Rotary Log for March 19, 2020
 
Log for March 19, 2020, the abbreviated Zoom Coronavirus edition.  Many of us ignored the viral onslaught and braved attending our meeting using the electronic highway.  Flagg led us in song--some even sang the national anthem—with their camera video and audio feeds on.  You had to be there.  Rice gave the invocation. 
 
 
President Leo presided in what looked to be a remarkably familiar location.  Jon was there too—at least the top half of him—and for that we give thanks.  Yeah, Jon, you kind of looked fat on camera.
 
 It was a scene right out of Dr. Strangelove.  I wonder if they paid the full $20?  Who collected it?  What did they do with it?  What did you guys have for lunch?  Who won the raffle?  Questions for another meeting at a time and place far, far away.
 
Moving right along to announcements, Lindsey Hery reminded us about connecting on the club’s Facebook page.  For those who do not have Facebook accounts, you are forgiven.  Leo explained that committee meetings will happen online—no problem.  Sara Treacy says the Soup Kitchen will be take-out only until further notice.  She has a full slate of volunteers so thank you.
 
 
Up next, Flagg gave us his Rotary history moment.  The year was 1932.  The Great Depression was in full force and Rotary was there to take it on.  The 6th object of Rotary is to do away with war and sow friendly business and social relationships between citizens of the various nations.  Who said this?  It was Howard W. Selby. 
 
The message rings as true today as it did then.  I guess it is batten down the hatches and “give ’m Hell Harry!”  Yes, all you historians, the latter was said in 1948 and not ’32, but the sentiment was the same and remains the same now.
 
 
Onto the main event.  Jessica Parker from Cross Roads House gave us an update on their efforts to help those in need in these trying times.  The current count is 115 residents of which 21 are children.  The Crossroads main priority is the health and safety of their staff and residents. 
 
Meals are a logistical problem at Crossroads House. The preference is to have prepared food brought to campus.  Those that wish to assist with this can pick up ingredients from the in-house chef.  Non-perishables are also welcome and in much need.  Donations can be made also via their Amazon wish list.  Any items purchased are delivered directly to Crossroads.
 
And of course, any monetary donations will be most welcome.  Thirty percent of Cross Roads’ annual budget is derived from their annual Benefit by the Sea charity event.  Due to the pandemic, the event has been postponed indefinitely so any donations at this time will fill a critical need.  If you should have any questions, please visit Crosroadshouse.org.
 
 
Next up was Portsmouth’s City Manager and newly minted Rotarian, Karen Conard.  Although not open to the general public, City Hall is up and running for all essential services.  There are daily meetings at 9:30 am to stay abreast of the latest developments. 
 
Turning to the pandemic, as of March 19, Karen says there are 39 reported cases in New Hampshire.  The virus is now extending its reach via community spread.  Members of the private sector, such as Operation Blessing, are still providing essential services.  Portsmouth is publishing a daily newsletter via email.  For those that wish to receive the emails, please go to cityofportsmouth.com and sign up.
 
The Public Library is currently closed.  There was a surge of books taken out the last day it was open.  In a typical day, about 600 books are signed out.  On the last open day, 6,000 were taken out.  All Public Library online services remain in effect.
 
Other odds and ends. The Portsmouth school system is serving free breakfast and lunch to all students.  Meals can be picked up at door 18 at the high school between 7:30 am and 12 noon…Curbside marriage licenses are available—no shotgun needed.  …Yard waste pickup will resume early—after all, it really is spring out there…  And the city’s hotline remains operational…. For any issues, please visit cityofportsmouth.com.
 
On to questions.  The first one was when should one go to the hospital if you believe you may have contracted the virus.  The answer—not as a first resort.  Everyone should consult with their primary care physician via phone to screen whether further intervention is needed.  As a community-based response, those of us who are young and healthy should check in with neighbors, especially the elderly to ascertain whether any help is needed, e.g., run errands to obtain food, prescriptions, etc. 
 
In other news, Market Basket has established early morning hours, 5:30 to 7:00 am, to allow those over 60 to shop before everyone else.
 
Lastly, Fine-master Neal issued some fines.  Flagg was debited $5 dollars for his alleged mode of undress.  Dave Underhill paid $2 dollars for suggesting the National Anthem sounded better on mute.  He wasn’t the only one who thought that—you know who you are.  And Trish Cummings got wacked for $2 dollars for not muting her microphone.
 
Well, that’s a wrap for our first ever virtual meeting.  Until next time.
 
Respectfully submitted, Mark Lorusso.  
Photos by Francoise Meissner  
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