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Message from DG Jason
Greeting Rotarians!

For me, each day is nearly indistinguishable from the last. As I re-read last months column, I thought that I could probably get by with sending it out again, as it doesn’t feel like much has changed, and it’s really all still applicable!

But, some things have changed. We have begun the bi-weekly district-wide Zoom meetings and have had some great programs so far. We’ll continue these through the next couple of months for sure and then re-evaluate whether to continue. So, keep an eye on your email for the invitation link, because we’ve got some great speakers coming up!

Also, the beginnings of a return to our new normal are starting in Kansas. Perhaps too quickly for some, and perhaps not soon enough for others. A number of clubs have started their own version of a “support local” program, and I’d encourage you to do the same. Helping strengthen communities is one of the core missions of Rotary. Long-time Rotarians may remember the 1997-1998 theme "Show Rotary Cares — for your community, for our world, for its people."

Undoubtedly, you’ve seen heroes in your communities as well. Take note of the inspiring stories you hear about locally, and make plans to honor those people helping others at an upcoming meeting, whether that’s in person in the future, or virtually in the near term. Check with your club Foundation chair to see if the club is able to honor them with a Paul Harris Fellow – perhaps they will be inspired to join your club!

Finally, while we’ve had to cancel many of our upcoming District functions, I’m pleased that we’ve been able to find a way to still hold RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) camp, but virtually! This is a chance for kids who have seen their end of year recognition program’s cancelled, so this is a great way to recognize their accomplishments and help them make social connections that they’ve been missing. See the info later in the newsletter for more info.

Wishing you continued health and happiness,
 
In Rotary service,
Jason Leib
Rotary 5710 District Governor 2019-2020
 

Special Announcement - Introducing E-PETS

By DGE Faron Barr
 
Due to our ever-changing world around us, sometimes we have to adapt to new ways of accomplishing our goals. COVID-19 certainly has challenged us in many ways which is why this year we will have our very first E-PETS for all of our Presidents-Elects in District 5710. This training will consist of four sessions held by either Zoom or webinar (see schedule below) where speakers from our District and from Rotary International can help your President-Elects become better equipped to lead your club.
 
Your District leaders have been working very hard to adapt to the current situation, so we hope your club leaders will find these sessions informative and inspiring. My number one goal this year is for our clubs to collaborate with each other to develop ideas that can impact a significant amount of people in your communities. One of the ways in which we are trying help do just that is with Assistant Governor breakout sessions at the end of each session. This will give your future President a chance to meet their fellow leaders and share their ideas. While we have traditionally held in-person PETS for many years, this will give us an opportunity to try something new and maybe discover some new ideas that could enhance our trainings for years to come. It is even possible that we might like the change.
 
I look forward to meeting all of your future Presidents next week!
 
E - PETS 2020-2021
Tuesdays, May 5th and 12th @ 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Central (Via ZOOM)
Saturday May 30th @ 11:00 A.M. Central (Via ZOOM webinar)
 Tuesday, June 9th @ 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Central (Via ZOOM)
Registration is required for each meeting and invite details will be sent later.
 
Session 1     (May 5th) – District 5710          Click here to register
Overview of Rotary Theme and Vision statement
Rotary International Strategic plan
2020-2021 Budget review and vote for approval
Rotary Citation 2020-2021 review
Breakouts with Assistant Governors
 
Session 2     (May 12th) – District 5710        Click here to register
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards – Jacci Lieb
Membership – Jenalea Randall
Rotary Youth Exchange – Stephen Wheatley
Human Trafficking – Patti Mellard
Public Image – Jason Camis
Breakouts with Assistant Governors
 
Session 3     (May 30th) – General Session with District 5680 and 5710
          Webinar Format – click here to register
Welcome and Introduction – Faron Barr, DGE D5710
Tom Thorfinnson, RI General Manager and Chief Strategy Officer - address to PEs
Introduction of Holger – Dana Brewer, DGE D5680
Holger Knaack, RI President Elect – Rotary Opens Opportunities
Breakouts with Assistant Governors
 
Session 4     (June 9th) – District 5710*        Click here to register
          District Grants Certification – Greg Shondell, Sub-Committee Grants Chair
            Foundation questions
            Adjourn – Faron Barr, DGE, D5710
Breakouts with Assistant Governors
*This session will be open to all Club Foundation Chairs & club representatives who wish to be grants certified.
_________________________________________

District & Club News & Events

 
GREAT PROGRESS TOWARD THE POLIO PLUS 6X CHALLENGE
 
This month we want to extend a sincere thank you to District 5710’s Members and Clubs that have renewed their commitment to supporting Polio Plus by responding to our End of the Year – 6X Matching Donation Challenge!
 
