Rotary Club of Vernon Silver Star

 
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President
Immediate Past President
President Elect
Secretary
Treasurer
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BBQ Coordinator
district grant writer
 
 

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Club Information

The Club that Shines Early

Vernon Silver Star

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 6:45 AM
Village Green Hotel
4801 27th Street
Vernon, BC  V1T 4Z1
Canada
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Home Page Stories
 
Johanna Grönlund, our incoming Rotary Youth Exchange Student (RYES) for 2015-16, comes from Sweden.  She arrived Aug 14th, 2015, following a grueling flight through Chicago & Seattle, & will be leaving next week.  Her parents arrive shortly & will take her to Calgary before heading home.  Johanna believes this was both the best & worst year of her life – coping with homesickness, & missing the birth of her god-daughter, but also making many new friends.  She got very involved in WL Seaton’s theatre program, enjoyed being a gypsy for Halloween, made the “Honor Choir,” had a family dog for the first time, & really appreciated her host sister Lakin.  She believes social media will keep her close to her many new RYES friends from all over the world, & leaves us with many thanks for a wonderful year.  “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to leave sight of the shore!”  Our club owes a big round of thanks to Geordie & his family, who really took Johanna under their wings.
 

 
 
President Bev Rundell welcomed 20 members, 11 spouses, 1 visiting Rotarian & 14 other guests, including many past members.  Keith Johnston presented Paul Harris Foundation (PHF) awards to Geordie McLennan, Bev Rundell & Jim Kanester.  Bev presented membership milestone tabs to Sandra Ross (absent Wendy Hesketh) for 5 years, Bob Clarke, Janet Green, Colin Heggie & Martin von Holst for 10, Marty Armstrong, Givonna De Bruin & Leigh Hewer for 15, (absent Rob Irving for 20), Michael Wardlow for 25, & Ken Barton for 30 years.  Retiring Club Directors Colin Heggie, Dave Hoyte, Keith Johnston, Jim Kanester & Sandra Ross were thanked for their service, while new Directors Teresa Bartel, (absent Paul Philps) & Dan Rieb received their pins.  Bev then inducted our 2016-17 Directors, including President Martin von Holst & President Elect Geordie McLennan.  Past members Ron Burnham, Peter Dubetz, Sandie Glennie, Vic Lepp, Keray Regan, Keith Rydings, Dennis Windsor & Greg Wylie each spoke briefly, including comments about the friendships, laughs & community contributions they enjoyed during their tenures.  The picture above shows L-R Ken Barton, past member Keray Regan, Sandra Ross, Leigh Hewer, Janet Green, Martin von Holst, Michael Wardlow, Givonna De Bruin, Marty Armstrong, Bob Clarke & Colin Heggie.
 

 
 
Martin von Holst began his term as 2016-17 Club President with a photo montage background on the projector & new RI President John Germ’s “Rotary Serving Humanity” banner draped from the lectern.  He presented Paul Philps with his new Director pin – Dan Rieb had received his at our Celebrate Rotary! event last week.  At their first Directors’ meeting next week, Martin & his crew will assign duties amongst themselves.
New member Chris Hart is inducted by Membership Director Dave Weatherill.  This impressive young man has a list of interests & accomplishments long enough to exhaust most of us.  Let’s just say he seems quite smart & rather outdoorsy!
 
Dave also reminded members of the adventures he & Joanne had in India a few years ago, as part of 40-something members of District 5060 participating in an “End Polio Now” National Immunization Day.  
 

 
 
Colin Hamilton, manager of the Village Green Liquor Store, presented our Celebrate Rotary! evening with four wines from Langley, BC’s Backyard Vineyards -- Nosy Neighbour White, paired with two cheeses; Pinot Noir Rose with a margherita pizza; Cabernet Sauvignon with a mini steak sandwich; & Cabernet Franc with dark chocolate & blueberries.  Though Bev Rundell was disappointed not to receive a margarita pizza, everyone else was very happy with these delicious selections.  Colin told us that the Okanagan Valley is the most developed, but not the only BC wine growing region.  BC now has 10,260 acres planted in 929 vineyards, supplying 255 wineries.  Total BC wine production has grown from 4.9 million litres in 1995 to 21.4 million in 2015!  Sandra Ross has conducted exhaustive research, concluding that our VG Liquor Store has the best selection of BC wines in Vernon!
 

 
 
Drew Vincent, a graduate of Okanagan College & entrepreneurial / social justice organization “Enactus,” now heads “Okanagan Young Professionals”(OYP), a program owned by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC). OYP’s core mandate is to connect young professionals to personal and professional opportunities – addressing a need for 75,000 new skilled workers in the Okanagan by 2020.  Their activities include connections, events, resources, recruiting & recommendations.
 

