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04/27/2023 - Club Assembly

05/04/2023 - Beth Richards -

05/11/2023 - Debbi Rydberg  -John Houlton - Tasting Tent and Wine Info

05/18/2023 -TASTE of Elk River Prep

05/25/2023 - Kat Sarff


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Inspiring leaders with passion to serve humanity; strengthening youth for tomorrow's leadership and enhancing lives in our world.

Thursday, April 20, 2023 
imageToday, President Theresa Slominski ran our meeting.

Dirk Barrett, Julie Fish, Neil Gagnon, Katie Harstad, Heather Kliewer, Mark Kuyava, Tove Lichty, Angela Nies, Cal Portner, Pete Reiner, Debbi Rydberg, Theresa Slominski, Marv Sorvala, Nicole Wojcik, honoraries Glen Ertel, Bob Maxwell, John Osterman and Bruce Tyler

Today for our program, we were introduced to Ben Bauman.  Ben is a local business owner of North Central Insurance. They offer a lot of different types of insurance but Ben came to talk to us about the topics of Medicare and Social Security.  He had an amazing information hand out for us today to help discuss the slightly complicated subject!  To Ben, it doesn’t appear to be complicated!  Medicare is a federal insurance program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Social Security office does not provide supplemental plan information or enrollment.  Here is where Ben comes in!  He knows the ins and outs of the different four parts to Medicare. He suggests that it is really never too early to inquire with him about your situation because each person is unique.  Timing is important! The initial enrollment period is during the last seven months before your 65th birthday, and the last three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday and three months after turning 65.  Ben shared the different components about the different parts to the program and shared a chart showing the Medicare Benefit, with the different plans, such as Medicare Only, Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, Plan F, Plan G, Plan K, Plan L, Plan M, Plan N.  It is a lot of information!  When you are ready, contact Ben at 763-241-7900 or email him at   We thanked Ben for coming today and sharing this information with us and also thanked him for all of his contributions to the Elk River Community!  He is one of our Taste of Elk River Sponsors and has also given a donation to our Silent Auction at our event!  He is also active in the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce, is an Advisory Board member for Three Rivers Community Foundation and supports many other local things!  Thank you, Ben!

-Taste o
f Elk River
*Each Rotarian is asked to please provide a Silent Auction item.  Heather Kliewer is our Silent Auction coordinator again this year (thank you, Heather) so if you have any questions, please reach out to her.
*Bob Maxwell, online ticket guru reports that online sales are up and running and this morning he had a couple of ticket sales!
*Cal Portner led us in a team update with three of the four managers present in the room.  He first reported that we have to change the name of our “Drug Czar” to “Drug Despot”. (despot: a ruler or other person who olds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way.) Cal called up our Drug Despot, Bruce “Buck” Tyler who demonstrated how he will tell if someone is using PED’s with his magic switch in his right arm.  He reports that next week, someone will be hovered over!  Lol!  Nicole Wojcik with team Cocoa Crispers, John Osterman with team Fighting Burbot and Mark Kuyava with team The Bomba Squad each took a turn at filling us with a little team badgering and tall tale telling of ticket sales!   Rotarian Julie Fish explained to the new members, that during ticket sales and reporting, we do NOT follow the 4 Way Test of the things we think, say and do!   Commissioner Cal Portner shared many educational baseball tidbits with us and did a report for team Stealing Home who’s manager was not present to report.

Introducing Fighting Burbots
Veteran TASTE of Elk River
Team Manager:
Jon Osterman 
One of the best - a multi-year ticket sales winner but 
always a little "fishy". 

-Tove Lichty Provided a report on a forum she attended.  The topic was about kids and mental health.  It was dynamic event and she was surprised at how many non-Rotarians were in attendance.  Cindy from Open Doors for Youth attended the event with Tove. This event filled Tove’s Rotary heart!

-President Theresa Slominski reported that she attended the Rochester Rotary’s 35th Anniversary event this past week and had a chance to meet the new incoming International President who is from Pennsylvania.  Her topic was “What makes a club irresistible?”.  Theresa shared that there are a lot of different ways to engage folks.  For some, zoom meetings was huge.  Some have impact clubs where they only do projects and do not have meetings.  Some clubs have satellite style groups of their clubs.  We are encourage to step out of our box to come up with something new to involve more people.

