Saturday, December 9, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017, SGR

Members of St. George Rotary and their +-1 celebrated Christmas 2017 together at the new Holiday Inn on Saturday, December 9.  The dinner was delicious and the entertainment - Hands in Harmony Carolers - was entertaining and fun!  Thanks to all who came out for the fun and socializing.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Teeples Tells of CJC

Shelley Teeples, ED at the Childrens Justice Center shared her organization’s history, mission and her own enthusiasm for helping the community respond more effectively to child abuse.

Washington County’s CJC, a homelike environment in a private/public partership, primarly serves minors under age 18 who are victims of alleged sexual or physical abuse or other crimes where a child is the primary victim or critical winess, such as domestic violence, drug endangerment and internet exploitation.

Today, children in all of Utah’s 29 counties are served by 22 such organizations, working closely with the Utah Attorney General’s office.  CJC’s throughout the state provide one-stop shopping, including assault examinations and forensic interviews by specially trained professionals.

Since 2015 there has been a 2000% increase in reports of abuse to 58 so far this year, with a total of 219 interviews to date, in keeping with Utah’s mandatory reporting law.

According to Teeples, 1 in 3 of Utah girls is abused by age 18; 1 in 5 boys is abused by age 18 … and there is an alarming rise in the number of young perpetrators.

States the ED, her non-profit organization is always looking for volunteers … and donations of such items as snack items, paper towels, dish soap, toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

She also noted CJC will be selling apples again this year – usually around Thanksgiving – at a price of $36 a bushel. For more information, to donate or to order apples, call (435) 634-1134.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SGR Hears Board Member Reports

Board member reports were the order of the day on Monday, August 14, 2017.

Foundation Chair Dave Prisbrey spoke on how donations to RI “come back to us in 3 years.He also explained the concept of EREY and encouraged members to support the RI Foundation.

Secretary and PI Chair Linda Sappington asked each member to review his/her bio on the club website and update as needed.She also indicated Brandon Staples will be assuming some responsibility for keeping the website current and for expanding our social media presence. In her role as PI chair, Linda noted the more involved in “service above self” our club is, the more opportunities to “say Rotary” in our club and community.

Grant Carter, Membership Chair, shared some thoughts from the book “How We Decide” noting Rotary is famous for comradry and an environment where friendships can grow, but most members don’t know enough about RI to be able to share their knowledge with others. “We are missing members who either don’t attend or who have left our association,” he noted.“Imagine all the good we could do if everyone took part.”

PEN Brandon Staples spoke on how to get the word out about all the good Rotary does in the world. He encouraged members to get in the habit of posting pictures on social media … of club activities, club socials, and provide Rotary marketing materials and display the 4-Way Test in our offices.

In the interest of time, President Rulon and PE Lynn Beecher will report at another upcoming meeting.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Until We Meet Again, Grandpa Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson had five loves in his life:  first and foremost, his wife Ruby with whom he was almost inseparable; his family, including a deceased daughter Linda and a son Kelly as well as 7 children (Glenda, Bonnie, Laurie, Mike, TJ, Ray, Jr. and Pat); 26 grandchildren, 82 “greats” and to date, 5 great-great grandchildren. 

Ray also loved his country for which he served in the U. S. Army in World War II and recalled numerous experiences in Japan during the “clean up” period after the Armistice.

He also loved his Church.  A longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ray and Ruby spent several years as team teachers in the 7-8 year-old Primary class.  The calling he held at the time of his death was that of a greeter before Sacrament meeting – an assignment he performed faithfully every week until his health deteriorated.

And, finally, he loved Rotary!   His legendary “service above self” attitude included several years on the board of St. George Rotary including a year as president (RY2000-01); 10 years hosting – with wife Ruby – numerous foreign exchange students in their Bloomington home.  For his support of Rotary youth program’s Ray was named Utah Rotarian of the Year a few years ago.  He had 19 years of perfect attendance, due in part to his role as club song leader.  He never wanted to miss leading his Rotary friends in a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” or what he called “the tootsie wootsie song.”

