Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...
Member interview: Writer sheds light on FDR’s right-hand woman
Battling breast cancer in 2000, Kathryn Smith found comfort pursuing her lifelong interest in Franklin D. Roosevelt. The more she read, the more intrigued she became with the 32nd U.S. president’s private secretary, Marguerite Alice “Missy” LeHand. “I thought, what a fascinating life she had because she was by his side through the polio crisis, establishing the polio rehabilitation center in Warm Springs and then after his return to politics,” she says. Smith, a past president of the Rotary Club of Greater Anderson, S.C., and a longtime newspaper journalist, turned that curiosity into a book...
The Rotarian Conversation with Ban Ki-moon
One of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s earliest memories is of fleeing with his family into the mountains during the Korean War, his village burning behind him. His father and grandfather had to forage for food in the woods; his mother gave birth to his siblings away from anything remotely resembling a health facility. “I have known hunger,” he says. “I have known war, and I have known what it means to be forced to flee conflict.” The soldiers who came to their rescue were flying the blue flag of the United Nations. The UN provided them with food and their schools with books....
Culture: Life in the bike lane
Like a lot of us, I spent much of my childhood riding bikes, but fell out of the habit for a while. Forty years. Then my wife and I moved to New York, where cyclists risk their necks in a daily Thunderdome of cabs, police cars, firetrucks, double-decker buses, messengers on motorbikes, and delivery trucks backing around corners at 20 miles an hour. Not for me! At least not until my 50th birthday, when my metabolic furnace flamed out. Calories started going directly from beer bottle to beer belly. It was time to start exercising. Either that or give up Samuel Adams, and I couldn’t do that to...
Home Page Stories
President Shannon Neely presented Paul Harris Fellows for three members of the club who have completed 10 years of Service Above Self with the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Maureen Piercy Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Plus 2
John Sherratt Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1
Sharon McConnell Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1
President Elect Tracy Bray in our return to the Travelodge for our regular club meetings announced the results of the voting for the 2017/2018 Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Past President: Shannon Neely
President: Tracy Bray
President-elect: Andrew Bandler
Vice President and Secretary: Doug Peterson
Treasurer: Darrell Smith
Board of Directors
Posted by Jennifer May-Anderson on Feb 06, 2017
Jennifer May-Anderson is the Communications Manager of the Quinte Conservation Authority and has been in that position for 9 years . She is responsible for informing the public of situations which affect our area, especially in the area of water levels, whether they be too low or too high.
The Quinte Conservation Authority is one of 36 conservation authorities within Ontario, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The mandate of the Conservation Authority is to ensure the conservation, restoration, and responsible management of Ontario's water, land and natural habitats, through programs that balance environmental, human and economic needs.
The Quinte Conservation Authority was formed when the Moira River, Napanee, and Prince Edward Region Authorities were combined in 1996. The Authority is set up on a watershed basis. Our watersheds include the Moira River, Napanee Region, and Prince Edward Region Watersheds, , covering a total of 6.600 square kilometers. All of our watersheds drain into the Bay of Quinte.
Eighteen member municipalities appoint people to serve on the board for the Authority, which is funded by municipal levies, provincial and federal grants. The staff is comprised of over 25 people with various backgrounds and skills ( a water resources engineer, environmental planner, forestry specialist, naturalist, financial coordinator, field technicians, and other environmental specialists) , many of whom are Loyalist College graduates. The authority enjoys partnerships with federal and provincial governments, "friends" of the authority, local schools and businesses, land owners, community groups, and service clubs.
Quinte Conservation provides services to reduce the threat of loss of life and property damage, by issuing flood warnings, flood forecasting, and through the operation and maintenance of flood control structures. The Conservation Authority coordinates the local low water response team that provides information, leadership and preparedness in the event of a drought. These structures include 39 water control structures, 14 flood control structures, and other structures that provide for seasonal recreation, low flow augmentation, and local water supply. We are responsible for water quality monitoring, and we sample in rivers, streams, wells, and ground water sources.
We provide technical advice to municipalities, landowners, lawyers and developers.
We are responsible for protecting sources of municipal drinking water from overuse and contamination and we are facilitators in developing a Source Water Protection Plan. We work with Lower Trent Conservation Authority and federal and provincial governments on the "big Cleanup" of the Bay of Quinte.
We own over 30,000 acres of land, and have over 20 Conservation areas open to the public daily, from dawn to dusk. One conservation area doubles as a campground. (Depot Lakes - 3,000 acres, 4 lakes, interior and seasonal campsites)
The McLeod Dam Green energy Project - this was modified in 2007 - 2008 to generate electricity, enough to power 400 homes. This renewable energy reduces the equivalent of 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year from our air.
