Posted by Robert Wood

Today was a cool, cloudy day, with the potential for high winds later in the afternoon – but still no snow in sight!  We’ve had a mild snowless Winter so far and that’s good except for those in the skiing circuit! In the lobby our food committee was anxiously awaiting the unveiling of our new caterer– Congress Rotisserie.  Expectations were high, although with a little apprehension about the possibility of minor glitches! Other than that, the money duo was in place taking our money in their usual, efficient way.


President Kevin was on top of things and called us together for the song and Pledge.  Dan Russell gave the Invocation thanking our God for the gifts of country, friendship, opportunity, and the chance to make a difference.  The president then released us to the wonders of the new buffet. “Not so fast” cried Jack Sayre from the lobby!  “Give me a chance to uncover the food”.  With the help of Dave Amberg, the task was rapidly completed.  What was uncovered were trays of huge chicken breasts, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced carrots, and a nice salad selection.  In this writer’s opinion the food was cooked to perfection and several cuts above any recent buffet luncheon.  Some glitches were to be expected, and there were a couple.  We could use more serving utensils and more cutlery, but all in all a great start!  Beverages consisted of coffee, several different selections of iced tea, and bottled water. Dessert was a platter of home made like cookies (definitely not from BJs)!!!!


Upon being called back into session we received the news that 2nd term dues were now due and payable. Even if you didn’t receive an invoice you should get a check in the amount of $115 to new treasurer George Schoen ASAP.  In the caring moments time it was noted that Art Bradbury was home with a bad case of pneumonia (I guess there’s no good case!).  Sue and Peter Klock’s Daughter in Law broke her leg while skiing and will be out for the season.  We wish all to be well soon!  Bob Wood asked for a volunteer for next week’s Invocation and Rev. Bill Saunders volunteered.  Bob also announced that there would be a Scholarship meeting next week at 11:30. The committee will be notified.

President Kevin reported on last night’s Board Meeting.  We awarded two grants.  $4000 to the East Hartford YMCA for it annual fund to be used for camperships and other Y activities.  We also awarded $750 to the East Hartford Youth Football and Cheerleading teams.  This money is used to upgrade the safety equipment and uniforms.  Both groups have previously received funding from our Club. We also received a letter from Goodwin College for our supporting their Scholarship program.


 Please be notified:  Our Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 30th and the presented slate of officers is as follows:  President – Bob Buettner, Secretary – Wes Willett, Treasurer – George Schoen, President- Elect – Open, Past President – Kevin Kickery, Director Emeritus – Bob Wood, Directors – Ned Lynch, Neal Cunningham, Anwar Hossain, and Jack Sayre.  Sgt. at Arms Director to be named by the Elected Board.


Two items of importance were brought up.  The first, president elect Bob Buettner needs a volunteer to attend a Grant Management Webinar if we are to qualify for a District Grant for the coming year.  Please considering volunteering as it entails not too much time.  Secondly, the Spring Fundraiser – our Raffle needs to get started.  We need a volunteer to chair the venture.  Neal Cunningham has volunteered to help, but a Chair is needed.  Preparations must begin next month if we are to have a successful Raffle.  Please see pres. Kevin and volunteer!


Next on the Agenda was Neal Cunningham posing as Sgt. at Arms.  He said he was not as disrespected this week, so he had a pretty good day.  The most popular guy in the room was Frank Collins as several fellow Rotarians welcomed his return.  Among them were Bob Buettner, Ruth Sheehan, Marc Glass, Hope Firestone, Kevin Kickery, and Alex Wisz.  Bob Buettner, Ruthie, and Marc also contributed to welcome Bev Saunders to our gathering.  Ned Lynch, Sue Klock, and Kevin Kickery paid for no pin.  Bill Saunders (57 years) and Bob Wood (58) paid for Wedding Anniversaries.  Dan Larson paid so he could go on disrespecting the Sgt. at Arms. Jack Sayre paid to hear Happy Birthday sung to him!  And last, and hopefully least, Marc Glass continued to laud his iggles!  The raffle was won by Ned Lynch and the flowers by the Klock combo.


Our speaker today, Cassi Steenblok, was a repeat and she further enlightened us on “Close UP Washington” a program for High School students interested in government. This is a week-long interactive program which brings students from all over the country together for a week in Washington, D.C.  Students get to see first hand how our government works (Maybe we should send some of our representatives back through this program! Currently, one wonders how it functions. Students get to meet with their Congress/Senate members, visit a session of Congress, and hold a Mock Session. They also get to visit many of the National Monuments and learn the history behind them.  This is an excellent ‘Civics” class, a class that many school districts no longer teach!  Over the 50-year history of “Close Up” over 900,000 students and teachers have benefitted from this experience.  Today about 20,000 students a year participate. Students return home with an increased knowledge of their government and a greater enthusiasm to become involved in the democratic process.  Cost is about $1800 for the week. Nice program.


‘til next week, Bob Wood