Cogwheel Archive

Northfield Rotary Cogwheel – November 21, 2019

November 21, 2019

Next Week: TURKEY TROT ­— All hands on deck!

Birthdays: Jim Prichard (11/17), Kim Briske (11/22), Art Monaghan (11/25), Beth Kallestad (11/26) and  Matt Hillmann (11/29)

Last Week:

The politics of division and fear are both dehumanizing and dangerous, said Minnesota Representative Todd Lippert (DFL-House 20B). A vision of America that pits urban against rural, white against black and brown and old immigrants against new needs to be replaced with a more hopeful narrative, Todd said, one that acknowledges common interests and focuses on economic and racial equity. 

Todd, an ordained minister and first-term legislator from Northfield, said his vision is based on what he calls “communion table values.” We welcome people; we value everyone, and we make sure everyone has enough. From a policy perspective, those values translate into fully-funded schools, clean water, a stable climate, the wherewithal to care for children and elders and more generally racial and economic equity. 

“We’re in this together,” he said. “We have to be.”

Todd has an affinity for small towns and rural areas. He grew up in a small town in northwest Iowa, earned a degree from University of Iowa and received his theological training at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. He served as a parish minister for eight years in southwest Wisconsin and has been at First UCC Northfield for the past seven years. He plans to resign in February to dedicate more time to promoting a common political agenda across geographical lines. 

Todd said he is excited about the city council’s recent adoption of a climate action plan. He is a member of the House Climate Action Caucus. He also serves on the Agriculture Committee and Water Policy Committee. He said land management that puts carbon in the ground is a productive strategy to achieve carbon sequestration. 


Kristi Pursell grew up in Minnesota and moved to Northfield in 2014. She serves as executive director of Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP). She is married with two children, a first grader and a four-year old. She will share more when she does her formal classification presentation.

Outbound Exchange Students:  

Anel Barojas Velazquez, Japan

Erin Gunn, Brazil

Paul Hanifl, Japan

Elsa Hoff, Spain

Andre Ischler Simonet, Spain

Elsa Kasten, Czech Republic, Slovakia

Rachel Leonard, Brazil

Athziri Marcial Rodriquez, Brazil

Samuel Pratt, Italy

Julia Radtke, Norway

Lezly Marcial Rosas, Italy

Armando Vadez, Taiwan


Guest: Cole Jones (Cogan)

Scholarship Enhancement:  

Sophie, our exchange student from Germany


• President-Elect Vicki Dilley announced that three new members have been approved by the board. They are Krista Danner, The Y’s new executive director; Amy Gorowitz, member of the Northfield School Board; and Karen Alawalla is renewing her membership after some time away. They will all be formally inducted at a later date.

• Jim Pokorney informed us that a group of turkeys is called a “rafter.” He wants Rotary’s rafter equivalent to sign-up for one of 57 volunteer spots at this year’s Turkey Trot. Look for a signup online or at today’s meeting.

• Robert Bierman thanked the club for its passionate support of the Turkey Trot, now in its 19th year. Sponsorships came in well and as of last Thursday, we had 668 people registered. He would like to see the food donations grow this year. Keep that in mind.

• Alan Anderson reported that the city council earlier this month passed a Climate Action Plan for the city. He encouraged us to go to the city website and read it.

• Janine Atchison thanked all who helped make last week’s Thanksgiving dinner at The Key such a success.  

Coming Up:  

Decmber 5 — Tony Huettl Classification (Quinnell)

Decmber 12 — Mark Priszler, Exchange Student (Lasswell & Frago)

Decmber 19 — Ellen Iverson, Classification (W. Sivanich)

Decmber 5 — No meeting. Enjoy the holidays.


Northfield Rotary Cogwheel – November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019

oday: Trisha Duncan, Classification (Pursell)

Next Week: Ara Ruiz Gonzalez, Exchange Student (Galdeen)

Birthdays: Lee Dilley (11/10); Greg Carlson (11/11); Carl Caskey, Virginia Lorang and Anika Rychner (11/14)

Last Week:

Got Milk? Kim Furmann does.

Kim is a self-proclaimed military brat with a deep love and respect for those who serve. She is also a “get it done” kind of woman.

When her husband, a helicopter pilot, was deployed to Iraq, his main complaint was that the milk over there was not very good. Kim’s response? I can fix that.

She immediately got to work on a plan to ship fresh milk to the service men and women stationed there. With the cooperation of Kwik Trip, who donated the milk, and Continental Dry Ice, Kim began experimenting with packaging and shipping options. She hit on the right method, and the milk began to flow. The media, including AP and the Pioneer Press, picked up the story, and donations began to flow in as well.

The milk project is just one example of Kim’s work to support our veterans. She also leads a campaign to thank military members for their service. For Kim, every day is Veteran’s Day.

Thank you for your efforts Kim!


Richard Maus contracted polio in 1939 at the age of four months. He spent 938 days in the hospital and endured 16 trips to the operating room. As one might expect, this greatly impacted his early life. He struggled to maintain friendships as he went back and forth from classroom to hospital. His study habits suffered until he was able to pull it together in college. He earned a degree in math and physics and had a successful career as a teacher and author.

