Friday, December 19, 2014

Til We Meet Again, Shar Heitkotter

Our beautiful, fun-loving, hardworking, no-holds-barred, devoted and true blue, mouthy and outspoken,"service above self" Rotarian Sharlet (Shar) Heitkotter left this life and her friends in SGR on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from compilations of heart surgery.  Shar didn't just join SGR in August 1996 ... she fell in love with the organization and jumped in with both feet.  She served as a board member, as SGR's 72nd president in 2002-03, as an Assistant Governor, chairman of the Dixie Rotary Bowl Foundation and, until the very end, brought her enthusiasm and energy to every meeting and numerous service projects.

In addition to Rotary, she donated time and money to various non-profit organizations in the community including the Family Support Center, St. George Art Museum, United Way and Children's Justice Center.  She always looked forward to Christmas and the chance to ring the bell for the Salvation Army.  Helping others and giving back to the community was her gift to the world.  She will also be remembered for her love of Michael (her husband of 30 years), her daughter, two sons and 3 grandchildren, black coffee, dressing up for Halloween, and giving hugs to strangers and friends.

From a card at her memorial service:

If I should die before the rest of you, break not a flower nor inscribe a stone, 
Nor, when I'm gone, speak in a Sunday voice, but be the usual selves who I have known. 
Weep if you must, parting is hell ... but life goes on, so sing as well. 

Shar Heitkotter leaves a huge void in the world and will be missed for always and forever by those who knew and loved her.

Monday, December 15, 2014

L'Rotary Visits L'Chef

Dennis Leavitt, General Manager of L’Chef in the St. George Industrial Park, told members of SGR during a site visit, “wheat is one of the earth’s most valuable commodities” and his company – which had its official beginning in 1979 when his mother Eloise opened Leavitt’s Bosch Kitchen Center in St. George – has exclusive distribution rights for Bosch and also manufacturers a variety of other food processing products.  Although the company headquarter is are located at 100 S. 500 East, the manufacturing side of the business is located in the old RMC building, a landlord Leavitt calls “kind and gentle and who treats us like royalty.” 

“We are the #1 seller of flour mills on earth and have exclusive distribution rights in the US for Bosch," noted Leavitt who reports his company is creating 70 units per day.  He also introduced SGR’s members to the company’s 2nd high speed flour mill with sales expected to launch in March in Chicago.
“Mom made St. George a Bosch town,” said the club’s newest Rotarian, but added "manufacturing is capital consuming.  Our motors - and the bamboo box for our newest product - come out of China."  L’Chef’s product line includes Bosch, NutriMill and several fruit and veggie blenders.  “Our products are built to last,” said Leavitt, “but we pride ourselves in being able to deliver outstanding customer service repairs and response when needed from right here in our own hometown.”

The delicious lunch was catered by Grandma Tobler's Bakery.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cahoon Shares His Love for East Africa

“Teaching is the most important thing we do,” said Dr. Drew Cahoon of his dental work in the East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, speaking to SGR on Monday, December 8.  Supported in his efforts by a handful of Rotarians in his home club in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, and donations from SGR, his program has raised more than $2 million in ten years for the purchase of 106 dental chairs, x-ray and other equipment and have taken the work “from dream to clinic in 2 ½ years.”

“Our next goal is to go from 98% extraction to 50% extraction and the rest prevention and control.  We’ve done what we set out to do but there is so much more we can do,” noted an enthusiastic Cahoon   Other accomplishments during a decade of work in East Africa include partnerships with 13 regional referral hospitals which provide free dental work; a donation of $22,000 worth of equipment and supplies from A-dec (an Oregon-based manufacturer of ergonomic dental equipment), the implementation of ACT (atraumatic restorative treatment) which provides filling decayed teeth at a cost of just $2.30 per students (to date 66,500 family members have been treated through this program); and, 23 courses completed each with 18-20 participants, and each receiving 2 sets of instruments to enable them to provide limited dental care for others. 

