Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Gem of a Hike: Table Bluff on Ice Age Trail July 15

–submitted by Leigh Richardson; photos by Jeff Tews

IMG_2524“Embarking on the back road journey 2 miles north of Cross Plains, members of the Rotary Hiking Fellowship had no idea this pristine gem awaited. Towering forests, chin-high rainbows of prairie flowers, and the grand finale– a shelter perched overlooking the driftless region. A view to rival Blue Mounds State Park.

At the bi-section of the Table Bluff Segment of the Ice Age Trail lies the 460-acre “Swamplovers Nature Preserve.”  Even our seasoned hikers were unaware of its existence.

IMG_2525

When rounding a wooded curve, we even encountered an alligator in a bikini!  It elicited frightened gasps until we realized it was merely a lawn statue planted trailside by the lighthearted Swamplovers’ group.

IMG_2527

Thank you, hike coordinator, Andrea Kaminski, for sharing this lovely find!”

Beautiful and Lovely

–submitted by Ellie Schatz; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

IMG_8369Beautiful and lovely is the story Jim Voegeli is telling of his father Don Voegeli, prolific composer and performer of music for public radio and television, theater, advertising, and educational and promotional films. Beautiful and Lovely is also the name of a children’s song Don wrote in 1964 about the beauty of nature and life as part of the radio series Let’s Sing.

Don Voegeli, music director at UW’s radio station, WHA, until his retirement in 1964, was a 50-year member of our club beginning in 1949. He is noted for 35 years as our club pianist preceding Jeff Bartell, who opened the program by playing one of Don’s songs.

Smiles were universal as we listened to Voegeli’s music and heard the story of his life and love of music. Though much of his music had been destroyed, through thousands of hours over the course of 3 1/2 years of researching, locating, and digitizing, many recordings have been restored.

Nods of recognition and appreciation accompanied the smiles when Jim played two renditions of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered theme song, the music Don is perhaps best known for composing. The newer arrangement we all hear on NPR today marks 45 years of Don’s music being the All Things Considered signature. We also enjoyed learning of Don’s 2-year hiatus from UW, when he headed to Chicago to write jingles, including the familiar Schlitz beer jingle featured on the 1950’s Schlitz Playhouse of Stars CBS television program.

Although Jim made it clear that the amount of information and music that could be packed into his short presentation was minute compared to the array of musical pieces that he would like to share, he didn’t stop with his presentation. 90 copies of a 4 CD set, entitled Beautiful and Lovely: The Music of Don Voegeli, were gifted to Rotarians wishing to reminisce and enjoy at home. Disc 1 contains full versions of the All Things Considered themes; orchestral versions are on Disc 2; the Schlitz jingle, film scores, and themes, jingles, and interludes are on Disc 3 and continued on Disc 4.

So if you missed the Beautiful and Lovely presentation, get a copy of the CDs, which Jeff Bartell says are “remarkable.” OR, you can watch when Jim Voegeli, and David Null, Director of UW Archives, share the Don Voegeli story, Don Voegeli and Wisconsin Public Broadcasting. Go to http://wpt.org/University-Place/don-voegeli-and-wisconsin-public-broadcasting

Did you miss our meeting this week?  You can watch the video here.

Wisconsin’s Research Universities: A Case for Reinvestment

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photos by Mike Engelberger

Rebecca Blank 5 3 2017    Mark Mone 5 3 2017

Rotarians heard from not one, but two University of Wisconsin chancellors on May 3. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone teamed up to talk about collaborations between their campuses and the challenges they face in maintaining the high quality our universities are known for. The two chancellors have been on the road with this presentation, having also spoken to the Milwaukee Rotary and the Wisconsin Technology Council. Mone is a fellow Rotarian.

UW-Madison has 43,000 students who hail from all 72 counties in Wisconsin, all 50 states, and 121 nations. This year they have a record number of applicants. Blank said the university has excellent retention and graduation rates, and less than half of its students graduate with debt because the university has focused on helping students finish in four years.

UW-Milwaukee has 26,037 students, 84 percent of whom come from Wisconsin. There were 5,300 graduates in 2016. Three-quarters of graduates continue to live and work in Wisconsin when they finish. The most diverse campus in the UW System, UW-Milwaukee has the most students who are veterans. Forty percent of its students are the first in their families to go to college. Mone noted that by 2023 the state is projected to have a six-figure worker shortage. He showed how UW-Milwaukee is producing graduates in the four areas most needed in the Wisconsin workforce: healthcare; business; computer science; and engineering and science.

