Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | September 6.2018

September 5, 2018

Today’s Program | Thursday, September 6, 2018

Today:  Jesse James Bike Tour lunch (Rich/Reese)

Next Week: Meredith Galdeen, Classification (Melby)

Birthdays: Jeff McLaughlin (9/5), Chris Richardson (9/6)

Statement of Purpose: Northfield Rotary Club is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through service and shared experience. We invite people from all corners of the community to join us as we partner with others to support youth, build sustainable infrastructure and preserve our planet. 


Ryan Torbenson (Reese)

Sylvia Koenig (Koenig) and Elsa Nystrom (Nystrom)

Danny Pavek is visiting from the Central Lakes Rotary Club (Estrella)

Susan March (Dilley)


Chris Heineman, Rotary Board Member and City of Northfield Community Development Director bid us farewell as he moves on to the position of City Administrator in Little Canada. His last day in Northfield will by September 7th. Rotary has played an important role in his time here – he appreciates us all – and we appreciate him!

Scholarship Enhancement

Zac Zastrow


  • Charlie Cogan gave an update on projects funded by Rotary Foundation dollars. Our district has raised $1.5 million for Polio since 2007 and our club is #2 in the district. $57,000 has gone to the Guatemala water project. Without our members supporting the Foundation, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish these important initiatives.
  • Wendy Sivanich introduced all of our new inbound students, Simone from Italy, Yuyu from Japan, Itty from Indonesia, Elise from France, Tuomas from Finland, Pepe from Brazil
  • JJBT registration is up 17% from last year—next week we’ll meet to organize the volunteer efforts
  • Andre Sivanich says Laura Baker is hosting a forum on affordable health care – Sept 7 at 10am. In other news, his tennis tournament raised $725 for the climate change initiative!
  • Anika Rychner invited everyone to a reception for Jim Blaha’s retirement from the CAC. It will be held from 4-6pm on Sept 20 at the Fifty North patio.
  • Lisa Peterson says the #ONLYINMN sign is in Bridge Square. Take pics and use the hashtag #thisisnorthfield on your social media posts
  • Kristy Purcell said Sept 15 is the Cannon River Watershed cleanup. Meet at Riverside Park or the Carleton Arb to help and you’ll get a token to Imminent brewing.
  • Happy News—Penny Hilleman’s son Henry arrived safely in Zimbabwe; David Koenig dropped off his son Anders at Creighton and his daughter Sylvia was named an Academic All-American for AAU volleyball; Jim Blaha had a successful celebration of 50 years of the CAC – the auction raised $93,000+ for affordable housing in Northfield

Last Week: 

Jan Hanson grew up north of Madison, Wisconsin on a dairy farm. She has been married to her husband Don for 45 years. They have two sons and four grandkids, who range in age from 7 weeks to 25 years. She has worked in higher education for her entire career, at U of Wisconsin campuses and at two private colleges. She has served as the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at St. Olaf for the last 4.5 years.

Jan enjoys spending time at her cabin near the Wisconsin Dells, and riding on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.

Greg Siems is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Freedom and Community at St. Olaf. He and his wife Mandy moved here in April from Austin, Minnesota. Before taking the position at St. Olaf, Greg served as the Director of Vision 2020, a volunteer-driven community development organization in Austin. He earned a bachelors from Luther College and a masters from Notre Dame.

Greg grew up in Iowa City and hopes we won’t hold it against him that he is both a Hawkeye fan and a Norse fan. He met his wife in 2008 and they were married in Decorah. While at Luther, Greg traveled to Russia with his string ensemble, and later spent a summer there on a language scholarship. Then it was on to South Bend Indiana for grad school, where he lived close enough to the football stadium to hear the crowd roar. They then moved to Austin, Minnesota where Mandy grew up. He worked to improve education, recreation and community opportunities as a part of his job at Vision 2020. People told him “If you want to get anything done in this town you need to join Rotary,” so he joined the Austin club. He is a proud cat parent of “Tony” the orange striped tiger cat. 

Greg is enjoying his job at St. Olaf, doing marketing, student engagement and other duties as assigned. His department works to promote civil discourse and diversity. He organizes new activities for students like workshops on campus from the Better Angels organization, promoting conversations across the political divide.

St. Olaf is hosting a fall series of speakers, which is open to the public. The lineup includes David Brooks on Sept 24, Theater of Public Policy on Oct 4, Walter Russell Mead on Oct 30 and more. In his spare time, Greg enjoys gardening, hiking, biking—and enjoying Northfield.

Coming Up:

Sept. 20 – RYLA Students (Hillmann)

Sept. 27 – Tuomas Kallioniemi (Steed) Inbound from Finland

Oct. 4 – Steve Schier (Kyte) 2018 Elections