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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
Susan Dietrich-Reed is the Director of Music for the Citadel Dance and Music Center, located in Benton Harbor.  This morning she shared information with us regarding recent fundraising efforts, the music lessons provided to children in the area (which she explained are provided by highly credential musicians), the scholarship program that is offered for music lessons for children as the classes and lessons are private pay,  and the Art Hop.  Precautions with the pandemic include that all instructors wear masks at all times and also have a plastic shield to seperate them from the students during lessons.  The Art Hop is an event that is free that offers community members an opportunity to visit many galleries and music and art related businesses in Benton Harbor.  If you are interested in dance or music lessons, you can contact the Citadel Music and Dance Center at (269) 925-1099 and
Today our club enjoyed a Ted Talk from Steven Petrow, a writer also known as "The Civilist".   He offered that civility as we once knew it is declining - civility meaning decorum, formal politeness and polite behavior.  He pointed out that "New Speak", as defined by George Orwell in the book 1984, is when we try to change what people think by the way we use the words we do and how we use language.  Language can be labeling and demonizing, and words and expressions can be disrespectful and triggering.  He suggested that we should stop using these trigger words - words that are inflammatory and set people off.   For example, he shared that John McCain, as a politician, often had to debate others and their ideas and beliefs, but at his passing both friends and political adversaries noted that when he had to debate others he never made personal attacks.  He engaged civilly, with respect for the person even if he disagreed with their beliefs or ideas.  As a club, we discussed how important this is, to consider our words and our "labels" and generalizations as we interact with others, especially in regard to our current political climate.  We discussed how this is important for us to do as Rotarians in our community and how civility applies to our own Four Way Test: of the things we think, say and do: 
  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Our guest speaker today was Ms. Kat Boyer, Director of the Benton Harbor Public Library.   Ms. Boyer spoke regarding challenges, successes and lessons learned from providing services and working to best meet the needs of the community during the global pandemic while implementing health and safety restrictions.   In addition to providing library materials through curbside service, the library also provides electronic books and audio books directly to your personal devices.  Ms. Boyer is a resource person for our region to help with setting up and using the ebooks and audio book service, and is happy to help community members navigate the apps required to set up this service.  The library staff also assists the community by answering informational questions that people telephone the library to ask, as well as referring those who call to needed community resources.   Ms. Boyer and the library staff miss the daily interactions with the people who use the library, especially the children.   She encourages anyone from the community who needs assistance, resources or information to please reach out the the library.  They appreciate the opportunity to help others and our community.  
You can find the library website here: and their phone number is 269-926-6139.
This morning we engaged in a discussion regarding the importance of connections - human connection with each other - in response to a Ted Talk we watched together.  The Ted Talk was presented by a researcher who wanted to determine what factors contributed to longevity.  The top factor that she determined impacted longevity was human connection, relationships, and "having a village" - having strong relationships with friends and/or family who will support you and be there for you no matter what.  We, as a club, also considered the importance of the interactions we also have using technology and what we can do to create more authentic interactions: turning on your camera in a Zoom meeting or online class, looking at the camera to make better eye contact instead of looking at the screen so that others see eye contact from you, and even waving and saying hello to bank tellers or others we interact with in a safe way, physically distanced, during this pandemic, to stimulate the brain for those authentic connections, more than what a text or chat box provides.
If you missed the meeting or would like to watch the Ted Talk, you can find it here:
For further consideration and reflection, NASA astronauts will share a talk this evening at 8 pm regarding their experiences and the importance of staying connected with others while in space.   You can access that resource using this link:
If you are interested in membership or would like to attend one of our meetings, please contact us for the Zoom meeting link.  We'd love to have you join us.
Have a great week!  See you next Wednesday at 7 am on Zoom!
The club's Foundation recently awarded grants to eight local non-profit organizations.  All the grant funds are to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor and may not be used for operational expenses. The awards went to Benton Harbor Public Library, Readiness Center, Junior Achievement, Toys for the Needy, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor Girls Association and Citadel Dance & Music Center. These were dollar-for-dollar challenge grants so please donate to help the organizations meet the challenge and have success on their projects. 
Why not join our Rotary Meeting on Wednesdays at 7:15 am?
As participants you may call in or join by video. For video you only need to install the app on your phone, tablet or computer. There is no charge to use the app and participate in the meetings!
If you don’t want to use the app there is also a list of numbers at the bottom of this invitation that you can use to dial into the meeting. Sorry, none of them are toll free numbers, but it does avoid installing the app. If you choose that route you can skip down to the meeting details, note the Meeting ID, dial in and follow the directions.
For those that want to use their smartphone, tablet or computer I’m including a couple of YouTube links to help. Give yourself about 10 minutes before the meeting to set it up on the fly. Click on the Join Zoom Meeting below and the site will prompt you to install the app and start up. You will need to give the app permission to access your audio, video access is optional. You do not have to enter any personal information to join the meeting, but entering your name will help everyone see who is on and identify who is speaking. This video is the easiest way to get going on any of your devices. Join a Meeting
Participants using cell phones and tablets can follow the above paragraph pretty easily. Laptops with built-in microphones and webcams can as well. If you are using a desktop PC or a laptop with external webcams or microphones you may want to setup the application and test prior to the meeting. This video does a little more in-depth explanation regarding setup and testing. How to Join a Zoom Meeting as a Participant.
Email for an invitation to our Zoom meetings.
The club board of directors appointed the following club members to serve as directors of the club's foundation for 2020.
Alice Ford
Dave Bly
Marcy Hamilton
Melvin Burton
Mike Kinney
Larry Jackson
Pam Pappas
James Gendernalik
These members met to elect officers as follows:
President, Dave Bly
Vice President, James Gendernalik
Treasurer, Mike Kinney
Secretary, Marcy Hamilton
They also set a challenge grant cycle for April.
Stay tuned for grant awards.

