Saturday, December 7, 2013

Merry Christmas, SGR


SGR’s traditional Christmas party was held on Thursday evening, December 5 on the 3rd floor of the St. George Art Center.  Approximately 60 were in attendance and all enjoyed delicious food, lively conversation and outstanding entertainment provided by the Dixie Strings.  A silent auction, organized by Linda Baker, raised about $800 to be used for SGR projects.  Thanks to Cindy Loeber, who chaired the event and all those who contributed their time to set-up and clean-up, and donated items to be auctioned for fundraising.  Merry Christmas, one and all!!!

Tree Planting is Service Above Self

Members of the St. George Rotary Club went above and beyond in their efforts to provide “service above self” on a cold, rainy Saturday, November 23.   Along with several employees from the City of St. George’s parks and recreation department, SGR along with friends and family members gathered along the banks of the Virgin River for a tree planting service project – although what we planted could not technically be called “trees” – they were more like sticks in the mud!  City employees got the jump on us and had the project nearly completed by the time everyone arrived, but there was happy comradry and the reward at the end of our 20 minutes of service was another delicious outdoor breakfast prepared by our own Chef Gil Trujillo! 

Why plant this particular kind of tree?  Club president Durant McArthur shares his knowledge of the southwestern willow flycatcher ((Empidonax traillii extimus), an endangered songbird which makes its home along riparian (stream) areas.  Empidonax is Latin for “mosquito king;”  It was declared an endangered species in by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1995. It prefers forested areas around rivers and streams. The species is associated with cottonwood, willow, box-elder, tamarisk, Russian olive, water birch, and alder.  Our tree planting is to provide nesting and cover habitat for this endangered species.  The southwestern willow flycatchers build nests made of shredded bark, cattail tufts, and grasses, usually in the fork of a willow growing near water. The eggs, which are buff-colored and dark on one end, are laid from early June through early July. The average breeding pair will produce about four eggs in four days. The southwestern willow flycatcher is imperiled by fires, water projects, livestock grazing, global warming, brown cowbird parasitism, and replacement of native habitats by introduced plant species. It migrates to tropical areas for the winter.

So SGR now has a service history including club, community, youth, international … and birds!  Thanks to all who came out to support the project … and thanks to Sheldon Banks for organizing it. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet Tom Cover

Meet Tom Cover … husband, father of three, former Marine, retired banker, avid golfer and a Rotarian for more than 30 years!  He served in the Marine Corps 1961-1966,  including the Marine Corps Reserve.  As a banker, he started his career at First National Bank of Omaha where he worked for 10 years, then moved to Montana where he worked for Security Banks of Montana and Wyoming .  After ten years he became the CEO of Hawkeye Bank of Council Bluffs ,Iowa.  Seven years later the bank was sold to U. S. Bank and he then became CEO of Packers Bank in Omaha, Nebraska.  Another sale happened three years later  – to Wells Fargo – resulting in a move to Minnesota and a new assignment as CEO of Marquette  Bank.  When that bank also sold to Wells Fargo, he and his wife Carole moved to St . George where he worked 3 years for Wells Fargo, then consulted until 2009 when he hung up his pinstriped suit and green visor for golf, parties, travel … and whatever!  Tom still has a LLC Bank Consulting firm but would rather be golfing, participating in the Marine Corps League, the American Legion and helping in the creation of the SunRiver Veterans Honor Park.  When asked to share any interesting / serious of funny experiences in his life with his fellow Rotarians, the graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha replied, “Not in print!”  Can’t wait to hear his Classification Talk!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Anderson Celebrates Rotary Milestone

