Posted on Sep 23, 2018


Special Notices

Bed Race and Pumpkin Festival Results not Available

For results for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10k, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

What is Direct Primary Care?
Tutorial on Member Login
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue 9/23 Bob Elliott 2018-09-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 19, 2018
Doctors James Gendernalik and Allison Meadows of Family Physicians of St. Joseph, P.C. felt that patient care was degraded under the current insurance bureaucracy, with its heavy emphasis on data entry by doctors.  They decided to break from the insurers and embrace the “direct primary care” model. In that approach the focus is on doctor-patient relationships, with increased access and more time spent with the patient.  The "direct" portion means without the third party insurance company in the middle dictating choices. The practice uses telemedicine by text, email, Skype or phone to engage with patients at home or on the road. A house call is not out of the question. Those options can save trips to the office or the ER.  There are a total of four doctors at Family Physicians, the only Direct Primary Care provider in the area.
    DPC covers routine items and annual examinations, which is enough for most healthy people. Patients are encouraged to have high deductible insurance to cover for catastrophic events. Family Physicians charge a monthly fee of $75 for those over age 50, and $150 for families.  The copay on services is $0. There are charges for blood work, drugs and radiology but there negotiated prices are about 10% of the list prices.  For more information click here. .
What is Direct Primary Care? 2018-09-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 16, 2018


Special Notices


For results for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10k, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Ox Creek Under the Microscope
Club Award Reading Now Pilot Grant
Tutorial on Member Login
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue 9/16 Bob Elliott 2018-09-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 12, 2018
The club recently awarded a grant to Countryside Academy to pilot the techniques recommended by the Reading Now Network.  The program is titled: Readers for LIfe and will focus on one 2nd grade classroom.  The funding will allow a mini-library in the classroom with specially selected books for guided reading.  Having the books in the classroom will maximize the time allocated to reading.  Volunteers are welcome for a once per week interaction with a student or a small group.  The club hopes the project will validate the approach and thereby justify expanding to more classrooms.
Club Awards Grant for Reading Now Pilot 2018-09-12 04:00:00Z 0
Tutorial on Member Login 2018-09-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 09, 2018


Special Notices


Register Now for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Boys & Girls Club Update
Dathan Lumpkins Joins Rotary
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Notices and stories in this issue 9/9 Bob Elliott 2018-09-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 05, 2018
Our own club’s Marcy Hamilton, a planner with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, is engaged in a project for the Ox Creek Watershed. The creek flows through Benton Township and Benton Harbor before emptying into the Paw Paw River. The creek is considered by some as the most polluted in the area.  It is also prone to flash flows which destroy the creeks organisms that promote plant and fish life. Run off from Orchards Mall area is a focus area.  It has 34% impervious surfaces, (roofs, streets and parking lots).
    A phase I grant will begin to reduce the runoff. Brookfield Dodge will reduce its parking and replace asphalt with a green area or rain garden to hold runoff on site. Wightman Associates has made a similar swap.  For more information visit www.SustainOx
Ox Creek Under the Microscope 2018-09-05 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 05, 2018
President Joseph Taylor conducts the induction ceremony with Dathan Lumpkins. Dathan founded his own Lumpkins Private Wealth Management company after twelve years with Chase. He grew up in St. Louis and credits his mom for keeping hm busy and out of trouble. His wife Betsy and two girls complete his family.  Brian Saxton is his sponsor. This is Dathan's first service experience.  Welcome to Rotary!
Dathan Lumpkins Joins Rotary 2018-09-05 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 02, 2018


Special Notices


Register Now for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Club Introduced to Tai Chi
Check out the Pumpkin 5K Poster
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Notices and stories in this issue 9/2 Bob Elliott 2018-09-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 29, 2018
A trio of Liji, Sherri and Chris were on hand to update the club.  Liji Hanny, director of operations returned to confirm their priorities as follows:
   helping kids succeed academically
   encourage healthy lifestyles
   provide opportunities for character and leadership development
With two locations serving 1,800 kids each year, from age 6 to 18 the club has tremendous impact.
   Sherri Ulleg, communications coordinator, started as a volunteer helping with the newsletter. She mentioned several programs that addressed each priority.  For Rotary, the academic programs are closest to home, such as reading, power hour and math programs.
   Chris, 17, came to the club after moving from Arkansas, the death of his mom, and his father sent to prison for drug problems. He said, "without a doubt, the club saved my life." The staff took time to build a relationship.  He even learned to shave in the Passport to Manhood program. He lives with his grandmother, but the club is his home away from home.  He's excelling in school and looking forward to his senior year and then on to college.  He also serves as Junior Staff at the youth campus, where his personal experience makes it easy for him to relate  to the kids like him. The club has made him "confident, more understanding and a true leader."  He asked for the photo below as a reminder of day.
Boys & Girls Club Update 2018-08-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 26, 2018


Special Notices

Meeting on August 29th is Back On!

Register Now for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Club Introduced to Tai Chi
Check of Pumpkin 5K Poster
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Notices and stories in this issue 8/26 Bob Elliott 2018-08-26 04:00:00Z 0
Pumpkin 5k/10 Race Poster 2018-08-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 15, 2018

Dr. Loren Hamel, MD, president and CEO of Lakeland Health, reported excellent progress on the renovation/expansion which includes new operating rooms, new ICU, four story patient wing and relocated visitor entrance and emergency area.  Interior traffic will be greatly improved, the parking garage will add one more floor and a roof for year-round covered parking. The $160 million project is 50% complete.

In other news, Dr. Hamel discussed the "integration" with Spectrum Health. Spectrum is number 1 or 2 in performance; they are committed to low cost operations; and have an insurance company.  The integration will be for systems and reporting.  Lakeland will retain it's own board and will make all investment decisions for changes under $10 million. Buildings will keep the Lakeland name.

Dr. Hamel explained how Medicaid works in Michigan: hospitals are assessed a contribution amount and the Federal government matches it 5 to 1.  The State does not used General Fund revenues for Medicare.  The current ACA reduced reimbursements but expanded enrollments.  Changes under consideration now are unknown.

Lakeland Healthcare Hospital Update 2018 2018-08-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 13, 2018
Our "gateway" signs on the east and west entries into Benton Harbor were recently refreshed with new signs based on the new Rotary branding guidelines.  Thanks to Lee Scherwitz for making this happen and to Mike Kinney who helped with the installation.
Highway Signs Feature New Rotary Branding 2018-08-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 12, 2018


Special Notices

No Meeting on August 29th


Register Now for Rotary Pumpkin 5k/10, click here.

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Lakeland Health Update 2018
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Notices and stories in this issue 8/19 Bob Elliott 2018-08-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 12, 2018


Special Notices

No Meeting on August 29th

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Sophia Mason and Heron Rico Join Rotary
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Notices and stories in this issue 8/12 Bob Elliott 2018-08-12 04:00:00Z 0
Two new members were inducted into Rotary today; from left, Pastor Mel Burton sponsor for Sophia Mason, Sophia, Heron Plaza Rico and his sponsor president Joseph Taylor.  Sophia operates her own non-profit, Self-A-Steam, focusing on teaching robotics. Heron is an engineer and Whirlpool. Welcome to Rotary!
Sophia Mason and Heron Rico Join Rotaty 2018-08-08 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 05, 2018


Special Notices

Stay Cool!

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Club is Ready for its Fundraisers
Berrien Community Foundation- A Great Asset
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Notices and stories in this issue 8/5 Bob Elliott 2018-08-05 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 01, 2018
The club met in assembly to discuss preparations for our three fundraiser in mid September.  Click on the image below for more information.
Club is Ready for its Fundraisers 2018-08-01 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 29, 2018


Special Notices

Stay Cool!

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Berrien Community Foundation- A Great Asset
Momono Recaps Youth Exchange Year
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Notices and stories in this issue 7/29 Bob Elliott 2018-07-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 25, 2018
Lisa Cripps-Downey returned to provide an update on the Berrien Community Foundation.  The BCF is celebrating its 65th anniversary with $50 million in assets under management. She announced that $186,000 in scholarships were recently awarded.  The variety of the scholarships reflect the donors" wishes, be it for band students, artists, or student athletes. The entire amount was funded by donors' endowments. In other news, BCF is now accepting hard assets such as houses, cars or art collections. Lisa explained that non-profits, such as our club's foundation, is eligible to establish an "Agency Fund" to access BCF services of professional investment, gifting grant processing and reporting. There are volunteer slots available for scholarship review committees, youth advisory council and more.  To donate or learn more visit the website by clicking here.
Berrien Community Foundation - A Great Asset 2018-07-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 22, 2018


Special Notices

Stay Cool!

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI 49023
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Momono Recaps Youth Exchange Year
Pumpkin Rehab Complete
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue 7/22 Bob Elliott 2018-07-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 21, 2018
From left, Julie, Eddie, Lee, Dyann, Michael, Brian and Dave were on the assembly line to rehab the racing pumpkins for use in the Great Pumpkin Festival Race/Raffle.  Also helping were Sue, Cindy and Bob.
Pumpkin Rehab Complete 2018-07-21 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 18, 2018
Momono Sakura, on the left with two friends from St. Joe High, returned to her host club to make her final presentation. Her highlights were too numerous to recount here but a few will probably stick with her for a long time.  She loved: shopping in South Bend; traveling to Chicago for a Cubs game and the stage performance of Hamilton; visiting Disney World, the Grand Canyon and more. She took pride in offering a Japanese Culture Class at school. The shyness she exhibited on her arrival last July was completely absent this time.  She reported that she had performed a Japanese dance at the recent RYE talent show.  She had words of praise and love for her two host moms, Kelly and Kim.  She plans to offer an English language course when she returns to Japan. Shown below she was recognized  by president Joseph Taylor for her fine presentation.
Momono Recaps Youth Exchange Year 2018-07-18 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 15, 2018


Special Notices

Stay Cool!

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

LMC Update
Emergency Management Offers Tools
Juneteenth Celebrates the End of Slavery
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Notices and stories in this issue 7/15 Bob Elliott 2018-07-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 11, 2018
Dr. Trevor Kubatzke  has been president of Lake Michigan College for nearly a year.  He made his first visit to Rotary to present an update on the college. He was happy to find his new college had the lowest tuition within 100 miles, was ready to open its viticulture center with 25 students, offered a residence hall with apartment style rooms, including laundry.  The college also is ready to close on the purchase of the Western Michigan University building on the campus.  It will become the business education center.  Classrooms are also changing to offer live, live streaming and stored video for later review and study.  A flat tire will not cause a student to miss class!  Three classrooms are now operational; plans are to update all the classrooms.  LMC awarded its first bachelor degree.  Benton Harbor promise students are doing much better with the Start to Finish initiative.
LMC Update 2018-07-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 08, 2018


Special Notices

Regular Meetings Resume on July 11th

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Emergency Management Offers Tools
Juneteenth Celebrates the End of Slavary
Kids Say Thank You for Books
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue 7/8 Bob Elliott 2018-07-08 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 01, 2018


Special Notices

No Meeting on July 4th

Celebrate Independence Day!


Regular meeting resume July 11th


Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Emergency Management Offers Tools
Juneteenth Celebrates the End of Slavary
Kids Say Thank You for Books
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue 7/1 Bob Elliott 2018-07-01 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 27, 2018
President Joseph Taylor, in response to an inquiry for a club member, explained that Juneteenth, is a shortened form of June 19th.  The day celebrates that date in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to declare the end of the Civil War and issue an order freeing all of the slaves in Texas.  The announcement was two and one-half years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. The date is commonly called "Freedom Day". A murdered messenger is one possible explanation for the delay.  Louisiana slave owners had moved to Texas to continue operating their plantations with slave labor.
  Joe quoted president Trump's June 19, 2018 announcement as follows: "As a Nation we vow to never forget the millions of African Americans who suffered the evils of slavery. Together we honor the unbreakable spirit ad countless contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of American Greatness."
   Twenty States celebrate Juneteenth as an official holiday.
Juneteenth Celebrates the End of Slavery 2018-06-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 24, 2018


Special Notices

Regular meeting resume June 27th


Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

School Board Approves Interact Club
Club Foundation Helps Seniors Enjoy Toronto
Club Celebrates St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary
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Notices and stories in this issue 6/24 Bob Elliott 2018-06-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 20, 2018
Capt. Rockey Adams hosted the club at the Berrien County Emergency Management Operations Center.  The main tactical room is filled with communications equipment organized in clusters.  During an emergency  the clusters are filled with personnel involved with a particular aspect, for example, health, or first responders.  Rockey took the opportunity to make us aware of two tools each member may want to add to their side, namely Smart 911 and B-Ware (Short for Berrien Awareness).  See the images below. Click here for more information.
Emergency Management Offers Tools 2018-06-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 17, 2018


Special Notices


Special Meeting June 20th at

County Emergency Management

building, 2100 E. Empire


Regular meeting resume June 27th


Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Dave Boelke is a Survivor
Who is LECO?
Passing the Baton to Joseph Taylor
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue Bob Elliott 2018-06-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 16, 2018
Joseph Taylor, right, president elect of the our club, presents Rick Villa, president of St. J-BH, a sign to recognize St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary on the 100th anniversary of its charter. Several members of the club joined a host of Rotarians in the celebration and to hear Rotary International president Ian Risley's keynote address. (Photo courtesy of Bill Langbehn, Langbehn Communication Services)
Club Salutes St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary 2018-06-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 13, 2018
The club had several new books left in our store room so we made an extra distribution.  The poster above and several individual thank yous were shared at our club meeting.
Kids Say Thank You for Books 2018-06-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 13, 2018


President Joseph Taylor announced that the board of directors for the Benton Harbor Area Schools approved the formation of an Interact Club at the high school.  A committee will be formed to help establish a chapter next school year 
School Board Approves Interact Club 2018-06-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 10, 2018


Special Notices

Regular Meeting Resume June 6th


Meetings: Wednesdays, 7 am, Elks Lodge, 601 Riverview, Benton Harbor, MI
Click here for the club website

Stories in this issue

Who is LECO?
Rotary Donates to Boys and Girls Club Reading Program
Passing the Baton to Joseph Taylor
Note: the home page has a limited number of stories. Older stories are still available - click the Stories button
Notices and stories in this issue Bob Elliott 2018-06-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 06, 2018
Dave Boelke, shown in full "hunter's orange", with rifle and backpack, just as he wore setting out to hunt elk in Colorado.  Dave's father introduced him to elk hunting in 1973.  He's made annual trips to continue the tradition. He wanted a more intense experience so in 2016 he booked a "deep camp" trip with an outfitter. He planned to spend a week with another hunter in a cabin about four hours by horseback from the outfitter's base camp.  It was November at an altitude above 10,000 feet.  On the first morning, he and his fellow hunter made a plan to rendezvous at a selected landmark about 3hrs away.  Dave planned to circle right, his partner would circle left, both men looking for signs of movement by elk or bears.  Dave overshot the landmark and after a while realized the cold night was quickly approaching.  His backpack had all the normal equipment"  gps, compass, snacks, matches, water, mirror and Kindle ebook reader. He built a fire and planned to head back in the morning. He refused to panic.  The gps, which Dave had depended on to navigate the forest, had a dead battery.  Without that device he had no idea which way it was to the cabin. He decided to stay put until he was rescued. Dave's hunting buddy reported him lost the next morning.  Eventually Dave saw the helicopters and moved in their direction. The search party that grew to 43 people and ten helicopters took three days to see the shimmering reflection off Dave's mirror.  Dave was hungry and dehydrated but otherwise OK. Dave plans to add fresh batteries to his emergency kit.
Dave Boelke, The Survivor 2018-06-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 30, 2018
President Elect Joseph Taylor, left, is shown received the president's pin from Brian Saxton.  Joe will officially take the reins on July 1st.  This was the culmination of Installation Night which included Brian's review of a great club year under his leadership. He named Alice Ford his Rotarian of the Year for her innovative "garage sale" to raise funds for polio eradication.
Passing the Baton to Joseph Taylor 2018-05-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 30, 2018
Rachel Cram, with sponsor Lee Scherwitz, left, and president Brain Saxton is shown during her induction ceremony.  Rachel is a former Rotary Youth Exchange participant, spending a year in France.  Rachel is a financial analyst at Whirlpool and lives in St. Joseph.  Welcome to Rotary.
Rachel Cram Joins Rotary 2018-05-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 25, 2018
If you fly the flag on Memorial Day please follow the procedure: (Courtesy of Joshua Claybourn,
"In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all."
Use Proper Flag Etiquette 2018-05-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 23, 2018
Scott Chrispell, manager of electronics research & engineering, had the answer to our question.  LECO is a shortened version of Laboratory Equipment Corporation.  The company was founded by Carl Shultz and George Krasl in 1936.  Today descendants Carl and Chris Warren manage this family owned business with 600 employees in southwest Michigan and 1,400 world wide.  LECO’s first product was an analyzer that measured the carbon content of steel, a very important parameter.  LECO continued to focus on analytical instruments that focused on increasing quality of production or efficiency.  Their reputation and expertise led to expansion in to other production areas.  Today they make equipment for metals, energy, mining, food and managing the environment.
LECO is vertically integrated, making it own enclosures, controls, electronics, sensors, software and more. Of course today they have apps for iPhones for remote access and management.
   Scott described the new building going up on Hilltop road as a customer experience center.
   Last year was LECO’s first entry in the Great Bed Race put on by Rotary and Slumberland.  Scott is promising a faster bed this year and a team that will be better prepared for the competition.
Who is LECO? 2018-05-23 04:00:00Z 0
Club Honors Veterans at Senior PGA 2018-05-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 16, 2018
Marcy Hamilton is shown during her induction ceremony between her sponsor Mike Kinney, left, and president Brian Saxton.  Marcy is the Deputy Director/Senior Planner for the South west Michigan Planning Commission.  She lives in St. Joseph with her 15 year old daughter. She is a member of Preserve the Dunes and Watershed Council, is a founding board member of Sustainable Business Forum, and has been actively promoting clean water, beaches and rivers. Welcome to Rotary.
Marcy Hamilton Joins Rotary 2018-05-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 12, 2018
Our own club's Bryan Tutton just loves putting his tractor to work,  Below shows the Fresh Start Children's Garden are Bryan prepared it for this year's planting season.  He also prepped the community gardens near Abundant Life and AIM Churches.
Bryan also works with local business and the First Church of God to plant flowers in the City Center Park and the Arts District.  Local businesses provide financial support and church members plant the flowers.  The photo below is from a recent HP edition.
Gardens & Flowers Oh My 2018-05-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 09, 2018
 Tara Gillette is executive director for the Area Agency on Aging.  She is also the instructor/facilitator for the new Aging Mastery Program, a ten week course focused on health, financial security and overall well being.  Course attendees also make new friends and learn new skills. The next course runs in St. Joseph on Thursdays, 1-2:30 pm, June 21 through August 23, 2018.  Fee $99, Scholarships available. Another course will begin in September.  Contact Tara at 269.408.4369 or
The Aging Mastery Adventure 2018-05-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 09, 2018
Aicha Camera, on left, and Momono Sakura, shown with Lee Schewitz, shortly after Momono arrived from Japan last August.  Aicha had just returned from a year in Japan so they bonded in a special way.  Aicha is now attending University of Florida studying International Relations.  She earned a 4.0 in her first semester.  Momono and Aicha spent the meeting speaking in Japanese and enjoyed sharing their experiences.
Youth Exchange Students Reconnect 2018-05-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 09, 2018
The club's Foundation presented grants to eight organizations.  The awards went to Benton Harbor High School, Readiness Center, Children's Fresh Start Garden, Junior Achievement, Lory's Place, Countryside Academy, Toys for the Needy and Benton Harbor Public Library. Shown above, from left, Lee Scherwitz (foundation president), Emma Kinnard, Audrey Lester, Becki Tomsheck, Eddie Marshall, Katie Boyer, Stephanie Kohler, Pat Miller, Brian Saxton (club president), Sister Pualita and Martha Thieneman.
Club Foundation Presents Grants 2018-05-09 04:00:00Z 0
Lee Scherwitz, part of the Lest We Forget organization, announced plans for the June 23-24, 2018 event. The event will move from the airport to edge of the Paw Paw river between the LaFarge cement operations and M-63.  This year will feature the Spirit of America wall covering 1775 to present. There will be beach landings and rides in landing craft both days.  Medal of Honor winners, helicopter rides, hands-on WWII camp and veteran stories are all part of the event.  Click here for event website.
Lest We Forget Plan a Great Event 2018-05-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 02, 2018
Our own club's Farai Rukunda is shown along side the school being constructed in his home village in Zimbabwe.  A recent fundraising dinner and additional donations raised $6,000 for books and  desks. See the coverage in the Zimbabwe News, click here.
Living Beyond Hope Raises $6,000 2018-05-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 25, 2018
Lee Scherwitz, center, is shown with students from Hull International displaying their new books.  This year the students selected their own book from a range of topics and interests. The program is supported by a District 6360 grant. Sue Scherwitz assisted with the book distribution.  Photo by Sue.
Books for Kids at Hull International 2018-04-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 12, 2018
City Center Park on Main Street was cleaned up in preparation for spring.  We're sure it will arrive one of these days. Mulch will be added later.
Park Ready for Spring 2018-04-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 04, 2018
Our own Bob Gifford presented his third and final installment of local electricity.  The image above is a schematic of the type of reactor at the Cook plant.  It  features three completely separate circulating systems: from left, the reactor loop, the generator loop and the cooling loop. Bob reported that AEP plans to continue operating the plant even if a few others are closing theirs.  Bob was selected by AEP to oversee the construction and establish the control systems. The sheer size of the equipment made the project unique.  Most of the central elements were brought in by barge. AEP established a rule for the design that it must always be under the control of a human operator.  Hard copies of operating manuals are always nearby. They have computer aids and instruments but the actual decision making is done by a human operator.  The plant had several safety system upgrades after the Fukushima tidal wave event.
Challenges Building the Cook Nuclear Plant 2018-04-04 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 28, 2018
From left, Gershon, Tamia, Dyesha and Daniel, representatives from Benton Harbor High School's FIRST Robotics team #1940, won an award for Most Creative design and were also cited for the simplicity of their design.  The team didn't have enough practice to do well at the St. Joe district competition but learned from the experience to excel at Gull Lake, placing in the top group and advancing to the quarterfinals. Dyesha was the team leader and she felt learning to trust team members was her most important leadership insight.  As Joe Taylor said, this truly is a "sport for the mind".
Benton Harbor Robotics Team is Proud of Success 2018-03-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 24, 2018
President Elect Joseph Taylor completed PETS and was certified by district 6360 as qualified for his term as president for 2018-2019.  Cindy Kinney, president-nominee, also completed the training.
Joseph Taylor Certified for 2018-2019 Presidential Term 2018-03-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 21, 2018
Sister Paulita and Martha Thieneman from the Readiness Center made a return visit to Rotary. Martha provided an overview in preparation for sister Paulita's final year in 2018-2019. Our Foundation has provided three grants to aid the efforts of the Readiness Center.  For thirty-five years Sister Paulita has been preparing youth for school.  Along the way she expanded her efforts to include parents and teens, working to produce successful citizens through education.  She puts in a little fun and work to make sure the education is well rounded.  She serves about one-hundred families.  All her services are free; the teens must volunteer to mentor or do housekeeping to earn their place in City Kids afternoon program. Many of her charges are with the center through out their entire school years. How well do her students do?  They do great! with 97% graduating high school. Learn more, donate or volunteer by clicking here.  St. John's Catholic Church allows the use of the Readiness center rent and utilities free.
Preparing for School at the Readiness Center 2018-03-21 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 14, 2018
Bill Wolf, Berrien County administrator, experienced his first emergency in his 13 years on the job. Recent flooding put 300 people out of their homes and activated the county's emergency response network.  Shown below is the emergency operations center. The center, located at 2100 Empire, has a permanent staff but becomes home for county and state resources, such as: public safety, health, logistics and other inter-agency personnel.
The flooding did $3 million worth of damage to roads, and drains.  There was another $5 in damage to private property.
    In other news, Mr. Wolf said work is continuing at the jail and a new county Paw Paw River Park will begin this year.
Flooding Emergency a New Experience 2018-03-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 14, 2018
Dyann Chenault, club secretary, has accepted the additional position of Assistant Governor Elect for our region.  In other news, the club board appointed Larry Jackson chairman of the New Generations Committee and member of the board of directors.  Larry will serve out the current term of Mike Scheffler.  Larry's first priority is recruiting candidates for the RYLA Camp this July. Congratulations to Dyann and Larry on their appointments.
Chenault and Jackson Appointed to New Offices 2018-03-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 12, 2018
Bob Elliott and Jim Smith presented new books at Mildred Wells Academy.  Above, first graders show off their new books donated by Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary. The books belong to the student to take home.  Below Kindergartners show Jim Smith the book they selected.  Books will be delivered to all pre-K, K and 1st graders in all Benton Harbor Area Schools and all charters in the next few weeks.
Books for Kids Begins 2018-03-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 28, 2018
Larry Adams, past-president of Charlotte Rotary, and assistant governor, related how his club started a satellite club after Rotary International provided for them in the latest changes to club constitutions.  It was a three year journey for this "old, white, male". They needed eight members to start the satellite; four came from the sponsoring club, four others were recruited. Selecting an evening time slot (5:30-6:30 pm) and meeting at a pub, with meal and drinks optional, made the club attractive to younger professionals.  The club has 17 members now.  Fundraising is limited to funding small projects. Dues are $160. Check out the FAQ on Satellites Clubs at RI, click here.
Satellite Club is Thriving 2018-02-28 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 21, 2018
Elena, on left, and Anna from the Lake Michigan Catholic Interact Club were at our meeting to announce the 4th Annual College Game Night.  The March 18th event coincides with the early rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Drop in the Watermark Brewing Company in Stevensville any time from 1-5 pm for TV, games and beverages. Tickets are $15.  The brewery will also donate $1 for each pint sold during the event.  The proceeds will go to this year's mission trip to the Dominican Republic in June. The brewery is at 5781 St. Joseph Ave in the Village of Stevensville, just south of John Beers road (how appropriate!).
Get Your Game On 2018-02-21 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 21, 2018
Joe Taylor, president elect and Cindy Kinney, president nominee, just completed pre-PETS training.  Joe presented three ideas that might foster more participation:
  1. Create a satellite club
  2. Promote Ted Talks for content and possibly as make-ups (TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks; 18 minutes or less. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages)
  3. Live stream our meetings.  Post in our You Tube channel (yes, we do have our own You Tube channel).
These ideas will need further discussion and changes to our bylaws.  Stay Tuned!
Joe finished by showing Michael Pritchard's amazing Life Saver Bottle, which turns even the dirties water into pure drinking water.  See it at the link below.
There are 102 Ted Talks on Clean Water!
Fresh Ideas from PETS 2018-02-21 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 07, 2018
Jim Maier, president of Lakeshore Rotary Club is pursuing Rotary International's goal of planting one tree for each member to improve the environment.  Jim is a long time golfer and decided to combine his love of golf with his desire to meet RI's goal.  He knew that Berrien Hills golf course lost 150 trees to Elm Borer disease and made that the place to plant Rotary's trees.  The course is happy to have the trees and will help plant the trees. After much research Jim found a supplier with small trees for only $4.50 each.  They even offered to deliver the trees to Rotary for free.  That made the project financially attractive and he went to work on the labor side. He recruited Lakeshore's high school golf coach to have team members help with the project.  The Interact club will also pitch in.  Jim is working to complete the project by Earth Day, April 22, 2018.  The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotarians will participate on an individual basis.
Lakeshore Rotary Pursues RI Goal 2018-02-07 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 31, 2018
Jay Fettig, owner of the North Pier Brewing Company, shows off the results of the canning line installed last year. Jay said you can now find North Pier brews in most locations in southwest Michigan.  (He's still working to get into Meijer's.) He noted that his sister owns the North Shore Inn which will open with a new manager as soon as the renovation is complete.  Don't expect the burgers to change as long time cook John Howe will still be flipping burgers.
President Brian Saxton is shown on right below presenting a check to Jim Paul of Slumberland Furniture.  The check is the proceeds of the 2017 Great Bed Race and will be used to provide beds to the needy in the community.
Next up was Megan from Upton Middle School Interact Club.
Megan was on hand to receive a donation to their club.  The club is raising matching funds for a grant to place additional playground equipment at Countryside's Youth Campus.
The evening concluded with a trivia contest.  Mike Kinney had 15 tough questions for the crowd.  The winning table is shows off their trophy below, clockwise are Kyra and Dan Utroske, Bob Elliott and Pam Pappas.  The winners also went home with beer and chocolates.
Special thanks to Mike and Cindy Kinney for a great 5th Wednesday experience.
I'll Drink to That 2018-01-31 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 24, 2018
Our own Bob Gifford told the story of electricity starting from Benjamin Franklin.  Below are a few of the inventions Bob highlighted for us. (The list if from the historical archive web site - I couldn't  take notes fast enough to keep up with Bob)

