P.O. Box 265, Park Ridge, New Jersey 07656

Park Ridge

Service Above Self

1st, 3rd, and 5th Fridays at Bellissimo's Restaurant at 12:15 PM; 2nd Th. Domani Restaurant, 387 Washington Av., Hillsdale at 6:30; 4th Th. The Cornerstone Restaurant, 84 Broadway, Hillsdale at 5:30.
Bellissimo's Restaurant
12 S. Kinderkamack Rd.
Montvale , NJ  07645
United States
District Site
Venue Map
March 2017

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Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...
Home Page Stories
At the Park Ridge Rotary Meeting at Bellisimo in Montvale, Bob Bustard described the Gift of Life Doll House Project; the proceeds from the raffle of a doll house will be donated to the Gift of Life program in honor of our departed member, Bob Ballentine.  The gentleman who made the huge doll house from a kit is a former next door neighbor of Bob.  He is a World War II army veteran who attended Julliard and played the organ in Woodcliff Lake.  He was a handy man, and after his wife passed away a few years ago he became ill and lost his leg.  While in hospice his daughter suggested he build a doll house from a kit.  It gave him a new lease on life and he has since built several of them. He starts working 10 AM almost every day and often works into the night.
The drawing is on May 5. Raffle tickets will cost $10 each or three for $25.   The doll house is at Bob’s house. We are working in conjunction with Park Ridge Library and they will help with the sale of raffle tickets. Ned Barber will interview the builder and produce a PKRG-TV segment about the project..
On February 23 at the Cornerstone Restaurant in Hillsdale, members enjoyed a talk by our member, Vladislav Zherenovsky regarding the upcoming international Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  2017 marks 100 years since the Rotary Foundation was established and it actually began in Atlanta.  At that time $26.50 was raised at the Convention.  Currently the foundation has over $1 Billion.  The Conference is being held June 10-14.
On February 17 at the Bellisimo Restaurant in Montvale, members enjoyed a talk by our member, Ray Falcon, about a program called Best Foot Forward. The program began when Ray met a woman who was active in Epic, a school for handicapped children.  When the children turn 17 or 18 the school tries to get them work experience in quiet businesses with repetitive activities.  In this way they can prepare for future employment.
Ray’s firm began by hiring a young autistic man named Ryan.  Over time he was able to talk and interact with members of the staff and did an outstanding job shredding documents.  The experience was emotional for both Ray and his staff, whose work frequently involve helping clients with special needs. 
The process for Best Food Forward begins with information from the school about student needs for timing and distance of work.  Then Rotary clubs are identified within that distance and contacted about the details of the program and whether opportunities might be available for a special needs candidate.  The students are accompanied to their jobs by a coach/communications helper.  They are not paid as this is a learning experience.
The program has been very successful in preparing special needs individuals to work in the future while teaching their co-workers to appreciate their needs, growth and contributions.  Ryan now works in a restaurant. 
On January 26 at the Cornerstone Restaurant in Hillsdale, members enjoyed a talk by our member, Brittany Vozza, about her recent trip to Iceland.  Brittany showed beautiful photos of Iceland, including the “Blue Lagoon”, a man-made body of water that contains approximately 90 million liters of wter and changes out approximately every 40 hours.  The water, from a geothermal spring, reaches around 300 degrees Celcius. 
Brittany told our group that the food and ales in Iceland were excellent, and sometimes exotic.  The architecture tends to be very simple.  She particularly enjoyed a music hall in Rejkevic.  The building is all glass and includes stairs built to look like piano keys.
The weather tends to be warmer in Iceland than many parts of Europe.  On her third day there, it was relatively warm, the snow melted and she toured the countryside. Most people sleep with windows open because of the geothermal conditions.
Brittany found the people in Iceland to be very friendly.  She noted that many types of tours are available.  Someone could go scuba diving a well as ice-skating on the same day.
