Title Author Date
PAINTING HELP NEEDED at Urban Ranger Corps
READY TO PAINT! Saturday, May 13, 9:00 AM.
If you are available to help, please contact Erik Dickinson at erik.dickinson@urckc.org
Bo Steed, bringing the expertise to the new Urban Ranger Corps office renovation.
PAINTING HELP NEEDED at Urban Ranger Corps Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-05-11 05:00:00Z
Good Afternoon Fellow Rotarians,
The visiting GSE Team from Argentina and Paraguay will be attending our meeting tomorrow morning.  They will be giving a presentation before our regularly scheduled speaker.  As such, we will be starting the meeting promptly at 7:30 vs. the traditional 7:37.  Additionally, unless time permits, we will also skip announcements, Happy Bucks, etc.  I apologize for the break from tradition, but I want to give adequate time to both our GSE guests and our regularly scheduled speaker.  I’m sure both will be around following the meeting for questions.  I look forward to see you all tomorrow!
GSE Team Activities are posted to the left on our website in Download Files
GSE Team has ARRIVED Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-05-11 05:00:00Z
Bloch Cancer Survivor Park Clean-up
Last Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 10:00 AM to Noon at Bloch Cancer Survivor Park, corner of 48th & Roanoke on the Plaza in KCMO, the Urban Ranger Corps and several Plaza Rotarians planted over 300 plants around the park.
Bloch Cancer Survivor Park Clean-up Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-05-11 05:00:00Z
Club 13 Annual Memorial Luncheon
Fellow Rotarian Jim Porter from Club 13 will be attending our meeting on Friday to make a quick announcement about their annual Memorial Luncheon at the Rotary Youth Camp on May 25th at 12 pm.  The luncheon is put on to remember Rotarians that have passed away in the past year and they will be honoring Alex Petrovic's dad, Alex Petrovic Sr. (former Plaza Rotarian) at the event, along with a few other Rotarians.  The cost for the event is $10 and if any of our members are planning to attend they would need to contact Mandy Sheldon, who is the Executive Director of Club 13, at 816-842-2322.
Club 13 Annual Memorial Luncheon Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-05-04 05:00:00Z
Results for Shoes Enthusiasts
Shoes Enthusiasts across north Missouri –
Thank you, thank you, thank you…for another fantastic year of shoes collection for orphans, this year orphans in Guatemala and Kenya.
I’m happy you have cleared the shoes shelves of all the retailers in north Missouri (and in Joplin, and in southern Iowa, as we heard during the Shoes Roll Call)!
Results for Shoes Enthusiasts Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-05-04 05:00:00Z
District 6040's Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI)
Plaza Rotary member Randy Steinman (far left in photo) was among five Rotarians who graduated from District 6040's Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) in Chillicothe last Saturday. Randy completed the three-part course with (left to right) Case Ruckman (Albany Rotary Club), Karen Allen (Independence), Bill Purcell (Richmond), and Billy Ray Preston (Independence). Forty-three district Rotarians have graduated from RLI since the program was started in 2014. Many of the graduates have served or will serve as club presidents and all graduates have taken on leadership roles in their clubs.
Two other Plaza club members, Jennifer Kyle and Scott Weaver, were among 14 Rotarians who completed Part I of the RLI course on Saturday.  Another Part I class will be offered on July 29 in the Kansas City area and in Kirksville, and all three Parts will be offered on August 19 in Chillicothe and on October 28 at the District Conference at Arrowhead Stadium. The fee is $50 for each of the full-day courses. For more information, contact District Coordinator Jerry Venters at jvrotary6040@yahoo.com.
District 6040's Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-26 05:00:00Z
Shoe Packing Completed
Shoe tying and packing was held Saturday, April 22nd, at 2:00 pm. Thanks to the Plazans that came out to help!
Shoe Packing Completed Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-26 05:00:00Z
Q4 2016-17 Invoices are OUT
Q4 2016-17 invoices went out this week (4/25). If you did not receive an email with your invoice, please let Liz Thomas know so she can send your invoice to your directly.  Invoice emails come from "Kansas City Plaza Rotary," please check your spam filter if you don't see this in your Inbox.
Q4 2016-17 Invoices are OUT Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-26 05:00:00Z
Urban Rangers Volunteer Opportunities
Sweat equity opportunities are available to help the Urban Rangers. This Saturday, April 29, 9 AM, you can help ready the new room for painting. Please reach out to Erik Dickinson for more information if you'd like to help them out!
Urban Rangers Volunteer Opportunities Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-26 05:00:00Z
GSE Team - Activities
Please join our club activities as we host the GSE Team visiting from Argentina & Paraguay. It's a wonderful experience! Please sign up at our meeting for the following group activities, or RSVP to Scott Weaver at MSWeaver63@gmail.com.
  • Happy Hour with Plaza Rotarians and Rotaract- 4:30 PM, Location TBD
  • Dinner at Lydia's Friday, May 12- 6:30 PM
  • Royals Saturday, May 13- Game time 6:15 PM
A complete list of activities is shown on the left side of the webpage.
GSE Team - Activities Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-20 05:00:00Z
New Member-Florian Schulte
The Plaza Rotary Board has approved the application for membership for Florian Schulte. Florian is the Sr. Director of Finance for Lindt & Sprüngli Inc in Kansas City. If you have any questions, please email Drue Thomas.
New Member-Florian Schulte Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-20 05:00:00Z
Greater Kansas City Day 2017
Plaza Rotary Club worked hard to sell newspapers at the corner of 95th & Wornall last Monday, April 10th, to support Rotary Youth Camp.
Greater Kansas City Day 2017 Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-13 05:00:00Z
Got News?
If you have news or updates for the Plaza Rotary Club website, newsletter, or Facebook page, or would like to share photos of club events, please send an email to plazarotarypr@gmail.com.
Got News? Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-04-06 05:00:00Z
Greater Kansas City Day- April 10th
APRIL 10TH is THE DAY!  Don't forget to sign up for your favorite corner to sell newspapers! If you've missed the sign up sheet, email Erik Dickinson at erik.dickinson@urckc.org.
To learn more about why we sell newspapers, check out this video!
Greater Kansas City Day- April 10th Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-29 05:00:00Z
On Friday March 24th we formally inducted Jim Mitchum (Joined 7/1/16), Aileen Murphy (Joined 11/9/16), Allison Yoakam (Joined 2/15/17), and Jason Parson (Joined 3/15/17) to Rotary.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet the members of this dynamic group, please do so at our next meeting.  Welcome new Rotarians!
NEW MEMBER INDUCTION Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-29 05:00:00Z
Beneficiary Designation
Thank you all for the outstanding participation in the beneficiary nomination and voting process.  We had nine extremely worthy beneficiaries nominated and 76% of our club members participated in the difficult task of selecting our two primary beneficiaries for the next 3 year cycle.  Based on your votes, the Club will continue our support of Urban Rangers and Hope House. Both of these beneficiaries have been great partners and we look forward to finding new ways to support their efforts in the years ahead. 
Also, as discussed in the meeting, there is a strong desire to find a way to support the other seven very worthy nominees through Club Foundation giving. Stayed tuned for more information on this topic soon.
Thank you again for your participation in the nomination and/or voting process.  We all have our unique passions and causes that are close to our hearts and I am very proud that as Rotarians, we always come together to support the beneficiaries selected by the club and the great work they do in our community.   Congratulations again to the selected beneficiaries, Urban Rangers and Hope House!
Drue Thomas
Club President
Beneficiary Designation Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-23 05:00:00Z
Having Problems with Club Runner?

If you're having problems receiving your newsletters or invoices or any other issue logging in, please reach out to support@clubrunner.ca.

Having Problems with Club Runner? Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-16 05:00:00Z
New Member Jason Parson
The Plaza Rotary Board has approved the membership application of Jason Parson.  He is the President of Parson & Associates LLC, a Public Relations and Marketing Communications firm.  If anyone has any comments or concerns they should contact Drue Thomas at william.thomas@umb.com.  Jason has been attending morning meetings so frequently that many of us already thought he was a member! Assuming there are no concerns he will be inducted in the weeks ahead. Welcome Jason!
New Member Jason Parson Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-16 05:00:00Z
Rotary Leadership Institute
The Rotary Leadership Institute is back!  After its annual winter hibernation, the District's leadership training program for Rotary club leaders will resume on April 22 in Chillicothe (First Baptist Church, 1601 Bryan St.).  Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about Rotary, sharpen your volunteer leadership skills, and make new friends from around the District.  Register at www.hoa-rli.org; the cost is just $50 for each all-day session.  Contact District RLI Coordinator Jerry Venters at jvrotary6040@yahoo.com with your questions.
Rotary Leadership Institute Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-03-16 05:00:00Z
Beneficiary Nomination
Good Morning Plaza Rotarians,
Every three years our Club goes through a beneficiary nomination and voting process.  This process identifies the two nonprofit organizations that will be the primary beneficiaries of our funding raising efforts over the next three years.  As an example, 75% of the 2016 Games for Good fundraising proceeds were split between the Hope House and Urban Rangers, with the remaining 25% going to our Plaza Rotary Foundation. 
Please use the attached form to nominate potential beneficiaries.  There is no limit to how many you can submit, but please remember that submissions must be qualified 501(c) (3)’s.  We will be accepting nominations through Sunday March 5th, with a formal vote taking place at our Club Meeting on Friday March 10th and via email.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.  The best way to reach me is at william.thomas@umb.com or at 913-909-7523.  I look forward to our Club’s continued involvement with worthy organizations and volunteering with each and every one of you.
Your President

Drue Thomas
Beneficiary Nomination Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-23 06:00:00Z
District Teacher of the Year Award
This is a reminder that the deadline is quickly approaching for Teacher of the Year Nominations.
More information can be found at http://www.rotary6040.org/2016/12/03/hello-world/. Submissions must be received by our District Literacy Chair Janet Gooch, jquinzer@truman.edu, by February 24th, 2017. The award will be presented at the District Assembly in Chillicothe, Missouri on April 29th, 2017. Winners will be notified so they may plan on receiving their award in Chillicothe if at all possible. Recipients of this award do not need to be present in Chillicothe to receive this award.
Let's honor our teachers who put so much passion and devotion into educating our children!
All my best,
Kim LeSage
District Teacher of the Year Award Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-16 06:00:00Z
Rotary Direct
Rotary Foundation and Ways to Give through Rotary Direct are the simplest way for your donation dollars to have the most impact with the lowest administration costs to implement. Just set and forget it! Click HERE for more info.
Support Rotary's efforts year round by making a recurring gift. You choose how much and how often you want to give— it's a simple and secure way to make a big impact.

can be made monthly, quarterly, or annually. If you prefer, you may return the completed or enroll by phone at +1-866-976-8279.

To update your existing recurring giving, contact us at or call +1-866-976-8279. For security reasons, changes to your credit card information should be made by phone.

Check, draft, or wire payments

to donate by different payment methods.

Rotary Direct Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-15 06:00:00Z

Four Way Test Speech Contest

4 Way Test Speech Video and applications are due to Ann Leabo by tomorrow, March 10, 2017.
From Kim LeSage, District Governor
I am reaching out to clubs to confirm details of our District Four-Way Test Contest. I want to make certain all clubs are aware of the submission criteria and deadlines. Each year we are able to tweak some of our programs and events based on comments and suggestions of Rotarians. This year the Four-Way Test Speech Contest committee is asking that candidates/clubs submit their club's candidate for the Four-Way Test Speech Contest by submitting a video of the candidate giving their speech. Judges will then select the three finalists to attend the District Assembly on April 29th and give their speech to the attendees. First, second, and third places will then be determined. Families and friends of students are welcome to attend. Please see the attachments for the rules and application. Contact information for Steve Shelton, District Four-Way Test Speech Contest Chair, is also located on the attached documents [Process] and [Application].
Thank you for your support of our amazing students!
Four Way Test Speech Contest Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-08 06:00:00Z

Rotaract KC Camp Rise

When school is out for the summer, most children are thrilled. However, for more than 8,000 children experiencing homelessness in the Greater Kansas City area, this is often a scary and stressful time. Thousands lose stability, access to daily free meals and a place to feel safe and cared for. Most homeless shelters do not accept unaccompanied youth under 18 and there are minimal options for children of working parents who cannot afford day-care.

Rotaract Kansas City’s CAMP RISE seeks to provide a safe, engaging and activity packed summer camp for youth ages 8-13 who are currently homeless in Kansas City. CAMP RISE aims to celebrate independence, resilience and empowerment. Our campers will gain new and exciting experiences, valuable life-skills and most importantly, the freedom to be a kid away from the strain and uncertainty of homeless living.

CAMP RISE promises an exciting opportunity for campers to enjoy four days and three nights of swimming, hiking,  crafts and sports at the Rotary Youth Camp in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Our campers will also be able to partake in team-building and self-confidence exercises with our attentive and enthusiastic staff.

YOU can get involved today by donating or joining the CAMP RISE staff & counselor team.

Rotaract KC Camp Rise Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-07 06:00:00Z
Friends & Family Breakfast
Please bring the favorite people in your life to our breakfast this Friday, February 10th, 7:15 AM. Please RSVP by Thursday morning to Sgt at Arms Scott Weaver at MSWeaver63@gmail.com .
Friends & Family Breakfast Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-07 06:00:00Z
Bob Kendrick of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Bob Kendrick of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum captivated our club last Friday with his stories of Cool Papa Bell and other All Stars. It's time to plan a visit .... perhaps a Vocational Visit Rich Linden?... to the NLBM! 
Bob Kendrick of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-06 06:00:00Z
30th Anniversary Celebration Photos
Check out our pics on our Facebook page from our club's 30th Anniversary Celebration!
30th Anniversary Celebration Photos Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-02-02 06:00:00Z


Shoes for Orphan Souls is a great cause for Rotary. Several of our Rotarians have gone on trips to distribute shoes and can attest to the good results.
We are trying to wrap up this year’s campaign early. If you go out shopping you can often find shoes on sale at clearance prices. If you would rather give money, we need that too, because we have also been successful buying at very good prices, and we need to pay for those shoes. We are asking every member to contribute whatever they can as soon as possible.
-- Ed Laadegard
Keep shopping! Or write a check! There's still time for our annual shoe drive for Shoes for Orphan Souls. Bill Schmidt will be heading up our club's effort this year. For more on this charitable effort, visit Buckner's website here.
LAST CALL for SHOE TIME! Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-18 06:00:00Z
Define your Rotary Legacy
https://clubrunner.blob.core.windows.net/00000004680/Images/foundation100.jpgThe commitment to Service Above Self is what defines us as Rotarians, and the Rotary Foundation is one of the main vehicles we use to serve others and make the world a better place. Here’s your opportunity to define your Rotary legacy and support the Rotary Foundation for its 100th anniversary.
District Governor Kim Lesage and District Rotary Foundation Chair Cassie Venters invite you to participate in the Rotary District 6040 Centennial Legacy Campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation. The Campaign goal is to raise $2,650,000 for The Rotary Foundation by April 10, 2017.
Contributors who make a minimum commitment of $10,000 in cash, Rotary Direct pledges, or a bequest will be invited to attend the Centennial Legacy Dinner, to be held on Sunday, April 30, 2017. Rotary International President John Germ will be the keynote speaker.
Contact our club’s Legacy Dinner Campaign Table Captains Roger Samuel roger.samuel@msasearch.com or Jerry Venters  jvotary6040@yahoo.com for more information.
Define your Rotary Legacy Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-18 06:00:00Z
Out of Africa
Following the International Convention in Atlanta (June 10-14) ,  District 6040 is hosting a delegation of African Rotarians on a very short Friendship Exchange onJune 16-18.  Rotarians will be in Kansas City for two nights and three days and will stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel near KCI.  The Out of Africa planning committee is looking for local hosts who’s responsibilities will be to attend events, provide transportation and companionship and host African Rotarians during the day to various tourist attractions around KC.  The daily schedule will be determined by the African Rotarian’s interests.  The event costs (reception Friday evening, lunch Saturday noon and reception/dinner Saturday evening) for local Rotarians will be about $75/person.  Please contact Jan Armstrong at JArmst2298@aol.com or Marc Horner at MHorner@aol.com if you are interested in being a host.  Cassy Venters has additional details, cdventers@me.com
Out of Africa Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-18 06:00:00Z
2017-2018 Plaza Rotary Board
The 2017-18 Board slate (which is below) was voted upon at the February 27th meeting and approved by the Club.
Chapman, Jeff
President Elect/Retention
Steinman, Randy
Vice President/Membership
Dickinson, Erik
Immediate Past President
Thomas, Drue
Kyle, Jennifer
Thomas, Liz
Club Service
Murphy, Aileen
Community Service
Temme, Paul
International Service Chair
Brown, Jane
New Generations (Youth)
Linden, Rich
Public Relations
Berkbuegler, Shannan
Rotary Foundation Chair
Samuel, Roger
Vocational Service
Wymore, Eric
Weaver, Scott
Program Co-Chairs
Shawver, Nancy & Lloyd, Jim
2017-2018 Plaza Rotary Board Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-18 06:00:00Z
Vocational Visit #2
Vocational Visit #2 - UMKC vs Grand Canyon University was a success! Rich Linden had 16 people show up to cheer on the Roos, and Ann Leabo's husband Chad got up on the huge video board!!!
Vocational Visit #2 Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-18 06:00:00Z
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! Shannan Berkbuegler 2017-01-04 00:00:00Z
Rotarians & Non-Profits at Work - Events Around Town
Rotarians & Non-Profits at Work - Events Around Town Shannan Berkbuegler 2016-11-03 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 07-06-2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 07-06-2016 Shannan Berkbuegler 2016-07-06 00:00:00Z
First Wire Transfer
First Wire Transfer for Microcredit Goes to the Dominican Republic 
After many months of fundraising, organizing and structuring, Rotary District 6040’s microcredit project in the Dominican Republic is about to launch.
The first wire transfer of $25,000 (U.S. dollars) left the United States in early June 2016. Randy Steinman, Kansas City Plaza Rotarian and District 6040 Microcredit Chair, returns to the Dominican Republic in late June to observe the implementation of the project. 
These funds were wired to District 6040’s Rotary partner for this project, The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo Herrera. The Herrera club will in turn make a presentation to the project’s cooperating partner, Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral Inc., or IDDI.
IDDI estimates these first funds will help 70-80 families in the Herrera & Alcarrizos neighborhood lift themselves out of poverty. The overall commitment to this project is $125,000 to be distributed over 5 years. This program was made possible as a result of a contributions of District 6040, District 4060 (D.R.), Rotary Clubs in Missouri and a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation.
First Wire Transfer 2016-06-30 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 05-11-2016
We Know Shoes! 
Can't resist one more shout out to all the club members for the impressive showing in this year's annual Shoes for Orphan Souls drive. 
Our club donated 1,219 pairs of shoes and had an impressive showing at the collection, held in connection with the District Assembly  at the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph.
Here you can see fellow Plaza Rotarians on the truck with shoes -- from left, Dave Bahner, Beth Bahner, Frances Reddis, Larry Lunsford and Cassy Venters. 
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 05-11-2016 Nancy Shawver 2016-05-11 00:00:00Z
Wrapping Up 2016 Shoes Drive
Outstanding Collection of Shoes for Orphan Souls 
With Big Muddy churning by just a couple of hundred feet away, cheering Rotarians chanting off the numbers by the thousands, the annual Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign wrapped up April 30 at the District Assembly in St. Joseph with another outstanding year – 16,777 pairs of new shoes, 2,103 pairs of socks, 158 pairs of shoelaces, and $10,717 in cash donations.
Wrapping Up 2016 Shoes Drive Nancy Shawver 2016-05-03 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 05-04-2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 05-04-2016 Nancy Shawver 2016-04-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-27-2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-27-2016 Beth Bahner 2016-04-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-20-2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-20-2016 Beth Bahner 2016-04-20 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-06-2016 (2)
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 04-06-2016 (2) Beth Bahner 2016-04-06 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-30-16
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-30-16 Jim Lloyd 2016-03-30 00:00:00Z
2016 Reverse Raffle
Join Us at our
2016 Reverse Raffle
Announcing the 2016 KC Plaza Rotary Reverse Raffle & Auction! This is our club’s major fundraiser of the year, with proceeds to support the club's major beneficiaries Hope House, Urban Ranger Corps, Plaza Rotary Foundation, and Rotary International programs including the drive to eradicate Polio in the world. 
Plan on joining us for this evening of fun, fellowship and fundraising with Rotarians and friends:
When:  6:30 – 9:30pm on Saturday, May 21, 2016
Where: at the Merriam home of our own Will H. 
What: In a Reverse Raffle, you keep your fingers crossed and hope that your number(s) do NOT get drawn. It's the last number drawn that's the big winner of the $1,000 cash prize. There's more:
    •    prize drawings for each group of 10 numbers that  have just been pulled
    •    a ‘wooden spoon’ prize for the winner of all non-prize winners (aka the losers)
    •    a live auction for awesome experiences conducted by fellow Rotarian and professional auctioneer, Bob Mayo
    •    a silent auction for unique items, events, and baskets of enjoyment
What else could you win? Here's a sample: 
  • $250 consolation prize 
  • First ticket drawn wins $100
  • Golf Package
  • Handyman Services
  • Wine Tasting
  • Royals Baseball Tickets
  • Baskets containing spectacular items from Cuba, Scotland, Africa, and Russia
  • Single Malt Scotch Tasting Party
  • Makeover Session, including a photo session, hair and make-up
How you can help:
  1. PURCHASE TICKETS! Tickets are $75 each, and are available from Plaza Rotary. Make checks payable to Plaza Rotary Foundation. For more info, contact Denise Holt, Beth Bahner or Jennifer Kyle.
  2. DONATE AUCTION ITEMS! We welcome additional auction items from businesses and individuals. We're looking for large items such as trips and fun experiences, as well as smaller items such as services, classes, and gift baskets. 
The event includes heavy hors d’oevres, and a cash bar. 
Our beneficiaries: 
Urban Rangers:
The Urban Ranger Corps is an organization established to provide boys and young men ages 12 to 18 with a unique opportunity to develop the appropriate life skills necessary for them to become successful and contributing members of society. The Urban Ranger Corps is designed to assist boys and young men in discovering their individual talents, skills and abilities while guiding them successfully from childhood to adulthood. They offer each participant a global view in the content areas of Career & Academic Enhancement, Financial & Entrepreneurial Education and Neighborhood & Community Involvement. The program works as a comprehensive community- based system that promotes and shares ownership of its success with the entire population of Kansas City.  All programs and activities are designed to offset some of the major problems affecting youth in the urban core while at the same time working to upgrade the status of our future human resource pool.
Hope House:
Hope House opened an onsite dental clinic operated by volunteer dentists in December 2011. Services are offered free of charge, regardless of insurance status or income level; onsite at a location where survivors are already receiving services; and with staff nearby whom they have grown to know and trust.  Hope House’s dental clinic includes two dental chairs and an x-ray machine.  Primary volunteers include a retired dentist who brings hygienists and assistants, though other dental professionals also volunteer their time.  The main dentist volunteers an average of two days per month and generally sees seven patients each day.  In 2014, the clinic provided 101 unduplicated survivors with a total of 160 visits.  Treatments included 129 general exams, 26 emergency exams, 58 cavity fillings, and 48 extractions.  Hope House anticipates continuing to serve at least as many clients in 2015.
Polio Eradication Worldwide:
Since 1985 Rotary has contributed more than $1.3 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2 billion children worldwide from polio. Rotary, along with our partners, has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need everyone’s help. 
2016 Reverse Raffle Nancy Shawver 2016-03-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-23-2016
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-23-2016 Jim Lloyd 2016-03-23 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-a-Glance 03-16-2016
Southmoreland Bed & Breakfast
This week we welcome the owners of Southmoreland Bed & Breakfast, Mark and Nancy Reichle.   If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run a B&B, here’s your chance to find out.  And it’s also a chance to say thank you to Mark and Nancy for donating a stay at Southmoreland to our recent raffle that helped fund one of our RYLA participants.
No Fooling
Our meeting on Friday April 1st is being moved outdoors!  Since the Royals are playing their home opener on Sunday, April 3rd, Kansas City Day is being held on Friday, April 1st .  Our regular Friday meeting is cancelled and we will be manning our usual corners instead.  Watch for the signup sheets or email Community Service Chair Erik Dickinson directly: erik.dickinson@urcik.org to request your favorite corner.
As a special thank you, the Royals are offering us the chance to official World Champion flags for $10.   If you would like one of these 3 x 5’ beauties email Erik or let him know at an upcoming meeting.
Call for Nominations
Vocational Service Chair Scott Weaver is seeking nominations for the Vocational Service Award.   Nominations are due April 15. Potential candidates are members of the community who 1) are not Rotarians; 2) who have achieved distinction through exceptional leadership, creativity, and/or effort in their profession, business and/or community service; and who demonstrate high ethical standards.  Think if there’s anyone you know at work or other activities that you would like to see honored.
Revving up for Reverse Raffle!
The Reverse Raffle Committee is revving up for the May 21 Reverse Raffle! This event promises to be full of fun and entertainment that you do not want to miss!
Former Plaza Rotarian and auctioneer extraordinaire Robert Mayo, will once again make sure we raise a lot of money for our most deserving beneficiaries, Hope House, Urban Rangers and the Plaza Rotary Foundation!
To ensure we have another successful event, we are seeking auction items, including such large items as trips and fun experiences, as well as smaller items such as services, classes, and gift baskets.
We will start selling tickets at the March 25 meeting. So, now is the time to start inviting your spouses, friends and neighbors!
If you have questions, please contact Denise Holt or Beth Bahner. Other committee members are Jennifer Kyle, Will Hodgkinson and Mike Theobald.
Here are the particulars:
May 21, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the home of Will Hodgkinson, 8101 W. 66th Terr., Mission, Kan., 66202. Tickets are $75 per person. Thank you Will for graciously hosting this year’s Reverse Raffle!!
Mission Accomplished
Frances Reddis hosted a festive shoe tying and boxing party and was joined by Therese McGill, Kathy Hogarty, Denise Holt, Beth Bahner, Dave Bahner, Allen Jenks and Bill Schmidt.  This group spent the afternoon tying and boxing some 800 pairs of shoes.  Thank you all!
This is getting intense
The Shoe-ins!, not taking kindly to third place, have now matched Royal Blue Suede Shoes shoe for shoe.  Both still trail Shoe-shoe-be-do, but at this rate, not for long!
Plaza Rotary At-a-Glance 03-16-2016 Jim Lloyd 2016-03-16 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-09-16
Women for Women International
Come welcome Shelley Lowery, a Women for Women International Ambassador and recently crowned Mrs. Kansas City 2016.
Shelley has been involved with non-profit work for over 30 years and lived in Sri Lanka for six years helping rebuild after the 2004 tsunami.  She is going to talk to us about her work through Women for Women International in helping rebuild lives torn apart by natural disasters and armed conflicts.
Tie one on
Shoe Captain Frances Reddis has a whole lotta shoes sitting in her garage that need to be tied together into pairs and boxed for shipment.  Following the wisdom that many hands make light work, she is throwing a tying/boxing party at her house this coming Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00.  Come enjoy the camaraderie and a good job well done.  Frances’s address is 1219 SW Wintergreen Lane in Blue Springs.
RYLA Blowout
That’s Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, and they are on a roll.  In response to strong growth in applicants in recent years the Academy is slated to grow from 100 students to 130 this year, on its way to a goal of 200.  Thanks to this new trajectory, clubs are now free to sponsor more than one student.  In the past the Plaza Rotary Club has had as many as four applicants and had to scramble to enlist other clubs to adopt them.
This year we had five applicants and thanks to the Westmoreland B&B raffle, Change for Charity and generous donations by Jerry Venters and Alex Petrovic the Plaza Rotary Club is going to sponsor three of them ourselves.  The two others will also be able to attend thanks to the Downtown and Eastern Independence clubs.
Our attendees are Emma Boxx and Sloane Smith (daughter of Gary and granddaughter of Jerry) from St. Teresa’s Academy and Juliet Holmes from Shawnee Mission East.  Congratulations to each of them and thank you to the clubmembers who let them know of this opportunity and encouraged them to apply.
Emma and Sloane are pictured below volunteering at Morning Glory Ministries, one of the service projects of the St. Teresa’s Interact Club.  From left to right: Gabrielle Pesek, Sloane Smith, Emma Boxx.
Royal Blue Suede Shoes gaining ground
While the Shoo-ins were apparently taking their name too literally, third place Royal Blue Suede Shoes has edged into second place.  Here’s the score after last week’s meeting:
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-09-16 Jim Lloyd 2016-03-09 00:00:00Z
2016 Malawi Journey
Plaza Rotarians prepare
to journey to Malawi
With a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation’s World Fund and District 6040 funds, three representatives of Kansas City Plaza Rotary will be in Malawi later this month to launch a  student empowerment project at the Malawi Children’s Village
Malawi Children’s Village is a village-based orphan support program in Mangochi, Malawi. It supports more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS orphans living with members of their extended family in 37 villages.
The village helps vulnerable children from birth to 18 years providing shelter, food, safety, health care and education until they can live independent healthy lives. 
Plaza Rotary is a long-time supporter of Malawi Children's Village. 
Our first project was n 2003, followed by a project to develop latrines in 2005, 2007 and 2013; a Malaria bed nets distribution program in 2009, and delivery of Malaria medicines in 2010. Our total contribution to the Malawi Children’s Village, including matching grants, is more than $105,000.
This Global Grant, for nearly $32,000, funds a curriculum for primary school teachers to refine and implement as an after-school program once a month for a year.
The program focuses on encouraging goal setting, confidence building, and life choices that affect educational attainment, and address health and environmental issues that can prevent children, especially girls between ages 12-16, from completing primary school, attending secondary school, and qualifying for entrance to either university or technical training schools.
The grant also covers the installation of solar lights in five primary schools, as well as furnishings and supplies for a study area in each school so that students can study at night as well as during the day.
The Plaza club’s Vocational Training team, led by Elizabeth Usovicz and including team members Bill and Cindy Schmidt, departs on March 31 to train teachers and collaborate on the study area installation. The team will spend time in collaboration with teachers, observing and coaching, through mid-April. 
This project addresses a humanitarian need in basic education and literacy. Primary schools in Malawi are under-resourced, under-staffed and under-funded, creating extremely challenging conditions for teachers and students.
According to Unesco, 58 percent of children in Malawi will complete a full course of primary school. In addition, 20 percent of children repeat one or more years of school. Students must pass final exams to progress to secondary school — but just 8.4 percent complete secondary school. 
The goal of the program is to help students continue learning, increasing the population in secondary schools and beyond. Malawi is among the least-developed countries, ranked as the seventh-poorest in the world. 
Plaza Rotary is proud to support our Vocational Training Team in this effort to help the residents of the Malawi Children’s Village.  
2016 Malawi Journey Nancy Shawver 2016-03-07 00:00:00Z
Top Honors
Plaza Club Takes Honors at Foundation Dinner
Plaza Rotarian Jerry Venters was given the Rotary Service Above Self Award at the District 6040 Foundation Dinner.
Only 138 were given out in the international Rotary world in 2015-16. It was given for his work in Rotary for community and international service for the last 26 years and his other volunteer work in the community and his profession.
Congratulations, Jerry. We are very proud of you. We appreciate all that you do for Rotary. 
And, Kansas City Plaza Rotary won the Klinginsmith Cup for the third time in five years. Bob Merrigan accepted the award from Cassy Venters on behalf of the club. 
Top Honors Nancy Shawver 2016-03-03 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-02-16
Plaza Club Takes Honors at Foundation Dinner
Plaza Rotarian Jerry Venters was given the Rotary Service Above Self Award at the District 6040 Foundation Dinner.
Only 138 were given out in the international Rotary world in 2015-16. It was given for his work in Rotary for community and international service for the last 26 years and his other volunteer work in the community and his profession.
Congratulations, Jerry. We are very proud of you. We appreciate all that you do for Rotary.
And, Kansas City Plaza Rotary won the Klinginsmith Cup for the third time in five years. Bob Kerrigan accepted the award from Cassy Venters on behalf of the club.
Learn about Women’s Foundation
Wendy Doyle and Kendall Seal will be our guests at Friday’s meeting to discuss the work of the Women’s Foundation, which promotes  equity and opportunity for women and their families, using research, philanthropy and policy solutions to make meaningful change.
Wendy is the President & CEO of the Women's Foundation. Wendy’s nonprofit career began as a national major gifts officer with the National Kidney Foundation, Inc. She later served as a nonprofit consultant, focusing on board development, strategic planning
and fundraising management and as the Executive Vice President of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Wendy has served on the boards of Nonprofit Connect and Civic Opera Theater and is a sustaining member of Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. Wendy earned a B.A. from Rockhurst University and is a graduate of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program.
Kendall serves as the vice president of research and policy and general counsel for the Women’s Foundation. Additionally, he is an adjunct law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, where he teaches a course on human trafficking law. Previously, Kendall practiced poverty law with legal aid providers across southern and western Missouri, specializing in domestic violence, family, and human trafficking law. He is a Missouri native who earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Missouri State University.
In 2013, Governor Jay Nixon appointed Kendall to a six-year term on the 10-member Missouri State University system Board of Governors, which sets policy for the 24,735 students and more than 4,000 faculty and staff, as well as oversees a budget of approximately $246 million. In 2014, Kendall was appointed by the United States Commission on Civil Rights to the State Advisory Committee for Missouri at the request of Senator Claire McCaskill. The committee is investigating the intersection of civil rights concerns and law enforcement practices over the next two years.
At Friday’s meeting, Wendy and Kendall will focus on public policy work and strategy, specifically:
  • Gender Pay Gap-Missouri
  • Capitol Intern and Sexual Harassment Policies-Missouri House
  • Workplace Protections for Domestic and Sexual Violence Survivors-Missouri 
We Need Shoes!
You might notice that our numbers this week are DOWN from last week. That’s because an accounting true-up uncovered 92 pair of shoes that had been double-counted.
So, two weeks in a row with no new contributions? Let’s stop this right now! Bring shoes or money for shoes this week! Checks, made out to KC Plaza Rotary Foundation, are welcome.
Let’s go! 
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 03-02-16 Jim Lloyd 2016-03-02 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/24/2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/24/2016 Nancy Shawver 2016-02-17 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/17/2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/17/2016 Nancy Shawver 2016-02-17 00:00:00Z
Microloan program launches
Microloan project launches in Dominican Republic
Kansas City Plaza Rotary is proud to sponsor a new program designed to provide small business start-up loans in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. 
The program, led by Plaza Rotarian Randy Steinman, was developed by our Rotary district to help break the cycle of poverty in the Herrera and Alcorrizos neighborhoods. It’s a joint effort between our district and the Santo Domingo-Herrera Rotary Club and the Instituto Dominicano Desarrollo Integral. 
Money for the program was raised by Plaza Rotary and other clubs in the district and supported by a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo-Herrera oversees the project and provides mentoring and education to loan recipients. The Instituto Dominicano Desarrollo Integral manages and administers the loans. 
All Rotary funds go directly to loans for small businesses; operating costs are paid from interest on the loans. Once loans are repaid, the proceeds go to new start-up loans, continuing to circulate benefits in the community. 
The average loan is between $500 and $750, with an 18-24 month repayment schedule. The five-year program is funded for $125,000, with $25,000 available for loans annually in that time.  
training day at RC
In the photo: members of the Rotary Club of Santo Domingo-Herrera during training to serve as financial instructors to our loan recipients.
Microloan program launches Nancy Shawver 2016-02-15 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/10/2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/10/2016 Nancy Shawver 2016-02-10 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/03/2016
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 02/03/2016 nancy shawver 2016-02-03 00:00:00Z
What Rotary is All About
What Rotary is All About: 
Doing Good In the World
Help us continue to create lasting change. Donate to The Rotary Foundation. www.RotaryFoundation.org/Give.
What Rotary is All About nancy shawver 2016-01-09 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance
Plaza Rotary at a Glance Beth Bahner 2016-01-06 00:00:00Z
2016 Games for Good
Games for Good: Oct. 1, 2016!
Mark your calendars for the 2016 Games for Good -- the fun begins again on Oct. 1 at the World War 1 Museum and Memorial.
KC Games for Good is a one-day event intended to showcase – and to celebrate – that sense of community service and civic pride for which both Kansas City and the Plaza Rotary Club are so well known. 
Hosted on the lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the festival brings together a host of activities and resources under the common banner of “Service Above Self.”
The event includes:
  • Exhibit Area
  • Team Competitions
  • Entertainment and other activities 
Find more information on our 2016 Games for Good brochures (just to the left, under Downloads): 
  • For Exhibitors
  • For Sponsors
We'll see you at the Games! 
Join us on Facebook 