Our education programs include the "Stream of Dreams" which educates school children on the life and function of the watersheds in our area. This is followed by an art workshop which produces painted "dream fish" on school yard fences.
Low water has been a serious problem recently, and the Conservation Authority has been responsible for reporting, and advising communities of Low Water Conditions: Level I - potential water supply problem; voluntary conservation (10% reduction in use) Level II - potentially serious water problem; conservation and restrictions on non - essential use (20% reduction in use) Level 3 - failure of the water supply to meet the demand; conservation, restriction and regulation.
The Conservation Authority maintains water monitoring networks and and data, has strong links with the community groups, media, and government, and may facilitate coordination of water conservation messages. We operate dams and reservoirs and can verify MNRF data and low water conditions in the field. We monitor local stream health and water quality.
This past summer, we saw the lowest water levels recorded in Beaver Lake, the Salmon River at Croydon, the Skootamatta River at Price conservation Area and Consecon Creek. We need a lot of snow this winter to bring back the ground water levels; rain that falls now on frozen ground will just run off into rivers and streams, and will not help to replenish ground water sources.
Municipalities can enforce water use restrictions - they do not necessarily report back to the Conservation Authorities.
Andrew Bandler thanked Jennifer and commented that it is great to know we have a local authority monitoring and advising us on our water levels and quality.
Posted by John Smale and Ruth Mathieson on Jan 23, 2017
President Shannon was pleased to have John Smale, Chair of the Rotary Poker Walk for HIV/Aids and Dr. Ruth Mathieson, Chair of International Service as our guest speakers to share how monies are raised and spent, locally and internationally. First off, John thanked everyone for 11 great years of fundraising support as a walker on a team, a corporate sponsor or a pledge supporter, helping the Rotary Club of Belleville to raise over $750,000 over the past 10 years. A great achievement, but now in the 11th year, the fundraising committee is making some changes to re-invigorate the committee and their supports. The 5 km walk along the Belleville trails will become a "virtual" walk happening in one big room at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre. The theme is still around building the best 5 card poker hand, with some interesting twists. There will be 7 stations set up around the room with a Rotarian captain at each table where teams will circulate and receive one card at each stop along the way. After they make their 5 best cards into a poker hand, they can enhance their changes of winning by playing "Round the Ribbon", a board game designed to engage and educate people about HIV/AIDS. When a team answers 3 questions correctly, they are awarded an additional playing cad to better their poker hand. People will learn a lot and have fun along the way. John reminded everyone that it is not just about those infected, but also those affected, including orphaned children and the grandmothers raising them in Africa or those caring for their loves ones right in our community. Please mark Saturday, April 29th on your calendar to take part in the fully refreshed 2017 Rotary Poker Walk for HIV/AIDS and please share the weekly email stories, the success stories of the positive impact on people's lives, where the money has been spent with friends and help build the Rotary brand. It's very easy to make a donation on line. All you have to do is hit "make a donation now" button and voila, you will receive an automatic tax receipt for a pledge of $20 or more. The Committee is looking for more helping hands and fresh ideas, so please join this hard-working and focused Committee and have some fun along the way.
Dr. Ruth Mathieson as the Chair of the Aids Action Committee, helps to decide where the money raised gets spent. She has a great committee -- Amy Doyle, Lola Reid Allin, Marg Wagner, Elizabeth Grew, Anne Cunningham, Sandie Sidsworth, Sonia King. With a budget of $28,000 to spend the committee is kept busy to spread the money locally and internationally in order to cover many worthy causes. Locally, $3,450 was donated to All Together Housing to build a ramp for the home where 5 male clients are living with HIV. Money was donated to HARS and Casey House to buy Christmas presents for their most needy clients living with HIV. The Committee also supports Dr. Paul Thistle and his family at the Karanda Hospital in Zimbabwe where he volunteers. Between our Club and a District Grant a second hand van was purchased for the Matangwe Clinic to transport sick as well as provide transportation for staff and to act as a hearse.
The International Service Committee under the leadership of Dr. Ruth has a budget of $44,000 and it is a privilege to be able to assist financially in many needed ventures by supporting initiatives such as Kids Against Hunger, War Child and Shelter Boxes for the Syrian refugees. In Mexico, funds were provided to complete the Yo'onik Community Learning Centre in Chiapas (pictured). The Committee also supported residents of Fort McMurray following the devastating forest fire in Alberta. Manfred Sohn and Al Koudsi are two committee members and help out wherever they can. Through Al Koudsi's connections with a Lebanon Club, we were able to help Syrian refugees and provide water and sanitation at a school there. Dr. Ruth thanked everyone for their continuous support of these many projects and considers it an honour that the members trust the decisions being made.
