Category Archives: Networking

New Member Networking Event December 10

–submitted by Haley Saalsaa; photos by Dave Ewanowski


Club President Ellsworth Brown and Haley Saalsaa

On the morning of December 10 25 of us got together for a new member event at the Blackhawk Country club. We were welcomed with fresh hot pastries accompanied by coffee and orange juice.


From left: Jorge Hidalgo, Mike Casey, Larry Collins & Carol Goedken

We took the first thirty minutes to talk amongst ourselves and then the fun really began. Jason Beren orchestrated a Bingo game deriving answers from surveys we had all previously taken. It was a unique networking event and fun to try something new. Often times networking is the same and discussions become routine. The bingo game allowed us to find out unique things about our fellow Rotarians that we may not have known before. For example, did you know that our president Ellsworth Brown played cymbals in high-school? He could put on quite a show incorporating CO2 for special effects OR that TJ Blitz is a trained stage actor?


From Left: Sandy Morales, TJ Blitz, Craig Bartlett & Tom Popp



From left: Mary Borland, Ellsworth Brown, Nick Curran

These are the types of things that likely would not have come into conversation if we weren’t playing an exciting game of Bingo! Jason threw a great event and I look forward to this spring for more events to come.


Bring Your Own Bottle, Story and Snack Wine Tasting

–submitted by Mike Wilson

Group 2

The Wine Fellowship met at our home for a “Bring Your Own Bottle, Story and a Snack” tasting on January 29.  Thirteen tasters arrived with a bottle of wine and a snack together with the story.  Some of the stories included:

The best Syrah in my collection.
Please help me select a good wine for a “fancy pants” tasting.
A Michigan Pinot Noir.
Favorite best buys.

Each wine had a very interesting story.

Yuska  Wellensiek  Mixtacki

Photo 1: Ginny & Ken Yuska; Photo 2: Mary Janet & Karl Wellensiek; Photo 3: Meryl & Steve Mixtacki

All of the wines ranked well in quality (I rated them from 17.5 – 19.0 on a 20 point scale), no doubt assisted by the fun and gaiety had by all.

Schatz  Photo1  Meryl Mary Janet

Photo 1: Ellie & Paul Schatz; Photo 2: Cheryl Wittke & Ken Yuska; Photo 3: Meryl Mixtacki & Mary Janet Wellensiek

The pairings included:

A New Zealand and the very excellent Michigan Pinot Noir.
A Grenache and a Syrah.
Two Merlots.
A Bordeaux and a US Cabernet.

We feasted on multiple cheeses, a variety of crackers and breads, proscuitto and salami wrapped mozarella, hot quesadillas with salsa, spinach roll ups, spicy shrimp, and chocolate coated strawberries.

BrantWe welcomed new Rotarian Mark Brant and his wife, Tracy (pictured at left) to their first Wine Fellowship Event.  We were glad to have you with us!


December 17th Holiday Party Highlights

Our thanks to photographers John Bonsett-Veal, Mike Engelberger and Stacy Nemeth.


Susan Schmitz & Janet Piraino

Tim Stadelman & Dave Ewanowski

Tim Stadelman & Dave Ewanowski

John Bonsett-Veal, Wes Sparkman & Derrick Van Mell

John Bonsett-Veal, Wes Sparkman & Derrick Van Mell

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Photo 1: Patrick Downey, TJ Blitz & Renee Moe; Photo 3: Nick Curran at the Holiday Treats Table


Teresa Blythe Kris Ashe


Juan Lopez Charles Tubbs, Sr.

