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Vernon Silver Star Rotary

Vernon Silver Star

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 6:45 AM
for breakfast at
Schubert Centre
3505 30th Ave
Vernon, BC  V1T 2E6
District Site
Venue Map
Club Stories
Through Zoom, Eric Gombrich hosted Jessica Wicks, Community Lead North Okanagan for Accelerate Okanagan.  She oversees “The View,” Vernon’s Innovation & Entrepreneur Workspace at 2933 30th Ave, next to Marten Brewing.  Accelerate Okanagan connects entrepreneurs, mentors, funders, sponsors & resources, etc., to help build technology-driven ventures.  Members may use The View’s shared work & meeting spaces, or the larger “OKGNworks” facility at 201-460 Doyle Ave, Kelowna.  In 2017, the Okanagan Tech Sector counted $1.67 billion in economic impact, & over 12,000 employees in nearly 700 tech companies, with a 15% annual growth rate.  55% of employees were under 35 years old, & many of them feel somewhat isolated, typically working at home.  Accelerate Okanagan’s Areas of Focus are to “Engage the Willing, Unlock the Capital & Coach the Leaders,” through programs which help new businesses to examine their idea, validate their product & their market, penetrate their market, & facilitate expansion.  They help with startups, scale ups, accessing advisors, finding investors & providing a venue for pitching to investors.  Community is built through events, workshops, job boards, etc.  Funding for Accelerate Okanagan comes from government grants, member fees & other sources.  Both Jessica & Eric see opportunities for our SSR members to help theirs, & for them to find fellowship & community involvement through Rotary.
Dave Weatherill introduced Richard DeRock & his wife Robin, from Wenatchee, WA.  Richard is in his second year as District 5060 Governor, explaining his successor graciously delayed beginning her term, allowing Richard to meet Rotarians throughout our District, following Covid-19 travel restrictions.  After earning a geology degree at the University of California Davis, perfectly coinciding with an oil crisis collapsing the need for geologists, Richard pivoted to running public transportation systems.  He’s had a 41-year career in transit management, first in Los Angeles, then in Wenatchee, where he became a Rotarian.  He explained how Rotary is organized from the bottom up, with all initiatives first coming from the club level, & all Rotary International efforts focused on supporting clubs, where the actual work is done.  Worldwide growth in Rotary is coming from Africa & Asia, not North America, where the average age of Rotarians is creeping up.  To add & retain members, we need to adapt our meetings & communication to meet the needs of younger members, who typically work in ways different from a traditional 9 to 5 office model.  From various surveys, we know the Rotary brand is valuable & respected, but people don’t know what we actually do, other than give money away to needy causes.  Prospective members want to be active & engaged in their communities, beyond attending meetings & writing cheques – they want fellowship, & they’re willing to contribute labour.  Our District is updating the public side of their website, & encouraging clubs to do the same, using shared resources.  They’re also buying ads on social media, & are keen to restart Youth Exchanges, Rotaract Clubs, Youth Leadership Awards, Leadership Institutes & District Conferences.  The next District Conference is May 12th to 15th in Wenatchee, WA.
Rotary District 5060 Governor Richard DeRock presented Silver Star Rotary’s 2020-21 President Teresa Durning Harker with a Citation for our club’s work through a very challenging year.  Teresa led our club through numerous changes in the way we interact with each other, & the community around us, as we respect restrictions intended to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Past SSR member Pat Loehndorf was hosted by Bob Clarke.  Pat is General Manager of Bannister Honda.  He talked about the effects of Covid-19 & supply chain issues on his dealership, & the automotive industry as a whole.   Covid restrictions initially brought auto sales to a near standstill, resulting in a gradual layoff of near 80% of his staff.  Industry-wide, auto sales & dealer orders of new cars dropped precipitously.  At the same time, production at factories worldwide also dropped dramatically, either because their workers were sick or prohibited from working, or because they couldn’t get parts from their suppliers.  Supply problems are particularly difficult with semi-conductors (the small computer devices than run our electronics), as those factories dialed back production, & continue to have serious problems catching up with demand.  The loss of a major Texas resin plant, due to a storm, & a closed Chinese smelter are particular problems.  Most semi-conductors come from Asia, where factories are beset with a shortage of energy.  The loss of automotive production & parts capacity translates to largely empty lots at dealerships.  All dealers are competing with each other for scarce supplies of both new cars, & used cars, typically sold at auction.  Auction prices now often exceed recent retail prices, so buyers are seeing big increases in the value of their trade-in, & even bigger increases in purchase prices.  Additionally, some repairs are delayed for months, waiting for scarce parts.  Pat says the auto sales business model is moving toward online sales, but dealers still want to have product for consumers to see, touch & drive, before they make a decision to buy.  The impact of electric vehicles, & the way they’re sold & serviced, will also profoundly affect the industry.
Eduarda Salles Lobo was our club's incoming Rotary Youth Exchange Student 2010-11, hosted first by Colin & Barb, then by Martin & Carol.  Her family home is in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, but she's now living in Sao Paulo.  In 2017, she earned a civil engineering degree, then studied Renewable Energy.  She followed that with MBA studies in Finance, & is working for a company which buys & sells energy.  At the end of October, she married Bruno, who is a lawyer. 
Member Jack Schultz introduced Sherrilee Franks, Manager of O’Keefe Ranch. Sherrilee has been co-managing and managing the ranch for the past 4 years, previously a Member of the Board having started by volunteering at the ranch 11 years ago. Sherrilee has a background in property management and tourism which provides a strong foundation for her current roll.
We were provided with a passionate update on some of the challenges faced by O’Keefe Ranch during COVID-19. The Ranch was closed through the majority of the 2020 season and opened on a limited basis Mother’s Day 2021. Some of the changes in 2021 included volunteers/employees in shops, wool spinners etc being dressed in period costume thereby providing a “living history” and as opposed to fixed price admission, it was changed to donation with suggested $. These changes have worked well.
The next challenge impacting the ranch was the heat wave followed by the forest fires. Sherrilee stated ranch staff were fantastic and had to adapt to the various challenges before them. The Ranch became an evacuation center and had over 1,000 animals on site and well as numerous families who had been evacuated from various locations. They estimate that approximately 80-90% of those folks have lost their homes, ranch staff helped where they felt most comfortable.  The Ranch was very well supported by local residences that showed up with feed and support items for the people and animals. The fires continued to grow and the Ranch itself had to be evacuated along with all the animals. This was achieved with the support of staff and an unknown amount of volunteers showing up to help.
Now what to do? The Ranch was considering its options and an employee suggestion they “Take the Ranch on the Road” and this is what they did. In late August and September they took their staff to where the people where to share the O’Keefe Ranch Story and history.
For O’Keefe Ranch: COVID=Resilient.
With COVID and all the challenges they have overcome there are exciting things planned. December offers the Victorian Christmas Dec 4-19 on the 1st 3 weekends, A Christmas Carol Dec 7-18. In addition they are working on events in conjunction with 2022 Vernon Winter Carnival as well as a premier event around Mother’s Day 2022 titled 100 Years of Fashion. Details are posted on their website.
Teresa Durning Harker introduced Steve Fleck, Executive Director of our Greater Vernon Museum & Archives.  Steve has an education background, having been a teacher & administrator, including work for an English school in China.  He’s also a part-time instructor in Human Resources at Okanagan College.  He explained that the museum had a 2019 financial challenge, due to reduced visits, largely a result of Covid-19 restrictions.  For 2020, their budget anticipated continuing low revenue from visitors, so it wasn’t a surprise when that happened.  Meanwhile, they engaged Cuyler Page, a highly experience museum & exhibit designer/ interpreter/ consultant, to produce a new children’s area.  The museum has worked hard to develop & enhance their online presence, livestreaming & Zoom events, as well as forging deeper ties to local partners, including the Vernon Public Art Gallery, Okanagan Indian Band, O’Keefe Ranch, Silver Star Mountain Resort & Rail Trail Society, etc.  The museum holds over 40,000 historic photos & a huge collection of artifacts, which they’re increasingly sharing through virtual technology.  As a key partner in Greater Vernon’s plans for a new Cultural Centre, they anticipate more use of technology to share existing & new material.  Expect to hear more about the Cultural Centre in early 2022, as our community will be asked to renew their commitment to this exciting project, albeit with changes to the funding formula.  Steve stressed that progressive communities recognize financial investments in the arts & culture pay big dividends in attracting & retaining engaged & talented people.
Bev Rundell introduced her second successor as our School District Superintendent.  Dr Christine Perkins’ first Vernon job was some time ago, working for CKAL radio station.  Her teaching & school administration career has seen her in Kelowna, Squamish, Merritt & Nelson, most recently as Superintendent/CEO for SD8.  She started here Aug 1st, contending with the use of one of our high schools as an emergency shelter & meal prep site for Okanagan wildfire evacuees.  Our SD22 now serves 8,900 students in 21 schools, including over 200 international students & a well-established French Immersion program.  District staff are working hand in hand with Interior Health to monitor Covid-19 exposures & cases, & to adjust protocols as needed, based on directives from our Provincial Health Officer & other government officials.  In response to a recent announcement that school boards should develop their own masking policies, Dr Perkins expects a “unified” statement within a few days.  She says both the BCTF & CUPE (teacher & support staff unions) are supportive of masking, & most students, even young ones, are better at following rules than the adult population!  Turning to academics, she explained that many subject area exams are being replaced by literacy & numeracy tests, saying “if a student can read, they will succeed.”  A new “career & life education” course has been introduced, augmenting the former portfolio presentations done by Grade 12 students.  Dr P believes students are more concerned about climate change, First Nations reconciliation & kindness to others than the general population – “they get it!”  She answered questions about scholarships -- they’re critical, & jobs -- many are available.
