Rotary Club of Vernon Silver Star

Club Executives & Directors
Immediate Past President
President Elect
Community Service
International Service
New Generations Service
The Rotary Foundation (TRF)
Club Administration
Public Relations
Father Daughter Ball
Relief Secretary
BBQ Coordinator 2
Scholarships 1
Sargeant at Arms
Athletic Awards
BBQ Coordinator 3
Grape Escape Wine Raffle
Scholarships 2
Vipers 50/50 Raffles
BBQ Coordinator 1
Smoke Alarm Project
Rotary Ride (Cycling)
CPR Training
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
District Site
Venue Map
Home Page Stories

Vernon / North Okanagan RCMP Detachment Commander Supt. Jim McNamara has 30 years of experience in policing, primarily in operational and front-line duties. He first came here in 2010, as the Operations Officer, in charge of day-to-day operations. The detachment serves a diverse area including Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby, Lumby, Falkland and the Splatsin and Okanagan First Nations.  Supt. McNamara previously worked in an advisory role for the BC RCMP in its Southeast District office, ensuring RCMP detachments were meeting the expectations of the communities they served. His previous experience also includes watch and operations commands, command of the Tactical Troop, and oversight of crime prevention and victim services for a large Lower Mainland detachment. All his policing service is within BC.  He’s integrated the operations of five detachments serving a population of about 82,000 people.  His resources include about 100 regular officers, 48 support staff, 17 Auxiliary Constables, 4 Reservists & about 60 volunteers.  Policing is expensive!  The annual cost of a regular Constable, with benefits & a car, is about $164,000.  In 2015, his detachment responded to over 28,000 calls, & held over 2,200 prisoners.  His (our) biggest challenge is dealing with property crimes committed by substance abusers, many of whom have untreated mental health issues, due to lack of treatment facilities.  He also talked a bit about municipal concerns arising from the requirement that communities of over 5,000 people must pay for 30% of overall policing costs.


Dr Craig Goplen hosted his wife Judie, shown above with Bob Clarke.  Judie is a former emergency room head nurse & public health nurse, who now works with Dr Brian Chai, an internist & gastroenterologist, who specializes in the treatment of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).  It’s estimated that only 30-50% of Canadians with HCV have been diagnosed.  Blood donors are screened for HCV, but a typical checkup by a family physician won’t necessarily include such screening.  People born between 1945 & 1965 are most susceptible.  Many people with HCV are able to fight off the disease, but those whose livers are chronically affected will develop cirrhosis (scarring), leading to liver failure.  A liver transplant costs about $2m.  Tremendous advances have been made in treatment for HCV over the past couple of decades – it’s now considered curable through a course of drug treatments, such as “Perfectovir,” which doesn’t cause the sickness associated with earlier drugs.  Because this drug costs about $70,000 per patient, it’s only supplied to those who meet certain criteria, & are selected through a review panel.  Still, it’s cost effective to treat, as those with HCV are at higher risk of cancer, heart disease, & other ailments.  For more info, see:

Dan Rieb (left) hosted well-known local birder Don Cecile, who spoke about his Spring 2015 experience spending six weeks in Barrow, Alaska, as volunteer research assistant, conducting shorebird surveys.  Don is a former teacher & school VP, who now runs Sandhill Properties, a real estate investment & property management company.  He’s also an active thespian & naturalist.  Barrow, AK, on the Beaufort Sea, with a population of just over 4,000, is the U.S.A.’s northernmost community.  Surrounded by flat, ankle-high vegetation, many locals rely on traditional hunting & fishing.  This is prime polar bear country – but sadly, Don didn’t see one on this trip.  He & his colleagues, working indirectly for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, assessed 5-600 shorebirds, including many varieties of killdeer, snowy owls, eider ducks, jaegers, red-necked stints, long-tailed ducks, American golden plovers, dunlins, pectoral sandpipers & pacific loons.  Most of these birds come several thousand miles north for a short stay to breed & hatch their eggs, then return south.  