“Come join us,” Drew invited.  “You will love the experience and the people and I will promise you a miracle a day.”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Merry Christmas, SGR

SGR members, spouses and dates gathered at The Ledges' Rock Fish Grille to celebrate friendship, "service above self" and the holiday season of 2014.  On Friday, December 5, 55 revelers enjoyed the yuletide musical repertoire of the Dixie High School Madrigal Choir under the direction of Sheryl (Mrs. Lowry) Snow. Following a festive can-can number by the boys and a cappella carols by the girls - then a delicious dinner of steak, salmon or cornish game hens - Rotarians and their guests were further entertained by Taibree Coleman, 15-year-old daughter of Bob and Stephanie Coleman, granddaughter of Jim and Margaret Coleman and Desert Hills Middle School student body president. The evening also included a book drive to help fill the shelves of the library at Water Canyon School in Hildale.  A silent auction of donated goods and services raised a total of about $250 in support of SGR causes.  It was a delightful evening filled with outstanding entertainment, great food and wonderful friends.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Learning to Network

TODAY IN ROTARY Richard Isom,  graphic designer and owner of Vive Studio, shared his expertise and enthusiasm for the topic of networking which is defined as “the process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community” by Dr. Ivan Misner.  In Rotary, networking was one of the main reasons for bringing a handful of members together each week.  Meeting at each other’s businesses was the idea of RI founder Paul Harris, who was new in 1905 Chicago, and wanted to build a network of business people he could do business with because he knew he could trust them. 

Richard noted, “we choose to do business with those we know to be honest, trustworthy, pay their bills and are likable.”

Some tips on being likable and developing business connections:

1.              Don’t pitch someone you just met.  
2.              Ask questions to get to know them.
3.              Ask about their needs.
4.              Get to know who a good client might be for them.
5.              Educate your connections – don’t try to sell them.
6.              Share your lowest common denominators.
7.              Share brief interesting stories.
8.              Remember: the goal is to develop a relationship.
9.              It doesn’t matter if they need what you’re selling.
10.          When you get a referral, remember to say “thank you,” follow thru and report back.

Richard concluded by encouraging club members to take time to meet 1-to-1 with other club members outside of club meetings to better get to know each other; be a connector by looking for opportunities to give referrals; and to get involved in club projects and leadership. He noted that these are opportunities to stand out and become trusted and better known by fellow club members.

Monday, November 24, 2014

RI Poised for Membership Growth

“Take the Family of Rotary and Make it Real,” said Gary C. K. Huang, President of Rotary International at a recent Rotary Multi-Zone Institute at Denver, Colorado, according to today's speaker PDG James O. Coleman.

Coleman quoted John Hewko, RI's General Secretary, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, as saying “We have a very serious problem in North America where we have about 30 percent of Rotary membership, but if the present membership decline trend continues, we will be down to 15 percent.” The Institute focused heavily on membership and how Rotary International must change how it conducts the business of recruiting and retaining members.  Hewko said, “We need to grow and we need to change.”

The organization founded in 1905 at Chicago, Illinois, is known for its efforts of humanitarian service throughout the world applying its motto of “Service Above Self” among its 1.2 million members in over 34,000 Districts (geographic regions).  Its flagship project which has been underway since the mid 1980’s is the Eradication of Polio from the earth. To date, only three countries in the world (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are not certified “polio free” primarily due to civil unrest and political resistance.

Many other varied projects are funded by Rotary contributions, including hunger, water, health, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, wheel chairs, and eye sight, to name a few.  Besides some of its local community projects like trail markers, benches, dictionaries to all third graders in the Washington County elementary schools, funds to the Sterling Scholar Program, the annual Four-way Test Essay Contest among area sixth graders, and cooperative activities with various agencies, the St. George Rotary Club also has an international project to provide and install cooking stoves for Mayan villages in the mountains of Guatemala. Other local clubs of Rotary International do similar projects.

