Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Dec 10, 2013
Last week we hosted Ed Arnold, Chair of PolioPlus for District 6000, who was the guest of Tom Downs. Ed spoke about the ongoing challenges for polio eradication around the world as new cases have sprung up across Syria, Somolia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Countries that were polio-free for the last couple years are suddenly beset with new cases, we think because the virus has been found in water sources. Ed also told us that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $350,000,000--a 2:1 match for what Rotary International is pledging over five years--$175,000,000.
This year (2014) is the sixth year that the Iowa Energy has teamed up with Rotary clubs in the area to offer discounted tickets at $16, of which they willl give back $8 to Rotary for polio eradication. Normal ticket prices are $20. They also have relationships with numerous area organizations for disadvantaged youth and offered that if Rotarians can't use their tickets, they can donate them back to the Iowa Energy and know that they will get used by a deserving child. In addition, the Iowa Energy is offering $2 beer for the February 8th game and the halftime show is Chicago Boyz, an acrobatic act.
The club passed a motion to commit to at least 100 tickets and a sign-up sheet was circulated for requested ticket amounts. Tom Downs is once again our representative for this fundraising effort.
This may be the final week for bringing a pair of child-sized mittens, so if you still desire to contribute please bring them to tomorrow's meeting. Also, we heard from Bruce Mason that our $500 club commitment to a deserving family in Mitchellville will be well appreciated according to Joe Nelson, principal at the Mitchellville Elementary School.
Finally, tomorrow our Sgt. at Arms is Larry Wilson and our Rotarian of the Day is former member [Layne Brown]. Obviously this will be a substitute person.
Light snow is expected in the morning, so be careful out there.
See everyone in the AM!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Dec 03, 2013
Last week club members were engaged in the important work of committee meetings. Our two guests, Leisa Fox of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and Phil Cronin, the Vo-Tech instructor at SE Polk High School were there to help facilitate the work of the Vocational Service committee. After the golf challenge, members met and then presented some updates. Here is a quick summary:
Community Service: The club will adopt a family for the holidays and the club will raise/contribute up to $500 to ensure that the family has a Merry Christmas. The committee/club will work through Joe Nelson to find a family in Mitchellville.
Youth and Family: The Interact Club will be raising money to purchase Sherrif Woody dolls which will be transported to the Blessman Ministries campus in South Africa for the boys. It was observed on Eric's prior visit that the girls had toys but the boys had nothing.
Vocational Service: The Bowling Bash is the next major event and it will be held on February 28, 2014. Today is the Dollars for Scholars Soup and Sandwich Supper at SE Polk High School. This is a joint effort among our club, Altoona Lions, and Altoona Kiwanis and several club members have signed up to volunteer in some capacity.
International Service: We recently sent $22,000 to overseas projects as a result of our last two fundraising efforts. Eric Borseth is taking four former district governors on his trip back to South Africa in January. Someone recommended that the club help underwrite the cost of his trip to the tune of $2,500 but it was unclear if that was approved. It is probably something the Board will take up at its next meeting.
Club Service: Our club Christmas Party is to be held this Friday December 6th at Sommerset Winery.
Membership: The ongoing challenging work of attracting new members is backlit by the District's and RI's current year goal of adding just one new member. We are currently -1, so everyone needs to be on the lookout for new prospective members and invite guests when appropriate.
Eric Borseth is tomorrow's Sgt at Arms and Walt Mozdzer is the Rotarian of the Day. Tomorrow's speaker will be Ed Arnold, Rotary District 6000 Polio+ Committe Chair.
Please remember to purchase a new pair of mittens and bring to tomorrow's club meeting.
We'll see everyone in the morning!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Nov 26, 2013
Last week featured our own Brad Miller as Rotarian of the Day. Brad spoke about his travels to Kenya and India, working with planted Lutheran churches in those countries as well as an orphanage. Many of us were fascinated to learn that Brad carries an extensive Boy Scout knapsack with him on these adventure trips. As expected, Brad delivered a message which pivots across the Rotary four-way test and is a tangible example of how he lives his life as a pastor and a Rotarian. Thanks for your enlightening talk, Brad.