Dave Weatherill introduced Ryan Mackiewich, CPA, CA, FEA, an accountant with Clark Robinson.  FEA stands for Family Enterprise Advisor, & Ryan’s topic was Continuity Planning, particularly as it applies to family-owned businesses.  Roughly 80% of businesses are family-owned, & they generate about 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.  Yet we also know the “shirtsleeve to shirtsleeve” rule, which explains the success rate of business transfers from one generation to the next, is a dismal 30%, 13% & 3%.  An FEA’s job is to “keep an eye on” the family business, fostering knowledge & understanding to help all members contribute to, & be well served by the enterprise.  He described the 6 pillars of the family business as assets, real estate, financial, giving, insurance & relationships.  Often, the FEA will identify issues & problems owners didn’t know they had, & help them to preserve assets, profits, etc.  Continuity or succession planning involves a myriad of technical & relational issues, with the latter often being the most difficult.  Family members need to understand where they fit into their enterprise, & create & follow agreed “rules of engagement.”  There must also be recognizable procedures for dispute resolution.  Ryan referred to two websites serving the needs of family businesses:  his own at EvolveFES, & a more generic one at Family Enterprise Foundation.
Calvin Reich hosted Ultra Endurance Athlete Dawna Jodoin, owner of Vernon Bush Babes and Bros.  She turned her enjoyment of "bush" running into a business, by offering tours & clinics to others who want to try new places, or improve their technical skills.  Dawna has been an Ultra Athlete for 17 years and has accomplished some amazing feats, including many competitions.  She has most recently qualified for the Hurt 100 in Hawaii.
Teresa Durning Harker introduced Julia Waldo, a retired Saskatchewan special education teacher, who is immersing herself in Vernon by taking a leadership role seeking volunteers for our Greater Vernon 2022 Winter BC Games.  Our community expects to host about 2,000 12 to 17 year old youth, between Feb 24th to 27th, requiring 1,500 to 1,800 volunteers.  The Games will follow Covid-19 protocols, so it’s likely there’ll be minimal spectators allowed, & all volunteers will need proof of vaccinations.  “Victory through Adversity” has been chosen as the theme, appropriately!  20 different sports, including those for “special” athletes, cover a range of indoor & outdoor events.  Volunteers are needed for a wide variety of leadership & less onerous roles in areas including accommodation, drivers, equipment management, food services, logistics & marketing, etc.  Volunteers may include groups, like our Rotary Club, for some chores.  Julia is in particular need of a marketing team, & hopes some of our “seasoned & connected” members might be up for that.  For more information, visit  BC Winter Games ( & go to the Volunteer tab.  Members might also contact our Teresa Durning Harker, who is serving as the Games’ Vice President.
Don Miller, our Vernon Century 21 realtor since 2002, provided information about our local market, & focused on explaining the Absorption Rate, which is the average number of monthly sales divided by the number of properties for sale.  So, if 97 single family dwellings sold in a month featuring 172 listings, the absorption rate would be 56%, & it would take 1.7 months to sell all the listings.  This rate determines a buyer’s market vs. a seller’s market.  Over time & changing economic, political & regulatory circumstances, the pendulum swings between these two types of market.  Where all listings would typically sell within 5 months or less, it’s considered a seller’s market, & over 7 months is a buyer’s market.  During a seller’s market, one can expect prices to increase, & during a buyer’s market one would look for softening prices.  Our current 1.7 months indicator shows a very strong seller’s market, explaining significant recent price increases.  It should be noted that statistics will vary between property types (eg. SFDs, apartment condos, lakeshore, acreage, bare lots, commercial, industrial, etc.) as they don’t all perform the same way in the marketplace.  It’s always best to have some professional advice to inform your real estate decisions!
Jim Kanester leads our Scholarship Committee.  He reviewed his most recent report & answered a number of questions.  We provide annual $1,300 scholarships to a Grade 12 graduate from each of our five local high schools; $1,300 to a “trade / technical” grad from one of the schools; $1,000 to an Okanagan College entrant; & five $250 “Special Needs” awards.  Some of the funds are raised each year, historically through 50/50 raffle ticket sales at Vipers hockey games; a slowly growing portion of the funds come from interest on funds invested through the Community Foundation of North Okanagan (CFNO) in our Silver Star Rotary Education Endowment Fund.  This fund now contains nearly $150,000, & typically returns about 3.5 to 4.5% pa on low-risk investments.  Apparently, SSR has been providing scholarships since about 1989.  Records show that since 2009, just over $100,000 has been offered, with about 70% of that actually distributed.  Recipients may claim their funds with proof of registration for any form of higher learning.  Jim explained our selection process favours need, along with academic success.  Often, students from disadvantaged homes benefit from the extra encouragement a scholarship offers, but with the high cost of tuition, books & living expenses, our funds sometimes aren’t enough to persuade a student to carry on with higher learning.  Jim asked each of us to supply him with a letter to a prospective student, outlining something in our experience which might serve to inspire or assist.
Bob France presented a summary of his work on “Species at Risk Partnership on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL).  Beginning in 2016, this pilot program is funded at +/-$100k annually by the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment & Climate Change Canada, using the BC Cattlemen’s Association as “deliverer” of funds to their members.  The goals include engaging members about species at risk, exploring best management practices for species, & demonstrating to the public members’ interest in species at risk.  The original pilot program was targeted at enhancing habitat for the Yellow Breasted Chat & Lewis’s Woodpecker, by fencing to allow only controlled access to riparian areas, planting shrubs or trees in riparian areas, providing off-stream waterers, etc.  Maximum project funding is $15k, which may cover the total cost of a project.  So far, 21 projects in southern BC have been completed, & 4 more are in progress.
Dave Hoyte welcomed Brad Ackerman, Manager, Parks, Recreation & Culture for the Regional District of North Okanagan, who spoke about parks and trails.  The success of the Okanagan Rail Trail, particularly within the context of Covid-19, has led to an overall increase in hiking trail use.  RDCO is currently working on or helping with other trails, such as the Grey Canal, from Adventure Bay to Noble Canyon -- 50 km in total.  BX trail may eventually be extended from Vernon to Silver Star, plus a connector trail may eventually join Predator Ridge to the Rail Trail.  There may also be another Rail Trail in the works from Armstrong to Sicamous.  These trails will all take years to complete, depending on funding, cooperation of stakeholders such as private land holders, First Nations, all levels of government, and so on, but the future looks very bright.

Craig Goplen hosted Elmaz Wilder, whom he described as an important leader in our community, & owner / operator of Vernon’s Ritual Barbershop for the last four years.  Elmaz's pronouns are they/he and they spoke today about gender diversity.  Elmaz emphasized acceptance for everyone, and respect for the manner in which people wish to be addressed. "They" for example is not really uncommon, ie. "My cousin is in hospital," "Oh, how are they doing?" It is a pretty universal term, even back to writers such as Shakespeare.  Personal questions to cis or trans people about medications or surgical procedures are not appropriate in most conversations.  They thanked us for the opportunity to come and do some teaching and asked everyone to please be kind.

On Tuesday Aug 24, 2021, 15 individuals signed up to take the Mural Tour of Historic Downtown Vernon.  As a result of smoke condition, earlier in the day, 2 were unable to attend. The tours are put on by Greater Vernon Museum and Archives (GVMA)  and we were hosted by volunteer guide Greg Poirier and GVMA Manager Steve Flick.  The walking Mural Tour explores Historic Downtown Vernon and we learned about the lives and times of some of the settlers and pioneers of our area whose faces grace our city walls. Greg shared stories of the lives and times of the individuals that helped build Vernon from a sleepy Cowtown to the vibrant, multicultural city it is today. We all learned more about the local history, and even that some member’s family members are depicted in a couple of the scenes around the City. The tour was worthwhile and enjoyed by all who attended.
Jim Kanester, our Rotary Foundation Director, shared an Oct 2020 World Polio Update  which announced Africa is now “wild polio-free.”  “The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.”  The last two remaining countries with active cases are Afghanistan & Pakistan.  Rotarians have been fund-raising, helping open doors to vaccine-hesitant countries, & participating in vaccine delivery to children for over 35 years.  It’s estimated over 20m children are alive today as a direct result of the End Polio Now initiative.  Because there are many parallels between the polio vaccine trials of 1954-55, & our current Covid-19 vaccine development & delivery, GPEI contacts & infrastructure are being used to help with the fight against Covid-19.  All Rotarians are encouraged to (continue to) support funding for this important goal.  See also  Ending Polio | Rotary International
Admiral William McRaven was a U.S. Navy Seal who became a four-star admiral, leading the Special Operations Command.  He went on to be the Chancellor of the University of Texas System.  In 2014, he delivered a memorable commencement address to graduates of the U of T.  Their slogan is “What starts here changes the world.”  He suggested the average person will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime, & if each of the 8,000 graduates changed the lives of 10 others, & each of them changed another 10, in six generations, the whole world would be changed.  “Changing the world can happen anywhere, & anyone can do it – what will the world look like after you change it?”  His suggestions, related through anecdotes from six months of grueling SEAL training, are “Start each day with a task completed.  Find someone to help you through life.  Respect everyone.  Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often.  But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”
Loredana brought us a Zoom presentation from Tanya McCready, of Winterdance Dog Sled Tours  Winterdance Dogsled Tours in Haliburton, Canada – What are you doing this winter?  She & her husband Hank DeBruin left their careers in 1999 to turn their love of Siberian Huskies into a home-based business.  Their first few years were a struggle – to find a banker willing to lend to them, to build a kennel & a house, & to raise four children.  Now, on their 80 acres near Haliburton, ON, close to Algonquin Park, they have custom-built radiant floor heated kennel facilities for 150 dogs.  They offer a variety of guided tour packages.  Tanya is the business manager / promoter, while Hank is the lead guide, helped by their older children & other seasonal guides.  Hank has competed in two Iditarods & four Yukon Quests, typically using a team of 16 dogs over these long, gruelling, world-famous races.  A huge amount of money, preparation, logistics & training is needed to participate in either of these races, where the weather, race conditions & luck present a variety of challenges.  After Hank’s first unsuccessful race attempt, which included frostbite & a disqualification, he wrote “Iditarod Dreamer.”  His primary lesson & message from this experience is “one has to look after oneself before looking after one’s team.”  Hank & Tanya are a driven couple, who are clearly “living their dream.”
