Russell Hampton
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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Mar 06, 2020
Mar 13, 2020
“The Power of Positivity: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities…”
Mar 20, 2020
Rotary Foundation
Mar 27, 2020
Guiding Light Orphanage
Apr 03, 2020
Turning Around the State's Economy
Apr 10, 2020
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Asst Treasurer
Interact Chair
EarlyRiser Presentations
A Promise to Jordan
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
November 29, 2019
(No Regular Meeting)
Join us instead at the
'Lonely Rotarians' Society'
7:30 AM, LaSalle Market, Collinsville
December 6, 2019
Ecuadorian Vision Clinic
Janet Jermain
New Britain Rotary Club
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
Members Present: 38
Visiting Rotarians: None  
Guests: (6) Father Tom Furrer (Kateri Medical Services), Elaine Gagnon (Africa Education Partnership), Jill Brandon (Gifts for Canton), Speakers: Isabel Blank (Yankee Institute), Elizabeth Kines (Yankee Institute), Meghen Portfolio (Yankee Institute).
Happy Dollars: $23
Raffle Winner: None. (Donated to Turkey Trot.)
Craig Buhrendorf declared his birthday "is worth at least a $5.00 donation", which he gladly gave. Craig has been with the club long enough to have seen the Yankee Institute visit at least 4  times, with the first time occurring during the Jodi Rell administration. "I'm moving away, as you know, and the condo will soon be empty and for sale. I have been working on moving our things and preparing it for sale, which is why I have been back and forth so many times recently, and able to attend our Club meetings. Soon we will be settled in North Carolina and I wont be back and forth as often, which I'm happy for, but also sad for too. I'll miss all of you, my friends. There's a good Rotary down there and I've met their exchange student Charles, who is from northern France. Incidentally, they have a bus trip with their student in March, and of all places, they'll be traveling to New England this year. Perhaps I'll see you at that time!  Ive enjoyed my time with our Club, including having served as president in 2001-2002, and I'll look forward to visiting from time to time. Thank you.'
Happy Dollars & Announcements
Larry Sullivan noted last Wednesday as a significant day, as he and his wife Brenda joined the Torrington Club, at their meeting and his son Kevin received a Paul Harris Award. Larry also attended ShopRite's Food Share event, where he claimed to "pep up" some of the "slacking" members present, assisting in gathering 350 turkeys as a result.
Gary Roman, also present at ShopRite that day, offered a $5.00 rebutall to Larry's claim, with the very serious allegation of "turkey shaming." In his defense, Gary offered a credible alibi, noting his group was "stuck on the side where bottle recycling was done, and no one goes." Gary continued his narrative, pointing out that "Larry showed up, chest out, expecting to show us how it's done." Gary also shared that Larry attempted to give a spiel to a woman in a Buick who was, shall we say, very unreceptive to his advances. Turning her head like Linda Blair of Exorcist fame to gaze at Larry,  "Get out of my face" said she. Gary advised Larry to stick to selling cars. As the presumptive judge in this case, Chuck Joseph, was absent, the case was continued until after the Thanksgiving recess. At issue is whether there was a turkey "quid-pro-quo" or not. A jury of gobblers will have to decide as these two turkeys have their day in court.,
Gary Miller introduced Jill Brandon of Gifts of Canton, present to accept a Rotary award.
Salin Lowe thanked Lauren Gardner for becoming the newest addition to our talented pool of Early Riser scribes. Salin is also happy for Craig, for the Yankee Institute being here again and in hoping for a great Thanksgiving for everyone
Hank Frey indicated a few bell-ringing openings are still available.
Gary Hyde is heading off to Scottsdale Arizona where he will enjoy some golf with family and friends.
Katelyn Kaplan is happy to report that the Roaring Brook Nature Center has received a $20,000 grant to create improve access for impaired individuals to its facilities.
Heather Pantano reported that her president's initiative service project empowering women is underway, honoring our currently female led Board of directors. Our Club, the Roaring Brook Nature Center and local Girl scouts are collaborating to pursue and complete the ADA compliant modifications at Roaring Brook Nature Center. All three organizations are currently women-led.
Joann Santiago asked for nominations for Community Paul Harris Awards.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
November 29: Lonely Rotarians Society will meet at LaSalle Market at 7:30 AM
December 4: Gifts of Canton fundraiser, Canton Historical Museum
December 7: Breakfast with Santa at the Canton Community Center at 8:00am - See Diane Boorjian for details
December 10: Taste-of-the-Valley organizing meeting at Dish and Dat in Canton.
December 17: Annual Miller Foods Rotary Christmas Party - See Sue Budde to sign up
December 19-20: 2:20 - 3:00 PM. Interact baked goods sale. Fundraiser to benefit Guiding Light Orphans, Jolly & Kurt Lux's organization. See Alicia Canning for details.
March 28, 2020: Tastes of the Valley at Farmington Gardens.
Induction of New Members
None Today
Paul Harris Awards
None today

