President: Frank Towner
President-Elect: Geoff Dunn
Vice President: Catrina VanAtta
Treasurer: Jay O'Leary • Secretary: Joanne Lamoureux 

Tomorrow’s meeting:
Club Service, “Mix & Match”

January 22, 2020


“We have lots of announcements, today,” President Frank Towner declared after leading the Club in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jean McPheeters turned 69 last Monday, the 20th, and she mused on that in her Thought for The Day. Her view of the Present, she said, is that it’s the Best of times, and it’s the Worst of times. As a percentage, fewer people are dying from war or from health issues, But then … there are the current Issues. Yet! Instead of dwelling on those, Jean chooses LOVE! [Rock on, Jean!]

Every week we have wonderful guests, and last week was no different. Member Gertrude Noden, also the day’s speaker, introduced Andra Benson, from Lansing. Andra is our local connection with Days for Girls, and is at the center of organizing the Spring and Fall sewing days. Last year, our Club secured a Rotary grant to help fund the Days for Girls project for 2 years. Linda Brisson chimed in, adding that Andra has an amazing family and that her daughter will be an outgoing exchange student next year! Andra is a true asset to our communities; thanks for coming last week.

Also joining us was Kristine Morseman, a guest of President Frank. Kristine just started as Marketing and Communications Director at Beechtree (just around the corner). Ray Brisson introduced Claudia Miettunen, a Spanish teacher at Ithaca High. Claudia had come to the Rotary Youth Exchange meeting that was held before lunch. And, Richard Kops welcomed our exchange students, Koo and Marcelo.

The coupon prize was a batch of beautiful biscuits baked by Colleen Schiefen. (Technically, they were cookies, but I couldn’t let that get in the way of the string of b-words, and they do call them “biscuits” in Britain.) The prize also included a $25 BJs gift card, and a snuggly Rotary bear and t-shirt. John Barradas had the winning number.


Rotary Board meets this afternoon at 5:00 p.m., United Way offices, 313 N. Aurora St. All are invited.


Tomorrow’s meeting is at Coltivare as usual, but the following week, Feb. 5, the meeting will be at the Ithaca Country Club. Please note it in your calendars. DG Dave Bensley will be at the Feb. 5 meeting (which will be held at the Country Club).

Two weeks from tomorrow, the BIG prize drawing will take place at our noon meeting: The Dozen Dinner Draw (DDD). But, Juliet Gibbs reported that we were only half way to our sales goal of 300 tickets (I bought a ticket for my teammates at work!) Our goal is $15,000, which will only be achieved if we sell all the tickets. The funds will go to The Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian disaster relief and a ShelterBox, and to the sustainable water system in northern Costa Rica that members of our International Services Committee visited last November, dubbed Clean Water for Costa Rica 2.0.

Please keep spreading the word, and help sell tickets. Tickets are $50 each, and the raffle grand prize is one dozen $100 gift certificates to top Finger Lakes area restaurants. Tickets are available at The Pack ’n Ship Store on The Commons, or visit

The President of the Lansing-Ithaca Club, Kathryn Mapes, made a gift basket for the Foundation Dinner last fall, and a member of our club won it! Was that you? Kathryn has another item to add to it, so please raise your hand if you were the winner!

Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI), March 7, Owego Treadway Inn. RLI is the best way to get down into learning the ins and outs of Rotary from a diversity of perspectives. Talk to Heidi Goldstein to sign up.

“Think Globally, Act Locally.” Six Rotarians started our Club’s Rotary Charitable Trust in 1980, and longtime committee member Mary Berens is this year’s chair. Last year the assets were moved to the Community Foundation, and Mary’s goal for this year is to reintroduce the concept of the Trust to our Club. To that end, she intends to have calendar-year fiscal reports at tomorrow’s meeting.

During this Rotary year, 2019-2020, all weekly donations for the kettle, raffle, and happy dollars will go to the Trust, now called a Donor Advised Fund. Check in with Mary to learn more about our RCT, and don’t forget to put an extra dollar in the kettle, buy a second prize coupon at your table, and give another happy dollar just for the Trust.

And, speaking of Happy Dollars! President Frank’s grandson is seven months old! Not yet retired, Mary Beth Bunge pitched the Hangar Theatre, which will open its season with Tiny Beautiful Things. The Hangar is looking for anyone with little or no experience to be involved. Colleen Schiefen’s happy dollar was in honor of the Lansing Rotary. Thanks to the visit there, she now has 100% attendance! Colleen is also looking for people to help with the weekly raffle gifts.

