Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.06.2014

February 4, 2014

Today: Ben Van Gundy, River Bend Nature Center (Kallestad)

Birthdays: Jean Wakely (2/3) and Ross Thompson (2/7)

Next Week: Yoshino, Exchange Experience (B. Abdella)

Last Week:

Picture this — a glorious Power Point presentation showering us with vivid, colorful photos that illustrate Beth Kallestad’s life and times.

It didn’t happen.

As it turned out, technology abandoned Beth at a critical moment, and she had to paint a word picture that explained what brought her to this place at this time.

She calls herself “a New England girl at heart,” but in a concession to her adopted Midwestern home, she has allowed the “r” sound back into her diction. She was born and raised in Wooster, Mass., a part of the greater Boston metropolitan area, in a French-Canadian-Lithuanian, Catholic family. She is the oldest of four girls.

Beth attended Catholic schools, loved to read, performed in school musicals and played a peripheral role on the varsity basketball team. Total points: two, on two free throws. Way to go, Beth.

Upon graduation, she went to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell for two years and then earned a degree in Biology from Assumption College. She followed a “love interest” to Iowa. That didn’t work out, but a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in Environmental Health did.

Ultimately, she moved to Minnesota, married, worked for the Minnesota Department of Health in compliance. In 2005, she went to work for the Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) as an analyst. For the last five years, she has served as its executive director. She and her husband have two children, Julia and Steve.

Beth will tell you that the Cannon River is one of six scenic rivers in Minnesota. CRWP’s mission is to protect the water within a watershed comprising a million acres of land over six counties. It works with a $400,000 budget which supports a staff of seven, when they have a full complement. The greatest pollutants are sediment, flash flooding, nitrogen, phosphorous and coliform bacteria in runoff.

Beth was drawn to Rotary because of the service component and the exchange program. She traveled some in Easter Europe and hopes her daughter can one-day have an exchange year through Rotary.

Y Update

Virginia Kaczmarek, executive director of the Y, said $6.15 million has been raised for the new facility. Recent contributions have come from Hogan Brothers, a $25,000 pledge, and from All-Flex, a $55,000 pledge. The next few months are critical to determining if the project’s second phase can be incorporated into this build, which would be a huge cost savings. Virginia reminded us that smaller donations from individuals, when bundled, add up fast. Precast walls were going up as she spoke. The building’s grand opening is scheduled for September.

Guests: Stina Bartels (Prichard)

Scholarship Enhancement: Jim Holden, another day another dolla.r


President Prichard reported that a Northfield contingent attended the district convention recently. They were invited to look at Rotary from a variety of vantage points, and they received useful leadership training. Lucas and Gunho accompanied club members to the event.

We will be hosting a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team from Sweden April 30-May 3. We will need host families and other support for this visit. If you can help, contact Lee Dilley.

Peg Prowe reported that Northfield and Dundas have received a $408,000 Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Trails Legacy Grant to create a regional park on both sides of the Cannon River between Northfield and Dundas. Rotary member Erica Zweifel was instrumental in securing that funding, Peg said.

Coming Up:
February 20 — TBA
February 27 — Craig Hall, Classification (V. Dilley)