Tag Archives: Rotary Club of Madison

Listening to Latino Stories in Wisconsin

–submitted by Linn Roth; photo by Mike Engelberger

Armando Ibarra 12 6 2017

Professor Ibarra (center) pictured here with his wife, Veronica and Rotarian Pete Christianson

In his presentation “Listening to Their Stories: How Latinos Survive and Thrive in Rural and Urban Wisconsin,” Professor Armando Ibarra of UW Extension summarized data from his recent studies to illustrate how the state’s demographics have significantly changed over the last three decades and how they will continue to change in the future.  For example, Latinos are much more widely dispersed throughout Wisconsin today, and locally. Latinos now constitute 6.6% of Madison’s population and 20% of Fitchburg’s populace.

Over the last 25 years, Dane County’s Latino population has exploded from 5,000 to about 32,000, although that number is probably a substantial undercount due to the immigration status of many people.  More importantly, this growth will continue to occur, regardless of changes to immigration law or border control.

Yet, even with a strong work and family ethic, the Latino community has not enjoyed full integration into our economic, social and political culture.  However, given that the Latino community is now an integral part of the Wisconsin economy, e.g. 80% of our dairy products are handled by Latinos, that cultural integration will inexorably move forward.  As Professor Ibarra stressed, Latinos are essential to the economic and cultural prosperity of the US, and we should welcome all individuals, regardless of race or nationality, to contribute to and participate in the promise of our democracy.

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

Culinary Arts Fellowship Enjoys Haute Cuisine

–submitted by Mary Thompson; photos by Vicki Holschuh and Eagan Heath

IMG_2282Twenty Rotarians enjoyed an evening of haute cuisine and interesting conversation during our Culinary Arts Fellowship on December 4, 2017.  Many thanks to Boris Frank  (pictured here with Steve Wallman) for planning an innovative dining experience with Chef Tim Van Doren from Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse.  Our server, Cynthia McDonald, was well known to our group for her service at our weekly Rotary meetings.  She made the evening  special.

IMG_2286Our first course began with Chef’s demonstration on how to correctly shuck oysters as we learned the difference between the briny East Coast oysters and the more fruity flavor of the West Coast variety.  Also, it’s OK to eat oysters year round because they are farmed  around the world dispelling the idea of eating them only in a month ending in “R”.  The oysters were accompanied by a charred scallion mignonette and sparkling wine.

The entree played with our senses as the chef prepared  beef tartare (a hit!), with warm grilled lettuce and horseradish blue cheese ice cream.  For the less adventurous, like me, the tartare was cooked.  And those who selected the vegetarian option delighted in beet tartare.  The 2016 Meomi Pinot Noir was a perfect complement.

IMG_2279  IMG_2276

Photo 1: Mary O’Brien and Christine Beatty; Photo 2 from left: Mary Thompson, Loretta Himmelbach, Robert Holschuh and Larry Jenkins

To complete our dining experience, Chef prepared  deconstructed  s’mores finished with hickory smoke under glass.

Photo Delmon 4  Photo Delmon 2

Chef Van Doren received applause for our dining adventure.  We will certainly return for another ultimate dining experience.  And, Culinary Arts Fellowship Chair Loretta Himmelsbach reminded everyone of the next Culinary Arts Fellowship Event on February 5, 2018 at the Vignette Dining Club.

“The Little Trickle That Becomes the Mighty River”

–submitted by Ben Hebebrand; photo by Dennis Cooley

Dennis McCann 11 29 2017The river that stretches 2,350 miles dissecting the United States has earned many monikers throughout its storied history– it has been referred to as America’s lifeblood, Ol’ Man River, or the Big Muddy.  Dennis McCann, who addressed the members of the Rotary Club of Madison on November 29, refers to the Mississippi as “This Storied River,” which is the title of his recently published book that celebrates particularly the Upper Mississippi’s history and role in shaping the Midwest.

McCann, a UW graduate and celebrated journalist for the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, traveled the river’s path across the Midwest, including the headwaters at Lake Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota, where, according to McCann, you can see “the little trickle that becomes the mighty river.”

