Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 10.29.2015

October 27, 2015

 Today: Annie Young, Speaking of Winning (Lorang)

Birthdays: Doug Crane and Brett Reese (10/25) and Kurt Ruefenacht (10/30)

Next Week: Patrick Mader, Minnesota’s World-Class Athletes (

Last Week:

John Harris, a long-time Washington Post political reporter and co-founder of the online news magazine “Politico,” must have been reading our minds. He drew on 30 years of political reporting to address our unspoken question: What the hell is going on in Washington?

A graduate of Carleton College who currently serves on the Board of Trustees, John describes the political chaos in Washington as a “freak show,” where rancorous, extreme positions and behavior attract both money and publicity. The big policy questions could easily be negotiated, he said, if the most influential Democrats and Republicans were sequestered with the media absent. But today’s distorted politics won’t allow it.

The public disgust with political institutions has been building for a long time, he said. According to the polls, trust in government, as well as most other institutions, the military excepted — has been eroding for two generations. The dramatic drop of late he attributes to the bail out of big banks during the 2008 financial meltdown.

John said the ideological pendulum is swinging back toward progressive politics, which bodes well for Democrats. But it is the Republicans who are producing a new generation of leaders with new ideas. Democratic leadership, he said, makes a Rotary audience look young.

When the dust settles on next year’s primaries, he expects to see Hilary Clinton leading the Democratic ticket, despite her numerous vulnerabilities. And he said everyone he talks to is waiting for Marco Rubio to emerge from the Republican scrum. Jeb Bush is well-positioned with money and endorsements, but he is just not getting traction.

John predicts that Donald Trump will fade from the scene in a month. However, he admitted he predicted the same two months ago.


Jane Fenton went to Carleton College with the speaker and worked on publications together. Jane has two sons and has worked in nonprofit development for some time. Now she helps seniors find housing that meets their care needs.

 Guests: Alyssa Herzog-Melby and Dr. Signe Wass (Lorang), Larry Fowler (S. Richardson), Ragh Singh (Sivanich) and Volker and Annette Willandson from Flensburg, Germany (Covey).

Scholarship Enhancement: Wendy “On a Roll” Sivanich


Jake Conway believes this is Rotary’s Northfield Library Trivia Bee moment. Come to the Grand Event Center tomorrow night 7 to 9 p.m. to cheer on our team. The real winner will be the Northfield Library.

There are already 50 runners registered for the Turkey Trot with more to come. Robert Bierman is looking for sponsors, whose names appear on the T-shirt, and volunteers to help with the event. There will again be a food drive component to the event. You can bring food donations to our November meetings to help the cause. By the way, the Turkey Trot was mentioned in the last Rotarian magazine.

The 14th annual Rotary Foundation Celebration will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7, in St. Paul. For those interested in purchasing tickets, see Chris Weber, President Russ, or Dave Brown.

The Ethics Workshop is coming up on Thursday, Nov. 12. We need a couple more table facilitators for the event. If you are interested, see Judy Wescott-Brown.

President Halverson announced there are a couple of open board seats. If you are interested in a leadership role, see him.

Photos from our club’s 90th birthday party are available for sale today. All proceeds will go to Polio Plus.

Lee Dilley announced a climate action workshop in Red Wing Nov. 6-8. If you are interested in learning more, see Lee.

Boxes for recycling cell phone are now available at our meetings. The phones are being collected by the Minnesota Zoo and used to fund its Recycle the Rain Forest project.

Here is a list of this year’s outbound students. Some have already departed.

  • 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
  • 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

November 12 — Nate Heilman, Classification

November 19 — Elizabeth Child, Director of Northfield Area United Way

November 26 — Turkey Trot