Monday, June 27, 2016

Changing the Guard

TODAY IN ROTARY we got off to a rocky start (“couldn’t find the right note for Auld Lang Syne”) kicking off the final meeting of RY2015-16.  President Terance White, in preparation for passing the gavel to President Collin Davis (RY2016-17), expressed his appreciation to all who have contributed to another successful year for SGR. 

Congratulations, first to Jim Coleman, who is recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow + 6!  A dedicated man who gives generously to Rotary.

Perfect Attendance certificates were given to the following:

Bryan Wheat            
1 year
Ted Dodge      
1 year
Collin Davis
1 year
Lynn Beecher
1 year
Ken Sizemore
2 years
Linda Sappington
3 years
Janet O’Riley
5 years
Richard Isom
9 years
Nick Lang
11 years
Jim Coleman
16 years
Ray Robinson
18 years

President Terance also gave “Service Above Self” awards to the following members of SGR:

·      *  Lynn Beecher for dedicated service in helping to organize the successful 2nd Annual Night Golf Tournament and the “first ever” Pickleball Tounament
·      *  Jim Coleman as SGR’s representative to the world
·     *   Ted Dodge for his example of selfless service to the people of Puerto Penasco, Mexico
·     *  Phil Hall for donning his chef’s hat to make 100 pizzas for our last summer party … and for his incredible generosity to the people of Guatemala and Puerto Penasco, Mexico by providing relief for their dental problems
·      *  Richard Isom for ongoing, consistent work in support of SGR and its leaders
·     *  Durant McArthur for making the 4-Way Test Essay Contest happen every year
·     *  Reed Noble for his willingness to organize, apply for and report to the District on SGR’s annual dictionary project
·     *  Ray Robinson for bringing joy to the club each week through music (although he reports he is “still looking for the right note.”)
·     *  Ken Sizemore for accepting the assignment to serve as SGR’s representative for the “first ever” multi-club Rotary Car Show
·     *  Linda Sappington for stepping up to help wherever needed and for getting SGR’s name out to the media and the community
·     *  Brandon Staples for his enthusiasm and commitment to Rotary as a “nearly new member”
·     *  Dan Strobell for countless hours given on behalf of the Guatemala Stove Project
·     *  Bryan Wheat who stepped in to serve as Club Secretary when Richard’s job as Secretary and Treasurer was divided
·     *  Greg Whitehead for lending his time and know-how to help with the pickleball tournament

Brandon Staples, a nearly new member of SGR, was presented with the “Rising Star” award for RY2015-16.  (See more in the local media).

Lynn Beecher was named 2015-16 Rotarian of the Year.  (See more in the local media).

Prior to handing over the gavel, Terance noted, “it has been a great year for me!  I have grown a great deal and now recognize the significant amount of trust our members have for their president.  I am overwhelmed by your willingness to allow me to serve in this way.”

President Collin noted he hopes to see “a bigger Rotary presence in St, George; to identify a “signature project” for SGR in the local community, and find more support for the Guatemala stove project.  I love Rotary … it is an incredible organization.  I just returned from the RI Convention in Seoul, Korea where I met and mingled with our worldwide family of Rotarians … from such places as Spain, Japan, Nepal, Virgin Islands and throughout the United States.  We can be very proud of our club because we are doing good things!”

Collin will be assisted in his duties and responsibilities this year by Terance White, Immediate Past President/ Foundation Chair; Ted Dodge, President-elect; Rulon Olson, President-elect Nominee; Bryan White, Lynn Beecher, BJ Cox, Linda Sappington as Club Secretary and Richard Isom as Club Treasurer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Visioning Process Begins for SGR

TODAY IN ROTARY President Terance introduced the process of VISIONING to help in the development of a strategic plan for our club and to help SGR define in the following ways:

*  what SGR stands for in the community
*  SGR's target membership size in five years
*  identification of SGR's attributes
*  top three objectives for each avenue of service
*  ways to improve SGR's leadership development

Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, chances are you will end up someplace else.” With an effective visioning activity, SGR can develop a long range plan for effective local and international programs, with members providing input, deciding goals, objectives, and action steps to take to realize the vision of our already great Rotary club.   

