Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.



12:05 PM - 1:05 PM


19141 Freeport Street

Elk River, MN 55330

General Business, updates and great guest speakers.

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Strengthening Youth 
Enhancing Lives

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January 11, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Attendance: active status - 18 present and 15 absent
honorary status - 4 present and 4 absent
total membership - 41 members
Today our meeting was a true “throw back president” meeting!  Julie Fish filled in as president for Molly Hanson who came down with the crud at the last minute.  Julie was our club president in the 1997-98 year . . . 20 years ago!  She was happy to fill in and be able to ring that bell!    John Osterman led our song and Neil Gagnon had a fabulous prayer!
Guests: DJ Bakken, Xtra Mile Construction, prospective member with application turned in and awaiting board approval
Sarah Henningsen from Denmark visited us today.  She is now living with her second host family and loves it very much!   Before Rotary today, she gave a speech on “why you should be an exchange student”.  She is hoping to present it to our club some time.  She has joined the bowling team at school and her trip to Oklahoma with her second host family was super fun and much warmer than here!  Great to see you, Sarah!
- A STRIVE update was given by Patty Carbajal.  STRIVE met last Tuesday and it is going excellent.  The students are enthusiastic and doing well.  If you are a $100 sponsor for STRIVE, please get your payment sent in to Debbi Rydberg, club treasurer.
- We sang a couple of great birthday songs!  One to Brandon Hanson and one to Tove Lichty.  They both picked the $10 version.  The Rotary Foundation thanks you!
Image result for playing cards- The card pulled was a 3 of diamonds and there was not a winner.
Happy Bucks: (The Rotary Foundation is also thankful for these!)
- Julie Fish started us out with a buck for a quick trip to Fort Myers, FL from Friday to Wednesday to enjoy some sunshine and warmth!
- Dirk Barrett was happy that Marilyn was at Rotary today!  Her business, Bee Hive Homes, gives wonderful care to Dirk’s in-laws!
- Leon Barthel had a fine from the floor, but also offered to pay it!  In days of old, if you purchased a new vehicle, you were fined for each wheel.  Jim Babcock got new “wheels” to get him around and so Leon fined him, but paid his fine!!   Jim said the wheelchair he was in, was not his new one, but that he does have a new one!
- Cal Portner was happy to be leaving town tomorrow to travel to Boston to see his daughter play hockey!  He was also happy to see Marilyn at Rotary!
- Alan Sakry was happy to be traveling to Florida on Saturday!
- DJ Bakken was happy because it feels great to be here!
- Patty Carbajal had a happy $10 to share!  STRIVE is great, a good friend closed on a new home and she received the most amazing gift from her hubby for Christmas!  She and her sister are going to travel to Chicago for a long weekend to see Dancing With The Stars “VIP Tour” and she will see some of her favorites!
- Bob Maxwell had a buck for a Gophers/Huskies split!
- Tove Lichty is still awaiting the birth of her new niece or nephew and they closed on their new house!
- Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba was happy to have traveled to San Francisco and parked at the airport ramp so her hubby didn’t have to come pick her up in the middle of the night!
- Neil Gagnon was happy that he and his wife have decided to take a trip for just the two of them this year.  They haven’t had a vacation alone for about 7 years!  Location - TD.
- Brandon Hanson was happy because he and his wife have birthdays one day apart so they tend to celebrate for a while!  This year, the birthday celebrations brought them and their family to a Wild game and yesterday, they all played hooky and took in the movie “Wonder”!
- Debbi Rydberg was happy about the upcoming Shiver event.  It is coming along nicely.  She reminded us to get registered for many events as there is a lot to do!
Neil Gagnon arranged for our program today!  He introduced us to Kaycee Stanley with The Reel Hope Project.  Kaycee thanked us for having her and thanked us for choosing The Reel Hope Project as our signature donation recipient for the Taste of Elk River 2018!  She said she was in stunned silence for a few moments after receiving the phone call from Tricia Downey, Taste Chair.  Kaycee brought flyers to share with us and a sign up card.  This response card is to get you on their data base so you can receive their newsletters.  Kaycee is the founder and director of The Reel Hope Project.  She and her husband would like to adopt kids some day, from foster care.  When she tells people this, she sometimes receives a negative reaction.  She shared some very awful stats with us about kids in foster care.  She also told us that if kids have two things in their lives - Jesus and Family, that they most of the time, succeed in life!  It is challenging, but worth it.  There are 100,000 kids in the US waiting to be adopted.  The Reel Hope Project seeks help from a lot of churches, but not just churches.  Foster care kids are often invisible.  There are 1000 kids in Minnesota, awaiting adoption.  Kaycee shared a video that they recently completed that featured “Vinny”.  She shared that there are 4000 churches in Minnesota and 1000 kids need adoption.  If 1 family in 4 churches wold adopt, there would be no more orphans!  Kaycee visited us last year, about 3-4 months into this mission and at that time, they had produced 4 videos.  Yesterday, they produced their 31st video!   Over 60 families have responded to the videos and have been connected to agencies.  There have now been 6 kids/families united through adoption!  The process is long and takes about a year.  Her goal for 2018 is to do one video every week and visit one faith community every week of the year.   She told us a bit about the process of adoption and that it is not an easy road to travel.   The videos they produce are for kids, whose parents have given up their parental rights.  The average age of a MN Waiting Child is 10 to 14 years old.  A lot of times, the older kids get stuck in the system.  Rotarian Dave Anderson shared that after Kaycee visited our club last year, he and his wife inquired through Anoka County and are still in the process of adopting.   DJ Bakken shared that he and his wife currently do foster care. Part of what they do is take kids in emergency situations.  Kaycee knows that everyone can’t adopt, but everyone can help out!  She offered ways to help out!  1. Adopt!  Check out their website to see 30 videos of kids.  2.  Be a part of the “village” and offer support to a family going through adoption.  3.  Financial assistance is always needed as one video costs $600.  4.  Invite The Reel Hope Project to come and speak at your church or for your group.  5.  Share videos through social media.  6.  Go find and “like” their facebook page.  Kaycee can be contacted at 218-343-9863 or Their website is:
Neil thanked Kaycee for speaking and presented her with a key tag.   Julie gave the bell a solid ring and off we went!
January 4, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Attendance:     active status - 22 present, 11 absent
                        honorary status - 4 present, 4 absent
                        total membership - 41 members

President Molly Hanson led our meeting today.  Dan Weber had a great prayer to kick off 2018!

