Notes from February 17, 2021 Ann Arbor Rotary Meeting

Rotary began today with a lively social half hour. At 12:27 PM, Lori Walters, our Executive Director, reminded us of Zoom etiquette and to check in to the meeting through Zoom Chat.

At 12:30 PM, President Joanne called the meeting to order. As a wonderful beginning to the meeting, Tom Strode played “America the Beautiful” on the piano.

Ryan Peterson

The inspiration was given by Ryan Peterson. Ryan tied his remarks to today’s speaker’s talk on history. He began with a quote from writer and historian, David McCullough, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
Ryan reminded us that we are always living in historically significant times. Our own Rotary Club has its own history going back more than 100 years. Ryan encouraged us to both understand and learn from history; to give thanks for present moments even despite the challenges we face; and to study history and continue to study history.

Don Duquette treated us to a very funny video honoring the Polish Paczki, those deep-fried pieces of dough filled with sweet fillings that we love to eat right before the beginning of Lent. The video and words were set to the music of the Beatles song, “Yesterday”.

President Joanne welcomed everyone and thanked the Rotarians who had a part in making today’s meeting happen. This week’s birthdays were announced.

Marsha Chamberlin gave an update from the Anti-Racism Committee (ARC). She shared the following:

  • Once a month, the committee holds a meeting to discuss a topic related to racism with the goal of learning more and different points of view. The next meeting will be held on February 23 at 1:30 PM via Zoom. This meeting is open to the entire Rotary community. The topic will be “Housing Discrimination in Southeast Michigan. Housing discrimination is “Hard to detect. Hard to prove. Hard to prosecute.” Materials for that meeting will be available in next week’s Harpoon. Please email Marcia Lane at if you are interested in attending.
  • The ARC webpage goes live next week. It will be full of more than 100 resources for all of us to use and share.
  • Marsha showed a video of a PBS News Hour discussion with two Georgia high school seniors on “Race and being understood. The video can be watched here: 
President Joanne Pierson

President Joanne made the following announcements:

  • There are still 22 Rotarians who have not made their CSA payment. Please do so.
  • There are still some problems with Zoom etiquette which can affect our speakers. Speakers are our guests; we do not solicit them for membership or anything else; the program committee always follows up with our speakers and does send them information on Rotary.
  • Thank you to people behind the scenes;
    • Mary Steffek Blaske – Inspirers
    • Ingrid Sheldon – Music leaders
    • Jim Egerdal – Tech team
    • Agnes Reading – Reporters
    • Karen Gladney – Attendance takers
    • Dawn Johnson – Speakers
  • How about being a meeting reporter? We need a few more. Can you:
    • Listen
    • Take notes
    • Upload your notes
    • Then you have the skills to be a meeting reporter. Contact Agnes Reading if you are interested.
  • Bringing in new members
    • Invite
    • Why keep all the fun to yourself
    • Reach out
    • We are all on the Membership Committee!
  • Board of Directors highlights – meeting was held this morning
    • We have 258 members with one new member approved
    • The endowment is at $2.7 M; up $.5M
    • Approved a new policy for speakers
    • Approved a joint project, nearly Washtenaw County-wide, to support Sector 11 and 12 in the Willow Run Acres Project. We have donated $500; Doers of Good Services (DOGS) is the contact – Elizabeth Trinh and Dan Roman Romanchik.
    • Discussed our Club’s history of African American members. Tom Millard will begin to research the history.
    • Discussed the timeline of dues/CSA payments to mitigate arduous collections.
    • Ann Arbor Parks and Rec approved our Peace Pole in Gallup Park – there
      will be a social event to celebrate in the future.
  • February 23 – Rotary’s 106 birthday
  • February 27 – District Grant Training Seminar. If you are interested, contact to register
  • April 17 – District Assembly


Dan Romanchik

Dan Romanchik introduced our speaker for today. Bob Myers is the Director of Education for the Historical Society of Michigan.

The Mission:

The Historical (HSM) – the state’s oldest cultural organization – preserves and promotes the history of the Great Lakes State through:

  • History publications
  • Conferences
  • Education
  • Awards and cognition programs
  • Training and support
Robert Myers


  • Michigan History – first published as a journal in 1917; evolved into a magazine format in 1978. Today, it is the largest state history magazine in the United States.
    • Includes highlights of local communities
    • Past and present locations in Michigan
    • Personal recollections of the past
    • Books to read
    • Historical Society happenings
  • Chronicle – the membership magazine
    • Member spotlights
    • Member news
    • Historical Society news
    • Centennial farms
    • Historical happenings
    • New Michigan books
  • Michigan Historical Review – Scholarly journal published by Central Michigan University
  • Michigan History Directory – list of historical societies, museums, archives, historic sites, agencies, and commissions plus contact information.
  • Historic Michigan Travel Guide – consumer guide for history destinations throughout the State


  • Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference
  • Upper Peninsula History Conference
  • Michigan History Conference

Educational Programs – 26 workshops in 2021

  • History Skills Workshops – provides training and educational workshops for small to medium sized historical organizations.
  • History Hounds Lecture Series – a new program every week
  • Michigan History Days – more than 5,000 students (grades 4 – 12) perform research on an individually chosen topic pertaining to history and present their research in one of five formats: exhibits, documentaries, websites, performances, and papers.
  • Michiganders on the Road – offers several bus tours throughout the year for members.
  • Michigan History Moment – a weekly 3-minute radio program that focuses on people, places, and events in Michigan’s past.
  • Burgers with Bob – a monthly, casual, dinner-time chat about Michigan’s past.

Awards – presented for outstanding contributions to the appreciation and understanding of Michigan history.

  • State History Awards – presented at the Annual History Conference
  • Upper Peninsula History Awards
  • Milestone Awards – recognize continuous operation of a business, organization, or municipality for continuous operation.
  • Centennial Farm Program – more than 6,800 farms have been certified since the program first began in 1948.

Support for Local History Organizations – Michigan History Alliance: an opportunity for networking and shared programs.

President Joanne ended the meeting with a quotation for Nigerian-American writer, Ijoema Oluo:
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”

The meeting was adjourned at 1:30.

Next week’s speaker is Luke Shaefer, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. He will talk about “Addressing Poverty’s Impediments to Student Success during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Carol Senneff


Fred Beutler