SPOKES VOL. LXVI NO. 43                                                                            May 26, 2020

President Mark called the meeting to order.


We continue to meet via ZOOM for the time being.  This morning we were blessed to have Kate Smith join us to sing “God Bless America”  Art Ayers offered our invocation, including special prayers for Donna Rummel and continued good health to Bob Brickman.  He also included in the prayer that Marty Graber can return from Africa as planned next month.


Our guests included Congressman Fred Upton who would be our speaker this morning.



  • Our next club meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 2nd 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.

  • Dene Hadden announced that we will be awarding four Rotary Scholarships of $1250 each to four very deserving South Haven High School Seniors. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony in a week or two.  Two of the scholarships will be named scholarships, one for Glenn Pietenpol and one from Don Hixson.  The money for the scholarships comes from our educational fundraiser, donations from members and from the families of Glenn and Don and from Rotary Grants secured by Tom Renner.  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.

  • Bill Roberts’ activities committee will meet this morning and the membership committee will met on Thursday.

  • 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.

  • President Odland congratulated Deb Davidson on her retirement which begins this weekend!

  • 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.

  • Has anyone compared our Zoom meetings to the opening of the Muppet show?







50/50- Sergeant at Arms Tom Ruesink

This week Tom Fleming was our 50/50 winner and will draw for the money at some time in the future.


  • Bob Brickman is recovering very well from his pacemaker procedure.

  • Jerry Gruber’s grandson Jack has a birthday this week.

  • Rhonda Wendzel’s granddaughter Gena is ten years old this week.

  • In an exciting moment in any parent’s life, Mary Sue Lyons is excited to announce that her son Tom has graduated from MSU and has accepted a job officer in his field of study.

Tom Renner was pleased to introduce our speaker this morning, U. S. Congressman Fred Upton.

Fred was recently selected as the most bi-partisan member of the Michigan delegation in Congress and one of the most bipartisan members in the entire Congress.

Congressman Upton began by reminding everyone that they can stay abreast of happenings in our District and in Congress by viewing his “My Kitchen Table” website and emails.

He also talked about the PPP Act and the talks to extend the provisions of the bill since it was not originally written to last as long as the COVID-19 crisis has stayed alive.  He sees much bi-partisan support for this extension which will give business owners longer to pay back their loans.  Later, in answering a couple of follow up questions, he referenced the latest bill passed by the House, indicating that while not available for much review before passage, will be looked at by the Senate and agreement for additional help is probably forthcoming.

Fred also indicated that any new package would not include the extra $600 in unemployment benefits as in states like Michigan, with respectable unemployment programs it has become a disenhancement for returning to work.  It was added to help workers in states like Florida with poor unemployment benefits.

He also addressed a question about the future of interest rates which remain very low in spite of heavy government borrowing.  The congressman reviewed what he has been told by a wide variety of current and former Treasury officials from both parties which is that we are in a crisis and need to do whatever is necessary to save the country right now and put things back together as we heal.

In terms of actually dealing with the COVID-19, he mentioned the $1.8 billion dollars approved for the NIH for testing and talked about a test he has seen that is small, personal and has results quickly that can be loaded on a phone that can then be used to display your status.  He believes that testing is exceptionally important and that finding a vaccine is critical to solving this crisis.  He was pleased to note that one of his bills, the 21st Century Cures Act, actually paved the way for vaccine companies to begin looking at new ways to develop vaccines that will hopefully lead to a COVID vaccine in record time.

Fred finished by talking about the concern that has been raised, both in our meeting and at many local, state and national levels, about the virus carried and spread by agricultural workers.  He indicated that testing is again a key part of tracking and confining this threat as these essential workers arrive in our state.

The congressman will be returning to Washington D.C. this afternoon.  He hopes that flight attendants and his fellow passengers will practice social distancing and wear masks.  He was disappointed on a recent flight where that did not happen.

President Odland thanked the congressman for spending some time with us and for his informative presentation.

We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.

Our next meeting will be a virtual meeting on June 2nd.  Details will arrive in an email from Mark.

June 2nd  Program:  Paul Hix will present a market update

Greeters:  Tom Noverr and Dene Hadden

Editarian:  Dene Hadden