Harpoon Notes for September 19, 2018

Joan Knoertzer called us to order on Wednesday, September 19 with ‘That’s All I Want from You” and was rewarded with a round of applause. Jim Irwin’s opening remarks, noting the importance of Inspiration and Attitude and their reflection in Rotary, is reprinted below. Read from the top down, then bottom up – it was written by Jim with his always galvanizing – but on point – insight.

Joanne Pierson then lead us in Lean On Me – as written!! Make a note of this unique occurrence of no rewriting lyrics on your calendar.

President Greg thanked the Rotarians who make the meetings run smoothly and announced for the upcoming week and for the previous week, the Golf and Tennis Outing week, noting that this is the first time those folks have been recognized since he has been a Rotarian.


Brandon Black, the new co-chair of Rotaract, invited us all to participate in Rotaract, which is kicking off the year next week. Brandon also read a thank you letter (signed “Rotaract Family”) for our support of the Rotaract Club to attend the Rotaract International Convention in Toronto.Brandon introduced Cem Sami, the new Professional Development Chair of Rotaract.  Cem is looking for mentors for Rotaractors and will have more details for how many and specific fields of study in the next weeks. He thanked us for all we do to support them and our strong relationship with their Club.


President Greg then introduced our Guests. First off was his wife Pat, who he proudly announced is president of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers sorority that does service projects like Rotary’s.John Rassmussen, who was in our Club from 1990 until 2015, greeted us. He is now a volunteer diabetes education teacher at Corner Health Center.

Nishta Bhatia introduced husband Nareen for the final time – he is now officially a New Member.

Norma Sarkar introduced Sarah Taylor Eggleston. Sarah’s great uncle Herb Taylor is the author of the Four Way Test. President Greg was astonished to learn that the author was not Jim Irwin.

We had one visiting Rotarian, William Lee from San Juan. He chose to visit our Club because he heard it was the most fun.

President Gregg announced that the new season of Rotarians at Glacier Hills will begin on September 21. RSVP to be sure there are enough cookies!

President Greg announced a special Happy Hour on October 10. This is the evening of our New Member Induction, a great time to greet New Members in a social setting. The gathering will be from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at Sessions, 3685 Jackson Road.

President Greg didn’t mean to steal John Simpkins’ thunder, but he did announce preliminary results of $45,000.00 from the Golf and Tennis Outing.

Past President John Ackenhuesen introduced the slate of officers for 2019-2020. This slate will be

voted on in December. Three officers completing two year terms agreed to stay aboard: Anonymous, Sargent at Arms, Mark Ouimet, Treasurer, and Barbara Eichmuller, Secretary. Norma Sarkar will serve as Director for three years. Serving as Directors for two year terms will be Tom Millard, Peg Talburtt, and Arthur Williams.

Incoming President will be Joanne Pierson. Fasten your seat belts!

To wrap up the business meeting, President Greg noted that the 2017-2018 Annual Report is posted on the website, and two copies were on the tables. Printed directories are available for $10.00 from John White.

Notes from the Program
Vic Stoeffler introduced our Speaker, Heather Ann Thompson. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2017 for her book, Blood in the Water, an account of the uprising of the Attica Prison in 1971 in which 39 people died. She has been a professor of history at UM, Department of African American Studies and the Residential College sine 2015. Her work focuses on mass incarcerations, policing, and criminal justice.

Dr. Thompson is a vivacious and engaging speaker who certainly succeeded in her desire to explain why Attica matters. She pointed out how extraordinary a moment in American history this was. It did not start out to be a riot, but a demonstration calling for better – humane, really – conditions in the prison. The whole event was televised and long legal cases about it are still ongoing although all records are sealed – or more ominously, have been destroyed.

Dr. Thompson gave us many details about the incident, emphasizing ways the prisoners sought to protect the guards and hostages, how many times the situation could have been defused, and the inexplicable and shameful way the state government responded, a response that resulted in the deaths of 39 people. She told us of the difficulties she encountered in searching out what really happened there – a thirteen year effort. She told us of the lies and distortions and coverups that have hidden the reality of the incident.

She wants us to understand Attica as a civic matter. We in America have built the largest criminal/legal apparatus in the world to ‘protect’ us, but we feel less safe. We don’t know what goes on in our criminal system, and in our prisons because we cannot go inside and see. We spend billions incarcerating people but not enough on rehabilitation and support services when felons re-enter society. And we allow our elected officials to ignore or cover up terrible shortcomings in our criminal justice system.

Blood in the Water was published in August 2016 and is available in hardback, paperback, electronically and as an audiobook.

Attitudes, by Jim Irwin (MUST read backwards upon first reading forwards)!

Today was the absolute worst day ever.
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day.

Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness shines through once in a while,
Satisfaction and Happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good.
It’s not true that good exists
I’s sure you can agree that
The reality
My Attitude
It’s all beyond my control

And you’ll never, ever hear me say that
Today was a good day.

Submitted by Agnes Reading