Rotary Night at Iowa PBS


IPTV needs volunteers to man the phone banks again this year for their Festival on Sunday, March 1 from 5:30PM-10:00PM at their studio in Johnston. 

District 6000 Rotarians have been so successful in the past at answering the phones that IPTV has asked us to do it again this year and we agreed. We encourage you to wear your Rotary shirt ( white shirts do not reflect well on TV). Lots of food and refreshments will be provided to keep your energy and your spirits up while we help IPTV achieve their goals.

We need at least 20 volunteers to man 17 lines, because someone will always be eating, drinking, or enjoying conversation.

If you are interested in joining us to show support for Rotary and  IPTV please respond by return e mail to before February 16, 2020.

Rotary Night at Iowa PBS Kitte Noble 2020-02-11 06:00:00Z 0

Annual Meeting & Community Grant Award

Posted by Graham Gillette
As 2019 enters its final weeks, Rotarians gathered for the annual meeting at which we celebrated the impact the Rotary Club of Des Moines has on the community.
The first order of business was to thank the Club’s board of directors for their service. Rotarians Erica Axiotis and Tim Lillwitz whose terms were expiring were given a hearty round of applause for their service on the board. Rotarians elected the following officers by a unanimous vote:

President: Doug Saltsgaver
President Elect: Catherine Staub
Vice President: Matt Busick
Secretary/Treasurer: Becky Greenwald
Sgt. At Arms: Kevin Kacere
Past President: Don Flannery

And, the Club elected the following directors to serve on the board:

Ashley Bohnenkamp 
Katie Cownie
Harvey Freese
Cherian Koshy
Lynette Rasmussen
Bob Vedral

Past President Dave Busiek reported that the Rotary Club Foundation continues to maintain a balance of $1.7 million. Income equaling about 5% of the total Foundation endowment per year, or approximately $85,000, is used to fund the Club’s philanthropic efforts.

DeAnn Thompson, who is completing her second year as chair of the grants committee, came to the podium to announce that the committee and the board had selected Dorothy’s House to receive a $40,000 grant from the Club’s Foundation. Kellie Markey, the founder and executive director of Dorothy’s House, was on hand to accept the award.
Annual Meeting & Community Grant Award Graham Gillette 2019-12-12 06:00:00Z 0

Rob Sand, State Auditor

Posted by Rob Smith
It appears that I (Rob Smith) only scribe on days full of sunshine and blues skies.  And today is not an exception!
President Don chimed in at 12:07 with a holiday grin from ear to ear.  He wasted no time and called Lance Noe to the podium.
Words of inspiration were offered by Lance Noe.  A great human spirit, Nelson Mandela, died six years ago today, so Lance shared a quote from Nelson Mandela.  “No one was born hating another person…people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Guests and Rotarian were introduced by Jackie Norris.
Rotary will promote eradicate polio at the upcoming Iowa Wolves game on February 1.  This event has been going on for six years and raised over $160,000.  Funds are raised by Rotarians selling tickets to the game and Rotary receives part of the ticket price.
Three reasons to come to the game.
   1.  $2 beer
   2.  Lindell Wigginton, former Iowa State star, is playing and scoring big.
   3.  Rotarians can put on a wrestling outfit and wrestle for Rotary.
Jackie Norris introduced today’s speaker, Rob Sand, state auditor.  She shared he is a great twitter, father of two, good negotiator, from Decorah, and a former attorney.
Rob worked for six year at the attorney general office and focused on criminal prosecution.  He realized he was not happy and needed a change.  Additionally, he worked on many financial cases and as a result worked closely with the state auditor office.
Rob Sand, State Auditor Rob Smith 2019-12-05 06:00:00Z 0

Jim Masterson, LightEdge Solutions

Posted by Graham Gillette
Today’s meeting was our last until after Thanksgiving. It is hard to believe 2019 will soon come to a close.
Rotarians seemed to be in good spirits despite the grey sky and chilling wind. President Don quickly dispensed of a few business items before our speakers, Jim Masterson and Nate Olson-Daniel, were announced. Masterson is CEO, and Olson-Daniel is Vice President and Technical Fellow at LightEdge Solutions, a thirty-year-old information technology company. LightEdge provides technology services to assist businesses manage and protect data. The company owns and operates facilities in Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, to provide integrated disaster recovery solutions and premium computer cloud choices.
Masterson and Olson-Daniel opened their talk with the suggestion that data and the transmission of data have become so integral to life and business that the Internet should be viewed, funded, and regulated as are electric, water, and other vital utilities. The concept that the Internet is fundamental to economic health was quickly grasped by Rotarians. There are 4.5 billion human users of the Internet and 26 million devices that operate independently via the Internet on any given. The amount of Internet traffic grows every day.
Jim Masterson, LightEdge Solutions Graham Gillette 2019-11-21 06:00:00Z 0

Tray Wade, EveryStep 

Posted by Kurt Johnson
The meeting was called to order by President Don Flannery.   Jessica Worley offered the inspirational invocation and then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-Way Test.  Lance Noe introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.
President Don introduced three of our newer club members who completed their new member  orientation  today:  Ashley Hemphill,  KV Venkatraman, and  Matt Unger.
Today’s speaker, Tray Wade, was introduced by Marissa Conrad.  Tray is the President and CEO of EveryStep, a local charitable organization with a relatively new name, but with a very long history.   Visiting Nurse Services (VNS) of Iowa was founded in 1908.  HCI Care Services (Hospice of Central Iowa) was established in 1978.  Amanda The Panda grief and loss support and counseling started over 30 years ago.  These are probably the three best known of the more than 30 programs operating under the EveryStep umbrella.  The merger of HCI and VNS took place in 2012.  The new name for the combined organization, EveryStep, was established just a year ago.  The most significant reason for the merger, and the subsequent addition of other programs and services, is to reduce administrative costs such as payroll and benefits, insurance, fund raising, etc., so that more of the funds raised can be used for direct services to clients. 
Tray Wade, EveryStep Kurt Johnson 2019-11-14 06:00:00Z 0

Larry Spencer, POW Veteran

Posted by John Lewis
Summer may be gone for a while, but the glorious, crisp mid-autumn weather that we so often experience in Iowa was in full bloom as we met at the Wakonda Club at noon for our weekly meeting.  President Don Flannery welcomed us and called on Rob Hedgepeth for words of inspiration for this day, recognizing our long tradition of emphasizing appreciation for our veterans from over the years as we approach the day that honors them.  Rob shared some excellent insights and commendations, helping us all to be more appreciative of the debt we owe to so many for their service and sacrifice in protecting all Americans in times of both war and peace.  Dave Busiek introduced our guests, with additional attention to all veterans in the audience.  Then John Tone introduced our newest member, Roberta Yoder, highlighted in another item in this report.
Next, David Oman was asked to introduce our speaker for the day, and it’s unlikely that anyone could have better represented the significance of the holiday we will observe on November 11.  Larry Spencer grew up in Earlham, IA, graduating from high school there and later earning a degree in mathematics from Parsons College in 1962.  Enlisting in the Navy the next year, he became a pilot, later becoming one of the early Navy fliers engaged in the Vietnam War.  In February of 1966, his plane was shot down, he was captured and began the first of his 2, 551 days as a prisoner of war in Hanoi, five days short of seven years, suffering extreme mental and physical cruelties while there.  He was later awarded two Silver Star Citations and David chose to read from a part of the first of them.  “Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese…..By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.”  In opening his comments, Larry stated that it is impossible to condense seven years of such an ordeal into twenty-five minutes, and it could be added that it is difficult, at best, to reflect in print the gravity and significance of his presentation, which was truly riveting.  But a few of his many observations included the following.
Larry Spencer, POW Veteran John Lewis 2019-11-08 06:00:00Z 0

Michael Fitzgerald, Treasurer, State of IA

Posted by Art Filean
President Don Flannery, in costume (sort of), called the meeting to order and introduced Mark Snell who introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.    Don then explained his own “Halloween” attire, followed by a request that all members who had the nerve to attend in Halloween attire stand up to be recognized, admired and most importantly counted in order to tally up the amount Don pledged to our Foundation for those who came in tally, 25 at $20 each for $500 from Don’s pocket.  Thanks to Don for his generosity.  No doubt next year’s President will attempt to outdo that amount. (See the Photo Album in the left margin for a glimpse of the fun costumes worn!)
Ted Longnecker introduced keynote speaker Michael Fitzgerald, who has been Treasurer of the State of Iowa since first being elected in 1982 (making him the longest serving state treasurer in the United States).  Treasurer Fitzgerald explained his role as essentially being the state’s “banker” in addition to other duties (issuing state bonds, financing, cash management, custodian of IPERS and other state pension assets) and in that regard made the following points:
  • Iowa has about $3.2 billion in operating funds and enjoys an AAA financial rating by various rating agencies.
  • Iowa has had a “rainy day” fund since the 1990’s that is essentially 10% of the state’s budget and is fully funded these days with a balance of approximately $800 million.
  • A good share of the more visible department responsibilities include the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, the Iowa Advisors 529 Plan and the IABLE plan for persons with disabilities.
  • The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt receives unclaimed financial assets from a variety of financial institutions and sources and holds those assets indefinitely or until claimed by their rightful owners.  Since the program was started in 1983 $269 million has been returned to 592,000 people.  The Treasurer’s office receives about $40 million new dollars annually, currently holds $373 million in assets and has statistics showing they have historically been able to return 70% of what they receive to owners.  They also receive physical assets of all kinds from abandoned lockboxes and according to state law must auction those assets periodically.  Fitzgerald encouraged everyone to check the Treasure Hunt website to see if the State owes them money.
  • College Savings Iowa 529 Plan is a method for individuals to save for educational expenses for children or grandchildren on a tax free basis.  The Plan has low entry fees, low management fees and a variety of mutual fund investment choices managed by the Vanguard organization, one of the nation’s largest money managers.  Currently the average 529 account has a balance of almost $21,000 and there are 247,000 accounts...with over $3 billion already taken out to cover educational expenses.  Subject to certain limits, Iowa residents can deduct 529 contributions from their Iowa tax return.
Michael Fitzgerald, Treasurer, State of IA Art Filean 2019-10-31 05:00:00Z 0

The Iowa Caucuses

Posted by Graham Gillette
Today’s Rotary meeting was held on a crisp blue day that held hints the seasons would soon be changing.
President Flannery welcomed Rotarians and guests by sharing news celebrated across the globe on this World Polio Day. Rotary’s commitment has helped in nearly eliminating polio. 2019 saw the eradication of the second type of wild poliovirus, which is a significant step toward the ultimate goal of a polio-free world. Of the three wild poliovirus types, only one remains. Despite this accomplishment, polio cases are rising in areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan that face tremendous challenges because travel is difficult, they are often not secure enough for vaccinators to do their work, and the people are highly mobile. In 2018, these two countries reported just 33 wild poliovirus cases. The 2019 case count is so far is 88, and health experts predict more cases to come.
Rotarians across the world have contributed more than $2 billion to polio eradication since the PolioPlus program began in 1985. Rotary is committed to raising $50 million a year for polio eradication activities. Because of a 2-to-1 matching agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that means that $150 million a year goes toward fulfilling Rotary’s promise to the children of the world: no child will ever again suffer the devastating effects of polio.
Today's words of inspiration are available by clicking here.
Today’s program was moderated by our own Dave Busiek and included Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Iowa Republican Party, and Troy Price, chair of the Democratic Party. Kaufmann and Price shared their thoughts on the Iowa Caucuses, which will be held Monday, February 3, 2020. Iowa has been the lead-off state of the presidential election since 1976.
Kaufmann and Price agreed that Iowa’s role in this process is as good for Iowa as it is for the country. The type of campaign candidates must run in Iowa differ from what is run in larger states. The up-close-and-personal exposure in Iowa forces candidates to shun traditional media and large events seen elsewhere.  
The Iowa Caucuses Graham Gillette 2019-10-24 05:00:00Z 0

Mike Richards, President, Board of Regents

Posted by Gretchen Tegeler
President Flannery brought the meeting to order and introduced Susan Judkins for the invocation.  Susan noted it was Albert Einstein’s birthday, and compared some of Einstein’s thoughts about creativity and scientific discovery with today’s speaker, Mike Richards.
Skeet Wootten introduced the many guests of Rotarians. There were no visiting Rotarians.
Steve Jacobs introduced Dr. Michael Richards, his one-time personal physician. Mike is currently the chair of the Iowa Board of Regents.  He was a practicing physician in Des Moines for 21 years, and chief medical officer for then Iowa Health Systems.  Most recently he was managing partner for Quatro Composites, and was Chair of MEDTEC, a medical services and equipment company.
Mike provided some highlights about the state’s three universities, which are governed by the nine-member Board of Regents.  Enrollment is around 75,000 with 10,000 students per year graduating into the state’s economy.  The universities are also huge research engines.  With relatively little state direct investment in research, the universities bring in over $1 billion in research funds each year.
At 81.9 percent, Iowa’s system has the top graduation rate in the country. 
Mike Richards, President, Board of Regents Gretchen Tegeler 2019-10-17 05:00:00Z 0

 Dues statements

Quarterly dues statements were emailed last Tuesday (10/8).   For a majority of members, your quarterly billing for dues statements are sent via email.    Remember, you can pay by credit card.  You can pay with Paypal using the button in the left margin of this e-newsletter. Or the Pay Dues tab on our website.  You will need to know your balance to pay using this link, it will show '0' if you click on it.  Sorry, but we do not take credit card numbers over the phone.    If you would like someone else within your organization to also receive your statements by email, please let us know.   
Dues statements 2019-10-15 05:00:00Z 0

Beth Townsend, IA Workforce Development

Posted by Gretchen Tegeler
Don Flannery called the meeting to order and delivered the invocation.  He quoted from Abe Lincoln, who, in view of the day’s    program topic, reminded us there is no capital without labor!
John Cortesio welcomed Lance Noe’s guests from Nigeria, who are visiting business executives participating in a leadership     
development program at Drake.  They are also fellow Rotarians.
Skeet Wootten sponsored table flyers providing information about Des Moines Schools’ upcoming vote to extend the Physical  Plant and Equipment (PPEL) levy.
Matt Mardis-LeCroy introduced guest speaker Beth Townsend to speak about leadership efforts to assure the state has the future-ready workforce that it needs.  Beth has been Director of Iowa Workforce Development since 2015.  Hailing from Nebraska, Beth is an attorney who has specialized in civil rights and employment law.  She also served 21 years of active and reserve duty in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.   
Beth Townsend, IA Workforce Development Gretchen Tegeler 2019-10-10 05:00:00Z 0

Angela Connolly, Polk Co. Supervisor

Posted by Kurt Johnson
The meeting was called to order by President Don Flannery.  Being the last meeting of the month, instead of an inspirational thought, President Don asked for and received several announcements from members in the audience of things for which they were thankful.  He then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-Way Test.  Jeremiah Terhark introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.  Becky Greenwald announced a last call to sign-up if you are interested in the Rotary trip to Tanzania Jan. 14-27, 2020.  President Don also encouraged members to sign-up to donate to the Rotary Coat Drive.  The goal is $5,000 to provide 270 coat to needy kids.
Karter Smith introduced today’s speaker, Angela Connolly.  Angela is a member of the Polk County Board of Supervisors and was first elected in 1998 – over 20 years ago!  She was here to update us on an exciting new construction project that is currently underway in Downtown Des Moines: the Lauridsen Skatepark.  When completed, the skatepark will have over 88,000 sq. ft. of skate-able surface, making it the largest skatepark in the U.S!
Angela Connolly, Polk Co. Supervisor Kurt Johnson 2019-09-26 05:00:00Z 0

Marty Martin, Drake University President

Upon arrival at the Wakonda Club today, Rotarians and guests were greeted by Melissa Clarke-Wharff of Courage League Sports. Clarke-Wharff brought the organization’s shiny new van our foundation underwrote. Courage League Sports is a non-profit adaptive sports and recreation organization offering year-round programming for children and adults unable to go full speed due to a physical, cognitive, or emotional disability. By adapting the pace, equipment, or nature of an activity, Courage League can provide a safe and accessible environment where participants can go at their speed. With the new van, Courage League Sports can bring programming to 1,400 children and 700 adults every month. Rotarians were pleased to see how well their foundation dollars had been put work.
Today’s speaker was Drake University’s thirteenth president, Marty Martin. Martin assumed the presidency in 2015 following ten years at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
Martin is working to reposition Drake University’s six colleges and schools in the ever-changing and increasingly competitive education marketplace. Drake enrolls more than 3,000 undergraduates and 1,800 graduate students in more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees. Drake also offers a range of continuing education programs serving working professionals, community members, and area businesses.
Martin’s leadership is guided by Drake’s mission and inspiration to transform lives and strengthen communities. Under his guidance, Drake is expanding online educational opportunities and working to increase cooperation with Iowa business and community organizations. Martin explained Drake’s unique approach to higher learning. Drake students are provided an opportunity to gain a liberal arts education that combines data analytics and other tools rarely offered at other colleges and universities. Martin says Drake is creating unicorns, professionals with uncommon skills who are prepared to lead in today’s connected and fast-paced world.
Marty Martin, Drake University President 2019-09-05 05:00:00Z 0

