Posted by Julie L'Heureux

President John Curran greeted 47 members, along with 2 visiting Rotarians and 2 guests. PP Cyrus Hagge (in photo at right) gave an invocation that included reading a charming seasonal poem about a snowball, written by Sheldon “Shel”  Silverstein, an American writer known for his cartoons, songs, and children’s books.

Ben Jackson addressed the Club about how he encourages the students at North Yarmouth Academy to learn about the Community and International Service programs supported by the Rotarians. He described how he was introduced to the International Service and good works of Rotary when he was inspired by the Evergreen Colorado Club. When he joined the Rotary Club of Portland, he took the experience of “Service Above Self” to the students at North Yarmouth Academy. One program he built upon was to encourage the student “Dress Down Day” to become a fund raising opportunity, whereby students can help the Rotary with raising money to fund charitable programs. 

(Photo at left L-R: Dick Giles and Ben Jackson)

Ben presented Portland Rotarian Dick Giles, who serves on the International Service Committee, with a $600 check from the students’ fund raising. The purpose of the donation was to help purchase school supplies for children in the Dominican Republic who are also helped by the “3H Project” (Hearing, Hands and H2O). Dick Giles accepted the donation and thanked Roger and Liz Fagan for their leadership of the Dominican International Service program. Appreciation is extended to the generosity of the North Yarmouth Academy students and to Ben for advising them about Rotary.

President John acknowledged Rotarians who have birthdays in December and the many Rotarians having anniversary dates for joining the club. Congratulations to all!

President John asked the staff personnel who serve our Club at the Clarion to join him at the podium, where he proceeded to thank them for their good food and service to our Club over the past year and gave each of them a holiday bonus showing our gratitude.
(In photo at right L-R: Jenn, our server, President John Curran and Kim, chef at the Clarion.)

Megan Peabody (in photo at left) presented a report about the benefits of the Rotary Short-Term Exchange (STEP) program. She became interested in joining Rotary because of her experience as a youth exchange student who benefited from the STEP program. Check the website to learn more about the short-term exchange. Megan would like to see the Portland Rotarians promote the program and help students to apply. Applications will be distributed to all area high schools.

1st Vice President Amy Chipman (photo at right), acting on behalf of the Nominating Committee Chair, PP Don Zillman, reported that the committee of PP Roxane Cole, PP Peter Goffin, PP Larry Gross, 2nd VP Ellen Niewoehner, Patty Erickson, Justin Lamontagne, Linda Varrell and himself have met to establish a slate of officers for the Rotary year 2019-2020 for our approval.

President: Amy Chipman
First Vice-President: Ellen Niewoehner
Second Vice-President: Bob Martin
Secretary: Bruce Moore

Treasurer: Scott Blakeslee
Directors: Gracie Johnston and Mike Fortunato

Hearing no nominations from the floor, the slate of officers will be voted on at the Friday, December 21st meeting.

Mike Reed (photo at left), Chair of the Fund Raising Committee announced that in order to offset a deficit in our operating budget, a "Sweetheart Auction" (formerly known as our re-gifting auction) is being organized to take place at a meeting in February, possibly February 8th, but sometime in that month. A wine tasting is also planned for late March or April.


PP Dick Hall is the chair of the Club’s Foundation Committee. He introduced five Rotarians who received Paul Harris Fellows and each is a participant in a “Circle of Five,” those who donate $200 a year for five years, to meet the goal of receiving their pin. George Crockett received a red stone “ruby” pin for his 6th Paul Harris; PP Russ Burleigh received 2 blue “sapphire” stones in his pin; 1st VP Amy Chipman received five blue “sapphires” in her pin, and John Houghton and Mike Fortunato each received four blue “sapphires” in their pins. A standing ovation congratulated the generous group.

(Photo at upper right: PP Dick Hall, John Houghton, Mike Fortunato, George Crockett, PP Russ Burleigh and 1st VP Amy Chipman.)

PP Loretta Rowe (photo at left) led the weekly raffle drawing and President John's name was selected by our speaker to try his hand at winning the $221 pot. With so many cards in the deck, John was able to find the 7 of Spades. Seems that Queen of Hearts is going to stay hidden for a while.

PP Bill Blount led the singing of three Christmas Carols, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” joined by members of the Music Committee, as a segue to the introduction of the distinguished guest speaker....John Wolcott aka Santa Claus, himself. (See separate photo in this issue.)