Tag Archives: Madison WI

Wheelchair Ballroom Dancing Empowering Individuals

–submitted by Larry Larrabee

Our May 24th program was presented by Arthur Sigmund of the Fred Astaire Dance studio in suburban Milwaukee along with two of his para-dancers, Autumn Neugent and Martha Siravo.  They described the mechanics of Wheel Chair Ballroom Dancing and the three, along with the volunteer help of our own Jeff Bartell, demonstrated the basic dance moves of the para-dancer coupled with a walking partner. 

Wheelchair dancing has the advantages of building muscles and improving posture as well as learning to work with partners.  At the end of the program, Arthur and Martha performed a very intricate and dramatic dance that was awe inspiring that resulted in a standing ovation.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/jCnP7OyYZI8.

Come Take a Hike on the Ice Age Trail

–submitted by Larry Larrabee

Luke Kloberdanz, Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance addressed our May 17th meeting and described the purposes and workings of his organization which includes building and maintaining the trail, conservation of properties on the trail, and providing educational opportunities for school children and teens. 

The organization has 22 full time employees and 1,800 volunteers whose efforts served 10,000 4th graders this year and, in 2019, 2.3 million hikers.  The U S Congress designated the Ice Age Trail to preserve the story of glaciation and The Alliance, with the help of the National Park Foundation, is certainly fulfilling that goal here in Wisconsin.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBDSw7YAvf4&t=4s.

Making Their Mark in Wisconsin History

–submitted by Valerie Renk

Angela Titus shared 10 inspiring stories from 10 inspiring people in Wisconsin History at the May 10 meeting. Titus highlighted people ranging from musician Al Jarreau to surfer Tom Blake.

Jarreau, for example, started in Psychology in Ripon College, ending as a Jazz Icon on the Hollywood walk of fame with seven Grammys. 

Edna Ferber is another example.  Starting in Appleton with a love for the theatrical, she quit school at 17.  She moved from reporting to fiction, winning a Pulitzer for her novel, “So Big” and wrote “Giant” and “Showboat.” 

Inspiring others included:

  • Electa Quinney – First Wis school teacher, part of native mass removal movement
  • Ezekiel Gillespie- Led black community through voting rights movement
  • Gary Gygax – Creator of Dungeons & Dragons from Lake Geneva, inspired $97 billion gaming industry
  • George Poage – Poage graduated 1893 from UW in History as fist African American big ten champion, competing in the 1904 Olympics, first black athlete to win a medal.
  • Jesus Salas – Salas became a farmworker justice leader, forming Obreros Unidos movement, later joining UW Board of Regents
  • Kate Newcomb – One of first woman doctors in 1917, Kate practiced in Boulder Junction
  • Tom Blake – Born in Milwaukee in 1902, Blake is thought to have transformed surfing from a Hawaiian sport to a national pastime
  • Benjamin Butts – came to Wisconsin at 11 with Wisconsin military returning from Virginia. Started barbershop across from Capitol. First Black person on Assembly staff; became an influencer due to his connections.

Titus invited Rotarians to a Black History Walking Tour, Wed, May 17 following the Rotary meeting, ending at 2.30pm.  Reservations required.  Use this link to sign up: https://forms.gle/oDgqNf2du8gLHs3R6.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtube.com/live/j97bdWzZ1dI.

Engineering Dean Shares One Earthshot

–submitted by Valerie Renk

“Don’t buy a hydrogen car today; but it’s coming,” Rotarians heard from UW College of Engineering Dean Ian Robertson May 3.

“President Biden has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emission in half of 2005 levels by 2030; by 2050 we need to be at zero,” Robertson said. “We need to figure out how to decarbonize, and hydrogen will play a role. For example, hydrogen will be needed to heat our homes, fly our planes, deliver our Amazon packages. This will support clean air technology.”

Most of the energy we produce today is through coal and natural gas. The challenge is if we want more renewables, this is now at only 20% of energy consumed. Most of that is wind and hydroelectric, which means we need to store energy, such as with batteries, or convert to hydrogen.

We have “Six Earthshots to reach our carbon footprint: Hydrogen, LT energy storage, CO2 reductions, geothermal, offshore wind, reviewing manufacturing carbon footprints.

Focusing on the first earthshot, hydrogen, DOE wants us to reduce the cost of hydrogen 80 percent. Ten million metric tons needs to be produced. This doubles our solar and wind capacity through storage. Engineers, welders…a total of 700,000 jobs will be needed for this.

Hydrogen production methods include using natural sources, and manufacturing with fossil fuel, nuclear power or renewable sources.

“In addition to the cars and planes, we will need fertilizers to maintain food needs, metals for manufacturing, chemicals….hydrogen will be integral for all of these and more. How do we produce and deliver is the question,” Robertson said.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/8P2hnd8p8Bo.

April 19: The Importance of Connecting the Next Generation to Nature

–submitted by Janet Piraino

Betsy Parker and Virginia Wiggen talked to Rotarians on April 19th about how incredibly important it is to establish a connection between kids and nature.  Kids between 3 and 14 years old today spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of a phone or computer screen, and less than 1 hour a day outside. They stressed that access to the natural environment is as important to physical and emotional wellbeing as health care and economics. 

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is an important part of the answer.  The Center provides Nature Preschool for 3 to 5-year-olds, an outdoor afterschool program for K-5 kids, and summer camp for kids aged 4 to 10. They also have a Junior Naturalist Program for teens. Not only is this important for kids of all ages, their programs have shown to provide rapid improvement for kids on the autism spectrum. The Center, which is right off the Beltline in Monona, is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.  They encouraged Rotarians to check out their hiking trails!

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/2F7xZyVV_tI.

April 12: Higher Education for Native Americans

–submitted by Janet Piraino

UW System Regent Ed Manydeeds spoke to Rotarians on April 12th about the importance of education for Native Americans.  He attended one of Wisconsin’s notorious boarding schools for Native Americans, which he said involved more fighting and bullying than learning. The experience soured him on education, and he vowed never to attend school again. But, after graduating from Ashland High School despite being a “terrible student,” educators at UW-Green Bay and UW-Superior taught him how to study and ask for help.  He went on to get a law degree from UW-Madison and has practiced law for 45 years. 

Manydeeds was shocked to learn there were only 576 Native students in the UW System in 2002  – only 0.4% of the statewide student population.  But an agreement UW System signed with Wisconsin tribes in 2020 gives him hope that recruitment and retention of Native students will improve.  He encouraged Rotarians to mentor Native students just as he was mentored in college.  

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Y2m-gPQz4&t=4s.