The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club is on Facebook, which is where you can find out more about the culture of club with posts from our members. Check us out here! 

We welcome your visits and hope you'll "Like" us and invite your friends to follow us, too. 


2016 Games for Good Nancy Shawver 2015-12-10 00:00:00Z
Copy of Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance December 18, 2015
Copy of Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance December 18, 2015 Jacquelyn Blake 2015-12-09 00:00:00Z
Copy of Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance December 18, 2015
Copy of Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance December 18, 2015 Jacquelyn Blake 2015-12-09 00:00:00Z
Join Us!
We're Making A Difference 
Rotary has made a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world — and right here in Kansas City. 
The Kansas City Plaza Rotary invites you to join us as we work toward a polio-free world, fighting hunger, poverty, and social injustice. Our efforts support our local community and as well as people all over the world. 
The Rotary International primary initiatives:
  • A Polio-Free World — We support immunizations in areas still afflicted by polio. 
  • Promoting Peace — We use education and training to strengthen peace efforts and support long-term peace-building in areas affected by conflict.
  • Fighting Disease — We help prevent the spread of major diseases including HIV/AIDS and malaria.
  • Providing Clean Water — More than 2.5 billion people don’t have access to sanitation facilities. We help communities develop sustainable water and sanitation systems and provide education on clean water. 
  • Saving Mothers and Children — We provide immunizations, improve access to medical care, and help train health care providers.
  • Supporting Education — Worldwide, 67 million children have no access to education. We support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.
  • Growing Local Economies — We help enhance economic and community development and create opportunities. 
Please consider joining us. Here's how:
Join Us! Nancy Shawver 2015-12-01 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 25, 2015
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 25, 2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-11-25 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 18, 2015
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 18, 2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-11-18 00:00:00Z
Polio Eradication is our goal
Could this be the year of the final Polio case? 
Good news -- no new Polio cases hae been reported for a record three weeks in a row from the final two endemic countries: 
  • Pakistan - No new Polio cases reported this week.  Thirty-eight Polio cases have been reported in 2015 compared to 234 at this time last year.  Four new Polio positive environmental samples were collected this week.   
  • Afghanistan - No new Polio cases reported in Afghanistan this week. No new Polio-positive environmental samples were collected this week.  
Other good news: In post-endemic Nigeria, there were no polio cases reported in 2015, compared to six cases reported in 2014. The last case reported was in July 2014. 
And, of the six countries reporting importation of polio in 2014, NONE have reported any polio in 2015. The six: 
  • Ethiopia -- one case in 2014
  • Cameroon -- five cases in 2014
  • Somalia -- five cases in 2014
  • Iraq -- two cases in 2014
  • Syria -- one case in 2014
  • Equatorial Guinea -- five cases in 2014.
Our goal is Global Polio Eradication. Join us by:
Polio Eradication is our goal Nancy Shawver 2015-11-13 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 11, 2015
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance November 11, 2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-11-11 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 11/04/2015
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 11/04/2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-11-04 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance October 28, 2015
Let's Go Royals! 
Many Rotarians may not know the reason the Royals won the ALCS Friday, October 23, 2015, is because Ann Leabo purchased a ticket for her husband Chad at the Rotary meeting that morning. By doing the "right" thing and donating to the Plaza Foundation, Ann provided the good luck charm needed.
Chad brought dirt from the pitchers mound in the 1985 World Series win to the Friday game. He and a friend jumped the fence after game seven of the '85 series and he scooped up part of the mound. It was stored in a baggie for 30 years. He showed it to Plaza President Jane Brown when he arrived last Friday.
Jane and all others sitting near her that night knew it would be a victory. Thanks Ann and Chad!!! 
Join Rotary Plazans and Waldonians for Royals watch parties at Eggct/Minsky’s private room:
  • 6 p.m. Weds, Oct. 28
  • 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30
If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Denise Holt so we can reserve the appropriate room.  
Go Royals!
Welcome Irene Caudillo!
This week, we welcome Irene Caudillo, president and CEO of El Centro.  
Irene earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After graduating college, she created children and youth programs for nonprofit organizations, including El Centro and Wyandotte Mental Health Association, in Wyandotte County.
In 1994, she took a job with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department as Minority Health Outreach Director. Her duties included educating health providers on how cultural beliefs and practices impact health behavior.
In 1997, she returned to Wyandotte County as Executive Director for Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc., an agency devoted to developing and maintaining collaborative efforts to improve the quality of life for Wyandotte County youth.
In 2004, she joined Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas as the Director of Family Strengthening where she directed and managed their social services throughout their 21-county service area.
After serving as the Director of Clinic Operations for Swope Health Services, she “came home” to El Centro as the Chief Program Officer in anticipation of transitioning into the President & CEO position upon the retirement of the past President and CEO.


Rotary International
Approves Global Grant for Microcredit in the Dominican Republic
On October 15, Kansas City Plaza Rotarian Randy Steinman was notified by Rotarian International that the Global Grant for Microcredit had been approved. This concludes a 15-month-long process of responses and revisions to the grant.
The Global Grant of $125,000 will fund a Rotary-specific microcredit fund in the Herrera and Alcarrizos areas of the Dominican capitol, Santo Domingo. The fund will be managed by Instituto Dominicano De Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a local non-governmental organization with a long history of providing microcredit and other social services to low-income families. 
The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo will serve as a local Rotary partner, providing general oversight as well as mentoring and education to the loan recipients.
Loan recipients tend to be single mothers who are want to start small businesses to supplement their income inhopes of raising their families out of poverty.
The attached images are examples of the types of businesses we will fund. 
The Plaza Club is one of 13 District 6040 clubs participating in the funding of this project. The next steps are to gather in the funds from the participating clubs, create Rotary-specific promotional materials and train the Herrera Club members in their roles as mentors. The first loans should be awarded by February of 2016.
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance October 28, 2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-10-28 00:00:00Z
Riding for cousins

Riding for my cousins, who perished from polio

Editor's note: This article is by Naish Shah and first appeared in Rotary Voices, a blog of Rotary International, with stories of service from around the world. 
My two cousins had polio, and they passed away before they reached adulthood. My brother, my sister, and I were fortunate to have been born here in Chicago, so we received the polio vaccine that my cousins in India never got. This has made me passionate about doing whatever I can to help eradicate this horrible disease.
I rode with the Miles to End Polio team last year. My fellow members of the Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown, Illinois, USA, and I raised more than $8,000 for the cause. Easily, the Miles to End Polio effort last year was the most memorable experience of the two years I’ve worked at Rotary International. It really provided a tangible way to contribute toward Rotary’s mission and live the motto of Service Above Self.
I also felt blessed to be able to train and ride with the team last year. I had never ridden more than 104 miles before. I could not have done it without the tips, support, and encouragement of the team. We truly built goodwill and friendship. It was a great experience, and I thank all my teammates for their support.
We also received wonderful hospitality and support from the Rotary members in Tucson who organize Rotary’s participation in El Tour de Tucson. Their passion, dedication, and hard work are the keys to the success of Miles to End Polio. I am so excited to be a part of this year’s team, and I look forward to being pushed to my limits for this great cause.
Naish Shah is manager of Rotary’s Member Benefits program. He is one of several Rotary staff members who will join General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona to raise money for polio eradication. Check back for posts from other team members between now and the 21 November event and learn how you can support the team.
Want to join the effort? Take part in the Indoor Ride to End Polio by riding a stationary bike at your local gym or at home anytime from 14 to 21 November.


Riding for cousins 2015-10-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/21/2015
Club Achievements Recognized at District Conference
The Rotary District Conference was last weekend (Oct. 16 & 17) on the campus of Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. With the theme of “Celebrating the Gift of Rotary,” the conference was intended to be an extension of the theme of this year’s R President, “Be a Gift to the World.”
There were a number of plenary and breakout educational/motivational sessions — Plazan and PDG Jerry Venters led breakout sessions on RYLA and the Rotary Leadership Institute and teamed with PDG Jeff Romine for an interactive hour of Rotary Trivia. 
The conference also included recognition of significant achievements by clubs throughout the district in the 2014/2015 Rotary Year. The Kansas City Plaza Club fared exceptionally well.
At the banquet on Friday night, the club received a Presidential Citation, an award that is given for balanced achievement in several areas: membership growth, Foundation giving, and Rotary service. Seventeen Rotary clubs and two Interact clubs received the award for their work in 2014-15.
Plaza Rotary also picked up a special Membership Initiative Award for helping in the formation of the Waldo-Brookside Rotary Club. Fittingly enough, the awards were presented by Past District Governor Cassy Venters.
The limelight continued at the Saturday morning plenary session, with the KC Plaza Club named as one of 20 clubs in the district as a Star Club. Star clubs are clubs whose average giving to The Rotary Foundation is at least $100 per club member; Plaza Club was recognized as the No. 1 Club in the District in per capita Annual Fund giving. Plaza per capita giving was $609.85; the districtwide average was $116. 
The Club also received a Certificate of Appreciation from RI President Gary C.K. Huang for its contributions (more than $15,000) to the PolioPlus Fund of The Rotary Foundation.
Past Club President Bob Merrigan accepted the awards for the club.
“It was immensely gratifying and a tremendous honor to be able to accept these awards on behalf of the club,” he said.  “Thank you so much for your continued hard work and dedication. You do set the standard!”
Congratulations, Plazans, on an outstanding 2014-15!
Denise Holt Honored as Club Champion
Denise Holt, the Plaza Rotary Club’s  “utility player” extraordinaire, was honored at the District Conference as the Club Champion. 
 In nominating Denise for the recognition, President Jane Brown described Denise as “dynamic and unwavering,” and said that Denise is “an endless source of ideas to make our club better.”  
District Governor Ralph Cupelli presented the Club Champion award to Denise at the Governor’s Banquet on Saturday night.  
Plazans Randy Steinman, PDG Elizabeth Usovicz and PDG Larry Lunsford also attended the conference.
Congratulations, Denise! 
District Pars v. Polio Scores Big
The second annual District 6040 Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon has reached almost $22,000 in pledges and donations to support the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio, Plazan Jerry Venters, chair of the fundraising event, announced at last weekend’s District Conference.  
Although final reports aren’t in, Jerry announced that the event had raised at least $21,817, which may be matched by nearly $44,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The Plaza Club raised $8,711.  
Vocational Visit Friday

You still have time to join fellow Kansas City Plaza Rotarians this Friday, October 23, for a special tour of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - Local Union 124. 

The tour begins at 3:00 PM Friday. Meet at the Union at 301 E. 103rd Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64114.
Chili Time!
Round up your best chili recipe if you want to compete at the Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club’s Annual Chiefs Watch Party! 
The winner of the chili contest will receive a $25 gift certificate from World Market. 
If you don’t want to compete, you can still come and enjoy some fun with your Rotary Club friends (no matter what happens with the Chiefs). Sign up to bring a side dish or dessert; hot dogs and drinks will be provided. 
The party starts at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at Bill and Celine Moran’s home, 8927 Sagamore Road, Leawood. 
Thanks to special correspondents
Jerry Venters and Bob Merrigan
for their reports in this week's issue. 
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/21/2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-10-20 00:00:00Z
Pars v Polio Marathon Summary 2015
Plazans Top $8,400 in Golf Marathon!
The members of the Plaza Rotary Club have raised more than $8,400 in pledges and contributions in support of the District’s second annual Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon and Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio – and the final numbers are still out on the course!
Of that amount, $3,000 has been donated by club members who paid $100 apiece to become designated "Centurians" and the rest came from additional contributions and pledges to support Erik Dickinson and Jerry Venters, the club’s two golfers in the marathon.  Erik and Jerry played 100 holes of golf on September 22.  Ryne Kloeppel of the Parkville Rotary Club, left, played 80 holes with Erik and Jerry.
Districtwide, Pars v. Polio has raised more than $21,000 this year, and that number is expected to go higher as clubs report on their fund-raising efforts.  This will qualify Rotary for an additional match of more than $42,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jerry served as the District Pars v. Polio chairman last year and this year. 
Congratulations, Plazans, for your continued support of the effort to end this crippling disease!  
Pars v Polio Marathon Summary 2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-10-14 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/14/2015
Welcome, Gail Lozoff! 
Our guest speaker this week is Gail Lozoff, a third-generation entrepreneur and partner in SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, based in Kansas City. The company operates five locations in the Kansas City area and is expanding through franchising into the Southern California market.
SPIN! was founded in 2005.
Gail may be best known as the CEO and co-founder (with her husband) of the wildly successful Kansas City chain Bagel & Bagel. (The first Bagel & Bagel was in Brookside — at the same location where her father and grandfather had once operated the Cake Box bakery.
Bagel & Bagel grew rapidly and was purchased in 1995 by Boston Chicken and formed into Einstein Bros. Bagels. She served as VP of Merchandising and Design and later as Chief Marketing Officer for Einstein Bros./Noah’s Bagel Corp.
When Boston Chicken ran into financial difficulties and sold Einstein Bros., Gail was hired by Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc., where she served as the chief concept officer for two years from 2001 to 2003. 
Her expertise in restaurant and food services businesses started early. She is the daughter of the late Sam Pasternak, who operated, with his father Ben, the Cake Box bakery. The local pastry chain operated from 1946 to 1980. One of Gail’s earliest jobs was to assemble cardboard cake boxes — for a penny each! At the chain’s height, it had 35 locations, including shops within the Milgram’s markets. 
Gail has a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design from the Kansas City Art Institute and a bachelor’s in English from Beaver College in Pennsylvania.
Welcome, Gail! 
Plazans Top $8,400 in Golf Marathon!
The members of the Plaza Rotary Club have raised more than $8,400 in pledges and contributions in support of the District’s second annual Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon and Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio – and the final numbers are still out on the course!
Of that amount, $3,000 has been donated by members’ becoming Centurions, and the rest came from additional contributions and pledges to support Erik Dickinson and Jerry Venters, the club’s two golfers in the marathon.  Erik and Jerry (pictured with Ryne Kloeppel of the Parkville Rotary Club) played 100 holes of golf on September 22.
Districtwide, Pars v. Polio has raised more than $21,000 this year, and that number is expected to go higher as clubs report on their fund-raising efforts.  This will qualify Rotary for an additional match of more than $42,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jerry served as the District Pars v. Polio chairman last year and this year. 
Congratulations, Plazans, for your continued support of the effort to end this crippling disease!  
Plaza Rotary Calendar:
Oct. 16 and 17 – District Conference in Kirksville, MO
Oct. 23, 3 p.m. – Vocational tour of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Nov. 15, 3:15 p.m. kick-off – Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos game party, Bill and Celine Moran’s home: 8927 Sagamore, Leawood, KS 66206
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/14/2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-10-14 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/07/2015
All About The Missouri River
This week, we welcome Eugene Kneuvean, chief of the Emergency Management Branch of the Kansas City District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 
His department is responsible for the District’s preparedness, emergency response and recovery activities for natural disasters and national emergencies. That includes flood control and response on the Missouri River and other area waters. 
Where’s Jane?
You may have noticed that our Club President Jane Brown missed last week’s meeting. Well, one of our roving correspondents snapped this photo:
Jane explains:
"The picture was taken in the elevator of the Marriott hotel in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, October 3rd. The Royals won 6-1 that day. 
Tom and I were having cocktails in the hotel lobby after the game when he saw a big Royals group walk in. I grabbed my purse and ran to the elevator.  I was able to get in the same elevator as the guys.
 My “in” was speaking Spanish with Salvy.  30 seconds of pure glory going up to the 25th floor. 
Salvy and Hosmer were awesome!!! Salvy took the selfie."
Well done, Jane!
Go Royals!
District Conference 
The District Conference will be held October 16 and 17 in Kirksville, where you can join more than 200 of your fellow Rotarians and guests for two days of Rotary knowledge, fellowship, friendship and fun. Click http://6040conference.kvrotary.org/ to register for all or some of the events. Register by Oct. 10. 
Activities include: 
  • Rotary Foundation Chair Ray Klinginsmith discussing The Foundation.  
  • Celebration of 2014-15 Star and Paul Harris Clubs 
  • Two Service Projects, Building Buddy Packs and Days for Girls,
  • Rotary President's Rep Kathryn Fahy will discuss the State of Rotary
  • District Governor Ralph Cupelli will review the State of District. 
"Rotarians are not gatekeepers. They are door-openers."  
Eduardo de Costa, Rotary World Peace Fellow alumnus, of Brazil,
speaking at the 2015 Zones 30-31 Institute
Nigeria Taken Off Endemic List
The World Health Organization (WHO) last week announced that it has officially removed Nigeria from the list of countries where polio is endemic. 
It has been 14 months since a case of polio caused by the wild virus was reported there. That leaves only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where transmission of the virus has never been stopped. 
Mark your Calendars
Oct. 23, 3 p.m. – Vocational tour of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Nov. 7 – Rotary Leadership Institute, Chillicothe. $70. Register at http://www.hoa-rli.org
Nov. 15, 3:15 p.m. kick-off – Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos game party, Bill and Celine Moran’s home: 8927 Sagamore, Leawood, KS 66206
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 10/07/2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-10-07 00:00:00Z
Celebrate World Polio Day
Celebrate World Polio Day
-- October 23 
We are on the verge of making history.
In 1985, with the launch of its flagship PolioPlus program, Rotary became the visionary organization to take on the ambitious goal to end polio worldwide. At that time, polio crippled more than 350,000 children a year in 125 countries.
Over the next 30 years, we have mobilized other partners, governments, and communities to immunize the world’s children against polio. We’ve kept our promise to work toward eradicating this disease, and the leadership, commitment, and generosity of Rotary members has brought the world 99.9 percent of the way there.
Today, only Pakistan and Afghanistan remain polio-endemic, and in 2014, there were fewer than 360 polio cases in the world. Nigeria has gone more than one year without a case, and at the end of September, the World Health Organization removed the country from the endemic list. 
But we aren’t done yet.
With every inch we gain against polio, we must redouble our efforts to protect that progress, and to eliminate polio from its final hideouts in some of the hardest-to- reach parts of the world.
Why? No child should be crippled or die from a disease that is completely preventable. And the lessons we’ve learned from fighting polio — and the health infrastructure created to do so — pave the way for other lifesaving health interventions.
This is a true legacy Rotary can be proud to leave for future generations.
  • Mark your calendar to tune in for Rotary’s Livestream event on 23 October. (http://livestream.com/rotaryinternational/worldpolioday)
  • Watch the event live on 23 October on endpolio.org (or anytime following the event).
  • Learn how close we are to a polio-free world and what’s needed to finish the job. Make history today — donate and learn more at EndPolio.org.
Celebrate World Polio Day Nancy Shawver 2015-10-07 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 09-30-2015
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 09-30-2015 Beth Bahner 2015-09-30 00:00:00Z
2015 Games for Good
Kansas City's Games for Good Have a Heart! 
KC Games for Good is free, fun, family friendly!
Join us from Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, on the front lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial!
Games for Good is a community-wide, family friendly event that recognizes and celebrates good works. 
We will be listening to music, flying kites, and interacting with Kansas City’s First Responders! 
Food and beverages will be available as well.
A number of children’s activities will be available and teams of up to 10 people will have the opportunity to register for “friendly” competitions: Trench Games, including three-legged and gunny sack races; Puppy Power race, Clean Water Relay, First Responder Scavenger Hunt, Relief Aid Race are some of the games. And the Kansas City Kite Club brings its own kite flying festival to the day. 
Come to compete, or simply come out and enjoy the day. Either way, you won’t want to miss out!
Proceeds benefit Hope House, Shelter Box, Urban Ranger Corps, Malawi Children’s Village. The event is sponsored by Kansas City Plaza Rotary and the Saint Luke’s Health System, with support of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the city of Kansas City, Kansas City Police Department, and the Kansas City Fire Department. 
More information at KC GamesforGood.org. We hope to see you at the KC Games for Good Saturday, Sept. 19!  
2015 Games for Good Nancy Shawver 2015-08-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 08-26-2015
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 08-26-2015 Beth Bahner 2015-08-26 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 08-19-2015
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 08-19-2015 Beth Bahner 2015-08-19 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance July 29, 2015
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance July 29, 2015 Jim 2015-07-29 00:00:00Z
Rotary Leadership Institute
Are you interested in lighting up your Rotary experience?  In getting excited about Rotary?  In gaining the knowledge and skills to be a leader in our club, or on the District level?  
Then the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is for you!
Now in its second year in District 6040, RLI brings together Rotarians from around the District to exchange ideas, make friends, and have fun learning about Rotary.
RLI sessions are day-long sessions held in Chillicothe and cost $70 per session. Courses will be held on Sept. 12, Nov. 7, and April 30 this Rotary year.  Contact Jerry Venters, jvrotary6040@yahoo.com, for more information.
Rotary Leadership Institute Nancy Shawver 2015-07-27 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 7/22/15
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 7/22/15 Jim Lloyd 2015-07-23 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-a-Glance July 15, 2015
Plaza Rotary At-a-Glance July 15, 2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-07-15 00:00:00Z
New President at Rotary International
K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, a business leader from Colombo, Sri Lanka, has taken office as the 105th president of Rotary International. He is the first Sri Lankan ever to serve at the head of the 1.2m member volunteer organization. 
As president, Ravindran will oversee Rotary's top humanitarian goal of eradicating the paralyzing infectious disease polio. 
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership led by Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. 
Rotary's focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building. Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than US $1.4 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort.
Today, there are only three countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Less than 370 polio cases were confirmed worldwide in 2014, which is a reduction of more than 99.9 percent since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day.
As Sri Lanka's chair of Rotary's polio eradication efforts, Ravindran led efforts to eradicate polio from Sri Lanka. His country became one of the first in Asia to become polio-free in Asia. 
The PolioPlus task force which he headed consisted of representatives from Rotary, UNICEF and the Sri Lankan government. The partnership successfully negotiated a ceasefire with the northern militants to allow polio immunizations to continue during scheduled National Immunization Days.
New President at Rotary International Nancy Shawver 2015-07-14 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 7/8/2015
At-a-Glance brings you the following public service announcement:
For all of us prone to operate on autopilot before that first cup of coffee in the morning, a friendly reminder.  We will kick off the new Rotary year in style THIS FRIDAY at our new home at the Grand Street Cafe!
The Guard has Changed
Perched on the Pepsi Porch, an enthusiastic group of Plaza Rotarians got a great view of the game and enjoyed some relaxing fellowship.  President Jane Brown officially introduced the new board.  Here they are:
President—Jane Brown
President Elect—Drue Thomas
Vice President—Jeff Chapman
Secretary—Therese McGill
Treasurer—Frank Bales
Sgt. at Arms—Roger Samuel
Immediate Past President—Bob Merrigan
Club Service—Frances Reddis
International Service—Randy Steinmann and Denise Holt
Community Service—Erik Dickinson
Vocational Service—Scott Weaver
Youth Service—Alex Petrovic
Public Relations—Nancy Shawver and Beth Bahner
RI Foundation Giving—Jennifer Kyle 
Programs—Lisa Deatherage
Grants—Liz Thomas
Thank you all for your service to the Plaza Rotary Club!
Get Ready for KC Games for Good
Drumroll, please …..
It’s time. Changing of the Guard is history. RYLA counselors are home. Fireworks displays are done.
Now the spotlight can shift to KC Games for Good.
There have been a number of significant developments over the past few weeks and this year’s event continues to take shape. Exciting … expansive …. extraordinary … but extremely hard to try to convey here.
Which is why you won’t want to miss the important updates/announcements to be unveiled at next week’s meeting. Breakfast July 17. Grand Street Café. Plan to be there!
Heard about the Rotary Global History Fellowship?
Well neither had we until Past President Bob Merrigan passed along one of their recent email newsletters.  The RGHF is the largest fellowship in Rotary and recently feathered an article about our district's own past RI President Ray Klingensmith.  They are also doing a series on the first 100 Rotary Clubs.  Click here if you'd like to find out more. 
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 7/8/2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-07-08 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance July 1, 2015
Changing of the Guard Thursday night at the K
Join your fellow Plaza Rotarians at Kaufmann Stadium as incoming President Jane Brown officially announces our board for the coming year and "pins" the new board members.  Jane promises she will be a woman of "few words".  As a true blue Royals fan, she wants to make sure we get to watch every minute of the game as the Royals crush the Minnesota Twins.
Our venue, the Pepsi Porch, overlooks center-right field and is a great place to enjoy the company and the game together.  The venue opens at 6:10 and the game begins at 7:10.  Our tickets include all the cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mac & cheese, chips, cookies and Pepsi products you can eat and drink and will be served from the 1st-5th innings.  Beer may be purchased anytime after 6:10.
Reminder: don't forget to bring $12 for parking.
See you there!
No regular meeting this week
Our next meeting is Friday, July 10th at our new home of The Grand Street Cafe.
Speaking of The Grand Street...
At a Glance Roving Reporter Jacqueline Blake recently interviewed Rick Ghilardi, one of the current owners, and files this report:
Grand Street Café has been a Kansas City favorite for its award winning modern cuisine for more than 20 years.  Rick and Kristi Ghilardi along with Greg & Kathy Hirleman purchased Grand Street Café in 2008. Rick and Kristi actually worked at Grand Street Café for the PB&J restaurant group when it first opened in 1991; this is where Rick and Kristi met and fell in love. Since the four came together to purchase Grand Street Cafe, they have opened a second location in Lenexa and they have purchased McLain’s Bakery (where they make fresh breads, pastas and deserts for both restaurants). Grand Street Café is especially proud of their private event rooms and are most excited to have the Plaza Rotary Club met in their event space every Friday. 
Plaza Rotary at a Glance July 1, 2015 Jim Lloyd 2015-07-01 00:00:00Z
Meeting at Grand Street Cafe
Notice of Change in Meeting Venue
Effective Starting July 10

After meeting for nearly 16 years at the Hotel InterContinental, the Plaza Rotary Club will be meeting at the Grand Street Cafe, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, beginning on July 10.  This will be the first meeting of the 2015-16 Rotary year under the leadership of President Jane Brown. There is ample surface parking as well as covered garage parking.  To access the underground garage, go one block east of Winstead's and turn south, then follow the signs.  We look forward to seeing everyone at our new meeting location!
Meeting at Grand Street Cafe 2015-06-16 00:00:00Z
RI Convention 2015

South America’s largest city, São Paulo, Brazil, is playing host to Rotary’s largest event of the year, the annual convention. More than 14,000 Rotary members from over 100 countries have come together to celebrate service, exchange ideas, and relax among friends at unforgettable concerts and social events.