Elwin Anderson of Bloomington was recently recognized on the 22nd anniversary of his membership in St. George Rotary Club where he is also the club’s oldest member.  In fact, at nearly 102 years old, he is likely the most senior of any of more than 2000 members in 47 Rotary clubs in the Utah District – perhaps even the oldest in all of Rotary International’s worldwide membership of more than 1.2 million!  A true believer in Rotary’s motto of “service above self,” Anderson joined in 1991 and has served in a variety of assignments.  In 1998-99 – at the turn of the century – he was also elected Rotarian of the Year for his service to his club, the community and the world!
Although his health remains good, he is no longer able to serve in ways requiring strength and agility, but this centenarian continues to enjoy his weekly association with his club members and supports the goals of Rotary International through generous donations to Rotary International programs, including Polio Plus. 
Nicknamed “Andy” since childhood, he began his more than ten decades of life in the tiny community of Oasis (near Delta), Utah in March of 1912!  He spent his first 19 years on the family farm before taking on a variety of odd jobs up and down the Pacific Coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  In 1933 he began a career with Chevron, during which time he met and married June Diebold. A veteran of World War II, he served in the U. S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific.  After the war ended, he and June owned and operated a service station in California for several years, then changed careers to real estate. 
The couple retired to St. George where the real estate market was booming.  June passed away in 2008 and although he lost his "best friend and partner of nearly 70 years" Andy has maintained his good humor and his lifelong desire to support his community.  Thanks for all you have done for our club and our community.  We love you, Andy.   

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to Rotary, Bryan Thiriot

Bryan Thiriot was appointed Executive Director of the Five County Association of Governments on May 1, 2013, succeeding Kenneth L. Sizemore.  At Ken’s encouragement, Bryan also joined St. George Rotary soon afterwards.  Bryan has an Associate of Arts degree from Dixie State College; and, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (and a minor in Communications) from Weber State University where he served in student government during his senior year.  Bryan continued his education at the University of Utah where he earned a Master’s of Public Administration graduate degree. His research project focused on the then-proposed annexation of Wendover, Utah into West Wendover, Nevada, a project he called “Line Dancing: Municipal Unification Across State Borders.” This research was presented to the Western Political Science Association in Oregon, and in Chicago, Illinois.

Professionally, Bryan has over 15 years of experience working in the congressional arena.  He worked for Senators’ Orrin G. Hatch and Robert F. Bennett spending time on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., and in the Northern and Southern regions of Utah. 

The oldest of six boys, born in St. George to the late Roger and Bonnie Thiriot, Bryan served an LDS mission in the Philippines then came home to find the love-of-his-life in Kathy Bischoff of Ogden, Utah.   Together they have three children.  In his spare time, Bryan enjoys hiking in any of Utah’s spectacular national parks and recreating with his family, including two boys and a girl. He loves adventures in the great outdoors but his favorite family activity is reading to his kids. 

Bryan looks forward to serving his community - and the world - as a member of St. George Rotary Club.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Meet Alan Paige

Alan Paige saw a lot of the world before settling on St. George as a place to retire with his wife Sandy.  USAF Col. (Ret.)  Paige ended a 29-year military career in 1998 then taught mathematics at an alternative high school in Peoria IL.  In 2000 he was hired as an exercise planner at Ramstein Air Base in Germany helping to plan military exercises between USAF and NATO personnel in Europe. In 2007 he and Sandra moved to Yorktown VA working for the USAF at Langley AFB before moving back to Ramstein AB for 4 more years prior to retiring again in February, 2013. His military service included tours of duty at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Holloman AFB in Alamogordo, New Mexico; George AFB in Victorville, California; Kunsan AB in Korea;  Spandgalhem AB, Germany; Takli AB, Thailand; and ANG assignments in Springfield and Peoria IL.

It was in Peoria, Illinois, where Alan was first introduced to Rotary.  The graduate of Hastings College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and physics was a member of the Peoria Rotary Club from 1994 to 2000.  After moving to Yorktown, VA and now fully immersed in the concept of “service above self” he couldn’t find a Rotary club to fit his schedule so joined Kiwanis where he served for two years. 
Alan and Sandy’s three children are scattered around the globe.  Their daughter – a CPA – lives in Chicago.  The couple’s two sons are a Marine stationed near Charleston, South Carolina and an engineer living and working in London.

