Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, April 22, 2021


Join Our Thursday Zoom Meeting
Find it here.
Meeting ID: 816 5519 3248
Passcode: 490461
Here is the timeline for our regular Zoom calls. On some days there will be slight variations, but not for coming on to the call.  
11:30 -11:45 — Zoom Managers log in and get set up.
11:45 - Noon — Club Members and Guests are invited to join and go into a break out room for casual conversations.
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.
12:40 — (approximate) Birthdays, Announcements, Happy News and more.
1:00 — Meeting is dismissed until next week.
     Alan Anderson
     Lee Dilley
Alan Anderson and Lee Dilley, Rotary's New Area of Focus: The Environment. We will review the details of the new focus area, how it relates to climate action, and some of the new opportunities for our club. Hosted by Bruce Morlan.
Richard Maus, 4.24; Stacey Longwich, 4.27; Greg Siems, 4.28.
None this week.


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. 
Mark Your Calendars for Northfield's Earth Day Celebration - Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24. See registration and details here and flyer here.
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, Penny Hillemann.


New members Andy Althoff, mortgage lender, Merchants Bank, and Ben Hauser, director of service provider network for HELIXintel. (Ben shared that he married a Northfield native. They met in Seoul, South Korea, and now have two boys, ages 3 and 11 months.)


All are invited to the May 2 groundbreaking at the new Rice County Habitat for Humanity site on Cotton Lane, near the soccer fields. The event starts at 4 p.m. and will feature a food truck with cheese curds and mini donuts. RSVPs are encouraged; register at

Brad Frago again asked every club member to sign up for one of the seven action teams that are shaping our strategic plan. "Limited time, limited commitment." The sign-up form is here.
There is still no timeline for returning to the Methodist Church even for small meetings. There may be interim options to hold hybrid meetings elsewhere. We hope to have some kind of hybrid meeting before the summer.

The club will hold an evening picnic at the Estensons' barn on June 17, with a sack dinner catered by Maria's. Adults only, as there are no exchange students here.
Earth Day, April 23-24. Please register for breakouts if interested. All info is on the flyer. Our club is one of the sponsors.

The city's shade tree sale continues through April 30. They will plant it for you! More information and the order form are available  here

Our condolences to Meredith Galdeen on the loss of her father.

Bob Thacker recently had spine surgery. We send him well wishes.


Carl Caskey's daughter had her second heart ablation yesterday. The invasive procedure went well and she is healing.


     Don Stager

Don Stager grew up in a family of seven in Palmyra, New York, a small town similar to Northfield in many ways. Changes there since Don's youth teach us not to take a downtown Main Street for granted. "Nurture your businesses," he says.
Don spent "the most formative year of my life" as a Rotary Exchange student in Umea, Sweden, a college town in the northern part of the country where it snowed November-May. It was a Bike First community with an extensive path/road system that supported year-round biking. 
After graduating from Notre Dame with a math/chemical engineering focus, he became a corporate nomad, progressing from engineer to strategic planning to technical sales/MBA to finance to product management. He likes working on new projects: build things, get it done, hand it off and move on to the next thing. Along the way he's lived in southern California, St. Louis, Wisconsin, and the Dallas area.
Eventually, hired by a Denver-based company where everyone works remotely, Don had the opportunity to live anywhere he wanted. After much research and a detailed spreadsheet (values/culture, walkability, sidewalk poetry, "righteous" winters—check!), he and his family chose Northfield and moved here in early 2019.
Don encourages Northfield to view itself as a destination rather than becoming more dispersed like other communities in the area. He mentioned smart growth, a welcoming community, being attractive to visitors, walkable/bike-friendly, energy efficient, holding the tension between affordability vs desirability, and the opportunities presented by the work-from-home trend.
Don is married to Maureen, a former marketing manager who, following a stroke some years ago, doesn't work outside the home. Their daughter, Meaghan, a high school junior, loves art and is a prolific creative writer. Don's pastimes include gardening, running, biking, Masons / Rotary / church (he's Unitarian) and reading The Economist.
The entire April 15 meeting can be viewed here.


City Council Member Suzie Nakasian's April 13 presentation, Rotary Rail Special: Catch a Train for Northfield!, can be viewed here. Learn about the two current legislative bills to authorize the state funds needed to continue implementation of passenger rail service for our city and region.


     Scott Wopata
April 29 — Scott Wopata, Executive Director, Community Action Center, An Update On All Things CAC. A discussion with Northfield Community Action Center leadership on expanding the breadth and depth of the CAC's work, including breaking ground for Hillcrest Village, a zero-energy housing development. Hosted by Alan Anderson.
     Philip Welkhoff
May 6 — Philip Welkhoff, How Community Engagement, Innovation, and Partnership Help Create a Pathway to Malaria Eradication. Malaria is preventable and completely treatable, yet about 400,000 still die from malaria each year, most of them young children in Africa. We review the present malaria situation, the challenges of fighting malaria during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and the work going on around the world—including new partnerships with Rotary—both to drive down burden and to make it possible to eradicate malaria. Philip is the Director of the Malaria Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hosted by Richard DeBeau.
     Emmett Lefkowitz
May 13 — Emmett Lefkowitz, Taipei: Home to the Second Tallest Building in the World (from 2010 to 2012, that is), and My Second Home. Emmett, a sophomore Political Science and Chinese double major at Carleton College, will talk about his experiences abroad in Taiwan in the 2018 - 2019 exchange year. Hosted by Vicki Dilley.
     Sandy Malecha
May 20 — Sandy Malecha, HCI Gathering for Good. HCI is eager to share information with the community about its work with children, youth and families during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, HCI is excited to share that StriveTogether has committed a $70,000 gift that must be matched dollar-for-dollar by local donors in 2021 — we hope to inspire local support to meet StriveTogether's match challenge. Hosted by Erin Bailey.

Vicki's Vision

   Vicki Dilley, President

Dear Rotary Friends,
How many have you heard the term.... Rotary is like peeling back an onion? And this 'onion' of sorts is constantly evolving and becoming more relevant for the times. We don't belong to our grandfathers' Rotary by any means.  
Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary International, was born on April 19th, 1868 in Racine, Wisconsin. Happy 153rd Birthday, Paul!   
Women were not allowed to join Rotary until 1989. I was 34 years old then. But, did you know that between 1911 and 1917 an all-women Rotary club existed in Duluth, Minnesota, alongside the men's club? In 1918 the Rotary International Board refused recognition of the womens' groups. Had not Rotary International changed and allowed women into membership, allowed membership to those who were not just a ''business professional," many of us that belong to Rotary today would not be in the club. I would not be in the club. I am thankful Rotary is willing to change, thankful for seeking to be relevant. 
Rotary International has something called the Council on Legislation which reviews the RI bylaws and constitution every three years for areas that need to change. "The 2016 Council on Legislation may well be remembered as one of the most progressive in Rotary history." This Council granted more club flexibility.  
As our Strategic Planning committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and other club committees review and examine the mission and actions of our club we do so with our eyes to the future. Paul Harris gave birth to this organization, I believe Rotary today fulfills the intent of Paul Harris, but we have changed to reflect who are in 2021 and who we will be in the upcoming years.  
To stay current, Rotary International has added a new area of focus, Protecting the environment, as we continue our work in the other six important areas. We look forward to hearing from our Rotary Climate Action Team tomorrow. 
1. Promoting peace
2. Fighting disease
3. Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene
4. Saving mothers and children
5. Supporting education
6. Growing local economies
7. Protecting the environment
Let us all stay flexible, stay relevant and be people of action.... I look forward to seeing you soon!
Be well,

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.