Craig Hill- Iowa Farm Bureau

Posted by Jeffery Stickel
Susan Scharnberg introduced our speaker on this gorgeous day, Craig Hill the 13th President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. We discovered he is from Ackworth but his farm has a Milo address. He and his wife reluctantly sold their farm to their pregnant daughter and her husband as a 6th generation Farm because she convinced them “don’t you want your grandchild to be raised here?”
Mr. Hill went right in about Farm Bureau which celebrated its centennial last year. It began 100 yrs ago in Clinton county and now has offices in all 100 counties and has over 6 million members in their different entities. The property casualty insurance division started in 1939 and the life insurance company started in 1945 and is now publicly traded as Farm Bureau Life(FBL). He stated the company does own 60% of the stock. The overall mission of Farm Bureau is to create a vibrant culture of agriculture worldwide. 
   Mr. Hill commented on the China tariff situation saying the main problem is we have separation of state and federal government and China does not. He also praised our great state of Iowa  saying if Iowa was a country we’d be 3rd in pork production, 4th in corn and 4th in soybean. 46% of the worlds corn and soybean is exported from Iowa. 
   What a great speaker today! Thank you Craig Hill!
  Read this bulletin to see the events coming up! Golf Tuesday September 10th!
Morning FUEL at Smokey Row September 25th! President Don is really fired up for this to unite everyone.
Also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Wed September 18th! (Sign up by Wed the 11th!)
Craig Hill- Iowa Farm Bureau Jeffery Stickel 2019-09-03 05:00:00Z 0

Fez Zafar- Student, filmmaker, philanthropist, speaker & advocate for unity & education

Posted by Kurt Johnson
The meeting was called to order by President Don Flannery.  Bob Vedral offered the inspirational invocation and then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-Way Test.  Jim Slife introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.   We welcomed our Rotary Youth Exchange student, Javi, who just arrived from Chile and is currently staying with Matt Busick and his family.
DeAnn Thompson announced that applications for $40,000 grant to be given by the Rotary Club of Des Moines Foundation are due no later than Labor Day.  Jeff Stickel provided a table flyer urging Rotarians to support his “Backpacks for Kids” back-to-school drive.  It was announced that Rob Smith is organizing a golf outing in September.  Contact him if you are interested in participating.
Jackie Norris introduced today’s speaker, Fez Zafar.  Fez is a Filmmaker, philanthropist, advocate for unity and education, and will be entering the 12th grade at Roosevelt High School starting tomorrow!  He will be class President for the upcoming school year and also participates in debate and the swim team.
Fez established the charity Site for Smiles and Smarts.  Its mission is to, “empower children with cultural and political awareness, education, and wellness.”  To date, it has raised over $250,000 to provide education, meals, and medical services for children in need in Pakistan.
Fez has also produced about a dozen films, including a documentary about the Lakota Indian Tribe and another about holocaust one of the last surviving holocaust victims, David Wolnerman, the father of our Rotary Club Member Michael Wolnerman.
Fez’s family is from Pakistan and they are Muslims.  He told us about the Muslim tradition of Iftar.  Iftar is the name of the evening meal with which Muslims break their daily fast at sunset during their holy month of Ramadan.  In 2017, Fez learned that the annual Iftar dinner hosted by the U.S. President was being discontinued.  So, he decided to establish The American Iftar Dinner, organized by a diverse group of  students from area high schools, where people of different faiths, races, political beliefs, etc., can come together in a celebration of unity, diversity, and tolerance.  The idea is for a diverse group of people to get together for dinner and to talk and to learn about one another.  The effort includes an annual headline dinner in Des Moines, held and the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, which includes national speakers.  But Fez emphasized that the hope, goal and effort is for people throughout the U.S. to organize their own Iftar dinners and to invite people who are different from themselves so they can learn from one another.
The crowd was very impressed by the inspiring talk given by such a young person.  They gave Fez a standing ovation.
Fez Zafar- Student, filmmaker, philanthropist, speaker & advocate for unity & education Kurt Johnson 2019-08-22 05:00:00Z 0

Erna Morain, District Governor

Posted on Aug 15, 2019
It was one of those pleasant ‘State Fair Week’ days--sunny and warm but not uncomfortable when we met for Rotary at the Wakonda Club on Thursday.  President Don Flannery called us to order and asked Cherian Koshy to lead us in an inspirational moment or two.  He did just that, calling on truly inspiring words from a speech by Indian Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru on August 15, 1947 when India gained its independence.   You can read the speech here:     Cherian’s father heard the words at that time, and we can see why he remembered them and shared them with his children.    Randy Worth introduced our visitors and guests, then Mark Snell introduced Nora King, who recently graduated from Valley High School, was one of those our club sponsored at this year’s RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) conference, and who will be sponsored by our club during her year’s stay in France as a Rotary Exchange Student.  Nora shared some information about RYLA, which is conducted annually in Iowa at Grinnell College and has attendees from both Districts 5970 and 6000.  About 200 attend and are organized into groups of eight to ten persons for the work sessions there.  Nora was profuse in her thanks for our sponsorship and spoke of “the RYLA magic” which is often referred to by those who have participated.  Learning to lead and learning to listen were two of the important elements she mentioned as memorable lessons from the experience.  
   President Don then asked Steve Morain to introduce our speaker for the day.  Steve observed it’s common knowledge that there have been a number of District Governors from our club, and that there have been women DG’s, too, but his role was a bit unique in that this was the first time a District Governor has been introduced to our club by their husband.  After a few well-chosen words by him and saving time he said she could better use, we met Erna Morain and heard her excellent comments about plans for the next year.  And we can say for sure that District 6000 is in capable hands.  A member of the Waukee club, Erna is a native of The Netherlands but has acclimated to Iowa very well. 
Erna Morain, District Governor John Lewis 2019-08-15 05:00:00Z 0

Mike Sorci, Iowa Youth Law Center

Posted by Graham Gillette
This week's meeting coincided with the opening day of the Iowa State Fair. The opportunity to get food on a stick coupled with sunny skies and a temperature of 80 degrees might explain why attendance was a little light at Rotary today. Those of you who were unable to attend missed an opportunity to hear from Mike Sorci, executive director of the Youth Law Center. He gave an informative presentation on the valuable work of his organization. Sorci shared some interesting perspectives regarding what is working well and what it is not when it comes to helping families in need move forward.
After serving as a classroom teacher, Sorci continued to focus on helping children by becoming a lawyer. He has run the Youth Law Center since 1998. The Youth Law Center advocates to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems so every child and youth can thrive. Sorci and his team of six attorneys represent children facing legal issues by working to help children and their families through a myriad of complicated, difficult issues. The Center receives funding from the State of Iowa, the United Way, and from private donors. The Center does not charge clients for the services.
The Youth Law Center in Iowa, like many across the country, was founded shortly after passage of the federal Juvenile Justice Act of 1974. Among other things, the Act mandated legal representation for juveniles and began a restructuring of how legal and family issues are addressed in our country. Sorci and his team advocate for children. In many cases, this advocacy focuses on healing families and providing support so that children and parents remain together. In others, when it is in the best interest of the child, the Youth Law Center seeks to terminate parental rights and move the child into a safer situation.
Mike Sorci, Iowa Youth Law Center Graham Gillette 2019-08-08 05:00:00Z 0

Gerry Nugent, Knapp Properties

Posted by Jean Shelton
President Flannery called the meeting to order ay 12:10 p.m.  
Randy Worth provided the inspirational message 
Craig Ibsen introduced 1 visitor and 10 guests
Kathy Cody announced two service opportunities with Hope Ministries.
Chris Andersen introduced the guest Speaker.  
Gerry Neugent, Co-Chairman and CEO of Knapp Properties.  Real estate in central Iowa.  Gerry began his presentation with an overview of Bill Knapp’s history in the real estate business followed with his own transition from real-estate law to his current role with Knapp Properties.  
Mr. Neugent then went on to provide information about Knapp-owned developments and properties in the Central Iowa area.  Community service and commitment to philanthropy is an important aspect of the organization with the Knapp support of Homes of Oakridge, Tiny Tots and Evelyn Davis Park.
            Mr. Neugent provided his favorite quotes from Bill Knapp - “If you own enough land, eventually a street will go through it” and “To Whom much is given, much will be required”.
Gerry Nugent, Knapp Properties Jean Shelton 2019-08-01 05:00:00Z 0
Proposed New Members in July 2019-07-19 05:00:00Z 0

Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair

Posted by Rob Smith
Thursday, July 18 was a blue-ribbon day as somewhat new president Don Flannery gaveled us to order.  A special touch was the Iowa State Fair biggest boar, bull, and horse overlooking the 10th tee box in honor of our speaker.
Sherry Gupta spoke eloquently and asked us to inspire her.  She reflected on the many good things this club has accomplished such as teacher awards, fireman awards and scholarships for students.  In her words, Rotary has clout, principles, and the 4-way test. 
Kurt Johnson greeted visiting rotarians and guests. 
President Don reflected on the beginning of his term and what he hopes to accomplish.  As a ten year-old he went to lunch in town and noticed the Rotary emblem on a banner.  Don asked his father if the group had anything to do with motorcycles as Don was a gear head.  Many years later Don attended this club and has been a member since.
Randy Worth introduced our speaker today Gary Slater, CEO of the Iowa State Fair.  Gary came from the Missouri Fair and Pork Expo.  He has been CEO for 19 years at our Iowa State Fair.
Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair Rob Smith 2019-07-18 05:00:00Z 0

Bob Baur, Chief Global Economist

Posted by John Lewis
It was a glorious July 11, with the temps at about 80 degrees and a few clouds in the sky, the kind of summer day we like to remember, when we gathered at the Wakonda Club to join our new ‘Skipper’ Don Flannery for his maiden voyage on the good ship RCDM.  He welcomed us and asked Hal Chase to give us words of inspiration, which included some history and perspective on the Four-Way Test.  And after that, Hal led us in the Pledge to the flag and a recitation of the Four-Way Test, then we greeted those around us for a moment or two.  Randy Worth did the introductions, with no visiting Rotarians, but lots of guests of members or the speaker.  While he was at the lectern, Randy also told us about a couple of events the Wheels group is holding and promised more on those in coming meetings.  Kathy Coady shared with us a service opportunity, that of helping at Hope Ministries in serving breakfast on Aug. 5 or dinner on Aug. 7.  Hope Ministries serves several hundred meals every day of the year at the facility on 6th Avenue, providing a much-needed and appreciated service to the community at large and to those needing some extra assistance, especially.
Art Filean introduced our speaker for the day, Dr. Bob Baur, Chief Global Economist for Principal Financial, and while doing that, Art mentioned that he and Bob were recently discussing how many times Bob had spoken to our club.  Their best estimate is in the neighborhood of fifteen times and we know that program is always one of our most popular, for sure.  (Later, Bob said that the only downside to that record is that he running out of economist stories to share.)  Bob’s family has been farming in the Madison County area for multi-generations, as he was doing until he decided to go back to Iowa State and earn his PhD in Economics, after which he joined the now-Principal Financial, where he has been since.  As Art explained in his introduction, Bob’s main responsibility is to travel around the world figuring out what is happening in various places and how those events might affect the company’s opportunities and operations.
Bob Baur, Chief Global Economist John Lewis 2019-07-11 05:00:00Z 0

Annual Rotary Awards

We honored two exceptional Rotarians at our June 27th meeting who live by the Rotary "Service Above Self" motto.
They also exemplified this year's Rotary theme of 'Be the Inspiration."
The 2018-19  Roger T. Stetson Rotarian of the Year of the Award recipient -  Lynette Rasmussen.
This award is given to a member  of RCDM, who, over the recent past, has demonstrated adherence to the tents of Rotary's 4-way test in business and professional life, and in Rotary and civic activities has made exceptional contributions to our community and to our Club.    Lynette has been a member since October of 2013.   She was honored for her enthusiasm and tireless efforts for the past 2 years on the Rotary Youth Committee and for all she has done for our youth programs.
 The Cecil Bolsinger Lifetime Service Award recipient - John Tone.
This award is given to a member, who over a lifetime, has demonstrated adherence to the tenets of Rotary's 4-way test.   There is a minimum of 10 years membership  in Rotary, with significant achievements both in Rotary and in the local and regional community.  John was congratulated for his service of over 40 years with Rotary.  He has served as Club President and Assistant District Governor.    There have also been 5 generations of Tones  in Rotary.
Annual Rotary Awards Jean Shelton 2019-06-27 05:00:00Z 0

Police & Fire Awards

Posted by Jean Shelton
President Shawn welcomed all Rotarians and guests.  Pre-event music (string quartet)  was provided by recent high school graduates from Valley High School. 
The Police and Fire Honor guard presented the flag(s) followed by the pledge of allegiance. 
Officer and Firefighter of the Year:
Gloria Gray thanked the local fire and police chiefs - Fire Chief John Tekippe and police Chief Dana Winkert and their teams for their leadership and welcomed District Fire Chief Tom Patava to the podium to present the Fire Fighter of the Year award.
Chief Patava thanked the Rotary Club for their support and service.  He then introduced Dan Savick as the firefighter of the year.  Firefighter Savick is a 23-year veteran of the fire dept, trained in areas such as vehicle extraction and water rescue.  Officers describe him as a true asset to the water emergency team.  Dan is a community volunteer with over 10 years experience at the Blank Children’s Hospital fire safety house.  Because of his time, patience and passion - tens of thousands of children have received fire training.   Firefighter Savage expressed his excitement about being on a billboard.  He went on to thank his wife and children.  The partnership of fire and police is something he is proud of.  Get low get out stay out.  Firefighter Savick has directed his $500 donation to go to VIPS Louisville  (visually impaired preschool).   Firefighter Savick’s granddaughter attended this school.
Police & Fire Awards Jean Shelton 2019-06-27 05:00:00Z 0

Robin Greubel, K9Sensus

Posted by Hal Chase

President Shawn Mullen called the meeting to order a few minutes after noon and  called Dick Swanson to the podium to give the inspirational message which focused our attention on his recent visit to several National Parks in Alaska and his renewed and increased appreciation of them, their creation 100 years ago and John Muir’s eloquent rationale for their creation:  “Into the woods I go to lose my mind and find my soul,” because, “Everyone  needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in. Where Nature may heal  and give strength to the body and soul alike.”      

Past President DeAnn Thompson introduced  visiting Rotarians and guests which included 25 Mandela Fellows, young future leaders of their homelands in Africa, who were introduced as a group by club member, Lance Noe, of Drake U.

President Shawn then asked Bob Reid to introduce the day’s speaker:  Robin Greubel, CEO and founder of K9 Sensus in 2006 on her family farm south of Indianola near Norwood Corner. She shared that she was raised on the family farm and   earned a MA in regional/community planning at ISU.

Her focus in dog training is “the human end of the leash” regardless of the nature of the  training for the dog for rescue, explosives, narcotics, arson, HRD (human remains recovery) and human trafficking. She noted that dogs are used increasingly by our armed forces as the front line in search of the enemy resulting in record high fatalities   for the dogs at this time of increased demand for dogs from airport security to arson to the rising number of veterans who need service dogs.

Robin was asked about the best breeds and answered that she trains all breeds and that Labradors and golden retrievers are widely used. To the question of how long a dog works, she replied that it takes two years to train a dog which works til it is about 9.

When asked about cost, she answered that a “green” dog costs $3-3,500; a certified  dog-$10,000, and a service dog for a veteran-$25,000. Questioned about how handlers  handled the trauma of finding a corpse, she replied by talking with other handlers.

Her most important point: A dog should be worked every day.