Prior to Brad's talk, he took the time to welcome our newest member Daron Lewis to the club and presented him with the Rotary pin and other "Welcome Aboard" items. Daron took a few minutes to share a bit about himself and his newly opened chiropractic clinic in Altoona.
This week is our Golf Challenge and Business Meeting, so come prepared to discuss topics of interest to your committee.
Keep in mind that December 6th is our club Christmas Party and Mike Hamilton will be bringing a sign-up sheet for help needed with the Dollars for Scholars Soup and Sandwich Supper on Tuesday December 3rd at SE Polk High School from 4-7:30. Prairie Meadows is providing the potato soup, but volunteers are needed to serve.
We'll see everyone tomorrow!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Nov 19, 2013
Last week our club's Rotarian of the Day was Clay Willey (filling in for Gary Palmer). Clay invited Prairie Meadows Director of Security Clint Pursley to give us an insider's view of what it takes to keep the patrons and staff at Prairie Meadows safe during hours of operation. (Writer's Note: Since I had to leave a bit early, I was not able to hear Clint's talk)
This week Bruce Mason will serve as Sgt at Arms and Brad Miller will serve as our Rotarian of the Day. Brad will be serving as his own speaker, and will bring us up to date on his 2013 world travels--photos included.
Looking ahead to our next Food Pantry Day, Larry O'Connor has requested that we each purchase a set of mittens for children in lieu of food. The Clothes Hanger (next to the food pantry) is doing a toy giveaway on December 14th. They are also giving away hats, scarves and mittens. They have plenty of scarves and hats, but not enough mittens. So, please consider purchasing a new set of mittens for a boy or girl and bringing them to the meeting on December 4th. Larry did not specify ages.
We'll see everyone in the morning.
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Nov 12, 2013
Last week East Polk Rotary hosted Eric Albrecht, the Vocational Director of The Homestead and its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The Homestead was opened in 1994 and offers employment and housing to 24 autistic adults. The adults, supervised by Homestead staffers, perform functions related to the horticulture of dozens of fruits and vegetables on a four-acre parcel. Eric said the Homestead has 177 acres in total and rents some out for traditional farming. The Homestead sells a CSA "share" to local residents during the growing season and will also offer a double share. Then, once a week, the share owners can pick up their produce either from The Homestead or one of the drop off locations around the metro.
All of the produce is grown using chemical-free methods and is all picked as close to the delivery/pick up date as possible. They even grown greens year-round in their greenhouse and sell it through Campbells and Gateway Market. The service to autistic individuals spans a three-pronged approach. Some is campus-based, some is community-based and some is clinic-based. All together, The Homestead serves over 250 autistic adults and youth. Thanks to Eric for an informative and educational presentation.
Tomorrow, Norma Bettis is our Sgt. at Arms and Gary Palmer is the Rotarian of the Day. We'll see everyone the AM!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Nov 05, 2013
Last week our club brought back Gary Welch from the Ankeny club to speak about RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Gary has been the local face of RYLA for several years now, and it's safe to say that nobody has a passion for these students like Gary does. He brought slides with him that served to illuminate the transformation that the attendees experience during that week. We've all witnessed first-hand stories that the youth share about their personal growth and development as individuals, but which took place during the team exercises.
Next year RYLA will be held at Grinnell College in Grinnell Iowa and it promises to be even more impactful, with better facilities and more centrally-located to the entire state. We owe Gary Welch a huge THANK YOU for his tireless work in this fascinating and meaningful facet of Rotary.
This week's Rotarian of the Day is Kirk Duer, but Kirk is unable to join us, so we've found a speaker in Eric Armbrecht, who is the Vocational Director at The Homestead, just across from Southeast Polk High School. The Sgt. at Arms is Kim Byers.
East Polk Rotary would also like to welcome Daron Lewis as our latest member. If you haven't introduced yourself yet, please take a moment and welcome Daron to the club.
Lastly, this week's Caring Hands Food Pantry item is canned pears. Please bring a healthy supply or be prepared to offer cash in lieu of the pantry item.
We'll see everyone at 7:00 AM!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Oct 29, 2013
Last week we held committee meetings and our monthly golf challenge. Here are some of the updates:
Youth and Family: Eric contacted Carol Von Tersch at Southeast Polk about potential students for RYLA next summer but has not heard back yet. Eric also said that Joe Nelson is working to find a family in Mitchellville for our club to sponsor for Christmas.
