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Thomas Humbird Farnham died suddenly on October 12, 2023, at the age of 73, after a brief battle with acute myeloid leukemia and pneumonia. Preceded in death by his parents Charles Wells Farnham II and Dorothy, brothers Christopher and David, Tom is mourned by his wife Flopsy, children Tom II, Betsy and David, brother Charles Wells Farnham III, sister Mary Whitney and many nieces and nephews. Humbird, by the way was his great-grandmother Kate’s maiden name.

Tom graduated from Delbarton High School in Morristown, NJ, where he was a proud member of the 1968 state champion basketball team. Delbarton is a premier Catholic all-boys college preparatory school in the Benedictine tradition. It will come as no surprise that a Rotarian sprang from a school that fosters a culture of service and expects every student to participate in community service projects annually.

Tom then went on to Saint John’s University, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 1972. He then began a 19-year career at American National Bank and Trust here he became VP and Manager of Private Banking. From there he moved into the insurance arena, working 17 years as VP of T.C. Field and Co and finally as Senior Risk Consultant for Bearance Management Group. Family was a strong thread in Tom’s life and his move into insurance echoed his great-grandfather’s career with the State of Minnesota insurance commissioner which in turn gave his great-grandfather a national reputation as an expert in insurance law.

As a Saint Paul Rotarian, Tom received the president’s gavel on his birthday, July 2, 2002, from Past President Nancy McKillips. His theme that year was “CPR – Commitment for Personal Responsibility.”

The meeting topics during his year as president echo today’s local and world struggles: Challenges Facing the Catholic Church, the Changing Face of Education, Is War Against Iraq Justified? Speakers included Saint Paul Fire Chief and the Presidents of Hamline, Metro State and the University of Minnesota. It being Tom, there was time for humor as well. One program was devoted to a young Hmong humorist highlighting the feelings of people from other cultures.

Service projects during Tom’s year included collecting books and computers to send to Africa and filling backpacks for students in Guyana, South America.

A highlight for Tom was when he welcomed RI President and former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Bhichai Rattakul. Tom presented a check from the club for $25,000 toward the club’s 3-yr commitment of $50,000 for Polio Plus. That year Rotary immunized 70M West Africans.

In his typical style, Tom graded his year as president with a “B,” partially because of the lack of membership growth following the huge growth of Nancy McKillips’ year.

Of course, we need to talk about Tom as our resident roast master. Tom’s wit was dry and sharp. He famously started thinking about a president’s roast from the moment of their installation. Some of us in the room, including me and President Heidi have gotten the quiet comment after our installations: “Oh, you’re going to be fun to roast.” Always delivered with a twinkle in his eye. Tom’s own roast was in the style of Dean Martin with Tom seated on a unique porcelain “throne” receiving sharp comments from those present.

Tom said he was deeply appreciative of the leadership opportunity of being club president and would remember it “until the day I die.”

Tom was also well known for fueling the rivalry between his fellow Johnnys and the Tommys in the club. For those new to the club or Minnesota, those are graduates of Saint John’s University and St. Thomas University. I am delighted to share Tom’s report to Doug Bruce from the pearly gates: “As I approached St. Peter, I was pleased to see so many Tommys in line. Of course, I was walking past them because Johnnys have a fast lane.”

A Saint Paulite born and bred; Tom’s brother Charlie said to me that “the only person in Saint Paul Tom doesn’t know is the guy who moved here from Bloomington this afternoon.”

I close with the final lines from Tom’s great-grandfather’s memorial from the Ramsey County Bar Association delivered in 1932 that seems almost apt (with the note that no life is as serene as it might look from the outside):

“The end, which came without warning, was as peaceful and serene as had been his life. And so there passed a devoted husband and father, a genial companion and true friend.”

President Heidi and fellow club members, I request that this memorial be read into the minutes of the Saint Paul Rotary Club for this day, November 28, 2023

Rotary Club of Saint Paul

November 14, 2023

President Heidi Fisher called the hybrid meeting to order at 12:15 pm. The greeters were Scott Arndt and Scott Van. The A/V Tech Team was Matt Magers and Ken Crabb. Lynne Beck was scribe.

