The Elizabeth River Trail

The Program
Our speaker, Kindra Green, has a focus on nonprofit management. Early in her career, she served in the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps as a park interpreter and national resource ranger. She joined the Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) as executive director in 2021.
The ERT began in 1994 when West Ghent residents wanted to establish Plum Point Park on a former dump site and link it with their neighborhood. At the same time, the Norfolk Historical Society wanted to improve the accessibility to Fort Norfolk which was established in 1807 and defended Norfolk from the British during the War of 1812. Norfolk Southern joined the effort by donating 3,500 feet of its Atlantic City spur to the City of Norfolk for the trail. In 2003, the Elizabeth River Trail’s spur line connected Fort Norfolk and Chelsea. Over the years, the ERT has expanded to 10.5 miles stretching from the Norfolk International Terminals to Norfolk State University. Today, twenty-eight Norfolk neighborhoods are within a five-minute walk of the Trail.
Since the ERT Foundation was established in 2016, the focus has been on adding amenities such as signage, solar lighting, playgrounds, two kayak launches with a third planned for Larchmont Library trailhead. They recently added a hydration station. The most popular part of the trail, the Sentara Loop, was added in 2012 when work on the Midtown Tunnel temporarily shut down the Fort Norfolk section of the of the trail. ERT Foundation’s goal is to improve the quality of life and they hope to connect with the trail being planned in Virginia Beach at Newtown Road. Both walkers and bicyclists use the trail with 81% of those using the trail walking.
The Meeting
We welcomed four visitors to the club.
  • Luca Hamel-Serenity, a student at UVA, was a guest of President Jeff.
  • Molly Thompson, the chief strategic officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, was a guest of Mark Shaw. She is a prospective member.
  • KatieBeth Mitska, Assistant Rector at Christ & St. Luke’s Church, was introduced by Sigur Whitaker. She is a prospective member and is a Rotary Alumni having participated in a Rotary Foundation program in Taiwan.
  • Ian Murphy was part of a Rotary Club in Taiwan. He is an expert in the Chinese language and is waiting for his assignment with the federal government. He is a prospective member.
We celebrated five members whose generosity to TRF has resulted in the next Paul Harris Fellow level. They are: Tom Ambler (PHF +4), Marilyn Gowen (PHF + 8), Mark Shaw (PHF +7), Kelly Stefanko (PHF +3) and Kay Stine (PHF +2).
Happy Bucks:
  • Chris Bugg has returned from a business trip to Delhi, India. While there, he visited the Rotary Club of Gurgaon. It is very much like our club in terms of demographics but unlike our club, it is not a singing club. They start their meetings at 8 p.m. with drinks, continue with the meeting and then enjoy dinner together.
  • Rob Sult enjoyed a week at OBX at Chick Robison’s cottage which Rob won in our golf tournament live auction.
  • Pam Tubbs has returned from a wonderful trip to Spain, Provence, and Paris.
  • Abby Van Voohees is retiring from EVMS.
  • Ed Kellum gave for Chick Robison’s 50th anniversary. Chick also joined in and said they enjoyed a second honeymoon at the Tides Inn.
  • Jeff Ryder gave happy bucks because his aunt was being released from the hospital after an unexpected cancer diagnosis.
  • Jim Tucker’s daughter and son-in-law are celebrating their 17th anniversary and Jim is happy to watch the grandchildren.
  • Ralph Peters has returned from a trip to North Carolina and South Carolina. His son is also celebrating his 17th birthday.
  • Marcia Consten is a justifiably proud parent of her daughter, Mahari Conston Freeman, who has just been awarded her Doctorate in Musical Arts in musical performance at the University of South Carolina. Marcia had the joy of doctoral hooding her daughter. Mahari sang both the national anthem as well as “We Hail Thee Carolina,” USC’s alma mater song.
  • Eleanor Schnoover enjoyed getting together with a group of former co-workers.
Ralph Peters, who has been a visiting Rotarian to our club for over a year and anticipates being in the area for an additional couple of years, has transferred his membership from his club in Germany.
Luke Reed was inducted into the club. He owns a land development company (Pretty Lake 5757) and is the operations manager of Planet Plumbing.
John Searing is collecting sneakers for his foundation. The Barrett-Searing National Cancer Foundation was established to support women and their families suffering from cancer with sends smile kits around the nation. The smile bags contain socks, blanket, handmade cards, and an adult coloring book. The shoes will be sold to people for $1 per pair. Any that are unusable will be responsibly recycled. Donations can be brought to a club meeting or contact John to make other arrangements.
The Elizabeth River Trail Sigur Whitaker 2024-05-10 04:00:00Z 0

Suds & Buds Tickets Are on Sale

Tickets are on sale now for the Thursday, May 16 Suds & Buds party with a purpose -- the premier spring event in Hampton Roads. Click here to reserve your party spot. Suds & Buds will start at 5:30 p.m. at Norfolk Botanical Garden in its rose garden while roses are at their peak. Proceeds will benefit the botanical garden, Rotary Club of Norfolk charities and Special Olympics of Virginia-Chesapeake. Your ticket gets you garden admission, delicious food from area restaurants, two adult beverages and live music by Lewis McGehee plus a fabulous evening of fun.
Suds & Buds Tickets Are on Sale 2024-04-01 04:00:00Z 0

Combining Art & Fun

Rotarians, including Ina Diepold-Wassmer turned out in force to view the Chrysler Museum of Art's photo exhibit musician Paul McCartney took in the Beatles' early days. Julie Keesling, a museum docent and past Rotary Club of Norfolk president, gave an overview of the special exhibit. After the exhibit, Rotarians enjoyed a fun social at the Virginia Club hosted by club members Ben Mason and Linwood Beckner, who are both past Rotary Club presidents. A culinary highlight was the crab dip made by current club President Jeff Wells.
Combining Art & Fun 2024-03-28 04:00:00Z 0

Dynamic Duo Delivery Team

After Rotarians spent days labeling 15,400 books for every Norfolk Public School elementary student, boxes of books needed to get to 34 elementary schools. While various Rotarians delivered to a school or two for the All-District Reads program, Rotarians John Ehehalt and Kelly Stefanko teamed up to deliver books to 16 elementary schools. Along the way, they met appreciative school staff members like this reading specialist at Jaycox Elementary.
Dynamic Duo Delivery Team 2024-03-28 04:00:00Z 0

Supporting Literacy in Norfolk

Dr. Marilyn Gowan was among the Rotary Club of Norfolk members who put Rotary labels in copies of "Frindle" to be given to all Norfolk Public School elementary students for the spring All District Reads program. All students will read the same book with their families and have discussions. Volunteers also delivered boxes of the books to the city's 34 elementary schools.
Supporting Literacy in Norfolk 2024-03-20 04:00:00Z 0

Suds & Buds Set for May 16

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 16 starting at 5:30 p.m. for one of the most fun spring events -- our own Suds & Buds party with a purpose at Norfolk Botanical Garden while the roses are at their peak. This will be the eighth Suds & Buds party sponsored by the Rotary Club of Norfolk in partnership with the garden. As always, we will have a special third charitable partner. This year it is Special Olympics of  Virginia-Chesapeake. Proceeds will benefit all three nonprofits. Please plan to buy tickets and encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues and adult children to attend. Tickets are available now by clicking here. Your help is also needed in securing more sponsors and serving as as volunteers.
Suds & Buds Set for May 16 2024-03-05 05:00:00Z 0

Girl Scout Cookie Helpers

Members of the Norfolk Collegiate Interact Club joined Rotarians in unloading what looks like a gajillion boxes of Girl Scout cookies that arrived recently for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast members to deliver to customers. The Rotary Club of Norfolk sponsors the Interact Club whose president is Evan Wallach, son of Rotarian Dr. Diane Wallach.
Girl Scout Cookie Helpers 2024-02-27 05:00:00Z 0

Supporting Our Future Leaders

Granby High School students Miguel Merritt & Maegan Thebarge enjoyed a weekend in the country at the 4H Airfield Center in Wakefield while gaining leadership skills at Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) training. The Rotary Club sponsored Miguel and Maegan at the President's Day Weekend workshop where they had fun, learned new skills from Rotarians and got to know other teenagers from Rotary District 7600. Our club has a long history of sponsoring high school students at RYLA.
Supporting Our Future Leaders 2024-02-21 05:00:00Z 0

Vice Admiral Douglas Perry

President Jeff Wells, Vice Admiral Douglas Perry, and USNA graduate Chris Bugg
The Program
Our speaker, Vice Admiral Douglas Perry, followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from the Naval Academy and then becoming the commander of a submarine. Nine years of his childhood was in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk while his father was a commander of a submarine.
Vice Admiral Perry wears two hats: as the commander of the Second Fleet and of the Joint Forces Command.
The Second Fleet had a long history protecting the North Atlantic from our enemies after World War II. It maintained peace for over six decades. After the breakup of the Soviet Union (1992), it was believed that Russia would peacefully coexist. In January 2011, the Second Fleet was disestablished. After Russia’s invasion of Crimea and its increasing belligerence, the Second Fleet was reestablished in 2016. Its mission is defend the homeland by maintaining peace of the north Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to the Artic Circle. A large part of its responsibility is to maintain readiness.
As a subset of his responsibilities, he is the Task Force Commander 20 and is responsible for the final integration of a carrier strike group, like the USS Eisenhower.  
Established in 2019, the Joint Forces Command Norfolk is a joint operational level command as part of the NATO command structure. It helps in the coordination with other NATO partners to insure that all participants have strong military preparedness.
Of the 31 countries involved in NATO, eighteen now spend at least two percent of their GDP on the military.
Historically Finland and Sweden used to believe that they wouldn’t be attacked by the Soviet Union/Russia. That changed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulting in Finland becoming a NATO member in April 2023. Sweden has been approved for membership and both countries bring strong militaries to the alliance.
Of concern is the recent flare-up in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels. We are prepared to defend against drone attacks but the more difficult issue is the missiles launched from mobile trucks such as recently hit the British registered Rubymar.
The Meeting
Our visitors included:
  • Susan Bore who was brought by Jennifer Priest and Frank Murphy was the guest of John McLemore.
  • We also had two visiting Rotarians—Rich Salon of the Goochland Rotary Club, and Fred Williams of the Leesburg Rotary Club and the brother of Armistead Williams.
  • The club also voted into membership three people who were with us: Ina Diepold-Wassmer, Lynell Powell (Dr. Joy), and Rachel Ruggieri.  
Happy Bucks
  • Tom Koller’s daughter had her annual pet scan for cancer in New York and it came out negative.
  • Chris Bugg is happy for the Naval Academy
  • Armistead Williams is happy to have his brother and sister-in-law visiting from Leesburg.
  • Lynell Powell (Dr. Joy) was delighted that her husband accompanied their daughter to find a junior prom dress. They were successful within an hour.
  • President Jeff was one of the judges for the Norfolk Science Fair. Despite being given instructions not to quiz the students about their project, he couldn’t resist—and immediately got sent to time out.
This week we had three prizes. Sigur Whitaker won four tickets to the Virginia Arts Festival production of her choice. Two tickets to an upcoming ODU basketball game were won by Kay Stine. An additional two tickets to an upcoming ODU basketball game was won by LauraBeth DeHority.
Club business
  • Norfolk Rotary Charities has received sixty applications for a grant.
  • Suds & Buds is on Thursday, May 16. Tom Koller urged club members to buy tickets, become or solicit a sponsor, and bring $20 for the wine pull. Additionally, there will be an auction at S & B.
  • There will be three projects during the remaining months of this Rotary year: a small library at PrimePlus; make part of the community garden handicapped accessible; and participate in Sail Norfolk.
Vice Admiral Douglas Perry Sigur Whitaker 2024-02-20 05:00:00Z 0

Trail of Tears: An American Tragedy

Sally Hartman with President Jeff Wells (center) and Kole Matheson, Cherokee Nation West citizen.
At our February 13, 2023 meeting, Kay Stine eloquently introduced our speaker, our member Sally Hartman.  Kay had these insights to share:. Sally graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas with a degree in journalism and studied abroad in Japan. She worked at The Arkansas Gazette before becoming an editor and staff writer for Virginia Business. She retired in 2020 as vice president of communications at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Sally joined our Rotary Club in 2007, is a both a Paul Harris Fellow and a Charles Woodard Fellow, and served as president in 2015-16.
Sally gave a riveting presentation on the forced displacement of approximately 60,000 indigenous people from the "Five Civilized Tribes."  From between 1830 and 1839 Native Americans were marched from the South and Southeast 5,000 miles to Indian Territory, now present day Oklahoma. History commonly now calls this the “Trail of Tears” where 15,000 people died. Sally recently became interested in the subject due to learning that much of this happened around where she grew up in Northwest Arkansas and that all 60,000 migrants passed through her home state. Sally gave a moving presentation detailing the causes of Native American removal, life in internment camps and on the nearly 1,000-mile trail routes, and the success of the Cherokee citizens' in rebuilding their lives and creating businesses.
She made the program even more memorable by introducing her friend Kole Matheson, a Cherokee Nation West citizen. Kole can trace his family back seven generations and told of ancestors who suffered on the trail when they were forced to move to what is now Oklahoma. Kole reminded us that in Hampton Roads three groups of indigenous people were flourishing on this land when the first settlers arrived. The Lumbee, the Nansemond and the Chesapeake tribes were all part of the Powhatan Confederacy. Kole ended his talk by reading a poem in Cherokee and English about the Trail of Tears that he was commissioned to write. Kole, an English professor at Old Dominion University, invited us to an Indigenous Language Symposium at ODU on March 11 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
The Meeting
President Jeff Wells called Ed Kellam forward for heart-felt prayer.
Pam Tubb led us in singing the first song ever sung at a Rotary meeting with “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “If you are Happy and You Know It”.
Tom Ambler introduced guests:
  • Buck Cummings and Kole Matheson - guests of Sally Hartman
  • Joan Atkinson - guest of Sigur Whitaker
  • Ina Diepold and Dr. Joy Powell - both have applied to join the club
  • Leslie Finch - Chip Finch's wife
  • Luz Pinto - guest of Mark Shaw
Happy Bucks:
  • Laura Beth Dehority just returned from Puerto Rico with her husband where they saw her husband’s college roommate
  • Rob Sult was excited to announce the RYLA Conference (Rotary youth conference) and that our club is sponsoring students from Granby High School to attend.
  • Barbara Lipkis was happy to be caring for grandchildren while their parents are on vacation.
  • Chris Bugg was happy to encounter at Dairy Queen an employee who saw his Rotary hat and mentioned being  involved in Rotaract
  • ODU Rotaract Club students recently enjoyed pizza and made tie blankets to be given to the PrimePlus Senior Center where Rotarian Bob Batcher is executive director. Our club sponsors the Rotaract Club.
  • The Interact Club at Norfolk Collegiate that we sponsor is volunteering with our club at the Girl Scouts Cookie Count n’ Go in Suffolk on Saturday, February 24, from 9:30-12 noon. More club volunteers are needed to help load cookies into cars for Scouts to deliver.
  • More club volunteers are needed for a YELLOWHAB Black History Month event at Slover Library on February 20 at 5 p.m.
  • Our meeting on February 20 will be upstairs at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club due to another event happening in the ballroom.
Trail of Tears: An American Tragedy 2024-02-15 05:00:00Z 0

Rotaract Blanket Project

Old Dominion University Rotaract Club members recently tied fleece lap blankets and donated them to PrimePlus Senior Center for its adult day program. Students also enjoyed pizza and fellowship. The Rotaract Club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Norfolk. Rotarian Bob Batcher heads the Senior Center. 
Rotaract Blanket Project 2024-02-13 05:00:00Z 0

NATO Update

Posted by Jim Kitz
Prior to introducing today’s program, Gary Bonnewell gave a brief history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Allied Command Transformation (ACT). Gary then introduced Vice Admiral Guy Robinson from the Royal British Navy who serves as the Chief of Staff of the Allied Command Transformation. He reminded us that over a career spanning nearly 38 years, he has been deployed an average of 200 days each year. Admiral Robinson recalled a humorous story from early in his career when his ship and a much larger Soviet cruiser engaged in a cat and mouse race across the Bay of Biscay before beginning his more formal presentation about Allied Command Transformation.
ACT is one of NATO’s two strategic commands. Its mission is to contribute to preserving the peace, security and territorial integrity of Alliance member states by leading the strategic warfare development of military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines. NATO currently has 31 members and is expecting Sweden to shortly become its 32nd. From its inception in 2003, Allied Command Transformation has demonstrated the importance of transformation and development as continuous drivers for change – change that will ensure the relevance of the Alliance in a rapidly evolving and complex global security environment. Allied Command Transformation is organized around four principal functions:
  • Strategic Thinking;
  • Development of Capabilities;
  • Education, Training and Exercises; and
  • Cooperation and Engagement.
Current areas of focus include multi-domain operations including space and cyberspace, digital transformation using advanced data analytics, future force structures throughout the Alliance and commemorating the 75th anniversary of NATO.
Admiral Robinson will be retiring this spring after 38 years in the Royal British Navy.
Pam Tubb led us in song with “God Save the King”, to honor our British speaker, followed by “America” and “Sing Out a Song for Rotary”. Ed Kellam provided the invocation. There was no Visitation Report.
There were no visiting Rotarians. We did have numerous guests to include:
Ina Diepold - prospective member, she turned in her application today
Bertrand Pouliquen - guest of Ralph Peter (our visiting Rotarian from Germany who works at NATO)
Carl Bess - guest of John Ehehalt
Gladys Palmer - guest of Jeff Wells
Jim Savage - guest of Jeff Wells
Rachel Ruggieri - guest of Jeff Wells
Dr. Joy Powell - guest of Jeff Wells
Day Ritt - guest of Dave Charney
Rob Bianchi - guest of Laurie Harrison
Casey Hill - guest of Kelly Stefanko
Dave Paradise - guest of Angela Kerns
Club Business
  • Birthday wishes were sung to all our February Birthday Rotarians. Fines were also collected.
  • The following Rotarians celebrated Rotary Anniversaries: Joe New (49), Collins Gooch (22), Bernie Cohen (14), Marilyn Gowen (7), Bob Batcher (4)
  • Sigur Whitaker gave a short history of The Rotary International Foundation and presented Paul Harris pins to the following Rotarians: Joe New (+3), Bob Healy (+5), Collins Gooch (+7), Chris Bugg (+4), Hank Thompson (+1), Dave Charney (+2)
  • Chris Flanagan was inducted into the club by President Jeff. Tom Ambler is his sponsor.
  • ODU’s Rotoract Club is Tie Blanket party on February 9th from 5:30-7:30pm.
Paul Harris Fellow awards
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • Tom Koller and Chick Robison were congratulated by President Jeff for getting TowneBank as the Lead Sponsor for Suds & Buds.
  • Bob Healy and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary
  • Chris Bugg thanked Ralph Peter for supporting Special Olympics at the annual Polar Plunge. Special Olympics is our partner for Suds & Buds this year along with Norfolk Botanical Garden.
  • Rob Sult thanked the club for their support during his recent medical issues.
Next Meeting
February 13, 2024 at Norfolk Yacht – Our own Sally Hartman
NATO Update Jim Kitz 2024-02-06 05:00:00Z 0

Grant Applications Due Feb. 15

The Rotary Club of Norfolk seeks applications from nonprofits working in South Hampton Roads in one of three areas -- improving literacy for children, alleviating food insecurities, and improving mental health. Over the last three years the club has awarded $125,000 in grants to area nonprofits.
The club plans to award grants ranging in size from $1,000 up to $25,000. Applications are due February 15. Details and an application are here:
Grant Applications Due Feb. 15 2024-01-17 05:00:00Z 0

Officer Slate for 2024-25

The Rotary Club of Norfolk approved on December 19, 2023 the slate of officers and directors nominated to serve in 2024-25. Taking office on July 1 will be:
President: Barbara Lipskis
President-elect: Dave Duncan
Vice President: LauraBeth DeHority
Treasurer/Secretary:  Chris Bugg
Immediate Past President:  Jeff Wells
Board of Directors:
Administration: Lois Kercher
Fellowship:  Ed Kellam
Public Image:  Bob Batcher
Membership: Kay Stine
Fundraising: Jeff Ryder
Community/International Service: Kelly Stefanko
Youth and Vocational Service: Rob Sult
Officer Slate for 2024-25 2023-12-20 05:00:00Z 0

Celebrating Our Winners

Rotary Club of Norfolk members recently celebrated two of its members winning professional awards -- Past President Laurie Harrison of Eastern Virginia Medical School was named Fundraiser of the Year by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kay Stine of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation was named a Women in Business Achievement award winner by Inside Business. We are proud of both these high-achieving professionals.
Celebrating Our Winners 2023-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

An Evening at the Theater

Rotarians, family and friends enjoyed a special evening at the gorgeous Wells Theater recently to see Virginia Stage Company's version of A Christmas Carol. The reception and show were  arranged by Rotarian Jeff Ryder, managing director of Virginia Stage  Company.
An Evening at the Theater 2023-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

Serving Our Community

In the midst of busy December, Rotarians volunteered for two key community projects. They helped put the finishing touches on a Habitat for Humanity home in Suffolk so the new owners can move in before Christmas. They also helped assemble gifts donated to the Salvation Army/Toys for Tots/Joy Fund toy and clothing distribution for area children.
Serving Our Community 2023-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

In the Holiday Spirit

Rotary Club of Norfolk members and family kicked off the holiday season in late November with a float at Norfolk's holiday parade and tree lighting. This was the second year that President Jeff Wells drove the Rotary sleigh.
In the Holiday Spirit 2023-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

Supporting Norfolk's Reading Program

Many hands made light work recently as Rotary Club of Norfolk members joined with Norfolk's Downtown 100, TowneBank staff and other volunteers to put book plates in 13,400 books and deliver them to 34 Norfolk Public Schools elementary schools for the upcoming All District Reads program. All students in the schools will read and discuss Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson.
Supporting Norfolk's Reading Program 2023-10-05 04:00:00Z 0

Golf & Social Benefit Charities

Golfers and party goers turned out in full force on September 13 For the Rotary Club of Norfolk's golf tournament and social to benefit Norfolk Rotary Charities and PolioPlus. Despite rain warnings, the skies remained blue as golfers conquered the 18 holes at Cypress Point Country Club in Virginia Beach. Afterwards, silent and live auctions and raffles at the social afterwards helped augment funds raised from sponsorships and golf teams. Thanks go to Rotarian Tom Koller for spearheading such a fun event for good causes, and the volunteers who made everything go smoothly.
Golf & Social Benefit Charities 2023-09-14 04:00:00Z 0

ODU Rotaract - Fair Day Success

Kasie and Z’Niyah at the ODU Fair Day where they were introducing students to Rotary's Rotaract Club
There they recruited 45 new members! That is NOT a typo. This team of officers is amazing. Kasie (on the left) brought a boatload of school supplies donated by her mother, and Z'Niyah kept the visitors engaged. They brought a wheel that visitors would spin to determine their prize. I suspect they did not have a lull the entire time.
ODU Rotaract - Fair Day Success 2023-09-11 04:00:00Z 0

Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium

Dr. Kevin Leslie, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Commercialization for the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium (HRBRC)

Dr. Kevin Leslie, assistant vice president for innovation and commercialization for the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium (HRBRC), was the featured speaker at the September 5, 2023 club meeting. He highlighted the Consortium, which formed in 2020 as a state-sponsored partnership linking Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University and Sentara Healthcare. I

The consortium addresses health disparities, jumpstarts scientific research and advances biohealth development and innovation in the Hampton Roads region. It also aims to improve the collaboration between consortium partners and community partners such as the Jefferson Lab and local governments. One consortium goal is to turn research into practical uses that can help with economic development. HRBRC helps fund research and assists biomedical start-ups. 

HRBRC has two locations -- one in downtown Norfolk and another near the border of Suffolk and Portsmouth. The second location, which recently opened, has equipment that permits state-of-the-art 3-D printing that can create replacement body parts for patients. The multi-purpose facility has high- level security that enables it to work with federal agencies and other organizations that require it. 

Leslie is proud that his organization has received recognition for its work, including an award from the National Institute of Health. Leslie also is that the Consortium’s work has yielded financial returns that equal the initial investment for the Consortium. 

The Meeting

  • Jim Tucker’s invocation focused on 10 life rules from Canada’s indigenous people. 
  • Our one visitor today, John Ehehalt, was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Norfolk, with Jeff Wells as his sponsor.
  • Mary Insley, new membership chair, reminded members that they are all on the membership committee and are encouraged to invite potential Rotarians to a future meeting.
  • Mark Shaw reported that Marty Raiss’ husband George is expected to be out of the hospital soon. 
  • President Jeff announced that the deadline to sign up to play golf and/or attend the social at the Rotary Golf Tournament is this Thursday, September 7. 
  • The club raffle will return to club meetings later this month. 
  • An upcoming volunteer event coming will be to be part of an All-District Read project, with the plan being to distribute books to schools and to construct and place 5+ Little Libraries. A location is needed to store books to give to Norfolk Public Schools elementary school children. 
  • Members were reminded to pay their dues; if a copy a of the invoice is needed, ask Karen.
  • Sigur Whitaker presented a first-time Paul Harris pin to Kay Stine and a Paul Harris +7 pin to Al Carmichael. 

Happy bucks

  • September birthdays and Rotary anniversaries were celebrated. 
  • John Searing is happy his daughter at the University of Virginia recently joined a Rotaract chapter in part because of her involvement with our club. 
  • Bob Heely honored the memory of the recently deceased Jimmy Buffet
  • Jeff Wells gave thanks for a great trip he recently made to see a long-time friend. 
  • Jim Tucker is happy about his recent trip to the Canadian Rockies with his wife and grandsons.
  • Joe New is also happy about his trip to Quebec.
  • Chris Bugg is happy about the defeat by the Duke football team of Clemson.
  • Sally Hartman is happy to have improved her freestyle swim stroke this summer.
  • Eleanor Schoonover is happy that the club’s international grant proposal has now made it to the Foundation level.
  • Pam Tubbs is happy that her son is now the pastor at the oldest Presbyterian church in South Carolina.
  • Chick Robison is happy about his new knee.
  • Dr. Abby  Van Voorhees was highlighted by President Jeff for being featured in a medical magazine.
  • Linwood Beckner was happy to see the late. Dr. Robert Archer, a club member, featured in the same medical magazine. 
Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium James Tucker 2023-09-05 04:00:00Z 0

Our Club Is In the News

Have you checked out the Rotary Voices blog published by Rotary International? It features short, first-person articles and photos that help you learn about Rotary's impact around the globe. Our club recently made the blog twice -- on August 15 with a piece about inspiring people to join Rotary and on June 15 with a post about our female club members helping build a Habitat for Humanity home in Chesapeake.
You can read the blog posts here: The membership post where several members may recognize themselves and Habitat post where even more club members will see themselves.
While you are at it, take a moment to enter your email address in the subscribe box and you will get an email alerting you to new posts that will make you proud to be a Rotarian. They might inspire you to submit your own blog post.
Our Club Is In the News 2023-08-17 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Bingo Fun

The Program: The scheduled speaker was unable to make it to the meeting because of being stuck in an airport. President Jeff reached out to Past President Sally (Hartman) who suggested Rotary Bingo. It was a big success.  Everyone had a great time interacting at their tables and trying to get the highest points in the meeting by answering multiple questions on the bingo page.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners all donated their winnings…a bottle of Monkey Whiskey, a Stuffed Monkey, and a Rotary coffee cup…back to the golf tournament.
The Meeting
Mark Shaw provided the visitation report. Pam Tubbs had rotator cuff surgery and Chick Robison had knee surgery. Joe Massey is sore after a fall. 
We had numerous visitors at the meeting. Jeff Wells had 5 guests including Sam Houff, Brian Huardt, Fadi Maksad, Igor Papish, Joe Terranova and Eric Tollefson. Chris Bugg brought Ojel Nduanya and Hunter Walsh, and visiting Rotarian Ralph Peter brought his daughter, Antonia.
Happy Bucks: Marilyn Gowen a great trip to NYC seeing plays, dining, and enjoying wine.
  • Marty Reiss is happy her husband's health is improving and celebrated her Dad's 104th birthday today.
  • Lori Harrison's phone went off during the meeting.
  • Tom Koller's daughter has a clean bill of health from her doctor regarding cervical cancer 
  • Chris Bugg was happy he found two Monarch Butterfly caterpillars one of which he has taken under his wind to nourish in hopes that covers him since he has killed some of his wife's plants while she has been gone on vacation.
  •  Carlisle Wortman is happy for a great vacation spending two weeks in Greece before attending a grandson’s high school graduation in Durham. Two weeks later, they were on their way to a Danube River cruise with a few extra days in Budapest..
  • Gus Stuhlreyer  had a great vacation and attended a golf tournament at Greenbrier Golf Club and was in a shot on TV 
  • Gary Bonnewell is happy his friend had a successful Chemo treatment.
President Jeff Wells announced that the community service day at Equi Kids Day was a success cleaning stalls. 
The next community service is August 18 at Maury High School where we will help to pull and sort teaching supplies for the teachers as school starts soon.  Also, August 21 at Maury...going back to help teachers get their supplies.  
A new community service project is being looked at with the Community Gardens.  The Gardens are going to add handicap-accessible garden beds in the near future.  Further info to come.
President Jeff asked that Rotary members come to the Golf Tournament Social on September 13 evening and enjoy the festivities and auction.
Rotary Bingo Fun 2023-08-08 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Communication Methods

President Jeff had the privilege of inducting Peter Schmidt as our newest member. Peter was sponsored by Chick Robison and is the Interim President of the Norfolk Botanical Garden.


Club Business

President Jeff called the meeting to order, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Sigur Whitaker accompanied by Pam Tubbs on piano led us in song.  The invocation was provided by Jim Tucker.  Mark Shaw provided the visitation report.  Marty Raiss let us know that her husband, George, was doing much better and that they were very appreciative of the club’s support.  Chick Robison mentioned that Will King had entered memory care at The Ballentine.

Guests included Brandon Bledsoe (Kim Hammer) and Keith Thoroughgood (Steve Jones).

Sigur Whitaker presented Tom Ambler with his Paul Harris Fellow +3 pin.  She also reminded us of 5 ways to give to the RI Foundation.

  • Through the optional $25 surcharge to our dues
  • Set up a recurring payment through the RI website
  • Make Qualified Charitable Distributions from your IRA
  • Write a check and mail it or give to Karen to send in
  • Take advantage of Giving Tuesday to earn matching points toward your next Paul Harris designation

The club was reminded of the following upcoming events:

  • Community Service Project with Equikids on Aug 2nd
  • Club Golf Tournament on Sept 13th.  36 players have registered, so far

Fines and Happy Bucks

  • Jim Tucker got to see his grandson play in the NJ State Little League tournament.
  • Sally Hartman gave us an update on Past President Michael Desplaines. He’s made it to CA, heading up the garden in Pasadena, and joining a local Rotary Club.
  • Linwood Beckner broke his ankle while taking down curtains.
  • Sigur Whitaker donated $100 to the club’s endowment to commemorate her birthday and Rotary anniversary.
  • Chick Robison fessed up to his cellphone ringing during the meeting.
  • Barbara Lipskis spent some time with her father in Chicago.


Since President Jeff was our program speaker, no introduction was necessary unless it included a termination notice for his career as a stand-up comic.  The purpose of Jeff’s presentation was to acquaint or reacquaint club members with the different Rotary websites and databases they will encounter throughout their tenure as Rotarians.

  1. The 1st website discussed was Rotary International,  On this site you can not only monitor your status as a Rotarian and donor to the Rotary International Foundation, but also gain a greater appreciation of the broad array of Rotary’s programs to improve the world.  Of particular note was the role of the Rotary Community Corps.  The Rotary Community Corps are non-Rotarians who assist Rotary in building and sustaining projects throughout the world.  The Corps facilitates cooperation between Rotarians and non-Rotarians.  As examples, Jim Tucker talked about how his introduction to Rotary was being asked to help spread mulch for the playground at the Hunton YMCA in Norfolk.  John Miller discussed how Rotarians assisted with construction at the Downtown Community Garden which now has 57 beds in production.
  2. The 2nd website explored was for District 7600,  This is the site for all things related to District 7600 and its member clubs.  Jeff focused on the District’s support for The Rotaract program and briefly discussed our club’s efforts to reinvigorate the Rotaract Club at ODU and establish one at Virginia Wesleyan University.
  3. The final website presented was one that many were familiar with, The Rotary Club of Norfolk,  This is where members can go to look up activities, future programs, contact info for other members, and many other items.  We were also told that our club has access to a mobile ClubRunner app which puts a great deal of the website’s capability on your cellphone.

During our time as Rotarians, we will encounter two primary databases.  The first is DACdb.  This is the brain behind the District’s website and the vast majority of other clubs in the district.  Many of us have stories of frustration navigating the world of DACdb, but there are times when the journey is required to interact with District 7600.  Our club has chosen to use a different program called ClubRunner.  It is the more user-friendly brains behind our website and the ClubRunner mobile app.  Those with questions about access to these sites were directed to work with Jim Tucker who is slowly taking over as web master from Sigur.

Rotary Communication Methods James Tucker 2023-08-01 04:00:00Z 0
Opportunities for Entrepreneurs 2023-07-27 04:00:00Z 0

Golf Outing Set for September 13

The Rotary Club of Norfolk will sponsor its second annual Golf Classic & Social on Wednesday, September 13, at Cypress Point Country Club in Virginia Beach.
Golfers of all abilities are encouraged to sign up for lunch and the golf outing. Golfers can arrive as early as 10:30 a.m. to practice, then enjoy a barbecue lunch before teeing off at 1 p.m. Non-golfers can register for the social at the end of the outing, which will start at 6 p.m. and include food, a silent auction and prizes for the golfers. Proceeds will benefit Norfolk Rotary Charities, which benefits numerous local nonprofits.
Golf Outing Set for September 13 2023-07-27 04:00:00Z 0

Meet Jeff Wells: Golden Rotarian

2023-23 District Governor Kenny Janes (right) presents Jeff Wells the Golden Rotarian award.
On July 15, Rotary District 7600 honored Rotary Club of Norfolk President Jeff Wells with the Golden Rotarian award. It honored him for being actively engaged in Rotary for 35+ and embodying Service Above Self. Here is an excerpt from President Jeff's nomination submitted by Past Club President Sally Hartman with supporting letters from 2022-23 President Laurie Harrison and past District Governor John Padgett, who described Jeff as "a Rotarian's Rotarian":
Jeff Wells is an active Rotarian who leads by example through community service and constantly promoting Rotary. As the 2023-24 president of the Rotary Club of Norfolk, Jeff leads his third Rotary Club. He is past president of the Rotary Club of Paramus and Rotary Club of Ridgewood, both in New Jersey. Jeff became a Rotarian at age 22 and a Paul Harris Fellow at age 26. He is a Rotary Foundation Major Donor and has made sure that all his family members are Paul Harris Fellows.
When relocating his architectural firm to Norfolk in 2015, Jeff immediately joined the Rotary Club of Norfolk and became engaged. As in his other two clubs, while climbing the leadership ladder he has been secretary/treasurer, vice president of programs and president-elect. He also has led impactful community service projects.
As president of Norfolk Rotary Charities last year, Jeff oversaw annual grant awards of more than $30,000 to dozens of area nonprofits. In 2019, he co-led a major Rotary District Grant project that revitalized the Hunton Y – a social service Y in one of Norfolk’s poorest neighborhoods. He rallied Rotarians around the Y and helped secure a $25,000 District grant to install a commercial kitchen and renovate a room for a children’s library. This led to the Y having capacity to daily feed 250 children and older residents breakfast and lunch during the pandemic’s first year. His efforts helped the Norfolk club win the District’s 2020 Rotary Connects the World Award in 2020 for its work.
In 2022, Jeff spearheaded his club’s participation in Norfolk’s December holiday parade. He built and drove the float and drummed up enthusiasm for a new event that even reluctant club members enjoyed. He also lined up all speakers for 2021-22 meetings and ran audio-visuals at meetings. He co-chaired the club’s 2022 golf tournament that raised $5,000 for Polio Plus. Jeff participates in all club community service projects -- cleaning streets, organizing toys for the Salvation Army, packing backpacks for food-insecure children, landscaping the zoo and stage company prop warehouse, and serving beverages at fundraisers.
Jeff is a hands-on leader. In New Jersey he led Rotarians in building playgrounds, planting trees and creating a park for a special-needs home. Starting in 1999, he traveled to Haiti every six months (more than 30 times) with Rotarians to help build schools, homes and medical facilities for an 800-child orphanage. He filled a bus with medical supplies and shipped it to Haiti and also brought a wind turbine to provide electricity at the orphanage. In 2020, Jeff traveled to India to help build a playground and install educational software at an orphanage.
Jeff’s enthusiasm for Rotary is contagious.  He is always recruiting potential Rotarians and regularly brings friends, neighbors and colleagues to meetings. In February, he spearheaded his club's Membership Month that encouraged members to invite guests to meetings. By March at least five February visitors had joined the Norfolk club.
At the district level, Jeff worked for two years with Rotary Youth Leadership (RYLA) and attended many district trainings and annual conferences. He previously was active in his New Jersey district.
Even after more than 40 years as a Rotarian, Jeff remains an engaged and proud Rotarian always ready to serve.
Meet Jeff Wells: Golden Rotarian 2023-07-18 04:00:00Z 0

We Are Winners!

Rotary District 7600 honored the Rotary Club of Norfolk with multiple awards on July 15. Immediate Past President Laurie Harrison won the Best President award for 2022-23. New President Jeff Wells won the Golden Rotarian award for his 35+ years of commitment to Rotary. And, our club won awards for administration, our Rotations bulletin, education, and its support of the Rotary Foundation. We topped that off with the Governor’s Circle Award given to the top 10 clubs in the district. It was a good day in Rotaryland!
We Are Winners! 2023-07-16 04:00:00Z 0

Our 110th Club President

On July 11, 2023 architect Jeff Wells was installed as the 110th president of the Rotary Club of Norfolk. This is the third Rotary Club he has led during his 42-years as a Rotarian. Outgoing President Laurie Harrison and her board surprised Jeff with a life-size cutout of him dressed as Crocodile Dundee in tribute to Jeff attending the Rotary International convention in Australia in June.
Our 110th Club President 2023-07-12 04:00:00Z 0
Creating Hope in the World Sally Hartman 2023-07-11 04:00:00Z 0

Successful Suds & Buds Party

The May 18 Suds & Buds party at Norfolk Botanical Garden generated more than $36,000 in proceeds that were split among the three event partners -- Norfolk Rotary Charities, Norfolk Botanical Garden and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. At the June 20 club meeting, Fundraising Chair Chris Bugg (left) and President Laurie Harrison presented checks to Michael Desplaines for the garden and Lauren Kiger for the hospital. 
Successful Suds & Buds Party 2023-06-22 04:00:00Z 0

2022-23 Year Features High Points

At June 20, 2023, Rotary Club of Norfolk luncheon President Laurie Harrison recalled how at the beginning of her term she “imagined what will happen, what will be accomplished and how the year would play out.” With her year ending, the meeting’s speakers and slide show proved that the club had a great year with many accomplishments.
Laurie thanked 2021-22 President Michael Desplaines for his support and the experience of being his “Rotary Wife” – a role she is ready to relinquish. She acknowledged the contributions of the 2022-23 club board and asked each member to share their accomplishments as part of the club’s Year in Review program.
Jeff Wells, President-elect, reinvigorated club participation by creating a Rotary float that more than 30 members enjoyed marching with during Norfolk’s Grand Illumination Parade. He led the Norfolk Rotary Charities Committee, which donated $25,000 to area charities. In addition, a District Grant helped create a sensory gym at St. Mary’s Home, female Club members helped build  Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads home in Chesapeake, and an international grant project in Ethiopia is underway.
Barbara Lipskis, Vice-President in Charge of Programs, considered herself Laurie’s  Rotary sister and “partner in crime” as she highlighted the speakers she helped arrange. During the year, 22 speakers enlightened the club on a variety of topics ranging from health and education to business and nonprofits with an average 4.1/5 approval rating for each presenter.
Dave Duncan, Secretary Treasurer, led strategic planning and monitored the Club  budget. He acknowledged the support of Gus Stuhlreyer and Angela Kerns and the Finance Committee, Club Executive Assistant Karen Grinnan and Club Bookkeeper Robyn Bailey.
Barb Lifland, Administration Director, handled club business oversite, including purging the club’s office in anticipation of an upcoming move and tracking down and uploading missing minutes. Laura Beth DeHority speaking for Barb, thanked Laurie for her support, Lisa Chandler for assessing office contents, Alan Nelson and the House Committee, and George Compo for his help in removing the “storage Box/coffin.”
Marty Raiss, Fellowship Director, in a statement read by Laurie acknowledged the work of meeting greeters and the music committee with Pam Tubbs at the keyboard. Thanks to Mark Shaw and Linwood Beckner, club members enjoyed social gatherings in the Beckner home, Harbors Edge, Virginia Stage Company, and Harbor Park for a Tides game. The year will end with a social in the home of Chick Robison home.
Sharon Laderberg, Public Image Director, with the assistance of Joey Rothgery and Tom Ambler completed resolutions for several club members who had passed. A special meeting focused on our Club endowment and Charles Woodard Fellowship. There are now 38 Charles Woodard Fellows (people who have donated $1,000 or more to the club endowment) with five added this year after the special session. Sally Hartman was instrumental in assisting with the documentation of our Club history in addition organizing the weekly scribe duties. After years of managing our website, Sigur Whitaker handed over the task to Jim Tucker.
Lauren Kiger, Membership Director, celebrated the 15 new members who joined the Club in this Rotary year. She mentioned Chick Robison who brought in the most members. Lauren also noted the movement of newer members from their red to blue badges and gave a shout-out to their sponsors.
Chris Bugg, Fundraising Director, highlighted efforts that raised more than $100,000 in funds at Growlfest, the golf fundraiser, and Suds & Buds. Chris thanked Tom Koller for his leadership at these events, the Norfolk Botanical Garden staff, and the many committee members. He encouraged Rotarians to visit and support the food vendors who participated at Suds & Buds.
Kelly Stefanko, Community and International Service Director reported 2,112 hours of volunteer service hours from club members. Jeff Ryder reported in Kelly’s absence that all volunteer hours were entered through DACdb to Rotary District 7600. Kelly acknowledged the dedication and work to gain the district grant for St. Mary’s Home and the International Grant in Ethiopia by Eleanor Schoonover and Burhanu Mengitsu. Diane Wallach again heads up the Tiel Student Exchange. Rotarians participated in service projects at PrimePlus, Norfolk Botanical Garden, Virginia Stage Company, Growlfest, Hunger, Rotary Golf Fundraiser at Cypress Point, the Grand Illumination parade, the Foodbank, the Salvation Army Christmas distribution, Suds and Buds, and
Habitat for Humanity.
Tom Ambler, Vocational Service Director reported on the submission for eight District Awards with winners to be announced in July. Our club sent one Interact student to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards retreat. Our annual Career Day was again a success with Rotarians giving students from Norfolk schools a glimpse into their potential careers. Students then attended a Rotary meeting and shared essays they wrote about their experiences.
Lorna Cochrane, Parliamentarian recognized the contributions of the Bylaws Review Committee in reviewing and updating the club bylaws. She noted how each member brought valuable perspective and expertise. Lorna thanked the committee and other Rotarians who offered feedback, comments, and assisted in the writing or advising on proposed amendments.
President Harrison acknowledged the generosity of Rotarians throughout the year and thanked the Board for their support and dedication.
President Elect Jeff Wells reminded Rotarians that the installation and first meeting of the 2023-24 Rotary year will be on July 11th and highlighted some changes to Directorships in the new term.
Chris Bugg, Suds and Buds 2023 chairman acknowledged the success of Suds & Buds party, the club’s major fundraiser with $36,000+ raised. Funds were split equally among the three partners, including Norfolk Rotary Charities. Chris presented checks to Lauren Kiger representing Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Michael Desplaines for Norfolk Botanical Garden.
Happy Bucks:
  • Chick Robison contributed “happy bucks” for a memorable trip to Croatia. He and companions were aboard a catamaran each with private sleeping quarters and a bathroom.
  • Chris Bugg shared another successful trip.
  • Barb Lipskis celebrated her and Don’s 46th wedding anniversary.
  • Past District Governor Bill Pollard contributed “happy bucks’ for Laurie’s remarkable presidency.
  • Past President Jim Kitz is in his new home in Eclipse and his happy his kids returned home to help with the move.
  • President-Elect Jeff Wells noted how he was in Florida the day before with a cancelled flight. Determined not to miss Laurie’s last meeting, he rented a car and drove more than 1,000 miles to get to the meeting on time.
  • Immediate Past President Michael Desplaines, who is moving to California, bid farewell to the club and encouraged new members to serve on the board in the future. He spoke to the benefits of board work and opportunity to learn and contribute to the club
  • Past District Governor Bill Pollard, who attended to celebrate Laurie’s year.
  • Jennifer Priest, who brought what she calls the “Littlest Rotarian” -- her daughter, Emily, who is now in high school.
  • Lauren Kiger brought her 6-year-old daughter Alice, who now has the “Littlest Rotarian” title.
  • Immediate Past President Michael Desplaines brought Peter Schmidt, acting CEO at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
2022-23 Year Features High Points Lorna Cochrane 2023-06-20 04:00:00Z 0

RI Highlights Our Habitat Home Builders

Our club's all-female home building team is highlighted in the June 15 Rotary Voices blog published by Rotary International. In May, seven club members and one Rotary spouse helped build a home in Chesapeake as part of Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads' Women Build project. Read President Laurie Harrison's account of her team's work inspired by Rotary International President Jennifer Jones.
RI Highlights Our Habitat Home Builders 2023-06-15 04:00:00Z 0
Ethiopian Water Project to Be Life Changing Sally Hartman 2023-06-13 04:00:00Z 0

Recycle your life

Rotarian of the Day Alan Nelson introduced our speaker, Mr. Kevin Lyles. Alan is a native of Texas and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. He started his 43-year career with the Federal government in Houston, transferred to D.C., and eventually to Norfolk, where he retired as the Eastern Group Manager for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Alan and his wife Linda have 4 children. He has been a Rotarian since 1986.
Our speaker on June 6, 2023, was Kevin Lyles, the Community Education Coordinator for Lifenet Health. Lifenet Health is the leading provider in the United States of transplants with over 42,800 performed in 2022, a new record for their organization. Lifenet has invested considerable resources in completing multiple clinical studies to ensure positive patient outcomes.
We learned transplantable organs are the heart, lungs, kidneys (over 50% of all transplants), liver, intestine (small), and pancreas. Transplantable tissues are eyes, ligaments, heart valves, veins/nerves, skin, and bones. Of the transplantable organs, kidneys can be kept in transferable condition for the longest (24 to 76 hours) after removal from a donor due to the new ability to hook up a kidney to a machine that can allow a longer time. New technology is now allowing some organs to be sterilized to work with any blood type rather than being restricted to a recipient having the same blood type as the donor.
Transplant recipients are selected today by an algorithm that considers many factors including their blood type, tissue type, donor size/weight, length of time they have been on the waiting list, the clinical condition of the recipient (for example life expectancy), and distance from the donor.
Lifenet is always looking for individuals willing to register as a donor. To learn more about being an organ and/or tissue donor, their website is
The Meeting
Sigur Whitaker led the music including the book slapper we all like “You’re a Grand Old Flag”.
Marty Reiss gave the invocation which was President Roosevelt’s prayer for the June 6, 1944 invasion force that they would rid the world of the evil tyranny in Europe and lead us to a more peaceful world.
Lauren Kiger was not available to give the visitation report, but President Laurie reported to her that there was good news in that she did not have many situations to relate to. Of sad news to report, Bob Archer passed away last week from cancer complications. A moment of silence was observed.
Introduction of Guests – Mark Shaw was not available for introduction, but President Laurie reported two (2) guests:
  • Elizabeth Pasqualini – guest of President Laurie and a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club
  • Dave Pardy – guest of Susan Donn who has moved here from Sarasota, Florida, and is a neighbor of Susan’s at Harbor’s Edge
Many thanks to all the members that brought guests!
Club Business
  • President Laurie Harris reminded members of the upcoming end-of-year social at Chick Robison’s house, 5:30-8 pm on Thursday, June 29th.
  • Thanks to everyone who attended the District 7600 End Polio Now Tides Baseball game, we had 21 people attend.
  • Thanks to Suds and Bud's committee and all who volunteered and helped make it a successful event last month. Revenues ($58K) less expenses ($20K) yielded $38K for charities.
  • The next board meeting is June 12 at 5 pm
  • Please vote on the proposed amended bylaws for the Rotary Club of Norfolk by June 13
  • Committee lists were on tables, please make your choices by June 15 and give to Club Secretary Karen
  • New member induction – Hank Thompson sponsored by Chip Vogan and mentored by Joe New
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • President Laurie reported to Michael Desplanes that he will be accepting a new job position in California.
  • John Searing celebrated that his daughter accepted a medical position.
  • Marty Reiss celebrated safe travels from a trip to Key Largo in Florida and rendezvousing with 10 old friends.
  • Chip Vogan celebrated 55 years of marriage and attended a recent college reunion.
  • Linwood Beckner celebrated the sale of their residence.
  • Sigur Whitaker celebrated recently by speaking at an Automobile Society and that she will be making a trip to London, England with her church choir.
  • Alan Nelson celebrated 34 years of marriage.
  • Jeff Wells celebrated a safe return from the Rotary Convention in Australia.
Recycle your life Stephen Jones 2023-06-06 04:00:00Z 0

 Rotary Day at the Tides Game Takes Aim at Polio

Rotarians from District 7600 came together at Harbor Park in Norfolk recently to enjoy a Norfolk Tides baseball game and to raise awareness and money for Rotary International's goal of ending polio in the last places it exists. Among the Rotarians at the game were Past President Lorna Cochrane and her husband, Daniel St. Cyr.
Rotary Day at the Tides Game Takes Aim at Polio 2023-05-22 04:00:00Z 0

Party With a Purpose

The hundreds of people who attended the 2023 Suds & Buds party at Norfolk Botanical Garden enjoyed perfect weather, delicious food, tasty beverages, live music, good company, a gorgeous rose garden and knowing the party supported three great causes -- the Garden, Rotary Club of Norfolk charities and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, which was the 2023 special partner. We thank our generous sponsors led by Virginia Natural Gas, our presenting sponsor.
We were honored that District Governor Kenny Janes (right) and Past District Governor Jim Bynum came from Richmond for the party. They are pictured here with Lee Ann Padgett, wife of Past District Governor John Padgett, who also was at the party and is a member of the Norfolk Club. Enjoy this slide show of photos from the May 18 event.
Party With a Purpose 2023-05-20 04:00:00Z 0

Strategic Overview of the Port of Virginia


Vice President in Charge of Programs – Barbara Lipskis introduced the Rotarian of the Day - Linwood Beckner who is a Norfolk native, he joined the Club in 1986 and served as Club President in 1996.

Linwood introduced Andrew, he is the Director of Federal Government Affairs at The Port of Virginia. He is back to give us an update on The Port. Andrew joined The Port in August 2014. Prior to joining, Andrew worked for Organization Management Group, the Hampton Roads Partnership, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Inc. 

Andrew earned his bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College and has been part of several leadership programs including Leadership Chesapeake (2005), LEAD Hampton Roads (2007), Leadership Institute of the Virginia Peninsula (2009), and Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership (2015). In 2008, Andrew was included in Inside Business' Top Forty Under 40. An Eagle Scout, Andrew remains engaged with the Boy Scouts and is an active member of Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk. He serves on the Boards of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, the North Atlantic Ports Association, and the National Waterways Conference. Andrew, his wife, Lauren, and their two children lice in Chesapeake.

Andrew gave an update on the State of The Port. His presentation can be found on The Port’s YouTube channel at His presentation included a review the Cy22 performance - How the market is doing now, Changes in the works, and Acceleration. 

First, 2022 was a record year with a 5% growth. This growth rate is especially incredible because they grew at this rate without congestion. Virginia is neck and neck with The Port of Houston. Looking back the results show a 32% growth over 2020. It’s The Ports goal to continue to capture market share and want to maintain growth moving forward. What does growth mean to community? Adding jobs to region, resulting in faster economic growth to region. 