 To contact Robin: address: 54254 150th Ave., Lucas, Iowa 50151.   Telephone: 515-233-1186. Website:

Robin Greubel, K9Sensus Hal Chase 2019-06-20 05:00:00Z 0

Christina Smith - CEO, Community Support Advocates

President Shawn handed the podium over to member Christina Smith today who came to share the incredible work she and her colleagues at Community Support Advocates are doing by uplifting the lives of others. Helping individuals and families connect and navigate the State of Iowa’s complex Medicare system is only a small part of what Community Support Advocates does. This dynamic organization partners with the people and families impacted by mental health disabilities and other challenges to foster growth and build resiliency within our community. In short, Community Support Advocates is helping people reach their potential.   
Christina focused her talk on a single and exciting Community Support Advocates (CSA) program, Art Services (Momentum). (Momentum) puts the transformative power of art to work building and expanding a community of people overcoming challenge. Even that description does not fully capture the power of this program. The (Momentum) art studio, located in Mainframe Studios, is a nonprofit workspace for artists of all disciplines. Here, artists have a safe space to create with supplies and mentorship provided for free. The workshops and other opportunities offered at (Momentum) help those recovering from brain injury or living with a mental health diagnosis to build confidence, exercise their minds, hone new skills, and gain new friends all while creating works of art. By partnering with local artists, the CSA (Momentum) program is generating a greater understanding of how best to help people overcome a myriad of issues.
Christina Smith established a vision to use art to help people find their way to a healthier, more productive life through art over fifteen years ago. Thanks to her tenacity, hard work, and ability to inspire others, Christina is bringing significant change to Central Iowa every day. By focusing on the individual, Christina recognizes everyone’s path is unique, but she helped us see we are better when we help each other route the way forward together. Rotarians were thrilled to have an opportunity to hear from one of our own on such a beautiful Spring day.
As our Rotary year comes to a close this month, Christina’s presentation stands as an excellent reminder of the wonderful diversity of things members are doing to make life better for others. Thanks to Christina and her colleagues at Community Support Advocates for putting the Four-Way Test to action.
See you next Thursday at Rotary!
Christina Smith - CEO, Community Support Advocates 2019-06-13 05:00:00Z 0

Pina Marrosu, RYE Student from Italy

Posted by John Lewis
   The Wakonda Club had been transformed from the site of a national golf tournament back into a great place for a meeting when President Shawn Mullen called us to order for our weekly meeting on this beautiful summer day.  He called on Lynette Rasmussen for some words of inspiration, which she offered, then she led us in the pledge to the flag and the Four-Way Test.  Mark Snell introduced our guests for the day and President Shawn reminded all those who might be interested in participating in the golf fellowship to let Rob Smith know.
   Lynette was called upon again to lead in our recognition of a couple of Rotary’s best youth programs.  She discussed the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) activity and introduced Elena Busick, Lexi Corwin, Nora King and Kiki Levy, who will be attending this year’s sessions at Grinnell College.  Those in attendance took the mike to introduce themselves and members of their families who were with them today.  Lynette also expressed very appropriate recognition and appreciation to Matt Busick, who has so ably led the Youth Exchange efforts of our club for the past several years.
   Moving on to the Youth Exchange program, she recognized the members of the committee and introduced the students who will be going to other countries this next year to represent our club there.  They are Nora King and Zach Halter.  As a separate but related part of her report, Lynette announced that all of the host families for this next year have already be confirmed, an accomplishment worth noting, for sure.
   For anyone who might question the impact and value of the various youth exchange programs, especially those of Rotary, our speaker today would overcome that doubt, we feel sure.  Pina Marrosu, who is finishing a year in Des Moines as the guest of our club and three different families, showed us all a wonderful example of the vigor of youth and the joy of international understanding and goodwill.  A fourth-year high school student from the island of Sardinia, in Italy, she spent this past year at Roosevelt High School, graduating in May.  She will have one year remaining when she gets home, since their system calls for five years of high school.  Utilizing an excellent slide presentation, she led us on a visual visit to her home country and the beauty of the island of Sardinia, with its rugged coasts and picturesque locales.  Following her comments, she took some questions, like how did she feel experiencing the study of U.S. history from the perspective of an American setting as against an Italian?  She acknowledged that there is a natural difference in those perspectives, but that it is a valuable way to learn.  As to what was her ‘biggest surprise’, she immediately said that it was the ease of making friends here.  She offered that, “Now I know what true friendship is.” 
   As to the future, she expects to attend college, likely majoring in some part of Economics.  And, was it difficult to move from one home to another while here?  She said it was not, and credited the hospitality and friendship among the host families as the major reason she saw for that.  A most meaningful answer came in her response as to what advice she might have for the outbound students regarding their upcoming visits. She counseled them to not let any individual problem or experience bother them, but to get on to the next event, calling on those around them---host families and friends---for support.  And, especially, to enjoy every day of it since it passes so quickly.  Her enthusiasm and positive attitude carried through in her comments about most everything, but a couple of areas in which we Iowans may have our work cut out for us is in selling her on how tasty corn dogs are (she’s not quite sold on them yet, to say the least) and our winter weather, (cold, freezing, snow, repeated).  On that one, how can we ever match a Sardinia?
   In closing our meeting, President Shawn led us in a few moments of quiet reflection in observance of this 75th anniversary of the WWII invasion of Europe, leading to the ending of that terrible four and one-half years of history.  Perhaps it was fitting to have such a vibrant and positive example of international goodwill and kindness as Pina to act as a counterpoint to some former times in which those elements were forgotten.  We thank Pina for being such a wonderful example of the coming leadership we can expect, wish all of our young delegates and exchange students well in their coming activities, and for the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of Rotary, here and around the world.
Pina Marrosu, RYE Student from Italy John Lewis 2019-06-06 05:00:00Z 0

Antoinette Stevens, Principal Financial Group

Posted by Graham Gillette
We were fortunate to have Antoinette Stevens as our speaker today. Ms. Stevens is a cybersecurity analyst for Principal Financial Group. She came to Des Moines after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2015 and, by every account, appears to have settled in well as an Iowan. She is active in her new community where she started a not-for-profit and found the time to be a professional dancer for the Iowa Barnstormers.
Stevens did not come to speak about her role at Principal, but to provide an overview of the threats small businesses face in a computer-driven marketplace. Even though small businesses are acutely at risk for losing customer records, intellectual property, credit card information, financial data, employee files, inventory, and vital information, few small businesses institute the safeguards necessary to protect their business, themselves, and their customers.
Stevens provided some frightening examples of what can happen to small businesses that fail to employ the defenses required to fend off a cyber intruder. She shared that the Better Business Bureau has reported that 65% of small businesses could not survive a computer network disruption lasting longer than ninety days. Stevens offered details regarding one common cyber-attack infecting small business networks called ransomware, a nasty virus that can lockdown infected devices until a business pays to have the malware removed or deactivated.
Stevens encouraged small businesses to establish a regular data backup plan that includes keeping duplicate computer files on a network that is separate from those used to operate the business. Such networks should be accessed only during the backup process and disconnected from those generally used during regular operations. Small businesses can hire a service to manage the backup service or invest in their own backup network.  
Stevens carefully and courteously took the time to answer many questions from the audience regarding such things as when to change passwords, what to do if you suspect a malicious virus has infected your device, and which smartphones are most secure. She reminded Rotarians to be cautious about responding to or clicking links in suspicious emails. She encouraged us to be careful about the information we share on computer devices and to verify the identity of those with whom we communicate before share any sensitive information.  Antoinette Stevens was another in a long line of excellent speakers.
Before signing off for the week, I want to take a moment to mention the forthcoming holiday weekend. Memorial Day is a time for us to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate price protecting the freedom we so richly enjoy as Americans. As you gather to spend time with family and friends this weekend, be sure to take a moment to pray for these heroes and the families who walked and continue to travel lonely roads in the wake of the loss of their loved ones. Our country continues to be great because these Americans made sometimes unfathomable sacrifices. God bless America. God bless those who gave their lives in the service of others and the families who lost someone. And, may God bless all those in service today.
Antoinette Stevens, Principal Financial Group Graham Gillette 2019-05-23 05:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member - Joe Benesh 2019-05-23 05:00:00Z 0

Rich Willis, Willis Automotive

Posted by Steven G. Jacobs
The Rotary Club of Des Moines meeting on May 16, 2019 was held at the Wakonda Golf Club with President Shawn Mullen presiding and also handling the invocation duties.  Kathy Coady introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.  Assistant District 6000 Governor Greg Kenyon from the WDM Club gave the RCDSM an award of recognition for the Polio Plus program.
Skeet Wootten introduced our speaker Rich Willis, owner of Willis Automotive.  Rich began his presentation by recognizing 60 year club member Charles Howard Betts Jr. as his first employer and mentor!
Rich began his career at Betts Cadillac in 1972 while finishing his course work at Simpson College.  Now Rich and his two sons Jason and Matt own and operate 7 premium dealerships among other automotive operations in the central Iowa area. 
The 7 premium new auto dealerships include: Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar, Volvo, Infiniti and Mini Cooper. A new off-road vehicle called Rebel is coming soon. Willis was also a dealer for Hummer until it went out of business. 
Manufacturers are now strong arming dealers and want facility upgrades every 10 years or less.  Every store at Willis has been upgraded and the original Mini store is ready for a new facelift.
Willis operates with 6 core values:
  1. Operate with honesty and integrity
  2. Demonstrate a can do attitude
  3. Exhibit professionalism
  4. Centered on faith, family and community
  5. They are enthusiastic and competitive
  6. They are always evolving and never satisfied
Willis Automotive has “a passion to provide the ultimate customer experience”.
The dealership employees live their core values and are active in the community including the Civic Center, United Way and over 100 other non-profits in the central Iowa area.
Rich Willis, Willis Automotive Steven G. Jacobs 2019-05-16 05:00:00Z 0
Proposed New Members in May 2019-05-15 05:00:00Z 0

Tiffany O'Donnell, Women Lead Change

Posted by Marcia Martin
President Shawn opened the meeting by mentioning he had only a few more weeks to have the honor of serving as Rotary Des Moines President.  “Then I’m done.”  APPLAUSE! (interpret that as you will.)
Shawn responded with aplomb, “I’ve sought applause before.  This is all I had to say to get it?”
Colleen Rogers-Messenger invoked author Gretchen Rubin’s blog which brought to her mind the Rotary Four Way Test.  Rubin asks about decision making:
1. Is this decision likely to strengthen my relationships with other people? 
2. Will this decision provide me with novelty and challenge? 
3. What is the opportunity cost of this decision? And finally, 
4. When I consider a particular course of action, do I feel energized or drained?
Mark Jacobs then introduced speaker Tiffany O’Donnell, CEO of Women Lead Change
( developing, advancing and promoting women and their organizations to impact the regional economy
Tiffany is a fellow Rotarian, a member of the Cedar Rapids Club.
Enjoying a very successful career as an accomplished news anchor, Tiffany was inspired by a conversation with Martha Stewart and segued (or in her words “re-careered”) into the leadership of Women Lead Change.
In Tiffany’s words, Women Lead Change “is workforce development through a gender lens” helping mid-level, high potential women prepare for, seek out, and secure positions of leadership in their fields.
Tiffany O'Donnell, Women Lead Change Marcia Martin 2019-05-09 05:00:00Z 0

Educator of The Year Award Ceremony

Posted by Graham Gillette
This Thursday brought one of our regularly scheduled and most inspiring programs of the year, the Educator of the Year Awards. Our club recognized five educators who are making a difference serving others. If ever you find yourself wondering why you belong to Rotary, all you need to do is consider how our club supports teachers through this effort and helps lift students by providing the scholarships which were announced during last week’s meeting. By recognizing educators and assisting students, our club helps us further our commitment to the Four Way Test. 
Alison Hoeman teaches English language learners at Phillips Traditional School. However, the title teacher does not adequately describe what Alison Hoeman does for the students, families, and the community she serves. Many of her students have relocated to the U.S. and are adjusting to an entirely new cultural environment, struggling to keep up with a rigorous curriculum, all while learning to speak English. Alison Hoeman views teaching as a team effort and has been recognized by her principal for an ability to coordinate a specialized approach to learning designed specifically for each student.
Educator of The Year Award Ceremony Graham Gillette 2019-04-25 05:00:00Z 0

Local Scholarship Winners

Posted by Gretchen Tegeler
President Shawn Mullen welcomed everyone to the April 18th Rotary meeting, noting the day’s introduction of Youth Scholarship winners makes it one of his favorites of the entire year.  “Happy Birthday” was sung to member Mark Snell.
John Tone asked for a moment of silence for Bill Stowe, Rotary member and Paul Harris fellow.  He then remembered former member Joy Corning and read the words of wisdom she had so often shared. It was a good reminder about what makes a life well-lived.
Visiting Rotarians and the many guests were welcomed.
Kathleen Jones and Warren Phillips chaired the Rotary Scholarships for 2019.  Kathleen showed a short video featuring last year’s Rotary winners Emma Hildebrand at Luther College and Jose Rodriguez from ISU, who described the difference the scholarship has made in their lives.  She reminded members the scholarships are funded from the tumbler proceeds and by the Rotary Foundation.  The committee works with school counselors to identify candidates who are exemplary in terms of grades, activities, desire to pursue higher education, but need help to make it happen.  Each recipient fro Des Moines’ six high schools is awarded an $8,000 scholarship.
Individual winners were announced by the sub-committee chair assigned to each high school.  All six noted the strong support they had received from counselors and administrators at their respective schools.
Local Scholarship Winners Gretchen Tegeler 2019-04-18 05:00:00Z 0

Chris Connolly, Iowa Events Center

Posted by Art Filean
President Shawn Mullen gavel the meeting to order and introduced member Michelle Book who offered some words of inspiration centered around Spring (it appears to be just around the corner).  Jim Slife introduced guests and visiting Rotarians, followed by a few comments about next Friday’s Earth Day Project where Rotarians gather at Water Works Park to spend a couple of hours cleaning up after Winter, in anticipation of Spring.  There is still time to sign up to help.  Shawn then followed with comments about an opportunity for Club members to help with the Drake Relays to be held later this month.  Members can sign up to help via a link to Drake,  in a separate story in this newsletter.
Rob Hedgepeth introduced Chris Connolly, General Manager of the lowa Events Center (a combination of Community Choice Convention Center, Hy-Vee Hall and Wells Fargo Arena).  Connolly is a longtime employee of Spectra Venue Management, which holds the management contract for the Events Center and 150 other venues in the U.S. and Canada, and has held the GM position in Des Moines since 2011.  During lunch he commented that he loves working in Des Moines and has turned down other opportunities elsewhere in favor of remaining in Des Moines.  We heard a well organized and detailed program about the Events Center………here are some of the significant points that were presented:
  • One of the reasons for the success of the Iowa Events Center is the strong working relationship between all the players in the mix…………..Polk County (owner of the facility), the Convention and Visitors Bureau (i.e. our own Greg Edwards), the City of Des Moines, the business community, Spectra and the community at large.
  • While many similar facilities in other cities operate at a loss and primarily serve to bring people to a specific geographical area the Iowa Events Center turns a profit which is paid to Polk County.
  • The new Hilton Hotel adjacent to the Events Center was a game changer in terms of bringing more events (particularly conventions), and people, to Des Moines.
Chris Connolly, Iowa Events Center Art Filean 2019-04-11 05:00:00Z 0

Art & Sue Wittmack... Eastern Loop

Posted by Marcia Martin
Art Filean introduced Sue and Art Wittmack, emphasizing Sue’s accomplishments and saying, “Art’s unemployed; she’s not.”   In a witty (of course) and informative presentation with lots of fun pictures, the Wittmacks took us around “America’s Great Loop,” a year-long, 7000-mile experience they shared together, starting from Milwaukee in September 2017.
 “We shared more than a boat ride,” Art opened, “we shared a journey.”  By the time the Wittmacks finished, we understood what that meant.
The contrasts in the harbors they visited from Bobby’s Fish Camp, in Alabama, to Atlantis in Nassau, were extraordinary.  The pictures of smaller harbors in the crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas, where they spent a month, were idyllic.
Art highlighted a few of the more unique locks they negotiated. One was a lift lock in Peterborough, Canada where they were “we went up 65’ in a pan of water.” Another, a marine railroad, where their boat was put in slings and transported 600’ over land “from water to water in 6 minutes.”  The third, a “flight of eight locks,” that stair stepped their boat up 80’ in downtown Ottawa.
What made it a journey were the moments they shared (and researched) as they traveled the waters of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and even WWII. “Where do you draw the line?”  After visiting Dauphin Island, near Mobile, ravaged by hurricanes three years in a row, they marveled at the “strength of Mother Nature and our sometimes-futile efforts to control her.”  They considered new developments in the Bahamas, wondering whether they were “a step forward, or back.”  There were others.
The trip lasted from September 13 to September allowing for quality time along the way and including several trips back home – a wedding, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., -- to share family events before heading back to the adventure.  Often stories about a family visit, or time spent with friends, were finished with, “Before we knew it, it was over.”
Art & Sue Wittmack... Eastern Loop Marcia Martin 2019-04-04 05:00:00Z 0

Mark Nook, President, University of Northern Iowa

Posted by Graham Gillette
On March 23, 1920, Woodrow Wilson was President, Congress was bickering about how to ratify the end of the first World War, the State of Washington was the 35th state to ratify what would become the Nineteenth Amendment assuring women the right to vote, and Neal Smith was born in Keokuk, Iowa. Today, in recognition of this leading member of our Club and distinguished statesman, Rotarians rose to applaud Congressman Neal Smith on his ninety-ninth birthday.
Rotarians were fortunate to have Mark Nook, member of the Cedar Rapids noon Rotary Club, as our speaker this week. Nook became the eleventh president of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) on February 1, 2017, having served previously as chancellor of Montana State University Billings. A native of Holstein, Iowa, Nook holds a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Southwest Minnesota State University, a master's degree in astrophysics from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Nook’s success at UNI is possible because he believes “Iowa got it right.” As he wrote in the November 24, 2018 edition of The Des Moines Register, “By building and maintaining only three public universities with significantly different missions, our higher education infrastructure allows Iowa to have great universities that serve students well without wasting student or taxpayer resources through unnecessary duplication of facilities or academic program offerings. A constant focus on finding cost efficiencies helps us redirect student and taxpayer resources to support our missions for the people businesses and industries of Iowa.”
Mark Nook, President, University of Northern Iowa Graham Gillette 2019-03-28 05:00:00Z 0

Dr. Doug Fiore, Mercy College of Health and Science

Posted by Hal Chase

President Shawn Mullen rang the bell at 12:15 and welcomed everyone to the first Rotary meeting in the spring of 2019 on a day filled with sun, warmth and no snow.    He then asked Anne Starr to present a moment of inspiration.

Anne focused our attention on March as Women’s History and cited the significant contributions of Sojourner Truth, the notable Abolitionist, Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Iowa’s own Carrie Chapman Catt and other Suffragettes who led the movement to guarantee the right to vote by the 19th Amendment and the confirmation of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court, but not the indomitable Ruth Badder Ginsburg, whose many victories for women’s rights arguing before that same Supreme Court led to her elevation to a seat on that court that she still occupies. Anne then led all in the pledge of allegiance and recitation of the 4 Way Test.

Chris Andersen then introduced the three guests after noting that there were no visiting Rotarians and Matt Romkey introduced his boss the new President of Mercy College of Health Sciences, Dr. Doug Fiore.

