Category Archives: Rotary Club of Madison

LHS Celebrates 10th Anniversary

–submitted by Founder Moses Altsech; photos by Brian Basken

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Pictured above from left: Phyllis Lovrien, Jed Engeler, Annette Hellmer, Haley Saalsaa, Beth Prochaska & Lew Harned

The Lew Harned Society marked its 10th anniversary on September 18 with a special event hosted by Founder and Dear Leader Moses Altsech.  Founded in 2007, the Scotch Whisky Fellowship was renamed in 2009 in honor of our great friend General Lew Harned, who has been there from the very first meeting.  We enjoyed great homemade food (presumably prepared at the caterer’s home), and music by a barbershop quarter courtesy of Ken Yuska–which coincidentally included someone who had served with Lew in Operation Desert Storm.

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All guests received a gift box of Quintessential single malt Scotch-filled chocolates.  The selection of eight rare single malts included the Mackinlay, a Scotch salvaged from Sir Ernest Shackleton after the wreck of the Endurance, rediscovered in 2007, and faithfully recreated.

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But as much as we like Scotch whisky, the Lew Harned Society is about much more than that.  It’s about Lew: How great a guy do you have to be for your friends to name a group after you?  It’s about friends: Our long-time regulars who are a standard staple, without whom we couldn’t imagine our gatherings, and new friends who want to join a group that’s fun and welcoming to all.  At Rotary we often talk about member engagement–and this is what member engagement is made of.  Goodwill, better friendships and Scotch.  Our group has the best-looking Rotarians, its very own General who’s always in a festive mood, and enough Scotch to keep us alive two weeks past the end of Western civilization.

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If you want to join our second decade, contact the Rotary office at once: Space is probably not limited, but why risk it?

Preventing Workplace Violence

–submitted by Ben Hebebrand; photo by Jeff Burkhart

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Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Deputy Josalyn Longley

Speaking at the September 13 meeting of the Rotary Club of Madison, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney along with Deputies Josalyn Longley and Cindy Holmes urged business and civic leaders to take a more active stance in preventing violence in area businesses, civic and religious institutions, schools and medical facilities. In the case of many shootings, the majority of which play themselves out in less than five minutes, “we are not there quick enough,” according to Deputy Longley, adding that “we are not the first responders – you are.”

Promoting a more action-oriented approach, the Sheriff’s Department is promoting an approach known as A.L.I.C.E. – and acronym for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter the attack, and Evacuate or Escape.” Citing broad support from the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, the action-oriented approach stands in contrast to a more passive response such as hiding underneath a desk. “Passiveness is deadly,” said Longley.

In explaining A.L.I.C.E., the presenters started with the concept of “Alert”, posing the question whether businesses or buildings have a way to alert everyone to a crisis situation. Alerting everyone in a building in plain language as opposed to a code is the preferred method of communication. As regards to the “Lockdown” component, Longley encouraged that everyone within a building know and determine how you can get behind a locked door or as an alternative how one could barricade oneself. Having the option to lock a door from within a room rather than having to go into corridors is much preferred. The “Inform” function is to call 911 or also text 911 – an option available in Dane County.  Longley urged callers to be as precise as possible with describing one’s location, citing that numbered exit doors may serve as an excellent guide to responding law enforcement. The “Counter” approach is to be employed in cases of last resort – an approach where one should feel empowered to combat the assailant by throwing chairs or other objects. Lastly, the “Evacuate/Escape” function requires that potential victims know the quickest and easiest way to escape. “Do all your people know all the exits?” asked Longley, adding that most of us are creatures of habit, and thus escape the way we usually enter the building.

Ultimately, the best defense is to plan and practice. Just like fire drills have become second nature in schools, planning and practicing drills to prepare for attacks are the key to preventing tragedies. “The body cannot go where the mind has not been,” said Mahoney.

The action-oriented approach, however, has one significant exception. Citizens who are armed under “Conceal and Carry” rights are not trained to take matters into their own hands, said Mahoney, affirming his opposition to “conceal and carry” approaches. Other than the lack of training, armed citizens may also be mistaken as the shooter when law enforcement arrives.