Kevin Golden of Franklin Templeton spoke about our club investments in the Franklin funds and also general investment tips. Franklin Templeton was established 70 years ago. It is a 900 billion dollar fund with offices in 50 countries. The two funds our club is invested in are Franklin Rising Dividends and Franklin Income. Franklin Rising Dividends selects companies that have increased their dividend payment in each of the last 10 years for their portfolio. The second is Franklin income which focuses on Companies that promote income and growth. The two tips Kevin had for personal investing was to: control reacting and overreacting to news and noise, be careful how this effects financial decisions. The second was to “get great advice” advice that you trust, open and honest. Kevin then answered questions from the club.   
On January 6 at the Bellissimo Italian Restaurant in Montvale, members were pleased to welcome Betsy Thomason who recently published a book entitled “Just Breathe Out”. Betsy, a Respiratory Therapist by occupation, spent many years analyzing the phenomenon of breathing.  She determined that outbreath is what powers us.  Her goal is to bring outbreath into our consciousness.  The benefits of ‘just breathing out’ are many, including stress management, pain management and overall better health.
On December 2 at the Bellissimo Italian Restaurant in Montvale, members were pleased to welcome Roland Weimer the new ShelterBox ambassador for our District. In April 2000, the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England adopted ShelterBox as its millennium project. It became the largest Rotary Club project in the world, responding to disasters and conflict across the globe and providing emergency shelter to over one million people.
A shelter box typically contains a large tent to house an entire family
who spoke about “Shelter Box”.  It also includes such items as a cooking stove, utensils, tools for rebuilding a home, blankets, mosquito netting, watler filtration and more.
ShelterBox USA operates out of Florida and has helped victims of tornadoes and hurricanes, including Hurricane Sandy in the US and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.  Different ShelterBox groups from various countries coordinate their relief efforts among nations.  For example in 2005 after a tsunami  devastatedsoutheast sia, ShelterBox was able to deliver some 22,000 shelter boxes.
ShelterBox now has a ‘school box’, which holds the complete contents for a classroom instead of tents.  Typically the school box includes crayons, pencils, dolls, books and the like.
Roland passed several photos around the room.  It became clear that a picture is worth 1,000 words as these photos brought to life how much ShelterBox helps disaster victims.
On November 18 at the Bellissimo Italian Restaurant in Montvale, members were pleased to welcome Don Ruschman as it’s newest member of the Club. Peter introduced Don and noted that June Bertini was his sponsor. Don is a returning member. Peter reminded us that the strength of Rotary is fellowship and the strength of a Rotarian is to belong.  We have obligations and responsibilities to each other.  He commented that we are ot just people running around –we are people who care about each other.
Peter gave Don new pin, a copy of the four-way test and other material in a welcome folder. Members also shared memories of working with Don. Stuart reminded members that Don is a past President of our club. Bernie noted that he and Don both served on the Board of Education when Bob Ballentine was the Superintendant.. Don also worked with Bob Balentine on Library matters. June thanked Bob for handling of  the 9/11 crisis.
Welcome Don!
On November at the Bellissimo Italian Restaurant in Montvale, members welcomed Judy Reilly who spoke to us about the Haiti Scholarship Program. Rotary has supported the Haite Scholarship Program from its beginnings in 1996.  Judy comes from Our Lady of Mercy Church  (OLM) in Park Ridge. In 1996 they became a twin parish with a parish in Haiti.  They soon learned that their partners could not afford to send their children to secondary school. And organized a program to help children go to school  Eventually, it got to a point where there were too many children so OLM began so seek other contributes. They also started a scholarship test for students in each grade. The highest 230 scoring students are sent to school every year.  Although the Haiti Scholarship Fund is a church program, preference is not shown to any one religion. When the Haiti Scholarship Fund began, the literacy rate was 47%. Not it is about 60%. 
The Haiti Scholarship Fund provides a handful of university scholarships. They have seen 17 university students graduate over time.  Their Graduates include engineers, accountants, agronomists, doctors, a business administrator and a law student. Many come back to their village, which as become a bustling community.
On October 27 at the Cornerstone in Hillsdale NJ, members heard a presentation by Steve Hopper regarding the Pascack Food Pantry (now the Triboro Food Pantry).  Cathy (also known as Cooky) Bowen has been welfare person for the three towns for about 15 years and took over food pantry as well.