Loredana Eisenhauer shared Rotary International 2021-22 President Shekhar Mehta’s Theme Speech, delivered virtually Feb 1st, 2021 to District Governors Elect during the Rotary International Assembly.  Shekhar Mehta says serving others changes lives, including our own | Rotary International  Shekhar is a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India.  This was an impressive delivery of an inspiring address.  Joining Rotary led Shekhar to see the plight of many rural people, & to understand them better.  “Rotary kindled the spark within me to look beyond myself and embrace humanity,” he said. “Service became a way of life for me and I, like many others, adopted the guiding philosophy that ‘Service is the rent I pay for the space I occupy on this earth, and I want to be a good tenant of this earth.’”  He “wants members to focus their efforts on empowering girls and ensuring their access to education, resources, services, and opportunities so that future generations of women leaders will have the tools they need to succeed. Mehta asked members to use Rotary’s belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical in all we do as a compass to guide this work.”  Explaining that Rotary’s global membership has been static at 1.2m for 17 years, he believes our biggest challenge is to increase membership – “Do More, Grow More.”  Each one of us should bring another member, so our numbers grow to 1.3m by July 1st, 2022.  Increasing membership while eradicating polio, fighting Covid-19 & serving our communities is an ambitious goal for all of us.
Bob Clarke introduced Cheryl Hood, Centre Manager at Allan Brooks Nature Centre.  Coming from a varied background, Cheryl began her work with ABNC in February 2020, perfectly coinciding with the beginning of Covid-19 restrictions.  Overall, ABNC has survived reasonably well, benefitting from Board members’ expertise in maintaining government funding, & from continued support from area schools.  ABNC offers a variety of School & Community Programs aimed at introducing people, especially children, to nature – these include field trips, “Nature in the Classroom,” Stream Science, Kokanee Salmon Outings, etc.  Many were restricted to follow Covid-19 guidelines, but most offerings were fully booked, so interest in programs remains high.  Recent unprecedented heat has not helped attract guests, but indoor activities are now more comfortable, thanks to Kalamalka Rotary’s installation of air conditioning.  Upcoming programs include the “Bug Guy,” who introduces snakes, a salamander & smaller bugs, plus the popular raptor shows.  Online teaching programs are being developed.  Ken Barton’s extensive records are being reviewed by current ABNC Board Chair Jim Popowich.  Cheryl told us one of their priorities is enhancement of the grassland amphitheatre.  Dave Weatherill suggested use of shade cloth & high-pressure misting equipment.
Dave & Ruth Hoyte hosted our members for a lovely breakfast in their rear yard.  Many thanks!  President Teresa thanked her Directors & members for their support through a challenging year.  Several attendees were recognized for membership milestones: Paul Philps, 5 years; Colin Heggie & Martin von Holst, 15 years; Marty Armstrong & Leigh Hewer, 20 years; Michael Wardlow, 30 years; Drs Craig Goplen & John Wheeldon, 35 years!  Rotary Foundation Director Jim Kanester recognized Paul Harris Fellows (PHF) Rob Irving, PHF+3 (that’s US$4k in TRF accumulated donations); Bob Clarke & Leigh Hewer, PHF+2; & Martin von Holst, PHF+1.  The photo above left shows our new 2021-22 Directors, from left: Bev Rundell, Community Service & Grant Committee; Jim Kanester, Rotary Foundation & Scholarships; Penny Trudel, Public Relations; Michael Wardlow, Treasurer; Loredana Eisenhauer, Secretary; Teresa Durning Harker, Past President; Don Miller, Sargeant at Arms; Dave Weatherill, 2nd President; Dr Craig Goplen, 1st President; Calvin Reich, Membership & President Elect; & Leigh Hewer, Director at Large.  The right photo shows 2020-21 President Teresa Durning Harker with Past President Paul Philps.
Our member Teresa Bartel, a Chartered Professional Accountant & owner/operator of Precision Accounting, described some of the financial impacts of Covid-19 on businesses & individuals, plus various federal relief programs.  These include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) & Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP).  More info is available at
Dave Weatherill hosted an onsite meeting, our first since Nov 17th, at his North Okanagan Sailing Association (NOSA), where Commodore Marc Reinarz & sailing instructor Jacob (shown above with Dave) explained their organization.  NOSA is a non-profit combination of a sailing club, school & social group, with a modest waterfront facility, east of Paddlewheel Park, including boat storage, small clubhouse, kitchen & showers.  A full membership costs only $400/yr, plus another $100 to add use of club boats.  Youths & adults are offered Sail Canada’s CANSail 1 through 4 programs, using the club’s Flying Juniors & a new RS Quest dinghy.  Week-long sets of summer lessons are great for kids – incorporating theory, practice sailing, swimming & games.  Sailors are now encouraged (required ?) to wear floating helmets.  Our Rotary club has donated funds in the past, along with other service clubs, to subsidize youngsters unable to pay the $150 cost of lessons.  Lottery funding also helps with purchase & repair of club boats.  Youth sailing lessons provide healthy outdoor activities, plus build life-long skills & confidence.  For adults, Marc says NOSA offers a bit of fun sailing, to go with their social times!
Regan Borisenko is the City of Vernon’s Community Safety Coordinator.  He was hosted by Michael & Dominik.  Formerly a Canada Customs officer & manager of an RV dealership, Regan now has a list of duties as long as his arm, but they all focus on various aspects of community safety.  While Rachel Zubick runs our Community Safety Office, Regan is more involved with developing & supervising a wide variety of programs, including Speed Watch, Distracted Driving, Theft from Vehicles, Personal Safety, Surveillance, Foot Patrols, Marine Vessel Safety, Invasive Species (Mussel) Checks, Emergency Callout/Response Teams, Domestic Violence Monitoring & Special Events, etc.  Among his biggest jobs are running +/-100 Block Watches, keeping neighbourhoods safe & offering emergency preparedness & scam prevention training.  He manages & helps train 55 local RCMP Volunteers, each of whom commit to an annual minimum of 80 hours including training.  A Safe Apartment Living program helps keep illegal activity out of rental properties, & he offers Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which deals with lighting & target hardening to reduce opportunities for crime.  Regan answered questions about mussels endangering our lakes, catalytic converter thefts & other issues.   
Tuesday morning we were joined by Cindy Masters who serves as the Executive Director for The Vernon & District Community Land Trust (Land Trust).
The Vernon Land Trust is a not for profit organization committed to providing affordable housing for the North Okanagan.  Current and developing projects center around providing safe, clean and attainable housing.
They work closely with a number of other not for profits to aid not only those who need a helping hand financially but additionally those that require more help but can live independently.
They have a number of new projects that have either broken ground or are in developing to help make housing affordable.
One area of need that was identified is the landscaping at Creekside Village.  Unfortunately this does not fall under the scope of some of their funding and they need to ask the community for assistance for this area.
President Teresa introduced Assistant District Governor Dr. Carmen Larsen who spoke about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). This has been a legal option for Canadians since 2016 and is publically funded in Canada. MAiD provides for the ability to plan your own death when faced with a grave diagnosis or prognosis. Dr. Larsen talk was about MAiD in the North Okanagan and was not about ethics or morality of this extremely personal choice.  MAiD has been available in the North Okanagan since 2016 and eligibility and options were broadened in March 2021. In 2016 there were 3 requests for this service and since then there have been a total of 1700 requests of which approximately 52% ask for and received the service; 45% used palliative care with 3% other.
To use the service the person must have a medical diagnosis and prognosis, be over 18 years of age and must be capable of informed consent. It is your choice and care is taken to ensure that you are not under any pressure to end your life, which would rule you ineligible. Other ways are looked at to relieve your suffering and it must be a serious and incurable disease/disability or in irreversible decline such as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Other consideration is that natural death will occur or the outcome of death is reasonably foreseeable.  You retain eligibility for waiver of final consent.
Safeguards include proof of identity, assessment and involvement of 2 physicians or nurse practitioners. Assessors are not a beneficiary of the person’s estate, independent witness (also not benefactors of estate), timing of request must be supported by diagnosis and cannot be part of an Advanced Care Plan. Service is provided by physician or nurse practitioner.  Interior Health has a MAiD Care Coordinator Center to assist with service.
MAiD can occur at home, in hospice or in hospital. In the North Okanagan approximately 48% are at home; 27% in acute care; 15% in hospice with 8% in long term care.
Donna McGrath (hosted by Colin) is an International Education Consultant, having worked in all aspects of international student recruitment, services, housing & support at Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan & Thompson Rivers University.  She explained that our schools originally invited foreign students to expose Canadians to other cultures & viewpoints.  Over time, foreign students have grown to be major “profit center” for our schools, colleges & universities, becoming an important source of revenue to fill or augment funding gaps.  Between 2010 & 2020, enrollment grew 135%.  In 2019, Canada hosted 642,000 international students, of whom 500,000 were in post-secondary institutions.  For 2020, the numbers dropped about 17%, & going forward, we don’t know how Covid-19 & online learning will impact recruitment.  This is a big business, with tuition, housing, food & other spending bringing close to $20b to the Canadian economy at peak enrollment.  Primary source countries are India & China, representing well over 50% of our international students between them.  Success in attracting & retaining foreign students is highly dependent upon federal student & work visa policies.  Because 60% of international students apply for permanent residency, & many fund their education through jobs during & after their schooling, disconnects between their needs & visa policies will impact their decisions significantly.  Canada is seen as a safe place to get a high-quality education; in return, Canada develops a pool of well-qualified immigrants.  Problem areas include Canada’s reluctance to recognize foreign credentials, & a tendency for Canadian employers to (want to) pay less for foreign workers.  Also, demand for a “western” education will drop as India & China build more & better colleges & universities.  Where their needs align with ours, everybody wins!  For more info, see CBIE | Global Leader in International Education & British Columbia Council for International Education (
Valerie Cherwoniak is Manager of the Mackie Lake House, a well-known historic 1910-built home on five acres of Kalamalka Lake waterfront.  Originally part of Lord Aberdeen’s Coldstream Ranch, the property was occupied over the years by the Buchanan, Layton & Mackie families.  Late in his life, Paddy Mackie had the property “Heritage Designated,” & following his 1999 death, it passed to a foundation for community use.  The Foundation’s mandate is “to preserve & present the buildings, grounds, furnishings, & related history of Mackie Lake House for the enjoyment & education of the public.”  They have education programs for school children, using the Joan Heriot Environmental Centre, often including walks to the nearby bird sanctuary; present annual Kal & Seaton high school grad scholarships; & periodically host an artist in residence, with a showing.  Funds are raised through tours, & rentals for weddings, memorials, seminars, “Music at Mackie,” afternoon teas, & other events.  They have volunteer archivists, & are looking forward to publishing a book about Paddy & the House, by Ken Mather.  Goals include “Artisan Afternoons,” a renovation of the old cottage, & most importantly, addition of an accessible washroom in the grounds.  Unfortunately, Valerie came to the House at the same time Covid-19 restrictions came, so she’s looking forward to ramping up her plans when crowds can return.  She’s coordinating with other local attractions, intending for them to cross-promote & support each other.  