-Card Game - a king of clubs was drawn and there was not a match . . . the fund grows!

Happy Bucks

-Theresa Slominski was $5 happy for some one on one time with her daughter for a couple of days!
-Heather Kliewer was happy for time spent with her son, Jackson, who is going to be spending time in Idaho for about four months.  They went to Aegir and played trivia and she was also happy to have seen Casey Mahon, past Elk River rotarian.
-Debbi Rydberg was happy for a new employee, happy for Ben Bauman and all he does, happy for Rotary training, that it is good and that they spread it out, and happy for the digital sign at the Chamber office, which will have a sign telling folks to buy Taste of Elk River tickets there and happy for today - 4/20!
-Katie Harstad was happy to tell us about oldest of three kids.  Her daughter is turning 12 on Friday and has a dance competition to perform her solo at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium and Katie is looking forward to spending quality time doing fun things with her daughter during the six hour bit of time between performance and awards!
- Julie Fish was happy for a new employee, for Ben and all he does and for a road trip this afternoon to Brainerd to go cheer on a couple of cousins who are performing in a Dancing with the Stars fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity!
-Dirk Barrett was happy for Ben to be our speaker and all he does for our community.
-Pete Reiner also had a happy buck for Ben!  Good thing Ben came today!  He raised some funds for us!  Lol!
-Marv Sorvala was happy to tell us that he and his wife are house shopping in Florida for a “winter” home!
-Nicole Wojcik was happy to hopefully be opening up her happy place camper near Clear Lake next week to enjoy relaxing time there.  She was also happy to report that her friend Connie who had cancer, has had her final reconstructive surgery is is doing well, her hair is coming back and she is cancer free!  Nicole also shared that we are her extended family and that she loves our support, especially in the month of April as this is the month, 17 years ago she lost her cousin who was like a brother and 5 years ago, she lost her dad.  She appreciates our support!

Together we recited the 4 Way Test of the things we think, say and do!
Thursday, April 13, 2023 

Today President Theresa Slominski led our imagemeeting.  John Osterman led us in our usual song, then to Cal Portner who had the program today and led us in the “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” song to kick off our Taste of Elk River ticket sales day!

Dirk Barrett, Julie Fish, Katie Harstad, Heather Kliewer, Bonnie Koste, Mark Kuyava, Tove Lichty, Dr. Laura Mullennex, Angela Nikes, Cal Portner, Pete Reiner, Theresa Slominski, Marv Sorvala, David Vinje, Nicole Wojcik, Bill Yueill, honoraries Dave Anderson, Bob Maxwell, John Osterman and Bruce Tyler

-Mike, soon to be our assistant district governor.  He will replace Sandy Campbell

He was excited to be here.  He represents Area 12 of District 5960 so he has Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Cambridge-Isanti.  He will visit us every few weeks and looks forward to learning about us.
Image result for boy scouts of americaJim Acres with the Boy Scouts came today to tell us about the upcoming Boy Scout breakfast, Thursday, April 27, 7 to 8 am at the Elk River American Legion.

Today was the exciting day - the Taste of Elk
River ticket sales kick off!  Cal Portner once again has committed to us to be our Commissioner for our baseball themed ticket sales.  He explained the baseball theme to everyone and told us that it is an honor to him to be our Commissioner.  There are only 10 commissioners in baseball since forever ago! He informed us of our new Drug Czar - Bruce “Buck” Tyler.  He will make sure we all play nice and he will be checking for PHD’s in those who are suspicious, according to Buck! Buck is watching us and said that Managers may exempt, but may be not!  In usual tradition, Cal had some baseball stories to share with us. He called up John Osterman with the Fighting Burbott team as that team is the reigning champion team! John shared his team line up with us - Julie F., David V., Pete R., Tim Jones with Aegir, Kat S., Lynn Caswell, Glen E., Robin Skinner, Matt Schiller with Lupulin, Dr. Laura “The Back Breaker” Mullennex.  Dr. Laura is a new member so I am sharing their nick names!  Lol!
Next up was Terry Bizal.  Past team name of “Oops You Did It Again” and new team name of “Stealing Home Team”. Terry announced his team line up - Brandon Hanson, Stewart W., Jim B., Dave A., Angela “Never Say Nies” Nies, Cal P., Molly H., Neil G., Jay “Big Lake Calhoun” Calhoun, Dirk Barrett.
Next in line was Nicole Wojcik with her team, the Cocoa Crispers.  Here line up is - Katie “The Rock” Harstad, Heather “The Meat” Kliewer, Tove L., Theresa S., Adam S., Beth R., Marv “Civil” Sorvala, Bill “Wild Bill” Yueill, Bruce T., and Willies on the Water!
Final Manager is a new manger!  Welcome to Management, Mark “Cool Java” Kuyava! The team name is The Bomba Squad.  Mark’s line up of players is - Casey Mahon, Debbi R., James Clock, Bonnie K., John Kalade, Marilyn VanPatten-Chiba, Jennifer Wagner, D’s Smokehouse and Pour Wine Bar & Bistro.

