January 30, 2017 Posting


January 3

I'm back!  The last mtg notes I sent were on September 13, 2016.  I apologize I was away so long.  The merger went well and I truly enjoyed my assignment on the road.  The only trouble was I did not have the opportunity to attend Rotary meetings in the towns I traveled to. It seemed all of them had noon meetings that did not work in my schedule.


On with the notes................


January 3rd mtg notes

Rotary Club of Elk Rapids


Birthdays -

Paula Jorge            1/1

Bill Holdsworth      1/3

Jack Sisson             1/4

Roy Lawrence         1/7


Club Anniversary -

Joe Yuchasz          52 Yrs.

Wes Knecht          16 Yrs.

Bill Donberg         15 Yrs.



It is reported that Nick Hein is doing well and enjoying his family.


Tom S shared information about the Digital Projection System for HERTH. This will include a motorized screen in front of the current stage curtain, a cabinet for the projector, remote operation within the hall, etc. Total cost is $14,000. HERTHA is currently working to raise the funds for this needed addition for the community. They will be submitting a request to the Good Works committee as part of their fundraising efforts.


The upcoming January 24th meeting is an appropriate time to focus on membership. Prospective members should be invited to this meeting and a community invite to attend that evening will be going out as well. "HIS HOUSE MINISTRY” will be the program for the evening.


A list of prospective members was reviewed by all in attendance with adjustments and assignments made accordingly.


President Garr provided an overview of highlights for 2016

Year in Review 2016 -

Tom Klingler – club president

Shot Felt Round the World - polio awareness - community event 

Robotics presentation

Camp Elk Rapids

Honor Roll - Rotary park 

Officers installation 

District Governor Gernot Runschke visit

Harbor Days parade and chicken barbecue

Pure Water for the World

Arch Klumph inductee – Norm Veliquette celebrated

ER Rotary highlighted in Munson publication

Announcement of Tom Stephenson as president elect

Christmas Dinner Auction


President Gary’s closing comment – “Let’s make it another good one. Well, let’s make it a great one.  Let's continue to tell the Rotary story.”



Happy New Year everyone.  Here is a fun and healthy 2017 for each of you.


Big hugs to all.


Sherry Steffen

Rotary Club of Elk Rapids


January 10 Mtg. Minutes


Morning Meeting -


Jokes were up to par. However, Connie topped Chris and won the door prize for best joke.


Clinton Shattuck Community Service update –

Good Samaritan His House:  Clinton, Tom S, Dean, Jim N are scheduling a visit to obtain a better feel for services provided by His House. If you would like to participate in the visit, please let Jim know. Reminder Jan 24 meeting will feature His House. We are treating this as a membership event, and all are encouraged to bring a guest to hear this program.  Stacy Nelson, the Director for His House will share how the program engages parents with their kids via games, art, woodworking, crafts and other joint projects.

TART Trail update:  Clinton has initiated dialog for members of the Community Services committee to get caught up on this project. Also look for an upcoming program in March on this topic.


Rock-A-Thon Fund Raising: Connie (chairperson) is coordinating this club fundraiser to take place on June 24th, 2017How does it work? Decorate a rocking chair, get a sponsor(s), for our chair, and then sell pledges to friends and family. Sponsors should be in the range of $100 to $250 per chair and pledges should range from $10 to $50 or more. Proceeds will go to Good Works Fund.  Stay tuned.


Evening meeting -


Bill Holdsworth – 14 yr. club anniversary!


Interact update – efficient group…. 20 minute meeting….they get stuff done

Upcoming fundraiser is a Sock dance. Chaperones are needed for January 28.


Steve Francis - Salvation Army follow up. We raised over $2,000 this year. Nice job Rotarians and Interact students.


Good works - looking at how we can support Tart Trail


Connie – Rock-a-thon information will be presented at an upcoming evening meeting.


Laura - Chamber hosting Lunch and Learn series with Ann Bonney January 19 

Let Laura know if you would like to register for the event.



