Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 06.14.2012

June 14, 2012

Today: Ruby Sheets, Former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

Birthdays: Bob Kuyper (6/21)

Next Week: Y Progress with Virginia Kaczmarek

Last Week:

Lori Sturdevant has been employed by the Star Tribune since 1975, first as a reporter, later as a member of the editorial staff, and now as a weekly columnist who writes about state and government politics. But this native of South Dakota and graduate of Coe College is also the author of seven books, including a biography of former Minnesota Governor Elmer L. Andersen and, most recently, a book about the Pillsbury family.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given that her son studied economics at St. Olaf and that her former pastor (Carl Caskey) was in the audience, she began by extolling the virtues of Northfield, a place that values education, civic involvement, and the New England notion of participatory democracy.  After giving us this dose of positive reinforcement, she then shared her views about the current state of politics in general and Minnesota in particular. First, she believes the Wisconsin election once again illustrates the trend away from labor unions in this country. In fact, Sturdevant noted, of the three 20th century powers of (1) big government, (2) big business, and (3) big labor, only big business is strong today.

On the Minnesota scene she said the overriding challenge the next 10 years or so will be “how to face the changing demographics in the state,” especially those of under-represented minorities. Note: she commended Northfield’s TORCH program for raising graduation rates for minority students to more than 90 percent today.

Finally, she offered her views about some current Minnesota issues: the stadium initiative (too much time on it) and the constitutional amendments for marriage and photo ID  (both are divisive distractions). What is most important for her is “how we are going to improve the education of our younger citizens.”


Like an anonymous donor who bankrolls a favorite charity, Charlie Kyte has paid dues to Rotary for years without showing up for meetings. But now this recently retired executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators can be seen here most Thursdays.

For more than four decades, Charlie has been a tireless supporter of education, first as a chemistry, physics and math teacher; next as a principal and school superintendent (12 years at Northfield); then as a voice in the legislature and spokesman for public school superintendents and schools, and now as a consultant. During his time in Northfield, the district emerged from a “financial morass,” built Bridgewater Elementary School, and instituted a Spanish Immersion program. He also played a role in bringing the NCRC to Northfield and made Bubba Sullivan, English teacher and football coach, his first hire.

Charlie and his wife, Dianne, who works for Coldwell Banker, have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.

New Member: Alan Anderson was formally inducted into Rotary. His sponsor is Dave Wolf. Welcome Alan.

Guests: Charlotte Carlson (Bill Carlson) Caroline Holden and Mary Emery (Holden), Ramino Zuluaga and Olga Inese Caicedo (parents of Camilo), Dorthe Moller (Mathilde’s mother), Dianne Kyte (Boxrud), Kelly Smith (Hillmann), Susan Sanderson and three TORCH students (Kyte), Kathleen Van Doren Norton (Prowe), and Darlene Abadella (Wayne Abdella)

Scholarship Enhancement: Nicipat


— Carl Caskey, representing the Local Donations/Good Neighbor Committee, announced that Rotary has donated $500 to the TORCH program.

Coming Up:

  • June 28 – Vera Belazelkoska, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Argentina (Bill Carlson)
  • July 5- Vicki Dilley & the Brazilian GSA team – Erin, Monica and Ann