Under the auspices of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, more than 6,000 individuals in the county have received in the past 18 months specific training programs and educational materials on “Active Shooter and Workplace Violence” scenarios.

Please contact Dane County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Deputy Josalyn Longley for scheduling and/or additional information.  (Longley@danesheriff.com or 608-977-1300).

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

“How Do We Set Them Right For Future Success?”

–submitted by Carol Toussaint; photo by Jeff Burkhart

Katherine Magnuson 9 6 2017Wednesday’s speaker, Katherine Magnuson (pictured here with club President Donna Hurd) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, ended her speech with this question.  She had already provided insight into helping her Rotary audience understand just what is needed to focus on the early years in every child’s life.

At the heart of the issue is that early experience shapes brain development and that experience varies widely as a function of family social and economic factors.  Professor Magnuson had presented similar information to a Federal Reserve conference where she stated that to grow the economy we will need to focus on the first five years of a child’s life.

Identifying the skill and behavior gaps between high- and low – income kindergarteners, Professor Magnuson emphasized that closing the gaps is extremely difficult without the base of early childhood education.  If present when a child starts school, gaps continue through 3rd, 5th, 8th and 12th year.  To look at the skill and behavior gaps in reading, math, externalizing problem, etc., we learned these gaps need to be closed early.

The conclusions that early childhood is a foundation for human capital development and a productive investment were supplemented with graphs.  Our speaker provided documentation as to the vulnerability of children and families who need a range of supports and experiences to thrive.  All evidence points to the benefits from Early Childhood Education Programs, she said, and referenced studies published between 1960-2007 to help her audience grasp the significance of the opportunity to improve conditions for our children.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

The Face of Philanthropy in Madison

–submitted by Mary Borland; photo by Donna Beestman

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From left: Neil Dinndorf; Bob Sorge, President Donna Hurd & Nasra Wehelie

On Wednesday, August 30, at the Park Hotel, fellow Rotarian and past club president (2005-06) Bob Sorge, spoke about trends in philanthropy at national, state and local levels; a few faces who have shaped our community through philanthropy; and the Madison Community Foundation’s 75th anniversary.

Community foundations are grant-making public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area.  They bring together financial resources of individuals, families and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities.

The Madison Community Foundation (MCF) was established in 1942 and has $218M in assets. MCF grants $10M annually and has granted $200M over 25 years!  MCF consists of 631 Fundholders and 1,074 funds.

Philanthropy is really the idea of nurturing and the MCF nurtures Madison, Wisconsin. John F. Kennedy said that philanthropy is “…a jewel of an American tradition.”   Dane County residents are fortunate to have several large philanthropists contributing to our quality of life via the arts, community development, the environment, learning and via organizational capacity.  These five areas make up the MCF’s Impact Focus areas.

American’s provide $390B in donations across the country!  Millennials are donating more than Baby Boomers and significantly more than Generation Xers.  Here in Wisconsin, we rank 44th among other states in our overall giving, meaning we donate on average, about 3.4% of our discretionary income to charity.  On the upside, Wisconsin ranks 9th among states in being willing to help someone in need.

Bob spoke about some of the area’s philanthropists, including the Goodman Brothers whom lived frugally and gave big!

The MFC has provided grants over the years and continues to do so to increase the quality of life for residents of Dane County. Rotarians are exceptionally generous, giving over $220M across the globe.

We wish MFC a happy 75th anniversary.  You can learn more about MFC at www.madisongives.org.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Best Summer Barbecue Wine Pairings

–submitted by Mike Wilson

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The Madison Rotary Wine Fellowship met at Wilson’s for a Barbecue/Grilling tasting on August 28. We initially were to try some wines that are said to go well with these particular barbecue types.

