Top of the Week December 18, 2018
Top of the Week!
December 18, 2018
A Christmas Message from Buddy the Elf, aka Not the Grinch, aka Jon Flagg
Well ain't that somthin!!! The tree lot looks like Cindy Lou Hoo's living room after the Grinch visit. By 1:30 today (Saturday, Dec. 15), we were sold out!! The sales team (since junior high) of Gerty Flagg, Max and Gabby Matheny (assisted by Sandy, Joe, Justin and Jon) watched as the lot dwindled to one lonely tree (which the kids nicknamed "Charlie"). That is until one guy with his two kids came in and bought Charlie. He even took a picture of his kids with Charlie so he could show his wife that he did not screw up and in fact got the very last tree. To be honest, he looked a little nervous as he approached our empty lot.
"Charlie" and some Merry Elves
A huge thank you and a Merry Christmas to all of you! You did it!!!  This Grinch's heart just grew 10 times!
Basic Needs Grant Awarded
Through our Basic Needs Grant Funding our board recently awarded Portsmouth Catholic SHARE $1500.  The SHARE Fund is an emergency financial assistance program for those, regardless of denomination, who have exhausted all other avenues of support and don’t qualify for traditional outreach programs in our community.  100% of all donations are used for emergency basic living needs.  Ramona Dow presented the check to SHARE volunteers at their recent Christmas gathering at the home of John O’Reilly, Board President.  And yes...that is a Rotary tree!
Interact Elves
Boy have they been busy!!!! This season the Interact Elves got stockings ready for Cross Roads and Chase Home residents!
Big shout out to the Portsmouth Rotary, Deb Barlow and Carla Frank for also contributing goods for the stockings!
PHA Volunteer Coordination
Mary Kelliher, Volunteer Coordinator at the Portsmouth Housing Authority forwarded the following:
“I'm reaching out regarding a recurring volunteer opportunity that has sprung at two of our resident building. We now hold a coffee hour at our Margeson building on Mondays at 10am and at Feaster on Thursdays at 10am. These are opportunities for residents to get out of their apartments and spend time in a communal space to have a treat together. We'd love to have volunteers sign up for a particular day or recurring days to bring donuts, pastries, and/or fruit (coffee is provided) if anyone would like to do so! This is an easy opportunity to also chat with our resident population, as well. Each building also has a piano, waiting for anyone with a passion for it to play during coffee hour as well!!
Let Mary know if anyone might be interested and have a happy holiday season!"
AmeriCorps Seeks Rotary Volunteers 
Mary Kelliher is the Volunteer Coordinator for AmeriCorps working out of Portsmouth Housing's Greenleaf Recreation Center with the Resident Services team which assists low-income residents, senior residents, and residents with disabilities in finding resources for different needs, such as budgeting, financial literacy, transportation, etc. Mary and AmeriCorps is seeking volunteers who would be willing to volunteer. One example of a volunteer opportunity is assisting an older female resident who lives alone in moving heavy furniture (strong people needed!) into and from a UHaul during her planned move from her Feaster apartment to Connor's Cottage. If there are any volunteers intersted in lending a hand please contact Mary at
Sorry We Missed You
If you have a makeup for a missed meeting, please email it to the following link:
Check Your Profile
The Communications Committee is asking that everyone log onto ClubRunner and check your profile to make sure it is up to date.  Change is part of life and we hope to be able to reflect those changes in our website.  Happy surfing.
Rotary Connections is back!!!
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 Connections, please reach out to the Cathy Nickerson or President Ben.
Let us Know What is Happening!
If you have an event or news that you would like to share with your fellow Rotarians, please forward the information to Dennis Moulton for inclusion in the weekly eBulletin. My contact information is  And please send photos!
Rotary Log for December 13, 2018
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
New Members Photos
To see photos of our new members click on the following link:
Dec 20, 2018
Shelli LaTorre Holiday Music
Dec 27, 2018
Did ya find all the packages - includin' that small one?
Jan 03, 2019
The New Year's Party Continues!! (Asprin?)
Jan 10, 2019
Our Gap Year – Quelle L’ Adventure!
View entire list
Upcoming Events
Cash Committee Meeting
Eastern Bank
Dec 26, 2018
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
New Member Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm
Jan 10, 2019
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Membership Committee Meeting
Portsmouth Country Club
Jan 17, 2019 11:00 AM
New Member Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm
Jan 22, 2019
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
New Member Orientation
Aileen Dugan State Farm
Feb 05, 2019
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
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December 13, 2018: Mr Hamilton, Head of School at Berwick Academy
C. 2018 Rotary Club of Portsmouth, PO Box 905 Portsmouth NH 03801
eBulletin Editor: John Rice