President's Message
Andy Bell
member photo
We are back!  It feels like a lifetime ago since I last wrote a report and we had an official meeting.  I must firstly congratulate all of you who volunteered and contributed to the success of arguably the best Commonwealth Games ever.  It is very interesting to hear the tales from those who worked as ‘house-keepers’ at the Games Village.  From all accounts a never to be forgotten experience. 
A couple of instances that warrant mention and were not so good however.  The first was the totally unacceptable behaviour of the professional unwashed protesters who disrupted the Queens Baton Relay on the Spit, just when our Darrell Brown was about to embark on his leg of the relay.  The second was the attitude of some of the supervisory staff at the Games Village, who tried to make life unpleasant for some of our volunteers.  However, I have it on very good authority that a couple of them pushed their luck a bit too far and our Mr Nice Guy, Geoff Croad, put one of them firmly in their place.
Robby and I hosted a Rotarian couple from Scotland.  They are members of Troon Rotary Club, but they now live in NZ.  When asked if they have joined a club in NZ they commented that their local club is far too formal and old fashioned for them, so they haven't joined but maintained their membership in Troon.  I don't think we could ever be accused of falling into that category. 
Our Change-over lunch is fast approaching, only about 6 weeks away on Sunday 17 June at the newly refurbished Kurawa Surf Club.  
Life is for living. Live it …….. just sayin.
Andrew Bell
President, 2017-18
This coming Wednesday 21st March: Nasser Kaviani on Bees
Nasser Kaviani - the Wonderful work of the Bee.  Nasser is a member of the RC of Broadbeach.
Last Wednesday's Guest Speaker: Dr Dainis Sirovs
All the way from Latvia, Al Sirovs' family are having a bit of a family reunion with Dr Dainis Sirovs and his charming wife Egija Sirova visiting our shores.  Dr Sirovs holds a master's degree in Public Health and specializes in Traumatology.  Born in 1962, he has experienced the period of Latvia's Russian (re)occupation in 1944, all the way to the transition to independence and the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia in 1991. Rather than giving us a long speech, Dr Sirovs preferred a Question & Answer session.  But, opening up his presentation, we saw a brief video outlining his native country. Today, Latvia has a population of some 2 Million people, with a very diverse ethnicity: 62% are Latvians, 25% Russians, 31% Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian, with people from fellow Baltic Estonian and Lithuanian descent just making up a bit over 1.3%.  And what is the big difference between the Russian era and today? Freedom! We might take it for granted, but having lived under the threat of being banished to Siberian labour camps - not just individuals, but entire families... Upon independence, some 31% of people of Russian descent left the country, but the Russian influence is still very substantial, with some 34% of the population speaking Russian as their first language. The Russian armed forces conduct regular troop exercises near the Baltic states' borders, and they have very high influence on the local media. According to the Trading Economics organization, average wage is just 738 Euros (approx $A1,130) per month. Still, things appear to be on the rise, in January 2017, it was just 642 Euros.
Yet, some 26 years after independence, there is again a major concern that the political parties aligned with Russia may yet again gain the upper hand. Well financed, they are spending huge sums in political advertising. In a parliament of 100 seats, three parties ('Parliamentary Groups') hold between 20 and 23 seats each, plus another 2 with 13, respectively 16 seats. So, it wouldn't take much to substantially change the balance.
However, Dr Dainis and Egida are here to enjoy a holiday! So, let's talk about sport: Ice Hockey, Bobsleigh, Speed Skating...  Rugby? No. Aussie Rules? What? Cricket? Nope...  Well, there is plenty to show and explain! We wish you a very pleasant stay in Australia!
Photo Album of our District Conference
Now, was that a conference or what!?  Record numbers (some 580 registrations), very exciting speakers and superb fellowship. I've put up a small Photo Album on our website - it's on the right hand side. You will find a comment against each photo.
There is also a massive album up on the District Website - just go to Photo Gallery (at the top) and it's all there.
Snippets of last week's meeting 140318
Jim Blackburn was at the door, Adrian Crowe was Chairman (for Mario Fairlie) and Ian Mayberry was Sergeant.
We had apologies from Gerald East, Simon Brook, Mario Fairlie, Des La Rance, Daryl Sanderson and Tania Laird.
President Andy Bell welcomed all members and visitors Peter Glen (Rotary e-Club of NextGen Qld, Jillian Edwy from Montreal, David Blackmore, and of course our Guest Speaker Dr Dainis Sirovs and his charming wife Egida Sirova.