With over $14,500.00 in NEW donations toward matching the $29,000.00 District Funds, we are half-way there. But with only 3 weeks to go before the June 25th Donation Deadline, now is the time to send in those additional donations to Polio Plus. If your Club has not yet donated to Polio Plus this year, please make it a high priority.  When we meet our 2019-2020 Goal our District will have, with the Gates Foundation match, produced over $400,000 for Rotary’s vital work.  Please share the message of our fight to End Polio in the attached “Countdown to History”, AND how Rotary is supporting the response to the Coronavirus. Encourage new or increased donations to Polio Plus from every club and from each of our individual members before June 25th to meet the 6X CHALLENGE!
 
And Remember: WE ARE “THIS CLOSE”.
Jim Arnett, Polio Plus District Chair - (913) 200-0514 - maajca@gmail.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wild Poliovirus Weekly Update
COUNTDOWN TO HISTORY!
Week Ending 30 May 2020
Total number of wild cases in 2017:  22
Total number of wild cases in 2018:  33
Total number of wild poliovirus cases in 2019:  176
     Total # of wild poliovirus cases this week: 2
     Total # of wild poliovirus cases in 2020: 61 (49 in Pakistan)
      (compared with Total of 40 for the same period in 2019)
Total number of Circulating Vaccine Derived cases - 2020: 111
 (compared to total in 2018:104 and in 2019:368)
 
OR CHECKS TO YOUR CLUB’S CHARITABLE ACCOUNT DIRECTED TO “POLIO PLUS”
 
Club Resources During Covid-19
Below are some resources that can help you stay engaged with your members, even in the face of social distancing:

1. Find resources and best practices to your most frequently asked questions here (My Rotary login required):
https://learn.rotary.org/members/share/asset/view/882

2. Donate to the Disaster Response Fund or apply for a grant: https://my.rotary.org/en/disaster-response-fund

3. SAVE THE DATE! Now More Than Ever, Rotary Connects the World: The 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention, taking place between June 20-26. More information will be posted here beginning in May: https://www.riconvention.org/en

4. Encourage members to exchange ideas in the Meeting Online learning topic in the Learning Center (My Rotary login required): https://learn.rotary.org/members/learn/dashboard/channel/67

 
Global Grant Partner Clubs Needed!
Our District Grants committee has approved funding for two Global Grants with our partner district in India that was our partner on the Human Trafficking Day Center project that was implemented this year in Topeka. One grant will help fund the “Saving Little Hearts” pediatric surgeries for children, and the other is for children’s cancer surgeries.
 
We need a host club for each of these projects – and NO CLUB FUNDING is required to participate. If your club has been considering participating in a Global Grant because you haven’t done one before or haven’t for quite some time, this is a great way to get involved with minimum effort.
 
More information is available on the district website.
 
Time is of the essence so please let DG Jason know if your club would like to partner on either of these projects. We would like to have a partner club chosen by Friday, May 8th.
RYLA 2020
As of Friday, May 29 we have 32 of 36 spots filled! We have one application in the queue, and Virtual RYLA is a go!
 
These 33 (so far) students will begin their virtual RYLA camp on June 7 at 3 pm and will have a final ceremony celebrating their work on Friday June 12 at 10:30 am ending at Noon.
 
Students will, as always, work on a group project and have some fun. They'll complete, virtually, a community service project. They'll attend sessions on Human Trafficking with Jennifer Montgomery (Director of Human Trafficking Education and Outreach through the office of the KS Attorney General's office). A session on Civic Engagement with Derek Kwan and a possible virtual tour of the Lied center. Stephen Wheatley on RYE and Barbara Ballard on civic leadership.
 
