Next Meeting:
When:Friday,  December 14, 2018
Where: Crowne Plaza, 925 S.  Creyts Road
What:Rotary Club of Lansing Michigan Annual Meeting
Time: Noon
Blue Badge Pres:Julie Durham & Jason Brunette
Chair of the Day:Dennis Fliehman
Remembrance:Diane Sanborn
Greeter:Heidi McNaughton
Editarian:Steve Slocum
A Rotary Tradition
It snowed a little bit on December 1, 1916, but that didn't stop the Lansing Gas Company trucks from picking up the 35 boys from the State Industrial School for their noon meal at the grill room of the Hotel Downey.  The young men were treated to a lunch and other holiday festivities by the members of the newly organized Rotary Club of Lansing.  Probably no one at that 1916 event ever imagined that it was just the first of many Rotary Christmas parties that would continue into the next century.
A tradition had been born.  In 1919, the party was dedicated to the "Newsies", boys who sold the daily paper on Lansing streets.  Apparently many of the boys were from low-income families and were described by one local reporter as "regular guys with tattered cloths and freckled faces."  Rotarians considered them special and showed their best holiday spirit, treating the boys to pie and real brown fried cakes, a visit from Santa and such gifts as candy, a magnet and a jackknife.
A year later, on Christmas Eve of 1920, 100 underprivileged boys, ages eight to 18, crowded into the banquet hall of the Lansing Chamber of Commerce where Rotarians treated them to a dinner of chicken, turkey, mince pie and many other tasty items.  Vaudeville performers from the nearby Bijou Theater provided entertainment and each boy received knitted gloves and a cap, candy, mixed nuts and two bunches of grapes.  One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of Santa Claus, skillfully portrayed by Rotarian Winton Bennett, a Lansing dentist.
By 1922, Rotary members decided to expand the Christmas party into a more permanent activity - making Christmas cheer last throughout the whole year.  Each Rotarian would invite a boy, not his son, to be a special guest at a December luncheon where he would enjoy the club's Christmas activities.  But, each would "keep his boy until the time comes when the boy would break into the world to depend on his own resources.  The Rotarian would not take over the parental role but provide opportunities the young man might not otherwise have - a ride in the country, a trip to a baseball game or a swim at a park pool."  Referred to as the "Boys Auxiliary" it was sort of an early version of today's Big Brother program.  Still, even though Rotarians would sometimes direct their Christmas parties at different groups, they didn't forget the boys at the Industrial School.  One year, they "passed the hat," raising money so the boys could have a holiday event at the school.
By the late 1920's, the Christmas party was being put on for crippled children, supporting the overall work being done by Rotarians in that area.  In 1934, members of the Michigan Crippled Children's Commission attended the party at the Hotel Olds.  The children received gifts and were entertained by the storytelling of George H. Becker, the steward at the hotel.
And later Rotarians remember Louis J. Brand, board chairman of the John Henry Company, who skillfully played Santa Claus for almost 40 years.  But, perhaps it is Ted Swift who more than anybody made the holiday event a Lansing institution.  Known as "Uncle Ted", Swift appeared before the children explaining why Santa would not be able to appear this year.  A natural comedian and actor, Swift kept everyone on their toes or in fits of laughter, singing, dancing and finding other ways he could fill in for the missing Santa. 
Soon before his death in 1999, Ted Swift talked about his accomplishments in life.  "I think I'm a pretty good lawyer," he said. "But I know people will probably remember me for a prank I pulled in law school, for once addressing the Michigan Supreme Court in rhyme and for being Uncle Ted at the Rotary Christmas party.  I'm not sure about the first two, but I guess I wouldn't mind people remembering me as Uncle Ted.  "You should see those kids' faces.  It's something I'll never forget."
Attendance Check-In for Meetings
When you attend our Friday club meeting, please take a few seconds to "check in" with the person (usually Bob Corwin) who is keeping track of attendance.  If you are a new member Bob may not know your name, so it is helpful to give it to him to avoid any misidentification.  Keeping track of our attendance is important for a variety of reasons and it only takes a few seconds to ensure we record you as present.  Thank you for your help!
New Member Proposed

The following proposed member has emailed their application to the office.  If anyone has a comment on this proposed member please forward it in writing within ten days to the Rotary office, before approval by the board of directors.  Thank you

  • Alexandra Souser, Account Executive with Adams Outdoor Advertising, sponsored by Rachelle Neal
December Birthdays
Ellsworth-Etchison, KelliDec 01
Thomasma, JulieDec 02
Carnegie, ClydeDec 04
Granger, GlennDec 04
Watkins, ScottDec 04
Smith, LesaDec 07
Brunette, JasonDec 13
Holoweiko, MarkDec 15
Cavanaugh, MichaelDec 19
Lilje, MissyDec 19
Lyon-Moore, TobiDec 23
Kmetz, TeresaDec 29
Reynaert, MichelleDec 29
Achuonjei, PeterDec 30
Editarian Report for November 30, 2018
On the last day of November with the sun making a rare appearance this month, President Fliehman rang the Rotary bell to begin this week’s meeting. Teresa Kmetz gave our invocation and the club sang “My Country Tis of Thee”.