He swims daily at 50 North, and that’s where he met our speaker, Kim Furmann. Richard said, “It was six months before I saw her with clothes on.” 

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.


Guest: Judy Schortzko (DeBeau)


• Rachel Estrella is looking for Rotarians to help interview outbound Youth Exchange candidates on Monday, December 2nd.

• Jean Wakely attended the Rotary Foundation Dinner and reports that Richard Maus spoke and our club received two awards for our work toward eradicating polio.

• Jim Holden is seeking a driver to accompany our Youth Exchange students to the Timberwolves game on Saturday, November 16th.

• Todd Thompson reminded us of the End Human Trafficing Event at St. John’s Fellowship Hall tonight.

• Jim Pokorney still has slots to fill for Turkey Trot helpers.

Happy News:  

• Cake was served in honor of Sophie’s birthday.

• Beth Kallestad announced that the city adopted the climate action plan.

• Rachel Estrella announced that a new addition to her family will be coming – a baby, not a T-Rex as her son had hoped.

Coming Up:  

November 28 — Turkey Trot — No Regular Meeting

Decmber 5 — Tony Huettl Classification (Quinnell)

Decmber 12 — Mark Priszler, Exchange Student (Lasswell & Frago)


Northfield Rotary Cogwheel – November 7, 2019

November 7, 2019

Today: Kim Fuhrmann, Classification (Maus)

Next Week: Trisha Duncan, Classification (Pursell)

Birthdays: Rotarians Around the World

Last Week:

District Governor Paul Perez – dressed as a Polio Plus superhero for Halloween – shared stories of the impact Rotary has had on him and his family. Paul’s wife Susan is an active Rotarian; their son Anthony was a Youth Exchange student in Germany, the same year their family hosted their first Rotary student. “I’ve grown so much in Rotary, and my family and I have had so many opportunities,” Paul says. “Every time I’ve said ‘Yes’ to Rotary, good things have happened.” 

Paul walked us through Rotary’s new vision statement – the first-ever statement drafted by Rotary International Board of Trustees and the Rotary Foundation together: “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” 

He talked about Rotary’s four focuses for this year:

Grow Rotary – more members, and also more giving to Rotary Foundation plus more and bigger service projects. 

Involve families – “Rotary should complement, not compete with, our families. We should be intentional about including our families” in socials and service projects.

Built pathways to District leadership – “We want to make the process easier. Members shouldn’t have to be retired [to have the time] to be District Governor.”

Strengthen Rotary’s partnership with the United Nations – In fact, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the charter between Rotary and the U.N. Watch for activities to honor and strengthen that partnership.

Paul spoke to the core values of Rotary – fellowship, integrity, diversity, leadership and service. (His first test of service during his induction? Being served a raw egg. He ate it. “I guess that proved I have the stomach for Rotary,” Paul laughs.)

Paul not only plays a Polio Plus superhero on Halloween, he is one in real life: Paul and Susan traveled to India with Rotary to give polio vaccinations there. “You’d give a baby those two lifesaving drops, and you could just see the relief come over that mother’s face, that her child was safe from contracting the virus,” Paul recalls. 

“It’s really our own stories that show others the passion of Rotary.”


Jean Wakely stitched together a lovely little mini-classification about traveling with her daughter to speak at the American Quilt Study Group’s Seminar in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jean spoke to the group about her mother’s story quilts. 

Best Costume:

The Best Halloween Costume contest began with an auspicious 13 contenders . . . ultimately bested by Alyssa Herzog Melby as Rosie the Riveter.


Guest: Tim McCone (Quinnell)

Scholarship Enhancement: Ara Ruiz Gonzalez


• Jesse Steed invited volunteers to help with outbound student interviews on Dec. 2 (5:30-8:00 pm). Contact Jesse or Rachel Estrella if interested.

• Rick Estenson offered Turkey Trot yard signs – promote this great event in your own front yard! P.S. register for the run online at

• Jim Pokorney is rounding up Turkey Trot volunteers. Watch for his email with a SignUpGenius link.

• Robert Bierman knows there’s more to a healthy diet than just turkey: Turkey Trot is collecting donations for the food shelf this year. Participants and volunteers are asked to bring a food item (or more!) on Trot Day to donate to the food shelf.


Northfield Rotary Cogwheel | September 12, 2019

September 12, 2019

TODAY’S PROGRAM | Thursday, September 12, 2019

Today: Sam Ouk, Working with Refugees (Wakely)

Next Week: Climate Action Plan Advisory Board  (Kallestad)

Birthdays: Rotarians Around the World

Last Week: 

Jesse James Bike Tour Chalk Talk

Two Weeks Ago

Looking back on a 40-plus year career in marketing, Bob Thacker probably wouldn’t consider  “Elf Yourself” his crowning achievement, but it’s hard to argue with more than a billion social media downloads. He helped create a cultural event.

“Elf Yourself” is one of those social media gimmicks that invites people to park portraits of friends and family on the bodies of dancing elves. We’ve all been there. This was part of an Internet marketing strategy developed while Bob was at Office Max, and it went viral. 