There will be several sessions that Rotarians can virtually attend. If you are interested in joining one of these sessions, please email programs@ku.edu and they will provide you with the log in information.
 
Opportunities to attend:
Monday 6/8-2:45pm-3:45pm Human Trafficking.  Remember-this is the first time a lot of these students have ever learned about HT.  We'll let the knowledge soak in and then involve them in our district HT initiatives.
Tuesday 6/9 - 10am - Derek Kwan on Civic Engagement
Thursday 6/11-9:45am - Barbara Ballard on Leadership
Thursday 6/11-1:30pm- Stephen Wheatley on Rotary Youth Exchange
Friday 6/12-10:30am-noon RYLA teens presentations.  This is their graduation and final group presentation of a project they work on.  
 
Popular projects have been: 
"The KS drain brain-how do we keep KS graduates in KS?" 
"Friday Night Lights-should we change high school football in light of research of concussions." 
"Oh the Humanities!-why we should/should not keep electives in high school curriculum."
 
Every year these students blow me away with their poise, maturity and intelligence. We hope you can join us to hear from these students!
District-wide Survey for Returning to In-person Meetings
Wow! It’s been almost 3 months now since Rotary clubs have met in person. For some people it seems like an eternity. But for others, it’s refreshing and much easier than meeting in person. As long as members are interacting, it really shouldn’t matter how we meet, though there is always something to be said for in-person meetings.
 
Assuming that Kansas will continue opening up, your club has no doubt started having conversations about meeting in person once again. It’s not an easy process. How do you social distance? Do you wear masks or not? Will you shorten meetings? Are speakers willing (and able) to come to in-person meetings? Can you meet in your former location and will it require modifications? Lots of questions to be answered and there is no right or wrong.
 
Please take a few minutes and answer this confidential survey about what you are thinking and feeling as clubs begin thinking about meeting in person once again. Consumer confidence (in this case Rotarian confidence) is everything. If Rotarians are not ready to meet in person yet, club leadership needs to know that. So please be honest and share with us so that we all can make decisions in the best interest of Rotary in District 5710.
 
Click here to take this survey.
A Perspective on Rotary Youth Exchange & Covid-19
I am Luzia Bosse, an 18-year-old Brazilian woman, and I have been doing a Rotary Youth Exchange in the USA since August of last year. My exchange is sponsored by the Leawood, Kansas Rotary Club of District 5710.  My home club is Rotary Club of Jaragua do sul, District 4652. My visit was to end in July. Now my return date is unknown. I am taking it day by day.
 
I just thought that this virus was far away, and I would not feel a difference in my life. So, I was starting my spring break, and I realized that the virus was affecting my routine because my host family had to cancel our trip to Colorado. After that, I felt how big the problem was of having the virus around the world.
 
I was living my dream in this exchange, but not everything in my dream came out as planned.  chool is closed, my trip across the USA has been canceled. My friends, other exchange students, have returned to their home countries, without even saying goodbye. I'm wondering if we will ever meet again.
 
My daily routine had been; go to school, practice track, and go out with friends. Now, I am taking classes online. I am happy that the teachers are managing to teach with this method even though it is not easy. It is sad because I can no longer socialize with my friends. The only thing that changes every day is the number of coronavirus cases in the world.
 
I decided with my parents that I would stay in Kansas because it would be a very high risk of going through airports, and I also feel safe here in America. I feel anguish for not being close to my family, and it seems that there is no solution for this to end, and every day more cases and death from the virus appear. I am concerned at all times with health because we have no medicine for the cure, and I'm afraid of acquiring the virus and worried about the economy that is being affected as well.
 
This is the time to reflect on life, help others (with due care) and think about what we can change so that something similar does not happen again.
 
This chaos shows me that we must make the most of every moment, because now we cannot do simple things, like hugging someone (which is difficult for a Brazilian) or going for a walk in the park.
Topeka Rotary Clubs Receive Crime Victims Service Award!
Congratulations to the Topeka Rotary Clubs and members who have given generously to our fight to end human trafficking! I received the attached notification of our recognition by the Office of the Attorney General of Kansas for the work done on our Global Grant Day Center and related anti-human trafficking projects! Please share this with your clubs. Unfortunately, the Conference where this recognition would have been given was cancelled due to Conoravirus concerns.
 