Program –

Jill Donberg spoke about a 3 week medical service trip to the Nepalese Himalayas last September.   This trip served the indigenous tribe of Tibet, who carried the Bön religion, to the Humla region in the 7th century AD.  

The organization, called the Humla Fund (www.humlafund.org), is led by a Tibetan Lama originally from this area, and two acupuncturists from New York.  Their vision is the protect the Bön culture through supporting their health and wellbeing.  They have already reconstruction two shaman temples, erected a traditional Tibetan medical clinic, and have received $500,000, for the construction of a school and stupa to teach boys and girls basic education through high school.

Jill returned with three major lessons.  Service, no matter where, or with whom, begins with a powerful excitement, enough to feel a tug to take the risk.  This should then lead to listening and with being fully present with the people served, like the way a loving father listens to his only child.  Ultimately, the giver and the receiver become one, the line blurs, and both walk away with a feeling of excitement and heart felt connection.


Next week Pete V – ER Fire Department update  


Sherry Steffen

Rotary Club of Elk Rapids


January 17

Good Works update- Elk Rapids Fire Department will receive $500 to support their fire prevention program. 

Foundation match is underway to enhance our giving to the organizations we identified for our annual 2016 Christmas auction giving.

ERHS Honor students recently enjoyed activity with old folks (seniors) in our community.

Sherry shared that Harbor Days Association is beginning planning for this year’s festival.  Sherry also informed members that the series of three articles Rotary ran last year in the Elk Rapids News on the history of Rotary and the Harbor is now posted on the Harbor Days website. 

Sherry indicated this year’s Scholarship planning is underway. The application is being updated and will be posted to the Rotary website soon. Sherry invited members who would like to be part of the selection committee to share their interest with her. We have four scholarships available this year.  Sherry encouraged members to begin thinking of students they may want to reach out to regarding our program.

Our last year recipient Catarina (Sunrise Academy) made the Dean’s list!

President Gary reminded members the Variety Show will take place this fall.  We are still in need of a director for the show.  Reach out to Gary if you feel you would be able to help in this area.


Program –

President Gary introduced Fire Chief, Pete Vandenberg.

Chief introduced fire fighters, Rafael Medina, Joey Fischer, Ken Williamson and Chris White.  

Pete’s presentation included the bullet point timelines of the fire departments history as follows.

1889 first news story found on Fire Department (reasonable date for the original organization of the department but not 100% accurate)

In the earlier year’s, it was more about saving the town.

200 buckets and ladders purchased

1887 hose company (Cedar St and Brand St) both sides of town. Wagon pulled by hand with noses, nozzles ladders…..

Iron company would blast the whistle when a fire was reported around town - the number of blasts would indicate the section of town where the fire was located.

1897 the Iron Company burned down

1918 Village purchased an outdoor electric siren that was installed on Traverse St

1926 coats and hats were purchased for the men

1930 hose cart was purchased

1949 first truck purchased and fire station built (the station they came down in 1994)

Second truck built by volunteers in 1951

1990 Fire Department was turned over to a Township department that continues to serve the Village as well.

4 trucks and 2 additional vehicles

ISO rating of 6 for Village and 7 for Township. With the best rating being a 1 - outside of our area most are 9 or higher.

Currently we have 24 volunteers

Smoke detector program currently in place for our community - cheapest device for saving a life. 

Member asked, why do you volunteer as a firefighter?

Ken - giving back to the community I live in

Chris - opportunity to give back

Rafael - giving back - retired here - just love the community 

Joey - good way to serve and to meet new people

Pete - like father like son – god’s grace looking down on us when I landed and job here, we could only find a house in elk rapids and our first home was across the street from the chief……

Big thank you to our volunteer fire department men and women!


President Gary reminded everyone of next week’s program (His House) and the fact that the meeting is our target night for new members to come and learn more about the club.

Sherry Steffen

Rotary Club of Elk Rapids


January 24

Morning meeting –

Connie opened with a great kid & cat joke. (Curiosity-seekers, ask Connie to tell you.)