Here are some of the ideas suggested in today’s meeting:

·               online reporting of make-up meetings
·               push pickleball
·               re-emphasize youth programs
·               keep weekly meeting schedule
·               clarify:  are we a service club or a checkbook club?
·               Create a visible local presence
·               Too many off site meetings
·               Education about local goings on
·               Active communication for programs
·               Softball games between local clubs
·               Combined club socials
·               Coordinate community service
·               More sharing of our professions
·               Meet regularly with Rotaractors
·               Return and report from NPO’s who receive our donations
·               Greater diversity in membership (more women, more ethnicities)
·               More Rotary-themed programs
·               More service-focused meetings (dictionaries, essays, other)
·               Develop a way to retain members
·               Exchange students – its been several years
·               More visibility in local service projects / signature project
·               Every member assigned to a committee / have Rotary responsibility

Watch for more information about a “formal” visioning program – a 4-hour program conducted by District leaders - coming soon to SGR!

Monday, June 13, 2016

PDG Coleman Speaks of RI Council on Legislation

TODAY IN ROTARY PDG Jim Coleman spoke on “Why I Am a Rotarian and I Still Love It After 35 Years.”  His varied topics included his concern that there has been no New Member Orientation held in the past 2-3 years; how he found and joined the Logan Rotary Club in 1981 where he learned about the 4-Way Test and embraced the “service above self” motto.  In 1984, after moving to Southern Utah’s hot real estate market, he joined St. George Rotary, presided over the Dixie Rotary Bowl for six years and rose through the ranks of District 5420 to become the DG.  He participated in the creation of the Mesquite Rotary Club and later, voted to share Washington County with the creation of the Dixie Sunrise Rotary Club – now celebrating 20 years of service in the community.

Jim’s reason for his devotion to Rotary include:

·               SG Rotarians are my best friends
·               I value all we stand for and am proud of what we do
·               I want to be sure our community knows our identity

In his recent time in Chicago’s RI Council on Legislation, Jim took part in the review and passing of 181 policy changes out of 400 submitted by clubs around the world, including:

·               an increase in member dues of $4 per year for the next 3 years (effective on July 1)
·               an invitation to Rotaractors to have concurrent membership in Rotary (only 5% of Rotaractors worldwide join Rotary as adults)
·               elimination of admission fees to join Rotary
·               a flexible meeting schedule with requirements to have only 2 meetings per month

For more information on these and other policy changes from RI, see Jim Coleman.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lowry Reports on Legislative Session

TODAY IN ROTARY the members of SGR heard from Lowry Snow, who recently completed his 5th legislative session in his 4½ years as a Utah Representative (District 74) where more than 1000 bills were introduced and 400 were passed.  His 45 days in the state capitol also included a special session to “get a handle on fixed funding for information technology in schools.” 

Lowry also discussed the designation of the 1.9 million acre Bear’s Ears National Monument noting, “nothing is likely to stop Obama, but we need to be concerned about this designation which is going to have an impact on Utah.”

Lowry indicated the most important assignment legislators have in “handling the state budget, particularly relating to education.”  Utah has long had the lowest per pupil expenditure, and the legislative body in this session, voted to increase the budget by 3%, with $11 million for early learning programs, including an enhanced kindergarten program introduced by Representative Snow.

Other topics discussed:
·               medical marijuana for fairly limited use.  There is a growing movement to make marijuana in all its forms legal in the state
·               a survey shows 64% of Utahns are against the death penalty.  Currently there are 9 men on Death Row – 2 for more than 30 years!!!  According to Lowry, about 4% of all prisoners are actually innocent of the crime for which they have been incarcerated.  A bill has passed to remove “without possibility of parole” for juvenile criminals sentenced to life imprisonment. 
·               taxes on internet sales are already in place in Utah, but are not being collected.  Improving collections will increase state revenue by $1.8 million.
·               1/16 of 1% increase is assessed for water projects.
·               the non-compete clause in contracts is now limited to 1 year.

Thanks, Lowry for your efforts on behalf of the citizens of Washington County.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

First Annual Southwest Slam Pickleball Tourney

This first year of SGR’s Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament was not without its ups and downs.  Despite our best effort – including amazing support from both St. George City and Santa Clara City and lots of great sponsors - everything did not run smoothly.  Our hardworking event organizers Lynn Beecher and Janet O’Riley had countless promises-to-register from many dozens of people in the community, but when the weekend of May 18-21 arrived those promises did not materialize in a strong showing of pickleball aficionados.