(renovations to primary school in Matangwe, Kenya)
Posted by Cassandra Bonn
Kristin Crowe introduced our speaker, Cassandra Bonn who many members will recall was an active Rotary member 8 -9 years ago and stepped away for a while and is now back and attending Satellite Club meetings. Cassandra is a marketing professional who has started, built and sold her own business and is now at Quinte Broadcasting. She is married to Kris Bonn of Bonn Law and they have two children, Grace and Fraser. Cassandra loves golf and running marathons. Cassandra is going to share her personal story and speak about the Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre and its playground project. It is something she is passionate about. Welcome, Cassandra.
Cassandra greeted everyone and indicated it was nice to be back to Rotary. Her story today is a very personal one. It’s about her son, Fraser. Cassandra provided some background. When she was 25 years old, she got married while living in Toronto and eventually moved to Trenton with her husband, Kris. They wanted to start a family. Unfortunately, she got shocking news at the age of 27 that she had premature ovarian failure and her doctor told her that she would have to adopt or have eggs donated. She tried in vitro fertilization –her cousin donated her eggs. After tens of thousands of dollars, she miscarried. It was a devastating blow. Right then and there they decided to adopt and to pursue private adoption. There was 3 months of paperwork, doctor referrals, blood work, fingerprint testing and even essay writing on various topics. After submitting the final paperwork, things happened fast and in a week they got a call, in another week they were interviewed by a young couple, and a few days later they were chosen as the parents. Five months later, Grace was born. When Grace was 2 and a half, Cassandra and Kris decided to go down the adoption path again. But this time, it seemed to take a really long time. When Grace was nearly 3 and half, they almost gave up, and then they got the call again. A baby was to be born in 4 weeks. Their son, Fraser had a traumatic birth and was put in neonatal ICU for observation. Cassandra says they felt very lucky to have adopted a healthy girl and boy, both at birth. They were happy they now had a family.
Over time Cassandra slowly started to observe some things about Fraser. At 3 months he wasn’t using his right hand, only his left. At 8 months while he was eating in his high chair he would keep his right arm down, and he was crawling most with his left. Their family noticed but as parents, they brushed it off. At 10 months they took Fraser to the doctor and then were referred to a pediatrician. Cassandra remembers walking into the office that day. Six people were there to observe Fraser. It was unexpected! There was some testing to investigate, a referral for an MRI and a suggestion to start therapy right away.That day Cassandra learned about the Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) at Belleville General Hospital. She never even knew it existed before. This is an amazing facility that services the entire Quinte region. After an MRI, it was confirmed that Fraser had Cerebral Palsy. Cassandra didn’t even know what that meant. Cerebral Palsy is the result of a brain injury or a brain malformation. The majority of Cerebral Palsy cases result from abnormal brain development or brain injury prior to birth or during labor and delivery. Cerebral Palsy causes physical impairment. It affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. An individual with Cerebral Palsy will likely show signs of physical impairment. However, the type of movement dysfunction, the location and number of limbs involved, as well as the extent of impairment, will vary from one individual to another. It can affect arms, legs, and even the face; it can affect one limb, several, or all. While Kris and Cassandra did hit the adoption jackpot, they were now faced with a parent’s biggest fears of a child having a disability.
They started taking Fraser to therapy 2 to 3 times per week at the CTC. It didn’t feel much like therapy. It was more like play time but really, the staff were cleverly masking the therapy through play. Let’s face it…. therapy is hard work. While attending the CTC with Fraser, they learned that very often the CTC gets overlooked for funding. Not because the need doesn’t exist, just that there are lots of priorities throughout the entire hospital. When Kris turned 40, instead of having an elaborate birthday, he asked friends and family to help raise much needed funds for the CTC. They ran (some biked) approximately 50km around the Bay of Quinte. Just over $10,000 was raised. The funds purchased new equipment for the gymnasium, including padded slides, trampoline, tunnel and other items.
The CTC provides habilitation and rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, social work and medical services to children and youth with special needs. Last year, they saw over 1000 children from birth to 18 years of age from the Hastings and Prince Edward region, and these children have over 10,000 visits per year! Some of these children are the most vulnerable. Approximately 5 years ago, the therapist started talking about the needs of the Centre and ways to maximize therapy session. They had a goal of building an outdoor therapy centre – a playground – that would allow the therapists to provide therapy where kids truly want to be in the nice weather – outside. At the CTC, the goal is to assist each child and their family to reach their potential and to participate as fully as possible in the life of our community. The playground project will allow children the opportunity to just be kids. To play, to laugh, to grow.
