Jay's Rotary Jam
It’s late January, but there are no signs of ‘CABIN FEVER’ in District 7470. The clubs that we’ve received reports from indicate a sustained high level of activity and enthusiasm and planning for the coming months.
In case you missed it, the winner of the Gift of Life SUPER BOWL RAFFLE was Ron Herman of Englewood. The winning ticket was sold by Rocco Siino of the Hanover Rotary Club. Another chance at winning a raffle is the 2017 DISTRICT WIDE RAFFLE to be held on May 24th during the District Assembly at Hanover Manor in East Hanover.
Over the past three years, $60,000 has been returned to the participating clubs for their charitable use. Half the ticket price (minus the costs - printing and license fees) goes back to your club. The goal is to have $100,000 in gross sales, which is the equivalent of each Rotarian in the district selling only 5 tickets at $20 each, tickets will be available soon.
Don’t forget that the DISTRICT CONFERENCE at Sky Top Lodge in the Poconos – we hear the location is quite nice and not some of our grandparents type of resort! Now on to the clubs!
BRANCHVILLE ROTARY began the New Year with their traditional JANUARY HOLIDAY PARTY at the Barrel House in Newton on the 5th. Adding to the festive air, two members were honored for their COMMITMENT TO THE ROTARY FOUNDATION, “ELIE AND KIM,” the former for becoming a major donor and the latter for her efforts in regard to the club’s100% involvement in the Foundation.
Then it was time for the “YANKEE GIFT SWAP” where the “Thigh Master” reportedly made its annual appearance and a roundtable recitation of members’ MEMORIES OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS. Some traditions mentioned were of “The Water Gap Singers,” readings of “The Night Before Christmas” and even recollections of a few family drinking games…hazy as they might have been! We heard that the dinner was good, the company was excellent, the swap was fun, and that they also learned “a LOT” from their in-club Wine Connoisseur and "Sommelier George.”
Work was under way on the CHILI OPEN, set for January 28th and the early planning for participation in the August’s SUSSEX COUNTY FAIR has already been initiated with a sign-up of committee members.
They heard from Dr. John Connolly, President of Sussex County Community College about the college competing in an international and technological economy. Tech is advancing rapidly, and he foresees the future of education as a process where students will interact with technology rather than human teachers. This writer thinks it a sad state of affairs when one can soon eat, learn, work, recreate and shop without personal human contact throughout the day. Attend your Rotary meeting in person, if it all possible!
As reported last month, The ROTARY CLUB of MOUNTAIN LAKES AND THE BOONTONS was finishing up with their DICTIONARY AND THESAURUS distribution, the last carton of dictionaries was delivered in January by President Don to Rev. Amy Topp who will be taking them to Haiti.
A joint meeting with The ROTARY CLUB OF MONTVILLE has been set for the last day of January 31 at the Market St Mission in Morristown. Joint meetings with neighboring clubs are a great way to build bridges between your respective communities and may help identify common needs that don’t stop at artificial political borders.
Bulletin editor and PDG Joyce Wilson reminded her club that although the R.I. COUNCIL ON LEGISLATION recently approved many new options regarding meetings and membership, it is up to each club to decide how flexible they want to be and what options they may want to use, including variable meeting times in terms of days, time and frequency, or meeting formats, including in person, online, or a combination thereof.
Clubs may ease attendance requirements and encourage members to participate in other ways. Possibilities include multiple membership types: family memberships, junior memberships and corporate memberships. But we understand that implementing these changes requires a change in your club by-laws and involvement of the entire membership.
The ROTARY CLUB of the ROCKAWAYS kicked off the new year by announcing the first of twenty winners of their ROCKAWAY ROTARY CALENDAR RAFFLE. Members are looking forward to their VALENTINE’S WINE-TASTING fundraiser at the “Mission in Rockaway,” on January 28 where there will be a number of vendors, a 50-50 and silent auction. Congratulations to new member, Dr. GREG MCGANN, Superintendent of Schools in Rockaway Township and to Rotarian Jake Vogelzang and his wife Jennifer on the birth of their son Elijah!
WALLKILL VALLEY also has a new member: ROBERT MOONEY, who is transferring from the Rotary Club of the Hanovers. He is the interim superintendent of the Sussex - Wantage Regional Elementary School. And while on the topic of education, their STUDENT OF THE MONTH is Gaige Moore from Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Welcome Robert and congratulations Gaige!
This past month, members of Walkill Valley Rotary participated in a DART COMPETITION - they did not win, but were represented and had a fun day. They are also looking forward to participating in the CHILI OPEN. Tax season is fast approaching and to that end the club heard a program on 2017 Changes in TAX & ESTATE LAWS by Bill Askin of Sparta.
