Monday, June 29, 2015

Report on Guatemala

Rotarians and family members of SGR (Ken and Barbara Sizemore, Dan and Cindy Strobell, Scott and Janalee Strobell, Phil Hall, Reed Noble and Jess Noble, Lowry Snow and grandson Garrett Hinton, Cindy Loeber and her daughter Holly and granddaughter Dasia, traveled to Guatemala over Memorial Day weekend, and reported today on their successes working with ALDEA (Advancing Local Development thru Empowerment and Action), which means “village” in Spanish.  

Guatemala, about half the size of Utah with a population of more than 15 million residents, has the world’s highest infant mortality rate.  Currently 70 percent of Guatemalans live in poverty and 80 percent of Guatemalan children have stunted growth due to poor nutrition.  In Mayan villages, 858 stoves have been built through this partnership between ALDEA .  50 percent have been funded by SGR.  

“We could work for another 100 years and not be ‘done’,” said Dan Strobell, “but in the history of this project we have ...”

·         cut consumption of wood by 2/3
·         seen a 95% decrease in smoke inhalation

During this year’s trip to Guatemala, members of SGR:

-                distributed about 100 pair of shoes, as well as ribbons and bows
-                pulled between 400-500 teeth in 3 days
-                trained midwives on newborn resuscitation
-                distributed 800 pounds of beans and rice to 150 women who showed up in the town square

Ken Sizemore noted Rotarians also enjoyed some rest and relaxation on black sand beaches and visited a sea turtle reserve.

Rotarians will travel again to Guatemala next year on or around Memorial Day weekend.  For information, see Dan Strobell.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Service Above Self in Puerto Penasco, Mexico

TODAY IN ROTARY Gil Trujillo, Richard Isom, Linda Sappington, Ted Dodge and Collin Davis reported on their week in Puerto Penasco, Mexico where they provided "service above self" for 4 days prior to the District Conference.

During his year as District Governor, Mike Wells, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Tooele regularly told the nearly 1800 members of 47 clubs in Rotary District 5420, "if it's not fun, you're doing it wrong!"  So, its no surprise, when this dentist-by-profession proposed his 2014-15 district conference be held - not in their home state of Utah - but up to 1000 miles south in Mexico, those who know what part fun plays in his life, simply said, "where do I sign up?"

This memorable District Conference was held June 12-13, 2015 in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, but the fun actually began 4 days before the conference when more than 750 Rotarians, family members and friends came together to complete about 50 humanitarian service projects in this little town, approximately 200 miles from Phoenix.  The conference and service activities took a year of planning and about $12,000 in Rotary grants and 3 times that much again in individual club contributions but in a week's time, District 5420 accomplished a Herculean amount of work including:

·                providing dental care (extractions and fillings) for 293 people
·                building 3 2-bedroom, 2-bath cinderblock houses (which will be completed by others for “gifting” around Christmas time)
·                furnishing and gifting 4 homes to qualified families in need of safe housing
·                cleaning the hard drives, downloading appropriate software and donating 65 iMac computers for use in the Escuela de Rotaria Elementary School and another 80 pc’s to Escuela Numero 27 (comparable to a U. S. middle school)
·                landscaping a new dialysis center
·                paying for and delivering an ambulance for the dialysis center (a cost of about $14,000)
·                paying for and delivering 4 school buses
·                creating a computer lab with tablets and a flat screen TV for training high school students on the use of technology
·                donating a year’s worth of internet service to these schools
·                donating “a truckload” of school supplies
·                delivering and distributing about 125 t-shirt dresses for little girls, shorts for little boys and a bunch of wooden toys from the Happy Factory in Cedar City
·                building a 12x20” addition on the Piñata House where young people with disabilities, from blindness to cerebral palsy make piñatas to sell to local souvenir shops to earn a small income
·                working with employees of the Pinata House, completed 200 pinatas which will fund the program for almost two years
·                created a library at a local elementary school
·                distributing 1500 pair of prescription glasses and sunglasses
·                painting the Escuela de Rotario school a beautiful pumpkin orange and installed fencing and donated playground equipment for the kids
·                refurbished 50 school desks

Of course, in this beautiful community located on the Sea of Cortez, it wasn’t all work!  After an average of 5 hours a day in the hot sun with humidity almost equal to the temperature, Rotarians, their family and friends enjoyed swimming, shopping the street markets, socializing, shrimp the size of your fist and a Fiesta with music, dance, food and fireworks, organized by the 1-year-old Mar de Cortez Rotary Club, based in Puerto Penasco.