When it came time to retire, Alan and Sandy whittled their choices down to three locations:  Tennessee, Nebraska or St. George.  The couple is still getting settled while Alan is also playing lots of golf and looking for an opportunity to teach or tutor where he can put his mathematical expertise to good use.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SGR Summer Party

On Saturday, August 3, Rotarians and their families – numbering approximately 40 men, women and children - drove 200+ miles round trip to Jack and Louise Petersen’s summer cabin for SGR’s annual summer party.  The event was an opportunity to socialize, recreate and escape the summer heat.  On top of Cedar Mountain at Swain’s Creek, Rotarians enjoyed a spectacular view, comfortable temperatures, good company, ATV rides, horseshoes, volleyball and badminton, dancing to the music of a live country-western band, a fabulous meal cooked by Immediate Past President Phil Hall and his wife RenĂ©e, and the chance to hang out with friends. 

After dinner, but before the sun went down, about a dozen adventurous 4-wheelers headed out for an hour long evening ride along Muddy Creek for the perfect ending to a perfect day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baker Named Rotarian of the Year

Linda Baker, vice president of the southern region of Workers Compensation Fund, was named 2012-13 "Rotarian of the Year” from among the 60-members of St. George Rotary Club.  An employee of WCF for 38 years and a longtime member of Rotary, Baker was chosen for this honor, in part for her efforts as SGR’s foundation chairperson and for chairing a successful Christmas holiday fundraiser.  President of St. George Rotary Club in 2011-12, Baker was also honored for her tireless support of Rotary International’s youth exchange program since joining the local service club in 1996.

This year, two of ten exchange students in the Utah Rotary District -one from Taiwan and one from Spain - lived and attended high school in the Washington County School District.  Baker made certain these students took part in mandatory youth exchange programs in locations around the state including Bear Lake, Tooele, Moab, Park City, SLC, Ogden (for district conference), St. George, and Lake Powell.

Congratulations on a well-deserved recognition for Linda Baker, Rotarian of the Year!

Friday, July 12, 2013

McArthur is New Rotary Prez

Durant McArthur, PhD, of St. George was recently installed as 2013-14 President of the 60-member Rotary Club of St. George, assuming duties and responsibilities from outgoing President Phillip Hall, DDS. 

Prior to passing the gavel, Hall noted how the informal leadership style of his board had resulted in several positive changes to the club’s structure and programming, including reorganization of board assignments, review and update of club bylaws, successful grant writing, stronger youth programs and additional boots on the ground for the Guatemala stove project and other  service in that country.
McArthur, who reminded club members he is “a better writer than I am a speaker,” is an emeritus natural resource scientist who returned to his hometown in 2008 after a successful career with the research branch of the USDA Forest Service, mostly at the Shrub Sciences Laboratory on the campus of Brigham Young University.  A past member of four Rotary clubs from a dedicated Rotary family, the new St. George president considered himself a “back bencher” in some of his previous service but promised to step up. 

McArthur pledged to follow in the distinguished footsteps of his father and two of his three brothers, all who previously served in the club’s top spot and other outstanding club presidents.  His late father Eldon also served as Utah Rotary District Governor in 1986-87.

The new president will be assisted in his duties by board members:  Secretary-Treasurer Richard Isom;  President-Elect Bette Arial who will manage  youth activities and functions; Linda Sappington who will be responsible for public relations; Janet O’Riley who will manage club administration;  Collin Davis who oversees  fund-raising;, Sheldon Banks who will oversee service activities.  Phil Hall will continue in a leadership role as chairman of the club’s foundation and immediate past president; and Nick Lang will be responsible for membership activities. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

