With the Spring-like weather experienced during the last week of February, it’s difficult to believe that less than four weeks ago, we were looking towards the resident district groundhog prognosticators for guidance.  Essex Ed of Turtleback Zoo, (part of the vast Essex County Parks system which is directed by former long-time Pequannock Valley Rotarian Dan Salvante, PP, PHF), reportedly saw his shadow and warned of six more weeks of winter while Stonewall of Sussex’s Space Animal Farm, sans shadow, predicted an early Spring.
 
Punxutawney Phil’ and ‘Staten Island Chuck’ couldn’t agree on the weather either, but the latter was relieved that NYC Mayor Del Blasio is banned from handling him after the demise of his predecessor at the hand of ‘hizzonor!’ What we are sure of is that with word of PETS (not for woodchucks, but club presidents-elect), RLI, STYEP and the annual conference at Skytop Lodge, District 7470 and our clubs are in full gear for the last third of the Rotary year.
 
STYEP, properly known as Rotary District 7470’s Ross Redmond Short Term Youth Exchange Program, is now in its thirty-eight year and offers 28 students ages 16 to 19 the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture, interact with Japanese students and form friendships that will last a lifetime. RLI, the Rotary Leadership Institute, offers Rotarians in District 7470 the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills as well as increase their Rotary knowledge by participating on Saturday April 22, 2017 at West Orange High School in West Orange.  District Club members are also beginning to step up to participate for a day or more at the May 4th through 7th District Conference at Skytop Lodge, PA. We hear it is a very good venue and “not your grandparent’s type of Pocono retreat!” Are you going?
A belated ‘shout out’ here to Brad Jenkins, PDG, from the Rotary Club of Bernardsville, who was recently honored by R.I. President John Germ at Rotary UN Day for his service as Rotary International’s Representative to the United Nations, which began in 2001. When he was District Governor, Brad appointed me editor of this esteemed journal when it was a printed publication, one of my three most enjoyable years in over thirty years of Rotary. “Thank you Brad…”, as R.I. President Germ said, “…for your diplomatic efforts, good counsel and uncompromised service for Rotary at the United Nations.”  We all second that “Thanks!”
 
LIVINGSTON - As a result of their “Meet & Greet” in October two new members will be joining Livingston Rotary. One of their members, Ruth Loew Schildiner had reached out to a potential member referred by Barry Kroll, who then joined them for lunch and was enthusiastic about what the club does. A good illustration of the first step of getting new members – Just ask!
 
It cannot be stressed how important new members are, not only for healthy growth, but to replace members who are in relocation. Livingston just lost “an active, loyal, and dedicated member, as Dave Twaits and his wife are moving to Seattle.” Livingston will also begin discussion concerning their meeting schedule and the need to be flexible, if they “want active new members, and even current members, who can only attend evening meetings.”
 
Livingston Rotary will be participating in the End Hunger 3.6 project, the packaging of non-perishable food items on Saturday, March 25, 9 to 3 PM at the Simon Forum at Drew University in Madison. Efforts like this not only contribute to a good cause, they can also be fun, helping build club and community spirit and fellowship.
 
WALKILL VALLEY - Continuing on the theme of new members, Walkill Valley welcomed Jonathan Tallamy, principal of High Point Regional High School and who has been a long-time community member. Welcome to Rotary, Jonathan! And speaking of time, they had a fascinating program: “A virtual stroll through the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia Pa. “
 
Walkill Valley is also one of our District 7470 Clubs that keeps education in the forefront all through the year, not just at scholarship time. “Pass It Along Scholar Athletes” Dakota Voitcu - High Point, Victoria Gonzalez – Vernon, and Randi Lyn Hornyak – Wallkill were honored in February as was High Point Regional High School Student of the Month Sergio Rivas-Ortiz.
 
April 28th is Walkill Valley’s ‘Wine Tasting Fund Raiser’ and work is already underway to make it a success. Sounds like fun, too!
 