Heidi led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and in a minute of silence for the passing of Rotary Past President Charles Field.

For the Inspirational Minute Steve Young read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his Proclamation for the Day of Thanksgiving, the last Thursday of November, and led members in the 4-Way Test.

Heidi recognized veterans by asking them to come forward and state their branch of service and the number of years served. We celebrated Veteran’s Day on November 11. It was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended WWI on November 11, 1918. The name was changed to Veteran’s Day in 1954.

Ken Schaefer announced the new membership initiative. The call to action is to: invite a prospect to a meeting, join an ad hoc committee through June 30th, serve as a mentor, and provide names to or 651-363-1268.

Ken Schaefer introduced the speaker, Rachel Hammer, Director of the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement. Rachel, who assumed her present position in 2021, said that there are three veteran centers in Minnesota: Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. She works at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

There are a wide range of volunteer positions within the health care system. They include: Greeter/Wayfinders, Coffee Cart, Inpatient Pharmacy, Escorting, Patient Satisfaction Survey, Palliative Unit Care, Front Desk, Social Work Office, and Food Pantry. There are also volunteer opportunities at Fisher House across from the VA, a home for families to stay when a veteran is receiving care.

Rachel talked about the VA Center’s recent achievements.

· Winter Holiday Gift Project – served 100 families

· First Women’s Veteran Retreat in the Spring of 2023

· Phase one of the Food Pantry

· National Sock Day – give socks to veterans

· Chemotherapy Kit Project

· Distributed patriotic hats, pins and hygiene kits

On the Horizon

· 200 turkeys donated by the Vikings to families of veterans

· National Volunteer Recognition Week

· Initiation of Food Pantry Project – Building a space for the food pantry

Rachel said they are looking for volunteers and developing a relationship with the Rotary Club.

Youth can also volunteer for most of the positions or can shadow a clinician to learn about a positive career.

Heidi asked if anyone knows the name of the Rotary Fellowship Group for Veterans. Todd Nicholson received a Rotary cap for guessing International Fellowship of Rotarian Military Veterans.

Dave Dominick asked for Happy Dollars. Linda Mulhern accompanied 23 exchange students to River Falls to participate in wall climbing and skating. Doug Hartford is visiting his grandchildren next week and has a photo in the Minneapolis Praxis Gallery exhibit. Jason Bradshaw’s daughter and son are in music and theatre activities. Matt Magers’ son just got an exciting new job.


Heidi Fisher made the following club announcements:


501: November 21

University Club or online via zoom

5:01 – 6:15 pm

Patti Isaacs: The Second Long March: China’s Economic Transformation


Signature Lunch: November 28

12:15 – 1:15 pm

InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront or online via zoom

Nagasaki Sister City Visit


Winter Spark 2023: December 7

6:30-9:30 pm

Metro State University

Heidi announced she and her husband Andy will donate $50 to the St. Paul Rotary Foundation for anyone who registers by November 24.


What You Don’t Know About Me

Bo Aylin said he has been in a band since he was 13 and shook the hand of President Jimmy Carter.


The meeting adjourned at 1:17 pm.

Lynne Beck


St. Paul’s 501 Meeting held on November 7th featured “Exploring Rotary International Conventions” and the hopes of hosting the 2029 International Convention in the Twin Cities.

President Heidi tapped her wine glass at 5:20 pm calling the meeting to order.

President Heidi shared that our Club will honor at Tuesday’s Signature Luncheon on November 14 veterans from our Club for their service to our country.

Paul Meekin provided the inspirational minute, a poem “Guest House” and lead thirty-two Rotarians in the 4-Way Test.

Guests and visiting Rotarians were introduced by Sherry Howe.

With the theme of International Conventions, President Heidi reflected on the two conventions that she attended which was Houston and Australia. Past President Jay Pfaender reflected on the 1974 International Convention held in the Twin Cities. 10,353 attendees from 71 countries represented. Jay highlighted events from the 65th Convention.

