Portsmouth Rotary Goes Virtual
Virtual Meetings Are the New Normal (at least for now)
We may be socially distancing, but that doesn't mean we can't be social.  Join the meeting and enjoy some much needed fellowship (plus you get a peek inside other Rotarian's houses!)
Please join Rotary's Weekly Fellowship Meeting by ZOOM on your Computer with or without video OR join by mobile or home phone.  
1. Join on Mute and stay on Mute until you need to ask a question.
2.  Stay on MUTE for the National Anthem - except for the person called on to sing (no pressure).
3. Leave all stupid jokes to Leo and Jon - they've proven their adeptness to this task.
4.  Register a VENMO account. The Rotary Fine Master WILL be making an appearance.  No VENMO, No Problem, fines will be doubled for non-VENMO offenders.
5.  Keep the CHAT civilized.  Anything you say is recorded and stored for history... if you wouldn't publish it in a Newspaper, don't publish it in the Chat window.
6.  ENJOY and have FUN.  Rotary is all about Fellowship.  We're rapidly isolating to a point that some among us will need our fellowship for a strong boost of morale.
7. People have embarrassed themselves mightily on Zoom conferences since self-isolation started.  Google search "ZOOM Video mistakes" to learn from the mistakes of others. 
Check your email for the meeting links.
Top of the Week April 21, 2020
Top of the Week!
April 21, 2020
Keep Up to Date on the COVID-19 Pandemic
For up to date information and available resources in New Hampshire visit the State's web page:
Helping Cross Roads House in These Trying Times
Some of the ways you can still help at Crossroads:
• Meal Preparation - Prepare food in your home and drop it off at the shelter. This includes both dinner entrees and bagged lunches. Whether we provide the ingredients and pans, or you do, this will help us to continue serving residents three meals a day when volunteers are unable to come into the shelter. Please contact our volunteer coordinator, Kristina Siegenthaler, at,  or 603.436.2218 ext. 107, for more information.
• Donations of Food and Supplies - Donations of food items and supplies from our “Wish List” are greatly appreciated at this time. You can view our “Wish List” online at Donations can be dropped off at the shelter at any time, or you can shop our Wish List ( from the comfort of your home and have items delivered to the shelter.
• Monetary Support - Our annual “Benefit by the Sea” fundraiser has been posted to August 29, 2020. This event provides funding for nearly 30% of our shelter operating budget. Now more than ever we need your help to ensure we can continue serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors. If you are able, click the link below to make a donation today. The gift you give today will make a tremendous difference for the families and individuals who rely on Cross Roads House to make it through this difficult period.
Rotary Dinner Service the Salvation Army
At this time, dinner service at the Salvation Army is ongoing as takeout only, but someone needs to prep and package the food!  Rotary dinner services at the Salvation Army is a great way to support the community and enjoy some fellowship outside of our regular meetings.
If you want get in on the fun (while maintaining appropriate social distancing), contact Sara Treacy at 603-661-8588.
Volunteers are asked to be at the kitchen at 4:15 to prepare for the dinner service.
She has moved away but you can still Make Peg’s Day!
Dear Fellow Rotarians:
Especially in these challenging times, it is time to up our communications game.
Our dear Peg Millar has moved (at least temporarily) to be closer to her son, but would still like to keep in touch with all of her Rotary friends.  Peg would love to receive cards or other correspondence.  Her address is:  Peg Millar, Harbor Chase, 4150 Indian River Blvd Vero Beach, FL 32967.
Thank you from Rotary Connections Committee
Rotary Connections is back!!!
Now more than ever Rotary Connections let’s our members know that their Rotary club is thinking of them.  Members facing a health issue, death in the family or a life celebration, we are here!  
If you know of any of our members who may need a Rotary Connection, please reach out to the Cathy Nickerson.
Rotary Log for April 16, 2020
Rotary Log of April 16, 2020
President Leo called our virtual meeting to order with a resounding clang of the gong in his kitchen! He welcomed guests and visiting Rotarians and asked everyone to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Judy Ringer led the singing of the 3rd verse of “America the Beautiful.” She noted that the words were particularly poignant at this time of crisis:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
John Rice’s invocation called for a blessing on our fifth virtual meeting. He asked that we retain our good humor in the face of these difficult, stressful times and social isolation. Further, he prayed for the protection of those who protect us.
Leo introduced Melissa Lesniak, President of Dover Rotary and incoming District Assistant Governor as of July 1. She is visiting area Rotary clubs.
