Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

We meet In Person & Online
Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Italian American Civic Assoc
192 Bellew Ave
Watertown, NY 13601
United States of America
(315) 782-3381
Rotary is meeting online until further notice
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Join our Rotary Meetings online through Zoom or 646-876-9923 US (New York) Meeting ID: 92886168858
Be safe everyone
Come join us for Rotary lunch. The food is good and the fellowship is great.
 Well, it's official.  We are now 2 months into the 20-21 Noon Rotary year.  ... and welcome to the world of "Zoom" meetings.  Boy do I miss a nice sit down meal with the peers that have become so special to me!!  "Food and Fellowship" is a major part of the church culture that I grew up with, and we have given that up reluctantly.  The additional piece in that fellowship picture is that I know some of you are going through some hard times ... and I feel like I can't even be there for you.  (The "social" aspect of meals together seems to have given us permission to be more open with each other as to what's happening in our personal lives.)
     Welcome to the new Zoom reality.  
   1)  I feel more intimate with our guest speakers.  It seems like they're talking directly to me when I'm looking into their eyes, reading their body language, and know that I can talk and ask questions directly from them when the time comes.  It's an interesting and unexpected "improvement" in communication between me and some great, high quality, community leaders.  (Thank you Dave Zembiec and others for a great job using your connections to make this happen.)  ... I have to shave and dress up a little more than usual, knowing that I don't want my nose hairs to become a distraction.
   2)  Our attendance has remained somewhat steady ... 36 to 45 each noon meeting.  That's great.  At the same time I am aware that a very significant part of our membership, some regulars, are missing.  Can we do anything to get those members back involved?  (How about a small, socially distanced gathering at someone's home or office with a big screen display/camera ... and maybe a simple lunch together while they attend our zoom meeting with a facilitator?  (It would be worth it to our Noon Rotary Club to buy carry in lunches for this, and let the missing membership cover the cost of the meal.  ... we're already trying to cover the cost of the missing meals with our "meal fund".)
   3)  Our connection/communication with District 7040 leaders like Hadi has a new strength to it when DG Hadi can join any club meeting without leaving his home.  Time and $$ commitments have been the biggest expenses for anyone to take on the DG responsibilities ... and now that's significantly reduced.  We have tossed around the idea of continuing zoom meeting availability even if/when we can start meeting in person again.  (I think that's a must in this new "Zoom" world we live in.)
My biggest regret is that by the time we get through this pandemic, it may be too late to sit down and share food and fellowship with some of you.  I am a pragmatist at heart, and we have to deal with the Covid19 threat seriously.  But if that meal together never happens again with you, it will be a great loss.  BE SAFE, BE WELL ... and let's hope for better times to come!!
President Jeff Combs
Greetings Rotarians! So we have 4 “virtual” meetings under our belts and we all seem to be getting into the swing of things. I hope that the use of zoom is relatively easy for you all, and of course if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
The meeting will be much easier to participate in if you use the zoom app on your computer, tablet or mobile device. The app can be downloaded to your computer by going to  or visit the Apple App store or Google Play store for your mobile devices. If you do call in by phone only, please let Mariko know so she can record your attendance. Also, if you call in and want to participate be sure to use the audio controls that are announced when you enter the meeting so you can unmute yourself should you want to provide feedback or input.
If for some reason you miss the meeting or want to refer to it after the meeting is over I’ll be streaming the meeting  live on Facebook as well. Be sure to like the Watertown Noon Rotary Facebook page if you haven’t already for easy reference. The meeting will be available after the scheduled meeting ins complete or you can watch it live.  Our Facebook page is:
Welcome our Student Guests for the month of October to our virtual weekly meetings. The students for the month as follows:
Sarah Kami - IHC
Adam Malinowski- IHC
Analee Lanphear - WHS
Nolan Smithers - WHS
Wednesday, September 30, 11:30am-1:30pm at The Italian American Civic Association, on Bellew Ave. 
Considering we were not asked to sell or purchase roses this year, and considering that this will be our only general fundraiser for 2020, we hope our entire membership will answer this call to action
Committee members will be there to bring packets of 10 (or more J if you would like them) right to your vehicle, no need to get out!  
  • Please pull in and park in any available spaces in front of the Club entrance so we can see you have arrived.
