Ann Arbor Rotary Harpoon


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Harpoon for the Week of May 3, 2017

Wednesday's Luncheon Meeting will be in the
Michigan Union's Anderson Room

Rotary Foundation Recognition
Harpoon Staff Needs Volunteers!

Speaker: Dr. Lou Anna Simon, Michigan State University President – The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

Lou Anna K. Simon, the 20th president of Michigan State University, leads the university’s work to advance the common good in Michigan and around the world. Simon earned her doctorate at Michigan State in 1974 and held a variety of administrative roles at the university, including assistant provost for general academic administration, associate provost, and provost and

vice president for academic affairs. The MSU Board of Trustees appointed her president in January 2005. As president, Simon has engaged Michigan State in a strategic and transformative journey to adapt the principles of its land-grant heritage to 21st-century challenges. 


One of the most exciting campus projects being shepherded by President Simon is the U.S. Department of Energy’s $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). It will be the world’s most-powerful rare isotope beam facility upon completion in 2022, and today is on budget and ahead of schedule. Providing over 1,000 new rare isotopes never before produced on Earth, it will more than double the research opportunities available in nuclear physics. FRIB will strengthen and diversify Michigan’s knowledge economy by leveraging the investment in cutting-edge research and training the next generation of science leaders. 


President Simon also will discuss MSU’s partnership with the University of Michigan and Wayne State University in Michigan’s University Research Corridor, among other topics.

Song Leader:  Steve Pierce
Accompanist:  Joan Knoertzer
Inspirational Speaker: Barbara Eichmuller
Greeters:  Rosemary Rowney, Loren Rullman

Attendance:  Carol Sewell, Ashish Sarkar


Upcoming Meetings and Events

  • 11:00 Social Committee, Susan Smith Gray
  • May 2 (Tues) – Centennial Commmittee, 8:00 a.m., Bank of Ann Arbor (Plymouth road), Chuck Blackmer
  • May 2 (Tues) -- Food Gatherers Recognition of Ann Arbor Rotary, 5:00 – 7:00 pm 
  • May 4 – 7 (Fri-Sun):  District 6380 Conference, Mackinac Island
  • May 5 (Fri) 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm – DOGS Spruce up Alpha House, Phil Weiss
  • May 6 (Sat) 8:00 – 12:00 noon – DOGS Spruce up Alpha House – Phil Weiss
  • May 10 Speaker: Thomas Shehab, M.D., Innovations in Health Care: Why do Physicians Still Have Waiting Rooms
  • May 13 (Sat.):  Touch-A-Truck, Norman Herbert
  • May 17: STRIVE Awards Banquet, Andy Dahlmann, Jennifer Schwartz
  • May 23 (Tues):  Social Committee “Act Your Age”, 7:30 Kerrytown Concert House
  • May 31: Our luncheon meeting will be in LEAGUE Ballroom. We will be treated to a jazz concert. Guests are welcome!
Farther Out:
  • June 10-14 - Rotary International Convention, Atlanta
  • Sept 11 (Mon):  Golf & Tennis Outing, Travis Pointe Country Club
  • Sept 17 (Sun): Playscape Grand Opening
  • Sept 23 (Sat): One Rotary Summit in Troy (details later at

Details on monthly meetings may be found on the club's website.

Notes of Interest


Centennial Project Construction Site

Construction has begun for the Universal Access Playground at Gallup Park, and that means that hazards are present, whether work is in progress or not, and people (even Rotarians) are to be reminded not to enter the site.  This is an important safety and liability issue.


Huron H. S. Interact Co-Presidents

Jadal and Taimor Williams have recently been featured on MLive for their remarkable academic success.  Taimor has been offered admission to all eight Ivy League universities, plus some others, such as MIT.   Jamal’s invitations to enroll are nearly a match. Click here for the full story. 



Here’s another of our occasional “Help Wanted” columns seeking much-needed volunteers to keep the Rotary wagon rolling:


Harpoon Staff

One or more volunteers are sought to assemble the Harpoon template each Friday.  It takes an hour or so of easy work.  This draft is then provided to others who actually format it and post it on the website.  Agnes Reading has been doing this invaluable function for several  years, and she needs a break.  Contact Agnes for more information.