This is the email I also received from the Kansas AG office:
Good afternoon Patti!  And congratulations to you and the Rotary Clubs achievements in the anti-trafficking movement.  Attached you will find a copy of the letter being mailed to you from Attorney General Derek Schmidt, formally recognizing the work of the Topeka Rotary clubs along with the Topeka and Shawnee County Anti-trafficking Coalition, as this year’s Outstanding Victim Service Response.  I am sorry that we were unable to present in person this year at the Crime Victim’s Rights Conference, but we celebrate the work of this group none the less!  A press release will be going out to your local media soon.  Thanks again for your work on behalf of crime victims.  Take care!  Michelle
 
Michelle McCormick, LMSW
Director of the Victim Services Division
Office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt
 
Thank you all for your contributions and support!
Women in Rotary Monthly Events
What a fun and exciting time to share a non-COVID19 state line crossing.  Kansas District 5710 and Missouri District 6040 came together to share lively discussion about Global Grants, Human Trafficking, Foster Care, Satellite Clubs, On Line Auctions/Galas, pizza and a host of club projects.  We were a group of 2 Districts, 10 Clubs and 13 Women.  Lenet Compton - Lenexa RC, Kathy Ruoff - Gladstone RC, Charlotte Ruoff - Smithville RC, Deb Rodenbaugh-Schaub - Manhattan Konza RC, Evie Craig - Downtown 13 Satellite RC, Kara Bennett, Jessica Block and Christy Chester - Downtown 13 RC, Josephine Njoroge - Waldo/Brookside RC, Emily Baker - Olathe Noon RC, Kate Campbell - Lawrence Central RC, Kelly Vaille and Caroline Becher - Western Johnson County RC.
 
Some notable items to share, Deb let us know about clothing donations to hospitals for folks that come in with Coronavirus and cannot go home with the clothes they came in wearing. Evie mentioned the Satellite Club has made such a positive difference in keeping their younger members and providing a lower cost option. Christy shared Downtown Club 13's youth camp had to be cancelled this year due to COVID-19 but they made donations to the groups that support the camp.
 
Our next Zoom gathering is June 18 at 5:30
 
Topic: Women in Rotary Connect Zoom Meeting
Time: Jun 18, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Rotary Peace Fellowship Committee Volunteers needed!
This year we have 4 amazing candidates for the RI Peace Fellowship! Club interviews with these candidates will be held the first part of May. I am needing volunteers to interview candidates that the club advances to the District selection committee. All interviews will be conducted by Zoom meetings late May and you are not obligated to attend all four. I will provide a list of sample questions and application packets prior to the interview. Volunteers will be asked to make suggestions to improve the application/essays, and to assist in writing the District endorsements.
 
If you are interested, please contact Patti Mellard, patti@ keystaffing.com, 785-640-9999.
Ambassadors
At our April virtual meeting, we showed pictures from our recent donation of 50 meals to the Ronald McDonald house. Without a March meeting we had made the decision to spend our budget on providing meals.
 
We had a district update from Jason Leib our District Governor and a RYLA update from Jacci Leib. 
 
The membership wanted to help our community even more, so it was decided the club would donate $4,000 to local charities.  After review the club decided to donate to four charities:
  • Happy Bottoms
  • Hope House
  • Faith Hope Ministries
  • Veronicas Voice
We finished with wishing everyone to be safe and to plan to have a May virtual meeting.
Downtown Topeka Rotary
Over 120 Rotarians tuned in for a district-wide Rotary meeting on May 7th between the Downtown Topeka Rotary and the Rotary Club of Harlem! It was amazing to hear what the Rotary Club of Harlem has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the service work they are doing in NYC. What a great group of individuals focused on service above self!
 
An evening social, between the two clubs, is scheduled via Zoom on May 28th with breakout sessions on a number of topics of interest to broaden our knowledge and enhance our Rotary experience.
 