No question, there were a few naysayers and certainly not every Rotarian in Utah attended, but those who did are changed forever.  None of those 750 attendees, despite their age and background, will ever say, "it can't be done" because DG Mike Wells proved a small contribution of time can make a huge difference in addressing overwhelming needs.  It can truly be said, District 5420 took up the RI challenge for 2014-15 to "Light Up Rotary" during one week in June and made the impossible happen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Farewell to Dan and Bunny McArthur

In the overly crowded boardroom at the headquarters of McArthur Welding, Rotarians enjoyed a delicious Mexican lunch, a Readers Digest version of Horseplay and the chance to bid a fond farewell to Dan McArthur, who, with his wife Bunny will report on July 1 for three years of service as President of the Mexico Monterey West Mission of the LDS Church.  In this new assignment, he will oversee the missionary work of 220-240 young men and women - "mostly Hispanic kids," said Dan.

McArthur Welding, which was officially established by Eldon McArthur in 1942, has evolved into a successful family owned and operated business without any bank loans and with only word-of-mouth as their advertising plan.  According to Dan, Durant (“the scientist”) left the family business to pursue a career working with plants.  Dan , Sam, a couple of sons and a daughter-in-law are the workforce which keeps the business moving forward. 

“I always wanted to be a doctor,” said Dan, “but a chemistry class at BYU changed his plans.  I’ve never worked so hard for a D+.  After I graduated, Dad asked me to come back to St. George and run the business.  He said, ‘you won’t be wealthy, but you’ll have sufficient for your needs.’”

Sam will take over as the company’s CEO.

Members of SGR wish Dan and Sam well in their new assignments. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lane Ronnow Has a Story to Tell

Lane Ronnow, a fairly new member of SGR, a busy political activist, a 2012 candidate for Governor of Utah, and the host of Southern Utah Live's “A Story to Tell” states “Lou Gehrig was not the luckiest man in the world… and Jimmy Stewart knows nothing about ‘A Wonderful Life’, compared to the life I have lived.”

In his youth he learned a great life lesson while working at the Grand Canyon Lodge. “It’s not the job you have; it’s the way you do the job you have,” he told members of SGR.

Lane, who attended SUU, UCLA and the University of Utah, has had a rich career path including work as the Controller of the Housing Authority of Kern County; as the Business Administrator for the Morgan County School District; and as the Director of the Saint George Housing Authority.  He has also served as Salt Lake County’s Justice Court Judge, as the Director of the Salt Lake County Building and Zoning Enforcement Department; and as the Chief Deputy School Superintendent, Yuma County Schools. 

During his presentation to the club, Lane shared snippets from some of his recent interviews.  And, he continues to look for people with interesting stories to tell.

Monday, June 1, 2015

SGR's Topic is Math

TODAY IN ROTARY Jeff Humphreys from the BYU Math Department spoke on the “Art and Science of Predictive Analytics,” a combination of creativity and skill to determine patterns and future trends and outcomes using analytical data.  According to the professor, the recent boom in data processing has many causes including computers which have doubled in performance every two years; new algorithms which work really well; and the doubling every two years of data.  Said the professor, “our ability to collect data vastly exceeds our ability to analyze it” when such data giants as Google, the NSA (which by itself has more than 5000 mathematicians on their payroll), imaging technology needs, telecommunications, Amazon, Wal-Mart and NASDAQ have huge demands in the 21st century (aka “Age of Information). 

Using the black box model, the art is in the question.

With the gray box model (used for such things as predicting weather and deciphering handwriting), the art is in both the question and the solution. 

He then spoke of the data analyzing educational capability of BYU noting “the feds have thrown an obscene amount of money at us to create duplicable models” through tightly integrated studies.