1752 By tying a key onto a kite string during a storm, Ben Franklin, proved that static electricity and lightning were the same.

1800 First electric battery invented by Alessandro Volta.

1808 Arc lamp invented by Humphry Davy.

1820 Separate experiments by Hans Christian Oersted, A.M. Ampere, and D.F.G. Arago confirmed the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

1821 The first electric motor was invented by Michael Faraday. (Bob didn't mention this but it very important)

1835 Joseph Henry invented the electrical relay, used to send electrical currents long distances.

1837 Thomas Davenport invented the electric motor, an invention that is used in most electrical appliances today.

1876 Charles Brush invented the “open coil” dynamo (or generator) that could produce a study current of electricity.

1879 After many experiments, Thomas Edison invented an incandescent light bulb that could be used for about 40 hours without burning out. By 1880 his bulbs could be used for 1200 hours.

1881 The electric streetcar was invented by E.W. v. Siemens

1882 Edward Johnson first put electric lights on a Christmas tree. (This wasn't in Bob's presentation but I couldn't leave it out.)

1883 Nikola Tesla invented the “Tesla coil”, a transformer that changes electricity from low voltage to high voltage making it easier to transport over long distances.

1893 The Westinghouse Electric Company used an alternating current (AC) system to light the Chicago World’s Fair.

Bob spoke of how Edison and Westinghouse battled to established their preferred approach.  Edison wanted DC distribution and Westinghouse preferred AC.  The AC approach won because it could distribute power much further with greater efficiency.

Bob then brought the discussion closer to home.  He noted that by 1900 Berrien County had an extensive urban rail system to provide transportation.  Power was also available for public lights. 

Bob had to pause his presentation here but promised to return with more local history of electricity through out the area.

Let There Be Light 2018-01-24 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 24, 2018
The directors of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation, appointed by the club last December, met for the first time in 2018.  The first order of business was the election of officers for calendar year 2018.  The officers are:
Lee Scherwitz, president
Dave Bly, vice-president
Ellen Russell, secretary
Bob Elliott, treasurer
The other directors are Mel Burton, Alice Ford and Mike Kinney.
The foundation begins the year with the following fund balances:
General Fund,  $4,555
Sailing Scholarship Fund:  $1,189
Endowment Fund:  $7,500
Thanksgiving Fund :  $8
Arnoldine School Fund:  $1,150
Interact Dominican Trip Fund:  $0
BH Alumni Athlete Scholarship Fund $0
Total of all funds:  $14.402
Club Foundation Elects Officers 2018-01-24 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 17, 2018
Our own Ellen Russell, with 14 years of Head Start experience, said a huge change had taken place this school year.  Resources were shifted from centers to home visitation.  This was specifically targeting the 0-3 years old children, with the belief that theses early years are very important to ultimate outcomes.  The program has a special reading curriculum, includes pre-school practice, helps with parents education and builds resiliency skills. See the short video below on this final element. Parents are also taught to advocate for their children.  Head Start requires a 25% local match to the Federal funds, so please consider donating or volunteering.
Early Head Start 2018-01-17 05:00:00Z 0
Becki Tomsheck, program manager, has 20 years experience in training.  In 2017 she decided to put that experience to work for Junior Achievement. JA trains in three areas: financial literacy, workplace readiness and entrepreneurship.  The model brings experienced business volunteers into classroom to go through JA's excellent educational materials. The  work is all supported by donations and includes many classroom volunteers.  140 classes are planned for the spring, starting in March.  Why not join in? Training will take place February 13 from 1-3 pm.  To enroll or ask about other volunteer opportunities write to
Junior Achievement Builds Future Business Leaders 2018-01-10 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 20, 2017
The club's board of directors appointed the following members to serve as directors of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation for the 2018 calendar year.
Dave Bly
Mel Burton
Bob Elliott
Alice Ford
Mike Kinney
Ellen Russell
Lee Scherwitz
These directors will elect their officers in January.
Board Appoints Foundation Directors 2017-12-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 20, 2017
Philip Freeman, superintendent of Lakeshore Public Schools, was at Rotary as a spokesperson for the Reading Now Network.  The network is the result of efforts at a regional level to improve results. Superintendents in the ISD cooperate to drive results. They determined that five key principles are necessary
  • Uncompromising focus on reading
  • Data used deeply
  • Shared leadership - Sustained commitment
  • Classroom management focused on learning
  • Collective responsibility for every child's success
Along the way they learned it's not about:
  • Class size
  • Condition of building
  • District size
  • Building size
  • Technology resources
  • Principal's resume
  • A Specific Program
  • A Special reading intervention
What children need is 90 minutes of reading every day. Current Initiatives include professional development, principal coaching, lab schools and classroom libraries. This last item adds 30 minutes of reading time to each day by eliminating trips to the media center.  Books on the buses also increasing reading.
New Focus on Reading 2017-12-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 14, 2017
The club's foundation - Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation - is pleased to announce the recipients of two Alumni Scholarship Awards.  The funds were made available by alumni donors who were inspired by the resurgence of the Tigers under Coach Uzelac. The scholarships go to Eusean Jennings and Willie Roberson. Mr. Jennings had the highest GPA and Mr. Roberson was team MVP.  Both winners are seniors from last season's football team and plan to on to college. They were recommended by coach Uzelac and Mr. Slivensky.  We appreciate the assistance of new athletic director Tray Crusciel in this process.
Foundation Awards Scholarships 2017-12-14 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 13, 2017
Momono Sakura is the club's Rotary Youth Exchange student from Higashiouni, Japan, a town the size of Kalamazoo, located about 2 hours southwest of Tokyo. Her first love in running.  She won a medal in the Rotary Pumpkin 5k shortly after her arrival and joined the track and cross-country team. Her family includes her father, a welder, her mother, city commissioner, and an older sister. She attends an online school in Japan and is in the 10th grade at St. Joseph High School. She used an innovative way to talk about Japanese culture: she conducted a survey, asking students at school to vote on several suggestions, such as rice, cherry blossom trees, sushi and many more.  On rice, she said it is part of each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. She noted that her last name means Cherry Blossom.  Sushi was the number one association students had with Japanese culture.
Momono Tells Her Story 2017-12-13 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 09, 2017
Dan Utroske and Rhonda Pallas are shown at Wal-Mart in Benton Harbor.  Rotarians were at both doors all day.  People were generous and filled the kettles.  Thanks to all the bell ringers and to Alan Bartlett for organizing the event.
Rotary Continues Bell Ringing Tradition 2017-12-09 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 06, 2017
Becki Tomsheck has spent twenty years training others, at Whirlpool and now at Junior Achievement.  JA offers classes in their three pillars of business education: financial literacy, workforce development and entrepreneurship. Becki will be training volunteers on February 13 for the 140 classes that are planned to start in March.  The training provides all the materials and tips for being successful in the classroom. She will also be doing special training for JA-in-a-Day at Steam Academy on February 16th.  Training will be based on the need of volunteers for that day.  If you would like more information or sign up for the training write to becki,  Becki also encourages everyone to participate Achieve-A-Bowl in the spring.
Junior Achievement is Looking for Volunteers 2017-12-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 29, 2017
Darrin Drollinger, Executive Director, was our host at the International Headquarters of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, whose logo appears above.  The ASABE is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in St. Joseph, Michigan, ASABE comprises members in more than 100 countries. They publish three peer-reviewed journals and a bi-monthly member magazine.  The conference room had several models of farm equipment on display, this being the principle area of activity of most of the members.Thanks to Dolores Landeck, Director of Public Affairs, for arranging our visit.
    On to the Christmas party; with a buffet dinner provided by Lee Sherwitz and Patrice Grant with many elfs helping too. The evening finished with Christmas carols.  See part of the gang below.
The club took the opportunity of the meeting to collect donations for the Wonderland Toy Store. The night's haul is shown below.
Rotary Celbrates Christmas at ASABE Headquarters 2017-11-29 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 22, 2017
Julie Webb is shown at the end of a table full of Thanksgiving Day fixings. The club assembled 16 baskets for needy families. Members brought items and then filled baskets in an assembly line fashion.  One trip down the table, with one of this and two of that until the basket was full.  Thanks to all the members, to Bob Gifford for organizing, to Monte Packaging for donating the baskets and for Kyra Utroske for the cards and table runners.
Thanksgiving Assembly Line 2017-11-22 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 15, 2017
Rotarians 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 has a place for the student's name and is presented by a Rotarian.  This year the dictionaries also have Rotary's Four Way Test printed on a label.  Thanks to Jim Smith and Sharyn Kaatz for organizing this project.
Dictionaries for All 3rd Graders 2017-11-15 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 15, 2017
State representative Kim LaSata made her first visit to Sunrise Rotary. She attended Lake Michigan Catholic High School and returned many years to teach fifth grade.  Ten years later she made her first run for elected office.  Now she is chair of the higher education committee with responsibility for 15 campuses.  She also serves on the agriculture and health committees.  Her first legislation addressed homeowners falsely claiming homestead exemptions, assessing back taxes and fines. Her ed committee uses performance metrics to allocate up to 50% of the college annual budgets. She expects to review and revise these metrics during this term. Discussions are also focused on municipal pensions, gun control and free speech on campus.  Some of these topics will result in future legislation.
Representative LaSata Focused on Higher Education 2017-11-15 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 01, 2017
Dr. Terry McIlvaine says that frequently asking that question may indicate a loss of hearing.  Hearing loss is the third most prevalent health condition with links to diabetes, depression and dementia.  The gradual decline is often not noticed but the loss never gets better.  One Rotarian volunteered that he was checked last year and found he needed help with his hearing.  A baseline evaluation is recommended even if you don't think you have issues.
       Terry also had exciting news.  Professional Hearing has a commitment from the Starky Foundation to offer free hearing aids to those in need.  Plans are being made for the one-day event to held in May of 2018.  Rotary  members are asked to identify possible recipients for early screening and qualification.  Details are still being finalized so check their website early next year for event date and qualification procedures at
What Did You Say? 2017-11-01 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 25, 2017
Kevin Edlefson, a member of the Providence World Ministry, is part of a project called La Providencia in Honduras.  Orphans are removed from traditional institutions and joined to existing families in a new community structure.  The families are recruited to be long term residents which provides two important things to orphans: a two parent household and stability. Four houses have been built along with a school and a clinic.  Families grow coffee, bananas and tilapia for food and sale.  The village is adding housing for widows to provide the "aunts" and "grandparents" for the orphans.  Rotary International has provided a $250,000 global matching grant to provide school supplies and housing needs.  Every $1 donated will be matched by $3.50 from Rotary. Click here to learn more or donate.  For more information contact the Sacramento Rotary at  .
A New Model for Orphans 2017-10-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 18, 2017
Our own Kyra Utroske, an artist with a studio at 210 Water Street, explained the Benton Harbor Art Hop. The hop is organized by New Territory Arts Association. Every four months, the businesses in the Benton Harbor Arts District choose a Friday to host an Art Hop. It’s a family-friendly evening filled with an entertaining mix of art, music, dance, theater, culinary arts and more. Come check out the multiple venues along the walkable Arts District streets. Be sure to meet Mert Unger, the new Artist-in-Residence at the Glassworks.  Meet your neighbors, talk with business owners and see impressive art. These popular events truly connect people with NTAA’s belief that “Art Builds Community.”  No admission charge, 6-9 pm.
The next two events are October 20 and December 8, 2017
Art Hop Building Community Oct 20 & Dec 8, 2017 2017-10-18 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 11, 2017
Marian Prince, PhD, has made four trips to Nepal to improve math education. Now she is collaborating with Choice Humanitarian to provide 50 advanced TI graphing calculators to teach difficult topics, one each for 50 middle and high school teachers in the village of Lamjung. These tools allow the teachers to go beyond plugging values into formulas. Her goal is $7,000 for the next trip.  To learn more or donate to the Nepal Calculator Project click here. Marian was advised to contact a Rotary club in Nepal and to pursue an RI grant.
Marian also works locally. Through her position at Andrews University she has developed Math in a Box, a mixture of math games to improve math skills.  The Box is available for temporary use reserving a box at Andrews; click here. The box is delivered to any school in Berrien County.
Calculating a Future in Nepal 2017-10-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 11, 2017
Rhonda Pallas is the Center Director for Tri County Head Start on McCord in Benton Harbor.  Ellen Russell is her sponsor.  Rhonda lives in Stevensville.  She has been active with the Road to Life food pantry and Right to Life. Welcome Rhonda!
Rhonda Pallas Joins Rotary 2017-10-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 10, 2017
First graders at Countryside Early Learning Center received iPads from Rotary and Toys for the Needy. Eleven students and parents signed up and were on hand to receive their iPads. The devices have apps and links to promote increased reading and math skills. The program was made possible by grants from Rotary District 6360 and Getman Corporation, Bangor, MI. Photo by Don Campbell, Herald Palladium Staff .
New Hi Tech Reading Program Begins 2017-10-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 04, 2017
This selfie shows, from left, Mike Scheffler, Larry Culby and Lee Scherwitz below the rail they installed at the MLK playground. The rail had to be removed and welded before it could be put back into service.  Well done to the A-Team!
MLK Playground Work Completed 2017-10-04 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 27, 2017
Julia Gourley, Executive Director of Krasl Art Center, on left, and Tami Miller, Curator of Art & Education, were welcomed by president Brian Saxton. The speakers were on hand to introduce their latest public art initiative.  Every five years the center takes on a major project.  This time involves re-configuring the plaza area to incorporate an arch designed by Richard Hunt.  See photo below for a model of the arch with the artist. The final piece will be 20 feet tall and encourage visitors to linger, take photos and stage events. The total project cost is $1.7 million.  Ground breaking is planned for April 2018.  Donations are now being accepted to match a $50,000 challenge grant.  Click here to donate. 
Krasl Plans to Increase Community Connection 2017-09-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 27, 2017
President Brian Saxton, on right in each group, presents Paul Harris Fellow awards to, from left, Bob McFeeter, Carol Bly and Larry Culby. These awards were part of Jim Smith's dollar-for-dollar matching challenge.
More Paul Harris Fellows 2017-09-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 22, 2017
The team from Jimmy Johns won the 2017 Great Bed Race.  They overcame an early loss to defeat Lakeland ER twice for the win. The race had new teams from Leco and United Federal Credit Union and Lakeland ER. Returning teams were: Abonmarche, Elks, Home Depot, Lakeland Homecare, Lakeland Building Services, Starks, FOP and Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  Leco won the fundraising award and a first round bye.
Jimmy Johns Wins Bed Race 2017-09-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 20, 2017
Elizabeth McCree, Esq. returned to Benton Harbor after Spelman College, law school and legal practice in Georgia. In 2013 she was a prosecutor in the family courts and saw how it takes four systems - school, welfare, mental health and justice - working together to put young people on the path to success.  She recently open a practice in Benton Harbor and recognized a need for more lawyers to replace the retiring generation.  This eventually lead to her plans to conduct a summer camp in 2018. The camp would be open to all Berrien County residents grades 9 to 12, plus those graduated in last two years. The camp will be intensive, with three weeks of activities including two field trips.  She is drawing in state and local resources to put on the camp.  Scholarships will be available. Contact her at if you would like to help her with this important endeavor.
McCree Prepares New Legal Camp 2017-09-20 04:00:00Z 0
Turn out was Great.  myTeamTriumph had a Great event.  Bob Gifford's audio-visual extravaganza was Great. Jon Wallace our emcee was Great.  Everyone had a Great time.  Check out the photos here. Thanks to all Rotarians, volunteers, and sponsors that made the event possible.  Results are posted here.
It was a Great Day for Pumpkin Run - Updated 2017-09-17 04:00:00Z 0
Jim Smith's efforts to promote Paul Harris Fellows added two more awards.  Shown above Felicia Smith and Mike Scheffler receive their first awards from president Brian Saxton,  These latest awards add to the awards presented during our visit to Morton House Museum; to  Dyann Chenault, her first, and repeat winners, Alice Ford, Pam Pappas and Bob Elliott. Felecia's award was a surprise gift from her tablemates.
Latest Paul Harris Fellows 2017-09-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 30, 2017
The club moved its regular breakfast meeting to enjoy an evening at the Morton House Museum.  President Brian Saxton was starting a new tradition to do something different on the four months each year that have five Wednesdays. The visit included a meal organized by Patrice Grant with Lee Scherwitz at the grill and members providing sides and dessert. A docent of the museum provided some history of the Morton Shipping company and the toys they also manufactured.  A tour of the home concluded the visit.
Club Meets at Morton House 2017-08-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 23, 2017
Quincy and Desirae are shown at Rotary Youth Leadership Academy Camp. The relaxed pose is surprising since the camp puts everyone in learning situations. Thanks to Mike Scheffler, new generations chairman, for getting our students to RYLA Camp.
Leadership Camp Was Awesome 2017-08-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 23, 2017
Rotarians and friends completed most of the repairs to make the MLK playground ready for students.  Several pieces were removed and replaced.  Lee Scherwitz took the track ride - a 12 foot section - for repair that was beyond hand tools.  See more images in the MLK Playground photo album, click here.
MLK Playground Nearly Ready 2017-08-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 23, 2017
Momono, center, is between Aicha, who spent a last year in Japan, and Lee Scherwitz, district and club Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) Chairman. Momono just arrived from Japan but she had already met many  members during the Rotary sailing adventure.  Welcome, Momono!  Best wishes for a wonderful RYE year in America and Southwest Michigan.
Introducing Momono from Japan 2017-08-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 09, 2017
Graham Bryan is shown receiving his club banner from president Brian Saxton during his induction into Rotary.  This banner is the last of its kind as the club will design a new banner that conforms to the new Rotary design guidelines. Graham is from the UK and works at Chase as a private client banker. He is married to Meghan and admitted to having a unique family situation: one in college and one in diapers. Jim Smith is Graham's sponsor.  Welcome Graham.
Graham Bryan Joins Rotary 2017-08-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 09, 2017
Our own club's Jim Smith was our presenter this week.  Jim's passion is The Rotary Foundation.  Under Rotary president Arch Klumph the foundation was started in 1917. But the start was slow, awarding its first $500 grant in 1930. After the 1947 death of founder Paul Harris, however, memorial donations eclipsed $1 million dollars. The idea of the Paul Harris Fellowship continues this tradition of memorial donations for "doing good in the world."  Jim offered to use his points to match donations dollar-for-dollar to help all club members reach their first or next Paul Harris level of $1,000. Many checks were written that day.  Way to go Jim!
Jim Smith on a Quest for More Paul Harris Fellows 2017-08-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 02, 2017
Aicha Camara's Japanese still flows freely after a week at home from her Rotary Youth Exchange year in Yokohama, Japan. Today's presentation was more about the personal elements of her experience. When she agreed to the program she had two goals: become a confident public speaker and overcome her fear of roller coasters.  She started right speaking at the meeting of outbound students last July and during her time in Japan she made monthly presentation at her host district meetings, in Japanese. She clearly exceeded that goal.  The roller coast took more time but she road a few world class coaster during her last month in Japan. Aicha plans to work for a year and then pursue a college degree in International Studies, with a minor in Japanese.  Shown below she hugs a school friend and presents a flags from her hosts.
Aicha Overcame Her Fears 2017-08-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 20, 2017
A joyous Alan Bartlett was joined by several club members in the mid summer highway clean up. The crew, back row from left, Lee, grandson, Sue, Julie, Brian, Alan, and Dyann, front row, Lyn, new member Michael, Mike and Kyra,  not shown are Dan Utroske and Bob Mc Feeter who skipped the after party. Photo by North Shore staff.
Highway Clean Up Crew Celebrates 2017-07-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 19, 2017
Rev. Dr. Oscar Varnadoe III retired from the Chicago school system and felt a calling to serve the community in Benton Harbor. His new church is part of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ. His church is a "restart", taking the old Gothic church near Pipestone and Broadway. He said he could relate to Rotary's motto of Service Above Self, since he views that as Christ's command to His followers.  He is building a congregation and trying to learn how he can serve the community.  Welcome, Senior Pastor Varnadoe III.
Welcome to Rev. Dr. Varnadoe III 2017-07-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 19, 2017
Michael Mason, center, was inducted into Rotary by president Brian Saxton, right. Michael's sponsor and co-worker is Farai Rukunda, both from Leco Corporation.
Michael Mason Join Rotary 2017-07-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 12, 2017
Brian Saxton recalled his military days when "Hail and Farewell" events marked the arrival of new soldiers and the departure of friends.  Today we had the opportunity to say Hail to Aicha just returned from her year in Japan and Farewell to Jazz who will be going home to Germany next week. The picture below of Aicha is from a haunted house, one of her last adventures in Japan. Jazz loved San Francisco and marveled at the hilly terrain of the city. The club provided Jazz with a check for her last minute expenses for gifts, etc.
Hail and Farewell - Aicha and Jazz 2017-07-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 11, 2017
Several Rotarians and sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha spruced up our Rotary Park at Chicago and Linden.  Several children played around us and waited patiently for their favorite equipment. Their presence was our reward for the service. Thanks to the "soros" for their help.
TLC for Rotary Park 2017-07-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 05, 2017
A'Keydra Abrams is a patient advocate for the Sickle Cell Disease Association. The disease exists in communities of color especially African-Americans that may inherit the gene from their African ancestors. Sickle Cell is a disease of the blood, causing poor circulation, lack of oxygen, pain and jaundice. Flare ups often interrupt school and work and can be life-threatening.  All new-borns are tested for the trait. A'Keydra spends her days counseling families, visiting patients at the hospital and spreading the word throughout the community.  Her organization has offices at the health department; funding is by the State of Michigan and grants.
Advocate Fights Sickle Cell Disease 2017-07-05 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 28, 2017
Elizabeth Ann Jorgensen, this year's Miss SwMi Teen 2017, is a junior at Eau Claire High School and taking classes at LMC. She's a runner, musician and active member of her youth group.  As Miss Teen 2017, Elizabeth has returned to her 6th grade experiences of seeing Miguel be stricken with Lukemia. She did fundraising and provide support for the family until he was in remission and returned to the 8th grade. That experience made her selection of children's cancer an easy choice for her platform. Her research showed that 250 children die each day from cancer. Many survive only to have recurrences later in life. Now she promotes Angels of Hope, ( 586.226.3146), a non-profit that helps families deal with childhood cancer.  Even the best health insurance leaves the family with many expenses, such and travel, hotels and meals. Angels of Hope is able to help.
Miss SwMi Teen 2017 Dedicated to Reducing Childhood Cancer 2017-06-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 20, 2017
Patrice Grant passed the baton to incoming president Brian Saxton.  It's official on July 1, 2017.  Members gathered at the Grille at Harbor Shores for the annual ritual. Patrice thanked the club for its support during her term.  She cited Bob Elliott and Bob Kynast for all they do for the club.  Brian Saxton said he is ready for his second term as president.  He asked each officer to stand as he announced those who will serve with him during the 2017-2018 club year. The new officers are listed in the story here.
Brian Saxton, president
Joseph Taylor, president-elect
Mike Scheffler, president-nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Debbie Goforth, treasurer
Dan Utroske, chair of club admin committee
Alan Bartlett, chair of service projects committee
Mike Scheffler, chair of new generations committee
Farai Rakunda, chair of membership committee
Kyra Utroske, chair of public image committee
Eddie Marshall, chair of fundraising and foundation committee
Brian Saxton, president
Joseph Taylor, president-elect
Mike Scheffler, president-nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Debbie Goforth, treasurer
Dan Utroske, chair of club admin committee
Alan Bartlett, chair of service projects committee
Mike Scheffler, chair of new generations committee
Farai Rakunda, chair of membership committee
Kyra Utroske, chair of public image committee
Eddie Marshall, chair of fundraising and foundation committee
Brian Saxton, president
Joseph Taylor, president-elect
Mike Scheffler, president-nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Debbie Goforth, treasurer
Dan Utroske, chair of club admin committee
Alan Bartlett, chair of service projects committee
Mike Scheffler, chair of new generations committee
Farai Rakunda, chair of membership committee
Kyra Utroske, chair of public image committee
Eddie Marshall, chair of fundraising and foundation committee
New Officers Installed for 2017-2018 2017-06-20 04:00:00Z 0
Larry Culby stepped in for the absence of our speaker to tell us about the MSU Extension services just down the street from his home on  Hillandale in Benton Harbor.  The Extension has 300 acres it uses for research on fruits and vegetables.  It uses more than 500 experiments each year to evaluate seeds, watering methods, fertilizers and other factors of production.  The results are presented to growers and consumers at regular sessions. This year's fruit is looking good after a scare in the spring.  The Extension is open to the public.
Larry Culby on MSU Extension 2017-06-14 04:00:00Z 0
The club made its final contribution for this club year. The annual total was $3,700, which will help immunize 17,000 children.  Alice Ford started this year with a garage sale that raised $2,500.  The club added $1,200 from its 5K Pumpkin Run, 50/50 and an amount on behalf of speakers to the club. Thanks to Alice and the entire club for this effort to eradicate polio from the world.
Club Supports Polio Eradication 2017-06-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 07, 2017

