St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club

      Each Day, Rising to Make the Difference 

Club Meeting Details

Welcome to our Club!

St. Paul Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet Thursdays at 7:30 AM
Town & Country Club
300 Mississippi River Blvd N
St. Paul, MN  55104
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Kevin Roggenbuck
Jun 01, 2017
Minnesota High-Speed Rail
Ron Felt
Jun 08, 2017
Mission Trip to Guatamala
Abul Sarah
Jun 15, 2017
International Village Clinic UPDATE
Gunnar Lindus
Jun 22, 2017
Youth Farm
Home Page News


Sunrise Rotary Club Celebrates Another Successful Community Forum

Outstanding Panel Leads Discussion on “Mental Illness and Criminal Justice: Can Minnesota Do Better?”

St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club’s 12th Annual Community Forum on April 20th - “Mental Illness and Criminal Justice: Can Minnesota do Better” – brought together more than 120 community members and Rotarians to learn more about a difficult and persistent issue.
Three expert panelists discussed complex challenges facing law enforcement and medical professionals when individuals with mental illnesses are incarcerated. The panelists were:
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy
  • Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota, Sue Abderholden
  • Director of Psychiatry, Hennepin County Medical Center, Dr. Edwardo Colón.
MPR’s Tom Crann skillfully guided the panelists through specific categorical questions, and then challenged them to each describe their ideas for better outcomes.  At the end of the hour, several audience members posed additional questions for the panelists.
The Forum was broadcast twice in its entirety on Minnesota Public Radio following the Forum. A recording of the broadcast is available on MPR's website, along with a wealth of additional information about this critical issue.
Two county commissioners, Jim McDonough and Mary Jo McGuire, Ramsey County under-sheriff Joe Padget, and other law enforcement professionals, plus several mental health practitioners, were in attendance.
Each panelist described their organizations’ approaches to the issue - incarceration and criminal justice; NAMI purpose and initiatives; and medical community protocols and resources.

They also shared stories of stigma barriers and their own ideas about strategies that work best, including specific investments in Minnesota that are working.
Joseph Kovarik, audience member, and former Rotary District Governor said, “I left the program realizing how difficult it is to resolve the choices of jail versus hospital and incarceration versus treatment. What a disturbing dilemma it is for all those who address mental health needs. Assembled was an impressive panel of experienced and knowledgeable professionals who were forthright in their observations.  So much was said in so short a time.”
Student Produced Film Premieres at Forum
Sunrise Rotary Club President Ed Marek and Ellen Luepker, who chaired the Forum Planning Committee, launched the program by introducing a student-produced video Public Service Announcement on the importance of stopping the cycle of alcohol addiction. Break the Cycle was written, filmed and edited by a small group of students at St Paul’s Gordon Parks High School. The film set a tone for the hour ahead by showing how chemical dependency and the stigma of mental illness begins early in life. 
Past community forum topics included:
The State of Race in Minnesota: Then and Now
Finding Common Ground for Common Good: The Impact of Campaign Finance
Health Care Affordability: Learning From History, Moving Forward
Gun Violence Prevention: Exploring Common Ground
Postsecondary Education Options, Access, Value and Debt
Bullying/Harassment Prevention: Everyone’s Responsibility
Being Muslim in Minnesota: A Community Conversation
Economic Outlook in These Turbulent Times
Strategies for The New Carbon Economy
News Business in Turmoil: Which Way Journalism
Navigating Ideological Minefields While Working for The Common Good

Open Hands Midway Fundraiser a Smashing Success!

Beautiful weather, dedicated volunteers and generous guests combined to make the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club’s Open Hands Midway Fund Raising Event a terrific success on Sept. 8 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Paul. A total of $7,500 was raised, easily topping the goal of $5,000 for the event.
As the attendees gathered they were greeted by friendly Rotarians and Open Hands staff and volunteers. A tasty bratwurst picnic dinner was served as the guests made their bids on an array of silent auction items while listening to live music.
An evening highlight was the presentation made by Open Hands Midway director Kay Kuehn and St. Paul Sunrise Rotarian Ron Felt, who chaired the fundraiser.
“Thank you to each and every one of the volunteers and Sunrise Rotary Club members for making this possible,” said Catherine Quinlivan, president of the Club. “A special thank you to Ron Felt who was the catalyst and driver of the project.  We could not have done it without his leadership and dedication.”
The fundraising highlight of the evening was the live auction of a Minnesota Gopher football game day package of tickets and tailgating.
The funds raised will allow Open Hands Midway to purchase much needed shelving and chairs for their weekly food ministry to neighborhood guests.
The mission of Open Hands Midway is “to Serve the St. Paul Midway and surrounding area by leveraging contributors' gifts in providing a means for those who are economically challenged to obtain nutritious meals, clothing, household goods, groceries and personal supplies, along with access to an array of community resources.”
A special thank you to our sponsors and community partners that helped make the fundraiser such a success!