RI Convention 2015 Jerry Venters 2015-06-06 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance May 20, 2015
Responding to Ebola
This week, we welcome Jim Mitchum, chief executive officer of Heart to Heart, a disaster-relief organization founded by Rotarians.
Mitchum will tell us about the Olathe-based organization's role in the response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
Mitchum has been in this role since September 2014; previously he worked for EUSA Pharma in Langhorne, Pa. 
Our support for Nepal
At its meeting this week, the Plaza Rotary Board of Directors approved a motion to support ShelterBox and its efforts to assist with earthquake relief in Nepal. The club will donate $950 -- a late fundraising addition to the Reverse Raffle -- plus the contributions raised in this week's Change for Ccharity. 
Decision time
As you all know, the club has been examining options concerning our dues and meals, including consideration of a new location.
After significant analysis and examination, the board arrived at two options --
(1) maintain our meetings at the Intercontinental Hotel and increase dues $25 a quarter, or
(2) move our meetings to the Grand Street Cafe without a dues increase.
Noting its fiduciary responsibility, the board recommends the change of venue to keep dues affordable. It's now up to you to vote.
Please visit this survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6NLSBXZand let us know your vote. You can add comments; your vote is anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself. We will report back results in June, before the end of the Rotary year. Thank you.
Reminder: Changing of the Guard
We have booked a block of seats at the Pepsi Porch at Kauffman Stadium for this year's Changing of the Guard celebration, Thursday, July 2. The Royals will be playing the Minnesota Twins in an evening game. Tickets are $25 each -- please plan on attending and bring your significant others to join our celebration. Bring your payments ASAP -- we need to lock this in by June 2. 
Reverse Raffle Update
& Opportunity -- Leader(s) wanted!
The good news about the Reverse Raffle just keeps coming! We realized another another $950 from the event, thanks to a generous donation from WingGate. (Those funds will go to our beneficiary ShelterBox to support Nepal relief efforts.) Our grand total proceeds from the event was $13,625. 
Now the challenge: it's time to start planning next year's event!
We have opportunities to expand the event through a partnership with the South KC Rotary Club, which also uses the Reverse Raffle as it's major fundraiser. The South KC club this year held its event on the same night, and sold 200 tickets (double our sales!). There's potential to hold an event at the World War I museum, and perhaps we could include our friends at the new Waldo/Brookside Club. Just one thing: we need a Plaza Rotarian to step into a leadership role to drive this project forward. 
Please reach out to Bob Merrigan or Jane Brown if you're interested. We have a good working plan and know how to do this -- thanks to Denise Holt and her committee. Let's get the next year's event in gear quickly! It can be even bigger!
Welcome Dominic Tyson! 
At this week's meeting, the club board approved the membership of Dominic Tyson
Dominic is a partner in Lintrell Corp, a Leawood-based company focused on projects overseas and investment opportunities. Dominic is currently working on project investments in Zambia.
He lives in Kansas City, Mo., and is a graduate of Longview Community College. He's supported Operation Breakthrough in the past and lists reading, art and sports as hobbies. Please extend a warm greeting to him!
Movie Night Social!
Plaza Rotarians are meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 21 for a first-ever movie night social gathering! 
If you're interested, gather at Bravo! Cucina Italiana in the Town Center Shopping Center in Overland Park for drinks and appetizers. Then head over to AMC Town Center for the 7:10 p.m. showing of The Woman in Gold. It's based on a true story about an elderly Jewish woman attempting to retrieve family possessions that were stolen by the Nazis. It features Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. All are welcome -- bring friends and spouses! 
More fun ahead!
Do you have these items on your calendar? 
  • May 30 and June 7 -- Cancer Park clean up and Cancer Celebration event. See Erik Dickerson for details.
  • July 2 -- Changing of the Guard, with the Royals! 
  • Sept. 19 -- KC Games for Good, at the World War I Museum
Plaza Rotary at a Glance May 20, 2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-05-20 00:00:00Z
Polio-free Week in Pakistan


A Polio-Free Pakistan This Week!

No new Polio cases reported in Pakistan this past week. The Rotary Club of Karachi Garden, Sindh, Pakistan, joined with the
 local government to establish the first permanent polio immunization site along the Pakistan Railway. Located at the Karachi Cantonment Station, the site is used to vaccinate children who would otherwise be missed during National and Subnational Immunization Days.





The Final Three Endemic Countries:


Pakistan - 22 Polio cases reported in 2015 with 306 cases recorded in 2014  The most recent case was reported on 03/29/15 in the Khyber, FATA.    

Afghanistan - One Polio case reported in 2015 with 28 cases recorded in 2014. The most recent case was reported on 01/21/14 from the Hilmand Province.   
Nigeria - Zero Polio cases reported in 2015 with 6 cases recorded in 2014.  The most recent case was reported on 7/24/14.  Sub-National Immunization Days were completed on March 14-18 using trivalent vaccine.
Polio-free Week in Pakistan Jerry Venters 2015-05-07 00:00:00Z
Reverse Raffle May 9
New items added to Reverse Raffle event! 
It’s here! Saturday, May 9, is the club’s largest fundraiser of the year — the Reverse Raffle, at Grand Street Cafe. All those attending will receive a separate email via Clubrunner with directions to the facility’s covered parking for the night of the event. 

In addition to all the amazing items that we’ve been telling you about over the past several weeks, we have some new items
  • A certificate for beer for a year at K.C. Bier
  • A small black Mavericks long sleeve heavy cotton shirt with zippered opening at neck and an unsigned players poster 
  • A large Miller Lite blue and white polyester golf shirt, and
  • A voucher for 4 Royals tickets to any regular season home game — we’ll have a total of three Royals tickets packages offered at the auction! 
Moneys raised will benefit the Urban Ranger Corps, Hope House, Cristo Rey High School, PolioPlus (Rotary's effort to eradicate polio worldwide), and other Plaza Rotary beneficiaries in the community.
The Reverse Raffle will be the club's major fundraising event in 2015.  It will feature a $2,000 grand prize for the final number left in the drum, and numerous smaller prizes.  There will be a silent auction of many valuable items and plenty to eat and drink, according to co-chair Denise Holt.  Just 150 tickets, at $100 each, will be sold, giving all buyers a 1-in-150 chance of becoming the grand prize winner.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Denise at 913-526-3381.  Thanks to Denise Holt for her extraordinary efforts on coordinating and orchestrating this event. See you Saturday!
Reverse Raffle May 9 Jerry Venters 2015-05-07 00:00:00Z
Be sure to say "Thank you"
You said please; how do you say thank you?
By Former Plazan Diane Marty, Faire Consulting
Your Rotary event:  What a great way to introduce non-Rotarians to the people involved and the varied yet focused passions promoted through Rotary International.  As a "friend raising" activity, events are often the first impression of Rotary. And we all know that there isn't a second chance to make a first impressiion. So why do our clubs all too often only go halfway with this first impression?
Just as important as asking for and receiving any gift – in fact, research shows that it may even be more important  – is how you appropriately steward that gift.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) defines “stewardship” as “a process whereby an organization seeks to be worthy of continued philanthropic support, including the acknowledgment of gifts, donor recognition, the honoring of donor intent, prudent investment of gifts, and the effective and efficient use of funds to further the mission of the organization.”
As you think about your Rotary events, meeting every element of this definition would mean that you:
1. Provide a prompt and accurate acknowledgment of your donor’s investment. Please note:  “Prompt” in the fundraising profession means that the donor receives this written acknowledgement, complete with appropriate tax deductibility information, within 24-48 hours of making their gift, and not when a volunteer committee or treasurer can get around to it. Use what I call the “personal litmus test” here:  How would it feel to you if you sent a gift and the thank you letter arrived weeks (or heaven forbid, months) later? That acknowledgement would likely feel like a long-neglected afterthought. And chances are, the 3-4 other charities supported by donors born 1965-1995, the 4-5 other charities supported by your Baby Boomer donors (born 1946-1964) or the 6-7 other charities supported by donors born 1945 or earlier are getting their thank you letters out in a timely fashion… (Statistics from an August 2013 Blackbaud study entitled “The Next Generation of American Givers.”)
2. Did you recognize the donor’s involvement in supporting the event, not only as promised (by listing their name in a roster, perhaps, for example), but also did you seek that donor out at the event and express your gratitude? Even beyond the official acknowledgement, did anyone send a note to let the donor know how grateful your Club was that they offer their philanthropic support? In a fundraising study by philanthropy researcher Penelope Burk, it was noted that when donors received a phone call from the receiving organization that expressed both gratitude as well as the meaningful impact (see #5 below) of their gift, 39% of those donors gave at a higher level when the agency next solicited them for a gift.
3. Did you at any point report to your donor that the funds were spent the way they were intended? The fourth item on A Donor Bill of Rights is that a donor should have the right “to be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.” An example might be if a company provided a table sponsorship for your dinner event but declined to send attendees, did you perhaps fill that table with 8 prospective Rotarians (or another effective use of the table sponsorship funds)? And if so, did you report that back to your underwriter? Or for the donor who raised their auction paddle to contribute to a RYLA scholarship, did your Club send a note to that donor, sharing the names of the RYLA attendees and/or inviting the donor to come hear the students speak when they presented to your Club? Donor loyalty to a charity is driven by similar factors as retail customer loyalty:  donor satisfaction, donor commitment and donor trust. Demonstrating that your Club has honored donor intent will have positive impact on all three drivers.
4. Did you serve as a “prudent investor” of the donor’s contribution? You might offer a quick Return on Investment (ROI) calculation (divide the total contributions by the total costs of your event and multiply by 100).  Or you might dial in more and run that calculation on your donor’s gift specifically, demonstrating what their $500 sponsorship gift (as an example) “returned” to the organization in the form of net proceeds for the event. Why is this important? Because for more than a decade now, donors have been viewing themselves as investors rather than donors. And as investors, they expect measurable, demonstrable financial and/or social returns on their investment.  (See, as examples, “Investing in Society: Why we need a more efficient social capital market – and how we can get there.” Cited at the Stanford Social Innovation Review or Brest & Harvey, Money Well Spent.)
5. How did you demonstrate effective, efficient use of your donor’s investment? If the net proceeds from the event will enable your Club to provide 5 water wells in Africa, or feed 120 homeless individuals in a single night, or offer RYLA scholarships to 4 high school students, share that information with your donor! Dr. Adrian Sargeant, the Robert P. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University has demonstrated that one means by which to enhance donor loyalty and retention to your organization is “to foster trust” between the donor and your organization. A key component of fostering trust? “Communicate the achievements of the organization and, where possible, relate these to the individual contributions made by individuals or segments of supporters.” (“Donor Retention: What do we know & what can we do about it?” August 15, 2013. Cited at Nonprofit Quarterly.)
So what’s the end goal to all of this “stewardship stuff”?
Simply and bluntly, it’s to demonstrate that Rotary is worthy of donor investment. Because if you’ve created a “one and done” transactional culture for your donors by way of sloppy (or nonexistent) stewardship, you’re missing out on donor loyalty, donor retention and sustainability of your Rotary programs and services.
Instead, take the time – MAKE the time – to carry out excellent stewardship.
Doing so will not only demonstrate truth and trustworthiness to your donors, but I dare add it will be fair to all concerned, build goodwill and better friendships…and in both the short- and long-run, will be beneficial to all concerned.

Be sure to say "Thank you" Jerry Venters 2015-04-22 00:00:00Z
Here's to Role Models
Here’s to the Role Models
By Plaza Rotarian Elizabeth Usovicz​
(Reprinted from LinkedIn)
A story about a mentor and a mannequin
I recently participated in a networking event for students at Johnson County Community College. This event allowed students to practice introducing themselves to business professionals, engage in conversation for a few minutes, and transition politely to another conversation.
In the course of these conversations, I met a student I’ll call Jana, who was studying fashion merchandising. I asked Jana how she became interested in merchandising, and she told me, “It started with a mistake I made at work.”
She works part-time selling women’s apparel in an upscale department store. One day, she sold the outfit on a mannequin. Rather than leave an undressed mannequin on the sales floor, Jana created a new outfit for the mannequin.
The following week, the regional merchandiser summoned Jana for a meeting. “I thought I was in trouble, that I was going to lose my job,” Jana told me. The merchandiser told Jana that the clothing promoted on mannequins was a corporate decision, but that wasn’t the primary reason for meeting. The items worn by Jana’s mannequin had sold well in the previous week, and the merchandiser thought Jana had talent. The merchandiser told Jana about the fashion merchandising program at the college, and encouraged her to apply. She has continued to mentor and encourage Jana, and wants to hire Jana when she completes her degree.
Jana’s story was the most memorable introduction I heard that day – but what impressed me even more than Jana was the forward-thinking merchandiser. This woman not only recognized Jana’s budding abilities, but also had the courage and confidence in her own abilities to take the intentional step to be a role model and mentor. She set a proactive, professional example for Jana, who hopefully will see herself as a role model for other young women as she progresses in her own career.
Whether we think we are or not, we are each a potential role model and mentor for someone in our business, industry or job function. Here’s to the role models, like the merchandiser, who are paying it forward by mentoring others.
Here's to Role Models Jerry Venters 2015-04-02 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At A Glance 03/18/2015
Bees and Spiders — When Cultures Clash
This week, we welcome Lt. Col. Brian L. Steed, an instructor in the Department of Military History of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
He has served in the Middle East for more than 8 1/2 years; he has advised U.S. senior military leaders on engagement policy in Iraq and played a critical role in shaping U.S. defense policy and programs in the United Arab Emirates. 
He also served as a Jordanian army officer through the U.S. Army's military personnel exchange program and as a liaison to the Israel Defense Force, giving him rare perspective from both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Steed has written four books dealing with cross-cultural influence, military theory, and military history. His latest book is Bees and Spiders: Applied Cultural Awareness and the Art of Cross-Cultural Influence. 
Paul Harris Society Members to be Recognized
Fourteen members of the Plaza Rotary Club have joined the District 6040 Paul Harris Society by making a commitment to donate at least $1,000 each year to The Rotary Foundation. Members of the Paul Harris Society receive a chevron that they can wear with their Rotary lapel pin of choice.
This Friday -- in conjunction with the "ceremony" to celebrate the Plaza club's new status as a 100 percent Paul Harris Fellow Club – those 14 Plazans will be recognized and presented with their chevrons.  They are: Elizabeth Usovicz, Cassy Venters, Jerry Venters, Larry Lunsford, Liz Thomas, Drue Thomas, Jeff Deatherage, Jane Brown, Gary Morgan, Steve Johnston, Ed Ladegaard, Bob Merrigan, Roger Samuel, and Terry Putney.  Jerry is D6040 Paul Harris Society Chair.
Diane Marty to Resign
At its monthly meeting March 11, the Board voted to accept Diane Marty’s resignation. In her letter requesting the move, Diane said:
“As you well know, it’s a pleasure and privilege to be associated with great people doing great work. My decision is not over anything that has or hasn’t been done by Rotary or the Plaza Club, but ranter a function of my current point in life where there are multiple priorities for work and family that I don’t feel I’m adequately able to balance at this point or the forseeable future with boys off to college and career happenings and opportunities both for myself and for Kirk. 
“I will certainly be a sideline Rotary advocate and cheerleader, and will look forward to remaining on 'the list' for events, fundraising outreach and the impromptu happy hour from time to time.”
Perhaps President-Elect Jane Brown said it best in her response: “It’s a great loss, but certainly understandable.” Diane, we look forward to your return!
Fun Afoot in Shoes Challenge! 
The Penny Loafers "took their leather to the linoleum" and picked up the pace to take the lead in the 2015 Shoes for Orphan Souls marathon.
The Loafers added an amazing 230 pairs of shoes in a single week, and now outpace the two competing teams. 
Lace ‘em up added a mere 18 pairs of shoes, but that was enough to hold second place. Team Goody Two Shoes added 33 pairs, but now slipped to third place.
Overall, the club is at 845 pairs of shoes — only 181 pairs shy of our target. At this rate, perhaps the club can set a new record before the competition ends April 10. Bring in your cash and shoes weekly.
Plaza Rotary At A Glance 03/18/2015 Nancy Shawver 2015-03-18 00:00:00Z
Program for March 20

This Week (March 20):  Lt. Col. Brian Steed:  "Bees and Spiders - When Cultures Clash"

Lt. Col. Brian L. Steed is a Middle East specialist, applied historian, and military theorist.  He has served in the Middle East for more than eight and a half consecutive years with positions in the Levant, Mesopotamia, and the Arabian Peninsula.  He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa visiting sixteen countries, including nearly every country that speaks the Arabic language.  He has advised on engagement policy to U. S. senior military leaders in Iraq and has played a critical role in shaping U. S. defense policy and programs in the United Arab Emirates. He also served as a Jordanian army officer through the U. S. Army's military personnel exchange program and as a liaison to the Israel Defense Force, giving him rare perspective from both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Steed is currently an instructor in the Department of Military History of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has written four books dealing with cross-cultural influence, military theory, and military history. His latest book is titled Bees and Spiders: Applied Cultural Awareness and the Art of Cross-Cultural Influence

Program for March 20 Jerry Venters 2015-03-18 00:00:00Z
Program for March 13
This Friday, March 13:  Dr. Kirsten Borg, "Politicians in Purgatory"

What happens when world leaders of the Cold War meet in the afterlife to discuss what happened? To determine responsibility for starting and/or stopping it? To be sentenced by cosmic justice for what they did and didn't do? Churchill, De GaulleKhrushchev, Nehru, and Johnson are gathered in purgatory, on trial for their respective roles in the Cold War. They must all tell the truth as they know it; untruth is neither allowed nor possible. Purgatory is run by women! Justice is in charge, aided by the devil's advocate for the prosecution, the guardian angel for the defense, and the recording angel, aka Clio, the muse of history, whoreports the whole truth of what really happened. She tells it like it should be, but seldom is told on Earth. Though the scenario itself is obviously fiction, the rest of the book is not. The events discussed have been thoroughly investigated, and the times in which they occurred exhaustively researched. And the main characters themselves have been discovered, not created. What they are saying and doing is what they really said and did. All these leaders were passionately dedicated to the nations they served. All of them had to make hard choices, which made them less than perfect. On the scales of justice, did the good outweigh the bad?  

Dr. Kirsten Borg, a teacher and author who lives in Liberty and has traveled the world, will explore these and other fascinating questions as she discusses her book, "Politicians in Purgatory."  Don't miss it!

Program for March 13 Jerry Venters 2015-03-11 00:00:00Z
Synthetic Vaccine May Eliminate Polio
Synthetic Vaccine May Help Eliminate Polio
Reprinted from the Voice of America
The development of the oral polio vaccine more than 50 years ago is credited with virtually eradicating the illness worldwide. Now, researchers are looking ahead to the day when the disease no longer exists, even outside the laboratory.
To hasten that day, researchers in Britain are developing a synthetic polio vaccine. It works like one made from live, weakened virus, except it contains synthetic particles inside a viral shell.  
The man-made vaccine mimics the structure of the polio virus, so it would be able to raise a strong immune response in humans. And because it does not contain the pathogen, there would be no risk of exposure, even in the case of an accidental release during the manufacture process.
Read more at this link:  http://www.voanews.com/content/researchers-think-synthetic-vaccine-could-eliminate-polio/2643940.html
Synthetic Vaccine May Eliminate Polio Jerry Venters 2015-03-01 00:00:00Z
Program for March 6
March 6:  Adam Magers, Save a Warrior Project:  "Saving Warriors with PTS"

Many soldiers who have been involved in war say that experiencing Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) is as bad or perhaps worse that war itself. Severe stress, anxiety, paranoia, and irritability can be overwhelming. Save a Warrior has innovated a PTS healing process that combines a variety of healing methods to help these veterans recover and become productive citizens again.

Adam Magers, who served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a tour of “IED hunting” in Iraq, is Project Director of the Kansas City office of Save a Warrior. He received the Army’s Commendation Medal with Valor for his courage in combat in Sadr City. He holds a Masters of Global Studies degree in international relations and comparative politics from Missouri State University. Before coming to Save a Warrior, Magers worked for the Missouri Department of Mental Health and owned a non-profit to support veterans with PST.  For further information, click on this link: http://www.saveawarrior.org


Program for March 6 Jerry Venters 2015-03-01 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 2/25/15
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 2/25/15 Jim Lloyd 2015-02-25 00:00:00Z
Program for February 20
February 20:  Chris Miller:  "Do Crazy Things - Make a Difference!"

Chris Miller is a caffeine-drive full-time seminary student, husband, and father.  He is also a teaching pastor at Mercy Church in Prairie Village.  In his free time -- a definition, please -- he runs marathons to raise money for clean water projects in Africa and speaks about his experiences in hopes of getting others to do crazy things to make a difference in the world.  He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, being a nerd, and spending time with awesome people.  Perhaps that's why he's coming to the Plaza Rotary Club! In this program, he'll tell us how we can engage young people in Rotary...and probably a whole lot more.  Come catch an idea or two!

Program for February 20 Jerry Venters 2015-02-13 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 2/11/15
Plaza Rotary At-A-Glance 2/11/15 Jim Lloyd 2015-02-11 00:00:00Z
Program for February 13

This Week (Feb. 13): Annual Friends and Family Breakfast - Speaker Lexie Soukup, Hallmark Cards

Bring your spouse, your children, your friends to the annual Plaza Rotary Friends and Family Breakfast and enjoy some great warmth and friendships as we prepare for Valentine's Day on Saturday!  Our special speaker will be Lexie Soukup, a Product Manager in the Season Greetings division at Hallmark Cards.  Lexie has been an employee of Hallmark for over 15 years and past positions have included sales, training and product development and management.  Her current responsibilities include strategy and program development (e.g. identifying consumer needs, writing product strategies, and partnering with creative teams to execute product) for Halloween, Graduation, and most importantly today, Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards.

Lexie is a warrior for spreading good cheer and true love.  In addition to speaking to us today, she is spending her afternoon with her daughter’s 1st grade class, as she took on the challenge of planning and throwing the classroom Valentine’s Day party, complete with conversation hearts, bingo games, and, of course, trading Valentines.  Outside of Hallmark and volunteering with her daughter’s school, the Junior League of Kansas City, and her church, she spends her time with her other loves – her husband, Ryan, and their three small children, ages 7, 4, and 1.

Program for February 13 Jerry Venters 2015-02-08 00:00:00Z
Program for February 6
This Week: Dean Johnson, Crossroads Academy: "Educating Students in
Downtown Kansas City"

In August 2011, Dean Johnson and Tysie McDowell-Ray teamed up to launch Crossroads Academy in downtown Kansas City, designed to preparestudents to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education.  It is their vision to be the premier urban school serving Kansas City's youth and that the Academy will become a destination for educators seeking inspiration and best practices.  Johnson, a Kansas City native, brings a wealth of international experience to his work as an executive team leader at Crossroads Academy.  He began his teaching career at a high school in Micronesia, after graduation from Loyola University in Chicago in 1993.  In 2005, he was working in an internship with Catholic Relief Services in Zimbabwe when the government began burning and bulldozing many urban poor neighborhoods; Johnson organized emergency food relief for several of those communities.  For three years, he worked with Catholic Relief Services in Aceh province in Indonesia, one of the provinces most heavily damaged by the 2004 tsunami.  Again, he organized relief efforts, managing a $25 million humanitarian program that included reconstruction and redevelopment projects.  He returned to Kansas City in 2009 and was executive director of Gordon Parks Elementary School before starting Crossroads Academy.
Program for February 6 Jerry Venters 2015-02-03 00:00:00Z
Tips for Charitable Giving

Tips for Charitable Giving
Reprinted from the Kansas City Rotary Club Buzzsaw

At a recent meeting of the Kansas City Rotary Club, Barnett Helzberg, Kansas City philanthropist and former Chairman of the Board of Helzberg Diamonds, offered the following tips and suggestions for guidance in charitable giving:
  • Trap #1  The Peanut Butter Effect (Don’t spread it too thin.  Focus)
  • Trap #2  Overhead. Don’t focus exclusively on the charity’s overhead allocation.  Look to outcomes.  Often what is cheapest is not always the best.  Consider the whole picture of the charity, not just its overhead.
  • Trap #3    Outcome.  What did they actually accomplish? What are the outcomes of the charity?
  • Trap #4    Endowment. It helps to smooth over annual shortfall. Donor advised funds are very good to keep the family involved and to monitor the rises and declines in recipient charities’ activities and accomplishments. 
  • Trap #5  Who is asking?   Many times we focus on who is asking us for funds rather than the underlying donee organization. Focus on the donee recipient. Get involved in what you are passionate about.
  • Trap #6  Non-deductible Gifts.  If it is fun for you and a worthwhile involvement, do it.   Be less concerned with the income tax deduction filter on gifts and more concerned with the activities.
Tips for Charitable Giving Jerry Venters 2015-01-28 00:00:00Z
Program for January 30

This Week: Justin Wilfon, Channel 41 News Anchor: "My Journey in News"

Justin Wilfon joined KSHB, Channel 41 news last September as the anchor newscaster of the station's primary newcast, "The Now KC." 

Justin's journey to Kansas City started when he was in the third grade, when a TV weatherman visited his school and talked about the excitement of television news.  Justin was hooked. He even started doing fake "newscasts" for his parents in the basement of their house.  Eight years later, at the age of 16, Justin started working in radio at a small station in Illinois. He then moved on to work for a larger radio station in St. Louis, writing news and sports for the weekend newscasts.

After college at Southern Illinois University, he started his TV career on the West Coast, where he was a news anchor in Washington State.  He worked at stations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Tulsa, Oklahoma before coming to Kansas City. His career highlights include coverage of the Oklahoma grass fires in the winter of 2006, a trip to Hollywood to cover "American Idol," and a one-on-one interview with rock star and activist, Bono -- an experience he will never forget.

Program for January 30 Jerry Venters 2015-01-24 00:00:00Z
Man in Iron Lung Discovers Rotary

Man in Iron Lung Discovers Rotary
Reprinted from Rotary Voices

One might think a man living with polio in an iron lung would know about Rotary. But it wasn't until Paul Alexander had a business meeting with a member in Duncanville, Texas, earlier this year that he learned Rotary fights to eradicate the very disease that left him almost completely paralyzed.

"I was completely blown away by the idea. For all these years, I didn't know the work they were doing," says Alexander, a practicing attorney in Dallas. "It's such a perfect fit for me."

Alexander contracted polio during a major U.S. outbreak of the disease in the late 1950s when he was six years old, and almost died in the hospital before a doctor noticed he wasn't breathing and rushed him into an iron lung, an airtight metal tank that encloses all of the body except the head and uses regulated changes in air pressure to force the lungs to inhale and exhale. Alexander is among a small number of people in the world today still using an iron lung to assist his paralytic polio. The need for the 800-pound machines declined dramatically after the polio vaccine became widely available in the early 1960s.

Read the entire story by clicking on this link:  https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/member-news/news-features/man-iron-lung-discovers-rotary

Man in Iron Lung Discovers Rotary Jerry Venters 2015-01-20 00:00:00Z
Program for January 23
This Week:  Tom Shawver, "The Author's Challenge: Getting Published"

Novelists may spend months and months, often years, hunched over their computers writing what they hope will be the next
blockbuster on the New York Times Bestseller List, if not the next Great American Novel.  Well, when the writing is done, the challenges of getting published have just begun! Last year, Kansas City author Thomas Shawver -- better known to us as Tom and as the husband of Plazan Nancy Shawver -- became a published author when Random House released his first e-book, "The Dirty Book Murder," the first of a three-volume series. That was followed by "Left Turn at Paradise." Tom formerly owned and operated Bloomsday Books in Brookside, and -- little surprise here -- his books feature murder and mayhem in a used book store in Brookside!  (Described in one promotional piece as "the surprisingly lethal world of rare books...") Here's a chance to hear the inside story on how a new author can get his first book published.

Program for January 23 Jerry Venters 2015-01-20 00:00:00Z
Program for January 16
January 16: Thomas McCormally, "Children's Mercy's Role in Health Care"

Thomas McCormally, Director of Community Affairs at Children's Mercy Hospital, is leading efforts to expand Children’s Mercy's strategic presence and visibility in the Kansas City metropolitan area through outreach activities, including public speaking, Chamber of Commerce participation and engagement with the business community. McCormally is the executive producer for video production and other channels of communication, working with a variety of internal audiences (i.e. fund-raising, government relations, C-suite) to provide consistency and increase effectiveness of telling the Children's Mercy story. Armed with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from the University of Iowa, McCormally began his journalism career in 1979 as a reporter for the Olathe Daily News.  He followed that with more than 10 years as a reporter and editor at the Sun Newspapers, St. Joseph News-Press Gazette and College Boulevard News. At the same time, he also obtained a master's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He joined Children's Mercy Hospital in 1994.
Program for January 16 Jerry Venters 2015-01-09 00:00:00Z
Giving to The Rotary Foundation
Making a Difference
Our Foundation Contributions Are Doing Good in the World
Adapted from Rotary Weekly - Copyright Rotary International
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people – children, families, and entire communities – benefit from projects funded by our contributions to The Rotary Foundation.  Rotarians’ efforts to do good in the world are focused on six areas: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.
Here’s what our contributions to the Foundation can do for others:
  • $10 – Mosquito Bed Net – Bed nets help provide a safe, peaceful night’s rest in countries like Uganda, where malaria is a major health concern.
  • $25 – School Uniforms – The gift of a school uniform can open the doors to education for a child.
  • $50 – Water Filter – In rural Guatemala, deadly waterborne diseases are common. Personal water filters offer simple, sustainable access to clean water.
  • $85 – Box of Purple Markers – Purple markers are used to mark the pinkie fingers of children who receive the polio vaccine, helping health workers identify children who still need to be immunized.
  • $100 – Folding Walker – Walkers and wheelchairs offer people with physical disabilities mobility, improved health, access to education, and economic security.
  • $100 – Sewing Machine – Sewing machines are used to teach entrepreneurs the skills they need to launch a business.  Micro-credit loans and training insure the business’s sustainability.
  • $250 – Ceramic Washbasin – Ceramic washbasins give mothers living in domestic-violence shelters the means to bathe and care for their babies.
  • $500 – Dairy Cow – In addition to providing dairy products for daily consumption, cows produce calves that farmers in Cambodia can sell to support their families.
What will your contributions purchase in 2015?
Giving to The Rotary Foundation Jerry Venters 2015-01-03 00:00:00Z
January 9 Program
This Week (Jan. 9): Dwight Chapin, Former White House Aide: "The Richard Nixon Era: Lessons Learned"
Dwight Chapin, a native of Wichita, served as a Deputy Assistant to President Richard M. Nixon and was caught up in the Watergate scandal in 1972-73. He first began work for Nixon as a field man in 1962, when Nixon ran for Governor of California, and while Chapin was still a student at the University of Southern California. He was Nixon's personal aide in the 1968 presidential campaign and then went to work in the White House as Nixon's appointments secretary, and was responsible for doing the advance work for Nixon's trip to China in 1972. In 1973, he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the year by the Jaycees, but in 1974-75 he was indicted, convicted, and sentenced to nine months in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.  Since 1976, he has worked in advertising and public relations and as a business consultant and has maintained a keen interest in politics. Don't miss this most interesting program for insights on one of the major American political stories of the 20th century! 