Fisher House Michigan

A fund-raising effort begun by our Club as a Veterans Initiative project, recently received a donation from the Clinton Township Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.  A good story in the Macomb Daily recognizes Rotary Club of  Ann Arbor and quotes one of our members.  Click here for the full story.


Notes from the Meeting


When President Collyer rang the Rotary bell the assembly shifted, somewhat languidly, to its feet, because the soup was good, but managed to collect itself enough to essay a decent “Star-Spangled Banner.”  Vic Stoeffler got the nod and came up for the Inspiration.  He spoke of friendship: “I have a friend that I have known since I was three years old…I have a friend in Paris, a relationship that lasted four days….”  Vic built the message slowly; the array of people who pass through our lives; the ones who stick, as friends. “A friend may be a member of the family, a professional associate, an old high school person,” he continued, “A friend will be there in joy and sorrow…Do not ever

take a friendship for granted, it is corrosive.” He ended with Camus – “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”


Shelley MacMillan and Past President Maurita Holland then led us in joyful song. Composed by Past President Jim Irwin, “It’s a Great Day to be a Rotarian” struck just the right note for the audience, our speaker, Vic’s Inspiration, and the day’s proceedings generally.  Bravo to all!


Regaining the podium, Collyer thanked the volunteers and welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests.  With a chockablock schedule in front of him, Collyer merely asked visitors to stand for a hearty ovation.  He then announced that on May 2 Rotary Fights Hunger will meet from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Let Collyer know if you would like to attend.  Also, some sad news: Betty Barfield, Ypsilanti Rotary Club member and wife of John Barfield, has died.  News regarding memorial service to follow.


Anne Schriber took the podium next to describe the “Act Your Age” performance event taking place at the Kerrytown Concert House May 23rdat 7:30 p.m. (that’s an ‘Ann Arbor Curtain,’ of course: wine & cheese first, performance at 8:00). “Please support my friend, Beth Urich, who is a hilarious and very talented actress.” Interested members please contact the Social Committee or Kerrytown Concert House for tickets.



Jake McLouth introduced us to this year’s Rotary Exchange students: Fiona O’Reilly, a swimming and water polo player, will be studying in Mexico; Emma Jane Rodenheiser has already been to Mexico.  She will, instead, be traveling to Chile; Charlotte Little, who has already studied in Czech Republic, will go to Poland; and Eli Richards will also do his exchange in Chile.  As Jake pointed out: “We’ve selected the best students in Ann Arbor Public Schools.  They will be excellent ambassadors for Rotary’s values and our area.”

Collyer then returned to begin the awards ceremony. First, he commended Tony

DiGiovanni “and his team for growing the Rotary Endowment [to $1.8 million].  They have done an incredible job managing the risks,” Collyer emphasized.  “I would also like to thank Betsey Hammond for her help with the Endowment,” he added amidst general applause. 


“Now, how about a big hand for our Sustainer’s Society!” declared Collyer.  During 

the applause he read the names of the Sustainer’s: Erik Bakker, Sally Hart Petersen, Joanne Pierson, Norma Sarkar, Greg Stejskal, and John White.


Collyer asked Dallas Dort, “an eight-time Paul Harris Fellow,” to come to the podium to describe his experiences as a Rotarian.  Dallas, apparently unaware that he would be speaking, gave a precious nutshell testimonial: “I don’t know how to tell you what Rotary, in particular, this club, has meant to me.  I came here from Flint, where I had roots, and went to school here. But I didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a friend.  That lasted ‘til Wednesday – my first Wednesday Rotary meeting [huge applause].”  Everyone in the room was smiling as Dallas brought his message home: “I’d like to say how truly happy I am to be a part of this club!”  Then an insight for the young people: “Boy, a Paul Harris Fellowship makes me feel good.  If you [directing his gaze to the Rotaracters] want to be connected, or up your game, you want to be a part of this organization.”  All followed Past President Ashish Sarkar in standing as Dallas made his way back to his table.  Collyer then read off the names of our 19 Paul Harris Fellows. Those present came to the podium to receive their certificate and to pose with Collyer for Fred’s camera.


