Laughter, camaraderie and lively conversations buzzed in the Anderson Room, while Zoomers (displayed on the big screen in the Anderson Room) had their own lively discussions before the Aug. 11 Club Meeting.
President Mark Ouimet rang the bell, and our dapper, bow-tied Rotary Orchestra – Tom Strode – accompanied the club in our National Anthem. Director Dawn Johnson came to the podium to share a quote from Ray Bradbury the Chinese philosophy of Wu Wei:
“‘Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this was the first real time of freedom and living; this was the first morning of summer.’ This excerpt is from Ray Bradbury’s book Dandelion Wine. Living intentionally and enjoying each day is not always an easy feat, and why we often rely on summer to bring us to that moment.
“However, as we enjoy the last full month of summer, I would like to encourage that we carry that “summer month” intention into the months that follow these dog days of summer.
“There is an ancient Chinese concept wu wei that literally means ‘inexertion,’ ‘effortless action,’ or ‘non doing.’ It describes a state of unconflicting, personal harmony and free-flowing spontaneity. It ensures that we are swimming with rather than against the currents. This is so important with the challenges that we and our world face on a daily basis.
“So I would like to cast my vote, and I hope you will join me, for the great good of ‘idleness’ and the practice of Wu Wei in the other seasons of the year – connect with nature, with good people, and yourself, and balance the scales with the ingredients we find so easily in our summer days.
inspiring us to carry our summertime intention through the fall.” And, to top it off, Dawn noted that today is National S’mores Day! Light the campfire! Bring out the marshmallows! Grab the graham crackers! Open that pack of Hershey’s chocolate squares!
Jim Irwin took the podium and asked the audience to cast their vote for January 1, Feb. 14 or March 17. St. Patrick’s Day won, so we all joined Jim’s mellow tenor in “Tura Lura Lural” (That’s an Irish Lullaby).
Guests were introduced including Bradley Biggs-Pomeroy, Sarah Sherbo, and Andrea Dewey.
President Mark thanked everyone involved in setting up today’s live and virtual meetings, and Lori Walters wished happy birthdays to Rick Price, Heidi Visto, Elaine Besh, Charlie Kooperman, Anne Schrieber and Todd Gephart.
Immediate Past President Joanne Pierson was invited to the podium where she quizzed the club to solve the mystery of what the following letters stood for: GNISIARDNUF. Ever-sharp Wheel-of-Fortune fan Dawn Johnson knew it right away: Fundraising. That is the key to the success of our Golf and Tennis Outing on Wednesday, September 14. Donate an auction item (special need for sports-related auction items). Invite a friend or neighbor to play golf. Volunteer to help the day of the event. We rely on the dollars raised in our only fundraiser to help our club’s local impact of HELPING KIDS SUCCEED.
NB: The “F” in Fundraising does not mean Fail, nor Fraud. – msb, reporter.
Director Dawn, winner of the previous challenge came to the podium to invite club members to volunteer to help set up meetings, to be a mic runner, to help with attendance. And attendance is now going to be a breeze, thanks to Dawn and Administrator Emily finding nifty new application of Club Runner. When you check in, simply go to the attendance taker for the day, and your name will be scanned in automatically. This saves the sign-in sheets at the table, (and the senior moment when you are writing your table mate’s name on the sheet, but can’t remember their last name), tallies automatically so that the stats of each meeting are loaded for tracking attendance. Try it out at our next meeting (but remember, next week is a zoom-only meeting).
Administrator Emily then took the podium to explain that for the rest of the 22-23 club year, we will be having one meeting per month via zoom. This will help us balance the budget. Starting in October, every third Wednesday will be via zoom only.
8/17 — zoom only THIS IS OUR NEXT MEETING!
10/19 — zoom only
11/16 — zoom only
11/23 – no meeting: thanksgiving
12/21 — zoom only
12/28 – no meeting: new year
01/18/2023 — zoom only
02/15/2023 — zoom only
03/15/2023 — zoom only
04/19/2023 — zoom only
05/17/2023 — zoom only
07/05/2023 — no meeting: 4th of July holiday
07/19/2023 — no meeting: art fair
Emily noted that a zoom link is sent to each Rotarian on Tuesday night for the following day. You can also access a meeting via zoom on club runner (look for “events” in the lower bar), or on our website.
Mary Steffek Blaske was honored by President Mark and a standing ovation from the club members for her recent Presidential Award of Merit from the Board of the Ann Arbor Symphony for her work on behalf of the A2SO in the past 12 months.
Marcia Lane came on zoom to invite us to see the outdoor art display, “Embracing our Differences,” at Gallup Park through a guided tour next Tuesday, August 16. She also noted that the September Peace Conference has been postponed. More information on that here.
Marcia then introduced, Dr. Arun Gupta, a frequent speaker about the opioid crisis. Dr. Gupta is a specialist in the field of addition care medicine. He is the author of “The Preventable Epidemic: A Frontline Doctor’s Experience and Recommendations to Resolve America’s Opioid Crisis.”
Dr. Gupta presented the club with sobering statistics including the growth of drug overdose deaths in the US which have steadily increased: 70,000 in 2017 to 103,000 in 2021. Why? Dr. Gupta believes that it is a combination of limited medical school training in addictions, not enough addiction physicians (fewer than 20,000 doctors who are trained and certified in addition treatment in America), that by law physicians have restrictions on the number of addition patients they may treat at a time, man regulations because of too many pill mills, and that there is not enough prescription-grade medicine so people are forced to buy it off the street. The street fentanyl is more dangerous and extremely toxic because it is often mixed with other drugs making them extremely lethal.
Dr. Gupta started the non-profit organization RAOE Foundation (Resolving America’s Opioid Epidemic), chairperson of the Medication-Assisted Treatment in North America Rotary Action Group and, a recent speaker at the Rotary International’s Houston, TX meeting where he is working to galvanize support from RI in a similar drive as its mission to eradicate polio.
He closed his talk urging all Rotarians to become involved in the solution to the opioid crisis.
Next week’s presentation will be by Dan Ezekiel on “Trash Talk Tour,” a one-day event coming up in September. Dan will make a presentation the new Ann Arbor recycling facility and community-wide efforts to decrease waste.
President Mark closed our meeting with a quote from Helen Keller, “ Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.”
Mary Steffek Blaske
Photography by Fred Beutler