Volume XIII, Issue 14: October 9, 2015

Coming Soon …
Oct 22/23
– District Governor Erin Dunn visits our Club (officially!). Thursday
night Board Meeting and Social, Friday Morning Club Meeting.
Oct 23 – World Polio Day! For more information, please click here
Oct 30 – Pumpkin Carving Contest (at our regular spooky meeting). Bring your creepily carved creation!
Oct 30 – Arcata Sunrise K-8 Cross-Country Championships at the Arcata Community Center

Oct 30/31RISE EVENT – 
Lost Coast Rotaract’s 5th Annual “Spirits & Spirits” in Old Town –
Three tours each night!! (The RCAS group will take the 7 pm tour on
Nov 14RISE EVENT – Foundation Dinner North in Ferndale – “An Evening in the Enchanted Forest”
Nov 19A Taste of the Holidays at the Arcata Community Center 
Dec 5RISE EVENT – Christmas Caroling for Arts Alive in Old Town Eureka
Dec 10-12 – The Jerry Paul Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament (AIBT) at Arcata High School 

Rotarian News 

  • Ceva Courtemanche is back from her leave of absence! He took some time away from Rotary to completely renovate and remodel Hensel’s Ace Hardware. Be sure to stop in and check it out!
  • As usual, we supported Northcoast Children’s Services by sponsoring one of the Pastels on the Plaza. However, there was a twist this year – one of the two artists from the Arcata Arts Institute was Rotary “Kid” Janie Mendosa. She worked with Annika Mauro to come up with the great panel shown below:
    Thanks, Janie and Annika!
  •  Sunrisers showed up to support the North Bay Rotaract Team at the recent CASA Kids Walk! Thanks to Dustin Littlefield, Joyce Hinrichs, and Romi Hitchcock Tinseth for representing our Club, and helping the Rotaractors raise over $1,300 for a great cause!
  • The Transitional Youth program, which we present in conjunction with Jim Ritter and the Humboldt Live! program, is underway. Coordinator Ceva Courtemanche said that we are trying to improve the program each year. If you haven’t responded to the SignUpGenius request yet, please consider doing so. There’s still a need for people to provide food for meetings, and there may be additional opportunities to volunteer to provide child care.
  • Alberto Taylor of the Rotary Club of Arcata (Noon) is “leading the charge” to bring the Costa Rica Microcredit Program to fruition. RCAS is co-sponsoring the project along with the Nooners, the North Bay Rotaract Club, and the Club Rotario San Josè Noreste. The initial goal is to provide small loans to family businesses in the La Trinidad area. A second phase, involving infrastructure improvements, is planned for future years. President Howard said that there will be an opportunity for members of our Clubs to travel to Costa Rica in the spring, to get a first-hand look at the villages in the area. Watch for more information. 
  • A Taste of the Holidays is less than six weeks away! Thus spake co-chairs Ron Sharp and Ray Noggle. The magical date is Thursday, November 19th. As of press time, we do not have a group of athletes to provide a cleanup crew, so be thinking about volunteering for that activity. If you attended last Friday’s meeting, you received your initial bundle of ten tickets, but more are available for those who need them. Ron said that we need to be focusing on three things right now – selling tickets, deciding how we each want to participate, and collecting raffle items (which should be ready to go no later than November 6th).
  • Barbara Browning said that we are going to organize dinners with HSU students over the Thanksgiving break. Last year, many of us were surprised to learn that a number of students at the college suffer food insecurity. This is exacerbated during school breaks; although the dorms are open, there is no meal service during those times. We are asking Sunrisers to open their homes for a meal for two or more students during the holiday week. (We plan an encore for winter break.) Please consider hosting these students during these times.
  • President Howard reminded us that Erin Dunn, District 5130 Governor, will be making her official visit soon. She will meet with the Board and Committee Chairs on Thursday October 22nd in the evening, and she will address our regular meeting the following morning. After the meeting, we will head out to visit President McKinley for our official photo.

Sophia’s Week
Our Exchange Student from Sweden, Sophia Waern-Bugge, told us that the AHS Cross-Country team won its most recent meet. She also said that she attended a symphony concert. She told us that she has “into drawing lately”, and she showed a very nice sketch of her friend Margaret. 

Sophia attended the Arcata Noon Rotary, and she was asked to draw the raffle ticket. So she drew her own! 

Finally, she said that about 15 or so Exchange Students met in Eureka. She said, “I met a Swedish girl there, and that made my day!”

Committee Report
Rebecca Crow provided a report from the Youth Activities Committee. The Committee is chaired by George Cavinta, and the other members are Dustin Littlefield, Bryan Reeser, and Joyce Hinrichs.

Rebecca said that the highlights for the coming year include the Cross-Country Championships, which will be held on the last Friday of this month; the Jerry Paul Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament (AIBT), scheduled for December 10-12; Kids, Crabs, & Rotary, which takes place in June; Special Olympics Bocce Ball sponsorship; the Dictionaries for Third Graders, in early 2016; and the Foster Family Dinner, which will be served on December 3rd.

Special Daze
We breezed through the birthdays and anniversaries segment of the meeting, but we did recognize Ian Schatz for his birthday on September 20th. He initially struggled to recall the events of the day, but he acknowledged that it was a “nice day”. Terri Clark and Romi Hitchcock Tinseth share a birthday – August 4th – although Terri (and maybe Romi, too) embraces the Arcata Sunrise “Birthmonth” tradition. Romi spent her birthday with her family, noting that Rotary has made a world traveler out of her daughter Zoë.