Bob came to Minnesota in 1970 to begin his long and distinguished career in the creative arts. He worked for some of the leading Twin Cities advertising agencies; helped shape Target’s brand and expansion in the mid-80s; served as chief marketer for Office Max, before it was subsumed by Office Depot; helped launch Austin’s SPAM museum while working at BBDO; and most recently completed a five-year run as head of the non-profit Adopt a Classroom. 

A self-described “fatal optimist,” Bob said things happen for a reason. But you often have to be patient to learn what that reason is.

He grew up in Lincoln, Nebr, the great-great-grandson of original prairie homesteaders who lived in a sod house. That chapter in his family history led Bob to one of his many Thackerisms: When you live in dirt, you learn to dream big.

 Bob’s mother was a teacher, his father a postal worker.They modeled a life of service and community investment, which he took to heart. He went to the University of Nebraska, graduating with a degree in advertising. He married and moved to Minnesota.

Working for Target, Bob thought big and took risks. He aligned the company with the restoration of the Washington Monument in D.C. and teamed with architect/designer MIchael Graves to turn the construction scaffolding into its own temporary work of art. Bob also changed perceptions of people with disabilities by including them in Target ad campaigns. Target was the first advertiser to do so.

Bob has four children. All work in the marketing arena. He married Northfield professor Karen Cherewatuk and moved to Northfield a few years ago. He considers his new hometown value added.  He has jumped in with both feet. Besides his active Rotary work, he is chair of Northfield Shares .and is involved in other local activities.

He and Karen have built a house that will allow them to “age in place.” It is built to accommodate a range of adaptations as they age. They are writing a book about this concept and their idea will be featured soon in Mpls.-St. Paul magazine.


David Koenig grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana, received his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and a graduate degree from Northwestern. His wife, Jennifer’s appointment at St. Olaf brought him to Northfield 22 years ago. David passed on a career as a CIA operative and has made is living in the field of “risk management.” He has two children. His son is in college, and his daughter is a junior at Northfield High School.


Guests: Annie Mickelson (Rychner), Robert and Henry Steed and Bryce Seidl (J. Steed), Marcos (Haslett-Marroquin), Henry Hillemann (Hillemann), and Bea Rebello, former exchange student, now a St. Olaf student (V. Dilley).

Scholarship Enhancement: Greg Siems

Hello Exchange Students:  

Our Fab Five Exchange Students were formally introduced to the club with flags flying. We have the privilege this year of getting to know Sophie from Germany, MarK from Hungary, Diago from Brazil, Ollie from Slovakia, and Ara from Paraguay. Please make them feel at home in Northfield.  

Bike Tour Huzzahs:  

Brett Reese, co-chair the Jesse James Bike Tour, recognized three committee members for their outstanding work this year. They are: Dale Ness for hitting an all-time record in tour sponsorships; David Wolf for his tireless work developing new routes; and Shelley Holden for her work recruiting volunteers. 


• St. Olaf College’s International Friendship Program is looking for volunteers to welcome foreign students to the community. If you are interested, contact Alyssa Herzog-Melby.

• Northfield Climate Action Day will be Thursday, Sept. 19. We will formally dedicate the new EV Charging Station at Fifth and Water at 2 p.m. There will be an electric vehicle tailgating party at First UCC parking lot from 5 to 6 p.m. and a symposium at the Carleton College Weitz Center from 6 to 8 p.m. See Beth Kallestad for details.

• Mike Krance, executive director of Northfield Shares thanked all who participated or contributed to the Northfield Shares Dinner Sunday, Aug. 25. It was a hugely successful exercise in community building. He also invited people to participate or volunteer to help with the Defeat of Jesse James Days Run/’Walk Sunday, Sept. 8. Northfield Shares sponsors it.

• Mark Abbott announced that Northfield Y will be celebrating five years of operation Sunday, Sept. 29, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Y. 

• Kristi Purcell reported the “Learn to Fish” event Aug. 24 was a big success. She also encouraged members to participate in the Cannon River Watershed Project’s 11th annual watershed cleanup Saturday, Sept. 21. 


Northfield Rotary Cogwheel | August 29, 2019

August 29, 2019

TODAY’S PROGRAM | Thursday, August 29, 2019

Today: Thacker, Classification (Koenig)

Next Week: Bike Tour Prep

Birthdays: Rotarians Around the World

Last Week: 

Mark Lancaster, Northfield Insurance Agency

Mark moved here last October after purchasing Northfield Insurance Agency. Kevin Rodgers and his wife are both still working there and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Mark’s wife of nearly 10 years, Tricia, is a corporate attorney for Taylor Corp in North Mankato. Both are former college basketball players, and at 6’9” and 6’3” they are one of the tallest married couples in the world. They met when his sister signed him up for a membership in; all it took for both Mark and Tricia was a one-month membership.

Their daughter Mackenzie, a sophomore at UW River Falls, wants to be a veterinarian. Their six-year-old twins, Eleanor and Coraline, are the tallest twins in their age group in the country right now. And their youngest, Josephine, is four. 

