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.

Our Club Motto:

Serving Humanity 
Strengthening Youth 
Enhancing Lives

Upcoming Programs
February 8 - Tove Lichty - has arranged for us to hear from Park Ranger Tamara Simonich from Lake Maria State Park
February 15 - Club Assembly and Evening Social Hour
February 22 - John Osterman 
March 1 - Cal Portne
Bulletin Editor
Bob Maxwell
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Inspiring leaders with passion to serve humanity; strengthening youth for tomorrow's leadership and enhancing lives in our world.

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February 1, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Attendance: active status - 23 present, 12 absent
honorary status - 2 present, 6 absent
total membership at 43
Our meeting today was ran by President-Elect, Robin Skinner!
Her first order of business was to hand out ballots for board of directors and officers.  She wanted us to all have some time to look at it and we will come back to that later in the meeting.
Lori Serverson reminded us to mark our calendars for our next Rotary Social Event!!  Thursday, February 15 from 5 to 7, we will meet at Applebee’s.   Please put this on your calendar and come and join in the fun, fellowship and support to one of our Taste of Elk River past vendors.  Feel free to bring a guest or two!  It will be a cash bar, order off the menu if you desire, type of event!
Name badges were handed out to our four newest Rotarians - Greg Heinecke, Dr. Dave Anderson, DJ Bakken, and Linda Christian, who were all present at the meeting!  President-Elect Robin, informed them to be prepared in the next week or two, to be called upon to give your brief introduction to the group.  (Don’t be nervous - we are all nice people!)
Dave Anderson announced that he has his famous collection envelope dusted off and ready to collect our money and check our names off his list.  As tradition goes, each Rotarian is to give $20 to the Wall of Wine for the Taste of Elk River.  Please get your funds to Dave in the next few weeks so they can hit up the wine sale at the local liquor store!
Image result for playing cardsCard game card drawn by the student of the month was a two of hearts and there was not a winner!
Happy Bucks:
- Terry Bizal was happy to have traveled to Moscow Russia to enjoy watching his daughter play hockey in an under 18 tournament. He was also able to see how Russians live and celebrated their Christmas on January 7th!  He said his visa let him out and back in and he is proud of his daughter, to say the least!
- Debbi Rydberg was happy to have attended the YMCA Gala last Friday and was the winner of the “table of booze” raffle!  Party at her house!
- Julie Fish was happy to announce that on this day, 36 years ago, Elk River Printing had it’s first day of business!  February 1, 1982
- Linda Christian was happy that her 52 year old brother and his fiancé got married!  It was a first time marriage for both of them!  Linda is happy to have a sister-in-law so she can boss her around in the kitchen!  Lol!
- Nicole Rasmussen was happy to have survived the month with her daughter participating in both JO volleyball and swim club.  It was a lot, but the got ‘er done and didn’t miss a thing!
- Troy Adams was happy to announce that his author wife, Sara Biren, has been nominated for a Minnesota book award!
- DJ Bakken was happy to have a friend from the Ukraine coming into town today!  It was suggested that he bring his friend to Rotary and perhaps could be a program??!!
Student of the Month:  Rotarian Terry Bizal introduced us to Sam Erickson.  Sam is our January Student of the Month.  Sam introduced us to his parents, Todd and Stacy.   His father, Todd, thanked us for having this program!  Sam enjoys having fun in sports and participating in the National Honor Society (NHS).  He participates in baseball and basketball and is a baseball officiant for younger kids.  He enjoys this job and noted that some parents don’t like how the games go!  He likes AP chemistry and one day hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon.  When asked if he likes science or math better, he replied, science!  He is thinking of attending the U of M or perhaps Stanford.  His hobbies are sports, family, friends and he like to ski in the winter.  His hero is his dad!  This was touching as Sam told his dad, in front of all of us strangers, “I love you, dad”!  Great kid!  He loves baseball and hit his first home run at the age of 9.  Last fall he traveled to Kansas for a tournament and his team won it!  He displays leadership skills by being the best he can.  He doesn’t have a lot of free time, so balance is important.  He has enjoyed science and history day projects.  He tries his hardest to do what he can in all aspects of his life.  He is thinking orthopedic surgery because he like to help people and he likes science.  He plays baseball at ERHS and with a team called the Legends, which is a group from Osseo/Maple Grove area.  He is currently playing basketball at ERHS and played his first varsity game this week!   Terry congratulated him again and Robin Skinner presented him with a certificate.  Thanks to Debbi Rydberg for capturing the photo moment.
Back to the ballot . . . Robin announced that the ballots are to announce the upcoming election and that we are open for nominations. She encouraged us to write our name down, or suggest someone and write down their name.  After you write on the slip, please get it to Robin or Molly Hanson.  We will vote on February 15th at our Club Assembly.