 
 
 
Mike Wardlow hosted Diane Bond, Kelowna based founding & Managing Director of the Okanagan Summer Festival Society.  Her background includes MA & MBA degrees, extensive work with high profile arts & performance organizations, founding a direct mail & internet business, & consulting on organizational planning, recruitment & marketing.  Her vision is to build an outdoor performance venue in the Okanagan, capable of attracting big-name orchestras, musicians, theatre companies, dance troupes & other performers.  She used the Bravo! Vail facility as a model for discussion.  Though the Okanagan College site in Coldstream has been recently rejected by our provincial government, her group will continue to seek a suitable site.  Her extensive background, ambition & contacts lead us to believe we’ll soon hear more about this exciting concept.
 

 
 
Martin von Holst hosted White House Mortgage’s Deb White, who chairs the Vernon Winter Carnival Society.  Though early winter carnivals were recorded in 1893 & 1945, it was 1961 when VWCS formed, beginning a continuous history of events.  Early carnivals were associated with minor hockey jamborees, speed skating races, the Vernon Girls’ Trumpet Band, alpine skiing championships, ski jumping & curling briers.  1966 saw the introduction of Carnival jester Jopo & a Sheriff, who was later named a Karnival Kop.  Jopette arrived in 1971.  Since 1961, about 650 young ladies have been Queen Silver Star candidates.  VWCS relies on about 700 volunteers contributing 10,000 hours per year.  There are a mix of about 90 events, sponsored by VWCS, other non-profits & businesses.  For 2017, the theme will celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
 

 
 
In his vocational talk, new member Udai Singha told how he was born in Ontario, then as a baby was moved back to India with his family.  He completed undergraduate & law degrees.  After practicing law for a couple of years, he uprooted himself & moved to Vancouver on his own, not knowing anyone there.  Finding his Indian law degree unrecognized in Canada, he quickly found work at a Honda dealership, beginning with washing cars.  A weekend trip to the Falkland Stampede led to a meeting at Bannister Honda, where he must have impressed GM Pat Loehndorf.  Soon, he was Bannister’s top salesman.  Online, Udai met Toronto actuary Puneet Dhillon, who was convinced to come here in winter 2014.  Udai & Puneet went to India last month, where they were married in a traditional ceremony.  
 

 
 
Puneet Dhillon watched her new husband, Udai Singha, inducted by Dave Weatherill as our first "corporate" member.  Udai was sponsored by Pat Loehndorf, of Bannister Honda, who recently transferred to Kalamalka Rotary Club.  Following inductions, President Bev Rundell spoke about the recent District Conference in Yakima, WA.
 

 
 
Dan Rieb arranged our meeting at Ratio Coffee, in the old train station at 3101 29th St.  His purpose was to present his vision of a public market, using this historic building, plus its sister building to the north, & the easterly half acre lot which makes up one third of the City’s old Coldstream Hotel lot to the west.  The City’s Official Community Plan, & at least a couple of business development studies, mention a public market as a desirable feature of a dynamic downtown.  The benefits of a market, particularly in a central location surrounded by workers with good jobs, are obvious.  Dan & his group of investors have a plan to purchase the two train station buildings, join them with an atrium, retain anchor tenants at each end, redevelop the interior space to market use, & operate a management company.  They have yet to obtain support of the City in leasing the portion of their property needed to make this plan work.  Members with questions or comments about this proposal are invited to contact Dan.
 

 
 
Rob Irving (L) sponsored his wife Donna as our club's first "family" member;  President Bev Rundell congratulates her.
 
 
 

 
 

New member Paul Philps told us he was born in Richmond, BC, but grew up in Leduc & Edmonton, AB, following his father’s career as a pastor.  He obtained a degree in Education, with specialties in Social Studies & Physical Education, but unfortunately his graduation coincided with a period where Alberta laid off 1,700 teachers.  Paul found work making mattresses for Sealy, & was quickly promoted to lead a crew of 50 people.  At age 21, he lost his mother to cancer, & moved to Vancouver, where he got into print sales & sang in a band for several years.  He then began accountancy courses, & at age 30 set out to South Korea for a teaching job.  Due to visa problems, this job didn’t work out, but he continued his travels to Japan, Australia, New Zealand & China.  Upon returning home to the Vancouver area, he met & soon married Heather.  After a couple of years in Surrey, & earning his CPA, Paul & Heather moved to her hometown – Vernon, where he found work with RBC Dominion Securities.  Their second child was born just a few weeks ago.  In addition to Rotary, Paul is involved with JCI & enjoys public speaking competitions.