PDG Ken Crabb shared his convention experience as well. Ken attended his first convention in 1993 and has attended 11 international conventions. Ken liked the international flag presentation, house of friendship and the scope of service projects presented.

Ken indicated that the 2029 bid is between Minneapolis and San Francisco. The International Board will choose a site by January 2024.

There were plenty of happy dollars flowing through the crowd. Trivia Fun Fact was where and when was the first international convention held? Dave Dominick and Jim Delamater were in a contested race to win the prize. Dave was the winner but graciously gave his winnings to fellow Rotarian Jim. First convention was held in 1910 in the windy city Chicago.

President Heidi reviewed upcoming events.

It was a great evening with a room full of enthusiastic Rotarians hoping to host a 2029 Convention in the Twin Cities.

Meeting Notes – Rotary Club 10

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

St. Paul Rotary Club 10’s latest Signature Luncheon was held on Tuesday, October 31 at the InterContinental Hotel. Seating was handled differently this week in pursuit of the Rotary principle of building better friendships. Everyone drew a random seating assignment based on a Halloween theme. Thanks to Brianna Haglin for her creativity and unbound artistic talent in implementing this “spooky” surprise.

President Heidi Fischer noted that the St. Paul Rotary Foundation and Rotary International Foundation were being presented side by side, identifying programs that are in parallel and our impact locally and internationally. “However you choose to contribute makes a difference.”

President Heidi recognized our volunteers for the day, including greeters Dion Powers and Tamara Sparrow. The inspirational minute, five minute, seven minutes was a fascinating biography lesson focused on Paul Harris and his impact on the world brought to us by Bob Cardinal, thanks Bob! The Tech Team of Matt Magers, Andrew Vincelli, and Al Zdrazil kept us online successfully; Chad Roberts was the Scribe; Dave Dominick introduced guests and visiting Rotarians, a light lift this week as there were no guests or visiting Rotarians, but we could tell Dave was well prepared, which he demonstrated later when he deftly handled ten(!) Happy Dollar’s donors! As always, Amanda Mai provided excellent staff support for the meeting.

John Chandler presented on the activities and goals of the Saint Paul Rotary Foundation. Nine Rotarians serve on the board, mostly previous presidents. Over the course of the past year, the foundation board reviewed the scholarship program, began publishing board meeting summaries in the HUB, continued the coffee fundraiser, held a joint board meeting with club board, and hosted a year-end club social at Camp bar. In the coming year the foundation is launching a polar plunge fundraiser, will publish a 2022-2023 annual report, prepare for leadership succession, promote the Second Century Society more, and will study ideas for the next big campaign in partnership with the club board.

Jason Bradshaw MC’d the next part of the report, identified that the foundation report format has been updated, improvements made in accuracy, and the board’s intention to develop more diverse funding for the Foundation.

Jerry Falletti reported on the Foundation finances, gross revenue was about $147,000, expenses and grants totaled about $92,000; net assets increased this year and total about $900,000.

Michael-jon Pease presented on the Elmer L. Andersen Fellows program. New fellows who have given $1,000 or more to Saint Paul Rotary Foundation this past year include: Amy and Pete Grayson, Robert Mairs, Elisa Rasmussen, Susan Rostkoski, and Carolyn Will. Thank you all for your support!

Linda Mulhern presented on the Centennial Scholarships program. There are five current recipients and eight graduates. The most recent awardee is Annabelle Gifford, who is attending South Dakota State University, Go Jackrabbit’s!

Dave Dominick presented on projects supported by the foundation last year. These included grants for the administration of the club, Camp RYLA, Cherish All Children, Neighborhood House, Nyamuswa Water Project, and Rondo Center of Diverse Expression. See the foundation annual report for a complete list.

Dion Powers shared an updated on the coffee fundraiser originally started by the Sunrise Club in partnership with Velasquez Coffee. All club members are encouraged to get their orders in soon for the holidays, 29% of purchase price goes to foundation.