“Days for Girls” got another shout-out from Linda Pasto, who also asked, “who wants Girl Scout cookies?” Buy a box for $5, then donate them to a local food bank! Steve Sedlock gave a plug for Life Long’s fourth annual Celebration. The fundraiser is March 8th at Celebrations. Please join them in supporting the event; there are three sponsorship levels.

Gertrude Noden’s good news is that her first born just got his pilot’s license! And the really good news is that every successful take off has been followed by an equally successful landing! John Finn spoke at the Rotary Club of Owego, and presented a banner to our Club. Kate Finn added that she and John will leave soon to kayak in the Sea of Cortez off the Baja Peninsula. Loretta Goss is also happy to be traveling, in her case to Florida for five weeks, though she will miss her Rotary family and friends!

Nate Lyman pitched in for Gary Ferguson, who now has 22 baby goats, all born in a few days’ time, but not at the normal time of year! Apparently one male goat was mistakenly held in a pen meant for only female goats, and you know the rest of the story! Jean McPheeters gave a dollar for every one of her 69 years, noting her gratitude for family and friendships. And Nancy Potter had a follow-up on the Dozen Dinner Draw, noting that over 50 tickets were sold just the previous week! Thank you for supporting DDD!

At the end of the meeting, President Frank initiated a moment of silence for honorary Rotarian Russ Sprague, who passed away on January 20.

Do you know someone who would host an exchange student? The Youth Exchange Committee is always looking for good host families. Please let Marshall McCormick ( or Linda Brisson ( know if you have any suggestions.



Trina VanAtta introduced speaker and club member Gertrude Noden whose topic was, “Teaching Life Skills for Global Citizenship.”

During her time as a classroom teacher, Gertrude introduced an award-winning Global Citizenship curriculum that taught basic human rights ideals, then researched, designed, and implemented outreach projects. Over the years, her students raised nearly $70,000 and collected many tons of food, books, and other items to support both local and international organizations. Recently Gertrude has shifted her vocational focus, founding Words Into Deeds with the goal of working with teachers and schools to better prepare youth for the demands of 21st century citizenship.

Gertrude’s presentation highlighted her recent work with the UNIFAT Elementary School in Gulu, Uganda. Gertrude’s students raised a total of $12,000 for education in Eastern Africa with an annual “Walk for Water” event. The lack of accessible water especially affects young girls who must spend much of each day hauling water for their families.

The UNIFAT School became a beacon of hope for thousands of children during the conflicts that terrorized Northern Uganda. While these have largely subsided, UNIFAT continues to serve the families of nearly 900 Gulu children grades K-8.

Gertrude is now working to bring elements of her Words Into Deeds program to UNIFAT teachers and administers. During professional development workshops held last November, participants studied the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), their own Uganda Constitution, and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). SDG #3, Good Health and Well-Being, provided guidelines for students’ research and outreach projects, and motivated Gertrude to deliver 50 kits from our local Days for Girls group.

Other initiatives arising from the workshops included renovating, equipping, and staffing a large room for computers, which provides on-site training for teachers and students in finding resources for their projects. In addition, long-term educational needs have been identified and outside sources of support are being enlisted.

Gertrude closed by thanking those who have supported her work with the UNIFAT School, especially Andra Benson of Days for Girls, the staff at Finger Lakes ReUse who provided many items for the new computer room, Patrick Odongara and his fellow Board members at Friends of UNIFAT, and finally the teachers, staff and students at the UNIFAT School for their enthusiastic willingness to incorporate new educational strategies into their classrooms and curriculum.


What Mike Brown sees when he is tending the Kettle:  



Students: Marcelo & Koo

  • Greeter, Nick Romo
  • Kettle, Mike Brown
  • Thought for the Day, Jean McPheeters
  • Introductions, Rotary hosts introduced their guests
Set-Up: Dale Flinn, Joe Giordano, Steve Johnson, Dave Martin, , Jason Sidle, & Brad Carruth.

Bulletin Reporter: Loralyn Light
Photographer: Mike Brown
Bulletin Editor: Ted Schiele

Club Service Facilitators, Beverly Baker & June Losurdo
Sunshine Chair, Kellyann O’Mara



January 29, 2020
Coltivare, S. Cayuga at Clinton St., Downtown Ithaca

Club Service, “Mix & Match”



Feb 26, 2020
Putting Our Plans to Work
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