The next guest was our newest Rotarian Todd Shaver, who recently moved to Kittery Point from Aspen. Todd, a Rotarian out there, described their biggest annual fundraiser. It’s called a Ducky Derby where 30,000 ducks are dropped in a river with the winning duck netting $10,000 for its sponsor. Later, Leo mused that perhaps Portsmouth Rotary could organize a virtual Ducky Derby. Maybe not in the Piscataqua River, but Sagamore Creek could work.
At Trish Cummings suggestion, Bill Hurley and Leonard Seagren filled two truckloads with Edgewood Center wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. They’ll be going to the Crutches 4 Africa program. Dennis Robillard, the Biddeford warehouse manager, read them a letter from the Uganda coordinator. In it, he thanks Rotary for this service, emphasizing what a difference these devices make to the lives of the disabled.
In Uganda, some 20 wheelchairs were received, but they could have distributed twice that number. Bill says that we contributed more than 1500 devices, or half a container, to Crutches 4 Africa. We’ve also provided $6000 to cover shipping costs. Leo thanked Bill and Leonard for their service.
Golf Committee Chair Marie Brownell updated us on the tournament, which has been postponed from June to October 16th. She is in touch with Golf Status, an online event management platform for fundraisers. They offer free management services, including registration and promotions. Marie would like to discuss this opportunity with the Golf Committee as soon as possible. It was agreed that Leo would set up a Zoom meeting.
Leo also reminded members about his weekly Quarantine and Coffee Zoom meetings every Monday morning at 9 a.m. This is an opportunity for fellowship and connection during these trying times of social distancing.
Ian O’Neall gave us an interesting Rotary historical moment. He discovered that April 16th is a Rotary holiday, officially known as “Old Timers’ Day” in honor of those in retirement. Ian quoted observations written in 1968 by Jim Kelly, a member of the Captain’s Command staff.
 “The golden age of senior citizenship, a thing of beauty, is something to behold,” Kelly writes. “There are continuing avenues of service for all.”
 Kelly mentions Winston Churchill, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Michelangelo and Henry Flagler all of whom achieved amazing things in their later years.
“To you who have reached the Golden Years,” Kelly continues, “again we salute you. With loving counseling we say, ‘Don’t lie down, get up. Start to run for the race has only just begun.’”
So, Ian encouraged us all to reach out to an old timer and thank them for what they have done. But remind them that they can still do a lot of good in this world.
Jon Flagg asked if anyone has come up with interesting coping mechanisms during the coronavirus “stay at home” rule. Yvonne Legge recalled her childhood in Warsaw, Poland, under Communist rule. Shortages of basic goods meant that they had to stand in line waiting for staples, like bread. She never imagined that one day, living the “American Dream,” she would have to stand in line again at a supermarket. Only to find they are out of toilet paper!
Also, Yvonne had some advice for coffee drinkers: When the stock market drops by 2%, add a splash of Kahlua. With a 5% drop, move on to the heavy stuff like smoked maple flavored Knob Creek Bourbon!
In the absence of a live baseball season, John Rice has reverted to his teenage hobby of playing APBA baseball. He ordered a set of 2019 baseball cards and has been playing out the Florida Grapefruit League spring training schedule in his dining room. His wife, Joan, is dealing with this situation with patience and some understanding!
Jon’s story revolved around his teenage son. He was pretty upset when his $110 skateboard was stolen. It had been stashed by the side of a remote railway line as his son and a friend hung out nearby.
Next evening, Jon and family were sitting on their front lawn watching the world go by (something they rarely do.) Then, they saw a kid ride by on the stolen skateboard! Jon’s 19 yr. old son, who is 6’4”, raced after the kid, who mumbled that he had found it abandoned—right! Moral of the story – sit out on your front lawn during quarantine. You never know what you might see. Also, if you snatch a skateboard, don’t ride around the same neighborhood you stole it from!

Rotary Log Part II
Jessica Parker introduced the speaker, Martha Stone, executive director of Crossroads House in Portsmouth. Martha joined the staff in 2004 as Development Director and headed up the capital campaign for the new facility on Lafayette Road. She was named Executive Director in 2013. Martha is very involved in the community and is on numerous local committees.
Martha thanked the Portsmouth Rotary Club for its support over the years. She also thanked our volunteers who have been cooking and serving meals there.
She began her presentation by outlining some of the challenges faced by Crossroads House. As one of the largest emergency homeless shelters in the state, Crossroads House is currently at full capacity. It serves about 110-120 men, women and children every night. When the Governor gave the order to shelter at home that was something the homeless didn’t have the option to do. In shelters, residents live mostly in a congregate situation.
