Rotary Club of Grinnell, Iowa, USA

Club Information

Welcome to our club!


Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
West Side Family Restaurant
229 West Sixth Avenue
Grinnell, IA  50112
United States
District Site
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This past Tuesday, March 13, 2018 the Grinnell Rotary Club gathered at the Westside Family Restaurant for their weekly meeting.   The Rotary Club's guest speaker was Jack Mutti, Semi-retired Grinnell College Professor of Economics. Jack continues to support independent study students at Grinnell College in some capacity.  Jack highlighted the economic status of our country and shared an overview of our country’s steady growth over the last few years.

Jack also highlighted current administrative strategies that continue the growth of our economy. He provided a variety of statistical information and trends over the last three years. Areas in which economists continue to pay close attention to following the recession of 2008-09 are the labor market, wage increase, inflation, jobs and labor force productivity.   He highlighted that Iowa in particular “is well above the national average for employment, 66% as compared to the national average of 60%”. Jack explained that economists attempt to make sense of the impact of the stock market and CPI, and how it will affect wage increases in the near future. What was most interesting was his explanation of how the value of the dollar in 2016 skyrocketed to 10%, yet only a year later it dropped.  Jack talked about the reasons why labor productivity may have spiked during certain times in our history such as the invention of something new, like electricity. I wonder what the next key life changing invention will be that may spike future labor productivity? Maybe it is just around the corner.


Janet M. Stutz

     Mr Lang, a long-time resident of Iowa, is the former president of the
Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Board of Regents, to name a few of his many
service activities.  He is currently seeking
office as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.
     He expounded on three different themes in his address: Soil Health,
Cleaner Water, and increased job opportunities related to agriculture.  He
said that we could realize better soil health through diversification from
the corn/soybean crop rotation.
     It would be necessary to promote water-shed conservertion through the
the greater use of cover crops to control flooding and soil run-off.  He
said increased job opportunities could result from the expanded cattle
grazing on cover crops and the increased fertility produced by animal
      He concluded with how inscreased trade and export opportunities could
result from agriculture.
     The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday evening at the Westside
Family Restaurant in Grinnell.

The Grinnell Rotary Club met on February 27, 2018 at Westside Family Restaurant . Our speaker for the evening was the Regional Manager for the recently opened K and M Tire Distribution Center in Grinnell. This business opened last year in the old Donaldson Company plant.


K&M Tire is a family-owned regional tire distributor headquartered in the small Midwestern town of Delphos, OH. K&M owns and operates 26 distribution centers throughout the Great Lakes, Midwest, and Great Plains regions and distributes 20+ brands of passenger and light truck tires, 16+ brands of medium truck tires, and 10+ brands of agricultural, industrial, and specialty tires. K&M offers 18 associate dealer and marketing programs to tire retailers in more than 27 states. Because K&M does not own or operate any retail locations, nor do they sell directly online to consumers, they are able to offer a genuine partnership experience to our tire dealer customers.


The Grinnell Center is just getting started.  When it is fully operational, the Grinnell facility will move 80,000 tires per month to dealers in the states of North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. They will have thirty-five employees at the Grinnell site.  The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at Westside Family Restaurant. Any interested person is welcome to join us.


    On January 30th, Grinnell Rotary met at West Side Family Restaurant for a meal, meeting, and program.

    During the business meeting, several items of interest were discussed.  Rotarians will be serving the Community Meal on February 20th.  Different organizations and churches serve the Community Meal each Tuesday at Davis School.  Hospital representative, Chad Nath, was present to ask our club if we would consider sponsoring one of the seven Giving Gardens located in Grinnell.  As a sponsor, club members would be responsible for planting the garden, maintaining the garden during growing season, and harvesting the produce not picked by community members and turning it in to MICA.

    Rotarian Howard Raffety introduced the speaker, Bill Menner.  Menner, a former member of the Tom Vilsack staff, has started a new business, The Bill Menner Group.  The main objective of The Bill Menner Group is to deal with small town challenges, and to help revitalize rural towns.  Menner said that some of the problems facing rural America are that people are getting older and sicker.  The Midwest is losing population since this area is experiencing more deaths than births.  As the Midwest loses population, urban areas are growing.  Bill reported that on April 5th and 6th, Grinnell will host a gathering called the Rural Summit Conference.  Towns the size of Grinnell have been invited.  Approximately three hundred fifty guests from various towns should be present.  Those who attend the Rural Summit will observe Grinnell, and exchange ideas that seem to work in their communities.  Menner stated that having many towns get together should be helpful, as representatives exchange their ideas with each other.