MORRISTOWN ROTARY is in full gear to make their Fifteenth ANNUAL “TASTE OF MORRISTOWN” Monday, March 6, a huge success, with their objective of exceeding past event earnings. Later on March 25th, they will unwind after their success and join in fellowship to enjoy the NJ DEVILS vs. CAROLINA HURRICANES hockey game for a fun filled evening with members and guests. The social evening may include a pregame meal at one of the restaurants at the arena.
MADISON ROTARY is on a mission to grow their club and Rotary. Their board approved FIVE NEW MEMBERS at their January meeting! Welcome to FRANK CESARO of M&T Bank, ARMANDO DIRIENZO of the Escape Room, SCOTT FOSTER of the Presbyterian Church of Madison, MICHAEL METZGER of the Escape Room and CRAIG DUNN of the First Baptist Church in Madison! This Rotary Year to date, they have a total of 13 new members, while two members have departed for a net gain of 11. Their club’s goal is to have at least 20 new members by June 30th.
With a number of clubs installing new members, Madison has made it a point to encourage all to wear their ROTARY NAME BADGE at each meeting, noting that a name badge is an instant introduction which tells a new member or guest who you are and your classification, so you’re no longer a stranger.
In early January, Madison Rotary announced WEEKLY EVENING MEETINGS to accommodate many prospective members who are not available to attend meetings during the day. The evening meetings are Thursdays from 6:30PM to 7:15PM at EATalian Bistro, 90 Park Avenue in Madison. Members now have choice of THREE WEEKLY MEETINGS: Thursdays, 7:47 AM for breakfast at the YMCA, a 12:15 PM lunch at the Madison Hotel and 6:30 PM at EATalian Bistro. for hors d'oeuvres.
HANOVER ROTARY’s board discussed the details for their upcoming fundraiser, the CASINO NIGHT on January 28th. After DONATING TRAUMA KITS to public schools in our community, they will be asking the private schools if they want a trauma kit as well. Running a service organization is a complex business in the 21st Century, the Hanover’s board reviewed how the HANOVER ROTARY TRUST operates, including how the money is managed, who is a trustee and the trustee’s duties. The board approved donating $250 to the WHIPPANY PARK HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT GRADUATION.
Hanover Rotary had a representative from DEIRDRE’S HOUSE as their guest speaker. Deirdre’s House is a child advocacy center which helps children and families that have suffered from child abuse, neglect, or have witnessed violence in the home. Their primary mission is to create a facility where multiple agencies involved in child abuse investigations can come to one location and work as a team to investigate the case, help promote healing for the children, and to provide the children and family with whatever services they need. The DEIDRE O’BRIEN CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER is part of the legacy of (the late) James and Georgia Courtney O’Brien, who worked for victim’s rights following the abduction, rape and murder of their 25 year old daughter Deidre in 1982.
MORRIS PLAINS was ‘in formation’ and stayed after their last meeting in December to help box items in SUPPORT OF OUR TROOPS and get them ready for shipment and distribution to soldiers from the Morris Plains Rotary’s area. They noted that the Cedar Knolls Post Office staff was great in helping to get everything sent out with only one trip to the post office!
They heard from a representative of FAMILY PROMISE OF MORRIS COUNTY, a non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the crisis of homelessness faced by Morris County families by partnering with other public and private agencies, religious congregations and community volunteers to provide shelter, case management and mentoring services leading to self-sufficiency. Their representatives have been to several clubs and are worth listening to.
Another speaker was from the MORRIS PLAINS LIBRARY, Mary Ellen Albin, their new director. No stranger to Morris Plains, she grew up there and used the library all her life. The Morris Plains Library is one of the smallest libraries in the Morris County system and serves a demographic that is currently is skewing more toward the 65+ crowd. Sixteen percent of their collection of over twenty thousand books is in large print. We understand that the editor of this fine digital rag is no stranger to the large print section located there! (Editor’s note: At the ripe old age of 67, I have never needed, and still don’t need glasses. Can you say that Jay?)
Recently, Morris Plains demonstrated fellowship by having a special cake for JOHN HARPER and LOU SLABY, who both turned 75 years young! Happy birthday, Guys!
THE ROTARY CLUB OF THE CALDWELLS (RCC) “NAIRATOR” noted that they are at the mid-point of the sixty-sixth year in their history. And with that anniversary came word that WARREN GOODMAN, one of their CHARTER MEMBERS, had passed. It was noted that Mr. Goodman and several other local businessmen who believed in the principles of Rotary, formed the Rotary Club of The Caldwells in 1951. Condolences are extended to his son Gary, his family and the members of the RCC.
THE RCC presented their SAM KENT SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD to “two of the most committed, dedicated, and hardworking members of the incredible team of WILLING HEARTS volunteers, SANDRA LOEB AND BARBARA MORGAN” for routinely helping out at Willing Hearts, nothing that “ they have been virtually indispensable to the success of the consignment shop since its beginning in 1997.” Over the years, the shop has raised more than $1 Million for the RCC!