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of April 8, 2020 for grant applications. The Foundation is looking for projects which focus on the youth of Benton Harbor and target literacy, numeracy, leadership development, or personal development. The grants will usually be for $500 but the the grant amount is based a combination of the project details and available funds.

To download the grant application click here.  You will also find it, just click the Grants/Foundation button on the menu bar and select 2020 Grant Application.

There are just a few rules to follow: 1) Organizations that have received grants in the past may only apply if their project is complete and the grant report has been submitted, and 2) organizations are limited to one application per cycle.

Our own club's Lee Scherwitz did a TED talk on Polyglots.  Polyglots are people who learn many languages.  The focus of the TED talk was how to learn a language. First, start speaking from day one.  Learn simple phrases like how are you?  Where is the bathroom?  Please and Thank you. 

Polyglots have one thing in common.  It is not how to learn.  Everyone has their own unique way to learn.  And everyone has some activity that gives them joy. So, second,  So use that joy.  For example, listen to an audio book in the language you want to learn.  Find unexpected time to dedicate to your plan.  And use that method.

Third, create a system/plan that includes that method every day. And stick to it.

This leads us to the fourth step:  be patient with yourself.  Set reasonable goals.  Take your learning into your own hands.  Be sure to track your learning so you can actually see results. 

To review the Ted Talk by Lydia Machova click here.

Emma Kinnard, right, with Dyann Chenault after a presentation to the club.  Emma is a retired classroom assistant from Benton Harbor Area Schools.  She also owns Emma's Horticultural and Floral Creations, and she is the director and founder of Fresh Start Children's Garden.  Although Emma has not had previous experience in Rotary, our club has helped her with Fresh Start. She is involved in a lot of community activities including gardening, landscaping and sitting on some City of Benton Harbor Boards.  Emma wants to join  Rotary so she can "be involved in giving back in any area possible." Cindy Kinney  is her sponsor. Emma, Welcome to Rotary.
Our own Lee Scherwitz lived in Germany for 14 years, and he has made many trips back since then.  He lived in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down.
  The Berlin wall was built around and through the middle of Berlin after WWII.  It separated West Berlin from the rest of Berlin and all of East Germany. As the wall was being built, people ran, jumped, tunneled, and went in air balloons to escape before it was too late.   It was very difficult as the families, relatives, and friends were split up, there was not enough food, the people lost their joy and happiness, and except for the buildings close to the wall, the city was never reconstructed after the war. The analogy was going from color to a dingy, dark world. To go from Frankfort to Berlin, normally a 4-hour drive, would take a day and a half because of the check points. This presentation was a very emotional one because of these memories.
  In November of 1989, East Berlin got their freedom back and the wall was opened up.  People were chinking away at it, and when doorways were opened, painters painted the “door frames.” Lee’s daughter really wanted to go to Berlin after the New Year’s Eve celebration, so they went.  Freedom!! The joy in the streets was palpable.  Chink, chink, chink could be heard everywhere as people were taking down the wall and keeping pieces as part of living a piece of history.  Lee and his family joined in.  At the end of the day, Lee’s hands were bleeding from hammering and removing a part of the wall.  Prayers, anger, and a lot of emotion were there that day.  Freedom!  People’s eyes went from dull to sparkling.
The March 2020 issue of the Rotarian provided an update on the efforts to eradicate polio world wide. Rotary began the effort in 1985, enlisting the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments. Rotarians have contributed $2.1 billion dollars, most of which the Gates Foundation matched $2 to $1.  The results are beyond imagination: 99.9 percent of the world is polio free; all of Africa, all of China, all of India, and all but two countries!  Only Pakistan and Afghanistan have live polio virus. More than 18 million children would have contracted polio without the efforts to immunize new populations. The Gates Foundation has extended the $2 for $1 match through 2023.  Please be part of making a polio-free-world by  making a donation at
Dalton Wright provided a brief history of Jamaica. It is the third larges island in the Caribbean Sea.  There were indigenous people there when Columbus discovered it in 1494.  The plantation owners planned on the indigenous people to work on the plantations, but they all died from the diseases brought in.  That’s when the African people were imported. 
  When the Spanish were expelled by the British, the people of the African Ashanti Tribe took advantage of their knowledge and expertise in guerilla warfare.  Queen Nanny of  Ghana and the Maroons were able to defeat the British in 1801 in a famous battle, and therefore, treaties were made.  The treaties were broken and Sam Shark, an educated man, knew the slaves could be liberated.  He started a huge rebellion in 1834 which killed a lot of British so the slaves were all declared free.
Jamaica became an independent country in 1962, although they still follow the protocol of the Monarchy.
  Over the years, Jamaica has had a lot of immigrants from many countries including China, Germany, and Irish plus many more countries.  It has become a very inclusive country with a strong belief in multiculturalism. 
Story by Dyann Chenault.
  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.
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

(269) 921-1005
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.