Mark is from Amboy, Minn., and played basketball in Maple River, where they won a state championship in ‘93. He played on an all-star team with Northfield’s Sam Richardson and was a McDonald’s All American player. Tricia played basketball at Gustavus.

They are very happy in Northfield — a nice bonus, since they came here only because of the business opportunity. They feel confident they have found their forever home.

The name Mark means “strong defender” and he has chosen to live his life that way. His father told him you can be intimidating and bully people, or you can choose to be caring and use your size to defend others. Mark sees his business role that way as well, helping people protect their most important assets.


Rick Estenson moved to Northfield 29 years ago. His wife, Kris, works at the Piper Center at St. Olaf. Their son Sam, a former Outbound to Japan, works at Google. Their daughter Maria works for Ashoka, which is DC-based, but is now working remotely from Salt Lake City, where she has recently moved for her husband’s job. Rick works at First National Bank of Northfield, whose ownership will change a week from tomorrow though nothing else will change for quite a while. Perhaps next May or June they will lose the FNB name and become part of the Merchants network. Merchants is a Winona-based bank. They’ve been told they’ll still pretty much run independently.

Exchange Students Arriving:

Vice President Vicki Dilley introduced four of the five 2019-2020 Inbound students who have recently arrived: Mark from Hungary, Diogo from Brazil, Oliver (Ollie) from Slovakia and Araceli (Ara) from Paraguay.

2017-2018 Inbound Bea from Brazil is back in Northfield to start college at St. Olaf. She introduced her sister and her mother, who is a Youth Exchange Officer at her Rotary club in Brazil.

Statement of Purpose: The Rotary Club of Northfield 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.

Pascal Cogan (Charlie Cogan); Tanya Charlick-Paley, Rotary member and YEO from Owatonna, now working at St. Olaf’s Institute for Freedom and Community (Jean Wakely).

Scholarship Enhancement: Ollie


• The Bike Tour still needs a few volunteers, especially sag drivers on Saturday but also helping putting up the route signs on Friday and base cleanup from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

• The Rotary Foundation was named the #1 charity on Charity Navigator’s recent “10 best” list!

• Nigeria has now gone three full years with no new cases of polio, so polio has been declared eradicated in Nigeria. If there are no new cases in the next year, all of Africa will be declared polio-free.

• Rick Olson from Prior Lake Rotary will be talking about renewable options for your home August 22 here at the Methodist church.

• The new Rotary-sponsored EV charging station downtown is already in frequent use and serves as an education tool as well as being useful. 

• The CRWP’s fishing event at Ames Park is August 24, 1-3 p.m. 44 kids have signed up. If you love fishing and want to come and help kids learn, they would love the help. 

Happy News:  

• Bruce Morlan surprised and converted a northern Minnesota audience member when they learned he is a conservative who supports doing something about climate change. • Ann and Mike Leming went to the recent EV test drive in Faribault and bought a Tesla.

• Kristi Pursell and her husband are celebrating  their 10 year anniversary. • Penny Hillemann is delighted to have purchased a powerful electric lawn mower that can manage the overgrown grass in her yard. • Larry Vorweck and his wife are celebrating their 23rd anniversary. • Virginia Lorang is proud new grandmother of a baby girl. • Fred Rogers and his wife celebrated their 43rd anniversary yesterday.


Rotary Cogwheel | January 31.2019

January 30, 2019

Today’s Program | Thursday, January 31, 2019

Today: Randall Knox, Civil Air Patrol (Frago)

Next Week: Rick Olson, Eastern European Rotary Tour and Alan Anderson RCAT Update

Birthdays: Ben Martig (1/31)

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.

Guests: Pascal Cogan (Cogan), Alex Miller (Zweifel), Amy Goerwitz (Vorwerk)

New Member Inductions: We welcomed new members Emily Fulton-Foley, Executive Director of the Northfield Union of Youth (Atchison), Tim Peterson, Executive Director of the Northfield Arts Guild (Collman), and John Sauer, Orthopedic Surgeon (Rich)

Rotary Minute: John Ophaug shared some quotes from various artists including Sinclair Lewis and Geroge Bernard Shaw who said, “I know where Rotary is going—it’s going to lunch.” These cynics were eventually transformed into fans of Roatry and the ‘power of one hour.’


  • Penny Hillemann’s son Henry came home early from his exchange in Zimbabwe due to civil unrest. Since his time was cut short, he will get to go to Tanzania with the Dilleys and the district will pay for him to do a summer exchange
  • Jean Wakely reports that Sue Boxrud broke her foot and we are sending get well wishes
  • Kristi Purcell announced that Lorn Manthey won the canoe full of brew raffle
  • Lisa Peterson invited us to the Chamber Annual Dinner on January 31 at the Grant. The Business of the year, Business Person of the Year and Ambassador of the Year will be honored. Tickets are $40, available at the Chamber office at 19 Bridge Square
  • We said goodbye to Jenni Roney as our Cogwheel Editor and PR & Communications board member. She has left the NDDC to become the Enrichment Coordinator at Community Services and she was representing the NDDC with her Rotary membership. If you are interested in taking her spot on the board or helping with the Cogwheel, see Scott.
  • The softball tournament will not be happening on President’s Day weekend. If you hear of other games where Scott Richardson could throw out the first pitch, let him know