Coleman said, “Membership matters Rotary will be modifying in order to promote its continued growth and prominent humanitarian work and grants from its Foundation will include allowing clubs to alter such things as types of meetings and attendance requirements, payment of dues, types of membership and expectations of members.”  Members must be able to feel the personal and professional growth which comes from membership and service opportunities as well as enjoy the social aspects of belongs to such a prestigious and wholesome organization. 

Huang said, “We must raise the image of Rotary.”  He further said, “People must know who we are and what we do.”

In addressing Rotary’s serious membership concern, Hewko said, “While diversity is important in general, two main areas of focus needs to be with the recently retired and young professionals.” Coleman told SGR, “In these days in our society, we must consider such factors as money, time and energy, as we look for new members and work to retain them.  Coleman said, “Young professionals may be reluctant to affiliate with organizations.  It has been cited Gen X, Y, and Millenials are distrusting of institutions, but they volunteer and give service.”  Coleman also said, “One powerful statement from John Hewko, was that ‘We need to change our focus from perfect attendance to perfect engagement.’ He also said, ‘Do what works, even if it means forgetting the rules.’”

Coleman said, “In order to make the change necessary to be relevant in today’s society, we must use social media to retain and recruit, especially young professionals.

Coleman joined Rotary in 1981 in Logan, Utah as a young real estate broker looking for a service organization to enhance the start of his business. He was impressed by Rotary's 4-Way Test on a plaque on the wall in a Logan savings and loan manager's office.  Coleman said, “I have learned Rotary is not a service organization, it is a membership organization which does service.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rotary Rotates to IBC

On Monday, November 17, twenty-seven of SGR's 65 members and their guests visited and toured Industrial Brush Corporation, located at 763 E. Commerce Drive in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park. One of Washington County’s newest employers - currently with 29 on their payroll and another 70 expected to be hired in 2015 - IBC specializes in the design and manufacture of a variety of brush designs, utilizing state-of-the-art brush making machinery, to serve a wide range of industrial applications.

Thanks to James Cottam, plant manager for the hospitality of his company and thanks to D.U.B's for catering an outstanding lunch of pulled pork sandwiches and sides. 

The whole concept of Rotary club travel from business to business - at least a few times a year - was important to Rotary's first four members: Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele and Hiram Shorey. On 23 February 1905 - the official start date of what would become one of the largest service clubs in the world - they gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for the world's very first Rotary club meeting where they voted to call the new club “Rotary” after the practice of rotating meeting locations.  Although the practice of routinely moving club meetings around the community has long since been abandoned for reasons of practicality, it is still encouraged - at least occasionally - as a great way to stay connected with new businesses and as a way to keep Rotary in the forefront of the community.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Futsal Court is Saturday Service Project

After more than 3 years of planning, preparation, fundraising, and coordination, 10 members of the St. George Rotary Club helped install nets at the Futsal Court at Snow Park on the crystal clear Saturday morning of November 8, 2014.  This group of Rotarians spent 4 hours draping the nets across a framework of posts and securing the nets. Other Rotary clubs in the area helped fund the purchase of the nets, which are the final piece of hardware required to allow play of a fast-paced version of soccer played on a hard surface with the nets being part of the playing area. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rotary's Public Image: Are We Really "Pale, Male and Stale?"

Today in Rotary Assistant Governor Linda Sappington shared lessons learned at the recent Zone Institute about Rotary’s public image issues.  “Shift happens,” she noted.  “If we’re not willing to shift, nothing is going to happen - at least nothing we WANT to happen!!!”  Rotary International has had a long standing belief it is not necessary to promote themselves since “people will know,” but after 109 years, people are still asking “what’s Rotary?”  Today, only 2 out of every 10 people know anything about Rotary and those who know anything at all, have mostly incorrect information.  Man-on-the-street interviews describe Rotary as “pale, male and stale” not an image we want to have to be able to build membership.  AG Linda also shared statistics relating to the relevancy of Rotary in the modern world where only 2% of the organization’s worldwide membership are under 30 and only 15% are women.  Locally, the number of non-white members is less than 1% in 5 clubs.  “Without a healthy mix of Rotarians in every club, how can we be relevant in today’s world?”  AG Linda reminds members we need to be telling our story in every possible way – including social media.  “We do a fantastic job of talking to ourselves … but, we need others to be talking about Rotary, too!”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rhett Tells of Spectrum Products