None this week
Community and International Service Grants
[Gary Roman with Jill Brandon, Gifts for Canton]
Community Awards: Gary Roman presented a $1000.00 award to Gifts for Canton for providing Christmas gifts to needy Canton kids and seniors. Jill Brandon accepted the check on behalf of the organization and offered background on the organization's mission, operations and accomplishments. Gifts for Canton hosts various events through December 10th in anticipation of the upcoming holidays. Twenty-five different locations, including government offices, businesses and individuals collect toys at their locations and provide them to Gifts for Canton. At Trinity Episcopal Church, all the gifts are set out for needy families and individuals to view. On December 7th the Canton Police Department's "Stock the Cruiser" event occurs with the assistance of Canton CERT, during which the gifts are collected and delivered.
[L to R: Don Bonner, Craig Buhrendorf, Elaine Gagnon-Africa Education Partnership,
Father Tom Furrer-Kateri Medical Services]
International Awards: Don Bonner and Craig Burhrendorf presented award checks to Father Tom Furrer and Elaine Gagnon for their respective Nigeria relief organizations. Kateri Medical Services and  the Africa Education Partnership are medical and education support missions respectively, and are organizations we have supported for several years.
Father Tom thanked Rotary for our 4 years of support, noting they just finished a two-week medical mission which cared for over 350 people. Their next mission will occur in late April, or early May of 2020. He explained that the check for $2000.00 we just presented, will allow them to care for 858 people at $2.33 each. Elaine Gagnon speaking on behalf of Africa Education Partnership also thanked us. The prior funds we provided them allowed for the construction of 3 wells, and this additional donation will help them build a new, separate building for toilets for a rural school. She also noted that our Interact Club helped them sort 23 bags of children's books to be donated in Nigeria at their next visit.

The Yankee Institute
Elisabeth Kinds executive vice president, Isabel Blank, senior manager, external affairs, Meghan Portfolio, development manager
Rollie Sterrett welcomed Elizabeth Kinds, executive vice president, Isabel Blank, senior manager of external affairs and Megan Porfolio, development manager, all of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy to present to our Club. Rollie quoted financial analyst and current Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow in describing the Yankee Institute for Public Policy as "fighting the good fight with studies, legislative outreach and advocacy of all kinds." He continued, stating it (Yankee Institute) pushes Connecticut towards essential reforms that will help our economy.
Ms. Kinds opened the presentation explaining what the Institute does, which is work on improving public policy solely for Connecticut issues. They are a not-for-profit, free market research organization and are non-partisan, and uninvolved in Washington, DC politics. She continued, explaining the fundamental structure and function of the Connecticut legislature, in which legislators are part-time workers and share their administrative staff among them. She explained the realities of the alternating "long" and "short" session legislative model that we have, and that this year is one of the short sessions. In these legislative sessions, over 3000 bills are introduced, far too many for all legislators or staff to fully comprehend all of them. The Yankee Institute assists legislators to learn the details about many of the bills, particularly those that affect economic and labor issues. Yankee Institute then offers legislators a free market approach in understanding and deciding upon them.
Today's presentation focused on three topics, with all three presenters contributing: highway tolls, state & municipal employee pensions and union representation.
1. Highway Tolls:  Several myths were mentioned including that tolls would be/could be instituted at state borders only, that they would provide a permanent solution to our budget woes,  that they will start and remain inexpensive and that they are cheap to create and perpetuate. Yankee asserts that all of these myths and more are false. For example, in Connecticut the administrative cost per mile is $100,000.00 and we already pay many varied taxes for transportation infrastructure support. The real problem is that, despite existing funding streams that are supposed to target transportation only, between 2005 and 2017 over 1.7 billion dollars were diverted from transportation support to the general fund, where legislators funded all manner of priorities they deemed more important or worthy. Further, tolls will disproportionately burden the middle and lower classes and businesses. Inexplicably, legislators never speak of reducing the spending on their other, less urgent priorities and prioritizing spending that is supposed to be for transportation infrastructure for exactly that purpose. Therefore, a serious trust issue exists surrounding the possibility of tolls, one that goes back to the Lowell Weicker administration, when he lied about the temporary income tax, in creating one we now know was and always was intended to be permanent. This year, overall taxation has already increased by 1.4 billion dollars, with little to show for it in terms of budget imbalance resolution. Yankee therefore opposes any further taxation until and unless overall spending is reduced.
2. State & Municipal Employee Pensions: Former Governor Malloy claimed in 2017 that every cent of taxation collected since 2011 went to pay teacher and state worker pensions and other post-employment benefits.
Meanwhile, we have 82 billion dollars in unfunded pension debt on which we are paying interest. That interest payment is a drag on our education system including on students and currently active teachers themselves, as their salary and benefits cannot be elevated to perhaps where they should be. Yankee released a study indicating our current system is not serving taxpayers, students or teachers, as only 50% of existing teachers make it to the ten year mark, necessary to vest within the pension system. Many leave the profession and therefore don't benefit. This is a current and serious crisis that is bankrupting our state. Pensions for those who have already retired are a serious promise, and one we must keep. Reform is essential going forward.
3. Union Representation: Yankee believes that all government employees should have the right to choose those who represent them in negotiations with their employers. Legislators consistently side with unions, and not with workers. The United States Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, indicated workers could choose to forgo membership in their unions. Despite this, and inexplicably, Illinois took away those "Janus" rights. Special interests such as unions, should not be able to raid employee pension funds for their own political purposes.
Summary: Policies that arise in the Connecticut Legislature in Hartford affect your daily life more than those that come out of Washington DC. Yankee Institute urges you to write, call and engage your state level legislators on the economic issues that affect you.
From the Yankee Institute for Public Policy: " The Yankee Institute develops and advances free-market, limited-government solutions in Connecticut. As one of America’s oldest state-based think tanks, Yankee is a leading advocate for smart, limited government; fairness for taxpayers; and an open road to opportunity."
To learn more:

Special Announcements
A temporary Special Committee has been formed to decide on an appropriate action in memory of Nancy Nation. Ann Clark has volunteered to chair the committee and Sue Budde will co-chair.
As previously announced, Happy Dollars raised at the last two meetings are earmarked for the Jack Bannon Turkey Trot.
Mail Bag
Received this week were a pair of thank you letters. The first, from Lisa Gray, thanked us for our support of her organization: "A Promise to Jordan", which honors her late son
Jordan, by advocating for substance abuse recovery. Also received was a letter from the Canton Little League, thanking us for our support again this year.
Photo Credits 
Today's photographs courtesy of Phil Worley and Mike Mezheritskiy
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?