In a recent study by William & Mary University the Port and related industries have created 12% of new jobs equaling half-a-million jobs and $41.4 billion in incomes. Andrew discussed the recent changes The Ports has seen, in 2023, they are seeing volumes dropping. This is the result of more people are traveling and going on outings versus staying home causing a drop in volume of imports. He gave an update on projects The Port is currently working on including an increases in inland facilities as reflected in barge and rail numbers and to accommodate the Vessel growth of larger ships with 16k TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent units). 

He shared import cargo growth is expected from Indian continent and also North Europe. The Port is getting the market share of movement on containers from West to East coast. Andrew said business that work with The Port are looking for the market to digitalize tracking capabilities, to increase decarburization. The port plans on being zero in net carbon emissions by 2040, having 100% of purchased energy be from clean energy and carbon neutrals. 

Are the semi-automatic affecting the longshore men and women? The Port has worked hard to keep the longshore man/women included in the process of the new technology giving way for a safer, more comfortable work environment and giving the workers a longer and larger life size careers.
Can you give us a status update on Craney Island? The plan is for the future expansion with a new marine terminals.  The dredging of the river will make the base of new terminal.
In closing, Andrew share a few more comments:
  • The on-going, 20 year plan, to build an underpass at the North end of facility which will lessen the traffic woes for some.
  • The Navy isn’t supporting the expansion of the dredging, but Feds are supporting with funds from the US Army Corp of Civil Project.  
  • China is very aggressively investing in the Port industry. They are keeping an eye on their progress.
  • Exports are on the rise with a lot of growth in past years coming mostly from agriculture projects.
  • The Port of Virginia ranking in comparison to NY/NJ and Savanna, Virginia – Hampton Roads is #3. Baltimore is not really a competitor.

Linda thanked Andrew for his presentation. She told him we will be making a donation to PolioPlus in his honor.

Here is the link to the city's news release about text alerts for trains on Hampton Boulevard.  Instructions to subscribe are included.  Please feel free to distribute to the club and all those who may be interested.'t%20sit%20in%20traffic,text%20NFKTrain%20to%20888%2D777.

Club Business

Sigur Whitaker led the music.

Invocation was done by Marilyn Gowen.
Introduction of Guests- Alan Nelson
  • Welcome new member Kim Hammer who received her Blue badge
  • Passing of Jean Owen, her obituary was read
  • Fines for mentions - Angela, Martha, Stephen - power bowl
  • Happy bucks Jeff- national convention
  • Happy bucks - Norfolk medical team saved 8 year old



Strategic Overview of the Port of Virginia Dianna Starkey 2023-05-16 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Women Become Builders

A team of female Rotarians recently helped build a home in Chesapeake as part of Habitat for Humanity's South Hampton Roads Chapter's Women Build Week. Led by President Laurie Harrison, eight Rotarians donned hard hats and wielded nail guns, table saws and levels to build a house in tribute to Rotary International President Jennifer Jones being the first female RI president.
Rotary Women Become Builders 2023-05-12 04:00:00Z 0

Stuart Henderson Director of Jefferson Laboratory

VP Barbara Lipskis introduced Chic Robison as the Rotarian of the Day He was a graduate of VA Episcopal School and Hampton Sydney without distinction.  He joined Rotary in 1972 and resigned quickly due to work demands in his professional banking career.  He later retired and rejoined in 2012 and has always had a soft spot for giving back to the community, nation, and the greater world.  He has been married to Kathy celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary this week. He has two married children, Charles who lives locally with their two granddaughters, and his daughter Katherine married a native Bostonian and lives in Beverly, MA.
Dr. Henderson explained how the Jefferson lab is part of a national laboratory system advancing incredible capabilities in fundamental physical sciences, energy technologies, nuclear and national security, supercomputing, and a host of user facilities that are the envy of the world.  This week, a scientific conference was taking place in downtown Norfolk hosting over 600 world-renowned scientific minds. Altogether the US Dept of Energy National Labs supports the research of more than 30,000 scientists each year.
The Jefferson Lab operates the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility and has a twofold role: the nation’s Nuclear Physics Lab and the Nation’s lead lab for superconducting particle accelerators.  The Jefferson Lab is over 30 years old with a staff of 850 and serves a scientific community of about 1,600 nuclear scientists and students. The mission is to explore the fundamental science of protons, neutrons, and atomic nuclei using CEBAF theory and supercomputing.  The annual budget is approx. $200 million. The lab sites are on the 169-acre site in Newport News VA. 1/3 of US PhDs in Nuclear Physics annually are based on Jefferson Lab research.  They support K-12 STEM programs which serve 12,000 students and 1,000 teachers each year.
Dre. Henderson then walked us through what the world is made of and why we are here.  From matter to molecule, atom, nucleus, protons, and neutron, and the surprising Quarks and Gluons. He then described the “periodic table” of fundamental particles for which 18 Nobel prizes in physics have been awarded.  Quarks are unlike anything in our everyday experience.
1. They are never found alone
2. They have a force holding them together that takes a ton of force to separate them
3. The interior of the proton or neutron is in constant flux as they spontaneously emerge and disappear
4. The mass of the proton is 100X greater than the sum of the mass of the quarks of which it is comprised. The Jefferson Lab has the world's most advanced high-energy electron microscope.
He then “walked” us through the lab highlighting the cryogenic refrigeration plant, recirculation arcs, cryomodules in the accelerator tunnel, and superconducting niobium radiofrequency cavities.  He then explained how the electrons move through the particle accelerator.

Recent publications highlighted findings such as the radius of the proton being smaller than previously thought, the pressure inside the proton is higher than found in neutron stars, the measurement of neutrons in a Lead nucleus tells us about the size of neutron stars, and the proton’s mass is contained in a smaller volume than the proton’s charge. So, what does all this mean to Hampton Roads?

We have an incredible opportunity for economic development, education, innovation, and entrepreneurship in BIG DATA applications in Virginia by building a High-Performance Data Facility to provide researchers and innovators with the tools needed for big data offering a broad scientific focus on energy, environment fundamental science, health, medicine, and industrial applications.
Why is this type of research necessary?
In Science, we are the world's Center for fundamental physics of protons, neutrons, and nuclei. In Technology, we are the nation's key provider of advanced superconducting accelerators and large-scale cryogenic systems. In the workforce, we inspire and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. In our region, we are central to the economy and development of HR a %590 m economic output and 3.450 jobs nationally, more than half in HR.
  • Judge Joe Massey introduced the 6 seniors from Norfolk Academy who are pursuing a career in science.
  • Chic Robison introduced the 3 seniors from Norfolk Collegiate and Maury HS seniors who are pursuing careers in science engineering, bio-medical tracks, and Physics. They were accompanied by Mr. Scott Kennedy, Headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate.
  • Barb Lipskis introduced her guest, Retired Naval Captain Joe Sensi who commanded 3 ships, the USS Conserver, USS Thorn, and USS Kearsarge.  He recently retired from his second career with General Dynamics Information Technology as Missile Defense Agency Liaison to the Atlantic Fleet
  • Visitation Report by Linwood Beckner who along with Ben Mason visited Rotarians Cy Grandy, Bill LeHew, and Jim Baker.  He suggested that taking leftover dessert to infirmed Rotarians is a great way to lift their spirits.
  • 5 Female Rotarians helped with the Habitat for Humanity Women Build a House in Chesapeake. Many thanks to Kelli Stefanko, Laurie Harrison, Tristan Carter Warren, Libby Koller, and Marty Raiss for their participation and hard work. Everyone gained new skills!
  • 5/21 is our End Polio Now Tides Game at Harbor Park – reserve your tickets today.
  • 5/18 Suds and Buds event at the NBG. Ticket sales going well, more support is needed from the membership in the way of $20 wine bottle contributions. The wine has been pre-purchased at a discounted rate, but we still need donations to cover the cost don’t forget to please sign up for your volunteer shift.
  • Last week when Charles Woodard Fellows were recognized two members were absent Gus Stuhlreyer and Bernie Cohen are present at this meeting for recognition and two members were inspired to increase their donations to become a Charles Woodard fellow.
  • Remember to vote for the newly proposed member, Hank Thompson, Jr.
  • Lorna Cochrane, Past Pres and Parliamentarian explained the annual overview of the bylaws and asked everyone to check their email for the updated version to be voted on in mid-June. Hard copies are available upon request from the Exec. Secretary, K Grinnan
  • May 8th Rotary Board meeting was a joint meeting for the incoming officers to begin a seamless transition.
  • Pres Laurie received a thank you note from the Hope House Foundation with photos of their new printed material made from the printer we funded.
  • Eleanor Schroonover reported not having her pin and celebrating a wonderful family birthday celebration at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens
  • Linwood Beckner celebrated his 45th wedding anniversary in Richmond and reported that he and his wife started dating in 1971 at Maury H.S
  • Rob Sault celebrating his 40th reunion at Washington and Lee University and reported most of the guys had thinning hair.
Stuart Henderson Director of Jefferson Laboratory Barbara Lipskis 2023-05-09 04:00:00Z 0

Honoring Rotarians and Celebrating Generosity

The Rotary Club of Norfolk had a multi-part meeting on May 2, 2023, that memorialized two members who passed away, celebrated the club’s 109th anniversary, and honored generous Rotarians who are Charles Woodard Fellows.
Club’s 109th Anniversary
President Laurie Harrison announced that our club was founded 109 years ago on this date -- just nine years after Rotary International’s founding. There are 40 Rotary clubs in Virginia and North Carolina that our club helped establish. As part of 1.4 million Rotary members internationally, our club members have supported many fundraisers and service projects. Laurie thanked members for saying “yes” to joining, donating, sponsoring, volunteering, and being part of the club.
Sigur Whitaker read a resolution honoring the late Rev. Jim Sell, who passed away on September 30, 2022. He was a Rotarian for more than 50 years.  He graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria in 1969 with his Masters in Divinity. He subsequently had an extended career in the Episcopal ministry. He became the Rector of Christ & St. Luke's Episcopal Church in 1990, where he served for 15 years. Jim "retired" in 2005 and spent the next eight years as the interim rector at several parishes on the East Coast before finally retiring for good. His wife, Ellen, accepted the resolution.
Joey Rothgery read a resolution honoring the late Mal Branch, who passed away on September 19, 2022.  He was a Rotarian for 20 years.  As a Navy officer, Mal served as executive officer on the USS George Washington, then moved on to the Mount Whitney, and was Commanding Officer of the USS George Washington prior to retiring as a Navy captain In his post-naval career, Mal was executive director of Virginia Ship Repair. He was a commissioner and chair of the Norfolk International Airport Authority and served on many other community boards. Mal is survived by his wife, Nancy, who could not attend.
Laure thanked Sharon Laderberg and Joey Rothgery for putting the resolutions together. Sharon thanked Tom Ambler for starting the resolution process.
Reminiscing on Our Local Endowment’s Namesake
Sharon Laderberg announced that the Norfolk Rotary Club’s endowment is named after Charles Woodward.  She introduced Paul Sykes, a past club president and district governor, who was sponsored in Rotary by Charles Woodward. 
Paul shared with members that at the end of WW II, Charles Woodward founded Refrigeration Suppliers Inc. in Norfolk. He was married to Francis. Although the couple never had children, Charles treated Paul like a son. Charles enjoyed finer things in life like shoes, suits, and cars – especially Cadillacs. 
In the 1970s, Charles and nine other Rotarians put in $30,000 apiece to buy SeaScapes golf course in Nag’s Head. Charles also invested in young people, including Paul. His advice to Paul was to look for the best in people, which Paul took to heart. 
In 1992 Mark Shaw, the club president, and Rotarian Harry McCoy (his father-in-law) hatched the idea of starting a local endowment.  Fifteen members of the Rotary Club gave $1,000 each in 1992 to the endowment managed by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. The fund has grown to $716,000 and provided more than $200,000 in support to area nonprofits. The endowment allows the club to support a variety of grantees, such as those honored at the last meeting.
Sharon Laderberg called to the podium Charles Woodward fellows to receive certificates. All are members who have donated $1,000 or more to the local endowment.  Forms are available on the website for anyone interested in also becoming a Charles Woodward fellow.
Carlisle Wroton, one of the Charles Woodard Fellows, was honored as the endowment’s top major donor and responded to that news by saying, “I’m in awe.”  Carlisle then told why he supports the club endowment. He has lived in Norfolk most of his life and wants to see the city and all its residents thrive. He joined the club in 1992, soon after the endowment was established, and after learning its purpose was to support local organizations, he resolved to donate regularly. Carlisle is both a Charles Woodward and Paul Harris fellow. Through the local endowment, he feels he is giving to the community directly.
Laurie reminded club members that our club gave away $50,000 in grants during one of the pandemic years when we had no fundraisers. Those grants came because of our endowment.
Membership Milestones
Lauren Kiger celebrated all members who have reached a milestone. Members with 5, 10, 20, 25, 40, and 73 years (Bill Jonak) of membership were recognized.
The Meeting
For the visitation report were learned that Bill Lehew is still rehabilitating as is Jim Baker.
Alan Nelson introduced Rotarians to guests:
  • Michael Desplaines brought Kelly Welsh, chief marketing officer at Norfolk Botanical Garden
  • Chip Vogan’s guest was Hank Thompson, who applied for membership.
Our visiting Rotarian was Past District Governor Paul Sykes
Being the first meeting of the month, we sang happy birthday to Rotarians with May birthdays.
Club Business
  • Thank you, Jeff Ryder, for hosting our networking event last week, and thank you to everyone who attended.
  • On May 3 we are participating in the 2023 Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads Women Build in honor of Jennifer Jones, the first female president of Rotary International in its 117-year history. Donations for Habitat for Humanity are welcome and Karen Grinnan can send the link for donations.
  • The next board meeting is May 8 at 5 p..m at EVMS.  This will include the current and incoming board.  There is an option to attend via Zoom.
  • Suds and Buds will be Thursday, May 18 from 5:30-8:30 pm. Get your tickets and see Lorna Cochrane for volunteering.  Volunteers must park by the picnic tables or the administration center.  Parking will be limited due to garden construction.
  • District 7600 End Polio Now Baseball Game, May 21, 1:05 pm, sign up by May 16 – please sign up this week or next so we can purchase tickets.
  • New member inductions (mentor for all three is Kay Stine):
    • Abby Van Voorhees (sponsor, Chip Vogan) is the chair of Dermatology at EVMS
    • Gary Bonnewell (sponsor, Kay Stine), is a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley and
    • Dr. Linder Archer, (sponsor Marilyn Gowen) is recently retired as the Vice Dean of Graduate Medical Education at EVMS.
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Tom Ambler has moved and can’t find his Rotary pins!
  • Sharon Laderberg gave it because she got to talk to a lot of Rotarians she hadn’t spoken to in a while in calling Charles Woodward Fellows this past week.
  • Kimberly Hammer gave it because it was the last item needed to earn her blue badge.
  • Chick Robinson paid a fine for his cell phone ringing last week
  • Joe New paid because his condominium sold.
  • Alan Nelson just returned from two weeks of travel in Portugal and Spain
  • Jim Tucker paid for not having his pin, and Laurie challenged all who forgot members to pay up.
  • Laurie Harrison admitted she feared about being president not knowing everyone’s name, and she finally felt comfortable doing so today.
Honoring Rotarians and Celebrating Generosity  Kelly Stefanko 2023-05-02 04:00:00Z 0

Growing Our Club

The Rotary Club of Norfolk inducted three new members on May 2, 2023. Pictured with President Laurie Harrison (left) are new Rotarian Dr. Abby Van Vorhees, new Rotarian Gary Bonnewell, mentor Kay Stine, new  Rotarian Dr. Linda Archer, and sponsor Dr. Marilyn Gowan.
Growing Our Club 2023-05-02 04:00:00Z 0

Morning Happy Hour

Rotarian Jeff Ryder, managing director of Virginia Stage Company (far right), recently hosted a morning networking coffee at the historic Wells Theatre where the stage company performs. More than a dozen Rotarians came for the opportunity to get to know each other better and to learn about the stage company's upcoming theater renovation and performances in downtown Norfolk.
Morning Happy Hour 2023-04-28 04:00:00Z 0

Nonprofits Awarded $25,000 in Grants

President-elect Jeff Wells (standing top left) and President Laurie Harrison (standing second from right) helped honor representatives from 12 nonprofits awarded club grants at the April 18 club luncheon.
In April 2023, the Rotary Club of Norfolk awarded a total of $25,000 in grants to 12 area nonprofits. Funding came from Norfolk Rotary Charities, the club's charitable affiliate. Grant recipients in the Class of  '23 are:
  • Armed Forces YMCA, which provides childcare and other services for military families. The grant will support a program that helps military children gain coping skills and connect with other children whose parents also are deployed.
  • Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation, which provides comfort kits for people undergoing cancer treatment. The grant will pay for Smile Kits for area residents.
  • Circle A Home for Horses, which rescues slaughter-house bound horses and gives them new life as part of area programs helping children of all abilities gain confidence. The grant will support a summer camp program. 
  • EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Program, which connects up to 120 people a week with horses for therapy. Participants include children and adults with special abilities as well as veterans, first responders and military personnel. The grant will support the riding program.
  • Hope House Foundation, which provides homes and supportive services for area adults living with disabilities. The grant will help enhance services.
  • Maury High School PTA, which supports students at the oldest public high school in Virginia. The grant will provide toiletries, hygiene kits, clothing and other items needed to help Norfolk students experiencing homelessness stay in school and graduate.
  • Mercy Medical Angels, is based in the region and is the country's largest provider of free transportation for medical care. The grant will help Norfolk residents with gas cards, bus tickets or plane rides needed to get to treatments.
  • Sail Nauticus Foundation, provides sailing instructions for Norfolk residents. The grant will support a program for middle school students that teaches them swim and be safe in water and gain educational skills while also learning to sail boats.
  • Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command, provides an array of services for area residents. This grant will support the 19th Street Shelter in Norfolk as it provides meals, laundry facilities, transportation and housing for adults experiencing homelessness.
  • Special Olympics of Chesapeake, which provides year-round sports opportunities for area children and adults living with disabilities. The grant will help start a swimming program.
  • The UP Center, which has 21 programs to help area families with services that include mental health counseling, parenting education and support, youth mentoring, foster care and adoption, housing and financial counseling, and services for people with disabilities. The grant will help families with travel vouchers.
  • YELLOW, which operates the YellowHab school providing free education for Norfolk students from lower-income neighborhoods. The grant will support the educational program for grades 1 through 6.
Nonprofits Awarded $25,000 in Grants 2023-04-19 04:00:00Z 0

12 Nonprofits Win Grants

Representatives from 12 nonprofit grant recipients celebrate their 2023 awards with President-elect Jeff Wells (standing top left) and President Laurie Harrison (standing second from right).
The April 18, 2023 Rotary Club of Norfolk luncheon was an exceptionally happy one as representatives of a dozen area nonprofits were awarded $25,000 in grants from Norfolk Rotary Charities, the club's charitable affiliate. Billed as the Class of '23, the winning nonprofits were among 52 organizations that requested a total of $250,000 in funding.
President-elect Jeff Wells, who serves as president of Norfolk Rotary Charities, oversaw the grant selection process and let recipients know that each application was reviewed by at least three club members. Past President Michael Desplaines, who emceed the luncheon program and presented grant checks, reminded members and guests that grant funds are generated by club fundraisers such as the upcoming Suds & Buds party, meeting fines and happy bucks, and distributions from the club's endowment managed by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Michael looks forward to generous club members helping double the amount of grants awarded in 2024.
Each nonprofit representative expressed in two minutes the essence of their organizations work and how the Rotary grant will make a difference. While all representatives gave inspiring talks that enlightened Rotarians and guests, it was Nyali Rivera from Special Olympics of Chesapeake who drew a standing ovation as she explained how Special Olympics gives her the opportunity to play soccer and be an ambassador for her organization.
Grant recipients honored at the meeting were:
  • Armed Forces YMCA, which provides childcare and other services for military families. The grant will support a program that helps military children gain coping skills and connect with other children whose parents also are deployed.
  • Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation, which provides comfort kits for people undergoing cancer treatment. The grant will pay for Smile Kits for area residents.
  • Circle A Home for Horses, which rescues slaughter-house bound horses and gives them new life as part of area programs helping children of all abilities gain confidence. The grant will support a summer camp program. 
  • EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Program, which connects up to 120 people a week with horses for therapy. Participants include children and adults with special abilities as well as veterans, first responders and military personnel. The grant will support the riding program.
  • Hope House Foundation, which provides homes and supportive services for area adults living with disabilities. The grant will help enhance services.
  • Maury High School PTA, which supports students at the oldest public high school in Virginia. The grant will provide toiletries, hygiene kits, clothing and other items needed to help Norfolk students experiencing homelessness stay in school and graduate.
  • Mercy Medical Angels, is based in the region and is the country's largest provider of free transportation for medical care. The grant will help Norfolk residents with gas cards, bus tickets or plane rides needed to get to treatments.
  • Sail Nauticus Foundation, provides sailing instructions for Norfolk residents. The grant will support a program for middle school students that teaches them swim and be safe in water and gain educational skills while also learning to sail boats.
  • Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command, provides an array of services for area residents. This grant will support the 19th Street Shelter in Norfolk as it provides meals, laundry facilities, transportation and housing for adults experiencing homelessness.
  • Special Olympics of Chesapeake, which provides year-round sports opportunities for area children and adults living with disabilities. The grant will help start a swimming program.
  • The UP Center, which has 21 programs to help area families with services that include mental health counseling, parenting education and support, youth mentoring, foster care and adoption, housing and financial counseling, and services for people with disabilities. The grant will help families with travel vouchers.
  • YELLOW, which operates the YellowHab school providing free education for Norfolk students from lower-income neighborhoods. The grant will support the educational program for grades 1 through 6.
The Meeting:
  • Guests included Gary Bonnewell and Hank Thompson, who have both applied for membership and incoming Area Governor Paul Peter from the Hampton Roads Club.
  • Rotarians Bob Archer and Gus Stuhlreyer are recuperating at home.
  • Sign up at the meeting or online for the April 25 8 a.m. networking coffee at Virginia Stage Company's Wells Theater.
  • Tickets are on sale now for the May 18 Suds & Buds Party at Norfolk Botanical Garden and slots are available for volunteers to sign up to help.
  • May 21 at 1 p.m. is the annual PolioPlus game at Harbor Park. Let President Laurie know if you want tickets.
  • Happy bucks and fines: Sigur Whitaker has a new Border collie puppy, Joe Massey was not thrilled about the clapping hands part of the "If You Are Happy" song Pam Tubbs had the club sing at the start of the meeting, Laurie Harrison is grateful for all the work done by the grant recipients honored at the meeting, Jeff Wells attended two Rotary Clubs in Florida and is happy to have helped induct his daughter into one of them as a new Rotarian. Past Norfolk club president Bryce Burton is her sponsor.
  • President Laurie thanked Rob Sult for stepping into the incoming  Vocational Service board position.
  • In May, six club members will be part of an all-female Habitat for Humanity construction crew in honor of Rotary International President Jennifer Jones being RI's first female president. Helping build the Habitat house will be Rotarians Lorna Cochrane, Laurie Harrison, Lauren Kiger, Barbara Lifland, Barbara Lipskis and Tristan Warren.
12 Nonprofits Win Grants Sally Hartman 2023-04-18 04:00:00Z 0

He's a Winner

February was membership recruitment month at the Rotary Club of Norfolk. In April, Rotarian Chick Robison (right) won a prize for introducing the most friends and neighbors to Rotary during the month. Several of Chick's recruits have since joined the club, including Dr. Armistead Williams, a recently retired neurologist. President Laurie Harrison recently welcomed Armistead and presented Chick with two tickets to the May 18 Suds & Buds party for being his club's top recruiter.
He's a Winner 2023-04-05 04:00:00Z 0

Improving the Potential to Survive

There is a way to share the gift of health for the most minor, most fragile lives. The King’s Daughters CHKD Milk Bank director, Ashlynn Baker BSN RN IBCLC, talked to Rotarians and guests about the need for and benefits of breast milk, also known as liquid gold for babies. Ashlynn Baker was introduced by Rotarian of the Day, Dr. Lois Kercher.
The King’s Daughters Milk Bank at CHKD is a nonprofit, hospital-based donor milk bank with a mission to provide pasteurized donor human milk from carefully screened donors to severely premature and sick infants, improving their potential to survive and thrive. The Milk Bank covers 100% of the cost of donating milk, including the screening, supplies, and shipping. The Milk Bank is made possible through the financial support of the CHKD and the generosity of their milk donors.
Benefits: Breast milk is the best. Breast milk and infant nutrition should be considered public health issues and not only a lifestyle choice. Breast milk is the best nutrition for all babies and can be a life-saving treatment for those extremely premature or critically ill. Breastmilk significantly decreases the odds of life-threatening complications and infections in premature infants during the first months of life.
Reach: There are some 30 Member Milk Banks associated with the Human Milk Bank Association of North America (HMBANA) and the CHKD Bank serves some 47 hospital units in Virginia and Maryland.
Safety: The CHKD Milk Bank ensures the safety of donated milk through careful screening, pasteurization, and laboratory testing. Donors have a verbal interview, complete an electronic questionnaire, submit confirmation of their health and the health of their baby, and may have additional blood tests.  After the donation, the milk is pooled and pasteurized to kill any bacteria or viruses, and a final testing step is taken to ensure its safety.
Leaving a Legacy: Lactation after Loss. For mothers who’ve experienced the loss of their babies, donating milk in memory of or as a legacy to their child can be part of a grief and healing process. Participating families experience the therapeutic effect of this donation.
Key announcements:
  • Members were reminded of the Rotary Networking Coffee on April 25th at 8 am at Virginia Stage Company – Wells Theatre
  • Suds and Buds on May 18th are asking for your help to find additional sponsors. Contact Tom Koller or Chris Bugg
  • Tom Koller introduced Charlie Gunter from Virginia Natural Gas who will be our presenting sponsor of Suds and Buds.
  • Mark the District 7600 End Polio Now Baseball Game on May 21st at 1:05 PM in your calendar.
  • Chick Robison encouraged members to bring student guests to the May 9th Jefferson Lab Program
  • Armistead Williams was inducted as our newest club member by President Laurie Harrison and sponsor Chick Robison. Armistead is a retired Neurologist, with many talents and skills and will be an active member in our club.
  • Sigur Whitaker reminded members that it was Giving Tuesday and the benefits of donating on this day.
  • President Laurie Harrison read a letter from Erle Marie Latimer who wished to convey her gratitude to the club for the Resolution in honor of her husband and late Rotarian Robert Latimer.
  • Chick Robison was the winning Rotarian who brought in the most guests and new members in our Membership month and was awarded 2 tickets for Suds & Buds
Happy Bucks:
  • Bob Heely:  For his son, Bobby assumed command of San Diego Naval Base
  • Barb Lipskis: For her opportunity to care for grandkids!
  • Mary Insley suffered an injury to her heel and is missing a meeting for the first time since becoming a member.
  • Gus Stuhlreyer had his hip replacement last week and is complying with the rehabilitation program.
  • Gary Bonnewell was a guest of Kay Stine
  • Hank Thompson was a guest of Chip Vogan
  • Abby Van Vorhees was a guest of Chip Vogan and will be a member soon.
  • Linda Archer is Bob Archer’s wife (becoming a member soon)
  • Charlie Gunter from Virginia Natural Gas was a guest of Tom Kohler  Presenting Sponsor of Suds & Buds.
Improving the Potential to Survive Lorna Cochrane 2023-04-04 04:00:00Z 0

Installing New Members

On March 21, the Rotary Club of Norfolk installed and welcomed two new members -- Tristan Warren and Michael Baglio. Tristan is a long-time Norfolk resident and chief development officer at The Up Center, which improves life for area children and families. Michael recently moved to Norfolk from Texas and is the founder of a nonprofit the ACIEM Foundation, which helps children born with metabolic defects get the treatments they need to thrive.
Installing New Members 2023-03-22 04:00:00Z 0

Forging a Resilient Future

Dr. Jessica Whitehead (center) was introduced by Tom Koller and thanked by President Laurie Harrison.
This September will mark 20 years since Hurricane Isabel pummeled Hampton Roads flooding homes, downing trees and power lines, and making residents face the realities of living in a volatile coastal area. Dr. Jessica Whitehead, executive director of Old Dominion University's Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, pointed out at the Rotary Club of Norfolk's March 21, 2023 meeting that Hurricane Isabel was billed as a 100-year storm. But, since 2003, other hurricanes and storms have negatively impacted the region. Residents routinely navigate around nuisance or "sunny day" flooding of area streets such as Llewellyn Avenue in Norfolk.
By 2060, Whitehead expects the region to experience flooding several times a month routinely. The reasons include more intense and frequent rainfall and storms and sinking land. Having fast-growing cities like Chesapeake and Virginia Beach remove trees for development and pave over land contributes to the problem. The situation is a problem for residents whose homes flood or are filled with mold, those relying on septic systems that no longer work, recreational areas that become unusable, and mainstays of the economy like the port and military bases unable to function effectively.
Whitehead says that while the future looks dire, there are steps that will improve the situation for all area residents. Her center's goal is to use research and engaging with communities, organizations, and business to create a vibrant region with a strong economy and healthy ecosystems. Among its recommendations are elevating roads and adding living shorelines and wetlands. Whitehead praised the City of Norfolk for having one of the first resilience plans in the country which has led to a $2 billion Army Corps of Engineers project that will extend the downtown flood wall, add surge barriers, elevate homes and possibly buy out residents living in flood-prone areas.
Whitehead tied her resilience work to Rotary by pointing out Rotary International's commitment to clean water, helping mothers and children, growing local economies, protecting the environment, and responding to disasters.
The Meeting
  • We inducted and welcomed new members Tristan Warren and Michael Baglio. Tristan has lived in our region for 26 years and is the chief development officer at The Up Center and is a former member of the Sunrise Rotary Club. Michael moved to Norfolk recently from Texas and is the founder of The ACIEM Foundation, which helps children born with metabolic disorders.
  • Luncheon guests included Hank Thompson and Dr. Abby Van Voorhees (Chip Vogan's guests), Brad Martin and Warren Sachs (Jeff Wells' guests), Mary Haywood (Sigur Whitaker's guest), and Dr. Linda Archer (Dr. Bob Archer's spouse and guest).
  • Sigur honored Past President Jim Kitz with a Paul Harris Fellow +7 pin for his contributions to The Rotary Foundation. Jim told the club he supports the foundation because of all that it stands for and its good works here and around the globe. She also reminded us that April 4 is Giving Tuesday for The Rotary Foundation. In addition to our club matching gifts of $100 or more, the current District Governor Kenny Janes will match donations 2:1. Donations must be made online to qualify for matches that are for those striving for their first PHF or who are at PH +8 level or below.
  • Please do so if you haven't donated $20 for the wine pull at the May 18 Suds & Buds party. This replaces the previous year's requests to donate a bottle of wine. We have a particular wine buyer who will secure wine bottles for the event.
  • Mark your calendars for April 25 at 8 a.m. when we will have a networking coffee at the Virginia Stage Company's Wells Theater. Participants will get a discount coupon for the next stage company show.
  • Sharon Laderberg reported that Cy Grandy recently moved to the memory care unit at Harbor's Edge.
  • With such a full program we delayed Happy Bucks and Fines until our next meeting on April 4.
Forging a Resilient Future Sally Hartman 2023-03-21 04:00:00Z 0

April 4 Is Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is just around the corner on Tuesday, April 4.  For those working to become a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) or working to get to the next level of giving up to PHF + 7, District 7600 will match your donation to the Annual Share Fund between $100 and $500 with points.  All donations must be online through MyRotary. Donations made by PHF + 8, while appreciated, will not be matched. It is an easy way to earn your first PHF or obtain the next level. 
The donations minus expenses given to the Annual Share Fund will come back to the District in three years. The funds are then split between District Grants and International Grants. Our club has received a District Grant on many occasions and helped us to fund projects such as the kitchen at the Hunton YMCA. We hope to be involved in an International Grant. 
If you want to contribute and have not yet signed up for MyRotary, please do so no later than Sunday, April 2. Go to, member area. There should be a place to sign up for an account. You will need your membership number which can be found either on the Rotary magazine's mailing label or our club's website (your profile, under "Rotary" tab).
Before giving, please remember to sign into MyRotary. Otherwise, The Rotary Foundation will not know that you are a Rotarian and a member of this club. Also, after making a donation, please send Sigur Whitaker a copy of your receipt so that she can match with the points.
April 4 Is Giving Tuesday 2023-03-18 04:00:00Z 0

Career Day Success

Rotary Career Day is a 40-year tradition with the Rotary Club of Norfolk as Norfolk Public High School seniors explore potential careers with Rotarians. Pictured are many of the Rotary mentors and their students. Four students each won $100 for writing winning essays about their career visits to the Virginia Zoo, Old Dominion University engineering labs, Eastern Virginia Medical School and various maritime companies. But, everyone who participated won the joy of connecting generations with the future.
Career Day Success 2023-03-14 04:00:00Z 0

Career Visitation Benefits Students

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Rotary Club of Norfolk continued its 40-year tradition of connecting Norfolk public high school students with potential careers. 

For Career Day, our club partners each year with Norfolk Public Schools. The program pairs high school seniors with Rotarians who spend a day introducing students to professionals in careers they are considering. Bob Heely, who has worked with Career Day since its inception in the 1980s, emceed the March 14 program and read what he calls “Heely Highlights” from student essays. 

Norfolk public school representatives thanked the club for broadening students’ horizons, noting that Career Day is an example of how combining efforts of families, schools and the community can lift kids.

After meeting with their assigned Rotarians and observing professions, students wrote essays. In his highlights, Bob noted the wide range of experiences the students had with Rotarians, from spending time with artistic producers to lawyers and professionals in medicine real estate, and engineering.

In their essays, students expressed excitement and awe as they explained how the Rotary experience showed them career possibilities. As a result of Career Day, students can picture themselves working in specific fields and have made contacts that can help them excel. 

Students expressed thanks that professionals took the time to show them around and talk about their desired professions. 

Rotarian Michelle Nettles judged the essays, and four winners each received $100 gift certificates. They also read their essays at the meeting. Those winners were:


  • Fiona John (Maury High), who spent time at Virginia Zoo with Greg Bockheim
  • Noelle Searing (Maury High), who visited EVMS with Laurie Harrison
  • Trent Wagers (Granby High), who toured maritime industry locations with Bob Heely
  • Puneeth Bheesetty (Granby High), who explored Old Dominion University engineering labs with Bob Ash

The Meeting

President Laurie Harrison called the meeting to order, and Eleanor Schoonover led us in song accompanied by Pam Tubbs. Marilyn Gowen gave the invocation. Donald Dohmann introduced guests, excluding students and their teachers attending Career Day.

Visiting Rotarians:

  • James Grant from Charleston, S.C.
  • Ralph Peter from Germany

 Other Visitors:

  • Chip Vogan introduced Abby Van Vorhees, an EVMS dermatology professor, and John Cameron’s widow
  • Bob Archer introduced his wife and guest, Linda Archer, who recently retired from EVMS

Club Business

  • Michael Desplaines gave a pitch for Suds and Buds, encouraging Rotarians to encourage their companies to purchase sponsorships.
  • Tony Bennett was inducted as a new member. He was introduced by Bill Davis and has Jim Tucker as his sponsor. 
  • The club voted today on three new members.

Fines and Happy Bucks

  • Chris Bugg was happy Duke won the ACC championship in basketball.
  • Sally Hartman is happy she rode the train to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Flower Show.
  • Tom Koller gave money for not having a lapel pin and announced the next Rotary golf tournament would be September 13 at Cypress Point Country Club and that he will chair it again.
  • Eleanor Schoonover enjoyed “La Traviata” at Virginia Opera.
  • Linwood and Frances Beckner are happy for a trip to Florida where they visited with Rotarians Kay Kemper, Susan Donn, and Walt Sobczyk.
  • Ralph Peters recently completed running 200.3 miles for Operation Iraqi Freedom and encouraged Rotarians to sponsor him at 50 cents a mile (to go to charity) for running the Shamrock Marathon this week. (Please note on your payment if you’re giving money for Ralph’s cause)
  • Lisa Chandler was happy to be at the meeting.
Career Visitation Benefits Students Sally Hartman 2023-03-14 04:00:00Z 0

Welcoming a New Member

New Rotary Club of Norfolk member Tony Bennett (second from right) is welcomed on March 14 by (from left) Bill Davis, President Laurie Harrison and Jim Tucker. Bill is Tony's sponsor and Jim is his mentor. Tony is an executive with Xerox.
Welcoming a New Member 2023-03-14 04:00:00Z 0

Honoring Three Departed Rotarians

Sharon Laderberg, Joey Rothgery, and Tom Ambler worked very hard to honor three departed Rotarians through Club Resolutions.
Dr. William Gough
Bill was a career physician in the Hampton Roads area. He graduated from the University of Virginia and UVA Medical School. He joined Rotary in 1984 and was a Paul Harris Fellow. Bill was an active participant in the Club’s Career Visitation program. He was passionate about his involvement with the Norfolk Senior Center, now PrimePlus, where he held several leadership positions. Bill’s Resolution was accepted by his wife, Sandy.
Robert Latimer
Bob was an educator in the Norfolk Public Schools for 31 years. He spent 34 years in our club and was a past president, serving during Rotary Years 1997-98. Bob was a Paul Harris Fellow and a founder of the Norfolk Rotary Club Endowment. Bob will always be remembered for his annual Bob’s Hot Dog Day outing which was enjoyed not only by fellow Rotarians but also by other community members. Bob’s wife, Erle Marie, accepted the Club’s Resolution.
Capt. (Ret) Roger Flagg
Roger was a dentist in the US Navy Dental Corps for 31 years having served in assignments all over the world. He was an avid traveler and has the distinction of visiting all 50 states. Roger joined Rotary in 1986 and will be best remembered for his portrayal of Santa Claus during the Club’s Annual Holiday Lunches.
Chris Bugg gave a presentation using his great, great grandfather’s Rotary experiences to demonstrate the growth of Rotary, both domestically and internationally. Eugene Newsome founded the Rotary Club of Durham and was the President of Rotary International for Rotary Years 1929-30. Chris highlighted the similarities between his great-great grandfather’s, and the early Christian apostle Paul’s experiences with spreading a “Movement”. He challenged the group and all of us to do two things:
  1. Feel great about being a Rotarian.
  2. Make a commitment to enhancing a behavior to further the spirit of being a proud Rotarian.
Sigur Whitaker led us in song accompanied by Pam Tubbs. Joe New gave the invocation. There was no Visitation Report.
We had 2 visiting Rotarians, Mark Hayne, who had just relocated to our area from California, and Ralph Prer, a German military officer.
Guests included Taylor Youmans, Kathy Hershter, Michael Baglio, and Dr. Thomas Chapman.
Club Business
  • Birthday wishes were sung to all our March Birthday Rotarians. Fines were also collected.
  • 35 Rotarians and Guests attended the recent Member/Guest Social on March 1st at Elation Brewery.
  • Mary Insley went from her Red Badge to her Blue Badge.
  • The District 7600 End Polio Baseball game will be on May 21st at Harbor Park.
  • The club was entertained by Tom Koller and Laura DeHority’s slapstick update on Suds & Buds as you all know Suds & Buds in on May 18th from 5:30-8:30pm at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The Wine Pull is accepting donations of $20/member and using the Norfolk Yacht Club’s purchasing power to obtain bottles. Sponsors are still needed.
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • Mary Insley went to Marti Gras and her son’s company had an item in the Smithsonian.
  • Sharon Laderberg was happy that Jim Tucker is relieving Sigur Whitaker of her website duties, grateful for Joey Rothgery’s and Tom Ambler’s hard work on the Resolutions, and celebrated her Grandson’s birthday.
  • Laura Beth DeHority had a great trip to Aruba, the “Happy Island”.
  • Barbara Lifland returned from a 5-week trip to the Caribbean.
  • Jeff Wells attended President’s Training and participated in preparing 10,000 meals for the Rise for Hunger program.
  • Winston Whitehurst and his wife were celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary.
  • Chris Bugg was happy that Duke beat UNC in basketball.
  • Marty Rais’s husband is recovering and she thanked all for the club’s support.
Honoring Three Departed Rotarians Jim Kitz 2023-03-07 05:00:00Z 0

A Ukrainian Speaks Out

Alex Humen came to the United States ten years ago on a student visa. He decided to stay and is currently an instructor in martial arts. His parents and brother live in the central part of Ukraine about three hours from the border with Russia. His in-laws live much closer to the fighting in the east.
The fight for Ukraine is over its right to exist. Russia does not see it as a separate country and is trying to destroy the infrastructure. Humen believes the fight for Ukraine is for democracy and freedom. He pointed out that if Russia succeeds, they will continue to take portions of Ukraine piecemeal. Russian President Vladimir Putin is telling the Russian people that the fight is against NATO which wants to destroy Russia. Russia is spending millions of Rubles on propaganda.
Ukrainians in America have created a system of couriers to take into Ukraine supplies that are needed. Humen’s mother and mother-in-law recently spent a couple of months in Virginia but returned to Ukraine. In their luggage, they packed a drone and two helmets. The Ukrainians have the resolve to fight for their continued independence but desperately need military supplies. They are appreciative of the support from Europe and the United States.
Under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine has shown the world that it has the desire to defend democracy. Humen acknowledged that Ukraine has had some “old politicians” who perpetuated corruption and that Zelenskyy is trying to root out the old Russian mindset.
The Meeting
Music was challenging. We sang the State Anthem of Ukraine, thank goodness with English words. Humen spoke the words in Ukrainian.
  • Past District Governor Susie Starnes was visiting from Plainview, Texas, and brought a club banner to exchange. She came with Jennifer Priest.
  • Chris Bugg brought Trey Dudley. He is a principal at First Virginia.
  • Chick Robison bought Michael Baglio who recently moved here from Texas. His wife is a physician with CHKD and he started a charity for sick children.
  • Barb Lipskis brought Allison Erkelens who formerly was a documentary writer including for the Discovery Channel.
The Wine Pull is back! The Wine Pull has been a staple of Suds & Buds for the past several years. This year, it is going to be even easier and better. Norfolk Yacht Club’s wine master has offered to buy wines for us at a discount. Please bring $20 to the next Rotary meeting for the wine pull. No longer do we need to go to a store to buy the wine and carry it to the meeting, only for Chick Robison to cart it and store the bottles at his home.
Happy Bucks:
  • Tom Koller has just returned from NYC to celebrate his daughter’s continued remission from cancer. He also celebrated President Laurie’s 10-year-old grandson’s birthday.
  • Barb Lipskis celebrated with her twins their 37th birthday in Williamsburg.
  • Jim Tucker had a surprise visit from his daughter and two grandchildren.
  • Jay Kossman is excited that he and his wife will soon be leaving on a trip to Portugal and Spain.
  • Jeff Wells is renovating a former movie theater that had been turned into a church. It is now being renovated back into a movie theater. He is thankful for the assistance he has gotten from the Salvation Army in disposing of furniture and other goods from the property. He has a ton of choir robes in case anyone needs one (or many).
John Padgett was the Rotarian of the Day and talked about what the club means to him. After saying “ditto” to Past President Lorna Cochrane’s talk last week, John talked about some of our club’s Rotary heroes including:
  • Walt Grandy was president from 1974-1975. Walt was always there working behind the scenes and ensuring the club stayed on the right path.
  • Jack McGee was a retired submariner. Jack was a strong recruiter for Rotary and probably brought more people into the club than any other member.
  • At John Padgett’s first Rotary International Convention, Wells Gresham ran into John Capps, a well-known Rotarian from North Carolina. Immediately upon seeing John Padgett’s nametag, John Capps immediately recalled his friendship with Wells.
  • Past District Governor Paul Sykes gave John Padgett his District Governor pin when John became a District Governor. Paul Sykes was behind the club’s Ro-Toys project which took broken toys and repaired them for children and was behind the largest financial gift to the club from the Ford Foundation in support of our oyster reef project.
  • John talked about the Tiel exchange which is currently being headed by Diane Wallach. The Rotary Club in Tiel and our club have been exchanging students since 1974.
Lastly, John acknowledged it was Walt Grandy who changed his life. When Walt was president, the club gave John a check for $500 which enabled him to go to a Junior Achievement speaking contest at Indiana University in Bloomington. John took third place with his talk.
A Ukrainian Speaks Out Sigur Whitaker 2023-02-21 05:00:00Z 0

Developments Related to Alzheimers

Dr. Hamid Okhravi, EVMS Geriatrics, was introduced by Rotarian of the Day, Jay Kossman. Dr. Okhravi shared recent developments related to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive disorders.
He gave a comprehensive overview of geriatrics studies including normal aging vs. dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; treatment strategies - symptomatic vs. disease modifying; recent FDA-approved mediation Aducanumab and the Lecanemab prevention trails – AHEAD Study; and future of clinical trials and clinical practices.
Dr. Okhravi shared how normal aging and dementia compare. With normal aging you might make a bad decision once in a while, you might miss a monthly payment or forget which day of the week it is but then remember it later, you might forget which word to use, and you might occasionally lose things. With Dementia, you’ll have poor judgement and decision making abilities and be unable to manage budget or handle finances, you lose track of the day of the week or the season, have difficulties with normal conversations, and displace or lose items frequently.
He shared the different types of Dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease pathology with the focus on Amyloid plaques: Amyloid deposition.  New, promising, clinical trials - Emerge & Engage Aducanumab and the Lecanemab treatment shows progress in slowing down cognitive decline resulting in the FDAs approval with “Accelerated Approval” designation. Full approval should take place in 9-12 months, the cost is steep at $26,500 per year. It is unclear if Medicare will cover the cost of this treatment especially with 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 Alzheimer Disease patients in the general population (1.5 million) that would be eligible for this treatment. The Disease-modifying therapies such as Lecanemab and other anti-amyloid immunotherapies shows the average slowing rate of 30% – this may be the most we can achieve with amyloid removal alone in a symptomatic population. Dr. Okhravi said in order to achieve a bigger impact we need to explore anti-amyloid drugs before symptoms appear.
The AHEAD Study tests whether intervening ahead of symptoms may help prevent future memory loss and dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s testing whether the new treatment delays memory decline in people up to 20 years before they show symptoms. His team has handout regarding the study and who is eligible to participate in this study.
In closing, Dr. Okhravi shared the path for future screening and therapeutics for AD prevention, like the AHEAD Study.
Club Business 
  • Thank you to everyone who came to the Food Bank service project.  If you attended would you please stand?  We packed 544 bags of food to go into backpacks.  The backpacks are distributed at area schools for children to have food over the weekend. 
  • February is Membership Month! Please bring a prospective member to join us for lunch. 
  • February is Membership month – thank you to everyone who brought a guest and thank you to all our guests for joining us today.  Member/Guest Social at Elation Brewing, Wednesday, March 1st, 5-7 pm, register on our website.  Rotarians who bring a guest will receive a free drink ticket and we’ll have some pizza from Chelsea Bakehouse.  Please sign up today! 
  • The Member Moment – Why you I love Rotary? By Past President Lorna Cochrane –
Lorna gave a heartfelt overview of why she loves Rotary. She had everyone on their feet in applause. She said with so much sadness lately, Rotarians are propellers of love, her self-esteem is raised. The good that is done through the Food Bank, fundraisers, books given to libraries, the Hunt-Y, plus amazing tours of the community like to the International Terminals and more. “What I love about Rotary – I KNOW GOOD PEOPLE, WHO DO GOOD THINGS!”
  • Grant applications are available on our website - Due today!! 
  • Invoices have gone out – please pay asap! 
  • Suds and Buds is on Thursday, May 18 from 5:30-8:30 pm. We need sponsors-please see Chris Bugg or Tom Koller for more information. 
  • District 7600 End Polio Now Baseball Game, May 21, 1:05 pm 
  • Ed Kellam turned his Red Badge to a Blue Badge: Congratulations Ed! 
  • Thank you to everyone who donated Feminine Hygiene products today.  These supplies will be donated at the RYLA retreat this weekend to help area women.  RYLA is the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and it’s an intensive leadership experience organized by our district.  Eleanor Wallach is a Senior and President of the Norfolk Collegiate Interact Club, and we are supporting her attendance this weekend.  We look forward to hearing how she enjoyed the conference. 
  • Leave no girl behind.  A Rotary International and District Wide initiative.  “It is important that we empower girls,” said Mehta, who was shortly to take office as the 2021-22 Rotary president, “as we all find that more often than not, the girl is disadvantaged. We will serve all children, but our laser focus will be especially on the girl.” 
“The Empowering Girls initiative is a club- and district-level service opportunity,” Usovicz notes. “The primary role of the task force is to develop a framework and resources that enhance the ability of Rotary and Rotaract club members and leaders, as well as district leaders, to participate in and promote service projects that focus on the health, education, safety, well-being, and economic development of the girls of our world.” 
  • Fine for George Compo was seen and heard in an interview about The Railyard at Lambert’s Point…a ten-building complex with retail, office, and restaurant space that spans 4 city blocks. 
  • Happy Bucks by Sharon for visiting daughter and celebrating her daughter becoming a member of Rotary.
  • Happy bucks by Lorna for her daughter also becoming a Rotarian and is being sponsored by Brice Barton a previous Norfolk Rotary member.
  • Happy bucks for knowing and calling Lorna friend!
Developments Related to Alzheimers Dianna Starkey 2023-02-14 05:00:00Z 0

Helping Hungry Kids

More than a dozen pairs of hands made for light work during a two-hour evening volunteer session at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. We packed 544 bags of food to slip into area children's backpacks to help sustain them over the weekend when they don't get meals at school. In addition to helping our community, Rotarians, potential members and other volunteers had a lot of fun and got to know each other better.
Helping Hungry Kids 2023-02-09 05:00:00Z 0

Fun at Harbor's Edge

Rotary Club of Norfolk members love the fellowship aspect of Rotary and turned out in full force for a recent after-work gathering in the new tower at Harbor's Edge retirement community along the Norfolk riverfront. New and long-time Rotarians were joined by spouses and significant others to enjoy each other's company plus beverages and delicious food. It was especially nice to reconnect with several former Rotarians who live at Harbor's Edge.
Fun at Harbor's Edge 2023-02-09 05:00:00Z 0