  • We are asking that Rotarians pay in advance for the packets by check or cash, if you are comfortable doing so.  We can run cards manually through Mariko’s phone but there is an additional fee to do so.  Planning ahead with a check made Payable to Watertown Noon Rotary Club, or cash would be best option.  You may sell the calendars to recoup your investment, or hand them out as gifts yourself.  We know that this has been a challenging time for many people, so if you are uncomfortable paying in advance, we understand.
  • You can also pay for your calendars in advance on ClubRunner.  Bring your receipt with you to let us know you’ve already paid. 
  • For your safety, the committee will be abiding by all social distancing safe practices by wearing a mask and giving you an unused pen for filling out your tracking form.  You can keep the pen compliments of Mark Smith at GEICO!
  • Everyone who comes to pick up will get attendance credit.
  • If you cannot attend, please e-mail committee chair Steve Yelle ( and copy Michelle Carpenter ( to let us know you need a committee member to deliver them to you. 
Thank you in advance for your help with this essential fundraising endeavor for our Club.  Funds raised from the calendar will enable us to continue the many service projects in our community we support each year.
Yours in service,
Cash Calendar Committee
Rotary’s history of planting trees in Watertown goes back to 1976. As a gift to the North Country in honor of our Nation’s Bicentennial Birthday, our Club raised money to fund our first planting and also established a permanent fund at the NNYCF to help pay for future tree planting initiatives.
This fine tradition has now been maintained for 44 years. Multiple generations of Rotarians, their families and friends, and many civic minded community members have logged thousands of hours improving the environmental health and beauty of the city.
This spring concerns about COVID 19 caused us to modify our Annual Spring Tree Planting. We diverted our normal NNYCF funds to a City initiative to protect Ash Trees in key locations throughout the city from the Emerald Ash Borer. Many of these now protected were planted by Rotarians.
At the time, we also discussed a potential fall planting. I am very pleased to share with you that on November 7th, 2020, Rotary, Tree Watertown, Friends of Thompson Park, The DEC, The City of Watertown, and the NNYCF will join together in a grand collaborative effort. We will be planting over 50 trees throughout our beloved Thompson Park.
Mayor Tom Walker was one of the founding fathers of tree planting in Watertown. He has been an ardent supporter throughout his life. He has organized tree planting, researched and supported the development and disbursement of a survivable American Chestnut Tree, has dug holes, wrestled heavy B&B trees into these holes, has taken many afternoons to prune and trim trees,  and he has encouraged me and countless others to be involved in tree planting. Tom and his family continue to provide financial support for our various tree initiatives.
This fall, our tree planting endeavor will be in honor of Tom.
Paul Harris Fellow Recognitions
We have recently received confirmation from the Rotary International office that the following Club members are due congratulations for having recently achieved an additional Paul Harris Fellow Recognition, as indicated: Ben Coe (8th), Kate Fenlon (4th), Beth Linderman (3rd), and Jim McClusky (2nd).

Africa Celebrates the End of the Wild Poliovirus (but Not the End of All Polio)

WHO declares Polio has been eradicated on the African continent. By Naomi Thomas and Aisha Salaudeen | CNN (The following are excerpts of the authors message)
Polio has been declared eradicated from Africa, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, Aug. 25th. The Wild strains of polio continues to circulate now in two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Today we come together to rejoice over a historic public health success, the certification of wild poliovirus eradication in the African region,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a livestreamed event. “The end of wild polio in Africa is a great day,” said Tedros, who is also the chair of the polio oversight board. “Your success is the success of the world. None of us could have done this alone.”
A large part of the eradication effort has been through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which was created in 1988 and is led by national governments and five partners — Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates congratulated Africa on the eradication of polio during the certification event for this milestone on Tuesday.
“Today is a historic day for global health, and it’s a cause for celebration for everyone who works to improve Africans health,” Azar said in a prerecorded message. “Congratulations to everyone who helped make it possible.” Officials wanted to make sure polio was really gone and have waited four years since the last case of wild virus was diagnosed.
Rose Gana Fomban Leke, who chairs African Regional Certification Commission for Polio eradication, told CNN that the decision to declare the region free of the virus came after many years of polio surveillance, immunization, and laboratory analysis of the region’s 47 member states on the continent. “The work has gone on for years and now we can see the results. It’s such a huge milestone. I’m confident to say that in the region, for the last four years we haven’t seen one poliovirus,” she said.
