Lori Martini took on greeting members and guests (with gusto) as people joined our virtual meeting.
 
President Joel Ivy opened the meeting and called on Brandon Clark for the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
 
Trey Harden introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians, who were:
Carol Hornsby, guest of Don Selvage
Doug McCall and Christina Spencer visiting from the Rotary Club in Wallasey, England
 
President Joel asked for Happy Dollars. Larry Rankin (with Arletta Black Torres) passed out 500 voter information flyers at Feeding Tampa Bay.  Don Selvage congratulated Gary Clark on his induction to the Florida Veteran’s Hall of Fame.  Lori Garrard announced the completion of the virtual STARS Class, which had 10 participants.
 
President Joel announced on-going support and funding for Feeding Tampa Bay and the Lakeland Police Department for AEDs in police vehicles.
 
Trey Harden reminded everyone about the upcoming golf tournament on October 23 at The Club at Eaglebrook.  80 players are registered, but still room for more.  Sponsors and volunteers are still needed. You can also contribute cash or a bottle of spirits for the “basket of cheer” that will be included in the silent auction.  Tickets are available if you want to attend the dinner.  Please go to Club Runner or contact Trey for dinner tickets.
 
For our program, Kim Brunson introduced Brian Haas, State Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. State Attorney Haas is a Polk County native, having graduated from Bartow High School and now living in Winter Haven. He is also a visiting Rotarian from the Bartow club.
 
The Tenth Judicial Circuit is made up of Polk, Highland and Hardee Counties with over 90 attorneys in 5 offices. Due to COVID jury trials are on hold.  Sherriff Judd assisted in the creation of a remote courthouse to enable a remote court system which allows attorneys and clients to appear before a judge from a distance.  Defendants can participate in court hearings remotely over the phone from their homes.  State Attorney Haas shared amusing stories of some virtual hearings gone wrong.
 
Court staff returned to the office as soon as possible, following the guidance of the health department including wearing masks, physical distancing, and temperature checks.  There has been no spread of the virus in the office.
 
Jury trials are expected to restart in November with safety being the first priority.  Courtrooms will be different with smaller jury groups, plastic partitions, and masks.  Because it is important for jurors to see the face of witnesses, clear masks are being considered for those giving testimony.
 
State Attorney Haas also discussed current issues involving racial tension and police interaction. He does not see the same impacts here in the 10th District as seen in other areas of the Country, which he attributes to our law enforcement being held to a higher standard by local leadership. He emphasized the need for community members to be proactive in making connections and building common ground.
 
The program concluded with State Attorney Haas graciously fielding questions from the club on a variety of pertinent topics.
 
Next week’s program will feature Kate Wallace on the topic of Business Led Advocacy in Public Education.