Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, August 6, 2020

This Week's Meeting

Thilo Van Debschwitz, Infographics Pioneer (Hosted by Yogi Reppmann)
Luis Dominguez (8.2), Timothy McKone (8.5), Brent Nystrom (8.7)
Erin Bailey and John Sinning (8.1.2012), Michael Leming (8.1.2016), Keith Covey (8.8.1974).

ZOOM in Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 11:45 a.m.
Zoom in here at 11:45 for casual conversation in a break out room before joining the regular meeting at 12:10.


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.

For additional information about our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team chair, Alan Anderson, at 507-371-4673 or



Melissa Hanson, City of Northfield Housing Coordinator, guest of Janine Atchison

Grayce McGregor - former Outbound to Finland, now a Rotary member in Washington, DC

Dieter Ziulkowski, president of Rotary Club Jerusalem, guest of Yogi Reppmann


Todd sang a bit of “Born to Be Wild” as a preview of the musical entertainment for the Four Way Taste parties taking place July 31.

Penny Hillemann gave an update on Inbound Kopano Tsambalagwa. He has been participating the past three weeks in Young People’s Theater Workshop. His group’s performance can be seen on YouTube here

Beth Kallestad reminded the group of a low-cost Energy Audit opportunity through the City of Northfield.

Jim Pokorney is still looking for crews to install six Little Libraries this week. Please sign up.

Vicki Dilley noted that while the club has received survey responses from more than 50 members, they would like to hear from more by August 2. 


Barry Carlson’s newborn grandson, Finnbjorn, “graduated” from the ICU recently. He still has some time to go at Children's Hospital.


Sean Carroll


Sean Carroll, President and CEO of Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid), helping refugees and families in the near east since 1968. Headquartered in DC, they work only in the Levant: Palestine, Lebanon, and on and off in Jordan. 

Anera is a nonpolitical and nonreligious organization working in the areas of economic development, education, health and humanitarian relief.  92% of funds are spent on projects in the Middle East. Sean noted, “One state, two states -- we don't really care. We're about the human state." 

They aim to be quick, agile and multifaceted. He thinks Anera and Rotary could do good things together.

COVID-19 is fairly light in the region, but the economic repercussions are not helping the situation. They are fearful of an outbreak in refugee camps. 

Anera’s efforts in the camps include masks, food parcels, hot meals during Ramadan, and hygiene kits. Other projects include a clean water project, economic empowerment for woman-headed households, and educational and vocational training, including basic education and preschool. 

ReBootKamp (RBK) is their partner for tech and professional job skills training. 40% of Palestinian youth are unemployed, while 1 million new tech jobs are forecast in the region in next five years. After 16 weeks of training, 98% of RBK grads are working in the industry within six months. More than 45% of program participants have been women.

The United Nations is their largest donor. Anera also recently created a for-profit arm to attract “impact investing,” which has growing potential compared to traditional funding models. He noted that the new generation of wealth doesn't want to just make charitable donations, they want to truly invest in outcomes, with a potential for profit.

You can learn more at and you may support Anera here.

Sean's presentation and the entire July 30, 2020 meeting can be viewed here. 


August 13 — Rick Olson, RotarAct and School 

August 20 — Reginaldo Haslett-Marroqui, Regenerative Agriculture (Lee Dilley)

August 20 — Reginaldo Haslett-Marroqui, Regenerative Agriculture (Lee Dilley)

August 27 — Kopano (Penny Hillemann) plus Children's Day

September 3 — Terry Friedrichs and Bill Keilty, Creative and Critical Thinking Skills of Our Students (Larry Fowler)

Vicki's Vision

Vicki's Summer Office

Dear Fellow Rotarians, 

I usually write this note to you on Monday, but this week, on Monday, we drove up to our family cabin at the end of the Gunflint Trail on Seagull Lake. Such a sweet place to come and enjoy a little special away time. 

On Tuesday Bill and Char Carlson drove up from their lake home at Two Harbors to our cabin and we enjoyed  a little lunch, visit to the Chik Wauk museum (highly recommend) and wonderful conversations. Even though we have lived next door to each other in Northfield since 1988, we have shamefully not gotten together that often. Now that I am retired I hope to be more intentional in my time for fellowship.

While visiting one another is a little harder to do during the days of COVID-19, it is doable and we proved that last Friday when we got together for the re-invented 4-Way Taste Summer Fest. The reports I heard about these events were how much folks enjoying just being together. Our days are numbered when we can sit on the patio, deck or driveway and I would encourage you continue to safely social distance with your fellow Rotarians until the time comes when we can’t be outside. Fellowship is an important part of what our club does together.

HUGE Thank Yous need to be extended to Anika Rychner and Brent Nystrom who took the lead on this. They came to the committee with the notion that we needed to have an event, but one that was re-imagined from the one we had in 2019. Jim Pokorney was the idea and mover behind the boxes made by “the Makers’ in the workshop in Dundas. The boxes are attractive, functional and are a definite collector’s item. Brad Kmoch, Todd Thompson, Bob Thacker, Lee Dilley, Meredith Galdeen, Rick Esse, Wendy and Andrei Sivanich, Brad Frago, Michelle Lasswell, Jim Loe, Stacy Longewich, Jim McLees and Michael Jordan all contributed to the event. 

Brian Whitt, from the Muni, was a tremendous help in making sure this would all work, giving us great guidance along the way.   

Todd Thompson and friends, Craig Wasner and Steve Jennings, provided us with lively and fun entertainment! I know Amber Chavie was in the background cheering them on and providing technical help. 

Imminent Brewing, Keepsake Cidery, Cannon Valley Winery and Look Liquor supported us by providing us with refreshing drinks to sample. The Just Food Coop supported us with the extra treats in the box … water and popcorn.  Thank you, Sheri Meyers. 

Our sponsors were generous and believed in us too ... Thank you to Merchants Bank, Community Resource Bank, Neuger Communications Group, Engage Print, Northfield Liquor Store, Blue Water Properties, Cannon Pointe Chiropractic and John Snodgrass’ Edward Jones. 

And then all of the hosts that bought boxes to share with their friends … Thank You all!

I sincerely apologize for any names I may have overlooked on this note.   

ALL of this put together made a fun and successful fundraiser. Perhaps by next week we will have a grand total to share with you, but regardless of what that number is, I certify the 2020 4-Way Taste Summer Fest a roaring success!!!



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.