Harpoon – July 12, 2017

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Harpoon for the Week of July 12, 2017

Wednesday’s Luncheon Meeting will be in the
Michigan Union’s Anderson Room

Celebration of Women in Rotary Coming Up

Dues Due by July 15

Mike Shriberg, Ph.D.

Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center

The Great Lakes are at risk, with scientists saying that a large-scale ecological collapse is possible.  The National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, based in Ann Arbor, is on the forefront of addressing these threats.  Mike Shriberg is the Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center.  Mike’s work has focused on Great Lakes protection, energy policy and campus sustainability.  He is one of the original Steering Committee members of the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes coalition, a primary advocate for the Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, and an expert in organization change and leadership for sustainability in higher education.  Mike will outline the latest key threats to the Great Lakes such as toxic drinking water, invasive species, water exports, and oil pipelines; and how local and regional organizations are rising to the challenge to protect the Great Lakes.

Song Leader:  Shelley MacMillan
Accompanist:  Joanie Knoertzer
Inspirational Speaker: Bob Mull
Greeters:  Dan Balbach & Danil Babushkin

Attendance:  Chris Baccella & Barbara Bach

Upcoming Meetings and Events

  • July l4 (Fri): G&TO Sponsor & Fundraising Committee, 8:00 a.m., Bank of Ann Arbor, Plymouth Road
  • July 14 (Fri): G&TO Executive Committee, 9:00 a.m. Bank of Ann Arbor, Plymouth Road
  • July 15 (Sat): Rotary Leadership Institute training seminar, Holiday Inn, 3600 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, $84. Contact Dan Romanchik or visit rligreatlakes.org for more info.
  • July 25 (Tue): Young Rotarians Happy Hour, Dominick’s (812 Monroe St.)
  • July 26, 11:00:  G&TO Committee Open Meeting, John Simpkins
  • August 11 (Fri): G&TO Executive Committee, 9:00 a.m., Bank of Ann Arbor, Plymouth Road
  • August 16, 11:00: G&TO Committee Open Meeting, John Simpkins
  • August 24 (Thurs): Rollin’ on the Detroit River (see article below)
  • Sept 8 (Fri): G&TO Executive Committee, 9:00 a.m., Bank of Ann Arbor, Plymouth Road
  • Sept 11 (Mon):  Golf & Tennis Outing, Travis Pointe Country Club
  • Sept 17 (Sun): Playscape Grand Opening, Chuck Blackmer
  • Sept 23 (Sat): One Rotary Summit in Troy (details later at www.rotary6380.org)
  • Oct 11 (Wed): New member induction and orientation

If you would like  your meeting to appear here, email a2harpoon@umich.edu.
Details on monthly meetings may be found on the club’s website.


Notes of Interest

Dues Due by July 15:
On Monday, June 26, club members should have received an email with the dues bill for the 2017-2018 Rotary year. It starts July 1. The amounts for Active members are based on age as of July 1, 2017. Members between 40 and 69 years owe $350. Members 70 and over owe $320. Dues for members who have not reached their 40th birthday are $200. Emeritus members pay $160. Members-elect owe nothing now but will begin paying dues on a pro-rated basis upon their induction. Honorary members and Inactive Emeritus members are exempt from dues. Questions about your bill? Contact Dave Keosaian. If you are an Ann Arbor Rotarian and did not receive the email, contact John White. Thanks to those who have already paid.

Young Rotarians Happy Hour

Andy Sohn and Jake McLouth are working to bring together Young Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs around the Greater Ann Arbor Area for a Happy Hour once a month. We want it to be a place to network with other young professionals in the area, have a great chance to socialize, and also encourage the growth of our clubs by inviting other professionals who are not yet members to this fun event. We want this to be a very inclusive event to encourage engagement and growth among the younger members of Rotary, but we don’t want to put an age limit on it. We plan on doing this the last Tuesday of every month around 5-7pm. Our first Happy Hour is as follows:

  • Where: Happy Hour at Dominick’s
    812 Monroe St.
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • When:  Tuesday, July 25th from 5-7pm
  • Who:    People who consider themselves on the younger side of Rotary. There is no age restriction.


Rotarian Ken Fischer has retired from UMS.  He’s looking for something to do with his time, as shown in this UMS video.  Luckily, he is NOT retiring from Rotary.


Rollin’ on the River

Save the date for this special event! District 6380 Rotarians will be “Rollin’ on the Detroit River” in celebration of 30 years of women in Rotary. This dinner cruise will be on the Detroit Princess on Thursday, August 24 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. The price is $60 per person. Registration is now open on the District website at www.rotary6380.org.


Does your committee need some help? Let us list it here. Send your listing to Dan Romanchik, dan@danromanchik.com.

  • Harpoon Staff
    One or more volunteers are sought to assemble the Harpoon template each Friday.  It takes an hour or so of easy work.  This draft is then provided to others who actually format it and post it on the website.  Agnes Reading has been doing this invaluable function for several  years, and she needs a break.  Contact Agnes for more information.
  • Greeters & Attendance Takers
    Ginny Geren is looking for relief as the person who schedules greeters and attendance takers for our weekly meetings.  Again, this is a regular, but not arduous task.  Contact Ginny or John Ackenhusen for more information.

