Rotary Log for August 30, 2018
We were greeted by Immediate Past-President Ben, aka “Big Hands Ben.” (Or, alternatively, maybe my hands are small. In any case, I really need to extend my fingers when going in for a greeting from Ben.) Cleo called the meeting to order with the pledge. That was followed by a hardy rendition of the National Anthem in honor of the late Senator John McCain as requested by Dave Holden. Big Hands Ben led the Four Way Test and John Rice provided the invocation.
Guests and Announcements
We welcomed three guests including Scott Henry (Justin),
Pat Novello (Nancy Clayburgh) and
Heather Inyart (Stella)
Colleen Westcott requested that we help out the Hampton Rotary Club with their involvement in the upcoming Seafood Festival.
Joanie Dickenson, armed with large bags of aluminum can tops, gave thanks to Donna Harvey for the bounty. The tops get redeemed for cash by the Interact club and will support Veterans causes.
Vice-President Jon Flagg provided a club history moment. He says these vignettes are an outgrowth from his work cleaning out our club’s storage areas, or as Jon put it “draining the swamp.” (Cleo later clarified that there is cleaning going on but not by Jon. Hmm.) Hats from the 2017 golf tourney surfaced and were offered for free! Susan (Gray) Wolf was held to account for the behavior of her ancestor, Fred Alfred Gray. He was absent per the Log for the August 19, 1947 meeting.
Just for fun, Jon listed some of our club’s designations from 1939 – Ice, Creamer, Dry Goods, Livestock, Mortician, Lumber, Electrical, and Drugs to name a few. Susan Gold chimed in that the Portsmouth Athenaeum is willing to care for our club’s historical materials and that she is the contact for that.
President Cleo invited Past District Governor Mort Schmidt to come up front. Mort noted that this week he was celebrating 40 years in our club. He recalled just a few of the fellow Rotarians that he had the pleasure of serving with. The lost includes Frank Butterworth, Ralph Margeson, and John Feaster. Mort continues to enjoy fellowship with Cliff Taylor. It was Cliff who gave future “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron his first break in media.
Mort listed some of the roles he’s taken on over the years – first Chair of the TV Auction, Sergeant at Arms, Secretary, Club President and 1992-93 District Governor. In conclusion Mort continued his commitment to our club with a $1000 donation to the Rotary Foundation, and a second $1000 donation to the Ray Jones Fund.
For their generosity Cleo bestowed three Rotarians with Paul Harris Awards. Steve Wood got a Paul Harris pin, Ted Alex a Plus-Five pin and Leonard Seagren a Plus-Seven pin. (The pins are supplied by the Rotary Foundation when individuals donate $1000 and multiples thereafter.)
50/50 Raffle
…and this week’s winner of the 50/50 raffle was District Secretary Deb Grabowski! There was no match, however Deb is out there somewhere right now enjoying an unexpected $50 windfall. Next week’s bonus will be $200.
The Program
Lindsay Hery introduced the day’s guest, Mindi Messner, a scientist by education and profession. Mindi is seeking the Democratic nomination for the New Hampshire District One seat in the United States House of Representatives.
“I am not a politician by nature,” said the candidate, who is also new to touting her accomplishments. She began by showing a 3-minute video that can also find on her website.
Ms. Messner first came to New Hampshire in 1985 when she received a Master’s in Earth Science from UNH. She joked that her 33-year tenure may not amount to “native” status. Nonetheless she is proud to have adopted New Hampshire as her home state. Ms. Messner owned and operated a technical consulting business in the state for 20 years. She recently earned a Public Health degree from Georgetown University.
Mindi is proud of her whistle blowing status on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. She continues to work on clean water issues associated with the Coakley Landfill and contamination of wells at Pease. She noted some grim statistics that have fueled her mission. For example, New Hampshire is first in the Nation for breast cancer, bladder cancer and pediatric cancer.
Mindi entered politics after Dr. Tom Sherman requested that she run and fill his vacated seat in the New Hampshire House. Dr. Sherman’s response to her lack of political experience was “we need scientists” legislating. Messner won the seat, then was told that when you’re a first-year rep you are “seen but not heard.” She bucked that rule by introducing four bills her freshman year. By her second year, 16 bills she worked on were passed and then signed into law by the Governor.
Mindi intends to bring her skills as a scientist to Congress. If she accomplishes her goal, it will be without the benefit of special interest or Political Action Committee funds. She wants her effort to be a “people powered campaign.”
Sandy Tucker asked what she would do about an Eversource initiative that would likely be an environmental disaster for Great Bay. Mindi noted that Eversource is perhaps the most powerful lobby in New Hampshire. She is monitoring the situation.
Larry Gray asked about the cost of healthcare and what she would do about the high cost of drugs. Mindi did not offer a direct answer, but acknowledged concern about changes to Medicaid.
Gene Doherty asked what Ms. Messner would do to protect Social Security Funds from being used for other purposes. The candidate acknowledged that those funds need to be protected.
Ben Wheeler asked what can be done about the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. Mindi explained that finding the cause will be very difficult because causation is always difficult to prove. Instead, she said that limiting exposures to known toxins is the right strategy.
Susan Gold asked if any financial aid has been given to families directly impacted by the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. Mindi said that individuals have offered help, including herself, but that there has been no government help.
Respectfully submitted, James Petersen
Photos by Chad Chadwick