Paige Webster, a double dogwood graduate, from W.L. Seaton was awarded a $1,000 bursary for her studies at Okanagan College.  She was very appreciative of the gift.  It was  interesting to hear about her future study goals and her journey through a French immersion education here in Vernon. 

Bob France hosted Danielle Toperczer, a Professional Agrologist  & Manager with the Invasive Species Council of BC.  ISPBC is a non-profit which resists the introduction & spread of invasive plants, animals & organisms not native to BC, presenting risk or harm to native species & therefore our economy.  A combination of professional staff and volunteers provide outreach & education, training, operations & research, along with a variety of government, other non-profit & industry partners.  Their “Be Plantwise, Grow Me Instead” program provides both a brochure & a mobile app highlighting 26 of BC’s “Most Unwanted” horticulture plants, with recommended alternatives.  Among a number of examples discussed were English Ivy, Scotch Broom & Knotweeds.  Carp, eurasian milfoil & zebra mussels are other well-known invasive species representing serious threats to our habitat & economy.  See

Dave Weatherill hosted local teacher-on-call & avid sailor Eric Martinen, who talked about his recent adventure in our Great Lakes, aboard “Sea Dragon,” a 72’ yacht owned by Pangaea Exploration ( ).  This organization conducts marine conservation research & supports the development of conservation resources & scientists.  Eric’s trip was focused on measuring the prevalence & effects of plastics in our lakes – specifically polyethylene, or “microbeads,” which serve as abrasives in many consumer products, such as toothpaste & facial cleansers.  Because microbeads in our lakes & oceans are being ingested by birds & fish, & also by humans, our governments are under pressure to force reluctant manufacturers to speed up the replacement of microbeads by natural abrasives, such as ground walnut or apricot shells, etc.  Eric passed around samples of microbeads strained from a couple of consumer products.  We can all avoid microbeads by looking at the ingredients on labels, & not purchasing those with polyethylenes. 

Our club is sponsoring Margarite Zinovyeva as a Queen Silver Star Excellence Program candidate.  Despite only having been in Canada for three years, this delightful young lady is poised & ambitious.  She hopes to train as an architect, & enjoys photography, art, music & math.  She speaks Russian, German, Polish & English.  She says her biggest challenge is finding enough time in the day to fit in her schoolwork, QSSEP, & all those other interests. 

Dr Sandra Peacock, UBCO anthropologist, is thanked by our Sandra Ross.  Dr Peacock takes students to Tanzania for six weeks, to learn fieldwork skills, & how to contribute meaningfully to social developments in a subsistence farming economy.  She updated us on the results of our $4,000 contribution last year, to help improve washroom facilities at the Moivaro Primary School in Arusha, Tanzania.  Replacement of old dysfunctional washrooms, which were threatening closure of the school, allows about 950 students to continue their studies.  Dr Peacock, in conjunction with the Vijiji Foundation in Arusha & Rotarians nearby, has worked with our International Service Director, Sandra Ross, to complete & send a District Grant application for provision of a school kitchen & food storage facility, so more students can receive “Food for Thought,” & some of their parents can earn students’ hot lunches through in-kind donations of food.  We hope our next $4,000 will be matched by another $4,000 in District funds!

Several of our members got well into the Christmas spirit -- clockwise from top left: Dan Rieb, Dr John Wheeldon, Mike Wardlow, Bob Clarke, Leigh Hewer, Dave Weatherill, Bob France & Sandra Ross.
At our Dec 15th Annual General Meeting, Geordie McLennan was confirmed as our President Elect for next year.  Members approved new bylaws, based on a recommended RI set, modified to our needs.  We also amended our club vision, & approved a $4,000 donation, to be combined with a matching District Grant, for the “Lunch for Learners” program at Moivaro Primary School in Arusha, Tanzania.  Donations of $4,500 for the meal program at Teen Junction, plus $1,000 to the Junction Literacy Centre were also approved.
This past Sunday, Rob & Donna Irving hosted our club’s annual potluck Christmas Party.  Following an assignment of late member Glenn Green’s PHF points, President Bev Rundell presented Past President Janet Green with her third PHF award.