Policing the Streets of Norfolk

Some Crime figures are dropping in Norfolk and there is a plan
Interim Police Chief Mike Goldsmith and former Rotarian was introduced by Rotarian of the Day Bob Ash, topic: Policing the Streets of Norfolk.
Mick presented a straightforward open and honest update on the status of crime in Norfolk over the past year.  You may remember he accepted the responsibility of Interim Chief in April of 2022 after the retirement of the previous Chief.  The original out date was October 2022 but of course, Mike is the consummate public servant and agreed to stay in that position until the best candidate is hired.  Maybe April 2023.
For the past 6 months, Violent crime is trending down 6%.  Property, stolen vehicles, and auto larceny are trending slightly up.  Much of the vehicle crime is attributed to the national issue of certain brands of cars not having the technology to minimize theft.  As far as other violent crimes, police officers have been mobilized to areas where data has shown to have rates.  The plan to address future crime is to mobilize police to areas of higher crime, recruit more officers and develop partnerships.
The Department is led by 5 guiding principles.
  • Officer Wellness
  • Operate Sound
  • Principle Centered leadership
  • Strength in Diversity
  • Creating a Learning Organization
The Chief opened and closed his presentation with a heartfelt appreciation of his Rotary experience, and I think I heard his willingness to rejoin the Rotarian Community.
Club Business
  • Thank you: Marty Raiss, Linwood Beckner & Mark Shaw for organizing the Winter Social.  We had over 60 former and current members attend.
  • February is Membership Month! Please bring a prospective member to join us for lunch.
  • Service Opportunity at the Foodbank, Thursday, Feb. 9th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm to pack backpacks with food that will be sent home with children on weekends.
  • Grant applications are available on our website - Due on Feb. 14
  • February is Membership month – thank you to everyone who brought a guest and thank you to all our guests for joining us today.  Member/Guest Social at Elation Brewing, Wednesday, March 1st, 5-7 pm, register on our website.  Rotarians who bring a guest will receive a free drink ticket and we’ll have some pizza from Chelsea Bakehouse.  Please sign up today!
  • Member testimonial – new member – Mary Insley
  • Invoices have gone out – please pay asap!
  • Suds and Buds are on Thursday, May 18 from 5:30-8:30 pm. We need sponsors-please to see Chris Bugg or Tom Koller for more information.
  • District 7600 End Polio Now Baseball Game, May 21, 1:05 pm
  • Happy Birthday, Rotary, Rotary started with the vision of one man – Paul Harris.  The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago in Feb. 1905.   It began so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.  The initial meeting with Paul Harris and three others led to an international organization of service and fellowship.  Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian assistance. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.
“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves”. Paul Harris Rotary Foundation
Thank you, Jeff, for attending District 7600 training the last two Saturdays in Richmond and Williamsburg!
We have a new member
Kay Stine is mentoring Kimber Hammer and her sponsor is Michael Desplaines.  Let’s give her an awesome Rotary welcome and I see a future leader in our midst—next step Blue Badge.
Speaking of Blue Badge, Jim Tucker and Greg Bockheim received their blue badges!
  • College rivalries are good for our club finances.  I hope those North Carolina schools never learn to get along.
  • VA Stage Company is doing some awesome stuff and Rotarians are always welcome in the house.
  • Diana Starkey is back!  And guess what…the Virginia Arts Festival is about ready to happen. The brochure is ready.
More fines and Happy Bucks next week,
LUNCHEON MEETING NEXT WEEK   February 14th – Speaker – Dr. Hamid Okhravi, Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Director of Memory Consultation Clinic speaking on Alzheimer’s – Prevention and Treatment
Policing the Streets of Norfolk Bob Batcher 2023-02-07 05:00:00Z 0

Celebrating Generous Rotarians

February 17 was a banner day for celebrating generosity. Sigur Whitaker, club foundation chair (in the red sweater), honored Rotary Club of Norfolk members for donating to the Rotary Foundation and highlighted how it does good around the world and here at home. Fourteen generous members were awarded Paul Harris Fellow pins and all are at the plus-one and way-above giving levels. This was the club's largest group of Paul Harris Fellows to be honored at one time.
Celebrating Generous Rotarians 2023-01-19 05:00:00Z 0

Russian-Ukrainian War Update

Vice President Barbara Lipskis introduced Jim Kitz, Rotarian of the Day, who introduced our speaker. Jim is a Past President of our rotary club (2020-21) and is Senior Vice President-Wealth Management in the Norfolk office of UBS and graduated from the US. Military Academy in 1985. Jim has been a financial advisor for over 25 years with UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Our speaker on January 17, 2023, was Ukrainian Airforce Colonel Hennediy Kovalenko who presented an exciting and informative program on The Russian-Ukrainian War: Recent Development, Strategic Perspectives, and American Assistance. Colonel Kovalenko is on special assignment to NATO Atlantic Command Headquarters in Norfolk and is a Ukrainian General Staff senior officer.
Key to Ukraine’s survival has been the Western Policy of assistance to Ukraine including significant military weapons assistance (for which Ukraine is very grateful), economic sanctions against the Russian Federation for their military aggression, technology embargoes of technology that can be used in military weapons, western resilience against Russian use of energy as a political weapon, and other support by the West such as training of Ukrainian soldiers in the advanced weaponry being provided.
Many Rotary members were seen to be wearing Ukraine’s national colors of yellow and blue in solidarity with their fight for national survival. The national symbol of Ukraine is a blue shield with a gold trident. Of significance, the design of the trident can be broken into four letters of the Ukrainian alphabet spelling ВОЛЯ which translates as “liberty” or “freedom”.  No wonder the Ukrainians are tough fighters!
The Meeting
Colonel Kovalenko’s wife, Liudmila Hirbatiuk, sang a couple of lovely Ukrainian songs and then performed the Ukrainian national anthem.
Bob Heely led us in song with “God Bless America” and wished God Bless Ukraine!
Marilyn Gowen gave the invocation.
Ben Mason had a good visitation report in that he did not have many situations to relate to.
Marcia Conston recognized several members who brought guests interested in hearing our speaker talking about the Russian-Ukraine war:
  • Bob Ash brought Puneeth Bheesety
  • Bob Batcher brought Macha Hunt
  • Lorna Cochrane brought her husband, Daniel St-Cyr
  • Bill Davis brought Tony Bennett (FYI - not the University of Virginia coach)
  • Kim Hammer is soon to be a new member
  • Laurie Harrison brought her daughter Margaret Anne Harrison and her husband Mark Harrison
  • Sally Hartman brought Michael Knepler
  • Steve Jones (the CPA) brought Maryna and Vladimir Zagorodnyuk, both from Ukraine and now living in the United States. Maryna works for Steve’s firm as an Accounting Associate and Vladimir has become a U.S. citizen and is currently serving in our U.S. Navy
  • Jim Kitz brought Curtis Hanson and Ben Huger, both also UBS financial advisors with Jim
  • Chick Robison brought several guests: Cynthia Carter West, Carrie Dryer, Erie Latimer, and Armistead Williams
  • Jeff Ryder brought Richard Groover
  • Kelly Stefanko brought Steve Baggarly
  • Jeff Wells brought several guests: David Clarke, John Ehehalt, and Andrew Root
Club Business
  • President Laurie Harris reminded members of the upcoming Winter Social at Harbor’s Edge on Thursday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • There will be a Service opportunity at the Foodbank, Thursday, February 9th (5:30-7:30 p.m.) to pack backpacks with non-perishable food that will be sent home with children on weekends. Dress warm!
  • Invoices have been sent out, please pay promptly.
  • Grant applications are available on our website, and are due by February 14th.
  • Suds and Buds are on Thursday, May 18th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. We need sponsors (see Chris Bugg or Tom Koller for more information)
  • Sigur Whitaker presented Paul Harris Fellow (“PHF”) pins to the following members (thank you for your gifts!):
    • Chris Bugg (PHF+3 pin)
    • Al Carmichael (PHF+6)
    • Lorna Cochrane (PHF+3 blue stone pin)
    • George Compo (PHF red stone pin)
    • LauraBeth DeHority (PHF+1 blue stone pin)
    • Susan Donn (PHF+2 blue stone pin)
    • Laurie Harrison (PHF+1 pin)
    • Stephen M. Jones (PHF+1 blue stone pin)
    • Alan Nelson (PHF+5 blue stone pin)
    • John Searing (PHF red stone pin & 2 red stone pin, PHF+7 total)
    • Mark Shaw (PHF+4 blue stone pin)
    • Gus Stuhlreyer (PHF red stone pin)
    • Diane Wallach (PHF+2 blue stone pin)
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Bob Batcher was feted for being featured in a Senior Advocate magazine story.
  • Marilyn Gown celebrated being a new grandmother.
  • Sharon Laderberg also celebrated being a new grandmother.
  • Bob Ash celebrated 52 years of marriage.
  • Sigur Whitaker celebrated safe travels from a nice trip to Guatemala.
Russian-Ukrainian War Update Stephen Jones 2023-01-17 05:00:00Z 0

Yellow & Blue for Ukraine

Rotary Club of Norfolk members donned a creative array of yellow and blue attire on January 17 in solidarity with the featured speaker at their luncheon meeting. Col.  Hennediy Kovalenko of the Ukrainian Air Force drew a full house as he provided an update on his country's war initiated by Russia and his musician wife, Liudmila Hirbatiuk, sang the Ukranian national anthem and other songs while wearing traditional dress. Col. H as he wanted to be called enthusiastically praised the United States for its support of his country as it strives to preserve its independence. Our Rotary Club donated $500 in Col. H's honor to a Ukranian relief fund.
Yellow & Blue for Ukraine 2023-01-17 05:00:00Z 0

Children's Mental Health Services at CHKD

Barbara Lipskis announced the Rotarian of the Day, Lauren Kiger.  Lauren has had a long career in fundraising and has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 for Healthcare Professionals.  She’s an alumnus of Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University, sits on multiple boards, and has two lovely daughters.  Lauren introduced her “girl crush”, Stephanie Ostler.  Stephanie’s career in mental health spans nearly three decades, and she has been contributing to the community in Norfolk through her work at CHKD since.
Stephanie shared details on the development of children’s mental health services at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. As described by Stephanie, across the US children are suffering from an epidemic of mental health issues dating back to around 2007 and the introduction of the first I-phone.  Today children suffer high rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide, and homicide.  Suicide is now the number two killer of children in the US seven years old and above. The pandemic has accelerated and deepened the mental health crisis facing children.
Luckily for the community in Hampton Roads, mental health professionals have been working to improve access to mental health services for young people since at least 2013.  At that time children in crisis were waiting days and weeks for needed care.  The hospital’s one office, and six therapists, were not adequate to meet the growing challenge.  At any one time, as many as 500 children were on the waitlist for help.  The hospital only employed one child psychiatrist.
Stephanie and her team studied children’s hospitals in other parts of the country to learn best practices, and to identify pitfalls in developing a true continuum of care for kids in Hampton Roads. A 60-bed acute mental health care inpatient clinic opened at CHKD in 2022 in a seven-story facility.  The hospital treats 60,000 kids annually through its outpatient services, and more than 170 kids are referred each week to its new facility. 
More than 60 therapists and two psychiatrists now serve children in need through the program, and psych-safe emergency services assist children in crisis. An additional intensive outpatient clinic now serves children in mental health crises in Virginia Beach.  Programs to educate families, strengthen parenting skills, and support groups help families cope with children’s mental health challenges.
While improvements are significant, gaps in care remain. Staffing challenges remain acute. Underlying drivers impacting children’s mental health are not going away. Kids face substantial challenges managing stress or developing effective interpersonal skills. Sibling support programs are lacking.
Stephanie ended her discussion with a reminder that “mental health IS health,” and encouraged members to take a virtual tour of the new facility at CHKD on YouTube, available here: CHKD Mental Health Hospital Virtual Tour - Bing video.
The Meeting
We gathered at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club for the weekly meeting.
Guests were:
  • Paul Morlock - guest of Jeff Wells
  • Kim Hammer - guest of Dave Duncan, turned in her member application today
  • Cynthia Kelly - guest of Barbara Lipskis
  • Dona Overstreet - guest of Linwood Beckner
  • Christina Merry - Barbara Lifland's daughter
  • Ralph Peter - visiting Rotarian with the German Navy currently stationed at NATO
Happy Bucks:
  • Michael Desplaines gave happy bucks in gratitude for his trip to Hawaii.
  • Tom Koller and Mary paid fines for missing pins
  • John Searing donated happy bucks in recognition of his daughter’s Netherlands exchange, and the enduring relationships which have come from it.
  • Barbara Lipskis gave happy bucks, her husband Don is recovering well from his stroke and able to drive again.
Other notes:
Sign up for an evening Rotary social at Harbor's Edge on January 26. This event is for Rotarians, spouses, and significant others. Email Karen Grinnan to RSVP.
Jeff Ryder has set up an after-work volunteer gig for Rotarians on Feb. 9 at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia & Eastern Shore.
President Laurie Harrison announced that invoices have been sent via email and that prompt payment of dues is appreciated.  President Harrison also noted that February is Membership Month.  Members should suggest guests by filling out the forms on the tables, and they will be contacted to join a meeting in February. The Rotarian with the most non-family guests wins two tickets to Suds and Buds.
Note: Suds and Buds will be held on 18 May from 5:30-8:30. Sponsors are needed! Contact Chris Bugg or Tom Koller for more information, or to pass along sponsor leads.
Children's Mental Health Services at CHKD Patricia Raxter 2023-01-10 05:00:00Z 0

Grant Applications Available

Applications for 2023 Norfolk Rotary Charities grants are available now. Applicants should be 501 (c) 3 organizations working either regionally or primarily in Norfolk. The typical grant size is $1,000 to $5,000.
The deadline to apply is February 14. Details and an application are available here:
Over the past three years Norfolk Rotary Charities, an affiliate of the Rotary Club of Norfolk has awarded area nonprofits more than $100,000.
Grant Applications Available 2023-01-04 05:00:00Z 0

Optimistic Educational Opportunity

Retired Judge Joe Massey introduced speaker Stephanie Walters of YELLOWHAB (second from left). Pictured with them are Rotary President Laurie Harrison and club member Lauren Kiger, who works with Children's Hospital of The Kings Daughters, a YELLOWHAB partner.
Luncheon speaker Stephanie Walters kicked off the 2023 Rotary Club of Norfolk year by highlighting the innovative YELLOWHAB school in Norfolk -- the vision of Pharrell Wiliams, the renowned singer, songwriter, and producer who grew up in Virginia Beach. Walters is the director of engagement at the elementary school that opened in September 2021 at the Y on Granby. Its mission is to even the odds through education. 
YELLOWHAB believes every student deserves a world-class education and currently has 41 Norfolk students in grades 3 through 6. Its name has "yellow" in it because that is an optimistic color. All students are from lower-income families with Title I status. The lottery for the tuition-free school drew nearly 400 applications for the current year. YELLOWHAB plans to keep adding a grade level each year, build a Norfolk campus and expand its program to other cities. It also creates progress evaluations it hopes other schools will adopt to gauge student success. 
Backed by significant grants from companies like Cisco, Boeing, Amazon, and S.E. Johnson, YELLOWHAB emphasizes science, engineering, technology, and math as well as the arts. Its 42 area partners include Children's Hospital of The Kings Daughters, Chrysler Museum of Art, NASA, NAUTICUS, and Virginia Opera. These partners help broaden students' learning opportunities through field trips, working in the school, and providing services and technology. The school's curriculum is child-centered and strives to make learning fun while teaching students problem-solving and entrepreneurship along with reading, math, and other basic skills. The school also helps parents gain financial literacy and career education. 
Rotarians had an abundance of questions for Walters and several raised their hands to volunteer with the school either individually or through workplace partnerships.
The Meeting
  • We gathered at the Town Point Club since Norfolk Yacht & Country Club was closed for the week. 
  • Guests were Rev. Gordon Tubbs, Pam Tubb's son; Jill Ravenelle, a neighbor of Lois Kercher, and Tristan Warren from The UP Center.
  • Lauren Kiger let us know that Bill LeHew and Bill Eisenbeiss are recovering from falls. Barbara Lipskis is under the weather, and Marty Raiss' husband George is in a physical rehab center after a hospital stay. 
  • Sign up now for an evening Rotary social at Harbor's Edge on January 26. This event is for Rotarians, spouses, and significant others. 
  • Jeff Ryder has set up an after-work volunteer gig for Rotarians on Feb. 9 at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia & Eastern Shore. 
  • We wished happy January birthdays to the following: Collins Gooch, Stephen Kirkland, Greg Bockheim, Donald Dohmann, Ann Baldwin, and Paul Sykes.
  • President Laurie Harrison announced that invoices have been sent via email and that prompt payment of dues is appreciated.
  • Retired Judge Joe Massey, Rotarian of the Day, was introduced by Linwood Beckner. 
Happy Bucks
  • Bob Heely and his wife are celebrating 49 years of marriage.
  • LauraBeth DeHority paid $1 for every page of the doctoral dissertation she successfully defended in December.
  • Jay Kossman and his wife are celebrating 47 years of marriage. 
  • Joe New celebrated moving to Harbor's Edge on the ninth floor. 
  • Jeff Wells celebrated his mother's 92nd birthday with a new tradition -- a family oyster roast that she wants to repeat next year.
  • Chris Bugg and Bob Ash are happy their alma maters won bowl games (Duke for Chris and Tulane for Bob.)
Optimistic Educational Opportunity Sally Hartman 2023-01-03 05:00:00Z 0

Suds & Buds Is May 18

Mark your calendars for the seventh Suds & Buds party with a purpose on Thursday, May 18 starting at 5:30 p.m Presented by Virginia Natural Gas. The Rotary Club of Norfolk will partner with Norfolk Botanical Garden and Children's Hospital of The Kings Daughters to host what past guests have called "the best party ever." Proceeds will benefit all three organizations.
This fun after-work party will be in the rose garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden while the roses are at their peak of beauty. The evening will feature food from area restaurants, craft beer and wine. To make the party a success, Rotarian co-chairs Chris Bugg and Tom Koller need members' help in identifying potential sponsors, selling tickets and volunteering at the event. Learn more and get tickets at
Suds & Buds Is May 18 2023-01-01 05:00:00Z 0

Suds & Buds Set for May 18

Mark your calendars for the seventh Suds & Buds party with a purpose on Thursday, May 18 starting at 5:30 p.m Presented by Virginia Natural Gas. The Rotary Club of Norfolk will partner with Norfolk Botanical Garden and Children's Hospital of The Kings Daughters to host what past guests have called "the best party ever." Proceeds will benefit all three organizations.
This fun after-work party will be in the rose garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden while the roses are at their peak of beauty. The evening will feature food from area restaurants, craft beer and wine. To make the party a success, Rotarian co-chairs Chris Bugg and Tom Koller need members' help in identifying potential sponsors, selling tickets and volunteering at the event. Learn more and get tickets at
Suds & Buds Set for May 18 2023-01-01 05:00:00Z 0

Annual Meeting

Past President Pam Tubbs at the piano accompanying Mary Insley with a holiday sing-along
At the annual meeting, we elected the following officers:
            President                             Jeff Wells
            President-Elect                    Barbara Lipskis
            Vice President                     David Duncan
            Secretary-Treasurer            LauraBeth DeHority
            Immediate Past President   Laurie Harrison
The following will serve as directors during the 2023-2024 Rotary year:
            Bob Batcher                        Rachel Bellis
            Michael Desplaines             Lauren Kiger
            Barbara Lifland                    Jeff Ryder
            Jim Tucker
President Laurie thanks those who are willing to serve our club in the upcoming year. Congratulations to all who were elected.
The membership also approved the dues and meals:
            Active membership:
            $137 Dues
            $540 Operations and Meals
            $677 Total
            Senior Active/ Meal Waivers & Leave of Attendance:
            $137 Dues
            $228 Operations Charge.
            $365 Total
Any member requesting a meal waiver a meal may incur an additional meeting assessment due to Norfolk Yacht & Country Club charging per member in attendance, not by those eating a meal.
Committee Reports:
Jeff Wells (President-Elect) reminded club members that the application for a grant from our club must be submitted no later than February 14, 2023. He also reported that the participation in Holiday parade had 33 people participating.
David Duncan (Secretary/Treasurer) and Gus Stuhlreyer (Finance Committee) reported that the club’s annual budget is about $130,000 per year.
Barbara Lifland advised of the upcoming relocation of the club’s office.
Marty Raiss (Fellowship) reported that the successful golf tournament raised about $5,000 for PolioPlus. Fun socials were held at the homes of Linwood Beckner and Susan Donn. The Million Bulb Walk and the social at Norfolk Botanical Garden were delightful.
Sharon Laderberg (Public Image) thanked Brian McGuire for his work on Rotations, Jim O’Brien will work on the club’s history, Joey Rothgery’s committee has provided meaningful resolutions, Sigur Whitaker maintains the club’s website, and all are invited to post relevant content to our Facebook page.
Lauren Kiger (Membership) is planning to have a membership drive during February. Please plan to bring prospective members to the club.
Chris Bugg (Fundraising). GrowlFest raised about $3,100. Suds & Buds will be Thursday, May 18. The third partner this year is CHKD. We are currently seeking sponsors for the event, our largest fundraiser of the year.
Kelly Stefanko (Community & International Service) reported that to date we have 612 volunteer hours which has an economic value of $14,400. Eleanor Schoonover and Bernhanu Mengitsu are continuing work on the Ethiopian water project.
Tom Ambler (Vocational Service) stated that the Club is supporting one person for RYLA. Career Day is returning after Covid and volunteers to have a high school student shadow them for a day learning about the member’s vocation are needed.
Sigur Whitaker was awarded the James Pierce Leadership Award for her work on behalf of the Rotary Foundation at the Foundation banquet.
The Meeting
Dr. Bill Lehew is in rehab at Lake Taylor.
We welcomed Al Carmichael’s wife, Ann, and Pam Tubbs’ husband, Ace, to the meeting. We also have visiting Rotarian Ralph Peters who is with the German Navy currently stationed at NATO.
Happy Bucks:
  • Bill Davis confessed that his phone went off at last week’s meeting.
  • Jim Kitz has contributed $200 because Army beat Navy last weekend in football. He wants Jim O’Brien and Chris Bugg to pay up because Navy came out on the short end of the game.
  • Eleanor Schoonover and Jeff Wells attended the wonderful Vienna Boys’ Choir concert.
  • Lois Kercher contributed because Norfolk Botanical Garden was beautifully bedecked with a million bulbs.
  • Lorna Cochrane was happy golfing in our balmy weather while her brother in Canada was enduring minus forty degrees. BRRRR!
  • Susan Donn is happy that her former home has sold.
  • Joe Massey confessed that he was without his Rotary pin. Joe also made a remarkable contribution to the club in excess of $6,000 for which he received a standing ovation.
  • Marcia Conston has received an Inside Business Award for Women. Congratulations to Marcia.
Join us for a Rotary Club of Norfolk Winter Social on Thursday, January 26 from 5:30-7:30 pm at Harbors Edge retirement community in downtown Norfolk. More information in the coming weeks.
Our next meeting will be on January 3rd at Town Point Club. Parking is across the street at Town Point Garage.
Annual Meeting Sigur Whitaker 2022-12-13 05:00:00Z 0

Elves on Holiday Duty

Santa enlisted about 20 Rotary elves and their family members on December 10 to help bag and tag thousands of toys for the upcoming Salvation Army toy distribution in partnership with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots and The Joy Fund programs. Thanks go to Rotarian Jeff Ryder for organizing our volunteer team, which included a visiting German Rotarian working in our area with NATO. Thanks also go to our club member, Major Donald Dohmann, who heads our area Salvation Army Command and whose wife Major Laura Dohmann led our volunteer teams. 
Elves on Holiday Duty 2022-12-10 05:00:00Z 0

Bringing Holiday Cheer

Rotary Club of Norfolk members, family and friends shared the spirit of Rotary at the November 19 holiday parade in downtown Norfolk. Thanks go to the ever-enthusiastic Jeff Wells for spearheading our club's Rotary float and marching brigade that lit up the night. It was a spectacular parade made even better by having Rotarians participate.
Bringing Holiday Cheer 2022-11-23 05:00:00Z 0


The Slate of Officers for the next Rotary year has been emailed to everyone. Voting will take place at the December 13th meeting. Additional nominations are still possible. Contact Past President Michael if you have one.
Sigur Whitaker thanked all members for their generosity on Giving Tuesday in 2021. Members giving on Tuesday, November 29th will have their donations matched up to $500 for those giving up to the Paul Harris Plus 8 level. If you are not now signed up for My Rotary remember to sign up at least three days in advance to be able to give online.
Sigur also asked that we all consider donations to ensure we maximize our Every Rotarian Every Year goal of 100%.
Barbara LIpksis introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Jim Tucker. Jim is retired after 38 years in IT. Among his pride and joy is a 1954 Chevy Pickup.
Jim Tucker introduced Greg Tomchick and Jeff White, partners at Cybersecurity Management. Both are graduates of ODU. Greg played professional baseball for three years before rejoining the software company he started while at ODU. After being a victim of a cyber-attack, he decided to focus on cyber security. Jeff White served as a Defense Contractor for 6 years before joining Cybersecurity Management to focus on minimizing cyber risks to local companies.
Greg and Jeff reviewed just how connected is, reminding us of the potential invasiveness of the internet and the potential for cybercrime to affect everyone. The opportunities to unintentionally make ourselves susceptible to fraud is expensive and expensive with the average account takeover costing $290 to resolve and over 15 hours of your time. The most common threats are email phishing and access to business emails, romance scams and ransomware.
Tips for Individuals:
  • Think before you click on an attachment.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Delete unused Apps
  • Avoid social media connections with strangers
  • Turn off Apple AirDrop and Bluetooth when not needed
  • Avoid putting personal information on social medial
Tips for Businesses follow the same theme:
  • Proactively assess the risks to business and ID what has to be kept open.
  • Encourage good cyber hygiene practices
  • Put policies in place and test them.
  • Tom Ambler was welcomed back after surgery.
  • Sister Cities is looking for help sponsoring an Open World Delegation. Contact President Laurie for more info.
  • Congratulations to Sigur Whitaker who was honored with the James Pierce Foundation Leadership Award at the recent District Foundation Banquet.
  • Congratulations to Past President Michael for recognition at the same banquet for support of End Polio Now and high per capita giving.
  • Grand Illumination November 19.
  • Salvation Army requires help with Bell Ringing and with holiday gifts on December 10h.
Happy Bucks
  • John Searing donated for completing the Kona Marathon in October. He completed it in 16 hours
Cyber-Security Jim O'Brien 2022-11-15 05:00:00Z 0

Remembering Jim Sell (1942-2022)

The Reverend James William Henry Sell died peacefully in his sleep on the eve of his 80th birthday.
He grew up in West Virginia and did his undergraduate work in history at West Virginia University. After his first year of law school, he heard the call of the church. He received his Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary.
After serving churches in West Virginia and New Jersey, he was called as Rector of Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in 1990. At the time, Christ & St. Luke’s was struggling. He served Christ & St. Luke’s for 15 years and when he left, it was thriving. Jim was known for his love of children, his outreach not only to the parish but also to the wider Hampton Roads Community and his thoughtful sermons. He enjoyed writing (even wrote a book later published by hand), reading, golf, and traveling.
He first joined Rotary in West Virginia. He was a member of our Rotary Club on two occasions and is remembered for his thoughtful invocations. He was a Paul Harris Fellow.
His memorial service will be at Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 W. Olney Rd., Norfolk at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. A reception will follow.
Remembering Jim Sell (1942-2022) 2022-11-10 05:00:00Z 0

DMV and Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia


Barbara Lipskis introduced the Rotarian of the Day, John McLemore. John was president from 2002-2003 and has been involved in numerous initiatives over the years. For several years John spearheaded the annual visit by Russian judges who were housed in Rotarian homes (per a United States law). John’s task, to introduce fellow Rotarian, Shep Miller, who was president from 2008-2009, was a challenge. Shep was born and raised in Norfolk, majored in Political Science at Hampden Sydney College, worked for a local congressman, earned an MBA at William and Mary, and worked at Newport News Shipbuilding. In 1957 he was recruited to be the CEO of Kitco Fiber Optics, which became one of the fastest-growing companies in Virginia. Eventually, it was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, and Shep had to find other challenges.

Shep Miller, Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, decided to pay Happy Bucks because he learned on his arrival Tuesday that he still owed his dues to the club. But the ‘check is in the mail.’ Shep explained how he got involved in fundraising for Glenn Youngkin’s campaign, then participated in the planning and organizing of the Transportation Department. It seems that his wife, Gigi, was persuaded to encourage his ongoing participation as Secretary; he still seems puzzled about how that was done!

Department of Motor Vehicles was the first focus of his tenure. Shep noted that the people were good and sincere, but not well-managed. The Youngkin administration focuses on metrics and cost-benefit analyses. If it’s important, it should be measured. Wait times at DMV averaged 38 minutes across the state; now the average wait time is 8 minutes—as of last week. Shep personally went to a local office to obtain a RealId. He waited an hour and twenty-five minutes. He learned a lot about the process bottlenecks. Those have been addressed. As a bonus, his photograph was sent to all the offices with a note that he would be out to visit them.

The Transportation budget is $10B, which doesn’t include partnerships with private entities; there are 10K employees. He discussed the Elizabeth River Tunnels partnership with a Spanish firm. Of note, due to a recent arrangement, folks making less than $50K annually can get a one-half price for tolls. Shep also commented on the Port of Virginia which was recently cited as ‘the most efficient container port in the US.’ He has also toured the Amazon facility in Suffolk; 3M square feet and the second largest building in Virginia (second to the Pentagon).

Shep expounded on the importance of the 1cent sales tax which goes to paying for the maintenance of roads and tunnels. The focus of the administration is on spending to make a difference, i.e., to unlock economic potential. Road work helps unlock potential in various ways: it improves the tourist experience so which increases benefits in areas focused on tourism, but it also improves access for daily workers, helps move cargo from the port to inland distribution centers, etc. Shep discussed spending on I81, as well as 3 miles in Northern Virginia which will cost $600M. Shep was not a believer in tolls, but he has been converted. Traffic management and shifting demand can be done through tolling; the behavior of drivers is affected by tolling.

Finally, Shep turned his attention to local projects. He discussed ‘smart scale’ metrics which compare projects and how they will improve conditions. Traffic studies are key to these metrics. Shep asked: how many studies were conducted on bike lanes? Answer: none. They are not safe; they are not used. How much money was spent to reorganize streets with bike lanes? Answer: too much.

As for trains, there is a plan to spend $1B on a corridor for the trains. A bottleneck at the Potomac River leads to delays. A new bridge, just for passenger trains, would go a long way to improving this situation. Shep pointed out that inflation has hit his budget hard. Original estimates have had to be increased by $120M this year due to inflation. Obviously, projects may have to be cut back or delayed.

During the Q and A, Shep was asked about the toll on the new HRBT. He encouraged us to lobby our local elected officials as they are on the committee that decides. But he predicted that our current system of HOV lanes at certain times of the day will be changed so that they are permanently tolled.

Everyone was appreciative of such a candid and nuanced presentation. Thanks to Shep!

The Meeting

President Laurie had Randy Garrett attempt to use the microphone, which had a pronounced droop. Randy and Pam Tubbs on the keyboard led us in “Happy Days are here again,” and “Grand Ole Flag.” After the usual Pledge of Allegiance and The Four-Way Test, Julie Keesling offered the invocation. (Remember the 3 B’s: be clear, be brief, and be seated!)

Visitation/Introduction of Visitors

Dave Duncan had a lengthy list of visitors due to the unique appeal of our speaker, Shep Miller. John McLemore introduced Shep’s wife, Gigi, and son, Wills. Barclay Winn, no stranger to Rotary, was also there. John Padgett introduced Garry Hartlieb, a fellow lawyer and prospective member. Linwood Beckner hosted Carley Brierre and Victoria Pickett. Jim Tucker brought Casey Dunn. Bill Eisenbeiss introduced Bill Rachels.

Club Business

President Laurie thanked Julie Keesling for her club service over the years. This a reminder of the float being organized for the Grand Illumination parade on Nov. 19th. And there will be an excellent opportunity for community service on Saturday, Dec. 10th, from 9 AM to 1 PM to help the Salvation Army set up for the annual holiday distribution.

Happy Bucks & Fines

There were many happy bucks to share!

  • Bob Batcher of the matchless voice served as a master of ceremonies using the microphone so the call could hear the news.
  • Sally Hartman has a new car (after an unfortunate accident).
  • Michael Desplaines celebrated the acquisition of cacti for the new conservatory at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
  • Jeff Wells handed out Rotary decals for the parade;
  • Chris Bugg made a pitch for seeking a non-profit partner for next spring’s Suds ‘n Buds.
  • Ed Kellam reminded us of the 247th Marine Corps birthday.
  • Linwood Beckner noted that Ben Mason’s daughter ran the New York Marathon. President Laurie added that Tom Koller walked the marathon.
DMV and Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia Julie A. Keesling 2022-11-08 05:00:00Z 0

Honoring Rotarians and Celebrating Generosity

The Rotary Club of Norfolk had a two-part meeting on November 1.
We presented resolutions honoring three special club members who died in recent years – Barry Kesser, Bill Burnette, and Harry Gustin. Each received a standing ovation in tribute to their years of devotion to Rotary International and our club.
Additionally, Sigur Whitaker, our club’s foundation chair, gave an overview of Rotary giving in anticipation of the “Giving Tuesday” opportunity on November 29. Over the past three years, club members’ donations have made our club among the top three worldwide for online donations on Giving Tuesday. Sigur encouraged members to give generously and continue that accomplishment.

Sharon Laderberg, read the resolution honoring Barry Kesser, a 40-year club member who passed away at age 79 on March 23, 2021. He was her cousin and club sponsor. Barry strove every year to have perfect attendance at Rotary, often making up at foreign clubs while on travel. Due to health reasons, his widow Kay could not attend in person but his children attended via zoom. His family thanked Rotary for this honor and Sharon’s father, Howard Kesser, accepted the resolution on behalf of the family.
Our club website includes this tribute to Barry:
Barry Kesser was a Rotarian in spirit before he became a Rotarian. He would do anything to help people. and is fondly remembered for his upbeat nature, friendly greetings, and smile. He was a member of the chaplain's committee, and his invocations were thoughtful and often included a Priestly Blessing.
A real estate developer and appraiser, he was well-known throughout Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He loved to race Hobie Cats, was an avid runner who participated in marathons, earned an amateur pilot’s license, and rode a motorcycle.  He was active in the community as the president of the Board of the Norfolk Board of Realtors and served on the boards of Congregation Beth El, the Norfolk Public Library, and the TOWN Foundation.
Barry was a devoted family man married to the love of his life, Kay.  They had three children and seven grandchildren who fondly called him “Papa Bear.” Barry is pictured with Kay.
Joey Rothgery read the resolution honoring Bill Burnette. He passed on February 3, 2020. Bill played bridge every Tuesday morning at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club then rushed to get to Scope on time. Joey noted that Bill would love to have our club meet at the yacht club. Joey honored Bill for his long association with Rotary, where he was generous with his time, talent and treasure. Bill’s widow Betsy accepted the resolution.
Bill’s obituary calls him a humble, compassionate, and generous person who always put his family first. He lived his 92 years with gusto. He spread happiness wherever he went, and his talent for making friends was legendary.
As a boy, he discovered flying and launched on a journey that ultimately became a 76-year love affair with aviation.
Bill graduated from Newport News High School and immediately enlisted in the Coast Guard during WW II. He later attended The College of William and Mary where he became a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was in the Class of 1950. He served in the Air Force Reserve during the Korean conflict. He went on to a career of over 60 years with the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
Bill started his second career in the self-storage industry on the Outer Banks in 1999.
Bill was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, where he served as Senior Warden.
Joey also read a resolution for Harry Gustin, who passed away on March 20, 2020, at age 98. His family couldn’t attend, but Joey will send the resolution to them. Active in Rotary until 2015, Harry was a member of the Rotary Foundation Bequest Society.
His obituary highlights Harry as a graduate of Virginia Tech in the class of 1943.
He served in the U.S. Army and Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 with the Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines. He graduated in 1948 from the University of Virginia School of Law. He joined a Norfolk law firm that became Taylor, Gustin, Harris, Fears, and Davis. He later worked with Huff Poole and Mahony in Virginia Beach and retired after 60 years of law practice.
At Park Place Baptist Church, he served as a Bible school teacher for 20 years. He later joined Talbot Park Baptist Church and served as board chair, deacon, scoutmaster, and moderator of the Norfolk Baptist Association.

Harry served as president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, president of the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association, vice president of the Norfolk YMCA, on the Norfolk School Board and on the Norfolk Public Library Board.
Giving Generously
Sigur explained that Rotary charitable giving occurs at two levels:
  1. Internationally through Rotary International or what she calls “Big Rotary.”
  2. At or local level through the Norfolk Rotary Endowment, which she calls “Little Rotary.”
The Rotary Foundation started in 1917 by Arch Klumpf with $26.50 has grown to more than $666 billion in assets. It has invested more than $3 billion into projects around the globe, including here in our region.
The Rotary Foundation has a four-star Charity Navigator rating and is ranked among the top charities in the world. Rotary manages its funds efficiently and applies them to seven focus areas, including fighting disease, promoting peace, and the environment.
Sigur made a pitch for members to donate annually to the Rotary Foundation for either the annual fund or Polio Plus. For the annual fund, three years later, 92% of the funds donated by our district are returned for clubs to apply for supporting local grants and international projects.
Rotary Foundation grants have helped our club join with others to install a kitchen at the Hunton YMCA, put in a play area at the Virginia Zoo, and support other worthy nonprofit projects in the region. Our club is in the process of leading an international project to provide clean drinking water in Ethiopia.
Checks can be made to Rotary Foundation and mailed to Rotary International in Chicago with a form printed from the website, or if preferable to donate online at To do that, sign in and get a login and password. To find your Rotary member number look on the label on the magazine you receive monthly or check your profile on our club website.  
A good time to make a contribution is Giving Tuesday -- November 29 -- the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Sigur hopes to continue our club being among the top three in the world for giving on that day. Our club matches each $100 contribution with points.  You can help the club in its efforts to match by donating your points. To find them, check your donation balance on the Rotary Foundation website
Points are when you give to either the annual fund or polio plus – one point for every dollar, you can use those to help someone to become a Paul Harris Fellow.
To support our club’s local endowment (or Little Rotary), write a check to Norfolk Rotary Charities and earmark it for the endowment or use Venmo.
Our club established its endowment in 1991. It currently has a value of $786,527 and is managed by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. The endowment supports our club’s annual grantmaking efforts.
The Meeting
President Laurie Harrison reported Barb Lipskis had surgery on her arm
Dave Duncan introduced the guests:
  • Betsy Burnette, widow of Bill Burnette
  • Maria Miller, Mary Insley’s friend from California is considering moving to our area
  • Sharon Laderberg’s father, Howard Kesser, who is a cousin of Berry Kesser
Club Business
  • We welcomed new member Ed Kellam whose sponsor is Chick Robison. 
  • We welcomed new member Mary Insley whose sponsor is LauraBeth DeHority.
  • We celebrated club members' birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Laurie thanked the Golf Tournament Committee for its hard work:  Tom Koller, Jeff Wells, Kelly Stefanko, Jim Tucker, Carlisle Wroton, and Marty Raiss. The golf tournament raised more than $4,000 for Polio Plus, which will be matched by Rotary International.
  • Jeff Ryder dressed as Mario and represented our club at the FACT (Family of Autistic Children of Tidewater) family fun day.
  • With Jeff Wells’ leadership, we will have a float in the Grand Illumination Parade on November 19. This is our November community service project. 
  • December service project in partnership with the Sunrise Club is Salvation Army stocking stuffing set for Saturday, Dec 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Mal Branch’s memorial service will be Saturday, November 5.
  • The district awards ceremony in Williamsburg is on November 10. Let Laurie know if you’re going. If we have eight people we get a reserved table.
  • Kay Stine earned her blue badge. 
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Chris Bugg – didn’t have a pin (he had to thank Eleanor for her generosity in letting him borrow one) and called out John Miller for being in the top 40 under 40. He also paid for Duke losing in football to UNC)
  • Joey Rothgery announced the blood drive going on at the Yacht Club today until 3 pm today.
  • Bill Lehew for the Washington Commanders and former ODU player Taylor Heineke who scored the winning touchdown.
  • LauraBeth DeHority for four new tires and Mary Insley’s induction
  • Sally Hartman for her foursome getting lost at the club golf tournament but also for surviving her car getting t-boned the next day.
  • Sigur Whitaker for UNC beating Duke in football
  • Ben Mason – asked for people to speak up as they couldn’t hear well.
  • Jim Kitts – forgot his pen
Honoring Rotarians and Celebrating Generosity Kelly Stefanko 2022-11-01 04:00:00Z 0

Remembering Mal Branch (1945-2022)

Mal Branch grew up in Chicago, Illinois and always wanted to follow in his father's steps as a Naval aviator. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he pursued his dream. After nineteen years of service on the West Coast, his Navy career took a twist when he was accepted into the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program where he learned to operate a nuclear power plant. He joined the U.S.S. George Washington, which was then under construction, as the executive commander. After a stint on the U.S. flagship U.S.S. Whitney, Mal returned to the U.S.S George Washington as its commanding officer. After an illustrious U. S. Navy career, Mal had several interesting jobs including as the Executive Director of Virginia Ship Repair.
Mal was active in the community serving as the chairman of Norfolk International Airport and served on several boards including the American Red Cross and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. He joined our Rotary Club in 2002 and was a PHF + 8. He loved to sing “Sing Rotarians” which is to the tune of “On Wisconsin!”
Mal and his wife, Nancy, loved to travel and he fulfilled his dream of visiting all seven continents when they went to Antarctica.
Mal’s funeral will be at Christ & St. Luke’s Church on Saturday, November 5 at 2 p.m.
Remembering Mal Branch (1945-2022) 2022-11-01 04:00:00Z 0

Golfing for a Good Cause

Enthusiastic newer member Tom Koller and his golf team produced a fun day for dozens of Rotarian golfers, their guests and non-golfing members, family and friends who enjoyed the post-tournament social and auction. The day at Cypress Point Golf Club in Virginia Beach raised money to help Rotary International eradicate polio. A lot of purple pinkies were painted in the process as members a guests donated for polio vaccines to be used in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Golfing for a Good Cause 2022-10-21 04:00:00Z 0

The Quest to End Polio

Rotary Club of Norfolk members and guests likely will avoid playing in water parks and soaking in hot tubs after hearing speaker Colleen Bondadonna highlight all the germs marinating in their water. The District 7600 Polio Plus Chair's graphic analogy showed how polio could spread rapidly in countries where unvaccinated people bathe and wash in rivers, lakes, and ponds. 

Colleen, a past president of the New Kent Rotary Club, was introduced by Past President Pam Tubbs, a polio survivor. Colleen, a tireless champion for Polio Plus, has volunteered at 13 polio inoculation days in India and Nigeria. She won Rotary International's Service Above Self Award for her dedication to eradicating polio. 

"Polio is only a plane ride away," Coleen said. While it was eradicated in our country decades ago thanks to the Salk and Sabin vaccines, polio re-appeared in New York in July in an unvaccinated man who flew in from another country and is now paralyzed. Twenty years had passed since this country saw a previous case, but this one infected 10 people in five New York boroughs among communities that do not believe in vaccines. 

Colleen reminded luncheon attendees that Rotary International's 1985 commitment to eradicate polio has saved millions of people but that it is dangerous work. This year 12 vaccinators have been killed while trying to help prevent polio. She encouraged Rotarians to continue supporting PolioPlus so it has enough 60-cent-a-dose vaccines to immunize children in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries where it is most needed. She commended past District Governor John Padgett for the generosity that has earned him PolioPlus Society status. 

The Meeting

  • Ben Mason's visitation report celebrated the return of Cy Grandy. It noted that Jean Owens is in memory care at Westminster-Canterbury and enjoys visitors, Rick Coradi is back to golfing and that Chip Vogan is recovering from an illness.
  • Guests were Mary Insley, a prospective member, and Rotarian Jennifer Priest from the Sunrise Club.
  • President Laurie Harrison reminded members that the club has a Zoom option with a link sent out with meeting RSVP notices. She and Vice President Barbara Lipskis recently attended the district conference. She shared a moving poem about the joys of Rotary service that debuted at the conference. 
  • Tom Koller highlighted the golf tournament, social, and auction coming up the next day.
  • The October Community Service Day is an October 29 Trunk or Treat event at Camp Grom for children through the FACT (Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater). Jeff Ryder is coordinating the service event. 

Happy Bucks

  • Barbara Lipskis, who had been painting purple pinkies for Polio Plus donations, reported $138 raised for polio prevention at the meeting.
  • Sally Hartman was happy to have had trips to national parks out west and to Arkansas for her high school reunion and to see long-time friends. She and Ron also just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
  • Joe New had a wonderful trip to Lisbon except for the Covid souvenir he picked up there. 
  • Bob Heely is thrilled his son, Ted, is a new dad and the father of Beckham, Bob's first male grandchild. 
  • Tom Koller noted that it was snowing in Buffalo and he was glad he moved to Hampton Roads and avoided the snow.
The Quest to End Polio Sally Hartman 2022-10-18 04:00:00Z 0

Norfolk City Mayor

John Padgett was introduced as the Rotarian of the Day. John is currently the Managing Partner of the Norfolk office of McGuireWoods. In addition, he is a Past District Governor of District 7600 as well as a Past President of our club and Major Donor to the Rotary International Foundation. John introduced Norfolk’s Mayor Kenneth Alexander to give the club an update on what’s been happening in the city. Before being elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 as Mayor of Norfolk, Dr. Alexander served in the Virginia Senate from 2012-2016 and the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002 to 2012. In addition, Dr. Alexander is currently the President of Metropolitan Funeral Services and the Chancellor of a network of career community colleges.
Mayor Alexander thanked John for his kind introduction and he remarked that he had worked with somebody at each table at some point during his years in public service. There were three areas that the Mayor wanted to emphasize, Money, Public Safety, and Projects Happening in Norfolk.
This year’s budget for the City of Norfolk is $1.8 Billion. Real estate taxes contribute around 34% of that amount. 97% of the land in Norfolk has been developed and 37% of the real estate in Norfolk is non-taxed as it is owned by governments, religious organizations, and other non-profit entities including hospitals. The largest line item in the budget is Norfolk Public Schools which receives an allocation of 37%. In 2021, the City of Norfolk lead the region in new job creation, the number of new projects initiated, and the amount of private investment.
Public Safety
Mayor Alexander acknowledged that Norfolk has experienced an uptick in violent crime. The City has been aggressively trying to fill 200 vacancies within the Norfolk Police Department. Norfolk is known for having a high-caliber Police Academy and one of the issues that they are encountering is talented officers being “poached” by other municipalities. The city is also enhancing early intervention efforts with organizations such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs. Code enforcement has also taken a higher profile as a means to enhance public safety.
Notable Projects
The Military Circle Entertainment Project is down to three finalists with the “Arena” in the current lead. This is still a work in progress with no firm commitments made. The casino project is moving forward. The mayor’s goal is for no taxpayer money to be used to get it up and running. The anticipated tax revenue from the casino is between $34-44 million annually. This money will be earmarked to build or renovate 25 schools.
St. Paul’s Transformation is ongoing. Residents from about 600 units have been relocated. The mayor stated that the affected families have been the recipients of programs that have had measurable impacts. 100% of the high school 10 graders displaced three years ago have received their high school diploma. The average earned income of displaced families has gone from $14,000 to $21,000. The poverty rate for those moved has been cut in half. Almost all of the children moved have Health Insurance.
The City’s Flood Mitigation Plan is moving forward. It is currently projected as a $1.8 billion project with significant Federal support.
The mayor was kind enough to entertain questions from the audience on a wide range of topics.
 Club Business
President Laurie Harrison called the meeting to order and Sigur Whitaker accompanied by Pam Tubbs on piano lead us in music with “Sing Rotarians” and “It’s a Grand Ol’ Flag”. After the Pledge of Allegiance and Four Way Test, Kelly Stefanko gave the invocation.
The visitation report included an update about Rev. Johnathan Stanley’s battle with throat cancer and news that Dr. Steve Jones was beginning proton therapy.
There were numerous guests and a visiting Rotarian, Jennifer Priest, from the Norfolk Sunrise Club on hand to hear Mayor Alexander’s remarks at the meeting.
The Club was reminded of the following upcoming events:
  • The District 7600 Conference is being held Thursday, October 13, 2022, through Sunday, October 16, 2022, at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa
  • The Rotary Club of Norfolk Golf Tournament is taking place on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at Cypress Point Golf Course. So far, 48 golfers have registered to play and 75 Rotarians and guests have signed up for the evening social. Proceeds will help RI’s effort to eradicate polio.
  • The next service project is October 29, 2022, from 4-7 pm. It is a “Trunk or Treat” in conjunction with The Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater. More information is available on our ClubRunner site.
  • The Club will have a float in this year’s Grand Illumination Parade on November 19, 2022. Details are still being worked out.
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Lois Kercher was happy to have visited the new Children’s Mental Health Hospital in Norfolk.
  • Joey Rothgery has been named the PrimePlus Board President for the new term.
  • Ann Baldwin announced that she is a first-time great-grandparent.
  • Bob Batcher confessed to his cell phone going off during the last meeting.
  • Linwood Beckner spoke of the skinny-dipping exploits of Ann Baldwin. The remarks were luckily rated “PG”.
  • Chris Bugg had something going on with a Rotary T-shirt.
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on October 19, 2022, at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club. Our speaker will be Colleen Bondadonna, District 7600 Polio Plus Chair.
Norfolk City Mayor Jim Kitz 2022-10-11 04:00:00Z 0

Kids First for a Better Norfolk

VP in Charge of Programs, Barbara Lipskis, introduced Rotarian of the Day - Marty Raiss. Marty is a graduate from Miami – Duke University, She has been a Norfolk private tutor since 1972, has worked in Public Service and community outreach for the City, the Director of Ballentine Assisted Living, has worked on the board of Prime Plus, and she has two children including a son who has just retired, a daughter and three perfect grandchildren. 
Marty introduced Adale M. Martin, Ph. D to the Club. Adele’s career history is both eclectic and remarkable. She has an obvious broad range of interests and expertise, and as she says, she is passionate about the issues in which she has been involved. After obtaining a B.A. in International and French Studies from Ohio State, her interest in public service was sparked, and she pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Louisiana State and then a Doctorate in Public Administration and Policy at ODU. She is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at UVA and serves on the organization’s alumni council. 
Marty continued her introduction with more interesting facts about Adele. Her myriad interests are reflected in the variety of jobs she’s had. Including Program Coordinator, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Assistant Manager at the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education, Executive Director of the Slover Library Foundation, a position of which she is especially proud; as principal owner of Martin Consulting, she has worked on, among other things, watershed mitigation planning; and most recently, she has served on the Norfolk School Board an elected chair from 2020-2022. Adele has also served this community through other volunteer work at CHKD and as a member of the Garden Club of Norfolk. She and her husband Roy live in the Algonquin neighborhood of Norfolk. They have two children in Norfolk Public Schools, and to say the least, she is their biggest cheerleader.   
Adale M. Martin, Ph. D. thanked the Club for the introduction to speak at the meeting. She is up for reelection for the Norfolk School Board and wanted to share her dedication to improving the graduation rate in Norfolk Public School. Her vision and commitment to ensure a 95% Graduation Rate for NPS seniors so that they can have opportunities upon graduation, which means that they are prepared to be enrolled, employed, or Enlisted. She believes strongly in kids first for a better Norfolk! And she believes she can help make a difference in Norfolk’s education system. 
Adele also talked about expanding security resources in schools and supporting our amazing teachers and staff. Her passion, in part, comes from being a product of public education from Pre-K to Ph. D. She explained that NPS is the largest non-federal employer in the City of Norfolk with over 5,033 employees. Despite a national workforce shortage, the NPS’s teacher retention rate is over 87%, which exceeds the national average. The NPS Board approved funding in the SY2023 Budget to provide a more equitable pay scale and incentive bonuses for teachers. They also plan to expand bus driver pay and work schedules to give them more daily hours by offering other in-school roles, like lunchroom monitors, etc. 
By the way, the NPS bus drivers are the highest-paid in the region! The NPS board also explain support positions in the schools by increasing the gifted resources teachers, English language learner teachers, behavioral specialist, social workers, and school psychologists, and improving coordination of social-emotional services by lengthening the contract of an administrator of school social work from 10 months to 12 months. All of these changes are for one purpose. KIDS FIRST FOR A BETTER NORFOLK! She asked us for her support!
The Meeting: 
Laurie rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:30 pm. Sigur Whitaker led us in the singing of R.O.T.A.R.Y. Laurie led the Four Way Test followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Kelly Stefanko gave the Invocation. Ben Mason gave the visitation report. We had a moment of silence for the Passing of Jim Sell who was a Norfolk Rotary member for 4 ½ years and a Rector of Christ & St Lukes from 1990 to 1995, his memorial will be on Nov 12th. 
Mal Branch memorial service is scheduled for Nov 5th at Christ & St Lukes. Laurie welcomed all of the Rotarians joining on Zoom. We will continue to offer the Zoom link as an option for members to join our meetings. We sang Happy Birthday to all the October birthday babies. Laurie celebrated October Wedding Anniversaries and the Rotary Anniversaries. 
Announcements and Club Business:
- Thank you to Jeff for conducting our last meeting while Laurie was out of town.
- Thank you: Mark Shaw, Bob Powell, Carlisle Wroton, and Rick Coradi for representing our club at the District 7600 Golf Tournament at Kingsmill.
- We have a fundraiser at Cape Henry Oyster Crush-Charity Roast hosted by Cape Henry on Sunday, October 9th, 1 pm – 6 pm at Ballyhoos in Virginia Beach.
- The Golf Tournament is scheduled for Oct. 19 at Cypress Point: Sign up to play, attend the social or donate an item to benefit Polio.
- Community Service Event: Halloween Family Fun Day, Saturday, October 29th, 4 pm – 7 p at Camp Grom in Va. Beach.
- Rotary Club ball caps ($20), T-shirts for sale, and we have free Mugs. 
- Sigur congratulated Past President Michael Desplaines for being Paul Harris Fellow +6 pin. 
- The Board will be reviewing fees at the 10/17th meeting.
Happy Bucks & Fines:
  • Pam Tubbs was fined for her story in the Pilot – What a Trip. 
  • Stephen Kirkland was fined for being featured in the paper regarding his Tourism Award. 
  • Michael gave happy bucks for being able to see Hamilton (finally) and gave happy bucks for Jeff Ryder’s assistance with tickets and expressed how lucky our community is to have the VSC, an Equity Theater, in our area. 
  • Lorna gave happy bucks for a recent trip to Canada where she saw her daughter, it had been such a long time. She also commented on the crazy driving in Montreal!
  • Barbara Lipskis paid a fine for not wearing her pin and encourage the rest of us to fess up too. 
  • Dianna Starkey paid a fine for not wearing her pin. 
  • Happy bucks were also given for 30th anniversary and 25-day trip 
  • Happy bucks were also given for a new car and a Safari trip.
Kids First for a Better Norfolk Dianna Starkey 2022-10-04 04:00:00Z 0