Thanks to Our Sponsors


Thanks to our Community Supporters!

MSP Communications
Minnesota History Theater
Penumbra Theater
Paul Seeba - Musician
The Willard/Jost Family -  Rotary Club
Bob Schultz - Rotary Club
Steve Baker - Rotary Club
Mary Vanderwert - Rotary Club
David Dominick - Rotary Club
Minnesota Chemical
Total Wine
Lund’s and Byerly’s
Circus Juventas
Midway YMCA
Shoreview Community Center
The Villager Newspaper
Poppy Togs and Clogs
Defining You Pilates
Twin City Group

Sunrise Rotary Club Hosts Benefit for Gordon Parks High School

Thanks to the nearly 100 people who attended and supported the St Paul Sunrise Rotary - Gordon Parks High School (GPHS) Benefit on November 10. In addition to wonderful food from University Avenue restaurants, and delicious craft beers from local breweries, attendees heard the inspiring story of the mission of GPHS. The evening included a silent auction featuring an array of donated event packages and a live auction featuring an original sculpture donated by Club member Ron Felt. In addition, a wine raffle featuring several dozen wines offered. Sunrise Rotary Club member Brian David Muller provided accompanying music for the event, which was held at the Wilder Foundation just down the street from GPHS.
Funds raised will be matched by Rotary District 5960 in order to provide a plaque, signage and photographs in the atrium of the school honoring the legacy of Gordon Parks, state the mission of the school and document community involvement with the students. The total cost of the project is $6,000, of which half is being funded through a matching grant through the District Rotary Foundation.
Among the distinguished guests who attended were noted Twin Cities artist Seitu Jones, who designed the atrium floor pattern, which is based on the African adinkra symbol; and Robin Hickman of SoulTouch Productions.
Gordon Parks High School’s mission is to “create college-bound, career-aware students, fluent in the varied media arts and experienced in work-based learning, who can apply these skills toward change in their lives and communities.”
The fundraiser planning committee was a blend of members from the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary club (Ron Felt, Steve Baker, Joe Phelps and Cathy Quinlivan) and Gordon Parks High School staff (Traci Gauer, Paul Creager, Kathy Kelley, and Eleanor Clemmons).
Community supporters included:
The Ordway
The Minnesota History Theatre
Penumbra Theater
The Minnesota History Center
Tin Whiskers Brewery
Burning Brothers Brewery
Urban Growler
Fabulous Fern’s Restaurant
Keys Restaurant
Billy’s on Grand Restaurant
Ron Felt, Sculptor
Brian David Muller, Musician
The Willard/Jost Family (Surnise Rotary Club)
Joe and Emily Phelps (Sunrise Rotary Club)
Event sponsors included:
St. Paul Sunrise Rotary’s 11th Annual Community Forum Provides Critical Opportunity for Community Conversation on Race
“The State of Race in Minnesota: Then and Now” Draws Record Turnout
Pictured from left are Josie Johnson, panelist, Tom Moe, moderator, Dr. Bill Green, panelist, Ellen Luepker, Forum co-chair, and Ed Marek, Forum co-chairThe St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club’s 11th Annual Community Forum - “The State of Race in Minnesota: Then and Now” - provided a critical opportunity for Rotarians and others to discuss urgent but longstanding issues of racial conflict and inequality troubling our communities. The Forum was held on April 14, 2016 at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul, and drew almost 120 interested attendees.
Moderated by Tom Weber, host of Minnesota Public Radio News, the forum was broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio and is available on MPR’s website.
“This topic was extremely timely,” noted Cathy Quinlivan, President of the Sunrise Rotary Club. “Issues of racial justice are affecting every aspect of our society in our ability to evolve for the common good, and our panelists thoughtful presentations so illuminated this issue.”
The forum’s panelists were Dr. Josie Johnson, civil rights pioneer, and Dr. Bill Green, author and history professor, shared poignant stories based on history and their respective life experience. They explored how our nation’s history of slavery shaped our current attitudes and behavior and what solutions we need to find.
Dr. Green is the recipient of the 2016 Hognander Minnesota History award for his recent book “Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota 1865-1912.”  He shared stories of blacks’ experience with discrimination in St. Paul during the 1800’s which echo blacks’ experience with discrimination today. He talked about what young black men, friends of his son, have told him about how foreign the Minneapolis corporate world is to them - how they dare not enter downtown skyways for fear they could be suspected of illegal behavior. Using examples from his prior experience as superintendent of Minneapolis schools, he also illustrated how resistant otherwise progressive white families have been to making the changes needed to ensure equality in education for all students.
