

“It is time for us to use our collective resources to invest in a smart and efficient way to protecting our environment,” says Huang. “We are qualified to take this initiative because we are a global group of problem solvers with diversified talents.”

In 1990-91, RI President Paulo V.C. Costa made the environment one of his primary causes, creating the Preserve Planet Earth subcommittee, which looked at ways clubs and members could conduct environmental initiatives.

“We have finally caught up to Costa [his vision],” says Past RI President Ian H.S. Riseley, chair of the Environmental Issues task force, which championed the new area of focus.

“As a lifelong environmentalist, I’m delighted that our great organization has recognized that the environment is a worthy and appropriate destination for our project activity,” says Riseley. “This is an exciting moment in Rotary history.”

Supporting the environment becomes Rotary's seventh area of focus, which are categories of service activities supported by global grants. It joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.

Grant applications for projects will be accepted beginning on 1 July 2021. Gifts and commitments from Rotarians and others will be sought to provide global grant support for the new area of focus.

More information about this new cause will be announced soon.

It's Not All Bad News!

It's Not All Bad News:  10 Good Things to Come Out of 2020

[The following was taken from an article of the same name in the latest Minnesota Sheriffs' Association newsletter.]

While 2020 has been a most challenging year, and COVID-19 has flipped the script on normal, it's not all bad.  In not particular order, consider these 10 Good Things to come out of 2020.

Good Hygiene Habits - We are all benefitting from a renewed emphasis on the importance of proper and frequent hand washing and germ mitigation.

Community Spirit - Despite the fact that many people are shut away in their homes, many communities have never been closer.

Appreciation for Essential Workers - Supermarket cashiers, stackers and delivery drivers are not generally thought of as heroes.  But COVID-19 has highlighted the essential roles played by key workers we depend on.

Drive-in Movies are Making a Comeback and Drive-in Concerts were Born - Many of us remember the good old days at the drive-in.  Now a new generation is getting the opportunity to take in a movie or even a live performance from the comfort and safety of their automobile.  You can even go to drive-in church now.

Restaurants are Sharing Their Secret Recipes - From McDonalds Egg McMuffin to IKEA meatballs, Panera Bread pastries to a Disney Dole Whip, a number of formerly best-kept recipe secrets have been shared by their sources, so we can enjoy their staples in the comfort and safety of our homes.

Animal Adoptions are Up - Shelters across the country are seeing an increase in pet adoption applicants.  Animals in need are finding forever homes.

Corporations are Stepping Up - Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources or shifted production to make millions of personal protection equipment items.  Ford, GM, Tesla and other automobile manufacturers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices.  Distilleries around the country, large and small, have used their resources to produce badly needed hand sanitizer.

Virtual Access to Culture and Nature - You can visit the Met in New York, take in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum or the Louvre in Paris, virtually tour national parks and zoos, and even go on an expedition to Mars, all without leaving home.

Board Games, Puzzles and Books - The board game, jigsaw puzzle and book industries are all reporting increased sales.  A new generation is discovering the old family and household standards as more people are enjoying family time - unplugged.

More Community and More Caring - Stories abound of communities coming together, serving one another and rallying to meet needs among society's most vulnerable.  (Think Rochester's Together and the City and County Caring Funds)

Office Attire Changes - Sweatpants, t-shirts and pajamas...need we say more?

African Region Declared Polio Free

It our pleasure to announce to you that the African region has just been certified wild poliovirus-free.

Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. We should be proud of all the hard work that we’ve done to eliminate the wild poliovirus throughout Africa and in nearly every country in the world. 

This progress is the result of a decades-long effort across the 47 countries of the African region. It has involved millions of health workers traveling by foot, boat, bike and bus, innovative strategies to vaccinate children amid conflict and insecurity, and a huge disease surveillance network to test cases of paralysis and check sewage for the virus. 

