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Oct 23, 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
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.
LECO's bed race team is shown receiving the first place trophy from Jeff Dudley, middle right, store manager of Slumberland Furniture, partner with Rotary for this event.  Our own club's Farai Rukunda, middle left, is holding the trophy for raising the most funds.  This is the third (an earlier edition said "second") year in a row that LECO won the donor's award.
Starks Funeral Home team won for Best Team Spirit
Spectrum Health/Lakeland ER team won for Most Creative Design
For more photos from the race click here.
This year's competitors were:
Wightman Associates
Spectrum Health/Lakeland Home Care
Home Depot
Spectrum Health/Lakeland ER
WIRX Radio
Boulevard Inn and Bistro
United Federal Credit Union
Elks Lodge
Starks Funeral Homes
Fraternal Order of Police
Rotarians gathered twice at Lee Scherwitz's place to get the pumpkins ready to pick the raffle winners.  At top they're prepared for gluing the counterweight; at bottom they're finished. A pumpkin goes into the tank for each raffle ticket sold. Buy your ticket now to join the race on September 21, 2019. Photos by Dan Utroske.
Our own club's Pastor Mel Burton and Caroline Fort went to Columbia South America on a mission trip.

They focused on the city of Buenoventura, which is across the Andes from the capital, Bogata.  Because of the drug cartels, there has been an increase in crime, child labor and child prostitution.  Their focus was to train the children in leading a better life.  To do this, they created a curriculum which included how to support yourself without prostitution and held classes with the children.  In addition, they passed out beans and rice, school supplies to a school with elementary, middle and high school kids, lead rallies, fed families, went to a Latino Convention, set up leadership meetings, and performed baptisms.  The women of Buenoventura have their own plot of land and plant, grow, wash, roast, package and sell coffee and cocoa.  Mel and Caroline’s church sells their product for $10 for 18 ounces.  The proceeds are helping the people in Buenoventura, Columbia.

A few comments about Columbia: Columbia is in the northern part of South America and is close to the Panama Canal on the Pacific side.  It has 12 million ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse people.  Many of the people are leaving the Catholic Church because of the church’s connections to the government, which is connected to the drug cartels.  Should you choose to go there, they emphasized that you never wear jewelry, take only the money you need each time you leave your hotel room, and don’t let anyone see your money because thievery is rampant.  They said that the cheapest time to go is September through May.  