“Now, I’d like to honor two special members,” Collyer declared.  “Norma and Ashish Sarkar.” With voice somehow rising above the din of clapping, he added, “Ashish wouldn’t want me to thank him this way, but I’m going to!”  Ashish then came to the podium to present special Paul Harrises to Kelly Hall and her Rotaracters (sounds like a New Orleans street band, doesn’t it?) and to members of the World Peace Conference planning committee.  Everyone received a plaque.  In regard to Rotaract, “Kelly, here is a special award for you, for all your work.  It is signed by Rotary International President John Germ.  She and her team did everything I asked. We short-changed you when you spoke at the Peace Conference [due to time constraints], so here is your missing plaque.”  Another standing ovation followed as Kelly and her four Rotaract colleagues thanked Ashish and the whole assembly, with faces beaming. 


As for the planning committee recipients, here is an abbreviated report:


Eric Lipsom: “He was always there, a committed and dedicated member. I could count on him for anything.  Eric, an honorary Paul Harris for you.”


Sumedh Bahl: “He joined a year ago [the committee].  He always did what he said he would do; he was just a rock.  So, Sumedh, here’s an honorary Paul Harris for you.”


Bev Seiford: “Bev, wherever you are, thank you!” [Bev received her Paul Harris in absentia.]


Rosemarie Rowney: “What a strong lady she is! She did so much – everything I asked. My wife said to me, ‘Ashish, don’t push her.’”


Ashish also commended his wife, Norma, for all her assistance during the two-year ordeal of organizing the 2017 World Peace Conference.



Brad Chick took the podium like Gene Rayburn in Match Game, and gave a great introduction to our speaker.  “In recognition of Victor’s Inspiration, I want to genuinely say, My friends – the CEO of Hunger Free America, the man Jon Stewart called ‘Mr. Frowny-face,’Joel Berg!”


[Disclaimer: Your intrepid reporter freely admits he was no match for Mr. Berg’s verbal sluice gate, with word output clocked at 42 per-second.  In the spirit of ‘I’m only  shooting for adequate,’ what follows is an approximation.]


“It’s a great thing to be here in Ann Arbor!” Berg declared.  xxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and Collyer rang the Rotary bell…


Just kidding.  


“We almost ended hunger in America in the late 60s-early 70s,” he began.  “Frances Perkins, who became FDR’s Secretary of Labor, wrote about hunger in America in 1908, so it’s nothing new.”  Later, post-war cooperation in Congress would make huge strides in eroding hunger among the general population: “Bipartisan consensus almost eradicated hunger in the U.S. Then [the 1980s], we were sold a bill of goods.  And it’s been going up ever since,” Berg asserted. “Let’s face it, to be schooled you must be fueled; to be well-read you must be well-fed.”  Citing his new book America, We Need to Talk, Berg stated, “the system we have is the fault of the people who vote, and, perhaps more importantly, the people who don’t vote.”  Indeed, as he affirms, the public’s constant whining about rotten politicians misses the key issue: it’s about ‘taking personal responsibility to solve the nation’s problems’ [see].  Berg admits, “It’s a parody, a self-help book.”  He also doesn’t mince words – “Anybody who doesn’t believe that racism and misogyny are at the root of everything wrong in America today, is wrong.”  A renowned authority on hunger, food distribution, and their relation to class, Berg focuses on the basics: “We need to redefine the social safety net; people are paid to deny social science…Food has to be affordable -- ‘Local’ isn’t always right.”

Reestablishing the middle class is a central priority, says Berg.  “Americans are being shafted not because they don’t work hard enough, but because they aren’t paid enough.  “Today, those who are sometimes poor is 10 times the number of people who are always poor.  That’s a huge change from the past, and it’s the reason people are poor today.”  Change, according to him, is not impossible: Hard is the D-Day landings; hard is John Lewis being almost beaten to death crossing the bridge at Selma; hard is working two jobs and not being able to provide dinner for your kids.”  The solution, get active: “Be a real super-hero, write to your representatives and ask for better social service programs.”


A standing ovation followed Mr. Berg’s speech.  Collyer thanked him warmly

and rang the Rotary bell in adjournment.

