Please Contribute
Roshella Allen Hawkins
Feb 26, 2020
Safe Shelter
Emma Kinnard
Mar 11, 2020 7:00 AM
Making a Terrarium
No morninng meeting
Mar 18, 2020
Upcoming Events
Contact Us
Enter your email address and the message you want to send.
* fields are required
#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
  Ed Arnold, Laporte Indiana Rotary, was our guest speaker.   He joined Rotary in 1985 and has been assistant governor in his district.  He was on a Rotary Group Studies Program 35 years ago.  That program has been phased out but he was involved in projects to get sewing machines for women, mattresses for Mother Theresa, and Polio Plus.
  He had an outstanding memory in the Caribbean when he was asked to help a club move from one district to another.  Another was when he was in Calcutta, India and needed to catch a train.  He asked a stranger for directions, and the stranger was a Rotarian who took him to the train, changed his hotel reservations, and provided dinner.  In Mexico he asked about a plastic surgeon and a doctor and both turned out to be Rotarians who did really good jobs. 
  His message was to always include Rotary in your travels. Whenever you go anywhere, go to a Rotary meeting.  You never know who you might meet.
Jesse Tennison is offered the hand of welcome to Rotary from president Cindy Kinney.  Jesse is president of Tennison;s House of Carpentry in Benton Harbor.  He lives in St. Joseph with wife Sekenah.  Joining Rotary is Jesse's first step into community service.  Jim Smith is his sponsor.  Welcome Jessee!
Our own club's Heidi Anderson provided an impromptu discussion of lake levels.  After reaching a low in 2013 an icy winter reduced evaporation.  Then followed years of high precipitation which raised the lake to current levels. There are too many factors that affect lake levels to form a regular pattern. The current expectation is the the lake will rise another 12-18 inches.  In the long term levels will likely fall.  The normal swing between high and low levels is six feet.
Dan Utroske is shown during the Silver Beach Pizza Giveback Event on January 29, 2020.  Approximately 150 members, partners and supporters turned out for the event.  The restaurant provided a 20% contribution on all food and drinks, both dine in and carry out during the day.  The night resulted in a donation of $270 for the club's community fund for use in service projects - and everyone enjoyed the food, drink and fellowship.  Thanks to Silver Beach Pizza for the support!!.
Larry Jackson, chairman of youth services and advisor to the Benton Harbor High School Interact Club, reported that they have 15 high school students involved this year.  They have already completed 40 hours of community service and plan a 5k fundraiser in February.  The club hopes to send eight students to Puerto Rico in July.  They've begun communications with the San Juan Rotary for local service projects.
 Sherry Decker, left and Abby Dill, physical therapist for Lakeland Health, talk about the wellness class for those with low bone density. Bones are living tissue that continue to regenerate.  Osteoporosis can interfere causing more porous bones. A bone scan is one way to check for the condition. Exercise is a critical part of any treatment regimen. Balance is important to prevent falls on fragile bones.  "Bones in Balance" classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday. Contact Lakeland for more details.
Ronnika "RJ" Williams, is content creator / photographer, for Final 48 Project. She is a videographer who built on the loss of her own father to talk about grief as part of a project at Duke University. She promised her own father that she would return to grad school, write children’s book/series, and produce documentaries. In her study she videotaped other black women who had lost their fathers. Her hypothesis was that grief isn't verbalized in the black community. RJ closed her presentation emphasizing the importance of coping with grief, and how her original promise led to success in accomplishing goals/promises made to father. You can get a better feel for what she did by visiting her web site:
She is currently doing additional work with several local organizations including Lori's Place although her full time job is at the Boys and Girls Club.
Thanks to Ogden Wright and Alice Ford for the content and photo.
Sue Scherwitz, honorary member, lead the members in several traditional Christmas songs. Her song list was:

-Feliz Navidad

-Deck the Halls

-Hark the Herald Angels Sing

-Silver Bells

-The First Noel

-Silent Night

The club gave their unanimous vote for officers for 2020-2021 as follows.
President - Farai Rukunda
President-Elect - Julie Webb
President Nominee - Felicia Smith
Secretary - Dyann Chenault
Treasurer - Michael Mason
Immediate Past President - Cindy Kinney
Committee Chairs we be elected separately
The members appreciate those willing to fill the important offices of the club. 