Dr. Loren Hamel, MD, president and CEO of Lakeland Health, is leading the biggest rebuilding program in the hospital's history. This renovation/expansion includes new operating rooms, new ICU, four story patient wing and relocated visitor entrance and emergency area.  Interior traffic will be greatly improved, the parking garage will add one more floor and a roof for year-round covered parking.

In other news, Lakepoint apartments are filling up fast, including 60 residents physicians in four specialties, in three year rotations, and 32 families from the community. The waiting list is over 100.

Dr. Hamel explained how Medicaid works in Michigan: hospitals are assessed a contribution amount and the Federal government matches it 5 to 1.  The State does not used General Fund revenues for Medicare.  The current ACA reduced reimbursements but expanded enrollments.  Changes under consideration now are unknown.

The Lakeland Healthcare Hospital Gets Makeover 2017-06-07 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 07, 2017
Shaneil took advantage of our mentoring program to speak with two experienced nurses. The discussion confirmed her interest in the field.  She plans to attend LMC for two years and then go on to Western Michigan to complete her nursing education.  Thanks to Mike Scheffler for creating the opportunity for Shaneil.
Shaneil Will Pursue Nursing Career 2017-06-07 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 31, 2017
Jasmina, or just "Jas" a we have called her, started her trip to the US in a state of panic. They suspected her of having a bomb and put her through extensive screening.  What a way to start! Public Speaking is her favorite topic at school.  She received an A and surprised her teacher with a fifteen minute talk on demons.  She enjoyed the homecoming dance as the date of the quarterback.  She attended prom with a group of Rotary Youth Exchange students and other friends.  But shopping for the dress was fun too - five stores and many fittings later she selected a dress. The prom and after-prom provided a "wonderful memory".  Jas' mom was visiting from Germany for a trip to Niagara Falls and New York City.  After that trip, Jas will join a RYE trip to the west coast.
Jasmina's Year in Southwest Michigan 2017-05-31 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 31, 2017
If you read Aicha's blog about her Rotary Youth Exchange year in Japan it's clear that her host club, Rotary Club of Yokohama North and host Rotary District 2590, have done an excellent job providing a wonderful experiences for her.  Our club sent the thank you card above for her to include in her final presentations.
Thank You Rotary of Japan 2017-05-31 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 24, 2017
Our own Bob Kynast, fundraising chair and leader of the 5k event, presented the new course at left. Both the 5K and 10K courses have been redesigned to stay on the pavement for better footing and faster times. Other changes this year are a Train to Run program sponsored by Whirlpool and Lakeland Care to prepare for the run or walk. Slumberland and Whirlpool will be major sponsors of the event. A children's supervised play area will let runners drop off children over 5 so they can enjoy the run. The event website is up and running and registration is open, click here. Key Dates: 5K/10K on September 16, Great Bed Race on September 23, and Great Pumpkin Festival on September 24.
Rotary Plans a Bigger and Better 5k 2017-05-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 24, 2017
Below is the recommendation for our club's Rotary Hero for 2016-17.
"The members of Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club would like to nominate Brian Saxton as our 2017 Rotary Hero.  Brian has been a member of our club since 2000.  He has served as club president and will reprise that role for the 2017-18 year. Brian is a constant source of enthusiasm and leadership not only to Rotary but also in the community at large.  
Under his guidance as CEO of the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club hundreds of local children have been served, fed and nurtured.  Providing academic support, personal development and fun the club draws from many local schools and positively impacts lives.
Brian serves a key role to our club and RI including strategic planning and mentoring future club leaders among other intangibles.   He truly embodies the spirit of Rotary."
Brian Saxton Designated Rotary Hero 2017-05-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 24, 2017
De'Andre took advantage of Rotary's Mentoring program to spend time at Van's Pharmacy. He thanked Rotary and Mike Scheffler for arranging the intervew. De'Andre said the discussion helped confirm his career choice.  He will attend LMC in the fall to pursue a pharmacy degree.
De'Andre - A Future Pharmacist 2017-05-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 17, 2017
Our own club's Bob McFeeter is Evergreen Development's managing director, responsible for Harbor Shores.  He present the above concept drawing of Harbor Village, which is taking shape next to The Inn and marina. This plan replaces the original concept which featured seven story condominiums. Bob used the chief architect at Andrews University to create a new concept.  The plan now provided a small town feel with front porches, sidewalks, and alleys that bring neighbors closer. The plan also creates a central avenue that leads directly to the marina and provides a maximum number of water views. The total number of residences was reduced by 50%. Yes, the pedestrian bridge across the Paw Paw River is in the plan. Kerry Wright II of Evergreen Real Estate was also on hand to show some of the housing products that will be offered for sale starting in June 2017. Single family homes and town homes will be offered. For more information explore the Harbor Shores website, click here.
Harbor Village Sales Will Begin in June 2017 2017-05-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 11, 2017
All the "young five" students in Mrs. Kellogg's received their books from Catherine Ravitch and Bob Elliott and voiced a hearty thank you. Mrs. Kellogg immediately started reading the books with the children.
Books a Hit at Countryside Academy 2017-05-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 10, 2017
Our own club member, Eddie Marshall, is president and founder of Toys for the Needy, a 501c(3) nonprofit. His organization is not focused on recreational toys as you might suspect - and the need is not financial but a need to learn how to read. Research has shown that poor readers have troubled outcomes later.  Eddie's "toys" are various mobile devices loaded with apps that make learning to read fun. He works two tracks: 1) trying to change the culture by increasing parental involvement in the child's reading abilities, and 2) working with schools to target those falling behind in reading skills and equip them with tablets or other devices to bring them up to grade level. Photo from Countryside Academy. The club members applauded Eddie's efforts and intends to request a district grant to help advance his program.
Join the effort! Send a donation to Toys for the Needy and Aid, PO Box 8831 Benton Harbor, MI 49023.
Updated - Toys for the Needy - A Surprising Double Entendre 2017-05-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 10, 2017
Cameron Furney, center, is inducted into membership in Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary by president Patrice Grant on right, while sponsor Lyn Sperry looks on.  Cameron is a teacher at Countryside Academy.
Cameron Furney Joins Rotary 2017-05-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 03, 2017
Dyann Chenault, past-president, left, with Emma Kinnard, executive director of Fresh Start Children's Garden, returned to Rotary with project director, Marvin Haywood. Marvin reminded us of the mission to bring a fresh start to the garden but also to the community, teaching responsibility and healthy lifestyles.  All the produce is provided free to the community.  Emma is also putting donated boxes to use, letting children plant, tend and harvest their own selection of fruit, vegetables and flowers. A landscaping class is also in the works. Emma also wanted to thank Rotary for a grant to move her greenhouse to the new location at the corner of Pearl and May in Benton Harbor. Check out her radio program on Monday's at 1 pm, 105.3 FM.
Children's Garden Still Growing 2017-05-03 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 29, 2017
From left, Ellen Russell, Dave Bly and Eddie Marshall are just a few of the Rotarians that turned out for the annual park clean up at Pete Mitchell, City Center Park in downtown Benton Harbor.  Mike Kinney organized the work and delivered several truck loads of mulch.  Bryan Tutton was on his tractor tilling the flower beds and delivering mulch throughout the park. Well done everyone.
City Center Park Made Ready for Season 2017-04-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 27, 2017
Junior Achievement is an important Rotary partner in serving the community.  Rotarians formed two teams and raised funds at the annual JA bowling fund raiser. I heard the bowling was fun, just don't ask about the scores.  Pictured above in Star Wars regalia, from left, are Cindy Kinney, Dan Utroske, Alice Ford, Mike Kinney, Pam Pappas, Bob Gifford, Kyra Utroske, Dave Bly, Lyn Sperry and Mike Scheffler..
Rotarians Bowl for Junior Achievement 2017-04-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 26, 2017
Members of the Benton Harbor High School robotics team, from left, Lauren, Dyesha and Kenny, were very proud of their accomplishments in this year's robotics competition. The team takes a standard kit of parts, designs the robot for the tasks, and programs the robot to respond to a driver's commands. The robots compete as alliances of three teams.  The highest scoring teams are allowed to select two other teams for the next round of competition.  The Tiger's robot was fast and excelled in the climbing portion, leading to selection for regional and state competition. Shannon Hana, not shown, is the coach of the team.  He was on hand to introduce the team to Rotary. The three students were 50% of their six person team. It's amazing that such a small team was able to accomplish so much. Each student expressed their joy of learning and accomplishment provided by this year's competition.
Tiger's Robotics Team Made History 2017-04-26 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 26, 2017
Rayonte' visited Rotary to thank the club for our mentoring program.  He used it to explore a career as an architect.  Mike Scheffler arranged for Rayonte' to interview an architect at Pearson Construction.  The interview confirmed his interest in this career.
Rayonte' Looks to Future as Architect 2017-04-26 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 19, 2017
The club gathered at the new Timothy's restaurant in Union Pier to celebrate the twenty-sixth anniversary of our charter. The food and fellowship was simply terrific. We used the occasion to make Craig Carlson an Honorary Member.
Club Celebrates 26th Charter Anniversary 2017-04-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 19, 2017
President Patrice Grant enjoys Craig Carlson's remarks after he was notified that he was enrolled as an Honorary Member of Benton Harbor Sunrise. Craig manages the Elks Lodge during our meetings and is the founder of the Ray Carlson Memorial, dedicated to special needs children. His life is an example of Service Above Self. Welcome Craig.
Craig Carlson Become Honorary Rotarian 2017-04-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 17, 2017
Chachi, our former Rotary Youth Exchange student from Lima, Peru, completed his associates degree in a manner we have come to expect from him. He was recognized at the Honors Convocation as a Cum Laude graduate.  He also had the honor of having the longest name on the list of honorees, Juan Linares Orihuela.
Chachi Graduates with Honors 2017-04-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 12, 2017
Brian Saxton, president elect, stepped to the podium for an update on the Boys and Girls Club. Everything that the Boys and Girls Club does is data driven, purposeful and intentional.  The children and teens took a survey last week, and their “Club Experience Factor” has risen from 66% in 2014 to 78% in 2016.  The goal is to see this raise on the new survey.
The Club Experience is based on four principals:
  ·  Safe First:  Several improvements include adding more cameras, using Deputy Williams, and earning a $125,000 safety grant
  ·  Having Fun
  ·  Having good adult relationships: which include new staffing and foster grandparents
  ·  Recognize accomplishments which include Club Kid of the Year, Graduations, Admission to College or other successes like Americorp.
Fifty kids were in the summer reading intervention program last summer and ½ of them went up 4 levels
     Besides academic success, the Boys and Girls Club also works with improving character. The club recognizes that the students are dealing with grief and trauma.  They are participating in a Pilot Program called “Be There” which teaches the skills children need to deal with their problems.  The club also is partnering with the local schools to provide wrap around service.  Since this all started, the suspension rates are going down, the grades are going up, and sibling relationships are improving. 
     Last summer there was a 10 week summer reading program in which 528 kids participated.  On average, the students improved ½ grade in 10 weeks.
The teen center includes five retired teachers.  There are 35 kids working on college entry next year. 
     The clubs are also working on healthy lifestyles, and they are including healthy eating with this.  There is a $200,000 grant for food.  Also, the football team comes to the teen center after practice for a hot dinner. There are 15-20 foster grandparents working with the children and teaching leadership and responsibility. There are lock ins at the teen center for basketball, food and fun.  There are 12 mentors who organize this.  Tonight there will be 200 kids at the lock in.
   The club is also working with the teens to help them find employment.  They are teaching soft skills about how to look for a job and how to keep a job.  Junior Achievement works with the kids and there are trips to businesses.  60 kids are now employed, and employers are looking at the club to find new employees. 
   The local club is above the national average in economic benefits:  For every $1 invested in Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor, the region gets an economic benefit of $12.64.  Thanks to Dyann Chenault for these notes.
Boys & Girls Club Update 2017-04-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 12, 2017
The image shown is from a thank you card from a third grader at MLK in Benton Harbor.  Several members from the Rotary were at MLK this Monday delivering dictionaries to all the third graders. After careful consideration of all the relevant factors, like gender, clothes and facial hair, we decided that the mystery figure was Eddie Marshall.  Don Mitchell, whose daughter teaches one of the 3rd grades, confirmed that the student was drawing Eddie.
Who is the Mystery Person? 2017-04-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 29, 2017
Shown on the left is Zera (TM) Food Recycler.  Scott Sichmeller, Sr. Engineering Manager, for Whirlpool's innovation center, said Zera is the latest product which carries the WLABS brand.  This product turns kitchen scraps into fertilizer in a single cycle.  The product was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017.  Food scraps make up 20% of the waste that goes into land fills and releases methane into the atmosphere. This product would be especially attractive on both coasts as they have strict limits on activities that increase green house gases. Of course the product connects to the internet for updates and service issues, but it isn't needed for operation. Initial sales on the Indiegogo web ite have been promising.  Retail price is targeted at $1,199.
WLabs Explores Indoor Composter 2017-03-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 22, 2017
Brian Saxton and Mike Scheffler attended PETS last weekend.  Thanks for stepping up.  Now the club has a qualified president-elect to take over leadership of the club next year. Expect a survey soon about using the flexibility in the new RI Constitution.
Sarah Stocker announced that she will be using the Red Wagon books to create a library at the Dream Academy. She will need help as this project moves ahead.
Club News 2017-03-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 22, 2017
Dr. Shelly Walker, superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools, returned to Rotary to provide an update. Hull International, STEAM and the Dream academy are schools in the lower 5% and under careful watch by the state.  The next step is a "partnership agreement" with state officials.  Dr. Walker feels prepared for the discussion.  She has been working on seven interventions and keeping track with a scorecard on three dimensions: achievement, behavior and leadership. The school-within-a-school separates out behavior issues for special intervention while allowing other students to progress.  RESA specialist are helping staff with professional development.  She had two requests for Rotary: volunteer for one-to-one mentoring and help with playgrounds and fencing. To volunteer send an email to
Benton Harbor School Update 2017-03-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 15, 2017
Our own Dave Krieger, past president, went through the new RI Club Constitution. The main difference is the option to vary meeting and attendance to meet the needs of the club and its members.  The club will have an opportunity to adopt the constitution at a future meeting.  Then the hard work begins: deciding how to use the flexibility to make our club better.  Thank you Dave.
New RI Constituition Review 2017-03-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 08, 2017
Dyann Chenault exhanges flags with Matt Cooper of the Paw Paw Rotary Club.  Matt, an attorney in Paw Paw, learned that protecting service members has been a long tradition, starting with George Washington, followed by Abraham Lincoln and enshrined in US laws.  Matt found that the tradition didn't mean much when he tried to help a national guardsman whose home was foreclosed on while he was serving in Iraq.  His case was initially dismissed but he was able to appeal and finally presented his case to a jury. He won a large settlement for Mr. Hurley of Hartford.  That was not the end of the story. The publicity of the case generated more contacts from people the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was failing to protect. The law was also amended to make it easier to defend the servicemembers rights. Matt formed a foundation to provide assistance in court and through education, publishing a new judges guide to the law.  He also wrote A Soldiers Home, a book to spread the word about the wrongs done to servicemembers while away serving their country. To learn more or make a donation visit the SCRA Foundation, a 501c(3) public charity, by clicking here..
Servicemembers Have Rights Too 2017-03-08 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 01, 2017
Chris Takacs, community outreach director for the Michigan Masonic Foundation, has been a mason for twenty-six years.  In 2008 he took on his role as director with state wide responsibility for programs such as Bikes for Books, Safe Schools, community grants and, his main topic today, Michigan Child ID. It only takes ten minutes for Chris to complete a detailed file for each child.  At the end of the process he can produce a CD or USB Drive for the parent or guardian for save keeping.  Having the information can save time if a child is missing.  First responders are prepared to read this data file. The data file adds photos, fingerprints, dental impression and voice recording to all the regular information such as name, date of birth, etc.  The service is provided free of charge. Chris has other Masons at lodges in St. Joseph, Lakeshore and Coloma available to speed up the processing.  He will set up at schools, businesses or churches to make Child ID profiles for the parents. Call Chris at 269.612.7424 to arrange for this free and valuable service.
Every Child Deserves To Be Safe 2017-03-01 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 17, 2017
Smiling faces greeted Rotarian at Hull International Academy in Benton Harbor. Kyra Utroske and Alan Bartlett distributed the books, photo by Alan..
More Books for Kids 2017-02-17 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 15, 2017
President-nominee Joseph Taylor walked us through the ten elements cited above. There is work to do but the club scores pretty well.
Are We a Vibrant Rotary Club? 2017-02-15 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 10, 2017
Five classrooms of students at Countryside's Millburg Campus received the first books for 2017. Catherine Ravitch and Bob Elliott distributed the books, Bob Kynast took many wonderful photos like this one.
Dictionaries are also being distributed to third graders in BHAS and area charter schools.
Books for Kids 2017 2017-02-10 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 01, 2017
The canoe full of cub scouts is proof of Greg Trezise's success in building up the cub scouts in Benton Harbor. The scouts get together at Lighthouse Ministries on Pipestone every Saturday from 12-1:30 pm for projects, learning and fun. The goal is to help the cubs become good people and good citizens. Most of the Rotary could recite the scout oath about doing one's duty and knew the twelve values in the scout law: trustworthy, loyal, etc. Greg has 17 cubs scouts this year, four will be graduating to the boy scout troop in Stevensville. Cub scouts go up to 5th grade, boy scouts to age 18 years. Watch for news of the pine car derby in March. Greg can always use extra hands, please volunteer.
After the meeting the club's foundation decided to provide a scholarship for one new cub scout.
Cub Scouts Thriving in Benton Harbor 2017-02-01 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 01, 2017
The directors of this club's foundation elected the following officers for 2107 as follows:
Lee Scherwitz, president
Mike Kinney, vice-president
Alice Ford, secretary
Bob Elliott, treasurer
Also re- appointed as directors of the foundation are Whitney Hadanek, Don Mitchell and Dave Bly.
The board thanked Don Mitchell for his many years of service as our president.  We are please that Don will continue to be part of our board.
Foundation Elects Officers for 2017 2017-02-01 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 25, 2017
Dr. Eric Lester Md. is a retired oncologist. He suggested using an image of DNA's double helix to lead this report. He saw many theories for the causes of cancer during his career but believes the current approach is showing great success.  Cancer is a disease of the DNA, either by mutation or abnormal expression.  This understanding leads to treatment that starts with molecular analysis followed by targeted treatment. He predicts further progress since only 15% of the human genome has been fully understood.
Understanding Cancer Today 2017-01-25 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 25, 2017
Elllen Russel, on left, is shown receiving her club flag from president Patrice Grant.  Ms. Russell is executive director of Tri-County Head Start.  Brian Saxton is her sponsor.  Welcome to Rotary.
Ellen Russel Joins Rotary 2017-01-25 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 18, 2017
Tara Gillette, marketing specialist for the Area Agency on Aging, Inc., provided and update on this wonderful local resource.  The agency serves Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties form its offices at 2900 Lakeview Ave. in St Joseph. Their INFO-LINE, 800 654-2810, is open M-F, 8 am to 5 pm, helping connect callers to one of 75 agencies serving our community.  They're experts on Medicare coverage questions and disability assistance.  Of course they also have many programs, such as, Senior Net, teaching computer skills for a small fee, Transition Assistance, helping people return home, and MI Choice, providing services for low income individuals with disabilities.  To learn more or volunteer click here.
Local Agency at the Ready 2017-01-18 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 11, 2017
Ellen Russell, program services administrator, from Tri-County Head Start returned to update Rotary.  Head Start, located in the McCord School, serves 330 three and four year old children who meet family income guidelines.  Head Start also provides family support and works hard to build relationships.  Because the Head Start parents are often in crises and are working hard to provide shelter and food, they often don’t have time to read to their children.  As a result, these children usually have a vocabulary of 2500 to 3000 words, where children whose parents read to them have 7000 word vocabularies.  Only 48% of the children in Berrien County are ready to read.  The children love to be read to and talked with. Please consider volunteering to read to these students.
Read Aloud 15 Minutes needs volunteers to read in the classrooms. Their goal is to have someone in every classroom every day for 15 minutes.  They are asking you to come in when you can.  It can be sporadically or each week or each day.  It can be up to 15 minutes, or even longer.  You can bring a book or read one from the class library. The optimal time to come is from 9:00 to 10:45 or 1:55 to 3:45.  You can show up during these times whenever you have 15 minutes free.  Head Start is located in the McCord School, 465 McCord St., on the corner of Britain.  If you are further out, you can also go to the Spinks Corner Head Start on the corner of Park and Napier. If you have questions, call Ellen at 605-1606.
Help Early Readers at Head Start 2017-01-11 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 04, 2017
Rob Cleveland, president of Cornerstone Alliance, returned to Rotary to announce the strategic plan for 2017-2021.  The new goals are to recruit 10 new businesses, assist the expansion of 15 businesses, add $100 million in sales and help 50 new small business startups. There are plenty of building sites available but Rob thinks that success will require an available manufacturing building of approximately 75,000 square feet.  He cited statistics that 94% of companies went to sites with existing buildings.
Cornerstone Sets Aggressive Goals 2017-01-04 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 21, 2016
At the annual meeting of the club on December 21, 2016 the following Rotarians were unanimously elected to offices for 2017-2018 club year as follows:
Brian Saxton, president
Joseph Taylor, president-elect
Mike Scheffler, president-nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Debbie Goforth, treasurer
Dan Utroske, chair of club admin committee
Alan Bartlett, chair of service projects committee
Mike Scheffler, chair of new generations committee
Farai Rakunda, chair of membership committee
Kyra Utroske, chair of public image committee
Eddie Marshall, chair of fundraising and foundation committee
Thank you to all those who volunteered to serve Rotary and our community.
Club Elects Officers for 2017-2018 2016-12-21 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 21, 2016
Tara Harazinova has taken over the reins from Joanne Johnson at the disability network.  There are two offices serving 8 counties in southwest Michigan.  The main work is proving information and connected people with the correct agency.  Tara reminded us that 75% of disabilities are not visible, such as depression or autism.  Cindy Camp was also on hand to talk about Ramp Up, a program to find volunteers to help provide ramp for those in need.  To learn more, volunteer or donate, click here.
Disability Network Under New Leader 2016-12-21 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 14, 2016
Dr. Patricia Quattrin returned to Rotary with exciting news.  But before the news she recounted a few essential facts about the organization: a focus on middle school girls, educating the entire person, building confidence, strength of character and critical thinking.  The school is ungraded, providing individualize learning based on students needs. The academy accepts 4-6 graders and completes 8th grade. There is a very small charge to the parents.  The school is under the direction of a 501(c)3 organization. The news is that the school will be moving to a new facility made possible by a donation from AEP. The donation was 15 modular buildings and $25,000 to reconfigure them.  There will be space for three classrooms, office, and kitchen. The new building will allow them to serve 45 students, up from the 15 enrolled now. Dr. Patricia estimates a need for $200,000 to complete the new facility.  They have a site at Pearl and Catalpa, just around the corner from their current location at St. John's.  To learn more, donate or volunteer, click here.
Girls Academy Prepares to Expand 2016-12-14 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 07, 2016
We gathered at 165 E. Main Street in Benton Harbor for an evening of fellowship and Christmas song.  Thanks to Jim Schueneman and Dyann Chenault for leading the music, along with Bob and Mary leading the twelve days of Christmas. A large pile of gifts fo the Wonderland Toy store were also collected. Well done Mike and Cindy Kinney for all the arrangements. Photos by Cindy.
Rotary Celebrates Early Christmas 2016-12-07 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 30, 2016
Dr. Shelly Walker, superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools, returned to Rotary to provide an update on the district. She reported that organizing the grades in five groups has worked well.  The K-2 dual language program is being well accepted and drawing in Spanish speakers.  Music and arts have been added to each group.  Dream Academy has been acquired and integrated in as an alternative school of choice.  Her priorities are simple: learning and safe and orderly schools.  For better results on learning she is focusing on the later, she is teaming with local partners, such as IUSB, Lakeland Regional Heath, Riverwood and others to reduce suspensions.  Each building will have an "intervention center" staffed with behavior specialists to help students overcome their behavior issues and return to the classroom. Extra funds for the centers is being supplied by a Safe and Secure grant.
Dr. Walker's Update on Benton Harbor Schools 2016-11-30 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 23, 2016
The club made up sixteen baskets for families in Benton Harbor.  This year we brought the baskets to the food - a much improved process. The baskets had liners from Patrice, table runners from Kyra and cooking instructions. Bob Gifford was master organization with everyone involved.  The baskets were completed by donations from members and community partners.
Yes, We Did Thanksgiving Baskets 2016-11-23 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 23, 2016
George McManus of Piggott's Farm in Benton Harbor has a sustainable approach for his 800 acres.  First he divides the acreage into three parts and then rotates the usage every year between vegetables, corn and soy beans (leased out) and cover crop.  The cover crop is fourteen varieties that retain moisture and enrich the soil. The vegetables are grown in plastic tunnels.  The tunnels include fertilizer and drip irrigation which uses only 10% of the water. The tunnel also prevents the fertilizer from being carried into the waterways. Clear plastic layered over wire frames retain heat and avoid frost damage. Rye or corn are planted between rows to provide shade and prevent wind from removing soil. George employs eighty field hands throughout the season.  George is a long time supporter of our Rotary and co-founder of Countryside Academy and president of their school board.
Sustainable Farming in the Spotlight 2016-11-23 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 16, 2016
The  Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation has established an endowment fund to support its mission of promoting literacy, numeracy and personal development among the youth of Benton Harbor. The endowment fund was started by an initial donation from a member of Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary. Don Mitchell, president of the foundation, commented on the news, "We're excited by this donation. This new fund will expand our ability to provide funds and grants that advance the mission of the foundation."

