Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 05.09.2013

May 9, 2013

Today: Tim Madigan, City Administrator, History of US/Dakota War

Birthdays: Charlie Cogan (5/6), David Halsor and Ivan Imm (5/7)

Next Week: Zach Pruitt, Healthy Community Initiative

Last Week:

While China’s influence in Africa continues to grow, local observer Richard Bodman says it doesn’t mean the United States is being crowded off the continent. In fact, he said there are plenty of opportunities for cooperative ventures between China and the U.S.

Bodman, a retired St. Olaf College professor of Chinese and a life-long student of China, said China needs Africa’s oil, gas, minerals and labor to continue its strong economic growth and avoid frustrating a growing middle class at home. China is moving high-value manufacturing off-shore. The emerging independent African states, who identify with China and view it as a successful model for developing countries, have welcomed China’s interest.

The U.S. still buys more oil from Africa than China does, and we provide more economic aid, but China’s cultural and economic footprint continues to grow. There are now one million Chinese living and working in Africa. It has 20 news bureaus and 29 Confucian Institutes on the continent and invites 4,000 to 5,000 African students to study in China each year.

Bodman said China has been successful packaging economic aid with loans to African countries and investing in the countries’ infrastructure, a contrast to Western investment which is largely geared to extract resources. Moreover, African countries appreciate China’s lack of interference in their internal affairs.  China doesn’t lecture the African nations about human and democratic rights.

China is often viewed as a threat, Bodman said, but the Chinese are looking for business partnerships in Africa. He also sees opportunities for the U.S. to cooperate on health and peace-keeping initiatives. But for this to be a fruitful meeting of the minds, we need to be more cognizant of how the Chinese perceive U.S. geo-political moves, Bodman said.

Mini Classification:

Bob Flaten is still Bob Flaten. Nothing has changed since his last mini-classification.

Farewell Mizuki

Last week was Mizuki Oeda’s’s last meeting with us. She thanked us for her experience here. She was a good sport, literally. She participated in cross country and basketball during the year, and she was a good ambassador for her home country of Japan. She made friends easily, evidenced by her selection as the Snow Queen at Northfield High School last February.

Lynne Young honored

Lynne Young is retiring as director of the Northfield Public Library after 28 years of service, and we couldn’t let that go unnoticed. John Ophaug presented her with his latest literary turn, “Fifty Shades of Rotary,” a real page-turner, as they say. Lynne accepted it in the spirit in which it was offered.

And now, the rest of the story….

When we last left our story, there was a lot of backyard, over the fence speculation about Charlie Cogan inviting Richard Maus to the to the district Rotary conference in St. Paul. Only later, at the conference, was Charlie’s motivation unmasked. No scandal here. Richard was receiving a Regional Service Award for a Polio-Free World.

This award recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to Rotary’s efforts to eradicate the crippling disease polio. Richard is one of only 10 Rotarians world-wide to receive this award in 2013.

Nice going, Richard. Much deserved.

Guests: Brynnie Rowberg and Sharon Trebenaker (Flaten); Jim Young (Young); Katie St. Clair and Adrienne Falcon (Fenton); and Mizuki, Rachel, Adnan, Cindy and Diatou.

Scholarship Enhancement: Bob Craig


— Adrienne Falcon, director of Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton College, and Katie St. Clair, a Carleton statistics professor,  are looking for community-based projects that revolve around collection and analysis of data. They have a three-year grant to provide this local service.  If you have a need, please contact them at: or

— Brad Frago, our Youth Protection Officer, reminds us that all members who have significant interaction with youth need to be certified volunteers. Everyone needs to be recertified every three years. The process is quick and easy. Go to and get that taken care of.

Coming Up:

May 23 — Lin Bruce, Tales of Biking Across the USA (Prowe)

May 30 –

June 6 — Exchange Student Graduation Party, Estenson Event Center