On average the food pantry serves about 50 families each week. Something special is provided for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for about 90 families, including fresh vegetables for holiday meals. Cathy works closely with Ann Kilmartin on Welfare. They tell her how much money is available and Cathy distributes as appropriate. The Triboro Food Pantry is open from 9-11 AM.  Packages are set up in advance except for those with special dietary needs. The Triboro Food Pantry is located at the back door of Reform church.
Personally, during the last few weeks Steve and his father have been working with the Sugarflake Bakery to bring leftover bread, rolls and cake to Lehmann Gardens and the Food Pantry.
On October 13 at the Domani Italian Ristorante in Hillsdale, members welcomed three of the students we sponsored to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program this year.   Dick Beattie introduced the students (Melissa Russo, Danielle Samitt and Kyra Herzberger) as well as one of the event managers, Scott Crowther. 
Dick presented a video from this year’s RYLA closing ceremonies to acquaint Club members with some of the conference activities.  He asked the RYLA guests about overriding themes of the event.  The group commented that it was important to have teamwork as well as trust and reliance on others.  Melissa Russo added that her favorite thing about RYLA was seeing how people can work together in groups and lead by following. Kyra Herzberger added that her favorite part of the RYLA program was when teammates lifted each other up in the air; it was a good example of learning to trust others.  Danielle Samitt added that her favorite part of RYLA was the growth she experienced.
On September 30 at the Bellissimo Italian Restaurant in Montvale, members welcomed Mark Shefts, Trustee of The Onyx and Breezy Foundation and a Gold Sponsor of our recent 5K Run.  Mark was introduced by David Kist, whose mother had been helped by Mark many years ago.  Years later, Mark arranged for assistance with the care of David’s dog, Patrick. 
The Onyx and Breezy Foundation was started 12 years ago when the Shefts lost two dogs within a few weeks of each other. Their names were Onyx and Breezy.  Mr. and Mrs. Shefts were able to provide very good care for their dogs, but they were concerned that others would not have that ability.  They started to donate locally and then formed the foundation. The goal is to help those who can’t afford medical care for their pets.
The Onyx and Breezy Foundation provides funding and support to spay and neuter programs, animal rescue from kill shelters, donations of animal food, medicine and supplies, cancer Foundation also provides equipment for medical facilities, puppy mill rescues and disaster relief.  The Foundation assists animal shelters, rescue organizations, foster groups and sanctuaries as well as pets of individuals where medical hardship is present. They help the dogs of veterans suffering from PTSD and provide other benefits that support animal welfare.  One hundred percent of contributions to the Foundation are directed to fulfill the Foundation goals and the Foundation is fully staffed with volunteers.
They Onyx and Breezy Foundation sponsors many special events to raise money and memorialize beloved pets, including a memory walk and a gala black tie event (to be held at the Park Ridge Marriott on October 15.
Image result for The Onyx and Breezy Foundation
On September 9 at the Montvale Courtyard by Marriott, members welcomed District Governor Stephen V. Jarahian. Steve met with Board members prior to the luncheon.  At the luncheon meeting, Steve spoke to all Club attendees about subjects important to him this year: membership, District Foundations and military family assistance.
Steve’s first focus area was membership. He began with a reference to his home club (Bergenfield-Dumont), which had over 50 members years ago but saw that number dwindle to 11.  His group found 1,700 businesses in their towns, and invited over 900 to a meet and greet. After two meet and greet events, their membership increased dramatically. Steve recommended this approach to other clubs and commented that he had a team that could help with research if club members could focus on hosting the events.
Steve’s second area of focus related to two foundations in our District.  The first is the Gift of Life, which began as an effort requiring a host family and approximately $5,000. Now the average cost is $1,000 - $2,000 per child. The second is the Walter D. Head Foundation.  Steve noted that Foundation money goes to charity.  Walter Head plaques are typically given to past club presidents but can be given to others.  Last year the Foundation gave out $15,000 in scholarships.
Steve’s discussion of Interact Clubs focused on the issue that the District doesn’t have a good fix on where they are.  The District is trying to identify and locate them. He further noted that this year RYLA would go from 90 – 120 participants.