Taking the microphone in hand to avoid “feedback,” Dr. Fiore stepped off the podium and took his message into the audience citing facts for its 1899 founding by Sister of Mercy, Catherine McCaulley, an immigrant from southern Ireland to its independence in 1995. It offers 14 Certificate programs leading to Associate and Bachelor’s degrees with the goal of offering Master’s programs in the near future. He pointed with pride to its low student to instructor ratio of 9:1, its Year-round courses offerings, its “Lowest published price,” new Academic Center, new Chemistry building, Regional Outreach, Online and evening and weekend courses, recruiting focus on rural Iowa, Catherine’s Cabinet where students and others in the College can go for needed items from food to clothing and the 5,489 volunteer hours of their students in the past year. In sum, President Fiore’s high energy remarks made it clear that The Mercy College of Health Sciences, under his leadership was “Not going to be quiet any more.” Dr. Fiore then took questions from the audience that included one about the low pay of nurses, especially those with BSN degrees, counseling for drug and alcohol abuse, memory care, paramedic training and the success rate of its graduates on the Board tests for licensure.

President Mullen concluded the meeting with thanks to Dr. Fiore, mention of the book to be given to the Downtown School Library and the ringing of the bell. 

Dr. Doug Fiore, Mercy College of Health and Science Hal Chase 2019-03-21 05:00:00Z 0
Proposed New Members in March 2019-03-20 05:00:00Z 0

Jeff Kahrs - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Posted by Art Filean

President Shawn Mullen convened the meeting and introduced DeAnn Thompson who spoke movingly about victims of opioid addiction and led those in attendance in a moment of silence in their memory.  Mark Lyons followed with the introduction of guests.  Shawn then called attention to  table flyers ……… identifying a new book recently available on Amazon about one of our own, retired Congressman Neal Smith, and a second flyer about a multi-cultural dinner honoring Simon Estes coming up on April 18 at The River Center (info at  Program Chair Mark Jacobs spoke briefly about ways to identify potential Rotary programs (see separate story).  Shawn then introduced new member Vicky Foresman and walked the audience through her responses to Shawn’s “Five Facts” quiz.  As an aside, and although you had to be there to fully appreciate it, it now appears President Shawn’s “hug fetish” has now come out into the open.
Member Doug Dorner introduced keynote speaker Jeff Kahrs, Regional Director for Region Seven of the United States Office of Health and Human Services.  Region Seven includes the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas and Kahrs is based in Kansas City.  Mr. Kahrs, an attorney, has had a long career in government and appears by background and enthusiasm to be a good fit for his current post.  His primary topic for today was the national opioid crisis.
Jeff Kahrs - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Art Filean 2019-03-14 05:00:00Z 0
Jeff Kahrs - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Art Filean 2019-03-14 05:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member - Vicky Foresman 2019-03-13 05:00:00Z 0

Scott Johnson, FFA

Posted by John Lewis
Inclement weather (spell that ‘more snow’) caused our attendance to be a bit lower, but we still had an interested and active group on hand when we met Thursday at Wakonda Club for our weekly meeting.  President Shawn Mullen, just back from a few days in the FL sun, welcomed us and called on Colleen Messenger to lead us in our now-traditional moment of inspiration, flag pledge and recitation of the Four-Way Test.  Her selection for the inspiration was most appropriate, tying in directly to the topic of our speaker for the day.  Randy Worth reminded us of the outing of the Wheels affinity group on Saturday which likely will be a matter of past tense by the time readers see this.  But it sounds like a real winner and we wish all the attendees well.
   President Shawn invited new member Mike Carroll to the lectern and shared information about Mike, a past member of the Rotary a.m. club, but now re-joining Rotary.  Be sure to greet him when you next see him.  Mark Snell then introduced our speaker for the day, Scott Johnson, Executive Director of the Iowa FFA (Future Farmers of America) Association, where he has served since January of 2012.  A native of the Guttenberg, IA, area, he grew up on a farm and was an FFA member in high school, after which he attended and graduated from ISU with a major in Agricultural Education.  He taught Ag Education at Wall Lake View Auburn Community Schools in northwest Iowa for ten years, during which his students there achieved notable success, including multiple state champion events.  Since assuming his present duties, he has led the state organization through a time of considerable growth and accomplishments, including three National FFA officers in the last five years and two America Star Award winners.  While at the Wall Lake area schools, he earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Morningside College in Sioux City.
Scott Johnson, FFA John Lewis 2019-03-07 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member Mike Carroll 2019-03-07 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member - Mike Carroll 2019-03-07 06:00:00Z 0

Lori Chesser, Davis Brown Law Firm

Posted by Graham Gillette

On the gray last February day of what seems the endless winter of 2019, Rotarians were treated to not one, but two engaging speakers. The program committee delivered today, lifting the spirits of Rotarians and guests, sending them out into the frigid afternoon with much to consider and discuss. Congratulations to all involved coordinating today’s meeting on a job well done. 
First to the podium was Aridana Delgado-Ruiz, a recipient of one of our club’s college scholarships, a student at Iowa State University, and a once-undocumented immigrant. She reflected on how the hopes and dreams she had held as a high school student began to unravel on Election Day 2016. As a child brought to the United States by parents who immigrated illegally, Delgado-Ruiz started her studies at Iowa State under the federal policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA allows individuals such as Delgado-Ruiz to receive a two-year renewable period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. DACA was created by an executive branch memorandum announced by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012.
Delgado-Ruiz spoke of her concerns about being deported because the Trump Administration was moving to reverse DACA and other programs that provided a path to living in the US legally and citizenship for people who as children were brought into the country by parents and guardians.

Lori Chesser, Davis Brown Law Firm Graham Gillette 2019-02-28 06:00:00Z 0

Ed Mansfield, Iowa Supreme Court Justice

Posted by Eric Fogg
1998 vs. 2018   “The Changing Role of Our Court”
John Cortesio introduced our keynote speaker, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield. Married and the father of three, he graduated from Harvard and then Yale law school and was an attorney in private practice at the Belin firm for 13 years. In 2011 he was named to the Iowa Supreme Court. 
Comparing the Court’s workload in 2018 with 1998, Justice Mansfield noted that 20 years ago they heard 251 cases while this past year there were only 97 cases. For the most part, the justices get to select which cases they hear and that impacts the totals. In a number of categories – probate, insurance, and business law – there are fewer as these have moved to other legal venues.
The bulk of the Court’s work centers - as it always has - around issues of attorney discipline, personal injury, general criminal law, employment, and constitutional items. Those totals have remained relatively the same over the past 20 years. What has changed is the length of opinions, thanks in part to computers which allow more research. In addition, dissents have increased in size and number with 15 in 1998 versus 23 in 2018.
A good part of the justices’ time is taken up with actually running the Court. Justice Mansfield said the seven of them spend more time on non-judicial items, such as personnel, budgets, meeting with lawyers and legislators then ever before. As an example, he noted the effort to keep courthouses open and staffed, especially in rural area.
Thanks, Justice Mansfield, for giving us a “behind-the-scenes” look at this very important state entity and for your personal service!
The February 21 meeting at the Wakonda Country Club was opened by President Shawn Mullen. He also introduced our newest member, Andy Bretz. Janet Phipps Burkhead led us in the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and 4-Way Test while Ganesh Ganpat welcomed our guests.
Ed Mansfield, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Eric Fogg 2019-02-21 06:00:00Z 0

Connie Wimer, Business Publication Corporation

Posted by Susan E. Judkins Josten

Connie Wimer, Owner and Chair of Business Publications, was this week’s speaker. Jackie Norris introduced her as a “renaissance woman” who has made a tremendous impact on Des Moines with legacy projects such as WineFest, Women of Influence and Forty Under 40, while never forgetting her rural roots and tirelessly serving as both a champion of and role model for women.
Connie shared her “Lessons Learned Along the Way” of a multi-decade business career by highlighting the importance of:
  1. Common Sense – Growing up in Merrill, Iowa, Connie was fascinated by business and has earned a W-2 every year since she turned twelve and began working for the local drug store (she began applying at age 9!) After a year at Morningside College, she moved to Des Moines to begin a legal secretary career at the State Capitol. She became a wife and mother, and by the mid-1970’s realized she wanted to earn money to support her three daughters’ educations. Turning away from businesses that sounded “fun” to focus on people she knew who would buy her services (lawyers, bankers, realtors) she settled on the title and abstracting business. She used common sense to figure out how to become efficient (computerization) earn business (using efficiency to close deals sooner, realtors knew they’d be paid sooner so transferred their business) and expand into surrounding counties, growing from the smallest to largest area title firm in eighteen months.
  2. Learning From Mistakes – Having borrowed $75k at 9% interest from a friend to buy her first business with a $50k down payment on a twenty-year contract, Connie decided to use the same approach in acquiring a legal paper. 1.5 years later, she was given five days’ notice that judges had decided they no longer needed the paper – and she still owed 18.5 years’ worth of payments! She recognized the need for business news, so decided to get into the publishing business. Luckily, the title business was profitable and could support this transition period. When she applied for membership in a national business publication association, she was turned down when the three copies of her newspaper submitted with the application were rejected for not meeting standards. She sought advice on improvements, became a member six months later, and four years later was the first female president of the association. “As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them, there’s no need for shame.”
Connie Wimer, Business Publication Corporation Susan E. Judkins Josten 2019-02-14 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- Sue Woody 2019-01-31 06:00:00Z 0

Gretchen Tegeler, Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa

Posted by Graham Gillette
We were fortunate to have our fellow Rotarian Gretchen Tegeler speak this week. Tegeler holds an undergraduate degree in political science and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa. She was Director of the Iowa Department of Management from 1990 – 1998, and also served as Governor Terry Branstad’s Chief of Staff. Before joining the Taxpayers Association, Tegeler was vice president for Iowa at the American Cancer Society. She currently serves on the West Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees, the state School Budget Review Committee, and the Board of Directors of EMC Insurance Group, Inc.
Rotarian Tegeler began her presentation by acknowledging she regularly relies on Rotary’s Four-Way Test to guide her in her role as president of the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa (TACI). TACI provides oversight to assure tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly in Central Iowa. And, this is no small task. Central Iowa is home to no fewer than 127 taxing government entities; including 44 cities, 28 school districts, and 55 other taxing authorities. These government entities collect and spend nearly $4 billion annually, a sum that is equal to one-half of the State of Iowa’s budget. TACI serves the community by ensuring fairness, truth, and beneficial results – this is right in line with the Rotary credo. 
Gretchen Tegeler, Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa Graham Gillette 2019-01-31 06:00:00Z 0
President Shawn's Rotary Roundabout: Episode 33 Shawn E. Mullen 2019-01-29 06:00:00Z 0

Dr. Yogesh Shah, Broadlawns

Posted by John Schmidt
President Shawn Mullen opened the meeting at 12:11 p.m.  He yielded the microphone to Claudia Schabel, who provided inspiration by playing a recording of a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The speech included some of his most famous words, including “how long? Not long.”  Dr. King also stated that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.  Ms. Schabel then led the group in the pledge of allegiance and the Four-Way Test.
Brook Smith introduced a large number of guests.  President Mullen then asked Brandy Rieks, the new executive assistant for the Club, to stand and be recognized.
John Tone introduced the speaker, Dr. Yogesh Shah.  Dr. Shah is the Director of Palliative Care at Broadlawns Medical Center.  He received his medical degree from Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College in Mumbai and his master’s degree in public health from Des Moines University.  Dr. Shah participated in the Mercy/Mayo Family Medicine Residency Program in Des Moines and the Geriatric Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  He is board certified in family medicine, geriatrics, hospice and palliative care.  Dr. Shah received a Fulbright grant to establish a palliative care program in Kigali, Rwanda.  He was recognized by the Iowa International Center as a recipient of the Passport to Prosperity award.  Dr. Shah and his wife, Deval, have two children and live in Clive.
Dr. Shah gave an outstanding presentation entitled “Dementia – How to Minimize the Risk.”  He began by emphasizing that dementia is not a normal part of aging.  Unfortunately, the changes in the brain that result in dementia generally begin 15 to 20 years before dementia is diagnosed.  He explained some degree of forgetfulness is normal.  For example, forgetting where you parked your car in a parking lot would be normal; forgetting that you drove your car to the Rotary meeting would not be normal. 
Dr. Yogesh Shah, Broadlawns John Schmidt 2019-01-24 06:00:00Z 0

Robert Warren, Hoyt Sherman Place

Posted by Rob Smith
Shawn Mullen gaveled us to order at 12:10 on a bright Thursday afternoon.  The lighter colored carpet and new chairs made the room glow much brighter than before.  Or maybe it was just Shawn!
The invocating was completed by Karter Smith.  Karter reflected on “conditional optimism” which is taking action with others to achieve a common goal.  There are two types of optimism; one where you wait for good things to happen like a child, and two where you go out and take action.
Doug Dorner welcomed six guests.
Unfortunately, it was Myrna Johnson’s birthday and she was present.  Therefore, president Shawn led us in the “Birthday Song” in the key of A sharp.
Mark Jacobs, as eloquently as any retired electrical power executive could, introduced our speaker today.  In fact, Mark wanted you to know he thought the intro was the best of 2019 so far.  Mark related he experienced the stage of Hoyt Sherman personally at age 4 during a tumbling extravaganza.
Robert Warren is the Executive Director of Hoyt Sherman Place.  The facility of Hoyt Sherman is named after a past postmaster of Des Moines who later became president of an insurance company as well as many other roles in the community.  His family was famous as serving under Lincoln.  His family also was part of the “Sherman Anti-Trust Act”.
Hoyt Sherman gave his mansion on Woodland Avenue to the Women’s Club in 1923 with the condition the building had to serve the community.  A dwindling membership of the Women’s Club in 1995 caused a transfer of the facility to Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation to run the building.
Robert Warren, Hoyt Sherman Place Rob Smith 2019-01-17 06:00:00Z 0

Holiday Party

Posted by John Lewis
   The skies were grey with a bit of moisture, but no snow or ice, and the atmosphere inside the gaily-decked Wakonda Club was warm and friendly as we gathered for our annual Rotary Holiday Luncheon.  The place was packed, as the saying goes, with Rotarians, their spouses, friends and others on hand for a very good buffet, with eggnog ahead of time for those who chose to partake.  At the right time, President Shawn Mullen rang the bell, got our attention, and asked Matt Mardis-LeCroy to offer a few words of inspiration, which he very thoughtfully did, and followed up with the pledge to the flag, the Four Way Test, then invited us to greet one another, which we did with both enthusiasm and perseverance.  President Shawn got us back under control and moved on to one of the highlights of the Rotary year, recognizing those with various numbers of years of perfect attendance.  Rees Jones tops this list with 43 years!    President Shawn then recognized those who have become Paul Harris Fellows this year and also those who have added to the number of those fellowships they have underwritten.
   President Shawn then asked President-elect Don Flannery to momentarily preside while he stepped away, for reasons we saw later, and Don very ably reminded us of the annual Polio Night at the Wolves hockey game on Saturday, Feb. 2 and our need to sign up to either attend or help someone else do so, with the proceeds going to the RI Foundation’s Polio eradication efforts.  We’re close to success in that regard but still need to pursue it to completion, when polio is no more.  President-elect Don also announced an event that sounds like a real winner, the annual February Fling, hosted by his wife and him on Friday, Feb. 8.  There will be more information to come, but it looks like a fun evening with really good entertainment and lots of Rotary fellowship.  Moving on, Don asked John Cortesio to introduce our program for the day. In his introduction, John told us about the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, led into the room by our own President Shawn Mullen, a long-time member.  Its twenty-some singers, under the direction of Tim McMillin, certainly lived up to their excellent reputation in Des Moines and central Iowa, favoring us with a very special concert of Christmas-oriented music, ranging from sacred music of the past several centuries to closing with a couple of more light-hearted numbers that we all know, Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls.  A wonderful presentation which we recognized with a standing ovation when completed.
   It was another most enjoyable Rotary Holiday Party, to which the Vocal Arts Ensemble added so much, and we truly appreciate Tim McMillin and all of its members sharing their talents and taking the time to come be with us.
Holiday Party John Lewis 2018-12-20 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- Matt Hill 2018-12-13 06:00:00Z 0

Chris Nelson, Kemin Industries

Posted by Kurt Johnson
The meeting was called to order by President Shawn Mullen.  Sherry Gupta offered the inspirational invocation and then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-Way Test.  Dan Haynes introduced the many guests and the visiting Rotarians.
Ed Arnold from the Rotary Club of Northwest Des Moines and Kyle Davey of the Iowa Wolves basketball team reminded the Club that Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 is Rotary Night at the Iowa Wolves game.  Half of the discounted $20 tickets go to the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio from the Earth.  With the Gates Foundation double match, if each member bought two tickets, it would raise $16,000 to fight polio.