Crossroads has taken numerous steps to make the environment safer, especially in terms of cleaning and putting up physical barriers. Another challenge is that some residents work, which, although a positive thing, means they come and go daily. This potentially exposes them and others to infection. Finally, staff made the difficult choice to “pull the plug” on volunteers who prepare and serve dinners seven days a week.
As far as financial ramifications are concerned, the most significant problem is loss of revenue. The major annual fundraiser, which is usually held in May, has been postponed to August 29th. This event represents $400,000 in operating income. Martha is working closely with the board to see if funds can be raised in other ways. She has also been talking with municipal, state and federal leaders. She deeply appreciates their interest in protecting this vulnerable population.
One of the most important solutions relates to “decompression.” For Crossroads House, this means physically spreading out the population so that there are less people in the shelter. The Governor recently ordered that short-term lodging could only be used to house vulnerable populations and health care workers. So far, Martha has been able to secure rooms in a local property. These go to  those who are most medically vulnerable and others still working. The shelter will rely on the state for an isolation quarantine location, if that becomes necessary.
There is some good news. The culinary staff of Portsmouth’s new A/C Hotel has generously offered to cook lunch and dinner full time for everyone at Crossroads. It’s a win-win situation that enables A/C to keep culinary staff working. The shelter is sharing their donated food with the hotel, helping to offset some of the costs. Volunteers pick- up and deliver these meals, either in bulk or individually to those living at the local hotel. Stonewall Kitchen Cafe in York is also generously providing shelter residents with daily breakfast meals.
Folks are discouraged from dropping off donations at the shelter. Instead, they are encouraged to use the Amazon Wish List for everyday needs like laundry pods, coffee, and OTC drugs. In regular times, the organization needs $1 million a year to operate. In the current pandemic, more funds are needed. There has been a bit of an uptick in donations for which Martha is very grateful. She and Jessica are also looking at several other funding sources in the coming days.
Martha’s hope is to come out of this crisis having kept the residents and the staff safe. Everyone is working hard to achieve this and stay ahead of the situation. She currently utilizes a reduced “crew,” all of whom have earned her praise and respect. Martha ended her presentation on a positive note. She says that some residents have been able to move out during this time of crisis. These events are always a cause for celebration at Crossroads House.
For those who want to help today, Martha suggests visiting the Crossroads website. Click on “Want to Help?”  There is a button to donate and you will also find The Amazon Wish List here. Another button helps you get on the volunteer list. Crossroads needs drivers for curb to curb food deliveries.
In answer to a question about testing, Martha said a couple of staff had been tested but these were false alarms. Senator Shaheen is aware of the need to have quick testing for staff and residents. Martha has also discussed with the Board a plan to deal with an outbreak as they don’t have a very “deep bench.”
Martha encouraged Rotarians to share to social media any information posted on the website. Jessica’s blogposts can also be shared. This is the link to the Amazon Wish List:
When asked if the shelter needs masks and gloves, Martha said volunteers have sewn masks for the residents and staff. She will be putting in a request to the state for PPE supplies. Susan Gold offered to supply masks from Seacoast Mask Makers. Martha thanked the organization and confirmed that they had already received 300 masks from them just last week.
Barb Miller wanted to know how many children were at the shelter and if they had any special needs. Martha said there were approximately 28 children right now. For the most part, they have what they need.
Jon Flagg mentioned that he was liquidating a retired dentist’s office and has boxes of Masks and gloves. Martha confirmed that Crossroads would gladly accept any extra gloves and masks.
Leo thanked Martha for her presentation and for everything she does for Crossroads House. He also assured her that Portsmouth Rotary was there to help in any way they could. As he closed the meeting, Leo reminded everyone of his challenge that each of us reach out to two fellow Rotarians today. There are those who may not have been able to join the meeting virtually. Others might have specific needs that we could help them with.
Concluding the meeting, Leo asked Jessica to lead  everyone in the 4-Way Test.
Respectfully submitted, Francoise Meissner
Photos by Don Chick
New Members Photos
To see photos of our new members click on the following link:
Apr 23, 2020
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Upcoming Events
New Members Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm Agency
Apr 23, 2020
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Salvation Army Soup Kitchen
Salvation Army
Apr 29, 2020
4:00 PM – 6:15 PM
New Members Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm Agency
May 08, 2020
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Basic Needs Committee Meeting
Infinite Imaging
May 13, 2020 8:00 AM -
Jun 03, 2021 9:00 AM
Communications Committee Meeting
Portsmouth Country Club
May 14, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
New Members Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm Agency
May 21, 2020
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
View entire list
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Virtual Rotary Meeting 04-16-2020
C. 2020 Rotary Club of Portsmouth, PO Box 905 Portsmouth NH 03801
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