John Chandler shared updates on several foundation funding plans, including a little background on the Second Century Society, Club 10’s planned giving society. The Foundation will be more actively asking people to participate in the Second Century program over the coming year. He also provided an update on Winter Spark (December 7), early bird registration closes on November 16, register now! Winter Spark is held the first Thursday in December, this year at the Great Hall at Metro State University. John also shared more details on the 2024 St. Croix River Dunk that will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2024 in Hudson. This is a new fundraiser for the club, and 80% of the donations secured by Club 10 will come back to the foundation and 20% will be retained by the Hudson Rotary Club that is hosting the event and handling all the logistics.

Valdi Stefanson presented on the Rotary International Foundation. Contributions by Rotarians to the RI Foundation are held for three years to generate operating revenue for the foundation and then are returned to Rotary programs in two large silos – 50% to the World Fund that supports global grants and programs; and 50% to district designated grant funds that support local and international projects.

Current projects funded by Rotary Club 10 include providing 650 ONIL Water purifiers in Guatemala, serving 6,500 people. Also in Guatemala, the club is supporting the acquisition of woodworking equipment for a Uitza wood production shop that provides jobs and training for local artisans. In the future, a greenhouse project in Bolivia is expected to recommended for funding.

Brianna Haglin identified the following awards and recognitions – well done to everyone involved!

- John Guthmann accepted a Paul Harris award on behalf of his mother Betsy Guthmann.

- New Paul Harris awards to Eddie Coblentz, Andrew Vincelli, Paul Kotz, and Peter Rosendale

- Polio Plus Sustaining Pin recipients: Carla Hauge, Ken Crabb, Karen Ciano, and Paul Kotz

Rotary Fast (and Fun) Facts for the day featured the Rotary International Foundation. John Chandler was closest in guessing the date the foundation was founded (1917). We all learned the Foundation was started by Arch Klumph, it’s first gift was $26.50 to the Easter Seals organization.

In closing the meeting, president Heidi reminded everyone to sign up and attend the Club’s upcoming events.

Submitted by Chad Roberts, Scribe

St. Paul Rotary’s Signature Luncheon held on Tuesday, October 24 was delightful with District Governor Patricia McCleese visiting our Club for her official visit as DG.  President Heidi Fisher called the meeting to order and welcomed our Governor.

Past President Michael-jon Pease shared highlights of World Polio Day which is celebrated on October 24 and led the Club with the Four Way Test.

Past District Governor Joe Kovarik did a superb job with introducing our District Governor.

District Governor Patricia shared three parts of her presentation.  Part 1 featured her husband and their two cats; one named Trouble and one named GW.

Part 2 featured highlights from the recent Zone Meeting.  4 goals include increase impact; expand our reach; increase our ability to adapt; and enhance participant engagement.  As she discussed Create Hope in the World, she asked club members to describe in their own thoughts what this means.  Her final portion of the presentation was Part 3 which was the Value of Being a Rotarian.  Our Club participated in table discussion sharing our Rotary moment and why we were Rotarians.

As the meeting wrapped up, upcoming events were shared and plenty of happy Rotarians had happy dollars to share.  The meeting’s Rotary FUN Fact was what year did the campaign Fight Against Polio begin?  It was the year 1979!

It was a great day to be a St. Paul Rotarian and a great day to have our District Governor inspire Club 10!

David Dominick, Scribe

Rotary Minutes Oct.17 , 2023.

5:20 Heidi opened the meeting.

Heidi passed out Tom Farnham’s obit and said she was also going to do a club-wide email. Heidi passed out a card to be signed be all to be sent to Tom’s family.

Heidi thanked the Meeting Support Team:

· Greeter

o Michael-jon Pease

· Happy Dollars & Introduction of Guest & Visiting Rotarians

o Dana Bruce

· Inspirational Minute and Four Way Test

o Susan Schuster

· Scribe

o Paul Meekin

· Technology Team

o Ken Crabb, Noble Orji, & Al Zdrazil

· Club Coordinator

o Amanda Mai

Heidi led pledge of allegiance.

Susan Schuster gave the inspirational minute and 4-way test.

Dana Bruce led the introduction of visiting Rotarians guests.