We started with tasting wines that went with Fish, Vegetables and Mushrooms, and tried an Australian Drover’s Hut Dugan Chardonnay, a New Zealand Nautilus 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, and a 2012 Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose (we tried this at the Steve’s tasting with Guigal representative from Chicago last year).  The Chardonnay was the preferred wine by most of the group – I am not sure of the current availability as this, like most of the wines, came from my collection.

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We next considered Grilled Chicken where the important consideration is whether you are having white or dark meat;  Chardonnay is good for white meat while America’s Zinfandel is appropriate for dark meat, and we tried a  2014 Paso Robles Ridge version.

With Beef and Burgers the important consideration is whether the meat or the toppings/sauce is the dominant feature of the burger or steak. If meat is the important feature then a Cabernet Sauvignon is great.  If there is a spicy additive in the topping (i.e. Blue cheese or Onions or the sauce you add) then a Cab/Syrah would work.  We tried a 2008 Cask Cabernet Sauvignon (a special purchase years ago as this Rutherford wine is very special with a little Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot Blended). This tasted like the 94 points from WS the wine is rated at. We also tried a Cabernet/Syrah blend from Tobin James (Patty and I are members of this largest wine club in the world). The cask 2008 was the pick of the bunch and I still have two bottles left.

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(Photo 1: Mike & Mandy McKay; Photo 2: Leslie & Peter Overton; Photo 3: Sandy & Dana Corbett)

Now the tasting changes as Mike and Patty Wilson had decided in the last few days to add actual BBQ’s to the wine tastings.  This came as when I discussed the tasting with Mike McKay at Rotary last week when he raised the possibility of someone grilling steak and having cubes to taste.  Patty and I talked about this, and went out and brought back BBQ’s from two local restaurants with their different sauces to see what could be done.  As the tasting details had already been sent out, we decided to cover the cost of this as a late addition to the tasting as we wanted to give a number of good wines from our cellar for the tasting.  Indeed the only wine we bought was the 2016 NZ Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc.

We also arranged for three different sauces with the BBQ’s: at one of the restaurants we liked their South Carolina Mustard sauce, and at the other we liked their Sweet and Spicy sauces.  Each of these sauces has different wine requirements, complicating the tasting.

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(Photo 1: Roth & Lynne Judd; Photo 2: Jennifer & Bob Winding)

At this time there was a little confusion in the tasting and those present were able to modify the sequencing without undue stress.  So we had a sequence of BBQ’s and sauces to go with wines that Mike Wilson had decided on.

We started with a Polish Kielbasa and participants could add up to three sauces and I preferred the Mustard and Spicy sauces, and blended together it was GREAT.  The three wines samples were a 2012 Guigal Cotes du Rhone, a Three vineyards 2011 Petite Sirah, and a Australian 2008 Stanley Lambert Zinfandel. The latter two wines were old friends of Patty and I.  The consensus rating was that the Guigal Cote du Rhone was preferred – much cheaper than the other wines.  If you slathered the sausage in hot sauce then the petite Sirah would have been great given the spiciness of the sausage.

Next we tried the Brisket.  This cut of beef is the Pectoralis Major and Minor, which supports 60% of the weight of the cow when standing. Note the cow does not have a clavicle so these muscles are more important in the cows mobility.  The typical sauce in Texas is mustard based and this cut of beef is the basis of BBQ brisket. Brisket is used in Ireland’s Corned beef and cabbage, the meat of New England’s Pot Roast, Boiled on Jewish Holidays, and the basis of Pastrami.  What a wonderful cut, one of the nine primal beef cuts. We tried a 2012 Calcareous Syrah, a 2002 Seghesio Aglianico, and a Haven’s 2001 Bourriquot Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend.  The latter was the most preferred wine.

Last we tried the Pulled Pork. Here we had two Peterson wines and an Aussie Shiraz (not Syrah although it is the same grape). The Peterson Winery is from the Dry Creek region of California. This is a winemaker whose name comes up repeatedly when talking about old Zinfandel vines, and is a sleeper in Zinfandel production.  His wines are especially spicy and nice. One wine was Zero manipulation, a 2012 Carignan/Shiraz/Grenache blend where the winemaker plays little with the grapes and the other was a 2012 Zinfandel.  The Australian wine was a 2003 Glen Eldon Dry Bore Shiraz and I prepared that it might be too old with a replacement ready, but the wine was great and had a WS rating of 93 – and it tasted like that too.  This was the consensus wine.

