SPOKES VOL. LXVI NO. 44                                                                           June 2, 2020


Another meeting via ZOOM this morning.  President-elect Dan Thompson chaired our meeting this morning from the north beach, palm trees and all. We began with the Navy version of “God Bless America”.  Art Ayers offered our invocation, offering special prayers to those going through difficult times right now and highlighting the need for Rotary’s values to help our country.  Dan offered a special addition to our invocation asking for prayers for Art and Kris.



  • Our next club meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 AM via ZOOM.  We will continue to meet weekly via ZOOM until we can meet face to face in a safe environment.

  • Mark Odland announced that we presented four Rotary Scholarships of $1250 each to four very deserving South Haven High School Seniors. Two of the scholarships are named scholarships, one for Glenn Peitenpol which was awarded to Sierra Garber, granddaughter of Jerry Gruber and one f0r Don Hixson, awarded to Opal Eddy.  Opal is the daughter of Rotarian Kaleigh Eddy and her husband Mark.  Opal is also the Valedictorian of the 2020 South Haven High School graduating class.  The other two scholarships were awarded to Katherine Schooley, daughter of  Rotarian Kevin Schooley and his wife Lori and to Victoria Loikitis.  The money for the scholarships comes from our educational fundraiser, donations from members and from the families of Glenn and Don and from a District Rotary Grant secured by Mark.  Mark Odland has completed a short video announcing the winners for the awards ceremony and they will receive a letter from Mark along with their scholarship.

  • Beginning in July we will go back to our normal speaker’s schedule so please take a look at the schedule and plan to secure a speaker on your assigned date.

  • The educational fundraiser has been canceled and the Board has elected to rescind the $100 mandatory donation for that event.  However, we would like to continue to support the three items this fundraiser is associated with.  This includes the LMC Scholarship fund, the South Haven Public Schools Foundation and our own Rotary Scholarship.  Members are urged to make a donation to our Educational Fund, hopefully of at least the usual $100.  You can do that by sending your contribution to Bob Straits indicating your donation to that fund or any of the groups supported by it.

  • In a couple of weeks you will receive a survey about our club.  Please take a few minutes and fill it out when it arrives.

  • There will be a Board meeting next week after our regular meeting.

  • The June issue of the Rotary District newsletter contains a feature on our club's support of We Care I.N.C. during the COVID crisis (see page 6).


Mary Sue Lyons was our 50/50 winner this week and was urged to spend her winnings carefully.


  • Jerry Gruber had several celebrations this morning, including granddaughter Sierra’s scholarship, the birthday of son Derek and birthdays of granddaughters Emily and Carly.

  • Dan Liehr had prayers for his son serving in the National Guard this week.

  • Bob Stickland wished to remember his sister who would have been 100 years old this week.  She was a long time member of the FBI and acknowledged for her service by the late Robert Kennedy.

  • Larry and Midge Lewis have returned to our fair city from southern reaches.

  • Dene Hadden was pleased to announce that his wife, the former Linda Rae Story, will be celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss to her husband this Saturday.

  • Kaleigh Eddy announced that her daughter Opal has been named the Valedictorian of her class.

  • Rosalie Pechaty announced that her radio show, “The 3rd Half Hour” has recorded the graduation speeches of Opal and three other young academic leaders from South Haven and Bangor and they are available for listening.

  • Scott Mark is celebrating his annual birthday this week.

  • Steve Miles announced his and Kathy’s 27th anniversary and his parent’s 60th anniversary this week.

  • Art Ayers is celebrating his granddaughter Oona’s birthday this week.


Our speaker this morning was our own Paul Hix with his annual report on the economy.

Paul began his presentation indication he was going to focus on the topics of recession, interest rates and the market slump.  He provided a little history, reminding us that the market is generally positive, improving every three months of each month that it is down.  We are not currently in a recession yet but he expects we will reach the indicators showing that we are soon.  

He also reminded us that trading on the stock market and investing in the stock market are two different things:  trading is gambling, investing is having a long term goal and strategy for reaching that goal.  He continues to preach that investing diversity is critically important.

Paul took the opportunity to point out, as he often does, that education has a tremendous effect on how well folks survive in tough times.  He noted that this crisis, because it came on so suddenly, immediately affected many of the people without higher levels of education as they were not able to work from home while people with higher levels of education often had jobs that could be done from home or were essential.  He said the many analysts believe that once this crisis is over, many folks who have continued to earn money during this time but have not had to, or been able to spend it will do just that, resulting in a nice bump to the economy.  He also indicated that we are in a period of low consumer debt and high net worth which are both good signs of a possible strong recovery.

Paul talked about interest rates, noting that they are low and will likely remain low for quite a while.  One of the reasons is that the government does not want to spend a lot of money paying off loans with high interest rates.  In addition, low interest rates after the crisis will help strengthen the economy and there does not appear to be any inflationary pressure in the immediate future.  He did expect that there will be tax increases in the future to help pay this level of debt down.

A key factor in the government’s handling of this crisis is that it is, in fact, not a financial crisis but is a natural disaster; so many financial institutions and businesses are solid and can survive.  The main question is when will the crisis be over.  We have done a good job of flattening the curve to this point but if we slip backwards that could extend the timeline for a recovery.  The only true solution will be the development of a vaccine or herd immunity.

Paul concluded that with low interest rates the only place to get a good return on your money is the stock market, but to be careful.  There are certainly some businesses that will take longer to recover than others.  Again, the key is diversification.

During the Q & A, Paul talked about the negative interest rates being offered in some European banks.  He did not see that as a likely possibility here although he did note that oil prices were negative for a while as the Russian/Saudi price feud, perhaps purposely hitting us when demand was low, hurt some oil companies.

Paul also spoke to a question about health care, suggesting that the country needs to have a serious conversation about a health care system that is affordable for all and how to get there.

President elect Thompson thanked Paul for another of his very informative presentations.

We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.

Our next meeting will be a virtual meeting on June 9th.  Details will arrive in an email from Mark or Dan.

June 2nd  Program:  Melinda Gruber will introduce Dr. Lowell Hamel, Spectrum Lakeland COO and Chief Clinical Officer

Editarian:  Dene Hadden