THE ROCKAWAY’S – Education, membership and wine were also at the forefront of Rockaway’s Rotary this past month. They announced the requirements and qualifications for their four annual scholarships: the Frederick and Ruth James Memorial Scholarship, Alfred G. Scott Memorial Scholarship, John H. Beeman “Service Above Self” Scholarship and the Rockaway Rotary Vocational Scholarship. Applications are available online to download, a good way to reach more high school seniors! The Rockaway’s also looked to the future and honored Shreya Joshi from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Rockaway Borough as the club's Student of the Month.
The Rockaway’s Rotary welcomed Dr. Greg McGann as a new member. He was sponsored by Rodney Seifert and is the Superintendent of Schools in Rockaway Township. Greg was inducted by Assistant District Governor Roland Basinski. Welcome aboard, Greg! Current members were also honored by receiving the (weekly?) Rockaway Rotary Club "Eagle Award."  It was given to Jake Vogelezang by Bob Galenkamp, a week later it was conferred on Cheri Foster by Jake and a week after that, Denise Nickel received it from Cheri. We don’t know the rules, but it certainly sounds like fun!
 
The Rockaway’s Valentine's Wine Tasting event at The Mission in Rockaway was a success. Participants had the opportunity to sample wines from five different regions of the world along with various foods and desserts.  Proceeds of the event will benefit Gift of Life of NJ, the Rockaway Food Closet, and St. Peter's Orphanage. They are looking ahead to their annual Easter Bunny Breakfast on April 1, 2017 which helps to support the Rockaway Food Closet.
 
The Rockaway’s members had several good programs this past month, being amazed by the feats of strength demonstrated by Eric Moss and also inspired by his story and thoughts on life, perseverance and going beyond self-limiting beliefs for high achievement.  Another program dealt with a topic much on our minds now as the heard from John Michaud who spoke to their members about the New Pathway's Intensive Outpatient Program for Addiction.
 
MADISON ROTARY – Membership was at the fore as Madison welcomed new member Mike Metzger. Welcome, Mike! They also welcomed a former member back to the club as John Hoover, who left a year ago with plans to relocate to Florida has returned as an active member. Welcome back, John! Still on the subject of membership, Madison Rotary celebrated ET Holland’s 93rd birthday on January 26, 2017.  ET joined Madison Rotary in 1954 and has been a continuous member for 62 years! Happy Birthday, ET!
In 2014, Madison Rotary began providing a $4,000 annual gift to the Y for three years, though 2016. There are only two other organizations, End Polio and Gift of Life, receiving their support outside of their annual Grants and Sponsorship program.  Evidence that they greatly value their current partnership with the Y, Madison Rotary announced that they are continuing their annual $4,000 financial gift for an additional three years, 2017 through 2019, totaling $12,000. Well done!
 
In mid-February, Madison cancelled their regular meeting and held a "club social" game night at the Community House for members to join in on the fun and games,  and to enjoy club fellowship. They will be participating in the End Hunger 3.6 food packing event on March 25th at Drew University in the Simon Forum.
 
MORRISTOWN – Due to construction at the Hanover Marriott, Morristown announced that there has been a change of venue for the ever popular March 6th Taste of Morristown which will now be held at the Westin Governor Morris Hotel on Whippany Road.  Decades ago, many Rotary District events were held there, and this scribe looks forward to another ‘tasty’ evening!
 
By publication time, Morristown will have welcomed new member Colette Mongey. Welcome, Collette! Member fellowship is in the works as the club is looking forward to a March 25th date with the NJ Devils playing the Carolina Hurricanes. They are looking into a pregame meal together at one of the restaurants at the arena as well.
 
Morristown recently heard about the very serious issue of human trafficking, which is said to be the third largest criminal activity in the world from FBI Agent Kayla Munoz. 
 
MOUNTAIN LAKES AND THE BOONTONS – A joint meeting with Montville Rotary at the Market St., Mission was planned just before press time last month. Joint meetings are a great way to build working relationships with neighboring clubs and the fellowship is a bonus! Working together with other organizations within the community can prove beneficial to all concerned.  The Mountain Lakes/Boonton’s Rotary heard from the president of the Tri-Town Chamber Of Commerce. The Chamber has named the Rotary Club of Mountain Lakes and the Boonton’s as an ‘Honorary Member of the Chamber.’ It seems that they will be exchanging email distribution lists upon approval of the individual members.
 
THE HANOVER’S - After donating Trauma Kits to the public schools in their community, the club asked the three private schools if they would like trauma kits and the Allegro School accepted the offer. They are still waiting to hear from the other two schools, but have already approved the purchase of kits for them if their offer is accepted.
 