Rhett Long, publisher of The Spectrum and "a few other things," said today, “we are a newspaper only about half the time.”  Regarding online news, he noted, “the Wall Street Journal got it right the very first minute they went online.”  As he went through the Spectrum offerings, Rhett who reminded members "small town newspapers will always be around because we provide you with the best in local news" also noted the following:

*  Twitter is a very important communication tool, especially  for men, but there is lots of growth among users in the 50+ age category.
*  Facebook is best for reaching a female audience.
*  Getting your website highly ranked takes time (as much as 3 – 6 months)
*   Changes never end in the area of website design.
*   Mobile marketing is the fastest growing form of marketing and can be timed to reach target audiences based on the time of day
*   The Spectrum and its products have 1 million page views per day – making them the largest news source in Southern Utah
*   The Spectrum’s new mobile app – “Destination Southern Utah” has 800 pages of content.  The goal of this free resource for things to do is to “keep them here another day.”
*   Rhett’s #1 goal when he first came to the paper was to “improve coverage of high school sports.
*   The Spectrum’s E-edition is the most popular news source for those under age 40.
*   The Spectrum publishes 50,000-75,000 new words a day.
*   The Spectrum has been Gannett’s “Newspaper of the Year” among those in 4 states and for 4 consecutive years.

For more information, Rhett Long can be reached at 674-6222.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rotary in the Canyon of the Gods

On a spectacular October 25th morning – aka “Worldwide Rotary Day” – 13  Rotarians from SGR and another 4 from DSR along with 8 family members and friends and 2 RYLA youth gathered in the red rock splendor of Tuacahn.  Together we enjoyed famously delicious breakfast burritos and a couple of hours of service stringing Christmas lights in anticipation of the holiday season in the “Canyon of the Gods.” (the lights will go on following Thanksgiving on Friday, November 28). Special thanks to Tuacahn’s two Kevins – CEO Kevin Smith and groundsman Kevin Lounsbury; Gil Trujjillo for making sure there was plenty of good food for hungry workers; former Rotarian Don Pendleton and his BIL Wayne Harris for bringing out the cooking gear; and, all 27 willing volunteers who took time from other responsibilities to join in this “service above self” project.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

All Clubs Welcome DSU President Biff

In Area 15’s first All Clubs Day this year, members of SGR, Dixie Sunrise, Red Rock, Hurricane Valley and Zion Canyon Rotary Clubs gathered to network and socialize and to hear from Dr. Richard (“Biff”) Williams, who will be inaugurated as the 18th President of Dixie State University on October 23.   Egor Shulman, president of Red Rock Rotary presented a check in the amount of $500 for the Guatemala stove project expressing his wish, “all the members of our club could travel there with you.”

On his continuing “listening tour” since taking the helm, President Williams followed a spirited Horseplay with Rick Schofield at the podium.  Born and reared in Brigham City, Biff and his family return to the Beehive State after many years pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Lifestyle Management at Ricks College, a Masters in Athletic Training from Weber State University and a PhD. In Athletic Training Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.  For several years, he served as Provost (“no one really knows what that means,” he quipped during his presentation, “but it sounds important.”) at Indiana State University where there was “a strong emphasis on community engagement for hands-on experiences.”  Why did he decide to apply for the position in Southern Utah?  “My in-laws live here so you know how it is … ‘happy wife, happy life.’”  He also recognized what he describes as a huge potential for the future of DSU and “it was a great fit for me!” 