· Dr. Ken Crabbe introduced Mark Howlett who is from 3M and is Chair of the Board of Park Square Theater

Dana Introduction the speaker: Joy McElroy, Director, Cherish All Children

· Joy has 30 years of business and non-profit experience.

· Joined LSS in 2017 as ED of Cherish All Children.

· Joy is passionate about supporting children and youth.

Joy’s talk:

· Cherish all Children is a part of Metro Youth Services at Lutheran Social Services

· Cherish All Children: Raising Healthy Generations Free from Sexual Exploitation

· Cherish All Children’s mission is to educate, equip and engage churches & communities to prevent child sexual exploitation & trafficking.

· Work on prevention is critical

· Cherish works with kids in groups over a series of 4 sessions.

o Learn what sexual exploitation and trafficking is

o What are the red flags

o Learn about online safety

o In the 4th session the children do a safety plan

· Partner with other organizations like MNCASA

o They train Law enforcement how to do investigations without causing extra trauma to the victims.

· This is an issue in all communities.

· It is critical to be there for the children, to protect then, and to educate them.

· Prevention is possible.

· What are some youth vulnerabilities: Poverty, racism, homelessness.

· How do we teach young people to be safe?

· Gave examples of how law enforcement work to catch perpetrators.

· We can’t get out of this issue just by arresting people, we must take a wholistic approach.

· Ramsey County Attorney John Choi is a huge advocate for child safety. Choi says, “How we raise our boys matters. Trafficking is about demand.”

· Law enforcement has a task force across jurisdictions to do sting operations. It is a community-wide problem.

· Online exploitation & Sextortion:

o This is not just girls’ issue; sextortion often targets teen boys.

o It’s up to us to help kids “get out” of these situations to explain to them that they aren’t the bad guy, the perpetrator is. The perps will continue to go after kids until they are caught by law enforcement.

· Some definitions:

o Sexual exploitation happens when anything of value or a promise of value (like money, drugs, food, a place to stay, rent, or higher status in a gang or group) is given to you or another person in exchange for any type of sex.

§ This includes involving minors in pornography, threatening to or sharing sexually explicit photos or videos, strip clubs and exotic dancing.

o Trafficking may involve a third party, not the sex buyer or the victim, who facilitates and profits from the exploitation. However, any child under 18 who is involved in a commercial sex act is legally a victim of trafficking regardless of whether there is a third party involved.

· Safe Harbor Youth Resources: as of 2011 a victim of trafficking or sexual exploitation cannot be charged with prostitution.

· Ways that Rotary can get involved:

· 1) Rotary Human Trafficking Initiative – Club Engagement Toolkit

o Designate a Club Champion(s); form a committee of 3-5 members

o Partner with local experts to identify areas of greatest impact based on community needs


· 2) Join our District conversation – Let’s Talk About Ending Human Trafficking

o Thursday, October 26, 4:00-4:30pm, Zoom

· 3) Continued Partnership with Cherish All Children

o Ongoing support for our work and partnership together

· 4) Holiday Gifts for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

· Your participation in Youth Holiday Gifts provides hope & community connection to young people at risk of exploitation and trafficking

· Question: If a young person gets involved with sextortion online, how do they report it?

o “Take it down” a website that will help take down an image.

o There is a way to remove the images from a phone in an encrypted manner.

o Al Z. said that law enforcement does need a copy of the picture and has a way to retrieve it from a phone.

o National Center for missing and exploited children: They scan the web for known pictures to get them taken down.

· Question: What are the statistics for African Americans and Native Americans?

o Joy: I don’t have statistics but know that both groups are at a higher risk?

· Ken C.: “What do you know?”: What are the 5 avenues of service:

o Club service

o International service

o Vocational service

o Community service

o Youth service

Dana: Happy Dollars

Announcements: GET FROM DECK

· Oct 24 Signature Meeting

· Oct 25 Board Meeting

· Dec 7 Winter Spark

· Nov 11: RI Foundation Dinner for the District

Heidi adjourned at 6:22

Paul Meekin, Scribe

Rotary Minutes Oct.10 , 2023.