On Sat, Dec 12th, Silver Star Rotarians cooked & helped serve a fundraising breakfast for Hillview Elementary School.  Jim Kanester, Bob France & Leigh Hewer are shown at the grills.


Keith Johnston hosted Nicole Makohoniuk & Wendy Aasen, from the Junction Literacy Centre & Teen Junction, where he’s a board member.  They described where their funds come from, and how they rely on organizations like ours for a good portion of their food.  They also have multiple fund raisers and the youth go into the community on bottle drives etc. if they need to raise money for activities or food that is not in their budget.  They are very cost conscious and teach the youth how to prepare healthy meals with limited funds.  There are currently 14 regulars at Teen Junction.  Some of their regulars do not have a home to go to every night, so they go from friend to friend or sleep on the street.  Members found it disturbing to hear that 20% of the children in our country go to bed hungry every night.


Rylee Davis brought Sue Solymosi, a mortgage broker at White House Mortgages, to tell about the Vernon chapter of Junior Chamber International (JCI), of which she’s President.  JCI started in St Louis, MO in 1915.  It has over 150,000 members in over 150 countries, including about 40 in Vernon.  JCI is a nonprofit organization of young active citizens age 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to creating impact in their communities.  Members analyze local challenges, collaborate with community partners, conduct projects to find solutions and evaluate results to ensure sustainability.  Through four development streams -- individual, community, business & international – JCI clubs work on a wide variety of projects, enjoying teamwork, fellowship, & networking.  Aged-out members may continue their involvement as “Senators.”  National & international conferences offer members higher levels of training & exposure to global perspectives.  Vernon JCI members recently held a “Zombie Run” fundraiser, in support of Teen Junction.

At the invitation of Bob Clarke, Doug Ross, Director of Recreation Services for the City of Vernon, explained the reasoning behind his recommendation that we vote YES on Sat, Nov 21st for the borrowing referendum to twin the ice sheet at Kal Tire Place.  Our old Civic Arena is running on borrowed time, & is not worth fixing.  To avoid current user groups losing ice time, if the Civic Arena fails, the City wants to start on a replacement now.  Because of the elevation, soil conditions, location of underground services, & unresolved legal issues over Kin Park, installation of a new ice sheet west of the existing Kal Tire facility would cost several hundred thousand dollars more than the proposal to the north.  The west option would be dependent upon a favourable legal resolution, likely over another year or two, thereby delaying construction.  New parking along the south side of Kal Tire Place will replace all but one space lost to the north option.  If the referendum passes, another year of intense planning & design will preface construction.  

Ken Barton attended an Oct 7th conference in Osoyoos to learn about the Columbia River Treaty.  This complex deal between Canada & the U.S.A. was struck in the early 1960’s to provide three Canadian plus one U.S. dam for power generation & flood control.  15% of the Columbia Basin area is in Canada, but 38% of the water originates here.  In 2024, with ten years notice, either Canada or the U.S.A. is entitled to cancel most provisions of the treaty.  A wide variety of stakeholders, including native groups, have huge vested interests in seeing the treaty continue in some form, & many want significant changes to either the original agreement, or the many subsequent side agreements.  Many Canadians fear U.S. ambitions to control the flow of water within our country.  Ken believes the U.S. is doing a lot of work to prepare for hard-nosed negotiation, while Canadians have done little to prepare, with some parties expressing little interest in continuing the treaty.

Keith Johnston introduced Kate Kutzner, one of 10 – 12 members of the Kelowna Rotaract Club, sponsored by the Kelowna Sunrise RC.  Kelowna Rotaractors are interested in finding ways in which they can help other Okanagan RCs with their projects.

Teresa Bartel brought Janet Cody & Ray Morin to describe their “Olive Us” products & stores.  See  Their extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) & vinegars come in a wide variety of flavours, all available for sampling “on tap” from stainless steel “fustis.”  Along with their creative “foodie” daughter, Ray & Janet recently attended a Napa Valley convention for EVOO suppliers, where they heard lectures about the chemistry & nutrients in oils, & were thrilled to watch olives being harvested & processed.  Time elapsed between picking & processing, plus the temperature of harvested olives, are critical to maintaining a high quality product, offering the best flavour, plus nutritional & health benefits well beyond that found in blended or mass-produced oils.  Highest quality oils come from the initial cold extraction; further extraction using heat & chemicals yield lower quality oils.  Better EVOOs may be used for cooking, even at higher temperatures.
Following their talk, Ray & Janet served us a blackberry on yogurt, with a flavoured oil & vinegar – delicious!  