The Endowment Fund joins the Benton Harbor Alumni Scholarship Fund and General Fund as tools to impact the youth of Benton Harbor.  The foundation is a 501c(3) public charity. Tax deductible donations may be sent to PO Box 1552, Benton Harbor, MI 49023, use the memo line to designate your choice of fund.
Club's Foundation Establishes Endowment Fund 2016-11-16 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 09, 2016
Brigitte Baskin, Boatswain's Mate third class (pronounced Bosunsmate) or BM3 for short, US Coast Guard, grew up in a small farm community in Florida.  She joined the service after trying college for a year.  Her first duty station was close to home in Panama City, Florida.  She set her sights on becoming a helmsman, selecting the BM rate.  She was transferred to St. Joseph station two years ago.  She survived her first experiences with snow and driving on winter roads. Activities at the station include search and rescue, about 50 per year, and law enforcement, about 500 safety inspections per year. She noted that they do not need probable cause to stop and inspect any vessel.  Flares, PFDs, running lights and fire extinguisher are common safety equipment boats must have. Training is a constant part of military life, so you can expect to see Brigitte and the rest of the station out on the lake in all conditions. She expects to make the Coast Guard her career.
Our Local Coast Guard 2016-11-09 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 07, 2016
Thanks to Countryside Academy's Aerospace Team Program, Mr. Fred Frazee, science teacher was able to use a drone to capture the 2016 Great Bed Race.  The brief video below starts with the parade past the reviewing stand to be judged for the most creative design.  Then the racing begins.  Two teams race to the half-way point where the rider must complete a task then jump back on the bed for the race back to the finish.  You'll note the team in red shirts leading most of their heats.  That's the team from Wightman Associates; they're fast and have an excellent game person. They were the first place winner.  Thank you Fred, Countryside Academy, co-sponsor Slumberland Furniture and all the great organizations that competed.
There are more photos available here.
The video is available here:
What's a Bed Race? 2016-11-07 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 07, 2016
A belated thanks to the folks at Mid-west Family Broadcasting for their on-going support of the Great Bed Race.  This year they supplied two emcees and two judges.  The emcees were new to the community and new to the event, Brock Havens from the Rock 107 Morning Show and Matt Malone, the 97.5 Y-Country Morning Show.  Lindsay Kay, 97.5 Y-Country drive time, and Kristen Havens, executive assistant, were judges. We also appreciate Lorraine Day's support for Rotary.
Mid-west Family Broadcasting Supported Bed Race 2016-11-07 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 07, 2016
Martin's Community Affairs coordinator Cathy Taylor organized a book drive to collect donations of books for our Books for Kids program.  Customers came through with many wonderful books.  Thank you  Cathy and Martin's.
Martin's Book Drive for Rotary 2016-11-07 05:00:00Z 0
Marcus Winchester is the director of language and culture from the Pokagon Band on Potawatami. Before the Europeans came the Potawatami left the east coast near Maine and inhabited the southwest of Michigan, the north of Indiana and most of Illinois and into Wisconsin. Over time the nation split into three, the Pokagon, the Odawa or Ottowa, and the Ojibwa or Chippewas. These three tribes continue to operate as one nation. Marcus explained that duties are carried out along traditional lines with the Pokagons as fire keepers, Odawa as traders and Ojibwa keepers of tradition.  Marcus is of the Thunder clan which is responsible for planning (thunder relates to sky, relates to vision, relates to the future).  The experiences the early French and British were agreeable but the Europeans wanted land. The St. Joseph leader, Pokagon, decided to cooperate rather than move to a reservation.  They signed a treaty with the US Government that provided funds in exchange for land.  Eventually the head of the missionary embezzled a portion of the funds to start Notre Dame. To learn more about the Pokagons click here.
History Lesson on Pokagon Band 2016-10-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 26, 2016
Denise Arend's son Brandon committed suicide at 16 in 2014. He had been a wonderful son, athlete, student, and friend. But he had depression, a hidden medical condition, that led to his death. Denise tried to get help but Brandon declined the treatment, and at 16, she could not force him to accept the help. In her pain and grief she became involved with the Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition. She learned that suicide is the 10th leading cause, taking 42,000 deaths each year, with three times more men affected. Below are the signs and a link to the coalition's website with meeting schedule and much more.
For more information click here.
Be Aware of the Signs of Suicide 2016-10-26 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 19, 2016
Juliet Cunningham, JA program director, started with a wonderful (and short) video that tells the JA story of teaching work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. JA has courses and content for every age group from elementary school through high school.  JA uses volunteers to deliver the content.  This allows current business people to use their own experiences to add flavor and interest to the programs.  JA and Rotary are working together to provide the elementary program at Countryside Academy. The video is also available at
JA - Empowering Young People 2016-10-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 18, 2016
When Paul Harris died he did not want any flowers.  In stead, he asked for donations to the Rotary Foundation. A total of $1.3 million was donated, building the foundation to an operational level.
The growth has continued.  This has allowed Rotary to expand the breadth and depth of its philanthropy.  For example the foundation made 915 grants for 2014-2015, with $123.4 million for polio eradication and $68.7 million for the other areas of focus.  See graphic below from The Rotarian, November 2016 edition.
Paul Harris' Final Gift to Rotary 2016-10-18 04:00:00Z 0
Alan Bartlett has posted four photos albums from our recent events.  Check out these wonderful shots.
For pumpkin decorating click here.
For face painting click here.
For other pumpkin festival photos click here.
For Bed Race photos click here.
The albums are also on the lower right of our home page.
More Event Photos 2016-10-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 12, 2016
Our club's Farai Rukunda refused several invitations to join his "dad" to join his on mission trip to his home village of Arnoldine in Zimbabwe Africa.  When he was offered free air fare he ran out of excuses. More than forty years ago the United Method Church built a church and clinic in his village.  Later a school was added.  But the village needed some help. The trip is covered in pictures from a presentation Farai made to the Stevensville Methodist Church in the video below. He is raising funds to build an addition to the school.  The video is also available at

Farai Rukunda's Mission Trip 2016-10-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 28, 2016
Princella Tobias, founder and editor of the Benton Spirit Newspaper came to talk about the Benton Harbor History Class she teaches and the Benton Harbor History Calendar she has produced.  The 2016 Calendar was on each table for us to take.
Do you know the history of Benton Harbor?  Do you know the founders?  Do you know any of the famous people whose roots are in Benton Harbor? Princella has found that most of the young people know nothing about their roots here in Benton Harbor.  She created this class and calendar to educate, instill pride, showcase and inspire our young people.  She started the class at the Benton Harbor Public Library as a summer program.  She could see the transformation of the young people.  Three essays from her graduates were read.  These students were very excited that they learned good things about Benton Harbor and not just the negative things.  They also were excited that they were able to learn people skills and life skills and how to do public speaking.  They were given a purpose and hope for their future. 
The 2017 calendar will be even more important and will educate our children even further. You can learn more by contacting Princella through her newspaper, click here.
Inspiring the Young with History 2016-09-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 25, 2016
The Great Bed Race is won or lost during the games refereed by Whitney, Mike, Pam, Beth and Larry (not Farai, Sorry!). This was just one aspect of a great event, won again by Wightman Associates.  Lakeland and Home was most creative, Lakeland Building Service won best team spirit.  Wightman also lead in donations, with $1,200.
The Pumpkin Festival was busy with pumpkin decorating and carving, plant and bake sale, and over 500 pumpkins circulating the tank waiting for the final drawing.
Great work by all the Rotarians that did all the big and little things that made these events successful.  All the proceeds, net of expenses, will go for our programs to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor.
Stay tuned for an update that includes photos by Alan Bartlett.
Bed Race and Pumpkin Festival - Fun for All 2016-09-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 17, 2016
Our new layout with a large tent near the starting line worked out well, especially for a couple of brief rain falls. Turn was down but we will still help fund our Books for Kids program with the proceeds.  Thanks to our hosts: Harbor Shores and Renaissance Athletic Club, all our runners, walkers, sponsors, prize and food donors, workers - both Rotarians and friends of Rotary.
2016 Pumpkin Run Smoothest Yet 2016-09-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 14, 2016
The Boys and Girls Club, with funds provided by a club grant, combined with the Renaissance Athletic Club, the Y, and the City of Benton Harbor, to provide basic swimming instruction.  In a report provided by Brian Saxton, the students reported impressive growth in comfort with the water and learning to swim.  We hope several of this new swimmers will become new sailors next summer.
Swim Program has Impressive Results 2016-09-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 14, 2016
Imani, a student at Dream Academy, enjoyed the experience of a weekend of RYLA camp.  The leadership exercises were fun and challenging. She even canoed for the first time.  Imani plans to attend the next RYLA camp in the spring.
RYLA Camp Report 2016-09-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 07, 2016
Bob Kynast, the club's fundraising chairman, provided a preview of the Pumpkin Run on September 17.  Bob used the club's video review to remind members why we need to work on this event (see below).  All the details are at the event website, click here.
Bob Kynast Previews Pumpkin 5K and 10K 2016-09-07 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 07, 2016
Tyler Cook was inducted into membership of Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary by Dyann Chenault. Tyler is a third generation Rotarian, lives in Cassopolis with his wife and child, teaches school at River School in Sodus and will be the faculty advisor for their new Interact club. Janet Drews is Tyler's sponsor.
Tyler Cook Joins Rotary 2016-09-07 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 31, 2016
Jasmina started her presentation with facts about Germany.  It has 16 states, a population of 82 million and uses the Euro for its currency. Schwerin is the capital of her state and the home of the Sherweriner Schlosse, a castle perched on an island.  See below.
Jasmina said the park/castle was one of her favorite places to go.  She attends a gymnasium (high school), which is for college preparation.  She plans to study international event planning.  She speaks French and English and plans to add Spanish.  Her family has hosted an exchange student from Argentina and her sister was an exchange student in France.  America was her dream destination.
Her goals for her exchange year is to have three different hosts, attend a big football game, go skiing and make friends at school and RYE events. Lee Scherwitz presented her a birthday card. She turns 16 on September 1, 2016.
Jasmina - RYE from Germany 2016-08-31 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 24, 2016
Patrice Grant, on left, club president, proudly displays the banner from Rotary Club of Parchim Germany.  Jasmina, our club's exchange student, displays our club banner.  Parchim is about 60 miles east of Hamburg.  We'll hear more from Jasmina in the future.
Club Exchanges Flags with Exchange Student 2016-08-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 24, 2016
The youngster pictured is riding a tricycle that he can "peddle" with his arms. He's a special need child and received the bike from the Ray Carlson Memorial. This is just one of the success stories told by Craig Carlson, founder and chairman, of the organization.  Craig started life with his feet on backwards.  His father and mother sacrificed so much to correct Craig's feet.  It took 7 years of surgery and therapy before he took his first step.  Along the way the Elks offered to help.  The Carlson's were too proud to accept the help but Mr. Carlson eventually became an Elk.  Craig was working at the Elks when his father died in 1991 and he decided to start the Ray Carlson Memorial to honor his father and the sacrifices he make for his special needs child.  Now the Memorial raises funds for special needs children in Berrien County, those with juvenile diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or hearing, speech or physical impairments.  The organization covers all its administrative costs so that 100% of funds raised or donated go to help special needs children, like the tricycle, a service dog, a special car seat.  Eight volunteers and 200 local sponsors power the organization. This year they will spend $42,000 helping children.
Plans are being finalized for a special needs park, filled with equipment such that every child will be find fun and enjoy an appropriate apparatus. The estimated cost is $210,000.  Stay tuned.  To learn more or make a donation click here.
Focusing on Special Needs Children 2016-08-24 04:00:00Z 0
Rotarians have had a busy summer so far.  Pictured at left is the expanded chicken coop at Countryside, thanks to great teamwork by Rotary and Countryside.  Well done, everyone!  And on a rainy Saturday morning the Rotary's Centennial Park at Chicago and Linden was refreshed and repaired for the season.  Thanks to the AKA sorority for their ongoing clean up and care of the park.
Rotary Has Been Busy 2016-08-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 10, 2016
Shown, from left, Tanieka, Larkin, Lou, Addie, Alyssa, Annie and Grace, representatives of the four Interact clubs that participated in this year's trip to the Dominican Republic.  A total of thirty-five students went on the trip.  The initial impression was a joyous place, filled with music and signs of faith.  The people and the place were upbeat and colorful. Each student provided a water filter to a family in the village - setting it up and teaching how to use it.  Local Rotaractors helped with translation.  They also helped construct a latrine - a block and cement affair involving lots of work.  Finally they assisted in a mobile medical unit that provided services to locals. They had plenty of time to meet and play with children, passing out forty bags of clothes, shoes and toys. The kids were very happy. A day at the beach and life at the compound made the trip fun as well as satisfying for the work the team accomplished.  Many found new facebook friends when they got home.
Interact Trip a Success 2016-08-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 03, 2016
Aicha Camara is our club's first outbound Youth Exchange student. She expects to pursue a career in robotics and thought Japan would be an excellent country to explore her ideas. She was selected by a club in Yokohama. The city has 3.7 million residents and is only 30 minutes from Tokyo. She made several comments in Japanese during her presentation and will learn more on her arrival.  She will attend St. Joseph High School, an all girls private school. After her presentation Alice Ford, on behalf of our club's foundation, presented Aicha a grant to cover her obligations to the host district.  The grant consisted of contributions from individuals, the club and foundation challenge.  Her flight is August 8th. Bon Voyage Aicha.
You can keep up with the adventure by checking our her blog located here.

Aicha is Ready for Japan 2016-08-03 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 27, 2016
Bill Smith, district governor for 2016-2017, fully embraces Rotary's new president's theme: Rotary Serving Humanity. In the spirit of that theme the district is providing a self-teaching kit for Hands-Free CPR to each club. The governor also told his personal story of growth in Rotary.  It was all about responding to requests to join and to accept new positions of responsibility - so ASK people to join and to serve the community. He recommends attending the leadership institute and annual convention in Atlanta.  In the board meeting afterward he stressed new member orientation, citing Jackson-noon as an excellent example.
District Governor's Annual Message 2016-07-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 23, 2016
Sunrise Rotary's Garage Sale to End Polio Now raised $1,800, which grows to $5,400 when the Gates Foundation 2-for-1 match is included.  That's enough to immunize 9,000 children! Thanks to Alice Ford for all her great work to plan, price, organize and sell for polio eradication.  Also thanks to all the Rotarians and friends who offered items for sale and worked in the heat to End Polio Now.
Garage Sale to End Polio Now 2016-07-23 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 20, 2016
Lynn Todman, chairman of the board opened the presentation with her person story of how her grandfather left a share cropping family at 13 to pursue an education.  He found success and instilled in Mrs' Todman's family the importance of education.  This inspired her to lend her support to this program. Alloyd Blackmon, executive director, continued the presentation. The Benton Harbor Promise launched in 2011 with a mission to help all students in the greater Benton Harbor area achieve a post-secondary education. The Benton Harbor Promise realizes that every student regardless of financial means should have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credentials. The program provides full tuition and mandatory fees at any accredited community college or Career Technical school in Michigan where the student is accepted. The program has enrolled a total of 600 students but struggled initially with poor attendance and grades. The program worked with Lake Michigan College to provide "wrap-around-services" that included tutoring and transportation.  Now the grades and graduation rates are at the national average, 70% are going on for four year degrees.  For more information or make a donation click here.
Benton Harbor Promise is Succeeding 2016-07-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 16, 2016
New Rotary International president John Germ offers this wonderful pick-up line in the latest issue of The Rotarian magazine:
"I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that."
The magazine also offers proof that Rotarians are happier and healthier because of their service.
Recruiting Idea from Rotary President 2016-07-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 10, 2016
The Belgium flag will welcome home Victoria Majois from her Rotary Youth Exchange year ending in July.  Victoria had praise for her Lakeshore host family and Lakeshore High School where she was graduated this year. The highlights of her trip were: being part of the track team (sports are by village in Europe), Niagara Falls, spring break in Florida with her host family and a trip out west.  Her biggest take-away from RYE: you can be happy in more than one place.
Lakeshore Exchange Student's Farewell 2016-07-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 29, 2016
Yes, that's beer you see in the picture for this story.  Noel Dolan told Rotary how innovation takes place at Whirlpool.  She works in the "garage", a silicon valley like atmosphere with ping pong, foosball and collaboration happen among sixty professionals in a separate building. She used the Vessi Fermenter and Dispenser* as an example to describe the process. It starts with SPARK teams the generate product ideas and pitch them to management.  A successful idea can win a $20,000 prize for the winning team.  The garage then goes to work to create concept designs.  In the case of Vessi, the idea was put out on Indiegogo funding site to test initial market reaction. They sold 120 units in just a few weeks. Now they are working on the market and distribution channels.
*Vessi is an 8 gallon vat with temperate and pressure controls designed to make and dispense beer in a single unit about the size of a dishwasher. The dispenser shown in the photo is part of the unit.
Innovation in the "Mothership" Whirlpool 2016-06-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 21, 2016
Dave Krieger is shown after receiving an award for outstanding leadership during his presidency.  Dyann Chenault presented the award in place of incoming president Patrice Grant who had broken her ankle - ouch!.  The other new officers for 2016-2017 are Joseph Taylor, president nominee and Dan Utroske, chair of the club administration committee.  Dave presented a review of the year and thanked all the fellow officers for making his year special and  successful.
Dave Krieger Honored at Installation Night 2016-06-21 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 15, 2016
From left are Bob Kynast and his new member Eddie Marshall, and Fern Hollingshead and her new member Debbie Goforth.  Eddie has lived in Benton Harbor for 40 years and served as a city commissioner for 12 years. His wife Rose was in attendance for the induction. Debbie has had a career in customer service and now works at 5th/3rd on Napier Ave.  She has two grown children with husband Dave.  Welcome to Rotary! Patrice Grant, president-elect performed the induction ceremony.
Eddie Marshall and Debbie Goforth Join Rotary 2016-06-15 04:00:00Z 0
Our own Dyann Chenault has attended the Rotary Leadership Institute recently and talked about Vocational Service, one of Rotary's five areas of service.  When Rotary was founded the business climate was dog-eat-dog and cutthroat competition.  Paul Harris thought a cooperative effort of non-competing businesses was better approach. This lead to rotating meetings at each business;  hence the name Rotary. The early objects of Rotary included promotion of business interests of its members. The Four Way Test made ethics a top priority of Rotary.  Club activities in Vocational Service include things like Group Study Exchange, support of Junior Achievement, and career mentoring. But we seem to have lost the promotion of business of members.  Who better to do business with than a Rotarian?  Not for discounts but for ethic business partners.  Jim Schueneman suggested we add "I am ... I do..." to our meetings.
Vocational Service - We can do More 2016-06-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 11, 2016
The Benton Harbor Parks Conservancy placed a new sign at City Center Park.  The sign faces Main St. and shows Rotary as the adopting partner.
Conservancy Recognizes Rotary 2016-06-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 08, 2016
Stacey Davis, marketing representative for Mid-West Family Broadcasting, volunteered to play the piano for the club song. That put everyone in an excellent mode to hear her tell about Mid-West Family Broadcasting's unique position in their markets.  Mid-West  has no competition, radio or TV, that provide local content to the 283.100 residents in the tri-county area. They have eight people doing local news and feeding the free Town Crier Wire app.  And with six stations, all the listening habits covered. They also support the community with shows like the Brenda Layne Show and non-profit access to Moody in the Morning. Super Saver ads are just one way Stacey and Mid-West can put all these tools to work for local businesses.
Stacey Davis Hits all the Right Notes 2016-06-08 04:00:00Z 0
Bill Schalk, communications manager, is happy to report that Cook Nuclear is still the lowest cost producer in the AEP portfolio. The low prices of natural gas is driving down prices but that is inspiring an industry-wide initiative to look at ways to reduce nuclear power costs. The plant is the middle of the license renewal which will extend operations to 2034 and 2037. Cook has a big impact on the community; employing 1,200 people with $100 million payroll, they also pay $36 million in property tax. The site has space for a third unit but demand is not growing enough to build a third plant.
Cook Plant Renewing to 2034, 2037 2016-06-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 25, 2016
The book, Tree Lady, was just one titles from the 700 books that went out from our Books for Kids program. It is a book of learning and inspiration, teaching persistence and community service. The books go to all pre-K, K, and 1st grade students in all the schools in the area.  The books are the students to take home, read and share with friends and family.  Thanks to District 6360 Foundation for a matching grant to help fund this program.  Also, thanks to Patrice Grant program chairperson for selecting and organizing the distribution, and all the Rotarians who helped with labels and delivery.
Books for Kids on their Way 2016-05-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 18, 2016
Don Mitchell, president of the club's foundation, presented five grants to community partners to advance our goals for the youth of Benton Harbor.  The recipients were to: Katie Boyer, Benton Harbor Public Library, for a summer reading program; Emma Kinnard and Audrey Lester, Fresh Start Children's Garden, for garden tools and supplies; Hilary Furney, Countryside Academy, for iPads for her Coding Club; Jennifer Zimmerman, Junior Achievement, for Inspiring Sodus' Future; Kim Sarola, First Tee of Benton Harbor, for Character Development 2016.  In addition, the foundation provided ten scholarships for the Berrien County Sheriff's Kids Camp.
Foundation Presents Grants 2016-05-18 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 11, 2016
Our own club's Lee Scherwitz overviewed this year's plans for Lest We Forget.  Landing craft rides at BH boat launch, battle re-enactments, Michigan Vietnam Wall cycle parade, helicopter rides, WW II camps and equipment, 7-7 chow hall, and more, are all part of this year's event, June 23 to 26. 