He was also involved in his community, serving on boards of the United Cerebral Palsy Association, Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society, and the Salt Shakers both in Salt Lake City – where he was President and CEO of Rio Grande Building Products, a commercial hardward firm – and in St. George where they retired in 1999.

One of the Robinson’s favorite self-appointed services was waiting at the bus stop every morning to be certain the neighborhood children got safely on the school bus.   This simple act earned them the name of “bus stop grandparents,” a title he wore with honor.

Ray also enjoyed golf, music, woodworking, outdoor activities, but was never too busy to spend time with any family member who needed his attention or wisdom.

Ray passed from this life on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at his Bloomington home after a short battle with esophageal cancer.  He will be missed by those of us who knew and loved him and whose service impacted their lives in many, many ways.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

To Guatemala and Back ...

Over the week of Memorial Day 2017, nineteen Rotarians, family members and friends of St. George Rotary Club traveled to Guatemala for the 11th consecutive time. Covering approximately 4200 miles roundtrip to build simple stoves, help babies breathe; deliver toys, glasses and beans; and establish a local medical clinic which provided basic medical supplies where there is an overwhelming need were St. George residents Dan and Cindy Strobell, their daughter Michelle Tanner, Dave Prisbrey, Chris Parker, Gay Butler, Reed Noble and 3 of his grandsons, Cody Noble, George and Dixie Whitehead and a grandson Jason Thiriot, Tim Strobell; father and son Jason and Jaron Hendrix; and, Lynn and Lori Beecher of Cedar City.

According to event organizer Dan Strobell, Guatemala - about half the size of Utah but with a population of more than 15 million residents - has the world’s highest infant mortality rate. Currently 70 percent of Guatemalans – about 6.5 million Mayans - live in poverty and 80 percent of Guatemalan children have stunted growth due to poor nutrition. To date, families in Mayan villages have seen a “drastically improved quality of life” through the construction of 2510 simple stoves in a partnership with Guatemala’s Behrhorst Partnership Development (aka BPD) and a Rotary Global Grant totaling $56,000 funded by donations from St. George Rotary ($18,600), Aspen, CO Rotary ($5000), Cedar City Rotary ($5000), Zion Canyon Rotary ($500), District 5420 ($15,000) and $22,000 from Rotary International.

“We could work for another 100 years and not be ‘done’,” said Strobell, “but in the history of this project we have built 2510 simple stoves to replace open fires in Mayan homes, reduced deaths and burns among many hundreds of women and children; and allowed thousands of children to return to school rather than spending their day searching for firewood.

In the 4th year of the newborn rescucitation program, “Helping Babies Breathe” Cindy Strobell, an RN at Dixie Regional Medical Center has taught many midwives how to save the lives of numerous infants thought to be stillborn.

Lynn Beecher and his school teacher wife Lori transported “mounds” of school supplies, soccer balls, sewing kits, newborn blankets, handmade toys from Cedar City’s Happy Factory to children who have “virtually nothing to call their own.” In return, the couple say they had more than a few life-changing experiences in several Mayan villages.

Jason Hendrix, MD, an ophthalmologist with St. George Eye Center, made presentations to villagers explaining the health consequences to their eyes of cooking over an unventilated open fire including, “watery eyes, headaches and sensitivity to sunlight” among other risks. At the conclusion of each presentation, he distributed prescription glasses – and sunglasses – donated by generous St. George residents.

Of course, Rotarians, their family and friends also found time to enjoy the vacation aspects of their travels including climbing ancient ruins; rest and relaxation on black sand beaches; and getting better acquainted with the area and with each other.

St. George Rotarians and others will likely travel to Guatemala again next year on or around Memorial Day weekend.

To donate to this cause or for more information, see

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Olsen Named 87th President of SGR

Rulon M. Olsen, President and CEO of
a member of St. George Rotary Club since the spring of 2013, became the 87th President of his service club at an installation luncheon on Monday, July 10, assuming duties and responsibilities from Immediate Past President Collin Davis.