  Our own club's Marcy Hamilton, at right, representing SWMI Planning Commission, provides instructions to volunteers for the first Ox Creek clean up. Teams headed out to five different sections to police the area near the creek. Several organizations supported the effort, including Interfaith Action, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary, and St. Joe-BH Rotary. Industrial Sanitation took away the 70 bags of trash. Abonmarche handled the 40 bags of recyclables.  A spring event will be organized.
Sarah Woolcock is a heart transplant recipient and a volunteer for Gift of Life Michigan. Her heart started failing shortly after the birth of her son when she was 34. She struggled with heart issues for seven years before a transplant was her only option. Now 20 years later she is a member of a small group of transplant survivors.  She noted that in Michigan you must opt-in to be donor.  Every donor could save eight people and improve the lives of 75 more.  You are never to old to be a donor.  The doctors will decide how your donation might help.  To learn more about Gift for Life, or to sign up to be a donor, click here.
Rotarians gathered at Mike Kinney's shop to build three beds for this year's Great Bed Race on September 20, 2019. (Michael Mason couldn't stay for the photo.) Thanks to great planning and preparation by Bob Gifford and Mike Kinney the build went smoothly.  Mike's cat Sam crashed the picture but stayed out of the way most of the time.
Our club provided dinner for the Benton Harbor High School football team, aka the Tigers, and their coaches.  The players showed up a little tired after two-a-day practice but they made short work of spaghetti, meat balls, salad, rolls and cookies. Rotariams plus Beth Bentham did the planning, shopping, cooking, serving and clean up. Thanks to Cindy and Mikes Kinney, Dan and Kyra Utroske, Jim and Beth Bentham, Michael Mason, Lee Scherwitz and Bob Elliott for putting this together on short notice.
Harbor Country Rotary partnered with Chikaming Open Lands to offer the community an opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy some beautiful areas and learn about these two wonderful organizations located in Harbor Country. Pictured, from left, are Rotarians David McNabb and Tom Flint, also shown is Jen Thompson, marketing director for Chikaming Open Lands. They offer a 10 trail challenge during the month of July.  Participants earn prizes for 3, 5 or 10 trails completed. There is a strong social media component as participants take selfies in special frames to document their accomplishments and send them via Intragram. This year 205 registered participants gobbled up 95 prizes.  They are interested to add more trail options in St. Joe Benton Harbor.  For more infomation click here.
Each year the outgoing president designates the "Rotarian of the Year" for their activities throughout the year.  This year president Joseph Taylor decided to recognize the three club members the formed the Interact Club at Benton Harbor High School, shown above, from left are the club leaders: Felicia Smith, Sarah Stocker, (not shown Larry Jackson); and current president Cindy Kinney.  Each recipient received a plaque citing their "outstanding service to the BHHS Interact Club committee".  Congratulations!
On board Cynthia, from left, are Cindy Kinney, Rhoda and Larry Jackson and boat owner, Andy Grootendorst.  They were part of the Rotarians, spouses and friends who went for an evening sail to enjoy the beautiful conditions on lake Michigan. Thanks to other skippers: Ron Groth, Jud Brown, Kevin Geiser and Ann Dahmer for providing their boats for this event.
The Benton Harbor High School Interact team just returned from a two-week trip to Cuba. Larry Jackson, left, lead the trip which included chaperone, Mshannon Rockette, and students, Qiyamah and Tamia.  Not shown are chaperone Sarah Stocker, students Quincy and Christopher, and club leader Felicia Smith.
   A highlight of the trip was playing soccer with kids at a park near the AirBnB. Even though they didn't have a shared language they figured it out together. For the service part of the trip the team delivered books to several schools.  They were prevented, however, from meeting with the students.
     The Interactors  were shocked by the poverty, and soon grew tired of rice and beans. They took in the sights with the help of a guide, learned a little Spanish with daily lessons, and become a "family". The host and chef made life a little easier.  They learned that in the Cuban system many people had to work two jobs: one for the government, without pay,  and another one to put food on the table. Most jobs paid $20-30 per month. The photos from the trip will be added to this story and our website in an update to this story.
Gary Washington attended the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Academy Camp and wrote to say thanks "for the great opportunity and great experience."
Mary Jo Schnell is the executive director of the OutCenter in Benton Harbor, a 501c(3) non-profit organization, partially funded by United Way. The organization serves the LGBTQ+ community, helping to make the community more inclusive for kids, families, employers and employees. The OutCenter offers a drop-in location that is safe and welcoming, with computer lab, library and referrals to services.  Confidential counseling by professional staff or religious leaders are also available.  Programs include Teen Pride Alliance, LGBTQ+ Safe Schools Collaborative, and Advocacy and Education services. Its legislative priority is to protect the LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination by expanding the current law to include them.  For more information click here or call 269.925.8330.
The club held it's first "Lift a Pint for Rotary" event at the Livery in Benton Harbor. Shown, from left and Kyra and Marcy alongside the information display prepared for the event to tell the Rotary story to friends and visitors.  The 6360 District Governor Marjorie Haas was on hand to meet and greet club members and guests. When you combine the fellowship, the drawings and prizes, the pizza and  pints, the funds raised for our projects, the evening was a great success. Farai received an American Flag to celebrate his recent citizenship.  Thanks to president Cindy Kinney and all her helpers for making the event a success.
District Governor Marjorie Haas is shown taking a photo of the rapidly disappearing pizza and beverages. Afterward she shared her comments about the night. 
"Just a quick note to thank you for inviting me to your "Lift a Pint for Rotary" event last night.  I enjoyed meeting you and listening to you.  Congratulations on your trip to Cuba and on Faral becoming a citizen of USA!  Your Public Image display board and website are exceptional.  Your club has a lot going [on]. "
Steven Pierangeli, chief assistant prosecutor for Berrien County, returned to Rotary to the rest of his story.  In May his primary topic was Sexting. This time he focused on Cyberbulling crimes which have three laws with escalating penalties. The first is just bullying. Second is "stalking", which is un-consented contact. Physical threats also fall under this area.  And finally there are acts of terrorism which included threats of violence, especially toward schools - a 20 year felony.
   Steve also discussed the attorney general's efforts to protect kids from abuse.  The state offers an anonymous tip line via a new app called OK2Say.
His suggested starting questions are:
  • What are your favorite websites?  Have you seen objectionable pop  ups?
  • Who are texting with?
  • May I look at your feed?
  • How do you choose which people to accept as friends??
  • What personal info do you share?
He also recommends you maintain access to your children's web activities; no secret passwords or lockouts.
Some teens are sending nude selfies to their boyfriends, expecting it to be private.  But, it often happens that the photo or video will be quickly shared with a wide circle of associates.  This can be devastating.  It's a crime for someone to ask you for a inappropriate photo, punishable by up to 20 years and/or $100.000 in fines.
For more tips go to
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

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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.