We sang a fabulous Happy Birthday to John Osterman!  He did not have to lead the birthday song!

Guests: David Monroy, Monroy Law (past rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow) - guest of Debbi Rydberg
                Linda Christian, Sherburne County Abstract & Title (prospective member) - guest of Robin Skinner
                Kaylie Johnson and Alyssa Johnson, daughters of Brandon Hanson
                DJ Bakken, Xtra Mile Construction (prospective member - application form is turned in)


Image result for announcements- STRIVE will meet next week on Tuesday!
- Our next SOCIAL HOUR will be on Thursday, February 15 from 5 to 7 pm - location TBD.
- Tricia Downey, chair for Taste of Elk River remind us that our event is only five months away and it is time to start planning!  She has a sign up sheet for Chair spots so please be sure to fill your name in a blank spot!   The liquor license has been applied for, our space at the Fair Grounds is reserved and the health department items are in the works.  Our signature recipient for funds will be The Reel Hope Project and they have been informed and are super excited!
- Molly Hanson reminded us that tomorrow is the start of Youth in Government and if anyone is interested in the tour tomorrow, starting at 9 am, please contact Molly immediately so a plan can be made.  There are 127 students from ISD 728 participating this year!   Molly will keep us informed about the election, as one of our students, Joe Anderson, is running for Governor position!  Good luck Joe!
- Brandon Hanson told us that due to the lack of finding someone from Elk River, we sponsored a student from Osseo this year, to attend the annual Camp Enterprise.  She sent a thank you letter to Brandon.  He will see if there is a possibility to have her come and speak to us about her experience.

Image result for playing cards- The 5 of hearts was pulled and there was not a winner!

Happy Bucks:

- Tove Lichty started us off with some exciting happy bucks!  Monday is her wedding anniversary, Tuesday they are buying a house, Wednesday is her sister’s due date and Saturday is Tove’s birthday and their moving date!   This is a lot of HAPPY!
- Debbi Rydberg was happy to inform us that her father is doing well after having lung cancer surgery.
- Lynn Caswell is happy for the cold weather because it makes a plus 2 degrees feel warm!
- Nicole Rasmussen was happy for a few things - her daughter turned 12 and has her first YMCA swim meet this weekend in Duluth and they have a whole weekend planned in Duluth!
- Tricia Downey was happy that her nieces husband spoke to the UN about polio and eradication!
- Alan Sakry was happy that his daughter Jordan had a good visit over the holidays.  She is back in Carolina now.

Dan Weber
arranged our program today and his favorite part of rotary is the programs!  They keep him up to date!   Dan introduced us to Matt Varilek, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Initiative Foundation.    His one year anniversary working there, was yesterday!  Matt pointed out guest, David Monroy, who is a Trustee at the Initiative Foundation and is also powerful and persuasive as he has talked Matt into jumping into Lake Orono for Shiver Elk River!  Matt thanked Dan Weber and Molly Hanson for allowing him to come and speak to us today.  Matt is a member of the downtown St. Cloud Rotary.  He noted that the Elk River influence at IF is strong.  John E. Babcock with the Bank of Elk River, is also a Trustee at IF.  They have a board of 12 members. Matt had a bit of confusion as there are two John Babcock’s on the board!  Matt told us how Rotary touched his life, when he received an Ambassadorial Scholarship for $25,000 in 1998 to help with achieving his master’s degree.  Matt grew up in Yankton, South Dakota and in 1993, traveled to Minnesota to attend college at Carlson in North Field.  He chose a major in philosophy.  His parents were not impressed, but supportive of his decision.  While getting his philosophy degree, he received funds to travel abroad for college and went to Paraguay.  This was his first up front experience with poverty.  Paraguay is also very corrupt.  He went back to Carlton for his senior year, but new philosophy was not the major he desired any longer and felt a calling to economics.  He was too far into his degree to change, so he got his degree in philosophy.  He decided to go for grad school and to focus on economics.  At that time, Rotary offered Ambassadorial Scholarships.  Matt shared his journey to attaining this scholarship.  After several interviews, he was selected.  He gave them five countries he would like to visit and they picked his fourth choice and he was accepted to go to Glasgow Scotland.  Next step was to apply to the college and he received his letter of acceptance and off he went!  He enjoyed the cultural experience and lived in an international building that hosted students from many countries.  He often attended local rotary meetings and noted that they were held in the evenings and included whisky!  He came back to the US in 1999 with completely different career possibilities.  He now has a wife and three children!  He has been enjoying working for IF and then told us a bit about IF.  IF serves 14 counties in Central Minnesota and they are one of six foundations that cover Minnesota.  It was started by the McKnight Foundation and is driven by local priorities.  IF receives tax deductible donations and gives out grants and scholarships.  They amplify impact by working with non-profits through training them in different areas.  They help non-profits to enhance their mission statements.  Matt mentioned another local, Annie Deckert.  Annie is in a mentoring program and is being mentored by David Monroy.  IF also offers small business gap lending.   They facilitate philanthropy through the local group - Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF).  TRCF is the oldest of their funds.  Rotarians currently on the TRCF board are Julie Fish, Robin Skinner and Nicole Rasmussen.   Matt stated that Sherburne County has donated $1.1 million and IF has put back into Sherburne County $5.1 million.  Great return on investment!   Matt loves going to work at IF and he owes it to Rotary!  He thanked us, on behalf of all rotary recipients,  for all that we do!   We had a short question/answer session and then recited the four way test as a group and President Molly rang the bell for dismissal.
December 14, 2017 - Regular Meeting
active status - 21 present and 13 absent
honorary status - 3 present and 5 absent
total membership 43

