With President Dave presiding, today we welcomed back Rick Page who has selflessly worked over many years to make the exchange student program that success it has been.  Great to have you back, Rick.  More on Rick later.  First, some important announcements:

Rotary donates over $11,000 to eight organizations

Posted by David Underhill on Jun 04, 2014


Wednesday, June 4, 2014:  The board of directors approved the following donations from Portsmouth Rotary.

Basic Needs Funds:

$3,500 to Seacoast Family Food Pantry, support for Summer Meals 4 Kids Program (formerly known as Operation Bag Lunch)

$1,280 to Families First Health and Support Center, for dental clinics

$1,000 to Fair Tide (Kittery) to support their transitional housing program.

$1,500 to Seacoast Mental Health Center, to support emergency mental health services for walk-in patients.

$1,000 to the Portsmouth School Nursing department, to purchase tote bags for first aid and trauma supplies for each classroom in the school system.

Jeremy Alex Fund:

$1,724 for music scholarship at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC)

Additional grants:

$775 to the Student2Student Mentor program at Portsmouth High School

$500 to the scholarship program of Leadership Seacoast

Total funding approved: $11,279

Big thanks to the hard work of Rotarians this year, and those who have come before us to create endowments to serve our community.

Bylaws amendment approved May 29, 2014

Posted by David Underhill on May 31, 2014


The comprehensive amendment to the bylaws was approved by vote of the membership on May 29, 2014.  A final dated copy is now in the documents section of the website in a folder labeled "bylaws".  Log into the club website and select "view club documents".

Portsmouth Rotary Club receives President's Citation

Posted by David Underhill


Rotary International president Ron Burton and District 7780 Governor Carolyn Johnson this weekend honored the 155 members of our club with a Presidential Citation.  Portsmouth was among ten clubs in our thirty-nine club district to be honored for major achievements in membership growth, humanitarian service and improving Rotary's fellowship and networks.   Even as Rotary Clubs in the US have struggled to maintain their membership against declines and demographic challenges, the Rotary Club of Portsmouth has increased its membership from 146 active members on July 1, 2013 to 155 members as of this date.

Rotary International Honors Portsmouth member Ellen Labrie

Posted by David Underhill


District 7780 governor Carolyn Johnson presented Ellen Labrie with a lifetime service award from Rotary International at the district's conference on May 17.



After welcoming visiting Rotarians and guests, master finemaster Neil and finemaster-in-training, Nancy Notis, amused us with their creative fines.  Returning snowbirds enjoyed a $2 fine.  Stanford Cross was fined for his self-promotion video.  Perennial fine recipient, John Lyons, received his perfunctory $5 fine.  Those in the financial business sector received a $2 fine.  Alieen Dugan was fined $2 for her rather large portrait at the mall. Andy Fleisher was fined for his comment, “how could anyone golf on such a beautiful work day.”  Stella Scamman, John Bohenko, Eric Weinrieb and Janis Reams were fined for various and sundry reasons.  Side note—has anyone ever noticed in the 2013-2014 club directory that Janice Cassidy and Janis Reams are identical twins?  That could have been a whopper of a fine for some intrepid print editor.  Lastly, special mention has to made about Dan Hoefle who received a multi-dollar fine for a self-inflicted wound to the lip--$1 per stitch.  Word is he used it to great effect in court to garner sympathy for an otherwise unsympathetic client, but I jest.

Rounding the money-collection corner to happy dollars for you California Chrome loving, horse-racing fans, President-elect Patricia gave a happy dollar for National Nursing Home week.  Marie Brownwell gave a happy dollar because her son and daughter-in-law are both graduating from SNHU.  Catherine Edison informed us about the Seacoast Community School and a party held May 17 from 11 am to 2 pm.  Gene Doherty gave a happy dollar for the promotion of one of her sons to Lt. Colonel via satellite by another son in the military.