January 9 Program Jerry Venters 2015-01-03 00:00:00Z
2015-16 Club Officers
Club Officers, Directors Elected for 2015-16 Rotary Year
At the Plaza Club's meeting on December 17, members elected the following officers and board members for 2015-2016:
President: Jane Brown  (pictured)                                   
President-Elect: Drue Thomas
Vice President: Jeff Chapman
Immediate Past President: Bob Merrigan 
Secretary:  Therese McGill
Treasurer:  Frank Bales
Club Service Chair: Frances Reddis
International Service Chair:  Randy Steinman and Denise Holt
Rotary Foundation: Jennifer Kyle
Community Service: Erik Dickinson
Public Relations:  Beth Bahner and Nancy Shawver
Youth Services:  Alex Petrovic
​Vocational Service:  Mike Theobald
Sergeant-at-Arms:  Roger Samuel
Program Chair:  Lisa Deatherage

2015-16 Club Officers 2014-12-31 00:00:00Z
Rotary Service and Networking
Your service to others benefits you as well
By Steve Nichols, Owner, Boswell Inc.
When I first joined the Rotary Club (Club 13) five years ago, I was mainly interested in the business development and networking opportunities. What I discovered was that the real value in Rotary was the feeling you get when you work with people you like to do things that make the world a better place and that are fun. Rotary has absolutely benefited me from a business development standpoint, but it has improved the quality of my life and made me a better person, too.
The lesson I glean from this experience is that while there's nothing wrong with pursuing what you want for yourself, the best way to position yourself to get what you want is to do good work and earnestly help others as much as you can.  This is a foundational concept of marketing because the best marketing strategies are geared towards helping people get what they want and need in life to be happy.
By helping others in the Rotary Club of Kansas City and its spinoff organization, Rotaract, I've made friends that I want to keep for the rest of my life, and our relationships have grown through our mutual service to others. There are many ways to go about networking, but I think the best way is to find people who like helping others, and help others together with them.
[Note: Steve Nichols is the owner of Boswell Inc., a Kansas City marketing and communications company with a vision of “the continual improvement of society through mutual understanding which comes as a result of clear, concise and compelling communications.”  He was instrumental in the chartering of Rotaract KC, the Rotaract club sponsored by Club 13 and the Plaza Club.] 

Rotary Service and Networking 2014-12-31 00:00:00Z
Rotary Foundation Among Top Charities

Rotary Foundation Is 85th

in Philanthropy Rankings

The Rotary Foundation has continued its steady growth, moving up 35 spots to 85th in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's  of the top 400 nonprofit organizations in the United States. The ranking is based on monetary contributions from private sources and reflects the increasing generosity of those who support Rotary's mission.

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Rotary Foundation received $239,576,000 in 2013, a 32.4 percent increase from the previous year.

"This clearly shows our members recognize the unparalleled value of giving to their Foundation," says John Hewko, Rotary's general secretary. "They know that by giving to the Foundation their dollars have a much greater impact. And friends of Rotary respect that the Foundation puts their gift to great use."

The Foundation recently earned a  from , the largest and most prestigious independent evaluator of nonprofits in the United States. In the 2013-14 Rotary year, 92 percent of the Foundation's expenditures were applied to programs, with only 6 percent spent on fundraising and 2 percent on administrative expenses. The Foundation funded $23.5 million in district grants and $47.3 million in global grants. These grants support local and international humanitarian projects as well as scholarships. Read more at https://www.rotary.org/en/news-features/news/rotary-foundation-rises-expert-list-top-nonprofits


Rotary Foundation Among Top Charities Jerry Venters 2014-12-09 00:00:00Z
test story
test Mac4ElvisMac4Elvis
test story 2014-12-05 00:00:00Z
Copy of Plaza Rotary at a Glance 12-4-2014

Welcome Scott Weaver!

Our newest Plazan is Scott Weaver, now a professional Scouter with the Heart of America Council of the Boys Scouts of America. Scott recently retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel; among his assignments were wartime tours of duty in the Middle-East as well as being on the faculty and staff at the U.S. Army War College, Command & General Staff College and U.S. Military Academy during the course of his 29 year Service career. He is now the program director for the Theodore Naish Scout Reservation in Bonner Springs. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy.  Scott and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Brogan Farren, have two children.  Not surprisingly, his hobbies include hiking and backpacking.  Welcome, Scott!
Copy of Plaza Rotary at a Glance 12-4-2014 Beth Bahner 2014-12-04 00:00:00Z
November 21 Program
This Week:  District Governor Cassy Venters, "How Can Rotary Clubs Remain Relevant?"
Saving the best until last, District Governor Cassy Venters will make her next-to-last official club visit to the 56 Rotary clubs in District 6040 when she speaks to her home club, the Plaza Rotary Club, this Friday, November 21.  Starting with her first official visit on July 1 to the Independence Rotary Club, Cassy has discussed with Rotarians throughout the District these last four months how our Rotary clubs can remain relevant in a time of significant challenges for Rotary clubs and similar service and nonprofit organizations. Using Kodak and Legos as examples, and capitalizing on the research of author Michael McQueen, Cassy will look at what it takes for businesses and Rotary to thrive and remain relevant: They must adapt to technological, marketplace, and demographic changes, or they will be left behind.  She will also tell the "inside story" on how she became a Rotarian in a bar.  Don't miss it! 

November 21 Program Jerry Venters 2014-11-18 00:00:00Z
Visiting Our Club
Interested in Visiting Our Club?

Would you be interested in attending a meeting and learning more about the Plaza Rotary Club?  We'd be happy to have you visit!  Just drop an email to Vice President Jeff Chapman at  chapmanjef@umkc.edu and let him know you'd like to attend.  We meet at 7:15 a.m. on Fridays at the Grand Street Cafe, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City. 

Visiting Our Club Jerry Venters 2014-11-12 00:00:00Z
November 14 Program
This Week (Nov. 14): Charlie Shields, Truman Medical CEO, "The Way to a Healthier Kansas City"
After 17 years in healthcare roles and 20 years as a member of the Missouri General Assembly, Charlie Shields joined Truman Medical Centers (TMC) in July 2010 and became President and Chief Executive Officer of the hospital organization in July 2014. His vision for TMC is to lead the way to a healthier Kansas City. One of his priorities is to work with physicians and leaders to develop innovative ways to meet the growing health needs of the Kansas City Community.  When he served as Chief Operating Officer of TMC Lakewood, in eastern Jackson County, from 2010-14, Charlie led TMC in developing several innovative programs, including opening the Lakewood Family Birthplace that accommodates 1,800 births a year; developing an integrated program of behavioral health services for older adults; creating a community-focused center to treat breast cancer; and establishing an elementary school-based mobile dental care program in Independence. 
November 14 Program Jerry Venters 2014-11-11 00:00:00Z
Klinginsmith Cup
Plaza Club Receives Klinginsmith Cup, Is Recognized as 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club
For the third time in five years, the Plaza Club has been awarded the Klinginsmith Cup in District 6040.  The Cup, named after 2010-11 Rotary International President Ray Klinginsmith from Kirksville, is awarded annually to the club that achieves the Presidential Citation and has the highest per capita contributions to The Rotary Foundation's Annual Fund in the previous Rotary year.  In 2013-14, Plaza Rotarians contributed an average of $355.76 to the Annual Fund.  The Cup was presented to 2013-14 Club President Debra Anderson at the annual Foundation Dinner on November 8. (Pictured: Plaza Rotarians gathered after the Foundation Dinner on November 8.)
The other clubs in the top three in the District were Lee's Summit Sunrise ($295.82) and Richmond ($263.88).  Overall, District 6040 Rotarians contributed $239,500 to the Annual Fund last Rotary year, an average of $98.52.  
The Club was also recognized as a 100% Paul Harris Fellow club, meaning that all members of the club had achieved recognition as Paul Harris Fellows at a given point in time.  This goal, which has been achieved by only five or six other clubs in the District, was reached in October. The Richmond Rotary Club was also recognized at the Foundation Dinner as a 100% Paul Harris Fellow club.  A Paul Harris Fellow is one who has contributed $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation or has received 1,000 recognition points from the club or other Rotarians.  Congratulations, Plaza Rotarians!!

Klinginsmith Cup Jerry Venters 2014-11-11 00:00:00Z
Copy of Plaza Rotary At A Glance 11/5/2014
Welcome Dr. Matt Naylor
At this Friday’s club meeting, we’ll hear from Dr. Matt Naylor, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the WWI Museum on "Remembering 'The Great War.'"
Two shots fired outside a delicatessen in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 forever changed the world. The assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, precipitated the outbreak of World War I. Soon after the war ended with the declaration of an armistice on November 11, 1918, Kansas City leaders formed the Liberty Memorial Association to create a lasting monument to the men and women who had served in the war. The monument was completed in 1926.
Over the course of the next four years, the National World War I Museum, housed at the Liberty Memorial, will offer an array of programs, exhibitions and events to recognize and remember the “Great War” and its enduring impact. Naylor will tell us about some of those commemorative plans in this program.
Humanitarian Games De-Brief

All are invited to participate in a follow-up “debrief” meeting to the Humanitarian Games at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Community Christian Church.
To prepare for the meeting, please jot down your thoughts about the Diamonds (shiny things of readily apparent value) and Coal (will require some time an pressure to become diamonds) that you noticed about the event. This could include anything from the earliest stages of planning to the process for input … or whatever!

Our goal is to collect your thoughts quickly, both to ensure we provide the opportunity while the thoughts are still fresh and to give us maximum time to act on them. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. If for some reason you won't be able to be there in person, please email your input to either Bob Merrigan or Terry Berkbuegler.
Cassy's Changing of the Guard Featured on Rotary International’s Website
Jerry Venters recently wrote a posting for a Rotary blog called Rotary Voices that was published on the Rotary International Website in the last few days.
The article is about the Harvesters service project that marked the District (and club) Changing of the Guard ceremony on June 28. The picture they used includes Bob Merrigan and some other Plaza Rotary folks.
The Rotary International editor also told Jerry to watch for a “how to” article about the service project in the January edition of Rotary Leader. Isn’t it great to see some recognition for our club, our District, and our District Governor Cassy Venters!
Here’s the intro to Jerry’s article, and the link to the full piece:  Why not spice up your next installation dinner?
By Jerry Venters, a  member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza
I’ve been a member of Rotary since 1989, and I have never heard of or participated in a changing of the guard ceremony like the one held in District 6040, Missouri, USA, this year. It had more energy and enthusiasm, participation, and fun than any I’ve attended!
The district governor for 2014-15, Cassy Venters (full disclosure here: my wife) began thinking two years earlier about how she could make the event different and uphold the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self. She chose to make it a service project with our local food bank, Harvesters – The Community Food Network.
Read the rest of the article here: Why not spice up your next installation dinner?
Mayo Baby Can't Wait for Hospital!
Remember Robert Mayo? He’s a professional auctioneer and was a member of Plaza Rotary until he moved to another club closer to his home. He recently published an amazing story on his blog – the headline tells it all: Rock Star Mom Delivers Baby on the Freeway in Kansas City, Missouri!
Yes, it was Robert’s wife who gave birth to their third child on northbound Highway 71 near the I-435 west/1-470 exit in the heart of the Grandview Triangle. Read all about this wonderful story here: http://robmayo.com/2014/10/30/rock-star-mom-delivers-baby-on-the-freeway-in-kansas-city-missouri/
Sergeant’s Report
Friday October 31
  • Rotarians in Attendance: 41
  • Visiting Rotarians: Wichai Chwakamit visitor from Thailand
  • Guests: Bill Moran, Ian Merrigan, Terri Engle, Kathy Pemberton.
  • Change for Charity: $64
  • Induction of New Member: Donovan Dodrill. Classification: Attorney—Personal Injury.  Sponsor: Jane Brown.
  • Vocational Service Award: Mike Theobald presented Heather Flick with the club’s 2014 Vocational Service Award. Diane Marty nominated Heather for her dental initiative, Oral Health on Wheels.
  • Presidential Kudos: President Bob recognized Rich Linden and Terry Berkbuegler for their leadership and commitment to planning and executing the October 25 Humanitarian Games, and he thanked all Plaza Rotary volunteers.
  • 3-minute Rotarian: Steve Johnston presented “Attack of the Shelbys—A Day at the Track” which revealed his first automobile crush, a blue 1959 Shelby Cobra.
  • Speaker: Vincent (Ace) Wagner, "Policing and Community Involvement: A New Look."  On a long flight from Japan, Ace read the book Leadership and Self Deception (2006) by The Arbinger Institute and consequently came to work for the organization as a conflict resolution trainer. He told the story how, after usual tactics had failed, Kansas City police officers, Chato Villalobos and Matthew Tomasic, approached Lynda Callon, Director of the Westside Community Action Network Center, who suggested that migrant workers use the center’s bathroom facilities. Wagner states, “The simple decision to engage with the men on the street and see them as people rather than criminals allowed a few officers to change the whole dynamic of the neighborhood and dramatically reduce crime.”  Best thought: We approach conflict with either a heart at peace or a heart at war.  Conflict softens when we see people in their humanity and treat them as community. Find Ace’s blog at: http://www.ace7energy.com
Copy of Plaza Rotary At A Glance 11/5/2014 Nancy Shawver 2014-11-06 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary At A Glance 11/5/2014
Welcome Dr. Matt Naylor
At this Friday’s club meeting, we’ll hear from Dr. Matt Naylor, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the WWI Museum on "Remembering 'The Great War.'"
Two shots fired outside a delicatessen in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 forever changed the world. The assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, precipitated the outbreak of World War I. Soon after the war ended with the declaration of an armistice on November 11, 1918, Kansas City leaders formed the Liberty Memorial Association to create a lasting monument to the men and women who had served in the war. The monument was completed in 1926.
Over the course of the next four years, the National World War I Museum, housed at the Liberty Memorial, will offer an array of programs, exhibitions and events to recognize and remember the “Great War” and its enduring impact. Naylor will tell us about some of those commemorative plans in this program.
Humanitarian Games De-Brief

All are invited to participate in a follow-up “debrief” meeting to the Humanitarian Games at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Community Christian Church.
To prepare for the meeting, please jot down your thoughts about the Diamonds (shiny things of readily apparent value) and Coal (will require some time an pressure to become diamonds) that you noticed about the event. This could include anything from the earliest stages of planning to the process for input … or whatever!

Our goal is to collect your thoughts quickly, both to ensure we provide the opportunity while the thoughts are still fresh and to give us maximum time to act on them. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. If for some reason you won't be able to be there in person, please email your input to either Bob Merrigan or Terry Berkbuegler.
Cassy's Changing of the Guard Featured on Rotary International’s Website
Jerry Venters recently wrote a posting for a Rotary blog called Rotary Voices that was published on the Rotary International Website in the last few days.
The article is about the Harvesters service project that marked the District (and club) Changing of the Guard ceremony on June 28. The picture they used includes Bob Merrigan and some other Plaza Rotary folks.
The Rotary International editor also told Jerry to watch for a “how to” article about the service project in the January edition of Rotary Leader. Isn’t it great to see some recognition for our club, our District, and our District Governor Cassy Venters!
Here’s the intro to Jerry’s article, and the link to the full piece:  Why not spice up your next installation dinner?
By Jerry Venters, a  member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza
I’ve been a member of Rotary since 1989, and I have never heard of or participated in a changing of the guard ceremony like the one held in District 6040, Missouri, USA, this year. It had more energy and enthusiasm, participation, and fun than any I’ve attended!
The district governor for 2014-15, Cassy Venters (full disclosure here: my wife) began thinking two years earlier about how she could make the event different and uphold the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self. She chose to make it a service project with our local food bank, Harvesters – The Community Food Network.
Read the rest of the article here: Why not spice up your next installation dinner?
Mayo Baby Can't Wait for Hospital!
Remember Robert Mayo? He’s a professional auctioneer and was a member of Plaza Rotary until he moved to another club closer to his home. He recently published an amazing story on his blog – the headline tells it all: Rock Star Mom Delivers Baby on the Freeway in Kansas City, Missouri!
Yes, it was Robert’s wife who gave birth to their third child on northbound Highway 71 near the I-435 west/1-470 exit in the heart of the Grandview Triangle. Read all about this wonderful story here: http://robmayo.com/2014/10/30/rock-star-mom-delivers-baby-on-the-freeway-in-kansas-city-missouri/
Sergeant’s Report
Friday October 31
  • Rotarians in Attendance: 41
  • Visiting Rotarians: Wichai Chwakamit visitor from Thailand
  • Guests: Bill Moran, Ian Merrigan, Terri Engle, Kathy Pemberton.
  • Change for Charity: $64
  • Induction of New Member: Donovan Dodrill. Classification: Attorney—Personal Injury.  Sponsor: Jane Brown.
  • Vocational Service Award: Mike Theobald presented Heather Flick with the club’s 2014 Vocational Service Award. Diane Marty nominated Heather for her dental initiative, Oral Health on Wheels.
  • Presidential Kudos: President Bob recognized Rich Linden and Terry Berkbuegler for their leadership and commitment to planning and executing the October 25 Humanitarian Games, and he thanked all Plaza Rotary volunteers.
  • 3-minute Rotarian: Steve Johnston presented “Attack of the Shelbys—A Day at the Track” which revealed his first automobile crush, a blue 1959 Shelby Cobra.
  • Speaker: Vincent (Ace) Wagner, "Policing and Community Involvement: A New Look."  On a long flight from Japan, Ace read the book Leadership and Self Deception (2006) by The Arbinger Institute and consequently came to work for the organization as a conflict resolution trainer. He told the story how, after usual tactics had failed, Kansas City police officers, Chato Villalobos and Matthew Tomasic, approached Lynda Callon, Director of the Westside Community Action Network Center, who suggested that migrant workers use the center’s bathroom facilities. Wagner states, “The simple decision to engage with the men on the street and see them as people rather than criminals allowed a few officers to change the whole dynamic of the neighborhood and dramatically reduce crime.”  Best thought: We approach conflict with either a heart at peace or a heart at war.  Conflict softens when we see people in their humanity and treat them as community. Find Ace’s blog at: http://www.ace7energy.com
Plaza Rotary At A Glance 11/5/2014 Nancy Shawver 2014-11-06 00:00:00Z
Anti-polio program in Pakistan

Critics Call Pakistan's Polio Eradication Policy a Disaster;  Prime Minister Says Plan Will Succeed

Experts contend there is a reason for the sharp spike in polio cases in Pakistan this year: Government mismanagement. "Pakistan's polio programme is adisaster," the Independent Monitoring Board, which advises agencies fighting polio, said in a recent report. "It continues to flounder hopelessly, as [the polio] virus flourishes."

"It's frustrating. Eradicating polio is not rocket science," said Elias Durry, head of the World Health Organization's polio campaign in Pakistan. "If we could have three to five months to have really good campaigns, then we could get rid of this disease. We have been doing half-baked campaigns in high risk areas."

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif (pictured), however, has expressed confidence that Pakistan’s government has the capacity and is taking suitable measures to soon make Pakistan polio-free and help stop the spread of the wild polio virus.


“We owe this to our people, our children and the world community,” Sharif said in a message on World Polio Day (October 24). Terming polio a global scourge with the potential to cause widespread damage, the prime minister told the Daily Times newspaper that eradicating polio is a humanitarian issue requiring supranational preventive and remedial action.

He said his government is aware that the number of children paralyzed by polio in Pakistan is the highest in a decade. Pakistan has reported 206 cases of polio so far this year, compared to 43 at the same time last year.  Military strife, opposition by religious leaders, the killing of vaccination workers, and internal displacement of citizens have made vaccination of children especially difficult.  Sharif said his government has devised a National Emergency Action Plan that is aimed at eradicating polio and that is fully funded until 2018. “Our anti-polio efforts are based upon a Pakistan-specific, contextually designed implementation strategy."

Anti-polio program in Pakistan Jerry Venters 2014-11-03 00:00:00Z
Upcoming Programs

​This Week (Nov. 7):  "Remembering 'The Great War'"

Two shots fired outside a delicatessen in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 forever changed the world. The assassinations of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, precipitated the outbreak of World War I. Soon after the war ended with the declaration of an armistice on November 11, 1918, Kansas City leaders formed the Liberty Memorial Association (LMA) to create a lasting monument to the men and women who had served in the war. The monument was completed in 1926. Over the course of the next four years, the National World War I Museum, housed at the Liberty Memorial, will offer an array of programs, exhibitions and events to recognize and remember "The Great War” and its enduring impact on the world. Dr. Matt Naylor, President and CEO of the Museum, will tell us about some of those commemorative plans in this program.


Upcoming Programs Jerry Venters 2014-10-27 00:00:00Z
Inaugural Humanitarian Games

No Meeting This Week

Take part in and encourage your friends to attend the first-ever Humanitarian Games!!

The Plaza Rotary Club's inaugural Humanitarian Games are coming This Saturday!!  

For information, click here, http://www.humanitarian-games.org/ or on the link on the right. And get ready for a great event!!


Inaugural Humanitarian Games Jerry Venters 2014-10-21 00:00:00Z
Usovicz Honored at White House

Elizabeth Usovicz Honored at White House as One of Rotary's "Women of ImageAction"

Elizabeth Usovicz, a member of the Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club and a Past District Governor of District 6040, was honored on October 7 on Rotary Day at the White House in Washington as one of 10 Rotary “Women of Action” in the United States. Rotary International and the White House recognized the women for their professional achievements and volunteer efforts to improve the lives of others, noting the important role that women play in advancing economic development and in the empowerment of women and girls.

The 10 honorees have led Rotarians in their districts in projects and programs from AIDS treatment and prevention to special education, from malaria prevention to job training.  They hailed from Alaska to Atlanta, from California to New Jersey. Tina Tchien, Chief of Staff for First Lady Michelle Obama, was the featured speaker at the ceremony; she described the many programs Ms. Obama and the White House are involved in to improve the lives of women and girls.

In a two-day whirlwind trip, Elizabeth and her husband, Dean Mathewson, and District Governor Cassy Venters (who nominated Elizabeth for the honor) and PDG Jerry Venters attended a reception at the National Press Club, made a quick tour of the East Wing of the White House, and had lunch at and a quick tour of the World Bank headquarters building.  For photos of the events in Washington, check out the  album at left, “Women of Action” Photos.  More photos will be added later. (Pictured: Dean Mathewson, Elizabeth Usovicz, Jerry Venters, Cassy Venters, and Larry Lunsford, outside the White House East Room on October 7)

Usovicz Honored at White House Jerry Venters 2014-10-08 00:00:00Z
Upcoming Programs

This Week (Oct. 3): "Kansas City: Unhealthy Distinctions"

Kansas City is known for lots of things -- BBQ, the Plaza, Boulevard beers, the place where Walt Disney got his start, the Chiefs and the Royals.

ImageLess flatteringly, Kansas Citians are fatter, exercise less, and smoke more than most of the rest of the country. As leader of the Mid-America Regional Coalition's Regional Health Care Initiative, Scott Lakin works to address those unhealthy distinctions. Lakin, a former Misouri state representative and former director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, will describe what is being done to helpKansas Citians improve their health. The Regional Health Care Initiative (RHCI), sponsored by the Mid-America Regional Council, is a regional initiative promoting innovative, collaborative approaches to providing health care to the uninsured and medically underserved. This initiative is funded through the REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. For more information, click here: http://http://www.marc.org.

Next Week (Oct. 10): "Providing Housing

for Veterans"Image

Eric Verzola, a West Point graduate and retired U. S. Army Major with 20 years of military experience, including combat duty in Iraq, is the new Director of Veterans' Services for Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  Catholic Charities is preparing to open the first phase of St. Michael's Veterans Center, an innovative campus that combines permanent, affordable housing with long-term supportive services for homeless and at risk veterans. Verzola will oversee the Center, along with the agency's Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, which assists veterans and their families in obtaining or maintaining permanent housing.  For more information, click on this link: http://http://pressreleases.kcstar.com/release/messages/59569/#storylink=cpy


Upcoming Programs Jerry Venters 2014-09-29 00:00:00Z
Pars v. Polio Marathon

100 Holes of Golf...and Nearly $15,000 for Polio Eradication
Samuel, Venters Raise $13,000 in Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon


Plaza Rotarians Roger Samuel and Jerry Venters (pictured) raised almost $13,000 for Rotary's worldwide "This Close" campaign to eradicate polio, the world's worst crippling disease, by playing 100 holes of golf on September 15 in the first-ever District 6040 Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon and . After playing a quick 80 holes at Liberty Hills Country Club north of Liberty, Roger and Jerry dashed off to Lakewood Oaks Country Club in Lee's Summit for another quick 20 holes with Independence Rotarian Greg Finke, who played 108 holes.

By obtaining pledges and contributions from Plazans, other Rotarians and friends and relatives, Jerry ($8,599) and Roger ($4,392) came within a whisker of hitting $13,000.  Combined with the $1,800 donated by Plaza Centurions this year, the club has raised almost $15,000 for the polio eradication campaign and Pars v. Polio. That will produce another $30,000 in 2-for-1 matching contributions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Thanks to all who have pledged or contributed, and congratulations Roger and Jerry on a very successful Golf Marathon!!

Pars v. Polio Marathon Jerry Venters 2014-09-17 00:00:00Z
Upcoming Programs

This Week: "Understanding Extremism in Pakistan"

Dr. ImageHaroon Ullah, a member of Secretary of State John Kerry's policy planning staff at the U. S. State Department, where he focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism, will speak about understanding Islamic parties, political violence, and extremism in Pakistan. An American of Pakistani descent, Dr. Ullah has worked for the State Department in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he has studied and researched the complex factors that affect governance, elections, and democratization in Muslim-majority countries. He will offer new perspectives on America's most important relationships in South Asia and the Middle East. Dr. Ullah is the author of two books: "Vying for Allah's Vote" and "The Bargain From the Bazaar," the latter a story of an ordinary middle-class family in Pakistan caught up in the extraordinary challenges facing the country. 

Upcoming Programs Jerry Venters 2014-09-17 00:00:00Z
Honor Flight, Honor Veterans

This Friday:  "Honor Flight, Honor Veterans"Image

The goal of Honor Flight KC, and other Honor Flight groups around the country, is to take World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the new World War II Memorial. According to 2012 statistics, almost 800 WWII veterans are dying every day, and Honor Flight KC strives to take these veterans to Washington before they become unable or unwilling to travel.  Veterans who have made the trip are greatly honored and thrilled at the reception they receive and at the opportunity to see the memorial. Gary Lint, an Air Force Korean War veteran and a member of the Gladstone Rotary Club, will tell us about the good works of Honor Flight KC.

Honor Flight, Honor Veterans Jerry Venters 2014-08-10 00:00:00Z
Pars vs. Polio Golf Marathon

ImagePars vs. Polio: Introducing the Plaza Rotary Cup!

In another few weeks, the world’s best golfers representing the United States and Europe will once again face off in the biennial Ryder Cup.

About the same time, Missouri-born Jerry Venters and Boston-born Roger Samuel will be teeing it up in the first-ever District 6040 “Pars vs. Polio Golf Marathon.” 

No, their scores on the golf course won’t matter. What does matter is raising money for Rotary's PolioPlus to continue the fight to eradicate polio—and we need your help!

Captains Venters (pictured, right) and Samuel have formed their teams—let the smack talk begin! Samuel has asked Keegan Bradley, one of the hottest young players on tour, one-time major champion, and a huge Boston Red Sox fan to serve as his team’s honorary captain.  Venters has done the same with Hale Irwin.  Yes, Hale is a few years past his prime (ahem), but this Missouri-born pro is one of the winningest golfers of all time, with 87 professional wins and three US Open wins on his resume. 

Representing the Keegan Bradley team: Representing the Hale Irwin team:
  • Debra Anderson
  • Beth Bahner
  • Frank Bales
  • Terry Berkbuegler
  • Tom Bradshaw
  • Jane Brown
  • Jeff Chapman
  • Lisa Deatherage
  • Jim Dockins
  • Karyn Eppler
  • Kathy Hogarty
  • Allen Jenks
  • Jennifer Kyle
  • Bob Latz
  • Rich Linden
  • Larry Lunsford
  • Adriann McCoy
  • Bob Merrigan
  • Bruce Moorman
  • Kile Morrison
  • Terry Putney
  • Wes Rogers
  • Nancy Shawver
  • Gary Smith
  • Bo Steed
  • Jay Stewart
  • Chris Stuckey
  • Mike Theobald
  • Drue Thomas
  • Koji Watanbe
  • Doug Zimmerman
  • Niel Campbell
  • Dave Bahner
  • Shannan Berkbuegler
  • Jacquelyn Blake
  • Ivan Brown
  • Chip Buckner
  • Jeff Deatherage
  • Erik Dickinson
  • Rob Elbert
  • Will Hodgkinson
  • Denise Holt
  • Steve Johnston
  • Ed Ladegaard
  • Ann Leabo
  • Jim Lloyd
  • Diane Marty
  • Therese McGill
  • Rich Moeller
  • Gary Morgan
  • Don Pellow
  • Frances Reddis
  • Dan Ryan
  • Bill Schmidt
  • Dan Shea
  • Jerry Smith
  • Randy Steinman
  • Hadley Stolte
  • Angela Tangen
  • Liz Thomas
  • Elizabeth Usovicz
  • Cassy Venters
  • ​Michele Watley

So, you ask…how do I give?  Simply make a pledge—either a set dollar amount or make a pledge based on the number of holes you expect Jerry and Roger to play.  For example, if you think they'll play 54 holes (three rounds of golf), a pledge of $1 a hole will cost you $54.  All moneys raised by the Golf Marathon will be matched $2-for-$1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Pledges will be taken until early September, when Samuel and Venters expect to tee it up!  Give generously, give often!!

Pars vs. Polio Golf Marathon Jerry Venters 2014-08-10 00:00:00Z
Polio Eradication Update

Polio Eradication Update: "Never Closer" in Nigeria


 — Aid workers in Nigeria say they have never been closer to eradicating polio, with only four new cases reported this year.  But as insurgent attacks grow more violent in the north, the workers say vaccination programs are at "high risk" and continued success will depend on new strategies to reach children in what have become war zones.