Lawrence Jayhawk

April 16th, the Jayhawk Breakfast Rotary club started meeting via Zoom.  The first week's attendance was 39, with an increase to 46 the following week. We continue to do the invocation, pledge of allegiance, announcements, good news, and a speaker. The first week, our very own Lindsey Slater gave an update on service opportunities in Lawrence. http://lawrencechamber.com/rise/

Maceli's Banquet Hall & Catering is our typical meeting venue. It was approved for the Small Business Administration's new Paycheck Protection Program and has pivoted it's business model to create delicious Heat-and-Eat meals for the community. Many Rotarians are supporting the business by purchasing meals for their families. macelisonline.com.

We had a guest attendee for April 23rd's Zoom meeting, Andrea Kawaletz. She was a Rotary business exchange student in banking 10 years ago, staying with Bruce Roberts and Jane Blocher (the club President at the time) for 6 weeks. Before the speaker's presentation, she gave an update on her life in Northern Germany, shared her love for Lawrence & our club, and expressed her desire to come to see us again when it's safe to travel.

Krista Barbour spoke about turning 6th graders into published authors! She is the creator of a whimsical & rigorous middle school English classroom at Bishop Seabury Academy. During National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) her students join the challenge to each write an 18,000-word novel in 30 days! 

This Thursday, April 30th we will meet via Zoom at 8 am, rather than our usual 7 am, again. The presentation will be about the Rotary Exchange Student Experience with speaker Josie Ostergaard.

Leavenworth Rotary
Leavenworth Rotary Celebrates Education
 
Recently, our club awarded our annual scholarships and Educator of the Year awards.
 
The following student scholars and Educators were recognized:
Katherine Bircher, Lansing High School
Haley Forge, Pleasant Ridge High School
Logan Hope, Lansing High School
Sophie Sallot, Leavenworth High School
Kelsey Stimatze (Earl Lawson Elementary), Primary Educator of the Year
Mary Schwartz (Leavenworth High School), Secondary Educator of the Year

Each student scholar will receive a $2000 Academic Scholarship (sent directly to their school); Educators of the Year received a local Rotary Service Above Self Award and a $250 gift card. Stimatze and Schwartz will compete at the state level this fall. Congratulations to all!
 
Social Distancing was observed at this ceremony - pictured left to right are Katherine Bircher, Haley Forge, Tamara Sevcik, Scholarship/Educator of the Year Committee Chair, Club President, Maria Minchew, Sophie Sallot, Logan Hope and Patrick Proctor, Scholarship Committee Member.
 
And... President Maria Minchew and Leavenworth Foundation President, Tamara Sevcik, were honored to present donations to the Catholic Charities and Salvation Army Food Pantries last week; thanks to member donations by way of our local Rotary Foundation, we were able to donate $562.50 to each organization!  Many thanks to all for supporting our local food pantries!
 
Leawood
Leawood Club Collects Food Donations for Local Front-line Workers
 
Due to the gathering restrictions, Rotarians everywhere are thinking outside the box as to how we can continue to serve our neighbors.
 
When Leawood club member Mary Reed heard that St. Joseph Medical Center employees who had their hours cut were in need — from fellow Leawood Rotarian and CEO Jodi Fincher — she organized a food collection drive to help out.
 
Reed held the food drive for three days on her front porch, allowing Rotarians, friends and family, and her neighbors to drop off essential goods for St. Joseph employees. St. Joseph is a large sponsor of the Club’s annual 5K fundraiser, and as a nonprofit professional, Reed said she felt strongly that she wanted to lead this effort to give back to a community she would have never known was in need.
 
“Since I’m always going with my hands out [asking St. Joseph] to buy a sponsorship, it was my way to give back — I was on the other end of it,” Reed said.
 
The club and the community made a large turnout: Reed's porch filled up with goods on the first day, and day two and three were no different. Donors raided their own pantries and some took to store aisles for the cause. The donation is estimated to have amounted to around $1,000 worth of food, cleaning supplies and paper goods.
 