The Hanover’s board approved other donations as well: a 2-week Camp Merry Heart campership up to $2,500 and $500 to Girl Scout troop 5150 for their Ellagance Bag, Bronze Award project. Ellagance bags are for families who have children in the hospital. It was indicated that their Casino Night revenues were down from last year and expenses were up slightly. The board reviewed the causes and will adjust for next year.
 
The Hanover’s Rotary heard two noteworthy programs. Brian Romanowsky gave a presentation on the Gift of Life (GOL) program, which many, but not all District Rotarians are aware of. The mission of GOL is to help save children with congenital heart defects who will die in the absence of medical care. They receive this care through the efforts of Rotarians who raise money for this cause. Gift of Life International is a Rotarian-based organization that, over the past 4 decades, has helped more than 18,000 children from emerging countries receive treatment for their heart disease. These children have come from 71 different countries and otherwise would not have been treated. There are over 70 Gift of Life programs throughout the world. The majority of these programs are based in Rotary Districts on 5 continents.
 
The second noteworthy program addressing that all important Fifth Avenue of Service -Youth, was presented by Peter Nicolas from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In 2012, PwC launched 'Earn Your Future', a five-year investment to address youth education with a focus on financial literacy.  The goal was to provide 1 million volunteer service hours to reach 2.5 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade.  They surpassed their goal after teaching over 3 million kids within four years across the US.  PwC started this project since students in the US are the farthest behind in math and science, a marked difference when compared to other industrialized countries - a point worth thinking about and acting on.
 
NUTLEY –  Eileen Painter, Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau,  was inducted as Nutley’s newest Rotarian. Welcome, Eileen!
 
That Fifth Avenue of Service - Youth, was again was the subject of one of Nutley’s meetings as Coach Bob Harbison and his 3 captains of this year's boys' basketball team were present. Bob spoke about his team and his high hopes for next year.  He feels he has a strong team this year and with at least his 3 captains returning next year, they should see an even better season.
 
Nutley’s members are making some progress on their annual Beefsteak Dinner, which will be held at the beginning of April instead of in the middle of the month.
 
MORRIS PLAINS – Sometimes overlooked, or done in a cursory way, classification speeches are an excellent way for clubs to get to know their newest members. This past month Morris Plains Rotary members heard from both Steve Augenblick and Kevin Seidel.
An important program was presented by Barbara Kauffman of ‘Prevention is Key.’ Barbara told the club that the #1 cause of death in Morris County was auto accidents but that has been superseded recently by opioid/heroin deaths. We recited the facts here several months ago, but they bear repeating. From 2011-2015 there was a 250% increase in deaths due to opioids/heroin. There were 170 total overdose medical calls, 102 were reversed with Narcan deployment, and 68 people were lost just in Morris County. There is no demographic that is not affected by this. A week ago, a young man from my own township, the 29 year old son of a good friend was apparently the most recent Morris County victim. ‘Prevention is Key’ is a Morris County, community-focused non-profit organization providing science-based prevention education programs, professional development training, advocacy, information and referral services
Morris Plains Rotary is planning for the Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade on March 11th . They are getting the float prepped and ready to roll with their usual clean up prior to the parade. They apparently need marchers, and in particular, someone who wants to be the Leprechaun. Be sure to send photos for next month’s “Life in the District!”  Two upcoming events include a wine tasting  and BBQ buffet  early in March and a Night At The Races fund-raiser 8 weeks away.
 
BRANCHVILLE – A wrap up discussion of the club’s participation in the United Way Chili Open held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds was on the agenda and a ‘BIG Thank You’ was extended to all who made the Chili Open such a success! Branchville’s eye is firmly set on the future as they are beginning to plan for the big Sussex County Fair in August. In addition, a Fireside Chat was set for late February, after their regular meeting.
 
Branchville is another club that includes student recognitions throughout the year. Jennifer Ripatrazone and Makenzi Decker were chosen as the most recent Frankford Students of the MonthNick Shrope was their honoree from High Point High School.  More evidence that Youth Service is very strong in District 7470!
 
Branchville Rotary heard several good programs, the first from New Jersey Herald Editor Bruce Tomlinson, who told how the local paper, founded in 1829, tries to achieve a balance of opinions on its editorial page, despite the fact that there are 2 to 1 Republicans to Democrats in his county. The paper is now headquartered in Quincy, IL, at a media company that owns just two newspapers.
Perry Anderson spoke on the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council and festival. Their mission is to foster and promote artistic and cultural vitality of our county by re-granting 18 artistic organizations. Director Kristin Mueller of Peter’s Valley, almost 50 years old and situated just north of Layton, is a craft community that works in partnership with the National Park System.
 