Prior to passing the gavel, outgoing President Davis noted the accomplishments during his tenure as SGR’s top Rotarian included support, including funding and “boots on the ground” building simple stoves in Mayan villages in Guatemala and, a successful 14th year of purchasing and distributing paperback dictionaries to 1800 3rd grade students in 18 elementary schools in the Washington County School District.

Incoming President Olsen pledged to follow in the footsteps of “all the amazing leaders in this club who have previously served” in the club’s top position. As RY2017-18 President, Olsen has set a goal to bring 100 new members into the club. He has also expressed a hope to focus more attention on educational issues and is working toward identifying a signature service project in the St. George community and making it as successful and life-changing as the club’s international service project in Guatemala – as he works to maintain the traditions of Rotary’s past and strives to create innovation to attract younger members.

“I look forward to what Rotary can do in the upcoming year to make a difference in our community, the state and in the world. I am passionate about Rotary and what this amazing organization is doing to make the world a better place – locally and globally,” states the new club leader.

The new president will be assisted in his duties by board members Collin Davis, Immediate Past President; Lynn Beecher, President-elect; Richard Isom, Treasurer; Linda Sappington, Secretary; as well as board members Dave Prisbrey, Reed Noble, Grant Carter, Chris Parker and Terance White.

St. George Rotary Club is one of five Rotary clubs in Washington County. For more information about Rotary, see or call 435-668-0331.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rulon Olsen is SGR's Rotarian of the Year

Rulon Olsen, President and CEO of Echelon Performance Group in St. George and incoming president of St. George Rotary Club was named his club’s 2016-17 Rotarian of the Year by outgoing President Collin Davis at SGR’s annual installation and awards luncheon on July 10.

Davis notes he selected Rulon because of his efforts last year exemplifying he has Rotary and it’s ideals at heart.  He attended the Leadership Institute and the International Convention at his own expense so he could be better prepared to lead our club this year.  He organized a fun run with a client of his in another state to raise money for the Helping Babies Breathe program which has become an important part of our service in Guatemala.  He has shown dedication in helping our club grow and provide more meaningful service in the local community by facilitating club meetings dedicated to a “visioning/refocusing” our efforts and developing new membership levels to attract more people with various economic and time constraints to join our club.

Rotarians of the Year in all of Utah’s 50 Rotary clubs must be a member in good standing who has provided outstanding service to the club exceeding the expectations of membership through their commitment of time and energy to best exemplify Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Happy New Year, SGR

Eleven members of SGR now had a combined total of 74 years of perfect attendance at the end of RY2016-17. Perfect attendance certificates were presented during the installation of officers on the first Monday of RY2017-18 to Ray Robinson (19 years), Jim Coleman (17), Nick Lang (12), Richard Isom (10), Linda Sappington (4), Ken Sizemore (3), Terance White (3), Collin Davis (2), Lynn Beecher (2), Rulon Olsen (1), and Dave Prisbrey (1).

Rulon Olsen was inducted as SGR’s 87th president, with Lynn Beecher as PE; Brandon Staples as PEN; Collin Davis as Trustee / Immediate Past President; Linda Sappington as Secretary; Richard Isom as Treasurer; Grant Carter as Trustee / Membership Chair; Dave Prisbrey as Trustee / Foundation Chair, Reed Noble as Trustee / Club Administration Chair; Chris Parker as Trustee / Service Chair; Brandon Staples as Trustee / Webmaster and Social Media Chair and Terance White as Trustee / Conflict Resolution Coach.

We are looking forward to another successful Rotary year.

Parker is SGR's Rising Star

Chris Parker, a loan officer at Cache Valley Bank’s River Road office in St. George, UT and one of 70-members of St. George Rotary Club since January 2016,was recognized at his service club’s installation luncheon on July 10 with the “Rising Star Award” acknowledging his positive attitude and support of all club activities and service projects.  According to SGR’s outgoing President Collin Davis, “Chris has consistently volunteered whenever needed and accepted the opportunity to serve on the club’s board.  He was a vital part of organizing our Night Golf tournament last year and has begun organizing the upcoming tournament as the Chair. Our club is in good hands if we can continue to attract members like Chris.”