Student Fellowship

The World comes together through Student Fellowship
A ray of hope was exhibited at Rotary with the student presentation of their exchange trip to Teil at the September 20th meeting. Pictures are worth a thousand words and the PowerPoint was enhanced by a narrative presented by the four students.
Eleanor Wallach, Vivian Bockheim, Seth Holmes, and Noel Searing made a great impression on the families and communities they visited.  The sites and people they touched are different today.  The four students convinced this writer that they have a new appreciation of historical culture and the needed connections and imagination required to grow and excel in this world.
You could feel the pride in the room coming from parents, other relatives, and club members that we were well represented by these four fantastic students. Vivian, Seth, Noel, and Eleanor were clearly changed and proud to represent their family, Club, and community.
Expressions of support for the exchange program were expressed throughout the room after the presentation by members of the Club who were involved over the years with the Teil exchange.  Let’s keep imagining a new world through cultural and student exchanges.
Student Fellowship Bob Batcher 2022-09-20 04:00:00Z 0


Futuristic Drones Are Here Now
Founder and CEO of Virginia Beach-based DroneUp, Tom Walker, wowed Rotarians on September 13 with his stories of success and drone technology.
His unmanned aviation technology and services company had astronomical growth during the pandemic and is currently the largest drone service provider in the world.  DroneUp recently announced it is adding 655 jobs as part of a $27 million expansion.
DroneUp is unique in providing both drone delivery and ariel surveillance collection whereas most drone companies do one or the other.
The company started in 2016 and took off during the pandemic when people were forced to isolate themselves. Drone Up was considered essential and could do work remotely, allowing for contactless services like roof and building inspections. The business grew 1,006% in the first year of the pandemic and has grown by more than 900% every year since.  It now has 80,000 independent contractors around the world. Walker said he is most proud of being the most diverse high-tech company in the US.
DroneUp’s big break came in becoming Walmart's partner for contactless delivery.  When Walker decided to pursue it, DroneUp had never done a delivery operation and had three weeks to develop the technology.  They were able to beat out the competition and win the Walmart contract by providing more than 5,000 residential deliveries over nine weeks. Walmart invested $100 million for a 14% investment in DroneUp, the largest drone contract that has ever been signed.
Drone Technology
Walker explained that drones essentially carry sensors –- thermal, chemical detectors, and cameras –- to enable providing a number of services efficiently, such as security and insurance, and construction inspections.
Drones can be used for mapping in two and three dimensions. One use has been to build rapid situational awareness tools for first responders. Drones can find health and safety issues and monitor construction progress, often more efficiently than using humans.  Walker gave the example of façade inspections – with drones eliminating the need for scaffolding - which his drones have done for every MGM casino in the United States.
Drone delivery of E-commerce, medical, and food is happening already, noting that Hamburger Helper is the most ordered followed by macaroni and cheese. He said drone delivery is exceptionally safe, noting it has a better track record than any other mode of transportation and is quieter than a UPS delivery.
The Meeting
Sigur Whitaker led us in song, “God Save the King” and the “Four-Way Test”
Jim Sell gave the invocation.
Lauren Kiger reported on Tom Ambler, who is recovering from unexpected knee surgery. Lisa Chandler reported seeing our former bookkeeper Ann Morgan at a meeting and that she is doing well.
Kelly Stefanko introduced members who brought guests:
  • Carlisle Wroton – Ron Chupik, facilities manager, and Joe Baron, Norfolk Sherriff
  • Kay Stine – Rise Flenner, tax accountant, and lawyer with PB Mares
  • Bob Batcher – Steve Zollos, CEO of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia.
  • LauraBeth Dehority – Mary Insley, a fellow former Californian who just moved to our area and attended Growlfest where they met.
Vice President Barbara Lipskis introduced Tom Koller, Rotarian of the Day, who introduced our speaker. Tom is the director of corporate relations for Old Dominion University and moved to our area recently after working for many years at Buffalo State University. 
Club Business
  • President Laurie Harris announced the passing of John Cameron and called for a moment of silence in his memory
  • Laurie thanked Linwood Beckner for hosting our club social
  • Growlfest was a success, thanks to Chris Bugg and LauraBeth DeHority for leading the effort and so many Rotarians for helping out at the event. We had over 24 volunteers from our club provide more than 68 hours of their time.
  • Members were reminded of the upcoming Golf Tournament, social, and auction – on October 19th at Cypress Point. Proceeds will benefit End Polio Now.  Register to play, attend the social, and donate a raffle or auction item.
  • Jeff Wells is leading a group to build a Rotary float in this year’s Norfolk’s Grand Illumination parade on Nov. 19th. Please let him know if you are interested in helping.
  • The district continues to collect bagged rice and beans to help with hunger.  Please bring your donations (of 3lbs or less) to next week’s meeting or the first meeting in October. 
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Sigur’s most recent book, Racing with Roger Penske, has been published
  • Bruce Wilcox, Chic Robison, and Susan Donn bought new cars
  • Linwood Beckner gave happy bucks for seeing Pam Tubbs back in person again
  • Pam Tubbs gave happy bucks for being late
DroneUp Kelly Stefanko 2022-09-13 04:00:00Z 0

Get Ready for Golf and Auction Fun

The Rotary Club of Norfolk Golf Tournament and Social will be on Wednesday, October 19 at Cypress Point Country Club in Virginia Beach. Rotarian Tom Koller is heading the golf committee and encourages members to participate and bring guests.  Teams of experienced and newby golfers will enjoy a BBQ lunch at noon and have a shotgun start at 1 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. there will be a social and silent auction. Proceeds will benefit Rotary International's End Polio campaign.
Even if you’re not a golfer, sign up and plan to attend the afternoon social for only $20.  Register using this link --
Here is a sneak peek at some of the auction items up for grabs:
  • Hand carved Chesapeake Bay topographical map
  • One week stay at a Corrolla beach house
  • 4 tickets to ODU Football
  • Sirena Serious Eatalian gift certificate
  • Dick's Sports Goods gift certificate
  • Wegmans gift certificate
  • 6 tickets to an ODU basketball game
  • Bill Haas Signed Golf Club
  • Weber Miniature Grill (donated by Taylor Do It Center)
  • EVMS gift basket
  • Basket of The Reverend Spirits…bourbon, vodka, gin
  • Month membership of Beers at Three Notched Brewery
  • Gift Card to one of M & M Hospitality restaurants (River Stone, Vintage Tavern, Decoys, Bennett's Creek Amedeo's, Cork & Bull)
  • Wine basket
  • Historical plate
  • Native plants and gardening books
Let Rotarian Kelly Stefanko know if you have auction items to donate. 
Get Ready for Golf and Auction Fun 2022-09-13 04:00:00Z 0

Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Poverty

Dan Lear is the director of development and communications for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Founded in 1978, Habitat for Humanity International’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing a home to low-income families. Habitat relies on volunteer labor both to build the homes as well as to man the resale stores.
The local chapter, founded in 1988, provides homes throughout the seven cities in Hampton Roads. The homes are sold to low-income families based on what they can afford. The family takes out a mortgage for 30% of their income. Habitat then provides a second no-interest mortgage which is forgiven after 15 years. The home valuation is set based on the comparable homes in the neighborhood. Most families which get a Habitat home has spent between 50% and 70% of their income on rent. Studies have shown that 60% of children who grow up in homes owned by their parents will own their own homes.
Responding to a need, the local chapter expanded its mission in October 2021 to provide home repairs to low-income and income-constrained seniors, disabled, and veterans to allow them to remain in their homes. Habitat has received monies for this effort from foundations including Sentara Cares, the Blocker Foundation, and United Way as well as HUD block grants. Longer term, they believe that funding will be more challenging as the younger generation is not as philanthropic as the baby boomers.
In addition to funding, they are also facing the challenge of finding land on which to build new homes and the cost of materials and supply chain interruptions. Before COVID, they would build four to five homes annually. During COVID, they built two homes. They are planning to have a woman build week where the house will be built by women and a hero build week for police, fire, military, and healthcare providers.
The Meeting
Dr. Stephen Jones is recovering from surgery. Barb Lipskis fell while playing golf and broke her arm.
Jeff Wells introduced Sarah Woods Bigler who owns Coastal View Realty. Randy Garrett introduced his finance, Caroline Hunter. Laure Kiger introduced Shawn Young and Patrick Ratier, a member of the French Navy currently stationed with NATO.
The Golf Tournament will be held at the Cypress Point Country Club and will include an auction as part of the social following the tournament. Tom Koller urges members to contribute items for the auction and to sign up for the tournament and the open-to-all social afterward.
Sigur Whitaker, our Foundation Chair, presented a Major Donor crystal to Pam and Ace Tubbs, a PHF +6 to Marilyn Gowen, and PHF + 2 to Joe Massey.
An impromptu auction was held for two tickets to the Norfolk Forum on September 7 featuring travel writer Rick Steves. The two tickets were won by Joe Massey who immediately donated them to whomever could go as he already as tickets to the talk.
Our Rotary Club is going to have a float in the Illumination Parade which will be held on November 19. We will need 24 volunteers to participate. 
The District Conference is being held in Richmond from October 14-16. It is a chance to mingle with Rotarians throughout District 7600 and learn more about Rotary.
Happy Bucks:
  • Laurie Harrison was fined from the floor for not announcing that we had transitioned to Happy Bucks.
  • Lisa Chandler for being one of the 500 Virginia Business Leaders
  • Sharon Laderberg gave in honor of her “best medicine” (her grandson) who made her smile after recent surgery.
  • Bill LeHew is celebrating ODU’s victory over Virginia Tech.
  • Barb Lifland for a trip to International Falls, Minnesota to see the aurora borealis.
  • Sally Hartman’s portrait is currently on display at Gallery 21 as part of an exhibit by Glen McClure. Also on display is her son’s Luke, portrait.
  • Pam Tubbs is celebrating her birthday by contributing one dollar each year.
  • Sigur Whitaker contributed because her niece has graduated from college.
  • Joey Rothgery provided a “paid advertisement” for the Master Gardeners which will begin their next class in 2023. The classes fill up quickly.
Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Poverty Sigur Whitaker 2022-09-06 04:00:00Z 0

Stage Company Service Project

When new Rotarian Jeff Ryder's organization needed help he knew the right team to call -- his fellow Rotary Club of Norfolk members. Jeff, new managing director of the Virginia Stage Company, took one look at the theater's piled up prop warehouse full of random things and knew it needed organizing. Thanks to more than a dozen Rotarians and family members at an after-work service project, theater props are in their proper places -- chairs with chairs, suitcases with suitcases, etc. Overgrown weeds out front are banished. And, Rotarians had a great time working together to help an area nonprofit and even trying on a quirky costume.
Stage Company Service Project 2022-08-26 04:00:00Z 0

Socials Are Fun

Rotarians love a good party, and Linwood and his wife, Frances, hosted a great one recently at their Freemason home. The after-work social was an opportunity for new Rotarians and veteran members of our club to get to know each other better in a casual atmosphere with good food, beverages and fellowship.
Socials Are Fun 2022-08-26 04:00:00Z 0

REACH Strives to Reduce Illiteracy

At our August 16 luncheon meeting Dr. Jennifer Goff, executive director of REACH Inc., provided sobering statistics on illiteracy, the lasting impact of people not being able to read and the work her organization is doing to help children develop a love of reading.
She reported that illiterate people live in poverty, struggle with substance abuse and addiction, have trouble gaining employment, turn to crime to make money, makeup 60 percent of incarcerated adults, and can't help their children break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Dr. Goff gave 2020 statistics that show in our region, Norfolk and Portsmouth have the highest rates of children living in poverty -- one of the factors leading to illiteracy.
In Norfolk, only 54% of public school students pass their third-grade Standards of Learning exams. And, 18 percent of the city's public high school students do not graduate on time. Of juveniles involved in the justice system across the country, 85 percent of them are illiterate.

"By the time they start school, children who come from low-income situations, have a 30 million word gap compared to their more affluent peers," Dr. Goff said. The gap is caused in part by children not being read to, not having regular conversations with adults, and not having books in their homes. She pointed out the neighborhood near Scope has one of the country's highest poverty rates and that many children living there have no books in their homes.
REACH, which stands for Reading Enriches All Children, is a nonprofit headquartered in Norfolk. It strives to help children become proficient readers so they read at least on grade level by grade 3. That milestone is an indicator of their future success in school and life. REACH combats illiteracy through its Big Free Bookstore in Military Circle Mall, which gives children new books to take home. It also hosts free book fairs in schools and at various organizations and sponsors read-aloud programs at the bookstore and in area homeless shelters.
Dr. Goff asked for the club's guidance in helping REACH solve a dilemma. Its 10,500-square-foot warehouse, office, and free bookstore are in Military Circle Mall, which is slated for demolition. The date to vacate the mall is looming, and REACH needs a new home before the end of this year. If you have ideas on where REACH can store books, have an office and locate its free bookstore, please call Dr. Goff at 757-627-4722 or email her at
The Meeting
  • Michael Desplaines introduced his guest, Jo Ann Short, the new head of The Planning Council. She is a former Rotarian and a potential club member.
  • Members were encouraged to sign up for the social at Linwood and Frances Beckner's home on August 23 and our community service project on August 25. We will help organize the Virginia Stage Company's prop department on that date.
  • Laura Beth Dehority gave happy bucks to charity for the psychologist from Ukraine she is hosting for the Norfolk Sister City Association. She said her visitor cried when she saw sunflowers growing at Norfolk Botanical Garden since the flowers symbolize her country and its resilience.
  • Tom Koller gave happy bucks to charity in honor of his sister-in-law Laurie being the club president and for his daughter's good report after her cancer treatment.
  • Laura Beth encouraged Rotarians to sign up to volunteer at Growlfest on September 10 -- particularly the second shift of pumping beer. Growlfest at the Virginia Zoo is one of the club's major fundraisers.
  • Since it was the day to vote on our club's permanent venue, three speakers advocated for the locations being considered. Mark Shaw spoke about the Norfolk Yacht  & Country Club, Lois Kercher talked about the advantages of returning to Scope, and Chris Bugg highlighted The Harbor Club's amenities. Ballots were then handed out to those attending.
REACH Strives to Reduce Illiteracy Sally Hartman 2022-08-16 04:00:00Z 0

Get Ready for Growlfest

Growlfest, one of the Rotary Club of Norfolk's major fundraisers, is back for its sixth year on Saturday, September 10, at Virginia Zoo from 5 to 9 p.m. Look for sign-up information to come soon since volunteers are needed. Note: volunteers will need to buy tickets. In addition to benefiting our club, Growlfest proceeds help Virginia Zoo and the Sunrise Rotary Club.
This fun evening event is for all ages so please invite family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. While craft beer and cider will be available for adults who buy drinking tickets, there also are youth and non-drinking adult tickets for sale. Children under 2 are free. Guests will get to see zoo animals in the evenings and enjoy games. Adults with drinking tickets get six tickets that let them enjoy a variety of craft beverages plus the first 1,000 ticket buyers get a commemorative glass when they exit the zoo. Food trucks will be on site to provide dinner. Ticket prices increase on September 5. Learn more and buy tickets:
Get Ready for Growlfest 2022-08-10 04:00:00Z 0

DG Kenny and the importance of DASH

President Laurie rang the bell at 1234 bringing the meeting to order. She introduced District Governor Kenny (James) of THE Rotary Club of Richmond. By way of beginning his remarks, he thanked Past District John Padgett for coming to a District training session on his anniversary. (Typically, folks comment on PDG John’s attire at these meetings so most present were surprised that there was a compliment given!) DG Kenny also warned us that he would be coming back in the future.
After reminding those present that THE Rotary Club of Richmond started our Club (we are Club 114 in Rotary-speak and didn’t make the magic top 100 Clubs along with Richmond during Rotary’s Centennial in the 2004-2005 Rotary Year.) Indeed, the Richmond Club started our Club and many more, and each of those started many Clubs. It would be interesting to know how many Clubs Richmond really started.
It was during his early years in the Richmond Club that DG Kenny realized what being a Rotarian meant. His Club buys backpacks for needy school children and he was assigned a young student who he helped purchase school items at the local Target. Except that what the student needed was essential clothes including shoes. Admitting that his experience buying school clothes was very limited, he was a little terrified, especially since he couldn’t spend more than $100. After buying even the dreaded underwear, he and his student presented themselves at the cashier and found that the bill was $101 - which the cashier ignored, fortunately for DG Kenny!
What he learned that day was what he did in the DASH was what was important. What is DASH, you ask? It’s the years listed on your memorial at the cemetery: You know, born in 1950 and passed in 2032. What you did between birth and death is what counts. Were you a good Rotarian in those years? Did you really contribute to your community and the world? We all should be thinking about what we do in our DASH: were we really good Rotarians? His message was that we all need to continue to grow, imagine Rotary giving back, and especially living our DASH in the best Rotary way!
Along the way, DG Kenny found time to invite us all to the District 7600 Conference on October 14-16 in the Short Pump Area and to pass a gift on to Rotarian Lauren Kiger who is membership chair this year (Lauren also got her Blue Badge so she had a double recognition at the meeting.) And after questions, DG Kenny finished the meeting early at 1:15.
Noteworthy happenings:
- Lauren Kiger received her Blue Badge
- The Club Golf Tournament was announced. Stay tuned for more information
- John Padgett, Sally Hartman, DG Kenny, and Chip Vogan all donated happy bucks
REMINDER: Next week members will vote on the venue for future meetings. If you can’t make the meeting, you can vote via Zoom. 
Join Zoom Meeting at
Meeting ID: 832 7607 7016.      Passcode: 774539
DG Kenny and the importance of DASH Jim Kitz 2022-08-09 04:00:00Z 0

Incoming Board of Directors

Laurie, our new President, led the introduction of our new officers and Board members with descriptions of their functions.
  • Laurie Harrison is the “Big Boss”
         Keeps everyone focused on Imaging Rotary
  • Jeff Wells, President-Elect
          Does not do PowerPoint
          Chair of Norfolk Rotary Charities
          Focus on preparing to be the next President
  • Barb Lipskis, VP of Programs
          Do the PowerPoint and schedules the programs
  • Dave Duncan, Sec/Treasurer
          Strategic Plan
          Focus on the Financial Stability of the club
  • Gus Stuhlreyer, Finance Committee
           Master of the financial books
           The wizard behind the curtain
  • Michael Desplaines, Past President
           Living in the legacy
           Focus on is finding future leadership journey through the Chairs
  • Barbara Lifland, Administration Director
         Office Administration
         House Committee
         Scheduling Sergeant of Arms
  • Martha Raiss, Fellowship
         Schedule Greeters, Singers, Prayers
         Oversight of Social activities, a golf tournament to support our Polio
  • Sharon Laderberg, Public Image
          Schedules the Scribes
          Oversight of Historian, website, Public Relations, Resolutions, and Social Media
  • Chris Bugg, Fundraising
          Oversight of Suds & Buds ’23, Growl fest, weekly raffles, and Polio fundraising
  • Kelly Stefanko, Community and International Service
          Oversight of local Service Projects., Cleanwater Grant, Districts grants, Community Service, and Tiel exchange
  • Tom Ambler, Vocational Service
         Oversight of our High School and Youth programs
  • John McLemore, Parliamentarian
         Keeps the leadership behavior ship shape
All these activities are executed with enthusiasm and vision by Rotary volunteers who have stepped up to the task.  The common theme of all the introductions and descriptions of activities was a call for more support.  Now is the time to step forward and volunteer to Imagine Rotary.
Club Business
Laurie Harrison called the meeting to order and introduced Chip Vogan to lead us in song. After the “Pledge of Allegiance” and “Four Way Test” Joe New lead us in prayer.  As tradition requires, August Birthdays, August Anniversaries, and August Rotary Anniversaries were recognized with applause and outstanding singing.
President Laurie presented a PowerPoint giving recognition of many achievements that Past Presidents have contributed to our club.  Our Past President Michael Desplaines was presented with the Districts Presidents Award.  Many other accolades for the work of the club and individuals for their work over the past month.  Thank you!
Fines and Happy Bucks
The common theme of fines and bucks was our members have traveled the world and coming back or they are planning on traveling the world in the upcoming weeks.  Our kids and grandkids are also doing great things.
The next meeting will be held on August 9 at the Norfolk Yacht & Country ClubReview the task and committee opportunities and Imagine Rotary.
Incoming Board of Directors Bob Batcher 2022-08-02 04:00:00Z 0

Helping Rotary Hands

Kelly Stefanko, Rotary Club of Norfolk's Director of Community Service (above), was among more than 20 Rotarians and family members who recently tackled an array of projects at Primeplus Senior Center in Norfolk. While Kelly and one team weeded a pollinator garden, other crews cleaned out a storage room, disposed of unneeded material in binders and packed bags of food for older adults in need of nourishing food. Sharon Laderberg (below), director for public image, was on the food packing team.
Helping Rotary Hands 2022-08-01 04:00:00Z 0

Red Badge Project

New Rotarians spent a productive Saturday morning recently building raised beds for a community garden behind Freemason Street Baptist Church in downtown Norfolk. Besides being part of a worthy project, the volunteers got to know each other better, meet long-time Rotarians and get a jump on turning their new member red badges into blue ones.
Red Badge Project 2022-07-22 04:00:00Z 0

Saving President Reagan

Our Rotary Club is doesn't have to look far to find fascinating speakers. On July 19, our member Lois Kercher enthralled us with details about the day President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 in Washington, D.C. and her role as a nurse in caring for him at the hospital. Lois brought with her the letter the president wrote thanking her for the expertise she provided. She also shared a link to a docudrama about how Reagan was saved that features the actual medical staff, including Lois:
Saving President Reagan 2022-07-20 04:00:00Z 0

Saving the Life of President Ronald Regan

Jeff Wells introduced our very own Lois Kercher to speak about her experiences in “Saving the Life of President Ronald Reagan” after the attempted assassination of his life on March 30, 1981.  Reagan had just assumed office on January 20, 1981, and was exiting a speech he had given at the Hilton Hotel when John Hinckley fired six shots at the President. Hinckley’s motivation was to impress the actress, Jodi Foster.  His six shots wounded 4 people, Press Secretary Jim Brady, Washington DC Police Officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, and unbeknownst to anybody at the time, President Reagan.
After being shoved into the presidential limousine, President Reagan was rushed away from the scene of the shooting en route to the White House. Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr thought that President Reagan was very pale and thought he might be having a heart attack. He directed the driver to take the President to George Washington Hospital. President Reagan insisted on walking into the Emergency Department. It was not until he was examined that it was determined that he had been shot under his left arm. He was immediately scheduled for surgery.
Lois was tapped by clinical administrator Dr. Dennis O’Leary, to take charge of OR logistics and communications. She was responsible for communicating the President’s status to the Hospital and White House leaders. She did share that immediately before being put under anesthesia, President Reagan said, “I hope you are all Republicans.”
President Reagan eventually recovered after a 12-day stay at George Washington Hospital. Some notable comments from Lois were that Nancy Reagan spent a lot of time at the President’s side but was challenging to interact with. On the other hand, President Reagan was “positively charming”. In fact, he presented Lois with a personal letter of thanks for her role in taking care of him during his stay in the hospital.
Thank you, Lois, for sharing this awesome event in your life! To learn more about this historic event and see Lois’s dramatic screen debut click the following link to see a docudrama that was filmed about a year after the incident.

Club Business

Vice President Jeff Wells called the meeting to order and Bob Healy led us in music, including a custom version of “RotaryVille”. (Hat tip to Mister Buffett). After the Pledge of Allegiance and Four Way Test, Marilyn Gowen gave the invocation which emphasized “Service”.

There was not a visitation report given. We did welcome fellow club Rotarian, Colin McKinnon, back from an extended absence due to health issues involving his daughter. He updated the club on the progress she is making and is grateful for the baby steps forward that she has achieved

There were several guests and a visiting Rotarian at the meeting. Mark Shaw had each Rotarian introduce their guest (s).

  • John Searing introduced his daughter, Noel. Noel will be participating in the upcoming Teal Exchange.
  • Jim Sell’s wife, Ellen Sell, was in attendance despite Jim’s absence. A sign that we have quality programs!
  • Rotarian Jennifer Priest joined us from the Norfolk Sunrise Club. Jennifer let us know that the Norfolk Sister City Organization was looking for hosts to house several mental health workers from Poland who would be attending workshops on dealing with PTSD from August 12-19. The workers are currently immersed in helping refugees from Ukraine.

Vice President Jeff Wells encouraged all members to sign up for a committee assignment.

Marty Raiss reminded us about the service project at PrimePlus on July 29th. Please sign up in advance so that Bob Batcher has an idea about the numbers to expect.

Jim Kitz commented on the success of John Miller’s Red Badge Service Project on July 16th. Five Rotarians help construct 8 raised bed gardens for the Downtown Norfolk Community Garden Project.

Fines and Happy Bucks

  • Jeff Wells confessed to being named as the Architect representative to Norfolk’s Architectural Review Board.
  • Chip Vogan has a gainfully employed son.
  • Marty Raiss’s 14-year-old grandson is in town for a visit.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on August 2 at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club. President Laurie Harrison will introduce the Committee Chairs and we will vote on a “new” permanent location.

Saving the Life of President Ronald Regan Jim Kitz 2022-07-19 04:00:00Z 0

Protecting our Wildlife

Vice President in Charge of Programs, Barbara Lipskis introduced Rotarian of the Day Rachel Bellis. Rachel is the Assistant Director of Local Affairs for PETA. Rachel has much international experience in Italy, Spain, and Mexico. We recognize her work educating the public and dealing with abusive situations.

Rachel introduced Tricia Raxter, Senior Analyst – Illegal Wildlife Trade at Focused Conservation and United for Wildlife. Tricia has a MA and Ph.D. She loves nature and wildlife and works as an intelligence Analyst. She spoke about the scope, scale, and assumptions of Wildlife Crime.

Tricia spoke about the how illegal wildlife trade has escalated into a multi-billion-dollar industry in just the last decade. Now a global crisis, the trafficking of ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife commodities threatens the survival of some of our planet’s most iconic species. It is estimated that the illegal wildlife trade generates up to $23 billion a year, making it the fourth largest criminal industry in the world after drugs, arms, and human trafficking. Whole species are being hunted to extinction, as part of an illegal trade that benefits organized criminal gangs. The illegal wildlife trade is one of the five most lucrative global crimes. Illegal killing and trading of wild animals is a global crisis, with species being hunted to extinction for their horns, skins, and teeth.

Tricia spoke about how wildlife and environmental crime is logistically sophisticated and part of a syndicate of players and organizations. Locating targeted species, and arranging the quick extraction and transportation to ready buyers around the globe demands talented players. She spoke about how this is more than a conservation issue. Poachers are often experts. Along with the wildlife and plant trade comes arms trade, drug, and human traffickers, gangs, and human violations. Many high-profile people have been involved in this trade seeking the novel experience of owning a powerful cheetah, an exotic plant, or sought-after traditional medicinal remedies.

Tricia challenged our assumptions. The illegal trade is not just in Africa, not just ivory, or exotic birds. Africa continues to be the major source. Asia has the greatest demand followed by Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos Myanmar, and Indonesia. Jaguars are a hot item. The Galapagos are being infiltrated with sophisticated extraction strategies.

There are Wildlife Protections and organizations such as United for Wildlife and Focused Conservation. United for Wildlife was founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014. It aims to make it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance, or profit from illegal wildlife products. By working collaboratively with the transport and finance sectors, building key partnerships with law enforcement and NGOs, and sharing information and best practices across the sectors, and across borders, United for Wildlife is disrupting this criminal network globally.

Tricia is part of the investigative team supported by expert intelligence analysts who play a vital role in piecing together the complex web of criminal supply chains, and training specialists who work with government agencies to build capacity and long-term solutions to wildlife crime. Expert intelligence analysts play a vital role in piecing together the complex web of criminal supply chains, and training specialists who work with government agencies to build capacity and long-term solutions to wildlife crime.

Club Business

Our 2022-2023 President Laurie Harrison opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Four-way Test. Bob Heely led us in song and Marilyn Gowen provided a reflective invocation. For visitation, Chris Bugg mentioned that our Immediate Past President Michael Desplaines is back. Chris also mentioned that Rick Coradi would appreciate a call or hearing from members. 

Rob Sult was recognized for completing all required steps and achieving his Blue Badge. Well done Rob. 

 Our Guest this week were: 

Leslie Jackson - LauraBeth DeHority's niece

Karl Dornemann - guest of Patricia Raxter

Kalen Hammann - prospective Rotarian

Adam Donn - Susan Donn's son

Rebekah Klyukin - guest of Susan Donn

Jennifer Goff - Chris Bugg's guest


Birthdays and anniversaries were recognized in July.

Michael Desplaines               July 08
Dalton Dunbar                        July 08
John Padgett                           July 08
Jeff Wells                                 July14
Linwood Beckner                   July 15
Kay Stine                                 July15
Ben Mason                              July16
Bill Jonak                                 Jul25
Diane Wallach                        July 30
July Anniversaries
Pamela & Ace Tubbs, 44 years
July 01, 1978
Laurie & Mark Harrison, 37 years, July 13, 1985
Bill & Mary Louis Lehew, 12 years, July 28, 2010
Julie & Bob Keesling, 42 years, July 31, 1980
July Rotary Anniversaries
45 years, Bob Heely                        July 01, 1977
28 years, Jim O’Brien                      July 01, 1994
30 years, Carlisle Wroton               July 01, 1992
2 years, Lauren Kiger                       July 07, 2020
12 years, Angela Kerns                    July 27, 2010
17 years, Lisa Chandler                    July 28, 2005
Immediate Past President Michael was unable to participate in the installation of the 2022-23 Officers and Board last week so took the time this week to reflect on his presidency. Michael regards his presidency as the “honor of his life.” His recognition of the value of Rotary began as a youth and continues today. Michael then thanked and recognized the contributions of each of his supportive officers and board members with a cap as a token of his appreciation.
Happy Bucks:
- Jeff Wells called out Marty Raiss for being in Inside Business.
- Chip Vogan acknowledged his son’s engagement and the happy addition of his daughter-in-law to the family.
- Alan Nelson made a great trip to the Adriatic Sea.
- Barb Lipskis has a son closing on a new home.
-Jeff Wells is back in possession of his vehicle keys.
Protecting our Wildlife Lorna Cochrane 2022-07-12 04:00:00Z 0

Our New Leadership

July 1 marks a new Rotary Year. Not only do we have a new president of Rotary International and a new presidential theme, we also have new leadership for the club. At the July 5 meeting, Laurie Harrison was installed as president, Jeff Wells as president-elect, Barb Lipskis as vice president of programs, and Dave Durham as the secretary-treasurer.  The club's leadership includes Barbara Lifland (administration), Kelly Stefanko (community and international service), Tom Ambler (vocational service), Marty Raiss (fellowship), Sharon Laderberg (public image), Walt Sobczyk (fundraising), Chirs Bugg (membership) and Sigur Whitaker (Foundation). Pictured above are the officers: Jeff, Barb, Laurie, and Dave. 
Riki Salam, an Australian graphic artist specializing in aboriginal art, designed the new theme "Imagine Rotary."  The circle signifies our connections to one another, the seven dots surrounding the circle represent the seven areas of focus, and the green line is referred to as a digging stick and represents a tool for getting things done. While the colors are those of the suffragette movement which were chosen as Jennifer Jones, the new RI president, is the first woman to hold the spot, they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Purple can stand for Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio, green for the environment (RI's newest area of focus), and white for Rotary's dedication to peace. 
Our New Leadership 2022-07-06 04:00:00Z 0
A New Club Leader Sally Hartman 2022-07-05 04:00:00Z 0

Our 109th President

Laurie Harrison, left, was installed as the 109th president of the Rotary Club of Norfolk on July 5, 2022 by Lorna Cochrane, club president in 2019-20. President Laurie then saluted outgoing club president Michael Desplaines with a list of 10 Things We Love About Michael. Also taking office were Jeff Wells, president elect; Barbara Lipskis, vice president, and Dave Duncan, secretary/treasurer as well as directors Tom Ambler, Chris Bugg, Sharon Laderberg, Barbara Lifland, Marty Raiss and Kelly Stefanko, and parliamentarian John McLemore.
Our 109th President 2022-07-05 04:00:00Z 0

St. Paul's Transformation Project

Jeff Wells reminded us that this was his final program as Vice President – Of programs. He introduced the Rotarian of the Day Major Donnie Dohmann. Donnie joined our club in April 2021 but has a history of joining Rotary Clubs at his postings with the Salvation Army. He and his wife, Major Laura Dohmann, currently serve as Area Commanders of The Salvation Army of Hampton Roads. Donnie introduced our speaker Mel Price from Work Program Architects. Mel and her firm have a focus on Urban Design and are currently working on the St. Paul’s Area Transformation Project.
Two major goals of the Transformation Project are to convert the St. Paul’s area public housing units into a mixed-income community and to remediate the flooding issues that plague the area. Ms. Price gave some details of the People First Program which is focused on assisting residents displaced by the project. Over 50% of displaced families plan to move back when the project is completed. The program has an annual budget of $3,500,000 and is well staffed with 1 employee for every 20 families served.
Current Residents have been included in the planning process. Some of their concerns that are being addressed include:
  • Flood Remediation
  • Church Street Restoration
  • Connect the community to the rest of Norfolk
  • Create neighborhood amenities – greenspace/parks
A virtual aerial and walking tour was presented of the completed project. Phase 1 is required to be completed by 2025 to retain HUD funding. The entire project is expected to last several decades. The Hunton YMCA, an organization important to our club, can keep its current building but Ms. Price mentioned that there are better choices of location anticipated. Needless to say, there were many questions from the audience.
Club Business
Vice President Jeff Wells called the meeting to order and Eleanor Schoonover led us in music. After the Pledge of Allegiance and Four-Way Test, Joe New gave the invocation. He also told the club that this was Bill McInnis’s final meeting. Bill has been a long-standing member of our Club and ran our raffle which benefits Norfolk Rotary Charities. THANK YOU BILL!
There was not a visitation report given.
There were several guests at the meeting. Al Carmichael had each Rotarian introduce their guest (s).
  • Jeff Wells introduced Kaelin Hammond, Donna Calvert, and Sherry Wells
  • Donnie Dohmann introduced two Salvation Army Cadets, John, and Candy Lawrence
Vice President Jeff Wells announced the School of the Week was Little Creek Elementary School. The book, when you Trap a Tiger, will be donated to the school in commemoration of Mel Price’s presentation today.
Treasurer Barbara Lipskis reminded the club that the semi-annual club invoices would be coming out in July. They will be delayed due to some details that still need to be finalized. She also mentioned that 17 members have past due invoices from January and asked that these be made current before the next ones are sent.
Vice President Jeff enthusiastically inducted two new members to our Club:
  • Patricia Raxter was sponsored by Sally Hartman
  • Jim Tucker was sponsored by Jeff Wells
We welcome both of our new Rotarians to our club and look forward to getting to know them better in the weeks and months ahead.
In Bill McInnis’s final Raffle there was $7 in the daily pot and $448 in the Big Pot. The Scribe missed who the winner was but can report that the Big Pot is still safe.
Fines and Happy Bucks
Fines and Happy Bucks were not held so that there was more time for the Program.
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on July 5 at the Harbor Club, Waterside. Laurie Harrison and her leadership team will be inducted for Rotary Year 2022-23.
St. Paul's Transformation Project Jim Kitz 2022-06-21 04:00:00Z 0

Prime Plus Exercise Session

Our guest speaker for the June 7th Rotary meeting was canceled due to COVID concerns. Vice President Jeff Wells filled in for President Michael Desplaines to run the meeting. Jeff rang the bell at 12:30 pm to begin the meeting followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance”. Jeff then asked for a moment of silence for the brave men and women who participated in D-Day, June 6, 1944. The club then recited the “Four-Way Test” followed by an invocation led by Marty Raiss.
Jeff expressed his appreciation to Bob Batcher for his willingness to present the program on a day’s notice. Bob, as always, was willing to help and demonstrated his compliance with the “Four-Way Test”. Bob introduced Jan Cline who works with Bob at Prime Plus. Jan provided the members with a brief exercise session.
Al Carmichael introduced our guests Collin Hammond, Jim Tucker, Jan Cline, Jennifer Priest, Sheri Brennan, and Roe and Luckas Amada. Barb Lipskis then inducted our newest member Jeff Ryder into the club. Welcome to the club, Jeff!
Jeff then asked the members to come up and sign the posters memorializing President-Elect Laurie Harrison’s participation in the National Rotary Convention in Houston, Texas this year. Our school of the week this week is Tarrallton Elementary School.
Wedding Anniversaries
Rotary Anniversaries
Lois Kercher, June 03
George Nottingham, June 03
Marilyn Gowen, June 05
Eleanor Schoonover, June 07
Al Carmichael, June 09
Cy Grandy, June 12
Bill Clendenin, June 15
Lorna Cochrane, June 18
Sharon Laderberg, June 28
Chip & Barbara Vogan, 38 years, June 01, 1984
Alan & Linda Nelson, 30 years, June 04, 1992
Greg & Ann Bockheim, 20 years, June 16, 2002
Bob & Elayne Powell, 55 years, June 17, 1967
Barbara & Donald Lipskis, 45 years, June 18, 1977
Diane and Joshua Wallach, 24 years, June 20, 1998
Chris & Nicole Bugg, 5 years, June 24, 2017
Lauren Kiger & Mark Sonnet, 2 years, June 27, 2020
George Compo, 34 years, June 01, 1988
Kay Kemper, 34 years, June 01, 1988
Paul Sykes, 26 years, June 01, 1996
Pam Tubbs, 19 years, June 10, 2003
Bill Eisenbeiss, 15 years, June 12, 2007
Irene O'Brien, 4 years, June 21, 2018
Lois Kercher, 14 years, June 24, 2008
Joey Rothgery, 22 years, June 30, 2000
Wayne Shank, 19 years, June 30, 2003
Club Business
  • Sigur Whitaker presented Paul Harris Fellow awards on behalf of the Foundation to Tom Ambler, Kelly Stefanko, and Paul Sykes.
  • Barb Lipskis, Secretary/Treasurer, announced that a budget for the 2022-2023 Rotary Year is being developed. She also stated that Club dues will be increasing for the 2022-2023 Rotary Year, and lastly that a "pay monthly" option will be available for the coming Rotary Year. 
  • John Cameron collected Rotary Bucks on behalf of the Club. 
  • A meeting of the Suds & Buds Committee was held after the weekly Rotary Club meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm
Prime Plus Exercise Session Dave Duncan 2022-06-07 04:00:00Z 0

Applying Computer Modeling to Organizational Issues

The Program
Our speaker was Jeffrey Olenick, an assistant professor at ODU in Organizational Psychology and Computational Social Sciences. Dr. Olenick focuses his studies on how psychology applies to work situations. From the study, Dr. Olenick hopes to glean how organizational issues can lead to potential solutions, especially for emerging issues through computational analysis. He pointed to the use of computers in projecting things such as flooding.
Computation modeling is new to organizational behavior. He is currently working on a model to study segregation issues and how it leads to different participation rates. He believes that we are often blind to our biases which, while they might be slight, can lead to significant issues.
He also studies wealth across classes, team conflict, the formation of subgroups during periods of isolation (such as the pandemic), and how learning processes apply to training.
The Meeting
Visitation: Rotarians learned of the sad news of the passing of Irv Wells who was a part of our club for 32 years. Retired from the FBI, Irv had his own investigation agency. He also published a novel, Women in Summer.
Dalton Dunbar is making progress after suffering a stroke a couple of weeks ago. He remains at Norfolk General Hospital, room 913, and would enjoy visitors or phone calls. Face masks are required if you plan to visit.
  • Rotarian Mo Ahumada, a member of the Garner Midday Club, has purchased a business in the Pembroke section of Virginia Beach. He expects to split his time between Garner, a Raleigh, N.C. suburb, and Hampton Roads. The Garner club is small (about 20 people) but has a fundraiser from which they have provided backpacks for feeding 133 middle school children and also to help the mentally disabled.
  • Lise Desplaines, President Michael’s mother was in attendance.
  • Michelle Nettles introduced her summer intern, Caroline Cashion.
Happy Bucks:
  • Ben Mason has returned from a trip to Exuma.
  • Bill Lehew is celebrating the birth of his seventh great-grandchild, a girl. A granddaughter is graduating from Norfolk Collegiate and will be attending the University of Kentucky.
  • John Searing, who has been missing in action, is glad to be back at a meeting.
  • Bob Ash’s grandson is graduating from Wyoming High School in Ohio and will attend William & Mary in the fall.
  • Jeff Wells has outed Sally Hartman who appeared on the Today show.
John Cameron won the daily raffle but failed to draw the Queen of Spades. $401 remains in the Big Pot.
Applying Computer Modeling to Organizational Issues Sigur Whitaker 2022-05-17 04:00:00Z 0

Sail Nauticus

Rotarian sailor Mark Shaw, who is an accomplished and experienced sailor and Rotarian of the Day, introduced the day’s speaker. Mark is a founding Charles Woodard fellow of our club’s endowment fund. This endowment fund has supported hundreds of local non-profits since its inception in 2009. 
The Members of the Rotary Club of Norfolk love to hear about local treasures below, above, and anything about the water, sailing, or local services for our citizens. Today's speaker was Sarah Linden-Brooks, the manager of Sail Nauticus, who brought an interesting and fitting presentation that captured Rotarian attention.
Sarah has worked in a variety of non-profit organizations, community colleges, and area museums. She trained as a museum educator and a maritime historian. She has been sailing since her youth and has worked on tall ships and as a volunteer aboard the Schooner Virginia. 
Sail Nauticus is part of the Nauticus Foundation whose goal is to serve our greater Norfolk community through the medium of sailing for academic and leadership achievement for our young people and recreational access for the general public.
Sarah began by introducing Rotarians to the Schooner Virginia. Part of the Sail Nauticus program includes the 122-foot Schooner Virginia. The Schooner Virginia, docked along the Elizabeth River at Nauticus, is a reproduction of the last all sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association. The original ship sailed for the pilots from 1917-to 1926, training apprentice pilots in seamanship and navigation.
The Schooner Virginia came to Norfolk in 2017. The Schooner Virginia serves the Nauticus Foundation as a vital education platform to engage the Hampton Roads community with a focus on delivering transformative maritime and hands-on learning to students of all backgrounds and ages, museum visitors, and the general public. 
The Schooner Virginia’s programming emphasizes STEM education, maritime history, tall ship training, workforce development, and the conservation of our local waterways.
The heart of Sail Nauticus is the academic program. It is a transformative 3-year program with water and land-based experience. Fifth graders are introduced to the water and in cooperation with the YMCA learn water safety and how to swim. The 7th graders Learn important skills like CPR and other critical sailing and life skills. The 8th graders complete the sail training and obtain a Virginia State Boaters License. 
STEM is encapsulated in the program. Sarah emphasized the program is not just about sailing but developing young people. The program aims to build character and increase confidence in participants.
After questions, President Desplaines thanked our speaker and reminded her that a book in her honor will be placed in “School of the Week” at Norview Middle School in her honor. 
The Meeting
President Michael Desplaines rang the bell, welcomed Rotarians and guests, and opened the meeting. Chip Vogan led the gathering in song. Voices filled the room with God Bless America. President Desplaines led the Rotarians and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Four-Way Test. 
Julie Keesling led attendees to thankful thoughts with the day’s invocationBrian McGuire informed us that Dalton Dunbar has had a stroke and some blood clots which necessitated his admission to the hospital. Irv Wells who has been in Maryview Hospital Hospice has returned home. Please keep them in your prayers.
Introduction of Guests: Rob Sult introduced Chris Barco, Bella DePaulo, and Taylor Lyons from the Norfolk Botanical Garden and members of the Suds and Buds 2022 committee. Jeff wells brought Jim Tucker to the meeting again today. 
Club Business:
Lorna Cochrane asked Rotarians to check the volunteer sheets at each table. She reminded members to sign up for short time-limited tasks at the Suds & Buds 2022. There are only 15-20 tasks remaining. She also called for anyone with photography skills to volunteer for taking pictures during the event.
President-Elect Laurie Harrison asked members to sign up for 2022-23 committees the sheets are on each table and should be returned to Club Secretary Karen. Each Club Member should sign up for 2-3 committees. Committee work enables the club to successfully operate.
The End Polio Now Tides Baseball Tickets for this Sunday’s (May 15th) game at 1:05 are available from Michael and Kareen. The tickets are $15.00 each and grouped. A reminder that there is a service project on May 18th, 8 am-11:30 at Basilica of St Mary’s to distribute food. Please sign up.
Suds & Buds 2022 is May 19th --- Get your tickets online at or from Karen. Chick Robison is still collecting wine for the Wine Pull. Bring your bottle valued at $20 or more or give $20 to Chick or George Compo to shop for you. 
Michael read a thank you letter from Virginia Supportive Housing Grant Recipient. Two full furniture sets are now in place for 2 homes.
Fines and Happy Bucks:
  • Sigur Whitaker an enthusiastic Tar Heels fan celebrated a 50th College reunion and participated in a “hat-wearing” tradition
  • John Cameron had happy bucks that his Cancer treatment is working and he is still here and alive. We are also thankful. In addition, his book, “Rose of War” is out this week. 
  • Jeff Wells: Contributed happy bucks in recognition of Chris Barco from NBG for his tremendous support and help in setting up for Suds and Buds 2022
Raffle: Bill McGinnis brought forth the tickets and announced that this week’s pot was $16.00 and the big pot is $406.00. Joey Rothgery was the winner of the small pot and failed to draw the lucky ticket for the large pot.
Sail Nauticus Lorna Cochrane 2022-05-10 04:00:00Z 0

Keeping Norfolk Beautiful

It was a beautiful day, blue skies and temperatures that were neither too cold nor too hot, when a group of Norfolk Rotarians gathered to collect discarded items from the area near Princess Anne and Monticello. They picked up ten bags of trash which included a can of antifreeze, a pair of pants, lumber, tires and the normal assortment of beer and liquor bottles and fast food wrappers. Pictured above are Tom Ambler, Walt Sobczyk, Joe and Barb New and Daniel Kirkley. Sigur Whitaker also pitched in.
Keeping Norfolk Beautiful 2022-05-04 04:00:00Z 0

Racing with Roger Penske

A native of Indianapolis, our own Sigur Whitaker writes books for Indy car enthusiasts for years. At our May 3 meeting, she shared her research and enthusiasm as our featured speaker. The latest of her five books, Racing with Roger Penske, a History of Motorsport Dynasty, focuses on the current speedway owner. For those of us with little racing knowledge, she started her talk with the history of the Speedway and the difference between NASCAR (stock cars) and Indy Car (open-wheel) racing.
Roger Penske, Sigur’s book subject, is an 85-year-old American businessman and entrepreneur. He is a retired professional auto racing driver who owns a race car team, several businesses, and most notably, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 
Sigur spit-fired facts on the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in a storytelling way that had even people not familiar with racing, intrigued and wanting to know more. She noted that Penske had a college degree, which set him and his race teams apart, in that they always prided themselves on engineering. Bob Ash added that Penske racing was a big client of our local wind tunnel lab back in the early 2000s. 
It was clear that Sigur did a lot of research, as she knew tons of facts and intriguing anecdotes. The meeting itself was an interesting observation of how Rotary connects the world. Sigur brought us in Norfolk closer to Indianapolis and they probably do a lot of talking about in their clubs…racing! We now know a lot more about the passions of Indianapolis and Indy car racing enthusiasts everywhere. Watch out for Rotarians at the next cocktail party, we have a whole lot of new topics we can talk about!
Our customary book will be donated to Tanners Creek Elementary School in Sigur's honor.
The Meeting
Chip Vogan led us in song, including “Happy Birthday” to Rotarians born in May.
Donald Dohmann gave the invocation.
Brian McGuire reported on the passing of Honorary member Dr. Roger Flagg
Rob Sult introduced guests:
  • Edmund Russel and Anne Prince – friends of Sigur from church (Sigur Whitaker)
  • Dr. Patricia (Tricia) Raxter – contacted Sally through our Facebook site, a former member of Oyster Point Rotary Club. She works as an investigator with animal wildlife trafficking. (Sally Hartman)
  • Bobbie Gribble – a friend of Sigur’s, Regent of Great Bridge Chapter of DAR (Sally Hartman)
  • Jeff Ryder – Virginia Stage Company
  • Bob Strozak – Old Dominion University Rotaract Club Sponsor (Bob Ashe)
  • Petra Momcilovic – Current ODU Rotaract president (Bob Ashe)
  • Karintha Cary – Past ODU Rotaract president, current club secretary (Bob Ashe)
Club Business
Pints4Polio on May 14th has been canceled, but the “End Polio Now” Tides Baseball game is Sunday, May 15th at 1:05 pm. Tickets are $15, please see president Michael to buy your tickets in advance.
Past District Governor John Padgett presented our Major Donor Award to Sigur Whitaker for her outstanding contributions to the club. Sigur then presented Paul Harris Fellow pins to LauraBeth Dehority and Chick Robinson who received his PHF+5.
Please remember to buy your Suds and Buds tickets now and bring a bottle of wine over $20 to our next meeting or hand Chick Robison or George Compo $20 to shop for you, money goes towards wine to help the wine pull at the event.
Board meeting following immediately after the luncheon.
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Gus Struhlreyer – His wife recently celebrated her 50th anniversary of graduating from the University of Denver, which won the NCAA ice hockey championship. Also, his son-in-law’s nephew chose Clemson and he gave happy bucks for his 45th anniversary.
  • Tom Koller - He’s back after 2 months of rehabbing from knee replacement, and paid a fine for not going to any Suds and Buds committee meetings.
  • Marilyn Gowen - She bought a new car
  • Sally Hartman – She noted that her guest (Bobbie Gribble’s) grandfather was a past Rotary District Governor in Hawaii. She also asked people to visit the club’s Facebooks post for Suds and Buds and like and comment on them to help them gain traction.
  • Lisa Chandler – Asked that members sign up for volunteer spots for Suds and Buds. One need is for a volunteer photographer or two. She also paid a fine for leaving early, despite being ROD.
  • Jeff Wells – Paid a fine as an admission of guilt. He was the audio-visual guy when Sigur last presented and had AV troubles. He came to set up early for today’s meeting but, despite all his intentions, left the cord for the projector and ran back to his office to get it! He also mentioned he’s currently the only one on clean-up duty for Suds and Buds and is hoping for more volunteers. 
  • Rob Sult – Paid for a smooth flight on a recent trip to Florida and a good time at the Chesapeake Rotary outdoor art festival, Rotarians all were identifiable because they wore matching shirts.
Bill McInnis ran the raffle with $14, $391 in the big pot. Tom Koller won the daily raffle and donated his winnings back to the club.
Racing with Roger Penske Kelly Stefanko 2022-05-03 04:00:00Z 0

Port of Virginia Thriving During Pandemic


The speaker was Andrew Sinclair, the Director of Federal Government Affairs for the Port of Virginia. 