Notes from the Meeting

President John Ackenhusen opened the luncheon meeting with a graceful keyboard prelude, courtesy of maestro Joan Knoertzer, that would have made Oscar Wilde smile. “I thought that having a kindly, gentle musical interlude would calmly prepare the members for the start of the meetings for now on,” John explained. Indeed it was like rafting down the Huron; so delightfully languorous. Your normally hyper-attentive reporter can’t even remember if the Rotary bell was cuffed at all.


Mr. Inspiration, Art Holst, got the nod from John and came to the podium. “Please be seated![Echoes of ‘yes, sir’ circled the room.] 241 years ago yesterday, a group of men got together in Philadelphia. [One result of that convention] was that all of us have rights – rights not dictated by a king, but endowed by God.” Art had riveted his audience’s attention. He went on: “Then, 56 of them signed a document of promises. This established a new obligation, a new loyalty beyond themselves. Many of those men would be [financially] ruined by Revolution’s end. Nine died during the struggle. None lost his sense of honor. But what were their promises?” Art then recited the remarks of a jurist from Indiana “who said it best” to a congregation of newly sworn-in American citizens: ‘We promise you the pursuitof happiness, not happiness. We promise you liberty, not license.’” As he returned to his seat the Anderson Room fairly shook from the applause.


Downs Herold came up to lead us in song, with Joanie on piano. He recounted his Boy Scout days, when “we would sit around the fire at camp and sing songs like these.” The first was “Tell Me Why,” the second, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” which Downs asked us to highlight by raising our hands at every word beginning with B, and lowering them quickly afterward. No wonder John had introduced the ‘gentle musical interlude’ beforehand; it was all the assembly of engineers, lawyers, physicians, marketing experts, educators, musicians, and politicians could do to accomplish this with their sanity intact. As for your reporter, let’s just say that motor coordination is not his strong suit.


John then returned to address the members for the first time at length as president. “I’m pleased to be your president this year. I thank Collyer…for being so meticulous in preparing me. Now it’s up to me to screw it up!” Indeed John stressed the detailed preparation for leadership he received from Collyer “from the beginning,” in addition to the mentoring provided by other Club past presidents. It became apparent that one goal of vital concern to John is to heighten member engagement (and that of future members) through meeting ambiance and novel ways to serve. “I want our meetings to be as exciting, as engaging as possible,” he asserted, underscoring a prime message sent by members in the recently completed survey. A believer in “instantaneous feedback,” John brought everyone’s attention to the green and red poker chips neatly stacked in a cup at each table: “As you did a few weeks ago, please take a chip according to whether you feel the meeting was engaging and fun, or not – green for engaging [and successful], red for not engaging.” He then jokingly explained the Titanic process required to decide on the chip color choices. “We thought of black and white as well as other colors before deciding on green and red. You have no idea how difficult the decision was.” Citing Immediate Past President Collyer (who now looks as fresh as FDR on his first day in office rather than his last), John pointed out, “Collyer calls it the ‘engagement quotient’ of our total membership.” More would follow later in this vein as John would be our speaker. He took a moment to make an appeal for a volunteer to take over Ginny Geren’s attendance duties during meetings. (Great work, Ginny!) Next, Jake McLouth informed us that our foreign exchange students Eli Richards, Charlotte Little, and Fiona O’Reilly would be departing later this summer for study in Chile (Eli), Poland (Charlotte) and Mexico (Fiona). Not surprisingly, they received a warm ovation from the whole assembly.



Speaker: President John G. Ackenhusen

Title: Reset and Re-Engage: Achieving “Service Above Self” by “Fun Through Service”

John began with an amusing recap of his Rotary relationship: “The longest-serving Treasurer, since 1992; his passion is to inspire members to greater heights of engagement. His avocation is music, and his name – John Ackenhusen, your current president.” At this the room erupted in applause. He then cut right to the gist of his speech: “At Rotary President-Elect training seminars [the] question [was posed]: As president of a club, WHO do you serve?” His answer was anticipated: “Members. My job as president is to work to make our members love Rotary.” He then acknowledged the fortunate situation our Club finds itself in: [We are] ending a period of unprecedented simultaneous activity – Centennial Playground, Peace Conference, Veterans Hill Auditorium initiatives, and GTO.” Then came the hook: “More and more needing to be done, but fewer members engaged in doing them. Hence, ‘Reset and Re-Engage.’” In his mind your reporter instantly compared John’s words with the challenge facing the Roman Empire at Trajan’s death in 117, the year we remember on the map from our history books, titled “Rome at its Greatest Extent.” Indeed, it would take a Hadrian to consolidate territorial gains, Romanize new populations with coinage, language, public works, and courts of law. Outlying provinces difficult to defend would be jettisoned, no matter how hard-won. Consolidation and assimilation. Contrary to some historians Rome would again emerge as an expanding power, during the reigns of Aurelius and Severus, but it needed its period of recovery. Likewise John described a period of ‘getting back to basics,’ thus “Enjoy Rotary, or, Achieving Service Above Self by Fun Through Service.”