The Rising Star Award recognizes exceptional accomplishments in service to the club, community, state or the world by a new member in good standing(those who have been members for one year or less).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sheriff Speaks to SGR

Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher clarified the word “sheriff” is a derivative of “shires” who were the law enforcement officers of the 1200’s. The sheriff in any jurisdiction is “always elected with authority granted by the people.”  The sheriff indicated his job would be so much easier if he didn’t have to oversee the jail.

Purgatory Correctional Facility is a 500-bed facility with inmates classified as Level 3-5 (5 being the ones whose crimes are more “dumb” than seriously criminal). Currently PCF has 165 employees (for which he had a full comtingency for FTE’s for “about two weeks” in his entire 6 ½ years in office).

The sheriff noted he has an “excellent working relationship with other agencies in Washington County – a favorable circumtance which does not exist anywhere else.”

The WCSO is organized into the following divisions:

The Corrections Division is responsible for functions related to the operation of Purgatory Correctional Facility. The Corrections Division includes the Corrections Chief Deputy (a.k.a., Jail Commander), corrections lieutenants, corrections sergeants, corrections deputies, and other correctional staff as determined by the Sheriff.

The Emergency Services Division is responsible for preparing for, monitoring, and responding to natural and man-made disasters and events. The Emergency Services Division includes the Emergency Services Director, Search and Rescue staff, and other staff as determined by the Sheriff. 

The Patrol Division is responsible for responding to citizen calls for assistance, patrolling Washington County, investigating traffic accidents, taking initial reports, criminal investigations, court security, and other law enforcement functions. The Patrol Division includes the Patrol Chief Deputy, patrol lieutenants, patrol sergeants, patrol deputies, and other patrol staff as determined by the Sheriff.

Sheriff Pulsipher reported:
*   the formation of a Metro-SWAT team working alongside the St. George SWAT team.
*   Heroine is a huge problem in Washington County.
*   The sheriff’s office has access to a data base which enables them to check the legal status of those they arrest.
*  There are approximately 400 gang members identified in Washington County but no areas as yet designated as “gang turf.”
*  Housing costs at PCF are $71 per day/per inmate or about $17.6 million annually.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

SGR Hears of Tortoise Times

Today in Rotary, our speaker was biologist and WashCo Habitat Conservation Plan Administrator Cameron Rognan who shared information regarding the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and its inhabitants, including the only healthy population of desert tortoises in the world.

Speaking of the plans creation in 1996 , he noted, “the plan requires us to remove tortoises before any development.  Our ‘take’ permit allows us to move 1169 tortoises … to date we have only to take about 500.  We don’t ever expect to take all of our permitted animals in our 62,000 reserve with tortoise habitat making up about half and with 130 miles of trails.”  In addition to protecting the area’s large assortment of critters, the Reserve is also popular for recreatoin, including hiking, biking and climbing.

According to the biologist, “the desert tortoise spends about 90% of its life underground, hybernating from mid-November to March and can live nearly a century.”

The reasons for the decline of the worldwide desert tortoise population are varied:

·               Upper-respiratory tract disease (URTD)
·               Loss of habitat
·               Illegal collecting
·               It takes a long time for the animals to reproduce (the babies are only approximately 2” in length, but to reach the age to reproduce [about the size of a dinner plate], it takes about 10 years)
·               Due to human population growth in the area, there has also been an increase in new predators, including ravens and raccoons.

For more information, contact the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve at 634-5759. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SGR Meets ShelterBox

On Friday, May 12, members of SGR  joined with members of Dixie Sunrise Rotary, Red Rock Rotary, Hurricane Valley and Zion Canyon Rotary for an All Clubs Luncheon where a representative from the ShelterBox organization presented the program.

ShelterBox is made up of people who believe in shelter as a human right - because shelter from the chaos of disaster and conflict is vital.  No ifs ... no buts!  When people are plunged into crisis, normality is suspended.  But good, quality shelter can cut through the chaos.  This is why we provide the tools to enable people to rebuild homes and transform their lives.