Fincher said St. Joseph Medical Center is “incredibly thankful” for the  donation to its employee food drive, as it will help to ensure affected employees are not short on food. 
Lenexa Rotary
We began Zoom meetings March 20. This included weekly club meetings, socials, committee and board meetings. The format has worked well.  Meeting online helps some members that otherwise couldn't attend regularly due to our meeting location proximity to their job. It also helped us achieve 100% participation in the EREY Annual SHARE giving as money not spent on meals was donated to the fund.  
 
We conducted a 6-day pledge drive for Nourish KC community kitchen raising $3,020.
 
Before stay-at-home orders were established, we were scheduled to conduct a diaper wrapping event with Happy Bottoms during a club meeting. Once it was apparent we could not proceed, we went ahead and released the $1095 donation.
Events -  Impromtu art contest. Members are taking photos of art they see along walking trails, etc. The idea was hatched when the City of Lenexa announced The Lenexa Art Fair was cancelled due to the coronavirus. The contest is a silly way for our members to share some fun and still enjoy local art. 
 
Our spring stream cleaning event became an individual effort.
Manhattan
The members of the Manhattan Rotary Club have been successful in continuing to host their weekly meetings and programs via Zoom. This has allowed for the club to stay engaged during these challenging times. We usually feature a different local group each month and collect ‘cup money’ to donate to their cause. Since we cannot meet in person, President Dodson has encouraged Rotarians to mail their donations to him or George Ham, Club Secretary.  Our Club’s enhanced focus on increasing membership this year had gone very well, with 24 new members brought in since last July.  Interest in Rotary by young professionals in our community is growing and our new members are skewing younger.  Our Interact Club hopes to do some tree planting this Spring.  Nicole Fricks, Rotary exchange student from Brazil and member of Interact, will present a program about her year attending Manhattan High School before she leaves to return homeAdditionally, the Manhattan community participated in the 8th Annual Grow Green Match Day on April 22nd and the Manhattan Rotary Club received $7,125 in donations to their endowment fund on that day.
 
 
Manhattan Konza
With the need to maintain proper social distance, our traditional community service efforts are no longer quite as straightforward. Understanding needs in our community still exist and there are plenty of great opportunities to serve others, the Manhattan Konza Rotary Community Service Committee encouraged members to participate in random acts of kindness.
 
Random Acts of Kindness during this time of social distancing included:
  • Consider leaving a small gift for your USPS, UPS, or FedEx carrier
  • Clean up the trail around your home
  • Make masks for someone else
  • Provide food to someone in need
  • Donate blood
  • Send an encouraging message to our local healthcare heroes (www.mercyfdn.org/contact)
  • Participate in HyVee’s sock drive for the USD 383 Fit closet (you can purchase them while you’re shopping there)
  • Write words of encouragement in chalk
  • Volunteer to pick up food or other necessities for someone who might not feel comfortable leaving their house
​​​​​​​
Overland Park Rotary
Andy Heath, one of our members in Overland Park Rotary, has served as a Cruise Director aboard the Regent Seven Seas Mariner (small and exclusive oceangoing cruise line) with his wife Tammy running the onboard entertainment, for several years now.  Sailing in the Pacific when the coronavirus struck, they had difficulty with ports closing and airline schedules terminating the way home for their international passengers and employees. It’s taken a month of coordinating to offload passengers, then nonessential personnel, before Andy and Tammy could engineer a way back to the US and then to Kansas.  
 
Thankfully, a Rotary connection led the way home!  
 
A saga worth reading, sent from Andy Heath, Cruise Director aboard the Mariner.  In the midst of the pandemic, having been able to disembark passengers and most of crew in Australia to return to their homes, they then steamed through the south Pacific trying to get to a port in the U.S. This is harder than it sounds...!
 
In previous episodes:
With Andy & Tammy literally waiting at the tender platform to disembark and drive to KC, the CDC & Coast Guard informed our ship that further crew disembarkations would not be permitted.
 
That is when I was reminded that I have a long-time friend through Rotary, Chad Tenpenny, who is legal counsel and State Director for Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Chad quickly took ownership and got me connected with the right people in his office to work on our behalf to acquire an exception to be permitted to enter our own country.
 