    Rotary meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.  


Dennis Conway


Named after its founder, Paul Harris, this recognition program was first established in 1957 to acknowledge individuals who contribute $1000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.  Recipients receive a certificate and a medallion.  

Leading the group was Doug Cameron, who received his second Paul Harris recognition, marking the second time he has personally reached the $1000 giving milestone. Cameron, whose father was also a Rotarian, joined the Club in 1980.  Cameron served as president of the Club in 1992-93 and in 2007-08.

Another way that Rotary recognizes Paul Harris Fellows is through a point system established in 2009 by Rotary International.  Under the point system, Rotarians who have become Paul Harris Fellows through their own giving are able to accumulate points -- called “foundation recognition points,” -- for any additional gifts they make to the Rotary Foundation.  As these foundation points accumulate, they can transfer them to other Rotarians to encourage fellow-members with their own foundation commitment.

This year Bruce Blankenfeld, secretary of the Grinnell Rotary Club, undertook the paper work to transfer accumulated foundation recognition points belonging to Grinnell Rotarians, who were already Paul Harris fellows because of their record of giving, to fellow members who were not yet Paul Harris Fellows.  “Our goal is to become a 100-percent Paul Harris Fellows club,” said Blankenfeld.  

Named first-time Paul Harris Fellows through the foundation recognition point system were: Julie Beach, president-elect; Scott Beach; Dan Becker; Jim Buck; Denny Conway; Andy Dunham; Effie Hall, president; Heriberto Hernandez, president in 2015-16; Kevin Kolbe; Brent Nickel; Dennis Reilly, president 2016-17; Rod Rosburg, president nominee; Janet Stutz; Joe Trewin; and Zach Weiderspon.

During the award ceremony, Hall said, “The challenge to these new Fellows in our Club, like myself, is to earn our second Paul Harris Fellow recognition through our own personal giving to the Rotary Foundation.”

The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Family Dining.

The program for the February 6, 2018 meeting of the Grinnell Rotary Club featured Dr. Christopher C. Peters, a surgeon practicing in the Iowa City area, specializing in the treatment of veins.


    This Kansas native, who did part of his medical training in Kansas, spoke to the assembled Rotarians at the Westside Diner.  He framed his message around three healthcare ABCs: Access, Benefits and Cost.  The last one increasing the most is cost.  For examples, the per capita cost per year is $19,886 and increasing.  One sixth of the nation’s economy goes to healthcare because of over-utilization.


    Dr. Peters maintained that the 3rd party payer system is a substantial part of the problem and should be reformed to encourage savings for healthcare because 5% of the population consumes the most of healthcare.


    The balance of the meeting’s business consisted of planning for the Valentine’s Dinner and seeking volunteers for the upcoming community meal on Tues., Feb. 20 for which the Club will be responsible.  


    The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday night at 6 pm at the Westside Family Restaurant in Grinnell.


“As Time Goes By and Other Great Movie Songs”, a musical revue featuring the singing group, Shults & Co,  will be a major fundraising event this spring for the Grinnell Rotary Club, according to club president, Effie Hall.

The production, written and directed by Frank and Sherry Shults, will take place April 12, 13 and 14 in the Hotel Grinnell Auditorium, formerly the Voertman Theatre.   “We are excited to be presenting the first major production in Grinnell’s beautiful new Hotel Grinnell Auditorium. Like the building itself, the auditorium has been completely redesigned and renovated”, said the Shultses.

Among the well-known and beloved movie songs to be presented will be “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca, “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun, “Soul Man” from The Blues Brothers and “Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz.

Shults & Co. vocalists are Frank and Sherry Shults, Tim and Gailanne Dill, Debby Pohlson,  Austin Jones, George Drake, Bill Hammen, JoAnn Britton and Keith Briggs.  Combo members are Mary Fopma, piano; Rick Young, bass guitar and vocals; Kent Kastendick, keyboard, Adam McFee, percussion and Anthony Nieuwsma; guitar and  vocals.

Profits from the show will be donated to UnityPoint Health Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Paul W. Ahrens Fitness Center for the purchase of new equipment.