The airport will provide the camp ground for the troops.   Flyovers and parachute tributes are on the program again this year.

There are events for the whole family, such as, Leap Dogs Parachute Team, War Birds Aerial Display, 20th Century War Museum and rides in military aircraft ($).  Most events are FREE and open to the public.  Click here for times and places of events.
Lest we Forget 2016 will Illuminate the Past Bob Elliott 2016-05-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 04, 2016
Wendy Mangelsdorf, senior case manager, provided an update on one of the programs funded in part by our club's foundation. The "littles" are all third grade students at Hull International in Benton Harbor; the "Bigs" are seniors at Lake Michigan Catholic.  This year twenty-two matches were made.  Weekly visits by the Bigs helped build solid relationships with their Littles.  This year's class of Bigs is planning to provide their littles with a shirt from the college the big plans to attend.  This will help build a long term relationship and remind the littles to make college a goal.  The shirts are a repeat of what happened last year.  It is likely to become a tradition of the program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Update 2016-05-04 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 30, 2016
Mike Kinney lead a large group of Rotarians in the spring clean up of our adopted park - The Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park. It took two truck loads to haul away all the weeds and leaves pulled and raked up from the park. Fresh mulch was placed through out the park.  The park looks ready for the Blossomtime parade.  The roundabouts on Main Street were also spruced up. Thanks to all the Rotarians who pitched in. A special thanks goes to Mike for his preparations and truck; and to Bryan Tutton who put his tractor hauling trash and mulch.
City Center Park Clean Up 2016-04-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 27, 2016
Countryside Academy Early Learning Center in Millburg was the site of this week's meeting. Above, left to right, are Sean Kellogg and Mark Gallagher, the staff members that lead the Chicken Coop project; and Sean with a student in the coop.  Sean reported that the project is a great success, providing learning experiences for all the students.  They help with the chores and harvest the eggs - eleven per day.
The meeting included an auction of a Golden Dozen to raise funds for the ongoing operation of the coop. The bidding was spirited, with bids from Rotary, Countryside's financial partners, George McManus and Millburg businesses. Shown below are the auctioneer and Sean with Skip Heavener, owner of the Millburg Trading Post, representing the businesses that won the auction with a bid of $1,400.
Chicken Coop Update & Auction 2016-04-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 23, 2016
Bob and Mary Kynast are shown at the District 6360 recognition dinner.  Bob was recognized as our club's Rotary Hero for 2016.  Bob was cited for promoting a new literacy effort for our club that became our "Books for Kids" program which provides new books to kindergarten and first grades in our community.  He also lead the club through a complete re-branding of our events to promote the Books for Kids program in our community. These are excellent examples of his commitment to our mission to support the youth of Benton Harbor. Additionally, Bob consistently steps up when the club needs leadership. He currently serves as a fundraising chairman and has taken over the lead of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary's largest event, the Pumpkin 5k & 10K Run & Walk.
Bob Kynast - Our Rotary Hero 2016-04-23 04:00:00Z 0
Global Care Partners was founded in Benton Harbor in the 1990s to provide assistance to Eastern European countries as they emerged from the Iron Curtain.  Harvey Kilsby is the current president of this 501c(3) organization.  He was joined by his wife, Dr. Marcia Kilsby, to relate their experiences in North Korea. Marcia has made thirteen trips to improve Korea's ability to deal with TB and Hepatitis.  Marcia trains Korean health professionals to use modern techniques and equipment, visiting hospitals and health clinics throughout the country. Their efforts are joined with the Christian Friends of North Korea and the World Health Organization.  Harvey developed a special power supply, microscope and other instruments so they would work with the one hour of power available at most hospitals.  Progress is slow but she is happy to show a face of America that is unknown to Korea.
Global Care Partners in Korea 2016-04-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 13, 2016
Marletta Seats is welcomed to Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary by Dave Krieger. Marletta is a resident of Benton Harbor and very active in her church and community.  Her sponsor is Bob Elliott.
Marletta Seats Joins Rotary 2016-04-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 13, 2016
Officer Vanessa Williams came to Rotary to promote the Sheriff's Kids Camp for fourth and fifth graders who would like to have fun exploring public safety equipment like this helicopter. The kids will meet first responders from all the service organizations, examine equipment and vehicles and learn what it takes to do the job.
The Sheriff's Kids Camp runs June 16 and 17, 2016, 8 am - 4 pm, at the Berrien County Youth Fairground.  The cost is $30.  To register or sponsor a student contact Deputy Kelly Laesch, 269.983.7111 ext 7221 or email
Sheriff's Kids Camp - Register Now! 2016-04-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 10, 2016
Rotarian Bryan Tutton's tractor is common site at our work projects.  Bryan is shown here working to create a new garden at the corner of Columbus and Division, on property owned by the Abundant Life Church.  He spent most of Sunday pushing back brush and debris to create open ground for the garden. He is working with Emma Kinnard of the Fresh Start Children's Garden and members of Abundant Life to establish the garden.  Emma has her first garden at May and Pearl. Bryan hopes to establish one new garden each year.  Fresh Start Children's Garden has received Rotary support through our Foundation grants.  Way to go Bryan and Emma!!
Rotary is Helping Grow the Gardens 2016-04-10 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 06, 2016
24 Words:  The Four-Way Test
Of the things we think say or 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?
The Past President of District 6360, Terry Allen, spoke about Rotary’s Four-Way Test.  The test is our code of conduct, has been translated in over 100 different countries, and has been used in a variety of situations, including corporations.  The Four-Way Test is used in conspicuous ways as a contribution to the morals of our society.  It is the soul of Rotary’s ethics and the source of our lifestyle.  It is even on the moon on a pin! 
The Four-Way Test was written during the depression in 1932 by Rotarian Herb Taylor as a result of prayer.  He had been hired to see if he could save a deeply indebted company from bankruptcy.  He took a personal loan of $6,100 to start the transition, wrote The Four-Way Test and required all of the employees to live by the test.  When their customers realized that employees were being honest and fair, it built goodwill and all benefited.  The company grew by leaps and bounds.
Understanding Rotary's Four Way Test 2016-04-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 30, 2016
Chris Heugel, president of the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce has been on the job for six months.  He has an extensive background in hospitality which should be helpful since this is one of the areas of growth in Berrien county.  The Chamber has office space at Cornerstone Alliance but is a separate legal entity with its own board of directors.  The Chamber is a member based organization.  Currently there are 700 member companies, comprising 36,000 employees.  Chris started a young professionals group and has been pleasantly surprised by interest - 60 to 80 people show up at their monthly meeting. 
The main benefits for members are: mail lists, referrals, business promotion, discount insurance and much more. For the PGA there is a special 50% off on the executive suite. Mr. Heugel emphasized that the benefits extend to the employees not just the business owners.  The organization members are both for profit and not for profit companies, mostly from Berrien County.
The Chamber also has a lobbying function, pursuing legislation important to members.  One current priority is the Airport mileage renewal that will be on the August ballot.  On April 6, 2016 the Chamber will host a meeting with elected representatives.
Chamber Adds Young Professional Activities 2016-03-30 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 23, 2016
iMayor Marcus Muhammad, elected in 2014, made his first visit to Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  He grew up with his parents in Dowagiac, a family connected with the Church of God in Christ.  He graduated from Benton Harbor in 1993 and went to DePaul University in Chicago, playing basketball and earning a degree in communications.  He left a teaching job in Chicago's south side to return to Benton Harbor.  One of his passions is to be a model of success. He supports the Senior PGA, is sponsoring an entrepreneur's workshop on April 26, 2016, and is trying to fill a gap in the city - a grocery store.  During the Q&A he spoke about efforts to return the city to local control, establish new lead policies, and work with the broader community to implement plans for City Center Park and Riverview Drive.  His top priorities are improving relationships with commissioners, improving customer service in all city departments, improving connections of public safety to the community and increase revenue.  You should expect him to try again for a city income tax.  He noted that 70% of Grand Rapids' revenue comes from their income tax.
Mayor Muhammad has Priorities 2016-03-23 04:00:00Z 0
Lee Scherwitz introduced Aïcha Camara, our Rotary Youth Exchange student for 2017-2018.  Picture with Lee and Aïcha  are her mom and Sue Scherwitz.  Aïcha attends Countryside High and plans to go to Japan.  A Rotary host family will provide tuition, room and board but Aïcha needs to raise funds for travel and other related expenses.  Our club has pledged $1,000 which has been used to solicit matching funds.  She still has to raise more money.  You can donate at  Read about her trip plans at
Introducing our First Youth Exchange Export 2016-03-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 16, 2016
Our club celebrated its 25th anniversary of its founding.  The club was sponsored by the Lakeshore and St. Joseph Benton Harbor Rotaries.  Jim Schueneman and Bob Sykora are the two remaining charter members still active in the club. Gary Campbell and Charles Jespersen spoke on behalf of the presidents of the two sponsors and wished the club continued success.  The evening was one of story telling, music and fellowship. 
The event included a video showing the club in action in the community.  See it here if the embedded video doesn't play on your device.
Happy 25th Anniversary Sunrise Rotary 2016-03-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 02, 2016
Lee Scherwitz reported discussions at the National Youth Exchange Meeting on ways of recruiting students to go aboard.  There was a new realization that the program is actually a full-ride scholarship to a year abroad. A typical full ride pays for tuition and room and board.  The Rotary exchange goes beyond that with a monthly stipend plus local support.  Marketing RYE as a scholarship opens up new avenues to find candidates.  School counselors and other advisors will be given scholarship information and applications just like colleges provide.  Lee hopes this new approach increases the number of local students that take advantage of Rotary Youth Exchange.
Youth Exchange Explores Approach 2016-03-02 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 28, 2016

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of April 16, 2018 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 - $1000 but the the grant amount is based a combination of the project details and available funds.  Matching grant requests are encouraged.  Awards will be presented at our regular club meeting on May 9, 2018.

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

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, 2) organizations are limited to one application per cycle, and 3) emailed applications only.

Foundation Begins April 2018 Grant Cycle Bob Elliott 2016-02-28 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 28, 2016

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of April 8, 2016 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.

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.

Foundation Begins April Grant Cycle Bob Elliott 2016-02-28 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 24, 2016
Quinn and Sarah from Lake Michigan Catholic's Interact club gave a brief update on preparations for the June trip to the Dominican Republic.  35 students are planning to go to install water filters and build latrines.  Fundraising is in full swing. The next event is an indoor "tailgate" party at the Heritage Center on March 18th, 7-10 pm.
Interact Prepares for Dominican Trip 2016-02-24 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 17, 2016
Lauren Olson, shown in her film studio, was looking for inspiration for her senior thesis film.  Her grade would depend on her full range of skills in producing a worthy video. She didn't have to look far, for she found a subject at the Mason Jar where she works. Jayme, the owner suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative disease that affect Jayme's ability to walk, see or drive her car.  Lauren's video below is much better at telling the story.  It's available here if video below does not play. The Rotary members gave her very high marks for her work.
Film Assignment Leads to Mission 2016-02-17 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 17, 2016
Farai, or right, receives his Rotary pin form sponsor Mike Kinney. Farai grew up in Africa and came to the US to finish his education.  After graduation he taught science at the university level for 15 years before joining Leco corporation in St. Joseph.  He and his wife, also from Africa, have six children. Welcome Farai.
Farai Rukunda Joins Rotary 2016-02-17 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 11, 2016
The club donated its entire inventory of chess equipment to the Boys & Girls Club.  The equipment includes more than 50 student travel sets, and enough extra sets, clocks and training aids to operate a club room. Liji Hanny, director of operations plans to recruit players and generate interest in the game.
Chess Equipment Donated to Boys & Girls Club 2016-02-11 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 06, 2016
Chachi and fellow Lake Michigan College resident hall assistant, Lauren Williams, prepare to jump into the icy Paw Paw River.  The plunge was a fund raiser for Special Olympics.  Way to go Chachi and friends!!!.
Chachi takes Polar Bear Challenge 2016-02-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 05, 2016
Rotarians are out in the community providing dictionaries to every third grader in the Benton Harbor Area Schools, River School in Sodus and the area charter schools. Each dictionary has the student's name and is presented by a Rotarian.  For more photos click here.
Dictionaries Going Out 2016-02-05 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 03, 2016
Peter Colovos and Trace Volpe presented Project Resiliency today.  Project Resiliency was created so we, as a community, will always remember and never forget 9/11, the “most horrific act of terrorism on US soil.”  They urged us to also remember that we are a resilient community and nation.  Project Resiliency is not about darkness and retributions, but is about the light at the end of the tunnel and our resiliency.

Project Resiliency is a local effort and has been made possible through many partnerships and donations of time and money.  The final committee included a sculptor, an engineer, an artist, a landscaper, a contractor, a photographer, an architect and six others.  Partners include Benton Harbor Public Library, Pearson Construction, and many others.  Donations include all of the cement needed, steel workers’ time, a school musicians’ group that provided a benefit concert which raised over $11,000, among others.  A non-profit, called World Trade Firmitas, has an endowment for maintenance but many costs remain.  Firmitas continues to accept donations for maintenance and scholarships. 

The Resiliency Plaza was dedicated in the fall of 2015 in a ceremony which included first responders, local politicians, the BH drum line, a choir from I’m Saving Myself, and a Marine Color Guard.  The final project includes a wall upon which you can sit which is inscribed with “One Nation, Under God, with Liberty and Justice for All.”  The plaza was established to remember the lost and to remember we are a resilient nation and community. To learn more, volunteer or donate, click here.
Resiliency Project & Plaza 2016-02-03 05:00:00Z 0

Terry Allen, PDG, returned to our club to relate a very personal story. Last January his wife Liz's father, Walter Zielke, passed away at age 97.  The Allens were suprised to find an autobiography in his papers.  Walter wrote about farm life in his village. Terry was immediately attracted to a hand drawn map of the village where Walter grew up.  The village was labeled Kosemuhl, Pomerani in Prussia.  That map set the Allens on a journey of discovery, trying to trace the roots of Liz's family. The task was made more difficult as this part of the world was overrun first by Germans, then Russian and finaly became part of Poland.  All the current maps have Polish names.  Kosemuhl was no where. Terry was able search the northern part of Poland and use the river Backowitz and the road features to locate the village.  It's name today is Kozin.  Terry and Liz traveled there and were able to recover some wonderful phots and documents.  The waterwheel powered mill is still operating and the operator was able to connect Terry and Liz to her father's past.  Below are photos of Kozehuml and Walter with his parents and brother.