Coralie Nairn, from Vernon Search & Rescue, was hosted by Calvin Reich.  Coralie has 32 years of experience in search & rescue, with extensive qualifications in management & instruction.  SAR functions fall under the jurisdiction of Emergency Management BC.  There are 79 BC SAR teams, with 2,500 unpaid volunteers, responding 24/365 to an average of 1,700 incidents annually.  All adhere to a strict code of conduct, receive regular training, & are reimbursed only for out-of-pocket expenses, such as gas & meals.  Callouts come from a variety of agencies, with which they work regularly – most calls come from the RCMP.  Vernon SAR has been operating since 1960, & currently has 59 volunteers, with an enviably low attrition rate.  The average call is about five hours, & 95% of subjects are found within 24 hours.  SAR specialty teams include avalanche / snowmobile, bike / ebike, tracking, helicopter winch rescue, swiftwater / jet boat, ice, technical / rope, incident command, mutual aid, education & funding.  Vernon SAR is particularly known for its snowmobile team, & for initiating BC’s first helicopter winch rescue team.  The recent addition of ebikes has significantly helped with response times.  They’ve outgrown their current facility on Hwy 6, & are on the cusp of finalizing a new location, where they hope to open in 2022.
President Teresa hosted our Club Business Meeting – beginning with a report that Area Presidents are looking for someone to organize Athletic Awards for local high school students.  Earth Day, Thu, Apr 22nd will be noted by several of our members joining Silver Star Mountain Resort staff doing a one-hour local creek cleanup – meet in the parking area in the lane between Kal Tire Place & Red Top, at 7:30am.  Penny will be hosting a fund-raising meeting tomorrow.  Dave Hoyte believes our May 15th Garage Sale will be postponed, due to Covid restrictions.  Similarly, Dr Craig Goplen is unsure whether the September Father Daughter Ball will run this year.  As in-person presentations of our scholarships to Grade 12 grads are unlikely, Jim Kanester is asking for a member to write an encouraging note to each of our six recipients.  Dominik Dlouhy noted the Morning Star newspaper printed a nice article & picture of our RCMP volunteer of the year.  PDG Dr Peter Schulz joined us, to present a short video promoting the Zone 28 & 32 Rotary Foundation Virtual Gala & Fundraiser, 5 to 6pm PST, Wed, May 12th.  A variety of speakers & entertainers are lined up.  Tickets are US$110.  Peter noted TRF donations are up 6% this Rotary year, but requests for help have doubled.  For more info  Welcome | Zones 28 & 32 ( Our meeting finished with short updates from all attendees, about how they’re enjoying Spring.
Our guest today was Eduarda Salles Lobo, our 2009/10 incoming RYES from Belo Horizonte, Brasil.  Colin & Martin’s wives, Barb & Carol joined the conversation, having been host “Moms.”  Following her year in Vernon, Eduarda was initially thinking about being a doctor (her Dad is an otolaryngologist, or ENT), then switched to civil engineering (her mother is an engineer).  She did a year of study in England, then followed her degree with post-graduate work in renewable energy.  This led to finance work with a renewable energy company.  She’s now working in investor relations for Hotmart, “a leader in the distribution & sale of digital products in Latin America.”  Eduarda works from her parents’ home during the week, then joins her fiancé on weekends in nearby Nova Lima.  He’s a lawyer, apparently “too noisy” to share work space with!  They hope to marry when Covid subsides.  Asked what impact the Rotary Youth Exchange program has had on her life, Eduarda says she’s maintained friendships with other RYES from all over the world, benefitted from personal development through RYES, & greatly improved her English, which is a big advantage.  She had a minor case of Covid, & wonders if her lower energy level might be a lingering effect.  Her family are all well, though her Dad fell off a horse & broke four ribs, while spending time on his ranch!  So great to reconnect with this impressive young lady.
Our orchid-loving Don Miller shared a National Geographic video describing south Florida’s “Ghost Orchid.”  There are thought to be 25-30,000 species of orchids, with the greatest diversity found in the south Florida swamps, which are among the wildest & most inaccessible parts of the country.  Ghost orchids have long slender white stems, but no leaves.  They have massive root systems wound around trees, & can survive up to 50 years.  However, the chances of pollination are slim, as they were thought to be dependent on a small population of Giant Sphinx moths.  In 2018, conservation photographers Carlton Ward & Mac Stone partnered with tropical ecologist Peter Houlihan, spending weeks with their sophisticated camera equipment in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, northeast of Naples, FL.  They captured incredible photos of ghost orchids, Giant Sphinx moths, & also Fig Sphinx moths.  Their findings now call into question who are the real pollinators of the orchids, raising the possibility that Giant Sphinx moths steal nectar from ghost orchids, whilst Fig Sphinx moths are the real pollinators.  The perseverance of these guys is incredible, as are their photos!
Jim Kanester filled in for his no-show speaker, talking about the Community Foundation of North Okanagan, found online at  Founded in 1975, the Foundation now has over $16m in assets, & has distributed over $7.5m.  Recent improvements their website allow more flexibility in donations to a wide variety of designated, donor advised, “Smart & Caring Community,” & term endowment funds.  Of particular interest is the “Vital Signs” section of the CFNO website.  This is an annual check-up to measure community vitality through data on significant social & economic trends, with analysis in areas critical to quality of life.  There are sustainable development goals, plus reports on arts & culture, belonging & leadership, environment, getting around, health & wellness, housing, income gap, learning, work & economy, & safety.  Four downloadable reports, from 2011, 2013, 2017 & 2020, allow users to look at trends & emerging issues.
Martin von Holst hosted our 2011-12 incoming youth exchange student, Lukas Viebahn, from Munich, Germany, along with his partner Beth & their beautiful new dog.  In one month, he’ll complete his MSc degree, & begin a PhD program focusing on the chemistry of beer-making.  He’s also working on a new method of malting in the production of whiskey, which he hopes to patent.  His university is close to the world’s oldest brewery, founded in 1040!  Lukas told us beer is made from water, hops, malt & yeast.  He took us through the steps in making beer, explaining how variations in the primary components, & different production methods, yield a huge variety of beers.  Lukas hopes to work as a rep for a beer-making equipment manufacturer, or eventually as an independent consultant to the industry.  Along with a few others, he recently helped found a satellite Rotary e-club.  
Leigh Hewer introduced a TED talk featuring Marilyn Joy Waring. Marilyn is a New Zealand public policy scholar, international development consultant, former politician, environmentalist, feminist and a principal founder of feminist economics. In 1975, aged 23, she became New Zealand's youngest member of parliament for the conservative New Zealand National Party.
Marilyn’s talk, focus is on the errors in the current world wide Gross Domestic Product calculations. If you: do laundry, are (or have been) pregnant, tidy up, shop for your household or do similar labor, then by GDP standards, you're unproductive. In this visionary talk, economist Marilyn Waring seeks to correct the failures of this narrow-minded system, detailing why we deserve a better way to measure growth that values not just our own livelihood but the planet's as well.
Cut and paste the following to view video 17.19 minutes.
Colleen McEwan, a Kelowna Rotarian hosted by Rob Irving, is Director of Interior Health’s North Okanagan Mental Health & Substance Abuse programs.  She described our ongoing Opioid Overdose Crisis, which took over 1,700 BC residents in 2020 – more than suicides, road accidents, homicides & prescription drug overdoses combined.  In fact, opioid deaths have mostly outnumbered Covid-19 fatalities.  Since BC declared opioid overdoses a crisis in 2016, well over $300m has been committed to save lives, end stigma & improve access to services.  These measures succeeded in reducing overdose deaths by 2019, but Covid-19 impacts have led to a resurgence in deaths.  Over 80% of victims are male; over half occur in private residences, & less than 15% outdoors.  Almost 100 of these deaths took place in Vernon in the past five years.  Lifesaving measures include naloxone, overdose prevention sites (32 in BC), & a “Lifeguard App” for solitary users.  Treatments include opioid agonist therapy, new treatment beds, outreach teams, attempts to improve the safety of the drug supply, & (tacit) decriminalization of small amounts of drugs for personal use.  Vernon’s Overdose Prevention Site was one of the last in BC to open, partially due to significant local resistance.  Colleen says we should assume more & more toxic levels of fentanyl are in all street drugs, & that marijuana is no longer considered a “gateway” drug to harder substances, any more than alcohol.  Many people get addicted to pain killers after surgery or rehab, then turn to illicit drugs when their physician stops writing prescriptions.  Additionally, some physicians & dentists tend to over-prescribe pain medication, leading to addiction.  Clearly, this is a multi-faceted problem, calling for a variety of evidence-based solutions.
Dave Weatherill hosted School District 22 pediatric occupational therapist Brittany Weber, one of eight specialists on the Student Support Services Team.  Their dream is “that every student & staff member have access to the tools they require to learn, & that every child can engage & participate in the learning opportunities school provides.”  Covid-19 has greatly exacerbated struggles of both students & teachers – there are many more requests for help, & needs are more complex.  A more sedentary lifestyle also inhibits one’s ability to self-regulate our energy state, emotions, behaviours & attention.  Brittany & other professionals believe a solution is the “Brain Bikes – Move2Learn” program, which aims to provide a stationary exercise bike in every classroom, & ideally, a “spin studio” in every school.  The bikes are a tool, not a toy.  High quality, low maintenance junior & senior sized bikes are available through Sparks – A Program at prices ranging from C$655 + tax to C$825, shipping included, depending upon size & quantity ordered.  The Salmon Arm school district, in partnership with Shuswap Rotary, has a program underway.  Brittany hopes to pilot a Vernon program through Alexis Park & Kidston schools, & invites our sponsorship.  Dave believes this could fit well with our club vision, the Rotary wheel, & our Rotary Ride event.