Thanks to our wonderfully generous and supportive sponsors Naylor Wentworth Architects, Vive Studio; Snow, Jensen and Reece Law Firm; Drywall Shop, Inc.; Say Holdings (Jenny Lee); Basile, Davis and Ott;  BJ Cox, DDS; Pizza Factory;  Dominos; Bones and Leather; Hawks Restaurant; Daily Queen; SunRiver Golf Course; Harmon’s Santa Clara; Legends  Salon and Pure Pickleball.

On the positive side, SG City Mayor Jon Pike (also a longtime member of SGR) came to the Little Valley pickleball courts on Saturday morning and spoke to our enthusiastic pickleball players, volunteers and others.  He noted SG City had spent $1.6 million to build the additional 12 courts especially in time for the Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament … a wonderful example of “our tax dollars at work.” 

Mayor Pike also talked about how the city and St. George Rotary Club have had a longtime working relationship on projects around the community and had worked very hard to make this tournament happen. He thanked the Rotary Club and looks forward to many more tournaments like this one. 

Chairman Lynn shared the many “service above self” Rotary projects in the St. George community as well as internationally.  He noted, “All proceeds from the Southwest Slam support the St. George Rotary Club Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization funding humanitarian, literacy and community projects.  Local projects of St. George Rotary include providing paperback dictionaries to every 3rd grade student in the St. George area, parks and trails projects, support of such local non-profits as the Children’s Museum, the feral cat program, Coins for Kids, Operation School Bell, the Family Support Center and the WCSD’s Sterling Scholar program.  Internationally, SGR travels to and builds indoor cook stoves in Guatemala’s Mayan villages and is working on a project in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to bring clean, safe water to every school in the community.”

In the end, a man told Chairman Lynn, “this is the most fun pickleball tournament I have ever been to” and handed him a $100 bill “for your wonderful projects.”  Many players said the same thing.  So, while our numbers were not what we had hoped, we can call this "First Annual Southwest Slam Pickleball Tournament" a success and a great jumping off point for next year’s event!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SGR Hears of Vietnam Conflict

TODAY IN ROTARY members heard from Bruce Rathtree and Dan Greathouse,  Washington County representatives of Vietnam Veterans of America, organized in July 2005 with 10 members.  In 2016, there are more than 100 members.

VVA’s goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. VVA strives to achieve the following:
*   Aggressively advocate on issues important to veterans
*   Seek full access to quality health care for veterans
*   Identify the full range of disabling injuries and illnesses incurred during military service
*   Hold government agencies accountable for following laws mandating veterans health care
*   Create a positive public perception of Vietnam veterans
*   Seek the fullest possible accounting of America’s POWs and MIAs

In support of Washington County’ 12,000 veterans, Bruce, a 3rd generation military man, also oversees Veteran’s Court which strives to help incarcerated veterans – or those in trouble with the law – work through issues relating to their legal infractions.  To date, 25 veterans have “graduated” from the program and are now law abiding and contributing members of society. 

The duo also spoke of the ramifications of Agent Orange, a defoliant used to kill bushes and scrubs on the battlefield.  Agent Orange has been shown to contribute to more than 150 diseases and health issues, including, but not limited to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and renal failure.

“I didn’t leave anything there,” said Greathouse when asked whether he had been back to Vietnam.  “I support our troops, not our wars.”  Rathtree went on to say he remembers 130+ temperatures and 100% humidity … and coming home from this unpopular war to “people throwing poopy diapers, rotten fruit, and soda cans at us!  It was 40 years before I talked about it – even to my wife!”   

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gil Visits Japan

Gil and Pat Trujillo joined Mr. and Mrs. Dean Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Deputy and others for two weeks of travel in Japan.   During their 14 days in the Land of the Rising Sun, Gil reports they visited many churches, museums and shrines, including the Hiroshima War Memorial; enjoyed numerous opportunities to eat sushi; but were too early for the cherry blossoms.  “Next time, we’ll go in May,” said Gil of his plans to revisit the country he calls clean, historic and with people who are both cordial and polite.