Posted by Dene Hadden on Mar 09, 2017
SPOKES VOL. LXIII NO. 34                                                                                  March 7, 2017
We were greeted by Paul Hix and Mark Odland.
Tom Renner presided over the meeting today in President Ayer’s absence.
We opened the meeting with the “America the Beautiful” and Tom Renner’s invocation.
Our guests this morning included Judy Paget and Robert Herrera.
Jim Davis led us in song this morning.  He did his best, but low numbers and lack of talent on the part of his choir kept things from reaching Grammy winning levels.  We sang the 1908 hit “Down by the Old Mill Stream” and followed up that toe tapper with the 1917 standard “For Me and My Gal”.  We finished with the familiar “Sing a Song to Rotary”.
Our spotlight speaker this week was Judy Paget, executive Director of Hospital Hospitality House of Southwest Michigan.  Her organization provides housing for the families of patients at both Kalamazoo hospitals, the local cancer center and the two autism centers in Kalamazoo.  They are just concluding a 4.8 million dollar capital campaign which will build two new houses for the organization, one near each hospital.  She thanked us for our support and President-elect Renner presented Judy with a check with our donation to HHHSWM.
  • Rhonda will need help this Friday at just before 2:00 for Blessings in a Backpack at Lincoln School.  Let’s not let her down!
  • The first event in the Speakers Series of South Haven will occur on Tuesday, March 14th when Dr. David Ryden will speak about the effect of the recent Supreme Court nomination will have on the court, if approved, as seems likely.  The program begins at 7:30 but there is a reception beginning at 6:45 at Lake Michigan College.
  • The 50th anniversary of the Portage Rotary Club will be on March 24th.  Our membership is invited to attend.
  • Van Buren Mental Health is beginning a Senior Reach program and is looking for volunteers to serve on that organization’s board.  Contact Art or Tom for contact information if you are interested.
Don Hodgman, after years of frustration, not only had one lucky ticket today, he won the pot – a total of $16 – and had the $2 ticket also.  He generously donated half of his winnings back to the pot.
  • Steve Larsen’s daughter turns 12 this week.
  • Tom Renner was proud to announce that Hope College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams won their recent games and move on to the next level next week.  He also has a nephew who is coaching a high school team that has reached the state finals in Kentucky.
  • Scott Mark and Larry Wittkop celebrated the SH Ram’s boys’ basketball team’s conference championship and their advancement to the district championship game on Friday.
  • Rhonda Wendzel celebrated the Bangor wrestler who was crowned a state champion last weekend.
Our speaker, introduced by Tom Renner, was SHPS Superintendent Robert Herrera.
Bob, who turned in his Rotary membership paperwork today, spoke to us on a number of topics, beginning with the Balanced Calendar.
A true balanced calendar would divide the school year into 4, 9 week sessions with a two week break between each session.Summer break would be 6-8 weeks.The calendar that was presented by the area superintendents was not really a balanced calendar, but simply made a few adjustments.After looking at this proposal, it was determined that this kind of calendar was not in the best interests of SHPS or even most of the Van Buren County schools.
A few members had questions about the calendar and Dr. Herrera indicated that many factors go into the calendar.The beginning of school, for instance, is affected by when classes begin at LMC as many students take college classes in addition to the perceived need for student workers prior to Labor Day.They also receive many complaints when they have half days as that presents problems for parents and day care.
Bob also talked about the adoption of a comprehensive math and reading curriculum from pre-K to 6th grade and work is being done on the 6 – 12 grade Language Arts curriculum.
The building program is moving along well and the major portion of the building will be done after spring break, with remodeling of the gym and gym balcony plus music room additions to start right after break.The whole project should be done by next December.
Dr. Herrera also updated us on the projects of SHARA and the plan to put various fields at the former Lappo Lumber site and improvements to the soccer fields on the Aylworth property.
He also indicated that all of the drinking water in the district meets state standards which are lower than federal standards.
President-elect Renner thanked Dr. Herrera for his enlightening presentation and presented him one of our valuable speakers gifts.
We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.
Next week’s program: Team Ramageddon, presented by Tom Rummel
Next week’s Greeters:  Don Hixson and Don Hodgman
Editarian:  Dene Hadden
Special thanks to Tom Renner who handled the Editarian duties the past two months in my absence.  He did an outstanding job!