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
Rotary Ride (Cycling)
CPR Training
Smoke Alarm Project

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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
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.

Dave Weatherill told us about a misadventure with Joanne & one of his brothers, during a backwoods tour of the Monashees, to pick huckleberries.  They got lots of berries, but Dave’s truck wouldn’t start for the return trip.  He walked out to the highway & found a couple willing to give him a jumpstart, but then his truck wouldn’t switch out of low range.  Sounded like a lot of trouble, even for a good load of berries!
Guest Rotarian Otto Rieve then regaled us – first with a joke about “electile dysfunction,” then with his multiple motorcycling trips.  Over the years he’s ridden three different bikes an estimated total of 300 to 350k kms, both with & without other Rotarians, throughout the USA & a variety of other countries, including a Munich to Moscow trip.  His upcoming October ride will be through Spain & Morocco.  He’s also looking forward to a ride north from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles.

2015 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) training was held in late May in Penticton.  Participants Fiona Anderson & Searra Becker (shown with RYLA Coordinator Keith Johnston) thanked our club for sponsoring their attendance, & described their experience.  Through the DiSC® personal assessment tool, they learned how different personality types work in teams, through conflict, & in leadership roles, etc.  DiSC® identifies characteristics of dominance, influence, steadiness & conscientiousness.  RYLA training uses mentors & a variety of projects, such as cardboard boat-building, to teach teamwork & leadership skills.  One project was to turn a piece of junk into a marketable object!

Chelsea Taylor, Vernon Branch Manager of the BC SPCA, with Pat Loehndorf.  She described the “Five Freedoms” contained in their charter – Freedom from hunger & thirst; pain, injury & disease; distress; discomfort; & freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being.  Today, our local SPCA has 86 animals in care.  Their annual budget of close to a half-million dollars supports the care of about 250 animals annually, including more cats than dogs.  Expenses average between $500 to $675 for different categories of dogs & cats.  Income is derived from adoption fees, service fees, fundraising events & donations.  The SPCA is one of Canada’s top-ranked charities, based on effective use of donor dollars.  Volunteers play a big role in this organization, & new people are always welcome to help with socializing, walking, feeding, cleaning, etc., of animals, plus care & maintenance of their facilities.

Our President Bev Rundell (center) thanks Jan & District Governor Greg Luring for his talk.  They  were introduced by ADG Peter Moore.  On Monday evening Greg & Jan met with club Directors, where he spoke about his 2015-16 goals for the District, & noted RI President Ravi’s intention to bring effective business practices to Rotary.  During Greg & Jan’s long & fabulous association with Rotary, they’ve made lifelong friends through the “Family of Rotary.” 25 years ago, their daughter Kimberly was an exchange student in India.  During Greg’s club presidency in Yakima, they created a trust which has grown substantially, & received a $20m donation!  Since then,  the 3 Yakima clubs have joined together under the trust, & are providing meaningful and substantial benefits to the Yakima Community in the name of Rotary.  Given the size & bureaucracy of Rotary, he believes it’s sometimes better to move forward with our projects, asking for forgiveness, rather than permission!   A major focus currently is the new membership growth & retention strategy (MARS).  Independent research asked members - Why Join Rotary?, finding 1) friendship  2) local impact & 3) networking; when asked Why Stay with Rotary?, they found 1) and 2) are the same, but 3) became international projects. Both 1 and 2 in Join and Stay are significantly higher than other reasons. Greg feels Rotary should slow down the “ask” for funds, & suggests a direct correlation with increased “asks” & reduced membership since the 1985 commencement of Polio Plus.  We were all encouraged to attended the District Conference in Yakima, May 12-15, 2016. A major change at this conference will be replacement of the Presidential Representative talk with a focus on the Youth Exchange Program. Did you know our District averages 34 students per year, but the North American average is only 5!

Bob Clarke hosted Queen Silver Star 2015 (55th) Alicia Hill-Turner.  She’s entering Grade 12 at Aberdeen Hall School in Kelowna.  The QSS Excellence Program started in 1961 & is available to young women 16 to 18  who reside within the North Okanagan.  Candidates attend classes 2 to 3 times a week.  Personal growth is encouraged and valuable skills gained through time spent on various topics. Over the years the program has evolved from a beauty pageant into an excellence and scholarship program, showcasing poise & presentation skills developed through a fashion show, a talent showcase, speech competition & the February Winter Carnival proclamation.  There are a variety of community events, and participants become mentors for Little Miss Carnival candidates.  The Queen & 2 Princesses chosen as Vernon Ambassadors spend their year attending city events & traveling BC promoting the City of Vernon.