As DSU grows, “we are in a position to chart our course .. and we’ve got to get it (the strategic planning process) right.  Students will come and go, but the community's vision for the university lasts forever.”  

According to the new president, “enrollment is on the rise, but is limited by a serious need for more student housing.” Plans for the future of the university include construction of a 350-bed dormitory, a second story addition of 75 offices at the Burns Arena, and a human performance center.  A University / Town Task Force to create the “Best University Town in America” is being organized with a focus on technology, health care and human performance, “but we must be creative in our expansion, including offering the best in online education.”

As he and his family have been learning about DSU, he noted multiple times saying, “who knew” about the programs already functioning on campus.  The President and DSU's outstanding faculty and staff look forward to adding to what his predecessors have put in place and creating stronger community partnerships because “WE” are Dixie!  

Friday, October 17, 2014

District Governor's Visit

2014-15 District Governor Mike Wells and his wife Karlene (Tooele Rotary Club) shared their enthusiasm for Rotary and for RI President Gary Huang's theme for 2014-15 of “Light up Rotary” at the regular weekly meeting of SGR on Monday, October 13.  DG Mike spoke of his love of youth - and of Rotary's excellent youth programs and told of his experiences taking more than 200 youth to build houses in Mexico.  

He spoke of the importance of staying on course with RI’s goal to eradicate polio from the earth by 2018.  Currently, only 3 countries in the world had any new cases in the past twelve months:  Nigeria (6 new cases), Afghanistan (5 new cases) and Pakistan (nearly 100 new cases).  In short, “we are this close,” he reminded members.

He invited members to attend any and all “conferences, institutes and conventions” to develop a deeper understanding of Rotary and how this organization is changing the world.  

Finally, he encouraged everyone to attend the District 5420 conference in Mexico during the week of June 8-15. “We will work on about 60 projects each day until noon … then play all afternoon until it is time to fiesta each evening,” he said of the plans for this exciting event to help the people of Puerto Penasco.  More information - or to register for the conference - can be found on the website at  Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference thru Rotary!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hirschi Reports on Economic Development

TODAY IN ROTARY Scott Hirschi, Executive Director of Site Select Plus, updated members and guests of SGR on the status of Washington County’s economic development.  Noting SGR is “the premiere civic club in the county due to its quality of membership,” he graciously accepted the club’s 2014 Vocational Service Award for his efforts to bring jobs and careers to the citizens of the Washington County.  

His presentation then shifted to a “shameless promotion” of What’s Up Down South, upcoming on January 15, 2015 at the Dixie Center.  Scheduled presenters include Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, U. S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Skeleton Noelle Pikus-Pace  and breakout sessions including the business of import/export, residential real estate, social media and marketing. 

He noted “the first economic development project in the county was the Cottonmill.”  In modern times, a sleeping bag company provided over 100 jobs at a time when Washington County was struggling to keep its young people employed here.  He spoke of the importance of having healthy value-added manufacturing companies here (“those which manufacture products here which are purchased elsewhere”) such as Virocon and the Walmart Distribution Center – at one time the largest building in the state of Utah.  He also stated the importance of diversity in the marketplace which strengthens economic health.  “Washington County is decidedly diverse with no dominant industry in a community which has consistently maintained a 6% growth rate for the past 45 years … and is expected to have 650,000 residents by the year 2060."

“There is lots of interest in Washington County by businesses looking at us.  There are also lots of businesses we will be announcing soon.”  When asked about the loss of such businesses as Blue Bunny, he noted, “our diverse economy will help us address those step backs, but our future is very, very encouraging.  Family Dollar is still hiring and expects to reach 400 employees soon.  Viracon is back ‘with a vengeance’ and the Industrial Brush Company has 22 employees (they brought with them) who are making 175% of the average wage in our community.  All of that is good for all of us!”