Scholarship Enhancement: Meredith Galdeen

Last Week: A little known fact about Erica Zweifel is that she does not love to sing at Rotary meetings. She does love to read however, and she brought a few books—Walkable Cities, Drawdown and No Time to Spare. Erica also enjoys helping with the Lighten Up Garage Sale at Carleton, which will be held on June 28 and 29 this year. Last year they sold 23 tons of unwanted items and raised $36,000 for three local partner organizations. Erica introduced Bruce Morlan as a retired analyst from Mayo, local climate change awareness advocate and member of the Bridgewater Township and Dundas Planning Commission.

Bruce shared some updates from the City of Northfield’s Climate Action Planning Committee. But first he showed us the oldest known photo of a tornado, which was taken on August 28, 1884 in Howard, South Dakota. Northfield joined as a Minnesota Greenstep City in 2010 and has completed the first three steps. Bruce says that the CAP committee has four goals

  1. Economic Health—a local, prosperous economy
  2. Physical Health—active residents
  3. Environmental Health—clean air and water
  4. Quality of Life

They have six working teams:

  1. Energy
  2. Transportation
  3. Waste/Materials
  4. Land
  5. Food
  6. Water

Each working team has been meeting regularly. The committee has conducted initial surveys and hired a consultant from the Great Plains Institute.

Here are a few interesting facts that Bruce shared:

There is 31% food waste at the retail/consumer level. Food is the largest landfill component and the third largest source of methane. There are 1,900 landfills in the Continental U.S. We need to pursue incentives, education and reduction.

Energy for all requires conservation and renewable energy sources. We should think of energy as something we create, consume and conserve.

The environment would benefit from more bicycle and pedestrian transportation, more public transit and fewer miles traveled by vehicle.

We must work toward better solutions for wastewater, storm water, drinking water, flood plains and water conservation.

The Climate Action Planning Committee was formed because Northfield believes that the solution begins here and we must be a part of that solution.

Coming Up:

Feb 14 – Lin Bruce, Yes you can: Success Strategies from the Heart

Feb 21 — Erika Staab, The Hope Center

Rotary Cogwheel | January 24, 2019

January 24, 2019

Today’s Program | Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today:  Bruce Morlan, Climate Action Advisory Committee (Zweifel)

Next Week: Randall Knox, Civil Air Patrol (Frago)

Birthdays: Wendy Sivanich (1/21)

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.

Guests: Phil Kasten (Dilley), Itty’s host families including Richard, Doug and Cindy


  • Save the Date for the 4-Way Taste July 18th at Red Barn Farm. The event is a fundraiser for our International water project and also helps to raise awareness of the 4-Way Test. It is rumored that the Bratlanders will be performing.
  • Do you enjoy writing? We’re looking for volunteers to help write the weekly Cogwheel. See Scott Richardson for more information.
  • Wendy Sivanich reports that 12 outbound students have been selected for 2019-20. They will be headed to Japan, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Norway and Taiwan.
  • Andrei Sivanich thanks our club for the $250 that was donated to Laura Baker. The funds purchased a guitar that is being enjoyed by many in music therapy classes.
  • Kristi Purcell invites everyone to the Downstream Film Festival happening Wed. February 20th at Imminent (with dinner) and again Fri. February 22nd at the Grand. Save the date and see her if your business would like to be a sponsor.

Happy News

  • Rachel Estrella’s grandparents recently celebrated 60 years of marriage
  • Chris Weber is a proud dad—his daughter Anna wrapped up her Youth in Government career as the chair of the State Steering Committee and led a meeting of 1700 students at the Convention Center

Scholarship Enhancement: Tuomas

Last Week: Meredith Galdeen participated in a short exchange in high school, spending three weeks in Moscow. Her host family spoke no English and things were very different there, but the people were very kind and generous. She got to see the Moscow Ballet, a Russian circus, Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Later, her Russian host student got to come stay in America and experience new things here. Meredith is a big fan of exchange programs and that is why she serves at Rotary. 

Itty Fitriany comes to us from the 5th largest city in Indonesia, Makassar. Her dad is a university lecturer and medical school graduate, her mom has a masters degree, and she has two brothers—a doctor and a banker. Itty loves reading, playing the piano, dancing, playing badminton, writing, baking, drawing, playing card and board games and she is learning to play the ukulele. She loves hanging out with her Rotary friends. Her friend from Bali is currently living in Nebraska, so they got to visit each other over winter break.

Itty has joined the Northfield Youth Choir and is joining the high school choir as well. She has enjoyed ice skating and recently made her first ever snow angels. Other highlights so far this year included running a lemonade stand, going to the football homecoming game, spending time at Blue Monday and Cakewalk, and enjoying a Christmas Secret Santa party. She has already made a road trip to South Dakota where she hiked and visited the Badlands and Wall Drug. She also went to Missouri and saw the St. Louis arch.

