“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

Bob Sorge 8 30 17

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

Aug 28 17 Wine7

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.

Aug 28 17 Wine2  Aug 28 17 Wine5  Aug 28 17 Wine6

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.

Aug 28 17 Wine10  Aug 28 17 Wine12  Aug 28 17 Wine8

(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.

Aug 28 17 Wine13  Aug 28 17 Wine9

(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.

Aug 28 17 Wine15

(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.

Science is Fun Returns to Rotary

–submitted by Ben Hebebrand; photo by Donna Beestman

Bassam3While the denial of climate change has prompted outcries of “Science Is Real,” Madisonians have for the past 48 years primarily embraced the idea that “Science is Fun.” This is a credit due to the work of Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, who presented at the Rotary Club of Madison’s August 9 meeting which also signifies the Club’s Family Day.

The presentation, which was attended by 85 guests, the vast majority of whom were children or grandchildren of Rotarians, indeed elicited many fun moments around science experiments mixed with some deep educational and social messages.

On the more serious side, Dr. Shakhashiri reminded the audience that the Number One priority of the work of science and scientific experimentation is about sustaining “Earth and its people.” Specifically, Dr. Shakhashiri cited issues such as population growth, availability of finite resources such as water, climate change, malnutrition, the spreading of disease, war, and deadly violence as the kind of issues that scientists embrace and actively work on bringing about solutions. Above all, Dr. Shakhashiri said, the pursuit and knowledge of science is an essential human right. “Everybody has the right to benefit from scientific and technological progress.” In addition to religion, Dr. Shakhashiri counts science as the “strongest force in society.”

Dr. Shakhashiri, who began his career at UW-Madison in 1970, has always made community outreach an integral part of his work. The “Science is Fun” campaign is a commitment to elicit awe, wonder, and curiosity in science among people of all ages with a particular affinity toward enlightening the youngest members of society – our children. Dr. Shakhashiri said that especially among children, science can elicit emotional responses.

This was the case at the Rotary meeting as Dr. Shakhashiri went about some of his delightfully wacky and magical science tricks, whereby liquids changed color by mixing potassium iodine with lead nitrates. He had the children in the audience in stitches as colors of the liquid frequently changed. He appealed to the audience to hone their observation skills.

Above all, Dr. Shakhashiri’s work is rooted in the notion that education is the great equalizer. “Science literacy enlightens and enables people to make informed choices, to be skeptical, and to reject shams, unproven conjecture, and to avoid being bamboozled into making foolish decisions where matters of science and technology are concerned.”

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

Will Madison Win the Nation’s F-35 Competition?

–submitted by Dave Mollenhoff; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

Col Erik Peterson 8 2 2017

Col. Erik Peterson with Club President Donna Hurd

Will Madison be selected as one of two Air National Guard bases where the nation’s newest and most expensive fighter jet, the F-35, will be stationed?  That was the question that Colonel Erik Peterson, the Commander of the 115th  Fighter Wing at Truax Field, addressed in his talk to Rotarians.  Already Madison made the first cut from 18 Air Guard bases to today’s five.

Peterson argued that Madison meets and exceeds all Air Force criteria for this major strategic decision.  We have the capacity to handle F-35s with today’s F-16 hangers and support facilities.  We have cost advantages over other sites because just four minutes away—at F-36 speeds!—are 30,000 square miles of practice air space and a target range.  Four minutes may not seem important, but for an aircraft that costs $40,000 an hour to fly, having everything nearby will be a strong cost argument for locating the squadron here. Another cost advantage is that we already own the necessary hangers and support facilities.  We will not adversely affect air quality and the F-35’s will be no noisier than today’s F-16s.  Finally, Madison has always given the 115th Fighter Wing strong community support.  That’s a strong resume, said Peterson.

Zach Brandon, the President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and a project supporter who attended the meeting, reminded everyone that Madison has been an Air Force town since Truax was founded during World War II.  Remember, Brandon continued, when 9-11 happened, it was F-16s from Truax that scrambled to protect O’Hare Airport.  This is the proud job of the National Guard.

Peterson said that if the F-35 wing is stationed at Truax, its economic impact based on payrolls and purchased services will be $100 million per year.  Another benefit that few realize is that the Air Force pays for the fire-rescue program at Dane County Regional Airport.