According to a WHO statement, “The last case of wild poliovirus in the region was detected in 2016 in Nigeria. Since 1996, polio eradication efforts have prevented up to 1.8 million children from crippling life-long paralysis and saved approximately 180,000 lives.”
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of cases due to wild polio virus are prevented. Well over 10 million cases have been averted since large-scale administration of oral polio vaccine began 20 years ago.” That’s why kids in developing countries get two doses of vaccine — the oral vaccine, which is given as easy-to-administer drops, and a shot, which is made using a completely inactivated polio virus that cannot be re-activated. Children in developed countries only get the shot, but they need four doses to be completely protected.
“Circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses in the past have been rapidly stopped with 2–3 rounds of high-quality immunization campaigns. The solution is the same for all polio outbreaks: immunize every child several times with the oral vaccine to stop polio transmission, regardless of the origin of the virus,” WHO said.
It was great to see all the members that were on the club’s virtual meeting.  It was also a pleasure to have the induction ceremony for Len Mitchell and Mark Prashun.  Welcome to our club!  Please feel free to invite a friend, co-worker, family or business acquaintance to experience Rotary as a guest.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
Steve Wood
If this headline looks familiar, great!! That means you leafed through your May Rotary magazine and noticed the story on page 60 under the “our clubs” section of the magazine. If the story remains unread, then stay with this message today. We can save you the time of finding the magazine!
Essentially the story goes like this: A delegation of Rotary International leaders from around the world traveled to Pakistan in February to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan, his cabinet ministers that also included his national polio eradication coordinator, Rana Safdar. The result of this meeting saw Pakistan acknowledge recent challenges in efforts to rid their country of polio and confirm that polio eradication is now among their highest priorities. Army Chief of Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the Rotary delegation of the support and cooperation of both the army and civil forces to ensure that every child in Pakistan receives the lifesaving polio vaccine. Forty million children were vaccinated during Pakistan’s last round of national polio immunization. During their visit the Rotary representatives also met with Rotary leaders from Pakistan, home to 230 Rotary clubs and nearly 40,000 Rotary members. 
The Rotary magazine story dovetails well with a late February infomercial that our Foundation Polio Plus committee shared with you about a three-member Pakistan Rotary vaccination team at a busy toll plaza in Kohat, Pakistan.
The infomercial: Outfitted in blue Rotary vests and flanked by armed military personnel, the Rotary vaccinators approach a white van as it pulls away from the scattered stream of traffic. One worker leans toward the driver to ask a question as another reaches into a cooler to prepare the vaccine. Among the crush of passengers in the van, they identify one child who has not yet been vaccinated. He is quickly inoculated with two drops of oral polio vaccine, and his pinkie finger is stained with purple ink to indicate that he’s received his dose. He cries as the vaccinator hurriedly passes him back through the window. The van speeds off, fading back into the dizzying hum of traffic, as the vaccinators look for the next car and child.
In Pakistan, home to almost all of the world’s polio cases just a few years ago, these moving targets require a vaccination strategy as agile and stubborn as the virus itself. At hundreds of sites, teams of health workers verify that every child passing through receives the vaccine.
The combination of these two stories are wonderful news. If the Pakistan government is able to sustain their promise to eradicate polio in their country, can Afghanistan, the other of the last two countries that have yet to declare themselves polio free, be far behind? It seems that we are a bit closer to a world without polio. This is positive news! Humanity has the strength to persevere and win through teamwork. If you will suspend your hand with thumb and index finger a quarter inch apart you will see how close polio eradication is? Thank you for being a Rotarian.
The Rotary Foundation continues their teamwork with the World Health Organization and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund polio eradication.
Compiled by Don Klug, Foundation Committee Polio Plus coordinator
Polio vaccination rates need to be above 95% to prevent infection
                         Malaysia reports first case of polio since 1992   
                                         Health News December 8, 2019 / 5:42 AM
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A three-month-old Malaysian infant has been diagnosed with polio, the first case reported in the country in nearly three decades, a top health official said on Sunday.
The baby boy from Tuaran in Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo island tested positive for polio on Dec. 6, 2019 after being admitted to hospital with a fever and muscle weakness, Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
“The patient was treated in an isolation ward and is in stable condition, but still requires assistance to breathe,” he said.