Our program today was arranged by Rotarian Amanda Larson.  Amanda has been out on leave, due to the birth of her beautiful daughter Cece!  Cece and her big brother Cash have been keeping Amanda very busy!  We were glad to see Amanda at Rotary today!   Amanda has been in Rotary for many years and was a member at other clubs, previous to joining us in Elk River.  She is employed by Sherburne County, but mostly a mother of two!   She introduced us to Kristy Heying.  Kristy is a health coordinator through Sherburne County Health and Human Services. She coordinates the work site wellness program.  Today she was speaking to us about the Tri Wellness at Work program, made possible through SHIP (statewide health improvement partnership) grants.  She works together with folks from Benton and Stearns Counties.  Across the state, communities are working together through SHIP to expand opportunities for active living, healthy eating and tobacco-free living.  Chronic diseases are among the leading causes of death in Minnesota.  SHIP works on preventing chronic disease by strengthening the capacity of communities to create their own healthy futures.  Good health is created where people live, work, learn and play.  They are making progress!  in 2014, the MN adult obesity rate was 27.6% and in 2015, it was lowered to 26.1%.  In 2010, MN adult smoking rate was 16.1% and in 2014 at 14.4%.  Kristy had a couple of handouts for us, sharing more information.  If you would like more information, please contact Kristy Heying at 763-765-4106 or  Our speaker was thanked and Robin presented her with a key tag with the 4-Way Test on it.  As a group, we recited the 4-Way Test and Robin rang the bell of dismissal.
January 25, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Active status - 16 present, 20 absent
Honorary status - 4 present, 4 absent
Total membership at 44 members
Visiting Rotarians:
Karl Erickson, Princeton Rotary
Duane Gates, Monticello Rotary
Duane came to tell us about the upcoming fish fry that is put on by the Monticello Rotary.  It is their 41st annual and will take place on Friday, March 2, from 4:30 to 7 pm at Pinewood Elementary in Monticello.
President Molly Hanson gave a board update and announced that we have new Rotarians - Dr. Dave Anderson, DJ Bakken and Linda Christian!  Welcome! With regret, she announced the resignation of Rotarian Joel Brott
Robin Skinner, president elect, announced that she is looking for her president elect, when she is president.  Let Robin know if you are interested in this position or perhaps you have a desire to be the club secretary or a board member?  Please let her know!
On Monday, February 12th, our server at Pizza Ranch, Larissa (Shorty), wants us to all come to eat at Pizza Ranch for a fund raiser for Special Olympics Elk River Area.  It will run from 4:30 to 8 pm and 10% of the sales and 100% of the tips go to this group!
Amanda Othoudt announced that she has sponsorship packets.  She handed out a few packets and Bob Maxwell will email the packet to all Rotarians so watch for yours to come!  
Image result for playing cardsWe were tight for time, so happy bucks were dismissed.  The card drawn was a queen of clubs but there was not a winner.
Bob Maxwell shared a video that he made.  It was made originally for our 50th anniversary, but he has added some to it since then.  There were many photos of days gone by!  Nice job Bob! After the video, Bob said, that is why he stays in Rotary!
Bob introduced us to his program speaker, Troy Bondy “PT” (short for Pastor Troy).   Troy is the director at Timber Bay.  Since 1979, Timber Bay has offered hope to young people by welcoming teens wherever they come from and providing a safe place to navigate life’s ups and downs.  Troy thanked us for all that we do to help Timber Bay in the past.  He thanked us for our partnership.  Timber Bay is an outreach to at risk youth, and who’s not at risk?!   This causing risk are poverty, chemical abuse, physical and sexual abuse, bullying and many other reasons.  Our world is confusing and there is a lot of depression and suicide on the increase.   Timber Bay is statewide and also includes Wisconsin and Iowa.  Troy was here today to get the word out about Timber Bay.  They have a team of 6 adults that help kids out.  They become mentors to them, for life.  He spoke about “Rosie” and how she has been at Timber Bay for a very long time.  She is in charge of food and is still in touch with some she mentored, who are now in their 30’s.  Troy thanked Pizza Ranch for food also as they donate food for their Thursday evening meetings.  Everybody has a story and everybody matters.  Timber Bay folks meet weekly and enjoy chapel time and fellowship.  They also have camps where they can ice fish, sled, and kids have a lot of fun.  The mentorship part of this program is significant. Mentoring offers kids a chance to open up.  We can help Timber Bay by getting the word out or by giving donations.  If you are interested in mentoring, please contact Troy at 763-898-6645 or  Bob presented Troy with a key tag with the 4 Way Test on it.  We recited the test together and Molly rang the bell of dismissal.
January 18, 2018 - Regular Meeting
active status - 21 present and 12 absent
honorary status - 5 present and 3 absent
total membership - 41 members

Rotarian Bill Haring turned in two make up slips!  He attended Forest Lake, MN and Branson, MO

Guest:  Linda Christian, Sherburne County Abstract & Title/prospective member

We welcomed Dr. Dave Anderson, a new member, attending his first official meeting!  Dave happens to be Joe Anderson’s father.  Joe is a student at ERHS who is very active in Youth in Government and he recently ran for governor and lost by 12 votes and two recounts!