President Shawn introduced new member Matt Hill.  Please see the separate story about Matt.
Kevin Kacere introduced today’s keynote speaker: Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin Industries in Des Moines.  Kemin was founded by Chris’ father in 1961 and has 2,800 employees worldwide.  They have manufacturing plants in nine countries and have business operations 90 countries.  The company holds more than 300 patents.
Chris told us about the wide variety of molecules that Kemin produces that are used in animal food, pet food, human food, human nutritional supplements, pest control and textile products.  50% of their revenues come from the animal food additives.  Animal products include LysiGEM: encapsulated lysine that improves feed efficiency; “palatants” that improve the flavor of pet food, and BactoCEASE to prevent listeria bacteria from growing.  One product for human use is Neumentix, which double blind studies have shown to improve working memory (short term memory) and is sold to many companies for use in their nutritional supplements.  In the textile market, Kemin produces cellulase which is used as a whitener for blue jeans to give them a “worn” look.  42% of Kemins molecules come from plants. 
Finally, Chris talked about Kemin’s newest venture: MedPharm Iowa, a subsidiary that produces and sells products derived from the marijuana plant.  They grow, harvest and process the plants at their headquarters in Des Moines.  Kemin was the first company to be licensed by the state of Iowa to grow, process and sell marijuana derived products; and the first to open retail stores in the state. They use two varieties of marijuana plants: one for its high level of THC – the psycho active molecule, and the other for its high level of CBD – the non-psycho-active molecule.  After they extract the molecules, they combine them as needed to make oils, creams, and tinctures.  Iowa law requires that a physician certify that the patient has one of only nine medical conditions in order to legally buy the products.  Conditions include terminal illness, seizures, untreatable pain, and others, usually involving the need for pain relief.
Kemin is a company that Des Moines and Iowa can be proud of.  Thanks to Chris Nelson for his presentation.
Chris Nelson, Kemin Industries Kurt Johnson 2018-12-13 06:00:00Z 0
President Shawn's Rotary Roundabout: Episode 22 Shawn E. Mullen 2018-12-11 06:00:00Z 0

Annual Meeting & Community Grant Award

Posted by Gretchen Tegeler
December 6th’s Rotary meeting was convened by President Shawn Mullen, who announced the meeting’s agenda would include both the Rotary Annual Meeting and the Community Grant Award.
Dick Swanson provided the inspiration, pledge of allegiance, and the four-way test.  He reviewed some highlights from the George H.W. Bush services, and another item that had not been mentioned possibly because it involved things that President 41 did NOT say.  In his habit of calling world leaders, he would typically ask, “What is going on in your world?” and “What is important to you?”  And then he would listen.  Dick suggested these are good questions for all of us to ask, and then to listen.
Randy Worth introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.
Past President Jamie Boersma was then introduced to chair the annual meeting.  Jamie offered the following slate of officers for 2019-2020, who were approved in a voice vote:
President: Don Flannery
President-Elect: Doug Saltsgaver
Vice President: Catherine Staub
Secretary/Treasurer: Matt Busick
Sargent at Arms: Becky Greenwald
Also the following directors were proposed and approved in a voice vote:
Ashley Bohnenkamp
Katie Cownie
Harvey Freese
Jamie thanked Chuck Kuba, Denise Essman and Leslie Schaffer for their service as directors.
Janet Phipps Burkhead, Rotary Foundation president was introduced for a report on the Foundation.  She reported the Foundation balance is $2.2 million, reflecting the success of the Double Our Impact campaign. 
Janet introduced DeAnn Thompson, two-year Grants Committee Chair.  DeAnn reviewed what’s changed, what hasn’t changed, and what’s going to change.
One thing that’s changed is the amount available is $40,000, rather than $25,000.  The amount is five percent of the average of the past 3 years’ foundation balance, which of course increased significantly in the last year.  Also, with the goal being to make a transformational difference, the funds will be dedicated to just one project.
The process of evaluating applications has not changed.  There were 12 applications, which the committee reduced down to the top four based on a 12-point evaluation.  Then the final project was selected.
There are some changes coming in the process.  Applications will be due earlier -- by Labor Day – which will allow time for in-person interviews of the top two to three applicants.
Deann was excited to announce the selection for the $40,000 2018-2019 grant award: Courage League Sports.  She introduced Melissa Clarke-Wharff, who founded the organization five years ago upon recognizing the need for special kids like her son Jack to be able to play like anybody else.  The program now serves 28,000 kids with cognitive, physical or emotional needs, as well as 25,000 adults. 
Melissa showed pictures of some of the activities offered by the Courage League Sports.  It has expanded beyond sports (son Jack’s favorite) to include music, games, and fitness activities.  Programming is grouped according to age, and includes individuals from age 2 to 82!  The Courage League Sports partners with many others community organizations such as schools, group homes, and ChildServe.
Melissa noted that 60 percent of the kids are on the autism spectrum, and they need space and equipment.  The Rotary gift will allow for the creation of the Rotary Club of Des Moines Sensory Play Room.
Because the services are so intensive – serving 1,000 kids and 700 adults per week – the Courage League needs lots of volunteers.  Needed are 4-8 volunteers each night, and 20-25 on Saturdays.  It’s a great way for Rotary volunteers to get involved.
The check was presented and Melissa thanked the Rotary Club for a gift that will truly make a transformational difference.
Dick Reasons was introduced to provide an update on the “Double Our Impact” campaign.  He noted that $532,000 has been collected against a $625,000 goal.  Those who have given were asked to stand, and were applauded.  Dick reminded everyone that our giving creates ever more opportunities for involvement, and the end of the year always is a great time to think about giving or giving more to Rotary.   He thanked Rotary members who have been involved in the campaign, including DeAnn Thompson and committee members Tim Lillwitz, Dave Kenworthy, and Joyce Chapman.
President Mullen noted the December 13th meeting will be Chris Nelson from Kemin Industries, and he reminded us about the holiday luncheon on Dec. 20th.  There will be no meeting on the 27th, and the first meeting of the new year will be January 10th, these being the off-site fellowship meetings.
The meeting was adjourned early, giving members and opportunity to visit with fellow Rotarians.
Annual Meeting & Community Grant Award Gretchen Tegeler 2018-12-06 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- Sherry Gupta 2018-11-29 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- Zach Eubank 2018-11-29 06:00:00Z 0

Tom Beaumont, Associated Press 

Posted by Graham Gillette
The sun was shining, and the temperature was rising as Rotarians and guests entered the Wakonda Club for the last meeting before Thanksgiving.

Our speaker today was Tom Beaumont, national political reporter for the Associated Press. Beaumont covers national politics from the Midwest, with a focus on U.S. Senate races in battleground states. In 2016 he covered former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Beaumont is based in Des Moines, joining the AP in 2011 after working as The Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter.
Mr. Beaumont served up many thoughtful morsels for consideration. He began by providing a concise and fascinating history of the Associated Press. He described the organization as the largest, farthest reaching, and oldest news organization in the world. The AP employs 3,200 people in over 100 countries around the world. The AP is a subscription-based wire service providing print, text, and photos. Interestingly, 80% of the AP’s revenues come from non-newspaper sources. Online services such as Google and Yahoo News are subscribers as is the U.S. Department of Defense. He suggested his audience download the AP app as he finds it user-friendly and a good source of news, political and otherwise.

Mr. Beaumont briefly touched on the current political environment created by those who promote the idea that many in the media are purveyors of “fake news.” He believes the AP has remained above this controversy, in part, because the AP does not have an editorial division and because it is seen as a respected and impartial reporter of news.

The recent mid-term elections in Iowa and around the country were the next topic Mr. Beaumont addressed. He cited statistics to suggest the flip of two Iowa congressional seats from Republican to Democrat mirror what was seen in other districts across the country, mainly that suburban voters were walking away from the Republican Party. He suggested Governor Reynolds winning numbers indicate many Republican voters in the fourth congressional district skipped voting for Rep. Steve King but voted in the governor’s race.

Concerning the results nationally, Mr. Beaumont indicated that vote totals affirmed that many of Donald Trump’s core supporters remain, but that the size of this group may be contracting. He mentioned that the Republican Party did not see gains in states where Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but the Democrats saw gains in some Trump states. He offered some insight about the states he is watching as the country heads into the 2020 presidential election. Mainly, that Arizona, which elected its first Democratic senator in many years, and Georgia, which has a still-to-be-called gubernatorial race, and Nevada are states that could be trending more Democratic.
Mr. Beaumont concluded after fielding a wide range of interesting questions from a very appreciative crowd.
Now, we turn to Thanksgiving. On this most American, no, human of holidays, I wish you and your families all the best of the season. I hope you will have the opportunity to reflect on all for which you are thankful and, in doing so, you will think about all that warmed your heart this year; the people who inspired you by lifting others higher and, in the process, made us all better, the blessings big and small that gave you the desire, strength, and stamina to play a role in something larger than taking care of self. May we all try harder to carry and spread the hopeful light of Thanksgiving into the days and months ahead. Like you, I am thankful for so many things, but I am most thankful for having the opportunity to share life with family and friends in this magnificent time.
Tom Beaumont, Associated Press Graham Gillette 2018-11-15 06:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- Dick Swanson 2018-11-15 06:00:00Z 0

Michael Gartner, IA Cubs Owner

Posted by John Lewis
Granted, summer has gone and appears to have taken too much of fall with it, but the winds of the last few days had died down, the temps were getting a bit better, and the fellowship was excellent when we gathered at the Wakonda Club for our weekly meeting.  After our typically good lunch, President Shawn Mullen brought us to order and called on Susan Scharnberg to share some words of inspiration.  Given that our speaker for the day was the major owner of the I-Cubs, Susan chose baseball as a topic for her comments, quoting from a number of film actors who in their roles portrayed famous persons from that sport.  She also led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Four-Way Test.  Brook Smith then complimented us on the impressive results of our efforts to provide for our fellow citizens, (our commitment being to those who have children at GW Carver & Edmunds Schools) who may need some help in ensuring that they and their families have a nice Thanksgiving meal.  Brook also reminded us that we still have a couple of weeks to add to our total funds for that purpose and encouraged us all to help. President Shawn introduced two new members, Travis McCurnin and Karter Smith, whose information is provided elsewhere in today’s report.
   Art Filean introduced our speaker of the day, Michael Gartner, including reference to their many years of acquaintanceship, going back to the 7th grade in Des Moines schools, then cited some other salient facts about Michael’s education and vocational adventures in the following years.  Michael is a Des Moines product, through and through, who has served in an array of important positions and leadership roles in journalism, business and government.  But through it all, he has had the ability to see life in a clear perspective and recognize the importance of each day and of the relationships with those around him.  He told us that turning eighty years old recently has caused a certain reflection on that fact and as a result he wanted to share some thoughts on growing up when and where he did and about some of the things that have happened along the way since then. As a matter of historical perspective, he shared that by comparison, that makes him ten years younger than Mickey Mouse and forty-five years older than Mozart was when he died.  World War II began just before he entered primary school so at that impressionable age he was tempered by many of the restrictions and happenings of that time.    He noted many of the differences in lifestyles and social relationships between then and now, including lack of conveniences and services we take for granted today.  He once asked his father why they didn’t have a car, to which his father replied, “It’s better to walk through life and enjoy it than to drive through life and miss it.”  Well, there was that questioning side comment from his mother about the horse that had gotten run into, but that’s another story for another time. After finishing at Roosevelt High, it was on to Carlton College, after which he joined the Wall Street Journal as a copy editor in New York.  One of several good advice quotes he shared with us during his presentation came from that experience, when he was advised by a senior officer at the WSJ that, “The easiest thing for a reader to do is to stop reading.”  In 1974, following several years at The Journal, where after beginning as a copy editor he had risen to a senior editor position, he was approached about returning to Des Moines to take the position of Executive Editor, and later Editor and President of the Register and Tribune. 
Michael Gartner, IA Cubs Owner John Lewis 2018-11-08 06:00:00Z 0

Mark Nelson, Freedom for Youth

Posted by Rob Smith
Shawn Mullen, extinguished (he works in fire suppression) president, chimed the members to order at 12:10pm on a sunny November day.  The scribe was reminded that summer is over as the Wakonda pool is partially filled with green water and many oak leaves.
Jessica provided words of wisdom which reflected on the tragedy at the Jewish synagogue.  Let us go forth with empathy. 
The pledge of allegiance and four-way test followed.
Bob Vedral introduced guests and visiting Rotarians:
Brook Smith highlighted this year’s effort to provide food for families to students at Carver and Edmonds Elementary schools.  800 students are enrolled at the two schools.  All students participate in free breakfast and lunch program.  Certainly, there is a need to support this great effort.
Shawn introduced new member John Schmidt with the customary “five things you need to know about a new member”. 
  1. On an evening you will find him reading the New York Times.
  2. Loved to travel to Australia.
  3. Best advice – be kind.
  4. Obtained black belt at age 43.
  5. Would tell friends that Rotary is a global organization.
The Mark of Rotary (Mark Jacobs) then introduced our guest speaker Mark Nelson.  Mark is director and founder of “Freedom for Youth Ministries”.
Mark is a native of Red Oak, Iowa and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in accounting from Iowa State University.  He worked for three years as a Certified Public Accountant in Des Moines and 10 years with an insurance company serving as an Assistant Vice President of Marketing.
After many years as an accountant, Mark asked the tough question “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  His prayers were answered, and he quit his job the next day.  His wife applied for a position at their children’s elementary school and got the job.  Health care for the family was taken care of.
For a period of five years he worked for Good Samaritan Urban Ministries out of Los Angeles and started “Freedom for Youth Ministries” in 2003.
Mark wanted to better connect with homeless youth.  He ventured to meet with youth and headed off to find youth living under the bridges of Des Moines.
He especially connected with a young girl and did not talk at first.  After several visits she accepted a ride from Mark and said “thank you” for the ride. 
Mark Nelson, Freedom for Youth Rob Smith 2018-11-01 05:00:00Z 0
Welcome New Member- John Schmidt 2018-11-01 05:00:00Z 0

Teresa Bomhoff, NAMI

Posted by Art Filean on Oct 25, 2018
President Shawn Mullen called the meeting to order and asked Susan Sharnberg to join him at the podium and offer a few “words of inspiration” and also lead those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Rotary Four Way Test.  Brook Smith introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.  Shawn then called attention to table flyers highlighting Project Vote Smart and the upcoming Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble musical program.  Finally, Shawn introduced new member Jay Sehgal using Shawn’s innovative five question process of getting to the heart of new members………………one of those things where you have to be there to get the full impact of the process.
Denise Essman introduced keynote speaker Teresa Bomhoff, a community volunteer with broad experience in many areas but predominately in the area of mental health where she has served as past president and board member of NAMI (“National Alliance on Mental Illness”) of Greater Des Moines.  Her relationship with that organization spans over 15 years and she currently volunteers her time educating anyone who will listen about the challenges and opportunities in the mental health area on a national, state and local basis.  Much of her experience stems from being the parent of two adults with schizophrenia.
We learned the prevalence of mental illness is 1 in 5 (i.e. 20% of the population), whether talking about children or adults.  Narrowing the focus to only people with a severe mental illness brings the number down to 4.2%..............translating this to Iowa results in a count of 132,000 people.  In Iowa we have fewer than 300 trained mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists and other professionals), making Iowa 47th in the nation in psychiatrists, 46th in psychologists and 45th in overall mental health professionals.  State facilities for mental health treatment have become fewer and smaller………….in 1955 Iowa had four state mental health facilities with 5300 beds, this year Iowa is down to two facilities with 96 beds ranking us 50th in the nation in terms of mental health beds.  Comparing that to prisons, Iowa now has nine prisons, over 8300 inmates and another 30,000 people in community correction facilities.
Teresa Bomhoff, NAMI Art Filean 2018-10-25 05:00:00Z 0

IA Senator Rita Hart

Posted by Hal Chase
Rita Hart was introduced by Becky Greenwald as a two term state senator representing Clinton Co. and some of rural north Scott Co. whose colleagues elected her their assistant minority leader, a co-owner of a family farm near Wheatland, Iowa which survived the Farm Crisis of the 80s, mother of five children and a 20 year teacher who was raised on a farm with 8 siblings who truly knows and represents the best of rural Iowa and was selected by Fred Hubbell for exactly that reason. She began her higher education at Northern Iowa Community College, and earned her bachelor’s degree at UNI and her Master’s at the U. of Iowa.
She began her remarks by sincerely thanking the Des Moines Rotary Club for the opportunity to present the Hubbell-Hart gubernatorial campaign and noted that the essence of their campaign had much in common with the professional, progressive, collaborative and fiscally sound way that Rotary operates. She noted that growing up in a home with a strong Democratic father and equally strong Republican mother as well as eight siblings schooled her to be aware of the larger world, thoughtful and most of all respectful of differing perspectives, because as she noted, following the meals, they all needed to collaborate to complete their necessary chores and responsibilities to make their mutual livelihood successful. The unspoken, underlying theme throughout her remarks was her frequent use of “we,” “us,” “our” and “all Iowans.” She quoted, “Listen first to understand.” “Then speak to find common ground.”
IA Senator Rita Hart Hal Chase 2018-10-18 05:00:00Z 0

Kellie Markey, Dorothy's House

Posted by Graham Gillette

If you are like me, every Rotary meeting is a reminder of why I belong to this club, why we pledge ourselves to the Four Way Test. This week was no different.

The annual Rotary Coat Drive is underway, and the cold wind that howled into Central Iowa last night emphasized why this effort is so vital in our community. If you haven’t made your pledge to this drive, please do so today.

We were fortunate to have Kellie Markey as a presenter. She is the founder and executive director of Dorothy’s House (, a safe place for the practice of life for those teen and youth girls whose lives have been interrupted by the sex trafficking industry.

Wait. I know you want to move onto more pleasant things. Stay with me. I realize the thought of sex trafficking is icky and something we may want to convince ourselves does not happen here. But, Ms. Markey’s message and the mission of Dorothy’s House is one of optimism and, more important, something we all need to take a moment to hear. Our community needs Dorothy’s House, and you will be glad you listened to this.

Ms. Markey began by dispelling a few myths about sex trafficking. Most of the girls and boys – the ratio of those swept up into this dark trade is about 82% girls and 18% boys – are not abducted by men in “white creeper vans,” nor do they leave behind a crime scene that is dusted for fingerprints by a TV-like CSI crew. A person posing as a friend usually lures the victims of sex trafficking. This 'friend' preys upon the victim’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities, listening, being kind, and finding the information those who sell these children to sexual predators use to take advantage of the victim. The road into the sex trade is paved by manipulators who operate in broad daylight, slowly leading these children into things unspeakable.