Tickets will be available at Brown’s Shoe Fit on March 12.


Grinnell Rotary met Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. for a meal, meeting, and program.  Rotarians meet every Tuesday at West Side Family Restaurant.

    The meeting on January 23rd was dedicated to thanking farmers for their contributions to society.  Club members invited local farmers and those who worked in businesses related to farming, to be their special guests.   

    Jim Buck introduced the speaker for the evening, Sharie Grief, a representative of Alliant Energy, who spoke about three energy sources:  coal, wind, and solar.  The main focus of the program was on solar energy.  Solar energy is a little more expensive (18 cents per kilowatt), but is more efficient overall.  If you are interested in purchasing and installing solar panels, the first step is to find an installer.  Get three estimates, and find out what the pay back would be.  You also need to have a tax liability.  Additional information is available through Alliant Energy.  Just contact their hotline for answers to your questions.


Dennis Conway


    Grinnell Rotary met January 16, 2017, for a meal, meeting, and program.

    Following the meal, a short business meeting was held.  The main topic of discussion was the upcoming Shults and Company musical program.  All proceeds from the Shults and Company program this year will benefit the hospital.

    The program for the evening was introduced by club member Jim Buck.  Fred Buck (Jim Buck’s brother) and his wife, Jill, presented a musical program.  Fred and Jill Buck play many string instruments:  banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and upright bass, to name a few.  They sang and played many songs for those in attendance.  The Bucks’ use the name Wind River, for performances.  They also play with a band called County Line.  Their program was enjoyable, and very much appreciated.

    Grinnell Rotary meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at West Side Family Restaurant.


Denny Conway

Grinnell Rotary met Tuesday, December 19, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.  

    The evening started with a special recognition of the Ted Clausen family, as Paul Harris Fellows.  The Paul Harris Fellow program recognizes individuals who contribute $1000 to the Rotary Foundation.  The program also recognizes those in whose name contributions of $1000 have been made to the Foundation.  Clausen family members recognized were:  Helen Clausen, Christopher A. Clausen, Brett White, Rebecca G. Clausen Pinkerton, Jimmy E. Pinkerton, Rachel D. Pinkerton, and Benjamin Karl Havlik.

    The speaker for the night was Poweshiek County Treasurer, Sandy Ross.  Her topic was Grinnell’s Driver’s License Satellite Station.  Ross presented a history of the Grinnell Satellite Station, through a power point presentation.  Going forward, Grinnell will not have a satellite station.  She explained that Grinnell would not have a satellite station because of a county issuance number.  In order for the county to receive enough equipment to allow a Grinnell Satellite Station, the average license issuance number for the county would need to be 5000.  Poweshiek County only had 4857, averaged over three years.  Ross contacted all known sources to advocate for more equipment, but did not succeed in getting the additional equipment approved.  For this reason, the decision was made to have driver’s licenses issued in Montezuma only.

    Grinnell Rotary meets every Tuesday at West Side Family Restaurant.


Denny Conway

The Grinnell Rotary Club met on November 14, 2017 at Westside Family Restaurant. Our speaker for the evening was Ashley (Rubendall) Shawler who works at Grinnell State Bank and is on the board of directors of United Way of Grinnell.  United Way of Grinnell funds organizations who help people in three main areas:  poverty, health and education. A sampling of the organizations that United Way of Grinnell has funded in recent years include: the Mid-Iowa Community (MICA) Food Pantry, Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool, the Grinnell Ministerial Association, the Grinnell Newburg School District’s Fourth Grade Y-Camp Experience, Heart of Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters, Grinnell Recreation Department, Iowa Legal Aid, Local Foods Connection, Poweshiek County Extension, Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), Crisis Intervention Services, Girl Scouts of America and the Women’s Health Clinic (Note: this organization closed this past year and United Way is looking to partner with another organization to meet the needs this agency formerly served.).United Way of Grinnell also provides funding to the Montezuma Food Bank. United Way of Grinnell is 100% nonprofit. 99% of the money raised each year stays in Grinnell. Organizations may make requests for funding from United Way anytime from May through the second week of June. All organizations funded by United Way must maintain nonprofit status.  Each dollar given to United Way helps supports programs that last year changed over 4000 lives in Grinnell.


The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6:00 PM at Westside Family Restaurant. Visitors are always welcome.