The ShelterBox organization is impatient to see a world whee no family is left without shelter when disaster strikes.

"We don't believe one size fits all.  We work hard to understand the impact of each emergency and the need this creates within individual communities.  The equipment we provide, whatever shape it takes, gives people the hope and the power to transform their own lives."

All aid provided by ShelterBox is tested and evaluated by talking to, and learning from, the families who use it, fueling innovation an continuous evolution to meet the needs of those in crisis.  For more information, see

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This Is Why We Do What We Do!

There’s always at least one amazing and memorable highpoint from St. George Rotary Club’s annual 4-way test essay contest readings.  Beyond the award of money to each 1st and 2nd place young winner in three of our four intermediate schools – and $200 each to their classroom teacher – this blog post read by one of the teachers was definitely this year’s highpoint.

“The Rotary Club of St. George sponsors an essay contest for 6th grade students each spring and my students have participated the past 3 years. The first year I had around 30% participation, last year I had around 70%, and this year we have reached my goal of 100%! I appreciate this contest so much because it a) gives my students an opportunity to write a narrative, which we seem to get away from as kids get older; b) gives me precious insight into the lives and thoughts of my students; c) motivates the student to be grateful and mindful of a person who has made a difference in their lives.

Rotarians around the world use the FOUR-WAY TEST to make ethical decisions in business and other aspects of their lives.  So, our writing prompt stems from this four-way test.

*Write about someone who has influenced your life in relationship to one, or more, of the following values:

   Goodwill and friendship
   Beneficial to others

Last year I attended a ceremony where the essay contest winners were honored, and they were able to read their essays at a Rotary luncheon. I was deeply moved. As a matter of fact, I was so embarrassed and overcome with emotion I started weeping when they asked me to say a few words. I was not crying for the winners, however, they are bright and wonderful students. I was crying for the students who struggled just coming up with the name of the subject for their narrative. A few kids honestly could not think of one trusted adult to write 300-400 words about explaining how they exemplified the 4-way test. I would give suggestions, heads would shake, shoulders would slump, heads would hang low.

I have reflected on this experience many times and realized there is great power in the old Indian proverbs that says,“Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins” or shoes, or paws, or flip flops, or work boots, etc. You get my drift. People have hard things.

Kids are so resilient. Sometimes I wonder how they survive to adulthood when having to deal with so much hardship. I see divorce, abusive parents, parents in prison, neglect, kids living with family members, homelessness, ADD, bullying, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, poor sleep habits, adoption, foster care, hopelessness, cutting, depression, DCFS involvement, and the list goes on and on. I sometimes cry for them when I hear of their situations. It just isn’t fair, and it is so tragic.

But, I think, more than anything, hardship helps us appreciate the good when it does come. I appreciate the honor it is to teach the future leaders of this country. Many of the young people are struggling through their lives and making the best of it and I am proud of them. In the end, this year everyone thought of someone to write about for the essay. Just for statistical data, here are the results according to who the kids wrote about:

            Mom = 30                                          Teacher/coach = 7
            Dad = 20                                            Cousin = 4
            Grandparent = 17                              Aunt or uncle = 7     
            Sibling = 12                                       Friend = 26

So, thank you to each and everyone of you who work hard and, in turn, a kid loves and trusts you. The stories are poignant and sweet. Moms, dads, friends, if you do not feel valued, look at this list. More than half of the essays were just from these three groups. Grandparents, you make a difference, you are role models for your grandchildren. Bless you for caring, teaching, and loving children. They need it, they crave it, and most of all, they deserve it.

Bless the Rotary Club of St. George and bless those of you who live the four-way test, even if you didn't know you were.”

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy 80th Birthday, PDG Gil

PDG Gil Trujillo's birthday on May 12 was actually celebrated on Saturday, April 28 at Cottoncove Park on Dixie Drive.  The surprise birthday party was a great gathering of friends and family, with a delicious luncheon featuring amazing Mexican food including chips and salsa, fresh guacamole, pulled pork, fresh fruit bowl, cookies, brownies and of course birthday cake - all prepared by his daughter!  Thanks for all your "service above self" through the years, PDG Gil.  It is a pleasure to know you and to hear the tributes from your children calling you "a great man and a great dad!"