Malaysia was declared polio-free in 2000, after reporting its last known case of the disease in 1992. Its resurgence comes just months after the Philippines, north of Borneo, reported its first cases of polio since 1993 in September, 2019.
Noor Hisham said tests showed the child was infected with a polio strain that shared genetic links with the virus detected in the Philippine cases.
Checks in the area where the baby lived showed 23 of 199 children between 2 and 15 years of age had not received the polio vaccine, he said.
“This is a worrying situation as the spread of the disease ... can only be stopped with polio immunization,” he said, adding vaccination rates needed to be above 95% to prevent infection.
There is no cure for polio, which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours, but it can be prevented with vaccines.
The virus spreads rapidly among children, especially in unsanitary conditions in underdeveloped or war-torn regions where healthcare access is limited.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the last countries where the disease is endemic.
Noor Hisham said fecal samples from the infected child’s close contacts and his surroundings had been collected in a bid to detect the polio virus.
The authorities have also stepped up monitoring of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases, a common sign of acute polio, he said.
Noor Hisham advised parents to ensure their children were fully vaccinated.
In recent years, Malaysia has faced a challenge convincing some parents to immunize their children. In 2016, five children died from diphtheria, a vaccine-preventable disease, prompting an outcry here among health officials.
Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Edmund Blair
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
10 Reasons to Donate to The Rotary Foundation with Polio Eradication In Mind
by Don Klug, Watertown Rotary
  1. Why Donate? Any donation in the amount at least $25 is noted by Mariko to the Foundation and is credited towards TRF and your PHF recognition.
  2. Why Donate to Polio Plus? Since the mid 1980’s one of Rotary missions has been to eradicate this crippling childhood disease. The Bill Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization has partnered with Rotary International in our fight. We are not alone in this struggle.
  3. What is Polio? Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-to-person contact with the stool of an infected person and may also be spread through oral/nasal secretions. Those who develop symptoms may incur paralysis or death.
  4. How common was polio in the United States? Polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. With the introduction of Salk vaccine in 1955, the number of cases rapidly declined to under 2,500 by 1957. By 1965, only 61 cases of paralytic polio were reported.
  5. Is polio still a disease seen in the United States? The last imported case caused by wild poliovirus into the United States was reported in 1993.
  6. Who should get polio vaccine and when? The poliovirus vaccine used in the United States is IPV. It is a shot given in the leg or arm, depending on age. The Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. IPV is routinely given to children, who receive 4 doses over time.
  7. If Polio is not a significant threat here, why should we care? Unfortunately, polio lurks in the shadow of war and highly populated poverty stricken countries. Polio remains in two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  8. Are we in danger?  As long as the disease exists we are threatened. There is no cure for polio once infected. The focus of modern treatment has been on providing relief of symptoms, speeding recovery and preventing complications.
  9.  What is the cost? The cost to immunize a child costs $0.60. Where else can you make a contribution that will have such a significant impact? With each $1,000 in donations 1,666 children will receive immunization.
  10. We are SO close! Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. Even though we are 99.9% of the way to eradicating this disease, there remains a threat! We are within the 3 inch line of the ‘football goal line. We have yet to win. Please make your pledge now to TRF, noting End Polio NOW! Your minimum gift of $25.00 is eligible for Paul Harris Society recognition.
For Polio Eradication, the Endgame Is Near
                                           A Rotary Presentation Jan. 29, 2019 by Don Klug
  • In 1988 — when the wild poliovirus was in more than 125 countries, paralyzing 350,000 people every year — the World Health Assembly launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to help eliminate the disease through a mass immunization campaign.
  • In 2007 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined other major health organizations already committed, contributing nearly $3 billion toward eradicating polio by 2020.
  • "What we're looking at now is the endgame of polio eradication," says Dr. Jay Wenger, who leads the Gates Foundation's polio eradication efforts. "We are closer than ever, and we're optimistic that we can see the end of wild poliovirus disease by as early as this year," he said.
  • 12 Known Cases. According to Dr. Wenger, there are only 2 countries where known cases of the wild poliovirus exist today: Afghanistan and Pakistan. "In the last couple of years, we've seen unprecedented progress. In 2015 we could only find 74 cases; in 2016 we found 37, and then in 2018 we've found only 20 in only two countries."
