Monday, August 31, 2009

YouthLINC Visits SGR

OPENING: Ray Robinson lead the SGR Choir in a rousing rendition of "4-Leafed Clover" to kick start the 3756th meeting of SGR. Chris Coons invited members to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance and Don Pendleton asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Les Stoker conducted Horseplay with fines collected by Gene Jones.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Ken read a letter of thanks from former Dixie State College student body president Brock Bybee who recently underwent brain surgery and a letter of resignation from Dean Nixon who finds it necessary to leave the club because of business and family obligations.

Steve Nadauld, president of Dixie State College announced the largest student body in the schools history with 7400 students representing 24% growth over last year. He also announced a football game on Thursday between longtime rivals, Dixie State College and SUU - the first such gridiron faceoff in 47 years!

President Ken reminded board members of the upcoming meeting on Tuesday morning, September 8 and reminded club members there will be no meeting on Labor Day, Monday, September 7.

PROPOSED NEW MEMBER: Darrell Wright has been proposed for membership by Steve Radmall. Any comments regarding this new membership should be directed to a member of the board.

PROGRAM: Linda Baker introduced Judy Zone, representing YouthLINC; Laura Shrader, past president of DSC’s Rotaract Club and Chelsea Goold, director of DSC’s Campus Service program and the state’s 2006 YouthLINC Humanitarian Scholarship winner. Judy reminded members of SGR that September is Rotary’s "New Generations" Month, noting youth are the future of this nation and of Rotary! According to Zone, her program has 130 young men and women from all over the state who do 80-100 hours of service in their local communities and travel to Mexico, Peru, Kenya and Thailand as "quiet doers" to help those in need. Zone said with noticeable pride only about 5% of those who apply to YouthLINC have a background in service, but 93% of the program’s alums continue to serve in remarkable ways. Another benefit, according to Zone, is the increased knowledge about Rotary among YouthLINC participants. "About 40% of them have ever heard of Rotary in the beginning, but according to a survey at the end of their year, 100% of YouthLINC participants consider their knowledge of Rotary to be ‘good’ to ‘excellent!’" Laura Shrader, recently returned from two weeks in Thailand, shared her power point presentation, her memories and her belief "Rotarians are a great help all over the world!"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Speaker Speaks to Health Care Reform

OPENING: On Monday, August 24, Ray Robinson lead the SGR Choir in two verses of "America, the Beautiful"to open the 3755th meeting of SGR. Debbie Justice invited members to follow her in the Pledge of Allegiance and Allen Hilton asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Jeff Morby conducted Horseplay with fines collected by Paula Bell.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Ken announced he had received notification SGR has met its obligation to the Guatemalan stove project, which also included some hospital equipment, as well. He also noted there is potential in the future for additional support to families in Guatemala and encouraged members to consider a continuation of this project.

President Ken noted receipt of the membership report which shows SGR has a current membership of 78 active and 4 honorary members. Although SGR has seen some substantial drop in membership, the club is beginning to grow once again. In comparison, other local clubs have maintained level growth including Red Rock Rotary which has a current total of 40 members; Hurricane has 16, and Dixie Sunrise has 34. The state’s fastest growing club is American Fork.

President Ken also announced the recent passing of Don Taylor, a former member of SGR, at the age of 92.

A final announcement was the recent decision of the board of trustees to cancel the 2009 Dixie Rotary Bowl due to the significant shortfall in funding, which has resulted over the past several years, in a financial drain on the DRB foundation’s endowment fund. According to Ken, the event needs a minimum of $90,000 to be successful and to date, sponsorships have resulted in less than $40,000. President Ken assured members the DRB board would continue to pursue a positive outcome next year or would consider other options.

PROGRAM: Dave Clark, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, shared his experiences and thoughts on the current economic situation and its impact on Utah’s taxpayers and human service programs. According to the speaker, the House revenue estimating committee has indicated tax revenues will be $300 million below expectations. Rotarian Dave Clark indicated the state will have a projected shortfall of $1.8 billion in 2010 despite all attempts to cut the budget in every conceivable way. He noted the Legislature was successful in taking back approximately $220 million from 53 agencies which had not spent their state funding - but "there are no good choices in 2009 because we are operating the state at the same level as we were in 2007 . . . and we have a $700 million shortfall in meeting our future expenditures!" According to Clark, the state has the option to spend down up to half of the "rainy day" fund, and legislators are considering the possibility of bringing back the tax on food, "but its only a one time fix!"
On the subject of the nation's current health care debate, Clark said our existing system of health care, if left unchecked and unreformed, will require 100% of our paychecks within 18.6 years.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care Issues Discussed

OPENING: On Monday, August 17, Terance White took responsibility as SGR’s Sergeant-at-Arms greeting Rotarians and other visitors to the 3754th regular weekly meeting of St. George Rotary. Ray Robinson lead the SGR Choir in a harmonious rendition of "America the Beautiful." Phil Hall invited members to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance and Nick Lang asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Rick Schofield conducted Horseplay with fines collected by Jack Petersen.

PROGRAM: Jessica Kendrick from the Utah Health Policy Project spoke on the need for "quality, affordable, comprehensive health care coverage for all Utahns through research, policy innovation and civic participation."

According to Kendrick, over 442,000 Utahns live without health insurance of any kind while a similar number are underinsured. Utah businesses are burdened by health care costs, and families can easily be financially devastated by illness or injury.