 

 
 
Don Miller (C) hosted Brad Clements (L) & Dwayne Thomson’s description of plans for the Okanagan Rail Trail.  The City of Kelowna, Lake Country, Greater Vernon & the Okanagan Indian Band have established an Inter-Jurisdictional Team (IDT) to design & build the trail, following a series of community input sessions.  CN has yet to complete removal of ties, & will remain responsible for environmental cleanups.  The Central Okanagan Foundation & Community Foundation of the North Okanagan will collect, hold & receipt donations.  Construction of the trail will occur in phases, dependent upon donations.  The cost to build the 48km trail, including a 4.6m wide compacted crushed aggregate surface, drainage, basic signage, access control, upgraded crossings & finance charges, is expected to be about $7.9m.  This doesn’t include parking or washrooms.  Trail Ambassadors, Campaign Partners & Business Partners will be sought to provide volunteers, fundraising & in-kind donations.  The trail is expected to be busiest during spring & fall shoulder seasons, enhancing our valley tourist industry.  There hundreds of rail trails all over the world, but few with the length & scenery offered by the Okanagan.
 

 
 
Geordie McLennan hosted Scott McKenzie of the Vernon Paddling Centre Society, located at Paddlewheel Park on Okanagan Lake.  VPCS is a non-profit organization promoting safe & skillful paddling.  Affordable memberships include unlimited use of club boats, with optional boat storage.  “Drop-ins” are also available, & new paddlers are always welcome.  The club owns outrigger canoes for one, two & six paddlers, plus standup paddleboards, canoes & surfskis.  They have an active coaching & racing program, & participate in group paddles & races both in & outside BC.  There’s also a social program including year-round events.
 

 
 
Dan Rieb hosted Frances Warner, a retired urban planner, (shown with her architect husband Doug) who spoke on behalf of the Vernon chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW).  Aside from the learning & entertainment at their regular meetings, these ladies fundraise to support local literacy, the Women’s Transition House Society, Capsule College & other charities.  At 7pm on Fri, May 6th, at OC’s Lecture Theatre, they’re hosting three speakers to discuss “Tomorrow’s Homes – Efficient By Design,” followed Sat, May 7th by their third annual “Eco-friendly Home Tour” of three super-efficient local homes, plus the new Kal Tire office building.  Designed & built to minimize energy needs, some structures are now able to produce more energy than they consume, while enjoying a much cleaner & more natural interior environment.    
 

 
 
Our Tue, Apr 5th breakfast meeting was replaced by an early evening social event at Olive Us Oils in downtown Vernon.  19 guests, including 5 spouses joined our members for an overview of Rotary, & description of our clubs’ contribution to the community.  Wine and appies were enjoyed during a social time, followed by tastings of delicious extra virgin olive oils & vinegars, infused with a wide variety of flavours.  From Ray Morin & his “foodie” daughter Bailey, we learned that both white & dark balsamic vinegars come from trebbiano grapes, the latter being aged longer, using wood barrels.  Several of our members engaged fully in the opportunity to sample many of the delicious combinations of oil & vinegar!
 

 
 
Jim Kanester hosted Vernon Fire & Rescue Services’ 15th Chief, Keith Green, who spoke about their upcoming Sat, May 7th celebration of their 125th anniversary.  The Vernon Fire Brigade was formed in 1891.  The first firehall was where Marten Brewpub is presently located.  Their first fire truck was a used unit purchased for $150. In 1894, they had supplies valued at $888, & installed a large bell in the hall’s tower, at a cost of $176.  Chief Green aims to have this old bell re-installed at the hall in early May.  Our current firehall opened, along with our City Hall, old library & museum complex, in 1966.  Firehall #2 is at Okanagan Landing, & #3 recently opened at Predator Ridge.  Engine #1 was purchased about 2012 for about $800,000, & the nearly 25 year old 105ft aerial truck will soon be replaced at a cost of over $1m.
 

 
 
Keith Johnston presented a video of incoming RI President John Germ, speaking to Presidents Elect & ADGs Elect at a recent Seattle President Elect Training Seminar event.  He asked “How Are You Going To Spend The Rest Of Your Life?” & suggested Rotarians should engage themselves, & prospective members, in using their talents to make their communities, & the world, a better place.  John believes local Rotary club Presidents have the most influence on Rotary – where the work gets done.  Both current & prospective Rotarians ask “What’s In It For Me?” & need ways to feel engaged in the work of building community.  By setting goals, Presidents can give members that opportunity.  Clubs need to respond to the need for a diversity of ways, in addition to traditional meetings, where members can meet their needs, while contributing meaningfully to making their community better.  
 

 
 
Our lovely Barrita Durward, owner/operator of Cotton’s Chocolates, was chosen March 7th as “2016 Business Person of the Year” at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards.  Sponsored by Kal Tire, this award recognizes her 20 years of success as a chocolatier, plus her contributions not just to our community, but also her continuing support of Mexican orphans through her “Sweet Smiles” charity.
 