Keith Johnston led a discussion of a new approach to membership, with members divided into seven groups: 1) Initial Contact, 2) Greeters, 3) Initial Follow-up, 4) Membership Discussion, 5) Public Relations, 6) Trackers, & 7) Mentors.  Groups met & reported back, suggesting i) we need a flow chart showing hand-offs between groups; ii) greeters need to provide basic info about Rotary, & tell them what will happen during the meeting; iii) initial follow-up should include a phone call and the prospective member should be asked if they know anyone else who might be interested;  iv) trackers should record numbers of candidates & send reminders to other committee members;  v) two current members should take the prospective member(s) for a coffee or lunch membership discussion;  vi) the public relations committee needs more specifics around the kind of people we are targeting (age, occupation, etc.) & they suggest we clearly articulate the value of belonging to Rotary, distinguishing us from other organizations like Kiwanis and Lions;  vii) mentors should begin earlier in the recruitment process, & we should continue “Fireside Chats” for new members.

Marty & Judy were recently among 48 people on a whirlwind 23 day escorted tour of Australia & New Zealand, with stops including Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Auckland & Christchurch.  Australian highlights were a penguin parade at Phillips Island; 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road eroding to 6 or 7; Captain Cook’s importance in the history of Australia; distance education through the rural “School of Air;” colours of Ayers Rock; snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef; Sydney Opera House; the 52° downhill Katoomba scenic railway ride; & unique Australian animals.  New Zealand highlights included a Maori presentation; threats to the flightless Kiwi birds; Mt. Joseph’s glacier via helicopter; jet boat travel at 70-80 kmh; Mount Cook; & the uncertain future of Christchurch Cathedral, following repeated severe damages.  Though their trip was 25% over budget, Marty said it was worth every cent.

Eric Gombrich hosted Ken Satterthwaite, VP of Vernon & District Minor Football (VDMF) along with players Liam Gombrich, William Satterthwaite and Thomas Hyatt.  (Eric is Director of the organization) VDMF’s focus is on good sportsmanship, team work, helping others, competition, dedication & commitment, along with self-control & the importance of health and exercise.  League play is community-based, for ages 7-15, open to both boys and girls, & is a feeder program for our high schools. Spring flag football runs from March to July, with full contact tackle football July to November.  Games are played at our new sports facility, with teams coming from other area communities, creating a positive economic impact for Vernon.  VDMF was a strong supporter for the new facility.  There are approximately 350 participants in the community league, with some 60 players and coaches in VDMF. 55% of costs are covered by fees from participants, 10% by sponsors, 10% by fund raising, & 25% by a Gaming Grant. Major expenses are equipment, field rental, subsidies for players from low-income families, & a season end awards banquet.  As a result of a $15,000 partial Gaming Grant loss, VDMS is seeking a $1,000 donation to cover part of their banquet & individual awards, till they solve their Gaming issue.

Givonna DeBruin spoke about her employer, Interior Health Authority (IHA) & her role as Internal Auditor.  IHA’s area goes from the US border north to Blue River, & from Merritt to the Alberta border, including some 59 municipalities & communities.  Roughly 1 in 40 people within this area are employed by IHA in residential care, hospital/acute care, & community care.  There are four main goals: 1) improve health & wellness, 2) deliver high quality health care, 3) ensure sustainability, & 4) have an engaged workforce. The Internal Auditor reports to both the Board of Directors & the President/CEO, & and has “Freedom to Access” in all areas.  A lot of Givonna’s time is spent auditing and reviewing various systems, resulting in a fair bit of travel.  Givonna is supported by a focused and experienced team of three.  About 50% of their time is spent doing specific reviews & audits requested by management. In her 13 years with IHA she’s witnessed a huge improvement in operations, & a budget increase from $1.1B to $2+B.  IHA has a Safe Reporting Policy and Hotline (whistleblower program), & “it’s your duty as citizens to report wrong-doing”. IHA has achieved Employer of Choice for the 3rd year in a row in BC, & Givonna’s team recently received a 2014 Provincial Award for their Medication Audit.