Every story must have purpose.  In this case, Terry's message was to not repeat Walter's secrecy.  He advised: Document things, Share them, Ask questions and Explore your family history.
Terry & Liz Allen's Journey "Home" 2016-01-27 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 23, 2016
Club members, including our next three presidents, and many past presidents, reviewed our club mission and programs. The consensus was that we should continue our focus on the youth of Benton Harbor with a special emphasis on reading at grade level by third grade.  The lower portion of the picture shows the support for various things we do.  Everyone agreed to continue our past programs and look for ways to improve reading fundamentals and evaluate technology alternatives to traditional books.
Strategy Session Confirms Mission 2016-01-23 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 20, 2016
This club's foundation elected the following officers:
  Don Mitchell, president
  Lee Scherwitz, vice-president
  Alice Ford, secretary
  Bob Elliott, treasurer
  Whitney Hadanek, director
The board then approved expanding the board to seven members.  The club board will appoint the new members.  Why not step up?
The next grant deadline was set for April 8, 2016.
Club's Foundation Elects Officers, Expands Board 2016-01-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 20, 2016
Greg McCormack, and son, John Michael McCormack, presented their 501c3  Valor Training Center, which is located between South Haven and Bangor on 11+ acres.  Although this nonprofit is not open to the public, Valor’s goal is to provide physical fitness training to youth, veterans, active duty personnel and their families for free.  
    Valor Training Center includes a personalized training platform for success, nutrition education, recreation and education.  They are in the process of refurbishing a gym with a wood boiler sized to heat three buildings and hope to have activities there in March. They hope to have small programs operational this year and in 2017 will add a military style obstacle course.  They are also working on providing transportation to and from their facility.  They use volunteers, and as part of their recreation program, provide other nonprofits and youth clubs with volunteers and fund raisers.  
    Valor has partnered with SCORE, church youth groups, school athletics, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other youth clubs. One of the assets of working with church youth groups is that, often, the church has a van and can transport their own youth.  They are funded in three ways:  1.  Grants from other nonprofits that focus on youth, physical fitness and veterans,  2.  Corporate sponsors, Berrien Community Foundation, Whirlpool, Meijer, etc. and, 3.  Their own fundraisers.  As they grow, they hope to qualify for state and federal grants.  
    A monthly newsletter is in the planning stage, and they have a website at  Contact Greg or John Michael at
    They aim to give a hand up instead of a hand out and provide service to youth and veterans.  They provide a positive environment for personal growth and as an incentive, ask the youth:  How badly do you want to achieve your goal?  
Valor Center to Help Vets and Youth 2016-01-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 13, 2016
Our own Patrice Grant spent many years advising families about being prepared for all possibilities. She ask Rotarians if they had their ducks in a row. The ducks are named financial records, wills and/or trusts, medical records and advanced directives.  In today's "on-line" world this would include user IDs and Passwords for important accounts.  She mentioned three sets of records: one at home, one in a safety deposit box and one with a trusted person/executor.  Some of these records will required legal assistance but that should not be an excuse for not putting your life in order. She emphasized the importance of putting power of attorney in place before there are any questions of competence. This could avoid family feuds.  Even a situation of poor health can cause major problems in paying bills, filling prescriptions, etc. Members were given "Planning for your Peace of Mind" from Senator Proos's office. This guide covers many of the important topics covered by Patrice.  Don't delay!!
Are your Ducks in a Row? 2016-01-13 05:00:00Z 0
The Books for Kids program is putting smiles on student's faces through out the community.  The program was expanded from kindergarten to include preschool and first grade.  It was also expanded from one book to two each year, thanks in part to a Rotary District Foundation grant.  Patrice Grant worked teachers to make sure the books match gender and interest of each student.  Books include each child's name if available.  Click here to see more smiling book recipients.
Books for Kids Expands 2016-01-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 06, 2016
Fred Frazee, on left, brought four students from his aerospace class to talk about the challenges with flight. Mr. Frazee is a science teacher at Countryside Academy. The aerospace class in an elective and usually involves a national competition.  The class has built rockets, planes and now are piloting drones. The class travels to airports, fly-ins and museums to learn about flight and career choices. Click here to learn more.
Countryside Aerospace Aims High 2016-01-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 30, 2015
This slide from Lee Scherwitz's presentation shows eleven students from eight countries at the Rotary Youth Exchange team building camp. The camp is part of the welcoming program for inbound students. Lee Scherwitz leads the RYE program for the district and serves as our RYE officer. Sue Scherwitz is a key player, making sure everyone's paperwork is in order. The visitors help our understanding of their cultures as we try to show them ours.  Rotary views the program as a component of its peace initiatives. Click here to see the entire presentation.
Rotary Youth Exchange - a Growth Opportunity 2015-12-30 05:00:00Z 0
Mary McAfee is a "neighbor" of Brian Saxton.  She is employed at the Benton Harbor Housing Commission, around the corner from the Boys and Girls Club. Brian's example of service opened the door for Mary to learn about Rotary.  Welcome Mary.
On the right, Dave Krieger, inducts Larry Jackson, center, into Rotary.  Mike Kinney is Larry's Sponsor.  This is Larry's second time joining Rotary  We look forward to connecting with the young men he leads in Youth Build.  Welcome Larry.
Mary McAfee & Larry Jackson Join Rotary 2015-12-16 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 16, 2015
The club voted unanimously for the presented slate of officers as follows.
Patrice Grant, president
Brian Saxton, president elect
Joseph Taylor, president nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Bob Elliott, treasurer
Dave Krieger, immediate past president
Committee Chairpersons
Dan Utroske, administration
Bob Kynast, foundation and fundraising
Alan Bartlett, service project
Bob Gifford, membership
Mike Scheffler, new generations
Ryan Wojtowicz, public image
The term of office is July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017
President Dave and the entire club thanked these individuals for their willingness to serve their club and their community.
Club Elects Officers for 2016-2017 2015-12-16 05:00:00Z 0
Benton Harbor Rotary continued its tradition of bell ringing for the Salvation Army.  Teams of two, organized by Alan Bartlett, did their best to have shoppers at Wal-Mart help others this Christmas.  The warm weather was a blessing.  Shown above from left, are Jim's nephew, Jim Scheuneman, Pam Pappas, Brian Saxton, Alan and Bob McFeeter.  Photos courtesy of Lyn Sperry.
The Bells were Ringing 2015-12-13 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 09, 2015
Our own Bob Kynast identified five local clubs as part of the 30,000 clubs in 200 countries that make up Rotary International.  Rotary was founded by Paul Harris in Chicago with the belief that service was a worthy activity.  He built the organization on high ethical standards and service. Each year approximately 10,000 Rotarians gather at the annual convention.  Atlanta Georgia will host the 2017 event. 
Rotary started it's Foundation in 1917. Eradicating polio became a priority 1985 when it was infecting 1,000 a day worldwide. Now, thirty years later, after 2.5 billion immunizations, new cases are only 370 in the last year. Rotarians donated $1.3 billion dollars for the effort and help mobilized doctors and donors around the globe.
Rotary International Overview 2015-12-09 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 02, 2015
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary and St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary gathered at the yacht club for their Christmas party. The evening included a few words from the club presidents, drawing for prizes, carols led by Dyann Chenault, accompanied by Jim Scheuneman on guitar.  The singing concluded with Bob and Mary Kynast leading the group in the Twelve Days of Christmas. Club members also donated toys and games for the Toy Store where parents purchase gifts for their family at 90% off.  Pictured above are Lee Scherwitz and Catherine Ravitch, along with Roosa with her back to the camera, doing their day with gusto; to the right are the donated gifts.  Lee's photo is courtesy of Debbie Trapikas of St. Joe.
Twin City Rotaries Celebrate Christmas 2015-12-02 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 25, 2015
This club's foundation present grants for nine wonderful projects in it's fall cycle.  The grants went to Benton Harbor High School Library for a computer, to Berrien County Health Department for Nurse Family Partnership, to Berrien RESA for Celebrating Creative Kids, to Big Brothers Big Sisters to Sponsor a Match at Hull Elementary, to Boys and Girls Club for Stockings for Soldiers, to ISM Music for I'm Saving Myself Scholarships, to the Readiness Center for writing project, to SMSO for Music Makers and to the Citadel Music Center for Benton Harbor Youth Scholarships.
Pictured above, from left front row, Sister Paulita Walters, Readiness Center, Bonita Mitchell, ISM, Cheryl Bury, BCHD, Chris Frank, BBBS, Gillian Conrad, BCHD; Tiffany Butzbaugh, volunteer BHHS; second row from left, Martha Thieneman, Readiness Center; Ligi Hanny, BGC; Kimberly McCoy, BGC; Julie Rolinkski, BBBS; Don Mitchell, Foundation president; Nathan Margoni BRESA; and Jeff Heaton, BRESA.
Foundation Presents Fall Grants 2015-11-25 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 25, 2015
Felicia Smith, left, and Rotary Exchange Student Roosa Takala deposit items into Thanksgiving baskets.  They were joined by Sunrise Rotarians and our Foundation grant recipients.  In just a few minutes all sixteen baskets were brimming with turkeys and all the trimmings.  The baskets go to families selected by Child and Family Services.
Rotary Continues Thanksgiving Tradition 2015-11-25 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 18, 2015
Jim Starks, funeral director, continued our discussion of veterans with an overview of veteran services at Starks. Veteran have been a long term focus.  It starts with a profound respect for the stars and stripes.  If the family agrees, US flags are prominent in all aspects of the services.  In addition, the flag for each branch of the military are available. Branch insignia is displayed on vehicles used for the service. Jim will also help with local veteran organizations for flags, honor guard and other benefits.  They will also coordinate with Fort Custer National Cemetery for internment there.  This coordination relieves the burden on loved ones who are trying to deal with their loss.  In the Q&A Jim stated that spouses may also be interred at Fort Custer.
Veterans Receive Special Treatment 2015-11-18 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 11, 2015
John Brunner of St. Joseph is West Point graduate and currentyl a lieutenant colonel in the US Army active reserves. He traveled with this daughter to the Dominican Republic last summer as part of the Interact water filter trip.  But today he was celebrating Veteran's Day by sharing some of his experiences in Iraq.  John was deployed in the northern district known as Iraq's Kurdistan.  It's a province with a primarily Kurdish population and it's own government and army, the Peshmerga.  John is a civil affairs officer, part of special operations, whose primary role is to work with the local population on engineering, medical or legal challenges. He also supported efforts to train the Iraqi army. The highlight of his tour was the first national election, the first since 1953, which sent men and women to parliament to write a permanent constitution.  The atmosphere was like a party with fireworks and shooting guns in the air.  John had high praise for the Pesmerga as a fighting force.
Local Veteran Tells his Story 2015-11-11 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 04, 2015
"Coach U" began by thanking everyone for their support.  He was also please to report that ESPN was coming back to talk to the players.  His philosophy is to coach the whole person, emphasizing that they need to do the right thing in the classroom, in social settings and on the football field.  It's not just football - it's about life.  Early on he heard. "grandpa can't help us" but he kept up his plan.  It took several weeks and a first win for the players to fully accept his leadership. He requires full effort on every drill and conducts grade checks every two weeks.  All the work in the new weight room required more food so Coach U solicited some help from the Adams family that owns Popeye's, others followed and the Tiger Moms pitched in too.  He summarized his message to the players as follows.
  • I don't feel sorry for you. Don't feel sorry for yourself. 
  • Build trust in your relationships.
  • Follow the rules.  Do the right thing even when no one is looking
  • Make better decisions about your life - set goals and give each one your full effort.
He promised the team will do its best on Friday in the district championship game. He plans to to be back next year along with most of his starting players.
Photo by Don Campbell, HP Staff
To see ESPN's coverage click here.
Coach Uzelac Recaps Benton Harbor Football 2015-11-04 05:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 28, 2015
Ellen Russell, program services administrator, from Tri-County Head Start came to speak with us about a new national initiative called, Read Aloud 15 Minutes.  This initiative is based on studies that show if a child is read to, their vocabulary, language skills and literacy skills improve well into their elementary school experience. Head Start, located in the McCord School, serves 330 three and four year old children who meet family income guidelines.  Head Start also provides family support and works hard to build relationships.  Because the Head Start parents are often in crises and are working hard to provide shelter and food, they often don’t have time to read to their children.  As a result, these children usually have a vocabulary of 2500 to 3000 words, where children whose parents read to them have 7000 word vocabularies.  Only 48% of the children in Berrien County are read to.  The children love to be read to and talked with. 
Read Aloud 15 Minutes needs volunteers to read in the classrooms. Their goal is to have someone in every classroom every day for 15 minutes.  They are asking you to come in when you can.  It can be sporadically or each week or each day.  It can be up to 15 minutes, or even longer.  You can bring a book or read one from the class library. The optimal time to come is from 9:00 to 10:45 or 1:55 to 3:45.  You can show up during these times whenever you have 15 minutes free.  Head Start is located in the McCord School, 465 McCord St., on the corner of Britain.  If you are further out, you can also go to the Spinks Corner Head Start on the corner of Park and Napier. If you have questions, call Ellen at 605-1606.
Read Aloud Needs Volunteers 2015-10-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 28, 2015
Rotary International and our club are both focused on literacy so reading is foremost in our efforts.  While I was reading about John Brown I came upon his wonderful answer to the question, Why should I learn to read?  He answers:  "From sacred and profound writings I might have become acquainted with the true character of God and of man; learned the true course for individuals, societies and nations to pursue; stored my mind with an endless variety of rational and practical ideas; profited by the experience of millions of others of all ages; fitted myself for the most important stations in life, and fortified my mind with the best and wisest resolutions, and noblest sentiments and motives."  I thought this was a terrific answer!
Why Learn to Read? 2015-10-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 27, 2015
Larry Culby, on ladder, Bob Elliott and Skip Heavener behind the camera, attach the wire mesh to the framing built by Rotary and Countryside last Thursday. Only a few more steps and the chicks will be out for recess with the rest of the school. To see where the coop fits into the curriculum, read the story and watch the video in WNDU's coverage; click here.
Chicken Coop Nearing Completion 2015-10-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 21, 2015
The Interactors (represented by Quinn, Carrington, Sarah, Grace and Keegan) went to the Dominican Republic to impact the lives of villagers in Batey 105. They would construct a latrine and install 31 water filters during their stay. They observed a scene of vibrant colors and a population openly Christian and friendly.  They met with the local Interact Club - yes, there is a local Interact!  They locals would distribute all the clothes, equipment and toys collected before the trip. They stayed in a compound operated by Good Samaritan Hospital.  The doctors welcomed the water filters since 95% of the cases result from bad water.  Placing the filters in family homes provided a chance to see the living conditions and put faces on the users of these wonderful devices.  The group bonded with many children, suffered a humiliating basketball game, attended church and spent a day on Saoma Island.  The Interactors knew that had changed lives but they also wondered if they weren't changed more.  Check out this terrific video put together by Grace Adams.
Dominican Trip Changed Lives 2015-10-21 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 14, 2015
Ashley French, case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass, is an experienced Big Sister.  She joined the organization after two summers as an intern. The goal of the organization is to build long and strong relationships.  Volunteers, after careful screening and matching, met their Littles from 6-10 hours per month. It could be as a lunch buddy at school or taking part in activities in the community. One important relationship is between Lake Michigan Catholic and Hull International. All third graders are eligible to participate, assuming parental consent and successful matching. The program serves 170 kids per year.  Currently there are 37 kids waiting for their match.  Why not commit a year to a youth in our community?  BBBS provides training and is committed to finding a rewarding match.  To volunteer, check out their "Big Night Out" fundraiser, or learn more click here.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Build Relationships 2015-10-14 04:00:00Z 0
In a simple ceremony president Dave Krieger, right, assisted by Mike Kinney and Cindy Kinney behind the camera, placed the Rotary International logo and a sign proclaiming Rotary Centennial Park, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary. The park project was started to celebrate Rotary's centennial in 2005 but was not completed until 2009. Dave recruited a neighbor to join in the efforts, seeking his opinions and his ladder.  The park is looking great, thanks in large part to our new partnership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Rotary Centennial Park is Rededicated 2015-10-03 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 26, 2015
A summer-like day helped boast all our efforts to raise funds for our Books for Kids programs. Pictured above, clockwise from upper right, a job well done, Felicia Smith face painting, Sarah Stocker's table full of carvers and decoraters, Ryan having his son's face painted by Kyra Utroske and a girl who can't wait to start on her pumpkin.  To see more great photos by Alan Bartlett click here. A total of 647 pumpkins raced to the finish line.  Five winners will collect $1,650 in prizes.  Dave Bky, the event captain, sold the 1st place winning ticket - now wait a minute. Several hundred children had their faces painted and went home with great looking pumpkins.  Winners all! Thanks to everyone.
Great Pumpkin Festival Updated 2015-09-26 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 25, 2015
The Countryside Academy team was one of eleven organizations competing for prizes and bragging rights at this year's Great Bed Race.  Wightman & Associates repeated is fastest team, Midwest Glass was also a repeat winner as the most creative and Countryside Academy, a first time entry was recognized for best team spirit. It probably helped that the brought out their cheerleaders! Wightman also earned a bye in the first race by raising the most donations.  Thanks to co-sponsor Jm Paul of Slumerland  Furniture and Rotary organizer Bryan Tutton. To see all the beds and competitors check out Alan Bartlett's great photos here. To read Pat Moody's coverage of the event click here.
Great Bed Race is Great Competition - Updated 2015-09-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 23, 2015
District Governor Rick Briscoe emphasized important goals for Sunrise Rotary:
  • Increase membership by one
  • 100% of Members contribute to Annual Fund (50% is returned for District Grants)
  • Hold a public event to End Polio Now (only 41 cases worldwide in 2015)
  • Have an impact at Christmas
  • Share success with District newsletter
  • Join another club for a service project
  • One member involved with District activities
Govenor Briscoe Emphasizes Goals 2015-09-23 04:00:00Z 0
We passed 300 for the first time, in large part to partnering with Whirlpool HealthWorks.  Well done everyone. Shown above a the first few images from the Pumpkin Run including the my Team Triumph teams.  Complete results are at the event website, click here. For more photos on the races check out Alan Bartlett's photo album here.
Pumpkin 5K/10K Run has great day - Updated 2015-09-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 17, 2015
Bob Harrison, is retiring as president of Lake Michigan College at the end of the year. His legacy includes several improvements that will benefit LMC and the community for years to come. He mentioned three that were most meaningful to Bob: Beckwith Hall with room for 188 students, the Wine Institute's initial class of fifteen students, and the Hanson Technology Center opening in the fall of 2017.  Bob ws joined by Joan Smith, representing the LMC Foundation's $7.5 million Campaign for Tomorrow.  The campaign is complementary to building Bob mentioned.  Three areas are targeted for improvement: Emerging Careers, Student Success from updated lecture halls and classrooms, and Community Connections - mainly updating the Mendel Center. There are seventy-one applicants for the president's position.  Mr. Harrison and the Foundation's effort should make for success.
LMC President Harrison Leaving a Great Legacy 2015-09-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 02, 2015
Chachi returned from Peru after a short month of visiting with family and "papers. papers and more papers." From top left, at the airport with Lyn Sperry and Mike Scheffler, on a work detail with Skip Heavener and Mike and, below, with Mike and Lyn preparing to move into Beckwith Hall at the Napier Rd. campus of Lake Michigan College.  It's great to have Chachi back in Michigan!
Chachi Returns 2015-09-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 02, 2015
Tim Lynch from the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Water Treatment Plant started his presentation with a view of the lakefront, since it is his goal to protect it.  He gave us a virtual tour of his operations today. The goal of the plant is to keep our environment, and especially Lake Michigan, clean.  The plant, which is jointly run by two municipalities, is state of the art and debt free.  It is located on Marina Island between The St. Joe River and Morrison Channel.  It has an A rating, (the highest possible) is an example for other plants and is a $53 million dollar facility. 
The plant was built in the 1950’s and became debt free in the 1980’s.  At that point, a decision was made to put the money that was used for paying off the debt into a Capital Fund Plan.  Because of this process and because a lot of effort has been made to reduce costs, the plant is able to pay for its own improvements.  Because no interest is paid, this earns even more money for the Capital Fund.  
Our plant serves not only Benton Harbor and St. Joe, but also Benton Township, St. Joe Township and Lakeshore. It has a board that has representatives from all the communities and is well run.   It is clean, safe and all parts are labeled.  The buildings are beautifully maintained and the landscaping appears very professionally done..  
Some of the improvements that have been made since the 80’s are flow equalization, using the methane that is produced by the plant to run the engines within the plant,  dual feed electric sources incase of power outages, many energy efficient improvements, a Process Safety Plan, taking out miles of handrails and walkways that need to be continually painted and replacing them with stainless steel and fiberglass.  There is a new pre-treatment system that is going in now which will reduce the energy costs by $1/2 million a year. 
Our drinking water comes from Lake Michigan, but the water intakes are a mile out in the lake and very deep.  The water from the treatment plant is released into the St. Joe River and is cleaner than the water upstream in all three rivers:  The St. Joe, The Paw Paw and Morrison Channel.  All the rivers are  tested routinely both upstream and downstream of the plant.  The only thing that is released is the nano-particles in body wash, etc.  The separation process is very expensive and it being dealt with by the governments working with the producers of these products.  Story by Dyann Chenault.
It's All About Clean Water 2015-09-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 27, 2015
The Iota Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha adopted Sunrise Rotary's Centennial Park located at Chicago and Linden in Benton Township.  AKA is demonstrating its concern for the community and the environment.  Nationally, AKA will restore, refresh and renew 1,908 playgrounds to provide safe, fund and clean places to play.  Attending the ribbon cutting, from left, were Jo Sarah VAughn, Laura Richburg, LaVerne Wilhite, Barbara Henderson, vice president, Audrey Elwell chairperson, Gaynell Williams and Dave Krieger, president of Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.
Sorority Adopts Rotary Centennial Park 2015-08-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 26, 2015
Al Pscholka, our state representative, spoke of Michigan’s changes and challenges. This is his last term in office, and since he has been in the House of Representatives, he has seen many changes. Michigan has moved from 49th to 19th in unemployment; instead of losing thousands of jobs a year, we are now gaining jobs; we were broke, now we have a rainy day fund; we are reducing the debt; and we have implemented major welfare reform. Al, as he likes to be called, reminded us that the budget drives our policy, and if the policy makers propose a new policy, they have to find a way to fund the policy.
He focused on three major challenges:  roads, auto insurance and the EPA’s rules.  

In discussing our roads, he said that of a $54 billion budget, only $6.4 billion is unrestricted.  The rest has to be used in the way it is mandated.  Of the $6.4 billion, $2 billion is used by corrections, $1.2 billion is used by higher education and $1.2 billion is used to pay down the debt.  So this leaves $2 billion to pay everything else in the budget.  For now, every single area of Michigan’s government is encouraged to find ways to save money.  Every single penny of savings is put into roads.  Now we have $400 million, but need $1.2 million a year.  So, we either need to make budget cuts – which will affect a lot of areas that are already low—or find new revenue.  This is being negotiated, and it may or may not pass. 

Auto insurance is high, in part, because we have no cap on our catastrophic injuries part of the insurance. Each time a bill is introduced, it is not allowed to continue because there are people who are benefiting from this.  Also, the bill would have to include some way of making sure the savings goes to the consumer and not the insurance agencies. 

Electric prices will go up drastically because the EPA has mandated that coal plants meet new emission targets.  We will need to find and fund new ways to produce energy.  Nuclear and gas are reasonably priced, but wind, solar and hydro are all very expensive right now.  He encouraged everyone to contact their Federal Senators and Representatives regarding this Federal law to close coal plants. 
If you missed Al's Rotary visit you can attend his town hall meeting August 25th at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Township Hall, 2055 W. John Beers Rd.
Representative Psholka on "Budget 101" 2015-08-26 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 24, 2015

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of October 2, 2015 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 $1,000 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.

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.

