Posted by Chris Swope
At 12:32 President Julie, who was joined by Sue for training as incoming president, called us back from our breakout groups to the main meeting and rang the Rotary bell.
Jennifer Marsh gave a very Rotary inspired invocation that reminded us of the 4 way test and other Rotary values.
President Julie noted that she is an “always hopeful” Tigers fan as she introduced a recording of Detroiter, Mary Wilson, performing the National Anthem at Tigers Opening Day in 2019.
Our visitors on this Spring day included District Governor, Nathan Triplett, who noted he has 83 more days in the role before returning to regular Rotary membership. Tammy Slavik, VP if MICA, was a guest of Terry Terry.
Diane Sanborn let us know that Rotarian Virginia Allen had fallen and fractured her left femur. We all wish her a speedy recovery.
In the delayed presentation of the March birthdays, Sandy Dragoo stepped in for Barb Whitney. Rotarians achieved 100% birthday donation participation for the 3rd month in a row, with the 16 birthday celebrants donating $1251. The monthly question was what inspiring or artful way will you celebrate your birthday: Kevin Schumaker planned to perfect his snow shoveling technique; Bob Hoffman would celebrate in a tropical paradise, Key west, where his husband, Michael, would be serving lots of cold drinks. Thanks everyone for your contributions!
Jason Brunette gave us some updates from the Special Projects Committee:
• Sparrow Hospidal is seeking vaccination volunteers to work in 4 hour blocks. Sign up at
• MSU is having a used shoe collection drive for tennis shoes and cleats in any condition, which can be dropped off at the Smith Center 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you need them picked up, contact Jason at
It is Paul Harris month! Jenn Dubey reminded us that our Paul Harris donation is one of 3 expected contributions annually. The donation goes to Rotary International Foundation for great projects including providing safe drinking water PLUS a portion comes back to our local club (in 2019 of $196k donated by our members, 50% came back to our club). Please donate. You can send a check to Cathy or to Rotary International or donate online. A letter is coming soon for your donation requirement to achieve your next Paul Harris designation; there is a fund for doubling of your donation to hit the target this year. We also saw a great inspirational video for Paul Harris featuring Heidi McNaughton, which included the great suggestion of donating appreciated stock which can have great tax advantages (check with your tax advisor).
We were reminded that the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation grant process is open. To apply go to our website “Apply for a Grant”, the deadline is April 14th.
“A Taste of Italy” is coming! Save the date for Wednesday, May 12 at 5:00 for a membership social time and fundraiser for our Foundation with Rocco Rucinski and Sheri Jones. Sheri will be our host and Rocco will teach us how to make some Italian appetizers as they share stories from Italian culture. You can make the dishes along with them or just watch and learn. Check the upcoming Rotogram for all the details
Pat Hanes is our Rotary Hero! Pat’s excellent leadership in his year as President was an inspiration. Because of it, we only missed one meeting under COVID-19, while many other clubs missed many weeks. He lead the implementation of many procedures and committee structure work, and put together our Anniversary Book.
In other Rotarian news, Cindy Kangas is leaving Ele’s Place to become the new Executive Director of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council; she starts next week (now this week) and shared words of love for Ele’s Place. Also, Curt Sonnenberg was elected to the Rotary District Board. Because of the time taken for announcements, we did not have any Special Music.
Heidi McNaughton introduced our speaker, Dr. Stephen Marc Breedlove. Dr. Breedlove is the Barnett Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience at MSU, and is internationally recognized for his work on the effect of hormones on sexual differentiation of brain.
Dr. Breedlove opened with the benefits of serendipity (or the value of not knowing what you are doing), since the results of the research he was discussing was not the original goal. He also admitted to having professor’s disease – “if you don’t stop me I’ll talk forever.”
His talk was on Kennedy’s Disease (KD), a progressive debilitating neurodegenerative disorder resulting in muscle cramps and progressive weakness due to degeneration of motor neurons in the brainstem and spinal cord, for which there is no known cure. What their research has discovered is believed cause of KD was incorrect, in fact they were a result of the disease. They have found a treatment that is effective in treating the disease in mice. Luckily, the drug has been in use for other conditions for over 30 years, is safe, and has only mild side effects. They believe it will slow or prevent the disease.
Circling back to serendipity, he emphasized that you need to stay alert since sometimes most exciting result is one you didn’t expect. Also, the person who discovered Kennedy’s disease is now in charge of trials, so testing on humans could begin soon.
President Julie thanked Dr. Breedlove for his presentation and announced that in lieu of a speaker’s gift we will be making a donation in his honor to a local organization through our Lansing Rotary Foundation which has, over the history of our club, given in excess of $2,000,000 to local organizations and projects.
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