  • The reason: a mass immunization effort to orally vaccinate 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
  • In a lot of places, children don't always get all the vaccines that they are supposed to, and that's a chronic problem, said Dr. Wenger.
  • The virus can only live in people, he says, and it needs new people to infect to keep on spreading and keep on living. "If you make all those people in an area immune, then the virus can’t find new people to infect. So if we can get enough children in an area vaccinated, the virus dies off."
  • Even after seeing the last known case of polio, the Gates Foundation will still monitor the situation over the next two years. Continual surveillance is necessary. Until there are no additional cases after a several-year period can polio be deemed completely eradicated.
  • Since 1988, the number of cases has been reduced by 99.9 %, saving more than 13 million children from paralysis. Economic modeling has found that the eradication of polio would save at least $40 billion to $50 billion between 1988 and 2035, mostly in low-income countries.
  • Bill Gates is hopeful the disease will become the second disease after smallpox to disappear for good. "Progress in fighting polio might be one of the world's best-kept secrets in global health." But soon, he hopes, it will be a secret no more. "If things stay stable in the conflicted areas, humanity will see its last case of polio this year."
  • According to the WHO, as long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world. Just remember, Polio is just a plane ride away!
  • Dr. Jonas Salk, the Pittsburg University medical researcher who devoted his early life’s work to developing the Polio vaccine, worked seven days a week and sixteen hours a day for years during his quest to find a cure. We share this with you today because we want you to know how really devoted he was. Once he developed the vaccine he had to test it. Of course he used laboratory animals, but the final test had to be on humans.  He needed to test the vaccine.  Salk believed so strongly in the quality of his work that he was willing to risk his own safety to prove he was right. His wife and three sons also volunteered and placed their health on the line too as they all became test subjects. The tests were successful and the vaccine was deemed not a health danger. None of the people injected with the vaccine developed polio. This allowed the vaccine to be tested on a wider scale and today we all know the results.
  • What you may not know is that Dr. Salk could have become a very wealthy man from his discovery and hard work. When asked who would own the rights to the polio vaccine, he replied, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” He believed such benefit work should be freely shared. Salk gave away his discovery of the vaccine so it would be available to everyone.  
  • What began 62 years ago in Dr. Salk's laboratory and later implemented by Bill Gates and others has been one of the great medical achievements of our time.
  • In 2019 The scorecard looks like this: Polio Cases as of October 2018
              *Afghanistan: 16 as of September 2018
             *Pakistan: 4 Cases as of August 2018
             *Nigeria: 0 cases (last case Aug of 2016)
             *Syria/Congo: 0 cases (last case Nov 2017)
So what is “The Final Strategy”?
The strategy for the eradication of polio rests on immunizing every at risk child until there is no one left for the disease to transmit to and the disease eventually dies out. The Initiative is spearheaded by the following Organizations:
  • WHO (World Health Organization) who are responsible for planning, technical direction, surveillance and eradication certification.
  • Rotary International whose responsibilities include fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) are in charge of deploying scientists and public health experts to WHO and UNICEF.
  • UNICEF is in charge of the distribution of the vaccine and helping countries develop communication and awareness strategies.
  • The Gates Foundation continues to match RI funds as well provided a large portion of the funding.[2] 
Key tactics used by the GPEI include strengthening childhood immunization through oral vaccines, conducting surveillance through investigation of acute flaccid paralysis cases among children under 15 years old (in order to determine areas where the virus is truly eradicated), and conducting "mop up" campaigns in areas where cases of polio have been identified.[3]
The Endgame
The final steps of polio eradication are as follows:
  1. Detect and interrupt all poliovirus transmissions
  2. Strengthen immunization systems and withdraw oral polio vaccine
  3. Contain poliovirus and certify interruption of transmission
  4. Ensure the remaining investments made to eradicate polio go to the greater cause of improving global health[9]
What is Your Part?
Please participate by swimming and raising funds or donate to The Rotary Foundation and note your donation as Polio Eradication. Any donation of at least $25 will be matched by our club towards your PH recognition.
Denisa Young
Oct 21, 2020
YMCA Project
Grand Slam Safety
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A world-class manufacturer from Croghan
Rotary Foundation
Nov 04, 2020
Rotary Foundation month
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Dec 30, 2020
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