The RCC “Sam Kent Service Above Self Award” acknowledges non-Rotarians who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the community. The namesake of the award, SAM KENT, retired from the RCC last year after being an active member for 50 years (!), but he volunteered to organize and present the awards to Sandra and Barbara. Fittingly Sam will be honored both by the Rotary Club of the Caldwells and the Kiwanis Club of West Essex as well as several other local organizations during the next several weeks.
The “Nairator” notes that the VIVACIOUS VIXENS should be holding ANOTHER DANCE “in a couple months,” which is an opportunity to have more fun and raise funds at the same time. The club will also be holding A RAFFLE TO REPLACE THE GOLF OUTING this Spring: prizes will consist of foursomes at several local golf courses.
Work is already underway for the 2017 Rotary/Kiwanis Street Fair - as always the first Sunday in October. Their 2017 RCC Super Bowl Pool boxes were on sale, it has enabled the RCC to essentially freeze dues at $250 (which includes two tickets to the installation dinner) for many years.
A $500 grant was approved for the TRINITY ACADEMY STEM Fair and the club is seeking volunteers to serve as judges during the 2/9/17 fair. A $3500 grant was approved to purchase uniforms for the CALDWELL CAMNONS, the swim team for handicapped children.
NUTLEY’ S Barbara Hirsch pitched in to run a meeting. She first spoke about a book being sold by an Illinois Rotary Club which addressed the FOUR RULES OF ROTARY. It was written for young students to understand. A motion was made to buy copies for the elementary schools in Nutley which passed unanimously. However, instead of paying attention, some members noted that she was wearing a shirt with a LARGE ELEPHANT on its front and thought it signaled a political affiliation. She claimed that this was not a political statement since the elephant was pink in color. Bob Peters did give a “Happy Dollar” for it anyway.
Nutley is preparing for two upcoming events, the NUTLEY BEEFSTEAK and the VALENTINE SOCIAL which will be at Ralph’s on February 17. It has been successful the past few years and they hope that Rotarians will come out and support the event again this year. Their GOLF OUTING will be on June 7th.
Nutley also heard from their SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS who not surprisingly told them that funding is a challenge, but due to the fact that unlike some suburban schools, their enrollment is growing!
PEQUANNOCK VALLEY Too late for press time last month was mention of Pequannock Valley’s now legendary CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY PARTY COOK OFF. About 65 members and guests joined together at Pat Wojtyszyn’s festively decorated historic home for what many have said was the best PV Rotary Christmas season party ever. Once again it was the members who did the cooking of gastronimoc, restaurant quality delights and competed for 'valuable prizes' and bragging rights. Categories included appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, soups, deserts and drinks. The Rotary logo used on their buletin masthead is a photo of the prize winning blueberry pie entry of Paul Dolengo from several years ago!
However, a week after the event, a thick legal or a “NOVEL LEGAL CHALLENGE” to the cook off contest results was filed by Fred Azrak Esq., and in the words of one member, Doug Cook, he “laid out a very compelling case” for overturning the results and declaring another member and himself the winners. The litigants were willing to settle out of court for future considerations…all in fun, of course! I think. Before the holiday season was over, the club supplied toys and gifts based on the lists of 17 children in eight families as part of the annual RIVERDALE TOY DRIVE.
PVR members were gearing up for their annual VALENTINES DINNER DANCE at the Bethwood in Totowa on February 9th. Their goal is to have at least 200 participants for their second largest fundraiser of the year, an evening of dinner, dancing, and of course a tricky tray, silent auction and 50/50 drawing.
Pequannock Valley has also accepted the ‘WELCOME THEM HOME’ challenge of helping a formerly homeless Navy veteran who just graduated out of Lyons Hospital relocation program and has moved into his own housing in Butler with household items and furniture. They also supplied another ballistic vest to Pequannock Township’s newest Police Officer though their ‘SAVE A LIFE FUND, which has contributed over $60,000 in life-saving equipment to the Township of Pequannock and the Borough’s of Lincoln Park and Riverdale’s police fire and rescue squads since 1998.
One interesting program touched on a topic we have written about before, that of heroin and opioid addition. Author and former addict Stephan DellaValle spoke graphically about his life, beginning his addiction as a young teen in growing up in Newark, Barringer High, Class of 68. He now devotes his time to the TURNING POINT PROGRAM and speaking about BREAKING FREE FROM ALCOHOLISM & DRUG DEPENDENCY.
Before closing I'd like to note a recent visit from the Western Reserve to Pequannock Valley of a past editor of 'In Flight' when it really was a printed 'rag,' Marshall Massa, who also served a number of years as District Parliamentarian. And I'd like to clear the air right now that there is no truth to the rumor that his host, Paul Dolengo was placed on probation by the club for inviting him!
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