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(From left: Patty Wilson, Steve Mixtacki, Meryl Mixtacki & Mike Wilson)

All in all, the wines were fantastic and there were comments that this looked like one of the best tastings we had ever had even with 15 different wines reviewed.  The barbecues were also terrific also. Virtually no-one had a chocolate coated strawberry, as prepared by Patty, and unfortunately the Hosts did not ask everyone to take some of the BBQ’s or strawberries home.  Virtually all the wines seemed to have been drunk.

The Cap Times Looks Ahead

–submitted by Moses Altsech

Paul FanlundWhen The Capital Times was founded, the US had just entered World War I. Committed to “reporting the unvarnished truth,” The Capital Times evolved over the years, tackling important social issues and adapting to new technology. Founded by William Evjue (whom only Bob LaFollette got away with calling “my dear Billy”), the paper became known for progressive opinions and being part of the fabric of our Madison community. An advocate for women’s rights and workers’ rights, a ferocious enemy of the Ku Klux Klan at a time when the hate group was more or less mainstream, a bitter foe of McCarthyism and an opponent of the Vietnam War, Evjue defined the character of The Capital Times and, through his foundation, made a real and lasting difference in the lives of many of our citizens.

In addition to its excellent journalism, The Capital Times continues to innovate under the capable leadership of Paul Fanlund, an experienced journalist in his own right, cut from the same cloth as the paper’s founder and supported by a great staff of seasoned journalists.

The upcoming Capital Times Idea Fest will bring together dozens of acclaimed leaders from politics, education, journalism and other fields, engaging in lively discussions on political issues, culture, food, sports and a multitude of other topics. The plan is to make this an annual event, open to anyone who wants ringside seats to insightful, thought-provoking conversations.

The Capital Times lives up to its proud history and continues to be a relevant, trusted source of journalism and community engagement. Here’s to another 100 years of success!

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Cap Times 100

Stories from Our State Capitol’s History

–submitted by Linda Baldwin; photo by Donna Beestman

Michael Edmonds 8 16 17“Fraternizing between Republicans and Democrats in those days was not seen as a treasonable offense.”       —Governor Gaylord Nelson (1950’s)

In just a short while, historian Michael Edmonds weaved a four-century tale of political intrigue, heroism and leadership in the 100-year-old Capitol, its short-lived predecessors and in early territorial days. Throughout, I was struck by the vision, passion and integrity (in most) of our past leaders in Wisconsin.

Michael surely expressed our hopes in this closing statement. “For 100 years, the Capitol dome has been big enough to accommodate a broad spectrum of conflicting opinions.  Let’s hope that it continues to shelter a fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas, from all sides of every question for a long time to come.  That’s exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind.  And whatever else the Capitol may be – art museum, office building, tourist destination – it is first and foremost a symbol of the American experiment in self-government.”

Takes from the Tales of the Capitol –

  • The first two Capital Buildings burned down…the third and current building was completed in 1917.
  • Wisconsin was the first state to enact an equal rights act in 1921 and was the first state to approve the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.
  • Local architect Lew Porter literally worked himself to death, ensuring that the new Capitol building would be built well to precise specifications.
  • Sam Pierce, a Pullman porter, became the Governor’s receptionist in 1922. He served 5 governors with wit and grace, and led Madison’s small black community.
  • The rebirth of the Democratic party in the 1940’s was led by a fringe group of women and men…from which future leaders Gaylord Nelson, Pat Lucey, John Reynolds and William Proxmire would launch their political careers.
  • Polarization and bipartisanship flamed in the Capitol throughout the 20th century – McCarthyism in the 40’s, Vietnam in the 60’s, earlier – Marxists, Progressives and Stalwarts – they all faced off in the Capitol and their differences were often even wider than ours today.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.