Guests: Alyssa Johnson, daughter and guest of Brandon Hanson
                Mike Anderson, wealth strategic planner, guest of Lori Severson
                Sara Henningsen, youth exchange student from Denmark

Molly Hanson, president, ran our meeting today.  She reported in that her husband is healing well from a hernia surgery last week.

Dan Dixon passed around a stocking cap to take up a collection for a gift for Sara Henningsen.  He also had a Christmas gift that was presented to Sara and she received a pair of nice warm boots!   Sara was the lucky winner of our card game this week and won $29 to add to her gift collection!   Merry Christmas!

Bill Haring announced that he is going to assist is past Rotary club in Forest Lake and assist them with their winter plunge in February.  He was wondering if Elk River Rotary wanted to put together a plunge team.  If you are interested, please contact him.

Alan Sakry brought a gift bag with a surprise gift for us to auction off.  Robin Skinner was the high bidder at $20 and won a box of Christmas ornaments!   The Rotary Foundation thanks you - Alan and Robin!

We were reminded that next week, December 21st, we will NOT have a noon meeting, but will meet from 5 to 8 at Rockwoods.  We will have a brief business meeting, followed by appetizers, compliments of Rotary, fun, games and socializing!   A huge thank you to Lori Severson for handling this gathering!

We were also reminded that the following week, December 28th, we will NOT be meeting at all.

The Donations Committee met on Tuesday and have come up with recommendations that will be taken to the board today for discussion and a vote.  President Molly Hanson and Treasurer Debbi Rydberg explained that we have surplus funds and that they would like to disperse these funds in this fiscal year to “get us caught up”.  Conversation was held around the room so that everyone was understanding what this game plan was about.  The board of directors have a meeting following this meeting and will discuss this.  All are welcome to stay and attend the board meeting.

Program: Dan Dixon arranged for our program today and introduced us to Jessica Schaffer, Community Program Director for school aged children at the YMCA.  She introduced us to a student, Joe Anderson, who is very active in the Youth in Government program sponsored by the YMCA. Students participate in Youth in Government from 8th to 12th grades.  It is held January 4, 5, 6, 7 at the Minneapolis Hilton and the Capital in St. Paul.  On Friday, January 5th, at 9 am,  Molly Hanson informed us, that there will be a spectator bus going to the capital for a tour, lunch, tour the Hilton, then back to the YMCA by 3 pm.  It is a great opportunity so watch for a detailed email from Molly!   There are 1500 high school students that enjoy this amazing experience!  The Elk River Rotary has sponsored this program for 10 out of the 11 years that Elk River YMCA has participated.  Jessica shared a video about the event, showing students hard at work at the capital.   She explained that the Model Assembly is like real life.  The students participate daily from 9 to 5, then a dinner break, followed by evening activities, such as movies, crafts, quiet time, inflatables, laser tag, board games and they also have a governor’s ball!  119 students from ISD 728 will be attending this year.  It is the third largest delegation represented.  Jessica introduced us to Joe Anderson, who is the current Secretary of State for the Model Assembly.  This will be his third year attending Youth in Government.  Joe said that this program gives young people a voice.  It gets people to come out of their shells and it is great to meet new people from around the state.  It builds youth to be future leaders and servants in our communities.  The experience has improved his writing, speaking ability and school work. There is a lot of behind the scenes work and he has learned to build from the ground up.  He thinks Elk River Rotary is a great representative of letting young people in our community be heard.  This year, Joe is running for Governor!  His running mate is Sam from Faribault, Minnesota. The students begin work for their “season” in September and have a kick off event in October.   Terry Bizal, Rotarian and ERHS principal, told us that Joe is a modest student and he recently qualified on the debate team to go to nationals.  Terry further explained the significance of this accomplishment in that Joe, is in a small 3% who get to nationals!  Way to go, Joe!   Elk River Rotary, annually donated $3,000 that is used as scholarships for students to attend.  The cost is $475/student and the $3,000 we donate, provides funding for 6 students.   Students this year are representing ERHS, Spectrum HS, VandenBerg MS and Salk MS.  It is a community collaboration!  Jessica explained the other four programs they also sponsor/participate in.   Youth in Government/Model Assembly involves 1500 students at the state level; Model United Nations involves 800 students and is world level; CoNA is a summer event in July, held in Washington DC;  and the National Judicial Conference in Chicago in June!  These folks are busy!  Molly thanked Jessica and Joe and presented Joe with the key tag with the 4-Way Test on it.  We recited the 4-Way Test together and  dismissed us with the ring of the bell!
December 7, 2017 - Regular Meeting
active status  16 present and 18 absent
honorary status 4 present and 4 absent
total membership at 42
Today at Rotary, we had a throw back Thursday and Dan Dixon, long time ago past president, led our meeting.
Guests: DJ Bakken, Xtra Mile Construction, prospective member
Justin Bakken, Xtra Mile Construction, prospective member
Greg Schultz, American National Bank, guest of Debbi Rydberg (prospective member?)
Jessica Stockkamp and Jamie from the Otsego Lions/Gifts Anonymous program
Jessica spoke on behalf of the Otsego Lions/Gift Anonymous program.  Gifts Anonymous was started in 1970 by Elk River teachers’ wives, they passed in on to CAER, who, two years ago, passed it to the Otsego Lions.  Jessica is the chair and had Jamie with her for assistance.  They serve residents in Sherburne and Wright Counties/ISD 728.  Last year, they served 256 families, which included 645 children.  They also include senior citizens and their gifts are distributed with the help of Meals on Wheels.  There are 40 drop off spots locally so look for their barrels and fill them up!  They find recipients through CAER, the counties and the schools.  They spend $9,000 on additional gifts to meet their needs.  Parents come on a designated day and pick out and wrap the gifts for their family.  This helps them keep their dignity while asking for some help, as asking is not always easy.  Gifts Anonymous is always looking for unwrapped gifts in their barrels, cash donations and also such things as gift wrap, tissue, bows, ribbons, tape, scissors, and all of that good stuff!  They like a child to receive a large gift and those usually price in the range of $30-$50.  Their largest need this year is identified as boys from 5 years old to 9 years old.  Scooters would be a great donations.  Jessica left behind a brochure for Molly to discuss a donation plan with the board.  Gifts Anonymous is accepting gifts until 12/15/17.  Check out their website at
- We sang an amazing Happy Birthday to Alan Sakry!
Image result for announcements- Patty Carbajal gave a STRIVE update.  The group met on Tuesday and Alan Sakry was the speaker.  The group this year is showing strong attendance and are very engaged.  This week mentors and students were matched.  Patty thanked Curt Hinkle for doing is amazing ice breaking games.  This week we had fun with the Grinch!
- Reminder to everyone that we will not meet at noon on Thursday, December 21st and will meet at 5 pm at Rockwoods in Otsego.  Plan to bring a guest and pease RSVP to Lori Severson at 612-600-2787 or by TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12th.
- Tricia Downey, Taste of Elk River Chair went through the six nominations for the signature funds recipient and handed out ballots for us to give her our vote.    Stay tuned for the winner!
Image result for playing cards- There was not a card game winner, but it was fun any how!
Happy Bucks and Program:
Our program today was handled by Dan Dixon.  We were in a pinch for time, so we went around the room and everyone got a 30 second shot to tell their name, vocation and job and why they are a Rotarian.   Bob Maxwell started it off and turned his into a happy $20 bill because today is the 16 year anniversary of his death and re-birth heart attack day!  He was also happy for the Vikings success thus far and for being a Rotarian for about 30 years!   Mark Leland also paid to speak because he had to leave for a principal meeting.  He is the high school principal at Spectrum and he was reeled into Rotary!  He is looking for someone to give a 15-20 minute presentation at Spectrum High School about “what is Rotary”?  Any takers?      The rest of the meeting was spent with member sharing about themselves.  15 minutes went very fast!
November 30 , 2017 - Regular Meeting
active status - 22 present and 12 absent
honorary status - 5 present and 3 absent
total membership - 42 members