Calisto Bertin was instrumental in energizing the military family assistance center. The Department of Veteran Affairs noted that veterans are reluctant to ask for help. Sometimes veterans don’t know what they’re entitled to. We provide food through pantry at the Veterans Center in Secaucus. They manage the distribution. We also provide food cards for fruit and vegetables.
The August 26, 2016 meeting at the Cornerstone featured a presentation from our club member, Steve Meccia.  Steve’s presentation was about his experience as a strength trainer to the Red Sox. Married and father to two daughters. Steve works at The Gym in Montvale. He grew up in Little Ferry and graduated from Bergen Tech where he was on the football team.  Originally, he planned to be an auto mechanic, but after a rotation into an allied health course he switched to that field.  He went on to college and graduate school in sports medicine with a specialty in baseball. He interned for the Boston Red Sox and later worked for the Baltimore Orioles. Through his experiences on both teams Steve learned many life lessons and took to heart the 12 important levels of success (based on a book by Steven Covey): integrity, contribution, priority, sacrifice, service, contribution, loyalty, reciprocity, diversity, learning, renewal and teaching.
On August 19 at the Montvale Courtyard by Marriott, members were treated to a presentation by Tom Wells of the Wells Mountain Foundation. The Wells Mountain Foundation was founded by Tom and his wife, Carol. It is a non-profit tax-exempt charity with a focus on education. The foundation seeks to provide resources to empower motivated individuals, mostly in developing nations, to grow personally, so as to be able to have a meaningful, positive impact in their communities, their countries, and ultimately, the world. 
The Wells Mountain Foundation’s Empowerment Through Education (ETE) program supports undergraduate students of developing countries pursuing studies in their own country and regions. Each year, an average of only 2% of ETE applicants are chosen to receive this award; currently over 30 countries are represented throughout the developing world. The program supports scholars obtaining degrees in community-oriented fields, and encourages them to be the agents of change in their own communities, nations and the world. The focus is on degrees that will best help their own communities, including medicine/health services, community development, law, education, social sciences and engineering.  Their scholars are required to volunteer a minimum of 100 hours of community service every year. In fact, in the past two years, Wells Mountain Foundation scholars have contributed over 15,800 hours of community service.
The Wells Mountain Foundation is also involved in related projects, including a Book Angels program that donates or sells books at cost.  Through connections to the YMCA, the Wells Mountain Foundation also supports the creation of community centers in Haiti, based on a container approach (designed by Park Ridge Rotary President Phil Wells).
For more information, visit www.wellsmountainfoundation.org.
Rotary’s history and relationship with the United Nations spans many decades. When the UN was in its early conception of being formed, Rotarians were asked to be observers of these meetings and talks. Rotarians took the meeting minutes and published them in the Rotarian Magazine to inform and educate Rotarians about what was occurring. In 1945, at the San Francisco conference which officially established a charter for the UN, Rotarians were asked once again to observe and record the proceedings. The compilation of meeting minutes were later organized and published in the book “FROM HERE ON!” 
Over the decades, the relationship between Rotary and the UN became strained as Cold War politics fractured the organization. In the 1980’s, RI President Chuck Keller sought to align the Rotary and UN partnership again with the help of a local New York City Rotarian. The goal was to partner on the eradication of Polio project. Today, Rotary has a UN Committee that meets regularly at the UN to make contacts, connections, and inform delegates of our work. Mr. Laureni is part of this committee for the past ten years.
Rotary UN Day started as a way to bring Rotarians to the UN and showcase topics of interest for UN delegates and Rotarians. The panels for past events typically consist of a UN delegate, a Rotarian who worked on a complimentary project, and a third non-governemental organization (NGO) or expert on a topic.  In 2000, UN Day began to include programming for youth programs, such as Interact. Students come from all over the world to attend this event.
This year’s theme will be “Ethics in Business” and consist of similar formatting in the past based on Rotary’s 6 areas of focus. Tickets include a boxed lunch. If you are interested in attending, purchase your tickets early as the event sells out in a week.
On August 6 at the Montvale Courtyard by Marriott, Rotary members welcomed this year’s Park Ridge Rotary scholarship recipients.