Globally, polio this year has increased by more than 15 percent, with 10 countries reporting new cases.  Two years ago, there were only four countries that had polio, which can kill or cripple and there is no cure.  The World Health Organization calls the spread a “public health emergency.”  To read more, click on this link:  http://www.voanews.com/content/despite-insecurity-polio-drops-85-percent-in-nigeria/1955573.html

Current report on the "Final Three" Polio Endemic Countries:

  • Pakistan - 90 cases
  • ​Afghanistan - 7 cases
  • Nigeria - 5 cases

Countries where polio has been imported:

  • Syria, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Iraq - 12 cases (vs. 256 cases in 2013)
  • Israel - No cases, but tests indicate presence of Type 1 polio virus in the country
Polio Eradication Update Jerry Venters 2014-07-21 00:00:00Z
"The Monuments Men"

This Friday: "The Monuments Men"Image

"The Monuments Men," the story of the Allies' efforts to rescue and preserve valuable and precious art works in Italy and Germany in World War II, has become a major movie attraction this year.  Perhaps many of you have seen the movie or read the books about their exploits.  In this program, Mackenzie Mallon of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum's Department of European Painting and Sculpture will tell us more about the crucial rescue effort and the Museum's connections to it. Chances are the "real story" will differ ever so slightly from the movie version!

"The Monuments Men" Jerry Venters 2014-07-15 00:00:00Z
District Microcredit Project

July 11 Program: Microcredit Project in the DominicanImage

District 6040 has undertaken to establish a $125,000 microcredit bank in cooperation with Rotarians in the Dominican Republic, and Plaza Rotarian Randy Steinman has been leading the effort to create and fund that project.

The objective for the project is to break the poverty cycle for low-income households by providing small business start-up loans in the Santo Domingo neighborhoods of Herrera and Alcorrizos. District 6040 has committed $50,000 in District Designated Funds (received from The Rotary Foundation) and District Rotary clubs are being asked to contribute $17,000 to finance the project; the balance of the funding would be derived from a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo-Herrera will oversee the project and provide mentoring and education to loan recipients.  Randy will tell us more about the project in this program at our club meeting July 11.

District Microcredit Project Jerry Venters 2014-07-05 00:00:00Z
Accomplishments in 2013-14

Look at What Plaza Rotary Accomplished in 2013-14Image
By Debra Anderson, President, 2013-14

The Plaza Rotary Club had another outstanding year of service and fundraising in 2013-14 to support our Rotary mission of Service Above Self.  Members completed numerous service projects and once again the club is among the leading clubs in the District in fundraising and in contributions to The Rotary Foundation.  Plaza Rotarians can take pride in these accomplishments:

  • We supported Shelter Box with donations, with our  Shelter Box ambassadors doing presentations to other groups, and Jeff Deatherage serving as a disaster relief team member.
  • We purchased bicycles and provided scholarships to Malawi Children’s Village with $1400 raised through our Silent Auction of donated services.   The auction also raised $800 for the Plaza Foundation.
  • We hosted our first-ever Reverse Raffle, a huge success.   Money raised from this event and KC Day newspaper sales went to Urban Rangers for their Resource Center ($3200), to Cristo Rey High School ($2400) for supplies for their graduating seniors headed to college, to the Plaza Rotary Foundation ($3140), and to Hope House ($500) for bed rails for bunk beds.
  • We conceptualized and completed a major community service project for Urban Rangers, transforming a room into a computer center with 12 work stations.   This project was completed over a 4-month period and included repairs, paint, carpet, furniture, computers, and recreational reading books.
  • We participated in five other community service projects, including two at Hope House, two workdays at Bloch Cancer Park, and meals for Bridge Home.
  • We set a club record of 1,026 pairs of shoes collected for Shoes for Orphan Souls, which had an estimated value of at least $5,100.
  • Plaza Rotarians donated $24,903 to the Annual Fund The Rotary Foundation and $6,370 to PolioPlus, including $4,300 in Centurion donations.   Through May, Plaza Rotarians had donated a total of $32,568 to all funds of The Rotary Foundation, the highest amount in the last five years.  We were designated a Peace Club at the District Foundation dinner for a $5,000 Foundation contribution.
  • We had 3 vocational visits (WWI Museum, Federal Reserve, and Federal Courthouse) and 4 social events (Chiefs game, Arts Fair, Shelter Box social, and reverse raffle).
  • We sent a student to RYLA and provided several RYLA counselors. 
  • We supported two Interact Clubs and one Rotaract Club.
  • We laid the groundwork for a new Brookside/Waldo club.
  • We had fun meetings and terrific weekly programs.   We had entertaining and informative weekly newsletters.
  • We presented two vocational service awards, one Avenues of Service Award, and several Club Champion Awards.
  • We received the Pillars of Hope Award from Urban Rangers, the Klinginsmith Cup Award from District, and have qualified for the Presidential Citation.
  • We had special change for charity donations, including Shelter Box ($1250 for Philippine typhoon disaster relief) and Cristo Rey Interact Club ($176 for winter coats).
Accomplishments in 2013-14 Jerry Venters 2014-07-05 00:00:00Z
Merrigan: Thoughts on RI Convention

ImageThoughts on the RI Convention in Sydney
By Bob Merrigan, 2014-15 Club President

How do you try to convey a first-time RI Convention – let alone the first time experience of Australia – in a few short paragraphs for the newsletter? It’s impossible … but I hope I have time over the next few weeks to share anecdotes and learnings with you.

For me, the opening session set the tone. First off, there were two opening plenary sessions because the arena in Olympic Park couldn’t accommodate the entire crowd of almost 19,000 attendees.  One of the presenters was Tommy Spaulding, a well-known U.S. author, speaker and entrepreneur who shared a story from his childhood. Tommy struggled in school, and so was delighted when he won a scholarship to attend a Rotary summer camp. A neighbor – a Rotarian who became a lifelong friend and mentor – drove him to camp and in the process told him, “There are three kinds of people: leaders, followers, and critics. Which do you want to be?”

I spent the next three days surrounded by leaders. Sydney provided free transportation and each day we spent 30 to 40 minutes on the train, traveling from the Central Business District to Olympic Park. On my first ride I sat across from a couple from Northern California; this was their sixth convention, she was a past president of her club, a past District Governor, and was getting ready to begin another term as president.  I talked to incoming presidents from Texas, from Oregon, from Australia, and who knows where else and it was amazing how many common experiences we shared as we talked about our individual clubs. I went to a number of great sessions (which by the way, are ones I defined as ones that challenge me to do more … and I’ll admit, by day three I wasn’t sure if I wanted to choose another session that looked good or not!).

Nonetheless, and as fair warning, among my favorites were a session by Michael McQueen on “Winning the Battle for Relevance” (in which he essentially challenged attendees to examine club traditions with an eye toward which “traditions” included or excluded prospective new members), a presentation on using Facebook (and we’re not the only club that makes the mistake of using the medium to talk to itself), and a couple of sessions facilitated by the Peace Fellowship (there are some clubs doing amazing work in promoting conflict resolution in urban settings).

A speaker at one of the last sessions I went to – a symposium for incoming presidents – advised to “always be a cheerleader for your club.” I was struck by the fact that this is the least of my worries. We have such a tremendous amount of strength and experience in our club, it’s hard to be anything but proud of it.  I’m grateful … both for the support I received to help underwrite the travel and, more importantly, for the opportunity to serve as your president. I look forward to the coming year.  Thank you! 

(Pictured: The Sydney Opera House, which was brilliantly lighted with changing lights during the Convention. Photo by Cassy Venters.)

Merrigan: Thoughts on RI Convention Jerry Venters 2014-06-18 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 6/13/2014


This Friday's Program: Paul Dorrell, "Living the Artist's Life"

Paul Dorrell is a Kansas City art consultant and owner of Leopold Gallery. He'll talk on "Living the Artist's Life," based on his guidebook of the same name.  As an art consultant, Dorrell's clients include Warner Brothers, H&R Block, the Royals, the Mayo Clinic, Saint Luke's Hospital, and many private, civic and corporate art collectors. He consulted on a monument of Dwight D. Eisenhower for the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and for the National D-Day Memorial in Virginia. In his spare time, Dorrell structures mentoring programs that provide opportunities for inner-city teenage artists.Reared in Kansas City, Dorrell has spent years roaming America by motorcycle, riding through every contiguous state. He has lived in Alaska, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Italy, England -- and Prairie Village.


Saturday: Last Day to Register for Changing of the Guard!

This Saturday, June 14, is the last day to register for the 2014 Changing of the Guard. This year, we celebrate the installation of Bob Merrigan as Club President and Cassy Venters (pictured) as District Governor. Unlike past District Governor installations, this event is a service project for Harvesters, held at the Harvesters facility at 3801 Topping Ave. in Kansas City. Rotarians from around District 6040 will attempt to pack 5,300 lunches for school children. The $33 registration fee includes lunch and a $20 tax-deductible donation to Harvesters to purchase the food being packed.  This will be a great family event, so register and bring the kids, too!  Go to the District website, www.rotary6040.org, to register online; click on the link "Governor 2014/15 Induction & Service Project" in the right-hand panel.  We hope to see you there!

Federal Courthouse Tour on Tuesday, June 17


Vocational Service Chair Mike Theobald has arranged a vocational visit to the United States Courthouse at 9th and Oak Streets in Kansas City next Tuesday, and it is open to all Plazans and family members, even if they don't aspire to a vocation as a federal prosecutor or a federal judge!! The tour will be led by retired bankruptcy judge and Plaza Rotarian Jerry Venters, who has promised a couple of "behind the scenes" peeks at what goes on at the Courthouse. Since our last tour there several years ago, the District Court has completed an interesting historical exhibit surveying the history of the U.S. Courts in the Western District, and that will be the last stop of the day before we adjourn to a nearby watering hole for refreshments. The tour will start at 4:00 p.m., but participants should arrive about 15 minutes early to pass through security. It's best to leave your cell phone in your car.

"End Polio Now" Campaign Receives Boosts at Rotary's 105th Convention


Rotary's "End Polio Now" campaign was very much in focus and received several monetary boosts at the 105th annual Rotary International Convention in Sydney, NSW, Australia last week.  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the nearly 18,000 Rotarians and others in attendance at the opening plenary session on June 1 and announced that the Australian government would contribute another $100 million (AUD) (equivalent to about $93 million USD) to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's drive to complete the eradication of polio worldwide. Later, a Nigerian businessman, Sir Emeka Offor, announced that he would contribute another $1 million to the campaign. And on Friday, before the Convention began, 340 Rotarians and friends climbed the Harbour Bridge (photo), setting a new record for the most people to climb on the bridge at one time and raising $40,000 for the campaign. Dr. Bruce Aylward, a director of the World Health Organization, a leader in the eradication drive, updated the attendees on the status of the campaign and described what is being done to stop further polio outbreaks via transmission from the remaining three polio-endemic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The goal still remains to certify the world as polio-free by 2018.

Several District 6040 Rotarians and their spouses were in Sydney for the convention, including Plaza Rotarians Larry Lunsford (a member of the RI Board of Directors), Jerry and Cassy Venters, and Bob Merrigan.          

Where's Larry?  If you've read this far, you know Plazan Larry Lunsford, who is nearing the end of his first year on the Rotary International Board of Directors, has been in Australia attending the RI Convention.  He also attended a Board of Directors meeting while there.  But where else has he been since he spoke to the club earlier this year?  And what major issues have come before the Board?  Come to the meeting next week and find out, as Larry brings us another of his quarterly updates!

Plaza Rotary at a Glance 6/13/2014 Jerry Venters 2014-06-11 00:00:00Z
"Living the Artist's Life"



Friday, June 13: Welcome Paul Dorrell, "Living the Artist's Life"
Paul Dorrell is a Kansas City art consultant and owner of Leopold Gallery. He'll talk on "Living the Artist's Life," based on his guidebook of the same name.  As an art consultant, Dorrell's clients include Warner Brothers, H&R Block, the Royals, the Mayo Clinic, Saint Luke's Hospital, and many private, civic and corporate art collectors. He consulted on a monument of Dwight D. Eisenhower for the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and for the National D-Day Memorial in Virginia. In his spare time, Dorrell structures mentoring programs that provide opportunities for inner-city teenage artists.Reared in Kansas City, Dorrell has spent years roaming America by motorcycle, riding through every contiguous state. He has lived in Alaska, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Italy, England -- and Prairie Village.

"Living the Artist's Life" Jerry Venters 2014-06-07 00:00:00Z
This Friday: Mark Comfort

This Friday: Mark Comfort - "Dream Vacations"


Mark Comfort, a member of the Parkville Rotary Club for more
than 16 years, is co-owner of Cruise Holidays Kansas City,
Comfort Tours and Travel, and Comfort Investments with
his wife of 30 years, Mimi Comfort. He hosts his own radio
show, "Vacation Views," every Saturday from 10am-11am
on 710 KCMO Talk Radio—the Midwest’s premier show
on vacations (also on 103.7 FM). Mark served 10 years
on the Board of Trustees for Park University and is
otherwise an active participant in the Kansas City Community.  
In this program, Mark will show some beautiful pictures and
tell us about some fabulous vacations. Come prepared to dream! 

This Friday: Mark Comfort Jerry Venters 2014-06-03 00:00:00Z
Lee Judge, Cartoonist and Blogger

This Friday's Speaker: Lee Judge, Cartoonist and BloggerImage

Anyone who reads the editorial page of the Kansas City Star  is familiar with the saucy cartoons of Lee Judge, a political cartoonist with the Star  since 1981 whose cartoons have been published in hundreds of newspapers and magazines. Some readers love his work, and some hate it -- the mark of a successful political cartoonist.  In two previous programs at the Plaza Club, Judge has told us the stories behind many of the cartoons that he couldn't persuade his editors to print. But this time will be different: Judge will take us behind the scenes of the blog he maintains on the Kansas City Royals baseball team, where he applies his journalistic talents and love of baseball to analyze the Royals pitch-by-pitch.  Judge has been a popular favorite for the Plaza club, and this time will surely be no different. 

Lee Judge, Cartoonist and Blogger Jerry Venters 2014-05-27 00:00:00Z
"Bridging Cultures"

This Friday: KSU Professor Katrina Lewis Speaks About Her Work Bridging CulturesImage

Since 1988, Katrina M. Lewis, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Product Design at Kansas State University in Manhattan, has taught at universities in China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and, of course, Kansas, and in the summer of 2012 she took part in Rotary International's peace and conflict resolution program at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Professor Lewis says that she is "undertaking a rewarding journey to intertwine her teaching, research, and service together with beginning design education, social justice, and cross cultural contexts." In this program, Professor Lewis will tell us more about her experiences with Rotary's short-term peace and conflict resolution program and about her work to bridge cultures around the world.   

"Bridging Cultures" Jerry Venters 2014-05-19 00:00:00Z
Record Number of Shoes Collected

Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes! District Rotarians Bull Through 250,000 Pairs Mark
Record Number of Shoes Collected by Plaza Rotarians -- 1026 Pairs!

ImageAfter leading a "caravan" consisting of a tractor-trailer and a couple of cars around the District to collect children's shoes, District 6040 Shoes Cheerleader and fellow Plazan Larry Lunsford declared in Macon on May 10 that he was "bullish" on the number of shoes that had been donated this year.  And was he ever right!  In the 13th year of collecting shoes for the Shoes for Orphan Souls program, the Shoes Cheerleader had challenged District Rotarians to collect at least 16,907 pairs of shoes this year so that the District could exceed 250,000 pairs of shoes donated since the Shoes for Orphan Souls program was initiated in 2001-02, when Larry served as District Governor.  And Rotarians were up to the challenge. Although the final numbers were not yet, the preliminary count was 19,516 pairs of shoes this year, pushing the total to 252,568 pairs over 13 years.

In response to Larry's challenge, Plaza Rotarians donated a record number of 1,026 pairs of new children's shoes to the 2014 campaign. That number surpassed the previous record high of 1,020 pairs in 2011. Grand Shoebah Ed Ladegaard led the Shoes collection effort in the Plaza Club, and did a bang-up job! 

(Pictured: Plaza Rotarians and others helped transfer the bags and boxes of donated shoes from one 54-foot trailer to another trailer donated by UPS and driven by a volunteer UPS driver, who delivered them to Buckner International in Dallas. Many of this year's shoes will end up on the feet of orphan children in Peru.) 


Record Number of Shoes Collected Jerry Venters 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z
Chief Reflects on Service

This Friday: Overland Park Police Chief Reflects on 40 Years in Law Enforcement

ImageJohn Douglass, who retired recently as Chief of Police of the Overland Park Police Department, began a 40-year career with the Department in February 1973, and was appointed Chief of Police on March 1, 1996. During his career he has served in virtually every area of the police department. Perhaps the most notorious crime to be committed in Overland Park while Douglass was chief was the killing of three persons on April 13 at the Jewish Community Center and a nearby retirement center. Douglass currently serves as co-chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Regional Computer Forensic Lab System. In this program, Chief Douglass will reflect on his long career and the many changes that have taken place in law enforcement.

Chief Reflects on Service Jerry Venters 2014-05-09 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 5/9/2014

Help Wanted to Move Shoes!

The Grand Shoebah, Ed Ladegaard, could use some help tomorrow (Thursday) in moving our record number of shoes from his storage unit at 14151 Wyandotte in Kansas City to meet up with the District Shoes for Orphan Souls caravan in North Kansas City.  District Shoes Cheerleader and Plaza Rotarian Larry Lunsford and PDG John Gill will begin collecting shoes tomorrow (Thursday) morning in Higginsville, and plan to arrive with their tractor-trailer rig at Finnigan's, 503 E. 18th Avenue, in North Kansas City by about 3:30 p.m., where they will celebrate with various Rotary clubs as they deliver their collected shoes. The Caravan will continue through the District on Friday and will arrive in Macon on Saturday morning, where the 2014 campaign will conclude.  The District-wide collections goal is for more than 16,000 pairs of new children's shoes, which if reached would bring the District's collections since 2001 to more than 250,000 pairs of shoes.

Plazans Rich Linden and Lisa Deatherage have volunteered to help move the shoes, but the Grand Shoebah says more help would be welcome. The plan is to meet at Ed's storage unit, at the Storage Mart at the corner of Highway 150 and Wyandotte, at about 2:30 p.m., load the 1,025 pairs of shoes collected, and head to North Kansas City.  Please telephone Ed at 913-638-5666 if you can help.

Bulletin: Shoes Cheerleader Larry expects to be interviewed about the Shoes campaign on the 11:00 a.m. news hour on NBC 41 Action News on Thursday morning. Tune in if you can!

This Friday: "Making Clean Water Possible"


While on mission trips to Guatemala in the last decade, Kansas City area residents James Allen (pictured) and Kurt Mader saw first-hand how a lack of clean drinking water affected both children and adults, and they were determined to do something to change that. Between 2006 and 2009, and after numerous mission trips, the idea for Aqua Viva International, Inc. began to take shape. After founding that organization, Allen and Mader have been instrumental in establishing water systems in Guatemala and in other third-world countries. They have just returned from a trip to Nigeria, which has been in the news this week because of the kidnapping of a large number of high school girls by an insurgent group. Allen and Mader will tell us about their work in what should be a most interesting program about helping others.

Urban Rangers Computer Center Almost Complete

After several Saturdays of work by Plaza Rotarians and Urban Rangers, the Computer Center at the Urban Ranger Corps offices at 5908 Swope Parkway will soon be complete, with just a few more touches and tweaks. Tables and chairs and computer equipment have been delivered, and air conditioning units will be installed early next week.  An open house will be held soon -- watch for the details!!


Polio: WHO Declares Global Health Emergency
As reported in the New York Times


Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency and is urging those countries to take extraordinary measures to stop it. Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have recently allowed the virus to spread to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Equatorial Guinea, and the WHO has imposed travel restrictions on some of the countries and has recommended that residents of all ages -- not just children -- should be immunized before traveling abroad. The spread of the crippling disease now threatens the 25-year campaign -- led by Rotary International and Rotarians -- to eradicate polio worldwide, the agency said.

Rotary Night at the Zoo - June 12

The Kansas City Rotary Club's Rotary Night at the Zoo is coming up on June 12 and you're invited. For $10 a person, Rotarians and their families can enjoy various free Zoo events, have hotdogs and chips, etc., and purchase beer and wine at a cash bar, all beginning at 4:30 p.m. To make a reservation, call Club 13 at 816-842-2322. Reservations should be made by June 6; after that date, the cost will increase to $15 a person. Kids under 3 get in free.


Plaza Rotary at a Glance 5/9/2014 Jerry Venters 2014-05-07 00:00:00Z
Urban Rangers Resource Center

ImageUrban Rangers Project Near the Finish; Open House to be Held Soon

Other than a few touches and tweaks, and the installation of new window air conditioners, the Computer Resource Center at the Urban Ranger Corps offices is complete! Numerous Plaza Rotarians and several of the Urban Rangers youth have worked on several Saturdays to convert an outdated room at the URC offices at 5908 Swope Parkway into a Computer Resource Center and study area. Funds for the approximately $6,500 project came from the Club's Reverse Raffle fundraiser on April 12 and from a $2,000 District Simplified Grant provided by The Rotary Foundation through District 6040.

An open house will be held soon to celebrate the completion of the project and offer Plaza Rotarians and others a chance to see the final product.

Rotarians and Rangers worked together on Demolition Day to remove carpeting, wall base and electrical wire mold.  Will Hodgkinson followed up with wall repairs.  Bo Steed worked with an electrician to add circuits for the computers and then followed up with more wall repairs.  On April 19 ten Rotarians -- Debra Anderson, Jacquelyn Blake, Don Pellow, Cassy and Jerry Venters, Frank Bales, Allen Jenks, Dave Bahner, Erik Dickinson and Kile Morrison -- painted the computer room and two adjoining bathrooms (two coats!).

Jacquelyn got a contractor friend to donate all of the paint and supplies for the project. She also worked with The Surplus Exchange, the firm that is donating refurbished computers for the project and has a contractor who will remodel a window so that we can add air conditioning to the room.  Cassy found excellent used carpet tile at ReStore and Randy Steinman delivered it to URC.  Denise Holt has been securing other materials needed and Debra ordered the computer monitors, which Erik picked up.  

Saturday, April 26, four Rotarians and six Rangers worked to lay carpet tile and install new wall base in the computer room and adjoining hallway. Jrry Venters installed vinyl tile in the two bathrooms.  Last Saturday, the furniture was delivered and set up, and The Surplus Exchange was delivering and setting up the computers and monitors this week.

Check out the Photo Journal for more pictures, contributed by Jacquelyn Blake, Kile Morrison, and Debra Anderson.

Urban Rangers Resource Center Jerry Venters 2014-05-07 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance 5/2/2014

Jeff Deatherage to Speak on ShelterBox Experiences


Those of you who know Plaza Rotarian Jeff Deatherage know that he is a strong and outspoken advocate for ShelterBox, the emergency disaster relief organization that was founded by British Rotarians in 2000 to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disasters around the world. Before ShelterBox, aid response to most disasters was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath. Little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.  Jeff is a trained ShelterBox Responder and will share some personal experiences from his two deployments in 2013-14 as a ShelterBox Response Team Member in Oklahoma (tornadoes) and the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan). He will also tell us about new directions at ShelterBox. (Pictured: Sometimes, Shelter Boxes must be delivered to devastated areas by mule. That is not Jeff leading the mule!!)

Shoes Campaign in Final Week - 132 Pairs Needed to Exceed 2011 Total!

The 2014 collection of shoes for the 13th annual District 6040 Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign is now in its final week, and the Plaza Club needs to collect 132 more pairs of new children's shoes to exceed our total of 1020 pairs collected in 2011.  This Friday, May 2, will be the final date for bringing in shoes. The club's goal this year is to exceed our previous high of 1020 pairs of  children's shoes in 2011. District Shoes Cheerleader (and Plazan) Larry Lunsford has challenged District Rotarians to collect at least 16,907 pairs of shoes this year so that the District will exceed 250,000 pairs of shoes donated since the Shoes for Orphan Souls program was initiated in 2001-02, when Larry served as District Governor. 


Grand Shoebah Ed Ladegaard reports that he has 889 pairs of shoes in his storage unit, leaving us 132 pairs short of a new record.  "But I'd like to get to 1025 pairs," says the Grand Shoebah. If you don't have time to shop for shoes before Friday, Ed will accept your cash and checks.  Every $5 donated will buy another pair of shoes.  The latest team standings through last Friday:


The District Shoes Caravan will be in Kansas City next Thursday, May 8, to load the shoes collected by the Plaza Club and other metro clubs, at a location yet to be determined. A celebration is being planned from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as shoes are delivered.  Help will be needed to transport and load the shoes. Contact Grand Shoebah Ed if you can help.

Near the Finish Line on Urban Rangers ProjectImage

After several Saturday work days, the Club is closing in on the finish line on the Computer Resource Room project at the Urban Ranger Corps offices at 5908 Swope Parkway. Last Saturday, four Rotarians and six Rangers laid carpet tile and installed new wall base in the computer room and adjoining hallway. Vinyl flooring will be installed in the bathrooms this week. Saturday, May 3, will be the day to bring in the furniture, and then the Surplus Exchange will deliver and set up the computers. Club members are needed on May 3 to help finish up the project. Please contact Debra Anderson to sign up.  (Read more about the work and check out the Photo Journal for more pictures, contributed by Jacquelyn Blake, Kile Morrison, and Debra Anderson, on the Club Website.)

International Service Committee Votes to Support Microcredit Project


At a recent meeting, the club's International Service Committee, co-chaired by Nancy Shawver and Koji Watanabe, voted to allocate the uncommitted money (estimated at $300-500) it receives this Rotary year from our weekly Change for Charity contributions to the District 6040 Microcredit Project in the Dominican Republic. District 6040 has allocated $50,000 in District Designated Funds for the $125,000 project, and clubs, individuals, and others are being asked to contribute $17,000.  The balance of required funds will be provided through a matching Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. Plazan Randy Steinman is speaking to numerous clubs in the District as he leads a District-wide effort to raise the needed $17,000. 

(Pictured: Ramon, a Dominican store owner who has been aided by a microcredit loan.)


Plaza Rotary at a Glance 5/2/2014 Jerry Venters 2014-04-30 00:00:00Z
Shoes Campaign Enters Final Week

Shoes for Orphan Souls Campaign in Final Week

The 2014 collection of shoes for the 13th annual District 6040 Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign is entering its final week this week, with Friday, May 2, the final date for bringing in shoes.  The club's goal this year is 1025 pairs of new children's shoes, which would exceed our previous high of 1020 pairs of shoes in 2011. District Shoes Cheerleader (and Plazan) Larry Lunsford has challenged District Rotarians to collect at least 16,907 pairs of shoes this year so that the District will exceed 250,000 pairs of shoes donated since the Shoes for Orphan Souls program was initiated in 2001-02, when Larry served as District Governor.

In an email to District Rotarians last week, Larry wrote: "Just a reminder that our Roll Call of Shoes will be held on Saturday morning, May 10th, around 11:30 am or so, at the District Assembly to be held at the Comfort Inn in Macon, Missouri.  Please ensure at least one member of your club is there to report the good news from your club’s efforts.  This is always a highlight of a District Rotary event, as we see “Service Above Self” in action in our Rotary Clubs.  Always a good time.  And you know Macon, Missouri is my home town."  

Before last Friday's meeting, we were about 250 pairs of shoes short of our goal for the year, according to Grand Shoebah Ed Ladegaard.  And before last Friday, the "standings" for the three teams competing for top collection honors were:Image

Shoes Campaign Enters Final Week Jerry Venters 2014-04-27 00:00:00Z
Reverse Raffle a Huge Success

First-Ever Plaza Reverse Raffle Huge Success, Raises $7,870

The Plaza Club's first-ever Reverse Raffle, held last Saturday at Jane Brown's home in the Northland, was a big success, raising $7,870 to help finance projects at the Urban Ranger Corps and Cristo Rey High School.  Thanks to the Herculean efforts of Raffle Chair Jane Brown (has she earned the title of "Grand Rafflebah?"), 100 tickets were sold at $75 each and a live auction of numerous donated items generated an additional $1,870, for gross receipts of $9,370. After expenses, the club netted $7,870.  Approximately 50 persons attended the event.  (Pictured (L-R): Raffle Chair Jane Brown, Denise Holt and Frances Reddis led in organizing the Reverse Raffle and also enjoyed the evening.)Image

Although he was in Nebraska visiting family, Past District Governor and current Rotary International Director Larry Lunsford won the grand prize of $1,000 as his ticket number was the last number drawn.  In fact, after 98 numbered ping pong balls had been drawn from the Rotary drum, the only two numbers remaining belonged to Larry!  Obviously, it was his lucky night!!  Denise Holt won the consolation prize of $250 and Chris Stucky had the dubious distinction of being the first participant eliminated. On the brighter side, Chris received a $100 prize for having his number drawn first.  Numerous smaller, secondary prizes were given throughout the evening.

“Thanks to all our members and friends who bought tickets, and special kudos to Jane Brown for organizing the event and hosting it at her home, Denise Holt for coordinating the food, and Jerry Venters for stepping in at the last minute as auctioneer,” President Debra Anderson said. "The funds we raised will go a long way in helping us complete the computer resource room at the Urban Ranger Corps and purchase Grad Packs for some of the graduating seniors at Cristo Rey."  A portion of the funds will also go to the Plaza Rotary Foundation.

For photos of the event, click on "Photo Journals" in the left-side panel. Thanks to Jacquelyn Blake for providing the pictures!

Reverse Raffle a Huge Success Jerry Venters 2014-04-15 00:00:00Z
Urban Rangers Resource Center

Our Current Project: Urban Rangers Resource CenterImage
By President Debra Anderson

The club has chosen the Urban Rangers Resource Center as our major service project this year.  Urban Rangers would like to transform a room (pictured) in their building on Swope Parkway into a resource center with computers.  It would become a place where Rangers and neighborhood kids could do homework, work with tutorials, do Internet research, and study in a safe, well-equipped environment. The Plaza Rotary Club would provide the labor and the funds for the center, aided by a District Simplified Grant from The Rotary Foundation.  Rangers would help with some of the labor.  The project meets a community assessed need, is sustainable and measurable, and meets the Rotary areas of focus of Basic Education & Literacy and Economic & Community Development.

This is a project where we can truly “Engage Rotary, Change Lives,” and there are many ways for you to help make this a successful Rotary project, including: 

  •  Send your favorite quote or inspirational story to Frances Reddis (frances.reddis@usdoj.gov) and Debra Anderson (debanderson@me.com) for inclusion in the binder for the rangers.
  • Donate a dictionary, thesaurus, or book appropriate for high school or middle school youths.
  • Donate or help locate furniture.  We need:

o   6 tables 60”x30” for computers, plus 12 chairs, such as 5 star pneumatic rolling office chairs or sledbase chairs

o   2 bookcases

o   A seating arrangement – loveseat and chair or beanbags, side table

o   Carpet – 40 sq. yards (carpet squares preferred)

o   1 – 14,000 btu/h window air conditioner

  • Sign up to work.   Tentative work dates:

o   March 29 – wall repairs, prep work

o   Apr 19 – paint walls and ceiling

o   Apr 26 – install furniture

o   May 3 – install computers 

  • Contact Debra Anderson, Kile Morrison, or Denise Holt if you have things to donate.
Urban Rangers Resource Center Jerry Venters 2014-04-15 00:00:00Z
Cultivating Rotary's New Image

Four in 10 Have Never Heard of Rotary

Three reasons to strengthen Rotary’s image

By Jennifer Jones, a member of the RI Communications Committee


Over the past two years, Rotary has undertaken an unprecedented amount of research to study the effectiveness of how we communicate with each other and also to look at perceptions about the organization from the community at large.

