Posted by Dene Hadden on Oct 23, 2018
SPOKES VOL. LXV NO. 17                                                                               October 23, 2018
Larry Lewis, Dene Hadden and a particularly happy Deb Davidson, bedecked with her Purdue badge, were our greeters this very fall-like morning.
President Mark Odland opened today’s meeting with “My Country ‘tis of Thee” and Art Ayers provided an invocation including our prayers for Julie Weber, Missy Thompson, and Don Hixson.
Our guests this morning included Spotlight speaker Shandra Gilman and our speaker Interim SHPS Superintendent Dave Peden.
Shandra Gilman from Tri-County Head Start spoke about the mission of Head Start and its role in breaking the cycle of poverty.  They try and accomplish this by offering preschool to youngsters caught in the poverty cycle.  Head Start has proven to be one of the most effective ways to give kids a jump on an effective school experience.  The other thing that they do is to wrap their families with assistance so they can get jobs, get an education or even get treatment for other issues that may be keeping them from moving forward in their lives.  Twenty percent of their clients are homeless.  Tom Renner presented Shandra with a check for $500 to be used for new carpeting in their building.  There was talk of donating our pancake breakfast carpeting to her, too.
  • President Odland thanked all of the volunteers who worked the concession stand, taking the flowers down, Blessings in a Backpack and Haven Harvest.
  • Rhonda thanked the Blessings in a Backpack helpers and announced that we will continue to do this on the 1st and 2nd Fridays of each month at Lincoln School, 1:15 PM.
  • Due to the inclement weather, the Haven Harvest beer and wine tent was not as successful as was hoped and closed down at 7:00 PM, much to the disappointment of the 7:30 to 10:00 crew.
  • Recovery Party:  In order to dispose of leftover beer, President and LaRae Odland are hosting a Recovery Party on Saturday evening, October 27th at their home, from 5:00 to 9:00 PM.  Mark passed around a signup sheet and will send out an email, so please check your schedules and plan on joining them Saturday evening.
  • Bob Copping indicated that he had visited Don Hixson at Bronson/Pipp in Plainwell and believes that he is doing well and the prognosis is good.  Visiting hours are 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.
  • If you have membership feedback, please get it to Dan Thompson by the end of the month.
  • President Odland noted that he had received an update from Marty Graber who is heading back to Kenya today and will be there for six months.  He plans on opening the hospital there after the first of the year.
  • The next Speaker’s Series is this Thursday featuring economist Marci Rossell-McCarthy.  6:45 reception, 7:30 presentation.
Bob Boerma was our song leader today and as appropriate for the first day of the Cubless and Tigerless World Series, our first song was “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.This is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song.Next up we sang "" is a 1905 popular song with music also written by Harry Von Tilzer and lyrics by Andrew B. Sterling.We finished with the ever popular “Sing!Everyone, Sing!”
At first we thought there would not be a winner after the first drawing but finally Art Ayers remembered where he had his tickets and took his turn drawing the cards.  His luck held as he drew the 2 and won half of the pot, which he donated back to the club.  Larry Wittkop had the winning $2 ticket which he promptly spent on his grandkids!
  • Bob Copping celebrated a birthday this week.
  • Nick Tuit is celebrating his daughter-in-law’s birthday this week.
  • Jerry Portman is celebrating his son-in-law’s birthday this week.
  • In honor of Bob’s birthday, we sang a regular version of our Happy Birthday song this morning.
  • The basket was passed around to give our speaker the time he needed but not before several comments were injected about various football games this weekend.
  • Don’t forget that Big 10 Tuesday has commenced and you can save $.10 a gallon on gas from now through basketball season.
  • Deb Davidson did get a chance to offer a big smile about her Purdue team.
  • Larry Wittkop, dressed in Blue, was proud of having three of his grandkids pictures in the paper this weekend.
Larry Wittkop introduced our speaker, Interim South Haven Public Schools Superintendent Dave Peden.
Dave believes that we are the best singing Rotary Club anywhere!
Dave was recommended to the South Haven school board by the Michigan Leadership Institute, the same organization that is helping the board do the search for the next superintendent for South Haven.
He said that there are 21 applicants for the position and that the board will narrow that number to five or six on Wednesday evening.  Those will be interviewed in early November and narrowed to two and those two interviewed the second week of November.  He urged all of us to attend the interviews to get a feel for who our next school leader (and potential Rotarian) will be.
Dave has served as superintendent in four districts and in a few as interim and he is very happy here.  He believes that we have a very good school system with good building leaders and teachers and outstanding facilities.  He is very impressed with the use of technology in classrooms and the work of special programs like Robotics.
The finances are solid with a 15% fund equity which includes plans to keep technology and facilities up to date.
The biggest hurdle the system faces is declining enrollment.  Ten years ago we had 2218 in the district, including nearly 800 in the high school.  This year we have 1987 students in the district and only 550 in high school.  Twenty percent of those students or about 400 are school of choice students from surrounding districts.  That is a loss of $2,000,000 over ten years on a twenty million dollar budget.  The district has managed this reduction very well.
South Haven has gone from being the largest high school in the Wolverine Conference to the smallest and that often makes it difficult to compete athletically, although we do have competitive teams in many sports, including Cross Country, Volleyball, Boys’ Basketball Girls’ Swimming and others.
Larry Wittkop thanked Dave for his service to our community and an interesting presentation and presented him with our visitor’s pen.
President Odland closed the meeting with the Four Way Test
Next week’s program: Paul Hix will present a market update.
Next week’s Greeters:  Scott Smith and Deb Davidson
Editarian:  Dene Hadden