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, from last year, are Felicia Smith and one of her Interact members. Thanks to  Alan Bartlett for his usual great job.
The club took the opportunity to say thanks to our major sponsors, LECO, Travel Leaders, Horizon Bank, Piggotts Farm Market & Home Depot, for their support of our projects.  Alice on left and Dyann display the banner.
The club members brought turkeys and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner. Members quickly assembled sixteen baskets for needy families.  Special thanks to Bob Gifford for his annual effort to make this happen.
Rotarians and Interactors from Benton Harbor High School were out in the community providing dictionaries to every third grader in the Benton Harbor Area Schools and all the area charter schools. Each dictionary is a gift to each student and has a place for the student's name. This is the sixth year that the dictionaries have been distributed. Thanks to Jim Smith and Sharyn Kaatz for organizing this project.
As reported in The Herald Palladium,
Upton Foundation Awards Grant for Kindles for Kids Project
The Frederick S. Upton Foundation awarded the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation a grant to supply Kindle tablets to the students in four classrooms of second graders at Benton Harbor Area School’s International Academy at Hull. This project will build on the work of Eddie Marshall’s Toys for the Needy organization and Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.
“Based on what we have seen in the pilot programs, this grant will help improve reading skills for all the second graders in Benton Harbor Area Schools.  This will provide the children with a better foundation for meeting the important 3rd grade Michigan reading requirements designed to have a significant impact on their long-term educational success,” said Dave Bly, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation president.
And Patricia Robinson, interim superintendent for Benton Harbor Area Schools, said “We are thankful for the generosity of the Upton Foundation. The tablets will give us another resource to allow us to improve our student’s reading skills and further invest in their success. Technology integration in the classroom is key in shaping the future of our young learners. We are honored to partner with the Upton Foundation and the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation on this project.”
Additional funds for the project have been provided by Eddie Marshall, president of  Toys for the Needy, including the following donors: B&Z Construction, Industrial Fabrication, Michael Mason, Tetra Horticulture Co, Moo’s Place Chinese Restaurant, Shoreline Mold Engineering and Priebe’s Creative Woodworking.
Dr. Sarah Glendernalik, at podium, is artisitic director of Midwest Youth Ballet Company, a four year old, 501c(3) organization. Also shown, from left are dance coach Dennis and soloists Zaria and Harmony.  Leah, another dancer, worked the computer and told her story. Each dancer spoke about the benefits of ballet for improving their self esteem, character and posture.  The company, which includes 45 dancers, is preparing Nutcracker for December 7, 2019 at South West Michigan College auditorium, shows are at 2 and 6 pm, $10.  Classes for boys and girls are held at Fusion Center on Plaza Drive near the mall. 
Below are Dr. Jim's two daughters and dancers, Norah and Grace, who will be part of the Nutcracker performance.
To learn more or Donate click here.
Lee Scherwitz, our own club's certified sommelier, pours a taste of wine at the club's 5th Wednesday night out.  Sue Scherwitz is at his right hand and Jim Smith looks on. Lee provided professional descriptions for each taste he poured.  Members brought snacks to share.  A great time was had by all. Thanks to the White Pine Winery for allowing the use of their tasting room..
Heidi Anderson, center, waits for her Rotary pin from Alan Barlett, her sponsor and Cindy Kinney, president.  Heidi is an environmental engineer for Edgewater.  She is a graduate of Michigan Tech, and a former Interact club member in Rochester, Michigan. She lives in St; Joseph.  Welcome to Rotary.
Alice Ford, our club's program chairperson, introduced a Ted Talk by Jennifer Jones on the state of polio eradication, our part in World Polio Eradication Day October, 24, 2019.  The video recounts how the Rotary clubs in the Philippines demonstrated that eradication was possible.  That projext lead Rotary International to form an alliance with the World Health Organization, Unicef, and the Gates Foundation to reduce the annual 350,000 cases to zero.  The effort has been 99.9% successful and is "this close" to completion with only two countries, Afganistan and Pakistan, with about 30 new cases this year.  You can watch the video at