Television networks have talked about the congestion at the ports over the past two years. It started when various countries shut down to try to bend the curve of the Coronavirus. Overseas manufacturers shut down which delayed ships. The shipping companies responded by taking some container vessels off their rotations. When demand outstripped supply, consumers responded by stocking up on essentials.

At the ports, a trucker shortage, which had been building for years, was unable to move the goods to their destinations. Additionally, as ships were not arriving and departing when anticipated, the ports were having to move goods around internally to make room for arrivals.

There was also a shift in consumer behavior with more consumers buying directly online from the manufacturer. There has been a shift from a consumer-based economy to a product-based economy.

In this environment, the Port of Virginia has good news to tell. It is the third-largest on the east coast and the fifth largest in the nation. While other ports were suffering from endless delays, the Port of Virginia had its best year ever in 2021 with a growth in BTUs (20-foot containers) of 25%. Additionally, the port can turn trucks around in less than 50 minutes while the standard is an hour which benefits the truckers who are paid by the load hauled.

The performance of the Port is because of an investment of $800 Million over the past five years, part of a $1.5 Billion planned infrastructure project. They have added container capacity through an automated stacking capability and have added two-ship form frames, 40 hybrid shuttle trucks, and 6,100 new chassis.

The Port also benefits from the “Virginia Model.” The multiple ports have a single owner/operator which allows them to move ships to where there is capacity unlike other ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach which has two different port authorities and ten different operating companies competing for business.

To prepare for larger ships, the channel is being deepened from 50 feet to 55 feet at the dockside and deeper further out. They are also widening the channel which will enable ships to pass. Currently, it takes four hours for a ship to go from NIT to the ocean. This is a joint federal and state project.

The Meeting

Bill Davis’ wife died unexpectedly. She was also the mother-in-law of Rotarian John Searing.

We had three visitors including Thomas Croft. Ed Kellam and Walker Shivar, a retired orthodontist, brought by Chick Robison.

Club Business

Remember to pay your dues—25% of the club has not yet done so.

The Polio Plus baseball game is on May 15. Tickets are $15 and President Michael will secure a group of tickets.

Our Suds & Buds party is coming up soon on Thursday, May 19 at Norfolk Botanical Garden. It benefits PrimePlus, this year’s third partner, Norfolk Botanical Garden, and Norfolk Rotary Charities. It is the club’s major fundraiser. Remember to bring a bottle of wine valued at $20 or more for the wine pull, sign up for a committee on the night of the event, and to buy your tickets in advance.


Happy Bucks:

  • Clay Dills firm was recognized for its work done on the pavilion for the Elizabeth River Foundation.
  • George Nottingham has been named as one of the top financial advisors.
  • Marilyn Gowen’s husband has a new car.
  • Marcia Conston has a new grandchild.
  • Rachel Bellis recently celebrated her ninth anniversary with PETA and has been promoted to the Associate Director of Local Affairs.
  • Lorna Cochrane’s trip to Arizona
  • Chick Robison was the officiant at his nephew’s wedding.
  • Barbara Lifland for a trip to Colorado
  • LauraBeth DeHority has a new car
  • Lisa Chandler is happy that the first shift for the Suds & Buds party is almost filled with volunteers.
  • Randy Garrett for a trip to the United Kingdom.
Port of Virginia Thriving During Pandemic Sigur Whitaker 2022-04-19 04:00:00Z 0

11 Nonprofits Win Grants

The Rotary Club of Norfolk recently awarded $29,000 in grants to 11 Hampton Roads nonprofits. Representatives of the nonprofits were honored at the club's April 5 luncheon meeting. Grant recipients and the grant purposes are:
  • Ability Center of Virginia for a music glove and laughter yoga supplies to help adults living with disabilities.
  • Berkley Timberwolves Youth Athletics for basketball, cheerleading and football equipment for youth living in the Berkley neighborhood.
  • Community Outreach Coalition for supplies to teach youth from disadvantaged backgrounds about potential art careers.
  • Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater for programs that benefit children and young adults living with autism.
  • FEAST Virginia for supplies for its program that helps struggling families learn to eat healthier and improve their lives.
  • Neighborhood for programs that help South Norfolk residents learn new skills and break the cycle of poverty.
  • Norfolk SPCA for microscopes for staff at its low-cost community veterinary clinic.
  • St. Mary’s Home for Power Wheels cars for children living with disabilities to use during recreation and therapy sessions.
  • Survivor Ventures for programs that help survivors of human trafficking gain education and new careers.
  • Virginia State Company for the Dramatically Able theater workshops for visually impaired or blind youth.
  • Virginia Supportive Housing to furnish two Norfolk apartments for individuals who previously experienced homelessness.
11 Nonprofits Win Grants 2022-04-07 04:00:00Z 0

Grant Recipients

Today was a proud day for the Rotary Club of Norfolk when the recipients of the 2022 Norfolk Rotary Charities Grant Recipients joined our meeting to accept their awards. Rotarians are committed to serving and raising money for those in need, locally and internationally.
Our club supports the great work of non-profit organizations in our community through an annual granting process. Today was the day to meet the 2022 recipient organizations, recognize their contribution, and formally provide the grant disbursement.   
Vice President in Charge of Programs, Jeff Wells, introduced Rotarian of the Day and Club Past President 1984-85 Bob Heely. In addition to Bob’s steady service volunteerism, he brings songs and music to our club.
Bob introduced Joey Rothgery and Barb Lipskis as the day’s program leaders. Joey is a Virginia Tech Hokie fan, a past director of the local Red Cross, a Primeplus Executive Board Member, and a Master Gardener.
Barb Lipskis came from Chicago, a pediatric Cardiac Nurse and supporter of local organizations like the Virginia Stage Company. Barb provided an overview of the Norfolk Rotary Charities Grants, their history, average award, and this year’s applicants.
Out of 40 worthy applicants, 11 were chosen and invited to the day’s meeting. Barb thanked the committee members for their commitment and diligence in the selection of successful applicants.
Joey Rothgery introduced and awarded grants for arts, education, or athletics to the first six successful applicants:
  1. Norfolk SPCA will benefit from needed veterinary equipment. Rachel Keene & Carol Olson accepted the grant.  
  2. Virginia Stage Company will use the award for its’ “Dramatically Able Workshop” for visually impaired and blind youth. April Le & Tom Quaintance gratefully accepted the award.
  3. Berkley Timberwolves Youth Athletics will see new basketball, cheerleading, and football equipment as well as support for their Soul Bowlers program for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Glen Yearling was on hand to accept the grant check.
  4. St. Mary’s Home will see enhanced mobility of their children when three new motorized wheelchairs arrive. Kathleen Kaurup accepted the grant to enable this purchase.
  5. Community Outreach Coalition will be able to enhance its bi-weekly training program. Kendra Robinson & Charlie James accepted the award.
  6. Neighborhood will benefit from leader training that leads to career and community development and ultimately reduce neighborhood poverty. CEO Josh Jones was on hand to accept the award.
Barb Lipskis introduced and awarded grants to Health and Human Services to the final five successful applicants:
  1. Ability Center of Virginia will be able to make a greater difference for members through certifications and educational material for “Laughter Yoga” and the use of a “Magical Glove” for fine motor skill development. Michelle Prendergast & Travis Pruitt attended to receive the grant.
  2. Feast will enhance its food education programs with chrome books, table coverings, popup banners, phone tripods, cooking kits, seasoning kits, and program materials. Bev Sell received the grant.
  3. FACT, Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater, will use the grant to improve the programs they offer for autistic clients. Tyler Williamson accepted the check from President Michael Desplaines.
  4. Virginia Supportive Housing will purchase two full furniture sets for previously homeless clients living in Norfolk. Nancy Perry gratefully accepted the grant.
  5. Survivor Ventures will provide support for 30 trafficking survivors and their children in Hampton Roads with the grant funds. Norfolk Rotary Charities Grants criteria allow recipients to use the funds for operating costs not allowed by other grants. Tiffany McGee accepted the award.
Rotary President Michael Desplaines reminded Rotarians of the meaningful and wide range of well enabled by our fundraising and the subsequent grants. The service done, the funds raised, and the grants awarded make an incredible difference in and touched so many lives in our community. “We serve to change lives”.  
Club Business
President Michael Desplaines opened the first meeting in our Club’s new home, the Norfolk Yacht Club. The views of the Lafayette River from the room and the excellent meal seemed to set the tone for the joy of giving to local non-profit organizations.
Sigur Whitaker led the assembled members and guests in singing the “Four-way Test” and “America the Beautiful”. Joe New delivered a timely and reflective invocation recognizing peacemakers. In a visitation report, Brian McGuire informed members of the sudden surgery and detection of cancer for our new member Rev. Jonathan Stanley. Brian reminded us to keep these members in our thoughts and prayers.
The day’s special guests included the representatives from the non-profit organizations receiving grants in today’s program. Al Carmichael introduced the recipients. We had two Rotarians from other clubs: Joe Hensley from Churchland Rotary Club and Wayne Debanter from the Portsmouth Rotary Club. Jay Sarcone was the guest of Chris Bugg. Jeff Ryder from the VA Stage Company was in attendance with an interest in becoming a member.
School of the Week was Sherwood Forest Elementary
President Michael continued the tradition of celebrating Rotarian birthdays and anniversaries during the first meeting of the month. Sigur led us in the birthday song and cupcakes were plentiful to celebrate the special days in April. 
April Birthdays
George Compo                  April 02
Michelle Nettles                 April 06
Ray Moses                        April 09
Winston Whitehurst           April 13
Bernie Cohen                    April 17
Mark Shaw                       April 17
Joe New                          April 18
Kelly Stefanko                  April 25
Susan Donn                     April 26
Brian McGuire                  April 27
Chris Bugg                      April 30
April Anniversaries
Kay & Ron Stine,
44 years
Apr 15, 1978
Walt Sobczyk & Donna Henderson,
27 years
Apr 21, 1995
Rob & Leigh Sult,
21 years
Apr 28, 2001
April Rotary Anniversaries
27 years, Jerome Adamson                April 01,1995
39 years, Skip Burton                        April 01,1983
25 years, Jack Kavanaugh                  April 01,1997
31 years, Shep Miller                         April 01,1991
36 years, Alan Nelson                        April 01,1986
33 years, John Padgett                      April 01,1989
8 years, Laurie Harrison                     April 08,2014
3 years, Berhanu Mengitsu                 April 09,2019
2 years, Chris Bugg                           April 14,2020
2 years, Brian McGuire                      April 16,2020
2 years, Stephen Kirkland                  April 21,2020
7 years, Walt Sobczyk                       April 21,2015
13 years, Lorna Cochrane                  April 28,2009
7 years, Michelle Nettles                    April 28,2015
Reminder: The Spring Social is on April 14th, 5-8 PM at the Norfolk Yacht Club. Please RSVP by April 7th to Karen if you are coming. We are charged per person, so please only RSVP if you are sure that you can attend or unexpectedly must cancel.
Reminder: Suds & Buds 2022 is on May 19th. Tickets are available online or as a hard version at the meeting front desk if you would like to sell some.
Reminder: Please bring a bottle of wine valued at $20 or more for the Wine Pull at the Suds & Buds Fundraiser.
Happy Bucks:
  • Sally Hartman contributed Happy Bucks for her trip to Guatemala and her eight days at “Joyce Maynard’s Write by the Lake workshop”.
  • Gus Stuhlreyer contributed bucks for his son-in-law’s nephew (who is only a junior in high school) who recently received his 43rd offer for a 4-year ride to play college football. The 43rd offer came from Nick Saban at Alabama. The nephew has not given any indication as to which way he is leaning.
  • Judge Joe Massey informed us that there were no Rotarians at the Scope today and contributed some bucks!
  • Bob Batcher celebrated the 40th birthday of his talented and modeling daughter. Primeplus has made the initial purchase of furniture for the Rotary Living room in the Primeplus Adult Day Service in Norfolk.
  • Both Chris Bugg and Jim Kitz coughed up funds for “no Rotary Pin”. Jim added a few more for an Army Baseball win.
  • Jim Sell contributed some “happy bucks”.
  • Sigur and Michael reminded Rotarians that it was “Giving Tuesday”, your opportunity to both give and gain double points.
  • Diane Wallach has a trip to Rome and Venice booked. She also informed us that 4 tickets to Tiel are purchased.
  • Susan Donn contributed to mark the occasion that her house went up for sale.
Next week’s Speaker is our own John Cameron – Civil War Part II.
Grant Recipients Lorna Cochrane 2022-04-05 04:00:00Z 0

Service Above Self at the Foodbank

It was a busy day at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. LauraBeth (far right) joined folks from Virginia Natural Gas packaging oranges for distribution while Walt, Sigur and Joe spent the morning sorting food donations for distribution. 
Service Above Self at the Foodbank 2022-04-02 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Supports Ukraine Relief 


Do you want to contribute to support the relief efforts in Ukraine? Consider donating through The Rotary Foundation. Rotarians are supporting the effort not only monetarily but also through "Service Above Self." Clubs in neighboring countries including Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania are pitching in with food, water, medical supplies and shelter. 
Rotary has made it easy to give to this effort. Simply go to to not only read about the relief efforts but also to contribute. You can contribute online by scrolling down to the end of the article where you will find a link to donate.
If you want to contribute from your IRA as part of the Minimum Required Distribution, contact the IRA provider and tell them that you wish to contribute funds from the IRA with the amount to The Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60693 and that the funds should are for Disaster Relief (Ukraine). All funds donated through the end of April will go for Ukrainian relief efforts.
Rotary Supports Ukraine Relief   2022-03-16 04:00:00Z 0

Giving Tuesday Is April 5

Mark your calendars. District 7600 Day of Giving is Tuesday, April 5. This is an excellent way to either earn your first Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) or to get to the next level. 
District 7600 will match a point for each dollar contributed on April 5. Here are the specific requirements:
1) All donations must be done on-line through myrotary. If you have not already signed up for myrotary, do so before April 5.
2) There is a minimum contribution of $100. The District will match up to $500. 
3) All donations on April 5 must be designated to the Annual Fund--Share. The Annual Fund comes back to the District after 3 years and 47.5% of the funds are eligible for District Grants.
4) If you are a PHF +8, the District will not match the funds. The next level of giving is Major Donor status which requires cash contributions (not points) totaling $10,000. Our club has 13 members who are Major Donors.
Two of the reasons that I support The Rotary Foundation is that I believe in the work it does throughout the world and that it is one not only a four star charity by Charity Navigator, but it is one of the top four in the world. 
Thank you for your consideration and generosity.
Giving Tuesday Is April 5 2022-03-16 04:00:00Z 0

US Navy SEALs Then and Now

Jeff Wells introduced our Rotarian of the Day, Chris Bugg. As Chris spoke last week on the topic of the upcoming Suds & Buds Fundraiser, Jeff assumed we knew him pretty well and kept the introduction brief. Chris introduced our guest speaker, Scott Chierepko, a retired US Navy Seal and owner of his own company called BEI Tactical, which provides training, products, and services to the US Government. Scott’s goal was to give the club some background information on the current US Navy’s SEALS who are a vital component of the military presence in our community.
The SEAL Teams, which reside on both coasts, are highly trained units capable of performing a variety of missions throughout the world. While early in their history, they performed primarily maritime missions that have greatly expanded through the years. Given the complexity of assigned missions, Scott stated the education level of current SEALS is significantly higher than when he was on active duty. The vast majority of SEAL recruits have college degrees and many possess advanced degrees. Training stresses not only the physical ability but also is designed to enhance the adaptability of units to a constantly changing environment with constantly changing requirements.
Leadership continues to be the foundation of all that the SEAL Teams do. The Naval Special Warfare Vision 2030 has encouraged a greater focus on the long-term wellness of not only SEALS but also their families. Scott talked a bit about the medical treatment and training assets committed to maintaining the health and conditioning of Special Operators. SEAL Teams are also working toward becoming more innovative in their approach to mission accomplishment to include enhanced partnerships with other military and government agencies.
There is currently about 8,300 active duty naval personnel assigned to Naval Special Warfare units, of which approximately 3,000 are SEALS. For operational purposes, they fall under the United States Special Operation Command based at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
Club Business
President Michael Desplaines called the meeting to order and Bob Healy lead-in music with his guitar. We sang “Wild Irish Rose” for St. Patrick’s Day and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in recognition of the conflict in Ukraine. After the Pledge of Allegiance and Four-Way Test, Joe New gave a moving invocation.
Brian McGuire told us in his Visitation Report that Rick Coradi was slowly recovering from his head injury and was planning on attending the Norfolk Forum that evening. Also, former club member and Past President Bryce Burton had a stroke but had made a full recovery.
There were several guests at the meeting. Al Carmichael had each Rotarian introduce their guest (s).
  • Chris Bugg introduced Maria Soliven
  • Jeff Wells introduced Jim Tucker
  • Chick Robison introduced Walker Shiver and Ed Kellam
President Michael announced the School of the Week was Sewell’s Point Elementary School. The book, Tyrannosaurus Rex, will be donated to the school in commemoration of Scott Chierepko’s presentation today.
Sigur Whitaker spoke to the club about District 7600’s Day of Giving on April 5th. Rotarians who donate between $100-$500 on that day will have their contributions matched by the district with points. This incentive can accelerate Rotarians achieving either their initial or subsequent Paul Harris Fellow recognition. It does not apply to Major Donors.
President Michael enthusiastically inducted two new members to our Club:
  • LauraBeth DeHority was sponsored by Sally Hartman
  • Jonathan Stanley was sponsored by Jim Sell.
We welcome both of our new Rotarians to our club and look forward to getting to know them better in the weeks and months ahead.
Members were reminded to donate a bottle of at least $20 wine to be used for the “Wine Pull” at Suds & Buds.
Fines and Happy Bucks
  • Sharon Laderberg has a new grandchild!
  • Bob Heely moved into a new home.
  • Bob Ash was called out for being in an ODU newsletter, but he had already self-confessed and paid at a previous meeting.
  • Marty Raiss was sad that Duke basketball let her down in the ACC Championship but graciously congratulated Virginia Tech.
  • Chick Robison had an amazing trip to Brazil to visit former exchange students who lived with him.
  • John Cameron received a nice pillow from a yet to be determined Rotarian.
  • Lois Kerns was happy that Iowa made it to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Michelle Nettles celebrated VA Tech’s ACC Basketball Championship.
US Navy SEALs Then and Now Jim Kitz 2022-03-15 04:00:00Z 0

Suds 'n Buds Fundraiser

Jeff Wells introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Barbara Lifland. Barbara has been a longtime member of our club and was previously the head of PrimePlus, the Senior Center. Barbara had an unfortunate encounter with an ink cartridge just before our meeting; the cartridge must have been very outraged to disgorge itself on Barbara’s favorite rug.
Barbara was happy to introduce one of our members, Chris Bugg. Most of us know that Chris graduated from the Naval Academy, but he also has two advanced degrees from Duke University. He was a pilot in the Navy and received the Bronze Star in 2007. He is working with, a software platform using artificial intelligence to automate ‘crazy hard projects.’ Chris is spearheading our annual fundraiser, Suds ‘n Buds.
Chris indicated that his goal for the meeting was to motivate us to sell Suds ‘n Buds. But, as he confessed, “I’ve never been to one.” Chris joined the club via Zoom when we had to cancel our annual event. He noted that this is the best after-work party ever! This year it will be on Thursday, May 19th, from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
Chris gave a shout-out to several sponsors who sent representatives to the meeting. Mike Coyle and Sheila Myles from Wegman’s and Trent Dudley from Southern Bank attended the meeting. Bob Batcher from Prime plus also noted that Michelle Nichols from Towne bank joined us.
The proceeds from the fundraiser are divided into thirds: one-third for Norfolk Rotary Charities, one-third for Norfolk Botanical Gardens, and one-third for Prime plus. Last year Norfolk Rotary Charities distributed over $50K in grants to community partners.
President Michael Desplaines recapped a summary of other fundraisers our club has supported over the years. The format of prior events relied mainly on getting members to contribute more money; in contrast, Suds ‘n Buds is marketed to the community and pulls in OPM (other people’s money). 
In addition, it enhances our reputation as not only a community supporter but also a fun-loving group of people. President Michael showed a video of the modernization project for Norfolk Botanical Gardens, designed by Rotarian Clay Dills and scheduled to begin construction next month. There is a (roughly) 18-month plan for construction.
Past President Lorna Cochrane stepped up to inform us where Prime plus intends to spend its proceeds. Lorna is one of four Rotarians on the board of Prime plus; others include Marty Raiss, Joey Rothgery, and Bernie Cohen. The center is in an aging structure that needs some rejuvenation and refurnishing.
The Meeting
President Michael turned to Bob Heely for our singing; in honor of Mardi Gras Bob selected “Vive le Rotary” and then “America.” Following the Pledge of Allegiance and The Four-Way Test, Jim Sell offered the invocation which was a prayer for troubled times.
Visitation/Introduction of Visitors
Brian McGuire noted that Bob Archer had cataract surgery. He invited Barbara Lipskis to give us an update on Colin McKinnon’s daughter, Kris. (Kris was in a terrible accident last year and has been in rehab since.) Due to highly competent medical support and experimental options, Kris is making progress slowly. Colin and his family have engaged fully in all aspects of her case. As many of us know, there are multiple challenges with doctors, insurers, therapists, and lawyers. The individual who caused the accident was allegedly out on bail from a previous assault and under the influence. This is ongoing in Pennsylvania, which is why we haven’t seen Colin at meetings. Please keep this family in your prayers.
Other guests at our meeting included: Laura Beth DeHority and Jonathan Stanley, prospective members. Sally Hartman introduced Kennedy Henderson, an intern at Hampton Roads Community Foundation, who will assist us with Suds ‘n Buds administration.
Laurie Harrison introduced Gary Anderson, a retired educator who is interested in promoting literacy. Peter Schmidt (CFO of NBG) was President Michael’s guest. Janet Thompson and Jarool Davis were guests of Bob Batcher.
Club Business
President Michael announced that Richard Bolling Elementary was the School of the Week. 
The first meeting of the month—and the first in-person meeting of the year—led to a long list of birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Chick Robison           Mar 05
Irene O’Brien            Mar 10
Colin McKinnon        Mar 12
Dean Rogis                Mar 13
Robert Archer           Mar 17
Berhanu Mengitsu   Mar 18
Bob Powell                Mar 18
Sally Hartman           Mar 27
Marty Raiss               Mar 29
March Anniversaries
58 years, Winston & Eunice Whitehurst                    Mar 01
March Rotary Anniversaries
36 years, Roger Flagg                    Mar 01, 1986
33 years, John McLemore            Mar 01, 1989
11 years, Diane Wallach               Mar 15, 2011
Diane Wallach reminded everyone that the Tiel Exchange will recommence this year with a new twist: teens from both clubs will be traveling. This exchange has been going on since the early 1970s. Applications are on our website.
President Michael announced that we have been approved for an international Rotary grant to support a Water Project in Ethiopia. He thanked Eleanor Schoonover and Berhanu Mengistu for their dedicated efforts over the past three years to get this project implemented.
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • John Cameron was happy to have his granddaughter visiting; she is studying at La Sorbonne in Paris.
  • Tom Ambler celebrated a visit to New York City.
  • Bob Ash had good news.
  • Jonathan Stanley has a son engaged to be married.
  • Jeff Wells was at his grandson’s ‘bris’
  • Sharon Laderberg expects a new grandson next week so she will also be attending this traditional Jewish ceremony.
  • Chris Bugg celebrated a Duke victory over UVA. There were more but the program had to go on.
Suds 'n Buds Fundraiser Julie A. Keesling 2022-03-01 05:00:00Z 0

Celebrating African American Culture

Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond is working hard to get the Virginia African American Cultural Center built in Virginia Beach. The founder and chair of the cultural center was introduced by Rotarian Dr. Steve Jones. She is a former Virginia Beach councilwoman and music and humanities professor at Norfolk State University. She is a tireless advocate for getting VAACC a permanent building to celebrate and preserve Virginia's African American history and culture. 

On February 15, Dr. Ross-Hammond shared with Rotary Club of Norfolk plans for building a permanent center on Newtown Road in Virginia Beach. VAACC started in 2015 with $30 in the bank. Its assets have grown as it spearheads cultural, historical, and enrichment programs in Hampton Roads. The City of Virginia Beach has deeded nearly 5 acres for the center. The site already featured a basketball court, which VAACC plans to keep. A new smart pole beam signals so students without internet at home can come to do homework. Tents and portable seating allow space for workshops and cultural programs at the site. Brochures highlight self-guided tours of significant sites in Virginia Beach, which has 14 historically Black neighborhoods. VAACC plans to create historic site driving tours for other area cities. 

VAACC has received various grants to support its work, which includes a six-part Black masterpiece series. A priority now is raising capital funds to build a multi-story building designed by the Hanbury architectural firm. It will include event and exhibit space, classrooms, a library, and a green roof for growing food. Phase 1 is estimated to cost $10 million. The distinctive round building will resemble a drum or a type of round building in Africa where people gather to solve problems.

"We want this to be a destination that people of any race and ethnicity can come and share stories," Dr. Ross-Hammond said. She envisions an interactive center with areas for exhibits, performances, classes, events, and space to gather."

The Rotary Club will present a copy of Summer Song to P.B. Young Sr. Elementary School, school of the week, in honor of Dr. Ross-Hammond.

The Meeting

President Michael Desplaines noted that with Dr. Ross-Hammond, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Denver, on the program the meeting room likely had the most doctors in the room of any Rotary meeting. At least eight people with doctoral degrees raised their hands when asked to identify themselves.

Michael expressed his happiness that the Rotary Club of Norfolk was No. 3 in the world for online giving to the Rotary Foundation on Giving Tuesday in November. The RI Foundation raised more than $1 million on the day of giving after Thanksgiving.

Sigur Whitaker presented two Paul Harris Fellow +2 awards to Barbara Lipskis and John Cameron for their generosity to the Rotary Foundation. 

Members were encouraged to keep Kris McKinnon in their prayers. She is the daughter of member Colin McKinnon and his wife, Patt. Kris was hit by a drunk driver last spring and her family continues to explore treatment options for Kris. 

Guests at the meeting were Edmund Russell, a retired Coast Guard officer and IBM executive, who attended with Sigur Whitaker and was the lucky winner of the weekly raffle; Rev. Johnathan Stanley and David Hutcherson from the Compassion Network were repeat visitors.

Fines & Happy Bucks

  • Dr. Marilyn Gowan is happy to have had a successful cardiac catheterization procedure. 
  • Sigur Whitaker paid a fine for her cell phone going off last week and noted that it was another annoying spam call.
  • John Cameron was happy for many reasons, including his birthday celebration, getting a book contract, his children coming to visit, and a good prognosis from his cancer treatments. 
  • President Michael was happy about a recent trip to Naples, Florida for a conference. 

In other business, President Michael presented Vice President Laurie Harrison with a special Rotary coin for leading meetings while he was on trips the past few weeks.

Board member Chris Bugg encouraged members to invite potential Suds & Buds sponsors to come for lunch on March 1 when the spring fundraiser will be the featured luncheon program.

Celebrating African American Culture Sally Hartman 2022-02-15 05:00:00Z 0

Keeping Norfolk Beautiful

Rotarian Tom Ambler and a team of his fellow Rotary Club of Norfolk  members took to the streets on February 12. As Keep Norfolk Beautiful volunteers they picked up trash around two of Norfolk’s historic cemeteries. With temperatures in the 60s, the weather was perfect for an outdoor community service project  
Keeping Norfolk Beautiful 2022-02-13 05:00:00Z 0

Suds & Buds Is May 19

Mark your calendars! After a two-year absence due to Covid 19, Suds & Buds is returning to Norfolk Botanical Garden on May 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This fun, relaxed garden party will feature craft brews, wine, a variety of food trucks, and of course, the roses will be in full bloom just a few feet from the party. Details and tickets are at
This year's Suds & Buds will benefit PrimePlus Senior Centers, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, and Norfolk Rotary Charities which provides funding for the Rotary Club of Norfolk's outreach to our community.
How can you help? We need sponsors and, of course, invite your friends and neighbors.
Suds & Buds Is May 19 2022-02-11 05:00:00Z 0

Virginia Arts Festival

President-Elect Laurie Harrison turned the podium over to Jeff Wells who introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Diane Wallach. Diane is the successful owner of Selden Optometry downtown which she purchased over 20 years ago. Diane introduced our own Dianna Starkey with Virginia Arts. She has been engaged with tourism for 30 years, majored in Hospitality and Tourism, and has worked at the Arts for 20 years. 

The Virginia Arts Festival is in its 25th season, started in 1997 with 7 cities. Dianna mentioned that there is a published program but because this is 2022, as artists are confirmed they are added to the schedule. She shared a short film that summarized all the options in genres and artists, and types of performances.  Keep checking the schedule for the additions.  

The feature is the International Tattoo. Last year it was held outside at ODU but this year it is back at Scope. The Tattoo will have school children in attendance but with a reduction in numbers.  

Perry Pavilion is a new venue that was started last year when COVID was surging with the need to be outside and socially distanced. It was so successful, that it will continue with a variety of performances. 

Each venue has a different protocol for COVID. The economic impact is $25M, also the printed program has three different covers depending on interests but the same content. The performances run the spectrum including ballet, classical, bluegrass, rock, country, and symphony.

In summary, this is one of the few efforts that all the Tidewater communities work proactively together and share in its success. The wide variety of performances can satisfy the desire of just about any preferences for a stage performance.   

The Meeting

President-Elect Laurie Harrison presided over today's business meeting since President Michael was traveling again. Sigur Whitaker led our singing with R-O-T-A-R-Y and a perfect Valentine’s day song. Following the pledge of allegiance and the Four-Way Test, Marty Raiss led us in a short prayer of thanksgiving.

Visitation/Introduction of Visitors

President-Elect Laurie announced that Joe Massey had fallen, but is back home doing well. Lauren LaBonte introduced two members from the Compassion Network, Rev Stanley and David Hutcherson. They work locally in the community and reach out to neighbors in need.  

Club Business

President-Elect Laurie announced that Oceanair Elementary School was the School of the Week. Sigur presented Paul Harris Fellow pins and congratulated Lauren LaBonte and Jay Kossman.

Chris Bugg announced the March 1st business meeting will be dedicated to the Sponsors of Suds and Buds. The intent is to invite all potential sponsors and then expose them to Rotary, our club, and the service we perform in the community. The outcome would be to get more sponsors to commit support to this effort. Bring a friend to the next meeting!

Happy Bucks

· Sally Hartman was on the Today show twice…she has been long-time fan.

· Bill Lehew for Virginia win over Duke.

· Jeff Wells for his youngest daughter’s birthday and the new grandchild.

· Susan Donn decided to move to Harbor’s Edge.

· Marty Raiss for winning the Carolina game.

· Sigur Whitaker for the Tar-heel Loss.

· Tom Koller for his daughter that was in town visiting.

Bill Lehew won the small pot of $16 and left the $393 for next week's raffle.

Virginia Arts Festival Walt Sobczyk 2022-02-08 05:00:00Z 0

5 year strategic plan

President Michael Desplaines turned the podium over to Jeff Wells who introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Tom Ambler. Of note, Tom enjoyed a forty-year career with Norfolk Southern in various cities. He retired in 2018 and enjoys living in Norfolk. (Tom also serves as the Parliamentarian for our Board of Directors, a valuable service to our club.) Tom then introduced our program: President-Elect Laurie Harrison and Dave Duncan presented the need for a strategic planning process to guide our club operations for the next five years.
Laurie provided background information on our club and the rationale for conducting the planning process before the start of our next fiscal year on July 1st. She introduced Dave Duncan, a noted expert in strategic planning for the healthcare community. 
Dave explained that Rotary International has a well-defined process for clubs and districts to conduct strategic planning. From the top-down, Dave reviewed the Values, Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives of Rotary International. But before analyzing or selecting our values, etc., we must “determine our status.”
There are several components in this step. First, we should understand the make-up of our club. Laurie provided data showing that 50% of our members are over 70. She indicated that 25% are between 60 and 69 years old. That leaves another 25% under age 60. 
Laurie also shared that we are historically a generous club; over the 108 years of our club history, there have been 350 Paul Harris Fellows. Our Endowment with the Hampton Roads Foundation has grown to $816,078. This year alone we will have over $28K in monies to give out in grants to local charities.
Finally, we need input from our members to determine in which direction we want to head. To that end, a survey will be emailed out soon. We should all think about what we value in our club, what we don’t, and where we think the club needs to focus. Laurie and Dave exhorted us to seriously participate in this important first step in our strategic planning.
The Meeting
President Michael, back from his jaunt to Arizona and Hawaii, turned to Sigur Whitaker for our singing. “When you’re happy and you know it” was followed by “You’re a Grand Ole Flag.” Following the pledge of allegiance and the Four-Way Test, Jim Sell stepped up with an impromptu but trenchant invocation.
Visitation/Introduction of Visitors
Brian McGuire had no report—good news!
Al Carmichael introduced Laura Beth DeHority, a local woman who is moving back to the area, and who is interested in membership. 
Club Business
President Michael announced that Ocean View Elementary was the School of the Week. 
The first meeting of the month—and the first in-person meeting of the year—led to a long list of birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Collins Gooch                  Jan 02              
Stephen Kirkland             Jan 08
Greg Bockheim                Jan 09
Donald Dohmann             Jan 11
Ann Baldwin                    Jan 18
Paul Sykes                      Jan 19
Deborah Davis                 Jan 20
February Birthdays
Bill Lehew                       Feb 01
Amanda Workman           Feb 07
Bill Eisenbeiss         .       Feb 08
Kay Kemper                         Feb 13
Fred Walker                         Feb 13
John Cameron                     Feb 22
Stephen M. Jones               Feb 22
Rick Coradi                          Feb 24
February Anniversaries
3 years, Brian & Kyra McGuire                          Feb. 02, 2019
6 years, Dr. Steve & Wanda Jones
Feb. 29, 2016
February Rotary Anniversaries
47 years, Joe New   Feb. 01, 1975                                           
20 years, Collins Gooch   Feb. 11, 2002
5 years, Marilyn Gowen   Feb. 14, 2017
12 years, Bernie Cohen   Feb. 16, 2010
2 years, Bob Batcher   Feb. 19, 2020
To emphasize the generosity of club members, Sigur announced that thirteen club members had reached new milestones as Paul Harris Fellows.
-Rob Sult, one of our newest members, became a Paul Harris Fellow.
-Tom Ambler and Diane Wallach plus 1
-Chris Bugg and Michelle Nettles plus 2
-Marty Raiss plus 3
-Alan Nelson and Chick Robison plus 4
-Al Carmichael and Michael Desplaines plus 5
-Jim Kitz and Joey Rothgery plus 6
Congratulations to all!
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • Gus Stuhlreyer has been a longtime fan of the Cincinnati Bengals so he was happy to donate a large sum in celebration of their victory. 
  • Chris Bugg and Sigur Whitaker are betting on an important game involving Sigur’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Sigur was not particularly optimistic about the outcome but she pointed out how many achievements she had witnessed and remains hopeful. 
  • Michelle Nettles received a “Best of House” award.
  • Michael Desplaines contributed because he had been in the relative warmth of Arizona and Hawaii for four weeks.
  • Brian McGuire donated via Venmo to celebrate 3 years of marriage.
Dr. Steve Jones won the weekly raffle. The meeting was adjourned.
5 year strategic plan Julie A. Keesling 2022-02-01 05:00:00Z 0

Nurturing Tomorrow's Leaders

The featured speaker for January 18, 2022, Rotary Club of Norfolk Zoom meeting hailed from an aptly named city -- Hopewell.
Rotarian Katina Moss brings hope for a bright future to dozens of high school students each year through her leadership in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). RYLA is a Rotary International program that helps teenagers learn lifelong leadership skills.
This year's February 19 and 20 District 7600 RYLA workshop will be virtual for the second year in a row. Moss, an entrepreneur and past president of the Rotary Club of Hopewell, chairs RYLA for the district as well as the Hopewell Youth Service Commission. 
Moss reminded our club that today's youth "are going through a lot" in the pandemic. "Some of them have not had a normal year of high school for two years. They need us to pass on our Rotary values and show them we care and want to equip them to lead the world."
Moss says last year's first pandemic-induced virtual RYLA event let teens from around Virginia connect and gain valuable skills through a Zoom weekend workshop. This year's online, interactive event will feature a True Colors personality assessment, peer mentors, inspiring speakers, and small group video projects.
The cost to attend is $200 per student, which helps cover costs of technology, the personality assessment, and other expenses. Moss says it is a myth that online events are less expensive to produce than in-person events. Our Rotary Club typically sponsors two area high school students to attend RYLA. 
The club donated a book to Northside Middle School in honor of Katina Moss.
New Rotarians
Vice President Laurie Harrison led the meeting and inducted three new Rotarians. They are:
  • Dr. Bob Archer, a psychologist and former chair of Eastern Virginia Medical School's psychology department
  • John Miller, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Navy veteran who works as a civilian with the Department of Defense.
  • Kay Stine, vice president for development at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. 
Bob, who races yachts and plays mandolin, is sponsored by John Cameron. John was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship recipient who earned a master's degree in Cambridge, England. He is the past president of the district's Rotary Alumni Association. John Miller is sponsored by Jim Kitz. Kay Stine, who previously owned a children's clothing shop and led development for Norfolk Collegiate School, has four adult children and seven grandchildren living in the region. She is sponsored by Barbara Lipskis.
Club Business
  • January 31 is the deadline for area nonprofits to apply for Rotary Club of Norfolk grants. Details and the application are on the club website.
  • Walt Sobczyk has arranged for service projects at the foodbank and park cleanup. Details are on the club website.
  • Chris Bugg thanked Suds & Bud's sponsors and let club members know more sponsors are needed to support the May 19 event at Norfolk Botanical Garden. 
  • Club dues are due and some members still owe previous dues. Please pay them promptly. 
Happy Bucks
  • Bob Ash and his wife, Mary Lewis, recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary as well as Bob's 80th birthday. 
  • Michelle Nettles shared greetings from our former club member Jos Hekking, whom she had lunch with over the holidays when he was back in Hampton Roads from The Netherlands where he lives. He is slated to become president of his Rotary Club. 
  • Bob Heely and his wife, Lush, recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary.
  • Jason Drane thanked the club for the prayers and concern for his baby daughter, who is doing well and getting treatment twice a week at the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.
  • Sally Hartman is happy her former colleague Kay Stine joined the club and that she and her husband, Ron, are adopting a cat.
Nurturing Tomorrow's Leaders Sally Hartman 2022-01-18 05:00:00Z 0

30th NC Infantry 

Our very own John Cameron spoke on the leading motivations of the 30th North Carolina Infantry to enter the Civil War. John led with the confirmation that the Civil War was about slavery.  
However, the individual motivations were driven by a multitude of influences depending on the period of the war. There was a perception that states’ rights ruled and the advancing north was an evil entity that would do great harm to the southern culture including family harm.
The 30th North Carolina Infantry was formed in NC and spent most of the Warfighting with the Army of Northern Virginia. 
50% of the men earned less than $400 a year as civilians and 88% did not own slaves. On the other hand, the State Leaders were of wealth and did own slaves.
Individual motivation to join the military varied by the period of the war effort.
  • 1862 - Primarily volunteers motivated by the preservation of slavery and fighting the evil invaders of the North and to save North Carolina.
  • 1862 – 63 – This time marked the beginning of conscription. There were broad exemptions, and the hiring of substitutes was exercised by the men of means. A large percentage of the conscripts were poor, non-slave owners motivated by the possible income. While the income was relatively low it was considerably higher than what they would have experienced on the farm. Union POW camps were death camps. If captured, you could join the Union Army and be shipped west to fight to secure the western settlement or die in the camp.
  • 1864 – Moral, living conditions and food supply were low and the desertion rate was high. Survival of the fittest and support of your brother was the main motivation. “We started this together, we will finish it together!”
John’s book “Tar Heels in Gray: Life in the 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War” focuses on the reality men faced during the war, and not so much the battles.
Club Business:
Diane Wallach led us in invocation followed by Brian McGuire giving the visitation report. The Board of directors was voted on unanimously. 
There was a unanimous vote to change the Norfolk Rotary Charity bylaws which were distributed earlier by email.
Dec 21st will be the holiday party at Norfolk Yacht Club from 6 pm-830pm.
Fines/Happy Bucks:
  • There was a general celebration of the Navy victory and a modest response by our Army members.
  • President Michael gave a brief grated version of his trip to Vegas.
Reminder- It is time to pay your Rotary Dues!
30th NC Infantry Bob Batcher 2021-12-14 05:00:00Z 0

Charities 2022 Grant Guidelines and Application

Norfolk Rotary Charities 2022 Grant Guidelines and Application
The Rotary Club of Norfolk is the oldest and largest community service club in Hampton Roads.
Thanks to generous donors to Norfolk Rotary Charities, its nonprofit affiliate, and its endowment, our Club annually awards grants to 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations doing great work in our community.
Our grants are available to nonprofit organizations working to improve life in South Hampton Roads.  Our typical grant size is $1,000 to $5,000.
Applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2022. The application form is on the next page.
All applicants must:
1. Be an established 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working in Hampton Roads. (Note: There is a preference for organizations working regionally or primarily in Norfolk.)
2. Not have received a Rotary Club of Norfolk grant in 2020 or 2021.
3. Apply for 2022 funding for either:
(a) specific supplies, equipment or tangible items. (Note: this will not fund salaries, or operating expenses)
            (b) operating costs for an innovative program targeting unique client needs
4. Complete the application below and email it by January 31, 2022 to   (Please DO NOT submit additional materials such as DVDs, annual reports, newsletters, Form 990s, etc.).
5. Be willing to speak to the Rotary Club of Norfolk and share information about how the grant would help your organization accomplish its mission.
6.  Be willing to attend the Rotary Club of Norfolk Charities meeting on April 5, 2022.
Please note that grants will be awarded in the Spring of 2022.
Norfolk Rotary Charities 2022 Grant Guidelines and Application
Please complete both pages of the following application and email to
Applications must be received by Monday, January 31, 2022 by 5:00pm in order to be considered for a grant.
1. Organization Name, Mailing Address, Telephone number, Email and Website addresses:
2. Name of Primary Contact Person for this application, position, phone number and email address:
3. What is your organization’s primary mission?
4. How long has your organization worked in Hampton Roads?
5. How does your organization help improve life in our region?  How do you measure success?
6. Complete 6(a) or 6 (b)
(a) What specific supplies, equipment or materials are you requesting funding to support?
(b) Describe an innovative program for which you require operating funding.
Norfolk Rotary Charities 2022 Grant Guidelines and Application
7. What is the amount of funding requested?
8. What is the budget for the project you are requesting funds to support? If Rotary grant funds do not cover it all, how will you make up the difference?
9. Briefly detail your programs, target audience, number of participants in Hampton Roads, size of staff, number of volunteers and annual budget.
10. How would a Rotary grant help you improve your work in your target area?
11. If your organization were to receive a $5,000 to $10,000 grant to enhance your work or support a program, how would your organization use these additional funds?
12. Please list any volunteer opportunities for our club members that your organization may have.
_____________________________    ____________________________ ___________________
Applicant Name (please print legibly)    Title                                                   Date
Email your completed application by January 31, 2022 at 5:00pm to Laurie Harrison at
Charities 2022 Grant Guidelines and Application Brian McGuire 2021-12-14 05:00:00Z 0

Charities Grant

Norfolk Rotary Charities awarded $50,000 in grants to the following organizations in 2021:
-American Red Cross of Coastal Virginia
-Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters CHKD
-CHIP Children's Health Investment Program
-Friends of Norfolk's Environment
-Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast
-Girls on the Run
-Greater Hampton Roads Diaper Bank
-Hermitage Museum and Gardens
-Hospitality For the Homeless
-Little Theatre of Norfolk
-Norfolk CASA
-Norfolk Senior Center Primeplus Senior Center
-The CHAS Foundation
-The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command
-Tidewater Community College
-Tidewater Winds
-Tidewater Wooden Boat workshop
-Todd Rosenlieb Dance
-William A. Hunton YMCA
Charities Grant Julie A. Keesling 2021-12-14 05:00:00Z 0

Continuing the Tradition

Rotarian Bob Heely presents a new book to Terri Clark, librarian at Larchmont Elementary School. The book honors the Rotary Club of Norfolk's recent speaker from Mercy Chefs. The club has a long tradition of honoring its luncheon speakers by presenting books in their honor to Norfolk elementary and middle schools.
Continuing the Tradition 2021-12-11 05:00:00Z 0

Mercy Chefs

Jeff Wells introduced the ROD -Walt Sobczyk. Walt likes Rotary because of the fellowship and building friendships. He is a PH Society member and has been in Rotary since 2007. He is married to his beautiful wife, Donna.
Walt introduced Nick Beckman, Strategic Relationship Manager, and Chef Tom Yager with Mercy Chefs. Unfortunately, founder Chef Gary LeBlanc was not able to join us today.
Nick gave an overview of Mercy Chefs. They have been feeding people since 2006. They have served people in 134 disasters in 10 countries with 10,000 volunteers. They believe in giving HOPE in the form of a meal. By 2020, they had served 10 million meals, today, they have served 18.5 million meals in all types of disasters.
Due to communities increasing need, Mercy Chefs now has kitchens throughout the United States, including mobile and brick-and-mortar facilities. They have a new headquarters home in Portsmouth, Virginia. The amount of people they serve is staggering. The highest number of meals they had served in one day was 15,000, but they recently hit a new high at 22,106 HOT meals in one day. They can accomplish this with help from local Churches and helping neighbors.
In 2021 their motto and word of the year is ELEVATE. They aim to elevate everything they do in all of the communities they serve. Mercy Chefs is funded privately and through grants. The average cost of a meal is $2.50 -$4. Mercy Chefs has a full-time staff of 30 hardworking people.
Mercy Chefs – Feeding Body and Soul.
The Meeting:
Today’s meeting was led by Laurie Harrison. Bob Heely led us in song with “Silver Bells” and “American the Beautiful”. 
Jim Sell gave the Invocation and recognized and remembrance of Bill Gough. He also asked for a special prayer for John Cameron who has stage 4 cancer. 
Brian McGuire gave the Visitation Report. 
Introduction of Guests- Marty Raiss introduced a visiting Rotarian from Rotary Club Roma Circo Massimo. Rotary Flags were offered on behalf of each club. Jeff Wells introduced Scott and Julie Keisley in traduced her daughter Cassandra who is visiting for a bit. Dr. Garrett introduced his fiancé Carolyn.
School of the Week is Larchmont Elementary School.
Announcement and Club Business
December Birthdays
Jack Kavanaugh          Dec 03
Randall Garrett           Dec 08
Joe Massey                  Dec 10
John McLemore          Dec 14
Mal Branch                  Dec15
Barbara Lifland           Dec 15
Tom Ambler                Dec 19
Joel Heaton                 Dec 20
Angela Kerns               Dec 20
Jason Drane                 Dec 22
Dianna Starkey            Dec 24
Bob Ash                        Dec 27
Will King                       Dec 27
December Anniversaries
36 years, Bernie & Lois Cohen
Dec 04, 1985
32 years, Michelle & Bill Nettles
Dec 09, 1989
53 years, Mal & Nancy Branch
Dec 21, 1968
10 years, John Cameron & Abby Van Voorhees
Dec 27, 2011
19 years, Lorna Cochrane & Daniel St-Cyr
Dec 28, 2002
60 years, Thomas & Ann Lawrence
Dec 30, 1961
December Rotary Anniversaries
20 years, Bryce Burton, Dec 01, 2001
37 years, Thomas Lawrence, Dec 01, 1984
40 years, Bob Powell, Dec 01, 1981
31 years, Jim Sell, Dec 01, 1990
36 years, Mark Shaw, Dec 01, 1985
16 years, John Searing, Dec 12, 2005
1 year, Clay Dills, Dec 15, 2020
16 years, Chip Finch, Dec 31, 2005
16 years, Cy Grandy, Dec 31, 2005
  • The Club is voting for 3 new members, Kay Stine, Robert Archer, and John Miller. 
  • Sigur gave an update on the Club’s successful Giving Tuesday’s offerings –
$7,375 contributions resulting in 2 new Paul Harris Members, and 12 PH++ members
  • Next Tuesday will be the Club Assembly and voting for the 2022-2023 board of directors:
    • President – Laurie Harrison
    • President Elect – Jeff Wells
    • VP Programs – Barbara Lipskis
    • Secretary/Treasurer – Dave Duncan
    • Directors –
      • Tom Ambler
      • Chris Bugg
      • Jennifer Dilworth
      • Sharon Laderberg
      • Marty Raiss
      • Walt Sobczyk
      • Kelly Stefanko
  • 2022 Grant Applications are now available
Happy Bucks/Fines:
  • Bruce gave HB for his newest grandchild.
  • Chris Bugg gave HB for Go Navy, Beat Army! And, HB for successful back surgery.
  • Amanda Workman gave HB for her engagement on Halloween and for moving into a new home.
  • Dianna Starkey gave HB for son’s new job and returned stolen car, and for Marie Osmond concert coming on 12/13.
  • Jim Kitz gave HB for the Army Football team making it to the Bowl – Go Army, Beat Navy!
Mercy Chefs Dianna Starkey 2021-12-07 05:00:00Z 0

Food Distribution at St. Mary's Baslica

Four Rotarians participated in a recent food distribution at the Basilica of St. Mary's. Patrons got a variety of canned goods and meats and then had their choice of breads, onions, potatoes, and desserts. St. Mary's is one of the distribution points for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
Food Distribution at St. Mary's Baslica 2021-11-19 05:00:00Z 0

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is almost here.  After we have celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and friends, possibly rushed out on Black Friday to take advantage of the sales, shopped at locally owned business on Small Business Saturday, and possibly shopped on-line on Cyber Monday, it is time to turn our attention to supporting various charities on Giving Tuesday.
Hopefully you will consider giving to The Rotary Foundation  as part of your year end giving and Giving Tuesday (November 30) is the perfect time. It is so easy to do online at Merely sign in (which will reflect your donation as a member) and then click the "donate" button. Then follow the various steps making sure that your donation is either to the Annual Share Fund or to Polio Plus.
As a special bonus, if you are not a PHF + 8, then the club will match your gift with points. Minimum contribution of $100. One point for every dollar given. If you want an easy way to get to the next level of giving, this is it.  This bonus is available only on Giving Tuesday, November 30.
Giving Tuesday 2021-11-19 05:00:00Z 0