Over the last two decades, countless Rotary members in countries across the African region and around the world have worked together to raise funds, immunize children, advocate with local and national leaders, and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, enabling the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to effectively respond to and stop polio outbreaks. 

This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, and our GPEI partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication. But we still have important work to do in order to eradicate wild polio in the last two endemic countries.

We have faced many challenges in our journey to eradicate polio. But we’ve made remarkable progress, and the polio infrastructure that Rotarians helped build will serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to help protect vulnerable children against other diseases for decades to come.

We are calling on you today to recommit yourselves to ending polio. We need each and every one of you to help finish this fight and continue raising $50 million each year for PolioPlus. The eradication of wild polio in the African region shows us that polio eradication is achievable, and shows how our hard work, partnerships and financial commitment continue to propel us forward, even during a global pandemic.

Thank you for your continued efforts, for achieving a wild polio-free African region, and for remaining committed to fulfilling our promise of a polio-free world.

Holger Knaack, President                                                     K.R. Ravindran, Chair
Rotary International                                                           The Rotary Foundation

Rotary International President Holger Knaack and Nigeria National PolioPlus Chair Dr. Tunji Funsho congratulate Rotarians on eradicating wild polio in the African Region. Watch here.

Rochester Rotary Risers Recognized at District Event
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Rotarians from District 5960, which covers south east and east metro Minnesota and western Wisconsin, met virtually for the 2019-20 District Awards Happy Hour.  Clubs were recognized for their efforts in various categories and based on the size of the club – Large, Medium Plus, Medium, or Small – as part of the District’s Awards Program.
The Rochester Rotary Risers Club was responsible for submitting examples of their efforts against a checklist for up to six categories – Club Service, Community Service, International Service, Public Image, Vocational Service, and Youth Service. The submissions were then judged by Rotarians from Clubs in a different size category to keep the voting objective. The Rotary Club of Rochester Rotary Risers was in the Medium Plus size club category.   
After the tabulating, the club received several awards for its efforts, including the District Governor's Citation, 3rd place in Club Service, 1st place in Vocational Service, and 3rd place in Community Service! The Club has been focusing on Vocational Service through vocational talks, Rotation Days, vocational programs, a vocational workshop, and recognition of a community member with a Paul Harris Award for being a Rotarian at heart. The Club has also been involved with and sponsored community programs like the Jeremiah Program, that helps families move from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time, and Cradle to Career, that focuses community resources on programs that make a difference in the lives of children and young adults in reaching education goals and eventually employment.
About Rotary and District 5960
Rotary’s vision is “Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, in our community, across the globe, and in ourselves.” We do this through a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Our mission is to advance world peace and understanding, good will and peace through improved health, the support of education and alleviation of poverty. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Within District 5960, which includes much of south east and east metro Minnesota in addition to 6 counties in western Wisconsin, there are 63 clubs focused on humanitarian service. Locally, the Rotary Club of Rochester Rotary Risers members provides both hands on skills and financial support for sustainable projects to improve our community. Our work improves lives at both the local and international levels including our continuing work toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit ( or
The Awards Happy Hour reception was recorded and can be viewed here:
Club Information
Rochester Risers
Service Above Self
We meet Tuesdays at 7:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn
225 S. Broadway
Rochester, MN  55904
United States
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Meeting Responsibilities
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
McKinsey Goodenberger
December 8
Sylwia Bujak Oliver
December 19
Janet Swanson
December 31
Join Date
Joel McNeil
December 17, 2019
1 year
Elaine Case
December 18, 2012
8 years
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Community Service Team Lead
Vocational Service Team Lead
Club Service Team Lead
International Service Team Lead
Rotary Foundation Team Lead
Past President
Fundraising Team Lead
Human Trafficking Officer
Rotary Classic Event Liaison
Youth Service Team Lead
Literacy Team Lead
Social Team Lead
President Elect Nominee
Membership Team Lead
Public Image Team Lead
Club Administrator
Russell Hampton
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