Bob Maxwell will once again be at the on-line sales helm and he is his own team!
Great job Commissioner Cal Portner and the team mangers!  A fun time was had by all!

Taste of Elk River
* Posters, flyers etc. are on the back table.  Take as many as you like and please feel free to hang them around town.
* Molly Hanson has sent around the shift sign up sheet.  Each Rotarian is asked to be there for set up (1 to 5 pm), volunteer for at least one 2 hour time slot during the event, and stay for clean up and social when our event is done. 
* It was noted that the Private Tasting Room tickets price has raised from $15 to $20.  Taste tickets are $35.  If selling both, the cost will be $55.
* Dirk reported that tents and electricity will be done Wednesday before the event.

-President Theresa reminded the board that there is a board of directors meeting next week, following our regular meeting.

-Debbi Rydberg let us know that the yard signs that were ordered are in!  Please take yours if you ordered one.

-Tove Lichty, next week on Wednesday morning, is going to the Women’s Club in St. Paul to attend a forum on mental health in high schools.  This is sponsored by the St. Paul Rotary Club.  She and Cindy Le from Open Doors for Youth are attending and all are welcome to join them!  Let her know if you’d like to attend also!

-Card draw was a 6 of clubs and there was not a winner!

-Happy Birthday song was sung to Molly Hanson!  She chose the $10 version and note to treasurer, Neil Gagnon, she needs an I.O.U. on that!

Happy Buckeroooos
-Heather Kliewer shared some CAER Food Shelf stats with us!  They served an 1031 families, normally 500 to 600 families!  It was a record breaker!
-Debbi Rydberg was happy for the stunning weather and happy to have traveled up and down Hwy. 169 without swearing!  She was also happy that the Zimmerman Business Council meeting had 40 in attendance for their first meeting!
-Angela Nies was happy for the sunshine and a loud radio!
-Bob Maxwell paid a not happy buck for the Gophers hockey team! Second was not too bad.
-Mike, our incoming Assistant District Governor was happy to be here!
-Bill Yueill was happy for a Twins win and recovery!
-Julie Fish was happy to have seen the great white pelicans and some loons on the Mississippi River in her back yard!