Cassandra says Fraser is one of the lucky ones. While his challenges are present, it is mild compared to most. There are children that frequently attend the CTC for regular, intensive therapy sessions, some with very severe mobility issues.The Therapy Playground Project is an opportunity to extend therapy outside and into nature. A place where children want to be the most, but often can’t be due to their mobility issues. This facility will allow therapists to conduct their work with these kids in a real-world environment. And kids will get an opportunity to play and perhaps mask the real therapy taking place. And for some kids, this will be the only playground they will ever know. There are several accessible playground throughout Quinte. But this one is different. It is a truly fully accessible playground with an emphasis around the needs of the children for their therapeutic goals – each unique. Some children require different sensory experiences. Some require different terrain for their mobility aids – grass, concrete, rubberized surfaces to mimic the real world experiences. The playground has many different features – multiple therapy stations where children can work on many different aspects of their therapy. The playground also allows for individual sessions and group sessions to take place. It also allows parents, caregivers and siblings to attend and learn some of the tools and techniques. The new playground is located just outside of the new Sills Wing, in between the parking lot and the front of the building – to the furthest north, east side of the building.
Construction started in the fall and it is over 85% complete with the goal of opening officially in the spring. This is a $300,000 project, and through many generous donations, to date we have raised $240,000. We need to raise the remaining $60,000. Cassandra says she knows that Rotary loves kids and that it is amazing what a community like ours can do. She is truly humbled and thankful to know that together, we can make a difference. If you would like more information, please chat with her or Director of Development Jenn Mindle Barrett or Manager of the CTC Margo Russell-Bird.Cassandra thanked everyone for their time and said together, let’s help them play.
Judy McKnight thanked Cassandra for sharing her story and talked about the importance of supporting the CTC.
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Posted by Mayor Taso Christopher on Jan 09, 2017
Rotarian Adam Zegouras introduced Mayor Taso Christopher and remembers looking for hockey equipment as a young kid and getting treated well through Taso's business at the time. Taso was elected as Mayor of Belleville in October 2014 after serving two terms on Council. He was born and raised in Belleville and has been a resident of River Road in Corbyville for the past 20 years along with his wife, Betty, and three daughters. Taso graduated from Quinte Secondary School and Humber College and has been an owner/partner of the local sporting goods retailer Four Seasons Sports for more than 35 years. He served our community as a Councillor from 2006-2014 and has an in-depth knowledge of how the City of Belleville operates as a municipality. He has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that face our community and the people who live here. In addition to his role on City Council, Taso has been the chair of the Police Services Board, co-chaired the Belleville Waterfront and Ethnic Festival and been a Member of the City of Belleville Planning Committee, City of Belleville Audit Committee and the Library Board. Taso has also been a Member of the Greek Community Board of Directors, Chairman of the QHC Cancer Gala and President of the Quinte Ethnic Festival Council.
Taso has proven that he is always willing to ask the tough questions and takes a common sense approach to making decisions to improve the quality of life in the City of Belleville. Taso has been an important part of Belleville’s progress in the past decade including these important projects
- Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre
- Integrated Court House Building
- Doctor Recruitment Program
- Build Belleville Infrastructure Deficit Program
- Veteran’s Memorial Bridge
- Belleville Senators Hockey Club
Mayor Christopher said 2016 has been the busiest construction year and the City has much to celebrate in having completed a number of capital projects, including a new snow disposal program, upgrade of the Corby Rose Garden, 95% completion of the Bay Bridge, expanded Christmas Light display, opening of the new Archive Center at the Library, upgrading of playground equipment in the City. Definitely a year of implementation. The City hosted the U19 World Girls soccer competition with 400 athletes coming together, the first time to Ontario and outside of Europe. The City has completed Phase 2 of the downtown re-vitalization and will be moving forward to Phase 3.
An exciting time for the City is welcoming the Belleville Senators Hockey Club. Mark Fleuer is a large part of the successful results and will be managing the facility upgrade, on time and on budget. The opening of Shorelines Casino, providing 220 full-time jobs in the area, brings gaming to our community. The investments council has made in tourism is attracting different organizations and families to the area. The City of Belleville is leading the province as far as levels of service for a municipality of our size. Overall our economic development has experienced huge growth with newly developed land for sale, industrial expansion of Proctor and Gamble, a low unemployment rate of 4.9 compared to historical average of 6.7, more doctors. The Mayor credited service clubs such as the Rotary Club of Belleville along with churches, the YMCA, foodbanks, all have contributed countless hours to make the City a safe place to work and play.
There are many projects still in the works, the new police facility, upgrades to the arena, Phase 3 of downtown vitalization, a recycling facility, new fire station in Plainfield, renovations to City Hall reception/entrance and the Mayor was excited to talk about plans to help the City celebrate their 200th anniversary in 2017. Mayor Christopher gave credit to the community for welcoming Syrian refugees, proving that we are a community with a big heart and wide arms.
Past President Len Kennedy thanked the Mayor for his presentation, a fitting way to start the year and a reminder of the achievements and developments still to come.