President Heidi opened the meeting. Bob Cardinal gave the Inspirational minute. Bo Aylin did happy dollars and introductions. Ken Schaffer had two guests from the History Theatre: Terry Mueller and Rob Thomas. They are perspective members. Brianna introduced our speaker who was member Segundo Velázquez who spoke about Mano a Mano. He came here from Bolivia in 1969. By 1994 he had established the service group of Mano y Mano, hand in hands. Bolivia is a very poor country. They have items to ship all over their house, to this day. They will do 3, 40 foot containers of medical supplies etc and ship them to Bolivia. The Water Project that you have all heard about was begun in 1994. This was a hugely important project for Bolivia. It was completed in 2008. It brought water up to Bolivia for at least 35,000 people. Farmers had to learn how to grow things with the water. They learned quickly! Mano began as a medical supply, all volunteer organization. By 2022 they have shipped 110 tons of medical supplies from surgery tables, to X-ray machines and medications. In 1997 the Mayor of the town had not paid the nurse her salary. This nurse bought many medical supplies with her own money. So the people of the town went to the mayor and said they wouldn’t leave until her paid the nurse! Which he did. Infant mortality is down 90%. There are 187 clinics today. They have built many green houses in Bolivia. The climate while being very dry, is often cold and windy. By having the green houses they can plant crops all year long. They were taught how to mulch, fertilize, composting skills, crop rotation and other important farm skills. In 2023 there was no rain in Bolivia so their water project paid off really well. Man y Mano is the only agency that is building infrastructure in Bolivia. Teacher sin the schools are supplied by the government. The Ministry of Health sends the doctors to the clinics.

Our Rotarian that we didn’t know much about was Jay Phaender. We didn’t know that he was involved with Capital Airlines that flew out of our downtown airport. Then he was involved with Sun Country, when he was at Drake bank!

Laurie Murphy, scribe

At the noon hour on Sept 26, President Heidi Fisher opened the meeting.  She began by thanking the meeting volunteers: Greeters Deb Katzmark and Dayle Quigley, scribe Valdi Stefanson, and visiting Rotarians/guests/happy dollars Todd Nicholson.  Also, a special Thank-You to Beth Naughton for pinch-hitting for the absent Amanda Mai.

Tamara Sparrow provided the inspirational minute, which referenced yesterday’s Memorial Day.  She quoted from the Dare to Lead book, which emphasizes that leadership involves vulnerability.  Be forceful in making points, yes --- but then listen to other opinions with equal passion.  Thereafter, we all joined her in reciting the 4-way test. 

Next up was a thank you for two recent community service projects – Science Museum and an “all-female: crew that assisted with a Habitat For Humanity build.  Noteworthy were some first-time experiences with power tools, and no blood spilled!

Jin Hart introduced the featured speaker Dr. MayKao Y. Hang.  She is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and Founding Dean, of Morrison Family College of Health at the University of St. Thomas.  And no stranger to club 10.  A few years ago, she spoke with us about the dream and the challenge of the newest college at St. Thomas.  This discussion, then, will provide a postscript and update.  The college has grown to 809 students, and all are on a mission to change the model to advance health equity.

And speaking of cultural, racial, and gender disparity, Dr. Hang speaks from the heart.  You see, as a four-year-old,  MayKao was part of the 1st wave of Hmong immigrants that arrived in Minnesota.  And here some productive years later, she is a leading academician addressing an issue that impacted her community.  What an inspiration to us Rotarians! 

In short, healthcare delivery is not equal.  The College is dedicated to advancing health equity through whole-person care and re-imaging protocols to teach and train the next generation of leaders differently to address health disparities.  Its goal is to teach healing, hope, and social change.  To have its graduates serve with compassion and diversity.  This involves a family-based collective model. 

