Posted by Tom Talbott

First Vice-President Amy Chipman called the “jam-packed” meeting to order at the Clarion Hotel, bringing PP Cyrus Hagge to the podium for the Invocation (photo at right). Cyrus first had an announcement of great import – a $5000 check from the White Pine Foundation – a nonprofit/nonpartisan organization dedicated to “advancing good civics and free enterprise.” Cyrus asked PP Laura Young to come up and receive the check, which will go to the purchase of books for our school reading programs, a program that Laura was instrumental in developing this past year. With that, Cyrus lamented the carnage of squirrels on our roads the past few weeks. He went looking for a few words to say about this phenomenon, and (his words) ran across this one. “May we get what we want, may we get what we need, but may we never get what we deserve.” Nuts. 

John Houghton led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Matt Wolcott directed our chorus of “God Bless America.”  7 visiting Rotarians and 2 guests joined the 46  members in attendance.

After lunch, Amy set the tone for a big pay day by going immediately to the raffle. Enlisting 2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner (on left in photo at left) as the custodian of the cards, Ellen had our guest speaker drawing the “halfway to victory” ticket. Guest Mark Foster (at right in photo at left), who will be joining our club soon, overcame the PTG odds factor and earned the right to pull a card. With $1042 on the line, the 8 of Hearts got the better of him, and the prize remained in the bank.

Rusty Atwood (photo at right) updated us on the Veterans Appreciation Lunch. Friday, Nov 9th 12noon, Holiday Inn By The Bay. All Vets are complimentary guests, $25 Non-Vets. We have two top-notch speakers. First, military historian Captain John Bratton. Our keynote speaker is Maj. Gen. John Libby, Retired.  Flyers are on the tables – please take and distribute. Rusty added a personal note by thanking all those who participated in the ALS Walk a few weeks back.

Elise Hodgkin made everyone aware that our PP Loretta Rowe’s surgery was successful, and she is resting and recovering.  Everyone sends their best wishes!

Gracie Johnston (photo at left) talked about serving dinner at Preble Street this upcoming Wed (Sept 26)....we could use some more help! 5 people signed up so far, so please let us know. 

John Knupp from South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club joined us for lunch, as well as to remind us about the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” will take place on Oct. 14th at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth. Registration at 9am, Walk at 1030am. FMI:

Roger Fagan (photo at right) asked for assistance on Oct 6th, loading crutches into containers for the “Crutches4Africa” program. Tony Wagner, a member of the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary is the contact person if you can assist. Contact Tony at

Jan Chapman (photo at left) thanked Cyrus for the $5000 Grant for reading books, perfectly timed for her announcement regarding sign-ups for the Lyseth School Reading program. Sheets are on the tables for the Oct, Nov, and Dec sessions. We could also use someone who speaks Spanish.

Dave Putnam (photo at right) spoke about the monthly program at Long Creek Youth Development Center. On the 3rd Tuesday each month, if you can spend 2 hours from 6p-8p visiting the young men of the Cedar unit, it means a lot to them. Typically, a night of games, pizza, soda.  Dave acknowledged the dedication of PP Jim Willey and Mike Fortunato who have given so much time and effort into LCY development programs. Join in if you can!

PP Laura Young (photo at left) briefed everyone on the Membership Committee’s strategy for bringing in members, as well as helping new members develop in the club.  Check out the recent Rotary Magazine – great article on this topic. If you have someone interested, let Laura know.  Our club will host New Member Orientation meetings, including people who have not applied.  First one will be Oct 12, next Nov 16, usually at 11am before our club meeting.  We are going to renew our mentor program. In January, all new members will meet to give us some feedback. Next May 17th, the new members will bring back an old tradition and take over the club with their own special program.  We are also looking at teaming up with Propel with joint events, great chance to meet new people. 

Laura has added a side note – “Makeshift Coffee House”, with 6 meetings coming up, outside of Rotary. Political yes, political no. Democrats, Republicans, Independents coming together to share and talk thru issues. More details coming!

Our Club Protection Officer, Nan Heald (at left in photo at right), together with Bob Knupp (at right in photo at right), from So Po/Cape Eliz Rotary talked to us in tandem about our club’s “Protection Policy.” As Rotarians, we interact with many people, including young adults and children. While many organizations have their own system of background checks before there is interaction, i.e. Long Creek, other programs do not. The reading program is a good example. Nan sought the consultation of the Maine Can Do Group, experienced in the area of sexual harassment.  The object is to create awareness of the problem and guidance for employers. The Portland Rotary was the first club and so far, the only club in the state to sign the pledge drafted by the District.  In summary, we strive to act in accordance with the 4-Way Test. Be respectful of each other, guests, those who serve us our meals…wherever we are.  We want to be “Rotary Correct.”