Sixty percent of the $2 trillion Americans will spend this year on health care will come from state and federal taxes, making the American taxpayer the world’s most generous in paying for health care programs.

These facts combine to make health care policy the most difficult and perplexing domestic issue in our state and nation. Optimal change in Utah’s health care system will occur only if the public is informed about basic health policy and economics.

According to Kendrick, the objectives of the Utah Health Policy Project are to develop and implement visionary and systematic solutions to Utah’s health care crisis; incrementally expanding access to affordable health coverage in ways which further systematic solutions. Continue to build community / small business support for comprehensive health system reforms designed around a concept of a Health Insurance Exchange.

Kendrick noted, we must also ensure sustainable and cost effective financing of state and federal resources such as Medicaid, CHIP, and other health programs and low-income clinics; and develop the statewide infrastructure and capacity to improve quality of care and reduce health disparities. For more information about the future of health care in Utah, call 801-433-2299.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Governor Gil Visits SGR

OPENING: On Monday, August 10, Jack Petersen took a turn as Sergeant-at-Arms to greet members and visitors to the 3753rd meeting of St. George Rotary Club. Ray Robinson lead the SGR choir in a rousing rendition of "My Country Tis of Thee." Nick Lang invited members to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance and Jim Coleman asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal.

INDUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS: It was with great pleasure, President Ken Sizemore inducted Gene Jones, sponsored by immediate past president Jeff Morby and Debbie Justice, sponsored by Linda Sappington as the two newest members of SGR, bringing club membership to 77!

PROGRAM: President Ken introduced Utah District Governor Gil Trujillo and his wife Pat who were welcomed to their home club with a thundering round of applause. After three years of moving up the ranks of leadership in Rotary’s Utah District 5420, Gil is currently serving as Utah's 94th District Governor overseeing the activities of 44 clubs and more than 2000 members.

As the fifth district governor selected from among the nearly 90-members of St. George Rotary Club, Gil outlined the goals for his year as DRG, including encouraging all Utah Rotarians to more fully engage in service in their club, community, state and in the world. He also reported on his plans to coordinate an international project involving all 44 clubs working together for greater impact; develop a workable plan for the active recruitment of young men and women leaders into Rotary clubs around the state; continue in support of RI’s global partnership goal to eradicate polio in the world; and, encourage Rotarians throughout the Beehive State to dig deep into their pockets to fund water projects to bring clean drinking water to many of more than 2.6 billion people in 3rd world countries who currently live without this precious commodity.

The 72-year-old native of Taos, New Mexico and former Marine also wants to promote micro-credit programs in impoverished populations worldwide enabling people to make a living with an investment of as little as $30; and to continue supporting literacy programs in the state and worldwide.

Pat Trujillo, in support of her husband's year of service in Utah Rotary's top spot, encouraged members of SGR to attend and participate in the Utah Rotary District Conference which is being planned on the weekend of May 13-15, 2010 in St. George. She indicated this is expected to be one of the best district conferences ever and asked for the support of the full membership in planning and preparations. For more information or to offer time and service to the conference committee, call Linda Sappington at 668-9988 or see on the internet.

Monday, August 3, 2009

TNR Program Works to Reduce Feral Cat Population

OPENING: Terance White took responsibility as SGR’s Sergeant-at-Arms greeting Rotarians and other visitors to the 3752nd regular weekly meeting of St. George Rotary. Ray Robinson lead the SGR Choir in a upbeat version of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Dean Terry invited members to follow him in the Pledge of Allegiance and Nick Lang asked for the blessings of heaven on the meeting and the meal. Ken Sizemore conducted Horseplay with fines collected by Jack Petersen.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Ken offered information relating to a Rotary Mastercard through Bank of America. A donation of $25 for each member who signs up will be made to the club.

Utah Rotary District Governor Gil Trujillo will pay an official visit during the regular luncheon meeting of SGR on Monday, August 10. Members of the board will meet with the RDG for approximately an hour following the luncheon.

PROPOSED NEW MEMBERS: In the second reading of their names, Gene Jones has been proposed for membership by Jeff Morby. Debbie Justice is proposed for membership by Linda Sappington. Any comments relating to this action may be referred to any member of the board. Inducting of these two members will take place on Monday, August 10.

PROGRAM: Linda Baker, Vice President and manager of the local office of Workers Compensation Fund, introduced Kris Neal, president and founder of the One More Chance Animal Rescue Program. Managing 15 large feral cat colonies in St. George, Kris’ program is a 501 ( c)(3) public non-profit organization which has trapped, neutered and released more than 1100 animals in the five years of its existence and which has been responsible for the steady decline in the number of unwanted cats in Washington County. One More Chance raises funds for local Adopt-A-Friend advertisements appearing in local shopping guides; and, operates an animal food bank which has distributed more than 15,000 pounds of food to low-income pet owners who might otherwise be forced to abandon their animals. According to Kris, there are an estimated 100 million free roaming cats in the United States. It is believed a female, producing two litters of five kittens annually will be the start of 11,801 kittens in a period of five years. With the support of organizations such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill facility based in Kanab, and with funding from the City of St. George and other agencies, her organization is getting positive results in efforts to eliminate the feral cat problem in St. George, including no new litters, less roaming and night howling, a reduction in disease and savings of tax dollars.