McCann frequently referred to the river as the feature that “divides and unites our country,” implying that its geography divides the United States into east and west and also brings us together.

A highlight of McCann’s research centered on his first-hand experience on his participation on the 150-year anniversary Mississippi cruise of the Grand Excursion, which originally sailed in 1854 in an effort to attract attention to the river as an economic engine to the towns along the river. It is during this commemorative cruise that McCann encountered the towns and cities that border the river in addition to discovering the river’s beauty, power and rich history.

Starting with the river’s earliest days as the river of native Americans, McCann particularly stressed the 40- to 50-year steamboat era, when “elegant steamboats came into town” and introduced settlers to travelers who often came from faraway places.

Throughout the years, however, the settlers of the Upper Mississippi have maintained a culture of their own, referring to themselves as River Rats, who construct shacks along the river and rebuild them following significant floods.

The Power of Resilience in America

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

Nancy Young 11 15 17

Club President Donna Hurd with guest speaker Nancy Young

When there is a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, volunteer organizations like the Red Cross, alerted by weather reports of a potential crisis, have already made preparations for the event. Food, water and medical supplies are packed and ready to be moved quickly to the disaster area by a corps of volunteers across the country who have also made their preparations in advance, and are therefore able to arrive on the scene within 24 hours.  Volunteers share space in whatever housing is available; often sharing rooms with other volunteers. One effect of shared housing is it builds “esprit de corps” among the volunteers.

Red Cross volunteers of all types arrive, including those trained in disaster mental health counseling, ready with psychological first aid for those traumatized by the loss of homes, the separation from their families, temporary housing in a Red Cross shelter, and in many cases, risks to their very lives. Volunteers commit to staying in the disaster area for two weeks, and as they are organizing the disaster relief in shelters, they are already planning for the closing of shelters.  In disasters, personal resilience is one of the most valuable assets, and the people providing disaster relief help to foster resilience by discouraging long-term dependence on volunteer services and volunteers.

In contrast to natural disasters that can often be predicted, mass murders like the recent one in Las Vegas, catch everyone by surprise and pose an even greater challenge to psychological counselors than events like hurricanes. In such events, there are often examples of great personal bravery by both victims and volunteers–strangers help to convey victims to hospitals; separated family members are cared for; and many donate blood.

What is the most important need of the Red Cross in disasters?  “Faith, hope and love” said speaker Nancy Young, an experienced Red Cross volunteer. And from the audience: “blood, money, and yourselves as volunteers.”

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

Wisconsin in World War I

–submitted by Moses Altsech; photo by Dennis Cooley

Richard Pifer 11 8 17When the US entered World War 1 in 1917, the war came to dominate the daily life of citizens in Wisconsin. There were initially concerns about our state since 38% of the population had been born in Germany or had a parent born in Germany. Riots were expected on the first day of the draft, yet they did not materialize. Instead 218,000 people (106% of the estimated eligible number) registered, and 5% of the state’s population served in the military. Families were urged to conserve food, grow a garden and avoid eating wheat, sugar, meat, and fat, all of which were critical to the war effort. There was not just social pressure, but aggressive action to ensure that people bought war bonds, and volunteers told those who bought fewer than their means allowed that they would be reported to the County Council on Defense. Dozens were indicted under the Espionage Act for criticizing the war, insulting the flag, opposing war bonds, and other “unpatriotic” remarks. Vigilante groups like the Knights of Liberty took the law into their own hands against “disloyal” citizens, and German language school books were burned.

As Governor Emmanuel Philipp pointed out, however, “self-asserted patriots” were the real threat. We can relate a lot of what our speaker, Richard Pifer, author of “The Great War Comes to Wisconsin,” said, to the challenges we face today: Patriotism can be noble or it can be a tool to marginalize, demonize, and even persecute those we disagree with by questioning their loyalty and forcing them to live in fear. Hopefully 100 years later we can learn from the lessons of the past.

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

The Impossible Presidency

–submitted by Rich Leffler; photo by Dennis Cooley

Suri Jeremi 11 1 2017

Rotarian Janet Piraino with Guest Speaker Jeremi Suri

Jeremi Suri, professor of history at the University of Texas-Austin, and formerly (lamentably) at the UW-Madison, gave a boffo performance today as our speaker. He used history to demonstrate that the modern presidency has gotten too complicated for any person to do the job effectively.