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Photo 1: Dick Fayram, Karl Gutknecht & Ted Ballweg; Photo 2: Mike Wenzel, Gary Peterson, Suresh Chandra & Rob Stroud; Photo 3: Nick Curran, Mike Crane & Brian Koch

Jeff Bartell, Jenny Armstrong, Katie Ryan  Dick Lovell

Jeff Bartell, Jenny Armstrong, Katie Ryan & Dick Lovell

Perry & Virginia Henderson

Perry & Virginia Henderson

Susan Schmitz, Carol Toussaint & Kathleen Woit

Susan Schmitz, Carol Toussaint & Kathleen Woit

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Photo 1: Nan Hoffman & Ted Waldbillig; Photo 2: John Bonsett-Veal & Paul Riehemann

Sharon Miemietz, Pat Jenkins & Jayne Coster

Sharon Miemietz, Pat Jenkins & Jayne Coster

Highlights from Scotch Whisky/Lew Harned Society Event at Overture Center December 15

–submitted by Wayne Glowac; photos by Gayle Langer

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”


From left: Regina Millner, Lew Harned and Brian Fick

Overture Center hosted the most recent Scotch Whisky/Lew Harned Society Fellowship Group on December 15.  Rotarians enjoyed the delightful company of each other while sampling exquisite Scotch Whisky selected by Ted DeDee.

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Photo 1: Ken & Ginny Yuska; Photo 2: Dan Dieck, Herman Baumann, Brian Koch & Brian Basken; Photo 3: Jim Ruhly & Regina Millner




New Member Coffee Event Held December 11

–submitted by Mary Borland; photos by Jason Beren

IMG_8775Several new members along with established members, gathered the morning of December 11 for networking and education.  Jason Beren led the meeting.

Guest speaker Victoria Gammino, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,  presented information about Rotary International Polio Plus and the impressive work that has been done to try to eradicate polio. There is still work to be done internationally, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, so our continued contributions to the Rotary International fund are very much appreciated.

Cheryl Rosen Weston presented information about the Madison Rotary Foundation and how our club is unique in having a Foundation. Many clubs are much smaller than ours and only contribute to the Rotary International Fund. Our dollars, donated to the Madison Rotary Foundation, go right into our local community to fund important causes.  Roth Judd followed up Cheryl’s presentation with a wonderful visual chart that helps us all better understand where our monies flow, whether local or international.

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Doug Dittmann provided information on the Community Grants Committee.  Committee members make personal visits to prospective grant recipients and then share their findings with the rest of the committee to decide on specific funding to be provided. New members are encouraged to consider serving on this committee – you’ll learn a lot!

The next new member meeting is January 28 at 11:15am, prior to Rotary, and a plan will be started to roast President Tim!  Don’t miss this one!

“Service Before Self”

–submitted by Bill Haight; photo by Pete Christianson

Weigand Jeff“Service Above Self” is the Rotary motto. “Service Before Self” is the motto of the Air National Guard. In noting the similarity, Colonel Jeffrey J. Wiegand, commander of the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, emphasized the role of his organization within the community.

The unit is composed of over 1,100 men and women, including 445 full-time employees .The rest are “citizen airmen” who live and work within the community 28 days a month, and train for two days. The total payroll is $58.2-million.

The 115th Wing has 35 pilots averaging about 2,000 hours of total flying time each and adding about 150 training hours per pilot annually. Maintaining flying hours is a major measure of a unit’s size and strength. Colonel Wiegand noted that his unit, as a joint state-federal entity, is less susceptible to “sequestration” which calls for the full-time Air Force to cut costs ten percent annually.

Colonel Wiegand said he strives to assure that the unit is a valuable resource to the greater Madison area. In addition to being called for overseas missions, the ANG can provide domestic assistance such as mobile medical facilities, search and rescue, drug surveillance, and bomb disposal.

The 115th  Fighter Wing is a tenant of the Dane County Regional Airport, paying part of its “rent” by providing fire and rescue services for the entire airport. His pilots also work closely with the airport to minimize noise complaints.

Colonel Wiegand sounded as much like a business leader as a military commander when he talked about his desire to maintain strong relationships within the community and provide a good place to work so highly skilled personnel can be retained after their minimum six-year reserve duty is finished. That retention rate currently stands at an admirable 60 percent.