Virginia Innocence Project

Vice President in Charge of Programs Jeff Wells introduced Rotarian of the Day Bill Moore. Bill Moore has been a Rotarian for 22 years in 3 different clubs heading up a variety of service projects. Bill who joined our club in October 2018, has made a significant contribution to service leading a variety of projects at the William A. Hunton YMCA. 
Bill had the honor of introducing our speaker, Juliet Hatchett, Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.
Juliet Hatchett is the associate director of the Innocence Project Clinic, which she teaches. From 2019-21, she served as the staff attorney managing the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic, the student pro bono volunteer effort for the school’s Innocence Project. Hatchett previously worked for two law firms in New York City after graduating, Brune Law and Baker McKenzie, focusing on white-collar criminal defense issues. A former member of the Innocence Project Clinic when she was a student at the Law School, she also served as a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Service, a participant in the Human Rights Study Project, and notes editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law.
The Innocence Project at UVA Law seeks exoneration for wrongfully convicted people in Virginia. Students in this year-long clinic investigate and litigate wrongful convictions of inmates throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The project receives hundreds of applications from people who believe they are wrongly convicted. Preliminary cases are assigned to individual clinic students for factual development and evaluation to determine whether or not the project clinic should accept the case. The decision to accept or decline representation will be made by the full clinic with the final decision being made by the instructors. Students work in teams of 3-4 to investigate and litigate the cases that are accepted. In every case, students are directed and assisted by the clinic professors, but as students demonstrate competence and confidence, they may earn the opportunity for greater independence.
Although the clinic will have a mandatory classroom component, most time will be devoted to casework — interviewing potential clients and witnesses, general investigation, reviewing case files, collecting records, searching court files, and drafting pleadings. Students will likely visit inmates at correctional centers and conduct investigations in a wide variety of socioeconomic settings accompanied by a clinic professor, private investigator, or, in some instances, another student.
Juliet was accompanied at our meeting by a client of the Innocence Project, Messiah Johnson. Juliet presented Messiah’s case to illustrate the work and impact of the project. Messiah followed up by carefully and professionally sharing the events and conditions of his case.
Messiah Johnson was wrongfully convicted of the 1997-armed robbery of a Norfolk, Virginia beauty salon and sentenced to 132 years in prison.  No physical evidence connected Mr. Johnson to the crime, and he had an alibi. Instead, he was convicted solely on the basis of eyewitness identifications. The Innocence Project at UVA School of Law’s investigation revealed that those identifications were the product of poor police practices, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and mistaken identifications.
In 2013, the Innocence Project at UVA School of Law identified an alternate suspect based on information obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests. That man had committed a string of similar robberies around the same time and in the same area. The suspect confessed to the robbery and provided corroborating details, confirming that Mr. Johnson had nothing to do with the robbery.
Mr. Johnson has always maintained his innocence. He even turned down a three-year plea deal — only to ultimately be sentenced to 132 years.
After having served more than 20 years in prison, Mr. Johnson was freed in April 2018 on a conditional pardon granted by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Governor McAuliffe noted that there was “credible evidence that [Mr. Johnson] was not guilty at all.”
The Innocence Project at UVA School of Law continues to litigate Mr. Johnson’s case and is working toward his total exoneration.
During a question period, Club Rotarians empathetically asked Messiah about his ability to persevere and deal with the lengthy incarceration, about his subsequent life since release, and the legal counsel he received both during his trial and with the Innocence Project. Messiah shared that he has no regrets and appreciates his new home, his new girlfriend, and his new life outside the jail. He has his own business and wants to give back to his community. He ended by offering to arrange to help Rotarians to spread mulch in the playground at the William A. Hunton YMCA.
Club Business
Chip Vogan lead us in season song selections to set the fellowship tone of the meeting. Julie Keesling selected an invocation to inspire our spirit as Thanksgiving approaches. Our only guest was Margaret Moore the wife of Rotarian of the Day Bill Moore. Our School of the week was Blair Middle School.
Sigur Whitaker reminded members about the Day of Giving on November 30th, 2021 when donations of $100.00 plus are matched and move members to other levels of the Paul Harris Fellowship. Sigur presented Julie Keesling with her Charles Woodard Fellowship certificate and reminded members of the value of the club endowment and all that it enables our club to provide for our community. Please consider becoming a Charles Woodard Fellow. Even in COVID restrictions and no fundraisers, our club was still able to donate $50,000.00 to local non-profits due to this endowment.
Kelly Stefanko, of the social committee, reminded the membership of the December 9th Million Bulb Walk at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Buy your tickets now, arrive at 5 PM to meet prior to the walk.
Happy Bucks:
  • Bill Moore gave a shout-out and contributed happy bucks for our own Judge Massey who made a generous donation to the Hunton Account. Our ongoing Hunton project relies on the generosity of Rotarians. The outside playground at the Hunton is not usable according to health standards and requires weed control and re-mulching. The mulch carries a cost of some $3000.00. Bill asked club members to follow Judge Massey’s example and contribute.  Bill alerted members to a pending Christmas Giving initiative for the families of the 5 women who were shot 2 weeks ago in the Young Terrace Community. As you suspect, several children impacted by this tragedy are cared for at the Hunton.
  • Dr. Steve Jones gave happy bucks for public education.
  • Wayne Shank has a 4th grandchild and contributed.
  • Eleanor Schoonover recognized the Wreaths Across America.
  • Major Donald Dohmann from the Salvation Army gave in recognition and thanks for his wife who was declared cancer-free and rang the bell following her last treatment. Major Dohmann also recognized the “kick-off “of the Salvation Army’s Holiday Fundraising.
  • Dr. Marcia Conston appreciated the calls from Brian McGuire when she missed a few meetings.  
Bill McInnis brought in the raffle and ----- the scribe of the day, Lorna Cochrane had the winning ticket for the small pot of $12.00 but sadly she did not win the Big Pot.
Virginia Innocence Project Lorna Cochrane 2021-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

Legacy Hospice

President-Elect Laurie Harrison turned the podium over to Jeff Wells, Vice President in Charge of Programs, to introduce Bill Eisenbeiss, our Rotarian of the Day. It seems that Bill is a Norfolk native and proud of it! Bill also served in the Navy on a destroyer based out of San Diego from 1965-68, during the Vietnam War surge. Bill served as Vice President of Military Publications at Landmark Communications for many years before his retirement. He and his wife, Michael, have recently moved to Harbor Towers and are still unpacking.
Bill had the honor of introducing our speaker, Dean Nowotny who works for Legacy Hospice, went to Emerson College in Massachusetts, then a Bible college, and finally finished with a Ph.D. from Liberty University. Ray Lafferty, Community Liaison, came along to assist with technology and other aspects of the hospice program.
Dean focused his talk on the role of Hospice in caring for those whose prognosis is likely terminal in the short term. Dean asserted that Hospice is designed to improve the quality of life by providing ‘palliative care.’ Over seventy percent of adults would prefer to stay in their home rather than spend their last days or months in a facility. Many patients live longer in hospice; this situation depends on when an individual is accepted into hospice. Sometimes it is better to face the inevitable sooner rather than later.
Medicare and Medicaid pay the hospice provider, so the cost is not borne by the patient or the family. (Tricare also covers Hospice, but some insurance providers do not include it. So it’s best to check.) Hospice providers instruct how to care for the individual; the nursing team is on call 24/7. 
The hospice provider can assist families with obtaining advanced medical directives, wills, funeral homes, etc. Each individual is assigned a nurse who visits periodically; home health aides assist with bathing and other needs. Some volunteers can visit and provide a few hours of attention when caregivers need to get away for errands. Hospice does NOT provide in-home care daily.
During the question and answer session, we learned that Chick Robison is part of a team raising $8M to build a twelve-bed in-patient facility, The Hospice House of South Hampton Roads. Chick said that it is harder than he thought to raise money for this endeavor.
Judge Joe Massey chimed in that there is an Edmarc Hospice for children in Portsmouth. That is a niche that has a slightly different focus.
Barb Lipskis asked what is the patient-to-nurse ratio? Answer: each nurse supports twelve patients at Legacy Hospice. Other contractors have a higher ratio. Each CNA supports six patients.
Finally, Bob Heely reminded everyone that if your loved one is in a long-term care facility, they will have a contract with a hospice provider. So, you won’t have to find one yourself.
The Meeting
President-Elect Laurie Harrison in her first foray at the podium rang the bell and introduced Chip Vogan to lead our singing. Chip chose “Harvest Moon,” “Sing Rotarians,” and “Eternal Father” in honor of Veterans. Following the pledge and the Four-Way Test, Chuck Spence provided an invocation also focused on Veterans both retired and currently serving. 
Visitation/Introduction of Visitors
Brian McGuire informed us that Marilyn Gowen was not around because she is supervising painters—so not to worry about her absence. Henry Butler is visiting his grandson in Berlin. Sally Hartman is in Texas with her sister who suffered a devastating car accident and the loss of her brother-in-law due to cancer earlier this month.
Mark Shaw introduced Chris Bugg who brought a colleague, Dan Bortell, who proceeded to win the daily raffle. 
Club Business
President-Elect Laurie announced that Lake Taylor Middle School was the School of the Week. There will be a Million Bulb Walk at Norfolk Botanical Gardens at 5:30 pm on December 9th. Make your reservations online; members get a reduced rate.
The Holiday Social is scheduled for December 21st with more details to follow. (No lunch meeting on that day!)
Walt Sobczyk announced that there will be a food distribution opportunity at the Basilica of St. Mary’s on Nov. 17th. The Girl Scouts in Chesapeake need help with physical labor on Nov. 20th; power washing, landscape work, etc. The Salvation Army will need help with the distribution of gifts; more info to come.
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • Judge Bruce Wilcox was happy to announce the birth of his seventh grandchild, George, on Oct. 24th. 
  • Steve Jones and his wife were happy because they attended a Rolling Stones concert—with no mosh pit.
  • Bill Davis gave happy bucks for the 246th birthday of the Marine Corps. 
  • Jim Kitz provided money for the victory of Army over the Air Force; he also suggested that Navy would be going down hard when they meet. 
  • Chris Bugg rose to the bait and put $100 on a bet that Navy will win. 
  • Tom Koller put in happy bucks because Devin’s brain tumor has been sizably reduced by radiation. 
  • Jeff Wells donated because of an art installation in Ocean View that we helped to fund. 
  • Alan Nelson contributed because he’s got a granddaughter going to work for Expedia (and they’re all hoping for cheap flights).
Bill McInnis brought in the raffle, won by Dan Bortelle. President-Elect Laurie reminded us that we have a meeting next week which will be a Club Assembly and some Rotarian biographies. 
Legacy Hospice Julie A. Keesling 2021-11-09 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation

Jeff Wells introduced Sigur Whitaker, our Club’s Foundation Chair, who filled the dual roles of Rotarian of the Day and Presenter. In recognition of Rotary Foundation Month, Sigur provided the club with an overview of both the Norfolk Rotary Endowment and the Rotary International Foundation.
Starting in 1992, our Club’s philanthropic effort benefits from the Norfolk Rotary Endowment. The Endowment, currently valued at more than $800,000, will provide $26,500 to the grant pool for the current Rotary 2021-22 Year. During the previous COVID-19 impacted year, the Endowment played a major role in allowing our club to fund $50,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations.
The Rotary International Foundation, founded in 1917 with $26.50, currently exceeds $1,000,000,000 and helps fund projects locally and globally. Sigur shared that our club has 89 Paul Harris Fellows and 12 Major Donors. Paul Harris Fellows have been recognized by the Rotary International Foundation for contributions of at least $1,000 while Major Donors are recognized for exceeding $10,000. PDG John Padgett shared that the RI Foundation is organized to allow meaningful funds to be used for District Grants. Our Club routinely applies for and receives these grants to fund projects. President Michael Desplaines has set goals for the club to contribute $23,000 to the Annual Fund of the RI Foundation and $2,000 to Polio Plus.
To illustrate the impact of District Grants, Rotarians Ann Baldwin and Bill Moore talked about their favorite projects. Ann reminded us of the Katrina Book Drive in 2005-2006 which provided approximately 150,000 books to students and schools in areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The effort involved contributions from numerous organizations in our region as well as logistical support in the Katrina impacted areas.
Bill relayed the story of how our club first engaged with The Hunton YMCA in 2018. This led not only to a District Grant involving 5 Rotary Clubs which upgraded The Hunton’s Food Service capability, but also an ongoing relationship with The Hunton which has resulted in a Little Readers Library, Recreational Equipment, and a modern Audiovisual System.
Three Rotarians were recognized for significant milestones in their support for The RI Foundation:
  • Ann Baldwin received her Paul Harris +6 pin
  • Bob Healy received his Paul Harris +3 pin
  • Bill Clendenin was recognized as a Major Donor and a competitor to President Michael for sporting the longest hair.
Sigur also let us know that November 30th is the RI Foundation’s Giving Tuesday. Contributions by Rotarians who are not Major Donors will have their online contributions of up to $500 matched with Rotary points to accelerate their status as Paul Harris Fellows. Contributions MUST be done through the Rotary International website. To wrap things up, PDG John Padgett shared that $0.94 of every dollar collected goes to fund projects around the world.
As this was the first meeting of the month, we celebrated Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries, and Rotary Anniversaries. President Michael reminded us that it was Election Day and there was still time to participate in the electoral process and have our voices heard. A few Save the Dates were shared:
  • Chip Vogan invited all members to a Pop-up Social on Friday, November 5th at 5:30 pm at Elation Brewery in Norfolk.
  • A Pop-up Social is being held at the Million Bulb Walk at NBG on December 9th from 5:30-7:30 pm. Tickets must be purchased on the NBG website and there will a small reception for our club.
  • The Club’s Holiday Social will be on December 21st at Norfolk Yacht Club. Time is TBD.
Brian McGuire was unable to give the Visitation Report as he, himself, was under the weather and not at the meeting. Tom Ambler’s wife, Martha, is recovering from foot surgery. Colin McKinnon’s daughter, Chris, has been transferred to a new rehabilitation center.
We had three guests attending this week. John Cameron brought his wife, Dr. Abby Voorhees. Chris Bugg hosted Earl McFarland who will be retiring from the Navy very shortly. Lauren Labonte’s guest was Matthew Dennis from Northwest Mutual.
The School of the Week was Granby Elementary School.
President Michael enthusiastically inducted our newest member, Randall Garrett, into our ranks! Randall was sponsored by Bob Ash. Welcome, Randall! We look forward to getting to know you better.
  • Joey Rothgery thanked Walt Sobczyk for serving as a poll official for Election Day.
  • Chris Bugg enjoyed his first visit to NBG (Some Academy Grads can be slow) and encouraged us to consider the Hampton Roads Community Foundation as a secondary civic group to support.
  • Diana Starkey was in the news for dog auditions for an upcoming program of the Virginia Arts Festival. Her son also recently became employed by Cushman & Wakefield.
  • BIG NEWS! Lauren Labonte got engaged. Congratulations!
  • Laurie Harrison announced that on Dec 4th there will be a Tacky Sweater Fun Run to help combat melanoma. See her for more details if you would like to help.
  • Chip Vogan sold his wooden boat.
  • Bill McGinnis celebrated Michigan State’s victory over the University of Michigan.
  • Eleanor Schoonover announced that she was able to successfully navigate the Rotary International website to obtain an “official” number for our Global Grant Application. Dave Duncan added to this good news.
  • Carlisle Wroton got his 8th hole-in-one recently at Elizabeth Manor Golf Course. He should have been fined extra for bragging!
  • Michelle Nettles’ son received his MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU.
  • Marty Raiss thanked the Rotarians who actively support PrimePlus. It was noted that they are our partner for the next Suds & Buds.
  • Jeff Wells had a wonderful sailing trip in St. Pete, FL area.
  • Barb Lipskis was in Chicago helping her father celebrate his 85th birthday.
Rotary Foundation Jim Kitz 2021-11-02 04:00:00Z 0

Improving Elmwood Cemetery 

Norfolk's historic Elmwood Cemetery, got some pre-Halloween tender loving care from Rotarians and spouses on a beautiful Saturday morning. Armed with gardening tools they removed invasive ivy and weeds surrounding graves that date to 1853 leaving this Victorian cemetery looking better.
Improving Elmwood Cemetery 2021-11-01 04:00:00Z 0

Ancestry and Genealogy

Sally Hartman introduced Kelly McMahon who spoke about Ancestry and Genealogy. Kelly is working for and is a colonial expert in the Tidewater area (west of the James River) and a William and Mary grad. She is an ancestor of Charlemagne, has a thing for bacon, and has two children in school. A senior at Maury and 6th grader at St Patrick’s.
Kelly is a Norfolk native and mentioned that ancestry research is the 2nd most popular search on the internet. She mentioned that this research produces some shocking results and some humbling. Starting with our two parents the numbers grow, so in 10 generations there are 4095 family members in your lineage. Also, Genetics don’t equal lineage. We don’t pull equal amounts of DNA from our parents.
When going back in history, land ownership was easy to trace, but those that did not own land are harder to find. Some religions are better than others in keeping records. But there is an ugly side of genealogy: Slavery starting in 1619, crimes and murder, poverty and the poor house, and the mentally impaired.
Black records are typically the first name so DNA is the best resource to find out the history. Kelly was able to find out about her grandfather whose throat was slit after he caught someone stealing bacon. The Edgewater Home for Girls (orphanage) has since closed but UVA has the records, many of the girls were mistreated and abused. Kelly found a note from her grandmother where she wanted only an umbrella and a box for pencils for Christmas.
What to do: Write down everything from your relatives. Names, dates, and places, use websites such as the Mormon Church, visit areas where ancestors were from, take a DNA test, keep an open mind, and don’t believe everything you read online. Don’t trust everything your family says, try social websites like the DAR. Kelly’s services are available, and her email is ( We learned her red hair comes from the Vikings and not the Irish as first thought. For the most accurate DNA test get a male family sibling to take a Y-DNA test since they will not change as much as the other DNA tests.
Club Business: 
John Cameron lead us in singing, Marty Raiss lead the invocation with a poem and a short prayer. We were happy to have Lorna Cochrane back with us after she was hauled off the golf course for kidney stones, but she is golfing again. Kelly Stefanko and Laurie Harrison introduced Crystal as a potential member. Michelle Nettles introduced Rebecca Wilson, who also works with Jeff Wells.
President Michael reminded us that the most important tenant in Rotary is fellowship and to stay in touch with other members, particularly those that are assigned to our tables but are not present.
President Michael is looking for people interested in going to England to visit our sister city with District 7600 to Norwich. Trip dates are 21-30 January 2022.
Marilyn Gowen was presented a Paul Harris plus 5 by Sigur Whitaker and when asked why, Marilyn responded by saying, she remembered seeing an old iron lung machine in the basement of a hospital and how they were used by children suffering from polio.
Sigur also reminded us that the club will match the first $500 donation to Norfolk Charities toward the First Paull Harris award.
A large number of club members participated in the district conference in Richmond over the past weekend. Many great motivational speakers including the keynote speaker General Manager of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who was a personal friend of Dave Duncan. Also, Laurie Harrison and President Michael were seen as a married couple and many people commented on the fact at the conference….and yes Laurie did barely survive Michael’s fast aggressive driving (normal for the Northeast U.S.) to the event.
Dalton Dunbar won the $15 in the raffle pot.
Happy Bucks and Fines:  
· Konner Pritchard was seen at another lunch last week instead of the Rotary meeting and was without his Rotary pin.  
· Dr. Jones paid a fine for the educational op-ed he wrote about the educational process.  
· Barb Lipskis paid a fine for asking Lorna which was worse childbirth or Kidney stones.  
· Susan Donn donated some money for her comments to the city manager last week about getting a grocery store downtown. 
· Marty Raiss was happy to pay some happy bucks for her trip to Egypt and the tattoo near her ankle.  
· Dave Duncan had to pay happy bucks as the last task to lose his red badge and get a blue badge.  
· Lynnwood Beckner was proud of Reilly for being recognized as Student of the Month.  
· Sharon Laderberg was happy her dad was out of the hospital and back in his apartment.  
· Julie Keesling was glad to be back attending our luncheons.  
· Bill Moore was happy to be able to vote early. 
· Lorna explained when she joined the club she knew no one, but with her kidney stones, she saw lots of Rotary friends visit her.
Ancestry and Genealogy Walt Sobczyk 2021-10-19 04:00:00Z 0

Rotarians on the Trail

Eleven Rotarians, family and friends got on their bikes for a ride along the Elizabeth River Trail on Indigenous Peoples Day. The pop-up social was organized by Kelly Stefano and included happy hour at the Orapax Restaurant and Bar where more Rotarians joined in the fun.
Rotarians on the Trail 2021-10-14 04:00:00Z 0

What's New in Norfolk

A lot is going on in the City of Norfolk, and City Manager Chip Filer hit the highlights and answered an array of questions at the October 12 Rotary Club of Norfolk meeting. He was introduced by new Rotarian Amanda Workman, who joined the city budget office about the same time Filer came on board in September 2019 from Old Dominion University. Here are some of the main points Filer made during his talk and Q&A session:
  • The city expects to receive $152 million from the federal American Rescue Funds program designed to help with pandemic relief. The funds come with lots of strings attached but will help with needed projects and the city budget. He is hopeful the federal infrastructure bill will pass and provide more needed funding for the city.
  • Some federal rescue funds may be used for Chrysler Hall's much-delayed $30 million renovations. This will fix backstage issues that will prevent shows like "Lion King" and "Hamilton" from coming to the city's aging theater. The renovate will add additional aisles to make it easier for patrons to access their seats. 
  • Norfolk is ahead of many cities with its coastal risk management plan. It includes costly plans for a downtown flood wall to run from Harbor Park to the Army Corps of Engineers headquarters near Colley Avenue. Plans also call for a surge barrier on the Lafayette River to run from Terminal Boulevard to West Ghent. Filer predicts these measures could save 40% of the city that is prone to flooding. While federal infrastructure funds could help pay for these projects, the city would have to come up with a 35% match.
  • The city continues to work to speed up economic recovery for businesses and citizens. One example is the "Streateries" Program, which helps restaurants create permanent outdoor dining spaces. 
  • The casino coming to the downtown waterfront will be one of the biggest projects the city has ever had. The casino project near Harbor Park is moving slowly while waiting for the state to issue a gaming license. 
  • There are three proposals to redevelop the Military Circle area, which is on the highest land in the city. Two proposals include building an arena and one includes an amphitheater. Housing is also part of all three plans, which are on the city website for review. The city is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Hampton Roads Transit to address future traffic issues in the redeveloped area. Expanding Light Rail to the area is a possibility.
  • Filer believes increased housing will encourage more families to live in Norfolk, which has an abundance of childless young professionals and retired empty nesters.
  • Redeveloping MacArthur Center is complicated due to the financial structure of the mall. The city owns the land under it but not the mall. 
  • Related to downtown issues, parking is going to stay on Boush Street, and the city has not been able to attract a grocery store downtown despite growth in residents. 
  • Norfolk's aging water pipes have been upgraded over the years and the city continues to look for funding to do even more to keep drinking water safe. Filer is happy Norfolk's water is ranked No. 1 in Virginia for its taste. 
  • Filer thanked First Presbyterian Church and its pastor, Jim Wood, for housing homeless people nightly for eight months while the city figured out solutions. The city has purchased a motel on Tidewater Drive for homeless housing and has RFPs out for redeveloping the old Greyhound Bus Station, which was a temporary tent home for people during spring and summer. 
  • The city is working to rehire staff for its libraries and is increasing hours of operation. It is also resurfacing tennis courts and trying to restore recreation programs halted during the pandemic. 
  • The park and flood control project going on in Chesterfield Heights and Grandy Village will be a model for dealing with flooding and making waterways more accessible to residents. 
Business Meeting
  • We welcomed two guests -- Dr. Randall Garrett, a former Rotarian and a guest of Brian McGuire, and Roberto Westbrook of Atlantic Coast Mortgage, a guest of Laurie Harrison.
  • President Michael noted that a kidney stone sent Lorna Cochrane to the hospital after she played a round of golf. She is home and doing better. 
  • Sigur Whitaker was surprised to have no notes to write thanking Rotarians for their donations to the Rotary International Foundation since none were made in the last few months. Our club's goal is $22,000 for the year with only $4,361 donated to the RI foundation far. Our club has raised as much as nearly $29,000 in a single year for the Foundation, which funds projects globally and in our area. Donations can be made online or by check.
  • Informal votes showed members interested in a Portsmouth ghost tour and having an evening holiday social in December.
  • Rotarians are needed to help with foodbank packaging on October 15.
  • Sally Hartman received a check for $799 for winning the big pot in the club raffle. She then managed to have the winning ticket for the daily pot of $17 for the meeting raffle.
  • 22 bike riders enjoyed the Elizabeth River Trail ride and happy hour on Indigenous People Day. Kelly Stefanko organized the social.
Happy bucks:
  • Alan Nelson for his trip to Paris and his 61st reunion of his Port Arthur, Texas class. His most famous classmate was the late singer Janis Joplin.
  • Sally Hartman celebrated her and Ron's 39th wedding anniversary.
  • Chris Bugg was happy about having covered parking at Scope on a rainy day. 
A book in our speaker's name was donated to Fairlawn Elementary School.
What's New in Norfolk Sally Hartman 2021-10-12 04:00:00Z 0

The HRBT Expansion

Pictured above, President Michael, Annalysce Baker (Communications Manager), Martha Gross, and George Compo
The Program
Virginia has embarked on the largest infrastructure project in the state’s history aimed at reducing the congestion at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. It includes the widening of 10 miles of interstate including new twin two-lane tunnels, replacing five existing bridges, and widening 23 more bridges. Impressively, this 3.8 billion dollar project is being funded by regional gasoline and sales taxes for 92% of the project while the state and federal governments will provide the remaining 8% in funding. Completion is scheduled for November 2025. It will alter the experience for those making the 3.5-mile crossing. Click here to see a conceptual video of HRBT from Hampton to Norfolk. 
It is not the first time that the HRBT has been at the forefront of road construction in Virginia. Before it was opened in 1957, the only means of getting directly from the Southside to the Peninsula was by ferry which might not run in bad weather and where drivers had to wait their turn in line. Originally a two-lane tunnel, the cost was $1.25 ($11 in today’s money). The current two tunnel configuration was opened in 1976. The expansion will take the HRBT to eight lanes, four going in each direction.
Our speaker, Martha Gross is the first person hired by VDOT to be the HBRT technical director. With an undergraduate degree from Penn State with Honors in History and a Masters’ in Civil Engineering and an MBA and Ph.D. In civil engineering from Virginia Tech, she previously had worked on tunnels and bridges including the Tappan Zee bridge in New York. Before being named the HBRT technical director, she worked for Tidewater Skanska.
Historically the tunnels in the Hampton Roads area were constructed via the immersed tube method because of the soft marine soils. This time, the tunnel will be constructed with a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which is being built by Herrenknect in Germany and should arrive in the United States late this year. The TBM is named “Mary” after Mary Winston Jackson, the NASA engineer who did manual computing which enabled the space flights. Mary Jackson was featured in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures. 
“Mary” will bore twin tunnels each measuring 46 feet in diameter. Concurrently with the boring, “Mary” will lay a shell for the tunnel. Because of “Mary,” the HRBT tunnels will be 50 feet deeper than the current tunnel which should allow for years of marine traffic with keels of greater depth. Click to see a video of the TBM “Mary.”
The Meeting
  • Dr. Robert Archer, the chair of psychology at EVMS and a potential club member was introduced by John Cameron.
  • Sally Hartman introduced Kay Stein, the Vice President of Development for Hampton Roads Community Foundation.
  • Randall Garrett, who is in modeling simulation and a former member of the Hampton Roads Rotary Club, was a guest of Brian McGuire even though Brian missed the meeting as he was getting his quarterly infusion therapy. Randall is interested in rejoining Rotary.
Colin McKinnon’s daughter has taken a turn for the worse and your prayers are requested. She was grievously injured while walking her dog last spring.
Happy Bucks 
Rotarians filled the coffers yesterday.
  • Judge Joe Massey is celebrating the $100,000 grant by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to Prime Plus; for his former neighbor, Bob Archer; and so that Rotarian Sigur wouldn’t talk about the Tar Heel victory over his Blue Devils.
  • Lisa Chandler also had many things to celebrate. Her birthday was last month, her anniversary was in April, she has a new car, her daughter and son-in-law have been with them for two months as their home in California is being renovated, and that she was not wearing her Rotary pin.
  • Lorna Cochrane has just returned from a visit to Canada.
  • Donald Dohmann and his wife, Laura, are celebrating 21 years of wedded bliss. Even better, Laura who has battled stage 3 breast cancer is now in remission. He is also looking for two teams to participate in the upcoming Salvation Army tournament.
  • Chris Bugg “outted” Konner Pritchard and Dianna Starkey at a Chamber event at the Marriott right before our meeting. Neither of them was wearing their Rotary pin.
The HRBT Expansion Sigur Whitaker 2021-10-07 04:00:00Z 0

Stocking The Foodbank's Mobile Market

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia has two mobile markets which are buses outfitted to be a mobile grocery. One of the mobile markets was funded by Virginia Beach and it goes to the seaside city four or five days a week to areas with food insecurity. The second mobile market serves Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk. Foodbank volunteer Danielle joined Rotarians Sigur Whitaker and Tom Ambler to load the mobile market for its trip to Virginia Beach. 
Those who shop at the mobile market have a bountiful choice of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini squash, eggplant, onions and green and red peppers; fruits including peaches, plums and grapes; and sweet and white potatoes. The mobile market also has a chilled area for meats and milk as well as some staples including spaghetti, spaghetti sauce and peanut butter. 
Stocking The Foodbank's Mobile Market 2021-09-23 04:00:00Z 0

Rotarians Collecting Trash 

Norfolk Rotary has picked up trash at city parks and in the Ward's Corner neighborhood. On Saturday, we branched out to pick up trash along the entrance and exit ramps to/from I-64 at Little Creek. Special rules apply to this trash pickup. We were required to have a permit to pick up the trash and to have it with us in case we were stopped by the police. Additionally, we wore bright vests to ensure that we were clearly visible.
As with most trash pick up activities, we got the assorted cans, beer and liquor bottles, paper and plastic cups and bags, and pizza boxes. What was unusual was the other assorted things we gathered such as car parts, plumbing supplies, cardboard signs and metal. In total, we picked up 16 large trash bags and 30 pounds of other items. 
Rotarians Collecting Trash 2021-09-23 04:00:00Z 0

Who is Visit Norfolk and what do they do?

Bob Batcher, as Rotarian of the Day, introduced a trifecta of speakers representing Visit Norfolk. Visit Norfolk is the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and seeks to promote Norfolk’s unique experience and amenities to residents and visitors as the best city of its size.
Marketing – Kara Copley, Marketing Manager, discussed some of the campaigns recently run to interest locals and travelers to come to Norfolk.
  • Together at Last – This brought Norfolk and Virginia Beach together in a combined marketing campaign for the first time. It was run during COVID.
  • City with Bite – This uses Nomara, a local foodie influencer, to highlight Norfolk’s independent restaurants. 
You can currently see the second season at and there are plans for a third and fourth season. These are 5-6-minute-long videos that showcase a variety of food scenes in Norfolk. 
Sales Department – Katie Castano, Sales Manager, discussed how they bring people to Norfolk through sales. A big selling point is the walkability of Norfolk and that it has 50 restaurants in a 6-block area.
Norfolk is close to the beach and also Williamsburg and there are lots to do, including history and waterfront activities. The sales department brings groups in and then turns them over to the convention services team.
Convention Services Team – Catherine Williamson, Director of Convention Services, discussed how her staff works to plan and execute events, including setting up tour groups (for example support NATO fest parade and MEAC basketball tournament), event planning (family and military reunions and sports tournaments). Services include pre-promotion of meetings, providing Norfolk brochures, and giving a tour and itinerary ideas to group planners.
The formal presentation ended early enough for many audience questions.
  • Norfolk’s sweet spot, for an event that utilizes most hotels downtown in peak, is about 800 room nights (which is MEAC’s), 1500 attendees total is the max for each hotel’s ballroom, if more, would have to use Scope.
  • One of the biggest annual events is the 2,500 attendee Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services come every year in November and offer courses, a big number for our city but they’ve worked it out and rotate their courses. 
  • Anticipate people coming back to travel for conferences, everyone likes to meet in person, have been booking for future years. 2021 tourism trends from Travel state of mind – Majority of people WANT to travel. 
  • We can get larger groups that would never previously fit in Norfolk because they can make more by having virtual attendees with smaller in-person attendance.
  • Groups aren’t coming back full capacity yet; hotels and restaurants are doing the best they can with staffing shortages. It’s a reality so open to talking to it, Sheraton is fully staffed, banquet servers and housekeepers are shared between properties at a time, often part-time.
  • They would love to have more conventional space, the Main is the largest one in Norfolk outside of Scope, it isn’t big enough to accommodate some of the groups they’d like to have. 
  • The economic impact the city brings is very important, $37 million in tourism and travel last year during the pandemic. Tourism is a huge piece of business for Norfolk.
  • Mass transportation is a big factor that people want.
  • Excited to add the casino with meeting space to the portfolio but haven’t started selling it. Do believe it will become walkable. 
Meeting Highlights: 
Chuck Spence and Frank Whitman led us in singing.
President Michael opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance and the Four-Way Test.
Chip Vogan gave the invocation. 
Brian McGuire reported that:
  • Jason Drane’s 15-month daughter is still receiving regular infusions.
  • Colin McKinnon’s daughter Kris McKinnon is only somewhat alert and her condition is up and down.  
  • Bill Gough is undergoing chemo and is unable to attend meetings.
The school of the week is Chesterfield Academy.
Al Carmichael announced guests:
  • Dr. Howard Kesser (Sharon Laderberg’s father)
  • Randall Garrett (Brian McGuire) 
  • Shawn Green (Jeff Wells)
  • Ryan Wilkerson, president of ODU Rotaract (Bob Ash)
Fines/ Happy Bucks (Jim Sell served as Sergeant-At-Arms):
  • Brian McGuire self-reported he wasn’t wearing his pin.
  • Barb Lipskis – 9th grandchild was born Friday
  • Sigur Whitaker – UNC Tarheels beat UVA in football 58-38
  • Tom Koller – his daughter had a cancer-free PET scan
  • Diane Starkey – announced Marie Osmond is coming to Norfolk for a holiday show, tickets go on sale Friday.
  • Chris Bugg was fined for being featured in a recent VA Pilot/Inside Business article and gave happy bucks for a large number of visitors at today’s meeting.
  • Sharon Laderberg has officially retired.
  • Bob Bather – Rotary funded and city approved Wayfinder signs for PrimePlus 
  • Jeff Wells – His mom is celebrating her 91st birthday! He is also wearing a new mermaid hat in honor of today’s program.
  • Berhanu Mengitsu- gave happy bucks in honor of Dr. Ash being a good mentor.
President Michael announced the Board of Directors meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month immediately following the luncheon meeting.
Bill McInnis, as usual, ran the raffle with $210 in the new pot. $10 was on the daily with a new deck of cards, Lynwood was the lucky ticket holder. 
Who is Visit Norfolk and what do they do? Kelly Stefanko 2021-09-21 04:00:00Z 0

Investing in Children

Did you know that 2 in 5 children in South Hampton Roads live in poverty? That is 147,698 children -- enough to fill 2,954 school buses. Our September 7 Rotary speaker, Trish O'Brien, highlighted ways the nonprofit she heads works to improve the lives of area children living with lower-income families. Trish is president and CEO of Children's Health Investment Program of South Hampton Roads (CHIP). Her Chesapeake-based organization works with 358 families of young children in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. In October, it will expand its work to Suffolk. Trish thanked the Rotary Club of Norfolk for its recent grant that paid for blood pressure cuffs to help new mothers diagnosed with high blood pressure monitor their pressure. 
CHIP's services include providing visiting nurses to help expectant mothers and those with young children. The nurses teach effective parenting and help ensure that children are born healthy, regularly see a healthcare provider, and get any extra care and services needed. CHIP's goals are to help families become self-sufficient and for children to meet development milestones so they enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
CHIP program includes one that provided 2,400 desks for area students forced to learn at home during the pandemic. That program involved a partnership with Premier Millworks, whose employees volunteered to build the desks before and after their regular shifts. This effort attracted a surprise $20,000 grant for CHIP from TV's Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe. Sleep Tight Hampton Roads is another CHIP program that strives to reduce our region's high rate of infant mortality by educating parents on safe infant sleep and providing cribs. Trish reported that 36 infants die each year in the region because they do not sleep alone, in a crib, and on their backs. Early in the pandemic, CHIP also delivered food and hard-to-find paper goods to families that lacked transportation to go hunting for them. 
Our club honored our speaker by donating a book with her name in it to Jacox Elementary. It is "The Ugly Duckling" in tribute to CHIP's big rubber duck race fundraiser. 
Meeting Highlights
  • We welcomed new member Amanda Workman, who is sponsored by Kelly Stefanko and mentored by Amanda's fellow University of North Carolina Tarheel, Sigur Whitaker. Amanda works for the City of Norfolk in its budget office. She is a legacy Rotarian whose father has been president of his Burlington, N.C. club. 
  • President Michael shares the results of the recent voting for our meeting venue. In the final count, Scope was the winner with 35 first-place votes. Norfolk Yacht & Country Club had 26 votes and the Town Point Club 17 votes. 
  • Growlfest last Saturday was a big success. Board member Chris Bugg, who organized our club's volunteers, thanked all the helpers and especially Lauren LaBonte for stepping up as the event day zoo boss. President Michael, a first-time Growlfest attendee, was wowed by the event and enjoyed the hours he spent on the bench visiting with fellow Rotarian Joe Massey waiting to distribute beer glasses. 
  • Dues are past due, and 39 members still need to pay and should do so soon.
  • We met our new bookkeeper, Robin Bailey.
  • We learned that Rotarian of the Day Rachel Bellis, who works for PETA, loves Chihuahuas, watches Spanish soap operas to keep up her Spanish language skills, has lived in Spain and Mexico, and likes to end her day with a glass of wine. 
  • Sally Hartman bought the winning ticket for the daily raffle. She also won the big pot by drawing the right queen from the card deck. Her daily winnings were $30, which she gave to our speaker to support CHIP. Her big winnings will be $799. Linwood Beckner kindly added $1 to her winnings so she would have an even $800.
Fines & Happy Bucks Paid
  • Joe Massey for his phone ringing and our new member Amanda even though she did not go to his alma mater, Duke University.
  • Marilyn Gowan for her and her husband celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary in the Blue Ridge Mountains and for Duke's recent football win.
  • Sigur Whitaker for new member Amanda Workman, her fellow Tarheel. 
  • Chip Vogan for the three Barbaras who served beer at Growlfest as a team -- Barbara Lipskis, Barbara Kiley, and Barbara Vogan. 
  • Barbara Lifland for not volunteering with the Barbaras because she was on a trip to Colorado for hiking and seeing family.
  • Chris Bugg for our new member, his 25th Naval Academy class reunion, and a successful Growlfest.
  • Tom Ambler for his 50th high school reunion.
  • Sally Hartman for new members Lauren LaBonte and Chris Bugg stepping up to make Growlfest a success.
  • Dianna Starkey for her youngest son heading off to Los Angeles to start his career and her oldest son graduating from Duke. 
  • Jeff Wells for his wife taking him sailing at Nauticus, all the photos he took at Growlfest, and for his neighbors giving his mother-in-law in hospice a barbecue and Frank Sinatra karaoke night.
  • Jim Kitz for the undefeated Army football team.
  • Bill LeHew for the Hampden-Sydney hall of fame inductees and his University of Medical School 60th class reunion finally happening.
  • John Cameron for his Civil War book being published with something in it to irritate everyone.
  • Michael Desplaines for the time spent visiting with Joe Massey at Growlfest, getting to go to the Washington game and have his team win, and for his happiness for the return to meetings of Rotarians Stephen Kirkland and Konner Pritchard.
Investing in Children Sally Hartman 2021-09-14 04:00:00Z 0

Having Fun At GrowlFest 2021

Norfolk Rotary participated with Norfolk-Sunrise Rotary and the Virginia Zoo hosted hundreds of people at the fifth GrowlFest. It was a beautiful evening for visiting with the animals, enjoying the offerings of multiple food trucks, enjoying a cold craft brew, listening to music and visiting with friends.
Rotarians helped to check people in, sold beer tickets, poured beer and distributed beer glasses as people were leaving. Pictured above, Virginia Zoo president Greg Bockheim and Sally Hartman manning one of the nine pouring stations. Pictured below was part of Norfolk Rotary beer pourers--Sally Hartman, Kelly Stefanko, Barb Lipskis, Jeff Wells, and Barb and Chip Vogan.
Having Fun At GrowlFest 2021 2021-09-13 04:00:00Z 0

Mars Exploration

Reshaping Mars on Steam
President Michael introduced Chuck Spence who provided musical accompanist acapella style.
Dr. Marcia Conston delivered the invocation. Brain McGuire provided a visitation report. Colin McKinnon’s daughter, Kris, continues a difficult recovery from an accident. There were no guests in attendance.
President Michael reminded members to cast a ballot for luncheon venue choice-Norfolk Yacht & Country Club, Scope, or Town Point Club as well as vote for prospective member Amanda Workman. Chris Bugg stressed the need for Growlfest volunteer’s noon to 9 pm on September 11th. Norfolk Sunrise Club is outdoing us for volunteers.
Eleanor Schoonover introduced guest speaker, Dr. Bob Ash. A 40-year Rotarian Bob was club president 1993-94. He recently retired from ODU Batten College of Engineering and Technology as Professor and Eminent Scholar Emeritus. A leave of absence from ODU 1977-79 took Bob to Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he took a $694M Mars sample return to NASA design study. That study motivated the discovery of a new way to exploit extra-terrestrial resources to enable large-scale round-trip missions to Mars and other planets.
Despite being absent from the classroom for five months, Bob provided a fascinating overview of his 40-year Mars exploration. One of his first assignments was with NASA Langley to manufacture fuel on Mars to power a rocket’s return to earth. Initially, he hoped to create methane from water on the planet's surface. But he wasn’t sure about its accessibility. So, he and his students devised a system to extract oxygen from carbon dioxide. Bob was convinced by early 1978 that this important technology needed to be aggressively pursued. It took 19 years for NASA to decide it was a good idea.
Hollywood also thought it was a good idea. The device pioneered by Ash and his students in the 1980s was the prototype for the vehicle Matt Damon used to escape Mars in the 2015 movie “The Martian.” The potential for future Mar’s manned missions Bob stressed requires a sustainable infrastructure of humanoid robots such as those developed by Boston Dynamics.  And hopefully, his former students are working on that
President Michael presented Bob a copy of “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” which will be contributed to School of the Week Ingleside Elementary. Jeff Wells drew from $694 pot-no winner this week.
Happy Bucks:  
  • Jim Sell, returning from a 2,500-mile road trip.
  • John Cameron inked a contract with a publisher for a civil war novel.
  • Linwood Beckner, oldest granddaughter starts middle school.
  •  Jim Kitts for Army football victory.
  • Will Lehew, Larchmont Methodist preschool where his granddaughter attends and he is board chair.
  •  President Michael, California botanical gardens field trip.
  •  Barbara Lipskis, Norfolk Botanical Garden groundbreaking.
Adjourned: 1:30 pm
Mars Exploration Sigur Whitaker 2021-09-07 04:00:00Z 0

Dodging Rain Drops To Keep Norfolk Beautiful

On a day which had periodic downpours, Norfolk Rotarians dodged raindrops to help Make Norfolk Beautiful. The crew of Walt Sobczyk, Tom Ambler, Kelly Stefanko and Joe and Barbara New picked up 200 pounds of trash in Wards Corner. 
Dodging Rain Drops To Keep Norfolk Beautiful 2021-09-01 04:00:00Z 0

Write Stuff Backpack Distribution

Norfolk Rotarians helped distribute backpacks provided by the Salvation Army. The backpacks were filled with school supplies appropriate for each school year. Pictured above is Walt Sobczyk demonstrating his traffic control skills while Tom Ambler looked on. Below is the Norfolk Rotary team.
Write Stuff Backpack Distribution 2021-09-01 04:00:00Z 0

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Join fellow Rotarians at Harbor Park on Sunday, August 29, as our Tides play the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. As you enjoy the game, you will be supporting Rotary's efforts to "End Polio Now." $2 from each ticket purchase will go to the effort....which will be matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If you have an "End Polio Now" t-shirt, wear it. If not, wear a red shirt.
It is easy to purchase tickets. It can be online, or by emailing ( or calling John Muszkewycz (757-622-2222 ext 107).
Go Tides!
Take Me Out To The Ballgame! 2021-08-20 04:00:00Z 0

Board Meeting--September 2

There will be a board meeting at Norfolk Botanical Garden Administrative auditorium on Thursday, September 2 at noon. Lunch will be served.
Board Meeting--September 2 2021-08-20 04:00:00Z 0

It's Time To GRRROWL!

GrowlFest is just around the corner. A family friendly evening comes ROARING back on September 11 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Selected animals will be on display for the young and young-at-heart to view. A DJ will entertain as you enjoy beer or wine, food trucks, and games . Come join the fun. GRRROWL to your heart’s delight!!! Pictured above, a youngster is enchanted with one of the Virginia Zoo tigers.
GrowlFest benefits the Virginia Zoo, Norfolk-Sunrise RC and our club. This is one of the three fundraisers for Norfolk Rotary. The other two are Pints for Polio and Suds & Buds. Volunteers for GrowlFest are needed for the beer tent and other duties. Sign up through our website. Tickets can be purchased through this link.
It's Time To GRRROWL! 2021-08-18 04:00:00Z 0

It's Decision Time

Norfolk Rotary has been at Scope longer than I’ve been a Rotarian and that is 22 years. It has served the club well as it was one of the few facilities in Norfolk that could handle a large lunch crowd (well over 100 when I joined), it was located downtown and had underground parking which was a benefit during inclement weather. Every few years, the board would reevaluate and we have remained at Norfolk Scope. We are once again reevaluating where to hold our meetings and the membership will have an opportunity to express their opinion and to make a decision at our next meeting.
The membership will be voting on whether to remain at Norfolk Scope or to have our meetings at either Norfolk Yacht Club or Town Point Club. All members are encouraged to vote (either in-person or electronically) which will be done by ranked choice voting where each member will give their opinion of ranking each venue.
Here are the pros and cons of each facility presented by President Michael at the September 17 meeting.
Norfolk Scope:
  • Covered indoor parking
  • Downtown location
  • Familiar space for club members
  • Basement location
  • No Wi-Fi 
  • Food quality
  • Can’t always meet at this space due to their scheduling
  • Location doesn’t help with recruitment
Norfolk Yacht and Country Club
  • Beautiful newly renovated rooms with fantastic views
  • Food quality
  • Private club cache might help with member recruitment
  • Cost
  • Not downtown
Town Point Club
  • Food quality
  • Familiar space for club members
  • Private club cache might help with member recruitment
  • Parking garage is across the street
  • Room is tight
  • Cost
What is the all-in costs for each of these facilities? All-in costs include the membership dues ($525 per year), food, parking, taxes, facility fee, etc.
Norfolk Scope:  $1,389 per year or $694.50 per member for half year
Norfolk Yacht:    $1,605.00 per year or $802.50 per member for half year
Town Point Club: $1,605.00 per year or $802.50 per member for half year
The Meeting:
Visitation report: Lauren Kiger and her husband, Mark Sonnett, welcomed  Dorothy Gray to their family on August 2. Let’s help Lauren celebrate the birth of Dorothy Gray with meals. It is easy to do through Simply sign up for a day and coordinate with Lauren to arrange delivery for her home in Larchmont. The meal should be for three people. There are no allergy or dietary restrictions.  
Growl Fest is fast approaching on September 11. For those new to the club, Growl Fest is a project of the Virginia Zoo, Norfolk-Sunrise Rotary and our club. It is a fun evening at the Virginia Zoo for the whole family with beer (and other non-alcoholic beverages), food trucks, band, etc. After being cooped up at home for the past year, we expect this event will have many people. Here is a link to buy tickets. Norfolk-Sunrise is a very small club so the majority of the volunteers will come from our club. Please sign up to volunteer and make plans to go to Growl Fest.
Our Foundation chair, Sigur Whitaker, gave a very short (and unconfirmed through official Rotary channels) announcement about Rotary’s Polio-Plus initiative given the turmoil in Afghanistan. For the first six months of 2021, there have been two cases of wild polio in the world. Her Rotary contact indicated that, hopefully, the upheaval in Afghanistan will not impact the distribution of vaccine. The “hotspot” in Afghanistan has been in an area under Taliban control and we have been working in that area for several years so perhaps our efforts to eradicate this terrible disease will not be negatively impacted.
Happy Bucks:
  • Clay Dills was pictured in the “amazing” book on the Garden of Tomorrow. The Garden of Tomorrow is the building project at Norfolk Botanical Garden and Clay is the architect.
  • Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer has been named as the Best Place to Work in Norfolk. Angela Kerns is the managing partner.
  • Sharon Laderberg announced that her first grandchild was on the way.
  • Chuck Spence is celebrating his 80th birthday on the 18th (Wednesday).
  • Bill McGinnis is celebrating 58 years of marriage to Carol.
  • Tom Koller thanked Norfolk Rotary for the warm welcome (he joined on August 10) and is celebrating finding a home in Virginia Beach after two months of looking and four bids.
  • Brian McGuire confessed to not wearing a Rotary pin to today’s meeting.
It's Decision Time Sigur Whitaker 2021-08-17 04:00:00Z 0

District Governor 2021-2022, Deborah A. Wall

District Governor 2021-2022, Deborah A. Wall, Rotary District 7600
We have a District Governor that is totally and completely committed to the Spirit of Rotary. Her talk began and ended with a reminder that the Theme and spirit of Rotary this year is “SERVE TO CHANGE LIVES” and she and her husband have exemplified that theme in their 16-year Rotary journey.
Dream big, think out of the box, outreach with youth, networking, and looking for new opportunities to fellowship and empowering girls is the backbone activities to reinvigorate Rotary in these post-COVID times. We have an opportunity to become more engaged with each other and in our community thru service and encouraging inclusive social events and activities. The 7th focus this year will be the Environment. 
We were challenged to look for a new and innovative project that can expand our engagement with the environment.
Speaking of activities, keep your eyes open for the upcoming district conferences that will be held in person this fall. Fun, service, and socks will play a major role in experiencing the Rotary spirit. You won’t want to miss out!
The bottom line of the District Governor’s talk is that the world is waking up from a slumber called COVID and we have an opportunity to reach out to Norfolk and get people engaged Serving to change Lives. Are you ready to re-engage?
Club Business:
We were led in invocation by Marty Raiss followed by Joe Massey giving the visitation report informing the club that Kris McKinnon is still in a rehab center following cranioplasty surgery. Tom Koller (Laurie Harrison’s Brother in Law) moved down from snowy Buffalo New York settling into the job with ODU and a new house in Virginia Beach. We welcomed Tom as a new Norfolk Rotary Member. The House committee needs four to six people that can come early to luncheons and set up. Our Rotarian of the day was John Padgett.
Service opportunities:
  • Aug. 26th- Young Terrace Community Food Distribution 9:00 am-12:30pm
  • Aug 28th – Salvation Army Write Stuff Distribution (Drive-Thru) 9:00am–12:00 pm supplying backpacks to clients
  • Aug. 29th-Rotary Day at Harbor Park for D7600 End Polio Now- Tides game starts at 4:05 pm, please see Rotary website to purchase tickets
Fines/Happy Bucks:
  • Past President has been traveling to upstate NY and admitting to having another birthday
  • Marty insisted on being connected by phone DURING her invocation
  • Walt is doing a fantastic job heading up the service projects. Sign up for all the opportunities listed. See you there.
  • Sally forgot to put in last week’s minutes that it has taken Bob Heely 60 years to finally get a hole in one (we are taking his word for it and money). Sally also presented a club flag from a Rotary where the President has served 3 years, Bryn Mar
  • Jeff Wells is celebrating all kinds of people’s birthdays.
School of the Week: Ruffner Academy
Adjourned: 1:30 pm
District Governor 2021-2022, Deborah A. Wall Robert Batcher 2021-08-10 04:00:00Z 0