International: Adam reported a successful Africa Night event despite reduced ticket sales and revenues compared to the last couple of years. It was moved and approved that the club will pay $22,500 to Blessman Ministries to support their work with orphanages and self-sustenance. This money was from club fundraising efforts for the last two years.
Club Service: Marti reported that the Christmas party is slated for Somerset Winery on December 6th. No other activity reported.
Membership: No committee members were present.
Vocational: Mike Hamilton is working on a state grant towards the Tech Expo. Leisa Fox from ABI will be meeting with school board members. Ryan Swalwell is now the chairman of the Vocational Committee.
Tomorrow Gary Welch returns to speak about RYLA and Eric is the Sgt. at Arms. See everyone in the AM!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Oct 15, 2013
Last week was a very busy week for club members. On Wednesday, we hosted an active meeting with world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes in attendance as a guest. Simon spoke about his new CD and his upcoming concert at Hilton Colliseum in Ames on December 15th. The goal is to raise money to buy mosquito nets for African children who often succumb to malaria without a simple $5 net for sleeping. The goal is to raise $4,500,000 and his efforts have also caught the attention of the United Nations who have expressed interest in his outreach efforts. Today, his CD is being sent to high schools around the state that have offered to contribute and multiply his efforts in distributing the CD.
The program last week was prepared and delivered by members of the Southeast Polk School Board, led by School Superintendent Craig Menozzi. He and his team spoke about the new mission statement and vision for the school district. There are seven (7) new core values and a new set of priorities. We learned that the school district budget is in the black for the first time in several years. Given our club's strong ties to Southeast Polk, it was meaningful to learn of the new direction.
Then, on Thursday October 10th, East Polk Rotary hosted our Third Annual Rotary Night for Africa at the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine in Altoona. The event featured a number of silent auction items, live auction items, delicious food from a local caterer, beer and wine samples and speeches from Simon Estes and Dr. Jim Blessman from Blessman Ministries. It even included several "paddle calls" which allowed attendees a chance to contribute to causes like the local food pantry and Simon's mosquito net program. Final financial results aren't in yet, but they will be shared with the club when calculated.
An enormous amount of effort went into the evening and we must send out a huge "Thank You" to Adam Kline and the International Service Committee for organizing and executing the fundraising event. It was an All Hands on Deck enterprise, and the leadership exhibited by the ISC did not go unnoticed.
Tomorrow, we feature Trent Frohock as Sgt. at Arms and (no rest for the weary) Adam Kline as Rotarian of the Day. By the way, for those of you wondering when your turn is up for either role, you can now view the schedule for the rest of the year on the clubrunner website. We'll see everyone tomorrow!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Oct 08, 2013
Last week East Polk Rotary featured Mike "soft pitch" Hamilton as Sgt. at Arms who asked members to answer his questions with relative ease. It seemed everyone rather enjoyed a round of correct guesses for a change as the traditional "I'm gonna stump you before 8:00" approach took a one-week leave of absence. In fact some members were observed answering in the affirmative while not even bothering to look up from their breakfast plates.
Paul Cornelius was the Rotarian of the Day and introduced Leisa Fox from the Association of Business and Industry. She gave an inspired and impassioned talk about the skills gap that plagues ABI's members--many manufacturers around the state. Leisa spoke about how many companies battle the now-incorrect assumption among the public that manufacturing jobs are scarce, or undesirable or offer low pay and weak benefits. The reality, we learned, is that most of these "middle skill" jobs pay $60,000 to $80,000 with little more than an 18-month certificate in welding or other field from a community college. Leisa also spotlighted a new website and state-wide initiative known as Elevate Iowa (www.elevateiowa.com) that intends to raise awareness of manufacturing opportunities within the state.
However, the most exiting news for the club is that she is a tremendous connector between ABI, their member companies, East Polk and the Iowa Tech Expo held each Spring at SE Polk High School. At the end of her talk Mike Hamilton suggested a couple of ways that ABI could get in front of school administrators to spread the message of work opportunities and further strengthen the state's labor force for the future. We deeply appreciate her willingness to speak to our club.
We'll see everyone tomorrow morning.