Variety Show - Friday October 6 and Saturday October 7, 2017 at Peterman Auditorium

Thank 12 person committee –







President Gary will coordinate ad sales again, however we need a chair person for the show. Please contact Gary if you can help in this capacity.



George S. and Scott D. will head up the BBQ again this year.  Thank you!


President Gary is encouraging all members to participate in some way to help ensure both the Variety Show and the BBQ are successful.  Reach out and express what you would like to do to help are ask how you can. There is plenty of fun tasks available for both fundraisers.


Interact is having a sock hop at the HERTH on February 18th, to raise funds for their community service.  We are urged to attend.


The Good Works Committee, GWC, agreed to submit the application to the Community Foundation for the $3,000 Club Match for:  Good Sam His House; ACTS; and the AC Baby Pantry.  Jeff Lane will follow up on this.  This will double the club’s efforts from $3,000 to $6,000 for these community services.


ROBOTICS update -   

Following a meeting yesterday with Steve Prissel, Dean Branson, and Jim Nothoff, Bill Donberg outlined the following to improve member awareness, and alert the GWC what may be requested going forward:

  1. A monthly cash flow projection for the program by the schools to:

    1. Show monthly cash needs by line item, and all sources of revenue

    2. Include all capital and operations costs

  2. Dean, Bill, and Steve will prepare grant requests to Rotary Charities and RCER GWC

  3. A June strategy meeting to develop plans for the 2017/2018 Robotics to include submersibles and aerial robotics will take place

  4. Steve, with staff and our concurrence, will develop methods of communication to keep Rotarians and other stakeholders informed of the “remarkable progress and plans for the Robotics programs”.

Evening meeting - 


Marcia Billings, ADG extended a congratulations to Tom Stephenson as our President elect.


Marcia also shared that the Twilight Rotary Club is holding their annual Super Bowl Raffle. To purchase tickets you can visit traversebaytwilightsuperbowlraffle2017.eventbrite.com

1 for $35 or 2 for $60 


Tom Vranich shared we have new stage lights, cable and so on for HERTH. Rob Bachi will run provide a demo on how to use the new lighting.


Sherry announced the 2017 Scholarship Application is now available and asked members to share this information with our local students they are aware of in need of funds to attend Northwestern Michigan College. Visit our website for an electronic copy.


Since this was a special membership development Rotary meeting, President Gary provided a brief overview about high-profile Rotary’s service projects.  Thank you Don Watkins for arranging for about 20 possible prospective new members to be invited.  We were very pleased that nine people accepted the invitation, and that five of those who accepted the invitation are viable candidates for membership at some time in the near future. Several of the prospective new members who were unavailable to attend Tuesday’s meeting, are still very viable candidates.  


Thank You Mel Matchett for very effectively announcing this special Rotary meeting at this week’s meeting of the Interact Club; about 15 Interactors also attended this meeting, which further impressed our invited prospective new members.


Dean introduced Stacey Nelson Program director for Good Samaritan's HIS HOUSE 

Program notes -


About 50 people heard Stacy Nelson provide an overview of a new, trail-blazing program associated with Good Samaritan’s Family Services.  The new program is call HIS HOUSE and is designed to assist absentee fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children.

Stacy Nelson forecasted that their new building in Ellsworth, which is being built by the Building Trades Class at Charlevoix High School, will be moved to its permanent location in Ellsworth by May 2017.  By the fall of 2017, HIS HOUSE expects to be functional, which will include a cookout deck, and a workshop so fathers can work on projects with their sons and daughters, including building bird houses and fixing bikes.  HIS HOUSE’s wish list includes shop tools, materials, volunteer mentors, and donations. This presentation was very well received this audience and guests.    

President-Elect Tom Stephenson presented a $1,500 check to Stacy Nelson (Director of HIS HOUSE) from Rotary’s 2016 Christmas Party/Auction, which corresponds to 50% of the proceeds from the auction.


Sherry Steffen

Rotary Club of Elk Rapids