The March 31, 2021 meeting opened on Zoom with social time and much discussion regarding Covid vaccines. Members announced their attendance via the chat function in Zoom.
Lori Walters opened the meeting and reminded members to make sure that their name is shown accurately in Zoom so attendance can be recorded correctly, to sign in using the Chat function responding to “Everyone.”
At 12:30, President Joanne Pierson started the meeting by ringing the bell. She asked Tom Strode to lead us in our patriotic song. Marcia Lane provided the inspiration based on David G. Allan’s article about pandemic lessons we can institute based on the movie “Groundhog Day”. For the musical interlude led by Downs Herold and the U-M Men’s Glee Club, we all joined in “Varsity” and “The Victors”.
President Pierson welcomed the attendees (64) & new members & guests; thanked the set-up team, the photographer, reporter, and attendance taker; and birthdays for the week were announced.
Using many trashy puns, Tom Millard announced the upcoming Adopt-A-Highway clean-up event scheduled for Saturday, April 17 at 9:00 a.m. on I-94. More info and sign-up here or send an email to Adoptahighway@a2rotary.org More volunteers are needed. Lunch will be provided. There is a such thing as a free lunch!
Bob Buchanan made the following announcement – On March 24, 2021 the Berlin Institute of Health conducted a webinar to dedicate their new research laboratory to Dr. Kathe Beutler, a pediatrician and our Fred Beutler’s mother. The laboratory, known as the Kathe Beutler Haus, was started in 2018, has a staff of 200 scientists and technicians. Their current research focuses on Covid-19 infections, management, and complications. Participants enjoyed a virtual, splendid tour of the exciting new laboratory. Speakers included our beloved Fred who spoke about finding a journal that his mother had kept describing his early days. Fred was unaware of this journal until years later, long after he lost his mother. Fred started his presentation in German, then switched to English. Also presenting was Fred’s nephew, Dr. Bruce Beutler who received the Nobel Prize in 2011. His mother’s lifelong motto was “Do something”. Now we know where Fred gained his Rotary spirit.
The annual Golf & Tennis Outing is scheduled for Monday, September 13 at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center with featured speaker Jack Harbaugh. A pulse survey was conducted.
President Pierson reminded us who comprises RCAA Officers, President-elect: Susan Froelich, Past-President: Rosemarie Rowney, Secretary: Barbara Eichmuller, Treasurer: Mark Ouimet, Executive Director: Lori Walkers. RCAA Directors include Club Service: Tom Millard, Club Outreach: Norma Sarkar, Youth Achievement: Steve Pierce, Community Service: Peg Talburtt, Public Image: Lauren Heinonen, and Youth Development: Arthur Williams.
President Pierson shared the following Club highlights: 259 members, average meeting attendance is 98 members (+16 others), engagement ratio of 55%, email migration from UM server to Club Runner (CR), CR will be depository for “master” governance & other docs, membership directory updated, 3% increase of the permanent endowment to $2,840,544 (since Jan 31). New projects in the works: History of African American members, Harpoon renaming to “Ann Arbor Rotarian”, and the Willow Run Acres Project. Peace Conference being planned for March 2022 at the U-M League, VITA tax return prep, Community Allocations Committee distributing $49k in grants, Veterans Initiative to prepare veterans for employment, STRIVE banquet on April 28, Rotary Readers & Tutors working with Burns Park students. Great work, Everyone!
Chris McMullen introduced Lisa Hoenig who is Director of the Ypsilanti District Library. Lisa holds a Masters of Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the intensive Library Leadership 2000 and Advanced Library Leadership Ohio institutes. A skilled Reference Librarian, she served as a Patent & Trademark Depository Library Representative for seven years. As Director, Lisa led Wixom Public Library from 2006 – 2011. Lisa coordinated many improvements, including a much-loved Children’s Department renovation with an animal and alphabet theme. Under her supervision, the library more than doubled its computing capacity and nearly doubled its circulation. From 2011 – 2015, Lisa served as Director of the Redford Township District Library, securing public support and a stable base of funding. Lisa is passionate about community building, intellectual freedom and libraries for all. She and her husband are longtime residents of Superior Township.
Lisa presentation was entitled “Ypsilanti District Library – the Next Chapter”. She provided a brief history of the Ypsilanti District Library (YDL). YDL has a service population of 82,974; its 2020-21 budget was $4.3 mm, and serves 3 municipalities (City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and a large portion of Superior Township). YDL operates three facilities and bookmobile and has so much to offer beyond lending books.
Lisa described the TALK: Text and Learn for Kindergarten program which helps educate Washtenaw County parents about early literacy through a texting program. The more words that children learn early in their lives the better they are prepared to learn & this program provides such a resource through a texting platform to assist parents. YDL is a community lifeline for learning. During COVID, YDL has adapted and continued to serve patrons remotely. Early on, YDL served as a clearinghouse for support to navigate the crisis. Next, YDL made calls to senior citizen patrons to make sure they had the resources they need and let them know that others were looking out for them. The Summer Reading program continued along with Storytime and other classes (virtually). A 2-day anti-racism class was also conducted. YDL is working hard to bridge the digital divide by providing tutoring services through a partnership with 826 Michigan and lending hotspots for wireless access. The library HVAC systems were upgraded to comply with airflow requirements to prepare for opening based on the phases outlined by the state.
Lisa’s presentation next focused on the new Superior Township Library. In 2018, voters passed a millage to build the library. The new 7,800 sq. ft. library is set to open 2022 and will serve not only the residents of Superior Township, but the neighboring Willow Run community. Its most significant impact will be on the nearby Sycamore Meadows and Danbury Park housing developments, identified in 2017 by the Washtenaw County Health Department as a community where unjust health disparities exist, and more community engagement is needed. The Superior Library will have its own dedicated staff and offer many popular programs for the first time to neighborhoods which make up the highest density, lowest income housing block in Washtenaw County. It will serve as a center for building a stronger, safer community. I
n the new building, hours will double, staff will triple, and computers with high-speed internet access will increase from seven to 20. The new building will include ample public meeting and community space, making it a local hub for community services, education, workforce development, health programs, early literacy, homework help and arts and cultural activities. A raised bed learning garden will be installed with funding provided by the Ann Arbor Farm & Garden Club. The township provided the property and the new location is ¼ mile from the existing library. $2.3 mm was the original budget but has now skyrocketed to $4.3 mm due to a requirement to widen Harris Road, Trump era tariffs, and Covid.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for April 7 at 3:30 pm at 1900 Harris Road. The ceremony will also be livestreamed and will include the Ypsilanti High School drum line. All are invited. This branch is poised to serve as a community anchor, resource and source of pride for the neighborhood. It is being designed with the possibility of future expansion.
Next week’s speaker is Alan Newman, Co-founder of “A Brighter Way” and “Pitch Ypsi” discussing Why is Washtenaw County’s Recidivism Rate 42% Higher Than the State and What Can be Done About It?
President Pierson closed the meeting with a quote from journalist and newscaster extraordinaire, Walter Cronkite, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation”.
President Pierson adjourned the meeting at 1:29.
Respectfully submitted by,
Photos by Fred Beutler