Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brexit–What Next?

–submitted bu Linn Roth; photo by Margaret Murphy

Copelovitch 1 31 2018

From left: Ron Luskin, Mark Copelovitch and Club President Donna Hurd

At Wednesday’s meeting, Professor Mark Copelovitch gave a highly informative presentation on the history and status of the UK’s planned exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) and its potential impact on trans-Atlantic relations.  Historically, the UK has had a tortuous relationship with continental Europe, but, after World War II, Churchill became the greatest champion of European unification.  Despite ongoing domestic ambivalence, the UK finally applied for EU membership, and was accepted in 1973, although the UK chose to maintain its own monetary system.   Subsequently, the EU continued its membership and economic growth for approximately 40 years.

However, the decade from 2007 – 2017 changed all that.  The global recession spawned the growth of isolationism, nativism, and right-wing political factions in much of the world, including the UK and the US.  Relationships with NATO and on-going trade partnerships have been challenged by President Trump, and some of the same economic, regional, and political schisms occurring in the US are taking place in the UK and other European nations.  In a political miscalculation originally intended to shore up his base and undercut competing factions, Prime Minister David Cameron called for a public referendum on whether the UK should stay in or withdraw from the UK.  On June 23, 2016, 72% of UK citizens voted in the referendum, and while the margin for exodus was small (52% to 48%), the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal could be monumental.

For example, the UK was strongly split on Brexit, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to stay and with London supporting the EU by an 80%/20% margin.  So potentially, these two countries could try to leave the UK, and many major financial institutions in London are looking to relocate in Europe.  Other European countries, such as Spain, are suffering similar crises, and there is a growing movement within the EU to establish trade and defense relationships apart from the US.  As Professor Copelovitch emphasized, the history of isolationism and protectionism is not a sound or peaceful one, so the US must be wary of exiting its leadership position on the world’s stage.  Since there is no actual legal requirement for the UK to exit the EU in March 2019, there is still the potential for a reversal.  Nevertheless, Brexit seems to serve as a warning signal for all nations to recognize that globalization is here to stay and can only be reversed at our own peril.


The Future is in the Hands of Young Women

–submitted by Linda Baldwin; photo by Mike Engelberger

Tory Miller 1 24 2018Tory Miller, Madison’s most famous chef, loves rice crispy bars, started cooking as a child in his grandparents’ café in Racine and beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in the Iron Chef Showdown last month.  What’s next?

Miller, co-owner and chef of some of Madison’s best restaurants (L’Etoile, Graze, Estrellon and Sujeo) sees a bright future for Madison’s food scene in the hands of young chefs who have a passion for local food and a willingness to work with the community.  He notes that a national magazine naming Madison the best foodie scene in the Midwest would certainly help raise the city’s culinary profile.

Raised in Racine, Miller went off to New York to study at the French Culinary Institute.  While stumbling at first, he found his way into the kitchens of many of the country’s best chefs.  Wanting to be closer to the food producers, he came back to Wisconsin and into Odessa Piper’s L’Etoile kitchen.  And so they say, the rest is history.  A James Beard Midwest Best Chef Award winner, Miller credits Piper for showing him that all people in the kitchen, in the house and guests should be respected and treated fairly.  In the past, women and folks on the lower rungs of the kitchen were not treated well, but today these folks are now running restaurants, leading chefs and a more respected part of the community.  Miller has also been instrumental in the start up Madison Area Chef’s Network (MASN) helping the community with food needs and helping each other to be more successful in an industry where cooperation was not the norm in the past.

So, what about Iron Chef Bobby Flay?   “The meat of it”, Miller laughs, “is that Bobby Flay is not super nice. Being on the show was nerve wracking, but I was happy with the way it turned out.  I’m weird and quirky, but we always want to be the best!”

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

Who We Are as Rotarians Worldwide

–submitted by Valerie Renk


Joe & Tina Ruskey

After a standing ovation, Rotary District Governor Joe Ruskey shared the difference Rotarians make when we work together.

In the past 10 years, he said, we have gained 1.2 million members. Also in the past 10 years, we have lost 1.2 million members.  Why?  They report their membership wasn’t relevant.  “We know this isn’t true,” he says.  “That means those who quit in the first three years simply don’t know what we really are.”

“So my goal,” Joe says, “is to tell the clubs, 3,000 members in this district, what an amazing organization of which they are part.  I want to shift their understanding of what a Rotarian is.”

Joe reported we have 34,000 clubs making an impact in 200 countries. Members are bringing peace to conflict regions.  They meet with leaders when government officials are not allowed.  Rotary teaches members about principals to prepare expatriates to return to their countries better prepared to help them.

Rotarians are making a huge impact on health, such as the major headway we are making eradicating polio, only the second disease in the world that might be eradicated.  There have been only 11 cases year to date globally.

Rotary International’s Foundation is ranked three or five in the nation, depending on the ranking, with 94 percent of gifts going to programs.  This is possibly due to our volunteer structure, ability to leverage other donors, and generous Rotarians.    Our model is all gifts are invested for three years before spending back with clubs, such as our club’s $125,000 Ghana project funded in part by the Rotary International Foundation.

Joe closed by telling about global Rotary development projects for clean water and menstrual product donations and hearing how they transformed the lives of young women. This is when he really felt the huge transformational power of Rotary for people around the globe.

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

The New South Campus of Madison College

–submitted by Stan Inhorn; photo by Pete Christianson

Jack Daniels 10 4 17

From left: Lucia Nunez, Club President Donna Hurd and Jack Daniels

With great enthusiasm, Jack Daniels, President, described the new Madison College’s South Campus Initiative. Starting in 2013, the college has been working to develop a full-service campus. By partnering with 11 community organizations and agencies, the Initiative has made great strides in the creation of a center for life-long learning for an under-served population.   The foundation of the campus follows the Rotary Four-Way Test.

  1. Is it the Truth? While Madison is considered to have one of the most educated populations in the country, 57.8% of south-side residents have no post-high school education. It is an area of poverty and social isolation.
  2. Is it fair to all concerned? Most residents have barriers to education, including low wages, need for affordable child-care, extreme poverty.
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? The campus will provide social vitality along with partners such as the Madison Metropolitan School District. A pilot program will allow junior and senior high-school students to earn up to 48 college-transferable credits.
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? The Goodman Foundation has pledged $10 million and American Family Insurance has pledged $1.3 million for the first phase in building the campus. Once completed, people in the area will gain the opportunity to pursue jobs that pay a living wage.

Phase 1 contemplates a 38,000-square foot center that will provide learning spaces, support services, STEM-related activities. With additional funding, the campus could expand to 45,000 square feet.

Phase 2 would enlarge the campus to a 75,000 sq. ft. wrap-around, 7-day-a-week full-service academic center. Health professions, IT, business, language, technical trades would be included. Graduates would help meet the present worker shortages in these fields. The building would include 4 science labs, 3 IT labs, with transportation to the Truax campus for certain training. To allow students to pursue their education, financial aid scholarships will be available as will internships.

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

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.


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.


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

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.