Ron Goldy, Michigan State University Extension Services, announced that we have the best growers in the world, but we also have the worst consumers.  Most people don’t know where our food comes from.  A few statistics about farming were presented:
  • In the 1880’s, 80% of the population were farmers.
  • In the 1930’s, one farmer fed four people.
  • Now, 2% of are population are farmers.
  • Now, one farmer feeds 155 people.
The MSU Extention office is working to provide farm to table information to our population.  They have created 8-9 videos that last 2 – 3 minutes which can be shown in waiting rooms, schools, churches, youth organizations, etc.  They are available on flash drives and YouTube. 
We watched three videos; one video that showed the bare field, planting 36 rows at a time, a tractor with GPS to accurately seed the field, weed removal, pest control, pollination, harvesting, and the bottling process.  This farmer had $4 million invested in his tractors and attachments.  The videos are available here.
The second video was farm to table for grapes to Welches Grape Juice.  The third video was farm to table for blueberries. 
The license plate displays the call sign "KF8Z" of our own Dan Utroske. Dan has been an amateur radio operator since his teen years. He has a license to operate his radio on frequencies assigned by the FCC. There are 600,000 operators in the US and two million world wide.  Dan shared some interesting facts: the space station always has an amateur operator on board; the local hospitals have base stations; the county emergency center, 911 and National Weather Service have base stations; Morse code is no longer a requirement; and the radios can be connected to computers to send email or other digital messages.  Service is a major part of amateur radio.  They participate in safety and welfare communications.  Message can be relayed coast-to-coast in two hours or less.  The local club also supports the Apple Cider Century bike ride, the CROP walk and other events.
Kathy Stady is the census hub coordinator for Berrien County. She was joined by her boss, Lisa Cripps-Downey, executive director of Berrien Community Foundation (BCF). Their project is called Be Counted Berrien, an effort to maximize the 2020 Census count. There are 20% of the potential count that is at risk for a variety of reasons. In Benton Harbor and Benton Heights it's over 30% at risk. This means that all the federally funded programs have 20% or $44 million of their funds at risk.
    BCF will be organizing non-profit organization to make sure their clients are included in the census.
One factor affecting the count is fear the census information will be shared with law enforcement or immigration. Kathy confirmed that data is confidential and not shared. A $250,000 fine applies for any disclosure.
The census is only 9 questions, without citizenship or income questions. This census will be internet first priority.
Key Dates:
  March 12, Census letter to every address
  April 30, start of door-to-door canvas.
  July - end of data collection.
Ogden Wright was inducted into Rotary by Cindy Kinney, president. Ogden was born in Kingston Jamaica and immigrated to the US to pursue an engineering degree.  He's now a civil engineer working for Abonmarche in Benton Harbor.  He was an Interactor and Cub Scout in his youth so he knows the value of Rotary and has a heart for service. He lives in St. Joseph. His sponsor is Marcy Hamilton. Welcome Ogden!.
Dr. Gulf Kasewurm, St. Joseph audiologist, returned to Rotary to discuss her recent trip to Peru for the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Working with local Rotary clubs in five cities, they fit and tested free hearing aids to 20,000 adults and children, about a 50/50 mix of children and adults. She also reported new initiatives in Africa where there are few audiologist. An institute has been formed to train more specialists.  And last year, with local funding support, she conducted her first clinic for 100 patients. She hopes to repeat the local event in June 2020. To learn more or donate click hear.
Each pumpkin in the tank represents a raffle ticket.  At the appointed hour a chute opens and the pumpkins line up for the five prizes.  This year over 600 pumpkins vied for the prizes.  In addition to the raffle there was pumpkin carving and decorating and bake goods and plants available for sale.  The proceeds from the day will be used to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor.  For more pictures click here.
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
Venue Map

Bulletin Subscribe

Subscribe to our eBulletin and stay up to date on the latest news and events.

Event Sponsors

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.