Posted by Tom Talbott

This week we journeyed to the new Jewish Community Center on outer Congress St. President John Curran opened the meeting, calling on Gracie Johnston (photo at right) for the invocation. Gracie chose a poem titled “To Be Of Use” by contemporary poet Marge Piercy. Gracie noted how much this poem described Rotarians.The first line: “The people I love the best, jump into work head first.” (Link to full text:  

Mark Millar led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and PP Russ Burleigh, sans keyboard, led us a capella to sing ‘America The Beautiful’ as our patriotic song. 

(Photo at left L-R: Mike McGovern, PP Larry Gross and PP Tom Talbott)

John welcomed everyone, including Past District Governor Lawrence Furbish and visiting Rotarian Mike McGovern, though that hardly describes him. Mike was President of the Cape Elizabeth Club, our Past District Governor, a Rotary International Director, Rotary Foundation Trustee, Chair of the Rotary International Polio Plus program, and nominating committee for Rotary International President. 

John introduced Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) Executive Director Molly Curren Rowles (photo at right) to the podium to provide an overview of the new facility. The complex opened in September 2017, with its primary function being to enhance and promote Jewish life and continuity both locally and internationally.  For more information, go to:

Extra Extra! Maine ranked first in the U.S. for both revenue and job growth among woman-owned businesses (American Express commissioned report)  That’s great news!  Who did the Press Herald interview for the story? Our own PP Roxane Cole and Linda Varrell! Congratulations to you both! See separate article this issue.

While we’re on the topic of women leading the way, a tip of the hat to Terri St. Angelo and Patty Erickson, along with PP Kris Rosado and a strong cast of supporters, who pulled off a great new fundraiser – the Maine Corn Hole Championship. A beautiful afternoon at North Yarmouth Academy was the setting for 14 corn hole courts and players from near and far. Word got around, and the overwhelming majority of players were non-Rotarians who came to compete for a prize package with some $500 in gift cards, umbrellas, and coolers.  Details on the proceeds, photos, and wrap-up next meeting! (See separate photos!) 

Mike Fortunato (photo at left) thanked everyone who joined him at Long Creek Youth Development Center for the ice-cream social and corn hole games. (Viva corn hole!) Mike is always looking for anyone interested in joining a group that visits center once a month on the third Tuesday. 


PDG Lawrence Furbish had some great news, which started with a $5000 grant check to our new Opiod Task Force headed up by Gracie Johnston and Jesse Harvey, and Jesse’s newly opened Journey House Sober Living home he founded in Lewiston.

(right photo L-R: Jesse Harvey, PDG Lawrence Furbish, and Gracie Johnston)

This Grant came from money returned to our District from money originally sent in by Rotarians to the Rotary International Foundation. In all, $52,000 came back into the district, and was parceled out to 8 different clubs. Special note of thanks to Doreen Rockstrom who wrote the grant application.  Great job! Jesse reminded us that there will be an Overdose Vigil held on August 31st, 6p-9p, at Deering Oaks. The Kennebunk Rotary Club will join us. Reach out to Jesse for more info: 

Charlie Frair (photo left) updated us on the Veterans Lunch. Date is set: Friday, November 9th. Big things happening! We will move the venue to the Holiday Inn By-The-Bay, to accommodate what we expect will be upwards of 350+ people in attendance. A new partnership with AARP will help spread the word. In fact, word is that military leadership is all abuzz about the event, given that we’ve been steadily growing the program over the past 2 years. A lot more to come. This is an intensive event that requires many helping hands – so mark your calendars now!

With a pot of $955, the weekly raffle was led by Dick Giles. He asked for the hand of our Past District Governor Lawrence Furbish to select a candidate’s name from the growing pool of players. Mike Fortunato had the winning ticket, but as we all know, that’s only half the battle. Staring down the deck, Mike pulled the 2 of Spades, which is a long way from the payoff card, the Queen of Hearts, and his hopes of winning were quickly extinguished. 

(right photo L-R: Mike Fortunato and Dick Giles)