What’s likely not surprising is that we determined we have all of the strengths necessary for greatness in our second century of service. However, when we looked at awareness about our organization in the greater public arena, they quite simply don’t know about us. It is very easy to ask the question – how can this be true?

Global research shows that when asked – four in 10 people have never heard of us, another four know us in name only, and the remaining two only have some familiarity, which is often colored by misconceptions. How can we attract and engage new members and partners when they don’t know who we are?

Personally, I think that in order to keep Rotary relevant and enticing for the next 100 years, we need to be innovative, forward thinking, and adaptable to ensure that the rest of the world views us the way we view ourselves. Here’s what I like most about the Strengthening Rotary initiative:

1. It helps us explain who we are, what we do, and why we matter.

Through this process, we have introduced a new framework to help Rotarians better define who we are when asked the inevitable question – what is Rotary? We Join Leaders – Exchange Ideas and Take Action. Of course each Rotarian’s story is different but if we could highlight the common ground, it begins to form a compelling call to action. We are leaders who act responsibly and take action to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. When we are all singing off the same song sheet our message is amplified and it becomes much easier to engage people in Rotary.

2. It helps us present a strong, unified image to the public

For so long we did our good work quietly and not for recognition. While this was noble it made it difficult for people to understand the good work of Rotarians. Now that “telling our story” has become a priority, we need to make sure that we have a united voice.

An exciting new visual identity kit and guidelines have been launched and they provide tools for individuals, clubs, and districts to create a look that begins to introduce continuity across the globe. Of course, there remains room for personal creativity but a unified look and feel will propel Rotary into a very bright future. Everyone will know who we are, what we do and why it matters!

If you’ve visited rotary.org within the past few months, you’ve probably noticed evidence of this initiative in the form of simpler, more action-oriented words and visuals. I am also so heartened to see the materials that Rotarians are creating with these new tools. They are stunning and I have heard from countless Rotarians that they love the fresh new look and feel.

3. It will help us attract new members and supporters

Strengthening Rotary is essential to Rotary’s future. As we share our story in a more clear and compelling way, like-minded people are going to want to be part of our great organization. This really is one of our best membership opportunities. In the end, if we can elevate awareness and attract and engage new members and partners, our good work will spread and “doing good in the world” will not only remain our organizational compass but it will help us soar to new heights.

Cultivating Rotary's New Image Jerry Venters 2014-03-19 00:00:00Z
U.S. Funds Polio Eradication

U.S. Commits $205 Million for Polio Eradication
Reprinted from Rotary News

President Barack Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill in January that provides $205 million to support polio eradication in 2014, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U. S. Agency for International Development. The largest government donor to polio eradication, the U.S. has contributed more than $2.3 billion since the mid-1980s, when 125 countries were polio endemic and the disease afflicted 350,000 people annually. Today, only Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria are endemic, and in 2013, the combined incidence of polio in those countries fell to a record-low 157 cases. Last month, India reached a three-year milestone without polio, paving the way for the entire Southeast Asia region to be certified free of the disease.


"Eradicating polio will leave a lasting legacy of health care infrastructure, experience, and expertise that is already being used to benefit a broad range of global public health efforts," says James Lacy, chair of Rotary's Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the United States and past president of Rotary International. The task force leads Rotary's efforts to inform the U.S. government and other funding sources of the urgency and benefits of supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

One of Rotary's chief responsibilities in the GPEI is advocacy. In addition to contributing more than $1.2 billion to the initiative, Rotary has helped secure over $9 billion from donor governments since the GPEI was launched in 1988.

U.S. Funds Polio Eradication Jerry Venters 2014-02-24 00:00:00Z
International Service Silent Auction

Silent Auction Raises $2,200 for Malawi, Other Projects 

ImageThe Silent Auction conducted over the last four weeks, under the leadership of Nancy Shawver, co-chair of the International Services Committee, has concluded with $2,200 raised for club beneficiaries, including the Malawi Children's Village and the Plaza Rotary Foundation. More than 40 items were offered in the auction, and Plaza Rotarians were generous in their purchases, with bids averaging more than $50 per item.


To find out if you're a winning bidder, check the listing under the "Download Files" section on the left. It's up to the winner to reach out to the donor to coordinate pick-up or arrangements for receiving your purchase. Winning bidders should bring cash or checks (payable to Plaza Rotary Foundation) to this week's meeting, or mail checks to Club Treasurer Drue Thomas.


"This is a wonderful example of the ingenuity and generosity of Plaza Rotarians," said Plaza Rotary President Debra Anderson. " A terrific job was done by the International Service Committee in putting together the auction.  On behalf of the Committee, thank you to all who donated and bid on items for making this a successful Plaza Rotary fundraiser!” In part, the proceeds will be used to provide bicycles ($125 each) and scholarships ($170 each, for a one-year scholarship) for children in Malawi, plus replenishing the funds of the club's Foundation expended to make the club a Global Club at the November 2013 District Foundation Dinner.


Donated items consisted of personal services, meals, Spanish lessons, guided tours, airplane flights,and much more, such as a canoe trip on the Missouri River (Frank Bales), two hours of Spanish tutoring (Jane Brown), golf for four at Milburn CC (Terry Putney), a lesson in home brewing and five gallons (!) of the beer produced (Dan Ryan), a bottle of whiskey (Roger Samuel), a guided bike tour (Allen Jenks), a plane flight over Kansas City (Jim Dockins), and numerous desserts.  

International Service Silent Auction Jerry Venters 2014-02-19 00:00:00Z
Grants Add Muscle for Projects

TRF Grants Put Muscle in Rotary’s Work
Submitted by District Governor-Elect Cassy Venters


Grants are part of what puts muscle behind Rotarians’ work around the world, such as providing clean water for children in Africa (pictured). One of the immediate goals of The Rotary Foundation is to successfully implement Rotary’s New Grant Model, which went into effect on July 1, 2013.  So far, it’s working, with these positive results in the first five months:

  • 497 applications have been made; 232 approvals; 104 grants have been allocated
  • 12 Vocational Training Teams were funded
  • 449 Scholarship have been funded - this is ahead of the pace for the former program.

Processing time for grants is decreasing with goals that, if attained, will put a smile on the face of grant applicants:

  • During the pilot period for the New Grant Model, it took 105 days to process a Global grant; today, it is 53 days, and the goal is for 40 days.
  • During the pilot for the New Grant Model, it took 47 days to process a District grant, today it is 36 days, and the goal is for 10 days.

The power of this aspect of Rotary puts us at the forefront of service organizations.  I am hopeful that more Rotarians will make donations to The Rotary Foundation this year and next and that more of our District 6040 clubs will make applications for grants. Remember: One-half of what we give to the Annual Fund-SHARE comes back to the district for our work in our communities and internationally.

Grants Add Muscle for Projects Jerry Venters 2014-01-29 00:00:00Z
2014-15 Theme Light Up Rotary

Rotary's 2014-15 Presidential Theme: Light Up Rotary

“It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness.” -- ConfuciusImage

With the pop and flash of electronic fireworks, Rotary International President-elect Gary C. K. Huang announced the Rotary presidential theme for 2014-15: Light Up Rotary.  Speaking at the International Assembly in San Diego, Huang, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan, quoted Confucius (above), and added:

"The Rotary way is the Confucius way. The Rotary way is to light a candle. I light one, you light one, 1.2 million Rotarians light one. Together, we light up the world."

Huang addressed the 537 District Governors for 2014-15 and their spouses/partners attending the International Assembly, which is held each year to provide training for the incoming District Governors for all Rotary districts worldwide.  District Governor-elect (DGE) and Plaza Rotarian Cassy Venters,who will take office on July 1, and PDG Jerry Venters attended.  Plaza Rotarian and Rotary International Director Larry Lunsford conducted the opening flag ceremony, flawlessly reading the names of the nearly 200 countries and territories in which Rotary has a presence as their flags were presented.

"The International Assembly is truly inspiring," Cassy said. "At one English-speaking roundtable, DGEs from India, Denmark, Hungary, Canada, Pakistan, Germany, Zambia, Thailand, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the U.S. discussed how to carry out our Rotary programs to do good things in the world. The internationality of Rotary really is inspiring." 

2014-15 Theme Light Up Rotary Jerry Venters 2014-01-22 00:00:00Z
Plaza Club Receives Klinginsmith Cup

Plaza Rotary Receives Klinginsmith Cup, Named a Star Club for 2012-13

The Plaza Rotary Club received the District 6040 Klinginsmith Cup and was recognized as a Star Club for the 2012-13 Rotary Year at last week's District Conference at the Embassy Suites Airport Hotel in Kansas City.  The Klinginsmith Cup is a traveling trophy named in honor of Ray Klinginsmith, a Kirksville Rotarian who served as the President of Rotary International in 2010-11, and is awarded to the Rotary Club in the District that had the highest per capita contribution to the Annual Fund of The Rotary Foundation in the preceding year, plus earning the Presidential Citation.  The per capita contribution for the Plaza Club was $278.79.  The other clubs in the top three in Foundation giving were Eastern Independence ($218.47) and Richmond ($209.88). In 2012-13, Plaza Rotarians contributed $21,745 to the Annual Fund and an overall total of $26,057 to the Foundation, which would include giving to PolioPlus and the Endowment Fund (formerly the Permanent Fund).


This is the second time in the four years since the origination of the Klinginsmith Cup that the Plaza Club has won the award. The Plaza Club won the inaugural award in 2009-10 with per capita giving of $411.26.  The Cup was awarded to Kirksville Thousand Hills in 2010-11 and to Lee's Summit Sunrise in 2011-12.  President Debra Anderson received the Cup from District Foundation Chair John Gill (pictured).  Debra was pinch-hitting for Elizabeth Thomas, our club president in 2012-13, who was at home (anxiously!) awaiting the birth of her and Drue's first child.

The Plaza Club was one of 20 clubs to receive Star Club recognition at the District Conference.  Star Clubs are clubs that contributed an average of $100 or more per member to the Annual Fund of the Foundation.  This is the 6th consecutive year for the club to receive Star Club recognition. Finally, the Plaza Club was one of 21 clubs (plus the Rotaract Club at Park University) to be recognized for earning the Presidential Citation in 2012-13.  Numerous Plazans were active in leadership roles and/or attended the District Conference, and nearly 20 members and spouses attended the Foundation Dinner on Saturday night.  View the picture gallery on the club's Website, www.kcplazarotary.org, in "Photo Albums" on the left side of the Home page.  Congratulations, Plaza Rotarians, for these accomplishments and, more importantly, for the good that your contributions will do in the world!    

Plaza Club Receives Klinginsmith Cup Jerry Venters 2013-11-13 00:00:00Z
Urban Rangers Recognize Plaza Rotary


Urban Ranger Corps Honors Plaza Rotary

The Urban Ranger Corps presented its Pillar of Hope Award to the Plaza Rotary Club at its 4thannual dinner – Urban Rendezvous IV  – last Friday night at the Marriott Hotel downtown. The annual award is presented to an individual or organization that actively provides philanthropic support to the Kansas City 


non-profit community.  The Plaza Rotary Club was chosen this year because of the support it has given to the Urban Ranger Corps and the young men it serves.  Club President Debra Anderson (pictured) accepted the award on behalf of the club and took advantage of the opportunity to tell the nearly 300 people in attendance about some of the good things we as a club and Rotary in general are doing -- from donating to the Urban Rangers and working in Bloch Cancer Park to providing toilets for schools and children in Malawi to helping eradicate polio in the world.  She did us proud!
Plaza Rotarians attending the event were Erik Dickinson (Urban Rangers executive director), Debra and her husband, Steve Bourque, Ed and Arlene Ladegaard, Bob and Molly Merrigan, Will Hodgkinson, and Cassy and Jerry Venters. 

Urban Rangers Recognize Plaza Rotary Jerry Venters 2013-10-28 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotarians at Zones Institute

Plaza Rotarians Take Part in Zones 30-31 Institute

Five Plaza Rotarians, led by Rotary International Director Larry Lunsford, took part in the Rotary Zones 30-31 Institute and future District Governors' training sessions two weeks ago in Lexington, KY.  As the RI Director for Zones 30 and 31 for 2013-15, Larry was the Top Dog, officially referred to as theImageConvener, for the Institute, which was attended by more than 400 Rotarians from the 26 Rotary Districts in the two zones.  The Institute was preceded by two days of training for District Governors (2013-14), District Governors Elect (2014-15), and District Governors Nominee (2015-16) and their spouses/partners.  PDG Elizabeth Usovicz did an outstanding job and won kudos as the Training Chair for the DG-training sessions.

Cassy Venters, District 6040 District Governor Elect, took part in the District Governor Elect training sessions, which included a tour of the Toyota plant in Georgetown, KY and an informational discussion of "Leadership: The Toyota Way."  PDG Jerry Venters was in training as District 6040 First Dude in 2014-15, and Jeff Deatherage manned a display booth for Shelter Box and attended a Saturday session for emerging Rotary leaders.  These five Rotarians represented the Plaza Club with distinction and we're proud of their work for Rotary. (Pictured: The "Plaza Five" on an outing to the Kentucky Horse Park and Museum.  That's Secretariat in the background.)

Quote of the week (from a speaker talking about teaching deaf children to read):  "If life made sense, men would ride sidesaddle."

Plaza Rotarians at Zones Institute Jerry Venters 2013-10-02 00:00:00Z
Eradicating Polio is Good Investment
Eradicating Polio: A Good Investment

Although the global investment in a polio-free world exceeds $9 billion, an independent study published in the medical journal Vaccine estimates the net economic benefits to be $45 to $50 billion over the next 20 years.  Of course, the return on eradicating a disease forever and preventing the suffering of countless children [and their families] is impossible to calculate.  

(Quoting Rotary Foundation General Secretary John Hewko in The Rotarian).

Eradicating Polio is Good Investment Jerry Venters 2013-09-11 00:00:00Z
Rotary Not Like Baseball

Why we don’t want Rotary to be like baseball

David Postic at the 2011 Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in New Orleans.

By David Postic, a member of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, and a member of the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Baseball is a sport so historically beloved in the United States that it is called “America’s pastime.” Yet few Americans I know actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Why? Because when you really look at the game, it can seem slow, boring, and it can get old pretty quickly. Most people love theidea of baseball; they just don’t love watching it.

Similarly, there are many young people out there (like me) who love the idea of Rotary. But when you really look at any given Rotary club it can seem, well, slow and boring. 

I had the luxury of growing up around Rotarians, so when I see Rotary I see something groundbreaking, something transformational. Yet of all the Rotary meetings I have been to, never once have I heard someone say, “Did you know that, through Rotary, you can change the world?” That is Rotary’s most powerful message, and it is the one young people need to hear. And if they do not hear it, I can guarantee you they will not be engaged in Rotary.
Generation gap
The problem boils down to this: there can sometimes be a generational gap in Rotary clubs. There are older Rotarians who see it as a social club and younger people who see it as a retirement home. As a result many young people choose not to join those old clubs and instead form new ones. New clubs are by no means bad things, but when all the young people are creating new clubs the math says those old clubs will eventually die.
How do we fix this problem? As a near expert on 22-year-olds, allow me to offer two pieces of advice for any Rotary club looking to recruit young people like me:
First, wake up. If your meetings or service projects are not more exciting than going to the mall, watching the latest episode of American Idol, or even spending an hour on Facebook, young people will not be engaged and they will not join. Get out into the community and serve. Develop innovative projects that truly make a difference. Writing checks is not enough to keep us interested.
Second, let go of your club. Give up control. People my age want to feel like they are making an impact. Give young members responsibilities. Listen to their ideas. Most importantly, make them the leaders and let them change things. If you make it a habit to continuously evolve as a club, you will continue to engage young people and flourish. And when clubs flourish, Rotary flourishes. It is as simple as that.

Rotary is a great idea, and I want to be a part of it. There are millions and millions of young people like me who want to be a part of it too. But as long as Rotary, like baseball, seems to be slow and boring, what reason do we have to join? If you want to engage young Rotarians, wake up and let go. We think that’s awesome.

Rotary Not Like Baseball Jerry Venters 2013-08-21 00:00:00Z
KC Rotaractor's Convention Report

RI Convention:  KC Rotaractor's Life Is Changed
By Derrick Idleburg, Jr.

(Editor's Note:  The Kansas City Rotary Club and the Plaza Rotary Club contributed funds to help a member of the new Rotaract club, Rotaract KC, attend the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, in June.  This is his report.  To see pictures, go to the Club Website under Photo Albums.)

There and back again.  My name is Derrick Idleburg Jr., and I had the privilege, honor, and opportunity to attend this year's Rotary International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal in June. I have to sincerely thank the Plaza Club and Club 13 for their support in helping make this trip possible as well as my Rotaract Club for nominating me for this opportunity. This was actually my first trip overseas, and I will never, ever forget it.

The Convention.  I never expected to meet so many people to be so excited about giving back and making a difference. It definitely rubbed off on me. From hearing talks with Jane Goodall, Emmanual Jal, Craig Keilburger and participating in intriguing lectures, sessions and idea exchanges about how to really effect change, I was blown away. I’ll be honest with you. Prior to joining Rotaract and helping establish this club, I thought that Rotary was a club that established people with money joined to say they give back by providing their money, not their time or their sweat. Well, I was wrong. This conference helped completely change my perceptions of Rotary, and commit to it, and its betterment moving forward. 

Timing is everything.  The timing of this trip truly was perfect. About two days prior to taking the trip overseas, I was laid off from my employer.Devastating, right? Well, it depends on how you look at it. You have one of two choices when something happens -- you can respond or react.chose to respond. I’ll spare the details, but I was able to go on this trip with a completely clear, open mind and heart so that I could truly take in what the conference had to offer, along with what the beautiful country I was in had to offer. I definitely took it in every chance that I could. (At right: Derrick Idleburg, Jr., second from right, with new friends in Lisbon.)

Sometimes all you need is a good pair of shoes and a map.  A nice pair of dress shoes never hurts as well. From the conference, I was able to gain some massive insights about myself, including rediscovering latent skills that I let go dormant as well as areas for improvement. I learned what Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact truly is and wondered why I hadn’t joined sooner! I made some great new friends that I will cherish, but most of all I got lost. Aside from literally getting lost in Portugal (I walked around every inch of that city I could when I had free time), I lost myself. The old version of myself. I returned someone renewed, refreshed and ready to really dive into what I really wanted. Ok, so maybe I didn’t need a map. I created my own blueprint. It isn’t without hiccups, but I love it more than what I was doing prior to this trip. I like to count June 19th, 2013 as the first day of the rest of my life. 

KC Rotaractor's Convention Report Jerry Venters 2013-08-14 00:00:00Z
Elizabeth Usovicz Receives CMS Award

Elizabeth Usovicz Receives Foundation's Citation for Meritorious Service

Elizabeth Usovicz, a Past District Governor of District 6040 and a Plaza Rotarian, was presented The Rotary Foundation's Citation for Meritorious Service at theDistrict 6040 Changing of the Guard ceremonies recently. The award recognizes Rotarians who have given outstanding active service to the Foundation through Foundation committees and participation in Foundation grants and programs. Elizabeth has served as the District's Grants Committee Chair for the last several years. Only one individual per district can receive this award each year. Since 2000, only four District 6040 Rotarians have received the recognition. Elizabeth joins Larry Lunsford as the only Plaza Rotarians to receive this distinction. 


In presenting the award, 2012-13 District Governor Kenny Harris called Elizabeth one of his Rotary heroes. “I am always amazed at the dedication to Rotary she has.  She works tirelessly for our district with the Grants program.  She will take the time out of her very busy schedule to work one-on-one with clubs to ensure the Grant process is viable and accurate.  She gives her time and talents to Show Me Rotary (PETS/SETS), and at Zone Institute (which trains Governors-Elect and Governors-Nominee) as well as being active at International Assembly.  Elizabeth truly lives our motto, Service Above Self.” 

Congratulations, Elizabeth!  We're proud of you!

Elizabeth Usovicz Receives CMS Award Jerry Venters 2013-08-11 00:00:00Z
We Amigos Levy Fines

We Amigos: Keeping Order, Levying Fines
By Jim Lloyd, One of the Amigos

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to keep and/or restore order among the members of the Plaza Rotary Club at their regular Friday morning meetings, it shall be the duty of the Sergeants-at-Arms, a/k/a We Amigos, to levy fines at their discretion.   So as not to appear to be wielding this authority in an arbitrary manner, the Amigos have asked that this notice be posted on the club website for all to read at their convenience.

ImageWhat follows is a partial list of the offenses for which the Amigos -- especially if they have not had enough coffee and are feeling grumpy -- are likely to issue fines.  Other “offenses” will no doubt be made up as the year goes along.  Remembering that all fines will go to The Rotary Foundation’s polio eradication effort, PolioPlus, members are encouraged to accept their fines in a spirit of fun and good cheer.  (For a complete list of the Amigos' "finable offenses," click on "2013-14 Plaza Club Finable Offenses" under Download Files in the left panel.)

Members who would like to enjoy their Friday mornings without having to wonder if they have a few bucks left in their wallets at the end of the week are encouraged to prepay their fines by becoming a Centurion.  Centurions give $100 at the beginning of the Rotary year and are exempt from fines (but not harassment) for the remainder of that year.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, we are really sorry about that.  (Editor’s comment:  Yeah, right!!)

We Amigos Levy Fines Jerry Venters 2013-07-31 00:00:00Z
2012-13 Accomplishments

Take a Bow!  A Look at Our 2012-13 Accomplishments

In case you weren't watching closely last Rotary year, the Plaza Club -- that means you Rotarians -- accomplished a lot in 2012-13. Under the leadership of President Liz Neufeld-Elizabeth Thomas (right), who changed not one but two names during the year, we once again achieved the Presidential Citation and were among the leaders in District 6040 in contributing to The Rotary Foundation.  Some of the numbers:
  • More than $11,662 in donations to the Foundation
  • Built four pit latrines for students in Malawi ($7,162)
  • Raised $2,622 in KC Day paper sales and donated $1,206 to the Urban Rangers Corps
  • Contributed $1,888 for disaster relief (NY, OK, CT)
  • Dropped $4,165 in the Change for Charity hat, supporting the work of the International Service Committee ($1,250), Community Service ($1,250), New Generations ($1,250), and the Plaza Rotary Foundation ($415) 
  • Conducted six hands-on service projects and had four after-hours social events
  • Helped send four students to RYLA
  • Co-sponsored the start-up and chartering of a new Rotaract club
  • Had three off-site vocational visits and presented two Vocational Service awards
  • Donated 580 pairs of shoes to the Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign

Congratulations, Plaza Rotarians, on another great year of service to our community and our world!  (To see photos of the year's activities, check out the Photo Album, 2012-13 Year in Review, on the left side.)

2012-13 Accomplishments Jerry Venters 2013-07-24 00:00:00Z
Latest Gates Challenge for Rotarians

A New Gates Challenge for Rotarians
In Campaign to Eradicate Polio

At the Rotary International Convention last month in Lisbon, the Gates Foundation announced yet another challenge to Rotary and Rotarians worldwide in the fight to eradicate polio:  “Going forward, the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to $35 million per year, every dollar Rotary commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through 2018,” said Jeff Raikes, the foundation’s chief executive officer, in a prerecorded video address shown during the convention’s plenary session on June 25. “If fully realized, the value of this new partnership with Rotary is more than $500 million. In this way, your contributions to polio will work twice as hard" 

ImageThe joint effort, called End Polio Now – Make History Today, comes during a critical phase for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative . The estimated cost of the initiative’s 2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan is $5.5 billion.  Funding commitments, announced at the Global Vaccine Summit in April, total $4 billion, leaving a funding shortfall of $1.5 billion. Unless the $1.5 billion funding gap is met, immunization levels in polio-affected countries will decrease. And if polio is allowed to rebound, within a decade, more than 200,000 children worldwide could be paralyzed every year.  (Photo at left: A banner publicizes polio immunizations in Bihar, India, an area of high polio risk. Such banners are funded in part by Rotary's PolioPlus program.)

Rotary and the Gates Foundation are determined not to let polio make a comeback.  “We will combine the strength of Rotary’s network with our resources, and together with the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), we will not just end a disease but change the face of public health forever,” said Raikes.

 In 2007, the Gates Foundation gave The Rotary Foundation a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, and in 2009, increased it to $355 million. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funds by 30 June 2012, but Rotarians in fact raised $228.7 million toward the challenge.  “Now is the time for us all to take action: Talk to your government leaders, share your polio story with your social networks, and encourage others to join you in supporting this historic effort,” Raikes added. “When Rotarians combine the passion for service along with the power of a global network, you are unstoppable, and the Gates Foundation is proud to partner with you. Let’s make history and End Polio Now.”Endgame strategy

Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration at the World Health Organization -- a GPEI partner -- said that the finish line for polio eradication is in sight, but cautioned that “it is one thing to see the finish line; it is another to cross it.”  Sharing details of the latest polio eradication strategic plan, he said the plan is historic in finally setting out the endgame, the final steps needed to wipe out polio.  “We now have the plan to complete the program of PolioPlus,” Aylward said. “And we have the backing of you, Rotarians around the world, to get the job done.”


Latest Gates Challenge for Rotarians Jerry Venters 2013-07-11 00:00:00Z
Malawi Latrines Project Completed

Latrines Project Completed in Malawi

ImageNearly 8,400 school children in four villages in Malawi will benefit from the construction of four new latrines for boys and girls at their schools, thanks to the Plaza Rotary Club, Malawi Children's Village (MCV), the Rotary Club of Limbe, and The Rotary Foundation.  Construction was completed shortly before the end of June.  The latrines not only improve the health and sanitation conditions at the schools, but they also help improve education because children (especially the girls) are more likely to attend school where there are adequate toilets. 

The latrines ended up costing just over $7,500, instead of the $7,162 that had been projected, because of an unfavorable currency exchange rate.  The Plaza Club contributed roughly $4,500 to the project, much of that coming from the Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament last fall.  District 6040 approved a District Simplified Grant (DSG) for $2,662 for the project.  Funding for DSGs comes from contributions made by District 6040 Rotarians to The Rotary Foundation.  (For more photos, see the "Malawi Latrines Project" Photo Album in the left panel.)

The project was spearheaded by the International Service Committee, chaired in 2012-13 by Koji Watanabe.  He received a big assist from Bill Schmidt, a member of the Board of Directors of MCV, and numerous Plaza Rotarians who supported the fundraising efforts and made signs for the latrines. Congratulations, Plaza Rotarians, for a job well done!

Malawi Latrines Project Completed Jerry Venters 2013-07-10 00:00:00Z
Check Presented to Urban Rangers

Check Presented to Urban Rangers Corps

ImageAt the club's meeting on June 21, Treasurer Drue Thomas presented a check for $1206 to Erik Dickinson, Executive Director of the Urban Rangers Corps and a member of the Plaza Rotary Club, representing the funds raised by the club through newspaper sales and donations on KC Day on April 8.  As noted above, the Urban Rangers work to prepare at-risk inner city youth for productive adult lives through summer work projects and educational assistance. This summer, Eric is hopeful that the program can be expanded to take in 7th and 8th graders (an additional cost of $20,000) and that the Corps can purchase new lawn care equipment to expand their work in low-income neighborhoods.  (Pictured, from left: Drue, Eric, and Najee Clarkson, Jr., a student at University Academy and an Urban Ranger.)
Check Presented to Urban Rangers Jerry Venters 2013-06-25 00:00:00Z
Primary Beneficiaries Chosen

Urban Rangers, Shelter Box Chosen as Primary Beneficiaries

In voting by Plaza Rotarians earlier this month, the Urban Rangers Corps was chosen as the primary Community Service beneficiary for 2013-14 and Shelter Box was chosen as the primary International Service beneficiary.  As primary beneficiaries, they will receive the first contributions raised through the club's fundraising efforts in the coming year.  The Urban Rangers work to prepare at-risk inner city youth for productive adult lives through summer work projects and educational assistance.  Shelter Box was started in 2000 by a Rotary club in England and provides relief to disaster victims by providing large green boxes containing a tent for 10 persons, cooking equipment, and tools to enable them to have shelter and warmth while disaster recovery takes place.  The Urban Rangers Corps was nominated by Jerry Venters and Shelter Box was nominated by Jeff Deatherage.

The runners-up in the club voting will also receive assistance from the club as funds permit. The runners-up were Cristo Rey High School, Hope House, Harvesters, Niles Home for Children, and Ozanam in Community Service, and Malawi Children's Village and Engineers Without Borders in International Service. "All of these charity beneficiaries are very deserving of our support," 2013-14 President Debra Anderson said.  "Hopefully, through our Plaza Rotary Foundation, we can provide smaller grants to those that weren't selected as the primary beneficiaries." 

Primary Beneficiaries Chosen Jerry Venters 2013-06-25 00:00:00Z
Larry Lunsford Installed as RI Director

Larry Lunsford Installed as RI Director

ImageLarry Lunsford, the Plaza Rotary Club's first member to be elected to the Rotary International Board of Directors, was officially installed as one of the 17 RI Directors earlier this week at the Rotary International convention in Lisbon, Portugal.  Larry, who served as President of the Plaza Club in 2001-02, has served in numerous leadership capacities at the District and Zones levels over the years, and richly deserves to serve as Director.  In his two-year term, Larry will represent Rotarians and Rotary clubs in Zones 30-31, which covers districts from Ohio to Missouri and Illinois to Alabama.  Larry has promised to give us frequent updates on the latest developments in the Rotary world.  We're proud of you, Larry!  (Pictured at right: Cara, Trent, Jill and Larry)

Larry Lunsford Installed as RI Director Jerry Venters 2013-06-25 00:00:00Z
Classification Conundrum

Clarifying the Classification Conundrum
By Bob Merrigan

Well, okay. “Conundrum” may be a bit of a stretch, but at least it’s alliterative.

ImageHistorically, membership in Rotary was limited to one member from each classification of business … and those classifications were predetermined. Over the years, those standards have become less rigid. For example, there’s no longer a predetermined list of classifications. In fact, clubs are encouraged to create their own classification lists, and allowed to set their own standards on whether multiple members in any classification will be allowed.

Our club bylaws state:

“Before proposing a prospective member for membership, the sponsor shall contact the club membership/classification chair, in writing, to see if proposed classification is open. If the same or similar classification is filled by an active member(s), the classifications chair/vice-president contacts those members to ensure there are no objections to an additional member in the classification.”

If you look broadly at our current membership, our mix of classifications is as follows:

Attorney/Legal - 10
Architect/Engineer - 7
Fundraising/Not-for-Profit - 7
Advertising/PR/Marketing - 5
Banking/Finance - 5
Education/Training - 5
Business Services - 3
Consulting -3
Insurance - 3
Manufacturing - 3
Sales - 3
Financial Services - 3
CPA - 2
Energy - 2
Real Estate/Development - 2
Government - 2
Health Care - 2
Commercial Maintenance - 1
Remodeling - 1

Within some of these classifications, there are more specifically defined classifications. For example, among those in the legal profession we have:

Attorney - Litigation
Attorney-Federal Prosecutor
Attorney - Agribusiness
Attorney - Construction Law
Attorney-Product Liability
(just to name a few).

