Tag Archives: Madison WI

A Good American Family

submitted by Stan Inhorn; photo my Margaret Murphy

David Maraniss 8 21 19

David Maraniss pictured here with Club President Andrea Kaminski

David Maraniss, Associate Editor of the The Washington Post and seasonal Madisonian, in his latest book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father, described the issues that his father faced as a result of becoming radicalized in the 1930s. To gain a better understanding of the history of his career, David visited the National Archives in D.C. in 2015. He found the transcript of a statement that his father, Elliott, wanted to read in an appearance before the House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1952. The title of the article was “What it means to be an American.” For the first time, David understood how difficult life was for his father in the subsequent years. He said that, of his twelve books, it was the most difficult book to write.

Elliott was born in Brooklyn during the depth of the Depression. At this time, many “isms” were arising – communism, fascism, anarchism, etc. During this time, Elliott became radicalized. Later he entered the University of Michigan where he became an accomplished writer. In 1944, he enlisted in the Army for Officer Training, and upon completion, he was assigned to lead an all-black unit. From his experiences in this assignment, he gained insight into one of the most serious wrongs that still persists in our society.

Elliott’s journalist career was affected by his early history as a radical, causing him to be fired from several newspaper editorships. These included the Detroit Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a small paper in Iowa. During his work at the Iowa paper, he became a friend of William Evjue, editor of The Capital Times in Madison. Evjue invited Maraniss to join the staff in Madison, which he did in 1957.

David gave a brief thumbnail sketch of his latest book, which deals with how the lives of Elliott and his family dealt with all the many disruptions and problems affecting their collective and individual lives. Downtown Rotarians have been fortunate to have David as a summer Madisonian. This was his eight talk to Rotary.

What Does Madison’s Transportation Future Look Like?

submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Neil Fauerbach

Tom Lynch 8 14 2019   Tom Lynch, Director of Transportation for the City of Madison, began his presentation by acknowledging the significant contribution of 13-year Director of Metro Transit, Chuck Kamp, for his energy and foresight in bringing the system into the future.  Mr. Lynch then shared important aspects of Madison’s transportation system and its future.

First there is the need to prepare the city and county for 2050 with a projected population of one million people that will require doubling downtown parking to 20,000 spaces and two additional traffic lanes in each direction on East Washington Avenue.

The director then explained the direction the department is taking in developing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  BRT is defined by buses being no more than 15 minutes apart, off-board payment and the use of dedicated bus lanes with their own traffic signals to avoid congestion.  Light Rail (LR) is no longer being considered because of the significantly greater cost.  Fifteen miles of LR in Madison would cost one billion dollars while BRT will cost $128 million.  Twenty larger cities have chosen BRT over LR.

Tom stressed the benefit of BRT based on numerous studies of other cities using that system.  Every dollar spent on RBT produces four dollars of investment by corporations and boosts employment for a half a mile around each bus stop.

His department anticipates construction for Madison’s BRT to begin in 2022 and to be complete in 2024.  The challenge will be dealing with current inadequacies in the bus barn and stagnant funding from the state.

He concluded his presentation by challenging those present to make use of the two free bus tickets Metro Transit was providing after our meeting and take a ride in the next two months with the idea that those who do so will become supporters for the bus rapid transit concept.

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

Wisconsin Gay and Lesbian History Revealed in a New Book

submitted by Dave Mollenhoff

Dick WagnerWho knew about early Wisconsin’s gay history?  Really, no one.  But now, thanks to Richard Wagner, this story is out of the closet with his new, scholarly, and extensively illustrated book, We’ve Been Here All Along (Wisconsin Historical Society Press).

In a surprise-filled presentation Wagner summarized Wisconsin’s remarkable story from 1895 to 1969.  During most of these years, being gay in Wisconsin was downright dangerous.  Gays were almost universally regarded as criminals or suffering from organic illness or a psychiatric disorder, and this interpretation was upheld by the police, the courts, and even universities.  Men convicted of sodomy were routinely sent to prison or an insane asylum.

Not until the 1930s and 1940s did a few academics begin to view homosexuals as a legitimate subject for research.  For example, a UW professor interviewed prisoners at Waupun who had been convicted of sodomy and from this experience came a series of books and articles that softened society’s harsh caricatures.

Wagner noted that Madison gays and lesbians played significant activist roles by forming social clubs, creating gay bars, and forming organizations such as the Homophile League.

Curiously, Wisconsin society lavished a more benign interpretation upon lesbians describing them as “domestic friends.”   In 1962 when the UW-Madison launched a purge of homosexuals, lesbians escaped, thanks to Dean of Women Margaret Peterson, who was a lesbian.