Both chancellors credit the collaborations and pooling of resources between their campuses for making it possible for a state of Wisconsin’s size to have two great research universities. The two campuses are anchors along a 400-mile “IQ Corridor” between Chicago and the Twin Cities, which is known for its research, industry and technology.

The chancellors gave several examples of collaborations that have pushed the level of knowledge and innovation in the Midwest. Examples include the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and UW-Madison Sea Grant Institute and energy partnerships funded in part by Johnson Controls centered at the UW-Madison Wisconsin Energy Institute. Mone noted that faculty on his campus alone partner with such Wisconsin industry leaders as Rockwell Automation, Harley Davidson, Kohl’s, Manpower, Northwestern Mutual and WEC energy group.

The chancellors see a major challenge in continuing to attract and retain top talent to uphold the UW’s reputation for excellence. The UW System’s budget has been cut in five of the past six state budgets. Blank noted that currently the state provides about 15 percent of UW’s budget, compared to about 45 percent 20-30 years ago.

Fortunately, the biennial budget proposed this year by Governor Walker includes a modest increase for UW System. It’s not enough to make up for the cuts, but the chancellors stressed that it is greatly needed and appreciated.

The chancellors outlined the following priorities the state should implement to keep the UW strong:

  1. Reinvest in the University as a way to invest in the state economy and workforce;
  2. Provide compensation increases to attract and retain talent. UW faculty and staff have seen on average a 0.3 percent compensation increase, compared to two percent at other major state universities. The proposed budget provides compensation increases but they are tied to savings from self-insurance;
  3. Authorize building projects, in particular those that are funded with program revenue. Budget-neutral examples are the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine parking ramp and renovation of the Slichter Residence Hall.
  4. Don’t pit state universities against one another through performance-based funding. The campuses have different missions and serve different types of students. Each campus’s own performance can be compared from year to year, but it should not be compared with that of other campuses.

The chancellors said the UW is approaching the “tipping point” financially. Faculty and staff compensations are almost 19 percent behind those of peer institutions. Yet every state dollar invested in the UW generates three to four dollars in expenditures that stimulate the economy. And that does not even figure in the long-term economic impact of the university’s graduates who continue to live and work in the state. Truly, we invest in our state by reinvesting in our great state university.

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

Rotary Hikers Doing Some Bird Watching in the Arboretum

Submitted by Bobbie Sladky; Photo by Andrea Kaminski

20170424_191133A group of nine Rotarians and guests met at the UW Arboretum Visitor Center for a hike on April 24 for an evening bird sighting. The goal was to observe the courting behavior of the male woodcock. Guide Levi Wood provided information about the rich conservation history of the UW Arboretum and a tour of the Longenecker Gardens which showcases a collection of trees and shrubs. The Magnolia collection was in full bloom and the early lilacs were opening.

20170424_190510We were pleased to see the Oak planted by Paul Harris and saw turkeys and a red-tail hawk nearby. The hike included a walk through Gallistel and a brief stop at Teal Pond. Curtis Prairie provided the zen-like experience of hearing the courting sounds of the male woodcock who becomes active at dusk. Although the bird was never seen, its presence was clear by the loud, nasal peent calls made on the ground, the twittering sounds made by the wings as the woodcock rises up 100’ or more in an aerial display, the call made at the ‘top’ of the flight, and steep dive back down to the prairie. The Audubon website refers to this behavior as a ‘sky dance’. Female woodcocks are attracted by the ‘lek’ of males performing their rituals and have an opportunity to select the fittest mate.

 

Remembering the Holocaust

–submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Valerie Johnson

Moses Altsech 4 19 2017

From left: Carol Toussaint, Moses Altsech, Melanie Ramey & Dalia Altsech

At the April 19th meeting, our fellow Rotarian, Moses Altsech, encouraged us to remember the Holocaust and to apply its lessons to our world today.   Today’s presentation follows on his 2007 Rotary presentation on the same subject.

He began his presentation by relating the story of his grandparents living in the large Jewish community in Salonika in eastern Greece at the onset of the Nazi invasion and took us through their encounter with homelessness, deportation and for many, death in concentration camps.  He told of the homelessness and relocation his parents and some grandparents experienced after WWII.

Moses reminded us that today we, our community and civilization, continue to suffer from prejudices against others for their religion, ethnicity or social behaviors.  He said of prejudice, ”If we are to throw the first stone against prejudice, we need to aim it at a mirror.”  We may not raise children to be prejudiced, but we raise them to be bystanders and this is wrong.