Then, we received word that since ships can no longer disembark or transfer crew members among the ship, the Mariner would sail for Ensenada, Mexico and we (and all other non-essential crew) would be transferred to the Norwegian Joy along with a couple of other ships from our company doing the same. This will allow those ships to operate with a minimal crew and depart for their ultimate destination awaiting full operations in the future. But, we can't get out of Mexico! No flights, no cars, no way home.
 
Coming Attraction:
When the window of opportunity finally closed yesterday and the ship sailed for Ensenada, our friend Chad and his team elevated our situation to the Office of the Vice President - yes, THE Vice President Pence. Wow.
 
I received emails last night from my Senator's Chief of Staff and the Deputy Assistant to the President, Office of Legislative Affairs - White House (there's some emails to keep!) assuring me they are working on our behalf and have been in communication with the Coast Guard, CDC and the Port of Los Angeles. They will do their best to get us in the country.
 
The Mariner arrived in Ensenada this morning at 9am and we are fully packed and prepared to transfer to the Norwegian Joy. Instead, I receive information from our corporate office that we are not to transfer to the Joy, but will remain on the Mariner to await CDC approval and repatriation to the USA! Once we transfer our non-essential crew to the Joy, the Mariner will return to L.A. the morning of the 26th.
 
I am just awaiting word from the VP Office that our clearance has been approved. If that comes through, Tammy and I will get to the rental car office and see if we can hire a jalopy to drive like the Beverly Hillbillies in reverse all the way to KC.
 
UPDATE RECEIVED SUNDAY, APRIL 26
 
Barring any last-minute theatrics, I believe Tammy and I will be back on land in the United States early tomorrow morning.
 
Following the amazing coordination from my friend (and legal counsel for KS Sen. Pat Roberts) Chad Tenpenny, the staff of Senator Roberts and the Office of the Vice President, the CDC gave conditional approval for Tammy and I (and our 3 remaining American production cast members) to enter the United States and begin our journey home. I say "conditional" because the CDC has a list of very specific mandates to strictly follow. We are good with that. One of the rules is that we must drive directly to our home using no hotels or public areas. Regent Seven Seas is providing private ground transportation for us. We are in good hands.
 
A water taxi comes to collect us at our ship in the L.A. harbor at 6am. Hopefully, we will get ashore, clear the protocols, and be on the road by 8am. Why 8am? Because we like structure, that's why!
 
I don't plan to send out updates while we are traveling, which will likely be a relief for many of you and your email IN box. But, we'll be sure to let you know within a day or two after we get home.
 
Thank you for all the thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes you've sent our way. I am feeling confident we are on the final stretch.
 
Much love and much hand washing from
Andy & Tammy
 
The moral of the story:  Don't leave home without Clubrunner!  You never know how your Rotary friends can support you!
Shawnee Mission Rotary
The Shawnee Mission Rotary club’s May guest speakers via Zoom included KC Film Commissioner Stephane Scupham and NEJC Chamber of Commerce President Deb Settle. 
 
Stephane shared details about several recent and upcoming film projects in Kansas City. The KC Film Office at Visit KC strives to attract projects to the Kansas City region.  Stephane has actively advocated for a tax credit to attract even more film production projects to Missouri.   
 
Deb has been President and CEO of the NEJC Chamber for 11 years and she is a well-respected leader in the region. Check out chamber YouTube channel to see the breadth of topics NEJC has offered to the community!
 
Our club focused on projects to assist Growing Futures Early Childhood Education Center in Overland Park as they prepared for their June 1st reopening.  A financial contribution was made to assist with the purchase of cleaning products, classroom items, and childcare supplies.  On Saturday, May 23rd, club members and family spent part of the beautiful day cleaning out and brightening up the parking lot planters with new flowers.  We’d like to give a special thanks to our neighbor Westlake Ace Hardware (9301 W 87th Street, Overland Park) who graciously split the cost of the beautiful flowers with the club.  We are excited to help warmly welcome the students, families, and staff back to school!
        
Finally, SM Rotarian Sandi put “FRANKE”, the expresso machine she graciously donated to SM North High School for their Student Commons area, to sleep for the summer. 
Russell Hampton
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