DG Darrell Brown presented another major fundraising opportunity in connection with the Commonwealth Games: they are looking for Parking Attendants, from 3rd to 15th April.  The clubs in Clusters 5 and 7 have been allocated the Miami High School and Schuster Park, Tallebudgera.  It’s earning a respectable $25.00 per hour per person! Franz Huber, together with AG David Baguley, will coordinate any takers. 
DG Darrell also thanked us for all the work that was put into the conference. Lots of very complimentary feedback!  And Franz Huber briefly patted himself on the back: our club won the inaugural Best Club Communications Award (picture right). Franz emphasised that, whilst both he and DG Darrell were on the Awards Committee, both excused themselves during the deliberations of this award and left the room.
Doug Lipp received communication from the RC of Meenambakkam, Chennai, India (he and Sue visited a few years back to present them with a wheelchair). They have a massive project coming up, and are looking for a major Global Grant. Quoting from their letter: “Every year around 2 lakh (200,000) children are born in India with congenital heart problems. Only 35-40,000 children get treated every year, hence there is a huge backlog.” In essence, they aim to raise some $US 65,000 during 2017/18 to treat about 25 children.
Ray Higgs advised of a Rotary Peace Fellowship Seminar to be held at UQ, St Lucia campus on Saturday 24th March. Both he and Franz will attend.  Want to join? Contact Ray.  Treasurer Mitch Brown reminded all that, in order to claim the discount on the half-yearly dues, payment must have been received by 31st March.
Jo Gorman again thanked all for the great work – there really wasn’t anyone who didn’t have a job! Graeme Isaacson, in charge of the Paella in the Park event, specifically thanked the “Wheelchair Boys” Daryl Sanderson, Des La Rance and Bob Harrison for their work to setup the marquees, tables and chairs and then taking it all down again at the end of the day.
Last week's Sergeant: Ian Mayberry 140318
Adrian Crowe, not impressed with your introduction of the Sergeant! Fred Hamblen was in all sort of strife at the Conference: he lost his club badge, he had no ticket to the Paella, then found there were no drinks so he had to rush off to buy a few cartons… Angus Miller: no, you can’t have wine with the Paella – not in a public park! Ditto for Doug LippFranz Huber was all dressed up at the conference [yes indeed, wearing jeans and shoes rather than shorts and slippers!] Bob Harrison was very keen to get his Esky back… Graeme Isaacson, we know you organized the Paella, but what did you actually do?? Richard Smith, what excuse did you have? [only a bit of hospitalization, getting his left hand carpal tunnel fixed up. No real excuse really…! Ed.] Jim Blackburn, have you now found your reading glasses? And President Andy copped it as well, but they are quite a rambunctious mob when they are all charged up, so it all went down in the general clamour…
Duty Roster
Duty Roster - note: subject to change.  Please check every week:
02nd May 2018 Jim Blackburn  Neil Thurlow
09th May 2018Simon Brook
Geoff Croad
16th May 2018Adrian CroweMario Fairlie 
23rd May 2018Gerald EastJo Gorman
30th May 2018Fred HamblenBob Harrison 
02th June 2018Graeme Isaacson  Ray Higgs
Inspirations - well, sort of... 210318
Now, this story relates to the period prior to 1991 when Latvia became an independent republic:
A Latvian and an American argue with each other about freedom.  The American states "I can stand in front of the White House and shout at the top of my lungs GEORGE BUSH IS AN IDIOT!!, and nothing will happen to me.  The Latvian states, well, I can stand in front of the Kremlin in Moscow and shout at the top of my lungs GEORGE BUSH IS AN IDIOT!!, and nothing will happen to me either!
The location of your  mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in  a dressing  gown before you start  looking like a mental patient
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Photo Albums
The 2018 District Conference
Pride of Workmanship Awards 2018
Charmaine Wheatley: 120 wheelchairs for South Africa
Melbourne Cup 2017
Help! 3000 wheels to be unloaded!
Simon Brook leads our team at the Rotaract Trivia Challenge
Working Bee at The Shed 03 June 2017
School for Phuket, Thailand
Surfers Sunrise Charter - 23. February 1987
House of Hope - Samoa
Our YE Student in Germany sent us some photos
Pre-school, Mata'afa Village, Samoa
30th Anniversary of Charter 22/02/2017