Noting that US spending on healthcare is the highest of any country (18% of GDP), we don’t have a money problem --- we have an allocation problem.  Uneven allocation by gender and race.   The College Goals: 

-          30% of students from underrepresented populations

-          adding scholarships for male nurses

-          first-generation college students

-          rural students who graduate and return home  

Next, President Heidi Fisher made a large announcement.  After a year of hard work by the club’s Venue Team, and ratified by the Board, the decision has been made to remain at the Intercontinental Hotel for our noon signature meetings.  A game changer was that we have now secured parking in the Victory Ramp for $3 per two hours. Valet at the Intercontinental remains an option for those who choose.  The Board realizes that there is work to be done to improve the membership experience at the hotel (e.g. food).

The venue team was asked to look into over 30 venues. This list was winnowed down into three, and meetings were held at CHS Field, Intercontinental Hotel, and Como Park. Surveys seeking feedback were sent to members following each meeting.  More recently, a final survey was sent asking all members to rank the venues. The results were very close, almost evenly split, and there was no definitive choice from our members.  However, an overarching theme was that a large majority of the club wanted to stay downtown.


Respectfully submitted,

Valdi Stefanson

Rotary in Review:

September 19, 2023

Speaker John Vaughn, Fresh Energy

At 5:15, President Heidi called the meeting to order.

She thanked the meeting volunteers: Peter Rosendale and Pat Hartford, Greeters; Susan Rostkoski, Happy Dollars/Visiting Rotarians; Pete Grayson, Inspiration Minute; Melissa Musliner, Scribe; Ken Crabb, Nobel Orji, and Al Zdrazil, Tech Team; and Amanda Mai, Club Coordinator.

We recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pete Grayson reminded us that, even as things change over time in Rotary, service remains constant, and Rotary changes lives. He quoted Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Pete led us in the Four Way Test.

Paul Meekin introduced the program speaker, John Vaughn of Fresh Energy.

John has been working with Fresh Energy for 4 ½ months. He was drawn to the word “bold” in the organization’s mission statement: Shape and drive bold policy solutions to achieve equitable carbon-neutral economies. John works on two projects:

Green Bank

The 2023 MN Legislature passed bills to create and fund the Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority, or Green Bank. We are the 31st state to create a Green Bank. The Green Bank can provide loans or grants, with up to 25% seed funding. It will use public dollars to leverage private investment to demonstrate the performance of clean energy projects in our market. The State of Connecticut has done $100B in loans and grants.

White Earth Tribal & Community College, in partnership with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance launched a solar training certificate program during the pandemic. This is the state’s first solar training program. This summer, the program’s participants were offered an additional opportunity of paid on-the-job training with Minnesota Power. One participant started a native-owned solar business. We will see more small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Neighborhood Electrification Projects

The State’s goal is to be carbon-free by 2040. John’s focus is the housing sector. There are more than 2 million housing units in the state that all need to be carbon-free in the next 15 years. He has to find two cities/neighborhoods to pilot electrifying all of their homes. This will include adding solar grids, weatherizing, and adding heat units. The City of Crookston might join because they have to do a big infrastructure project right now. It has been done other places, like Ithaca NY. Duluth has already done an analysis of their housing units to determine what they would have to do to be carbon-free. The State of Minnesota Department of Commerce is creating 30+ programs for funding. Some funds from the Federal government are supposed to go to MN Environmental Justice Communities. These include Metro areas like North Minneapolis, Frogtown, the East Side, and Brooklyn Park, as well as large swaths of Northern and Northwestern Minnesota, including Ojibwe reservations.

John invited us to the Fresh Energy fundraiser on October 12 from 8-9:30 a.m. at the St. Paul River Centre to hear the new Executive Director, Brenda Cassellius, and video guest Stacy Abrams. More information can be found at

Paul Meekin talked about the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group and encouraged us to become involved through local service projects. He shared projects other clubs have done and asked for ideas from our club. Two suggestions were to clean up Lowertown and add an EV charging station on Summit Avenue. Paul would like to get a group of interested St. Paul Rotarians together to explore next steps during the second half of October. If interested, please contact Paul at or 651-247-9332

Heidi asked the trivia question: In what year was the Rotary bell first used and why? The answer was 1922. It resulted from an attendance contest and was given to a club in New York.

Susan Rostkoski collected Happy Dollars.

