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Benton Harbor Robotics Team / Joe Taylor
Mar 27, 2019
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Bob Kynast
Apr 03, 2019 7:00 AM
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Apr 10, 2019 7:00 AM
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#27802 in District 6360
We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Drive
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Write to us at:
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary
PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor. MI 49023-1552
Meeting Presentations and Stories
CircEsteem, a program using circus apparatus, has been improving the lives of young people in Chicago for 19 years.  Now Dottie Gietler, youth leadership director for Ghostlight Theatre, announced today that a CircEsteem Summer Camp will be offered in two weeks in June 2019.  Campers, ages 6-16, will be given opportunities to learn a variety of circus activities.  See the short video below for an introduction.
The video is also available at
The camp is one or two weeks, June 17-21 and June 24-28, 9 am to 4 pm, with a public performance at the end of each week.  The camp costs $250 each week, free transportation is available on request.  To learn more, donate or volunteer, go to
Martha "Martie" Hesse is the executive director of The Ghostlight Theatre. She has been working for the past 18 months to establish her 501c3, purchasing a building at 101 Hinkley in the Arts District of Benton Harbor, connected to the local arts community, especially Paul Mow, music director of Twin City Players. After acquiring a matching grant of $50,000 from Michigan Economic Development, she raise $100,000 from local enthusiasts and businesses. A full slate of shows have been planned for this summer, starting with Bridges of Madison County opening June 13, 2019. There are tons of opportunities to participate, volunteer, donate, buy a seat with your name on it, etc.  For the other shows for summer 2019 and more information click here.  Martie explained that the ghostlight is the light left on so the theatre would not be completely dark.
Patti Masters is the Early Head Start Administrator for Tri-County Head Start, serving Berrein, Cass and Van Buren counties.  The organization takes a "whole family" approach when dealing with clients. Interviews with clients can lead to a wide range of services such as, safe sleep information, prenatal care, and referral to other agencies.  Home visits address toddlers with older children attending centers four days per week. Family members are incorporated into activities to avoid the agency being used as a babysitter. Preparing each child for the next step, preschool or kindergarten is the primary objective.There are qualifying factors but no fees. Volunteers are welcome.  Click here to  volunteer, learn more or donate.
Our club partnered with Countryside Academy to pilot the Reading Now program for reading improvement. One element is the library-in-the-classroom which provides an extensive selection of books right in the classroom.  The teacher reports: "The majority of my classroom groups are extremely engaged in the books. For example, this week one group is reading Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus! This book is not only award winning (Caldecott Honor) and great for practice with reading expression, but it’s highly engaging! All kids love the pigeon books." We'll have to wait for end of year testing to see if this interest turns into students ready for third grade.
At the first meeting of the year the new foundation directors elected the following officers for 2019.
Dave Bly - president
Mel Burton - vice-president
Barbara Starke - treasurer
Ellen Russell - secretary
Their terms are the calendar year.
The other directors are Alice Ford, Mike Kinney and Larry Jackson.
Thanks for your willingness to serve our organization and the community.
Russ Simonson is chaplain of the Berrien County Jail.  He works for Forgotten Man Ministries, an organization that has chaplains in 35 counties in Michigan. For 15 years he has used a faith-based approach to helping inmates with anger management, addiction and self control.  He approaches his work with a belief that only God can help someone overcome their issues. It all starts with a book cart pushed along outside the cells.  That cart provides an opportunity to start a conversation with inmates. Bibles are provided on request only.  Russ brings volunteers in to discuss their own life's journey to help inmates see a path forward. Faith often helps people gain power to resist temptations and stick with their plans.  Mrs. Simonson works with the women inmates, which number 70 at this time. To learn more, volunteer or make a donation, click here
  • Discussed moving 5K and Bed Race to better focus to each event
  • The club will hold its first "pint night" at the Livery as a fundraiser, to introduce Rotary and previewing a new satellite club option
  • Discussed doing a 5k the same day as the St. Joe club's track meet
  • Agreed to have the entire membership complete background checks (per our youth interaction policy)
This club's foundation has enrolled in Amazon Smile, a program whereby Amazon donates 0.5 % of all sales to the shopper's designated charity.  It's very easy to use and offers all the great shopping possibilities, at the same prices as ordinary shopping at Amazon.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3 to start sending donations to your favorite charity.
  1. Enter in the address bar
  2. Log in with your regular account information
  3. Select your charity.  For our Foundation, type Rotary Club of Benton Harbor Sunrise Foundation. It should pop up as you type.  Each time you sign in you are shown the charity.  You can change it at any time.
That's all there is to it.  Just remember to Smile before you start shopping.
Our club's own members Farai Rukunda, left, and Brian Saxton, briefed the club on initial thoughts for an international project is Farai's home village of Arnoldine, Zimbabwe. One of the ideas being studied is a chicken and egg factory.  A study by the Africa University shows the possibilities.  Water and arable land for growing feed are available. Many of the pieces of a project are falling in place: there is a local Rotary in Zimbabwe, there is a possible partner for a Nebraskan Rotary Club.  And RI has a person dedicated to Zimbabwe at the Evanston headquarters. A critical step would be a community assessment done according to RI standards. The club  encouraged Farai and Brain to continue to explore the possibilities and return for an update in a few months.