President Molly Hanson led our meeting today!

Guest:  DJ Bakken, prospective member and guest of Bonnie Koste

We sang happy birthday to Barry Hohlen and his birthday was actually today!

- Tricia Downey,
Taste of Elk River Chair, spoke
Image result for announcementsto us about the upcoming vote for our signature recipient of funds for the 2018 Taste of Elk River.  She had packets that were sent around the room and the packets contained information on each of the six non-profits that are being proposed for vote.  She will provide the info to Bob Maxwell, who will email this out to membership and we will vote soon!
Image result for playing cardsA card was drawn and there was not a winner!
- Lori Severson is heading up our December 21st meeting that will be held at Rockwoods in Otsego, starting at 5 pm.  You are invited to bring a guest and she needs your RSVP by Tuesday, December 12th.
- Debbi Rydberg sent around the brochure Rotary received from Gifts Anonymous.
- President Molly announced that the Donations Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, December 12th at 4 pm at the YMCA.  Everyone is welcome to attend and help decide how our donations are distributed.
- Next week, President-Elect Robin Skinner will be leading our meeting and we will have a “meet your fellow rotarian” style meeting!  Should be lots of fun!

Happy Bucks:

- Tricia Downey had a thanksgiving happy buck as she was thankful that recently her son turned 18 years old.  He went gun shooting with his dad.  Tricia shared a list with us of all the things you can do as an 18 year old adult!  So funny  . . .!
- Lori Severson called out all of those wearing “animal print” clothing, visible and not visible, to pay a buck!
- Guest speaker, Greg Oxly was at his second rotary meeting and was happy to pay a happy buck!
- Molly Hanson had a happy buck for her upcoming trip to Georgia to go watch the Vikings beat the Falcons.  They are also attending a GA vs. Auburn game!

Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba
provided our program today.  When asked why she is a Rotarian, she answered that she stays for the chicken!  Lol!  She has been a rotarian since 2002 and was proposed by Tony Mikols.  In the past, she served as secretary for many years and also served as club president.  She introduced us to her daughter Lori Link and to Greg OxlyGreg is a past employee of UPA.   Both Lori and Greg are fellow Mayflower descendants, as is Marilyn and they all three serve on the board for the Minnesota Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Greg had a power point presentation that he quickly went through.  The pilgrims on the Mayflower were separatists, not puritans.  Puritans wanted to purify and the separatists wanted out and to have a new way!  The printing press allowed them access to biblical readings that people read.  They first ventured to Holland and didn’t find this to be the correct choice, so they then came to America where no one could tell them what to do.  There were 102 passengers with 41 saints and 61 strangers wanting freedom.  The voyage was 66 days and during the first winter about half of them died. He shared stats and listed a few of the first leaders - John Carver, first governor; William Brewster, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Myles Standish and John Holland.  Marilyn is a descendant of John Holland.    Today, there are 35 million descendants of the Mayflower!
If you have a chance to go to the rotunda at the State Capital, one of the eight paintings is from 1835 and it depicts the pilgrims preparing to cross the ocean.   Greg turned the program over to Lori at this point.  Lori thanked Greg for his amazing, brief, informative presentation!   The “society” is a 30 million dollar organization. She shared information with us about an archeological dig where they can take a piece of bone and determine who’s it is and where they came from.
November 16 , 2017 - Regular Meeting
Attendance:     active status - 19 present, 15 absent
                        honorary status - 5 present, 3 absent
                        total membership at 42 members

President Molly Hanson led our meeting today.  We had a lot of guests.

Guests: Tracy Torval, guest of Tricia Downey
                Dr.  Dan Bittman, Superintendent of Schools,  ISD 728
                Bill Hjertstedt, past president, Elk River Education Association
                Carole Boelter, current president, Elk River Education Association

Carole spoke for a few moments and told us that it is American Education Week and their office at 555 Railroad Drive is having an open house today from 3 to 6.

Molly welcomed back Neil Gagnon, who has been absent for a few weeks, healing from knee surgery!  Great to have you back, Neil!


Image result for announcements Tricia Downey, Taste of Elk River Chair, passed out some cards for us to write on.  She would like suggestions for our signature recipient for the 2018 Taste of Elk River.  Please turn your votes in to Tricia.   Bob Maxwell is sending an email to each of us, with Tricia’s email address.  Please take a moment to email her with your idea!  We will vote on Thursday, November 30th.
- Debbi Rydberg, treasurer, announced that she will be emailing us our invoices for the upcoming half of the year.  This payment is for membership dues for 1/1/2018 - 6/30/2018.  She would like to have payments received by 12/31/17 as we have to pay our dues in mid January.    STRIVE sponsorship invoices have also been sent out.
- Social Hour is coming up on December 21st!   
Mark your calendars and invite a guest to join in the fun!  We will NOT have a noon meeting that day, but will gather, beginning at 5 pm at Rockwoods in Otsego.  Lori Severson is the organizer and is taking RSVP’s.  Please contact her to let her know you and your guest will be attending.   Rotary will treat us to appetizers and there will be a cash bar.   SAVE THE DATE!
Image result for playing cardsThe card game had a winner with the 9 of spades!  Julie Fish won $7 and the Rotary Foundation fund received $7!

Happy Bucks:

- Molly Hanson was happy to be traveling to Nashville with her husband to celebrate 10 years of marriage!  Congrats!
- Terry Bizal had a happy buck to say GO ELKS!
- John Osterman had a happy buck to say a louder GO ELKS!
- Bonnie Koste was also a GO ELKS happy buccaneer!
- Neil Gagnon was happy to be back and to be off crutches!
- Debbi Rydberg was happy to be traveling to Kansas to see family for Thanksgiving!
- Julie Fish- Nicole Rasmussen was happy to be going to Arizona and has never been there!
- Leon Barthel was $5 happy for his travels to visit his daughter and her family in Alberta!
- Troy Adams was $5 happy for seeing the fastest three touchdowns against STMA, his son’s great performance in the musical Cinderella at STMA and because the Packers beat da Bears!
-Julie Fish - was $5 happy - happy for our student of the month, happy for Dr. Bittman being here, happy for her garage progress, happy for an upcoming road trip to Texas and happy that Elk River Printing was chosen by MidwestOne Bank to be the Elk River Chamber of Commerce’s “Big Deal” winner!
Student of the Month:
Our student of the month for November was with us today.  Terry Bizal introduced us to Johanna BreyenJohanna introduced us to her parent, Julie and Mike.  Johanna was selected in recognition of her leadership, academic achievement and other special talents.  Comments made by staff regarding her selection are are as follows:  “Johanna is an exceptional math student. She is always fully engages in the lesson. She is detail oriented and studious. She has the organizational skills that allow her to excel in challenging courses while staying involved in athletics and French Club.  She is a delight to have in class.” Johanna works well in group activities and takes the lad to assist others within the group.”   Johanna participates in Elk River softball and volleyball, and MN Force softball. She is also in French Club in ERHS.  English is her favorite subject because I enjoy writing.  She does not yet have a major in mind, but she will plan to go to college and hopes to play softball wherever that might be.  She also enjoys writing, shopping and hanging out with friends. Her most memorable experience was this past summer when her softball team worked hard all summer to end with making the top ten at our nationals in Illinois.  Johanna demonstrates leadership by pushing her teammates and classmates to be the best they can be and helping them achieve their goals.  She feels she won this award because she is a hard worker, she cares about others and she cares about her education.  She is honored to have been chosen for this award!  It means a lot to know that her hard work does pay off.