Leigh hosted Carly Suddard, Marketing & Prevention Manager for BrainTrust Canada, which our club periodically supports.  Through Covid-19 restrictions, BrainTrust’s in-person group sessions have been suspended.  They've accessed federal funding for non-profits, & used this past year to update their strategic & marketing plans, including upgrades to their website.  Many of their clients have difficulty understanding Covid restrictions & are vulnerable to conspiracy theories, etc.  Among leading injuries & diseases recorded annually in America, traumatic brain injuries significantly outnumber breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries & multiple sclerosis combined.  Brain injuries are caused by tumors or other medical conditions, but primarily through concussions from car accidents, falls, sports or workplace injuries.  Impacts include physical & mental health, cognition, mobility, employment, finances & relationships.  Many concussion injuries heal in several weeks, but a common hindrance to healing is an early return to work & other activities, not allowing sufficient time for a full or better recovery.  BrainTrust offers a variety of prevention & recovery resources for both youth & adult clients, including their “Skullwise” & Helmet Safety for kids, Prevent Alcohol & Risk-related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) Program for teenagers; life skills, group support & clinical counselling for adults (on hold, due to Covid), plus their new Kelowna “NeuroRecovery Centre.”
Colin Heggie shared Rebecca Knill: How technology has changed what it's like to be deaf | TED Talk  Rebecca is a business systems consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.  She was born profoundly deaf, opting in 2003 to have a cochlear implant, ie- she has 32 computer chips inside her head, coupled with external devices, which allow her to hear.  5% of the world’s population have significant hearing loss – by 2050 that is expected to be about 900m people, including 1 out of 3 seniors.  Hearing people assume that the deaf live in a perpetual state of wanting to hear, but she just wanted to be part of a community like her – she wanted everyone else to be deaf!  Rebecca says “complete silence is very addictive.”  In the absence of sound, her imagination is free to “hear” it.  Plus, with control over her hearing technology, she has the option of turning it off.  Her biggest obstacle as a deaf person is the outdated way people respond to her deafness – with pity, patronization or anger.  Technology has been both a help & a hindrance for her.  Voicemail is a problem, particularly when those around her who know she can’t hear (well), continue to send them.  Email & texting, however, make her life easier, allowing her to participate fully.  She’s on a mission to promote visual options whenever there’s audio.  We need to be connected.
Loredana Eisenhauer shared Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | TED Talk or “Start With Why.”  Simon drew three concentric circles, the smallest labelled “Why,” the next “How,” & the largest or outside one labelled “What.”  He says most people or companies describe their ideas or products by defining What they’re selling, whilst our most successful leaders (his examples are Apple, Dr Martin Luther King & the Wright brothers) start with the Why.  By defining Why we believe what we believe, people are much more attracted to What we’re promoting.  People don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it.  Simon says by addressing the limbic or emotional brain, we access decision-making at a fundamental level, where people who believe what we believe are seriously attracted.  He goes on to describe the “Law of Diffusion of Innovation,” with a graph showing typical sections of (idea or product) adopters, broken down into 2½% innovators, 13½% early adopters, 34% early majority, 34% late majority & 16% laggards, where a critical 15 to 18% adoption rate, or tipping point, must be reached in order for a product or idea to survive & have any chance of mass adoption.  (He described “laggards” as those who only bought a touch-tone phone when rotary dial phones were no longer made.)  Innovators & early adopters are those motivated by what they believe, not simply by what is available.  Those are the highly motivated folks who the rest of us look to when deciding if an idea of product is worth following.  They're the ones we want working for or with us.
Bob France introduced Izabela Szelest of Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society (CAUDS) and Aaron McRann with Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen (CFSOS). CAUD is a new Society that was formed in September 2020 to formalize the efforts of Dr Jeff Harries of Penticton, BC who treated patients with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).  Dr. Jeff Harries has been providing medical treatment for patients with AUD for years, but in 2017, he came to realize that a majority of patients and providers didn’t have access to the latest proven and effective medical treatments. He saw this knowledge and practice gap as a challenge and a call to action. AUD is misunderstood and mistreated chronic disease and it contributes to other diseases, e.g. cancer or liver disease. Less than 8% of individuals with AUD seek treatment and less than 1% receive treatment. The impact is significant and directly affects 18% of the population, and indirectly almost everyone. In 2017 alcohol accounted for $16.6 billion of the total cost of substance use (opioids - $5.9 billion), including healthcare, loss of productivity, criminal justice, and other Healthcare costs: $5.4 billion (opioids - $439 million). From Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms Report, 2015 2017
There are 6 available medications to treat AUD, 4 approved in the BC clinical management of high-risk-drinking. These treatments have been available since 90s, so efficacy is approved and available on the market. Costs range from $25 - $150 per month with some are covered by provincial plans. Treatments are non-habit forming and need to be taken only for a few months.
The purpose of the Society is to provide hope and improve quality of life by advancing proven and effective treatments of AUD, and to facilitate a more compassionate perception of this disorder. The Society develops and promotes scientific knowledge relating to AUD as well as create a sense of hope to care providers, patients, families, and the general public. Provide support and advocate for change in policy and practice with support and to increase awareness.
The CFSOS is the backbone organization for the CAUD Society, assisting with grant applications, fundraising, donations and strategic direction. The Foundation is also committed to leveraging the vast nationwide network of community foundations to help spread the word, at a grassroots level, about the work of CAUDS and expand it to a national scope.
For more information visit
Ventilators are closely monitored by an RT for each patient.
Dr Craig Goplen hosted his daughter Laura, a respiratory therapist, to tell us about her career & how RTs are involved in Covid-19 treatments.  Following an undergraduate degree,  TRU in Kamloops offers a three-year program to train RTs.  This includes a year of hospital & community practical work, with a rotation through Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.  RTs work in various clinics; in care homes; in private homes assisting those with home oxygen; assisting with air & ground transport of patients; in hospital ER departments, neonatal, ICU, operating rooms & general wards – assisting with all cardiac arrests, & “wherever they’re needed quickly;” in diagnostics with bronchoscopy, etc.; & in rehabilitation, helping those with chronic lung disease.  RTs manage oxygen therapy, intubation, ventilation, extubation & tracheostomy tubes.  They’re often involved in the beginning & end of life issues.  Vernon’s hospital has ten ventilators, plus three transport ventilators.  Two RTs are always on shift.  The demands on RTs have skyrocketed through Covid treatment, which adds significantly not only to patient volume & complexity, but also to the requirement that medical practitioners change their PPE for each patient.  A change of PPE takes about five minutes, with a “buddy” to assist.  Covid patients also need negative pressure isolation rooms for safe treatment.  Because RTs are always working in patients’ faces, they’re exposed to a high risk of disease transmission.  Laura asks everyone to please follow mask guidelines, & use credible sources for information about vaccines.
Bob Clarke hosted his wife Debbie as our speaker.  Debbie is a Director of “Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail,” & recently retired from a long career with Parks Canada.  She described how our Rotary Ride events were the first & last fundraisers for the trail, & how all three Vernon Rotary clubs have been supportive.  Last year’s fundraising helped create native landscaping as the first phase of the trail’s northern gateway at Km 0.  As funding allows, future development will include additional trailside interpretive/rest areas, aiming for the high standard shown by the Weatherill Interpretive Sites.  In response to questions about the Trail, Debbie agreed there are some concerns about the speeds of some e-bike users, acknowledged there’s a need for a few sitting areas for walkers, & explained a variety of trail-focused events would be regulated by adjoining host municipalities, the Regional Districts &/or First Nations.  There’s no doubt usage & support of the Trail has exceeded even the most ambitious estimates.
Through our Zoom meeting, Teresa Bartel shared Nora McInerny’s 15-minute 2018 TEDWomen talk, at   Nora McInerny: We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it | TED Talk .  Nora is an author, speaker & podcaster, who makes her living talking to people about life’s hardest moments.  This talk is about grief – she says “We don’t ‘move on’ from grief.  We move forward with it.”  In 2014, Nora had a miscarriage, lost her father within a week & her husband within a few months.  She describes peoples’ discomfort dealing with her, & the range of emotional responses she had.  Nora’s wonderful sense of humour & humanity shines throughout this presentation.  Her 2019 book releases were “The Hot Young Widows Club: Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief,” & “No Happy Endings: A Memoir.”  (Colin’s note: spending 15 minutes to watch or re-watch this presentation is well worth your time.  Brilliant stuff.)
We’re back to Zoom meetings!  Dave Weatherill hosted Gord Leighton & Vicki Proulx, from the Vernon Community Radio Society.  Gord is a 50-year veteran of commercial radio & leads the Society; Vicki is a Board member, & Executive Director of our Vernon Winter Carnival.  In July 2018, Kal Rotary provided $8,000 in seed money to finance the Society’s bid for regulatory approval.  Just a few weeks ago, the CRTC granted approval to operate 97.9 Valley FM, serving +/-60,000 people in the Vernon area, from a transmitter located on Vernon Hill.  A small paid staff is anticipated, with most work performed by a variety of volunteers.  Initially, about $220,000 is required to build the station.  The funding model calls for modest government grants, public fund-raising, & a small revenue stream from advertisements.  Fund-raising will begin in early 2021.  The planned format is 20% “spoken word,” plus a variety of music genres dominated by pop/rock, including about 40% Canadian content.  July 1st, 2021 would be an ideal starting date, but between now & then, a lot of people have to be engaged in the build.  About 1,500 square feet of office space within Vernon’s downtown must be found.  Community radio is intended to be more creative & spontaneous than commercial radio, offering a platform for a variety of respectfully delivered opinions.  Gord, being familiar with Rotary, holds the 4-Way Test as a guide to Valley FM’s operations, with the addition of having fun to the mix.
Michael Wardlow, a long-time season passholder at Silver Star Mountain Resort, hosted their Ginny Scott (Local Sales Manager) & Chantelle Deacon (Media Relations & Sponsorship Manager), for an update.  Silver Star began operation in 1958, progressing through several different sets of owners, & growing to become the 3rd largest ski resort in BC, unique in having a “mid-mountain” village, with all ski in/out accommodation.  It was purchased in late 2019 by POWDR, a Park City, Utah based “Adventure Lifestyle Company®” owned by the Cumming brothers.  POWDR operates 10 ski resorts in the U.S., & has several other associated businesses.  Ginny previously worked at Whistler Blackcomb, which went through a sale in 2016.  She claims Silver Star’s sale has been a much happier experience for staff & locals, saying POWDR is focused on contributing to the communities they serve.  More investment in the ski experience is planned, though the impact of Covid-19 will likely slow new developments.  Chantelle says the mountain is planning a Dec 4th opening for passholders only, with a parking reservation system in place to help control the number of people on the mountain, as they respect social distancing guidelines.  Staff accommodation on the hill must be lower-density, so supplemental rooms are being provided at Vernon partner hotels.  It looks like snow will be abundant, but everyone will need to adjust to new procedures designed to keep everyone safe during a Covid-19 winter.
