Club President
member photo
I hope that you enjoyed our club's holiday hiatus and a chance to sleep in just a bit later last Tuesday...I sure did.  Although we barely eked out a white Christmas and mostly avoided the predicted snow storm, recent temps have been conducive to getting outside and enjoying Minnesota's winter wonderland.  If future forecasts hold, we could be looking at temps well into the 30s, maybe approaching 40, next week.  Sounds like a great time to take in some snowshoeing, skiing, skating or ice fishing.  As we close out 2020, a year we won't soon forget (although many would like too), thank you for your contributions to our club's success.  Best wishes for a safe, healthy, prosperous and happy New Year!
Happy New Year from the Rochester Rotary Risers
Board and Club Support Team Lead Zoom Meeting on January 5
Riser Club Zoom Meetings Resume on January 12, 2021
Congratulations and best wishes to Beth Sherden, Spark Executive Director,  on Spark's success and her retirement!  We wish her all the best in her next adventure...which includes becoming President of the Risers on July 1.  Beth has played a critical role in designing and executing Spark’s business and growth model.  Since 2017, through her leadership and dedication to Spark, Beth helped to transform Spark into the vibrant place of community it is today. Her vision of leadership was paramount to the successful transition to our new location.
The Spark team and Board are delighted to announce that a new Executive Director, Jennifer Staley, will lead Spark and the Rochester community into a new era of connections and growth.  Jennifer is a nonprofit and development professional with broad experience spanning building creative partnerships, facilitating educational and outreach programs and building the relationships that strengthen communities.  Jennifer serves on many local and regional boards including the Red Wing School District Advisory Committee, Red Wing Montessori and Hope Coalition in the Red Wing Community where she was the Director of Development and Outreach and Education for The Sheldon Theatre.  Sounds like Jennifer would be a wonderful addition to the Risers family.
Yesterday I received the following note from Charter Member Dick Christiana and his wife Nola.  Please keep the entire Christiana family in your thoughts and prayers in the weeks and months ahead.
Hi Don, thanks for keeping in touch. Our daughter, Leigh Ann just finished donating her Stem Cells today which will be frozen to be used in the transplant in two weeks.  Michael will complete his chemotherapy on Wednesday 1/6 and radiation on Monday 1/11 and receive the Stem Cell transplant on Tuesday 1/12.  He will be in the hospital for two weeks then return home but will need to be seen daily for 100 days.  During that time his immunity hopefully will return.  In the meantime we need to keep him as protected as we can.   Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.    Dick and Nola
During January, Rotarians are encouraged to focus on this important avenue of Rotary service.  Discussions on vocational service can lead to projects that not only develop the ethical consciousness and vocational skills of Rotarians but also the talents within their communities. Vocational Service Month is an opportunity to begin year-long vocational service activities, ranging from Rotary discussions to awards to community projects.  This year the Risers elevated Vocational Service to a stand-alone avenue of service.  We are fortunate that Joanne Rosener not only suggested this action, but agreed to serve as our Vocational Service team lead.  We'll continue our practice of monthly vocational talks/panels, but if you have other project ideas, please share them with Joanne.  [Check out the "Rotary Code of Conduct" posted in the "Getting to Know Rotary International" section below.]
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 Keilholtz at kimdtm@msn.comThose members who have accumulated hours since July 1 and not submitted them to Kim should do so now.  Thank you!
Speaking of Community Service, Jeff Warfield shared the following note he received regarding a potential community service opportunity.  I'm not certain if this Community Food Response need still exists, but if you are interested, please connect with Jeanne Thoreson...
From: Jeanne Thoreson <>
Subject:  Community Food Response needs volunteers to deliver food
To: Warfield, Jeffrey []
From: Jeanne Thoreson []
Hello Jeffrey:
I know that Rotary has been involved with CFR in the past and we are reaching out to all of our supporting organizations now to ask for help finding people able to drive locally for us, picking up food from our donors and delivering it to our client distribution site at the Exchange in north Rochester. Hunger continues to grow in our community and just a few drivers, once weekly or monthly, will help us gather enough food to feed those families who rely on us in this difficult time. I hope you can direct our plea to members who might wish to help us out. I am available at my email above and would be very glad to hear from any in your membership who feel drawn to our cause.
Best Regards,
Jeanne Thoreson CFR Board Member
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

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?

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
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
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Meeting Responsibilities
Board & Club Support Team Meeting on January 5
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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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7