She describes Indonesia as lots of people in a small country. It has 7,500 islands located in the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic eruption is common there—they have 127 active volcanoes that have erupted and 1171 volcanoes in total. Jakarta is the capital city with 10 million people.

Indonesia boasts beautiful architectural landmarks and desirable natural resources. It was a Dutch colony for 127 years, then occupied by the Japanese during World War II and became independent in 1945.

The culture includes Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian and Muslim religions and over 300 ethnic groups. More than 700 languages are spoken there and Itty says it is a very welcoming country. Welcome Itty!

Coming Up:

Feb 7 – Rick Olson, Eastern European Rotary Tour and Alan Anderson RCAT Update

Feb 14 – Lin Bruce, Yes you can: Success Strategies from the Heart

Feb 21 — Erika Staab, The Hope Center

Rotary Cogwheel | January 17.2019

January 16, 2019

Today’s Program | Thursday, January 17, 2019

Today:  Sitty Fitriany, Exchange Student from India (Galdeen)

Next Week: RYLA students (Hillmann)

Birthdays: Mark Abbott (1/17), Rick Esse (1/16), Mike Leming (1/16), Lynne Pederson (1/11), Erica Zweifel (1/14)

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.

Guests: Nicole (former inbound), Sage (former inbound) and Jane (host sis) (Estenson), Colonel Buhler (Steed), Nita Wolf (Vorwerk)


  • Today is your last chance to nominate someone for the Good Neighbor Award. Know a non-Rotarian who embodies ‘Service above Self’? Visit our website or see Erica Zweifel for a nomination form
  • David Stanford introduced himself as our new Treasurer and got a big round of applause. If you’d like an automatic withdrawal for your dues, see him.
  • Scott Richardson gave us the board update: RCAT is pursuing an EV charging station initiative, the 4-way Taste prep is going well and is tentatively scheduled for July, the Big Idea has been narrowed down to four ideas with a finalist to be announced in March, and Bob Will was officially given honorary member status
  • Kristi Purcell says that the CRWP made their fundraising goal thanks to the generosity of many Rotarians

Happy News

  • Janice Lemkuhl just returned from a week in Pasadena where she and her husband served as petal pushers in the Rose Bowl parade. The Pasadena Rotary Club gave her a t-shirt.
  • Jim Holden reports that the group who took our inbound strudents to the Timberwolves game had a great time.
  • Jacob Conway’s son was born with a hole in his heart and is improving—he will now only need to be seen every two years.
  • Anika Rychner thanked everyone who helped move the food shelf for the CAC last week.
  • Janine Atchison was awarded recognition as a National Merit Scholar and received a letter from former President Obama.

Scholarship Enhancement: Duane Benson

Last Week: Paul Krause is not the Hall of Fame Vikings player, but he is famous in Northfield. He introduced our speaker, Larry Vorwerk, who shared his classification talk with us.

Larry was an only child for 12 minutes, until his twin brother was born. He grew up in Burlington, Iowa in a loving family with four other siblings in addition to his twin—there were three boys and then three girls. As a child, Larry enjoyed participating in a variety of activities including scouts, baseball, track and cross-country. He was interested in animals from an early ago. His parents didn’t allow him to have a dog, so he got a guinea pig and quickly befriended the neighbors’ collies. After the collies began spending more time in Larry’s yard than their own, his dad said okay to having a dog. Now Larry has had 16 dogs in his lifetime.

Larry bought his first book in first grade. He saved his pennies to purchase the book “Wild Animals” with a tiger on the cover. He saw an ad in Outdoor Life magazine that said, ‘you too can be a forest ranger’ and that was when he knew he wanted to go to college and learn to work with animals. He enjoyed small game hunting and blackberry picking with his father, and his interest in animals continued through his boyhood. He has always been curious and a scientist and if he could be anyone, he identifies most with Lewis & Clark, adventurers who enjoy discovering things.

He received a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology from Iowa State in 1973. College field trips took him to see things like prairie chickens booming in Kansas and millions of birds migrating in Northwest Missouri’s Squaw Creek Reserve. Larry’s first full time job was in Muscatine, Iowa at the Weed Park Zoo. We saw some great photos of Larry holding an African lion cub named ‘Fat Cat’ and some pics of Dolly the Asian elephant, who enjoyed lifting the roof off of her zoo building for fun. He says that elephants have the most personality of all animals.

Larry met his first wife (also a wildlife biology major) at college and they had three children together. He was one of the first zookeepers hired at the Minnesota Zoo, starting his career there in 1978. He worked at the Minnesota Zoo for 39 years, serving on the mammal crew for 17 years and the bird crew for 20 years until he retired two years ago.

One of his most memorable experiences happened two weeks into his job when he was asked to walk the fence line of the tiger exhibit and check it. The large male tiger saw him and pounced onto the chain link fence right at Larry, but thankfully the fence held strong.