Our program was arranged by our new member, Bill HarringBill joined us at Elk River Rotary recently.  He began Rotary in Forest Lake, MN about 14 years ago and was very active.  He retired from teaching and moved to Otsego.  He knew this area well through his work travels.  Near and dear to his heart is Rotary International and PolioPlus.  After retiring to Otsego, he felt it was only natural that he would join the Elk River Rotary club.  We are happy to have you, Bill!   He introduced us to his speaker, Denise Specht.  Denise is the president of Education Minnesota. Bill and Denise met in Forest Lake. Both of her parents are retired educators as were her grandparents.  This week is American Education Week so the timing of her speaking is perfect!  She thanked Bill for the invite to come and share with us. She is an elementary teacher on leave.  Education Minnesota has 86,000 members across the state in their union.  Currently, she is a teacher of big people as she travels and speaks to adults across the state of Minnesota.  The first American Education Week was in 1921.  It started with the National Education Association and the American Legion.  Their theme was “Public Schools are for All”.  During American Education Week, they are recognizing people each day.  Monday was teachers day, Tuesday was parents’ day, Wednesday was school support professionals day and today and Friday are to celebrate the good work that educators do.  Elk River public schools are strong and thriving!  Celebrating public schools is not new to Minnesota. Minnesota teachers gathered in Rochester in 1861 and 1862 to talk about the significance of public schools.  In 1862, the business leaders in the community gave teachers discounts.  The stage coach and steamboat operators gave discounts so the teachers could get to the conference.   Teachers get support from communities and it is most important for each and every student to thrive!   Denise opened it up for question/answer time.

Molly Hanson thanked Denise and presented her with the key chain with the 4 Way Test on it and as a group we recited it together and Molly rang the dismissal bell.
November 2, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Attendance:     active status - 14 present and 20 absent
                        honorary status - 2 present and 6 absent
                        total membership - 42 members

President Molly Hanson was back as our leader and is hopeful that she will be able to lead all meetings in November and December.  She thanked Brandon Hanson for leading last week and thanked Patty Carbajal for buying her lunch today as she forgot her wallet at home.


Image result for announcements- Tricia Downey gave an update on the dictionary program.  Yesterday, she and Lynn Caswell, along with help from John Osterman, Dave Anderson and Brandon Hanson, handed out dictionaries to Parker Elementary, St. Andrew’s and Meadowvale Elementary.  Tricia reported that it was really great to have the extra helping hands!  Dictionaries are a done deal for 2017!  Brandon shared a story that he was at a client’s home and their child came up to him and said “hey, you gave me a dictionary!”.  Tricia also had a story to share and John Osterman noticed each kid truly appreciated getting the dictionary.  Thank you to Lynn Caswell and Tricia Downey, for once again, leading the program!   Molly Hanson passed around a thank you note that we received from a class at Twin Lakes Elementary.
- Molly passed around a thank you card that we received from Bob Maxwell’s daughter Lindsay and her husband Andy for our support at their PTSD Bags Tournament this fall with a donation of a couple of bottles of wine and two Taste of Elk River 2018 tickets in a basket that pulled in $42 for their cause.  Funds went to Hidden Wounds to help veterans.
- Two magazines have been brought in if any of the honorary members would like to take them home to read, please do so.

- STRIVE will be held next week on Tuesday and a field trip will be taken to Anoka Technical school and will include lunch.
- Taste of Elk River update was given by Tricia Downey.  The Sherburne County Fair folks recently removed the wall separating the two sides of the commerce building so Tricia, John Osterman and Lynn Caswell took a field trip there to view the building.
- There will be a board of directors meeting next week, 11/9, following our regular noon meeting.

Image result for playing cards- The king of spades was pulled and there was not a winner in the room!

Happy Bucks:

- John Osterman had a happy buck for the Elks as the progress through football tournament time!  They play Friday night at 7 pm at Buffalo High School and they will play St. Cloud Tech.  Please come and cheer!   He had a second happy buck for a new granddaughter - Evelyn Amelia, who was born to his “3D” daughter - darling daughter Dana!
- Julie Fish had $4 happy bucks.  $1 for the garage walls, $1 for the garage floor, $1 for being alive and $1 for gratefulness toward Lynn Caswell and Tricia Downey for keeping the dictionary program alive and well!
- Troy Adams had a happy buck for a trip to Fort Collins for work and came back inspired by their leadership in their city!
- Bonnie Koste was happy that her home town of Big Lake is also advancing in the football tournament and they play Becker on Saturday at Monticello.  Bonnie’s brother is the brother-in-law is a coach!