Martin von Holst hosted Dean Francks, Executive Director of North Okanagan Youth & Family Services Society.  NOYFSS began serving families in 1974, & have grown to over 22 different programs supported by over 90 staff & an annual budget exceeding $5m.  Counselling & support services to individuals & families include help for troubled youth, young parents, foster parents, pregnant teens, addictions, AD(H)D, etc., etc.  They also have two staffed residential facilities.  Much of their work involves problem-solving for both groups & individuals, such as cyber-bullying.  Their many in-person group counselling sessions were cancelled due to Covid-19, but are now restarting.  Masks & social distancing are difficult or impossible with some of their clients, so this has been a huge challenge.  A large portion of NOYFSS’s funding comes from contractual arrangements with the provincial Ministry of Children & Family Development, with whom they have a close working relationship.  In answering a question from one of our members, Dean admitted they presently don’t have a program to assist working adults who care for their aging parents.  Dean briefly described their annual Christmas “Adopt A Family” program, in its 20th year, matching sponsors with needy local families.
Bev Rundell introduced our City of Vernon Director of Recreation, Doug Ross, a 37-year City employee, looking forward to his retirement, perhaps next year.  Doug was following up on a previous presentation, with Covid & project planning updates.  Recreation facilities closed in March of this year, due to Covid-19.  Over 100 employees were laid off.  Previously, only the Acquatic Centre closed annually for two or three weeks for maintenance & cleaning.  This long unplanned closure has been used for deep cleaning, painting & more complicated repairs of all facilities.  All facilities have now partially re-opened, with far fewer users.  Each user group, ie. swimmers, ringette, hockey, etc., must follow a myriad of rules set by various levels of government, health authorities, sports organizations, etc.  The City, as a facility operator, must be familiar with everyone’s rules – a full-time job for one or more employees!  Hopes for a "new normal" are anticipated for Fall 2021.  Doug also talked about planning underway for our “Active Living Centre,” which will include a 50m pool, leisure pool, double gymnasium, fitness centre & a walking/running track, occupying about 8 acres of the 38 acre former Kin Race Track site.  It’s projected to cost about $90m.  The agreement the City has with Coldstream & Electoral Areas B & C, calls for 100% buy-in on major facility decisions, so there’s a lot to negotiate.  The feasibility study recommended a “phased” build, however Vernon City Council voted in favour of a full buildout, expressing concern that second or third phases would be at risk of not being undertaken.  At this time, the City's partners have expressed they don’t want to proceed with discussions on the ALC project until construction of the “Cultural Centre” (museum, art gallery, etc.), is underway.  Financing of the $40m budget for that project is a "work in progress."
City of Vernon Councillor & former Mayor, Akbal Mund, was hosted by Calvin Reich.  Akbal provided an update & answered questions on a variety of topics.  About 80% of taxpayers have made their property tax payments on schedule, despite Covid-related problems, & the City has reserves which may be used to cover revenue shortfalls.  Among businesses, he thinks retailers, especially clothing stores, are suffering most.  Many restaurants are adapting well to take-out.  Discussions among stakeholders are proceeding for a re-opening of recreation facilities, & planning is underway for both the “Active Living” & Cultural Centres, as well as the former Civic Arena site.  At the end of this year, loans for the original Kal Tire Place & Performing Arts Centre will be repaid.  Construction will start soon on a new Search & Rescue facility on PV Rd.  A new sewer main along Okanagan Landing Rd is underway, prompted & partially paid for by Okanagan Springs Brewery.  Water rates have been set for the next four years – reflecting increases for agricultural users, who use about 50% of the water, but provide under 5% of the revenue.  Akbal pointed out though, that agricultural users are the ones who originally obtained water licences & built our water systems.  Real estate sales are booming, & Ontarians are prevalent among buyers.  Rail Trail plans & improvements are proceeding well, with new paths through Polson Park & town underway, plus parking & washrooms.  As well, there’s only about 150m of Grey Canal access left to be negotiated, it won’t be long before hikers & bikers are well-served in Vernon.   
Donna Irving introduced, from the City of Vernon, Kim Flick, Director of Community Infrastructures and Erik Mustonen, Park Planner. We met at a yet undeveloped lot toward the south end of Lakeshore Road. Kim and Erik explained what the City of Vernon's general long term plans are for area development over the next 5-40 years. The current vision includes increased parks, a possible lake front board walk from Paddelwheel Park to Lakeshore Road along with commercial and residential development. The eventual real estate development may include retail and service businesses at street level with residential above with view to creating a vibrant residential and tourist water front area for Vernon. They spoke about a new development being built across the road and the need for real estate acquisition over time as properties become available as well as the parking challenges that will need to be addressed going forward. We walked down to the newly completed beautiful Lakeshore Park where we learned about the park and in addition both the short and long term plans, potential opportunities and challenges in the area.
James Fradley, of Vernon’s Med Restaurant ( , formerly the Eclectic Med), was introduced by Jim Kanester.  James began his life in Reading, UK.  In the early 1990s, his father moved the family to Portugal, where he marketed holiday apartments.  This was followed by a 1996 move to Burlington, ON.  During a family holiday, James’ mother called on a childhood friend in Vernon, leading the family to establish The Eclectic Med.  While his parents’ restaurant flourished, James attended the University of Alberta, began a study of Japanese, relocated to Japan, & supported himself by helping non-Japanese people adapt to Japan.  He became a Tokyo-based recruiter for foreign companies with Japanese operations, eventually being recruited himself, to help Google grow their Tokyo office.  Moves with Google to London & Zurich followed.  After 14 years with Google, James returned in late 2018 to Vernon, where he joined the Med.  His contributions included physical upgrades to their building, & involvement in menu changes.  When Covid-19 hit, James used his technology skills to help pivot the restaurant, with considerable success, to a take-out heat & serve model, which sustained them through nine weeks of closure.  Re-opening May 22nd, 2020, with reduced seating, the Med continues to provide take-out meals in addition to regular in-house dining, & is considering an expansion of their offerings.  James is an engaging gentleman, with an eclectic English, Portuguese, Japanese background!
Jim Kanester arranged an onsite meeting at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, catered by Dominic Dlouhy’s wife Marilyn’s “Boarding House Café.”  It was a perfect fall morning for an outdoor meeting.  Jim introduced ABNC’s new Centre Manager, Cheryl Hood, & their Board Chair, Jim Popowich.  Cheryl started with ABNC in February 2020, almost immediately diving into uncharted “Covid-19 territory,” & navigating a multitude of operational restrictions, safety protocols & major revenue reductions.  She credits a talented Board, adaptable staff & a dedicated group of volunteers for their success in pulling through a very challenging year of reduced visits.  Our late long-time SSR member, Ken Barton, & current member Bob Clarke (with wife Debbie), were founding members of ABNC.  Cheryl described adaptions made to their “Ken Barton Learning Centre,” & a new childrens’ play area, with unique log climbing structures, sponsored by the Kal Tire Foundation.  Walkabout tours, led by Cheryl & Bob, revealed numerous improvements to the buildings & property, including the amphitheater used for live raptor shows & other events, plus a large sundial, explained by Jim, who built much of the structure himself, along with colleagues from his Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Okanagan Centre.
President Teresa introduced member Jim Kanester, who was late arriving and received the appropriate welcome. Jim had earlier teased us with an email telling us to listen to the song “The Girl from Ipanema’. Jim began by telling us of his early life and memories of growing up in Kamloops then moving across the river to North Kamloops and subsequently re-locating to Penticton. Stories of the fun he had as a child growing up and although times were not easy, they were fun.  Entertainment was self-made as they had no television early on and they didn’t spend much time listening to the radio. In addition he spoke how he would go out to play and show up in time for lunch then be off again, being dropped off for the 1st day of school by his Mom her staying there for a few hours then she left and his shock as he had to get home on his own. Obviously he made it, the walking to and from school unchaperoned through areas of no homes and the woods, going to the big library in Kamloops which was enormous compared to the North Kamloops one. To get to the ‘big” library he had to go across the new “Overlanders” bridge. He reminisced about the time he walked to town across the bridge to go to the theater to see the 1964 Disney classic animation “The Sword in the Stone” and to get there and find out it was sold out and he couldn’t get in. Jim then walked home only to return two hours later to get into see it. In Penticton riding his bike exploring and playing, delivering the Province newspaper and the freedom the earnings gave him, riding between the lakes and generally how enjoyable and different to was growing up in the 60’s.  Some (okay most) of the members related to Jim’s talk, his experiences and the simplicity of the time.
The teaser email, in 1963-64 Jim 1st   heard “The Girl from Ipanema” on the Ed Sullivan Show which was originally released in 1962. He became infatuated with the song its Bosa Nova and Jazz stylings. The song featured music by composer Antonio Carlos Jobin and the Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel. There are numerous versions of the song but Jim’s favourite, that he played for the members present and available on YouTube, featured piano and Portuguese lyrics of Jobin, sultry sax stylings of Stan Getz and vocals of Astrud Gilberto. Astrud was watching the recording in the studio and she stepped in to do the English lyrics as Jobin was having difficulty. Astrud have not sung professionally previously. The “Girl” was Helô Pinheiro, a seventeen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in Ipanema. Daily, she would stroll past the Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach ("each day when she walks to the sea"), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother much to the delight on the male patrons (now politically incorrect). Later a version of the song was modified to “The Boy from Ipanema” being originally recorded by Ella Fitzgerald along with many others.
Jim’s favourite song and early life appears to have actually impacted his adult life as he has learned Portuguese, traveled to Brazil and Portugal as well as numerous other locations, the paper route gave him responsibility, handling of money and finance; Jim is a CPA.  Jim stated it was the 2nd most “downloaded” song next to “Yesterday” by the Beatles, Sgt-At-Arms Don corrected Jim as it was actually the 2nd most “recorded” song of all time, thanks for the $1.00 Jim.
