Posted by Linda Mulhern on Feb 28, 2018

At 12:15 pm, President Jerry Faletti called the meeting to order at the Intercontinental Hotel.  The group was led in song by Joe Kovarik (on ukulele), Jerry Faletti (on guitar), Bob Jones (on piano) and Ed Coleman (on drums) in a revised rendition of Side by Side with Fast for Hope.  Nancy Brady, thanked the Rotarians for their contribution for feeding the less fortunate and talked about Snowflake Bentley who had photographed snowflakes and never found a duplicate. Based on that thought,  we have to believe that all snowflakes are unique and will continue to believe in that thought although trillions of snowflakes fall with each snowstorm.  Cindy Shiely introduced guests to the meeting Matt Magers and Carolyn Will were the greeters and Linda Mulhern, the scribe for this meeting.
Cindy Shiely was able to collect a few “Happy Dollars” based on Sherry Howe being thankful for the lasagna dinner served to her and a number of other Rotary gals at Deb Katzmark’s home the previous night,  Bo Aylin’s  son did well in his pine wood derby competition with the Cub Scouts and won numerous awards and Claude Hone noted that 73 years ago,  he took off with 8 fighter pilots to bomb Tokyo and he was one of the 5 to return from the mission.  
Carolyn Will presented a club banner from the Bemidji Rotary club after presenting them with a Club 10 banner at a recent meeting there. Sherry Howe announced the upcoming Red Stripper orientation will be at the Kellogg Square party room on Monday, 3/19 between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. Al Zdrazil will have a short program set up to introduce new members to Rotary. Please put it on your calendar to attend and bring a prospective member as well!
President Jerry announced that there will be no Thursday Fellowship meeting this week and he wanted to thank all of the Rotarians that hosted Rotation day last week, including John Bradford, Segundo Valesquez and Laura Nichols-Endres.
We celebrated February birthdays at the meeting and Claude Hone was the only Rotarian in attendance, so the club sang and celebrated his 98th birthday.
Jay Pfaender belatedly announced our speaker for next week’s meeting, who will be Greg Brick, He will speak about Subterranean St Paul (ie the tunnels and caves under and near the city).

President Jerry introduced former District Governor, Jim Hunt. 
Jim introduced us to Fast for Hope, a unique program financed by our district. Funding is provided by Rotarians and the donations made by clubs. This project is very creative and we are allowed to make mistakes while learning from them, to help the people of El Corozo in Nicaragua. The district has a long term commitment to make sustainable change. The project is very entrepreneurial and takes chances without a guaranteed outcome. We hope the outcome can be replicable in other areas of the world. 
As a district, we have asked the citizens of El Corozo to determine what is needed, become investors within their community, while meeting criteria to spend time and effort to make change.
Lessons learned, there needs to be cultural shift in the mindset of the community. People need to learn to listen to their own voices, trust their judgment and believe in themselves, while challenging authority, learning to work as a community (versus as a family), but also realize that it takes time. 
We have sent down 26 delegations of Rotarians to Nicaragua and 10 delegations have traveled from Nicaragua to Minnesota/Wisconsin. We as a district have worked to develop community leaders and trained 37 Nicaraguans on community development. It was decided that the four most important committees to be developed were literacy, health, water and the road. 
The community identified that literacy was important, so children were shown how to treat books, care for them and store them from the elements. The community has 537 books and hopes to evolve this resource into a future community library.
Pharmacy kits were developed and people trained to offer first aid and triage. Inventory and supply issues were resolved so the kits would continue to have the needed items and now a doctor visits the community for half of a day each week!
Water was not considered a high priority, because people will go find it when they need it, but attempts are being made to lay the piping of which half of it is done although the west season can create problems by washing it away. 
Last of all is the road, it is impossible to travel on it during the wet season and it is 3 ½ miles long. It is difficult for children to get to school or adults to get to work if they need to use the road during the wet season. The questions include does it need to be paved and how will it be maintained. The engineering study has been completed for it. 
The community of El Corozo has made changes including improvement of the school and a pavilion as well as a doctor visit once a week. The water and road remain an issue and the road has not been approved by the government. 
As a Rotary district we want to see economic development begin, but we are not there yet. Our district is working with Opportunity International to build a yucca processing plant in the area. Production has improved with increases from 100 to 300 sacks of yucca that can be processed due to well planned scheduling by  the farmers in the area, so they know when it is their turn to remove the yucca from the ground and process it efficiently and at the highest levels as compared to earlier
President Jerry presented a certificate to Jim Hunt donating money to the Read with Me program in his name as a speaker to the club. The meeting was concluded after stating the Rotary pledge at 1:13 pm.

Respectfully submitted,






Linda Mulhern