How to do this? John proposed seven steps:


  1. Exciting noon meetings: Choosing speakers members will find interesting.
  2. To foster unusual features in meetings. John stressed the ‘fill-a-need’ aspect of the founding of Rotary: “to know people in other professions so as to know people they could trust.”
  3. Continued ‘instant feedback’ vehicles, like the poker chips.
  4. Quarterly service opportunities, such as meeting at a project instead of the Anderson Room/Weber’s, for which attendance credit would be given, “such as Collyer’s send-off last week at The Session Room.” Amen to that.
  5. In the spirit of, as John said, “Anyone can endure something once,” asking members at meetings for out-of-the-box ideas in order to promote Service, Engagement, and Fun.
  6. 150 respondents to the recent survey indicated an average of 70 hours of service to the community per person. Increase engagement of more dormant members. As John declared, “The Club can help you realize your service passion…like Ashish with the World Peace Conference or Beth Fitzsimmons with reading in schools, or Phil Weiss and the DOGS, [their work at] Alpha House, Food Gatherers, etc. There are many opportunities like these ahead of us.”
  7. Sustainability: Supporting initiatives [to benefit] the Rotary Endowment. John asserted a long-term goal: “to raise the annual allocation from $60,000 to $100,000. Mark Quimet will form a committee of knowledgeable people to recommend how we can expand our charitable giving.” He cited Peg Talburt’s example of too many good applicants competing for the current $60,000.


A video John showed underscored his message – “Every Rotary project began with the vision of one person.” Indeed, perhaps Rotary could co-opt the name of that defunct Chinese auto company: Build Your Own Dream! John concluded his informative and heartfelt address with an acronym, JET. This stands for J: Join leaders; E: Engaging leaders; T: Taking a…Oh, forget it. My fingers were numb by this point. Hey, this guy’s no Hadrian, he’s a Trajan. Watch out things that need fixing, Big John A and Rotary Club of Ann Arbor are on the march!

“Be The difference that makes a difference.” – Nagaraja Rao
Notes by Ed Hoffmann, Photos by Fred Beutler

Meeting Statistics

Attendance at the meeting on July 5 was surely affected by the proximity of Independence Day. Only 60 Ann Arbor Rotarians were in the Anderson Room to hear President John outline his plan for the new year. We did have two Visiting Rotarians (Kat Forsythe of Sausalito CA and Ashley Plichta of Battle Creek). We also had three guests. They were three of our four outgoing Youth Exchange Students: Charlotte Little (Poland), Fiona O’Reilly (Mexico) and Eli Richards (Chile). The fourth student is due to visit us on July 12. She is Emma Jane Rhodenhiser and is also going to Chile. There were no committee meetings but reported was an offsite meeting of four board members on June 13.

Makeup Cards for Roving Rotarians

Bob Swistock (Chelsea on June 6). This is Bob’s last makeup with us. He is joining the Chelsea club.

Membership Changes

Twice a year, each club pays dues to Rotary International and to its District. The amount paid is based on the number of names on the official RI roster as of July 1 and January 1. The total for the year is just over $100. As a result, we are keen to make sure our list on those dates is accurate. On June 30, our roster was updated with 14 losses to our membership: Two Rotarians are joining other clubs; Brandon Marsh (Southfield Area) and Bob Swistock (Chelsea). Three are relocating; Gloria Brooks (Colorado), David Epstein (Nashville) and Ray Rabidoux (Louisiana). Seven are resigning due to business pressures; Neel Hajra, Toni Kayumi, Nick Lacy, Todd McKinney, Debra Moore, Lolita Nunn and Rick Reid. Jennifer Borton and Fran Brennan were also removed from our roster, hopefully temporarily.


  • July 12 – Bruce Benz
  • July 12 – Fairfax Fair
  • July 12 – Joyce Hunter
  • July 14 – Fran Brennan
  • July 15 – Bob Johnston
  • July 16 – Ray Detter
  • July 16 – Dan Romanchik
  • July 17 – Joanne Pierson
  • July 18 – Loren Rullman

Websites of interest to Rotarians

Rotary International: The RI home page has links to About Rotary, The Rotary Foundation, Club Locator and Member Access. Our Club is in Zone 29. The zone has 17 districts and covers portions of Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario.

District 6380. Our district’s website includes 51 clubs in the counties of Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland and Macomb in Michigan and Kent in Ontario. The district’s monthly newsletter and articles of district-wide interest are posted there.

Rotary Club of Ann Arbor: Our Club’s website provides background material and information including the current Annual Report, Active Framework (aka Strategic Plan), New Member Nomination Form, Committee Descriptions, Club and Golf Outing brochures, synopses of upcoming programs and an archive of Harpoons. Find us on Facebook.

Submit news, committee meetings, and announcements to the Harpoon, the newsletter of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor. Contact the Club to subscribe by email.

Our Club also sponsors the following Rotaract and Interact Clubs:

U-M Rotaract Club

Huron High Interact Club

Pioneer High Interact Club

“Rotary Serving Humanity”