Together we recited the 4 Way Test of the things we think, say and do!
imageToday, President Theresa Slominski led our meeting for us.  She welcomed honorary Rotarian Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba who has been missing for a while.
Guest:   Eileen Anderson, guest of Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba
Dirk Barrett, Terry Bizal, Julie fish, Molly Hanson, Katie Harstad, Heather Kliewer, Bonnie Koste, Mark Kuyava, Tove Lichty, Dr. Laura Mullennex, Angela Nies, Cal Portner, Pete Reiner, Debbi Rydberg, Kat Sarff, Theresa Slominski, Marv Sorvala, Nicole Wajcik, honorary Bob Maxwell, John Osterman, Bruce Tyler and Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba
Dr. Laura arranged our program today and had a very solid prayer to start us off!  She introduced us to Traci Larson, RNC & LNHA and CEO of Guardian Angels of Elk River.  She has been with Guardian Angels for one year in May.  She replaced Dan Dixon, who was a past Rotarian.  Traci shared their mission statement and had a slide presentation for us.  Guardian Angels was started in 1965 and serve the local population over 85 years young. They now have 500 staff members, 713 residents, 1504 home care/hospice clients and a revenue of 40 million, annually.  They have a couple of great fund raisers – a gala and a golf tournament.  Traci shared the history of Guardian Angels withus and how it began. She then went through each location and told us the stats of the number of units available.  All of their sites are 95 to 98% full! They are always looking for volunteers to help with many things as they are growing like crazy!
-Taste of Elk River meeting tonight at 5 pm at Aegir.    Cal Portner reports he is in need of one more team manager.  The draft was held today and teams will be announced and tickets handed out next week.  If you are a new member and don’t have your baseball nick name yet, this is your chance to get the nick name you want – let Cal Portner know your desires.  If not, he will be assigning your baseball name.   Food vendors will be offered a $200 stipend this year.  Heather Kliewer is heading up our Silent Auction and asks that each rotarian provide at least one silent auction item.
-Friends of Scouting   All are welcome to Image result for boy scouts of americaattend!  President Theresa has a brochure.
-Our District Governor, Dayle Quigley is encouraging attendance to an Imagine Rotary Midwest conference at the end of April and will be held at Madden’s Resort in Brainerd.  Let Theresa know if you need more information.
-Rochester Rotary is celebrating their 25th year and invites to join in their fun on April 19th.  The speaker is the new incoming International President.
-Birthday!  Julie Fish had a birthday and flipped into a new decade!  She requested that everyone sing Happy Birthday to her backwards and it was worth three 20 dollar bills!  One buck for each year!
Happy $$
-Heather Kliewer was happy for her 5K volunteers in the room – Mark K., Dirk B., Angela N. and Neil G. for their assistance with their blizzard 5K Fools Run.  100 people came and a lot of help was received from city and county levels!
-Angela Nies was happy because she has six kids and is nearly an empty nester.  She was happy because all were going to be home for the holiday!
-Bonnie Koste was $20 happy!  A sad dollar for putting Bob on the spot and sad she missed her meeting/program last week.  She thanked Bob for filling in.  Vacations are done!
-Cal Portner was happy that silly basketball is over and hockey can commence!  Go Gophers!
-Nicole Wojcik was happy for a trip to Baxter with her daughter to visit her mom and do some shipping.  She was also happy for Easter family time.
-Marilyn VanPatten Chuba was happy to be here and plans to be here4 more often.  She was happy for a good winter, she hibernated!
-Kat Sarff was happy because she hit her two year job marker and is seeing things come to fruition and it makes her super happy and proud of herself. She is excited for the future of networking with other non-profits!
-John Osterman was happy for his bowling team who won the league for the second year in a row!
-Tove Lichty was happy to be back.  Florida was great and warm!  She was also happy to be traveling to South Dakota for Easter and she will see her 8 nieces/nephews.  She was also happy to tell us she attended a grant meeting at the district level and our club is eligible to write a grant!  Ideas?  Contact Tove to get the ball rolling!
-Mark Kuyava was happy for a $2 gopher hockey theme - $2 for 2 wins!
Together we recited the 4 way test of the things we think, say and do!
Thursday, March 30, 2023 
Dirk Barrett, Terry Bizal, Julie Fish, Neil Gagnon, Katie Harstad, Heather Kliewer, Bonnie Koste, Mark Kuyava, Dr. Laura Mullennex, Angela Nies, Cal Portner, Pete Reiner, Marv Sorvala, Nicole Wojcik, Bill Yueill, honorary Dave Anderson, Bob Maxwell, John Osterman and Bruce Tyler
Today our meeting was led by past president from 1998, John Osterman.  Bob Maxwell led our prayer.  It was held at Rockwoods.
Bob Maxwell introduced us to one of our own Rotarians – Katie Harstad with Rockwoods.  Katie is the General Manager at Rockwoods and worked her way up the success ladder from being a waitress in the beginning!  She has been with the company for 17 years.  At home, she has three children from ages 12 to 2!  Both of her parents are ERHS graduates and she loves the Elk River community!  She is involved in Rotary, Chamber, Otsego Lions, Biz to Biz and is a part of the ISD 728 CT Advisory board.  She has a presentation on the screen for us and shared photos of things she loves and her family!  She then went into a presentation about running a restaurant and provided us with lots of great information and what makes the “Rockwoods Difference”!  The difference is the fresh food they use and the quality employees they have!  A lot of their staff has been there for many years! Rockwoods hosts weddings and custom events and does catering offsite as well.  One of their favorite things they do is Bonfire Wednesdays where they provide a free outdoor concert each Wednesday of the summer!  Great presentation, Katie.
Next up – John Osterman called up the head coach of the ERHS 2022 Football team – Steve Hamilton. 
Steve is in his 25th year of coaching as head coach.  He is from Michigan, has coached there and in Georgia before coming to Elk River.  We also met Mike Cross, the defensive coordinator and players Cade and Jack.  Steve stated that it is an honor to be here, but it is really about the players and their hard work.  Since 2016, the Elks have had 69 wins in 6 years and are #2 in the state. 
Cade was voted as Mr. Football for being the best player in the state and Jack is an All State Defense player and Tight End!  The players had a great run of hard work.  No missing and they show up every day to work hard!  There are two factors to their success.  They have identity of who they are.  They have discipline, mental toughness and are selfless.  It is who they are!  They have a vision to achieve goals and everyone needs to go the same direction.  Players trust the process that the coaches lead.  They had many kickers this year, but they had their first female – Bree!  Bree was awesome and was a starting goalie for the soccer team. She was a consistent kicker and during the championship game, the coaches trusted her to get the job done.  She is the first female to EVER score in a prep bowl!  Coach Hamilton hopes that it inspires other females!  Question/Answer session was had.
The program took up the whole time of our meeting so there were no announcements, happy bucks or the card game.
Together we recited the 4 Way Test of the things we think, say and do!
Together we recited the 4 Way Test of the things we think, say and do!
Thursday, March 16, 2023 
imageToday, President Theresa Slominski ran our program for us!
Jay Calhoun, Neil Gagnon, Molly Hanson, Heather Kliewer, Mark Kuyava, Dr. Laura Mullennex, Debbi Rydberg, Theresa Slominski, Marv Sorvala, Nicole Wojcik, honoraries Dave Anderson, Bob Maxwell, John Osterman and Bruce Tyler