Steve Slocum roved with the microphone so Rotarians could introduce their many guests, including one visitor who just put in his membership application (the free lunch is about to end for you), as well as, a Rotarian’s mother (celebrating her birthday) and another club member’s daughter, who is also a prospective member (I guess mom wants to put an end to your free lunch program). As we will learn later prospective members was the unofficial theme of today’s meeting.
Melody Warzecha announced November birthday’s and lamented the question of the month – favorite thanksgiving food (as a November Rotarian, I must admit there was not going to be a lot of laughs with the answers). Turkey was the runaway winner from our November Rotarians. The November birthday club raised $1,100 for our club, good job group.
President Fliehman took back over and welcomed Lesa Smith to the podium. Lesa announced the club will be hosting alumni and current member of the Lansing Chamber of Commerce’s “Ten over the next Ten” award winners on January 18th to celebrate this achievement and I suspect a recruiting opportunity for our club to sign on some new prestigious members to Lansing Rotary. Since these recipients are only eligible for this honor before they reach age 35, it also appears to be an opportunity to change our age demographic based upon the recent Rotary Club survey we received via email. I used to help the age demographic cause, but alas no more, so let’s put on a good face and welcome the opportunity to add some new “blood” or as Justin Sheehan put it “fresh meat” into our club.
President Fliehman also reminded us that our 95th annual children’s Christmas Party is next week and encouraged us to invite friends and family to join us for this unique celebration (as long as you pick up their lunch tab).
This week we did not have special music as our scheduled singer came down with laryngitis, which is obviously a problem for someone asked to sing to such an esteemed group as ours. My table mate, Kevin Schumacher commented he wished I had laryngitis during our patriotic song earlier in our meeting.
With that President Fliehman asked Justin Sheehan to introduce our guest speaker Andi Crawford, the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods & Citizen Engagement for the City of Lansing (she must have huge business cards for that title). Andi noted that she loves Lansing returning in 2014 after a stint in South Florida.
Andi’s presentation centered around three pillars of her departments mission. Engaging citizens, advancing people and building neighborhoods. In engaging citizens her department oversees a number of initiatives, such as citizen academies with the most popular and obvious being the citizens police academy. They also offer opportunities to participate in their city services academy, which runs 10 weeks and explore other less popular city services. For example, citizens participating in this academy get to spend a day exploring our cities sewer system to enjoy the sites and potpourri (I spell check this to be safe) of smells this important city service has to offer. Less odorous initiatives include holding housing and neighborhood resource summits to learn about city services from the leaders of these areas. Also, walking Wednesdays is an opportunity for neighborhoods to invite city representatives out to walk in neighborhoods and talk to residents and even fix problems on the spot as they walk around areas of the city. Another exciting activity is “Drain Day” where city representatives go into the community in early November to emphasis the importance of cleaning up leaves to avoid plug drains that bring the inevitable flooding upon the spring thaw. The department also ventures into the community to get input on the annual budget process with the most popular of these meetings being held at a local bar and dubbed “Beer and Budgets”.
In advancing people in the community Andi discussed initiatives to move citizens who are in crisis situations from managing their crisis to climb the ladder to success after the crisis is managed. Her department heads up the Love Lansing event held in May each year with city leaders meeting with citizens throughout the city for the month. For more information on Andi’s department and events happening throughout Lansing sign up for the departments Lansing Neighborhoods weekly newsletter or visit
Finally, in building neighborhoods the city budgets approximately $60,000 for and offers individual neighborhood grants of up to $5,000 for neighborhood projects and improvements. Also, the city has a neighborhoods of focus program, which directs resources to very small areas in the city for betterment and local projects, such as community soccer fields that offer pickup games all are welcome to participate or just come out and watch the action on the field.
Andi closed by emphasizing that Lansing leaders are assessable and willing to listen, because the best part of Lansing is we live in a big small town or a small big town depending on how you look at it, but this is what makes it a great place to live.
After questions from the club, President Fliehman brought the meeting to a close until our annual children’s Christmas Party next week at the Lansing Center.
Tim Adam's email is:
Dec 14, 2018
@ the Crowne Plaza
Dec 21, 2018
Dec 28, 2018
Jan 04, 2019
Capital Area Michigan Works and T3 Effort to Align Workforce with Career Opportunities @ Lansing Ctr
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Rotary Club of Lansing
P. O. Box 13156
Lansing, MI   48901-3156