Brandon Hanson arranged our meeting and gave us his rotary moment!  He has been a member for many years and was invited to visit a meeting by Cathy Mehelich.  He knew a lot of people in the room and wanted to be more involved in the community and he joined!  He enjoys rotary.  He introduced us to his speaker today. Carmen Pouiliot who is the director of CAER food shelf in Elk River. Brandon is on the board of directors of CAER.  They reminded us that November 16th is Minnesota Give to the Max dayCarmen told us about another fund raiser they have going on.  They are raising funds from businesses and St. John’s Church will match the funds with a grant that they have. They will match up to $25,000!  Please consider giving them a donation before the end of November so that they can max out the match grant!  Carmen shared some stats with us.  1 in 10 in Minnesota experience food insecurity.  Elk River, Otsego, Zimmerman are at a population of 43,577 and so far this year, CAER has served 4,179 so the 1 in 10 stat holds true in our area.   Food insecurities are things such as having to take your kids shopping with you and having to say no to their wants.  If you know a single parent, please offer your assistance with child care so that they may shop alone!  Poverty in Minnesota is at 10%.  Elk River is at 7.87% and Zimmerman is at 9.83% - again we hit the average.  Poverty level is a wage of $12,000/year.  To qualify at CAER, your wage must be less than $23,760/year.  Minnesota as a whole will have over 3 million visits to a food shelves.  There are 300 food shelves in Minnesota.  Carmen handed out a fact sheet.  Monthly shopping 4,655 individuals and 900,000 pounds; summer Kids Kits - 771 children, 85,000 pounds; 13,000 pounds distributed at schools, Boys and Girls Club and Open Doors for Youth; monthly senior delivery at 18,300 pounds; produce distribution at 9,500 lbs, 140 families and 411 individuals; 667 volunteers and 24,024 volunteer hours!   They also help with financial assistance for rent and utilities, they offer books for reading, winter wear and car repair.  Carmen attended a conference in Duluth last week and discussed the major contributors to poverty - lack of affordable housing and transportation availability.   They acquire food through rescues at local grocery stores where they receive imperfect product. They also purchase from Second Harvest and The Food Group.  General Mills is also a great source for foods. They may have off sized tortilla shells that they can repackage and sell or gift to food shelves. By doing this, it is easy to turn $1 into $10!    They also take produce from local people’s gardens and the farmer’s markets.   Brandon thanked Carmen and let us know that CAER is looking for new board members. Brandon would love to see a Rotarian on their board.  If you are interested, please let him know.  If you would like a tour of CAER, Carmen encourages us to stop by! is the website for Give to the Max day on November 16th, but Carmen encourage us, as businesses, to consider a donation to go towards their $25,000 goal for a match.
October 26, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Attendance: active status - 17 present and 17 absent
honorary status - 4 present and 4 absent
total membership - 42
Today, in the absence of our president, president elect, past president and past past president, our past, past, past president, Brandon Hanson, ran our meeting for us.  He did a fabulous job!
Guests: Becky, sister and guest of Amanda Othoudt
Christie, co-worker of Patty Carbajal
Brandon called on Rotarian Terry Bizal to introduce us to our newest and first of the school year, student of the month!  He introduced us to Lydia Haack.  Lydia introduced us to her parents, Dan and Laura.  She has a younger brother and an older brother and sister.  She has  participated in Cross Country, Track, Basketball, Tennis and NHS. Some of her proudest accomplishments include winning the State Basketball Championship and making it to State in Tennis this year. Her favorite class is Culinary Arts because she enjoys making and learning about food. Her favorite subject is English because she enjoys reading.  She plans on attending college and hopefully playing college basketball.  She really enjoys playing tennis and basketball in her free time. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends, going shopping, and watching Netflix .  Her most memorable experience was getting to play on the same team as her sister Gabi and winning a state title with her.  She demonstrate leadership by always putting forth her best effort at school and sports. She tries to always have a positive attitude and encourage her classmates and teammates to do their best.  She works very hard to get good grades in school. She ask questions when she does not understand something and study a lot before tests. She does as much as she can to try and get the best grade possible.  This summer she helped run a basketball camp for elementary and middle school girls. When asked:  WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WON THIS AWARD?   Her answer was “I think I won this award because I demonstrate leadership and work hard in school to get good grades.”  She feels honored to be chosen for this award and is glad that her hard work pays off.  Q and A time - her brother is a past student of the month!  College plans - she hope to stay in MN and play basketball.  She feels she has learned her confidence from her parents.    Thank you, Terry Bizal, for leading our Student of the Month program!
Happy Bucks:
- John Osterman led us off with a happy buck for the Elk River Elks football team!
- Lori Severson had a happy buck because she had a bad dream that her hair was a disgusting mess and when she awoke, it wasn’t bad at all and was just a dream!
- Terry Bizal had a happy buck for the Elk River Girls Tennis team who are the consolation champs!
- Robin Skinner had a $1 sad buck for many reasons!  She and her husband, Ben, are season ticket holders to the Wild and attended their first game.  The parking was $5 more than last year, the place they always go for pre-game no longer has a happy hour, they changed seats and are now 4 more rows away from the restrooms and the Wild lost the game!  That is sad!
- Julie Fish had a happy buck because her garage addition now has concrete for a floor!
- Barry Hohlen was happy because his oldest is 23 years young!
- Bonnie Koste was happy (and probably nervous) because her son, Max, turned 13 yesterday and she now has two teens in the house!
Image result for announcements- The card game had a 3 of diamonds pulled and no one had the match.  The pot grows!Image result for playing cards
- Tricia Downey, Taste of Elk River chair announced that our date of May 17, 2018 is secured with the Sherburne County Fair Board!
- Tricia Downey told us about our dictionary program.  The dictionaries have been delivered to Twin Lakes Elementary, St. John’s and Lincoln Elementary.  Next week, on Wednesday, they will be delivered to Parker Elementary, St. Andrew’s and Meadowvale Elementary.  If you can assist, please contact Tricia!
- Patty Carbajal had a STRIVE update.  STRIVE met this week and it was the second gathering.  She was very please to have gained two new mentors and that 25 students showed up.  The next STRIVE gathering will be November 7th and the students will tour and have lunch at Anoka Tech.
Tri-CAP BUSOur program was arranged by Julie Fish.  She introduced us to Lori Schultz and Lisa Drew from Tri -Cap, Inc.  They passed out hand outs, brochures and most people received a pizza cutter!  Tri-Cap is a community action agency and has been around for 53 years. They were started in the 1960’s by a plan put together by President Johnson, in hopes of eradicating poverty.  Tri-Cap serves Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties. Their principal office is located in Waite Park.  They also have an extended service area into additional counties where the resident Community Action Agency does not provide a specific program.  Their board of directors is comprised of 1/3 elected officials, 1/3 consumer representatives and 1/3 community representatives from the private sector.  They are currently seeking 2 individual from Sherburne County.  If interested, please contact Lisa.  Try-Cap has 75 full and part time employees and utilizes nearly 150 volunteers.Their mission is to expand opportunities for the economic and social well-being of our residents and the development of our communities.  They help with basic needs such as housing assistance, energy assistance, food support and transportation.  They encourage self-sufficiency and help with thing such as employment skill counseling, gas cards, uniform assistance to secure employment.  They help with rent and to find housing for homeless and transitional people.  One of their biggest programs is the Tax Assistance program where they have over 100 volunteers assisting people to get their taxes prepared for free.  Sherburne County is hosted at the YMCA and served over 2000 people to generate 3.8 million in refunds to put back into our communities.  They help to facilitate loans for people for home repair loans and also help with weatherization where they help locate lacking efficiencies in homes and help with assistance for heating bills or payment for a new furnace.  They have served over 1,486 families in Sherburne County.  She shared a handout showing the economic impact in Sherburne County from October 2015 - September 2016 and showed an impact of 1,032,783.95!  Wow!  They have helped build 7 new homes in Big Lake!  Their public transit area has provided many rides in Sherburne County for various reasons.  A few stats she shared:  Work (commute) 21,622 rides; Personal/Recreational/Shopping 8,365 rides; Medical 1,749 rides; Education 993 rides for a total of 32,729 rides!  Her handout shared a piece about The Promise of Community Action:  Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live.  We care about the entire community and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. To find further information or contact Lori Schultz, 320-257-4478, 320-251-1612, or
October 19, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Attendance:    - active status:  18 present, 16 absent
                        - honorary status: 5 present, 3 absent
                        total  membership at 42