Member Jay Calhoun joined us and had been missing for quite a bit of time!  President Theresa took the opportunity to officially induct him into membership!  Welcome Jay!

Today our program was arranged by Tove Lichty.  She introduced us to John Purves with the Glencoe Rotary Club.  John shared information with us about Camp RYLA.  Camp RYLA is a four day leadership camp for High School sophomores and juniors.  It is held at the YMCA Camp outside of Hudson, WI.  Through interaction with other students and adult supervisors, engaging with outside speakers and program experts, problem solving, communication challenges and other activities, students gain great insight into leadership basics; communication; problem solving and decision making; conflict management and resolution; personal strengths; community and global citizenship.  The camp is open to sophomores and juniors who are sponsored by local Rotary clubs from the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.  Students come from schools within an area that includes North Branch, Amery Wisconsin, Rochester, Glencoe and more!  They get a diverse population of students from different backgrounds and this ser4ves to enhance the experience for everyone!  Cost to attend is at no cost to the student.  Each sponsoring rotary club pays for their student to attend.  For 2023, the fee will be $450.    How can Elk River Rotary participate?  Sponsor a student and provide transportation to the event, including attending the Tuesday noon rotary luncheon in St. Paul.  Club members are welcome to attend Sunday night dinner at camp and observe or help lead ethical discussions after. Club members also have the opportunity to help to present on Leadership Toolbox items Saturday morning and may also volunteer as an Adult Counselor for the five-day four-night event. John shared a couple of stories and photos with us.   Camp RYLA dates are April 21-25, 2023 and registration is open now.  Please visit, click on the “PARTICIPANTS” tab at the top of the page, then click on the “ROTARY CLUB REGISTRATION FORM” box.  Complete the three pages of this form. You can either reserve a spot for your students now and resubmit with names later, or fill in your names now if you have them.  Direct your students to the same page and also have the parent/guardian go in and do this also.   There are separate application forms for students and for their parents.

-President Theresa Slominski and Honorary Rotarian John Osterman
both reported on the Rogers High School Reality Fair.  It was very interesting, students were awesome!

Happy Bucks
Nicole Wojcik, Molly Hanson, Theresa Slominski and Debbi Rydberg all had happy bucks.
Together we recited the 4 Way Test and were dismissed!