Jeff Stebbins and his wife Rachel Chandler celebrated their September 6th anniversary with a breakfast on the Plaza. Karen and Steve Burgesser’s 43rd anniversary activities included a quiet dinner on September 9th. Bob and Sue Johnson were on the banks of the Trinity River on September 20th for their 35th anniversary. Terri Clark and Marty Lay are only about two years behind – their 33rd anniversary was August 21st, and they spent the day at the Hunter, Hunter, and Hunt annual summer outing. 

We Are This Close
District Governor Nominee Bob Rogers was our Featured Speaker last Friday, and he discussed Rotary’s role in the fight to eradicate polio. As a polio survivor, Bob has first-hand knowledge of the disease. 

“You guys rock,” he said. “I can’t believe all the things that you are doing! It wore me out just listening to all that you do.” He pointed out that the power of our organization comes when the things we are able to do as individuals is multiplied when we come together as a Rotary Club.

Bob told us that he was in Victoria, B.C. last year, attending the Rotary Institute. At one of the plenary sessions, the speaker – Ramesh Ferris – was announced, but no one saw anyone at the podium, which remained unoccupied for a while. As the audience was wondering who had made the scheduling error, or if Ramesh was late in arriving, there was a commotion at one end of the hall. Ramesh, a polio survivor, was making his way to the stage by crawling. “In that room of 500 Rotarians,” Bob said, “you could have heard a pin drop. We were all silently cheering him on.” When he reached the stage, he sat beside the podium and introduced himself. The room exploded into a thunderous ovation. 

Ramesh told the group that he had contracted polio as an infant in India. Although the preventive vaccine had been discovered 25 years before he was born in 1979, but like many in India, he went unvaccinated. The disease disabled Ramesh to the point where his mother was unable to care for him, so she reluctantly placed him in an orphanage. He was adopted by a couple from Canada about a year later.

As Ramesh grew, he used leg braces, crutches, and walkers to get around. He would check to see how long it took him to get from his home to the fire hydrant on the corner. Initially, it took him 45 minutes – one way. 

Twenty-five years later, Ramesh was a strong young man, with the exception of his legs. Now, when he walked to the hydrant, it only took him two minutes – with only braces on one arm brace and one leg. This drive is what propelled him on his mission to raise awareness of polio. He decided to hand-cycle across Canada, talking to anyone who would listen, encouraging them to join the fight to end polio. He completed the 174-day ride across Canada, raising $310,000 in the process, and he continues to work for polio eradication.

Polio has been around for a long time. Bob showed a picture of an Egyptian hieroglyphic that showed a Pharaoh with a withered leg and staff. The first recorded outbreak occurred in 1894 in Vermont – there were 132 cases, and 27 children died. In 1916-1917, a massive national outbreak of 27,000 cases, with 6,000 fatalities. About 2,000 of those deaths occurred in New York City. The most recent epidemic in the U.S. took place in the 1950s and 1960s. Many parents would not let their children go to the movies, drink from public fountains, or swim in public pools, fearing that their kids would contract polio. By 1952 there were 57,628 cases in this country, resulting in over 3,000 deaths. Worldwide, there were about half a million cases, with about ten percent of those resulting in deaths.

The poliovirus attacks the central nervous system, affecting neurological signals to muscles. If leg muscles are attacked, the disease leads to atrophy and the ability to walk is compromised. If respiratory muscles are targeted, the victims are often unable to breathe without assistance. In the 1950s, many polio patients were placed in iron lungs that helped them breathe.

Bob feels that he “dodged a bullet”. He said, “I have one leg shorter than the other, and other than that, I’ve had a normal life. I’m very lucky.” He was a five-year-old at a picnic when he was found under a table, crying because his legs hurt. The next morning, he was unable to get up. He was diagnosed with polio, and taken to the hospital. He was there for about three weeks, isolated from his brother and sister (although he could wave to them from his third floor window). His leg was wrapped with steaming hot woolen blankets, and the nurse would move it through the full normal range of motion. 

President Howard with Bob Rogers and Bob’s wife Peggy

In 1954, Dr. Jonas Salk developed an injectable vaccine. This was followed in 1961 by the oral polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Albert Sabin. A massive campaign was launched in the U.S. to vaccinate children. Often, the oral vaccine was delivered as a drop on a sugar cube. By 1979, this country was polio-free. Not so for much of the rest of the world. In stepped Rotary International. 

Clem Renouf was the Rotary International President in 1978-1979. He was seeking a project that would leverage Rotary’s large membership to really make a lasting difference in the world. He wanted something that all Rotarians could support and participate in. Dr. Benny Santos of the Philippines said that, if Rotary would supply sufficient vaccine, he would ensure that all 6 million children in his country would be inoculated. This led to the concept that polio could be eradicated worldwide. 

The gauntlet was taken up, and 1984-1985 RI President Carlos Canseco set a target of eradicating polio by 2005 – Rotary’s 100th anniversary. The immediate (and daunting) goal was to raise $120 million by 1985 for the project. Rotary being the force that it is raised more than double their goal – a total of $247 million was donated to the effort. 

The organizers approached the World Health Organization, offering nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to eradicate polio, and a worldwide network of volunteers to help immunize children. This was the beginning of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which now consists of Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project moved forward quickly, and was very successful. Over the years, countries and continents were declared polio-free. However, the last stretch has proven to be the most difficult. Rotary didn’t make its goal of polio eradication by its anniversary, but we are this close. 

We won’t give up. In the words of Bill Gates, “We don’t let children die because it is fatiguing to save them.”  As Bob said, “We have to go all the way. We have to end this; we have to get rid of this parasite from the face of the earth.” Bill and Melinda Gates have pledged to donate $2 for every $1 donated by Rotarians for eradication. One hundred dollars thus becomes $300, which will inoculate 500 children. Your donations matter – a lot! Click the button below to save lives and End Polio Now …

End Polio Now