Saturday, April 15, 2017

SGR Hears from Legislators

On Monday, April 10, 2017 members of SGR heard from Lowry Snow, Utah Representative for District 74 and Don Ipson, Utah Senator for District 29 who shared their successes during the recent Utah Legislative session.  Calling it “a good session,” Representative Snow reported, “over 1000 bill files opened and the budget balanced.”  He also noted the legislature agreed to a $5000 bonus to teachers willing to work in impoverished schools; enhanced kindergarten impoverished schools – which he states “have seen remarkable results.”  The legislature also passed a juvenile justice reform bill which will mostly affect low-risk students guilty of such low level “crimes” as truancy allowing students to receive support services in their homes.

Because it was never properly defined, the definition of strangulation related to domestic relationships was more fully clarified.

The issue of overnite rentals – primarily in Washington County and in Park City – invited the question as to what level the state should be involved when advertising is mostly done on the internet.

“Utah definitely has a painkiller problem,” stated the Representative.  “We are 7th in the nation for opioid addiction so we addressed the issue by making it mandatory – except for those who have undergone recent surgery – prescriptions can be given only at 7-day intervals, rather than the standard 30-day intervals.”

Senator Ipson reported the legislature had funded DSU’s new human performance building and a Physician Assistant program in partnership with the University of Utah.  

The DUI bill was signed lowering the level of intoxication from .08 to .05.

He also noted, the legislature voted to do away with the requirement for state safety inspections since it has been determined, “it has not been found to make a significant difference in safety.”

Other issues noted:
·                the Utah Legislature has provided $1.3 billion in new money in the past 3 years
·                low pay for teachers has affected the state’s ability to hire and retain good educators – as such there has been a notable decline in enrollment in education majors

·                the Utah Legislature is considering an increase of .078% in income tax

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

SGR Hears from SGHA

On Monday, April 3, the members of SGR heard from Mike Barben, a friend to several Rotarians and Executive Director of the St. George Housing Authority since 2012.  The small housing authority assists low-income families with safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities to help them in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.  The organization manages 256 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.  In this program, income-qualified/ income verified applicants who can successfully pass a criminal background check and have favorable references from prior landlords, pay approximately 30% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities and the SGHA pays the balance of monthly rent requirements.

SGHA oversees the 30-unit Dixie Sun Manor complex.  SGHA also assists qualified renters who have been injured and are unable to work for several weeks of recovery.

All programs have a "long, long waiting list" due to the dire need for affordable housing in the St. George area.  SGHA partners with Switchpoint in this “uphill battle” to help the elderly, veterans and young families find housing which fits their needs and their income.

For more information, contact Mike at 628-3648.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

SGR Hears of St. George Academy

On Monday, March 27, members of SGR heard from Neil Walter, chairman of the board and David Jones, Executive Director of the new St. George Academy.  The charter school has no geographic boundaries but a strong focus on preparing students in grades 8-12 for the challenges of higher education where many university students have no access to counseling, get no credit for developmental courses and where universities are seeing plummeting graduation rates because of what Jones called “a growing disconnect between high school and college.”

Calling education an “individual experience,” Jones said St. George Academy makes a broad range of experiences available to students while providing all learning experiences available in the real world.  At the same time, extracurricular activities at St. George Academy are “a blank slate” which students will determine based on their interests.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kubex Fitness Hosts SGR

Members of SGR “rotated” to Kubex Fitness on Monday, March 20 where lunch was provided by Buffalo Wild Wings and a tour of the facility and included a chance to sign up for a FREE month of workout sessions.  According to Kubex manager and friend of SGR Pat O’Riley, “Joining KUBEX is like owning your own personal ‘state-of-the-art’ exercise room. You progress through private workout KUBES of challenging, fun and engaging exercises where you can relax and focus on each movement. KUBEX has earned two U.S. patents for this revolutionary fitness concept.”