Geordie McLennan thanks Johanna Grolund for her talk about her life in Sweden.

Gale Woodhouse is thanked by Mike Wardlow, for her very well received on-site talk about the Vernon Community Arts Centre (VCAC), operated by the Arts Council of the North Okanagan (ACNO).  Gale is a professional potter, who describes herself as an artist, facilitator & entrepreneur, with a varied background in teaching.  Her no-nonsense delivery convinced us that a group of rebellious teenagers would be putty (clay ?) in her hands!  Originally the industrial arts section of the old Fulton School, the VCAC is now a combination of gallery, workshops & classrooms offering programs in pottery making, fibre arts, glass, painting, photography, music, etc., to children, adults & people with various challenges.  VCAC is a non-profit, & in turn, offers some free programs.  Their goal is to provide a sense of place & community, especially for those without strong community connections.  A variety of volunteers help with operation & funding.  One objective is to enhance their technology, so digital art offerings can be increased.  With more & better political support, Gale believes VCAC could become a major tourist attraction, as well as an even more valuable resource for locals.  Following a short tour, Silver Star Rotarians now know this place is definitely worth a visit!  

Bruce Mol is a cycling advocate & educator.  He’s chair of the Greater Vernon Cycling Advisory Committee, & cycles most everywhere.  His presentation claimed that business improves wherever cycling improves – productivity increases, sick days decrease & health care costs decline.  Where retail areas encourage cyclists, they tend to visit stores more often, & spend more.  Cycling is no longer just a sport.  More young people, & more women are using their bicycles to ride to work, as well as for pleasure.  Smart communities are investing in dedicated bike lanes & routes, creating more livable landscapes.

Martin von Holst hosted realtor / builder / developer Mark Wensley, who told us about his 23 year involvement with Middleton Mountain.  Along with his father Don, a Whistler developer, Mark has been servicing land & building houses on Middleton Mountain, through good times & bad.  The servicing cost per lot of their current project, excluding raw land, is about $120,000, as there’s significant blasting, wall construction & engineering fees, over & above the usual costs of water & utility lines, etc.  He advises that developers should only invest what they can afford to lose, & that success in real estate is all about timing.  One of Mark’s objectives in business & life is to always do more than anyone expects of you. 

Through his vocational talk, Bob revealed a somewhat “restless” personality!  Following operation of a jewelry store in Regina, he moved to Fort McMurray, when the population there was only 2,300.  His involvement with a couple of different oil companies including helping to define the volume of oil in a barrel, plus the issuance of royalty cheques to the survivors of the man who started the “tar sands” in 1920, & negotiated perpetual royalties from each barrel of bitumen.  Meanwhile, Bob built a small shopping centre on land he’d held for several years, & along with a trusty German Shepherd, attended 64 robberies there.  He also had a couple of aircraft & a jet boat, used for commercial charters.  After 15 years in Fort Mac, he went first to Alaska, then for 24 years to the 100 Mile House / Williams Lake area, where he continued in the aircraft charter service, & was a Rotarian.  He has a daughter in each of 100 Mile House, & the Wood Lake area.

Feb 16, 2016
Host: Colin Heggie
Andy Wylie -- Recognizing the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge
Feb 23, 2016
Host: Wendy Hesketh
Trekking in Bolivia
Mar 01, 2016
Mar 08, 2016
Host: Dave Hoyte
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund -- Qs & As
Mar 15, 2016
Host: Rob Irving
Don Blakely & Jeremy Griffiths -- Vernon Search & Rescue
Mar 22, 2016
Mar 29, 2016
Upcoming Events
  • CPR Training
    Clarence Fulton Secondary School
    Feb 20, 2016
    7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
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