Wagner began collecting documents for his book 40 years ago but did not begin to write it until 2008.  A second volume, Coming Out, Moving Forward, covering the period from 1969 to the present will be published by the Wisconsin Historical Press in 2020.

Our thanks also to Wisconsin Eye for videotaping our meeting this week and to the Wisconsin Historical Society Press for selling copies of Wagner’s book.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Brad Hutter Talks About Sharks at 4th Annual Bring Your Child/Grandchild to Rotary Day

submitted by Mary Borland; photo by Mike Engelberger

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Fellow Rotarian Bradley Hutter, “The Accidental Shark Diver”, gave an illustrated talk (lots of pictures and video!) about his unique experiences while scuba diving with sharks, including Tigers, Bulls, Hammerheads and Great Whites.

Brad Hutter 7 24 2019   Brad got into swimming with sharks “by accident” — he was scuba diving in Stuart Cove, Nassau, Bahamas, and was asked to be a safety diver by the staff of the Discovery Channel who were there filming sharks in the area.

Brad shared that sharks are typically shy and avoid humans. Sharks are in the fish family and half the species are under 39” long; some sharks can rotate their eyes backwards but they cannot swim backwards – so if they are coming towards you, just guide them along past you; some sharks have up to 30,000 teeth in a lifetime; and some deep cold water species can live to be 1,000 years old!  Sharks are apex predators and are very important to sea life balance.

He gave the audience some “tourist based shark rules” to follow if we ever find ourselves in the water with a shark nearby:

  • Don’t swim away, in fact, lean forward, even just a little bit.
  • Put your hands up in a blocking mode.
  • Look the shark in the eye! If you avert your eyes you become vulnerable; Respect sharks.
  • Swivel your head while keeping your eyes on the shark’s eyes.
  • Don’t swim in cloudy water – you may be mistaken for something sharks actually like to eat, like a seal.
  • Avoid dolphins as sharks may be in the area and about to feed on them.

Brad shared that on average, 10 people per year are killed by sharks (because the shark mistook the person as food they eat or the person got in the way of sharks feeding) and by comparison, 725,000 people per year are killed by mosquitos and 25,000 are killed by dogs.  Humans kill ~100,000 sharks per year and some species are down to 5% left.

Mismanaged plastic waste is a big concern for our oceans with China being the biggest polluter. Work needs to be done to stop countries like China from putting plastics in the ocean and laws are needed to outlaw fishing for fins.

Brad has enjoyed learning about sharks over the past seven years as he’s worked with experts seen regularly on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, National Geographic, and Animal Planet. It’s a family affair as Brad’s daughters are now avid shark divers themselves.

Brad has a saying – “Live every week like it’s shark week.”

How to Make Time for What Matters…

submitted by Linda Baldwin; photo by Mike Engelberger

Zeratsky

From let: Club President Andrea Kaminski, John Zeratsky and Past President Jason Beren

How many times have you thought what happened to my week?  Why didn’t I accomplish what I wanted?

John Zeratsky would say that defaults have taken over your life.  It’s not your lack of self-control or willpower.  It’s all of the electronic distractions, calendars, meetings, etc…the defaults that prevent you for making time for what matters.

Taking your guilt out of the picture, Zeratsky shares his journey from list maker- organizer extraordinaire to living a life making time for what matters.

He highlighted his personal journey from Green Lake to UW-Madison to the high-tech Google world.   He and his partner wrote a book sharing methods for getting out from under the daily milieu, “Make Time.” The book shares 87 tactics to make time everyday for what’s important.

Four Daily Steps:

  1. What’s the highlight of your day?  Write it down on a sticky note.  What’s your top focus of activity today?
  2. Create barriers to distraction.  For example, put that phone away.  Turn off or delete aps that demand your attention.
  3. Build energy to enjoy the moments and interactions that matter.
  4. One day at a time.  Each day you can choose to spend time differently.

Feeling a need to disconnect from the world of carryout, Uber and Amazon, he and his wife then embarked on a sailing adventure from SF south through the Panama Canal and then up through the Caribbean to Key West.  On this trip, they were able to disengage from their frenetic world and decided to begin again in Milwaukee…”relearning the value of belonging.”

Zeratsky ends his presentation describing his journey in “self-care” (on their voyage) to the realization that his greater need was contributing to the bigger world.  He ends with “the threads of connection can’t replace that feeling of belonging – that you are meant to be somewhere.”  In his case, Milwaukee.