President Molly Hanson paid $5 to do a little advertising about a fundraiser for the YMCA.  It takes place on Friday, January 26 from 6 to 9:30 pm and will be held at The Links at Northfork Golf Course.  Tickets are $60. Contact Molly for more information.

Molly Hanson passed around a few copies of a newsletter that is produced at Youth in Government.

Image result for playing cardsA card was drawn - the queen of diamonds - no winner!

Happy Bucks:

- Bruce Tyler was happy that tomorrow is his grandson’s 10 month birthday!  Bruce invested in many security locks and his grandson has already figured out how to unlock them!
- Debbi Rydberg was happy that her father is home from the hospital and on the mend!
- Curt Hinkle was happy that he and his wife were able to take a grandson to Arizona for a baseball tournament and the team won the whole thing!
- Brandon Hanson and his wife are on a 30 day “diet” and his wife lost today, on the 18th day!
- Bill Haring was happy to have traveled for a couple of weeks to Branson, Dallas and Houston and reports that the Bison are the the champions for the sixth time!
- Troy Adams addressed a comment from John Osterman, and is happy to say he will cheer for the Vikings!   Troy was also happy that he had a date with his wife last weekend and will have another one this weekend as the kids are out of town!
- Lori Severson has not been a Vikings fan since the 70’s with Fran Tarkenton but her happy buck was for Diggs as he impressed her with his determination!
- Julie Fish was $5 happy!  Trip to Florida for 5 days; had fun leading rotary last week; spoke to honorary member Mary Eberley on the phone and she is doing well; and the rest is for the SKOL cheering!
- Lynn Caswell had a conditional happy buck but according to something he read on the internet, non of the Vikings players kneel!
- Brandon Hanson thought of another happy buck and paid one for an ad creation that Julie Fish gifted him with for his birthday!
- Barry Hohlen had a happy buck for a fun Vikings game back in 1975!
- Molly Hanson had happy bucks for the Vikings and she shared a story!
- Marilyn VanPatten-Chuba doesn’t watch the Vikings games "because at her age” she might have a heart attack!  She happened to click the tv channel just in time to see the victorious win!


Rotarians Mark Leland and Greg Heinecke, both representatives from Spectrum High School, gave us an update on the school programming and growth!  Mark, principal for grades 7 - 12, told us that when he began employment at Spectrum, he was told by administration that he would joining Rotary.  Their new director, past Rotarian, Dan DeBruyen, wanted them to be involved in the community.   Greg, principal for the 6th grade, said ditto to what Mark said.  They have heard of rotary and they love the energy and excitement.  They had a video presentation to share with us.  Spectrum is a college readiness school with strong school values. Characteristics of a Charter School are - similar to public school and there is not a tuition fee; their point of study/emphasis is on college prep; they are operated independently and are District 4160, no affiliation is ISD 728; work with Volunteers of America.  Spectrum began in 206/07 with 60 students and were located in the local Boys and Girls Club and had 29 graduates.  The 2017/18 enrollment is at 685 students and they are now consume two buildings and are working on a third building to expand their campus!  They predict in the next 3 to 5 years, they will host around 850 students. The new building, which will begin construction remodeling in February, will create more classroom space as they shift 240 students.  They will be creating a college and career readiness program.  Current class sizes range from 19 to 1 to 28 to 1 in a few classes.  They offer college prep curriculum and a technology integrated environment with community based outreach.  They offer 19 college courses.  69 college credits, 76 classes with AP level.  Their program is referred to as “CASH” and they work with Anoka Ramsey, Bethel, Pine Technical College and the U of MN.  Every student works to be a part of the community.   Their 2017 graduates will have 1600 college credits accomplished which reflects a savings of around $275,000 to them and their families!  84% of their graduates have some college credits and many have AA degrees with their high school diploma.  In 2018, they will graduate 56 students.   Spectrum also works with the AVID program. AVID stands for Advanced Via Individual Determination. It is an elective course for students in grades 7-12.  It is a college career readiness system and targets towards the academic middle school student.  Other indicators are GPA, first generation college student, economic status, self motivation, under represented student groups.  Greg talked about their service learning program and students are required to do so much community service per quarter.  Middle school students are required to do 3 hours per quarter and the high school students are required to do 5 hours per quarter.  They have 9 high school and middle school groups and 6 high school and middle school mixed groups that are service learning groups to that each student is given the opportunity to learn about many ways to give to the community.  Spectrum is open to ideas and are always moving the program forward.  They offer many extra curricular activities as well - 17  varsity sport programs, fine arts, clubs, student council and national honor society.  What makes Spectrum great is it’s people!    Molly thanked Mark and Greg and had us recite the 4 Way Test and rang the bell of dismissal.

Today’s meeting was followed by a Board of Directors meeting.
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.