Dorothy’s House has attempted to help over forty girls regain their footing and restart their lives over the last three years. These young women walked among us, went to our area high schools, and if they had experienced a different turn of events, could have been living happy, and productive lives. Ms. Markey’s team at Dorothy’s House has developed a comprehensive residency program to get these women back-on-track. Both the mental and physical wellbeing of the women are addressed, so they can gain the skills they need to move on with their lives.


Kellie Markey, Dorothy's House Graham Gillette 2018-10-11 05:00:00Z 0

The Goal: Raise Everyone Up

Posted by Eric Fogg
Valuing our Culturally-Rich Diversity
As the world grows smaller, we all need to learn to get along better. In a nutshell, that’s the mission of CultureALL, “Iowa’s premiere provider of multi-cultural education programs.”  Sherry Gupta, Executive Director (and a new RCDM member), was the guest speaker at the October 4 meeting.
For a number of years Sherry worked handling global diversity issues for Principal Financial Group. A chance encounter with a neighbor led to her getting involved with CultureALL. Generally speaking, she feels diversity training has been ineffective and as a society, we need to practice coming together and listening to each other.
Iowa needs to grow its workforce, which means many new employees will have to come from outside the State. In turn, diversity will help spur economic growth. CultureALL works with companies as well as schools and youth groups.
For most of us, the first reaction is denial of those who are different that we are. Educators see this trend as early as Kindergarten. We need to learn to accept differences in people, respect others, and make decisions using multiple viewpoints, Sherry said. In times of stress, she warned that we can revert back to previous behaviors.
One key way to change minds is through personal interaction. CultureALL uses cultural ambassadors from various countries to carry this message. Their goal is simple: Raise everyone up! Last year the organization interacted with 15 school districts at 75 different locations and reached over 30,000 students.
Thanks, Sherry, for giving us some great “food for thought” over lunch and welcome to the Club!
The meeting was opened by President Shawn Mullen at the Wakonda Country Club. Kavi Chawla led us in the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and 4-Way Test while John Cortesio welcomed our guests.
The Goal: Raise Everyone Up Eric Fogg 2018-10-08 05:00:00Z 0

Reynolds Cramer,  Fareway

Posted by Art Filean
Club president Shawn Mullen called the meeting to order and introduced Gary Hoff who offered a few inspirational comments and then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Rotary Four Way Test.  Doing double duty, Gary also introduced one visiting Rotarian and several guests of members.  In recognition of the fact today was member Gloria Gray’s birthday (which one was not disclosed) president Shawn led the group in singing Happy Birthday.  Shawn also called attention to two table flyers:  one from member Chris Andersen announcing an annual Fall event sponsored by the Des Moines Community Playhouse, Hollywood Halloween, and a second from Christina Smith of Community Support Advocates announcing MOMENTUM, Works of Growth and Recovery to be held at Hoyt Sherman Place in October.
Chris Andersen then introduced the keynote speaker, Reynolds Cramer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fareway Stores, a regional grocery store chain headquartered in Boone, Iowa with 123 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.  Mr. Cramer has a 34 year history with Fareway, having started at age 16 while still in school. 
Mr. Cramer gave an enthusiastic and well organized presentation about Fareway stores, following up with a question and answer session.  Throughout the presentation he made the following points:
Reynolds Cramer, Fareway Art Filean 2018-10-02 05:00:00Z 0
President Shawn's Rotary Roundabout: Episode 11 Shawn E. Mullen 2018-09-25 05:00:00Z 0

President Mark Putnam, Central College

Posted by Hal Chase

President Shawn Mullen called the meeting to order a few minutes after noon and introduced Colleen Rogers Messenger (Central College alumnus) to provide the inspirational message which quoted The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from a speech that he had given at Central College in 1967 that included the famous phrase about the length of the moral arch of the universe and his faith that it bent towards justice for all. (Note that RCDM member and Central College graduate Will Hoekman was attending Central College at that time and heard and met  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)  President Shawn called former president Skeet Wooten to the podium to recognize visiting Rotarians and guests.

Next, President Shawn recognized Mark Babcock director of the Central College Chamber Choir who led the group in three soulful songs. Then he asked Dale Vande Haar, a Central College alumnus to introduce the day’s speaker, Dr. Mark Putnam a native of Endicott, New York who earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Nyack College in New York and his graduate degrees in Education from Columbia University in New York City. Dale listed more than a few local and state-wide boards that President Putnam served on in the past nine years and concluded with mention of his wife, Tammy, and their two daughters: Emma and Greta.

President Putnam opened by taking issue with two prevailing trends in higher education. The first: Higher ed is not a human enterprise. To Putnam it is the quintessential human enterprise, the goal of which is learning how to be humane, how to think, how to reason, solve problems, and most of all communicate with fellow human beings. The second issue is the prevailing opinion that higher education is too expensive. His short answer to that opinion: the alternative is much more expensive and cited community building and civic virtue as the double helix of higher education at Central College where 97% of students have a residential experience during their four years. In answer to two questions, Putnam noted over 50% of Central students took advantage of study abroad opportunities in Vienna, London, Wales and Spain. He also cited Central’s emphasis on community service at home which led to Floyd Hammer to comment that the frequently mentioned STEM could also be defined as: “Smile a lot. Tell the Truth. Have empathy for others and move [take action to make the world a better place to live,] which he believed President Putnam had done successfully on all four points. President Mullen concurred and announced our meeting was adjourned.     

Watch the Central College Chamber Choir here:


President Mark Putnam, Central College Hal Chase 2018-09-21 05:00:00Z 0
President Shawn's Rotary Roundabout: Episode 10 Shawn E. Mullen 2018-09-18 05:00:00Z 0

Paul Rottenberg, Orchestrate Management

Posted by John Lewis
A classic Iowa early autumn day was underway when we met at the Wakonda Club for our regular Rotary meeting.  President Shawn Mullen welcomed us and called on Doug Lewis, who offered well-chosen words of inspiration, with special emphasis on our recognition and appreciation to ‘first responders’ who are constantly on call to protect us in times of emergency and danger, or has been written, those who run to the site of the emergency and not away from it.  After Doug had further led us in the pledge to the flag and the Four-Way Test, Dan Haymes was recognized to introduce our visiting Rotarian and guests.  We had only one visiting Rotarian, but an important one, District Gov. Elect Erna Morain, a member of the Waukee Club.  We welcomed not only Erna, but also the other guests who were with us today.  Jim Slife was both celebrating a birthday and in attendance today so President Shawn led us marking the moment in song.  We were reminded of the two fellowship meetings coming up: Randy Worth’s Wheels group, meeting on Sept. 22, and Rob Smith’s golf outing on Sept. 24.
   Our shy, reticent, constantly-seeking-to-avoid-attention, fellow member Greg Edwards (well, maybe just sort of that way) was then asked to introduce our speaker for the day, Paul Rottenberg, the founder of Orchestrate Management, who then became a part of a discussion with Greg about the Des Moines restaurant scene.  Paul is a native of Buffalo, NY, and began his career at age fourteen washing dishes in a restaurant.  He later went to the University of Colorado where he continued to work in the food industry while there.  Following college, he entered that business and moved to Tuscon with his own operation but as things turned out, he later was wanting to make a move and since his wife is from Atlantic, IA, he had an incentive to move to this state.  This was in the mid-1970’s.  Talking to Mike LaValle, also a restauranteur here, he found an opportunity and eventually joined the leadership team at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, which he managed for many years.  (Incidentally, Paul noted that in 1919, RCDM was the first group to meet at the ‘new’ Hotel Ft. DM, which was its home until about 2009 when we moved to the Wakonda Club.)  As to how fine dining has related to the hotel industry, Paul said that over many decades in earlier times, a great percentage of the excellent restaurants were in hotels.  That has changed in more recent times, with more free-standing restaurants, including many smaller ones, evolving over the years.  Orchestrate Management has grown from a beginning when Paul and Jeff Hunter, then owner of the Hotel Ft. Des Moines, created Django, to its present holdings of fourteen food and entertainment facilities throughout Des Moines and central Iowa, including Centro, Gateway Market, Zombie Burger, and eleven more equally popular enterprises. 
   Greg noted that Paul “has put Des Moines on the map” with the uniqueness he has built into the various restaurants with which he has been connected.  Not only was today’s program an excellent discussion of the current restaurant situation and dining habits of today’s public, it was also an interesting trip back through many of the business trends of the last forty years in Des Moines.  Paul Rottenberg is an excellent example of how our economic system can reward those who learn well, work hard and emphasize service, allowing them to have great success in their chosen fields.  His efforts have certainly been beneficial to the Des Moines community and we especially appreciate his speaking to us today.
Paul Rottenberg, Orchestrate Management John Lewis 2018-09-13 05:00:00Z 0

Anna Jensen, Rotary Intern

Posted by Anna Jensen
I’m Anna Jensen, and I’m the communications intern for The Rotary Club of Des Moines! This is my fourth month in the position. I have enjoyed working on small website updates, designing promotional materials, and writing and restructuring copy for members in my short time here.
Recently, I have been able to meet some Des Moines Rotarians, as well as the Board of Directors. I enjoy networking and look forward to meeting a lot more of you over the next several months, and learning how you exercise your passions for Rotary.
I am a senior at Drake University pursuing a double major in news and public relations with minors in the social sciences. In addition to Rotary, I am currently an apprentice at Meredith Corporation creating custom content for clients. I have a wide range of interests—such as enjoying fall weather, reading anything and everything, watching Survivor, eating, blogging, and exploring and giving back to this wonderful city I’ve been lucky to call home.
What I want to do post-grad is still the million-dollar question. I’ve worked in events management, student affairs, newspapers, magazines, marketing, and digital and communications since coming to college—and I could see myself continuing in any of those after graduation. Above all, I am a people person. I love working with others and for others; that’s top priority.
I just want to extend a thank you to the members of this club for all that you do. I am lucky to be a part of this organization, even in the small way that I am.
See you around,
Anna Jensen, Rotary Intern Anna Jensen 2018-09-13 05:00:00Z 0

District Governor Tom Narak

   The clouds parted and the recent rain showers stopped long enough to give us a very nice day for our weekly meeting at the Wakonda Club.  President Shawn Mullen welcomed us and called on Graham Gillette for some words of inspiration, which he very capably offered, then Susan Scharnberg, (who just happens to have been president of the West Des Moines School Board when our speaker today was hired to head the schools there), introduced our one guest- our RCDM Drake intern, Anna Jensen.    President Shawn called on Randy Worth, who told us about the Wheels Fellowship and its next meeting, to be held on Sept. 22, which will allow attendees to learn a whole lot about trucks and how they work.  Similarly, Rob Smith was asked to tell us about the Golf Fellowship, which will meet on Sept. 24 at Glen Oaks for an outstanding opportunity to combine a round of golf for only $50, all of which will go to the RCDM Foundation, thanks to the event being underwritten by Kyle Lee. 
   Two Governors in two meetings!  How’s that for good work by the Program Committee?  Last week we heard from Governor Reynolds and today President Shawn introduced us to Tom Narak, our District Governor and a member of the West Des Moines Club.  Tom is retired from being Superintendent of the WDM schools, having held that position from 2004 to 2011.  Gov. Tom congratulated our club for its leadership over the years, remarking on the range of size of membership within the various clubs in the District, but emphasizing that all have a lot in common in that we all are striving to ‘make the world a better place.’  This year’s RI theme is “Be the Inspiration” and all Rotarians can be an inspiration to those around them.  He conveyed messages from our International President, encouraging every one of us to invite at least one guest to a meeting this year and also to recognize our responsibilities in acting to ensure the sustainability of the earth.  Tom and his wife, Carol, are obviously a team and showed that by his inviting her to join him at the lectern and to share information about areas they plan to focus on this year.  She stated that those include: Literacy, since it impacts the future of every child as they mature, from the financial opportunities they might experience to the quality of citizenship they can provide; Preventing Child Abuse and the plan to share ideas with our club regarding possible projects we might consider along that line; and Eradicating Polio, which we must do to avoid the possibility of its returning, even though we have been so successful in reducing its incidence to just a few cases per year throughout the world.  Toward that end, they mentioned World Polio Day, scheduled for Oct. 24, and the District goal of raising $16,000, as against the $8,000 committed last year.  Tom also reviewed the important work of the RI Foundation and its international significance.  The Rotary Leadership Institute will be held in Nov.3 in WDM and the District Conference will be May 2-4, also in WDM, and will return to a more traditional format, emphasizing family activities on Saturday, the final day.  Tom closed his comments by touching on several areas of activity in the District, including various youth activities, health and medical missions to Mexico and Central America, and of his own family’s having faced some of the same health challenges being addressed by the teams to other countries. 
   As members of Rotary, we should be conscious and appreciative of the commitments of so many of our leaders, including local, District and International, who give so much time and effort to making our organization both enjoyable and productive.  At the conclusion of Gov. Tom’s presentation, President Shawn expressed that “Tom Narak is a personification of Rotary in action” and we can agree with that.  District Governors play a very key role in making Rotary International into the powerful force for good that it is by providing the connection between local clubs like our own and all the other districts and clubs throughout the world.  Toward that end, we are well led and we appreciate Tom Narak for his leadership and for his joining us today.
District Governor Tom Narak John Lewis 2018-09-06 05:00:00Z 0
President Shawn's Rotary Roundabout: Episode 8 Shawn E. Mullen 2018-08-28 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome to our RYE student- Pina!

We welcomed our Rotary Youth Exchange Student, Pina, to Des Moines last week.
Thanks to our first host family RCDM member John & Jane Lorentzen!
Welcome to our RYE student- Pina! 2018-08-24 05:00:00Z 0

Sarah Nusser, Research at Iowa State University

Posted by John Lewis
It was a vintage Iowa summer day---moderate temperatures with a few fluffy clouds---when we gathered at the Wakonda Club for our weekly Rotary meeting, with President Shawn Mullen calling us to order and asking Colleen Rogers Messenger to share with us a few words of inspiration.  She did so, with an ode to the sunflower, appropriate in light of our speaker’s background in botany.  Kent Zimmerman introduced our visiting Rotarians and guests, then Randy Worth reminded us of the upcoming meeting of the Wheel Fellowship group on Aug. 25.  Rob Smith’s colorful report on the results of the Golf Fellowship’s recent outing might have made many wonder why some of those mentioned are not on the Tour. President Shawn told us about some of our members who recently helped the Iowa Food Bank prepare for shipment two tons---yes, that’s right, two tons---of pasta.  Great work for a good cause.
Denise Essman then introduced our speaker for the day, Sarah Nusser, Vice-president for Research at Iowa State University.  Originally from Iowa City, Sarah graduated in Botany from ISU and gained further degrees later, but was in private industry prior to returning to her alma mater in her present position.  ISU not only is intensively involved in research but, being a land-grant institution, has a responsibility to assist in transferring that knowledge to the public.  Added to that is the need to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in the area of research and inquiry, emphasizing (a) find out what we already know; (b) frame good research questions; and (c) create vigorous approaches to analyzing information, then to find ways to translate that knowledge to the public.  Today, Sarah spoke mainly to three areas, those being improving health, ensuring sustainability, and promoting new materials and advancing manufacturing technologies.  Related to improving health, along with helping to strengthen healthy habits, much research is aimed at Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, including social activities that can delay or alleviate the ravages of those diseases in certain instances.  Also, vaccines and immunotherapeutic options are being researched that will be useful in treating animal diseases like the avian influenza outbreak we saw a few years ago.  These developments bring additional value to livestock production by cutting losses from diseases in animals.
Sarah Nusser, Research at Iowa State University John Lewis 2018-07-26 05:00:00Z 0

Sign up for a Committee


It's time to sign up for committees for the new year. If you plan to stay on the same committee, we still need to hear from you. 

Your participation in a committee with The Rotary Club of Des Moines is a critical element to fully utilize your membership.  Committee meetings provide an opportunity to meet other like-minded Rotarians as well as a make-up for attendance.

Click here to access committee descriptions. You can sign up directly by clicking on the committee of your choice.

We do NOT assign members to Rotary committees.  If you haven't already done so, please sign up today!

Scheduled committee meetings are posted in the left margin of  each ebulletin.    And if you are signed up for a committee, you will see a notification under 'my commitments' at the bottom of your weekly ebulletin.

Sign up for a Committee Kitte Noble 2018-07-24 05:00:00Z 0

President Shawn’s Rotary Roundabout: Episode 2

Posted by Shawn E. Mullen

Hello Fellow Rotarians:

Here’s this week’s podcast for Week 4 of the Rotary Year.

I recap some of the important weekly meeting duties that we need volunteers for as well as introducing the members of our Board of Directors and Club Officers.

Let me know what you think about how I might improve this effort or what topics and subjects you’d like me to cover.

Thanks for listening!

