Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 08.01.2013

August 1, 2013

Today: Gear Resource with Robert and Nicole Stai (Anderson)
Birthdays: Lynne Young (7/28)
Next Week: Matthew Covey, Homeland Security, Visas and Musicians” (Covey)

Last Week:
Dina Fesler and friends introduced us to the String Peace Movement, a cross-cultural educational exchange between middle school students in the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The program is designed to be a counterweight to the mythology that has created suspicion and mistrust between the West and disaffected youth in Muslim countries. The idea is to exchange world perspectives through friendships that are developed long-distance using the latest technology.

“Friendship is the most effective counter insurgency of all time,” Dina said.

She has developed a curriculum for middle school youth that she says works. A group of Buffalo, Minnesota youth has developed friendships with three Afghanistan youth who live in an isolated refugee camp. The program has been a success. The Afghan are making huge strides academically and emerging from a dark existence to discover new opportunities.
“The curriculum does what we hoped it would do,” Dina said. “These kids are smart, funny and have dreams.”

Two local youth — Andy Zweber, a recent Carleton College graduate, and Kindra Hurlbert, a student at Arcadia Charter School — endorsed the program. They encouraged us to support the effort with financial donations or by using social media to spread the word. To help this effort, find the String Peace Facebook page and “like it.”
Northfield Area United Way update

Betsy Spethmann, executive director of the Northfield Area United Way, used her mini-classification time to update us on her organization’s work. This past year $313,000 in grants were made to 26 programs. She said they try to strike a balance between meeting people’s immediate needs and investing in the future of the community. They target funds for local programs that help people in crisis; promote health and well-being; serve children and youth; serve people with disabilities; and strengthen community.

Last Week’s Guests: Eva Richards (Prichard), Allisa and Jack Ireland (Prichard), Bob Kell (Haslett-Marroquin).

Scholarship Enhancement: Charlie Cogan

Russ Halverson reported that KeyFest, held July 20 at Rick and Kris Estenson’s farm, raised $4,500 for the Key.

Charlie Cogan shared a recent article on polio eradication published in the New York Times. For more information on the topic, go to

The password to the Members Area on our website has been changed as is our custom when the guard is changed. It is now prichard, no “t.”

Coming Up:
August 15 — TBA