Rob Irving’s guest Red Liebel is a retired RCMP officer, who spoke about his involvement in the prosecution of Vernon’s infamous “Greeks” gang.  In about 2004, local drug dealers were dominated by a gang led by a Vernon native of Greek heritage.  He & his accomplices enforced their will upon local dealers through increasingly violent means, culminating in several murders.  With insufficient evidence for trial, following an eleven month investigation which ended in the fall of 2005, a provincial team of 60 members was tasked with bringing the suspects to justice.  By May 2006, seven accused had been arrested.  Red described how “disclosure” rules, allowing defense attorneys access to all incriminating evidence, make it difficult to obtain convictions in such complicated cases, & how trials generally hear only that fraction of the real evidence which isn’t excluded through pretrial hearings.  Trials related to the Greeks relied upon evidence gleaned from some 212,000 phone conversations.  Non-police trial expenses, including defense lawyers, etc., cost approximately $60m.    

Dave Hoyte (middle) introduced Dan Fortin (L) & Dave Lowry (R) of Total Restoration Services Ltd., since 1992 a leading locally-owned and operated provider of guaranteed restoration services, using leading-edge technologies & equipment operated by trained, professional (& friendly!) experts.  Their 75+ staff, with over 40 vehicles, deals with damage caused by fire, smoke, water, sewer, mould, asbestos, etc.  With more & larger disaster claims, such as the recent $9bn Alberta floods, claims outweigh local premium collections, requiring the insurance industry to pool premiums over larger areas.  Claims costs are often increased by WCB & Work Safe requirements around the removal of asbestos in drywall & flooring products.  Dave Hoyte paid advertising dollars for his comments about “talking to your insurance broker!”

Leigh Hewer introduced Jan Shumay & Dean Francks, long-time employees & executives of North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS), which provides free counselling and support services to individuals & families through a variety of community based and residential programs.  NOYFSS deals with a wide variety of issues, including physical/mental/developmental exceptionalities, sensory problems (i.e. visual, auditory, etc.), poverty & language/cultural needs.  They’re funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), Interior Health Authority, the Ministry of Attorney General, School District 22, Gaming Grants, community partners and donations.  Their signature fundraising event is the “Fitness for Families Hockey Challenge.”

The good news is that President Bev (right) presented newly retired Sandra Ross with her winnings from our marble draw :)  The bad news is that it was only $10.50, as Pat Loehndorf had won a much larger pot the week before :(

Wendy Hesketh hosted Matt Davidson, Senior Environmental Scientist with Valhalla Environmental Consulting, Inc.  He spoke about the use of drones for aerial photography, crop monitoring, inventory & asset management, 3D surface modeling & GIS mapping.  His drone has a fixed foam wing with a span of 80cm.  It weighs about one pound, & has a flight time of about 30 minutes on a single battery charge.  The technology around drones is advancing faster than Transport Canada rules governing their use, leading to some problems, particularly with adventurous recreational users.  There’s a huge variety of applications for both civilian & military drones, using infrared & other technologies, in addition to simple high resolution photography.  Images & data collected by fixed wing & helicopter drones may be combined with that gathered by satellites, & “knitted” together.  Matt did his best to simplify the terminology surrounding this complex business, so we Rotarians could understand it!

2015-16 Directors (L-R) Rob Irving, Jim Kanester, Dave Hoyte, Dominik Dlouhy, Janet Green, Geordie McLennan, Colin Heggie, Martin von Holst, Bev Rundell & Dave Weatherill.  Missing:  Scott Anderson, Keith Johnston, Sandra Ross & Sargeant at Arms Don Miller.
Much to the chagrin of Bob Clarke, Pat Loehndorf is congratulated by Bev for pulling our coveted green marble, for a win of $416!

Janet Green opened by remembering how one year ago, she asked for fortitude to get her through her year as President, then at Christmas, she realized there were only 25 weeks to go!  This year, our club has successfully launched three new fundraising projects, & Janet feels we should be proud of all the things we accomplish, as a small club.  She quoted Dr Seuss, who said “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!”
On behalf of our District Governor Bruce Falkins, Assistant District Governor Peter Moore presented Janet with a “Presidential Citation,” for our club’s accomplishments.
Janet handed the gavel to incoming President Bev Rundell, who thanked Janet for keeping our club focused on the vision & goals we’d agreed to.  Bev feels she’s had a good mentor in Janet, & appreciates her effort to keep the fun in our activities.  Bev mentioned incoming RI President K.R. (Ravi) Ravindran’s theme: “Be a Gift to the World,” & incoming District Governor Gary Luring’s challenge to add four new members to our club.  She’d like us to review our club vision in July, & to remember Margaret Mead’s famous quote – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”  Bev introduced Martin von Holst as President Elect.

Dec 01, 2015
Dec 08, 2015
Dec 15, 2015
Host: Bev Rundell
Annual General Meeting
Dec 22, 2015
Dec 29, 2015
Jan 05, 2016
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