There have been several “models” of the presidency. George Washington created the office: he conceived of his job as uniting the people into one nation, not as policy-making or leading a political party.

Lincoln changed the office, believing his chief purpose was to develop the country economically, to use the office to push economic development through the Homestead Act, the Morrill Land Grant Act, which created the land-grant universities in the Midwest, including the UW, to educate farmers and to promote the liberal arts (yes!), and by providing federal subsidies to the railroads, which led to the phenomenal growth of the American economy in the last third of the 19th century.

A third model was created by FDR. He was born to wealth, but he developed polio, which gave him an empathy with those who suffer. He viewed the president as a healer, someone to help those who did not thrive in the capitalist system, which inevitably has winners and losers. The president, FDR believed, had to make these people feel connected, to bring people together to find solutions to problems. FDR has been imitated and viewed as a model by modern leaders, especially by every American president since.

But since the Second World War, the expectations of the people and the responsibilities of the office have grown too large for anyone. So the office has become ill-suited to the world today.

Professor Suri’s solutions: (1) Our method of choosing leaders is defective; young people are not encouraged to get into the arena or even to vote, and the money in politics is overwhelming. (2) The electorate is not well informed; there are facts that people should know, but education has been under-funded. (3) There needs to be a conversation about the values of the nation, and these values have to inform our political life and our leaders. Our best people are not in politics or in leadership positions.

Professor Suri’s talk was very well received. President Donna commented that it was the best talk she has heard since she has been in Rotary. (If you missed the talk, check out the video.) Which raises a nice question: Why is Professor Suri, a man of ideas and a great speaker, not in the arena? Or is he more valuable as a public intellectual?

Wine Fellowship Event October 24

–submitted by Mike Wilson

Wine 10 24 17 4

Our club’s Wine Fellowship met at Mike and Patty Wilson’s on Tuesday the 24th October – Polio Plus Day for Rotary International.  This was a “BYO bottle and snack to share” event with a charitable donation of $50 per person to go to Polio Plus.  A total of $1000 was raised with the entrance fees and a separate donation. Our club has a strong history of donating to Polio Plus with two major fundraisers in 1987 and 15 years later in 2002, raising a total of ~$280,000.  This Polio Plus Day in 2017 is 15 and 30 years after the original Polio Plus Day Campaign mentioned.  Now Rotary International and the Gates Foundation, with many other donor groups, believe they are finally approaching the time of eradication of Polio from the earth.  I remember as a kid having to stay on the porch at home and not leave the property or play with others – such was the curse of poliomyelitis.

We tried 7 wines and 3 “Ports”.  All the wines were excellent and the accompanying snacks too. We had two whites. a Riesling and a Condrieu (Viognier).  Next we tried a Meiomi Pinot Noir, a Vin Nobile di Montepulciano (recently carried back from Italy by Ellie and Paul Schatz), and  an Opolo Forte Zinfandel and all were excellent.  We then tried a Very Dry Red (labeled VDR) Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah blend and a Walla Walla Winery Cabernet Franc, again excellent drinking.  Most of these wines sold in the 20-35 dollar price range, and added ideas for our own collections. The snacks were as impressive as the wines.

Photo 1: Paul & Ellie Schatz; Photo 2: Becky Steinhoff & Steve Steinhoff; Photo 3: Juli & Keith Baumgartner

We finished with three “ports” and W & J Smith 20 year Tawny, a CharDotto Cabernet Franc version with Dell Dotto providing the red wine and Chateau Charbay (Napa) the brandy, and a Glunz version of Tawny Port. Ports have a higher alcohol content than red wines (~20%) which is added to the wine once it reaches the desired sweetness, and this stops the fermentation process and ups the alcohol content as about 30% of Port is brandy (usually purchased from South Africa in Port from Portugal). With this we had blue cheeses and chocolate coated strawberries – chocolate and blue cheese being excellent accompaniments of Port.

A good time was had by all, and Polio Plus benefitted on Polio Plus Day.