Why does it matter, you ask?  If we were a business networking organization, the guidelines would be in place to protect members’ interests and prevent competition.  We’re not … and that’s not the objective here. Our goal is to encourage diversity within the club, to try to include a range of interests and perspectives. The legal industry has its own professional associations (as do engineering, fundraising, marketing, etc.) and we don’t need to replicate them.

So, as you consider individuals who might be a valuable addition to (and likely to enjoy and benefit from) the Plaza Rotary Club, think outside the immediate circle of colleagues in your profession.  And, think of gaps in the list above. A doctor, maybe? A genetic researcher? The owner of a lawn care company?

But please, do give it some thought!

Classification Conundrum Jerry Venters 2013-06-19 00:00:00Z
Vocational Trip to Nelson-Atkins

An Inside Look at the Nelson-Atkins

ImageFrom boilers and chillers to sophisticated lighting and filtering systems, about a dozen Plaza Rotarians and partners got the inside scoop on June 6 on how the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum operates, and an interesting scoop it was!  Two groups of Rotarians spent more than an hour inside the walls and under the floors of the museum to see how the temperature and humidity are controlled, how harmful chemicals can be captured from the air, and how the lighting 

system works in the Bloch Building.  Those who made the tours were Greg Vining, Elizabeth Usovicz and Dean Mathewson, Bo Steed, Nancy Shawver, Frances Reddis, Tommy Avenia and his wife, Steve Johnston, and Cassy and Jerry Venters.  Special thanks to Karin Jones and Greg Vining for arranging a really fun and interesting vocational visit!  

Vocational Trip to Nelson-Atkins Jerry Venters 2013-06-13 00:00:00Z
Work Begins on Malawi Project

ImageWork Has Begun on Project in Malawi!

The work to build four brick latrines for village primary schools in Malawi has begun, thanks to the Club's hands-on work and fundraising efforts and with the help of a District Simplified Grant (DSG) from District 6040.  The latrines are to be finished by the end of June.  The total cost of the project is expected to be about $7,162, with $2,662 coming from the DSG and the balance, $4,500, coming from the Plaza Club.

While this is far from a glamorous international project, the latrines will greatly benefit the Malawian students and villagesnear Mangochi, Malawi.  The latrines not only improve health and sanitation, but they also help to provide an education for the village children.  Malawi Children's Village, which is assisting with the project along with the Rotary Club of Limbe, has found that girls often do not go to school in the villages because of the lack of toilets. Several Plaza Rotarians worked recently to make gender signs for the toilets as part of the club's hands-on work requirement.  Those who helped

Imageproduce signs included Elizabeth Thomas, Allen Jenks, Bill Schmidt, Koji Watanabe, Bo Steed, Frank Bales, Elizabeth Usovicz, Jennifer Kyle and her husband Patrick, Tom Bradshaw and his daughter Sarah, Dave Bahner, Karen Eppler, Jim Lloyd and Therese McGill.

Special kudos to Bill Schmidt and Koji Watanabe, International Service Committee Chair, for shepherding this project to a successful conclusion!

Work Begins on Malawi Project Jerry Venters 2013-06-13 00:00:00Z
Shoes, Shoe, Shoes

Plaza Rotarians Top 6,000 in Donated Shoes!


Rotarians across District 6040 have collected 11,332 pairs of shoes, 1,315 pairs of socks, and nearly $16,000 (the most cash donations ever) in this year’s 12th annual Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign. Those totals were reported at the "Shoes for Orphan Souls Roll Call" at the District Conference April 27 in Blue Springs, led by Shoes Chairman and Cheerleader Larry Lunsford. The drive ended Saturday, May 4th with a trip through theDistrict by Lunsford and Past District Governor John Gill by 18-wheeler to collect the remaining donations.


Lisa Deatherage, the Plaza Club’s Shoes co-chair with Ed Ladegaard, announced that the Plaza Club had collected 580 pairs of shoes for the shoe drivdrive.  Since the Shoes program was started by Lunsford in 2001, the Plaza Club has contributed just over 6,000 pairs of shoes! District-wide, Rotarians have collected more than 231,000 pairs of shoes and have donated more than $101,000 in cash to the campaign.


Shoes, Shoe, Shoes Jerry Venters 2013-05-06 00:00:00Z
Council on Legislation

COL Increases Dues, Takes Other Actions

Delegates from Rotary’s 532 districts, meeting for the 2013 Council on Legislation in Chicago recentlyImage, approved a $1-a-year increase in per capita dues, removed limits on e-clubs, and changed the name of the Fifth Avenue of Service to Youth Service.

They approved resolutions asking the Board to consider allowing grandchildren of Rotarians to be eligible for Rotary Foundation programs, and to waive the rules for Rotary grants so that family member of Rotarians affected by a natural disaster would be eligible.

During the week, the delegates considered more than 170 pieces of legislation that addressed the policies that govern Rotary International and its member clubs. The council is made up of delegates from all 532 districts around the world and is held every three years.  Past District Governor Jerry Venters, a member of the Kansas City Plaza Club, served as the District 6040 delegate.  (Pictured L to R: Past RI President Ray Klinginsmith from Kirksville, District 6040 Council delegate Jerry Venters, and Robert Ryan, a Council delegate from Kentucky.) 

"It was a real privilege for me to serve as District 6040’s delegate to the Council,” Venters said.  “It was really an interesting week, observing how very different we are culturally, yet how passionately every delegate believes in Rotary and in the work Rotarians are doing.”

The council approved a US$1-a-year increase in per capita dues that clubs pay to Rotary International, starting in 2014-15.

The increase was proposed by the RI Board based on a five-year financial forecast  if there were no dues increase, RI’s deficit would grow to $9 million in 2018 and reduce the General Surplus Fund below the level required in the RI Bylaws.

With the dues increase, the deficit will fall to $5 million in 2018, according to the forecast, and the surplus fund will then stand at $88 million, above the mandated level.

Supporters of the dues increase maintain that it will be sufficient to keep pace with inflation without necessitating cutbacks in service. Dues are the primary source of funding for Rotary’s operations.

The Council action raises Rotary clubs’ annual per capita dues paid to RI to $54 in 2014-15, $55 in 2015-16, and $56 in 2016-17. Dues for 2013-14 are $53, and they have increased $1 a year for the past three years.

In other action during the week, delegates:

·       Approved a measure creating the office of vice governor, who would fill in if the governor becomes unable to serve. The vice governor would be selected by the district's nominating committee from among the district's past governors. 

·       Increased the number of clubs that can take part in pilot projects to 1,000, up from the previous limit of 200. The RI Board uses pilot projects, which last for up to six years, to test new ideas, methods, and organizational frameworks for clubs. Pilot clubs that take part in these experiments are fully functioning Rotary clubs that are exempt from some requirements in the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. 

·       Approved a measure allowing Rotarians outside the United States and Canada to receive an electronic version of their official Rotary regional magazine, if one is available. Rotarians within the United States and Canada were allowed the option of receiving a digital version of The Rotarian by the 2010 Council. 

·       Approved changing the name of Rotary’s Fifth Avenue of Service, currently called New Generations, to Youth Service. The 2010 Council on Legislation approved this avenue of service for youth, which joined Rotary’s Four Avenues of Service (Club, Vocational, Community, and International). The name New Generations was meant to reflect the need to build up the next generation of Rotarians, but proponents of the name change argued on Wednesday that the word “youth” is more universally understood, both inside and outside Rotary, and clarifies the fact that these programs encourage Rotarians to empower youth.

·       Approved allowing a district to have an unlimited number of e-clubs, removing a previous restriction of two e-clubs per district. E-clubs meet electronically, conduct service projects, and sometimes also hold in-person meetings. 

·       Approved a measure, aimed at increasing membership, that provides for satellite clubs, whose members meet at a different time and location from their parent club but who are also considered members of the parent club.

·       Approved a measure allowing participation in club projects to count toward club attendance requirements. The measure amends the Standard Rotary Club Constitution to provide that a member must attend or make up at least 50 percent of club regular meetings or engage in club projects for at least 12 hours in each half of the year, or a combination of both.

·       Removed the travel reimbursement policy from the RI Bylaws. This will enable the RI Board of Directors to develop a policy that is flexible, able to address emergency travel situations, and able to take advantage of cost-saving opportunities.

·       Defeated two measures that would have allowed clubs to meet less frequently. The delegates also rejected a measure that would have allowed a club to cancel six regular meetings a year instead of four, for holidays, the death of a club member, disasters, or other emergencies.

·       Rejected several resolutions that would have asked the RI Board of Directors to grant official recognition to programs that serve a range of different age groups, including EarlyAct, KidAct, and ElderAct.

Full information on the Council’s proceedings can be found on the RI Website, www.rotary.org.



Council on Legislation Jerry Venters 2013-05-06 00:00:00Z
Vocational Service Awards Presented

Vocational Service Awards Presented

Molly Merrigan, a commissioner for the Jackson County Family Drug Court, and Sherri Wattenbarger, a trial attorney in the office of the United States Trustee, were presented last week with the Club's Vocational Service Awards for 2012-13.  The awards recognize non-Rotarians who are active volunteers in the community and who are engaged in "Service Above Self" activities.  Greg Vining, Vocational Service Chair, presented the awards.


In cooperation with lawyers, social workers and child advocates, Molly has helped create one of the country's model drug courts.  Outside of court, she is active in the Association of Women Lawyers, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.  She has served on the board of the Mental Health Association in Kansas City, including two terms as president.  She was nominated by Cassy Venters.  (Shown L to R: Cassy Venters, Elizabeth Thomas, Greg Vining and Molly Merrigan.  Visit "Photo Journals," at left, for more pictures.)

In addition to being a frequent legal seminars speaker, Sherri has been much involved with women's athletic programs in Kansas City.  From 2001-06, she was a member and chair of the Women's Commission, U.S.A. Triathlon, the national governing body for the Olympic sport of triathlon, and she was a founding member of "360 of Giving," a program of the Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City, a program to fund internships for women and girls. She has led food drives at the federal Courthouse and been a key leader in a financial education program for teenagers.  She was nominated by Jerry Venters.

Vocational Service Awards Presented Jerry Venters 2013-04-19 00:00:00Z
Youth Exchange Student's Experience


Youth Exchange: Experience of a Lifetime for Leawood Student

This school year, Kate Morris, a student at Shawnee Mission East High School, is having the experience of a lifetime as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Austria.  In a moving thank-you letter to Rotary District 6040, Kate's mother, Ann, writes:



Dear Rotary District 6040:

Our daughter, Kate Morris, has been in Austria since August as a participant in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. We not only want to thank you for sending her to Austria through your program, but we also would like to explain exactly why we are so grateful to you.

This time last year I was working on the extensive application for the youth exchange program. It was more complex and comprehensive than any college application I’ve ever completed! I learned that the Rotary Club is very careful about screening applicants so that they send abroad only young people who are mature, confident, and flexible enough to make their experience a successful one. Moving to a foreign country where you do not speak the language is a tremendously challenging endeavor that is not a good idea for every teenager. I very much appreciated Rotary’s close attention to Kate’s application and interviews. Everyone involved in the process had Kate’s best interests in mind. They did not approve Kate just because her grandfather, Bob Kroenert, was a member of Rotary Club 13 at the time. They approved her because they believed she was up to the challenge, would have a successful and safe year abroad, and would be a quality representative of Rotary.  (Above: Kate Morris)

Since the day Kate arrived in Krems, Austria, she has been on cloud nine and we have been waiting for the “honeymoon period” to come to an end. We are still waiting! The intensive German language program Kate attended gave her a significant boost at the beginning of her exchange. This language class, plus Kate’s first host family and her high school classes, helped her become 

conversational in German – something she probably would not be even after taking three or four years of German in an American high school. Now that she is living with her second host family, Kate is having no problems communicating in every situation.

With her two host families, Kate has learned to prepare a number of German and Austrian dishes, she has gone skiing in the Austrian Alps, sailed on the Danube River, established lifelong relationships, and had the time of her life. She has also received the care and support she needs to feel comfortable and secure in her homes away from home. The Rotary Youth Exchange officers carefully scrutinize potential host families to make sure they will provide solid homes for their students. We have tried to show our appreciation to these two wonderful families, but how do you properly thank people who are treating your daughter as one of their own and providing for her every need? They even do her laundry! This is something we don’t do for her, so we have been preparing her to embrace chores again upon reentry!


The Rotary program in Austria has managed to take dozens of teens from around the world and bring them together in friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. 

Kate’s best friend in Austria, Laura, is from Colombia (South America, not Missouri)! Kate also has close friends from Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Through Rotary, these students have gotten to go on ski trips, travel in and outside of Austria, and convene in Vienna for a number of fun activities. Many of them, including Kate, will participate in the optional “Eurotour” beginning in May. This is a chance for them to travel to a number of European countries, and Kate can’t wait. (Pictured at left: Kate Morris (on right) with a friend in Austria)

Along with our daughter Elizabeth, we will meet up with Kate in June in Croatia. From there we plan to travel to Vienna and Krems, where we hope to meet Kate’s host families in person. We can hardly wait to see Kate again, but we know not to expect the daughter who left Kansas City last August. We are not entirely sure what to expect, but we know this: When we hug Kate for the first time in ten months, we will be embracing a different person. She has become even more mature, self-assured, and confident than she was last year. She has become nearly fluent in a foreign language, learned to navigate her way through any number of unfamiliar situations, and joined a group of people from around the world in lifetime friendships. She has truly become a citizen of the world, and for all of that we thank Rotary.

Ann and Dan Morris

Youth Exchange Student's Experience Jerry Venters 2013-04-17 00:00:00Z
Newspaper Sales Top $2,600

Plaza Rotary Newspaper Sales Top $2,600!


Warm weather and no rain -- it couldn't have been much better for the 20 Plaza Rotarians, joined by about 25 other volunteers, who hit the street corners Monday morning to collect donations for a special edition of the Kansas City Star and raise funds for the Club 13 Rotary Youth Camp and the Urban Ranger Corps.  The Club collected $2,622.15, topped by $732 raised by the enthusiastic group at 63rd and Ward Parkway (early starters shown in photo).  Our members were joined by volunteers from Confluence, UMB Bank, and Singles Available for Community Service (SACS).  One-half of the collected funds will go to Club 13 to support its Rotary Youth Camp in Lee's Summit, which provides free summer outings for handicapped kids and year-round outdoor activities for Boy and Girl Scouts and other groups.  The other half will go to the Urban Ranger Corps, the Plaza Club's selected beneficiary, to support its summer programs for inner-city teenagers.  This was the 26th annual Greater Kansas City Day, traditionally held on the day of the home opener for the baseball Royals.  It was also one of the best in years for weather and money raised, and the Royals won, too!  Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success.

Newspaper Sales Top $2,600 Jerry Venters 2013-04-10 00:00:00Z
Fundraising Event for Malawi

A Chance to Help Children in Malawi


For several years, the Plaza Rotary Club and individual Plaza Rotarians have been engaged in helping children in Malawi -- from building latrines for schools to providing a heavy-duty sewing machine for women villagers to purchasing anti-malaria bed nets for 37 villages around Lake Malawi.  Much of this humanitarian work has been accomplished through or in cooperation with Malawi Children's Village, a 501(c)(3) organization that has provided extensive support for Malawians over a number of years.  Two Plaza Rotarians -- Bill Schmidt and Elizabeth Usovicz -- serve on the Board of Directors of Malawi Children's Village (MCV).  

On April 19, Bill and Elizabeth and others are hosting a benefit for the children in Mangochi, Malawi. Although this event is not sponsored by the Plaza Rotary Club and the Club will receive none of the proceeds, in light of our long involvement in Malawi and the worthiness of the cause, Plaza Rotarians are encouraged to support and attend this fundraising event.  The event will be held at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St.  Doors open at 6 p.m. Guitarist Darryl Purpose will be the lead performer, and a local group, "Soundz of Africa," will perform on African drums.  A silent auction will feature artifacts and items made in Malawi, and Silpada jewelry will be auctioned. (At right: Darryl Purpose)


Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Web site below or at the door. MCV is non-profit and tax exempt. Proceeds will be used to repair village homes damaged by recent storms, support students in primary and secondary schools, build classrooms (50% of primary students learn sitting outside under a tree), provide health care and public health services, and build latrines at schools. For more information, call Bill Schmidt at 816-977-3853. To purchase tickets or to donate, go to:  http://malawichildrensvillage.org/donate/ .

Fundraising Event for Malawi Jerry Venters 2013-03-29 00:00:00Z
Andrea Sobczyk Service Trip

Rockhurst Student's Service Trip:  Beautiful Places, Amazing Lessons, Incredible People

(Last fall, the Plaza Club's International Service Committee gave $325 to Andrea Sobczyk, a Rockhurst University senior from Omaha, NE to pay 50% of her out-of-pocket expenses for a service trip to the Dominican Republic. More than 90 Rockhurst students will be making international service trips this school year to various Latin American countries.  The University has conducted the service trips for about 15 years.  Here is Andrea's report on her experience.  The students participating in the service trip are shown in the photo.) 

This spring break I traveled to the Dominican Republic with 12 other Rockhurst students. Working with the Institute of Latin American Concern, my group journeyed to a campo called Las Cruces on a mountain two hours outside of Santiago. There we spent the next five days building two latrines, laying two cement floors, and planting over 2,000 coffee plants. While it was gratifying knowing we were helping the community accomplish some of their dreams, the best part was simply living in solidarity with the residents of the campo.


I lived with an older couple, Consuelo and Augustine. I can speak very little Spanish and my host parents didn’t speak any English. Trying to communicate often looked like a game of charades more than a conversation, but despite our lack of words the love I felt from these strangers was real. Every time I walked into the house, my return was celebrated with hugs and kisses. By the first night Consuelo called me hija, daughter, and by the second night, she began telling me she loved me as she kissed my cheek before bed. My host parents never needed to know anything about me in order to accept me. They loved me unconditionally from the moment I stepped into their lives. They taught me what real love is. It isn’t something that is rationed; rather, it is given freely and without conditions or expectations.  (At right, Andrea with a new friend, Esaurie)

I saw so many beautiful places, learned so many amazing lessons, and met incredible people, but none of it would have been possible without the support of the Plaza Rotary Club.  Thank you, Rotarians!  -- Andrea Sobczyk

Andrea Sobczyk Service Trip Jerry Venters 2013-03-27 00:00:00Z
Paul Duffendack - In Memoriam

Paul Duffendack -- A True Rotarian

Paul Duffendack, a Plaza Rotary Club Rotarian for more than 16 years, passed away March 24, 2013 after a long and valiant battle against the complications of amyloidosis, an illness apparently brought on by his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam in the 1960s. Paul, 68, was an architect by classification but a Rotarian by example and heart.  And oh, yes, he was a Kansas State graduate and fan, too! 


Paul was born and reared in Kansas City.  After graduating from Southwest High School and Kansas State University, he joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer.  His service included a year in Vietnam as a military advisor with the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam; he received several medals, including the Bronze Star.  He worked for several Kansas City architectural firms and was a founding trustee of the National Park Trust, a not-for-profit land conservancy, where he was instrumental in the creation of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  He was an avid fisherman, photographer, stamp collector, jazz music lover, runner, carpenter, and much more.  He is survived by his wife, Jan, and two sons, Jon and Steve, Steve's wife Alise Dodds, and two grandchildren, Spencer and Anna.

More than 20 Plaza Rotarians and their spouses attended a moving memorial service on April 5 at the Wesley Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. Donations may be made to either the KSU College of Architecture, Planning and Design or the National Park Trust, both of which were very special to Paul. Rest in peace, Paul!  You will be missed.

Paul Duffendack - In Memoriam Jerry Venters 2013-03-27 00:00:00Z
Beneficiary Nominations Sought

ImageSend In Your Nominations Now For Future Club Beneficiaries

One of the findings to come out of the Club Assemblies held in July 2012 was that choosing the right beneficiaries is critical to fundraising and member participation in hands-on service work.  You told us that you want beneficiaries you can be passionate about.   You also would like the opportunity to provide hands-on service at the organizations where the club makes financial contributions.   There was also consensus that the geographic area around the Plaza should be the target area for Community Service beneficiaries.

We’d like for our future beneficiaries to fit in with the Future Vision Grants critieria.  The Areas of Focus are:

a.     Peace & Conflict Prevention/Resolution
b.     Disease Prevention and Treatment
c.      Water and Sanitation
d.     Maternal and Child Health
e.     Basic Education & Literacy
f.      Economic and Community Development

Give us your ideas.   What charities do you think represent the best focus for our club fundraising efforts?  What charities do you think represent an opportunity for our club to support for the next 3-5 years?  Or what charities do you think would gather the most support from our club members?  A Beneficiary Nominations Form may be found in the "Download Files" section on the left side of the Home page.

The Benefit Study Group is being formed to research and evaluate the options and present their findings to the club.

Please send your nominations to President-elect Debra Anderson at debanderson@me.com.

Beneficiary Nominations Sought Jerry Venters 2013-03-04 00:00:00Z
A Year of Accomplishment

A Year of Accomplishments for Rotary and The Rotary Foundation

By John Hewko, General Secretary

This past year was one of major accomplishments for Rotary and your Rotary Foundation.

Extraordinary progress was made toward the eradication of polio. We made history when India was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries — leaving just Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. A difficult road lies ahead, but thanks to the commitment and generosity of Rotarians and friends, we are confident that Rotary will lead the way toward a polio-free world.

We also expanded Rotary’s reach in new and effective ways by entering into partnerships with Mercy Ships and UNESCO-IHE. And we built on our record of humanitarian service by continuing our strong relationships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Aga Khan University, Oikocredit and the Rotary Peace Centers.

Over half a million young people worldwide participated in our New Generations programs. Their involvement in Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotaract and Interact clubs, and RYLA events helped them develop skills that they’ll need to become service-minded community and global leaders - and future Rotarians.

In 2012, The Rotary Foundation also earned top marks from several independent charity evaluators, including the American Institute of Philanthropy, Charity Navigator and the Wise Giving Alliance.

As we look ahead, we can be proud of all that Rotarians have accomplished. I am pleased to share the digital version of the 2011-12 Rotary International and Rotary Foundation Annual Report (click here), which offers a firsthand look at how Rotarians are working to improve the lives of people in need. I encourage you to review our annual report carefully, and to share it with others who may be interested in joining, partnering with, or donating to Rotary.

Thank you for helping Rotary achieve lasting change in your community and around the world. 


John Hewko
General Secretary
Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation

A Year of Accomplishment Jerry Venters 2013-02-28 00:00:00Z
India's Last Case of Polio

One polio survivor to another:
Meet India’s last polio victim

Polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris meets Rukhsar Khatoon, India's last reported case of polio.

Polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris meets Rukhsar Khatoon, India’s last reported case of polio.

By Ramesh Ferris, a member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

This month, around the second anniversary of India going polio-free, I traveled to southern India to meet my biological father for the first time. Rotary International also arranged for me to meet another special person, Rukhsar Khatoon, who at 13-months of age, contracted the last reported case of polio in India in 2011.

Ever since the polio vaccine became available in 1955, there have been many “lasts” on various continents: a child in Peru in 1991 contracted the last case of polio in the Americas; a child in Cambodia in 1997 had the last case reported in the Pacific region; and Turkey in 1998 reported the last case in Europe.


On the flight from Canada, I was excited to meet young Rukhsar, one polio survivor to another. It took five flights to reach Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, where I was warmly welcomed by Rotarian Rajkumar Rajgaria, one of the millions who have put so much time, energy, and money into a polio-free world. Raj and I joined another dedicated member of the RI PolioPlus staff, Nima, and we drove over an hour to the outskirts of the city.

There concrete gave way to open space, a place beyond which no four-wheel vehicle could go. I was asked to make myself comfortable on the second seat of a motorcycle. I was full of emotion – excitement, nervousness, fear of falling – as I faced my first ever motorcycle ride. But I knew the benefits outweighed the risks, so we pushed on through paddy fields, over small river streams, and by clusters of small shanty houses some distance from one another.

The motorcycle finally came to a stop 20 minutes later before a small pond with a few thatched houses around it. Rukhsar lives in a two-room structure with her parents and two brothers. Within no time, the little courtyard was brimming with people – neighbors, passersby, media.

I took my seat on a plastic chair and Rukhsar sat on my lap, while I talked to her father about her paralysis and its onset. He shared how the flaccidness in her limb began and got worse, her struggle with fever, and how doctors confirmed it was polio. He and his wife had felt helpless and hopeless. I told him my story, showed him my leg brace, and assured him of the possibilities for his daughter, even with polio paralysis. He shared how, after constant visits from Rotarians, he is now part of polio awareness efforts in his village and he uses Rukhsar’s story to convince families reluctant to get their children vaccinated.

Wide-eyed, Rukhsar soaked in the attention with bewilderment. Had she been a bit older, I would have shared my story with her. But after a few minutes, Rukhsar left me unceremoniously to return to her mother. I could see that her polio-affected leg was less scarred than many of us and that she was not yet dependent on a crutch and wasn’t even crawling. I hoped and prayed the after-effects of the paralysis, which get worse with age, will be less severe for her.

Keeping vigilant

After most of the media left, I convinced Rukhsar and her mother to walk toward the pond, leaving the crowd behind. Rukhsar perched on a log with her mother and I, posing for pictures, as we collectively congratulated India on going two years without another reported case of polio. Tucked to her mother’s side, she remained unperturbed as she stood there receiving the attention, before finally looking at the camera innocently as if to say ‘enough.’ So we let her be.

It is up to us to ensure Rukhsar remains the last case in India. India needs to go one more year without a reported case to be certified polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). This calls for vigilance and continued devotion to the cause.

On my return journey, I could not help but think about the significance of this young child, who could serve to strengthen the resolve of the global community and the partners in polio eradication, to push on for a polio-free world even while facing challenges in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I left Kolkata hoping there will soon be a Rukhsar in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Nigeria. And finally, a “last” for the entire earth.

India's Last Case of Polio Jerry Venters 2013-02-19 00:00:00Z
Rotary Theme for 2013-14

Engage Rotary, Change Lives is 2013-14 Theme


“Engage Rotary, Change Lives” will be the Rotary theme for 2013-14, under the leadership of Ron Burton, an Oklahoma Rotarian who will serve as RI President in 2013-14.  “If we really want to take Rotary service forward…we need to make sure that every Rotarian has a meaningful role to play, that they're all making a contribution, and that their contribution is valued," Burton said in announcing the theme at the International Assembly in San Diego in January.  The International Assembly is where the 537 District Governors-elect from around the world receive training for their year as Governor.

Burton said the July launch of The Rotary Foundation’s new grant model, called Future Vision, makes it an exciting time to be a Rotarian. He said the new grant model, which has been used by about 100 pilot districts since 2010, represents a new era for the Foundation, and will help Rotarians get excited about Rotary’s ability to change lives.

Rotary Theme for 2013-14 Jerry Venters 2013-02-16 00:00:00Z
Shoes Kickoff

Let the Shoe-Buying Begin for Orphans in Dominican Republic!

It's official!  Larry Lunsford, Plaza Rotarian and Shoes Cheerleader extraordinaire, has officially “kicked off”  District 6040's 12th Annual shoes collection.

The shoes collected this year will go to the Dominican Republic, where District 6040 clubs are working on several projects.   The annual SHOES ROLL CALL OF CLUBS will be conducted on April 27th at the District Conference in Blue Springs. The present plan is to have the Shoes Caravan the following week (see related story, below).

Lisa Deatherage and Ed Laadegard are serving as the Shoes co-chairs for the Plaza Rotary Club this year.  Be alert for their unique promotions in the coming weeks. 


Larry says:  "Let the shoe-buying season begin for the orphans of our world."


Shoes Kickoff Jerry Venters 2013-02-02 00:00:00Z
Ron Holt Scales Mt. Kili

Ron Holt Raises $35,000 for Water Wells

Ron Holt, former South Platte Rotary Club president, has raised more than $35,000 to build water wells in east Africa with his recent climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Ron, who spoke to our club last July about the upcoming climb, reports that he reached the 19,341-foot summit on January 16,


"with the help of my guide carrying my pack for the last 2000 feet of the ascent and with some divine strength to keep me going."  Ron is now seeking to raise funds for a well for several Masai villagers that he and his wife visited visited in Tanzania.  Contributions may be made to WorldServe International online at  http://www.kiliclimb.org/climbers/ron-holt/ or bycheck sent to Ms. Teresa Murtland at Africa 6000 International, 12425 West 23rd Street, Erie, PA 16506.

Photo at right: Ron reaches the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro  

Ron Holt Scales Mt. Kili Jerry Venters 2013-02-02 00:00:00Z
Holiday Greetings!

Holiday Greetings from the Plaza Rotary Club!!


Holiday Greetings! Jerry Venters 2013-01-01 00:00:00Z
Shoe Drives in District 6040

Reprinted from Buckner Today, Summer 2012 Issue

There Are Shoe Drives, and Then There is the District 6040 Shoe Drive
Story by Scott Collins, Buckner International

(Buckner Editor’s Note:  For 11 consecutive years, Rotary District 6040 in Missouri has collected shoes for Shoes for Orphan Souls.  For the past three years, the shoes have been collected throughout the district in a “shoes caravan.”  In 2012, Buckner vice president of communications and Macon, Missouri, native Scott Collins tagged along on the caravan to capture the spirit and excitement of the Rotarians.)

There are shoe drives, and then there is the Missouri shoe drive.  For 12 years, Buckner has prompted and promoted the idea of organizations hosting and holding shoe “drives” – campaigns to collect shoes for Shoes for Orphan Souls, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International.

But three years ago, Larry Lunsford and John Gill decided to take the idea literally.  The pair organized a Shoe Caravan, driving an 18-wheeler across Rotary District 6040 and picking up shoes donated by local Rotary clubs.  Gill, who was the district governor that year, along with Lunsford, the originator of the district’s involvement with Buckner and the organization’s annual “shoes cheerleader,” canvassed and crisscrossed northwest Missouri, from Kansas City to the north central part of the state and back home.

Gill donated and drove the tractor to pull the trailer and Lunsford organized the intricate details of the trip.  A friend of Gill, Mark Mathis, donated the trailer through his company, Vanguard.  At nearly every stop, Rotarians are joined by local media and volunteers who hoist the shoes into the back of the truck in a spirit that is part competitive and part giddiness.  Rotarians at each stop want to know how many shoes the previous stop produced and, in the end, everyone is excited by the grand total.

The caravan stops at town squares, truck stops, shopping centers, and even a dry cleaners.  With shoes coming from Unionville and Memphis to Gallatin and Chillicothe, the truck slowly fills up before Gill and Lunsford turn for Lee’s Summit, a Kansas City suburb hosting this year’s district conference.

On Saturday morning, as the roll call of clubs takes place, the scene in reminiscent of an old-time political convention, with representatives from each club proudly announcing the total number of shoes, socks, and case raised, punctuated with a note of pride about the community itself.

When the roll call was over the back of the truck closed on the 2012 drive, 14,292 pairs of shoes, 1,415 pairs of socks, 18 pairs of shoelaces, and well over $12,000 in cash had been collected and was sent to Buckner in Dallas.  Since the district’s first drive in 2001, a total of 221,737 pairs of shoes have been donated to Shoes for Orphan Souls, along with nearly $90,000 in cash.  According to independent fundraising standards, the total value of Rotary District 6040’s contributions the past 11 years exceeds $4.5 million, with no sign of letting up.

