Posted by Kevin V. B. Schumacher
While in our Zoom Rotary break out meetings, I was amazed at how Rotarians have adapted and are multitasking during Rotary. Rotarians are knitting, walking on a treadmill, walking outside, sorting emails, checking out their spam file, sorting post it notes, paying bills, cleaning the laboratory, even putting price stickers on products for sale (Kmart shoppers, we’ve got a blue light special for the next 11 minutes in aisle 9). By the time we get back to regular meetings, there won’t be a thing left to do on our to do lists!
 
After a little, much needed socializing, President Julie reeled us back in like fish on a line to the big group meeting. There we were greeted by Scott Duimstra who had been either swearing a blue streak in the break out room or discussing the benefits of swearing, I’m not sure which. Anywho, he had to change gears from swearer in chief to invocator of the day. Scott gave a short invocation about the enduring value of life, that we should build for future generations and continue to strive to make a better world for those who follow us. That was followed up by John Dale Smith’s version of My Country tis of Thee. I’m all for patriotic songs, but it is hard to get chills up your spine when not singing in the communal setting (it was also a bit unsettling for my co-workers who apparently don’t appreciate my singing).
 
We were introduced to a coterie of visiting guests and Rotarians. As for the health of the Club, Diane Sanborn reported that Melanie Dart’s husband’s hip replacement went well. Apparently he wasn’t very hip before, but now he’s on the road to recovery and should be a real hipster or hippie in no time.
 
Vicki Hamilton, our best ever January birthday chair was proud to report that only one January Birthtarian quit during her month. To date $500 has been received with 52% participation but that number should increase as there were a number of “check is in the mail responses” and the person who checks the mail has been in warmer climes. Vicki’s birthday question was about how Rotarians shifted their priorities or pastimes during the Pandemic. Rochelle Neal has been cooking and playing euchre (which Vicki thought was a root vegetable!); Rich Shaberg spent the time being thankful for money saved on lost travel opportunities; Nancy Eyde zoned out on Netflix (which she calls cotton candy for the brain); Beryl Schwartz (trigger warning, this next line contains graphic images that will be hard to forget), spent a lot of time taking baths and working from his tub using a $40 bath tub tray as his new remote office; Janet Lilly’s response was “family, family, family”; Chris Holman spent too much time with...Chris Holman. Which he described as uncomfortable, then awkward, then bored, followed by global apologies to all who have spent time with...Chris Holman. Gabrielle Haskins’ response was basically that life as we knew it has changed, but ended with we made it so far, let’s just take care of each other.
 
Curt Sonnenberg reported on recent awards by our Foundation’s International grant committee: $35,000 was distributed with 9 of 12 applications funded. Project funding requests are submitted by members of our Club and then the International grant committee uses software (slideroom) to evaluate and decide which requests should be funded. The Foundation is increasing the reporting obligations of grant recipients to verify application of grant funds to the grant purposes. Our web page currently has two examples featured but the plan is to showcase other international projects we’ve funded to demonstrate how Rotarians are People of Action.
 
A big shout out to Rotarians in the news: Vicki Hamilton-Allen for publishing a children’s book and Trey Williams on becoming President of Maner Costerisan.
 
Melody Warcheza introduced us to our speaker of the Day, the Hon. Brock Swartzle. Judge Swartzle serves on the Michigan Court of Appeals. He was an also ran this past election cycle for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. In running his campaign, he wanted it to be civil, so he gave opponents a courtesy call to let them know he was running. He reminisced about United States Supreme Court Justice Scalia, and that he (Swartzle) believes it is ok for judges to hold strong beliefs about the law and about the cases in front of them, and that judges shouldn’t be wishy washy, but should make the decision based on the law and facts before them. He explained that cases before the Court of Appeals are decided by a three judge panel, that the panels are randomly assigned to particular cases, but that you serve on the same panel for a year at a time. Judge Swartzle also talked about partisan vs. non-partisan judicial elections. He then opened it up for questions for a full 25 minutes which the lawyers in the audience took full advantage of. When we got to the end of our time, President Julie graciously thanked the speaker and sent us on our merry, end of January ways.
 
Kevin V.B. Schumacher's email is:  schumacher@glassenrhead.com