Rotary Log for December 13, 2018
In our latest episode of “As the Rotary Wheel Turns,” Dan and Neil re-christen the “cool table” the “bad boy” table.  Will Buddy the Elf sell all the Christmas trees before Christmas?  Let’s find out.
President Cleo presided while Vice President Leo handled mike duties and continued his penchant for taking selfies.  The club clearly was in a festive mood and gave a wonderful rendition of America the Beautiful.
President Cleo informed us Valerie Dyer is on 7-Day Notice.  Welcome aboard!
Joanie Dickinson started off the announcements by telling us how much she loves her mother.  Leo chimed in, “Yeah, because Christmas is coming!”  She next informed us about the Interact Club can-top initiative.  Each top is worth one cent and the proceeds are given to veterans.  For all those killing their livers with sugary carbonated beverages, please keep those tops coming!
Vice President in waiting, self-proclaimed VIP and smartest person he knows, a.k.a. Buddy the Elf, a.k.a. Jon Flagg had news. He gleefully announced that the Christmas trees (Weinrieb’s Hanukah bushes) sold out Saturday.  Well-done and a collective pat on the back to all those who made such a successful Christmas sale possible!
Jon gave a shout out to all the Rotarians that went above and beyond with more than three shifts.  A special thanks was given to Joe Bove who tirelessly creates daily sales spread sheets.  Thank-you, Joe, from all of us.  Lastly, Jon gave us a heads-up about the January 10 program. His daughters will speak about their “gap-year” experiences—a must-see event.
Mort Schmidt took the podium to a compulsory “woof, woof”—some things never change.  He spoke about Dick Seedner and Art Cole, the latter who passed away this year.  Art came up with the Christmas tree sale idea back in the early 60’s.  We’ve been doing it since at least 1980. 
Mort next talked about how the Christmas ornament came to be. They were the brain-child of the late Ray Jones. Subsequently, Ray always received the ornament with the number “1” designation. 
After Ray passed, the first ornament would be put up for auction and Mort made sure to win it. He then presented the decoration to Ray’s wife, Marlene. The purpose of the auction was well-known to all, but apparently not to Bill Hurley.  One year, Bill got into a bidding war with Mort, who ended up having to pay $300 for the ornament.  To keep Bill out of it this year, Mort paid $100 for this year’s first ornament. Of course, it will be given to Marlene.  Bill, if you want, you can bid on Ornament No. 2 and you’ll be the only bidder!  Go for it!    
Tiffany informed us about the Cross Roads/Rotary dinner program.  One server and one cook are needed for the January 2 dinner event.  Barbara Miller plugged the upcoming Rotary social at the Atlantic Grill, December 18 at 5 pm.  A $10 fee is required to cover appetizers.  All are welcome—more about Barbara later.
As many of us will recall, we once had an “Oil Cartel” table.  Sadly, the last member of that group, Fred Pettigrew, passed recently. God bless him and thank you for his great contributions to our club graciously given over decades of faithful service.  Anyone remember the annual Lobster Bake Rotary Appreciation Day?  That was Fred all the way.  How many recollect the table at Yokens in the front corner that always had fresh flowers?
Those were memorable times.  Now we have the 50/50 raffle cartel table presided over by Walter Liff. And there’s the “cool table” lorded over by the two Rotarian Dons, Dan Hoefle and Neal Ouellett. 
Well, no more as to the latter.  Joanie Dickinson’s mother, who hails from the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Rotary Club, sat at the “cool table.” She told us the tale of how their club space was formerly a Playboy Club, bunnies and all.  That history is apparently an impediment to new member recruitment.  Well, Dan and Neal couldn’t get enough of the story so here we are, the “bad boy” table it is.   
Next up was our resident Grinch and fine master Neal.  He took the mike while Dan sang the Mr. Grinch song solo.  Of all the fine-master segments the undersigned has experienced in more than 21 years with this club, this was perhaps the best.
First up, Neal levied a $1 fine to all the non-Rotarians sitting at the President’s table.  It is a time-honored tradition that the President cannot be fined so that was Neal’s workaround.  The “Kibitzer table,” anchored by Beth Tuttle, was fined for being the most talkative, texting and laughing table in the room.  The Liff “Raffle Cartel Table” was fined $5 for obvious reasons.  The “Bad Boy Table” also was fined a collective $5 just because.