“Be The difference that makes A difference.” – Nagaraja Rao
Notes by Ed Hoffmann, Photos by Fred Beutler



Meeting Statistics

A total of 109 Rotarians were impressed by Joel Burg's presentation on hunger in America. We also had one Visiting Rotarian (Jamie Guise of Dexter), five U-M Rotaractors (Kelly Hall, Sam Ozminkowski, Nick Bosio, Peter Chen and Erin Kokoszha), three outgoing Rotary Youth Exchange students (Charlotte Little, Fiona O'Reilly and Emma Jane Rhodenhiser) and five guests. Just before lunch, a total of 35 Rotarians met in meetings of the Brand Management, Internal Financial Procedures and Rotaract committees and the "six-week checkup" of our March new member class. Also reported were a STRIVE meeting on April 14 and 46 tutoring sessions by Rotarians and 20 by Bonnie Reece, wife of Emeritus Rotarian Jim Reece.


Makeup Cards for Roving Rotarians

None this week.


Monthly Membership Report to the District

We started and finished the month of April with 320 Active Rotarians. Average attendance for the four meetings during the month was 37%. Not reported to the district calculated for club use was the averages of 108 Rotarians and 11 others (mostly guests) at our weekly meetings. Our Engagement Ratio for the month was 60%.


Awards to Sustainers' Society Members for the 2016-2017 year

April 26 was Awards Day. Six new members of the Sustainers' Society were announced; Erik Bakker, Sally Hart Petersen, Joanne Pierson, Norma Sarkar, Greg Stejskal and John White. Seventy three current members are in the Sustainers Society. At the present time, the market value of the Endowment’s portfolio is over $1.8 million. Each year, 4.25% of the current value is drawn off to support charitable efforts of our Foundation.


Awards to Paul Harris Fellows

Paul Harris Fellowships were also awards. Those receiving awards were Sumedh Bahl, PHF; Jeannine Buchanan, PHF; Kelly Hall, PHF; Eric Lipson, PHF; Ellen Schulmeister, PHF; Bev Seiford, PHF; Lauren Warren, PHF; Claire Foley, PHF+1; Jack Henke, PHF+1; Tim Johnson, PHF+1; Rosemarie Rowney, PHF+1; Norma Sarkar, PHF+1; Ed Wier, PHF+1; Steve Schram, PHF+2; Barbara Eichmuller, PHF+3; Todd Kephart, PHF+3; Steve Dobson, PHF+4; Beth Fitzsimmons, PHF+4; Griff McDonald, PHF+4; John Hammond, PHF+6; Betsy Hammond, PHF+8 and Chuck Olson, PHF+8. The exceptional generosity of Ashish and Norma Sarkar was recognized with announcement of their Benefactor status and membership in TRF's Bequest Society. Overall, 163 of our club’s 320 Active Members are now Paul Harris Fellows. Over the years, our club and its members have given a total of over $950,000 to TRF’s Annual Programs Fund, primarily EREY and PolioPlus.



  • May 4 - Mike Michelon
  • May 5 - Chris Mile
  • May 6 - Deb VandenBroek
  • May 7 - Stephen Postema
  • May 7 - John Sepp
  • May 8 - Phil Klintworth
  • May 9 - Gae Miller

Websites of interest to Rotarians

Rotary International: The RI home page has links to About Rotary, The Rotary Foundation, Club Locator and Member Access. Our Club is in Zone 29. The zone has 17 districts and covers portions of Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario.

District 6380Our district's website includes 51 clubs in the counties of Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland and Macomb in Michigan and Kent in Ontario. The district’s monthly newsletter and articles of district-wide interest are posted there.

Rotary Club of Ann Arbor: Our Club’s website provides background material and information including the current Annual Report, Active Framework (aka Strategic Plan), New Member Nomination Form, Committee Descriptions, Club and Golf Outing brochures, synopses of upcoming programs and an archive of Harpoons. Find us on Facebook.

Submit news, committee meetings, and announcements to the Harpoonthe newsletter of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor. Contact the Club to subscribe by email.

Our Club also sponsors the following Rotaract and Interact Clubs:

 U-M Rotaract Club

Huron High Interact Club

Pioneer High Interact Club

"Rotary Serving Humanity"