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Oct 01, 2013
Last week we held committee meetings and worked on goals related to each committee. Our big event right around the corner is the Rotary Night for Africa fundraiser to be held on October 10th from 6-9 PM at the Za Ga Zig shrine in Altoona. Everyone is encouraged to sell tickets, find sponsors, solicit auction items for the live and silent auctions, and most importantly, ATTEND. Encourage a friend to come as well. The more bidders we have, the better. Here's an idea: Print the flyer that Marti created (and is uploaded on our website) and tape it to the inside of elevators in your building, or in stairwells, or even place them under windshield wipers in your parking lot.
Tomorrow's Sgt at Arms is Mike Hamilton and Rotarian of the Day is Paul Cornelius. Don't forget to bring pancake syrup for the Caring Hands Food Pantry. Otherwise you can also make a free will donation. See everyone tomorrow!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Sep 24, 2013
At our last meeting Linda Harris was Rotarian of the Day and invited Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling to update us on happenings around our city. He spoke about the Facebook construction project taking place just north of I-80 across from Bass Pro Shop. He talked about how most of Facebook's employees are young and that the company treats them very well, and how some weren't happy about the 20-year property tax abatement. He also said there will be no stress on the city's infrastructure. Mayor Conkling also spoke of the new continuous care retirement community going in across from Clay Elementary School on 1st Street. He said most of the city's land was being developed for housing and that the Altoona population had grown to around 15,000, for those keeping track. .
For the Rotary Night for Africa event on October 10th, live and silent auction baskets are still needed as well as sponsors of tables of eight. Ticket sales are crucial to make this event a success, as the more people that come and bid on items, the more fundraising that will occur. This week a sign-up sheet will be circulated for auction baskets.
Marti also said that the Christmas party venue and caterer are now booked. For those of you looking ahead to our first October meeting, Larry O'Connor has asked that we bring pancake syrup.
A big thank you to Norma who stood in for me while in Virginia last week. See you all tomorrow!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Sep 16, 2013
At our last gathering, Marti Kline mentioned that our Christmas Party will be held at Sommerset Winery and that spouses will be welcome. So please mark the date December 6th on your calendars.
Corinne Lambert was our Rotarian of the Day and she introduced us to Shirley Burgess of The United Way. Shirley is the Volunteer Engagement Officer and she spoke about volunteerism around the country, the state of Iowa, and our local community. Shirley mentioned that 38.4% of Iowans have volunteered in the last year and that 40% of Des Moines residents do volunteer work. She mentioned that one of the events coming up is the Graduation Walk this Saturday September 21st from 9 to 12. It involves targeting and visiting homes of teens who have not returned to school this school year. Shirley said the stark reality is that those kids are often working to support their households.
At the end of the meeting, Steve Hall brought up a request that the Altoona Campus was asking for $100 for a community project during their Family Fun Night on October 12th. Mike Hamilton made a motion and Marti Kline seconded the motion. We voted as a club to approve the funding.
I will not be in attendance this week, but Norma Bettis has agreed to step in and serve as Secretary. Mary Rork-Watson is the Sgt. at Arms and Linda Harris is Rotarian of the Day. Have a great week and a great meeting on Wednesday.
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Sep 10, 2013
Since we sent out an extensive update on Wednesday last week after the club meeting, there is no additional update in today's Bulletin.
Tomorrow's Sgt. at Arms is Marti Kline and the Rotarian of the Day is Corinne Lambert.
See you all tomorrow!
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Sep 04, 2013
During the meeting held today September 3rd, Melissa Horton served as Sgt. at Arms and quizzed our knowledge on Fall football trivia. Even though she did not provide multiple choice answers, and restricted the questions to the NFL, it appeared that our members were well-versed in football minutia and conquered most of her questions.
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Sep 03, 2013
On August 30, 2013 East Polk Rotarians Walt Mozdzer, Ryan Swalwell, and Mike Hamilton met with representatives of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, a trade group committed to closing the "skills gap" between Iowa employers and potential employees.
The meeting was scheduled in hopes that the Iowa Industrial Technology Exposition, held annually at Southeast Polk High School, could become a platform for identifying the next generation of middle skill employees.
Posted by Walt Mozdzer on Aug 27, 2013