Click on the link below:


President Shawn’s Rotary Roundabout: Episode 2 Shawn E. Mullen 2018-07-24 05:00:00Z 0

Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, US Navy Cyber Security

Posted by Graham Gillette
Today’s Rotary meeting was well attended with many guests and Rotarians from other clubs. Those gathered were treated with a presentation by Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett.
Rear Admiral Barrett graduated from Boston University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received her commission as a U.S. Navy officer aboard USS Constitution that same year. She holds Master of Arts degrees in Management, National Security/Strategic Studies, Human Resources Development and a Master of Science in Information Management.
Rear Admiral Barrett is the Navy Cyber Security Division director based at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. She has held operational assignments including tours at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet; commander, 2nd Fleet, Carrier Strike Group 2, Multi-National Forces Iraq, Carrier Strike Group 12; Standing Joint Force Headquarters United States Pacific Command; and deputy director of current operations at U.S. Cyber Command. Her shore assignments include tours at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Stations in Jacksonville, Cecil Field and Puerto Rico; senior Navy fellow at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association; Allied Commander Atlantic Systems Support Center Norfolk, Naval Personnel Command, Chief of Naval Operations Task Force Web; commanding officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic; and chief of staff, Navy Information Forces Command.
Rear Admiral Barrett made an engaging presentation regarding the state of the nation’s Navy and its vast worldwide operations.
First, a few statistics. More than 328,000 people are serving in active duty roles in U.S. Navy, of which some 55,000 are officers, 268,000 are enlisted. There are 97,000 serving in the Naval Reserves, and nearly 210,000 civilian Navy employees.  There are 284 deployable battle force ships with plans to bring that number to 350. Those ships consist of aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, cruisers, littoral combat ships, destroyers, and submarines. 
Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, US Navy Cyber Security Graham Gillette 2018-07-19 05:00:00Z 0

President Shawn’s Rotary Roundabout

Posted by Shawn E. Mullen

Hello Fellow Rotarians:

I’m stepping out a bit here as I begin my year of service as president of Club 27, the Rotary Club of Des Moines, Iowa.

One of my goals as president it to be intentional about promoting what our Club does and its value to the greater Des Moines community and world beyond.  Thus, I hatched this idea of creating a podcast as a different way of approaching this goal.

I’m no expert and I don’t profess to know all there is about my I-Mac’s GarageBand software, but bear with me.  I’m sure that I’ll learn as I go.

Let me know what you think about how I might improve this effort or what topics and subjects you’d like me to cover.

Thanks for listening!

Click on the link below:


President Shawn’s Rotary Roundabout Shawn E. Mullen 2018-07-17 05:00:00Z 0

Annual Rotary Awards

Posted by Kitte Noble


The Cecil C. Bolsinger Lifetime Service Award is given to a member of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, who over a lifetime, has demonstrated adherence to the tenets of Rotary's 4-way test.  It is named after Cecil Bolsinger who was a member up until his death at the age of 101.   Cecil was in Rotary for nearly 50 years and had perfect attendance during this time.  He also served as Past President of our Club and was a champion for the International component of Rotary.

This award requires a minimum of 10 years membership in Rotary, with significant achievements both in Rotary and in the local and regional community.

Dave Kenworthy was our recipient this year. Dave has been a member of RCDM for 26 years has served as Club President.  His father was a member of RCDM.  Dave is a Paul Harris Fellow. He along with Joyce Chapman and Tim Lillwitz have chaired our own RCDM Foundation Double Our Impact Campaign.      

The Roger T. Stetson Rotarian of the Year Award is given to a member of RCDM who, over the recent past, has demonstrated adherence to the tenets of Rotary's 4-way test in business and professional life, and in Rotary & civic activities and has made exceptional contributions to our community and to our Club.

Judy McCoy Davis put a great deal of time and energy into very important governance work this year.  She helped revise our club bylaws and constitution.  We are grateful for her expertise and dedication to getting this job done.

Annual Rotary Awards  Kitte Noble 2018-07-12 05:00:00Z 0

Police and Fire Awards

Posted by Steven G. Jacobs
Always one of the very most gratifying programs of the Rotary year, we all enjoyed the presentation of the Outstanding Police Officer and Firefighter awards for 2018.  President Jamie Boersma was presiding, called on Janet Phipps Burkhead for the invocation and then Chris Andersen, who introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.  The Honor Guard from the Fire Department led the Pledge.  President Jamie presented the 2017-2018 Roger T. Stetson Rotarian of the Year award to Judy McCoy Davis for her complete overhaul of our Rotary governance documents. The Cecil C. Bolsinger Lifetime Service Award was presented to Past President Dave Kenworthy -- a 26-year member of our club and currently Tri-Chair of the Rotary Club of Des Moines Foundation campaign -- for his passionate support of service above self.  Congratulations to both award recipients!
On behalf of the Awards Committee, Gloria Gray was called on to oversee the recognition of our honorees and introduce the program.  Key to the significance of the awards is that even though Rotary provides the financial support and makes the presentations, it is the police and fire department personnel themselves who decide on the winners.
Each award recipient receives a plaque, rotating community billboard in their honor and $500, which can be designated as a donation to the 501 c (3) charity of their choice.  The funds for these contributions come from the generous support of our own Rotary Club of Des Moines Foundation.
Police and Fire Awards Steven G. Jacobs 2018-07-12 05:00:00Z 0
RCDM Impact 2017-2018 2018-06-30 05:00:00Z 0

A Message of Hope

Posted by Graham Gillette

Rotary welcomed a group of distinguished African leaders who are part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This year, the Fellowship is providing 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills during a visit to the U.S. and support for professional development of the leaders after they return home. Twenty-five of the Fellows joined us at Rotary as part of a six-week program of academic coursework, leadership training, and networking provided by Drake University. 
The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and having a positive impact on their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. The 2018 class is the fourth class of Fellows who have represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with equal numbers of men and women. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is part of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs and Understanding at the U.S. Department of State.
The Young African Leaders Initiative at the Department of State helps Fellows learn, network and prepare to build a better world. Based on the twenty-five Fellows who joined us today’s meeting, the program has some of the best and brightest the continent of Africa has to offer.
Representing the Fellows who are visiting Des Moines and Iowa, Doreen Peter Noni addressed today’s Rotary meeting. Noni provided a message of hope built around five keywords; confusion, helplessness, acceptance, sacrifice, and intact. Noni told a compelling story of how she and her family are coping with the sudden imprisonment of her father by Tanzanian officials a year ago June 19.
Noni talked of Tanzania’s overcrowded prison system and of the poor living conditions her father is surviving. According to United Nations statistics, in 2015 Tanzania had a total prison population of nearly 31,500, 53% of whom were in jail awaiting trial as is Noni’s father. Tanzania has a prison population rate of 58 per 100,000 people. For comparison purposes, the United States has a higher prison population rate of 655 per 100,000 people with 21% being held before trial.  Both countries have prison capacities levels over 100%, but the conditions of Tanzania’s jails are rated very poor.
Noni’s was a message of optimism. She spoke of the brave aspirations of those with whom she is sharing the Fellowship experience, and of their dreams to improve education, lift girls and women out of illiteracy and poverty, to improve health care, and to create a more sustainable world for a growing population. Doreen Peter Noni inspired Rotarians to support one another and their fellow man. Noni lives as if she is a Rotarian.
Do not forget, Rotarians, there are many things you can do to make our Club better. You can start by signing up to help run our weekly meetings. Click on the link in this bulletin and volunteer to do one small activity a month or, even, a quarter, and we will all be much better for it. Also, if you have not done so already, pledge to help grow our Foundation. We do much good for our community and the greater world, but there is so much more work to be done!
A Message of Hope Graham Gillette 2018-06-28 05:00:00Z 0

The Weitz Co.-Hilton Downtown Hotel

Posted by Hal Chase

President Jamie Boersma rang the bell twice at 12:07 to call the meeting to order and quell the animated conversations. She then asked Msgr. Frank Bognanno to deliver the inspirational message. He quoted 13th century St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer for love not hate, peace not conflict, understanding rather than argument, compassion rather than selfishness, unity rather than discord. When he concluded, the Amens were loud and clear as were the recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance and 4 Way Test. Brook Smith followed with the new member introduction of Kathy Coady of Hope Ministries of Des Moines (see the separate story to learn more about Kathy).

Tim Lillwitz, a leader of the RCDM Foundation campaign then gave an update, noted the flyer on the table that members could use to make a commitment if they had not done so already before the end of the campaign on June 30.

Via video, Rob Smith of the newly founded Golfing Fellowship pitched the 1st outing scheduled for Waveland on Wednesday, June 27 at 1pm.  Contact Rob for more details.

Susan Judkins then introduced Jim McCulloch, Ben Bunge and Ryan Tousley of Weitz Construction who gave an engaging video-enhanced program on the construction of the newly opened 330 room Hilton Hotel. They focused on the relatively new process of constructing components of the building off site, e. g. bathrooms (with union labor) which they claimed saved 3,750 trips by workers, 12 weeks of time and 15 tons of trash.

How much was saved on the $101,000,000 collaborative project involving the city, county and private sectors was not mentioned. A flurry of questions followed which like the applause afterwards demonstrated more than polite attention and interest.

President Jamie then thanked the presenters, guests, new member Kathy Coady and those “behind the scenes” especially Kitte and Suzi for all their efforts for another successful meeting of our club.  She reminded us of next week’s program about the Mandela Fellows and that we are not meeting July 5th.  July 12th is the passing of the gavel and honoring the firefighter and police officer of the year. She then rang the bell but only once.

The Weitz Co.-Hilton Downtown Hotel Hal Chase 2018-06-21 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Kathy Coady!

Posted by Brook Smith
Kathy is a Des Moines native and Hoover High School grad. She left Iowa for just four years to attend Truman State University (then called Northeast Missouri State University) in Kirksville, Missouri, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communications. This is also where Kathy first fell in love with service organizations as a member of Cardinal Key.
Kathy returned to Des Moines after graduating and began working in corporate communications with Principal Financial Group. Kathy worked in the field of corporate and marketing communications for more than two decades, and along the way she earned her Master’s degree in Communication Leadership through Drake University. She had enjoyed teaching several classes as an adjunct instructor at DMACC and began pursuing a career path as a university faculty member…but God had other plans in store for her. Through a personal connection, Kathy was introduced to Hope Ministries in early 2014.
She has worked for Hope Ministries as the Director of Development and Community Relations for nearly four years and is passionate about her organization’s mission to give hope and change the lives of people in Central Iowa who are homeless, hungry, abused or addicted.
Kathy lives in Ankeny with her husband of 26 years, Terry. They have a 23-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son. She’s an active member and volunteer at Prairie Ridge Church, and is part of the 100 Women Who Care Ankeny giving club. Kathy’s favorite spare-time activities are reading great fiction and taking walks.
Welcome New Member Kathy Coady! Brook Smith 2018-06-20 05:00:00Z 0

Jerry Foxhoven, IA Dept. of Human Services

Posted by John Lewis
Following on the heels of a mid-morning downpour, we gathered at The Wakonda Club as the skies began to clear and a great summer day greeted us.  President Jamie Boersma presided and called on Cory Kelly for some inspiration, and he shared with us an insightful and poignant reflection on death and life.  We then pledged to the flag, recited the Rotary Four-Way Test before President Jamie asked Rob Smith to stand so we would be reminded by his shirt that this was Flag Day.  President Jamie introduced special guests---Shabnam Miglani from the La Jolla, CA, Rotary Club and Rupak Das Tamrakan and his wife of the Lalitpur, Nepal, Rotary Club---and followed that with introducing our other visiting Rotarians and guests.  She then called on two from our ranks to introduce new members.  Susan Judkins introduced Mark Imerman and Cherian Koshy introduced Jason Stuyvesant, and those are covered in a story of its own in another part of this report.  Dave Kenworthy gave us an update on the RCDM Foundation fund drive, which is moving along very well in its climb toward a four-million dollar amount which will earn enough to allow us to very significantly increase our commitments for merited community projects and programs.
Past-president Janet Phipps Burkhead next introduced our speaker, Jerry Foxhoven, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.  Jerry was attracted to that position from his previous role of Professor of Law at Drake University, where his forte was in juvenile justice and children’s matters.  He is a graduate of Morningside College and the Drake Law School.  At DHS he manages a $6.5 billion budget providing services of various types to about 34% of all Iowans.  Of that $6.5 billion, about $5.7 goes to health programs.  They have kept the cost of employee salaries and benefits at about 5.4% of the budget and, in fact, have over 1,000 fewer employees now than in 2011.  The department operates six facilities, ranging from mental health institutions to juvenile detention centers to a civil commitment unit for sex offenders to traditional centers for those needing health or mental care.  .
Jerry Foxhoven, IA Dept. of Human Services John Lewis 2018-06-14 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Mark Imerman!

Posted by Susan E. Judkins Josten
Chances are, you’ve met new member Mark Imerman before, maybe not in person but through the many times his economic analyses have been cited and he’s been quoted over the years in newspapers and elsewhere. Mark is Senior Consultant for Regional Strategic LTD where he undertakes economic analysis, strategy development, community and regional profiles, and similar projects with a primary focus on Iowa, surrounding states, and industries in this region. Former Des Moines Register “Iowa Boy” Kyle Munson said Mark Imerman “analyzes Census data more readily than the rest of us can count small change.”
A lifelong Iowan, Mark was born on a farm. His interests in agriculture and communities started with feeding livestock, doing fieldwork, working in small retail stores, and later working with farmers’ cooperatives and on road construction crews during college. With bachelors and masters degrees in Economics from Iowa State University, Mark became a Market Development Economist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture. In 1990, he joined ISU as an economist, eventually taking on leadership roles there and retiring as Director of Business and Institutional Relations for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2015 to form his private consulting firm.
Mark has done much more than pro forma development, feasibility studies and market analysis. He’s a trustee for the Children and families of Iowa Foundation and has volunteered as Strategic Internship Committee Chair and Workforce Attraction and Retention Council member for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. When his children were young he served as board member and president for a preschool and then a Catholic school in Ames. Mark has been a member of the Des Moines AM Rotary Club, and we’re very fortunate to now welcome him as a new member of the Rotary Club of Des Moines!
Welcome New Member Mark Imerman! Susan E. Judkins Josten 2018-06-14 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Jason Stuyvesant!

Posted by Cherian Koshy

Eight years ago, my wife and I moved to Des Moines and were looking for a place to live.  I have absolutely no idea how I connected with Jason but I'm so glad I did. Jason had recently become a realtor and we were ready to move.  Jason helped us with our first place and was involved in a number of real estate transactions for us since then in Des Moines and the suburbs. 

Jason was born and raised in Carlisle and graduated from Carlisle High School. Like his dad, he attended Drake and Jason got a degree in marketing.  He's been a realtor for nearly a decade.  Jason's lovely wife, Heather, works in philanthropy at Wesley.  They have 2.3 kids, a son Noah that's a freshman at Roosevelt and a son River who's three and a baby due in December. Jason's a member here at Wakonda where he enjoys spending time at the pool and golfing. 

Welcome New Member Jason Stuyvesant! Cherian Koshy 2018-06-14 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Matt Romkey!

Posted by Jamie Boersma
Matt Romkey grew up a straight shot down I-80 in Bettendorf, Iowa. He has traveled far and wide across the state of Iowa going to school in Dubuque, working in Sioux City and finally landing in Des Moines, where he serves as the Vice President of Development and Marketing for Mercy College of Health Sciences. Prior to his current role, Matt spent the better part of the past decade raising funds and awareness for children’s hospitals across North America. Most recently, to support the University of Florida children’s hospital. During that time he was responsible for raising nearly 50 million dollars.
Matt welcomed the addition of identical twin boys at the end of February and he has forgotten what sleep is like ever since. Matt’s wife, Hilary, works for the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation and they reside in West Des Moines with their Labradoodle Zeus.
Welcome New Member Matt Romkey! Jamie Boersma 2018-05-31 05:00:00Z 0

Susan Moritz Scharnberg, President, IPTV Foundation

Posted by Gretchen Tegeler
Jackie Norris led the prayer and pledges.  She reflected on a recent church sermon asking,”How much is enough?” She went on to say that despite political differences, we all share certain values.  She led a moment of silence for those killed by gun violence just in the past year, including 1,248 children. 
New member John Lee was introduced.
Rotarian Susan Moritz Scharnberg, President of the Iowa Public Television (IPTV) Foundation, was introduced by Ambassador Mary Kramer.  Susan has been in professional fundraising for more than thirty years, the last 17 with the IPTV Foundation and prior to that with the American Lung Association and Wesley Retirement Services.  She has also served in a leadership capacity at the national level, chairing the national Development Council for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS); serving on the board of the newly created national PBS Foundation; and on the international board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  Locally she served four terms on the West Des Moines Board of Education and was recently elected to the Scottish Rite Board of Directors.  Ambassador Kramer got to know Susan when she chaired the Foundation board.
Susan gave a fascinating presentation about “What’s New in Television.”
She began by thanking the many people in the room who have been instrumental in the success of IPTV, including Neil Smith and Dee Vickery.
She noted that IPTV is a state agency with a board appointed by the Governor.  The IPTV Foundation is a 501c(3) with a 20-member board and a staff of 16 people raising between $8 and $9 million each year.
Susan Moritz Scharnberg, President, IPTV Foundation Gretchen Tegeler 2018-05-24 05:00:00Z 0

Melissa O'Neil, Central IA Shelter and Services

Posted by Graham Gillette
The May 17 Rotary meeting was held on a bright sunny day as workers at the Wakonda Club were busily preparing the golf course for the forthcoming Principal Charity Classic.
President Jamie began the meeting with official business. With the expert assistance of Judy McCoy Davis, President Jamie and the Board have been conducting a thorough review and update of the Club Constitution and By-Laws. The Board approved the suggested edits and reorganized documents on April 18. Drafts were circulated to members on May 3. Having answered many questions and concerns during the intervening comment period, the Club unanimously approved the Club Constitution and By-Laws at today’s meeting.
David Oman introduced new member Kim Heidemann. Look for more about her in the bulletin and expect her to be an excellent addition to our club!
Our speaker today was Melissa O’Neil, who has just completed her second year as CEO of Central Iowa Shelter and Services. O’Neil grew up in West Branch, Iowa where she fell in love with the game of basketball and discovered her gifts as a player extended to coaching the game as well. She played at Clarion University in Pennsylvania and coached at Syracuse University before returning to Iowa with her family.
It is because O’Neil approaches every problem with the mindset of a winning coach that many still refer to her as ‘Coach.’ And, Coach O’Neil was unsure she was the right person to lead Central Iowa Shelter and Services, but as the interview process progressed she came to embrace the idea, inspired in part by a Chris Tomlin tune that provided a kind of soundtrack for that particular moment of O’Neil’s life. Tomlin’s song, “A Good Good Father, begins with these lines; “I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like, But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night.”
Melissa O'Neil, Central IA Shelter and Services Graham Gillette 2018-05-17 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Kim Heidemann!