Heidi introduced Sam Thompson from the Edina noon club, who is chairing our bid to host the International Convention in Minnesota in 2029. We are competing only with San Francisco at this point.

The committee is coming here next week. We need a big turnout of Rotarians to impress them. There is a reception at the Nicollet Island Pavilion on September 27 from 6 to 8. Mayor Frey is expected. On September 28, the Edina club is hosting an all-Rotary lunch and speaker program, with Marilyn Carlson Nelson. Please join in.

Other upcoming events and announcements:

Please vote for the luncheon venue.

We have a new pin tin – please feel free to borrow a pin for a meeting.

Habitat for Humanity – 9/20/2023

Board Meeting – 9/20/2023

Luncheon program on health equity with Maykao Hang – 9/26/2023

Ken Crabb described the upcoming Rotary training opportunities:

One Summit and Conference of Clubs

Winter Spark will be held December 7th at Metro State. There will be a pre-party at the home of Dayle Quigley and Scott Arndt. Details to come.

President Heidi adjourned the meeting.

Submitted by Melissa Musliner, scribe

Rotary Club of Saint Paul

September 12, 2023

President Elect Shelly Rucks called the hybrid meeting to order at 12:15 pm. Lynne Beck was scribe. The greeters were Pat Brault and Joel Theisen. The A/V Tech Team was Matt Magers Noble Orji and Al Zdrazil.

Shelly Rucks led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Noble Orji read the words from the song It’s A Small World and led members in the 4-Way Test.

Linda Mulhern gave two things for What You Don’t Know About Me (WYDKAM). They were 1) She was a former 4-H’r who had her cross-stitch work displayed at the State Fair, and (2 Her 1925 Model T garage was recently demolished and replaced with a modern one.

Dave Dominick introduced a guest, a colleague of Pat Brault.

Beth Naughton introduced the speaker, Heather Britt, Executive Director of Wilder Research. Prior to joining Wilder in 2022, Heather served in leadership positions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Minnesota Hospital Association, and Allina Health. She has her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, her master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina, and her bachelor’s in science from Cornell University. She lives in St. Paul, has two children, and a rescue dog and two rescue cats.

Wilder improves the lives of residents of St. Paul and the East Metro through direct services and research. Heather leads the research division of Wilder which includes three focus areas: understanding community programs, research library, and capacity building. Some research areas are arts and culture, young people, health care, public health, and criminal justice.

Wilder is conducting a Minnesota Homeless Study for the first time since 2018. They are recruiting around 1,000 volunteers to help interview more than 4,000 people experiencing homelessness around the state. Homelessness increased by 10% between 2015 and 2018. The proportion of people not staying in a shelter increased 62% from 2015 to 2018. 32% of respondents had been turned away from a shelter in the previous three months due to a lack of space.

Lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness. Adults experiencing homelessness listed a low median income as the main factor for their situation and half of homeless adults are on a waiting list for subsidized housing; the average wait time is 12 months. Other risk factors are an adverse childhood, incarceration, substance abuse, and mental illness. Communities of color, women and LBGTQ individuals are more subject to violence which can lead to homelessness.

Heather asked Rotarians to volunteer to help with the Homeless Study for four hours on October 26, 2023. It can be a life changing-experience. You can also donate to the project.

Dave Dominick asked for Happy Dollars. In a week, there will be a 100 Holes youth golf event. Youth can play in various courses for under $5. Heidi Fisher gave $5 for the Packer’s win.


Shelly Rucks made the following club announcements:

501: September 19

University Club or online via zoom

5:01 – 6:15 pm


Service Project

September 20, 2023

Habitat for Humanity

8:30 am – 2:00 pm


Signature Lunch

September 26, 2023, 12 PM

InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront or online via zoom


Fellowship Reception: Minnesota Rotary – Let’s Shine for 2029

September 27, 6 – 8 pm

Nicollet Island Pavilion


All-Rotary Lunch: Minnesota Rotary – Let’s Shine for 2029

September 28, 11:30 – 12:30

Edina Country Club


The meeting adjourned at 1:15 pm.

Lynne Beck