Turning to club business, President Dave informed us the by-law revisions were completed to Jay Gibson’s relief.  Today, or close to today marked Jim and Ellen Labrie’s 54th wedding anniversary.  Andy Chace reminded us about the upcoming Rotary Golf Tournament to be held June 20 at the Breakfast Hill Country Club.  More volunteers and golfers are needed to please sign up.

Next up, Rick Page took center stage.  This year marks the final year Rick will lead the youth exchange program.  Rick has been at the helm for the better part of the last ten years.  He began when Neal Ouellett was president and who can ever forget that year of fun, fellowship and major fines!  Rick took over from John Rice all those years ago.  As we all know, Rick has been very passionate about his role; the club, and particularly the exchange students, have benefited immensely because of his kind and exemplary works.  I know I speak on behalf of all the members when I say thank you for all the wonderful things you have done for these children and this club.  Your service in this capacity will certainly be missed and we can only hope the next person will be able to fill those shoes as commendably and selflessly as you have.

Today’s presentation marks the beginning of our club’s annual awards season when we recognize exchange students, scholars and vocational standouts for their pursuits of excellence and service.  In these events, we are privileged to witness the emergence of future Rotarians, or at least those likely to embody the Rotary mission of service above self.  To start off the celebration, we welcomed foreign exchange student, Yuho Monzai, back to the club to inform us about her year here in Portsmouth.  Sue McClure and her family hosted Yuho as well as Jon and Polly Flagg.  Sue’s daughter, Lilly, was our outgoing student and more about her later.   

It is fair to say Yuho amazed us with how well she has learned English in a matter of months!  She told us about her hometown in the middle of Japan known for its seafood and spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.  She made a banner for the people in her family with the slogan, “Don’t each too much!”  Her favorite food is Japanese pancakes—ingredients to be determined.

Yuho couldn’t speak much English when she arrived, but learned the language well enough to meet and communicate with other students including other foreign exchange students.  She commented how communication was hard, but fun.  Yuho gave thanks to her host families, Rick and others and informed us she will be going home in June.  Her immediate plan is to enjoy her remaining days in the US.  She made and left Origami pieces on the tables for all to enjoy.

We turn now to our returning outbound student, Lilly, who travelled to Indonesia. Lilly gave us a whirlwind tour of her little section of Indonesia with its breathtaking mountainscapes and indigenous food sources.  Karaoke is apparently quite popular in that neck of the world and Lilly was asked to participate.  She explained to us the process of Patik that involves using wax to color cloth for clothes and other fabric items.  Formal wear in Indonesia includes bright colors and intricate patterns rather than solid colors with simple patterns.  She told us how the harry fruit in this land, 12 time zones away, is quite prickly and dangerous for the lips.  Dan Hoefle has sworn of ever trying the fruit.  His lips have had enough trauma for one lifetime.

Indonesia is a land of 23,000 islands where seafood is the main source of food.  Spiny crab and swordfish are staples.  Tea is typically Jasmine and all drinks are served in small-portion, glass bottles.  There are two temperatures there—hot and hotter.  Seasons are basically two—the dry season and the wet season.  The rainy season brings succulent dragon fruit while the dry season brings the kind of fruit only a Komodo dragon could love.  Schools are quite simple, where students remain in the same room and the teachers switch out for the various subjects.  The rooms are also quite austere.  Students are very casual in class such as when a classmate took out his guitar and started playing in the middle of class.  Activities such as gym and tech require the students to go to other areas of the school.

The town where she stayed is built around a volcano that is part of the rim of fire series of volcanoes.  The volcano has a white crater with streams of yellow sulfur coursing around its base.  The people aren’t afraid of the volcano even though ¼ to ½ of the population could easily be wiped out with an eruption.

The town was occupied by the Japanese for five years during World War II.  Caves in the area were modified as battlements during that terrible time in history and still remain.  Lilly presented us with the Rotary club flag local to town where she stayed.  Yusee did the same for her town in Japan.  Yuho and Lilly were very engaging speakers and we thank them for their presentations.

Tom Decker won the 50/50 and there was no match.  Until next time.