Rescued by Dogs

One guest at the August 3 Rotary Club of Norfolk spoke out of turn and couldn't wait to race around the meeting room. Bueno, a two-year-old German Shepherd search and rescue dog, is excused from barking during his trainer's talk since this was his first public appearance and he was eager to hunt a bone hidden under one of the dining tables.
Bueno's trainer, Brandy Eggeman, owns Citizen K9 Dog Training & Agility LLC in Virginia Beach and is the author of dog training books. She and her dogs have volunteered for 22 years to help in search and rescue efforts after natural and man-made disasters, such as tornadoes and plane crashes, and also at crime scenes. They volunteer with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as law enforcement and other agencies.
Brandy and her dogs have helped solve homicides, located missing people, been part of court cases, found hidden graves, and even discovered a body buried for 250 years. They have worked in the Great Dismal Swamp, at house fires and at area landfills.
Dogs' keen sense of smell makes them excellent detectives. While humans may walk into a kitchen and smell chicken soup cooking on the stove, a dog will recognize each individual ingredient from chicken to pepper as well as the cleaners used in the kitchen.
Brandy trains her dogs to recognize specific scents, including those from donated human teeth and body tissue. Trained canines do their work on the land as well as on water while riding in boats. Dogs typically train every week for two years to get their initial search and rescue certification and then continue learning. For dogs, hunting specific things is a game and not a chore.
At the end of the meeting, Brandy and her human helpers, Carly and John, turned Bueno loose to demonstrate his skills. He ignored leftover food on tables and circled the room until he found a bone hidden under a table and brought it back to his trainer. The club is donating a book to the Rotary library at the Hunton Y in honor of Brandy and Bueno.
Meeting Highlights:
After the opening rituals, Brian McGuire updated members on Rotarians we have not seen in a while. Pam Tubbs and John McLemore are being Covid-19 cautious and avoiding group gatherings. Shep Miller is spending most of his time on his farm. George Nottingham is busy with a daughter's upcoming wedding. After recovering from Covid-19, Jim O'Brien is spending most of his time in rural Virginia. Bill Gough is undergoing chemotherapy. All send their greetings to the club.
Barbara Lipskis added the need for prayers for Colin and Patt McKinnon's daughter, Kris, who is in a rehabilitation center after being hit by a drunk driver a few months ago.
President Michael announced upcoming volunteer opportunities at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and a Ward's Corner neighborhood cleanup as well as a Tides game to raise money for PolioPlus. Details are on the club website.
We celebrated these Rotarians with August birthdays: David Brandt, Chip Finch, Roger Flagg, Adam Foleck, Jim Kitz, Tim Lawrence, Jim O'Brien, Wayne Shank, Chuck Spence and Sigur Whitaker. Celebrating August wedding anniversaries are Lisa and Web Chandler (41 years) and Kay Kemper and Denny Parker (13 years).
August Rotary membership anniversaries are Bill McInnis (32 years), Marty Raiss (31 years), Bill Davis (26 years), Ben Mason (25 years), Julie Keesling (21 years), Sigur Whitaker (22 years), Susan Donn (19 years). Gary Boswick (10 years), David Brandt (10 years), John Cameron (3 years), and Michael Desplaines (7 years).
Happy bucks raised money for Norfolk Rotary Charities and let us know that:
  • Stephen Kirkland and his wife, Sarah Jane, were featured in an article about how they met while working on a cruise ship.
  • Bill Clendenin was in an article about a new garden at PrimePlus Norfolk Senior Center.
  • Sally Hartman's son, Luke, has decided the 757 is a great place to work and is moving from Utah to work remotely. She appreciates Lisa Chandler and her company Rose & Womble Chandler Realty for helping her son find a place to live in a tough rental market.
  • Wayne Shank and his wife, Ann, survived caring for three young grandchildren for four days.
  • Eleanor Schoonover read an article on Mars that made her think of retired professor Bob Ash and her hope that he presents a talk on his work with Mars exploration.
  • Chick Robison is happy to be back meeting in person at Scope.
  • Several Rotarians were not wearing pins.
After a long hiatus due to not being able to meet at Scope and access supplies, the weekly raffle is back with Bill McInnis in charge. John Cameron, who happened to be Rotarian of the Day, won the daily pot of $16.
Rescued by Dogs 2021-08-03 04:00:00Z 0

Special Meeting Guest

Bueno, a 2-year-old search and rescue dog from Virginia Beach, made his first public appearance by attending a Rotary Club of Norfolk meeting on August 3 where his trainer Brandy Eggeman shared how canines like him are trained to find missing people and human remains. After Brandy's talk, Bueno demonstrated his expertise by racing through the meeting room to find a bone hidden under a table, which he brought to his trainer.
Special Meeting Guest 2021-08-03 04:00:00Z 0

Pop Up Social

Several Rotarians gathered at Crackers for a pop up social. It has been about a year since the last pop up social and these Rotarians enjoyed the get together.
Pop Up Social 2021-07-23 04:00:00Z 0

Committee Sign Up 

Our fair Vice President in charge of programs is Jeff Wells, and our Rotarian of the Day is Sally Hartman. Having served on approximately 15 different committees, Past President Sally was uniquely positioned to emcee our discussion of the committee system of our Rotary club.
There are 25 committees to help run our Rotary Club of Norfolk. Many were defunct this past year due to that pandemic thing, but two shout-outs were given to Walt Sobcyzk (community service), and Joe Massey (visitation) for their extremely amazing chairpersonship this past year.
  • President-Elect (Laurie Harrison)
  • Vice President for Programs (Jeff Wells)
  • Secretary/Treasurer (Barb Lipskis)
  • Administration Committee (John Cameron)
  • Fellowship (Michelle Nettles)
  • Public Image (Diane Wallach)
  • Membership (Brian McGuire)
  • Fundraising (Chris Bugg)
  • Community and International Service (Dave Duncan)
  • Vocational (Bob Ash)
Chairpersons are needed for committees under each Executive and Director role. Please sign up by reaching out to the respected leads for the committee you wish to serve with.
The Meeting
President Desplaines - resplendent in plaid - rang the meeting to order promptly at 12:30ish. Music masters John Cameron and Chip Vogan led the lunch attendees in a rousing rendition of “R-O-T-A-R-Y” and “Grand Ole Flag”. 
Chip Vogan made an encore with an inspirational invocation. There was no official visitation report this week, though, this lowly scribe would like to relay her chance encounter at the local Food Lion with Will King. He was chipper as always, though moving a bit slower than usual.
Our sole guest today was the woman who survived rearing a young Michael Desplaines, Lise Desplaines. Her strength and patience were applauded.
The next meeting will most likely be at the Scope - please read your emails to stay apprised. Our speaker will be Brandy Eggeman discussing Search and Rescue Dogs. 
**Just a quick reminder - the entire membership will be voting on where to hold our weekly meetings. Gus will make a presentation of the dollar and cents comparison beforehand. The contenders are the Scope, Town Point Club, and the Norfolk Yacht Club. **
Club Business
  • Club committee sign up Pick your favorite, then your second favorite, and maybe even your third favorite area of interest in Rotary, contact the chair of the committee in these areas and GET INVOLVED!
  • Pop-up social - Wed, 7/21. 5-7 pm at Crackers restaurant on Granby St by the base of the bridge. Drink a martini and then crack up your fellow Rotarians with a joke.
  • Board Meeting - Tues, 7/27 noon at administration offices of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Please RSVP to President Michael, and he just might forage in the gardens for some lunch.
  • Food Distribution at St Mary’s Basilica - Thurs, 7/28 8 am-11:30 am. Other Rotarians have raved of this service project.
  • Polio Plus Baseball Game - Sun, 8/29 4:05 pm. Ticket information will be forthcoming (and as an aside, it is Bark in the Park day also, so you can bring your pooch for a $5 donation to an animal charity)
Fines/Happy Bucks 
  • President Michael began the donations for the lack of a Rotary pin, followed by Eleanor Schoonover, Lauren LaBonte, and John Padgett.
  • Jim Kitz outed Dr. Marcia Conston for a fine letter to the editor in the paper.
  • Major Donald Dohmann gave happy bucks for his family member’s end of 8 months of chemo treatment.
  • Chip Vogan gave happy bucks for his trio’s upcoming performance in person at the Goode Theater on Aug 7th at 7:30 pm. 
Pop quiz - the # 1 requested committee to join our club? -Greeter!
Committee Sign Up Diane Wallach 2021-07-20 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange

This week’s speaker was our own President Michael Desplaines who spoke to us about a trip to India that he made many years ago as part of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange. It’s a program that offers a unique cultural and vocational opportunity for business people and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. It provides travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries.
For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.
President Michael’s message centered on how Rotary service changes lives. Currently, Rotary International is the largest NGO in the world with 1.2 million members in more than 150 countries. It supports a variety of causes, and which will likely touch an area of interest for most members. Through an array of club partnerships, Michael shared with us photos from his trip where they saw Rotary in action through Blood Banks that provide not just the gift of life but also screening for a wide range of diseases.
He also shared examples of much-needed schools, vocational training centers, orphanages, and a center to teach mothers and their deaf children sign language. It was a fascinating look at Rotary in action and made us all proud to be Rotarians.
The Meeting
After songs, pledge, and prayers, Brian McGuire gave the visitation report, informing members that Ann Baldwin is doing much better and even did a handstand in the pool a few days ago! Jason Drane’s daughter is doing better after being treated at CHKD and Duke. She has a rare condition that makes it difficult for her body to process glucose. Please keep Colin McKinnon’s daughter in your thoughts and prayers as she is about to undergo cranioplasty surgery to replace a piece of her skull. Finally, Will King is doing PT, making progress, and hopes to return to Rotary meetings very soon.
Bryce Burton introduced our two guests, Carol Labstain, a guest of John Cameron, and Zach Christopher who was accompanied by Dianna Starkey. 
President Michael announced that the response to the club’s email about committee assignments has not seen a great deal of responsibility and is urging members to email the club back with their choice of desired committees. And now for some big news! Jim Kitz attended the District Awards and Installation ceremony where the Rotary Club of Norfolk received a great many accolades, including the:
  • Rotary District Foundation Award
  • Community Service Award
  • Outstanding President’s Award
  • Governor’s Circle Award
  • Rotary Citation Award
A special thanks to Jim, Sigur, and Walt for all they have done to contribute to the club’s success. The district also acknowledged Sigur Whitaker for her two years of service as District Governor. Taking over in that role is Debbie Wells who will be visiting our club later this fall. 
Finally, the club welcomed a new member, Robert Sult, and bid a sad farewell to Bryce Burton who is moving to Florida. 
Happy Bucks
  • Eleanor Schoonover had grandchildren visiting recently and told us how much they enjoyed visiting the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
  • Sally Hartman has been featured several times in the Virginian-Pilot
  • Marty Raiss just returned from a couple of weeks enjoying her grandchildren in North Carolina. 
  • Barbara Lipkis happily announced the recent marriage of her son.
  • Angela Kerns was a guest on the Hampton Roads Show on WAVY-TV 10.
  • Jim Kitz offered congratulations for the many kudos the club received during the district awards ceremony.
  • George Compo announced the birth of a new grandchild.
  • Jeff Wells expressed his happiness for having us all back together and being able to see fellow Rotarians face-to-face once again. 
Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange David Brandt 2021-07-13 04:00:00Z 0

Installation of New Officers

President Jim spoke of the past year's challenges and successes. Jim thanked the club members, officers, and his very supportive wife, Claire, who he dubbed an honorary Rotarian for all of her volunteerism conducted this year. Jim thanked Lisa Barnes for an amazing job, and she will be very missed.
Jim invited Michael Desplaines to the podium to be sworn in as the 2021 Rotary Club of Norfolk President. As a departing gift, Michael gave 12 scooters (one for every month Jim served) to the Hutton YMCA in Jim's name.
Laurie Harrison was sworn in as President-Elect. The club's new officers and directors were instilled. Officers include Vice President Jeff Wells, Secretary/Treasurer Barbra Lipskis, Immediate Past President James Kitz and Directors John Cameron, Dave Duncan, Michelle Nettles, Chris Bugg, Brian McGuire, Diane Wallach, and Parliamentarian Tom Ambler. Each officer and director received pins from Michael and Lorna.
Michael, as the new club president, continued to run the meeting. He gave each officer and director personal gifts he bought from the Norfolk Botanical Garden. He talked about the theme for this year as FELLOWSHIP. We have been on Zoom too long, so he wants the club to get back together. Michael gave his history with Rotary from a young man in the Rotary Program GSE. He spoke about his experiences in visiting an orphanage, Blood Bank, speaking to a group of ten thousand at an Interfaith event, and about bathing a baby elephant. This experience brought him into his love of service.

The Meeting: 
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:37 pm. Jim led "The Four-Way Test," followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  Sigur Whittaker lead us in music - God Bless America, and O'Canada (for Michael). Sharon Lederberg gave the invocation. 
Visitation report: Joe Massey is feeling under the weather, please send your prayers. 
Lorna gave the introduction of guest: Jim's wife Claire, Laurie Harrison had several guests including her brother-in-law Tom and colleague Rob, Dianna Starkey introduced Zachary Christopher - a student intern from California. 
We sang happy birthday to the July Birthdays:  
Burnette, Bill July 05 
Desplaines, Michael July 08 
Dunbar, Dalton July 08 
Padgett, John July 08
Wells, Jeff July 14 
Beckner, Linwood D. July 15 
Mason, Ben July 16 
Jonak, Bill July 25 
Wallach, Diane July 30
July Wedding Anniversaries 
34 years, Laurie &Mark Harrison July 13, 1985 
39 years Julie & Bob Keesling July 31, 1980 
41 years, Pamela & Ace Tubbs July 1, 1978 
73 years, Bill & Mary Louis Lehew July 28, 1946 
July Rotary Anniversaries 
Lauren Kiger 1 year July 7, 2020 
Ann Sullivan8 years July 16, 2013 
Angela Kerns 11 years July 27, 2010 
Lisa Chandler 16 years July 28, 2005 
Adam Foleck 16 years July 26, 2005 
James O’Brien 27 years July 1, 1994 
Carlisle Wroton 29 years July 1, 1992 
Robert Heely 44 years July 1, 1977
School of the week: Granby High School
Installation of New Officers Dianna Starkey 2021-07-06 04:00:00Z 0

Meet Michael Desplaines

Michael Desplaines, the 2021-22 Rotary Club of Norfolk president, first saw Rotary's impact while working for a YMCA in Massachusetts. A Rotary club funded an exchange program he led that brought together children from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Michael later was a Rotary beneficiary when selected for a Rotary group study exchange program that sent him to India for a month in 2000.
Michael, president and CEO of Norfolk Botanical Garden, became a Rotarian after moving to Hampton Roads in 2014 to head the 175-acre garden. The reason it took so long for him to join: All clubs in his previous cities were breakfast clubs, and Michael is not a morning person. When Rotarian Bill Eisenbeiss encouraged Michael to visit the Rotary Club of Norfolk -- a lunch club -- he eagerly joined in 2014 and immediately got involved.
Michael is an enthusiastic Rotarian who has served on his club's board of directors and as its secretary/treasurer, vice president of programs and president of Norfolk Rotary Charities. He also was president of the Rotary District 7600 Alumni Group and was selected Alumni of the Year by the district in 2019.
Michael grew up in Pawtucket, R.I. speaking only French until kindergarten thanks to his parents French Canadian roots. As a child, Michael wanted to be an archeologist like Indiana Jones. In high school he volunteered at a wildlife refuge before getting a job on an organic herb farm where he learned about plants and also "how to speak to the public and give tours" -- skills Michael uses daily. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a horticulture degree in the midst of a recession, Michael took the only job he could find -- licensing stock brokers for an insurance firm. Michael says this job taught him "about the business world, how to dress for work and that he hated desk jobs."
A newspaper ad led Michael to the Y, where he started an environmental program for youth from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and founded a teen center. He worked for a public school before becoming executive director of the McLaughlin Garden and Homestead in Maine and then founding director of the Castle in the Clouds museum and garden in New Hampshire. After a total of 12 years heading these two New England organizations, Michael came to Hampton Roads seven years ago to lead Norfolk Botanical Garden where he is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations.
Michael lives in Virginia Beach with his husband, Jason Robertson, a real estate agent. In 2016, Michael earned a master's degree from Plymouth State University in natural resource development -- horticulture. In his free time, Michael likes to travel, swim, lift weights and garden.
As a believer in service above self, Michael looks forward to leading the Rotary Club in a post-pandemic environment. He plans to emphasize fellowship and to reinvigorate the club's committees.
Meet Michael Desplaines 2021-06-26 04:00:00Z 0

Happy Foodbank Helpers

Rotarians recently filled 441 boxes with food that will help
food insecure older adults have nutritious meals.
Led by Walt Sobczyk, our club completed more than 25
service projects during the 2020-21 pandemical year.
The Foodbank has gone high-tech with a new machine
that seals the boxes with the help of skilled Rotarians.
Emptying boxes of rice, beans, pasta and other food
generates lots of cardboard that needs to be recycled.
Happy Foodbank Helpers 2021-06-26 04:00:00Z 0

Mayor Ken Alexander

Laurie Harrison introduced Rotarian of the Day Lauren Kiger, a Rotarian for one year and who is expecting her second baby next month; Lauren then introduced our speaker, Mayor Ken Alexander.
After thanking us for allowing him to speak to his first audience since before Covid, and acknowledging that he has worked in some way with at least one person at every table in the room, Mayor Alexander outlined several ways that exemplify how Norfolk has stayed strong through the last year.
Unlike so many cities, Norfolk’s police, elected officials, and the administration listened and responded to concerns and high emotions during the time of protests last summer, and we experienced no serious incidents. We kept our AAA bond rating without raising taxes or fees by focusing on our core services. We have made critical investments in several areas, including $3 million in new money for schools, and increasing starting police salaries to $50,000, the highest in the region.
He then outlined a few priorities moving forward. Businesses have faced severe challenges, including workforce numbers and how to go forward safely. The Mayor’s priority is to help enable businesses to be open and functioning, whether in person, remotely, or a hybrid. Cybersecurity is a high priority, with the military, airport, and water systems specifically mentioned. Lifting restriction and returning to normal (whatever that means now!), and reviving the spirit of Norfolk.
Several great questions led to further discussion:
  • The City has narrowed to 4 the number of proposals for the Military Circle area, and in discussion with other cities, is looking to make it a high-end, mixed-use entertainment and business destination.
  • The City sees the Ward’s Corner area to Southern Shopping Center as a “gem” that can be refined, with perhaps a facility such as is at the Dam Neck sports complex.
  • Concerning the issue of homelessness, the City hopes to partner more closely with agencies and non-profits to provide assistance and relief.
  • Strong community policing is a proven strategy to address crime in the city.
Club Business:
For the Visitation report, Joe Massey informed us that Colin McKinnon’s daughter Kim, for whom we have been sending prayers for several weeks, continues to receive intensive care; and that Jason Drane’s child has been in the hospital at Duke.
Our next three meetings:
  • July 6 at Towne Point Club
  • July 13 at Norfolk Yacht and Country Club
  • July 20 at Scope
After these meetings, we’ll have a presentation about the costs and pros and cons of each location, after which we’ll vote for a preferred meeting place.
Jim Presented a Rotary Challenge Coin to three Rotarians for their above-and-beyond service this year:
  • Walt Sobczyk, for planning 25(!) outstanding service projects – and attending most of them himself
  • Brian McGuire, who was not able to be here, for his amazing work with Rotations
  • Sigur Whitaker, for her many roles filled with aplomb – Foundation Chair, Website guru, and – oh, yes – Area Governor
President Jim then awarded a surprised and thrilled Paul Harris Fellow to our Executive Secretary Lisa Barnes.
Fines and Happy Bucks:
  • Sally Hartman, who is happy to be back together, and also that her husband Ron is finished with 45 days of proton therapy.
  • Sigur Whitaker, who has just given her next book, Racing with Roger Penske, to her publisher; thanked Jim for his job as our President, and she is excited for her conversation with the Chancellor of her Beloved UNC and a recent get-together with local alums.
  • Mal Branch, who is thrilled about the new airline launch of Breeze Airlines, and for his first out-of-town outing in over a year.
  • Chris Bugg announced the graduation of his son.
  • Chuck Spence, for UVA’s success to date in the College Baseball World Series
  • David Brandt, whose daughter has just gotten engaged and whose son has just graduated from Mary Washington, and to announce that he’s moving back to Hampton Roads.
  • Bruce Willcox, who retired on April 1.
  • Michael Desplaines, announcing that the Botanical Garden just had its busiest day in history! He’s also grateful to Jim as our President and for the free parking today.
  • Bryce Burton, whose son just graduated from high school. He also made the surprise announcement that he’s moving to Aventura, Florida.
  • Linwood Beckner, who is thrilled to see long-time Rotarian Bill Jonak here today.
  • Alan Nelson, to shout out to the University of Texas in the College Baseball World Series.
Mayor Ken Alexander Marty Raiss 2021-06-15 04:00:00Z 0

Coach Rahne ODU Football

Norfolk Rotary welcomed fellow Rotarian and ODU football coach Rick Rahne as the featured speaker. Coach Rahne has a storied football history. As a star player at Cornell University, he racked up impressive stats as a three-year starter in the quarterback position. He graduated as Cornell’s all-time leader in completions (678), passing yards (7,710), touchdown passes (54), and total offense (7,994 yards). He was inducted into the Cornell Hall of Fame in 2014.
He came to Norfolk as head coach after a six-year stint as an assistant at Penn State. One of the takeaways is that there is a great team spirit that permeates Happy Valley. In part, this is attributable to the stadium with 22,000 of the 105,000 seats reserved for students. He also noted that a strong sports reputation which helps a school not only in the recruitment of players but also students and increased giving from alumni. He encouraged his fellow Rotarians to support the Monarchs as the hometown team.
Giving a nod to the pandemic, Coach Rahne noted that he is still undefeated as he enters his second year as ODU’s head coach and is looking forward to the start of the season. He is known for his ability to adjust his strategies to his personnel, Rahne has three quarterbacks competing for the starting position including two who played during the 2019 season and a transfer from a school. Each of the quarterback candidates has a different methodology that will impact the team’s style of play.
There are two decisions by the NCAA which will impact players. In response to the pandemic, the NCAA is allowing players an extra year of eligibility regardless of whether or not they played during 2020. While this benefits the players, it is decreasing the opportunities for those in high school as the NCAA has not increased the number of players on a team.
The second decision is allowing student-athletes to benefit from their name, image, or likeness in promotions. Historically, if a player signed an autograph for money, they were ineligible to play. Today, they can benefit financially but there are nuances with which most students’ athletes aren’t equipped to handle. Coach Rahne would not be surprised if some college athletes fail to pay income taxes on their earnings and end up with IRS difficulties.
Coach Rahne also believes that the female athletes will outearn the male athletes. He believes that most athletes will not benefit from this change and will be disappointed. He points out that it is all a matter of supply and demand….and other than the very elite college athletes, how many sponsors will there be for college athletes?
Coach Rahne also talked about the week between games. It starts on Sunday with practice and a review of the game tapes. Throughout the week, it escalates with outlining a game plan, and walk-throughs of various situations with a walk-through on Thursday before the game and then a hard scrimmage on Friday.
He believes his team’s strengths will be a strong offensive line. He also believes the Monarchs will have a strong defense and that the team is “pretty fast.” His concern is that they are young with 60 of the 105 players lacking college experience.
Club Business:
The end of the year joint board meeting (old board and incoming board) will be Monday (June 14) at Norfolk Botanical Garden.
A reminder that next week’s meeting will have Mayor Kenny Alexander as the featured speaker. Please let Lisa Barnes ( know you are coming. We need to let the Town Point Club know how many people we will have.
Sigur thanked her fellow Rotarians for their generosity over the last year. If you are planning to give this month, TRF will credit donations for 20-21 year if they are postmarked by June 30 and received at RI no later than July 8. To avoid the uncertainty of mail delivery, you can also give through Remember to sign in to MyRotary so that you and the club will be credited with your donation.
Happy Bucks:
  • President Jim is celebrating the marriage of his son, Brian, and his new daughter-in-law, Lacy.
  • Sharon Laderberg is happy that Virginia Wesleyan’s softball team is the national champion for the third time in the past four years. A dynasty.
  • Joey Rothgery gave in appreciation to those working at the polls today including Walt Sobczyk and Lisa Barnes.
School of the Week: Tidewater Elementary School
Adjourned: 1:27 pm
Coach Rahne ODU Football Sigur Whitaker 2021-06-08 04:00:00Z 0

Clean the Bay Day

Norfolk Rotarians pitched in to help clean Sarah Constant Park in Ocean View. They picked up litter ranging from cans and plastic bottles to cigarette butts and shards of glass. They even found part of a watermelon which had been discarded. Pictured above are Sally Hartman, Chris Bugg, Tom Ambler, Kelly Stefanko, Walt Sobczyk and Sigur Whitaker. Not pictured are Lorna Cochrane and Martha Ambler.
Clean the Bay Day 2021-06-07 04:00:00Z 0

Sorting Foodbank Donations

Have you ever wondered about all of the food distributed the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia?  They collect tons of pounds from individuals and grocery stores which needs to be sorted before it can be boxed for distribution. Cans have to be checked for freshness (six months beyond the "use by date" with the exception of baby food which expires on the "use by date"),  ingredients must be listed, and the cans cannot have sharp edges (which lets microscopic amounts of air get in which then spoils the food). Peanut butter jars have to be opened to make sure they haven't been eaten (yes, that happens). The product is sorted by volunteers and then put into big bins which are later used to pack the boxes which are distributed. Pictured above are Sigur Whitaker, Chuck Spence, and Marilyn Gowen who participated in the sorting of food.
Sorting Foodbank Donations 2021-06-04 04:00:00Z 0

Public Works, Virginia Stage Company

Lois Kercher introduced Patrick Mullins, the Director of Public Works for the Virginia Stage Company. This is the Stage Company’s Public Outreach Program and uses all the resources to reach the community.
It combines the artist from the Company with the talents of the community to share life experiences and artistic performances. The lines blur between the artist and the community as people work together to entertain. On the staff at Access Virginia are the deaf artists that perform using sign language to entertain those that might not have had that experience before. 
The artists have lots in common with the community they perform in. Similar ages and abilities bring people together. The artists spend time there, they provide tours of the theater and give the behind-the-scenes perspective. For the visually impaired they have touch-tours, to allow those that are unable to see the costume and the sets to feel the textures and the sizes. 
The Stage Company did not let COVID slow them down, they transitioned to Zoom and the outdoors and continued to engage the community. Last summer they had a virtual Camp while this year they are ready for the in-person camp to return. Last year they had a Christmas Carol Escape (like the Escape Room challenge) both virtual and live performances that were interactive. 
They worked on Project ODY called “Do you know me?” about age and race. They practice skills required for actors such as thinking, breathing, and timing. But they found these same skills were important for people to maintain composure in difficult situations. They also have a dance theater that put on a Filipino Dance, and another show focused on the History of Hampton Roads and a puppet theater. 
Patrick thanked the club for the grant we provided the company, it allowed for a professional costume person to make professional garments for the performers. They also need volunteers, maybe an opportunity for future community service. 
They also donated a set of tickets for any future performance that Joe Massey generously outbid other members during the short auction. Everyone noticed the energy and enthusiasm from Patrick during the presentation, he truly loves what he does and loves promoting the Stage Company
The Meeting:
Since we are a singing club, John leads us in song, singing Working on the Railroad and Battle Hymn of the Republic. He added some history behind the songs. A few minutes later Jim Baker gave us an invocation. 
Joe Massey provided the Visitation report which included Chris McKinnon still progressing toward recovery. President Jim added news about Ann Morgan that she is steadily improving.
President Jim announced the Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries, and Rotary Anniversaries (ranged from 1 year to 50+ years).   
Club Business:
On June 15th at 1200PM, Mayor Alexander will talk to the club at the Towne Pointe Club. This will be an in-person meeting. The Club is paying for the meal but RSVPs are required by emailing . On July 6th there is another in-person club meeting at the Town Point Club for the installation of officers. Please remember to RSVP if you are attending to the previous email.
Two community service events coming up. On June 5th at 830AM, we will be at Sarah Constant Park (300 W Ocean View) for a cleanup. Meeting in the east parking lot along Ocean View. On June 11th at 830AM we will be assisting St Paul Community Food Distribution at 645 Church St (parking lot across from the Brambleton Post Office). We will be directing the cars and loading the cars with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. This is an outside event.
The last bit of business came from Past President Lorna. She announced that Ms. Lisa Barnes will be leaving as the Executive Secretary but would ensure there was a smooth transition. She asked that if anyone knew of someone interested in the position, to please contact her, President Jim, or President-Elect Michael Desplaines. 
Happy Bucks and Fines: 
  • Celebrity Eleanor Schoonover was at the WestPoint Cemetery to clean headstones and gardens.  
  • Marty Raiss gave thanks for her time with family and friends in Key West, and for the Duke and ODU baseball wins. 
  • Bill Lehew gave thanks for the Lacrosse win.  
  • Angela Kearns for the JMU worlds series win.  
  • President Jim gave thanks for another win for the U.S. Army baseball team. President Jim thanked Breeze airlines for nonstop flights to Charleston SC to be able to visit his newlywed son.   
  • John Cameron was celebrating a wedding in New Orleans.  
  • Laurie Harrison was happy about her sister moving to Virginia Beach. 
  • Chris Bugg appreciated Pres Jim’s reminder that his anniversary was coming up.  
  • Tom Ambler gave thanks for being able to get out and work at the shot clinic.  
  • Jeff Wells gave thanks for 40 years in Rotary and all the great people he has met.  
  • Lorna Cochrane for volunteering at the PGA tournament and working at the Rotary sponsored hole.  
  • Lois Kercher was thankful for five grandchildren. 
  • Sally Hartman also helped out at the PGA tournament and appeared on the Golf Channel.
School of the Week:  Willoughby Elementary School
Adjourned: 1:35 pm
Public Works, Virginia Stage Company Walt Sobczyk 2021-06-01 04:00:00Z 0

What are you bringing with you during a hurricane

President Jim turned the floor over to Laurie Harrison who orchestrated our second ‘networking event.’ We spent about twenty minutes in breakout rooms guided by Sally Hartman, Sigur Whitaker, Michael Desplaines, Jeff Wells, and Bob Batcher. The initial icebreaker was: what would you take if you had to evacuate because of a hurricane?
In Jeff Wells’ group, Bob Ash told an engineer’s joke (hint: John Padgett would have disagreed). But they all agreed that they had to bring along their pets and family photos.
Bob Batcher’s group decided that it was important not to stress out because you aren’t in control. It’s best to roll with it, i.e., “buy an oar.”
Michael Desplaines’ group included Bob Heely, who would take his guitar; Berhanu Mengistu who has to have his computer; Sharon Laderberg, who is now digitizing family photos. We also discussed our travel plans for the future.
Sally Hartman’s group discussed a variety of extreme weather events, including blizzards and earthquakes. Sally will take a toy bear from her Dad, born in 1906.
Sigur Whitaker had a group of our youngest Rotarians; it seems they treated the event like a lunch table discussion (back when we had those round tables at Scope). Brian McGuire and Jennifer Dilworth share a fascination with honey (perhaps there’s a future program here?). They also discussed their professions.
President Jim added that in his group everyone wanted to bring along important documents as well as photos; he showed a slide of a Peloton bike to lighten up the mood. Marilyn Gowen endured the hurricane of 2003 at CHKD, sleeping on the floor to catch some winks.
President Jim thanked Laurie Harrison and everyone for the good time. A book will be donated to Willard Model Elementary School library in celebration of this meeting.
The Meeting
President Jim turned to Bob Heely for our traditional songs; Bob accompanied himself on his treasured guitar as he led us in "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie. Then we did the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Four-Way Test. Lauren Kiger implored that we “be a people pursuing peace” in her invocation. 
Visitation/Introduction of Visitors
Our coordinator of Visitation, Joe Massey, is away in Hot Springs. We got an update on Chris McKinnon, who has been moved to a rehabilitation facility. We must continue to keep Chris and Ann Morgan, our bookkeeper, in our prayers. 
Club Business
President Jim announced that we will have an in-person meeting on June 15th at the Town Point Club. We will have the Mayor of Norfolk deliver his ‘State of the City’ address. There will be no masks, no social distancing; if not comfortable with this plan, don’t sign up. There will be a sign-up system organized shortly. This will also be true of the July 6th meeting in which we install the officers and board for our next fiscal year.
Sigur, our Foundation chairperson, announced that Lisa Chandler is now a Paul Harris Fellow Plus Eight (which means she has contributed $9,000). Lisa remarked, “I forget how easy it is to give! Years ago, I set up an automatic withdrawal on my credit card every month. So, I don’t even notice.” Sigur offered to assist anyone else interested in this method of donating to The Rotary Foundation.
There will be a Community Service opportunity at the Foodbank on May 25th from 9:30-2:00. It’s a more flexible opportunity within the timeframe. Signup on our website. Clean the Bay Day will be June 5th at Constant Park.
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • President Jim called out two people who will appear in local media: Lisa Chandler and Marcia Conston are rumored to be on the Power List for Inside Business. 
  • Lisa also had Happy Bucks because this weekend she will be on an airplane en route to see her grandchildren. 
  • Lauren LaBonte, one of our newest members, contributed to a good time in Key West. 
  • Diana Starkey was more than happy: her eldest son graduated from Duke with an M.A. and her younger son graduated from James Madison University. And they celebrated their 28th anniversary.
  • Jeff Wells is celebrating his daughter’s return. 
  • Michael Desplaines noted that he had returned from a visit to Atlanta (to tour the Garden).
  • Chuck Spence announced that his grandson (who had a serious case of cancer) is now cancer-free and will graduate from Cape Henry; he will go on to college at Colgate University.
President Jim reminded us that next week we’re off. But in two weeks we will have Patrick Mullins, Director of Public Works at Virginia Stage Company.
Adjourned: 1:30 p.m.
What are you bringing with you during a hurricane Julie A. Keesling 2021-05-18 04:00:00Z 0

Congratulations, Bob

Bob Ash, our longtime member and past Rotary Club of Norfolk president, is the subject of this excellent article by Phil Walzer written as Bob retired as an Old Dominion University engineering professor and one of its longest-tenured professors. Click here to learn about Bob and his amazing career.
Congratulations, Bob 2021-05-15 04:00:00Z 0

Helping to Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Seven Rotarians helped to keep Norfolk beautiful on a cool sunny fall-like day. Traffic was light on Princess Anne Road when they gathered at 8:30 a.m. The litter patrol pictured above of Will King, Mike Richardson, Chris Bugg, Bruce Wilcox and his son Andrew, Tom Ambler and Walt Sobczyk (not pictured) picked up eight bags of trash.
Helping to Keep Norfolk Beautiful 2021-05-14 04:00:00Z 0

Helping with Food Insecurity

Norfolk Rotarians helped 32 families with food insecurity recently at the Basilica of St. Mary's. Recipients received a variety of canned goods, frozen meat, and their choice of potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onions and apples. The number of receipents is unusually low which is attributed to the recent stimulus payments and the doubling of SNAP benefits during the pandemic. Pictured above are Rotarians Walt Sobczyk, Sigur Whitaker, David Duncan, long time St. Mary's volunteer Valerie, and Jim Kitz.
Helping with Food Insecurity 2021-05-14 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Works and Norfolk Rotary Endowment

This week's meeting was a doubleheader. First, Rich Salon introduced us to Rotary Works. Rotary Works is an initiative provided for Rotarians and Rotaractors within Zones 33 & 34 experiencing career transition. You can find the in-depth information at ROTARY.WORKS.
The program is comprised of three distinct programs, providing education, networking, and financial resources and grants for participants, mentorship opportunities for personal and professional development.  
Next on the program was our own Mark Shaw. Mark told us about the Norfolk Rotary Endowment associated with our club. The Endowment currently has over $667,000 and is managed by the Hampton Roads Foundation. The Endowment allows the club to give back to the community. Last year the club withdrew $26K to be used to the Rotary community grant program.
The Meeting: 
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:31 pm. Jim led "The Four-Way Test," followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Bob Heely lead us in music with his rendition of “Sunny Side of the Street” and the third verse of “America the Beautiful”. Pam Tubbs gave the invocation. 
Visitation Report:
Barb gave an update on Chris McKennis; she has been transferred to a Rehab Facility. Please keep her in our thoughts and prayers.
 Announcements and Club Business: 
  • Sigur announced that Chris Bugg is now a PHF+1 
  • There a several upcoming Community Service events; please sign up through the website.
  • 5/12-Basilica of St Mary's Food Distribution 
  • 5/25-FoodBank
  • 6/5 Clean The Bay Day 
Happy Bucks/Fines: 
  • Jim fined Sally Hartman $5 for missing the shout out given to her last week 
  • Lisa gave happy bucks for her new puppy 
  • Michael gave happy dollars for several reasons: 
    • Lorna helping him with his Goals for President (21-22) 
    • For upcoming IN-PERSON meetings. 
    • For Jim Kitz's amazing leadership and keeping us together through this past year of Rotary via ZOOM. 
  • Sharon gave happy bucks for her daughter's birthday and having all three of her children together last week.  
  • Sigur gave happy bucks for a fun trip to Texas with her friends. 
  • Jeff gave happy bucks for a visit with his 91-year-old mother. 
  • Lorna gave happy bucks to celebrate her husband's birthday while she is helping Michael.  
You can pay your Happy Bucks and Fines via VENMO @NorfolkRotary-Charities.
New Members:
Jim announced that we have two new members to induct into our club:
  • Sigur sponsored and introduced us to - Deborah Davis 
  • Sally sponsored and introduced us to - Lauren LaBonte
School of the Week: Tarrallton Elementary School 
Adjourned: 1:30 p.m.
Rotary Works and Norfolk Rotary Endowment Dianna Starkey 2021-05-11 04:00:00Z 0

Botanical Garden Makeover

Michael Desplaines greeted President Jim in French and introduced our speaker Clay Dills.
We were given a look at what is going to happen at the Botanical Gardens over the next months. The goal is to immerse the public into space and create the Garden of Tomorrow. The parking lots will be restructured to be a garden and avoid an excessive runoff.
Then there will be a raft of new buildings and exciting additions. The first thing you’ll see coming in will be a boating and rowing pavilion. The open space next to the Rose Garden will be converted into an entry pavilion followed by a conservatory and several biomes including Tropical and Desert. Running over and through all this will be a high canopy walk above much of the tram road. The goal is to take the visitor into a garden, not to look from the outside.
One of the most exciting aspects is that much of the building will be done with Biomason brick/pavers. Using bacteria, sand is converted into a coral-like cement. All-natural and, unlike cement, environmentally sustainable. Another building material is shou sugi ban, charred cedar planks which are waterproof, resist insects, and fire-resistant.
Groundbreaking will be in July.
During question time we were told that all existing buildings except the toll booth will stay; you will be able to rent kayaks from the Garden; the green rooftop will be mostly editable plants to be used in the bistro. Fundraising was very successful, all totaled near $30,000,000.
The Meeting:
President Jim called the meeting to order at 12:33 p.m. Bob Heely accompanied himself and the club as we sang “La Bamba” in observance of Cinco de Mayo. We then sang the first verse of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Bob Batcher gave the invocation.
Joe Massey reported that Chris McKinnon is still in a coma but showing some encouraging signs. We were happy to hear that Ann Morgan is making progress. She will soon move to a rehab center and will be happy to get a telephone call from anyone.
We congratulated one new Paul Harris fellow, Brian McGuire.
We had a unanimous decision to accept Lauren LaBonte as a member of the club.
Club Business:
Several community service projects are listed on the website. 
We will go back to the Basilica of St. Mary for food distribution. And on May 26, we will be again at the Food Bank. Many thanks to those who came last Saturday to clean the trash on East Princess Ann. One of the favorite service projects, Clean the Bay Day, will occur on 5 June. Stay tuned for more information.
Happy Bucks/Fines: 
  • Jim Kitz got on a plane again and visited their daughter and his son who is planning a wedding
  • Pam Tubbs just spent a couple of weeks with her family. AND the Tide will have its first home game in over 600 days. Maybe Pam would organize and invite other Rotarians to join her.  
  • Marcia Conston was very happy that President Biden was on campus a few days ago. What great publicity.
  • Bob Ash just gave his last final exam and will retire after submitting grades. Also, a big deal the Mars oxygen experiment just carried out proved the accuracy of his system for generating oxygen on Mars. Our own Bill Nye the science guy
  • Joey Rothgery was very grateful to Michael Desplaines for speaking to the Master Gardeners
School of the Week: Tanners Creek Elementary School
Adjourned: 1:37 p.m.
Botanical Garden Makeover John Cameron 2021-05-04 04:00:00Z 0

Meet Barbara Lifland

Barbara Lifland is one of the Rotary Club of Norfolk’s most consistent travelers. Until pandemic restrictions temporarily grounded her, you would find Barbara and her husband, Errol, on a trip about two weeks of every month.
Barbara, who joined the Rotary Club in 1989, says her favorite trip is “where she has just been, is going now or where she is planning to go next.” Among her repeat destinations are Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Acadia National Park in Maine, and the Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.
During the pandemic, Barbara, who lives in Virginia Beach, kept busy working out in her home gym, doing house projects, and volunteering at a vaccine clinic. She is happy that she and Errol are finally able to travel again. They recently returned from a trip to Arizona where they did a lot of hiking.
Barbara grew up in Minnesota and moved to Hampton Roads in 1979. She and Errol have four children and seven grandchildren. For nearly 20 years she was executive director of Primeplus Norfolk Senior Center. After retiring in 2009, she joined seven book clubs and has kept busy volunteering and traveling. Her hobbies include hiking, rappelling, fishing, photography, and swimming. Barbara has served on our club’s board of directors and has handled social media for the Suds & Buds party.
Fun fact: Barbara and Errol first met at a Rotary Club of Norfolk meeting when they sat at the same table during lunch.

Meet Barbara Lifland Sally Hartman 2021-05-04 04:00:00Z 0

Hunton Y's New Warming Oven

The Hunton YMCA was one of the recipients of a Norfolk Rotary grant. With the grant, the Hunton Y purchased a much needed warming oven. During the pandemic, Chef Paul has been preparing meals for over 700 people daily. Pictured above are Rotarian Bill Moore, chef Paul's twin sister, Paula, Chef Paul and Norfolk Rotary president, Jim Kitz presenting the check. Below chef Paul is showing off some of the food prepared being kept warm in the warming oven.
Hunton Y's New Warming Oven 2021-04-28 04:00:00Z 0

Packing Food for 209 Families

Norfolk Rotarians gathered at the FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and packed 209 boxes of food to be distributed to those in need. The food included canned vegetables, canned fruits, tomato products, pasta, protein including the ever popular peanut butter, canned meats, snacks, and condiments. Rotarians are "People of Action" even during the pandemic. Pictured above from the left are a Foodbank volunteer, Sigur, President Jim, Lorna and her husband Daniel, Jean (a friend of Lorna's), Tom and on the front row Clare and a Foodbank volunteer.
Packing Food for 209 Families 2021-04-23 04:00:00Z 0

20 Nonprofits Awarded Grants

The Greater Hampton Roads Diaper Bank was among 20 area nonprofits recently awarded recently awarded $50,166 in grants from the Rotary Club of Norfolk. Funding came from Norfolk Rotary Charities, which is supported by club members' donations. The diaper bank works with 40 community partners to provide 480,000 free baby and adult diapers each year to area people in need. Pictured are board secretary Kerry Winter and Herb Erb, diaper bank coordinator.
Additional grant recipients are: American Red Cross of Coastal Virginia, The CHAS Foundation, Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, Children's Health Investment Program, Eggleston Services, Friends of the Norfolk Environment, Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast, Girls on the Run, Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Hospitality for the Homeless, Little Theatre of Norfolk, Norfolk Senior Center (Primeplus), The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command, Tidewater Community College, Tidewater Winds, Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop, Todd Rosenlieb Dance and William A. Hunton YMCA.
20 Nonprofits Awarded Grants 2021-04-23 04:00:00Z 0

Food Distribution

Norfolk Rotarians gathered for a Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia food distribution. Over three hours, we participated in a drive through distribution of frozen chicken, potatoes, white and red onions, cabbage and apples to 126 families. Pictured above are some of those who participated including Clare and Jim Kitz, Walt Sobczyk, Lisa Barnes and Sigur Whitaker.
Food Distribution 2021-04-21 04:00:00Z 0

Trip Down Memory Lane

Vice President in Charge of Programs—Laurie Harrison, introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Bob Heely. Bob has been a Rotarian for 44 years. He joined in 1977. What he likes about being in Rotary is the strong integrity and character of Rotarians around the world. 
A fun fact about Bob is that his son Teddy and Sally Hartman's son Luke played in a band together. Luke played the guitar while Teddy played the drums. 
Bob introduced Sally Kirby Hartman. Sally is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. She recently retired from HR Community Foundation as the VP of Communicating, and she has been the NR Club Past President. She lives in Norfolk with her husband Ron and dog Lucy. Her son Luke lives and works in Salt Lake City.
Sally took us on a trip down her memory lane with her presentation of Ritan to Japan – 42 years later. Sally was 22 years old when she ventured to Japan for a semester at Kansai Gaidi's Foreign Studies University. Although Sally didn't speak the language, she found her way around the country. 
She shared her memories of experiences she encountered with the other students from the US and Canada. Those experiences included field trips, walks, learning how to speak the language, eating with her very own chopsticks, outings, and visits to parks in the beautiful fall season. She also shared her love of her host family – father, mother, and twins.
Sally taught the girls how to sing songs and all about Snoopy, and they introduced her to Hello Kitty. In 2018, after a thorough search of her host family, Sally took Ron and Luke to Japan to meet her host family and experience the places and things she experienced so long ago. Many things have changed since her last visit in Japan, but many have not, such as the honesty and respect of people, friendliness, love of simple beauty, respect for nature, historical sites, children's song, and love of Snoopy. 
In closing, Sally told us that she found her 1976 Journal from her Japan trip; in the Journal, she wrote - What do I tell people when they ask – How was Japan? She said, "I can just say it was the most wonderful experience and leave it at that." But, instead, she would tell people, like the Norfolk Rotary Club 42 years later, that she had a wonderful experience and couldn't wait to go back again with her family. Sally encouraged all of us to travel while we can, visit foreign countries and learn about their cultures. 
While we are still in relative isolation, she suggested we take free online tours through 
The Meeting: 
We were led in invocation by Joe New. Joe Massey gave the visitation report and informed the club that Chris Kennis, daughter of Pat and Collin, has had slight improvement. She will be in an induced coma for 30-60 days to allow her brain to heal. Please keep them in your prayers. Jim then gave us an update on Ann Morgan, she is out of ICU and the infection is under control. Her children and family are visiting. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Joe introduced a new member application from a past Rotary Club member. Lauren LaBonte (2012-2016), and also self-reported that he will undergo surgery on Thursday. 
Introduction of Guests:
Jim introduced Pamela West from the Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club. Pamela will be the new Asst Governor following in Sigur's shoes. 
  • Paul Harris Fellow announcement. Sigur thanked Walt for his generous contribution to the Club. 
  • Grant Committee Update - Michael Desplaines reported on the 2021 grant recipients. Over 70 organizations requested grants with a total of $400K in asks. NRC awarded 20 grants ranging from $1,000-$5,000. The committee identified the organization into three categories: Health & Education, Arts & the Environment, and Social Services. For the complete list, visit the website.
  • Community Service April 22nd Food Bank, plus more on Norfolk Rotary website including · Saturday, May 1st E. Princess Anne Community Clean Up. 
  • Jim advised everyone to please check their membership profile on NR Club Runner. 
  • The first half of the year Rotary membership dues are due. 
  • Barney gave HB for turning 92 years old. 
  • Barb gave HB for taking their first trip since last year. 
  • Jeff gave HB for an outstanding gathering of 15 Rotarians for the grant review. 
  • Dianna gave HB for LIVE events again through Virginia Arts Festival. 
  • Lorna gave HB for Hunton Y. They have been serving 750 meals a day. 
  • Bill gave HB for his grandson's graduation from UVA. 
  • Irene gave HB for he nephew's admittance to JMU and her sister's recent visit. 
  • Chris gave HB for his daughter's admittance to Elon University. 
School of the Week: Suburban Park Elementary School.
Speaker: Clay Dills, Architects 
Trip Down Memory Lane Dianna Starkey 2021-04-20 04:00:00Z 0

Inducting Donald Dohmann

Laurie Harrison was the Rotarian of the Day who explained that we would be assigned to Break Out Rooms for approximately 20 minutes. There we would discuss what we all had in common, what we’ve learned in the last year, and what we see for the future. We would start with the following:
  1. Name
  2. Where you live
  3. Occupation
  4. Family
  5. Something you’ve done during Covid
  6. What you’re excited about for the summer
The consensus is that the small groups were successful. Even though we weren’t in person, it felt more personal (like sitting at our tables in Scope). We all miss the comradery and look forward to being together when it’s safe. Some Rotarians are looking forward to retiring, seeing family, and traveling. Since this was such a success, President Jim will look to see if we can’t find a way to do small breakouts before meetings in the future. 
The Meeting:
President Jim Kitz called the meeting to order at 12:30. We were led in song by Bob Heely with “What a Wonderful World” and “America the Beautiful” followed by "The Four-Way Test." There were no guests today. 
Sharon Laderberg gave the invocation and the Visitation Report was given by Joe Massey who had nothing to report but asked the club if they knew of any Rotarians who were ill and could use a call from his committee. President Jim reported that Ann Morgan was back in the hospital in ICU. 
Club Business:
We were delighted to have Bill Moore and Lorna Cochrane join us along with Executive Director, Brenda Gibbs from the Hunton YMCA. Bill showed us the new flat-screen TV in the library (and there is one in the Board Room) along with the 6 new HP tablets. The Hunton YMCA has 70-80 students who need to Zoom and connect to their classes to do their work. Bill let us know that they are still working to improve the internet connection.
President Jim was happy to announce that we have a new member of our Rotary Club, Donald Dohmann. His sponsor, Lauren Kiger introduced Don. Donald, and Laura Dohmann moved to Norfolk in June 2020 as the area commander for The Salvation Army. They have served in many areas, including New Bern, NC, Gastonia NC, Lynchburg, VA, and Richmond, VA. Don let us know that everywhere he has served, he has joined Rotary. Don and Laura have 2 daughters, Erin and Morgan. He looks forward to getting to know us all. Don’s mentor will be President Jim Kitz.
President Jim asked that we update and fill out as much information on ClubRunner as possible. If we should need help, please call Lisa Barnes. Also, if you have not paid your dues, please do so. President Jim and Jeff Wells will be making calls to those members with dues outstanding.
Walt Sobczyk gave us an update on last weekend’s service project at St. Paul’s distribution center. Rotarians spent approximately 4 hours packing food and groceries. Once they were done packing, they distributed the food to needy households. The next service project will be on April 22nd at the FoodBank. They need 8 volunteers. You can sign up on our website or call Walt. There will be another service project at the FoodBank in May and in June, it’s “Clean the Bay” day. More information to follow.
School of the Week: St. Helena Elementary School
Happy Bucks:
President Jim Kitz paid some Happy Bucks in honor of Cy Grandy who has been absent but is present on Zoom for this zoom meeting.
Inducting Donald Dohmann Sharon Laderberg 2021-04-13 04:00:00Z 0

Yoga Poses with Kim Austin-Peterman

The April 6 Rotary Club of Norfolk meeting was a peaceful one. Kim Austin-Peterman, a massage therapist and long-time Norfolk yoga instructor, shared the benefits of yoga and inspired Rotarians to give it a try.
During times of pandemic stress like we all have endured the past year, yoga can improve our bodies and help us become calmer and centered. Kim started her Zoom presentation with a rubber band wrapped around her thumbs to show how our muscles are similar in that a little tension can help stretch them.
Kim led Rotarians and guests through a series of gentle yoga poses while seated in a chair. She recommends regularly doing basic stretches during workdays or long days of sitting to help relieve back pain and increase mobility and flexibility.  
Following Kim’s lead, her audience slowly inhaled and held their breath for up to five counts before slowly exhaling. She then had heads gently turning, upper bodies rotating and then leaning forward and arching backward in the cat and cow poses, legs stretching out and then one leg crossing over the other in a figure four stretch. All these poses are variations of ones typically done on a mat but easily adapted to being in a chair.
The Meeting
President Jim Kitz opened the meeting with a moment of silence for long-time member Barry Kesser, who recently passed away. Several members fondly remember Barry. Jim Sell recalled how he and Barry joined Rotary at the same time and enjoyed wearing their Papa Bear hats to meetings.
Chuck Spence talked about carpooling to University of Virginia games with Barry, who insisted Chuck sit by his grandson at games so Chuck would feel like part of the family. Joe New’s invocation was inspired by Barry who served with him on the Chaplain Committee. Barry liked to share the opening prayers given by the U.S. House of Representatives chaplain. Joe then read a recent opening prayer by House Chaplain Margaret Kibben in honor of Barry.
Visitation Report
Jim let us know that Ann Morgan, club bookkeeper, is in the hospital and improving and that Rotarian Michelle Nettles’ mother recently passed away.
Club Business
Past District Governor John Padgett made a special presentation to Sigur Whitaker for becoming a new Rotary Foundation major donor with donations of totaling $10,000. He highlighted the good work the Rotary Foundation does around the world with help from generous donors like Sigur.
Sigur then reminded us that April 6 was the Rotary Day of Giving when our Rotary district matches donations of $100 or more given online. She pointed out that of 30,000 Rotary Clubs ours typically is among the foundation’s most generous clubs.
During the meeting club members voted to approve a member application from Deb Davis, a retired teacher. Next week we will induct new member Donald Dohmann, who leads the area Salvation Army unit.
Walt Sobczyk has several service projects planned. April 9 is food distribution to people living in the St. Paul’s Quadrant. April 22 is a Foodbank workday. Details for registering to volunteer are on the club calendar.
Bill Moore updated the club on the Hunton Y Zoom rooms. Our club has put in large, smart TVs in the library and a conference room and mesh routers that will help the 45 students doing remote learning keep a steady Internet connection. Bill hopes Rotarians can soon read remotely with students at the Y using the new technology.
April Birthdays
George Compo, Michelle Nettles, Ray Moses, Winston Whitehurst, Bernie Cohen, Mark Shaw, Joe New, Kelly Stefanko, Susan Donn, Brian McGuire, and Chris Bugg.
Wedding Anniversaries
Walt Sobczyk and his wife, Donna, are celebrating 26 years of marriage this month.
Rotary Anniversaries
Anthony Radd, 42 years; Skip Burton, 36 years; Alan Nelson, 35 years; John Padgett, 32 years; Shep Miller, 30 years; Jerome Adamson, 26 years; Jack Kavanaugh, 24 years; Lorna Cochrane, 12 years; Laurie Harrison, 7 years; Walt Sobczyk and Michelle Nettles, 6 years; Berhanu Mengitsu, 2 years; Chris Bugg and Stephen Kirkland, 1 year.
Rotary dues are past due for many members. Please make sure you have paid the invoice that went out in January.
School of Week: William H. Ruffner Academy
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • Jim Sell for his grandson being accepted to Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Bill Moore for his and Margaret’s 43rd wedding anniversary.
  • Michael Desplaines for a family trip to Hawaii with his mother who always dreamed of going there.
  • Sharon Laderberg in honor of her late cousin Barry Kesser, who was her Rotary sponsor and for the club singing her son’s favorite Rotary song – R-O-A-T-R-Y.
  • Chris Bugg for some basketball happiness.
  • Eleanor Schoonover for her success in leading a Zoom meeting with people in three countries.
  • Barbara Lipskis for the sale of her home and the move to her new one.
  • Will King for his grandson graduating from the University of Virginia.
  • Sally Hartman for her husband finally starting 45 days of proton therapy.
  • Beranhu Mengitsu for getting to see his grandchildren for the first time in a year.
Adjourned: 1:49 pm
Yoga Poses with Kim Austin-Peterman Sally Hartman 2021-04-06 04:00:00Z 0

Remembering Barry Kesser

Barry Kesser was a Rotarian in spirit before he became a Rotarian. He would do anything to help people. He was a 40-year member of the Rotary Club of Norfolk and is fondly remembered for his upbeat nature, friendly greetings and always smiling. He was a member of the chaplains committee and his invocations were thoughtful and often included a Priestly Blessing.
     May the Lord bless you, and guard you.
     May the Lord make His face shine unto you, and be gracious to you.
     May the Lord lift up His face unto you, and give you peace.
A real estate developer and appraiser, he was well-known throughout Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He loved to race Hobie Cats, was an avid runner who participated in marathons, earned an amateur pilot’s license, and rode a motorcycle.  He was active in the community as the president of the Board of the Norfolk Board of Realtors, and served on the boards of Congregation Beth El, the Norfolk Public Library and the TOWN Foundation.
Chuck Spence and Barry were friends at Granby High School but drifted apart after Norfolk closed its public schools in the fall of 1958 and Barry transferred to Virginia Beach High School. Their paths crossed again at a tour of Norfolk Academy when their daughters were prospects for first grade. Their friendship was rekindled when Chuck joined Rotary. Chuck would join Barry and his son and grandsons at UVA football games where Barry would insist that Chuck join them for tailgating and sit with his family.
Barry was a devoted family man married to the love of his life, Kay.  They had three children and seven grandchildren who fondly called him “Papa Bear.” Barry is pictured above with Kay.
Remembering Barry Kesser 2021-04-04 04:00:00Z 0

Barraud Park Cleanup

The last time Norfolk Rotarians pitched in to pick up litter from a Norfolk park, it was bitterly cold. Thankfully, on the day we gathered to cleanup Barraud Park it was about 30 degrees warmer. Pictured above are some of the Rotarians who participated in the cleanup with the bags of trash collected.
Barraud Park Cleanup 2021-04-04 04:00:00Z 0

Food Distribution at St. Mary's

Most of the time, Norfolk Rotarians are involved with sorting and packing food at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. We recently participated in a food distribution day at the Basilica of St. Mary's. Their food distribution coordinator, Ercelle Drayton, never knows how many volunteers will show up and sometimes has to handle it all on her own. We started with getting prepared for the distribution. Paper bags were loaded with canned goods and when the recipients arrived two packs of frozen chicken were added to the bags. But that wasn't all. They also could add apples, onions, cabbage and potatoes to their food baskets. There was also cereal (Special K) which Mrs. Drayton said wasn't very popular. But she did not know the power of persuasion of Rotarian Bob Batcher who convinced many to add it to their baskets even when Frosted Flakes were added as a choice. Outside, the people could add bakery goods.
We also got a tour of the historic Basilica of St. Mary's which was built in 1858. It has been undergoing an extensive renovation which started with the roof. But just as in our homes, one thing led to another. The exterior work led to the interior work. While removing flooring, the jack hammer went through to an underground tunnel. No one is sure but it might have been part of the Underground Railroad as Norfolk was a major stopping point with easy access to ships heading north. The $6.7 million renovation is nearing completion and the results are breathtakingly beautiful.
Those who volunteered all agreed that we would like to return for more food distributions at St. Mary's.
Food Distribution at St. Mary's 2021-04-04 04:00:00Z 0

District Day of Giving

District 7600 is hosting a Day of Giving on Tuesday, April 6. It is an easy way to either achieve your first Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) or for your next PHF level. Our club has been very generous on past days of giving, in fact, for the past two years, our club has been in the top three clubs worldwide on the December Rotary Foundation Day of Giving in December.  Here are the particulars:
  • Online giving to the Annual Fund through MyRotary.
  • Minimum contribution of $100
  • The District will match one point for each dollar contributed.
  • Matches do not apply for those members who are PHF + 8.
  • Set up your online account at least a week before. Go to On the right hand side there is a link "for members" which will take you to another tab to "register"  for an account. I you need help, please contact Sigur Whitaker. To give, you will sign into and then go to the "Donate" tab. (this will give you and our club credit for the donation).
The District has a goal of raising $100,000 on April 6. Last year the District raised $70,000. If the District raises $100,000 then District Foundation Chair Stephen Beer will shave his head at the August Foundation meeting. Additionally, if our club is the highest in either per capita giving or the highest percentage of members giving, I will be given 500 points. Since I am already a PHF +8, I will distribute these points to the club members who contribute on that day.
It is easy to support The Rotary Foundation and the good works it does throughout the world and Hampton Roads. Additionally, The Rotary Foundation has been recognized by Charity Navigator as among the top five charitable organizations throughout the world. 
District Day of Giving 2021-03-20 04:00:00Z 0

Norfolk Rotarians Pack 400 Food Boxes

Norfolk Rotarians gathered at the Foodbank for a morning of service and packed 400 food boxes to be distributed to those suffering from food insecurity.
Norfolk Rotary has been a long time supporter of the Foodbank and has done many service days at the location. During the pandemic, the Foodbank has been well organized and provided for a safe environment. 

