Meeting Notes September 4, 2019

Practice President Joanne Pierson clanged the very crowded meeting to order at 12:25pm. We sang The Star Spangled Banner. Matt Boylan reminded us to laugh. It has lots of health benefits, and is fun, too. We responded tentatively at first to Dave Keosaian’s rendition of The Judge’s Song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guards but came on strong by the end. Practice President Joanne then thanked the people who make the meeting run smoothly, introduced Visiting Rotarians and guests, and celebrated two weeks of birthdays. This was her first of three promised reminders that THERE WILL BE NO MEETING AT WEBER’S ON SEPTEMBER 11. THE GOLF AND TENNIS OUTING IS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9.

New Member applications are to be filed online by September 9.

Rotarians at Glacier Hills will have its first meeting on Friday, September 20, in the Board Room. Doors will open with coffee and cookies at 9:45am. Amy Hastings will be speaking on digitization at the Clements Library. RSVP Burt Voss to ensure enough cookies:

Ed Hoffmann and Jody Tull displayed one of the paintings by Indian artist Shanavas Rahim while Practice President Joanne recounted the details of the art exhibit opening on Friday, September 20. The exhibit introduces the artist to the world at the Pierre Paul Gallery, 3252 Washtenaw, with a reception from 6:00 – 9:00pm. Rotarians and friends are invited to this free event.

Jason Whipple told us about the exciting and heart warming success of a recent International Humanitarian Project. The charity hospital in Pune, India  did not have an intensive care to newborns and many families were unable to afford the expense or time to take their newborn to other facilities. Our club enlisted six other clubs in Michigan and India, secured a Rotary International Global Grant, and furnished a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with all new equipment, trained the staff, and implemented a public education campaign that has resulted in more than 900 successful interventions in three short months of operation. Our $12,967 seed money was leveraged into $98,260 for the project. Jason reminds us that this is the power of the Every Rotarian Every Year campaign and urges us to remember this story when we receive the 1-2-3 donation forms later this year.

Don Deatrick, preparing for our annual Veteran’s Day celebrations, is looking for pictures of our members when they were in service. If you have some, please contact Don:

Marcia Lane cited the convenient location of the One Rotary Summit workshop on Saturday, September 14 as an additional reason to come. The workshop will concentrate on storytelling and teach us how to master the two minute story. The event is at Concordia University, 4090 Geddes Road,. It begins with coffee, bagels and donuts at 8:30 Registration, the workshop from 9:00 – 11:00, and adjourns with a hamburger-and-hotdog picnic at Olson park from noon until 3:00pm. The fee is $20.00. Register on the website:

Ashish Sarkar had a full agenda to report. First, the Golf and Tennis Outing is fully subscribed. Great news and congratulations to the G ‘n TO Committee. This was Practice President Joanne’s opportunity for a second reminder:  THERE WILL BE NO MEETING AT WEBER’S ON SEPTEMBER 11. THE GOLF AND TENNIS OUTING IS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9.

Second, our Club is hosting a a group of Armenian professionals who are studying how television and radio broadcasting affect politics. They will be here on Tuesday, September 10. Their agenda includes a stop at Michigan Radio in the morning and CTN in the afternoon. A few spots are available for volunteers to greet these visitors. Contact Ashish if you are interested.

Finally, Ashish started a fund within Rotary International to help survivors of Dorian and invited us to join him with whatever money we could. Subsequently an anonymous match up to $10,000 was announced. Here is the opportunity for each member of the club to help in disaster relief, essentially doubling individual contributions. The Club will collect both individual donations and the match amount and send the total amount to one of the Rotary Funds created in the area under the guidance of Rotary Foundation. Donations to this fund goes 100% to survivors, nothing taken for overhead. Donations can be made by check with Dorian Disaster Relief on the memo line, or on-line at the club’s website by clicking here. Please use option #2 and specify that the donation is for Dorian on the PayPal page.  Donations must be complete by September 15.

Finally, Practice President celebrated the return of Rotaractors to campus, and into our fold.

Notes from the Program

Don Duquette introduced our speaker, the Honorable Bridgett McCormick, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.  Don noted the excellent write up from Harpoon which can be accessed here, covering Justice McCormick’s biography but he  also noted noted a few things.  She was elected in a partisan race in 2012 and joined Justice Robert Young in promoting collegiality and cooperation among the seven members of the Court.  This was to combat the public perception that the Court is political.  She was elected Chief Justice in January, 2019.  She is focusing on showing the Court to be nonpartisan in upholding the rule of law, and innovation in the administration of all Michigan courts.

Justice McCormick opened her energetic and engrossing talk by noting that the Michigan Supreme Court is a seven person job, a very big and complicated one.  She then moved on to the focus of her remarks, the Court’s role in administrative functions.  More people interact with courts than any other part of government. District and Appeals courts are where citizens are directly impacted by the legal system. The Supreme Court is charged with superintending courts.  Confidence in Michigan courts is high, garnering good marks in independence, accessibility, engagement and efficiency.

The 30-year experience with problem solving courts has made a big difference in the lives of Michiganders.  Courts that find treatment and community resources to adddress problems like drugs, mental health and veterans issues have had success healing individuals and keeping them out of prisons.  Justice McCormick complimented Justice Libby Hines for her excellent work on these issues.

IT  has made a big contribution also. Text reminders to persons with court dates has greatly increased compliance.  Online dispute resolution is available in 17 counties, allowing people to work out conflicts from home without having to take time from work or family to come to court. IT is also helping with access to justice.  Lawyers are expensive and Michigan has developed a self help application that helps people assemble and file the documents required in a legal dispute.  This service is buttressed with 18 help centers that have people available to help.  There are traveling Engagement Clinics to educate the public about the availability of this free legal help.

The Michigan courts are also working on pretrial and jail reform.  The huge prison population does not make our population safer, which should be the goal of justice.  Michigan has a PEW grant to study and implement pretrial risk assessment.  Courts are encouraging interbranch partnerships to make our population safer and more confident of justice.

How justice is administered is as important to the parties in a dispute as the outcome.  People care more about their being treated with dignity and respect than the settlement of the case.

Justice McCormick ran out of time before she could go on to the second part of her talk, and all in attendance hope she can come back and address us again.

Practice President Joanne thanked Justice McCormick and lodged our final reminder: THERE WILL BE NO MEETING AT WEBER’S ON SEPTEMBER 11. THE GOLF AND TENNIS OUTING IS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9.

Quotes of the day:

“Delay of justice is injustice.”  Walter S. Lander

“Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.”  G.K. Chesterton