Shoe Drives in District 6040 Jerry Venters 2012-12-15 00:00:00Z
Rockhurst Scholarship presentation

Plaza Rotary Presents Check to Support International Service Trip

The International Services Committee presented a $325 check recently to Andrea Sobczyk, a Rockhurst University senior from Omaha, Neb., to pay 50% of her out-of-pocket expenses for an upcoming service trip to Honduras. More than 90 Rockhurst students will be making international service trips this school year to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries.  The University has conducted the service trips for about 15 years.  Mike Theobald (right), career services officer at Rockhurst and a Plaza Rotarian, presented the check to Andrea.  Mike has made seven trips as a faculty sponsor, including five trips to Guatemala and one to Nicaragua, but he isn't scheduled -- yet! -- to go this school year.  Bill Kreige (left), Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, coordinates the service trips.  


Rockhurst Scholarship presentation Jerry Venters 2012-12-12 00:00:00Z
Ride to End Polio

"Ride to End Polio" Raises More Than $375,000 for Polio Eradication

Ninety Rotarian cyclists from clubs throughout the United States took part in the El Tour de Tucson on 17 November in Arizona, raising more than US$375,000 for polio eradication.

RI General Secretary John Hewko and his wife, Marga, were among the Rotarians, friends of Rotary, and family members who hit the pavement along with 9,000 riders from around the world in the charity bike ride, sponsored by the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, completing distances of 42, 60, 85 or 111 miles. The Hewkos also exceeded their goal of $111,000 in pledges, raising more than $200,000 for the ride.

Rotarians have been taking part in the ride since 2009, when the End Polio Now campaign was designated an official beneficiary of the race, allowing Rotary to enroll cyclists to gather pledges for the campaign. In that first year, 27 cyclists raised $35,000. The number has grown steadily since.

Since 1985, Rotary and its global polio eradication partners have spearheaded the effort to rid the world of the crippling disease. Cases have dropped to an all-time low -- there were fewer than 200 worldwide in 2012 as of 31 October – and only Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria remain polio-endemic.  But a $700 million funding shortfall for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative threatens to impede progress. Already the funding gap has curtailed scheduled immunization activities in polio-affected countries. If eradication fails and polio rebounds, up to 200,000 children per year could be paralyzed.

Learn how you can still contribute to the ride.

Ride to End Polio Jerry Venters 2012-11-23 00:00:00Z
Harvesters Work Day Nov 2012

Anyone Care for an Apple?  Plaza Rotarians Pack 470 Boxes for Harvesters

Twelve Plaza Rotarians and eight family members had a great time packing apples for the Harvesters backpack program on Saturday morning, November 12.  The hard working packers packed 470 boxes of apples, which, according to arithmetic guru Terry Berkbuegler contained 11, 750 apples!  Those participating in the Community Service project were: Debra Anderson, Rich Moeller (plus 4 family members), Bob Latz, Don Pellow, Chris Stucky (+1), Ann Leabo (+1), Abbie Rothermich (+1), Tommy Avenia, Terry Berkbuegler (+1), Wes Rogers, Bill Schmidt, and Denise Holt.  ImageThanks, Plaza Rotarians and family members, for carrying out a great service project!

For more pictures, Check out the Photo Journal at left.

Harvesters Work Day Nov 2012 Jerry Venters 2012-11-10 00:00:00Z
McCoy Selected for GSE Team

Earnest McCoy Selected for 2013 Group Study Exchange Team to Brazil

Written by Jerry Venters

Earnest McCoy, who was sponsored by the Plaza Rotary Club, has been selected to be a member of the District 6040 Group Study Exchange team that will be going to BraziImagel in May-June 2013.  Earnest graduated from Villanova University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and is an engineer with Honeywell FM&T.  He is engaged to our fellow Rotarian, Adriann Sullivan.

“Although I have spent time learning about Brazilian culture on my own, nothing beats being able to travel to the country and experience the culture first hand,” Earnest wrote in his application.  “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to experience Rotary on an international level and represent our Missouri Rotary District 6040 in Brazil.”

Earnest was one of four young professionals (ages 25-40) who were selected for the team last week by the District 6040 GSE Subcommittee chaired by Allen Garner of the Independence Rotary Club.  The team will be led by Sandra Eckert-Stewart, a member of the Lee’s Summit Rotary Club.

“Thank you to the Plaza Rotary Club for sponsoring me,” Earnest said after his selection.  “I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all upon my return!”

Earnest’s selection continues a tradition of GSE involvement for the Plaza Club, which has sponsored numerous GSE team members in recent years and counts several GSE alumni among its members.

McCoy Selected for GSE Team Jerry Venters 2012-11-05 00:00:00Z
Plaza Club Receives Awards

Plaza Rotary Club Receives Awards at Foundation Dinner

The Plaza Rotary Club received two important recognitions at the 13th annual District 6040 Foundation Dinner on Nov. 3 at the KCI Expo Center.

The Plaza Club was one of only 18 clubs in the District to be designated as a Star Club for 2011-12.  The Star Club designation is given to all clubs that contribute an average of $100 or more per meImagember to the Annual Programs Fund of The Rotary Foundation.  The Plaza Club has received the designation every year since the recognition was begun six years ago.

Also, the Plaza Club was recognized as the No. 3 club in the district for per capita giving to the Foundation in 2011-12, with contributions of $194 per member.   The Lee’s Summit Sunrise Club had the highest per capita giving at $383, followed by the Richmond Club at $200.  Immediate Past President Beth Bahner accepted both awards from Mark Simcosky, District Annual Giving Chair.

The Lee’s Summit Sunrise Club, home of last year’s District Governor, Dan Hall, received the Ray Klinginsmith Trophy, a travelling trophy that is presented to the club with the highest per capita contributions to the Foundation and that also earns the Presidential Citation.  The Plaza Club received the Klinginsmith Cup in its inaugural year in 2009-10.

The Plaza Club was one of just seven District 6040 clubs to be designated a Peace Club for contributing an extra $2,000 to The Rotary Foundation and in support of the Foundation Dinner.  Overall, the Foundation Dinner, which was attended by 250 Rotarians and their partners and friends, raised $31,667.19 for the Foundation. "We need to pat ourselves on the back and be extremely proud of our efforts," District Governor Kenny Harris said. "Because of this event, we sent lifesaving medicines to those who are ill, provided clean water to a village so their children won’t get sick, given opportunities through a micro-credit program, and most importantly – we have given HOPE to those who feel there is none."

Congratulations, Plaza Rotarians!!

Plaza Club Receives Awards Jerry Venters 2012-11-04 00:00:00Z
Poker Tournament October 2012

4th Annual Poker Tournament Draws

Small but Spirited Crowd

Written by Jerry Venters

Flushes, pairs, and straights, pulled pork sandwiches and baked beans, neat silent auction items, cold beer and scotch – they were all there at the 4th annual Plaza Rotary Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Friday night (Oct. 19) at Visitation Church.


The turnout was light but the action was hot and heavy in the fundraiser for the club’s international service project that will provide money to build latrines at elementary schools in Malawi, under the direction of Malawi Children’s Village.  Latrines at the schools are either nonexistent or in such deplorable condition that many girls don’t go to school.  The lack of latrines also contributes to contamination of groundwater and the spread of disease. It costs approximately $1,500 to provide a new facility for boys and about $3,000 to provide one for girls.

Sheldon Cook, a friend of Greg Vining, was the top poker player – or was he just the luckiest? – of the night and walked away with the $300 top prize.  Plaza Rotarians Drue Thomas and Wes Rogers claimed the $200 and $100 runner-up prizes. 

The International Service Committee, under the chairmanship of Koji Watanabe, organized the fundraiser.  Many thanks to all who helped make it a success.  Preliminary results showed almost $3,500 was raised. 

*Take a look at pictures of the event in the Photo Journal link!*

Poker Tournament October 2012 Jerry Venters 2012-10-23 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary in Malawi

Malawi Children and Schools Benefit
From Plaza Rotary Projects

Written by Bob MerriganImage 

Malawi Children’s Village (MCV) is a village-based project that provides a continuum of services for orphans and other vulnerable children in the Mangochi District of Southern Malawi. The Plaza Rotary Club has been involved in MCV virtually since 2002.

Malawi is a landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa that is one of the most densely populated, least developed and most impoverished nations in the world. The country is heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and by malaria; at the time MCV was founded many households, in Mangochi were trying to care for five or more orphans.

MCV was launched by a U.S.-based Board of Directors and based its services on a needs assessment conducted by Megan Schmidt, the daughter of Plaza Club member Bill Schmidt. Bill was a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi in the 1960s.

In the intervening years, MCV has grown into a support program for orphans living with members of their extended family in the surrounding 37 villages. The facility provides shelter, food, safety, health care and education to some 2,500 children from birth to 18 years of age.

Our Club’s support has been a pivotal part of this growth. In launching a fundraising effort in 2001, Bill enlisted the help of fellow club member Elizabeth Usovicz. 

In 2002-03, through the leadership of Elizabeth, who was then club President, the Plaza Club was able to secure a Rotary Discovery grant to assess needs in Malawi.  Elizabeth and Bill subsequently spearheaded the fundraising and application for two Rotary Foundation Matching Grants that provided $40,000 to construct gender-specific latrines at the 24 primary schools serving the 37 villages, in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Limbe, Malawi.

Subsequent support initiatives include:

• In 2009, the club participated with 20 other clubs in District 6040 in a District Matching Grant organized by District Governor Elizabeth Usovicz that distributed more than 1,000 anti-malarial bed nets for mothers and children of childbearing age in the 37 villages served by MCV. As a result of this program, malaria incidence has decreased by 80%.

• In 2010, the Plaza club received a District Simplified Grant to provide malaria medicines to the clinic run by MCV and service the 37 villages.

• Additional U.S.-based Rotary clubs have helped MCV install a water purification system to provide clean drinking water to the MCV campus facilities.

Plaza Rotary in Malawi Jerry Venters 2012-10-15 00:00:00Z
District Foundation Dinner


TRF Trustee to Speak at Foundation Dinner

Written by Jerry Venters

Lynn A. Hammond, a member of the Rotary Club of Loveland, Colorado, and a Rotary Foundation Trustee since 2009, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s District 6040 Rotary Foundation dinner on November 3 at the KCI Expo Convention Center.

The Foundation Dinner is the largest single annual function for District 6040, with approximately 350 people attending.  It’s a time for special recognitions and, more importantly, an occasion to raise money for The Rotary Foundation.  Usually, more than $30,000 is raised for the Annual Programs Fund, 50% of which will be returned to District 6040 in three years for support of humanitarian and educational programs of the District’s choosing.

Plaza Rotarian Larry Lunsford started the Foundation Dinner when he was District 6040 Governor in 2000-01 as a way of marking Rotary Foundation Month (November) and as a means of providing additional monetary support and recognition for the Foundation’s programs around the world.  This year, a record number of Plaza Rotarians and partners – 22 – have registered for the event.

Hammond is a past president of the Larimer County (CO.) Bar Association and has served on the Colorado Bar Association’s Board of Governors.  A Rotarian since 1960, he has served as a Rotary International Director, chair of the Board’s Executive Committee, as an International Assembly training leader, and in various other capacities.  He and his wife, Norma, are Major Donors and Foundation Benefactors.

Special thanks go to Beth Bahner, Bob Merrigan, and Gary Morgan, who are donating items for the silent auction that begins at 5 p.m.  The dinner and program will begin at 6 p.m.  You can still register for the dinner at www.rotary6040.org, under “District Events,” or by contacting Cassy Venters.

District Foundation Dinner Jerry Venters 2012-09-30 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary Supports Hope House

Plaza Rotary Service Projects Help Hope House
Written by Nancy Shawver

Plaza Rotary Club has a long history of supporting Hope House, a not-for-profit organization providing a safety net of prevention, education and support for more than 10,000 victims of domestic violence every year.  Hope House operates two secure residential facilities to house up to 122 women and children in the Kansas City area, each with an early childhood center, therapy space, administration offices and community training facilities.

Since 1999, members of the Plaza Rotary Club have supported Hope House with donations from club “change for charity collections,” individual contributions, twice as the beneficiary of the club’s annual fundraising events and KC Day newspaper sales, and with Rotary District 6040 Matching Grants. The club’s financial contributions to Hope House total nearly $20,000.

In addition, club members have contributed countless hours of volunteer labor for Hope House.  In 2010, club members volunteered to remove old flooring and install new tile at the Independence campus.  In 2011, as part of a DSG project, they removed  old flooring and installed tile in the dining room of the Lee’s Summit facility, and in 2012, volunteers removed old flooring in childcare classrooms and installed new vinyl floor tiling and protective wall coverings in Lee’s Summit.

Hope House reported that the flooring in the Early Childhood Center/DaImageycare was bubbling and tearing, creating sanitation issues and causing a hazard for youngsters learning to walk. If not for the Rotary volunteers and grant funds, Hope House leaders estimated this project would have required 40 hours of staff time to complete, which would have shut down the childcare facility for a week  -- resulting in no ability to provide childcare to clients.

More than a dozen Plaza Rotary volunteers supported these work-day efforts in 2011 and 2012. In a Hope House press release from the 2012 event, Terry Berkbuegler, on-site volunteer and former Club President was quoted:  “The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club has appreciated our relationship with Hope House over the years and is pleased to continue to support such a worthwhile organization in the community. We take great pride in partnering with organizations that support the youth of our community, a core component of the mission of Rotary International. As one of our primary club beneficiaries, our members are always eager to volunteer to work on projects at Hope House as one of our monthly Community Service efforts. It is a true example of the long-term benefits that a few, but well -organized hours, of volunteering can have in our community.”

Plaza Rotary volunteers at Hope House include: Terry, Seth and Michael Berkbuegler; Adriann Sullivan and Earnest McCoy; Ann and Chad Leabo; Allen Jenks; Bill Schmidt; Debra Anderson; Mike Theobald; Karyn Eppler; Dave Bahner; Tommy and Spencer Avenia; and Don Pellow.

Image library: http://www.crsadmin.com/Gen/ImageLibrary/ImageLibrary.aspx?aid=4653

Also: http://www.clubrunner.ca/portal/Journals/JournalDetails.aspx?accountid=4653&jid=32412



Plaza Rotary Supports Hope House Jerry Venters 2012-09-27 00:00:00Z
Rotaract KC Launch Party

ImageRotaract KC Launch Party Hits a Home Run!

The Rotaract KC Launch Party, to organize a Rotaract club in the downtown-Plaza area, hit a home run – more like a grand slam homer -- on September 12 at the Boulevard Brewery tasting room on Southwest Boulevard. 

More than 50 persons signed up for the organizational meeting and 48 were in attendance to learn a little bit about Rotary, talk about service projects, and sample some of Boulevard Brewery’s best brews.  Another 4 persons were on a waiting list. Rotaract is for young professionals between 21 and 30 with an interest in getting involved in service activities in the community and in meeting and socializing with other young people.

“The charter committee truly came together in the past couple of weeks to put on a phenomenal, successful event,” said Sarah Snyder, one of the organizers.  “The attendees’ response was overwhelming and most of them expressed interest in being involved in the future. We even had people who couldn’t attend asking for more info! Our theme of Build. Belong. Branch Out. went over well…We look forward to following up in October and sustaining the momentum of the Rotaract KC Launch.”

Fifteen members are required to obtain a Rotaract charter.  The club will meet next on October 3 at a location to be determined.  Tentative plans are for the club to meet twice monthly, with one meeting being a service project of some kind.

The club is being sponsored by the Kansas City Rotary Club and the Plaza Rotary Club.  The Plaza Club’s Rotaract contacts are Terry Berkbuegler and Karyn Eppler.  Let them know of any young professional who might be interested in getting involved.  It sounds like Rotaract KC is on its way!

Rotaract KC can also be followed on the following twitter handle:

Rotaract KC Launch Party Jerry Venters 2012-09-19 00:00:00Z
Brief History of our Club
A Brief History of The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club

The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club (Plaza Rotary Club) was formed as the Ward Parkway Rotary Club under the sponsorship of Rotary Club 13 of Kansas City, Missouri, on December 15, 1986, by 27 charter members (three of which are still active members.)

The club currently has 81 active members and 3 honorary members.  Weekly breakfast meetings are held at 7:15 a.m. each Friday (except on major holidays) at the Rooftop of the InterContinental Kansas City Hotel on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. The club is in Zone 31, District 6040 of the Rotary world. District 6040 currently has 55 clubs in the northern half of Missouri.

The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club is a vibrant and active Rotary Club, symbolized by receiving the Rotary "Presidential Citation" the past 25 years and consistent rating of "excellent" by district officials.  What follows here is a brief summary of some of our activities each year.

COMMUNITY SERVICE - Over the years, the Club's community service and fund-raising projects have included sponsorship of benefits for the Bridge Home for Children, Hope House, Operation Breakthrough, R A Bloch Cancer Survivor's Park cleanup sessions in the Spring and Fall, Harvesters, Central City Schools, City Union Mission-Give as you Live, Literacy-Read Across America, and the Ozanam Home, Spirit Festival, the Paseo Academy Mentoring program,  and Plaza Art Fair participation, Greater Kansas City Day newspaper sales benefiting the Rotary Youth Camp and various charities, support of the Marillac Center for Children, and the St. Joseph Adult Day Center, as well as coordination of enrichment programs for students in the Kansas City and Center school districts. Prepared Children's Activities for the Dragon Boat Festival/Society for Friendship With China.

INTERNATIONAL SERVICE - In recent years, our club has become very active. In 2002-03, under a Rotary International needs assessment grant, we began a project to support the Malawi Children's Village with sanitary latrines which continues to this day. In 1994 and 1995, the Club helped host and sponsor a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar graduate student from Bangladesh, Ali Nawshad. In the past several years, our club has hosted Group Study Exchange teams from South Korea, Sweden, Brazil and India. In the current year, we will be participating in a Friendship Exchange with a district from Australia. We have been a part of hosting Rotary Long-Term Youth Exchange Students.

Additionally, in 1998, we participated in our first Rotary Foundation Matching Grant effort, with clubs in our District, to financially sponsor the renovation of a day care center in Riga, Latvia. Shoes for Orphan Souls has become an annual effort by all District 6040 Rotary Club. During the 2009-10 Rotary year we collect 971 pairs of shoes for children in orphanages through the world. Children of the Dump, received a district matching grant to partner with the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Iowa providing and packaging 58 layettes for expectant mothers who live near and in the dump of Managua.

Microcredit project in Nogales, Mexico - Raised $3,900 for a microcredit project funding small businesses and helping families in Nogales. Received an additional $2,600 from other Rotary Clubs and District 6040.

Pacific Emergencies Donation raised $400 to provide temporary shelter (Shelter Boxes) to families affected by weather emergencies in the Pacific Ocean. Hatian Emergency Donation - raised $1,914.50 to provide temporary shelter (Shelter Boxes) to families affected by the Haitian Earthquake and an additional $1,279.50 to aide in Heart-to-Heart Haitian Recovery.

Polio Plus Donation - Contributed $2,750 to The Rotary International Foundation's effort to eradicate Polio throughout the world through contribution from Club Centurions and sustaining members who contribute $100.00 per year.

Hosted five Russian Judges studying the Rule of Law in the U.S. through Rotary International and The Open World Program. We also hosted the Taiwanese Group Study Exchange including home hosting, vocational days and social events.

Kansas City Plaza Past Presidents - the Plaza Rotary Club is led by our 18 member Board of Directors, chaired by our current club president, Liz Neufeld 2012-13. Past Presidents include: Beth Paulsen 11-12; Terry Berkbuegler 10-11; Cassy Venters 09-10, Bo Steed 08-09, Bruce Moorman 07-08, Will Hodgkinson 05-07, Kile Morrison 04-05 Doug Zimmerman, 03-04, Elizabeth Usovicz 02-03, Jim Lloyd 01-02, Steve Johnston 00-01, Jeff Deatherage 99-00, Bob Harris 98-99, Larry Lunsford 97-98, Gary Smith 96-97, Jerry Smith 95-96, Bob Latz 94-95, Vic Swyden 93-94, Jeff Jernigan 92-93, Terry Putney 91-92, Sister Elizabeth Ney 90-91, Chuck Vogt 89-90, Alex Petrovic 88-89, Richard Abell 87-88, Bob Chien 86-87.

Brief History of our Club Bob Harris 2012-07-06 00:00:00Z
Rotary Bednets Make an Impact in Malawi
 District 6040 Matching Grant to Malawi Reduces Malaria Cases by 65-70%

[Rotarians in District 6040] should feel proud as punch. There are very few donations that make such a quick, dramatic difference in children's lives.”

So wrote Tom Vigliatone, Board member of the Malawi Childrens Village, who recently reported that our 2008-2009 District 6040 Matching Grant to supply 37 villages in Malawi with bednets and related services has reduced the incidence of malaria in those villages by 65-70%!

During the 2008-2009 Rotary year, 20 clubs and individual Rotarians contributed to a district matching grant to supply much-needed anti-malarial bed nets to more than 1,000 child-bearing age women and children in 37 villages in Malawi.  Partnering with the Malawi Childrens Village, our northern Missouri Rotary clubs “adopted” specific villages and pledged funding through a District Matching Grant submitted to the Rotary Foundation.  

The total costs for the project were $14,000 for two years of malaria prevention efforts. The cost included a new or replacement bednet for each participant at a cost of $7 each pro-rated over two years for each of the villages.  Data for each village was reported on a monthly basis to Malawi Childrens Village by an assigned volunteer coordinator and educator.  A Malawi Childrens Village staff member also reinforces interest in the malaria project through her visits to villages to hand out new nets. In addition, every six months she goes to all the villages and checks on the use of the nets in individual households.

Based on the village reports, the Malawi Childrens Village computes the case rate for each month.  The reduction of 65-70% is consistent with results based on comparable experience in Tanzania.  

Baseline data was collected before the initiation of the project and compared with the Malawi government's projections. The pre-project malaria case rate in the 37 villages for children under five without bednets ranged from 29% to 37%.

The remarkable results for case rates in these villages in 2009 are as follows:
Jan  13.7%
Feb  13.9%
Mar  12.1%
Apr  13.4%
May 11.1%
Jun  13.2%
Jul    11.6%
Aug  7.3%
Sep  11.0%
Oct    9.0%
Nov  10.8%
Dec   4.2%

Based on this data, the introduction of bednets, plus careful follow-up, has reduced the case rate by 65%-70%. That's a whole lot of good news!  The project continues to be a success.  Heartfelt thanks to all of the clubs, individual members and their families in District 6040 that contributed to this 2008-2009 District Matching Grant under the leadership of DG Elizabeth Usovicz, Grants Chair Jerry Venters and Plaza Rotarian Bill Schmidt:

St. Joseph Southside
Eastern Independence
Kansas City Plaza
Lee’s Summit Sunrise
North Kansas City
Platte City
Blue Springs
Kansas City
KCI International
South Platte  

Rotary Bednets Make an Impact in Malawi Nancy Shawver 2011-04-12 10:11:10Z
Malawi Children Receive Medicines

Image2700 Malawi Children Receive Anti-Malaria Medicines, Thanks to Plaza Rotarians

Through the efforts of Kansas City healthcare professional and Plaza Rotarian Bill Schmidt—along with his Rotary contacts and resources—2,700 children of Malawi Children’s Village (MCV) recently received the medication they need to fight malaria.

As a member of MCV’s Board of Directors and former Peace Corp volunteer in Malawi during the 1960’s, Schmidt’s heart is rather close to MCV. In fact, a needs assessment conducted by Schmidt’s daughter resulted in the goal to establish MCV over 12 years ago.

MCV, located in Mangochi, began as an orphanage and quickly grew into a support program for orphans living with members of their extended family in the surrounding 37 villages. The facility provides shelter, food, safety, health care and education to children from birth to 18 years of age—a population devastated by malaria, the largest killer of children in all of Africa.

“Efforts to prevent the spread of malaria by the use of bed nets are working,” said Schmidt, “but there is a severe shortage of medicine for the people who get malaria.”

Schmidt spearheaded an effort to deliver enough medication to treat 3,000 women and children inflicted with malaria in Malawi. Schmidt’s efforts were reached with help from a $3,000 Rotary District grant.

Because malaria is different in different countries and the strands change, the proper medicine is hard to find. It’s also difficult to get through customs—a common frustration for many international aid organizations.

To assure the medicine reached the right place at the right time, Schmidt coordinated the shipment with Alaska physician Dr. Tom Nighswander’s annual service trip to Malawi. Once it reached MCV, it was safely stored and distributed through their health clinic.

 “We have a significant supply now—enough to last us throughout the year,” said Schmidt. “The rainy season in Malawi runs from December to April or May, when the mosquitoes are in full force. So the supply of medication is both essential and timely. This will truly save lives.”


Rotary International is a service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training.

Malawi Children Receive Medicines Nancy Shawver 2011-04-12 00:00:00Z
KC Plaza Rotary Brings Malaria Medication to Malawi Children’s Village

Through the efforts of Kansas City healthcare professional and Plaza Rotarian Bill Schmidt—along with his Rotary contacts and resources—2,700 children of Malawi Children’s Village (MCV) recently received the medication they need to fight malaria.

As a member of MCV’s Board of Directors and former Peace Corp volunteer in Malawi during the 1960’s, Schmidt’s heart is rather close to MCV. In fact, a needs assessment conducted by Schmidt’s daughter resulted in the goal to establish MCV over 12 years ago.

MCV, located in Mangochi, began as an orphanage and quickly grew into a support program for orphans living with members of their extended family in the surrounding 37 villages. The facility provides shelter, food, safety, health care and education to children from birth to 18 years of age—a population devastated by malaria, the largest killer of children in all of Africa.

“Efforts to prevent the spread of malaria by the use of bed nets are working,” said Schmidt, “but there is a severe shortage of medicine for the people who get malaria.”

Schmidt spearheaded an effort to deliver enough medication to treat 3,000 women and children inflicted with malaria in Malawi. Schmidt’s efforts were reached with help from a $3,000 Rotary District grant.

Because malaria is different in different countries and the strands change, the proper medicine is hard to find. It’s also difficult to get through customs—a common frustration for many international aid organizations.

To assure the medicine reached the right place at the right time, Schmidt coordinated the shipment with Alaska physician Dr. Tom Nighswander’s annual service trip to Malawi. Once it reached MCV, it was safely stored and distributed through their health clinic.

 “We have a significant supply now—enough to last us throughout the year,” said Schmidt. “The rainy season in Malawi runs from December to April or May, when the mosquitoes are in full force. So the supply of medication is both essential and timely. This will truly save lives.”


Rotary International is a service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training.

KC Plaza Rotary Brings Malaria Medication to Malawi Children’s Village 2011-04-12 00:00:00Z
Kansas City Plaza Hall of Leadership
The Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza
(Chartered as the Rotary Club of Ward Parkway)
December 15, 1986


1986-87           Robert Chien
1987-88           Richard Abell
1988-89           Alex Petrovic II
1989-90           Chuck Vogt
1990-91           Sister Elizabeth Ney
1991-92           Terry Putney
1992-93           Jeffrey Jernigan
1993-94           Vic Swyden II
1993-94           Chip Buckner-Jefferson City (MO)
1994-95           Robert Latz
1995-96           Jerry Smith
1996-97           Gary Smith
1996-97           Roger Samuel-Flint (MI) Sunrise
1997-98           Jerry Venters-Jefferson City West (MO)
1997-98           Larry Lunsford
1998-99           Bob Harris
1999-00           Jeff Deatherage
2000-01           Steve Johnston
2001-02           Jim Lloyd
2001-02           Ivan Brown-Great Lakes (IA)
2001-02           Dave Bahner-St Joseph 32
2002-03           Elizabeth Usovicz
2003-04           Doug Zimmerman
2004-05           Kile Morrison
2005-06           Will Hodgkinson
2005-06           Greg Vining-Western Henrico (VA)
2006-07           Jennifer Kyle-Homewood (AL)
2006-07           Will Hodgkinson
2007-08           Bruce Moorman
2008-09           Bo Steed
2009-10           Cassy Venters
2010-11           Terry Berkbuegler
2011-12           Beth Paulsen Bahner
2012-13           Elizabeth Neufeld Thomas
District 6040 Governors
2001-02               Larry Lunsford
2005-06                            Jerry Venters
2008-09           Elizabeth Usovicz
Kansas City Plaza Hall of Leadership Bob Harris 2011-02-07 00:00:00Z
Plaza Rotary at a Glance (May 10, 2013)

This Week's Speaker

Greg Graves, CEO, Burns & McDonnell
Principle Beyond Profit
With more than 3,600 employees, Burns & McDonnell is one of the world's largest–and leading–engineering and construction firms. But with CEO Greg Graves, it isn't all about being the biggest company in the world. Under his leadership, Burns & McDonnell has become positioned to be able to give back to our community in unprecedented ways. This kind of leadership and company culture has earned Burns & McDonnell the titles of #1 Best Place to Work in Kansas City by KCBJ, #18 on Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work, and Most Philanthropic Company in KC. In this program, Greg will be providing his own reflections on leading a company to be more than just profitable.


District Funding Approved for additional Malawi Latrines Project

ImageIn 2001, the club launched its first fundraising effort on behalf of Malawi Children’s Village, a 501(c)(3) organization. Since then, 20 brick latrines have been built, two heavy-duty sewing machines have been provided for the women of the village, and anti-malaria drugs and bed nets have been distributed to 37 villages around lake Malawi.  The latrines are an especially high impact project.  For the student population, which continues to increase, the lack of latrines becomes a deterrent to attendance, particularly for girls. 

Elizabeth Usovicz has she been involved in our clubs efforts to help Malawi Children’s Village from the outset, and currently serves as the District 6040 Grants Chair. This week she shared the happy news that the District 6040 Grants Committee has approved the Plaza Rotary Club's request for a District Simplified Grant (DSG) to build four additional latrines, with signage at Malawi Children's Village.  This is a great example of a relatively small expenditure making a big difference in daily life.

Bloch Cancer Park Clean Up

May 11, 9:00–11:00 am

All Rotarians and family members are invited to our semi-annual work session at the Bloch Cancer Park. We will be planting flowers Image
and performing other clean up work with the KC Parks Department. All ages are welcome! Rescheduled from last week due to the
never-ending winter, this Saturday is lining up to be gorgeous!

Upcoming Events:
  • May 11, 8:00–10:00 AM Photo Club Field Trip to Elmwood Cemetery.  You'll still have time to get to Bloch Cancer Park to push a broom for a minute or two.
  • June 27 -- Changing of the Guard, 6-8 p.m., Boulevard Brewery. Induction of 2013-14 President Debra Anderson and other officers. More details to come. (Note:  There will be no Friday morning meeting on June 28.)

Don't Forget!


Kansas City Plaza Rotary at https://www.facebook.com/groups/136632107081/    and       KC Plaza Rotary @KCPlazaRotary

Crowd Sourcing the Newsletter

If you have a story or announcement you'd like to see in the Plaza Rotary Club Newsletter, please talk to Karin Jones.  Some of us are new at this!


Plaza Rotary at a Glance (May 10, 2013) Karin Jones