The club continued its long tradition of bell ringing to raise funds for the Salvation Army. Teams of two were at each door at Walmart through out the day.  People were generous with their money and their thanks. Shown below are Felicia Smith and one of her Interact members, and then Bob Elliott, left, and Bob Kynast. Thanks to the Utroskes and the Kinneys for filling in for Alan Bartlett who is recovering from surgery.
Our own Barbara Starke explained the photo as an example of Chinese medicine. The body has an extensive and complex energy system that flows throughout. When the body is in balance and healthy the energy flows easily, but blockages and interruptions cause stagnation, disease and discomfort. Ear Acupuncture is one approach that relieves stress throughout the body. It is based on the belief that points on the ear are associated with the kidney, liver, lung, nervous system and spirit. Barb is offering weekly sessions at the Yeager Cancer Center in Royalton, Wednesdays afternoons from 3-6 pm.  Sessions are approximately 30 minutes long, just drop in. Appointments are not required; sessions are available for a free will offering.
The club gave their unanimous vote for officers for 2019-2020 as follows.
President - Cindy Kinney
President-Elect - Farai Rukunda
President Nominee - Julie Webb
Secretary - Dyann Chenault
Treasurer - Michael Mason
Committee Chairs
  Membership - Faria Rukunda
  Public Image - Kyra Utroske
  Administration - Dan Utroske
  Service Project - Lee Scherwitz
  New Generations - Rachel Cram
  Foundation and Fundraising - Eddie Marshall assisted by Dave Krieger
The members appreciate those willing to fill the important offices of the club. 
Brian Saxton attended Rotary's annual meeting in Toronto last . He thought the talk by James Marggraff offered several useful messages for our club. The talk includes Mr. Marggraff's three step method for problem solving: Clearly define the Problem to Solve (TPS), gather data, and define success and outcome measures.  The video is available below and at:
  The book mentioned is Factfulness.
This year's Christmas party added a twist to the normal fellowship, food and carols.  Each table constituted a team, with a name selected by the table, and tried to win the Christmas trivia contest.  Such as: Who wrote White Christmas?  Jim Bentham was the quiz master with Cindy looking on (to make sure Jim stayed on script, which he didn't!). The Big Team won, thanks primarily to Sue Scherwitz and Kyta Utroske.
Rotarians brought toys for the Wonderland Toy Store.  This "store" lets selected parents shop for their families at deep discounts. Donating to the toy store has become part of our Rotary Christmas tradition.
Jim Gendernalik, center, is shown the president Joseph Taylor, right, and his sponsor Jim Smith.  Jim is a third generation Rotarian and remembers will Rotary activities while he was growing up. Jim is a physician and co-owner of Family Physicians of St Joseph, team doctor for the Lake Michigan Catholic football team, and resides in St Joseph with his wife Sarah and two children. Welcome Jim.  We look forward to your contributions to our Rotary and the community we serve. Corrected: Jim's last name was misspelled in the original story and the first corrected version.  Sorry about that!!
We note with great sadness the death November 7, 2018 of Bill Brambilla at age 87. His obituary gives a complete account of this wonderful man.  So, I will remember Bill from his 14 years in our Rotary Club. He was our song leader and, if you never experienced him leading Row, Row, Row Your Boat, in rounds!, you missed an artist in action. Bill was also our super salesman.  He would outsell everyone, whether it was Superbooks or raffle tickets; he had a unique ability to bring people to YES. Bill will be missed. He is shown above with Julie Webb during our Pumpkin Festival.  The family requests memorial donations to the Logan Center for Autism , 1651 E. Nickerson Ave., Benton Harbor 49022.
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary is well on its way to selling gently used treasures on eBay.  Some people have been calling it a garage sale because it replaced our actual garage sale. It is much more like an estate sale. We have over 40 items (with more coming all the time!) ranging in price from $8.99 to $850.00...including precious and costume jewelry, vintage dolls, kitchen items, a sleigh,  and too many unique items to list them all here.  In order to access the eBay list easily, use either the hot link or scan the QR code below.
Jerry Price is the co-chair of the one-year-old Benton Harbor Education Foundation. Much progress has been made along the way.  The organization has established its 501c(3) public charity status.  Community sponsors and advocates have supplied a small war chest to get the organization working on its mission, which is:  to raise, steward and distribute resources to enrich the education of students in the Benton Harbor Area Schools and also the larger community.  K through 12 education is our focus.
  Mr. Price noted that area charter schools are excluded.  Activity will take place through four processes: Large grants for 3-5 year efforts, Small Grants, Staff Development Grants and Student Grants. Thus far they have allocated $85,000, $20,000, $20,000 and $10,000, repecitively in the four areas.  All activities of the organization are conducted at their website, (the .org URL was already taken).  Go there to learn more, donate or volunteer.
Dr. Herrera, CEO of Benton Harbor Area Schools made his first visit to Rotary since his appointment in July 2018. The first question was on the role of technology. Dr. Herrera first mention that the school district ha s new curriculum for k-12. The role of tech is to let the teacher personalize the learning for each student.  Many students are not at grade level and a tiered intervention is used.  The district has eleven readingspecialist aid the teachers. Technology is used to provide time outside of class. Tier three involves additional classroom time.
     The district is still 20 teachers short and using substitutes as needed. But the State Department of Education is helping by providing funds to bring teachers pay back in line after many reductions and give-backs.  On average teachers will receive a $9,000 raise.
    The second question was about the High School's reported issue with student fights. Dr. Herrera cited a new principal and teacher shortages as factors.  Student had too much free time and would bring issues from outside into school. Fights tending to grow rather than be isolated incidents. Additional police have calmed the situation but a longer term solution is a code of conduct and working with students to build capacity for better behavior. Disruptive students are being separated from the classes.
   On the water quality, Dr. Herrera said they have gone to bottled water and started testing all the fixtures.  He's not aware of any problems at this time.
Larry Jackson, joined by Sarah Stocker, left, and Felicia Smith announced that the Interact Club at Benton Harbor High School was ready to begin operations. The club voted to officially appoint these members to the Interact Advisory Board and approve the start of operations. There are twenty students that will be charter members.  They have some projects and fundraising ideas and are ready to elect their officers. We look forward to the success of this club.