Six months after Larry’s first marriage ended, he met his wife Nita Wolf. They have been married for 20 years, have five children between them, and live on a hobby farm five miles north of Northfield. Larry showed us photos of their beautiful flowerbeds. He really enjoys gardening and finds peace in being connected to the earth. They had a pond built on their property and it has attracted 83 species to their farm. Their two dogs Honey and Sunny the lab/retrievers love to go on outdoor adventures with them.

Larry enjoys being active. He has run over 42,000 miles and walked more than 80,000 miles. The longest race he ever ran was a 50 mile run back when he was a ‘lean machine’ and he was pleased that his parents were able to be there. He finished in 7 hours and 18 minutes.He is also artistically talented, and has completed many oil paintings. His favorite subjects are—you guessed it—nature and animals. Larry authored a book called The Bartholomew Effect: Awakening to Oneness. He is enjoying life and volunteer work in retirement and says that serving others is the true way to experience oneness.

Coming Up: Jan 31 – Randall Knox, Civil Air Patrol (Frago)

Rotary Cogwheel | December 20.2018

December 19, 2018

Today’s Program | Thursday, December 20, 2018

Today:  Holiday Cheer meeting

Next Week: No lunch meeting – Happy Holidays!

Birthdays: Blake Abdella (12/21), William Carlson (12/23), Jacob Conway (12/28), Vicki Dilley (12/21), Neil Lutsky (12/27)

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.

Inbound Exchange Student Updates: Yuyu has enjoyed helping at the Key, Simone’s favorite part of Winter Walk was ducking into stores to get warm, Elise called Winter Walk ‘cold, fun and joyful’, Itty went to the Neuger party and then the Guild and ended the evening at B&L pizza, Tuomas had a hockey game and couldn’t go to Winter Walk, Pedro only stayed for 20 minutes because it was too cold–but he is looking forward to a white Christmas.


  • The Rotary board news: they are looking at all of the Big Idea options and hope to have something to report after the January board meeting. David Stanford has officially taken Virginia Kaczmarek’s place in the treasurer position. David Wolf, our longtime treasurer who stepped down last year, is helping with the transition. The board also voted to contribute $150 to the development of a District 5960 website to deter human trafficking. 
  • Our club will support a softball tournament over President’s weekend in February at the Dundas Dome. If all goes well it will become an annual event and be a source of revenue. And it provides another great volunteer opportunity for our members! Put it on your calendar for Monday February 18th.
  • David Wolf gave a Paul Harris presentation recognizing Richard DeBeau and Andrei Sivanich, and an anonymous donor who is a plus 5.
  • Rich Lorang reminded everyone to enter to win the CRWP canoe full of brew for $50
  • See David Koenig if you’d like to help with the 4-Way Taste
  • Anika Rychner needs volunteers for January 3rd in the afternoon to move things out of the CAC food shelf for a renovation project
  • Rotary District 5960 Mid-Term will be Saturday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamline University. It’s a chance to dive deeper into the question of “What is Rotary?” and learn how other clubs are turning the Rotary spirit into action. Our RCAT team will also have a presence there. The event is free. You can sign up by going to the District 5960 website. 

Happy News

  • Andrei Sivanich says the Laura Baker Gala exceeded last year by over $7000. He thanks all of the Rotarians who attended, volunteered and donated
  • Jan Stevens has a new two-week old grandson named Desmond—her first!
  • Janine Atchison says her son got a new vehicle after his car crash and Is doing great – she thanks everyone for their concern
  • Jean Wakely thanked all of the ladies who came to the Fairfield for happy hour – it might become a quarterly event

Scholarship Enhancement: Jacob Conway

Last Week:

Matt Hillmann grew up in upstate New York. He got a history degree from St. Johns in New York City and student taught in the New York City pubic schools. He met his wife Mary in Southeast Minnesota. They have three children—a college sophomore who plays in the Univeristy of Minnesota marching band, and two kids at Northfield High School. Matt has worked for the school district since 2009, enjoying his current role of Superintendent for the last three years. Every day in his job he says three things: my goodness this is a privilege, why did I take this job, and you just can’t make this stuff up. He introduced Barb Wornson, Director of Northfield’s Arcadia charter school—which Matt calls an outstanding school with a great approach.

Barb Wornson was born in Mason City, Iowa in 1947. Her roots in education began early—her father was a science teacher and her mother was a music teacher. They bought an Eisenhower house, which was a good deal through the GI bill. It was a great place to grow up: with the nearby woods and a gravel pit to explore, she spent a lot of time outside.  In 1954, her twin brothers were born. Barb’s brother developed a brain tumor and was brain damaged. He had severe learning disabilities, was blind in one eye, struggled in school and had no special education available to him. Billy died at age 13 in 1967 and it was a severe loss for Barb and her family. Barb’s sister also fractured her back and had to wear a plaster cast for her prom and graduation.

Barb had an unplanned pregnancy while she was at college in 1968. She says in those days a single mother had four options–keep the baby, get an abortion in Mexico or a back alley, marry the father, or give it up for adoption. She chose the latter and it was a closed adoption so that the mother and baby have no contact. Her daughter was born prematurely and she always wondered if she survived. Barb struggled with shame, but she went back to school, applied herself, took control of life and got her special education teaching certificate. In 1971 she took her first teaching job in a school resource room which cared for anyone and everyone who had a problem. In those days parents had to pay  for a child with special needs to be educated, so Barb got involved in legislation to find solutions to the issue.

