Meeting Notes for October 10, 2018

President Greg struck the Rotary bell as only a Nebraska man can…no, he didn’t miss it. Its clarion tones circled the Weber’s ballroom as Deanna Relyea quickly launched into “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Toni Gupta, her eyes intent on the flag, came up after a moment and delivered a heartfelt Inspiration. “These are the 7 Rules of My Life, which I would like to share with you,” she began. “One, make peace with your past — so it won’t disturb your present; 2. What other people think of you is none of your business; 3. Time heals almost everything, so give it time; 4. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you; 5. Don’t compare your life to others’ — and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about; 6. Stop thinking too much…They [the answers] will come to you when you least expect it; 7. SMILE: You don’t own all the problems in the world.” Bravo, Toni!

Songmaster Rick Ingram came to the podium and led us in a spirited rendition of “Sing Out a Song of Rot’ry,” with music by George M. Cohan. Somehow, these Cohan songs always generate a groundswell of enthusiasm among the members. Maybe it’s the link to classic films. Your reporter, tipsy with cinematic associations, could be heard declaring to his luncheon neighbor, “You know, if I wanted to, I could sing this whole thing like Jimmy Cagney!”

Present Greg regained the podium, and, scanning the room, graciously welcomed all Rotarians and guests. He then thanked the volunteers, particularly mic runner Christy Bacon, “Christy, you took off your lime colored vest,” and Toni, “Toni, I thought you had stage fright. I was wondering what to do.” He continued, “In addition to welcoming our new members today, we’re introducing our new Administrator: Lori Walters.” Fervent applause ensued; by none more so than John White. In fact, a faint but most definite “Yesss!” could be heard escaping hydraulically from his smiling lips.

Greg then asked Lori to come to the podium. Barbara Eichmuller accompanied her, and said by way of introduction: “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lori the past week, and she’s really good. She’s a member of the Chelsea Rotary Club, a graduate of Michigan State, and lives in Brighton with her husband, David.” Lori then addressed the membership. “I am delighted to be your Administrator,” she began. “I’d been looking for work…when Anne Nauts came up and said ‘I think I have an opportunity for you!” As Lori has expressed in the RCAA announcement: “I am excited to begin getting to know the RCAA’s members and the club’s many activities. The support of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor has shown me has made me feel welcome, and I am so happy to be on board!” Tumultuously, and simultaneously, the room welcomed Lori while thanking John for his fabulous service to the Club.

Next, Social Committee chair Susan Smith Gray made an announcement about this evening’s New Member party: “Please come to The Session Room today, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., to welcome the new members. Now, when you’re at The Session Room, you won’t have to worry about the news. And definitely come earlier than later!” [Post party update: It was marvelous. About 40 members, newbies, and significant others. Bravo Susan and Committee!]

Also, the Glacier Hills Rotary meeting was misreported last week. It will take place on October 19, and not this Friday (10/12).

Radio Free Rotary: Our inimitable Steve Schram returned (after too-long an absence) to report to us about the “Ann Arbor News You Should Know.” He reported on the ravages of Hurricane Michael on the Florida Panhandle: thousands homeless, vast coastal destruction, and an escalating public health crisis. Also announced were President Trump’s five candidates for the U.N. ambassadorial post; emeritus U-M President James Duderstadt has been appointed by Dr. Schlissel to chair a ‘thought and ideology’ panel; Canada has become the first country to legalize marijuana; “The planet’s heating up,” according to U.N. General Assembly. “Do what science demands” to scale back global warming, the announcement directed; Ford Motor Company shares are at their lowest level in two years — now below $9 per share; Michigan’s Wolverines play the Wisconsin Badgers this Saturday evening; and the end-of-report joke…”I lost it somehow between my office and here,” Steve admitted to cries of sympathetic laughter.


It was as if the love schooner from “Here Come the Brides” had just arrived from the East and dropped anchor in Puget Sound. And like those hungry lumberman, Rotary eyes were dilated, expectant; palms were moist, with all attention lavished on the new arrivals. In other words, the red carpet had been rolled out.

Membership Committee chair, Dan Romanchik, made his inaugural address to the membership: “We have seven new members — five are with us today with their sponsors. Will you all please come forward.” They (and their sponsors) are: 1. Ed Wier introduced Brendan Chard, owner of a software company dedicated to simplifying processes for small law firms; 2. Carol Senneff and Bob Holmes introduced Barbara Milay, who “has been with our department for nine years,” Bob noted; 3. Susan Froelich, Don Deatrick, Past Presidents Karen Kerry and Jim Cook introduced Beth Nissen, the distinguished print and television journalist, who returned to Ann Arbor in 2015; 4. Dale Berry introduced us to Ron Slagel, the new CEO of Huron Valley Ambulance. “When I was chosen for Rotary,” Dale reminisced, “I think it was because they wanted a paramedic in the room. Now, I’m the one who’s older…” Now we have two great paramedics in the room!; and Ebru Misirli Mansfield reintroduced us to Irem Yoruk, a doctoral student at Wayne State University: “Irem graduated in 2012 from Wellesley. She has a lot to offer our Rotary club,” Ebru declared, to which Dan added, “And she marched with us in the Fourth of July parade.” The whole assembly gave a rousing ovation to our new members. “We’re going to form a receiving line just outside the room,” Greg declared, after which Rotarians of all ages flocked to the door to impart the warmest greeting imaginable.