Foundation Begins Another Grant Cycle Bob Elliott 2015-08-24 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 20, 2015
Roosa (pronounced Rohsa) Takala from Finland began her Rotary Youth exchange year by exchanging flags with president Dave Krieger.  Her flag is from Alajärvi, Finland, 250 miles north of Helsinki, latitude: 63 degrees North. The club is looking forward to her year at St. Joseph high school and involvement with our club.  Welcome Roosa!
Another Rotary Youth Exchange Begins 2015-08-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 19, 2015
Ric Pawloski, Executive Director of Mosaic CCDA, stated their mission is "to create opportunities for steps to greatness as we prepare people for further education, life, and work.  They help people overcome barriers like previous incarceration, feeling of worthlessness, homelessness, and lack of job skills or education." 
Mosaic is 5-6 years old and the growth has been huge:  the first year they had $1300 in revenue and last year there was a $1,000,000 budget.  Mosaic started with Mosaic Resale Store and then started Café Mosaic and Harbor Shine, a plowing/lawn mowing enterprise.  Mosaic takes in the poor, homeless, and/or unemployed and gives them a sense of self-worth and skills which include interviewing, basic job skills and a 60 second commercial of themselves. They do this by having each person go through a four step Passport Process, assigning a mentor to each person, and work in the resale store, the café or Harbor Shine.  
Mosaic uses “Jobs for Life” which is an eight week program that teaches employability skills.  Jobs for life started with a class of eight people, and this year has graduated 40 people.  They are starting another class of 20 in October.  The cost for each person is $1000, so they have budgeted and are fundraising $60,000 for this fiscal year.  After the participant successfully completes Jobs for Life, they are hired by businesses in the community. The mentor follows them through this whole process. 
One other piece of Mosaic is Harbor Market which provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to sell their products and is an incubator for new businesses. They are trying to create a relationship with the Benton Harbor Farmer's Market.  
For more details on all of Mosaics activities click here.
Mosaic Changes Lives 2015-08-19 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 14, 2015
Mia, on left, and Kalie are students at the Dream Academy in Benton Harbor.  They are standing in front of the entrance to the camp used by Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) to develop leadership skills and teamwork.  If past expereince is prolog, after this weekend they will still be smiling and talking about their new friends and skills.  Thanks to Sarah Stocker and Mike Scheffler for making this happen.
Starting an Adventure at RYLA Camp 2015-08-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 12, 2015
Our own club's Bryan Tutton left a high-tech career in California to return to his family and roots in Berrien County.  It was in the early stages of the Benton Harbor's renewal and Bryan wanted to be part of it.  He decided to become certified and open an Edward Jones office in the heart of the city.  His office joins a national organization that has been helping clients since 1922; one that has 11,000 branches and 7 million clients.  The investment principles are classic: buy quality, take a long term viewpoint, and diversify.  Bryan also noted that Edward Jones has no proprietary products that he must push. Bryan leads our Great Bed Race and serves the community in many other capacities.
Bryan Tutton Starts Over in Benton Harbor 2015-08-12 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 05, 2015
McKenna Smith is Miss Southwest Michigan Teen for 2015. It's amazing that this Bridgman high school junior has time to promote her passion - Girls on the Run - after being a student, class president, playing basketball and golf and working part time at Captain Mike's. McKenna explained that Girls on the Run is a program not an event.  For ten weeks students work with volunteer coaches and learn about healthy lifestyles and building a positive self image and confidence. A 5k at the end celebrates the successful preparation for the event. She recommends these three steps to a better you: Identify your talents; take pride in your good qualities and adopt a positive mindset.  To learn more, donate or volunteer click here.
This Teen Queen in On the Run 2015-08-05 04:00:00Z 0
Dyann Chenault, on right, conducted the induction of Dan Utroske, to her right, and wife Kyra, opposite on left, into the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  Cindy Kinney and Alan Bartlett were Kyra and Dan's sponsors. Dan is an IT specialist and Kyra has an art studio at 210 Water Street. Welcome to Rotary.
Kyra & Dan Utroske Join Rotary 2015-07-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 22, 2015
Lynn Kellogg usually appears as the club's speaker to talk about her job as CEO of the Area Agency on Aging but this time she came to share her wonderful experiences as an amateur wild life photographer.  She traveled with a group to Botswana for an extended trip into the interior of this African nation.  There is no way to do justice to Lynn's presentation but below is a composite of a few of her images.
The top row starts with the national bird of Botswana, a Lilac-breasted Roller, and the African Fish Eagle.  The bottom row is left for the students to identify.
Back to Africa 2015-07-22 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 16, 2015
Dave Krieger presents Alan Bartlett with a special beer and cozy for his long-serving leadership of the highway clean up. Check out the Four Way Beer Test as printed on the cozy.  That test is a perfect description of our fellowship after the highway work is done.  Thanks to Olivia Starks and Joseph Taylor for their inaugural tour.  It was also great to have Pam Pappas back out with us.
Alan Bartlett Wins Award 2015-07-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 15, 2015
Sarah Lyn Punches, Miss Southwest Michigan 2015, presented her platform of Mentoring: Power of an Hour.  She explained that mentoring is for any child who is at that critical point where they decide who they are.  Mentoring helps to give youth choices, to become confident, to give them a voice to be themselves and to find a purpose in life.  She shared statistics:  Of mentored youth, 46% are less likely to use drugs, 33% less likely to commit violent crimes, 64% achieve higher grades and 65% improve relationships with peers.  Since, “It takes a village to raise a child,” she encouraged all of us to mentor a youth.  It not only helps the children, but it also helps each mentor.  To learn more, donate or get involved, click here.
Miss Southwest Michigan Promotes Mentoring 2015-07-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 08, 2015
Sarah Stocker reported that several students from the Dream Academy attend sailing classes at the Junior Foundation.  Students were fearless in trying to master their small dinghies in strong winds. Smiles continued even after the boats flipped them into the water.  The students attended on Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Scholarships.
Students Attend Sailing Classes 2015-07-08 04:00:00Z 0
Chachi, in green shirt was thankful to his two host families: the McCrevans, shown in lower right, and the Lawrences for the many experiences they provided. He enjoyed school at Countryside Academy, making friends, going to prom, and playing sports. His year was filled with travel to the FFA convention in Louisville, a school trip to Washington DC, fishing in Florida and much more.  He thanked all the Rotarians for making him welcome and sharing our Midwest life.  He plans to return in the fall to attend Lake Michigan College.  See his entire presentation by clicking here.
Chachi's Youth Exchange Experiences 2015-07-08 04:00:00Z 0
Countryside Academy asked for Rotary assistance with a project to create a chicken coop/classroom to be part of their curriculum. Phase one is complete with the delivery of the shed above.  Planning is underway to make it into a chicken coop / classroom for the fall.  Insulation, painting, nesting boxes and work area must be added. Stay tuned and get your tool boxes ready.
Let the Work Begin 2015-07-07 04:00:00Z 0
US Representative Fred Upton described his legislative domain as "the world".  But his title is chairman of te Energy and Commerce Committee. Technology is one of his many subcommittees, an area he started out. 15 years ago he developed legislation to sell off spectrum for digital devices for $70 billion dollars.  That act has led to the devices we have today like tablets and smartphones.  This past legislative session his committee passed 91 bills with 40 becoming law.  The new Senate has been able to get some things passed but many of his bills die there.  Fred was upbeat, however, about two projects he's working on: faster drug approvals and a missile defense site for Fort Custer.  The drug bill, HR-6, could save 2-3 years, expand research, and streamline approvals.  The Pentagon will have the final say on the site selection for the $3 billion construction project.  Fred is working to make sure Governor Snyder and all the Michigan delegation is supporting this decision.
US Congress Update 2015-07-07 04:00:00Z 0
Sue Scherwitz was inducted as a Honorary Rotarian for all the work she does for the Rotary Youth Exchange program.  Dyann Chenault, left, presided over the induction, with Lee standing at her side. Lee was recently appointed District 6360 leader of the program so Sue's support will be needed even more in the future.  Congratulations Sue and welcome to Rotary.. 
Sue Scherwitz Inducted as Honorary Rotarian 2015-06-28 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 25, 2015
Darcy Barker is a volunteer with the local American Cancer Society.  The activities of her organization fall into four broad categories: research, education, advocacy and lobbying.  As part of education, there is Patients Programs and Services, which includes: Road to Recovery to provide rides to treatment centers; Hope Lodge in Grand Rapids, a short-term family residence; and Man-to-Man, a prostate cancer support group.  The groups main fundraiser is the Relay-for-Life.  Please support local participants.
To learn more or volunteer click here.
American Cancer Society 2015-06-25 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 18, 2015
Dyann Chenault passed the baton to Dave Krieger, president for 2015 - 2016.  Dave is looking forward to leading the club in it's Books For Kids efforts.  Please check the website for the other officers for 2015 - 2016.
Dave Krieger Installed as President 2015 - 2016 2015-06-18 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 18, 2015
Dyann Chenault, in one of her last acts as club president, awarded a plaque to Bob Kynast as her Rotarian of the Year 2014 - 2015.  She cited Bob's leadership of the fundraising committee and the development of the Books for Kids brand and web site.
Bob Kynast is Dyann's Rotarian of the Year 2014-2015 2015-06-18 04:00:00Z 0
The program was turned over to this club's foundation to hear about two projects funded in the past.  Our own Felicia Smith brought Luis Benitez to Rotary to talk about his experience at the Key Club District Conference.  Felicia, Luis and two other officers spent a weekend in Traverse City becoming better leaders. Also attending was Audrey Salesberry, area manager of local Key Clubs.  Benton Harbor High School has nineteen students in the service activities of Key Club.
Sean Kellogg showed up on crutches to talk about her Story Time project which is going into it's third round this summer.  With the help of MailMax she was able to recruit 15-20 kids to Orchards Mall for a fun packed time.  She usually arrived dressed in character and adds activities related to the story for the day. Stay tuned for details on this summer's program.
Foundation Project Reports 2015-06-14 04:00:00Z 0
Rotarian Joseph Taylor distributed books at the Benton Harbor Kindergarten Discovery Center.  Each student received a personalized selection with their names inscribed. Pictured, in the second row, from the left , are Carolyn Bowman, teacher, Audrey Pringle, family coach, Mr. Taylor and Patricia Robinson, principal. The smiling faces in the front row say Rotary is making friends and, hopefully, better readers.
New Books for Kids Begins - Part II 2015-06-14 04:00:00Z 0
Congratulations to all the high school students graduating this year.  Rotary is especially proud of Jasmine left, valedictorian of the Dream Academy Class of 2015.  Jasmine was sponsored for RYLA camp in the fall of 2014. Photo courtesy of the Benton Spirit News.
Congratulations Class of 2015 2015-06-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 05, 2015
The club began its new Books for Kids program at Countryside Academy with Mike Schllfer, left, and Jim Scheuneman passing out new books to the Mrs. Gothberg's kindergarten class.  The books are matched to the students interest and reading level.  They contain a plate with each student's name.  Thanks to member Patrice Grant and her committee for making this program happen.  Books went to every kindergarten in the Benton Harbor so watch for more smiling faces.
New Books for Kids Program Begins 2015-06-05 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 03, 2015
Our own club's Bob Kynast leads the local branch of SCORE, a service organization that exists to help business start and grow.  All the help is free and confidential.  The Benton Harbor branch has members with a wide range of skills and experience to match up with any clients needs or schedule.  The branch also conducts workshops on topics of interest the business or non-profit organizations.  To learn more go to  Call 269.925.6100 to request help from SCORE.
SCORE - for the Life of your Business 2015-06-03 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 27, 2015
Shown at left is The Marie Yeager Cancer Center at the Royalton Health Complex.  Dave Burghart, president of the Lakeland Health Foundations, cited the center as one of five major projects funded by the six foundations that exist under his umbrella organization. (Each of Lakeland components, such as the Niles hospital, retained their own foundation when they were brought into the system.)  The other projects were two new ERs, the Hospice Center and a robotics surgery. These projects amounted to $30 million in funding from the community.
Mr. Burghart also highlighted the new Community Wellness Endowment which supports community organizations that promote community health and wellness. Grants will be awarded for initiatives sponsored by non-profit 501(c) (3) organizations that serve populations that are integral to Lakeland service areas of Berrien, Van Buren and Cass Counties in Southwest Michigan. 
To donate, volunteer, apply for grants or learn more click here.
Lakeland Health Foundations Adds Grants 2015-05-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 27, 2015
Dyann Chenault was Miguel Clark's sponsor.  So as sponsor and president she inducted Miguel into the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  Miguel was a former student and her example of service encouraged him to join.  Welcome Miguel.
Miguel Clark Joins Rotary 2015-05-27 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 20, 2015
Jim Grandholm started Green Earth Recycling in 2009 when his garage was full of computers.  Now Jeff Bodtke manages fourteen employees at their location is St. Joseph, MI.  They accept anything with a power cord or a battery and, either refurbish or tear it down for scrap.  CRTs and tube TVs have $5 and $10 fees respectively; all other items are accepted free of charge. All personal information is wiped or destroyed.  Customer service is their highest priority - call 269.326.1232 for pick up if you need help. In 2014 they processed one million pound of e-waste and recycled or reused most of items - very little ended up in land fills.  Their goal is five million pounds in five years. Drop off items at 3621 Tennis Court on your way to the South Shore Health Club, between 8 and 3, Monday through Friday.  Green Earth is the company of choice for Berrien County.
Local Recycler Growing Fast 2015-05-20 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 17, 2015
Alice Ford was recognized as this year's Rotary Hero for her new Motown Soup fundraiser, service on Foundation Board and leadership of the plant and bake sale for the pumpkin festival.
President Dyann Chenault accepted honors for our club for the Great Pumpkin Race and increase in Pual Harris Fellows.
Club Honored at Dictrict Conference 2015-05-17 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 15, 2015
Marilyn Fitzgerald, author of If I Had a Water Buffalo, opened the Plenary Session on International Service with her story that resulted in her book. She related how she started a project to send kids in Indonesia to school.  She selected one village with 1,200 students and raised the $60 it would take to send that child to school.  That was $72,000 per year.  Her Traverse City Rotary Club, with more than 300 members was able to meet that challenge, but she knew that was not sustainable.  Then she met one of the village's farmers during a visit and he told her that if she would get him a water buffalo he could increase his production and pay for his three children to go to school. Now that was a sustainable model!  After a few years, adding pigs and chickens to the community let their schooling become self sufficient.  She also noted the increased self esteem of the villagers.  She learned that providing opportunities was much better than charity.  But it takes local knowledge to identify what will work.
Author Lights Up District Conference 2015-05-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 13, 2015
From left, The first three grants went to projects at Countryside Academy, to Kathy Hollacher to purchase non-fiction books, to Amy Paris to purchase books to assist English learning, and to Steve Rigoni and Samantha Caratenuto for supplies for students to build animal shelters.  The next grant recipients are from Hull International Academy.  Accepting the grant to take students to Henry Ford Museum are Denise Raklovits and Stacy Johnson.  Stacey is standing next to her father, Don Mitchell, president of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation.  Not pictured is Sister Paulita Walters from the Readiness Center.  She received a grant to take her "City Kids" on educational trip to Chicago on April 29, 2015 after her presentation. The Foundation expects to have another grant cycle in October, 2015.
Foundation Funds Five Projects 2015-05-13 04:00:00Z 0
Abigail Pelaz from Countryside academy came to Rotary to report on her information interview.  She wanted to explore a career as a chef.  She confirmed that desire with an interview with the chef at Schu's in St. Joseph. She plans to take additional course work in culinary arts.  Thanks to Mike Scheffler for arranging the interview.
Meet a Future Chef 2015-05-07 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Youth Exchange - Chachi's View 2015-05-07 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 05, 2015
Erin N. Hudson, executive director for Harbor Habitat for Humanity, started her presentation with her favorite saying: "Habitat offers a hand up, not a hand out". Families are selected based on need, income (must put down $1,000, payable in installments), and be willing to partner on the project, providing 300 hours of construction or workshops.  The process takes about one year from acceptance to move in.  The new owners have a $90,000 mortgage requiring payments of $450 per month. Everyone doesn't make it. Erin attributed some of the recent success to the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University training that was added to the program in 2007.  The organization is focused on building neighborhoods, not houses.  The active areas are: east High Street in Benton Harbor, Crystal Estates and Butternut & Chicago streets, south of the airport, both in Benton Township. Ths year's projects include two new homes and 4-7 "recycle" projects that bring a former build into move in condition. To learn more or volunteer click here.
Harbor Habitat Builds On Success 2015-05-06 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 02, 2015
Sister Paulita and Martha Thieneman from the Readiness Center made a return visit to Rotary. Our Foundation has provided three grants to aid the efforts of the Readiness Center.  For thirty-five years Sister Paulita has been preparing youth for school.  Along the way she expanded her efforts to include parents and teens, working to produce successful citizens through education.  She puts in a little fun and work to make sure the education is well rounded.  She serves about one-hundred families.  All her services are free; the teens must volunteer to mentor or do housekeeping to earn their place in City Kids afternoon program. Many of her charges are with the center through out their entire school years. How well do her students do?  They do great! with 97% graduating high school. Learn more, donate or volunteer by clicking here.
Continuing Success at the Readiness Center 2015-05-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 24, 2015
Rotarians didn't let the wind or threat of rain keep them from their work at Pete Mitchell City Center Park.  This is the park the club adopted when the new Parks Conservancy was formed.  The park looked terrific, with new mulch all around and all the shrubs trimmed for the season.  The team also spruced up the two roundabouts on Main St.  Thanks to all those who brought their tools and can-do spirit. What's always amazing to me is how well the crew works without anyone "in-charge".  Well done!
City Center Park & Roundabouts Sparkle 2015-04-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 14, 2015
Mike Moyer is the new director of Enology & Viticulture (wine & grapes) at Lake Michigan College.  He was hired to begin a new curriculum to serve the expanding local wine industry. For  Mike, when you take Lake Michigan, the local soil and 23 million people with three hours drive, you have the best chance for success.  He's recruited an advisory board of local leaders in the wine industry.  The curriculum will provide hands on learning along with course work in the science of grapes, wine, quality control and managing your wine business.  The program begins in the fall of 2015 and will award an associates degree.  Many Rotarians volunteered to be taste-testers, if needed.
Learn about Wine at Lake Michigan College 2015-04-15 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 14, 2015
Joseph Taylor is the latest member inducted into the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  Mr. Taylor is vice president of the Benton Harbor school board, a Whirlpool employee and champion of the robotics team at Benton Harbor High. He's also an eighteen year survivor of a kidney transplant, donated by his brother. James' sponsor is Jim Smith.  Welcome to Rotary!
James Taylor Joins Rotary 2015-04-15 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 07, 2015
Paula Laquerre is the DHS coordinator for the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative and Alexander Minott is one of her success stories. MYOI serves current and former foster youth ages 14-24. It tries to position those foster youth for success when they "age out" of foster care at 18.  At that point they have no place to life and must support themselves.  Pauls teaches life skills and works with employers to provide on-the-job training.  The nineteen participants also form their own board of directors and serve in leadership positions. The youth are paid to attend the classes but 50% of the money goes into an Honor Credit Union savings account.  Alex went into foster care at age 15.  He has been part of MYOI for several years and credits it with helping him pursue his dreams. He is preparing for college now and will use his savings to purchase a used car.  Paula has to sign off and the state will match his funds.  Job opportunities and safe housing are the biggest needs for MYOI participants.  Are you able to provide some OJT?   Are you willing to rent to a group of teens trying to make it on their own?  If yes, contact Paula at DHS in Benton Harbor
How Can We Expand Opportuities? 2015-04-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 07, 2015
Mike Scheffler, the club's new generations chair, recruits high school students to explore their career interests through interviews with people doing those jobs.  Dylan Fleenor, left, is a senior at Countryside Academy.  He was burned as a child and the resulting interaction with a firefighter convinced him he wanted to be a firefighter. He applied to Mike to request an interview. Dylan spent an hour doing Q&A with Lt. James Fogarty of the Benton Township Fire Department.  The interview confirmed his career choice.  He will enroll in training after graduation.  Best wishes for success.
Future Fireman Visits Rotary 2015-04-08 00:00:00Z 0
The club board of directors has appointed Felicia Smith as its representative on the new "Placemaking" study for City Center Park.  She will work with Marja Winters and others to develop a plan for the park. In another appointment, Catherine Ravitch was appointed to take over for Jim Scheuneman as Rotary's member of the Benton Harbor Parks Conservancy Executive Committee.  Bob Elliott will be Catherine's alternate.
Board Appoints Representatives 2015-03-28 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 24, 2015
Pete Pfeiffer, manager of transportation services, forecasts a busy summer of road construction with sixteen projects on either an M, I or US designated roads. He highlighted work on M-139 between Berrien Springs and Niles and a new bridge over Hickory Creek on eastbound I-94 between exits 23 and 27. You may access the latest information at MI Drive, just click here.
Proposal 1 will be on the ballot on May 5th.  This is a complicated matter involving a change to the State Constitution to increase the sales tax to 7 cents to supply funds for roads, schools, transit and other areas. The sales tax is removed from fuels but the tax on fuels would go to 41 cents per gallon from 14.4 cents. For the complete story go to MDOT's Reality Check page, click here.
MDOT Project Plans and Ballot Proposal 1 2015-03-25 00:00:00Z 0
John Egelhaaf is the executive director or the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, a non-profit created by Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties.  John reported some key data from a three-year study of the four transit systems operating in Berrien County.  Niles, Buchanan and Benton Harbor have there own millage supported transit systems.  Berrien Bus covers the rest of the county, less St. Joseph.  These systems have a $4 million operating budget and provided 320,000 trips in 2013.  The disjointed nature of the service causes problems getting from A to B, often requiring changing services at the service boundaries.  In sum, the present system does a poor job and is not a reliable way to get to work or school.  The study recommended a county authority be formed to consolidate administration and provide a county-wide service.  The Berrien County Commission has taken the first step but key decisions are six months ahead.  Fares cover less than 15% of the operating cost so a county-wide millage would be required if the authority is formed.  Stay tuned.
Public Transit at a Crossroad 2015-03-21 00:00:00Z 0
Several club members joined Dave Bly's team to raise fund for Junior Achievement
Top row, from left, Dave Bly, Lyn Sperry, Dyann Chenault, Chachi and Ryan Wojtovich
Bottom row: Maya and Rotary exchange student, Mike Scheffler and Jim Scheuneman
Rotarians Bowl for JA 2015-03-07 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 03, 2015
Marja Winters, assistant city manager for The City of Benton Harbor, returned to talk about "Placemaking" at Dwight P "Pete" Mitchell City Center Park. Placemeking is a strategy to integrate a mixture of uses that connect people and activity to a distinctive area. Success requires creating a place that is clean, has seating, is safe, open and green.  It would boast a great quality of life. Michigan is providing some resources so Benton Harbor can work through the porcess during 2015, ending with a final plan of action. In the big picture, a park that brings people in will lead to economic activity.  This could revitalize sections of Main St. and Pipestone.  Stay tuned.
   The City Center park is this Rotary's adopted park so we will be active participants in this process.
   To learn more about Placemaking click here.
Placemaking in Benton Harbor 2015-03-04 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 24, 2015

A core group from the LMC/St. Joseph Interact Club is getting excited about their trip to the Dominican Republic.  Pictured, from left, are Haley, Sarah, Matt, Quinn and Ellen.  Fundraising continues with an event on March 14, 2015 - College Game Night in the Oak Room at the Citadel.  Twenty students are preparing to go; five from LMC and 15 from St. Joseph.  The club activities, with monthly service projects and fundraising are helping the clubs attract new members.  The growth is leading to a separation into two club for the next school year.  Our visitors said Interact helped them gain self confidence, leadership skills and people skills.


Below is a video Matt developed after his last trip to the Dominican Republic.  It's also available here.

Interact Update (now with video) 2015-02-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Feb 19, 2015

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of April 3, 2015 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 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.

Organizations that have received grants in the past may only apply if their project is complete and the grant report has been submitted. Organizations are limited to one application per cycle.

Foundation Begins Another Grant Cycle Bob Elliott 2015-02-20 00:00:00Z 0
Bob Sykora, left, receives his second Paul Harris pin from Jim Smith.  This new level was achieved with donations primarily from the use of pocket coin boxes.  Well done Bob.
Bob Sykora Achieves 2nd Paul Harris Fellow 2015-02-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 03, 2015
The Sunrise Rotary Foundation elected its officers for 2015.
President - Don Mitchell
Vice-president - Lee Scherwitz
Secretary - Alice Ford
Treasurer - Bob Elliott
Director - Whitney Hadanek
The board also set two grant cycles for the year with deadlines of April 3, 2015 and October 2, 2015.
The financial report for 2014 was approved and will be filed with the Charitable Trust Section to maintain the Foundation's status. Write to us at if you would like a copy.
Foundation News 2015-02-04 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 27, 2015
Brian Saxton, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, opened the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center for club assembly.  This wonderful facility is serving 65 teens per night.  They come from 10 different high schools.  Four tutors help with homework and a meal or snack is usually served each night. The Rotarians used the wonderful computer lab for training on use of our club's web site.
Off-site at the Teen Center 2015-01-28 00:00:00Z 0
Jamie Rossow, (left) executive director of The Berrien County Council for Children, and Patricia Ceresa, chairman of the board were at Rotary to discuss their Children's Assessment Center or CAC. The organization serves children and families that experience sexual abuse. The CAC uses a multidisciplinary team approach which brings in protective services, medical personnel, law enforcement and prosecutors to witness a single forensic interview,  This approach is less stressful for the child and produces better outcomes over prior methods of serial interviews.  In 2013 the CAC investigated 564 cases of abuse.
     The CAC needs to do more and that why they have started a capital drive to double their floor space.  They have completed the purchase of land to the south so they will expand at their current location.  The expansion is more about healing than interviewing. There will be much more space for therapy, which is free, group therapy, medical exams, private waiting areas and a mock court.
To learn more about the organization, the expansion plans or make a tax deductible donation, click here.
Helping End Child Abuse - One Child at a Time 2015-01-25 00:00:00Z 0
The January 2015 issue of The Rotarian magazine has the wonderful life story of Olympia LePoint titled: For Olympia LePoint it is Rocket Science.  She grew up in poverty but went on the become a successful scientist, author and consultant.  Below is a picture of Olympia signing her book Mathaphobia, that helps people overcome fears that block their pathway to success.  The story should encourage every Rotarian to find ways to provide a spark in other's lives - it may just turn into a passionate fire for success.
After reading the story check out her you tube Ted Talk and other information on her website, click here.
Recommended Reading - Olympia LePoint 2015-01-17 00:00:00Z 0
The club met in assembly to prepare for this year's dictionary days.  Members added labels to approximately 400 dictionaries that are destined to be the personal property of each third grader in the four Benton Harbor Elementary schools and all the charter schools in the area, Countryside Academy, Mildred Wells Academy and Benton Harbor Charter School.  Now the members will go to the classrooms and present the dictionaries.
Club Prepars for Dictionary Days 2015-01-14 00:00:00Z 0
Meredith Sgambelluri, mentor/tutor coordinator for Benton Harbor Area Schools, would like to expand the very successful SMART Tutoring program.  One hundred and seventy students have mentors but Meredith would like to see that grow to 250 this year.  The program has shown amazing results, lifting most tutored students above grade level.  But there is more to do - 25% of students are reading below grade level.  The program only asks mentors for one hour per week for an eight week session.  You can even divide the session with another mentor and only do four weeks.  Hours are flexible too -your pick from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
For more information or to enroll click here and click on the Tutor Program button.
Is SMART Tutoring for You? 2015-01-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 19, 2014
Pictured below are Mike Scheffler and Dyann Chenault bell ringing in front of Wal-Mart.  Other Sunrise Rotarians were there from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. wishing everyone Merry Christmas and watching the kettles fill up for the Salvation Army.
Merry Christmas 2014-12-20 00:00:00Z 0
Amanda Williamson, director of the Great Start Collaborative for Berrien County, thinks everyone deserves a great start in life.  Great Start is an initiative of the Michigan Department of Education. It focuses of four outcomes:
  1. Children are born healthy
  2. Children are developmentally on track from birth to third grade
  3. Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school when they enter
  4. Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently at the end of third grade
Amanda's role is to work with local organizations to make sure everyone is on the same page, service gaps are closed and overlaps are reduced.  Her 2015 system goals are to implement a "hub" for one stop coordination of the six visiting nurse programs and develop a standard for kindergarten readiness. She will also be working with Parents as Teachers improve "Triple P", parenting and promoting positive change.
Amanda also facilitates the Great Start Parent Coalition.  This is a group of parent volunteers with children under twelve who volunteer to advocate for early childhood.  The group meets monthly to discuss parenting skills.  They also do a service project each year, either a book drive or a diaper drive, with the items going to programs in the county.  Our Club's Red Wagon program is a beneficiary of book drives.
Click here to learn more or volunteer.
Who Deserves a Great Start? 2014-12-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 02, 2014
Jim Scheuneman, immediate past president, brought the club board the idea of supporting the Wonderland Toy Store.  You may have seen the posters with the banner shown below.
Rotarians were asked to donate unwrapped gifts or gift cards when they came to the Christmas party.  The donations will go to the "store" where they may be purchased at deep discounts by parents.  This is much better than just giving away the toys.  The parents select things their children will enjoy and they pay for them - it's not charity.  The Wonderland Toy Store is led by First Church of God with help from area churches.
The other new thing we tried this Christmas is to join with the St. Joseph - Benton Harbor Rotary for our annual celebration.  We mixed some of each club's traditions, sang a few Christmas carols and enjoyed great food and fellowship at the yacht club.
Both of these new ideas appeared to be very popular.  We'll have to wait until next year to see if they started a new tradition.
Club Tries New Things for Christmas 2014-12-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 25, 2014
Club members assembled sixteen Thanksgiving baskets for local families.  We partner with Child and Family Services to deliver the baskets to needy families. This is always a fun event, with members bringing turkeys and all the trimmings and putting together the baskets. Bob Gifford's annual Thanksgiving trivia test included this question:  What are unhappy cranberries called?
Happy Thanksgiving 2014-11-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 18, 2014
Bonita Mitchell, executive director, and Ronda Collier, resource development, used the video below to describe their operations.  The "Solutions through Music and Performing Arts" approach takes on bullying, anger management, drugs and suicide and other barriers to successful lives.
If the video doesn't start click here.
The Rotary was treated to a live dance performance by Quincy ,shown below, and Davon.  The boys had developed their own interpretation of a song and presented it with poise.  They plan to take their dance routines on a tour of the US.
I'm Saving Myself Explained 2014-11-19 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 18, 2014
Don Mitchell, president of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary foundation, presented nine grants.
  • Readiness Center for its City Kids after school program
  • Junior Achievement for Building Tomorrow's Business
  • Berrien RESA for Drawing Our Youth into Visual Arts
  • Countryside Academy for its Kindergarten Expansion
  • Club International for Leadership Development
  • Berrien County Health Department for Baby's Own Bed program
  • Benton Harbor Girls Academy for Choices in Pursuit of Destiny
  • ARS Arts & Culture Center for I Am the Greatest project
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters to Sponsor-A-Match
Accepting the grants, top row from left, Martha Thieneman Readiness Center, Audrey Salesberry and Felicia Smith for Key Club, Anna Russo Sieber for ARS Arts and Culture Center, Keith Stevens for Box Factory, partner with Berrien RESA, bottom row, Sister Paulita for Readiness Center, Sarah Brookshire for Countryside Academy, Dr. Patricia Quatrrin for Benton Harbor Girls Associations, Ali Hanson, partner with Berrien RESA and Don Mitchell, president of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation.
Bad weather and illness caused several absences: Christina Frank and Julie Rolinski fro Big Brother Big Sisters, Diane Genovese from ARS Arts and Culture Center, and Jennifer Zimmerman of Junior Achievement.
In addition to these cash awards, the foundation will make in-kind contributions to the Emergency Shelter and the Fresh Start Children's Garden in lieu of a cash award.
Foundation Presents Grants 2014-11-19 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 18, 2014
Mike Arney was filling in for Brenda Layne to interview Alice Ford about Rotary.  She brought two samples of the soup kits which are described and available here.  She also mentioned our recent Foundation Grants (Click here for list).  To hear Alice Ford talk about Rotary and our current soup sale click here.
Sunrise Rotary In the Spotlight with Brenda Layne 2014-11-19 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 15, 2014

It's with a heavy heart that we report on the passing of Bill MacGoodwin on Friday November 14, 2014.  Bill was the husband of club president Dyann Chenault.  Bill was a Rotary member for a few years and sponsored his wife Dyann for membership.  Bill's professional career was technical but his passion was singing with many civic choirs, most recently with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra.

A memorial gathering will be held on Sunday November 16, 2014, 3 p.m. at the Overflow Church of Benton Harbor, 300 E Napier Ave, Benton Harbor.

Memorials may be made to the Symphony at SMSO, 513 Ship St., St. Joseph, MI 49085.

Bill's Obituary is available here.
Bill MacGoodwin Will be Missed 2014-11-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 11, 2014
Two years ago the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary joined forces with Jim Paul of Slumberland Furniture to benefit the community. The partnership includes the Great Bed Race and the Pumpkin 5K Run and Walk. Below Jim Scheuneman presents Jim Paul a special award to say thanks for Slumberland's sponsorship of the Pumpkin Run.

Rotary Thanks Slumberland's Jim Paul 2014-11-12 00:00:00Z 0
Don Mitchell, president of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary foundation, announced nine grants.
  • To the Readiness Center for its City Kids after school program
  • To Junior Achievement for Building Tomorrow's Business
  • To Berrien RESA for Drawing Our Youth into Visual Arts
  • To Countryside Academy for its Kindergarten Expansion
  • To Key Club International for Leadership Development
  • To Berrien County Health Department for Baby's Own Bed program
  • To Benton Harbor Girls Academy for Choices in Pursuit of Destiny
  • To ARS Arts & Culture Center for I Am the Greatest project
  • To Big Brothers Big Sisters to Sponsor-A-Match
In addition, the foundation will make in-kind contributions to the Emergency Shelter and the Fresh Start Children's Garden in lieu of a cash award.
Foundation Announces Grants 2014-11-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 04, 2014
Jenny Miner, recently appointed executive director of Water Street Glassworks, brought a few samples of art produced in the Fired Up program for teens.  See below.
Fired Up is an all scholarship program for grades 8-12 in Benton Harbor Schools.  The program requires a two year commitment to attend two days per week.  This makes sure that the students are engaged long enough to gain real skills in the four studios: glassblowing, kiln-fired, frameworking and stained glass.  Students are encouraged to make and sell their art.  They retain 70% of the sales.  But it's not just about art.  Students must work in the Gelato shop out front.  The program is building citizen artists!  Students are required to bring in their report cards and receive tutoring help if necessary.  During the ten years the program has been in existence, every Fired Up artist graduated from high school.
Jenny also announced a new link with Morton Elementary to provide art class at the Glassworks, filling the hole left by the lack of art teachers.
Fired Up at Rotary 2014-11-05 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 31, 2014
Darrell Moss, a graduate of Benton Harbor High School, is the latest recipient of the Sunrise Rotary Scholarship at Lake Michigan College. Darrell is majoring in Business Administration and plans to become a business owner. He hopes to make the basketball team and work part time.  Congratulations and best wishes to Darrell.
Rotary Scholar Announced 2014-11-01 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 28, 2014
Joyce Cluff is a mom on a mission. It all started when her son had a football injury requiring knee surgery. After surgery he had high fever and pain. Antibiotics didn't help.  Finally she had a second opinion and he was diagnosed with MRSA - a staph infection that resists all the common antibiotics. With the right diagnosis he was able to be cured.  It turns our that 84% of MRSA infections occur at surgery sites.  Outside the healthcare system MRSA infections are also possible.  50% of skin infections are MRSA infections.  Her mission now is to raise awareness about MRSA so others can avoid the trauma her family endured.
To learn more click on Living with MRSA from the MRSA Survivors Network.
If you would like to know more about Joyce's activities follow here on facebook.  Click here for the page.
What you should know about MRSA 2014-10-29 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 24, 2014
Ten students from the Dream Academy joined several Rotarians to put more than 2,000 Rotary labels into the Red Wagon Books.  We didn't have much room to work but that didn't slow down the students shown below.
Future work details will shelve the books by grade and complete the labeling.
Dream Academy Join Red Wagon Project 2014-10-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 22, 2014
Jessica Beachy, Ph.D, biology instructor at Lake Michigan College, told how the Emerald Ash Borer, shown below, landed in Detroit and has now spread to 25 states.  The insect, about 3/4 inch in length, bores into the bark and lays its eggs under the bark. As the larva develop they feed off the tree draining it of its life.  The mature insect leaves the tree and the cycle begins with another tree.  The Ash Borer has no local predators to limit its spread.
All types of Ash tree are susceptible to attack.  There are some chemicals that can treat the tree to prevent attack.  The picture below shows the signs to look for.  Infected trees must be cut down and burned.  If you buy firewood make sure it is local. And do not take any firewood to another area - that's the main mechanism for spreading the insect.
Emerald Ash Borer is a Threat 2014-10-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Oct 15, 2014
Renee' Reid- Smith, community development liaison for Berrien County Cancer Service, Inc.(BCCS), was among old friends when she returned to Rotary to tell us about her organization.  She had to leave Rotary six years ago when her grandmother needed her to help deal with cancer.  Her experience led her to join BCCS.  Her organization has been serving the community since 1948! They provide nurses, supplies, equipment loans and financial assistance - all worked out with patients and their families, and funded by the community through United Way and other donors.
Renee invited Rotary to learn about Tara Deam, an eight year old, who has been fighting against brain cancer for two years.  Her mom, Jessica and uncle Brad told Tara's story and highlighted the role BCCS played in her progress.  Tara loves her nurse Connie and both do art as therapy. Tara has a long road ahead but BCCS will walk with her on the journey.  Medical bill continue to overwhelm the family.  You can help by donating to the Tara Deam account at United Federal Credit Union, #91363022411.
To donate, volunteer or just learn more about BCCS click here.
Berrien Cancer Services Offer Essential Assistance Bob Elliott 2014-10-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Oct 07, 2014

Four members from the St. Joseph High School - Lake Michigan Catholic Interact Club reported on their recent trip to the Dominican Republic.  Picture below, from left, are: Sarah LaSata. Mathew Borre, Haley Adams and Allie Adent.