 
 
Rob Irving thanks Don Blakely & Jeremy Griffiths of Vernon Search & Rescue.  They last spoke to us in Jan 2012.  As one of 80 BC SAR units, they’re the 8th busiest, & one of the most capable.  In 2015, they executed 58 rescues, including 13 with a helicopter.  In 2012, we donated $5,000 for training of their helicopter winch rescue volunteers.  They now have highly trained in-flight & ground crews, combined with an exceptionally well-equipped aircraft, performing a wide range of rescue operations.  West Kelowna’s Wildcat Helicopters, in partnership with Emergency Management BC, maintains a dedicated winch-equipped Bell 412, with a break-apart stretcher, advanced secure radios, & a special heating system for hypothermia victims.  Patients are now able to be transported directly to hospital.  Vernon has the first volunteer BC SAR unit using a winch-equipped helicopter, which greatly expands the chances of survival for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, motorists & other accident victims in remote locations throughout southern BC.
 

 
 
Dave Hoyte hosted Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund for a question & answer period.  Topics included our Official Community Plan – not currently a hot topic; airport expansion – a new federal MoT standard means we have until Sep 2017 to begin a runway extension to accommodate larger executive jets, for companies like Kal Tire, which provide a substantial portion of our airport’s revenue through fuel sales;  new larger buildings downtown – 6, 8 & 10 storey buildings are in the pipeline, dependent upon developers’ confidence in a market for downtown condos; a bike & pedestrian path extension from Polson Park to Kal Lake;  provision of parking near Kal Beach, for anticipated users of the new rail trail; western bypass route – Mayor Mund doesn’t believe it will happen, as the provincial MoT doesn’t see it as a priority, & as the primary funder, would determine the scope of the project & route; water rates – comparisons with Kelowna’s lower rates will change when Kelowna begins planned major upgrades to their system; “greening” & clean-up of property – the City doesn’t have the power to dictate how owners maintain their private property.  
 

 
 
The Salvation Army Vernon’s Corp Officers, Captains Ray Lamont & Curtis Plante, hosted by Leigh Hewer, explained how increasing demands for food bank & social resources over the past decade, combined with decreasing resources, led to a need for numerous structural & personnel changes, aimed at sustainable operations.  They now have fewer employees, but more with full time jobs with benefits.  Clients looking for food are now regularly interviewed by trained caseworkers, to ensure they meet eligibility criteria, & to address underlying issues, provide referrals & reduce or eliminate their dependence.  A variety of programs are designed to address childrens’ needs, stressed parents & lonely individuals, etc.  Vernon’s “House of Hope” is now in a better financial position to offer more people more meaningful help, but their ultimate goal is to help build a community where their help isn’t needed.   
 

 
 
Wendy Hesketh talked about her Oct 2015 trip to Bolivia, with her husband Al, our 2011-12 RYES Lukki (now Lukas) and a group of Germans organized by Lukas' father.  She showed us beautiful pictures of the country.  There was no green grass and it was a very high altitude country.  The hiking was very, very, very long but they saw some amazing places.  The height on one mountain was 6,020 metres.  Wendy suffered some days of sickness but explained that when she chewed the Coca Leaf or drank that tea she felt better.  One day they experienced howling winds, lost their guide over an edge and had Alpaca's running in their group.  They saw Lake Titicaca and lots of Islands.  It sounded like a well organized tour but much harder than expected.
 
 

 
 
Jim Kanester, our Scholarship Coordinator, hosted Vernon Secondary School grad Tess Emily Depres, now a UBCO sciences student, who thanked us for our contribution to her education costs.  Unlike many of us Rotarians, who could earn enough in a month’s summer job to pay our post-secondary tuition fees, students today struggle to pay about $5,000 in tuition, plus another $1,000 for books.
 

 
 
  
Andy Wylie is a passionately proud Canadian, intent upon celebrating the April 9th to 12th, 2017 centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Many historians see this WW1 battle as Canada’s military “coming of age.”  It was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps worked together as a single unit.  Under the command of Canada’s brilliant General Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian troops captured the Vimy Ridge stronghold, which the Germans had heavily fortified, where several attempts by others had failed.  Today, the impressive Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which occupies 100 hectares in northeast France given in perpetuity to Canada, remains a potent reminder of the importance of this piece of our history.  Andy has a vision to turn the back yard & rear lane of his 29th Street home, east of Rocky Mountain Transport, into a celebration of Vimy, with flags, decorated explanatory panels & a scale wooden replica of the famous stone memorial in France.  It would be easily accessible by cyclists & pedestrians expected to use the new rail trail network through Vernon, & could become a notable tourist attraction.  Andy is hoping our club will lend its support to this project, which also coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday.
 

 
 
 
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