Neal next asked who has artificial trees--$2 fine for lost Rotary revenue.  Anyone not sign up for three shifts? --$2.  Anyone not fessing up--$5.  Jon has the naughty list.  Anyone who signed up for four or more shifts--$1—thanks a lot, Neal, for that one!  No good deed goes unpunished apparently.  Anyone who signed up for the 19th or 20th as a third shift--$2. 
No fine here, but Neal marveled at Jon, as a Bates grad with severe ADD. who was still able to pull off the Christmas Tree Sale. A timely roast is always welcome.  All the new members over the last three years honoring us with your presence--$1.  Cathy Berger--$2 because he felt like it, I think. 
Barbara Miller for her Mrs. Santa Claus dress--$1.  All wealth managers--$1.  And lastly, Neal matched the total take of about $240—a veritable fine bonanza.  Great job, Neal!
Jon next delivered the Rotary history minute, December 19, 1946.  Back then, Rotary sent out a Christmas message of universal goodwill among all men. (Translated to mean men and women in 2018 parlance).  The UN had just been established. There was also a real threat of nuclear annihilation. Indeed 1946 was a serious time in our organization’s history. We were a key advisory group that helped bring the notion of the United Nations to fruition.  Our seat at the UN as the only non-nation member is in recognition of that invaluable input and effort.
A very happy cheer was given for the return of Basil, who has overcome some recent significant health challenges.  Aileen contributed $20 Happy Bucks in honor of the occasion.  Donna gave $20, a tip presented to her by one of the recipients of our Thanksgiving dinner event.  Tiffany added a Happy Buck for the Cross-Roads initiative.  Bill Powers donated $1 for his new dog who is 50% Australian cattle, 27.5% beagle and 12.5% chihuahua mix. One can only imagine what the parents are.
 Lastly, Joanie’s mother gave a happy dollar for our awesome club.  She said she will be taking back many ideas for her club. Some she will embrace and some she will avoid.  Spirits were very high today.  Basil, great to have you back, friend!
Paul Lucy won the $55 raffle AND won the match for $25.  For those counting, that is three matches in a row.  And that is a Rotary record, only bested by Reverend Allen’s personal three-peat. But he had Help.
Moving on to our main program, John Rice introduced Jim Hamilton, head of Berwick Academy.  A product of the Boston school system, a life-changing encounter with a football coach led Jim into the realm of private schools.  Following administrative stints at other private schools, such as St. Georges, R.I., Jim became the 54th head of Berwick last summer.
Founded in 1791, B.A. functioned as the local public school until 1960.  From 1960 to 1974, it became a boarding school.  After 1974, Berwick transitioned into a country day school for pre-k through 12.  It draws attendees from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.  There are approximately 606 students.  As Jim informed us, the character of the school is engrained in the seacoast community.
The curriculum is student-centric and involves wellness, systemic innovation and communication skills development.  Pinnacle classes have replaced AP-level courses to provide students with a deeper immersion into subjects—depth over breadth.
Access through financial aid is an important component.  There is $4 million available.  That represents 30% of the school’s operating budget.  Forty percent of the students receive some aid.  There are also collaborative programs and community partnerships. One of these is the Dover Housing Authority that provides full scholarships to applicants who meet certain criteria.  Berwick graduates approximately 80 students per year.
Next up, Jen Wing, Berwick’s head of admissions, gave us a brief explanation of the admissions process.  The current application deadline is January 15, 2019 for the next school year.  The application is online, but school visits are encouraged.  The student mix is 50/50 boys/girls.  And there is a 60% acceptance rate.
For those of us who extended our holiday cheer and met after hours at The Rusty Hammer, let us raise a toast to James Petersen.  Only James, with his classic deadpan delivery, could hilariously describe a head-on collision. He was on his bicycle as it crashed into a car driven by a buxom blonde. His face was mangled and rearranged, but we still all laughed uncontrollably at his misfortune.  And yes, Cleo, you got to experience first-hand the “Bad Boys” in their candid, unedited selves.  As you said, ”Boys have so much fun!”
As this likely will be the last log delivered before the holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, (Happy anything I missed), and Happy New Year to all Rotarians.  It was quite a year!  Until next time. . ..
Respectfully submitted, Mark Lorusso
Photos by Sara Treacy