Sorry Jim only photo I could find.
President Teresa (left) introduced newly appointed Assistant District Governor Dr. Carmen Larsen. Dr. Larsen was Kalamalka Rotary President 2019-20 and their Rotarian of the year in 2017 before taking on her new roll as ADG. Carmen became a Rotarian in 2014 after her family relocated to Vernon BC, she is married to Jacek Szudek (local otolaryngologist) and they have three daughters. Larsen is a family physician who works in Vernon and Armstrong as a locum physician, operating room assist, walk-in clinic physician, site director for the Southern Medical Program, Vernon Cadet Training Centre medical officer and training of 3rd year UBC medical students. Carmen initiated the Rotary Starfish Pack Program that provides a backpack full of food for underprivileged children in the area to take home for the weekend.
Carmen’s involvement in community began at a young age helping her parents with church fundraisers; she was a candy stripper at the local hospital in Courtney BC and was indirectly involved with Rotary through her Dad’s 24 year association with the Courtney BC Club (1986-2010). That involved hosting Rotary Exchange Students, car rallies and Rotary Group Study Exchanges etc.  Carmen was selected, after a competitive speech at the Courtney Club, to be their selection as a RYLA participant in 1988 in Tacoma Washington, 1990-91 she was selected as a Rotary Exchange Student to Belgium, later Carmen worked for a mining company in China, then after entrance to medical school Carmen. After each of these events she would return to speak at her Dad’s Club. Carmen also spoke one week after her fathers’ untimely death at age 65 of a sudden heart attack in 2011. In addition to Carmen’s Rotary involvement her brother is also a member of the Parksville Club.
Today Carmen spoke to us about heart attacks, the importance of being aware and not ignoring even the sometimes mild warning signs. Changes in one’s health, chest tightness, discomfort or pain, shortness of breath where three months ago there was no issue, pain in your arms or jaw, feeling of unusual indigestion or gas. Having to sit longer to catch your breath after activity, for women the feeling is often more a feeling of indigestion or gas. Do not wait to see if it will go away, do not wait because you might feel silly or embarrassed if it turns out that you are not having heart-related pain. Do not feel you are wasting the doctor’s time or health care resources or that it is unsafe to go the hospital in the time of COVID-19. Just go it is better to be wrong in the hospital than dead at home, your family, friends and community need you. In closing Dr. Larsen thanked Silver Star Rotary for our long association with our mass CPR initiative and the importance of its continuance.
Keith Johnston (right) introduced Russell Haubrich (left) as his speaker. Russell and Keith have known each other for over 60 years (they are cousins). Keith’s family moved to Calgary from Toronto in 1953, and the family would visit the Haubrich family farm in Saskatchewan during the summer months. After moving to Texas in 1960, Keith returned to Saskatchewan and spent the summer of 1966 with Russell and his family.   Keith and Russell became re-acquainted when Keith and his daughter would visit Silver Star Mountain for winter skiing. Russell is the longest residing permanent resident of Silver Star Mountain having moved there in 1983. Russell gave an interesting talk on the history or Silver Star Mountain Resort from its inception, growth challenges to the present day detailing some of the interesting stories of the various ownership groups over the years.
Silver Star Sports was started by Russ Postill, Mike Lattey, Bill Attridge, Joe Peters, John Kassa, Joyce Balestra and John Hindle in 1956-1957. Although Silver Star Mountain is located in a Class A Provincial park where no development is permitted, this group persevered and received approval from the Province of BC to build a ski hill within the park in the summer of 1957.  Modest beginnings with two rope-tow lifts and an A-frame day lodge were built in 1958. In 1959 a poma lift was installed replacing the rope tow. In 1964 new t-bars were installed replacing the slower rope tow; in 1965 a second A-frame structure was added to the day lodge. In 1967 and 1968 the Summit and Yellow Chairs (6,000 feet) were installed, making Silver Star Mountain one of the largest ski areas in Canada. A good portion of the village construction is attributed to local builder Pete Pasechnik.
In 1981 Silver Star Sports was purchased by Norm Crerar, Charlie Locke, John Hindle, Rob Marshall and John Gow and became Silver Star Mountain Resorts Ltd (SSMR). The first Nordic trails were also cleared. In 1983 the Putnam Station Hotel is built by Russell Haubrich and Shella Ledingham, it is Silver Star's first on hill hotel (Russell sold the hotel that became the Bulldog) which Russell managed for the foreign owners for a year after the purchase.
From 1984-1990 many new hotels and amenities are built on the hill. In 1990 the Silver Queen chair was installed and replaced by a doppelmayr quad chair, 1991 the original Putnam Creek and Vance Creek express quads were built and opened up extensive amounts of new terrain. In 2001 the Schumann family, owners of Big White Ski Resort since 1985, reached an agreement in principle with the Honourable Judd Buchanan the then major shareholder of SSMR on the purchase of the majority of the assets of SSMR. In 2002 SSMR invested heavily in new chair lifts and opened up new terrain that was followed by further expansion in 2005/06 to open up the Silver Woods ski area. 2005 was also the expansion of the Silver Star Bike Park.  Jane Cann (daughter of Des Schumann) had owned Silver Star since 2002.  She became president and 100% owner in 2012. In December 2019 the resort was sold to POWDR, an adventure lifestyle company based out of Park City Utah so the next chapter begins.
Bev Rundell introduced 22-year old David, owner of Vernon’s Fig Bistro  David dropped out of high school early, wanting real world experience.  He worked three years at Nature’s Fare, then purchased his restaurant across the street.  With the March 2020 onset of Covid-19, a sudden drop in sales, & operational rules changing daily, he quickly realized the key to his survival would be take-out meals.  He had to let half his staff go, then invested in Facebook marketing.  Facebook reached a different clientele, producing a 50% increase in sales volume – all take-out, or pick-up & heat at home.  Soon, he launched a “Free Meals for Seniors” campaign, & with the help of volunteer drivers, has provided over 1,000 meals for struggling seniors.  He feels his business has benefitted from this gesture, & his success in pivoting to a new model of operation.  Asked what advice he might offer start-up restauranteurs, he said “get a good bookkeeper early on!”  David has an interest in politics, which may play a role in his future.
Member Dominik Dlouhy & his wife Marilyn Courtenay, who opened her “Boarding House Café” early this year, hosted our club’s first “in person” meeting since March 10th.  The spacious layout allowed social distancing, & we appreciated the “no host” breakfast goodies & drinks.  Assistant District Governor Bev Rundell presided over the handover to our new Directors.  Shown above are Bev Rundell (President Elect), Penny Trudel (Public Relations), Keith Johnston (Membership), Don Miller (Sargeant at Arms), Gillian Canniff (International Service), Teresa Durning Harker (President), Paul Philps (Past President), Loredana Eisenhauer (Secretary), Jim Kanester (Rotary Foundation), & Leigh Hewer (Director at Large); missing is Michael Wardlow (Treasurer).  Teresa outlined her objectives for the next year, & presented outgoing President Paul with an impressive basket of goodies, & thanks for his leadership.
In respect of continuing Covid-19 restrictions, Silver Star Rotarians continue to meet online weekly at 7am on Tuesdays.  This week, Dr Craig Goplen discussed the cancellation of our annual Father Daughter Ball, asking for ideas about how an online or virtual event might be held in lieu of the real thing.  He also noted the Queen Silver Star Excellence Program is currently considering how they might operate through 2020.  In July, it's expected we'll begin trial meetings at the Schubert Centre, using their covered rear patio area.  Jim Kanester thanked participants in his vocabulary contest, held over the past few weeks.  He supplied definitions, & club members supplied the word he was looking for.  Scoring 10 out of 11, our champion was Janet Green, followed closely by Gillian Canniff & Dave Hoyte, each with 9 correct answers.
President Paul Philps hosted Dan Proulx, representing the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, to our online meeting.  The Chamber is a non-profit with over 600 members, supporting economic development of our region.  Funding comes from a combination of member investment & Chamber-hosted events.  During the current Covid-19 pandemic, events are cancelled, but the Chamber remains active.  Their regular work includes training & education for members, business advocacy to all levels of government, & support of local business through online listings & gift certificate programs.  An important new initiative: “Relaunch Vernon Toolkit,” at , gathers a wide variety of information & tools local businesses can use to help them survive the pandemic.  Components include creating a back to work task force, preparing your office or workspace, preparing your employees, & preparing to do business.  Members are encouraged to “Be Prepared” for a second wave of the pandemic, for the loss of government subsidies, for employees working at home, & to initiate or expand their online & virtual presence.  Everyone is asked to patronize local businesses when possible, remembering that, unlike Amazon or other multi-nationals, they in turn support our local causes.
Since March 17th, 2020, our weekly Tuesday meetings have been hosted on Zoom, from 7:00 to 7:40am, by Bev Rundell.  Jim Kanester has supplied a weekly definition of a word – members email him their guess to identify the word, & he promises wine prizes for those with good vocabularies (no dictionary or online searches permitted!).  Bob Clarke has continued with announcing birthdays & anniversaries; Don Miller continues to throw in weird trivia questions.  It’s not like meeting in person, but at least we’re staying in touch.
Sara Morgan (L) is Program Coordinator for Teen Junction in Vernon, & Sarah MacKinnon (R) is a Regional Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Okanagan.  BGCO “adopted” Teen Junction at the request of the Literacy Society in about 2017, bringing extensive experience & partnerships in running a wide variety of youth programs.  Teen Junction is open to 13 to 19 year olds, Monday to Friday, from 3:30pm to 7:30pm, with two staff members offering services, typically including kitchen prep instruction, a hot meal, employment & job search help, computer skills, games, discussions, individual support, & sometimes just a safe place to hang out.  From an average of 11 to 15 daily clients initially, attendance jumped to over 50, & has settled back to about 30.  Many attendees present problems with addictions, homelessness, etc.  Teen Junction aims to provide a refuge & learning opportunities for youth with minimal support elsewhere.  An example of a successful strategy is their “Youth in Residence” program, which gives selected participants responsibility for keeping others safe – they essentially take the role of staff members, intervening when trouble arises, & sometimes engaging outside help from first responders or parents.  This can quickly show them the burden of responsibility, & teach valuable life lessons, while being shadowed by real staff.  Our club’s connection with Teen Junction goes back to its beginnings, & we continue to help finance the 4,400 meals served in 2019.
