Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 07.09.2015

July 8, 2015

Today: State Senator Kevin Dahl (Anderson)

Birthdays: Candy Taylor (7/7)

Next Week: Nick Stoneman, President Shattuck St. Mary’s School (Cogan)

Orderly Transition:

Once again to our credit, we managed an orderly transition of power. John Ophaug

tested our listening skills by reviewing key facts shared this past year by our

outgoing president Matthew Rich. If you are scoring at home, the answers to the

questions are: Boston, T-shirt, Schmitz-Ophaug, New York Yankees, and free two-

week vacation.

Matthew thanked members for their active support during his term of office. He said

he learned the club does not run itself. It takes the committed effort of members

who step forward to lead projects and support projects to make the club successful.

He also said we have to continually look for opportunities, and he hopes we will

develop new partnerships and new initiatives in the years ahead.

Our new president, Russ Halverson, said in accepting both the club’s gavel and its

bully pulpit, he is stepping out of his comfort zone, but he predicts a great year

ahead. “We will help a lot of people,” he said.

Last Week:

Rachel Estrella fled the cultural confines of Savannah, Georgia to attend Carleton

College and never went back.

She graduated with a degree in English and went on to earn a law degree from

William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. Her first legal job was as a law clerk for a

district judge in Worthington, Minn. and this is where her real education began. She

calls her work there both “fascinating and humbling.” She observed drug court, child

protection hearings and everything in between. She was awakened to the privileges

she has enjoyed and developed a new appreciation for parents who care about their


After two years, she took a job with Legal Aid in Dakota County and worked with

victims of domestic abuse. It was important work, but emotionally draining. Last fall,

she accepted a position with Dakota Law, a general law practice she finds less

stressful and more collaborative.

Rachel married a man she met in her first year at Carleton, Rafael Estrella, an art

instructor at Northfield Middle School. Both soccer players, they coach youth teams

in Northfield and follow World Cup soccer closely. Rachel also plays the violin and

volunteers at the Lewis House in Lakeville, a domestic violence shelter.

Born in Chicago and groomed to cheer for all of the Windy City’s sports teams, her

family moved to Savannah when she was quite young. Although she paints the

coastal region as beautiful, the southern culture made her feel like an actor in the

wrong play. For instance, she said, when they teach seventh graders about the Civil

War, it is characterized as the War of Northern Aggression. So much for nuance.

A summer writing program introduced her to Carleton and that made the difference.

One of her brothers followed her to Carleton, and she enjoyed their time together


Rachel and Rafael live in Northfield. They see this as a longtime commitment. Her

Rotary membership is a portal to the kind of community involvement that will allow

her to give back to the community she calls home.


Russ Halverson was born to be a land surveyor. His father was one; his grandfather

was one. Why fight it?

After growing up in Winona, Minn., he received his formal training at Metropolitan

State University in Denver. He came back to Minnesota and worked for a Faribault

firm, but was laid off. Best thing that ever happened to him, says Russ. It allowed

him the time to become involved in Rotary, a life-changing experience.

Both he and his wife have become active in youth exchange. They hosted two

students, and found they were missing something when they left. So after 18 years

of marriage, they decided to have a baby. Russ calls their son, Lucas, a Rotary baby.

After working on his own for several years, Russ is now working for Bolten & Menk,

Inc. in Burnsville, a company that supports his involvement in Rotary.

Guests: Olivia Claire Spencer (Zweifel), Leah Rich (M. Rich), Vivian Nystuen

(Kaczmarek), Daniel Knutson (Rich), Jen and Russ Dunn-Foster (Halverson)

Scholarship Enhancement: Wendy Sivanich


Our district has raised more than $1 million for Polio Plus, Charlie Cogan reported.

That million will be matched by the Gates Foundation to continue the work to

eradicate polio worldwide.

Jake Conway needs people to help with a Habitat for Humanity build Thursday, July

30. Everyone who can hold a fork is eligible.

Russ Halvorson reported that the car raffle is now open to sponsorships. Cost for a

sponsorship is $250 and for that you get your name on that Ford Focus to be raffled

off. If you’re interested in a sponsorship, please see Russ.

Outbound Students 2015-16

  • Beimers, Henry – Norway
  • Beimers, William – Brazil
  • Carlson, Samuel -Argentina
  • Estrada, Gabriella – France
  • Hahn, Erin – Thailand
  • Hodel, Christoph – Indonesia
  • Kelley, Caitlin – Chile
  • Lunderby, Jack – Brazil
  • Mandsager, Erik – Zimbabwe
  • Martinez, Odalys – Japan
  • Muir, Mason – Taiwan
  • Olson, Josiah – Colombia
  • Regnier, Eli – Brazil
  • Rodriguez-Vazquez, Leslie – Brazil
  • Scheffert, Jenna – Italy
  • Seitz, Zoe – Denmark
  • Washburn Chapman, Ahna Cole – South Africa
  • Woitalla, Jessica – Brazil.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on YouTube

Coming Up

  • July 23 — Summer Social, 5:30 p.m., Estenson Event Center and Chris Kennelly Classification (Reese)
  • July 30 — Lori Pulkrabek, GSE Team 2014
  • August 6 — Steve Underdahl, President and CEO of Northfield Hospital, Classification (S. Richardson)
  • August 13 — Alyssa Herzog Melby, Executive Director Northfield Arts Guild, NAG’s New Start