Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, August 5, 2021


Join Our Thursday Zoom Meeting
Find it here.
Meeting ID: 843 1983 0113
Passcode: 264180
Here is the UPDATED TIMELINE for our IN PERSON MEETINGS and ZOOM CALLS. On some days there will be slight variations, but not for coming on to the call.  
11:45 - Noon — Club Members and Guests are invited to join and go into a break out room for casual conversations.
IN PERSON: Noon - 12:15 — Pick up your lunch at the kitchen window.
12:10 — ALL Zoom callers are invited back together to begin the meeting. Generally, the meeting will begin with an Invocation, the 4-Way Test, introduction of guests and then introduction of our speaker. Speaker and Questions/ Discussion.
12:20 — Meeting Begins.
1:15 — Meeting is dismissed until next week.
   Johnathan Van Roekel
USDA Renewable Energy Development Assistance for Rural Businesses and Producers  — Johnathan Van Roekel. This presentation will focus on the USDA Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) program and the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments AmeriCorps program. Rotary Youth Exchange alumnus, Johnathan Van Roekel, the current Renewable Energy Coordinator with Lake County Resources Initiative in Lakeview, OR, is serving two terms with the RARE AmeriCorps program and will present on specific USDA Rural Development programs and the work he has been involved in during his time in South Eastern Oregon. Hosted by Vicki Dilley.


Luis Dominguez (8.2); Tim McKone (8.5).

Erin Bailey and John Sinning - 9 years; Mike Leming - 5.


Our Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) is dedicated to making climate change a strategic priority and to raising awareness, providing education and encouraging individuals and businesses to act in the interest of our planet. 
RCAT – Call to Action - Power Your Home With Wind
Almost 600 Northfield residents are taking advantage of Minnesota’s wind power by subscribing to Xcel Energy’s low-cost Windsource program. With no equipment needed, Xcel electric customers can invest in renewable energy and lower their carbon footprint. Join your neighbors and sign up today. Visit
Our Climate Action Statement - Read our climate action statement here.
For additional information about our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team chair, Alan Anderson, at 507-371-4673 or


Thanks to last week's Cogwheel Reporter, Sarah Nathan.


Eric and Kari Johnsrud, guests of Jesse Steed; 
Riana, daughter of Vicki Dilley;
David Didert, guest of Ann Richards 


Charlie Cogan shared gratitude for former club president Bob Will. Bob was one of the first coordinators of the club's foundation and recorded contributions by hand! A card was circulated for members to sign that will be sent to Bob.   


Richard Schulte presented the climate spinning wheel. The wheel provides an answer and the audience determines the question. Today's answer: 300 parts per mission. The Question: How much CO2 was in the atmosphere 200 years ago? 

In the intervening 200 years, the amount of CO2 in the air has more than doubled.  The climate spinning wheel is available for use at community events. 

Your comedic moment, also brought to you by RCAT. The answer: Sis Boom Bah. Click here for the question.


Pat O'Neill shared an amusing and happy story about receiving excellent health care after a recent bike accident. (all a joke, par overbeloved Irish storyteller!)

George Davis celebrated in 53rd wedding anniversary on July 27th.

James Holden recently celebrated his 59th wedding anniversary.

Jacob Conway shared that he just marked the 3rd anniversary of his cat's passing .... also, his wife is pregnant! 

Mark Abbott shared that his son was married last weekend in a small family ceremony. 

Jesse Steed celebrated 17 years in the real estate business and closing his 200th transaction.

   Sherri Meyers
Building the Plane While We Were Flying It  — Sherri Meyers, General Manager of Just Food Coop.

What a challenging year our friends at Just Foods Co-op endured. Sheri Meyers, general manager, shared those challenges in an honest and candid presentation. 

In February 2020, the Co-Op's expansion project, a decade in the making, was nearing its launch as it awaited its USDA loan guarantee. Then, the pandemic hit. In those initial days, the store was experiencing "day before Thanksgiving" level sales every day for two weeks. Supply chain issues quickly became problematic. And the store's staff went from 55 to 35. In just 24 hours, the staff built a curbside pick-up program - almost instantly it had 80 orders a day! Ordering basic supplies like soap, paper towels, cleaning products became next to impossible. In short, March and April 2020 was hell in a handbasket. 

Grocery store workers and leaders like Sherri experienced the pandemic in a profoundly different way than many of us. She and her team were literally on the front lines, risking their health daily. Between March and May 2020, Sherri was at the store every day but three. When her daughter graduated with honors from St. Cloud State University, Sheri was unable to celebrate with the family.

By May 13, 2020, the store was ready to break ground for its expansion. For eight months, the store was under construction. To facilitate the construction, one-forth of the store was moved every two months. Also during this time, a new curbside website was launched and a new brand was revealed. 

As construction was beginning to wind down in early 2021, vaccines were starting to roll out. But Sheri's staff was not on any priority lists, so vaccine hunting was added to the work. Eventually all staff members were offered vaccines, but it felt like customer-facing essential workers like hers had to wait too long. Sheri estimates she was in contact with 165,000 customers during the pandemic year. Keeping the store open was risky for everyone. But thankfully, the team kept everyone safe and the Co-Op was never a community spread location.

The new store is now open with more space and improved HVAC system. However, "the cost was higher than the price we paid." The mental toll the pandemic has taken on Sheri and the team has been tremendous. Many, including Sheri herself, have been diagnosed with PTSD.  

Her presentation gave us a behind-the-scenes look at just how difficult the pandemic was for those who did not have the luxury of staying home perfecting our bread baking. Sherri concluded by reminding us to be patient and kind with all employees in customer-facing industries. 

The entire July 29 meeting can be viewed here.



   Lee Runzheimer
August 12 — Monarch Butterflies--Can They Be Saved From Extinction? — Lee RunzheimerHear and see what the local Monarch Butterfly Restoration Program is doing, and learn what more we can do. If possible before the meeting, please watch the 44-minute-long movie Flight Of The Butterflies. It's available for a small fee on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and more. Hosted by Charlie Kyte.
   Richard DeBeau
August 19 — Everything You Want to Know about Electric Vehicles (EVs) — Richard DeBeauRichard will discuss what the major car companies are doing with EVs, the complete cost of EVs (from mining to disposal) compared to gas, and the upcoming EV car show and drive event. Hosted by RCAT.
   Emily Lloyd
August 24 — LGBTQIAP 101: Past and Present — Emily LloydClub members will leave this session with a clearer understanding of “what the letters mean”, etiquette when interacting with LGBTQIAP people, new trends in coming out (such as age), and a quick grounding in the past to where we are now. Emily is the Youth Services Librarian & Selector at the Northfield Public Library. Hosted by Beth Kallestad.

Todd's two cents


Todd Thompson,President

Hope your garden is thriving! I have so many tomatoes to eat! 

Two new things about our meetings on Thursdays. 

Each meeting I will be recognizing one of our members for their contribution to the mission of our club. I am calling this our Member’s Gratitude Moment. The contribution doesn’t have to anything earth shaking to be recognized. If someone has befriended you in the club, or been helpful with a particular program or changed to lives of some kids somewhere, let me know. Let’s celebrate it!!!

The other idea I had was to highlight the new Rotary International initiative “Supporting the Environment”. Each meeting one of our members will feature something practical that individuals can do to help sustain and improve our environment. You don’t have to be on the RCAT committee or work in an environmental capacity to participate in this. If you have an idea, a short presentation or you read a good article, I’d love to hear about it. Then we can make this information available to our members. I am calling this the Environmental Minute -- the length of the presentation. 

Cheers, Todd


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.