4-Way Test Essay Contest Winners Announced


Winners of St. George Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test Essay Contest are, from left, Ammya Scott, Spencer Duell, Maggie Cook, Daryn Ham, Ali Stum, Lyndsi Graf.  In the back are Durant McArthur, contest chairman and Phil Hall, SGR President.
In the 9th year of competition, 115 students participated  in SGR’s  4-Way Test Essay Contest.  To participate, students in intermediate schools throughout the Washington County School District were invited  by Chairman Durant McArthur and his committee, to compose their thoughts in writing about someone they know who best exemplifies Rotary’s 24-word test of ethics in all aspects of life:  is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendship?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Awarded a $50 first prize at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School is Ammya Scott, daughter of Travis and Kim Scott, who wrote about her grandmother.  A second place prize of $25 went to Spencer Duell, son of Larry and Julie Duell who shared respect and admiration for his own father.

At Lava Ridge Intermediate School, first place honors went to Maggie Cook, daughter of Alan and Karen Cook and Daryn Hamm, daughter of Gwen and Jeff Ham , was the second place recipient for her essay about her teenage sister Hannah who she noted “is a perfect example of Rotary’s 4-way test.”

Ali Stum, daughter of Justine and Kristen Stum, a student at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, was recognized for her well-written thoughts about a dance teacher who lives both the letter and the spirit of the 4-way test.  Also at Sunrise Ridge, Lyndsi Graf, daughter of Pam and Jeff Graf, noted her parents set the most ethical tone “in our home and in their lives.”

Language arts classes in the WCSD, with at least a 30% participation in the contest, were also awarded $200 to use in whatever way the teacher deems appropriate.  Recipients included Teresa Southwick from Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School, Rosemarie Swallow from Lava Ridge Intermediate School and Marvalee Lund from Fossil Ridge Intermediate School.

Monday, May 6, 2013

District Conference "The Best Ever!"


Representatives of SGR, along with members from 46 other Utah clubs, attended the amazing, inspirational, motivational Utah District Conference in Ogden on the weekend of May 3-5, 2013.  Considered “perhaps the best conference ever” by those in attendance – including Linda Baker, Jim Coleman, Gil Trujillo, Durant McArthur and Linda Sappington – the gathering included outstanding speakers and well-planned break-out sessions at the Eccles Conference Center and an impressive interfaith service at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, all under the direction of conference chairman Brent Parkin (Ogden Club) and District Governor Jerry Summerhays (Murray Rotary).

Those outstanding speakers included Past RI President Bill Boyd (Australia), RI President's Representative Jeffry Cadorette, Katie Ehlis (in the blogmaster's opinion "the BEST presenter of the BEST conference ever"), Jana Farr Scott and Brian Farr, father-daughter Peace Fellow Team and District Peace Chair with entertainment provided by David Osmond (2nd Generation) and the One Voice Childrens Choir! 

Also attending, at least a portion of the conference, were Dan Strobell, Nick Lang, Reed Noble and Lowry Snow.

Next year’s conference will be held May 15-17, 2014 in Logan.  Plan to enjoy this wonderful experience.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Update from Alex

Alexandria Meyer, SGR’s youth exchange student, spent her Thanksgiving in school – since this purely American holiday is not celebrated in Belgium.  She was supposed to be thinking about her school work, but instead was imagining all the good food being enjoyed by her family back home in St. George while trying to explain the holiday and its traditions to her friends in Belgium. 

December 1 brought snow – but as in St. George – the white stuff was pretty for about an hour, then turned into slush. 

Alex reports she attended the 18th birthday celebration for one of her friends.  “The party was formal.  Picture a fancy wedding reception . . . and that was her birthday party.  I pretty much understood what was being said in English, but many of the guests were from other countries so the party was a mix of Dutch, French, English and some of the languages of the Philippines.” 
December 6 is St. Nicholas Day - a major holiday for children.  They receive gifts, candy and other stuff.  “It was also good because we got out of school at midday!”
Thanks again to SGR for this wonderful experience.  I will never forget you for making this possible!