Linda Hanlon, head of the Scholarship Committee, introduced the recipients. She enjoys chairing this committee and noted that our 5K run in September helps us raise the funds for our scholarship awards. Linda also commented that it was wonderful to read about the applicants’ community service, activities and accomplishments. She added that it gives us ‘old people’ a great feeling to know that the future of our country will be in good hands.
The scholarship recipients attending today’s luncheon are:
  • Jillian Richmond, a Pascack Hills High School graduate who will be studying vocal performance at the University of Miami
  • Eunique Nyonly, a Park Ridge High School graduate who will be studying biology and pre-med at Hampton University
  • James Bargmann, a Park Ridge High School graduate who will be studying business at the University of Michigan
  • Sophia Verducci, a Park Ridge High School graduate who will be studying pre-law, business and finance at Mt. Holyoke
  • Michelle Baird, a Bergen Tech graduate who will be studying physics at Princeton
Scholarship recipients unable to attend today’s luncheon are Hannah Hoffman (graduate of Pascack Hills High School and attending the University of Maryland at College Park) and Jen Malespina (graduate of Park Ridge High School and attending Penn State University.
On July 29 at the Montvale Courtyard by Marriott, Ray Falcon presented the proposed Club By-Laws.  After discussion and edits to various sections, the By-Laws were unanimously passed.
After the By-Law review, Stuart Gold presented the official President’s pin to Vlad Zherenovsky.
At the July 15 meting at the Marriott Courtyard, members of the Park ridge Rotary Club were treated to a special presentation by Jim Thebery, Director of the Bergen County Division on Disability Services. His topic was the Bergen County Access for All Campaign and County Disability programs and services in general.
Jim noted that some 30 towns are part of the Access for All Campaign including Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake. Emerson will soon be added to the list and are now constructing 14 units for veterans with disabilities.  He added by way of example that Ridgewood has a three-day Access for All event, including a t-shirt contest, art competition, fashion show and street event. The town holds an autism day in April and a disability day in September. Members of the Interact Club assist at many of these events.
Program: Responsibility with Plastics
On July 7, Rotary members enjoyed a dinner meeting at Domani in Hillsdale NJ with a special presentation by Ravi Anna.  Ravi works for KPMG in an IT management role. He is married with twin boys, aged 8. He loves skiing and playing board games.  Ravi’s topic was “responsibility with plastics”. 
Ravi began his presentation with the hope that we could each take one action that would make a difference in how and how much we use plastic products.
Ravi said that plastics are long, chain-like molecules (polymers) that are capable of being molded, extruded or cast into various shapes. They are mostly are mostly made form made from petroleum or coal. The production if plastics is increasing every year; in spite of recycling efforts, we using more and more plastic
Ravi explained that there are many reasons why we use plastic products. They are relatively cheap, strong, light weight, flexible and durable. They are also resistant to some chemicals, water and grease. However there are many issues associated with plastics. For example, they are flammable and release toxic fumes when burned; they have low melting points which results in the expansion and release of dangerous chemicals when heated.  Plastics can contaminate food and water. Some of the chemicals in plastics (e.g., BPA in plastic bottles/containers, BPS, and others cause health problems.  Water bottles, for example have a drastically higher level of endocrine disrupting chemicals.  Ravi referred to Phalates as “chemical enemy number one”.  The potential threats to health are cumulative.

Click on the story links below to hear about our club's work featured in the news.


Park Ridge Rotary hosts ‘Gift of Life’ child


Park Ridge Rotary announces scholarship

Arborist - 12:15 @Bellissimo's
Mar 31, 2017
Tree Maintenance
Dick Beattie - 12:15 @ Bellissimo's
Apr 07, 2017
Gift of Life
Ray Falcon - @Domani
Apr 13, 2017
Walter Head.
PDG Joe Dino
Apr 21, 2017
Women's Healthcare - 12:15@ Bellissimo's
Apr 27, 2017
May 05, 2017
Dollhouse Drawing
12:15 @ Bellissimo's
May 19, 2017
Bob Bustard 5:30@ The Cornerstone
May 25, 2017
Adopt a Veteran
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immediate Past President