It is a great way to not only contribute to our community but also get to know your fellow club members. We will be doing a food distribution event at the Basilica of St. Mary's on March 24 and a clean up of Barraud Park on March 30.
Norfolk Rotarians Pack 400 Food Boxes 2021-03-20 04:00:00Z 0

Perry Artistic Director Rob Cross

The Program:  
VP of Programs Laurie Harrison introduced Rotarian of the day, Dianna Starkey. Dianna has been a member of the Club since 2017. Her favorite part of being a Rotarian is being connected to a thoughtful, caring, and community-minded group of leaders. A fun fact of Dianna is that she is an OPTIMIST; she even has The Optimist Creed hanging in her office. It has certainly served her well this past year.
Dianna introduced Rob Cross, Perry Artistic Director of the Virginia Arts Festival. Rob grew up locally. He is the lead percussionist in the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and has held many leadership roles for the VSO.
He was hired in 1995 to start the Virginia Arts Festival, previously called the Virginia Waterfront International Arts Festival, and has been at the helm as the artistic and executive director of the Festival ever since. Rob shared with the Club that this past year has been hard, to say the least. He said, "we've managed to get through it successfully both from a staffing and financial position". 
After canceling the entire 2020 season, the Festival was successfully and safely able to turn their Courtyard into a performance space where they held 16 outdoor concerts - all of the events sold out. The Festival also held several virtual online events and produced educational content for the school system within the region. Education is a big initiative of the Festival, so it was important for the Festival to find ways to help the school division meet the needs of local students with performing arts content.
Continue to be innovative became essential to Rob, so the Festival began working with the City of Norfolk to building a new downtown venue on the corner of Bank Street and Charlotte Street. The venue, a very large tent (98'x144'), named the Bank Street Stage will open on April 12 with Oliver Woods of the Wood Brothers, the additional concert includes, Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, and several other co-production events with Virginia Stage Company, Virginia Opera, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Norfolk State University. 
Downtown Norfolk Council, Seven Venues, Visit Norfolk, and other organizations have come on board to partner with the Festival on promotions and give marketing support. The Bank Street Stage events will help revitalize Norfolk and help the restaurants, hotels, and retailers. The goal is to bring arts patrons back downtown safely and healthily.
In addition to the tent events, the Festival will be presenting performances in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Portsmouth, and Newport News. Rob hopes to see Rotarians at several upcoming events, including Jazz at Lincoln Center Septet with Wynton Marsalis, NSU's A Musical Tribute to Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, Virginia Stage Company/NSU Theatre Company/VAF's production of August Wilson's How I Learned, What I LearnedTrouble in Tahiti with Virginia Opera, Olga Kern Trio, Jae Sinnett Trio, Kenny Washington with the John Toomey Trio, and many more.
Another big announcement this year is the relocations and date change of the popular Virginia International Tattoo to ODU's Ballard Stadium June 3-6, 2021. In closing, Rob thanked the Rotarians for all of the support they have given to the Festival throughout the years. We hope to see you at a performance soon. 
The Meeting: 
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:31 PM. Eleanor and Roger Schoonover delighted us with their rendition of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “My country, tis of thee”. Jim led "The Four-Way Test" followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Jim Sell led the club's invocation.
Visitation Report: Jim gave the report that we have two members, under the weather - please keep Ann Morgan, Club secretary, and Stan Tuberville in your prayers. 
Introduction of Guest: Deb Davis.
School of the Week: Richard Bowling Elementary School
Club Business:  
  • We have received a new member application from Major Don Dohmann, Commander of the Salvation Army. The NRC Board approved his membership. A-Zoom Poll was taken, Don received a unanimous vote from the Club. 
  • In keeping with the FUN mission of our Club, Jim conducted a ZOOM poll to see if the Club agreed with the shaving of his COVID-19 pandemic goatee. The Club agreed, he did the right thing. 
  • A few volunteer opportunities are coming up, please register on the Norfolk Rotary website. 
  • Recently, Norfolk Rotarians gathered at the Foodbank for a morning of service and packed 400 food boxes to be distributed to those suffering from food insecurity.
  • Rotary Give Day is coming up on 4/6/21. This allows you to double your contribution as the district will match your $100 donation with 100 points. 
  • The District is hosting a golf event at Kings Mill in Williamsburg, the fee is $90. 
  • Jim reminded everyone that we don't have another meeting until April 6th. The speaker will be Kim Aston, Yoga instructor, so be prepared to do some exercise. 
Happy Bucks/Fines   
  • Sigur gave happy bucks for the publishing of her 5th book on Indianapolis 500 driver Robert Pensky. The delivery date is June 30, 2021.
  • Sharon gave happy bucks for Will helping her daughter get into grad school. 
  • Marilyn paid a fine for five new wheels. She bought a new Lexus SUV.
  • Dianna paid a fine for being on WVEC news regarding the new VAF's Bank Street Stage.
  • Dianna gave happy bucks for getting her first vaccine with her husband Mike and for today's speaker Rob Cross. 
  • Jim gave happy bucks for their upcoming vaccine shot.
Adjourned: 1:20 pm
Perry Artistic Director Rob Cross Dianna Starkey 2021-03-16 04:00:00Z 0

SWIFT Initiative

Joe New Introduced our speaker, Ms. Lacie Wever, from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD). Lacie is a Community Education Outreach Specialist with HRSD. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Thought and Practice and a Master's from Regent University. She previously worked for Keep Norfolk Beautiful before HRSD.
HRSD’s main process is to turn the dirty water from homes and industry into clean drinkable water. Water was typically produced from wells and in our area, there was so much water 100 years ago the pressure pushed the water into the pipes for the community homes. Today’s high demand for water has lowered the underground aquifer level requiring the use of pumps to extract water from below ground. Wells are now going down 200 feet to reach clean water.
Up through the middle of the 1900s, wastewater (containing sewage) from homes was discharged into waterways and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. This caused people to become sick and was hurting the ecosystem in the bay. HRSD now cleans the water before discharge to meet the Total Maximum Discharge Load (TMDL) as set by the EPA for contaminating levels such as Phosphates and Nitrogen.
In the Hampton Roads area, the lowering of the aquifer has allowed the infiltration of saltwater from the ocean to infiltrate the freshwater aquifer we depend on. SWIFT uses an 8-step process to clean the water, match it to the composition of the natural aquifer water, and pumps the cleaned water into the aquifer, programmed for 1 Million gallons per day. It becomes a natural reservoir of clean water for future use and replacing saltwater.
The SWIFT building is a research facility for the area's grad students and an educational environment for children. In the future, we hope to see 5 SWIFT facilities in the area co-located with the water treatment plants. Later this fall, we should see groundbreaking for the SWIFT facility on the James River Water Treatment site. The goal is to return 120 M gallons to the aquifer from the 290 M gallons we extract and use.
The funding for this project initially came from the EPA ($125M) and the other financing coming from the consumer usage charges. Some interesting facts are the water in the aquifer travels slowly, about 3 days to cover 50 feet, and the water for the aquifer we tap actually enters the ground around Richmond.
The Meeting
President Jim rang the bell at 12:30 PM. Maintaining our singing club status, Eleanor and Roger Schoonover lead us in singing two favorites…R_O_T_A_R_Y and God Bless America. This was followed by The Four-Way Test and Bob Healy’s fifth question, “will it be fun?” 
Visitation/Introduction of Visitors
President Jim Mentioned Ann Morgan was recuperating at home.
Today’s guest was Major Donald Dohmann from the Salvation Army. Maj Dohmann has been married for 22 years to Laura and has two children. He was previously assigned to the Richmond area. 
Club Business
Three events are on the books for March and we still need volunteers for each of the events. 
On the 10th we are going back to the Foodbank for the morning shift (9-12 PM).
On the 24th we will be working a Food Pantry at the Basilica (downtown) from 8-1130 AM.
Then on the 30th, we will be cleaning up Barraud Park (from 930-1200PM) just as we did last year. Check the website for more details.
President Jim gave a quick update on the Hunton YMCA Zoom Room. The room is 70% complete with 6-7 Chromebooks for the children to use in support of the virtual Zoom educational sessions.
Michael Desplaines provided a quick update on the Grants. The deadline was the end of February with 60 grant applications received. With $50K to be disbursed through this process, the selection of the recipients should be completed during the first week of April.
School of the Week: Sherwood Forest Elementary School
Happy Bucks/Fines.
  • Joe New gave Happy Bucks for his Hokies.
  • Eleanor Schoonover gave Happy Bucks for a better musical performance this week than last week (technical challenges).
  • Lastly, President Jim gave happy Bucks for all the fresh new faces that were seen at this club meeting.  
Meeting adjourned at 1:32 PM.
SWIFT Initiative Walt Sobczyk 2021-03-09 05:00:00Z 0

The Return of Jos

President Jim called on Michelle Nettles to introduce our speaker. Michelle has been a Rotarian in our club for six years; she enjoys working with people and loves to vacation in the Keys!
Michelle introduced Jos Hekking, who was a member of our club from 2017 to 2019. Jos is a member of the Dutch Air Force and was stationed here with NATO. Jos went to Officer School in 1982; he will retire in April after serving thirty-nine years. An impressive accomplishment indeed! (It should also be noted that Jos’ wife also presented a program to our club based on her professional experiences in psychotherapy.)
Jos gave us a thorough review of his recent experience serving on the staff of the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and The Palestinian Authority. Although he was posted there in January 2020, because of the pandemic he was absent from March 18 to mid-August. 
This organization was established by the Oslo Accords of 1993; the head is a Lieutenant General who reports directly to the Secretary of State. This mission is to assist the Palestinian Security Forces with education, training, and pay. Jos asserted that the men he worked with were well educated from a wide variety of institutions but they did not have experience in managing. He informed us about their senior leadership course for officers of colonel and general levels. He stressed that procurement training, e.g., large military contracts, was required.
Jos put up a slide “Worth To Mention” (in Dutch) in which he shared his personal opinions (emphatically not the opinion of the Dutch Air Force or any other military). He said it is essential to know the Bible and the Koran as everyone you meet knows them. He disliked the litter problems. The existence of very expensive cars seemed to point out that corruption is a problem.
Jos emphasized that the Palestinians suffer under the occupation regime; the need for permits and the frequent checkpoints make travel onerous. Jos likes to hike and had some slides of beautiful terrain. The Palestinians he dealt with were consistently kind and generous; the food was outstanding.
Jos went to several Rotary clubs and found Rotarians to be committed to helping the poor. As a Christian, Jos said he felt privileged to visit the areas where Christ lived and preached.
Among the questions posed to Jos was one from Berhanu Mengistu. How could peace be achieved so that all believers could pray at their holy sites? Jos replied that if he knew, he should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Not really. But it’s certainly a challenge. (Both sides must want peace for it to work.) Jos told the story of how he got permission to take the President of the Ramallah Rotary to Jerusalem but she couldn’t pray there. No permission. Sad.
President Jim thanked Jos for an enlightening presentation and reminded him that a book would be donated to Sewell’s Point Elementary School library in his honor.
The Meeting
President Jim started a video of Eleanor and Roger Schoonover singing one of our favorite tunes, “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” Regrettably, the audio failed to launch. However, Rotarians commented on the verve and expressions as well as the excellent harmony! Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the Four-Way Test, Jim Sell invoked spring as the harbinger of better things to come.
Visitation/Introduction of Guests
Our loyal bookkeeper, Ann Morgan, is in the hospital. Our best wishes to Ann for a speedy recovery. Sigur Whitaker introduced her guest, Deb Davis, who was a reading specialist with Norfolk Public Schools and is interested in joining a Rotary club.
The first meeting of the month means it's time to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
Rotary Birthday                                        
Robison, Chick    Mar 05                               
O'Brien, Irene   Mar 10
McKinnon, Colin   Mar 12                             
Rogis, Dean    Mar 13
Radd, Anthony   Mar 16                                
Mengitsu, Berhanu Mar 18                                 
Powell, Bob   Mar 18                                            
Burton, Bryce   Mar 24                                   
Hartman, Sally   Mar 27
Raiss, Marty    Mar 29
Rotary Anniversaries
McLemore, John 32 years Mar 01, 1989
Flagg, Roger H. 35 years Mar 01, 1986
Wallach, Diane 10 years Mar 15, 2011
Wedding Anniversaries
Winston & Eunice Whitehurst, Mar 01, 1964
President Jim had two blue badges to announce: one for Mike Richardson and one for Greg Bockheim. Then he called on Bill Moore for an update on the technology improvements at the Hunton YMCA. 
Bill noted that they are close to getting Internet to two classrooms so the children can attend Zoom lessons; with $1,300 in donations to help with this initiative, Bill indicated that six Chrome books are on order and should arrive shortly.
Bill Eisenbeiss updated Rotarians on two volunteer opportunities in the coming weeks. We can assist with food distribution for those in need at St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Norfolk and clean up Barraud Park. Please register through our website if you can assist.
Sigur, our Foundation chairperson, announced that there is a District 7600 giving day on April 6th. Those who donate will receive matching points toward a Paul Harris designation. (But not if you have already donated $9,000. But you probably don’t need points if you’re at that level.)
School of the Week: Sewell’s Point Elementary School.
Happy Bucks & Fines
  • President Jim called out two people who appeared in local media: Barbara Lifland and Joe Massey. But at that moment neither were in the meeting. 
  • Michelle Nettles contributed to Happy Bucks because of our speaker and because her parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Adjourned: 1:34 pm.
The Return of Jos Julie A. Keesling 2021-03-02 05:00:00Z 0

Sorting Food for Distribution

Our recent volunteering at the Foodbank has been either filling backpacks for children or boxes for Seniors. If you had sorted food you remember all of the rack in which you placed the food. These have been consolidated into major groupings such as vegetables, fruits, protein, etc. Walt Sobczyk, Bill Eisenbeiss and Sigur Whitaker recently gathered and spent their time sorting donated food.
There is another Foodbank volunteering opportunity on March 10 from 9 to 12. Please join your fellow Rotarians and help out our community.
Sorting Food for Distribution 2021-03-01 05:00:00Z 0

Museum of Contemporary Art

Our Rotarian of the Day was Carlisle Wroton who is one of our more active Rotarians. While he is well known for donating much of his time toward our many projects, his real claim to fame is that he once got to perform on stage with the Doobie Brothers!
Vice President of Programs Laurie Harrison introduced our speaker, Gary Ryan, Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Virginia Beach. While the museum is now a prominent fixture in Hampton Roads, it has humble beginnings. It all began when a group of community members staged an art show to defray the medical bills for a neighbor and it just grew from there!
Gary told us that the stated mission of MOCA is to foster awareness, exploration, and understanding of the significant art of our time. Through excellence and diversity in its changing exhibitions and educational programming, MOCA stimulates critical thinking and dialogue throughout the Hampton Roads community.
That mission was greatly threatened last year as COVID-19 forced the museum to briefly shut down. She says the current operating philosophy is that the “building is closed, but the museum is open. She and her staff have partnered with WHRO to deliver arts curriculum to area schools and they are perpetually live streaming a wide array of events to the public.
Partnering with companies and organizations such as Sentara, EVMS, and Norfolk State University, MOCA has been able to host many exciting programs, including projects that support local artists who are putting the spotlight on important issues such as food deserts in urban areas and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Despite the constraints of a virtual environment, MOCA has seen record attendance with 70 percent of attendees living outside of Virginia Beach and approximately 1/3 coming from out of state! 
The Meeting
We began the meeting with music led by Pam Tubbs, and while her selections of Let Me Call You Sweetheart and God Bless America were quite good, she treated us to a new version of Rotary with lyrics she wrote herself. After hearing her rendition, President Jim was moved to exclaim, “There are probably thousands of Rotary meetings going on around the world today, but I bet we are the only one that had a world premiere of a new song! Music was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer led by Jim Sell. 
Visitation Report
We were asked to keep two people in our thoughts and prayers, Jason Drane who had knee surgery, and Ann Morgan who has been under the weather.
Introduction of Guests
Jeff Wells brought his colleague Brian Phelps and Jennifer Dilworth was accompanied by her friend Elizabeth Hopkins. During announcements, Michael Desplaines reminded us that we are now seeking applications for $50,000 worth of small grants being awarded by our Club. Bill Moore, who has been deeply involved with the Hunton YMCA, says that many of the children who it serves are struggling to keep up with school during remote learning because far too often their computers do not work properly. That’s why he is raising money to help purchase as many Surface Pros as possible for their use. Contact him if you would like to donate.
School of the Week: Poplar Halls Elementary
Happy Bucks
  • Bob Healy was delighted to inform us that his son, who is a Navy Captain, has decided to retire and eventually return home to Norfolk. Before that happens, however, he must serve three more years. His final assignment: Commanding Officer of Naval Base San Diego.
  • Jim Kitz recently enjoyed spending time with his son and fiancé in Charleston, South Carolina. Also, he was pleased to announce that both his parents and his wife’s mother have now received their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • David Brandt shared the good news that his son, Lucas, has graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a business degree and has taken a job with ADP in Norfolk. 
Meeting Adjourned 1:27 pm.
Museum of Contemporary Art David Brandt 2021-02-16 05:00:00Z 0

Feeding Area Children

Many hands made light work as Rotarians packed more than 600 food bags that will go home with area  school children in their backpacks so their families will have food over the weekend. We excelled at our assembly line action that had us each putting specific items in bags that were then sealed and put in boxes for delivery to area schools.
President Jim demonstrated Service Above Self by coming to Norfolk from Smithfield and enlisting his wife, Clare, to join the volunteer effort.
Walt excelled at box making and coordinates the Rotary Club of Norfolk's volunteer efforts at the Foodbank and other areas where we can safely come together to help others. 
Feeding Area Children 2021-02-12 05:00:00Z 0

Happy Hour Brain Power

During a recent Happy Hour Zoom gathering, Rotarians enjoyed their choice beverages while playing three rounds of trivia hosted by Pam Tubbs, who tossed in questions related to patriotic songs, ice cream, geography and alcohol. We may not have known all the answers, but we had a good time playing.
Happy Hour Brain Power 2021-02-09 05:00:00Z 0

Illuminating the Invisible Man

Laurie Harrison introduced the Rotarian of the Day, Jim Sell. Jim has the distinction of having been a member of several Rotary Clubs for over 50 years. He has converted red badge to blue badge four times. Must be a record. Can anyone top that?
Jim introduced our speaker Terrance Afer-Anderson, president and CEO of Terravizion Entertainment Network. Mr. Afer-Anderson has had a fascinating career—playwright, film director, actor, philanthropist, and writer. He is also a stunt pilot and hopes someday to fly with the Blue Angels.
We were treated to a very interesting discussion of a small part of what Mr. Afer-Anderson has accomplished in his seven decades.
We began with six African American pioneers in medicine, three men and three women. They made important contributions from before the Civil War to the late 20th century. You can learn more about these people on Capturing History at
The main theme of the presentation was Illuminating the Invisible Man.” Using the classic Ralph Ellison novel as a starting point, Mr. Afer-Anderson offered dozens of examples of how black men in America are marginalized and made invisible. I would think most of us had seen some of these statistics before. To see them all in one place was startling and discouraging.
Statistics on the health and mortality of black men versus white men led Mr. Afer-Anderson to the main part of his talk. He recently writes, directed, and produced The Black Walnut, a film to bring to men generally and black men specifically, the dangers of prostate cancer and the need to be proactive. This killer attack’s black men at far higher numbers than it does white men. The disparity is exacerbated by the tendency of too many black men ignoring symptoms and not seeking medical help. We were shown the trailer for the film—very moving and important for as many men as possible to view.
In questions, Mr. Afer-Anderson gave a prime example of the disparity in treatment by race. In 2012 the USPSTF recommended dropping the PSA screening. Too many false positives and probably too many unnecessary surgeries given that prostate cancer is often very slow to progress.  
However, it turned out there were no men of color in the group which led to the decision. The last thing black men need is less testing and concern for prostate cancer. Lobbying by r. Afer-Anderson and others convinced the USPSTF to modify the recommendation.
Contact Info
Phone: 757-839-7963
The Meeting:
President Jim called our meeting to order at 12:32 followed by Sigur Whitaker leading us in singing “A Bicycle Built for Two” and “R.O.T.A.R.Y.”  We then recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the Four-Way Test. Julie Keesling gave the invocation.
Visitation Report:  Jason Drane has had surgery on his leg. Marty Raiss gave the good news that Ann Sullivan’s daughter is doing much better.
School of the Week: P. B. Young Sr. Elementary School.
Announcement and Club Business:
Sigur Whitaker presented Sally Hartman with her Paul Harris Plus 2 pin.
Walt Sobczyk reminded the club of a service opportunity at the Food Bank Thursday to pack up food. Bring your own mask. Those who wish to assist with Covid vaccination may sign up to do so with Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. You’ll find the information on our website. Past-president Pam pointed out you’ll also get a great tee-shirt.
President Jim reported on fundraising in this difficult time of Covid. Unfortunately, we must cancel Suds and Buds once again. Not at all clear that it could be held in June. Also, restaurants have suffered so, it would be cruel to ask for them to furnish nearly free food. On the other hand, Growl Fest almost certainly will be held. We all need to make that a great success.
The good news about grants is even with Covid we have $53K to distribute this year. $50K will be given by the competition and $3K earmarked for Hunton Y.
Happy Bucks/Fines:
  • Jim Kitz had happy bucks for Pam Tubbs great pop-up social.
  • Julie Keesling is happy about the new Americans in Spain exhibit at the Chrysler Museum.
  • Bill Lehew for his three new teeth.
  • Jeff Wells for the 6” of snow he shoveled for his mother in New Jersey.
  • Jay Kossman is back in his own home after suffering 24 nights in a downtown hotel.
  • Mike Richardson gave happy bucks for converting his red badge.
  • Based on who could answer the most trivial of trivia questions President Jim fined our resident geeks, Joe New and Lorna Cochran. Pam Tubbs was fined as an honorary Geek.
Meeting Adjourned 1:45 pm.
Illuminating the Invisible Man John Cameron 2021-02-09 05:00:00Z 0

Norfolk 17

VP of Programs Laurie Harrison introduced Rotarian of the day – Bill Eisenbeiss. Bill has been a Rotarian for 52 years, of which five were spent in Roanoke, those meetings were held at the very elegant Hotel Roanoke; Laurie joked “it's just as elegant as Scope.” Bill loves the camaraderie and community services of Rotary. A fun fact about Bill is that he has a very unique laugh, according to his wife. 
Bill introduced the speakers of the day Dr. Patricia Turner and the Honorable Randy Wright. Bill remembers the time of 1958-1959 when the City of Norfolk was going through the integration of public schools. During this time, his parents sent him off to military school to get away from it all. Several other Rotarians encountered the same. 
Dr. Turner is a true civil rights pioneer. She was honored by the Hampton Roads Black Caucus for her courageous journey. She and her brother James "Skip" Turner were part of the Norfolk 17 that broke the color barriers in Norfolk. She was in the 8th grade and her brother was in the 7th grade. Skip was in the same class as the Honorable Randy Wright; they became fast friends during a time when interracial friendship was frowned on by whites and blacks.
Randy and Skip adopted one another. When Skip passed away 15 years ago, Dr. Turner asked Randy to come to her Church to honor Skip. She told the congregation, "I thank God for her brother Skip, and then thanked God for giving her another brother in Randy." She called him her blue-eyed brother. They have genuinely been brother and sister for 50 years.  
Dr. Turner told us, it was a very hard time, she can only speak to her and Skip’s experiences, she cannot speak to the other 15 of the Norfolk 17 students. It was tough being a black girl and a black boy during this time. When she entered Norview Middle School, it was a horrible experience, not only in the school but also in the neighborhood. People called her terrible-mean things from tar baby to words we pray we never hear used again. She was often told, she "wasn't good enough," not good enough to sing (smiling, she says "I still can't sing") or wasn't good enough to play an instrument or wasn’t good enough to be in the Honors math class, but she has always been gifted in math. 
Dr. Turner recalls that every day in history class, the classmates showed her African dancers on the classroom screen; she was told, "don't worry, with your light-black complexion you’ll be good enough to be your master's foot warmer." The white kids were taught to hate her, and she knew she had to change that, and she did, through her grades, her friendliness, openness, and love of all people. Even in her black neighborhood, she had to endure being called a white girl and a traitor, which she is still called today.   
Randy chimed in to share his story; he remembers seeing Patricia holding Skip's hand all-the-way into the building. The white students lined the entrance of the school to curse and spit upon them as they entered. It was a travesty. Randy and Skip have been friends since 7th grade. Skip was the first person to call Randy to congratulate him when he was elected to Norfolk City Council, and he said, "You’re the first graduate from Norview HS to service on Norfolk Council," his advice to Randy was "Randy, just be yourself." 
Randy shared a story about Patricia attending his holiday party and holding his hand in public; she told the guests how happy she was to be able to hold a white boy's hand in public because you couldn’t do that 60 years ago. Randy said it wasn't easy having an interracial friendship, but it has been a blessing.  
Dr. Turner explained how she became part of Norfolk 17; her mother took Skip and Patricia to get them signed up, and then they had a lot of hurdles to go through, including interviews with the School Board, Doctor Appointments, and more. She attributes the strength to persevere through the hardness of that time to her mother's strong character.   
Dr. Turner asks that we buy, and pass it along to others, the book that was written about her - Today I Met a Rainbow: The Story of Patricia Turner.
A book will be donated in honor of Dr. Turner to our school of the week Oceanair Elementary School.
The Meeting:  
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:32 pm. Chuck Spence sang us in music with R-O-T-A-R-Y and “Grand Old Flag”. Jim led "The Four-Way Test," followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Julie Keesling gave the invocation. 
Visitation Report: Ann Sullivan's daughter Bryn is in a Washington DC hospital with bad lung issues. Please keep Ann’s family in your prayers. 
Introduction of Guest: No guests except for our speaker. 
Announcement and Club Business:   
Sigur announced that Pam Tubbs will receive a Paul Harris +8. Pam’s passion for Rotary’s work in Polio is exemplary. Pam said, “Thank you, it’s a great honor to wear this pin. It’s easy to do, just set up an automatic payment – set it up and forget it – it’s easy to give your support through automatic donation”.  
Jim had a few announcements: 
-Thanks to the 11 Rotarians that came out on Saturday, 1/29 for Lafayette Park Clean. 
-The next Board Meeting is Monday, 2/8, and reminded new members are welcome to attend. 
-The next volunteer opportunity is on 2/11 at the Food Bank. 
Jim introduced the February members with birthdays and anniversaries and reminded everyone the fines are $5 or $1 per year. 
Rotary Birthday 
  • Bill Lehew - Feb 01                                                          
  • Bill Eisenbeiss - Feb 08                                 
  • Kay Kemper - Feb 13                                                   
  • Fred Walker - Feb 13 
  • Michael Richardson - Feb 16                                        
  • John Cameron - Feb 22                   
  • Stephen Jones - Feb 22 
  • Rick Coradi - Feb 24 
Wedding Anniversaries 
  • Brian & Kyra McGuire - 2 years 
  • Ann Burgess & Stephen Sullivan - 37 years 
  • Steve & Wanda Jones - 65 years 
Rotary Anniversaries 
  • Joe New - 46 years           
  • Collins Gooch - 19 years                 
  • Marilyn Gowen - 4 years                                
  • Bernie Cohen - 11 years                  
  • Robert Batcher - 1 year      
Jeff updated the club on District RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership) 2/13 and 2/14, there is still room for a local HS student interested in leadership opportunity.
Our next meeting will be Feb 9th and our guest speaker will be Terrance Afer-Anderson, President and CEO of TerraVizion Entertainment Network. 
Happy Bucks/Fines    
  • Brian McGuire- gave happy bucks for his 2nd wedding anniversary  
  • Sally Harman – gave happy bucks for our speaker of the day, Dr. Turner. She was Sally’s son’s 6th-grade math teacher at Blair. Sally also gave happy bucks for Luke’s new job. He was furloughed in March from his Los Angeles music industry job, but he has landed on his feet in Salt Lake City working with Key Financial Officers. 
  • Michael Desplaines gave happy bucks for his recent two-week vacation in the Caribbean. He said the way you can travel is to get the vaccine shot or get COVID-19 (he had COVID-19) 
  • Julie Keesling – gave happy bucks for new wheels – cost $5 per wheel 
  • Chris Bugg – gave happy bucks for a new job and successful injection in his back 
  • Barbara – gave happy bucks for the 11 cold warriors that went out in the cold last weekend and also for a new vehicle.  
  • Jim Kitz gave happy bucks for the 60th wedding anniversary of his parents
  • Joe New gave Happy Bucks for Virginia Tech Hokies win 
President-Elect, Michael Desplaines– warned everyone that in the future, an extra-fine will be given if your new car purchase is not electric. Combustion, combustion, combustion equals extra fine.
Meeting adjourned at 1:29 pm.
Norfolk 17 Dianna Starkey 2021-02-02 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Service in the Freezing Cold

Ten Norfolk Rotarians braved wind chill temperatures in the low 20s to help clean up Lafayette Park. Pictured above are Tom Ambler, Jim Kitz, Clare Kitz, Kelly Stefanko, Walt Sobczyk, Sigur Whitaker, Bill Eisenbeiss, and Carlyle Wroton. Not pictured are Joe and Barb New.
Rotary Service in the Freezing Cold 2021-01-29 05:00:00Z 0

A Trip to Mongolia

Rotarian John Cameron anchored the January 19 Rotary Club of Norfolk meeting led by President Jim Kitz. John kicked off the online meeting by leading the more than 60 members attending in singing songs that celebrate the January birthdays of two famous people. "Loch Lomond" was in tribute to the late Scottish poet Robert Burns. "We Shall Overcome" was in tribute to the late Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King.
John, an author, and Old Dominion University history professor, later was the featured speaker. He highlighted his summer 2019 trip to Mongolia -- a place he had dreamed of seeing since he studied about it as a boy. He and his son traveled there to visit archeological sites and experience the culture. His younger son, Ian, who also helped lead the program, is a Yale University Ph.D. student who was working on an archeological dig in Morocco and was the Camerons' tour guide.
After flying 12 time zones away, John started his journey in Ulaanbaatar, the capital and the country's largest city where he saw a huge statue of national hero Ghengis Khan, a 13th century leader. From there a driver took John and his sons eight hours away into the barren Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia to see sites where archeologists like his son are uncovering 3,000-year-old artifacts. John also shared photos of the dry creek and lake beds, giant hexagonal rock formations, and herds of goats and sheep being tended by shepherds on horseback.
A highlight was visiting a small village for the annual Nadaam Festival -- a multi-day celebration of "manly arts." The celebration focused on competitions in archery, horseback riding, and wrestling. John noted, ironically, that the local "manly arts" festival archery champion was a woman and that the riding competition included girls. John shared that the Mongolian people are friendly people whose lives revolve around horses and that most children start riding at age three. Wealth is measured in the size of people's herds of horses and camels. 
Mongolia is known for producing the world's finest cashmere. Its cuisine is mainly meat cooked in pans of hot rocks, chives, cheese, and pickles. In winter, desert temperatures drop to 40 below zero making it one of the coldest places on earth. John is happy he was visiting in the summer. 
Meeting Highlights
  • Guests, in addition to Asa Cameron calling in from New Haven, included John Cameron's friends Elza Mylona, an ODU professor, and Dino Papadopoue, a computer specialist.
  • Ocean View Elementary was the school of the week and will receive a library book in honor of John Cameron. 
  • Rotary District 7600 is planning its annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Training (RYLA) in February. Our club will sponsor two high school juniors or seniors to attend the online leadership training. If you would like to nominate an area high school student please let Jeff Wells know. 
  • Bernie Cohen was awarded his Paul Harris +7 award for his generous contributions to The Rotary Foundation.
Happy Bucks
  • Chuck Spence is happy his grandson, Mason, is home from having a bone marrow transplant and is doing well. 
  • Laurie Harrison is happy that the Buffalo Bills won their football game.
  • Jim Kitz donated in honor of Rotarian Ann Baldwin accomplishing one of her 2021 goals- at age 86 she recently did a headstand in an indoor swimming pool.
A Trip to Mongolia Sally Hartman 2021-01-19 05:00:00Z 0

TFC Recycling Process

The Program:
The Vice President of Programs introduced our Rotarian of the day, Chick Robinson. Chick started as a Rotarian in the Hampton Roads area as a member of the Northside club. He is a Norfolk native, went to Hampden Sydney, and has been married to Kathy for 46 years with two children Charles and Katherine, and two granddaughters Lilly and June. Chick enjoys woodworking, boating, and yard work. His community service includes not only volunteering as a Rotarian but also is currently on the Norfolk Botanical Gardens board and serves on the Westminster Canterbury Trustee board.
Chick introduced our speaker, Michael Benedetto, the President and Owner of TFC Recycling which is located in the South Norfolk part of Chesapeake. He first started working for the family business in high school and continued full time after graduating from American University in 1987.
Michael is a member of the Chesapeake Rotary Club and like Rotarians, he is community-minded and has served as a board member of the Virginia Aquarium, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, and Virginia Beach Vision. Michael currently serves on the Virginia Waste Management Board, the Chesapeake Alliance, and is a member of the Neptune Fest.
Michael started his presentation with this statement, “it’s not how many customers we serve, but how we serve our customers.” Michael’s PowerPoint presentation informed us about how TFC Recycling started and his commitment to the preservation of our resources. Even the trucks that they use run on clear natural gas to reduce harmful emissions into the air. The presentation reminded us all to “reduce, reuse or recycle/compost". He went on to explain how TFC Recycling processes the 150-200 tons of materials they receive a day.
The sorting people start by separating materials on conveyor belts which then runs to the enormous technologically savvy conveyor belt that again separates materials. This leads up to compressing paper goods into bundles for shipments to China, India, South America, and other countries to make boxes and other products. The plastics are shipped off to South Carolina and Georgia where they are recycled into a synthetic fiber.
Questions were asked about plastic bags, when will we get rid of them as they are NOT recycled at TFC Recycling, and why are we still using them? Michael suggested that we return our plastic bags to the store that provided them. They are recycled into plastic lumber planks. The Retail Alliance is a supporter of the less expensive plastic bags for small businesses.
Another question was asked about recycling glass. Michael explained that at present, landfills use glass (and dirt) for land cover. Chick asked why we don’t have bins to separate recyclable products and Michael let us know that the costs were too high to have pick-ups for different materials 
Michael closed his presentation by inviting us (when we can do so) to tour the TFC Recycling facility. Until then, if we should have any other questions or want more information, we can contact him at 757-435-5720 or go to their website
The Meeting:
President Jim rang the bell at 12:30 pm. Jim asked for a moment of silence to reflect on the actions that happened on the Capital and remarked that as Rotarians, we must find common ground. We were then led in song by John Cameron with “America the Beautiful” and Pam Tubbs with our “National Anthem”. Jim led us in the “4 Way Test,” followed by Joe New who recited lyrics from “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Visitation Report: Joe Massey opened it up to the floor and asked if any Rotarians were aware of members who needed a call or if anyone had a visiting update. Jeff Wells reported that Bryce Burton is closing Burton Lumber due to Covid-19. He wanted Jeff to tell us he said “hello.”
Introduction of Guests: Joey Rothgery introduced her guest, Katie Melhuish. She is the wife of one of our former speakers, Capt. Christopher Melhuish, USN (Ret). Lisa Chandler introduced her husband, Web Chandler.
Club Business:
Sigur Whitaker thanked the club for their generosity as we were 3rd in Clubs that donated online for the Day of Giving. She then went on to introduce our newest Paul Harris Fellows: Michael Richardson and Al Carmichael, Paul Harris Fellow +3.
Before President Jim read the Club Resolution for Nancy Chandler, he spoke of her fondly. Nancy Chandler was “a trailblazer” as the first woman member (February 9, 2009) in the Rotary Club of Norfolk. She was a wife, mother, and a successful businesswoman. Jim then read aloud the Club Resolution for Nancy Outland Chandler. 
Dr. Marsha Conston introduced one of our newest members of the Rotary Club of Norfolk, Stan Turbeville, the VP for Institutional Advancement at TCC. He’s originally from North Carolina and has been a Past President of his former Rotary Club. Stan’s mentor will be Bob Ash. Joe Massey then introduced Jennifer Dillworth, an attorney whose practice is located in Virginia Beach at Towne Center. She studied Psychology and Criminal Justice at VCU and got her Law degree at William & Mary. Her mentor will be Chip Vogan.
Jason Drane updated us on the Club’s latest fundraising efforts. The committee is looking for a venue in the hopes that we will be able to gather again to raise funds for our charitable efforts. Even if a face-to-face event is not possible, the committee is working to have an online auction starting in February and running through March. Jason asked for donations of items or experiences for the auction.
Happy Bucks:
  • Sharon Laderberg gave happy bucks for the University of Alabama winning the National Championship.
  • Bill Lehew contributed to his wonderful vacation. 
  • Stan Turbeville donated for his daughter having the opportunity to go back to college. 
  • Dianne Starkey gave Happy Bucks for the Virginia Arts Festival’s successful virtual event, “The Journey” by Scott Silven (who lives in Scotland.) 
  • Jim Kitz contributed in honor of Walt Sobczyk for keeping our Club engaged in the community. Chick Robinson matched President Jim’s donation.
TFC Recycling Process Sharon Laderberg 2021-01-12 05:00:00Z 0

Packing Food for Children's Weekends

Norfolk Rotarians spent Saturday morning at the Foodbank assembling food packets which will be put into backpacks for children in Hampton Roads to take home from school on Fridays to ensure that they don't go hungry. The packets had a variety of items including oatmeal, juice, mac & cheese, spaghetti, tuna salad with crackers, green beans, and a fruit. There are three different menus so that the children can look forward to something different. In total, we packed 865 backpack inserts which will provide 2595 meals. Pictured above are Jim Kitz, Clare Kitz, Sigur Whitaker, Bob Batcher, Walt Sobczyk, Chris Bugg, Carlisle Wroton, and Bill Eisenbeiss (kneeling in front).
Packing Food for Children's Weekends 2021-01-10 05:00:00Z 0

13NewsNow Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lawson

The Program:  
VP of Programs Laurie Harrison introduced Rotarian of the day – Sharon Laderberg. Sharon has been a member of the club for 14 years. She enjoys the service projects at the Food Bank and MOJO. One of her favorite things about Rotary is the assigned tables because we get to know each other better. Sharon's fun fact is that she describes herself as an "open book," so feel free to ask her anything. 
Sharon introduced Jeff Lawson, Chief Meteorologist at TV 13NewsNow. In addition to giving an overview of his career, Sharon told us that Jeff has been married for nearly 30 years to the world's greatest woman; they have three children and a cat. In his spare time, Jeff likes to work out by hiking and cycling. You can email Jeff as well as follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Jeff Lawson has a long-standing and successful career in forecasting weather. Interestingly, he never planned to be on television. He knew he'd work in science at a young age but wasn't sure if he'd become a meteorologist or a chemical engineer. He applied and was accepted to the top school in the country for forecasting – Penn State.
While attended Penn State, he worked for the Campus Weather Service, which provided forecasts for radio stations throughout Pennsylvania. One of his most memorable forecasts came when emergency planners, who were handling the Three-mile Island Nuclear Power Plant meltdown, called and asked which areas to evacuate because of the radiation fallout. Jeff spent summers and Christmas breaks working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the umbrella organization for the National Weather Service.
Jeff worked with Dr. Vern Dvorak to develop methods of estimating tropical systems' strength from satellite pictures. The methods they developed are still used exclusively by the National Hurricane Center to assess how strong tropical systems are when they are too far away to be accessed by a Hurricane Hunter Aircraft or are between recon flights. 
Jeff's career includes working for Accuweather and Weather Center, where he supplied the forecast for TV weathercasters who were not meteorologists. Once he decided he wasn't too shy for TV, he worked for TV12 in Richmond (four years) and then worked for WTTG, the Fox station in Washington DC as a weekend meteorologist. While in Washington, he met his future wife, who grew up in Virginia Beach; she convinced him to apply to 13 NewsNow, where he has been the Chief Meteorologist for 31 years. 
During Jeff's presentation, he explained that meteorology is a very broad field. He estimates that out of 40 people in his meteorology class at Penn State, he bets fewer than five graduates are working in TV news. He thinks a fair number of people went into the military and did forecasting; some people are in research from studying the ozone hole to climate change to modeling the weather computers. He said, "forecasting is part art and part science and part experience." He went on to say:
"It's important to have a background in physics and math because that's all the atmosphere is, it's just a series of waves. Atmospheric waves of pressure disturbances of vorticity that spin everything up." He explained, "There are a lot of different variables, and one of the things that have happened over the last 40 years of my career is that computer forecasting has gotten a lot better, it used to be 70 percent experience and 30 percent relying on the computers, but nowadays the computers do such a good job that there are fewer times each year that you can delineate and differ yourself compared to the computers."
Jeff went on to review the American Computer Model which has an industry nickname of GFS. GFS stands for "good for s…(fill in the blank)," meaning it's not accurate. Still, it's the only one they have. As the news channel expanded programming, the need for more weather reports grew, so Jeff increased his team at TV13NewNows to accommodate the ongoing thirst for weather updates. He talked about the accuracy and challenges with weather apps and encouraged everyone to use 13NewsNow weather for the best and most accurate forecasts. 
Jeff further explained why it is tough to give only one weather forecast for the Hampton Roads region and their viewing area. For example, the weather in Newport News will be very different from that in Elizabeth City.
In closing, Jeff suggests during severe weather times to go online to NHC.GOV and click on the "discussion tab" to learn more about what the forecasters are predicting but might not be saying publicly yet. 
His last point was climate change; he and other meteorologists know that climate change is happening and that human-made effects cause it. Rotarians had several questions for Jeff. It was a fascinating conversation. 
The Meeting: 
Jim rang the bell to begin the meeting at 12:31 pm. Bob Heely leads the club in singing Old Lang Syne and This Land Is our Land. Jim led "The Four-Way Test," followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Joe New gave the invocation, which included Water Flows by Margaret Atwood. 
Visitation Report: Joe Massey open this to the floor for visiting updates. Michael Desplaines informed the club that he has recovered from COVID-19. It was terrible, but he is feeling better now. There was no guest’s this week’s meeting.  
Announcement and Club Business:  
  • Walt spoke of a new service project – Saturday, 1/9, from 8 am – 11 am at the Southeastern VA Food Bank.
  • Jim held a ZOOM poll vote for two new members to the club – both received 100% approval; welcome Stan Turbeville and Jennifer Dilworth
  • Happy Birthday to all the members born in January: Collin Gooch, Ann Sullivan, Stephen Kirkland, Greg Bockheim, Ann Baldwin, Paul Sykes. We sand HB and Jim fined each person $5 or $1 per year.
  • Happy Wedding Anniversary to Bob Ash (52 years) and Bob Heely (47 years) – Congratulations!
  • Jim reminded everyone that you could donate via VENMO at - @norfolkrotary-charities.
  • Happy Rotary Anniversary to the many January Rotarians
  • Jim informed everyone that invoices have been sent out and asked for a quick submission of those fees. You can use VENMO to make a payment - @rotaryclubof-norfolk
  • Sigur announced a new, and several Plus1 Paul Harris Awards: 
    • John Cameron
    • Paul Gooch
    • Alan Nelson
    • Fred Walker
    • George Compo
    • Joey Rothgery
    • Chuck Robeson
    • Bill / Will Clendenan
Happy Bucks/Fines   
  • Sigur gave happy bucks in celebration of her beloved Tar Heels making it to the Bowl. 
  • Jim Sell gave a $10 happy buck for WV's unprecedented win over Army, Jim Kitz matched. 
  • Bob Heely confirmed he would send in happy bucks for his wedding anniversary and give happy bucks for having received his COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Chris Bugg acknowledged that he lost a bet on the Army-Navy game – he'll send in $100
  • Jim fined Joe Massey for his publicity in the newspaper, billboard, and online presence for his 70th Birthday. Joe agreed to send in $70. 
  • Lorna Cochran gave happy bucks in appreciation for all of the support and friendship fellow Rotarians passed along. She was pleased to have travel via eight flights to-and-from Canada successfully during the pandemic. 
  • Sharon Laderberg gave happy bucks for Jeff Lawson being the featured speaker. 
Meeting adjourned at 1:31 p.m.
13NewsNow Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lawson Dianna Starkey 2021-01-05 05:00:00Z 0

Santa's Helpers

For years, Norfolk Rotary members have helped the Salvation Army in the distribution of toys for children. While COVID-19 has impacted so many traditions, it did not stop the members from being Santa's helpers. Pictured above from the top left are Walt Sobczyk, Carlisle Wroton, President Jim Kitz, Linda, and Jeff Wells. On the bottom row are Bill Eisenbeiss and Clare Kitz.