Anne is shown above between her sponsor on left, Bryan Tutton and club president Joseph Taylor during her induction ceremony. Anne is a realtor for Pier Realty.  She has been active with Water Street Glassworks, Sarrett Nature Center, Box Factory for the Arts, Krasl Art Center and New Territory Arts Association. We look forward to having her artistic focus in our club. She lives in Benton Harbor.
Barbara Starke shown with President Joseph Taylor during her induction ceremony.  Barb is the mult-talented health professional that introduced the club to Tai Chi in August.  Her full credentials are: RN, MSN, FNP-BC, HTCP/I, NADA Trainer, all those letters translate into Registered Nurse, Master’s prepared Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified; Healing Touch Program Certified Practitioner and Instructor; National Acupuncture Detoxification Association Trainer.  She lives in Coloma with her husband Jeff. She looks forward to working on water and other health related projects.  Bob Elliott is her sponsor.  Welcome to Rotary Barb!.
Barbara Starke, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, HTCP/I, NADA Trainer, all those letters translate into Registered Nurse, Master’s prepared Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified; Healing Touch Program Certified Practitioner and Instructor; National Acupuncture Detoxification Association Trainer.  That's a mouthful!  Barb explained the difference between Eastern or Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine.  In short, The East focuses on staying healthy and the West on acute care. Barbara led the club members in a few exercises from her Tai Chi class, usually offered at the South Shore Health Club.  Shown below, the club is doing "Rocky Motion". Members also followed her in "Push-Pull", extended the hads and pul them back, with right foot forward, then the left. Barbara said it was important to work both sides to keep the body in balance. Tai Chi is a calming exercise, with slow movements and relaxed breathing
Barb is offering Stress Relief Community Ear Acupuncture and Healing Touch sessions designed to reduce paid, cravings, anxiety, distress, improve sleep & more.  Sessions are 45 minutes,on Wednesdays, 3-6 pm, at Marle Yeager Cancer Center upstairs lobby, in Royalton Health Park.  Walk-in only, Donations Only.  For information call 269.449.4494 or 269.449.5465.
Nitin Mangaldas Is past district governor for Rotary District 3141 in Mumbai India, more than 8,000 miles from Benton Harbor. He dropped in for a makeup and took a few minutes to address the club.  This was his second visit to the club and expects more since he has grandkids in Stevensville. His club promotes eye care and other health initiatives.  He recommended we explore a district friendship exchange which would have four or five couples from each district visit. Staying with local Rotarians makes the exchange much richer.
Club Information

About Our Rotary Club

Benton Harbor-Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Dr.
For mail: PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor, MI  49022-1552
United States of America
District Site
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Club Executives & Directors
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Public Relations
Immediate Past President
Club Administration
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The Rotary Foundation

Whitney Hadanek - May 4

Don Mitchell - May 12

Lynn Sperry - May 17

Olivia Starks - May 25

Julie Webb - May 29

Dyann Chenault - Jun 10

Skip Heavener - Jun 13

Bob Gifford - Jun 15

Dave Bly - Jun 20

Bob McFeeter - Jun 25

Rotary membership gives men and women an opportunity to forge new friendships and share the rewards of helping others through volunteer service.