THE CALDWELLS – The Caldwells’ Rotary Club’s big news is thatThanks are due, primarily to Erin,’ for the newly formed Rotaract Club at Caldwell University which is off to a rousing start. The Rotaractors had a 'Pizza Palooza' fundraiser at Caldwell University and ‘Susie Mac’ is very happy to report that the Rotaractors have been very helpful at their consignment shop, Willing Hearts. And speaking of Willing Hearts, club members can make up by helping there, and as a reminder to all Rotarians, club members can make up by working on club projects, attending board or committee meetings, attending meetings at other clubs, or at district events. 
 
We began this month’s column by noting we are in the last third of the Rotary year, and read that the Caldwell’s are another club that already has their eye on the future.  ‘Mike’ and their Street Fair Committee is already working hard on this year’s October 1st  fair, while ‘Jonny and his committer are planning a raffle to replace the annual golf outing and noting that prizes will consist of foursomes at local golf courses!  But before both of those events, the Caldwells’ Vixens Dance will soon be set. It was reported that “The Vivacious Vixens” are planning a fun and fundraising dance sometime this Spring. Keep posted!
 
PEQUANNOCK VALLEY – Dave Kohle was inducted as PV Rotary’s eighth new member. Dave who works in the insurance field, is a Pequannock Township Councilman, was the most recent past mayor and has been a good friend of PV Rotary for many years. Welcome, Dave!
 
Another successful Valentines Dinner Dance is in the books following the committed work of the committee and club members. It was preceded by a ‘Wrap Party’ when all of the tricky tray and silent auction items were expertly packaged in festive wraps – wine, sandwiches and pizza helped to ease the task. About 180 guests participated in the main event, held at the Bethwood in Totowa.  
 
Hard work deserves a break and Pequannock Valley is scheduling their own Wine Spectator Top 100 Wine Pairing Dinner at Bardi’s, where the club regularly meets for lunch. The menu will include shrimp, lobster, chicken, beef and lamb - all paired perfectly with a great wine. Club member Jim Cramer has volunteered his expertise in picking the wines and food parings. Tickets will be $80 per person to cover the cost of the purely social gathering. Any money raised by the selling of the remaining bottles of wine, if any, will go into the club’s operating fund.  
 
PV Rotary is a major sponsor of the ‘Grains Of Hope’ food packing event set for March 19th - Half of the goal of 150,000 meals will be fortified ‘Mac & Cheese' meals with 75,000 of them staying in New Jersey, much of which will be distributed in Morris County. An outgrowth of the Grains of Hope effort, a new organization, Community Partners for Hope was formed last fall to deal with the heroin/opioid epidemic. PV Rotary was again a major sponsor. Just last week they held their second of four planned education sessions, ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ which was attended by over 180 parents and interested community members. Focus of the evening was a stage setting of a bedroom, illustrating all of the stash hiding places and signs of drug abuse.   
                                                            
To date, over $65,000 in life saving equipment has been donated from the Save-A-Life Fund to the police, fire and emergency services in the Township of Pequannock and Boroughs of Lincoln Park and Riverdale. This past month, two ballistic vests were approved at $974 each for new Pequannock Police officers.  Donations of $1,500 each were approved to the Food Pantries in the Township of Pequannock and Boroughs of Lincoln Park and Riverdale. Pequannock Township’s First Aid Squad Search and Rescue Training Seminar was approved for a $1000 contribution to fund a portion of this seminar. Five hundred dollar donations were also approved to the PTHS STEM Academy and the Pequannock Township Historical Society’s Martin Berry House Furniture Fund and a $250 contribution to Foster Adoptive Family Services. Both the District Conference and District Raffle Drawing to be held on May 24th at the District Assembly are receiving attention as the club has received 400 tickets.  Plans are afoot for both the 2017 Installation Dinner for this June and a special 2018 Installation Dinner. Whew!
 
That's all for now; see you here next month!
 
Jay
 
REMEMBER, if you don't see your club mentioned here; please make sure that I receive a copy of your bulletin, press releases or meeting agendas. wjaywanczyk@icloud.com  If you do not have an email version, please contact me for my mailing address for printed material. See you here next month!