A total of nineteen students spent a week installing water filters in various "bateyes", or villages.  In addition to the water filters the students took soccer balls along to give away to local children.  They also had some lively games during down times around the installations.  They also spent time helping construct a latrine at one of the bateys. It wasn't all work; the visitors also had time for the beach, basketball games, Mass, and catamaran rides. The local support and food was praised by the team.

The trip was paid for by fund raising events and donations.  Next year fifty students are planning on making the trip.  Be generous if you have a chance.

Interactors Make Water Trip Bob Elliott 2014-10-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 26, 2014

The weather was summer-like for the annual Pumpkin Festival which includes a plant and bake sale, pumpkin decorating and carving, face painting, community canvas and the Great Pumpkin Rotary Race.  All the proceeds are used for the benefit of the youth of Benton Harbor.  Thank you to all our supporters in the community.

The events are staffed by Sunrise Rotarians and friends. Below is a picture on one contestants in the pumpkin decorating contest.  The best entries received prizes for their work.


At 2 p.m. 550 pumpkins raced around the pond vying for the five cash prizes.  Pat Moody, local radio personality, was the grand prize winner of $1,000. Four other winners claimed $650 in prize money.


Click here for more photos from the festival.  Thanks to Alan Bartlett for the great photos.


Pumpkin Festival Enjoyed Beautiful Day Bob Elliott 2014-09-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 25, 2014

The second Great Bed Race saw twelve teams racing along Bluff Park in St. Joseph.  Below are the teams from Piggin N Grinnin and Home Depot at the start of one of the heats.


After several heats the team from Wightman & Associates won first place, finishing undefeated for the event.  Below is the winning team.


Last year's winner was second place this year, losing the final race by inches.  Third place went to the team from Abonmarche.

The bed from Inn at Harbor Shores won for best design, adopting a pirate theme.  See below.


Point Blank's team Batman won for best team spirit.  Click here to see all the teams in a photo album of all the fun.  Thanks to Alan Bartlett for the photos.  The event is a joint venture of Rotary and Slumberland Furniture.  All the proceeds go for beds for needy families.

The Great Bed Race is Fun for All Bob Elliott 2014-09-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 19, 2014

The Sunrise Rotary Pumpkin Run is becoming a favorite for late summer races. This year 175 runners and walkers enjoyed the courses around Harbor Shores and Jean Klock Park.  We were pleased to welcome the racers in the Fruit Belt Series for the first time. Check out the results here. Below racers are gathered by the Rotary banner for refreshments will waiting for the awards and door prizes.


Thanks to all our sponsors and to those that donated door prizes for the event.


Pumpkin Run Continues to Grow Bob Elliott 2014-09-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 13, 2014

Larry Jackson - January 7

Janet Drews - January 20

Joseph Taylor - January 26

Mel Berton - January 28



January Birthdays Bob Elliott 2014-09-13 04:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 09, 2014

Dr. Anna Scheuneman, D.C., works for HealthSource Chiropractic in St. Joseph.  She began a career is Chiropractic medicine after her medical doctor referred her to a D.C. to cure numbness and problems sleeping. Most people think of Chiropractors when they have back pain but there are many other symptoms that are related to muscle imbalances and spinal cord issues.  Many times a pain in the hip may be the result of issues with the leg or foot muscles. At HealthSource they employ physical therapy after treatment to strengthen muscles that will help prevent relapsing into pain.

To learn more click here.

Chiropractic is an Alternative Bob Elliott 2014-09-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Sep 02, 2014

Juan Linares Orihuela, better known as "Chachi", is in the US as part of Rotary's Youth Exchange program.  He's pictured during the banner exchange with president Dyann Chenault.  Lee Scherwitz, youth exchange officer is on the left.


Chachi is attending Coutryside Academy during this school year. He told the club about his home country, highlighting the Andes mountains, the Amazon river, jungles and white sand beaches.  Chachi lives in Lima which is on the west coast of Peru.  The population of Lima is 10 million, or one third of the country's 30 million people.  High rise apartments are replacing the single family homes throughout Lima.

Chachi is from district 4455.  He's a winner of the Peruvian Rotary Olympics, and loves football (soccer).

Lee Scherwitz asked that we give him as many experiences as possible during his stay - a football game, apple picking, etc.  Just contact Lee and he will work it out with the host family.

Peru is Home to Exchange Student Bob Elliott 2014-09-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 26, 2014

Key Clubs are established Kiwanis International for high school students to provide service opportunities. build character and develop leadership skills.  Our Rotary's foundation providing a matching grant to allow members from Benton Harbor High School to attend the district conference last March.  Presenting at the Rotary meeting were Audrey Salesberry, area leader for Key Club and Felicia Smith, faculty advisor.

They work with 23 boys and girls to define and deliver community service projects.  The student members elect their own officers and conduct all their business by Robert's Rules of Order.  The district conference was a great opportunity to network with others, discuss project ideas and receive additional training.  Below are Felicia, on left, with two of the Key Clubbers during a workshop.


Key Club Develops Benton Harbor Students Bob Elliott 2014-08-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 26, 2014


Danny Jennings, leader of Benton Harbor;s youth baseball activities, made a guest appearance to present two awards, one to Sunrise Rotary for the funds we donated for the team's recent road trip and to Jim Scheuneman and the Park Conservancy for the improvements at Union Field.

Thank You Rotary! Bob Elliott 2014-08-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 26, 2014

Gary Campbell was at Rotary as president of the board of Berrien Families Plus, Inc.  This new 501c(3) was formed to serve the Berrien County Trial Court.  The Three Wins program was designed to help the 58% of offenders that are under seventeen.  These youngsters are not able to make restitution for crimes involving theft or destruction of property,  The way the program works is that BFP provides an opportunity to volunteer in the community. The Volunteer Center places the youth at the hospital, soup kitchen or school for their service hours. "Earnings" are then matched by BFP, up to 50% of the amount owed, with a maximum match of $400. 

That brings us to the three winners in the program:

  1. The victim - who receives restitution for the loss
  2. The offender - who learns to be responsible for their actions and experiences community service.
  3. The community that benefits from the volunteer hours, from the improved citizenship of the youth, and reduced administration by the court system.

You can help BFP expand its funding by meeting a $10,000 challenge grant from the Upton Foundation. 

Make your tax-deductible donation to:

Berrien Families Plus, Inc.

Attn: Gary Campbell

471 W. Shawnee Rd.

Baroda, MI  49101

"Three Wins" Program Fills an Important Need Bob Elliott 2014-08-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 19, 2014


Jasmine Long, a student at the Dream Academy, was pleased and impressed with her Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) camp weekend.  She enjoyed the "trust me" exercises and other team building activities.  Jasmine hopes to attend the next RYLA camp in March.

RYLA Weekend was Great! Bob Elliott 2014-08-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 19, 2014

The Fresh Start Children's Garden was formed in 2006 by Emma Kinnard after she retired from the Benton Harbor Scfhools.  She quickly recruited PJ Cononie-Bubin and Susan Robinson to form the "Three Musketeer Volunteers".  Recently the garden planted it's roots on three city lots leased from the City of Benton Harbor.  Each Thursday they have 18-29 kids working and harvesting vegetables from the garden.  The children's minds and bodies are nourished while they gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their neighborhood. Below is a group photo with Emma on the left and PJ on the right in the rear.  The childrens' faces tells you how successful Emma and PJ are in reaching the youth.


Emma's faith has worked miracles, bringing donors and volunteers to support her dream. Emma thanked Rotarian Bryan Tutton for tilling the soil at the start of the season.

Making a Fresh Start at May and Pearl St. Bob Elliott 2014-08-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 16, 2014

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of October 1, 2014 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, increased this cycle, are usually for $1,000 but the the grant amount is based a combination of the project and available funds.

To download the grant application click here.  You will also find it, just click the Foundation button on the menu bar.

Organizations that have received grants in the past may only apply if their project is complete and the grant report has been submitted. Organizations are limited to one application per cycle.

Foundation Begins Another Grant Cycle Bob Elliott 2014-08-17 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 12, 2014

Kim Forsey, executive director, shown above, and Brian Sauer, board member, explained how the Samaritan Counseling Center transformed itself into Center[ed] on Wellness to continue the forty-year history of providing professional services that find a balance between spiritual, physical and mental elements. The new name comes with a 501(c)3 status and continues as an United Way community organization.  The Center uses local professionals to provide counseling, coaching, education and preventive services.  The organization provides is able to address more than fifty issues from Abuse to Women's Issues. Service may be one-on--one, classes settings or group meetings.  A new group meeting of veterans is attracting several members. Gambling addiction is the latest area that is getting attention.

The organization's services are covered by some insurance coverage.  It also does some court ordered counseling.  The services are not considered mental health and receive no state or federal funds. The majority of the funding comes from the community.  To learn more or make a donation please click here.

Center[ed] on Wellness Continues Samaritan Traditions Bob Elliott 2014-08-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 05, 2014

John Linabury is the newest member of Sunrise Rotary.  John was inducted by District Governor Bob Small.  John works at 1st Source bank and lives with his wife Lisa in St. Joseph. John is shown below on the left, receiving congratulations from his sponsor Jim Scheuneman.  Welcome to Rotary!




John Linabury Joins Rotary Bob Elliott 2014-08-06 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Aug 05, 2014

Dale Stover, is a specialist/contractor for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by FEMA.  He helps many local firefighting agencies with grant applications for much needed equipment.  The need overwhelms the federal funds available; $3 billion in requests in 2013 were only funded at 10% or $300 million.  Organization in Berrien County have received 46 awards totaling $6 million.  FEMA has funds for personnel and fire prevention efforts In addition to equipment.

Firefighters Need Help Bob Elliott 2014-08-06 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jul 29, 2014

Bob Small, the new district governor, paid his annual visit to the club.  He announced that the district conference will stay along Lake Michigan, moving up the coast to Suagatuck/Douglass.  The dates are May 15-17, 2015.  Bob's image of Rotarians is one in pursuit of happiness; enjoying a playful spirit, joining with family and friends and doing things for others.

He emphasized how little things can be the start of something big.  Polio eradication started with one club in the Philippines,; and bio-sand water filters started with Lakeshore, St Joe and Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary clubs. Polio is limited to 100 cases in three countries.

The new Rotary International president, "Gary", C.K. Kuang has made the Foundation a priority.  There is a Bill and Milinda Gates challenge that matches donations $2 for each $1 donated.  We were encouraged to beat our goal in this area.

District Governor Visits Club Bob Elliott 2014-07-30 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jul 22, 2014

Dan McGinnis, director of public safety for Benton Harbor, promoted the need for public safety, as well as explained his plans to make Benton Harbor a safe community.  The almost overnight conversion to combine police and fire responsibilities into a public safety department over three years ago has improved response time for the over 11,000 police and 400 fire calls received annually be the department.  Using data-driven policing to determine where and when crimes are occurring, Dan has been able to focus resources and work in collaboration with the FBI to use “Delta Zone” mapping to plot and track criminal and gang activity that is beginning to reduce crime trends and improve conviction rates.  Dan envisions creating a safe city that changes perceptions about Benton Harbor.  With a focus on obtaining new vehicles and equipment, improving training, and increasing department morale, he is working on increasing the police visibility downtown by establishing bike patrols around Riverview, along Main Street, and within Harbor Shores, conducting traffic studies along Main Street, and establishing more effective block clubs.  The perception is already changing as he cites the increasing number of people now living downtown and visiting the Arts District and Harbor Shores. 

Thanks to Brian Saxton for the photo and story during my absence.

Benton Harbor Safety is Improving Bob Elliott 2014-07-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jul 15, 2014

Pat Ray, a local St. Joseph teacher, joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach school in the village of Chowe (Cho - Way), in the nation of Malawi, in southwest Africa. Chowe sits in a valley and water had to be carried in from a spring about one mile from the village.  With financial aid from friends and family Pat was able to buy pipe materials for the project.  Men in the village run the pipe from the mountain spring down to the village school and health clinic.  The entire project was completed in three days,  The village remains very poor however.  They have no electricity and the school operates without books or white boards.

The picture below shows men laying the pipe while students watch the work.  Photo by Pat Ray.  The spring is approximate half way up the mountain side.


Chowe Water Project is Complete! Bob Elliott 2014-07-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jul 15, 2014

Lee Scherwitz, our club's Youth Exchange Officer, reported on the Summer Conference of Central States Youth Exchange Program.  The conference is for all three classes of exchange students: 220 were out bound, 156 were in bound, and 142 were on rebound (returning from abroad).  When you add in Rotarians, parents and host families the conference attendance approached 1,000. This is the largest youth exchange program in the world.  The conference includes three full days of activities for each group of students. The keynote address for the conference was by K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran of Sri Lanka, Rotary International's president-elect.

Youth Exchange Students are Special People Bob Elliott 2014-07-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jul 08, 2014

Dr. Gyl Kasewurm, made a return visit to report on her mission trip to Peru.  The trip was a collaboration between the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Rotary International.  The mission trip began in Trujillo, Peru and included four other cities.  The Rotary club in each city arranged the prescreening and hosted the Starkey team.  Dr. Kasewurm was one of the audiologist fitting the hearing aids and testing the results.  She is shown with two girls below.


Her video of the trip showed mostly children with their new hearing aids.  She explained that diseases and illnesses cause many children to lose their hearing, much more than experienced in the U.S.  A total of 200,000 people received hearing assistance during the five city mission.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation, a 501c3 organization, has been providing hearing assistance for thirty years.  Click here to learn more or donate to this worthy cause.

200,000 in Peru Receive Hearing Assistance Bob Elliott 2014-07-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jun 24, 2014

Rod Lawrence, promotes the Harbor Market for the Overflow Christian Community Development Association, a 501c(3) organization with 15 partner churches and businesses.  The Market features local fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods and artist creations.  It is open every Friday for 10-3, with the exception of July 4, 2014.  The market is in its third year and operates under a site license.  It is open to all on a first come, first served basis.  There is no charge and OCCDA provides a space, canopy and picnic table to each vendor.  Click here to learn more.

Harbor Market - Local is Better Bob Elliott 2014-06-25 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jun 16, 2014

The annual Installation Night was the ceremonial end of Jim Schueneman's reign as president and the installation of Dyann Chenault as president.  Jim gave special recognition to several members and a plaque to Bob Kynast for 11 years of service as club secretary.  Dyann praised Jim's fundraising and membership growth along with efforts to put funds to work in the community.  Several members also were recognized for perfect attendance, including Jim Smith with 31 years of perfect attendance!  Outgoing officers, Bob Sykora, Bob Kynast, Lorraine Day, and Kevin Geiser were given a round of applause.

The 2014-2015 officers are:

Dyann Chenault, president

Dave Krieger, president elect

Desie Hardin, president nominee

Cindy Kinney, secretary

Bob Elliott, treasurer

Julie Webb, admin chair

Jim Smith, membership chair

Ryan Wotovitz, public image chair

Bob Kynast, foundation & fundraising chair

Mike Scheffler, new generations chair

Alan Bartlett, service projects

Lee Scherwitz, youth exchange officer

Jim Scheuneman, immediate past president and sergeant at arms

We look forward to the contribution of these members.


Club Installs New Officers for 2014-2015 Bob Elliott 2014-06-17 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jun 10, 2014

Catherine was inducted into Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary by president Jim Scheuneman. 


Catherine and her husband Ron live in Benton Harbor.  Catherine is  retired social worker.  She has been a member of the Dowagiac Rotary and most recently the Paw Paw Lake Rotary.  Catherine is a minister in the Lutheran Church, is a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club and has been a board member of the Southwest Michigan Action Agency.

We look forward to Catherine's contributions to our club.  Welcome. 

Catherine Ravitch Join Rotary Bob Elliott 2014-06-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jun 10, 2014

Bob Harrison and Jacqui Winship spoke on behalf of the Michigan's Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council. The Council has broad participation from business, government and non-profit organizations.  The group met in November 2014 to highlight statistical trends for Berrien County that shows a shrinking population, lower state revenues and fewer high school graduates. After discussing forces on the community, a vision was developed:

Michigan's Great Southwest is a vibrant and prosperous region to live, learn, work, invest, grow, play & retire, for everyone.

Three focus areas were identified along with their expected impact and relationship to each other as shown below.


Approximately 90 people gathered in April to add details and develop action plans with goals for each focus area.  Jeff Fettig, CEO of Whirlpool and Loren Hamel, CEOof Lakeland Health System are co-chairs of the initiative.  Stay tuned for progress on the many fronts outlined by the participants.

For the complete presentation click here.  Visit their website to keep up with this initiative.

New Leadership Council Begins Journey Bob Elliott 2014-06-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on Jun 03, 2014

Tracy Williams, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, moved here two years ago from Sandusky, Ohio but claims to be a "Tiger" through and through. She cited many challenges she found as she studied Benton Harbor schools. The No Child Left Behind requirements was overly reliant on testing and the district found it difficult to recruit the "highly qualified" teachers it demanded.  She thinks replacing MEAP testing with the new Smart Balance approach will be more successful. She found many children come to kindergarten unprepared - which is not surprising when the district is 88% economically disadvantaged.  But Ms. Williams is not discouraged.  She commends the district's leadership team and enjoys the community pride in their schools.  A data-driven decision making process keeps politics to a minimum.  A strategy has been developed for literacy, math and building's culture and climate.  Some progress is already visible.

Grants are actively being pursued. Seven awards have already been received and three more have been submitted.  These grants will fund needed programs, such as laptops for all students, new instructional materials and special assistance to close achievement gaps.

Benton Harbor Schools Have Roadmap for Progress Bob Elliott 2014-06-04 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 27, 2014

Don Mitchell, president of our club's foundation, thanked our visitors for putting Rotary funds to work for the benefit of the youth in Benton Harbor.  He started the day with the presentation of six grants:

  • Countryside Academy for Story Time

  • Readiness Center for Teen Job Training

  • ARS Culture and Arts Center for I Am The Greatest project

  • Lakeshore Band for the D-Day Anniversary - Michigan Remembers trip

  • Human Trafficking Task Force to increase awareness

  • Benton Harbor Girls Association for Art Journaling classes

We also heard brief reports for four past grant recipients.

Stacey Johnson, 4th grade teacher at Hell International, reported how she used her grant to purchase small tablets for her classroom.  She found applications that helped students learn topics like geometry.  She is also experimenting with "flipping" her class: she made of video of her lecture which the students review at home and then does the "homework" in class.  She finds that this method keeps her students up with the material.

Trish Robinson, principle at the Kindergarten Discovery Center, and Sharyn Kaatz, learning specialist, reported how they used their grant to paint and fix up their play ground equipment.  They also improved the landscaping at the entrance.  Students were active with all phases of the project and planted shrubs.  These improvements made the play ground safer and more inviting - a place to be proud of.

Sean Kellogg, young five teacher at Countryside Academy, reported on last summer's Story Time, held at the Orchards Mall.  It was more than just reading, often including dressing in costume, snacks, learning activities and take home elements.  Sean was awarded a grant to offer Story Time in 2014.

Brian Saxton, in his role as executive director of the Boys & Girl Club, reported on two grants that help launch the music program. The seed we planted has grown in to flowering garden.  There are now seventy-five children engaged in voice, drums, keyboards, strings, and horns.  The program has become so popular that they have moved parts of it the community room near the club.

These projects are great examples of how the Foundation Grants to great people and organizations are improving the lives of the youth of Benton Harbor.


Foundation Day Bob Elliott 2014-05-28 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 27, 2014

Trish Robinson, principal at the Kindergarten Discovery Center, and Sharyn Kaatz, specialist and honory Rotarian, presented a brief report on their project to make the playground safe and attractive.  The project was made possible by a grant from the Sunrise Rotary Foundation.  They lowered swings, painted the equipment, added mulch to make falls safer, tightened up the equipment to eliminate gaps and pinch spots, added landscape timbers and even beautfied the entrance.  See the photos below and the thank you card.



Kindergarten Staff & Students Say Thank You Bob Elliott 2014-05-28 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 27, 2014

Bob, on left, receives his pin from sponsor Jim Smith.  Bob is the Manaaging Director of Harbor Shores.  Bob spent his career developing major projects around the world.  He took over the leadership of Harbor Shores in 2005. Bob lives with his wife in St. Joseph.  Welcome to Rotary.

Bob McFeeter Joins Rotary Bob Elliott 2014-05-28 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 20, 2014

Our own club's Jim Scheuneman is the president of the Benton Harbor Parks and Recreation Conservancy.  The organization was formed in January 2014 at the initiative of Tony Saunders, the emergency manager, and supported by many organizations and companies in the community.  The Conservancy was established to ensure that the parks are safe, clean and available to serve the community.  The group has a ten year lease to operate and maintain the 11 parks and 3 facilities owned by the city.  All the parks have been "adopted" by companies or service clubs.  Routine maintenance will be contracted out to professional landscape companies. The next step is to renovate Union Park as the city's baseball center.  Recently twenty-five trees were planted by kids from the neighborhood. The Bobo Brazil Community Center is also high on the list of priorities.  Jim announced that he has resigned as president but will continue to serve on the executive committee.  Mayor Hightower is the interim president.

Benton Harbor Parks Conservancy Update Bob Elliott 2014-05-21 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 16, 2014

Our own club's Mike Scheffler received recognition as a District 6360 Hero.  Mike was cited for his active participation in club projects, for stepping up for the New Generations committee and bringing in a new member.  Mike was honored at the District Conference and presented a certificate at our club meeting.  Congratulations Mike!

Mike Scheffler is District Rotary Hero Bob Elliott 2014-05-17 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Bob Elliott on May 16, 2014

Ed Foster, district secretary, provided an update during the district conference. South east Asia has passed three years without any new cases and is thereby declared polio free. The total number of cases worldwide is 77.  Most of these cases are in Pakistan; Nigeria has 3 and Afghanistan has 4.  Three of the infections in Afghanistan were from travelers from Pakistan.  The World Health Organization declared an emergency order requiring all travelers from Pakistan to prove they have been immunized.  Polio is only a plane ride away from any country.  Immunizations must continue until the book is finally closed on this disease.

The Gates Foundation has pledged to match each Rotary donation $1 for $1, up to $35 million per year for the next five years.

Polio Eradication Update Bob Elliott 2014-05-17 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Robert Kynast on May 11, 2014
Brian Saxton - Aug 20
August Birthdays Robert Kynast 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Robert Kynast on May 11, 2014

Dyann Chenault - Jun 10

Skip Heavener - Jun 13

Bob Gifford - Jun 15

Dave Bly - Jun 20

Bob McFeeter - Jun 25

June Birthdays Robert Kynast 2014-05-11 04:00:00Z 0
Posted by Robert Kynast on May 11, 2014

Whitney Hadanek - May 4

Don Mitchell - May 12

Lynn Sperry - May 17

Olivia Starks - May 25

Julie Webb - May 29

May Birthdays Robert Kynast 2014-05-11 04:00:00Z 0
July Birthdays Robert Kynast 2014-05-11 04:00:00Z 0