He made an impassioned plea for modern social justice and how critical it is for all of us to take action against injustices, not just sit on our hands.  Moses encouraged parents to tell their children about their family history because family stories tell them who they are and what they can aspire to become.  He reminded us of how we prefer to forget the past and with it, the lessons for today.

At the conclusion of the presentation, our speaker was given a standing ovation.

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

Nowruz – A Celebration of the Iranian New Year

–submitted by Joyce Bromley; photos by Ted & Joan Ballweg

Iranian New Year Celebration 016Who could not use some Nowruz (celebration of spring and annual renewal)?  Majid Sarmadi brought the rich Iranian new year celebration to the Cultural Awareness Fellowship Group and their guests in this year of 2595.  This 3000 year Persian tradition is a celebration of renewal and hope with prepared foods that represent the seven angelic heralds.  Hyacinth (one of the first flowers of spring) brings beauty and its fragrance permeated the room.  The eloquently set table was a sight to behold.  Garlic bulbs decorated with a string of tiny pearls bring good health; vinegar takes a long time to make and requires patience; a beautiful tureen of sprouts (lentils) prosperity—good harvest and a year without hunger; elaborately decorated eggs promise fertility–rebirth; goldfish swimming in a bowl, a symbol of life; the illumination of candle-light brings happiness—good over evil; fresh fruit and sweets bring joy; and we ended with a taste of ground sweet sumac.  A book of poetry lay open reminding us of the eloquent Persian language.  This was the experience of haft sin and only the beginning of the evening.

Iranian New Year Celebration 060  Iranian New Year Celebration 004  Iranian New Year Celebration 036  Iranian New Year Celebration 013

After an enthralling slide show of Iran–the culture, the geography, and its people—we traveled the gastronomic route.  Appetizers of eggplant paté, and hummus; a table display of basmati rice with saffron, casserole of assorted beans, braised eggplant with filet mignon; saffron chicken; and basmati rice with lima beans and dill—all of which were as sumptuous as they were beautiful.  All of these delicacies were entirely prepared by Majid.  Oh yes, the desserts!  Cream puffs (made earlier in the day), fresh fruit, rice-flour cookies, cardamom muffins, sohan (almond toffee), were enjoyed with a cup of tea.  At the end of the evening Majid gave us a gift to extend the evening.  We each received a freshly pressed one-dollar bill for good luck.

Iranian New Year Celebration 058  Iranian New Year Celebration 029    Iranian New Year Celebration 022  Iranian New Year Celebration 024

 

We became Majid’s extended family and together we celebrated the joy of friendship in the Persian tradition and are richer for the experience.

Iranian New Year Celebration 044

Holistic Support for Returning Veterans and Their Families

–submitted by Donna Hurd; photo by Pete Christianson

Will Beiersdorf 3 22 2017

From left: Club President Michelle McGrath, Will Beiersdorf, Nasra Wehelie and Susan Schmitz

After recognizing and showing appreciation for all Rotarians and guests who have provided military service to our country, fellow Rotarian Will Beiersdorf provided a brief but comprehensive overview of an organization that provides holistic support and care for those service men and women who have returned home with physical and often, severe invisible wounds of war.

With first-hand knowledge of the stress of deployment, Will was called into active duty after the events of September 11, 2001, leaving his wife and three young children behind.  Since that time, 800,000 service men and women have been deployed multiple times. This was almost unheard of prior to that date.  The toll of numerous deployments affects not only the servicemen and women but also their families.  The services available for many who have served are often inadequate and in all cases, only treat the wounded, leaving their families to seek help from other providers or caregivers.  Two million children and parents sought mental and behavioral healthcare since 2001.  One-third of the men and women returning from war suffer some type of trauma.  Approximately 400,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Besides the wounds suffered, approximately 22 veterans end their life every day, leaving family members to carry on.

In March 2013, Will was invited to assist with the formation of the Road Home Center for Veterans and their families.  Since that time, the organization has seen 400 – 500 veterans and their families each year.  They remove all barriers to receiving the needed services.  The organization’s mission is, “Help heal the invisible Wounds of War.”  They accomplish this by going beyond the level of care expected and needed.  The continuum of care provided by the Road Home Program incorporates clinical care, counseling, outreach services, and education.  The program employs Outreach Managers who have experienced the trauma of war, either directly or indirectly and can tell the story of why their services and this program are so needed.

Service Above Self, not only exemplifies Rotarians but also the brave men and women who choose to serve to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.  The bottom line of this program’s existence is, “We owe it to them to give back and help.”