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

 

 

How to Save the World

submitted by Jessica Giesen; photo by Mike Engelberger

Niraj Nijhawan 7 10 2019We are living in the information generation – constantly bombarded by new information and larger and larger amounts of data. In fact, the world is changing so rapidly that the future has become a complete unknown. That unknown is creating anxiety and interrupting everyone’s ability to live happy lives. Through his pursuit of the science of happiness, Dr. Niraj Nijhawan has uncovered specific root causes of unhappiness and developed steps that people can take to reprogram their brains and escape this crisis.

People need to allow their neural networks to thrive and to grow, which can continue to happen until the day we die. In order to support that growth, people must look to time, focus and emotion. The more feedback we allow ourselves to take in and tolerate on a daily basis, the more growth we will see.

Dr. Nijhawan spoke about our negative ties to self-esteem and the “social brainwashing” we have all undergone that tells us that we need to be X or do well in Y or choose career path Z in order to be ‘good’. We learn that status, money, power and educational degrees are the things that must be sought after and achieved in order for someone to be happy. However, according to Dr. Nijhawan, that is not the case and should not matter in life if happiness is the goal. Rather than look to external motivations – such as economic or emotional rewards or penalties, which cause stress hormones to spike and people to remain on “a roller coaster of destruction” – we must flip our mindsets to a radical growth mindset.

The solution is to become higher brain dominant, which can shift a person’s mindset within days and alleviate depression, anxiety and sleep difficulties while increasing psychological well-being and overall quality of life. The three steps Dr. Nijhawan proposes a person follow to secure their own happiness are to 1) Remove oneself from the roller coaster of destruction by realizing that self-esteem and “status” markers we are socially taught to exalt are not important, 2) Get on to the rocket ship of the higher brain and 3) Teach to others these learnings and ultimately . . . save the world.

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

A Roast or A Toast?

submitted by Ellie Schatz; photos by Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mike Engelberger

HO7A1947  HO7A2022  HO7A2024

President Jason Beren joined the Rotary Past President’s Club, riding out of office with respect, appreciation and fond memories of his leadership experiences. In his year in office he was impressed with the breadth of work of our club committees and endeavored to fulfill his intention of being a person of action who would help the club grow. In order to meet the challenges of the office, he noted that he exchanged 1400 emails with Pat Jenkins.

The Roast Committee paid tribute to Jason by telling his story “Otto Preminger style: as if all the world’s a stage and this one man plays a major part.” Establishing the scene as a courtroom of Rotarian lawyers and judges, Jason’s fellow Rotarians were asked to sit in judgement of his year.

The prosecution began by stating 4 violations of Rotary law made by Jason:

  1. High crimes in the gross mispronunciation of last names.
  2. Obsession with aquatic activities.
  3. Engaging in geeky mechanical engineering behaviors.
  4. Having an overt desire to be roasted.

The accused pled not guilty. The prosecution set out to prove that this person who began life as a child of promise took the road less traveled. The first witness called was Pat Jenkins (played by Heidi Frankson), who proclaimed she had to phonetically spell out most words in his weekly notes. It cost her valuable time in preparing what should have been 1-2 page documents but became 250 page tomes. When asked if by speaking nothing but the Rotarian truth he admitted to these elocution crimes, Jason refused to answer “on the grounds it might ’incinerate’ me.”  It was brought to the jury’s attention that his difficulty with pronunciation might be a by-product of his other hobby/misdemeanor: wine. Jason then named several of his favorites, attesting to the fact that he has impeccable pronunciation when it comes to wine.

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Photo 1: “Jason Beren” played by Mark Westover; Photo 2: Judge Stephen Ehlke played by Judge Stephen Ehlke; Photo 3: Prosecuting Attorney Ken Kraus played by Ken Kraus; Photo 4: “Pat Jenkins” played by Heidi Frankson

Regarding his second violation, the prosecution stated that Jason was obsessed with controlling events as life “saver” at his swimming pool. One example is when he tells swimmers, “Don’t mess with the whistle!” In rebuttal, the defense avers he is simply a trained professional whose motto is: “When I guard, I guard hard.”

With geeky behaviors, such as wearing a pocket protector not to be denied, Jason proceeded to declare his desire was not to be roasted but just to be Rotary President because of his love of his fellow Rotarians. His proof: photos he’s taken of Rotarians at their weekly luncheons.

Although the defense declared the charges preposterous and thanked Jason for being an exemplary Rotarian, his peers declared him guilty. His sentence? One glass of Carlo Rossi burgundy and 50% attendance in the upcoming Rotary year.

Thank you Jason, enjoy a glass on us in appreciation of your year of outstanding Rotary leadership.

   Our thanks to Ken Kraus and new members of the Roast Committee for providing an entertaining program; to Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mike Engelberger for serving as photographers; to Brian Basken and Paul Ranola for serving as videographers  and to Ellie Schatz for preparing this review article.   Visit our club’s Facebook Page for more photos.