Monday, September 29, 2014

RYLA Reports

“We’re this close” to eradicating polio from the world say students from left, front row (kneeling):  Shannon Sizemore and Katarina Aikens, students at Snow Canyon High School.  Middle row: Stacy Britt, New Generations Committee Chair of St. George Rotary Club; Kaitlin Price and Kayla Greer, both students at Dixie High School, Christian Case from Snow Canyon High School, Brooke Meadows from Dixie Middle School and RYLA facilitator Mindy Case.  Back row:  Hayden Heinz from Desert Hills High School and Richard Isom, RYLA parent and SGR club secretary.  

TODAY IN ROTARY members of SGR, meeting at the Best Western Abbey Inn, were treated to an outstanding program including a Rotary Minute by Durant McArthur reading from his father PDG Eldon McArthur's memoirs about meeting with the LDS First Presidency to discuss polio eradication.  Today members and visitors also saw Jim and Margaret Coleman present two of their children – Julie Coleman Theurer of Redmond, Washington and Dean Coleman of Leesburg, Virginia – with these two Paul Harris Fellows moving the Coleman family "this close" to being a “100% PHF family.”

The remainder of the program was devoted to hearing reports from 6 of 15 students from Washington County who attended RYLA in Heber City on the weekend of September 18-20.  Selected through a rigorous application process for their leadership ability, these young men and women, ages 14-18, called their RYLA weekend, “excitingly cross-cultural, awesome, life-changing and inspiring.” 

Among the fall leaves, students had the opportunity to “Aspire to Something Higher” through leadership activities including public speaking and learning about other cultures through interaction with Rotary exchange students from around the world.  According to one young attendee, “we also learned everyone can be a leader … and everyone can be a follower.”  Another noted, he had learned to be a “better leader and a better person” through the program.

Mindy Case, who attended as a facilitator with her two children, noted, “it was definitely not a vacation.  We were up at 7 a.m. and worked and played hard until 10 p.m.”

Every RYLA program, which is under the direction of the each Rotary district, covers the core topics of fundamentals and ethics of positive leadership, communication skills, problem-solving and conflict management, Rotary’s purpose and service in the world community, building self-confidence and self-esteem and the elements of community and global citizenship.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rotary Summer Party

More than 70 Rotarians and family members enjoyed the great summer evening of Thursday, September 25 "down on the farm" at the home of Phil and Renee Hall.  Entertainment was outstanding, with poetry by Dan McArthur and music provided by Jim Coleman on his guitar (accompanied by Rotary children) and the talented Sizemore kids performing as "Beans and Wheels."  Dinner included steaks grilled-to-perfection by Meat Master Terance White, coleslaw from Albertson's Deli, bread sticks from the Pizza Factory, and delicious cupcakes from 25 Main Street Cafe.  The children had a great time emptying a piƱata filled with candy and everyone enjoyed the chance to explore Phil's farm.  Thanks to everyone who came out and to all who helped make this another enjoyable Rotary social event.

Monday, September 22, 2014

SGR Meets Switchpoint

Carol Hollowell, Director of the new SwitchPoint Shelter and Resource Center at 948 N. 1300 West shared the organizational structure and plans for the facility created, in a partnership with the City of St. George and more than a dozen government agencies and non-profit organizations, to help the homeless and others struggling to make ends meet.  According to Hollowell, the homeless face many obstacles to becoming functional members of society. The Switchpoint Community Resource Center provides the support and services needed to get the homeless back on track, all in one central location. Switchpoint holds the promise of a fresh start and ample opportunity to improve one’s circumstances.

The Switchpoint Community Resource Center is equipped to accommodate up to 64 individuals who are in need of temporary housing. Each of the 16 rooms has its own shower, sink, and toilet and the facility has a fully-functioning kitchen, laundry room, multi-purpose room, pantry, and a training center with 50 computers. The need for Switchpoint is apparent, as the resource center was filled to capacity the first day it opened on August 29, 2014.