She went back to the University of Iowa to get her masters degree, and then on to the University of Kansas to work as a part-time instructor and doctoral student. She worked at the Menninger clinic in Topeka for 11 years. During that time she got married and had her son John, and hoped to finish writing her dissertation while she was on maternity leave. Her marriage didn’t last but they stayed good friends. Barb studied architecture at KU and did an internship at SMSQ in Northfield, where she learned that architecture wasn’t her thing. She married again and worked in the community, having two more sons, Nick and David. She met David Bly at UCC who suggested that she work part time at the Alternative Learning Center. She did that from 2003-05 and loved it—helping to develop a teen parenting program to assist pregnant teens in making choices and found the work very fulfilling.

One day she got a call from a private detective and discovered that her daughter was looking for her. They met in 1998 on the day of her son John’s graduation party. MaryBeth had been told her birth mother was a beautiful college woman who gave her adoptive family a wonderful gift. Barb now has three grandkids from her daughter Marybeth.

In 2005, Barb moved on to administration. She worked at the Zumbro Area Learning Center, and then worked as the ED of Sobriety HS in St Paul. In 2011 she parted amicably from her husband, and finally finished her dissertation in 2012. She also worked at the Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins and at two other schools. In 2016 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which is now in remission. She came to Northfield to retire and do cancer treatment, but found herself wallowing and bored. She went to sidewalk poetry event and Bonnie Jean Flom suggested that she consider Arcadia who needed a charter school director.

Barb loves Arcadia—it was started in 2003, and her youngest son graduated from high school there. It began as Artech, named for the focus on arts and technology. They later changed the name for students who didn’t fit those categories. The name was a student’s idea. Arcadia has students in grades 6-12, with 20 students per grade. It is project based but also has core courses. Once a quarter, students choose a project, it gets approved, they follow a rubric and a theme. Students learn research and presentation skills, use creativity and do service learning. The learning process is innovative and collaborative. They are divided into four advisories, with mixed grades, and they get to do fun things together. She invites us to visit Arcadia anytime!

Coming Up:

Jan 3 — Yuyu Ose, Exchange Student from Japan (Ischler)

Jan 10 — Larry Vorwerk, Classification (Krause)

Jan 17 — Sitty Fitriany, Exchange Student from India (Galdeen)

Rotary Cogwheel | December 13.2018

December 12, 2018

Today’s Program | Thursday, December 13, 2018

Today: Barb Wornson Classification (Hillmann)

Next Week: Holiday Cheer meeting

Birthdays: Dale Ness (12/15), John Ophaug (12/15), Bob Thacker (12/17)

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.

Guests: Elise’s host families, Mitzi Baker (new City Community Development Director), Al Spens (Pokorney), Amy Gurwitz, Itty’s host mom (Galdeen), and Rick Olson from Prior Lake Rotary told us about Eastern Europe Rotary Tours in May of 2019


More than 1300 people participated in the 2018 Turkey Trot. Net profits will be over $42,000!
Kristi Purcell invited us to donate to CRWP before December 31st and win a canoe full of brew
Jim Pokorney thanks everyone who signed up to do Meals on Wheels.
Jack Hoschouer is celebrating good medical news
Greg Carlson was happy to hand off his title of Turkey Trot winner
Jean Wakely’s daughter won her Roller Derby tourney – if you ever want to tag along to watch, just ask Jean!

Scholarship Enhancement: Lori Williams

Last Week:

Brad Frago came to Northfield to attend Carleton College, then went to the University of Minnesota Law School. He met his wife Michelle when they were working as law clerks in Olivia, Minnesota. They later moved back to Northfield where they now have a family law practice and two teenagers. Brad’s favoritehobby is participating in the Civil Air Patrol at the Stanton airport. He introduced Elise as one of the easiest, most delightful students they’ve had.

Elise Marillet says that people think of France as Paris but many do not know that France has 13 overseas territories. The state of Texas is bigger than the country of France, so it was an adjustment for her to drive five hours and still be only in Wisconsin. Elise is from Gannat, a small city of 7,000 people. Her other hometown is Clermont Ferrand, a much larger city. The local rugby team there is one of the best in France.

She is enjoying lots of friends and fun experiences in Minnesota. Her favorite things about France are crepes, croissants, cheese and bread. She also loves the museums, cathedrals, castles and other landmarks. Elise loves it that you can go to the beach, ski, go to the countryside, or join the party in the city after France wins the World Cup.

Her great-grandfather was in the French Resistance in WWII. In the future, she wants to study law, possibly in the U.S. The biggest surprise to Elise so far in Northfield has been how warm the people are, even though the weather is cold. She ran cross-country and next she is trying out for Rock & Roll Revival as a dancer. Welcome, Elise!

Coming Up:

Dec 27 – No lunch meeting

Jan 3 — Yuyu Ose, Exchange Student from Japan

Jan 10 — Larry Vorwerk, Classification (Krause)