Guests: Max Koste, son of Bonnie Koste
                Sara Henningsen, Inbound Youth Exchange from Denmark


Image result for announcements- Lynn Caswell announced that he and Tricia Downey delivered 105 dictionaries to Lincoln Elementary.  They will be delivering on Monday, October 23rd to St. John’s school and to Twin Lakes Elementary.  If you are interested in joining them, please let one of them know and they will fill you in on further details.
- Social Hour is tonight, starting at 5 pm at Pour in Otsego.
- Taste of Elk River - Tricia Downey informed us that she is working on confirming the date for the 2018 event.  She also asked us to put our thinking caps on for suggestions for our signature recipient for the 2018 Taste of Elk River.  She is thinking maybe something to do with sex trafficking.
- John Osterman announced that the ERHS Elks football won 71 to 21!  He also informed us that today, our inbound student, Sara, received a bit of an education at lunch while sitting at the table with John, Patty Carbajal, Robin Skinner, Glen Ertel and Dan Dixon!

Image result for playing cards- The card game had a winner with the 7 of spaces and Patty Carbajal won half the pot at $13.

Happy Bucks:

- Tricia Downey announced for Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba, who had to leave a bit early, that her Bee Hive Homes is now open!
- Cal Portner had a happy buck for his 6 year anniversary with the City of ER!
- Dirk Barrett was happy and thankful to Guardian Angels, on behalf of his in-laws.  They lived at GA, one in assisted living and one in transitional care and they are now moving to Bee Hive Homes so that they live together again!
- Molly Hanson was happy that her mom, who was in a car accident a few weeks ago, was doing well at GA transitional care and was discharged this morning after being there for two weeks!
- Lori Severson was happy to be happy!
- Al Sakry was happy to have traveled to Carolina for five days for a good time with his daughter, Jordan.  He was also happy that the baby raccoons were finally out of the wall of his home.  There were 5 babies in the wall and the daddy on the roof!
- Julie Fish was happy to announce her mom’s 85th birthday today and happy that her mom got hearing aids on Tuesday!
- Brandon Hanson was happy to be going to North Dakota for a hunting trip.  He has the hair grown out on his face and has been listening to country music in preparation of the pheasant hunt!
- Bruce Tyler was happy to announce that his grandson is now 7 months old.  Next week Bruce gets his new bottom teeth.  After he gets them, he will have more teeth than his grandson!
- Patty Carbajal was $5 happy and thanked Dirk Barrett for stepping up to be a STRIVE mentor!
- Molly Hanson had a happy buck for the Viking win over the Wisconsin team and happy for the injury sustained by quarterback Aaron Rodgers!

Happy Birthday song was sung to Nicole Rasmussen who is celebration her 29th birthday . . . again!

President Molly Hanson led us in a club assembly.   First was a reminder of our meeting time - 12:05 to 1:05 pm.  Work is being done for an on boarding process for new members.  The next subject was to talk about the honorary status members.  They currently pay no dues and in hind site, it may be necessary for them to pay a small fee for dues to help pay for local things.  This would not begin until July of 2018 but she wanted to be transparent and make everyone aware of the situation at hand.  Bruce Tyler, honorary status, said that he is ok to pay a fee and be an honorary member.  He would also like to know if there is a way that he can receive the magazine still. Honorary members with financial hardships can be discussed to accommodate.  Lynn Caswell, also with honorary status, has no objection to a fee in the future.  The amount for the fee still needs to be calculated.   Cal Portner would like to see how our dues are split up - local/district/international.  Molly spoke about members on leave and the costs involved in that.  As a club, we are billed and pay for, members on leave of absence.  The District suggests that the member cancel their membership for a leave, and resume membership when their leave time is up.  They can pick up where they left off as far as time in Rotary.    Next on Molly’s list was to talk about our Board Meetings.  Our current by-laws state that our board meetings should be held on the last Thursday of the month.  She would like to change them to the second Thursday of the month.  She listed some pros of moving the date.  Special board meetings can be had.  Dan Dixon suggested that the by-laws should not state a specific date of the month so it can be flexible for change without having to change the by-laws.  As a club, the vote was unanymous to change the date.   Next on the agenda was the Taste of Elk River.  We are in serious need of a co-chair for the 2018 Taste.  Tricia Downey chaired it in 2017 and will continue chairing for 2018, but needs a co-chair to train in for 2019 Taste chair.  If you are interested, please contact Tricia.   Our club is also in need of a new youth exchange officer.  It is currently being done by Dan Dixon who has done it for many, many years and is wanting a break from the duty.  If you are interested in this, please contact Molly or Dan.

We recited the 4 Way Test and the dismissal bell was rung!