Posted by David Oman
I believe the ‘R’ in Rotary represents relationships…here at these tables every Thursday, with our Club’s school, City of Des Moines, and philanthropic partners, with other Rotary Clubs (this eve. event) and relationships domestically and globally through Rotary International.
Few new Rotarians have understood the power of personal and cross-cultural relationships better… than Kim Heidemann, who will officially be a new member in two minutes.  By the way, I re-visited Kim’s resume this morning.  Rotary is already on it...which may mean Kim was once in the Optimist Club!
I met Kim in this room when she spoke last fall in her role as Exec. Director of Iowa Sister States.  Within the hour, I asked her to think about becoming a Rotarian.  She said would like and would explore it.  Being the Kim I’ve come to know, she asked me to re-connect with Sister States, after 30 years.  I did.
Indeed, Kim is about relationships --good for people, good for Iowa, and good for our partners.  Presently, Sister States has ties with China, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Russia.  Kim returned to DSM last weekend after leading a delegation of 55 Iowans, who joined 60 Iowa Guardsmen and women, in our newest and promising sister state, actually a country, Kosovo. 
Kim has a degree in History and Poly Sci from Iowa and an education degree from Iowa State University.  How about another degree from UNI?
Kim has studied at The Hague in The Netherlands, and earned a Master of Arts degree in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Westminster in London.
Before joining Iowa Sister States in 2004, taught in the Collins-Maxwell Middle School and at DMACC.  They were fortunate to have her.
Kim is a Library board member in Collins; she coaches youth softball, and is Youth Group co-director at the Colo Methodist Church.
Kim’s husband is Travis, and they have a 9 year old daughter, Hope.
P.S.  Kim will be of great assistance to our Club’s Int’l. Service Comm.
Welcome New Member Kim Heidemann! David Oman 2018-05-17 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Dan Haymes!

Posted by Cherian Koshy
  Dan was born and raised in Chicago. He attended Drake University and moved back to Des Moines about  two years ago.
While in Chicago, Dan was a junior board member at the Lookingglass Theater Company. Here in Des Moines, Dan is involved with Tallgrass Theater and Des Moines European Heritage Association. He enjoys weightlifting, theater, playing the drums, and hosting dinner parties. When not spending time with his wife, Kim, of nearly four years and their cat and dog, Dan works as the Director of Sales and Operations at the Des Moines Social Club.
Welcome New Member Dan Haymes! Cherian Koshy 2018-05-10 05:00:00Z 0

Chief Dana Wingert, Des Moines Police

Posted by Jean Shelton
The Rotary Club of Des Moines met on May 10, 2018 at the Wakonda Golf Club with President Jamie presiding,    David Kilpatrick led the group in reciting the four way test with a spin on how it applies to motherhood.  He then moved on to the pledge of allegiance.
Guests and visitors were introduced by Allen Zagoren.  Jessica Worley and Doug Eberhart completed new member orientation and were introduced as such.  Two new members were introduced:  Allen Zagoren introduced new member Dan Connolly, Dean for the College of Business and Public Administration (Drake University), while Cherian Koshy introduced Dan Haymes,  Director of Sales and Operations at Des Moines Social Club.
President Jamie encouraged members to attend the multi-club event, with more information to follow via email.  Proposed by-laws and constitution were sent out for all to review.  Vote will take place next week.
Past-President Dick Lozier introduced Des Moines Police Chief, Dana Wingert.  Chief Wingert expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Rotary Club in terms of the invitation to speak and the rotary practice of recognizing the great work of police officers. 
Chief Wingert provided an update of police activity in the Des Moines area.  In particular the use of body cameras (300 body and 100 car cameras have been purchased as well as supporting servers for a total cost of $1.5 million.  Body cameras have served to support the efforts of the department to hold everyone accountable with regard to officer performance and those they are investigating.  The Guardian Project was the source of funding for the sustainability of the camera project.  Crime trends – Des Moines went from ‘Meth Capital’ to very few meth labs.  However, drug cartels have introduced a larger volume of Meth and other drugs in the state.  The heroine epidemic currently affecting the east and west coasts appears to be moving toward the Midwest.  Narcan availability is essential along with other preparations in dealing with shifts in drug types and quantities.
Chief Dana Wingert, Des Moines Police Jean Shelton 2018-05-10 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Dan Connolly!

Posted by Allen J. Zagoren
It is my distinct pleasure to officially welcome Dan Connolly to the RCDM. MY relationship with Dan began over two years ago during the Summer of 2016 when I was afforded the honor by the Provost and administration of Drake University to head the search committee for a new Dean for the College of Business and Public Administration.
I worked with a committee of 10 distinguished scholars, students, professors and administrators in the search for a new dean. This was especially important as the College had just gone through some difficult growing pains and strategic changes. This search was highlighted by the administration as one of the most important in Drake’s history.  The committee reviewed over 45 applicants; ten Skype interviews, spending many hours in deliberation and review. Ultimately, we narrowed the field to an individual who towered above the field of extremely qualified and talented individuals. And suggested Daniel J Connolly PhD was our choice to become the dean of The College. The provost and administration agreed with that same enthusiasm and Dan graciously accepted this role.
Welcome New Member Dan Connolly! Allen J. Zagoren 2018-05-09 05:00:00Z 0

Rob Denson, DMACC President

Posted by Kurt Johnson
The meeting was called to order by President Jamie Boersma.  John Cortesio offered the inspirational invocation and then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-Way Test.  Mark Danes introduced guests and visiting Rotarians.  Susan Judkins Josten introduced new member Sid Juwarker who is with the Des Moines office of Terracon.
Kevin Kacere introduced today’s keynote speaker: Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).  DMACC was founded in 1966 – 52 years ago.  Rob, an Iowa native, was appointed to his position in 2003 and is its 4th President.  DMACC’s mission is very clear: to provide students with the skill that they need to get jobs that are in demand when they graduate.  They do this out of 6 campus locations, and at the lowest cost in Iowa for students at a 2-year college.  (DMACC was ranked #10 out of 1,717 community colleges in the U.S. in the “Top 50 Best Value Community Colleges of 2016”, published by
DMACC has the largest number of students enrolled in an Iowa college with over 32,000 students in credit classes plus over 22,000 students in non-credit classes.  DMACC has relationships with many traditional 4-year colleges, including Iowa’s state universities, Drake University and Tuskegee University, to help ensure full transferability of course credits.  Similarly, DMACC has a “concurrent enrollment” program with many Iowa high schools under which high school students can earn college credits at no cost to the students.  In some cases, high school students have earned a 2-year degree at DMACC before they graduated from high school.
Rob highlighted several of the many scholarships available to students including:  FFA high school Chapter presidents qualify for a full tuition scholarship; High school valedictorians qualify for a full tuition scholarship.  He also told us of two current projects that DMACC is working on: A custom training certification program for the Department of Homeland Security – to educate and train TSA agents from more than half of the airports in the U.S.; and a relationship that has be established with Kosovo whereby students from Kosovo will come the DMACC, and an exchange of professors from DMACC and Kosovo universities with the goal of helping Kosovo establish vocational programs in their country similar to those at DMACC.
Rob’s presentation included a few hilarious videos that brought a nice touch of humor to his talk.
Rob Denson, DMACC President Kurt Johnson 2018-05-03 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Sid Juwarker!

Posted by Susan E. Judkins Josten
I’m pleased to introduce new member Sid Juwarker, Client Development Manager for Terracon’s Des Moines office. Many of you know that Terracon is a national firm with over 130 offices that provide practical solutions to environmental, facilities, geotechnical and materials engineering challenges. Sid helps the firm’s technical staff connect and communicate with clients, and says his goal is to be so successful in mentoring his colleagues in these communications skills that it renders his position obsolete. I doubt it, since nobody communicates quite like Sid – but they are definitely learning from a master.
Sid was born in Mumbai, India, went to high school in Singapore and moved to Des Moines in 1997 to go to Drake. He
obtained his degree in Environmental Science and twenty years later is still connected with Drake, serving as an adjunct instructor for students focusing on environmental science or sustainability degrees.
Sid was recently recognized by the Des Moines Business Record as a “Forty Under 40,” where he was quoted as saying, “I am an immigrant who moved to Des Moines with nothing more than a suitcase and a dream. This community gave me opportunities to lead a fulfilling life filled with success and love. I see everything I do as an opportunity to reinvest in the community and people that invested in me.” Some of his many examples of giving back include serving on the Social Club Board; the Business Horizons Board; and the board of the Downtown Chamber where he also serves as marketing chair. He is a graduate of Leadership Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
Welcome New Member Sid Juwarker! Susan E. Judkins Josten 2018-05-03 05:00:00Z 0

Educator Awards

Posted by Hal Chase

President Jamie Boersma called the meeting to order at 12:07pm and asked Andy Erickson to provide our inspirational message which recognized the Outstanding Teacher Awards with a message to engage all others on a “Learn and Confirm” basis. He then led the pledge of allegiance and Four Way Test.
President Jamie announced the visiting Rotarians and Guests and recognized John & Jane Lorenson for agreeing to serve as the first host family for our visiting Rotarian International Exchange Student and requested that anyone interested in being the 3rd Host family in the spring of 2019, please contact her or Kitte Noble.
Jamie next recognized IR President Ian Riesling’s “Plant for the Future”
challenge to each club to plant a tree and introduced Richard Leopold, chief executive of the Polk Co. Conservation Board, who pitched the “Century Tree” Project for enhancing Easter Lake that was a coal mine 100 years ago, then a garbage dump for the City of DSM before becoming a lake. Donate $40 for a hardwood tree that will last over 100 years and come to Easter Lake on Saturday
May 12th between 9am and 12pm to plant your tree if you like.
Jamie then asked Dale Vande Haar to MC the 2018 Educator of the Year Awards.
Dale called Superintendent Dr. Tom Ahart to the podium whose brief remarks stressed the diversity of the students and teachers in the DM Public Schools and thanked DM Rotary for their support of teachers via the Outstanding Teacher Awards at the system’s three levels for the past 20 years, noting the winner receives $1,000 and their name on a plaque containing the names/schools of previous winners that stays in the teacher’s school for a year.
Dr. Barbara Adams, principal of Findley Elementary on DM’s North Side introduced Lisa Hesse, an Arts Teacher who thanked Rotary, her colleagues and students for the success of her program promoting student art, poetry and music which generates exceptional confidence and enthusiasm.
Thomas Hoffman, principal of Brody Middle School on DM’ South Side introduced Davena Johnson, a Math teacher who also thanked Rotary her colleagues and her mentors whose legacy she hoped that she was passing on.
Kevin Biggs, Roosevelt HS principal introduced Stephanie Fowler and praised her outstanding teaching in the “Flex Academy” at TRHS which has kept many students in school.
President Jamie then recognized the importance of public education and rang the bell.  
Educator Awards Hal Chase 2018-04-26 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome Returning Member Chris Andersen!

Chris Andersen had a very nomadic childhood growing up with his father proudly serving 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was born in Germany and traveled extensively around the globe to include state-side assignments in Texas, Alabama, Nebraska and Maryland and overseas assignments in Germany (twice) and Okinawa. Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas and still has a love in his heart for Austin after spending more than 15 years in the Lone Star State.
Chris moved to Iowa in 2008 and has enjoyed a successful career in philanthropy for 14 years with raising more than $15 million for organizations in Iowa and Nebraska. He joined the Des Moines Playhouse staff in October last year as the director of philanthropy and hit the ground running with the successful completion of its $4 million capital campaign. He is excited about returning as a member to the Rotary Club of Des Moines with so many familiar faces.
Chris is married to his lovely wife, Shannon. She is the HR and Payroll specialist with Gatehouse Media in Ames. They live in Nevada and have three children. Chris and Shannon thoroughly enjoy their RV and can be found at a state park every weekend from April through October (late April this year). With more than 25 voyages among them, the Andersens enjoy cruise ships, too. They also enjoy family game nights, disc golf and Chris is an avid tennis player and golfer.
Welcome Returning Member Chris Andersen! 2018-04-26 05:00:00Z 0

Local Scholarship Awards

Posted by Jean Shelton
The Rotary Club of Des Moines met on April 19, 2018 at the Wakonda Club with President-elect Shawn Mullen presiding,   Sarai Rice led the group in recognizing the scholarship attendees via a round of applause followed by the pledge of allegiance and the four way test.  
Guests and visitors were introduced by David Kilpatrick. President-elect Mullen provided a reminder regarding the spring clean-up at Waterworks Park on Friday, April 20th.  Thanks were expressed to the Wheels Committee and the Albaugh family for the special tour of the Albaugh collection. 
President-elect Mullen reported the District 6000 toast was a wonderful experience which featured one of our own members, Matt Busick.   
President-elect Mullen announced the International Service Committee will be hosting a Summit at the Unity Point Health Education and Research Center on June 1st.  The summit will focus on the sharing of ideas, examination of best practices and fostering collaboration to increase our global impact.  Registrations may be submitted at
Scholarship Committee Chairperson, Sarai Rice, introduced our program by announcing the award of scholarships to six outstanding local high school seniors.  The Scholarship Award was established in 1980 and, because of member support of our weekly tumbler program and other Rotary Club of Des Moines Foundation funds, each award recipient will receive an $8,000 scholarship ($1,000 per semester).  Recipients were selected with input from representatives at each of the six Des Moines Public High Schools (Scavo, Roosevelt, North, Lincoln, Hoover and East) following multiple interviews by our scholarship committee.
Local Scholarship Awards Jean Shelton 2018-04-19 05:00:00Z 0

Let's Talk About Mental Health!

Thursday, May 17, 2018
Presented by the Greater Des Moines Rotary Multi- Club Committee
3rd Annual Event

4:30 – 6:00 p.m., followed by heavy hors d'oeuvres and networking
Des Moines University - Student Education Center
$20 / person registration fee

Sign up by emailing    RCDM will pay $10 of the $20 registration fees. You will be billed $10 if signed up in advance.

See the flyer here for more details.

Let's Talk About Mental Health! Gary L. Hoff 2018-04-16 05:00:00Z 0

Jono Anzalone, American Red Cross

Posted by John Lewis


How good can it get? Finally, a bright and sunny day warm enough to qualify for Spring, matched with a room full of Rotarians, good food, and a very significant program presented by a dynamic speaker.  President Jamie Boersma brought us to attention with the bell, John Tone offered words of inspiration, then led us in the pledge to the flag and recitation of the Four-Way Test.  Mark Danes introduced visiting Rotarians and guests, of whom there was quite a list.  Jamie called attention to this being the birthday of Steve Roberts, who was on hand to accept our greetings.  Bringing us up to date on some things, President Jamie reminded us about several items: the Trash Bash on April 20 and our club’s commitment to help in the Waterworks Park cleanup; the upcoming Drake Relays and the opportunity to volunteer for duties there; Randy Worth’s planning for the Wheels Fellowship this Saturday; the Summit meeting planned by the International Service Committee; and she called our attention to the availability of the RCDM Facebook page where we can find information on upcoming events and related announcements.  Shawn Mullin introduced new member Don Jones and, as a part of that, showed his understanding of state government in his native state of Nebraska and its unicameral legislature.  (More about Don Jones elsewhere in this report.)
   Judy McCoy Davis introduced our speaker, referencing his having been a keynoter at our International Service Committee’s Summit meeting last June and his impact there.  Jono Anzalone is a native of Omaha, a graduate of Creighton University; the University of Nebraska; Harvard University School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.  He is Vice-President, International Services, American Red Cross, based in Washington, DC.
Jono Anzalone, American Red Cross John Lewis 2018-04-12 05:00:00Z 0

Welcome New Member Donn Jones!

Posted by Shawn E. Mullen
Donn was born in western Iowa and raised on the family farm near Missouri Valley. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and earned a Masters Degree from the University of Iowa.
Fully expecting to enter his field of actuarial science in Des Moines after graduation he spent a summer internship in Omaha, established connections and spent his entire professional career there. The majority of that time was spent as an actuarial consultant to large private companies and public retirement systems. Favorite assignments included his role as lead actuarial consultant for the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa and as actuarial consultant to the Retirement Systems Committee of the Nebraska Legislature.
Following his retirement from full time consulting in 2014 he formed his own consulting practice to maintain contact with those working to serve public retirement systems. In a related role he has served as a Trustee of the Omaha School Employee Retirement System since 2015.
Welcome New Member Donn Jones! Shawn E. Mullen 2018-04-12 05:00:00Z 0