Dr. Johnson helped forum attendees to understand that America’s history of importing blacks as slaves to provide the hard labor needed to build our country meant tearing people away from their rich African cultural traditions and their families. She maintained that in order to justify dehumanizing practices, it became necessary for slave owners to develop attitudes and beliefs that blacks were less than human. Dr. Johnson noted for example that veterinarians, not physicians, treated her black ancestors on plantations. Slave owners also considered blacks deficient intellectually, unable to be educated. These unfounded attitudes about blacks’ inferiority, which she pointed out were necessary to justify slave labor needed to build our country, became “deeply etched in our minds” and we continue today to express these beliefs in subtle or overt ways.
For example, she noted that even though Republicans originally proposed the need for an Affordable Health Care Act, when a black president managed to enact it, Republicans no longer considered it valuable and immediately vowed to destroy it.
Another current example she shared was how differently one teacher helped two students struggling with the same math problem: the teacher simply gave the answer to the black student, but helped the white student discover how to solve the problem himself.
In her eloquent, warm and gracious style, Dr. Johnson noted she did not want her comments to evoke guilt. “Guilt is not helpful,” she said gently. Rather, she encouraged us to be aware of how these attitudes justifying the dehumanization of blacks in slavery became deeply etched in our minds so we can identify how they shape our feelings and behavior today.
Following the panel conversation, several members of the audience came to the podium to share their thoughts and consider solutions. Dr. Tracine Asberry, a black member of the Minneapolis School Board, called our attention to the Rotary Four Way Test questions, upon which our forum conversation was grounded. She noted her college student daughter told her she wished people’s behavior could be consistent with their promises and words.
Asberry’s comments reminded us of how important it is that we base our behavior and words on the principles in the Rotary Four Way Test - what is the truth, what is beneficial and fair to all concerned, and what will build good will and better friendships.
“The 11th Annual Community Forum was a powerful opportunity to identify how our attitudes and beliefs were shaped by history so we may begin identifying solutions,” noted Ellen Luepker, who co-chaired the Forum with Ed Marek. Both are long-time members of the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club. “We will continue this critical conversation about racial inequity and conflict,” added Luepker.
“We are grateful to our distinguished panelists and to the Rotary clubs of Minneapolis City of Lakes and Woodbury for their collaboration in presenting this community forum, and to our larger-than-ever audience for participating,” added Marek.
What Attendees Said About the Forum
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I learned so much,” said Alan Ruvelson, Rotary District 5960 Past Assistant Governor.
 “Each year the Community Forum is extraordinary - but the 11th Annual Community Forum will be remembered as cut above,” exclaimed Joseph Kovarik, Rotary District 5960 Governor in 2012-2013. “The Sunrise Club deserves abundant accolades for an event exquisitely conceived and elegantly executed. I applaud them for bringing two well-spoken presenters to the forum and including the talented Tom Weber as moderator. Bill Green and Josie Johnson were informed and experienced then-and-now voices about the ‘State of Race’ in Minnesota.”
According to Bill Levin, a member of the Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary Club, “ We have been fortunate to partner with other clubs, especially Saint Paul Sunrise, to produce community forums for Rotarians.  Topics are timely and don’t shy away from controversy.  Speakers and moderators alike have been top-drawer.   In the time of sound-bites and tweets, Rotarians get a close-up opportunity to see and hear opinion leaders develop complex thought.”
Past community forum topics included:
Finding Common Ground for Common Good: The Impact of Campaign Finance
Health Care Affordability: Learning From History, Moving Forward
Gun Violence Prevention: Exploring Common Ground
Postsecondary Education Options, Access, Value and Debt
Bullying/Harassment Prevention: Everyone’s Responsibility
Being Muslim in Minnesota: A Community Conversation
Economic Outlook in These Turbulent Times
Strategies for The New Carbon Economy
News Business in Turmoil: Which Way Journalism
Navigating Ideological Minefields While Working for The Common Good