    Grinnell Rotary met Tuesday, October 31, 2017, for their weekly meal, meeting, and program.

    During the short business meeting, club members discussed the event held at Peace Tree Brewery the previous week.  Rotarians were pleased with the outcome of the meeting held at Peace Tree.

    Guest speaker for the evening was Susan Ferguson, Grinnell College Professor of Sociology.  Her topic was her experiences while she participated in a classroom at sea.  The ship was built in 1998 as a classroom at sea.  It set out from port at Hamburg, Germany, and sailed 21,000 miles during the cruise.  There were 550 students and 30 faculty members on board, with a total of 675 persons including students, faculty, and crew.  Ferguson reported that the ship was literally a floating college with course work every day.  When in port, there were a variety of field trips offered, which enabled students to learn both on land and at sea.  Susan explained that she was able to participate in a “once in a lifetime experience”.

    Rotary meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at West Side Family Restaurant.


Dennis Conway


Grinnell Rotary met Tuesday, October 10, 2017, for a meal, meeting, and program.  

    The short business meeting dealt mainly with a recap of the recently held event, Kites Over Grinnell.  The general consensus was that everything dealing with the event went fine.  

    Speaker for the evening was Rotarian Jim Ahrens, who spoke on the second half of the life of Winston  Churchill.  Winston Churchill was the son of Lord Randolph Churchill.  He attended Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, which is equivalent to West Point in the United States.  He married Clementine Hozier.  Churchill retired at age fifty.  Following his retirement, he elected to remain in politics.  His money was earned by writing books, one of them on the Duke of Marlboro.  Winston Churchill wrote many articles supporting views against Communism.  Throughout his life, he switched parties many times……from Liberal to Conservative, and back again.  At age sixty-five, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain.  He was known to always have a well-timed “wise crack” to deliver, whatever the topic.  Winston Churchill died in 1965.

    Grinnell Rotary meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at West Side Family Restaurant.


Dennis Conway

    Club member Gerry Adams introduced our speaker for the evening, Georgia Plumb.  Georgia is the owner of Rock Steady Boxing, a wellness center that specializes in fighting back against Parkinson’s disease.  Her target clients are people over fifty years old.
This past Tuesday, August 29, the Grinnell Rotary Club gathered at the Westside Family Restaurant for their weekly meeting.   The Rotary Club's guest speaker was Barry Driscoll, a representative from the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter, (PALS) which is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter for cats and dogs.  Barry spoke to the Grinnell Rotary Club about the future plans for a 2.5 acre off-leash dog park that will be located on the same property as the shelter at 4167 20th St in Grinnell, just south of Brownell’s.  The dog park will be owned and operated by PALS and will be open to the public for a minimal fee.   
The Grinnell Rotary Club met at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at Westside Family Restaurant. Our speaker for the evening was Mr. Mike Ruby, District Governor for Rotary District 6000. He talked briefly about the history of the Grinnell Rotary Club which was chartered in 1938. This year’s theme for Rotary District 6000 is MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Mr. Ruby spent some time discussing how Grinnell Rotary has made a difference in Grinnell and offered some suggestions for increasing our “difference making” in the future…. Including using one meeting per month to go out into the community to do service projects. He stated that only ten percent of what happens in Rotary should take place at our weekly meetings. The other 90 percent should take place doing service projects.
Lemoyne Gaard presented a program to the Grinnell Rotary Club on the first of August about the entrance of the United States into WWI.  This year marks the anniversary of American participation.  
Lemoyne, a retired history teacher at Grinnell High School, kept the club members intensely interested as he outlined the major events of the beginning of this conflict and went into detail about those most important for an American audience to know.
This made for a very informative and interesting evening for the club members.  The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Westside Diner and welcomes guests an prospective members each week.
James A Ahrens
This past Tuesday, July 25, the *Grinnell Rotary Club* gathered at the
Westside Family Restaurant for their weekly meeting.   The Rotary Club's
guest speaker was Megan McKay, owner of one of the newest businesses coming
to Grinnell, the Peace Tree Brewery. 


Club Executives & Directors
President Nominee
Membership Chair
Public Image Chair
Public Image Vice Chair
Youth Services Vice Chair
Youth Services Chair
Immediate Past President
Sgt at Arms
Membership Vice-chair
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