All Silver Star Rotary Meetings & functions are cancelled due to the Coronavirus.  Our Club Directors are reported to be in discussions with other local clubs regarding actions we might take to help support those in our community in need of assistance.  Keep well !
Ward Mercer, with Community Futures, was Janet Green’s guest today.  Ward was recently hired to administer Vernon’s Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, “designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live” here.  We’re one of 11 Canadian communities selected as a pilot.  The program will run for three years, beginning Feb 1st, 2020 & each of the 11 sites may approve up to 100 applicants.  Federal eligibility guidelines specify education & language requirements, at least one year of continuous work experience, an intention to live in the community, & proof of finances to support the transition.  Further, local program committees set additional requirements for qualifying employers, minimum wages ($25/hr in Vernon), & award applicants priority points for recommendation.  Our local committee is most interested in mid-career applicants with families, who have skills for “hard to fill” local jobs.  This program is not for family unification, or refugees – it’s intended to supplement existing routes to permanent residency & citizenship for skilled workers & their families who will add to the economic health of the pilot communities.   
Dave Hoyte hosted Doug Ross, the City of Vernon’s Director of Recreation Services, to tell us about their feasibility study for a new “Active Living Centre.”  Following a 2018 recreation master plan, a statistically valid survey of residents revealed that 59% want new facilities, 16% don’t, & 25% are unsure – perhaps until they know what’s on offer.  The top choices for indoor facilities are a leisure swim pool, multi-purpose rooms, a 50m pool, fitness rooms, a walking/running track, ice arena, gymnasium, etc.  68% of respondents were willing to pay up to $100 per year in additional property taxes to fund the capital cost of constructing facilities.  Proposed options will include replacing & adding to our existing Rec Centre facilities, or building new ones on the Kin Racetrack lands.  Three rough proposals range in cost from $60m to $90m.  A new questionnaire is being developed for distribution to a representative sample of 5,000 residents, asking for more detailed information about wants, needs, willingness to pay, etc.  The ongoing annual costs of operation & maintenance will also need to be considered, as will the timing of financing & construction vis-à-vis our proposed new cultural centre & needed improvements to our water system.  Doug noted that Vernon opened the interior BC’s first indoor ice rink in 1937, & first indoor civic pool in 1966.  He said it’s important to look at building efficiently for both present & future needs, & to provide amenities that will attract both new residents & visitors.
Member Bob France spoke today about the grasslands eco-system in Alberta and BC. The grasslands eco system in Canada is one of the most endangered eco systems in the world and is similar to the rainforests and coral reefs in other areas of the world. In western Canada less than 20% of the grassland are left and that is contributing to environmental damage with some 80% of species relying on the grasslands and the underground grassroots. Above ground the grasses pull carbon from the air with below ground providing a long term and stable eco-system. Cattle are extremely important to the grassland eco-system, previously it was the large bison herds that roamed the prairies before the arrival of the Europeans and cattle ranching. Grazing benefits grasslands by removing old growth for new growth in the spring, fire can be beneficial for removal of top growth as well. In approximately 1988, Grasslands National Park was established in southeast Alberta and was left as a park, without the previous grazing the grasslands were lost. Grazing has been re-established in the Park and the grassland eco-system has come back, providing strong evidence that the survival of the grasslands requires grazers. Bob noted that when grassland are tilled and farmed and then left to return a natural state it never goes back to natural grasslands. Other areas of the world where grasslands are present and have been farmed or the grazers removed, ie: elephants in Africa, the grasslands have been lost forever. We need to care for the grasslands be grazing so that they don't become extinct. Grazing not overgrazing is an important distinction as overgrazing can have very detrimental effects on grassland health .
In BC only 1% of the Provincial land base in classified as grasslands of which, 40% is private, 10% on reserve lands with 50% on Crown Land. Of the Crown land a very high percentage is with grazing tenures which are managed. 1/3 of the BC red and blue listed species live in the grasslands, so its preservation is very important. Closer to home with the development of housing, cultivation etc 39% of the grasslands in the Okanagan Boundary regions have been lost (45% in Vernon and 81% in the Kelowna area). Important grasslands in BC include Douglas Lake Plateau, White Lake Protected Area and the proposed National Park in the South Okanagan. Kal Lake Park is stated as grassland however based on historical photos and without active management it is being over grown with brush and trees effectively eliminating the grassland characteristic. The Grassland Conservation Council, Society of Range Management, Nature Conservancy and Nature Trust all play important rolls in the preservation of the grasslands.
Laurie Cordell is the City of Vernon’s Manager of Long Range Planning & Sustainability.  She was hosted by Lore Eisenhauer, to speak about composting.  A couple of trial compost collection bins, where residents could drop their organic waste, until Nov 2019, were overly successful, demonstrating a demand for some type of compost collection.  This demand was also reflected in a recent survey.  The City & Regional District, which operates our landfill, are motivated to explore efficient methods of composting, simply as a way to reduce landfill use.  A study is currently underway, to explore benefits & costs of more centrally located collection bins for organics, or possibly curbside pickups.  Local contractors, who would likely be involved in either scenario, are also looking at various alternatives.  Meantime, as we await a Fall 2020 report, the City intends to soon provide six collection bins, strategically located.  There were numerous questions about the efficacy of composting, as a method of reducing greenhouse gases, & about what is included/excluded in the definition of organic material.
Cindy Masters, Executive Director of the Vernon & District Community Land Trust, was hosted by Teresa Durning Harker.  The Land Trust seeks & manages public & private donations & purchases of land & buildings, which will contribute to a permanent supply of affordable rental housing.  They work with a variety of partner agencies, such as BC Housing, Habitat, Heartwood Homes, Okanagan College’s construction trade program, etc., to identify, acquire, design, build & populate modest housing for families & individuals whose income is insufficient to cover the market cost of housing.  Successfully completed projects include a 2010-built six-plex, & a 2012 major renovation of a 75-unit apartment block.  A new project is expected to be announced next month.  The Land Trust is always pro-actively working on a “shovel-ready” project or two, in anticipation of funding being made available.  They are also looking for new Directors, with experience, skills, & an interest in affordable housing.
This morning we met at Okanagan College’s Trades Building, opened in 2018.  Bob Clarke arranged a talk & tour with Rob Kjarsgaard, OC’s Program Administrator for Trades & Apprenticeships.  OC is BC’s 2nd largest trades trainer, after BCIT.  The Kelowna campus of OC recently received a $36m upgrade to their trades building, while Vernon, Penticton & Salmon Arm have new facilities to allow rotating intakes of various trades through multi-purpose shops.  The Vernon facility has a large classroom area, three shops & ancillary rooms.  High school students are invited to “Student for a Day” hands-on experiences, & there are several special programs, such as “Women in Trades.”  A wide variety of apprenticeship & foundation programs, leading to diplomas or Red Seal National Endorsements, include aircraft maintenance; automotive service, collision repair & refinishing; carpentry & joinery; culinary arts; electrical; heavy mechanics; metal fabricating & fitting; pastry arts; plumbing & pipe fitting; RV service; refrigeration & air conditioning; residential construction; sheet metal work; studio woodworking; & welding.  There are numerous options within most of these categories.  Rob claims an overall 97% employment rate among all graduates of trades training, most of whom alternate between classrooms & on the job experience, where they can be earning progressively better wages throughout their training.  He calculates a typical trades student can earn a good living through their four typical years of training, whilst a typical university student accumulates substantial debt.  Pictures show shops set up for plumbing & welding.
Leigh Hewer introduced Teresa Bartel’s speaker, pharmacist Gerard Kampman, owner of North End Pharmacy Remedies Rx.  He spoke about medical uses of cannabis, which contain over 450 compounds, including 80 to 100 phyto-cannabinoids, the best known being THCs & CBDs.  Cannabinoids are often used to treat chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain; spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis; chemotherapy triggered nausea & vomiting; & epilepsy.  Studies have shown that cannabinoids are less effective than most pharmaceuticals in treating neuropathic pain, but interestingly, these same studies show panaceas being more effective than any treatment!  Cannabinoids also present more side effects than conventional drugs.  Separating medicinal from recreational marijuana is complicated, but a clear danger of using non-medicinal grade product is the growing use of inappropriate anti-mildew or anti-fungal products in the growing process, leading to some highly undesirable results.  (This was attested to by Dave Weatherill, who knows about agricultural supplies.)  Where people are seeking medical treatment or pain relief, using a pharmacist to help with selection, dosage, monitoring, records & sourcing, is likely to produce better results.
Gillian Canniff hosted WorkBC’s Angie Fisher & her colleague Angela, who described their newly funded “Employ! Youth Centre,” a comprehensive employability skills program for youth 16 – 25.  The program is directed to youth who want to work, but face barriers such as anxiety, depression, FASD, poor literacy, or lack of family support, routine, transportation, housing, high school completion or confidence.  Each intake of 12 to 16 participants receives 6 weeks of classroom study, followed by 9 weeks of employment supported by a Job Coach.  Federal funding provides wages, help with barrier issues above, & may also include appropriate clothing for interviews, work gear, training, counselling & mentoring.  Mentors are sought, to job shadow, spend social time with youth, & provide practical encouragement.  Outcomes observed among previous clients include major improvements in confidence, hope, recognition of skills & abilities, coupled with a decrease in anxiety & depression.  Though an expensive program, many participants become valued employees, with better, more productive & balanced lives.
 Leigh Hewer, Bob Clarke and Jim Kanester
For today's meeting Members were to wear an ugly sweater, Xmas tie etc with prizes received after voting with best costume being awarded to Bob Clarke with Leigh Hewer, Janet Green and Jim Kanester receiving runner up prizes. Thanks to Gillian and Bev for arranging prizes and Gillian for unbiased selection of winners. President Paul tried to auction off a couple of plates/serving dishes that were left after Friday nights Christmas party to no avail, if they are yours please contact Paul.
There was lively discussion as to the future of the "Rotary Ride" in 2020 and beyond and there will be more to come in the New Year.
Our next meeting is January 7, 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all and see you in 2020.
Club Meetings
Host: Dave Weatherill
Dec 14, 2021
AGM + Molly Boyd -- wear Christmas attire
Jan 04, 2022
Jan 11, 2022
Father/Daughter Ball 2021